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TLC Book Tours: 18. Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan...

January 31, 2011
Today I'm honored to be one of the TLC Book Tours stops for Allison Brennan's Love Me to Death! There's a guest post, my review, and I know some of you are fans of romantic suspense, which means you'll want to read all the way to the end... *grin*

TLC Tours

About Allison Brennan:
Allison Brennan is the New York Times bestselling author of many romantic thrillers, including Carnal Sin, Original Sin, Fatal Secrets, Cutting Edge, and Sudden Death. A four-time RITA finalist and Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Brennan enjoys spending her free time reading, playing games, watching high school sports, and researching her novels. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and International Thriller Writers. Allison Brennan lives in Northern California with her husband, Dan, and their five children.

Visit Allison online at her website,, or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Allison shares some thoughts on motherhood, writing, and not looking back. I'm sure there's a better way of describing her post, but... You just have to read it!

When I tell people I have five kids, their jaws drop and they stare at me in shock. I know what’s going through their heads. The first thing is, “Doesn’t she know about birth control?” Then, “There must be twins in there.” Or, “She must be Mormon or Catholic.”

The answers: Yes, No, Catholic.

The comment I always get is, “I don’t know how you do it. How can you write three books a year with all those kids?” Or a variation on that theme. And I don’t get that.

I used to work full-time outside of the house—a regular 9-to-5 job—and no one ever asked me how I “did it” and raised my family. There are a lot of moms out there who work their butts off and aren’t writers, some of them working two jobs, some of them single moms, some of them with husbands who help a lot, and some of them with husbands who don’t do much of anything.

Before I quit my day job in early 2005, I worked 35 hours a week, had five kids (11 years to 6 months), and wrote every night after the kids went to bed. THAT was hard work. It was especially hard before I sold my first book, because I was writing toward a dream that may never happen. I love writing—but I also had a goal. I was writing for me first, but I was also writing to sell.

Working moms tend to feel extremely guilty because they work outside the house and fear they’re damaging their kids in some way, so they overcompensate and try to do everything. (Yes, I was guilty of that!) Stay-at-home moms feel guilty because they are at home and worry when they don’t do everything from being the team mom on soccer to being the first to sign up to drive on every fieldtrip to making sure their house is immaculate because they’re “at home” and there’s “no excuse.” I swear, the year that I was a stay-at-home mom after I quit my day job and pulled my kids from day care was the hardest year of my life. I couldn’t write when they were running around (at the time ages 4, 2 and 1—my oldest two were in school.) I was physically exhausted when it was bedtime, but I still had to write at night.

Writing is selfish. We do it first for us. When you’re unpublished, no one in the world cares if you sell a book—except you. No one. It’s hard to keep motivated in the face of negative influences, even when those negative influences aren’t obvious.

Sometimes it’s our spouse or parents or kids who think it’s “cute” we’re trying to write a book. Others may complain that we’re wasting money on paper, toner, and a new printer. Others are critical that we’re not spending enough time with the family and meeting everyone else’s needs.

Worse, some family and friends think that writing is a “hobby” something we do just for the hell of it or because we enjoy it, but it’s not a future career and thus can’t be fulfilling like a “real” career, or a “real” hobby—like gardening or scrap booking or whatever they themselves find valuable.

Being a multi-published New York Times bestselling author has some advantages.

People don’t think I’m writing just for the fun of it. People don’t generally look down their nose at me anymore when I decline to drive on the next field trip because of a looming deadline. Most people take my writing seriously—I have credentials now. But I still get the, “Since you work from home, can you just do . . .” fill in the blank of anything that takes more than ten minutes. Add half a dozen of those up and you’ve lost an hour or more of your time. And when you have only the hours when your children are in school to write—and the nighttime after they go to bed—that lost hour (or two or three) ends up hurting.

It took me a long time to minimize the guilt of putting my needs on equal footing with my family. Or close to it. Because I still drop everything when someone is sick, or when there’s a special event at school, and now that my hours are more flexible, I do drive on more field trips and rarely miss games. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love spending time with my kids, but I also love writing, and I can juggle both most of the time.

I “do it” like every other mom out there: I prioritize, I sacrifice, and I don’t sweat the small stuff.

I think back sometimes to how it all started—the early morning and late nights, writing books that never sold and no one will ever read (this is a good thing!), frustration that I was wasting time or not doing enough or doing too much. I remember the three years I didn’t watch television in order to make time to write.

It wasn’t easy. But nothing worth having is easily achieved. When I quit my day job, we didn’t have a lot of money and I had to be exceptionally frugal with my advance so that I could make it last. I pulled my three youngest from day care, we refinanced the house, I lived on a much tighter budget—with the added stress that if my books failed, I’d be crawling back to my old boss begging for my job back.

Was it worth it? If I had never published, or hit a bestseller list, would the time spent writing have been a waste?

I don’t like to play the “what if” game with my past life. Or think about what I wish I could change. I believe that when we make a decision that is by default life-changing at that moment—such as which college to go to (or whether to go at all); what job offer to accept; who to marry or where to live—it happens for a reason. If we make a bad choice, we learn from it. But to play the “what might have been” game can drive you crazy.

I’m sure I could have done things easier. I made a lot of mistakes. But would I be the same person today if I didn’t make those mistakes? So I look back at the beginning and realize that if I changed anything, I might not be who I am today. If I made different choices long, long ago I may not have met my husband and had my terrific kids. If I listened to person A instead of person B about how I should approach my writing career, I may not have even had a career . . . or maybe I would have had a better career. I simply don’t think about it.

I try to instill in my kids that they are responsible for their own happiness. That if they want something bad enough, and work hard enough for it, they can achieve their goal. No one promised it would be easy.

A month after I quit my day job, while we were struggling and juggling, my oldest daughter—then 11, said, “Mom, I’ve never seen you so happy.”

And ultimately, that’s a lesson I’m thrilled to teach my kids.

I love your perspective, Allison, and I'm glad you shared it with us!

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love me to death
About Love Me to Death:
Six years ago, Lucy Kincaid was attacked and nearly killed by an online predator. She survived. Her attacker did not. Now Lucy’s goal is to join the FBI and fight cyber-crime, but in the meantime, she’s volunteering with a victim’s rights group, surfing the Web undercover to lure sex offenders into the hands of the law. But when the predators she hunts start turning up as murder victims, the FBI takes a whole new interest in Lucy.

With her future and possibly even her freedom suddenly in jeopardy, Lucy discovers she’s a pawn in someone’s twisted plot to mete out vigilante justice. She joins forces with security expert and daredevil Sean Rogan, and together they track their elusive quarry from anonymous online chat rooms onto the mean streets of Washington, D.C. But someone else is shadowing them: A merciless stalker has his savage eye on Lucy. The only way for her to escape his brutality may be another fight to the death.

ISBN-13: 9780345520395
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House Publishing, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Random House Publishing

drey's thoughts:
Love Me to Death is a page-turner that will suck up your time, so don't pick it up unless you can finish it--or you'll be ignoring everything else going on, so that you could finish it. Gee, that took quite a few words, didn't it?

Character: Lucy Kincaid is a strong woman. She has to be, to get through her past and keep moving forward with her life. At times, though, Lucy needs to admit that she cannot do it all herself, and she can rely on those who love her, without it looking like weakness. Allison Brennan does a wonderful job in her portrayal of Lucy Kincaid here... Seth Rogan is the perfect leading man for Lucy, and at times I wanted more of him than I got. Good men are hard to find! *grin*

Pace & Plot: This is a believable story that I could see unfolding in my head as I turned the pages. Where's the screen version? The bad guys are deplorable, even if some of 'em had more altruistic reasons for their actions. But, bad is bad. So there. Anyway, back to the story. The pages turn quickly, you root for the good guys, and there's a happily-ever-after. What more could you ask for from a romantic suspense novel?

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good! If you're a fan of the genre, you should pick this up! OR, try to win it in my giveaway... *grin*

Thanks to the publisher, Random House, I can offer up one copy of Love Me to Death for you! US and Canada only, no PO Boxes, please. To enter, comment below with your actor suggestion for the role of private security firm owner Seth Rogan. He should be fit, yummy (of course!), just a touch broody, wicked grin... Oh, and don't forget tall, dark, and handsome, too. I'm thinking Josh Duhamel would be awesome. *grin*

Don't forget to include your email address. Do it before 6pm CST February 13th. Good luck!

Have you read Love Me to Death? What did you think?

TLC Book Tours stops for Love Me to Death:
Bewitched Bookworms
Dren's B-Spot
A Bookworm's World
Musings of an All-Purpose Monkey
chaotic compendiums
Under the Boardwalk
Jen's Book Thoughts
Fiction State of Mind
Along the Way
Reading with Martinis
Inside of a Dog
My Life in Not So Many Words
Cafe of Dreams
Bookaholic Does Blogging

Review: 17. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder...

January 28, 2011
I wasn't a fan of Maria Snyder's Study series (I didn't care about Yelena that much), but something about the cover of Inside Out called to me. And I'm glad I checked it out!

inside out
Title: Inside Out (Insider #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
ISBN-13: 9780373210060
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harlequin, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
I picked up Inside Out on a whim--and I spent two and a half hours totally captivated by the story that Maria V. Snyder created.

The world is a classic us-vs.-them, with the masses crowded into the Lowers, where they work menial jobs like laundry, cleaning the air ducts and water pipes, growing food in hydroponic farms, sorting through crap (literally!)... They sleep in shifts, work in shifts, eat in shifts... You get the idea.

Everything the Lowers do is controlled by the Uppers, who watch their shifts, police their behavior, and control the flow of air--and information--into the Lowers. Anyone who misbehaves is fed to Chomper. Yup, death-by-Chomper. Sounds fun, huh? Life is blah, work is blah, everything is blah. And into this blah a "prophet" appears, preaching salvation in the form of a gate to the Outside. And, of course, Trella doesn't believe him.

She's just a scrub (heh... Pun intended?), after all. What is there to hope for? She keeps to herself. Has only one friend. Sleeps in the pipes she cleans (see "scrub"). So... How does she get caught up in this whole bring-salvation-to-the-Lowers thing then? Well, that's the point of reading Inside Out, isn't it?

Character: Trella reminds me of Katniss Everdeen. Thrown into a situation beyond her control (ok, so she did it to herself), she reacts as quickly as she can, using her wits to stay one step ahead of the pursuers. The bad guys are characteristically bad (I loved how they're referred to as the Pop Cops), the Uppers aren't all bad, and both Uppers and Lowers have quite a few things to learn about the world they live in...

Pace & Plot: There's never a dull moment with Inside Out. The story flows easily, the plot moves quickly, and the action never stops. The sense of humor is fun and quirky, and the surprising discovery at the end is worth the read. I'll be picking up Outside In when it comes out!

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent! Awesome YA dystopia from Maria Snyder!

Have you read Inside Out? What did you think?

Review: 16. Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter...

January 27, 2011
This could be a really really SHORT review, 'cuz I can say it in just one word: WOW. But, because this is a serious review blog, I shall endeavor to expand on that WOW. Just for y'all... Aren't you glad I like you? *wink*

mercy blade
Title: Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock #3)
Author: Faith Hunter
ISBN-13: 9780451463722
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Purchased

drey's thoughts:
In this highly-anticipated third installment in Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series, Jane's headed to the Big Easy, to do a job for the Master of the City, Leo Pellisier. Not too much of a hardship, as her new main man--undercover cop Rick--is there too. But it's not too long before their jobs get in the way of their relationship...

To add to the man-undercover-angst, her boss Leo's not too fond of Jane right now (after the events in Blood Cross), so she also has stay-under-the-radar angst. But when trouble shows up in the form of weres (dogs AND cats), that doesn't stop her from trying to head off a revenge-motivated retaliation against Leo. Unfortunately for Jane, all of this action's just the side dish to Leo's main task for her: find the vamp who's returned to his territory, and tell him to get lost. Or else.

Character: Jane rocks. She's tough, mentally and physically. And yet she's still vulnerable, especially when trusting her heart to others. So you're totally with her when she starts having doubts about Rick, especially when she hasn't seen him in ages, and it looks like he's hanging with another gal. But I'd expect her to not be so darn wishy-washy about him. You get the facts and then deal with it. Not dwell in angst.

I really like Bruiser in this installment, his character's much more fleshed out, and if Rick weren't in the picture (is he still? I'm not telling!), I'd say take Bruiser for a ride! *wink* The werecats who show up could've been featured more, I think, but maybe that's just because I'm curious, darn it. Yes, yes, I know all about curiosity and cats... Still...

Pace & Plot: Well. Faith Hunter doesn't make you wait for the action, that's for sure. And when the plot gets going, you want to make sure you've got a chunk of time carved out for this book, because this is jam-packed with stuff. If this were an action film, there'd be car chase scenes and explosions and death-defying feats all over it... (cue Quantum Solace theme song... yes, I'm a Daniel-Craig-as-Bond girl...) But since it's a book, you just get fight scenes, fight scenes, and more fight scenes. Phew.

Lest you think it's all action and no substance, you also get Jane wondering about her and Beast, and why there aren't more of them... Some questions get brought up, and I sure hope they get answered! I'm impatiently waiting on the next one.

drey's rating: 5/5 Outstanding! If you haven't read Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy yet, well, why not?

Have you read Mercy Blade? What did you think?

January's Featured Author: Anne talks about Fire and Ash!

January 26, 2011
Well, today's a Wednesday, and that means that we have a guest here... Our Featured Author, Anne Patrick, is here to talk about her latest release, Fire and Ash! So, without hogging up any more page space, I give you, Anne...

Fire and Ash
I want to thank Drey for allowing me to talk about one of my latest releases Fire and Ash. The idea for Fire and Ash was first planted after watching the movie Backdraft on DVD a couple of years ago. Yeah, I know, I’m a little behind in my movie watching. Anyway, I loved Robert De Niro in the part of the fire investigator and was really intrigued by what all goes into finding the answers to why a fire started.

For me, research is one of the most important aspects to writing and, more often than not, one of the most rewarding. You want your story to be as believable as possible so you want to get your facts straight. Online and book research are vital but I also like to find someone who is in the field in which I’m writing about.

For Fire and Ash I had the good fortune of meeting a real life fire investigator, named Keith Tarbox, who helped me get inside the head of my main character Sadie McGregor. He also read over the entire manuscript to make sure the fire scenes were believable and that I did my homework. Keith shared many of his experiences with me. Talked about the long hours he worked on fire scenes, the obstacles he had to overcome, and the many miles spent in route to a scene. It was a joy getting to know him. He left me with a great appreciation for the unsung heroes out there who dedicate their lives to finding the answers of how or why a fire started, and the danger that is sometimes involved.

Fire and Ash is an inspirational romantic suspense. My main character, Sadie McGregor,
is called to her hometown of Emerald Point, Missouri to investigate a suspicious fire which claimed the life of a local college student. By appearance the fire looks like the girl was just careless. What Sadie and the handsome police chief, Quinn Harrington, discover will not only affect those close to them, but will rock the entire community of Emerald Point and put Sadie’s life on the line.

Sadie’s life isn’t the only thing at stake. Struggling with the guilt of having been responsible for the fire that killed her family, when she was only seven, Sadie doesn’t feel she’s worthy of God’s love and forgiveness. Will Quinn be able to prove otherwise before it’s too late?

Fire and Ash received a ‘Top Pick’ review at Night Owl Reviews & ‘Best Book’ at Long and Short Reviews. You can purchase it at, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online bookstores.

Thank you again allowing me to visit, Drey! I hope you and all your readers have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

Thank you for coming by this month, Anne! I hope you enjoyed your visit, and will come back soon!

Review: 15. Torment by Lauren Kate...

January 25, 2011
I love the covers of Lauren Kate's books, they're simply gorgeous! How do you turn this down?

Title: Torment (Fallen #2)
Author: Lauren Kate
ISBN-13: 9780385739146
Hardcover: 452 pages
Publisher: Random House, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
After the stuff that happened in Fallen, Daniel and Cam call a temporary truce and are working together to keep Luce safe. She gets sent to an uber-special school where there are classes designed for  the Nephilim-related, but boys being boys, of course they don't tell her why. Sheesh.

At Shoreline, Luce quickly makes a few close friends, including another boy who's interested in her as more than friends. And learns a few things, like there's a way to retrieve memories of her past lives. Doing so, however, brings up doubts about Daniel...

Character: I'm not sure I like Luce much. She gets whiny and maudlin, doesn't factor in that her leaving Shoreline borders could get herself or others hurt, and gets mad at Daniel when he tries to get her to listen. Yeah, he could use better communication skills, especially for how old he is... But still. Whiny.

Pace & Plot: The story was a bit convoluted, to me. There was a lot of time spent on Luce's building distrust of Daniel and his intentions, and though I know why, I'm not convinced it's necessary. The Outcasts seem to appear out of nowhere, and maybe I blanked out, but I don't know why they're looking for Luce, or why they want her. All the words must've bounced off my thick skull if this was explained. And with the past few weeks I've had, I'm not surprised if I did miss it. So, please please do me a huge favor, and let me know what I screwed up. I won't get upset. Really.

drey's rating: 2/5 OK: I will pick up the next book, but more for the cover than for the characters.

Blog Tour: 13. & 14. Cynthia Eden's Deadly Heat and Deadly Lies!

January 24, 2011
Cynthia Eden's touring for her new books, Deadly Heat and Deadly Lies! Deadly Heat comes out in February, and Deadly Lies in March, so you're getting a sneak peek at these, as well as an awesome giveaway!


About the author:
Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes paranormal romances and romantic suspense novels. She is currently very busy writing her stories for Grand Central Publishing and Kensington Brava.

She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populate her romantic suspense stories.

(Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people). Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor. But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.

Since there are TWO books in this tour post, I'll recap each, along with the review, separately. Be sure to read all the way to the end for the GIVEAWAY!!

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deadly heat
About Deadly Heat (Deadly #2):
She wants revenge...

Six months after her lover died in an arsonist’s blaze, firefighter Lora Spade calls in the FBI’s elite Serial Services Division to track the elusive killer. When Special Agent Kenton Lake is lured into a violent inferno, Lora pulls him to safety and is stunned – not by the fire, but by her own searing attraction to Kent. For the first time in months, she longs for something other than vengeance.

He wants her...

Kenton’s interest in Lora should be purely professional. But one fleeting kiss and he can’t get her out of his mind. Her combination of strength and vulnerability makes him want to protect her, and that means solving this case – and fast. For even the passion igniting between them can’t hide a terrifying truth: Lora is the next target in a murderer’s sadistic, fiery game.

A vicious killer wants only... DEADLY HEAT

ISBN-13: 9780446559263
ARC: 388 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Hachette Book Group

drey's thoughts:
Deadly Heat got me hooked quickly, I couldn't put it down. The story moves fast, and Eden definitely kept me guessing. The cast of characters stood out, so you always knew who was whom, even when they weren't the leads. And the chemistry between Kenton and Lora... hot is an understatement. Phew!

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent: Add it to your to-read pile if romantic suspense is your thing.

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deadly lies
About Deadly Lies (Deadly #3):
She wants to hide the past…

FBI Special Agent Samantha Kennedy is haunted by memories of the serial killer who abducted her. To keep the darkness at bay, she pretends to be a different, more confident woman. This Samantha doesn’t fear every unknown face. So she throws caution to the wind and shares a night of unbridled passion with a handsome stranger.

He needs to uncover the truth…

One night isn’t enough for successful entrepreneur Max Ridgeway. He wants more of the sexy, smart, mysterious woman who slipped away before dawn. When they meet again, their attraction is undeniable—until his stepbrother goes missing, and Max realizes that Samantha isn’t who she seems. But they must trust each other to trap a ring of blood-thirsty kidnappers before the nightmares that terrorize Sam become irrevocably real.

As a merciless criminal spins a web of...DEADLY LIES

ISBN-13: 9780446559256
ARC: 369 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Hachette Book Group

drey's thoughts:
Hoo boy... I thought Deadly Heat was hot! It was, but boy oh boy, Deadly Lies scorches your fingers just from holding the book! This one focuses on Sam, who'd been through hell and back, not just once, but twice. And is now poised for a third return, when the step-brother of the guy she's "seeing" is kidnapped by a sicko who likes to inflict pain. Ugh. I hate pain...

The characters are well-drawn, and the story pulls you in. I got these books on Friday, and couldn't help but read them back-to-back. I want more Cynthia!

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent: Seriously, if you like romantic suspense, you should read Cynthia Eden's Deadly series!

2011 Challenge: New Author

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'Tis time for the giveaway details! Thanks to Hachette Book Group, I have 3 SETS of Deadly Heat and Deadly Lies for you. Yes, that means three people will win both books! Open to US and Canada residents only, no PO Boxes. Only one win per household: if you win the same titles in two or more contests, you will receive only one copy of each title in the mail.

Now that THAT's taken care of, here's how to enter: Leave a comment stating what you like about these books. Include your email address. That's it. Do it before 6pm CST February 6th. Good luck!

Giveaway: The Lincoln Lawyer!!

January 22, 2011
Gooooooooooooood morning, everyone! Ok, so it's almost lunchtime... Sorry! I've been busy busy busy, we have a project go-live for work, and I've been running around like a nut. BUT. Not so busy that I wasn't going to share this lovely giveaway with you...

Thanks to Hachette Book Group and the movie studio, I have for you 5 (yes, FIVE) sets of the movie poster and mass market paperback of Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer, coming to theaters near you on March 18th!! I want a copy for myself, just for the cover alone... *wipes off drool* I HEART MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY!!

the lincoln lawyer

Ok, I'm done drooling. I hope. Back to y'all. Like I said, I have 5 sets to give away. Here's some deets and fun stuff:

About the book:
Mickey Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far-flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers - they're all on Mickey Haller's client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence, it's about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it's even about justice.

A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high-paying client in years. It is a defense attorney's dream, what they call a franchise case. And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career. Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal - this time to save his own life.

Check out the trailers at the movie website:

This one's for US and Canada only, no PO Boxes, please*. To get your name in the hat, comment and tell me: If not Matthew yummilicious McConaughey, who else could you see in the role of Mickey Haller? Make sure your email address is included. And enter before 6pm CST February 8th! Good luck!

* One winner per address, so if you win from multiple sites, only one set will be mailed out

Review: 12. I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell...

January 21, 2011
D'ya know what sprang to mind when I saw this title for the first time? That old TV show I Dream of Jeannie, with Barbara Eden. I loved that show!

i dream of genies
Title: I Dream of Genies (the first book of a new trilogy)
Author: Judi Fennell
ISBN-13: 9781402241895
ARC: 393 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Sourcebooks

drey's thoughts:
Jeannie is Eden, the Major is Matt Ewing, and I'm still trying to find a reference for Obo, the talking cat... For those too young to know, Jeannie was played by Barbara Eden, and Larry Hagman (the Major) also played J.R. Ewing in Dallas. I like the author's sense of humor!

I Dream of Genies is a fun, light-hearted read. Eden is hilarious, Obo is entertaining, and Matt is the reluctant hero. Together, the three get into all sorts of hijinks, especially while running from the bad guy, Grand Vizier Faruq. Are they successful? Or will Eden get stoppered up in a bottle again?

Character: I think the characters in this story were pretty stereotypical. But they all had a part to play, and they did it well.

Pace & Plot: I Dream of Genies started off a little slow, with Eden in her bottle getting bored. Doesn't bode well for the reader, does it? But it was a good way to introduce Matt... And once she busts free, the pace picks up, and things start happening--probably just a little too many things, for Eden!

drey's rating: 3/5 Good: A quick and fun read to while away a few hours with.

2011 Challenge: New Author

Have you read I Dream of Genies? What did you think?

Review: 11. The Cypress House by Michael Koryta...

January 20, 2011
Michael Koryta is on my list of authors to pick up for that hook-you-in thriller (yes, I like 'em, and no, they don't have to be espionage-type thrillers). This one's set in the south during the Depression.

the cypress house
Title: The Cypress House
Author: Michael Koryta
ISBN-13: 9780316053723
ARC: 415 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Hachette Book Group

drey's thoughts:
Michael Koryta's latest combines elements of desperation, need, and death, into a gripping tale of two men trying to find work who get cornered into a situation way beyond their control. And then he adds in a twist--Arlen can "see" when a person is going to die. Not how, or when, but he knows that when he sees that smoke in your eyes, you will die.

Not wanting to die along with all the other men he's with on the train heading to the Florida keys, Arlen hops off at a remote station with one of the younger men, Paul Brickhill. Which then poses a problem--where can they stay, and how will they get themselves to the Keys?

The answer shows up in the form of a traveling salesman, Walt Sorenson, who gets them to an inn for the night, then has the two traveling with him as he drives along the coast. His last stop bears the title of this book, The Cypress House, and it is there that Arlen and Paul find themselves stuck as events beyond their comprehension spiral out of control, and they have to figure out how to survive it.

Character: Arlen Wagner has seen a lot of things, most of them not-so-nice. And you can tell from his crusty character. He's not cranky or belligerent, mind you, just one of those guys who isn't tempted to say something just to hear his own voice or fill a silence. In fact, he usually doesn't say much at all. I like Arlen. Paul is young, only nineteen, and I was surprised that he listened to Arlen and got off the train--shows the boy has some sense in his noggin. But being only nineteen, Paul's pretty full of himself, and gets in over his head at the Cypress House, especially with his feelings (real or imagined) for Rebecca, the owner.

The bad guys are truly bad and irredeemable. And Rebecca is so entangled with them that Arlen and Paul don't really know what to think.

Pace & Plot: The Cypress House seems to take a while to start up and get going, but I think it's because the last bunch of books I've read all started with action right away, then provided the backstory whereas this one starts at point A and moves to point B. The plot does get slow in spots, and some things aren't clear until way later in the story, but it's still a very well-written thriller.

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent: Check this out if you're a fan of Koryta's or if you like a good, well-told, gotta-get-to-the-end yarn.

Have you read The Cypress House? What did you think?

Other reviews of The Cypress House:
Bermudaonion's Weblog

January's Featured Author: Anne's favorite reads...

January 19, 2011
One of the guest posts I always ask my Featured Authors to write, is on what their favorite books are. I figure every author must've started out as a reader, right? And today, Anne Patrick swings by to share her list. Read on!

I first became fascinated with the written word when a grade school English teacher read Alexander Key’s Escape to Witch Mountain to our class. It was the only time I could remember when I actually looked forward to going to school. A short time later she started a reading program with Scholastic Books. I never will forget my mother’s reaction when I took the catalog home and begged her to buy me some of the books. I think she thought I’d been abducted by aliens or something. Bless her heart, we could barely afford food at the time but she managed to scrape enough money together to buy me the books. I then discovered the local library and felt like I was in heaven.

I grew up reading mostly mysteries, like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. Those were my favorites. Much later, I discovered Sue Grafton’s alphabet PI series. After a dozen or so I moved on to Stephen King. Big stretch, I know. My favorite King books are Carrie, Cujo, Pet Sematary, Dolores Claiborne, and It.

A few years ago I came across Christian fiction author Dee Henderson’s books. She is by far my favorite inspirational suspense author. Her O’Malley & Uncommon Heroes series are awesome. The Negotiator, The Truth Seeker, The Healer, and True Valor are my favorites.

I also read James Patterson, Tami Hoag, Lisa Gardner, Tess Gerritsen and Iris Johansen. Of these, Patterson’s Alex Cross series and Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles series top my fav list.

As you can see, I pretty much live and breathe suspense.

Nah, I never would've guessed that, Anne! *grin* I loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, too. And I went through a huge Stephen King stretch, but Imsomnia kinda killed that for me. I've never read Sue Grafton (horror!) or Dee Henderson, and will have to check them out. I've never Read Tess Gerritsen either, but LOVE the Rizzoli & Isles series on TNT. I guess it's time to pick up the books and see if I like 'em as much as the show, huh?

Thank you for swinging by, Anne! As for the rest of y'all: Do you share some of Anne's favorite books? Which ones, and why?

Review: 10. My Fair Succubi by Jill Myles...

January 18, 2011
I'd read Gentlemen Prefer Succubi last year and liked it, and so I said "yes!" when My Fair Succubi was offered for review.

my fair succubi
Title: My Fair Succubi (Succubus Diaries #3)
Author: Jill Myles
ISBN-13: 9781439188194
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository Source: Simon & Schuster

drey's thoughts:
Things aren't as they seem in this 3rd installment of Jill Myles' Succubus Diaries series. Jackie is happily digging in the jungle with Noah (and a bunch of others, but he's the only one who's important, right?) when the Serim council shows up to arrest them both. Jackie for mistakes made as a new succubi, Noah for making her one in the first place. And you'd think angels would be nice and good, but as Jackie says on page 44, these  angels are total dicks.

And if finding herself found guilty and sentenced to die isn't bad enough, her BFF Remy is possessed, Noah proposed (before they were arrested), Zane's disappeared, and one of the council has decided that Jackie would be a wonderful baby-carrier (as in, his... blech!). There's one chance for Jackie to redeem herself though, and she jumps for that lifeline wholeheartedly. And who should she run into then, but Zane?

Which brings up that classic question: Vampire or Angel? Both suck (heh), and even more so when Jackie finds out that there's history between these two. As in, one-woman-they-both-loved history. Like she needs more complications right now, huh?

Character: Life's sure been busy for Jackie, what with being turned, losing her job, falling for two hunks who hate each other's guts, having her BFF Remy get possessed by a demon, and so on and so forth. The latest complications are just another wrinkle, but gee, can she get a break already? I like how Jackie deals with the trouble she's facing--she's bound and determined to help Remy, and makes a deal to offer the man she loves a second chance at heaven, never mind about her own sentence. The part I'm not too fond of is her wishy-washiness in dealing with Zane and Noah. Never mind that they have their reasons for pursuing her, she just seems to roll with with instead of deciding what she really wants and going for that.

Pace & Plot: This was a very quick read, and the action doesn't slow down at all. *warning* There's quite a bit of sex in this one, so be forewarned if that's not your thing.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good: My Fair Succubi rounds off the trilogy very nicely, and resolves a whole lot of ambiguity for Jackie.

Have you read My Fair Succubi? What did you think?

Review: 9. The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card...

January 17, 2011
I haven't read Orson Scott Card since Ender's Game a loooooooong time ago, and I'm not quite sure why, except maybe my reading tastes got distracted...

the lost gate
Title: The Lost Gate (Mither Mages #1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
ISBN-13: 9780765326577
ARC: 378 pages
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates LLC, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Media Masters Publicity

drey's thoughts:
Danny North reminds me of my son's favorite character: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, from Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon books. Hiccup can't do anything remotely Viking-ish, Danny can't do anything North-ish. Hiccup's dad is the leader of their Viking clan, Danny's parents are the leaders of the North clan. Hiccup overcomes it all by training a dragon and showing his clan how they can live peacefully side-by-side with dragons, Danny runs away. Hmm, I guess they're not quite exactly the same after all...

Orson Scott Card has created a version of our world where the ancient Gods are stuck on Earth with diminishing powers, forever locked away from their home world of Westil, because a gatemage locked all the gates between the two worlds. Keeping to themselves, they live in compounds where each Family stays away from the other clans and from humans (or drowthers, as we're referred to). The Norths have the dubious distinction of having produced the last Gatemage, and are therefore now banned from having another. Too bad for Danny, as that's what it looks like he's going to turn out to be. So, before he can be dragged away to Hammernip Hill, Danny runs away.

Left to fend for himself in the regular world, Danny has to survive on his wits (and his sass). Luckily for him, he finds someone to help him, though that relationship becomes increasingly lopsided as Danny's abilities are discovered. I'm honestly surprised Danny makes it as far as he does, and in one piece. He's not the most surreptitious runaway, but then again I guess that's not a word that describes thirteen-year-olds best.

The other part of The Lost Gate takes place in the world of Westil, where a man-in-a-tree works his way out of said tree, then finds himself embroiled in royal intrigue and politics. Finding out that his actions has very real consequences, he starts setting things right. But some things cannot be undone...

Character: Danny is an amusing boy who's sometimes a bit wiser than his years, and other times acts his age. He doesn't always makes the right decisions, and definitely has his bratty moments. But you know he's got a good heart, and you feel his wistfulness when he's sitting on the hill watching the high-schoolers... The foster parents he finds are just an eensy-weensy bit too perfect, and some of the sub-characters are downright boring--and it seems like they're all are six-degrees-of-separation related, which is a tad too co-incidental to me.

Pace & PlotThe Lost Gate moves along at a clip, and there are hardly any slow spots. Switching back and forth between Danny and Wad (i.e. man-who-used-to-be-in-the-tree) didn't seem to have any point, because they were such disparate stories, except for the magery. Speaking of which, I got really confused with all the different types of magic that the clans have, and how you're described by your abilities.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good: I expected better, but all in all this is a pretty darn good yarn for YA fantasy  fans. I will be reading the next one to see what Danny does next.

Have you read The Lost Gate? What did you think?

Borrow my NOOKbook giveaway winner...

January 15, 2011
It's time to announce the winner of my Borrow My NOOKbook giveaway, and according to Randomizer, the winner is Nicole K.

Nicole picked Richelle Mead's Succubus Blues. However, since B&N no longer lists Succubus Blues as a LendMe book, I offered Nicole a B&N e-gift card towards the purchase of her own copy.

I've noticed that my list of lendable NOOKbooks has changed, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to pick another winner only to not be able to loan out the title they picked, so I'm holding off on continuing with this contest. :( I'm really bummed out about this, too, because I was really excited to share my library--just like I would with real books. I guess this is one of the pitfalls of only buying digital copies, huh?

Anyway. I'm going to noodle on this more, and might come back with a monthly contest instead of a weekly one (I don't have the time to be checking that list at B&N's website very day or so), or maybe changing it into a win-a-book-I-read-this-month contest instead... I'll let you know once it's all figured out! Thank you to those who commented on the contest post, and to those who entered. Have a great week!

Lilith Saintcrow's Night Shift eBook at B&N for $0.99!

January 14, 2011
B&N's January spotlight is on Lilith Saintcrow's Night Shift, the first book of her Jill Kismet series.

Click on the image to head on over to B&n to pick up your copy for only $0.99!

Review: 8. Black Dust Mambo by Adrian Phoenix...

I'd heard lots of good things about Black Dust Mambo, and finally (!!!) picked up my copy. This was inhaled. Like, INHALED!

black dust mambo
Title: Black Dust Mambo (Hoodoo #1)
Author: Adrian Phoenix
ISBN-13: 9781439167878
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Purchased

drey's thoughts:
Adrian Phoenix's Black Dust Mambo starts out with a dead body and takes off like a jet on rocket fuel. (Ok, I'm no rocket scientist, so if that means the jet explodes, that's so not what I mean!) Kallie Rivière is in New Orleans and finds out that passing out in the bathroom after drinking and doing the horizontal tango, isn't a good idea... Especially when the she wakes up and finds the tango partner dead in her hotel bed. Kinda kills the mood lickety-split, don'tcha think?

Before she can bat an eyelid (or get dressed), people are pounding on her door, and pretty soon a steady parade starts coming through--from the dead guy's clan brother, to the Carnival authorities. Lucky for Kallie, her BFF made it there too, and helps her clear her head so she can start pleading her innocence. After all, that's the first thing you do when you find a dead body in your hotel room, isn't it?

But things are not what they seem. And neither is Black Dust Mambo. Because while you may think that this is an urban fantasy mystery where Kallie sets out to find the perpetrator to prove her innocence, the web Adrian Phoenix weaves reveals that it is much, much, more... Of course, you'll have to read the book to find out what. *grin*

Character: I love the characters that Adrian Phoenix created for us in Black Dust Mambo. Kallie is (wait for it...) sassy and has a problem keeping her opinions (and her fist) to herself. What is it about these female characters that attract me so much? Hmm... Her BFF Belladonna is a hoot, and I love the smack-talk she gives to Kallie--you can tell these two have been through a lot together, even if you're not quite sure what, since there's no back history provided... The guys are cool (and gorgeous, but that doesn't even need saying), and having two people inhabit one body while conscious of each other, is a pretty neat concept brought vividly to life by Phoenix. And the language is what I'd imagine is Cajun through-and-through, but I'm no linguistics expert.

The only beef I have is with the bad guys. I mean, seriously? Big bad evil daddy plots revenge, and can't even get the most important thing right? Like, duh!

Pace & Plot: The pace is lightning quick, and your head will spin as you get to all the action thrown your way. The pace does slow a little bit once all the dead bodies have been exposed to sunlight (ha ha), and a bit of character and plot development take place. See paragraph above for my "beef".

drey's rating: Excellent: Black Dust Mambo is engrossing to the very last word. I cannot wait till Black Heart Loa comes out in July to find out more about Kallie!

2011 Challenge: New Author

Have you read Black Dust Mambo? What did you think?

Review: 7. Chaos Bites by Lori Handeland...

January 13, 2011
I picked up Lori Handeland's Phoenix Chronicles primarily because it was set in Milwaukee, WI, and I liked it enough to keep on reading--how do you turn down the titles?

chaos bites
Title: Chaos Bites (Phoenix Chronicles #4)
Author: Lori Handeland
ISBN-13: 9780312366032
Paperback: 338 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
It's been over a week since I read Chaos Bites, so I hope I haven't forgotten anything! Sawyer is dead and haunting her dreams, Liz is feeling guilty and despondent (not to mention sleep-deprived), and then a baby appears on her doorstep. Like, literally. To cap it off, Ruthie shows up to tell her to take the baby to Jimmy. Yeah, Liz really wants to go hang out with her ex-boyfriend...

So off she goes with baby and Luther, only to wind up chasing down a skinwalker, fighting with a Haitian sorceror who's keeping an eye on a very important spellbook, and getting herself tied up in more knots that you'd find on an old schooner (not that I know the answer, it just sounded good!)... And then the baby is kidnapped, and Jimmy goes missing. What else can go wrong? Better not ask!

Character: Liz is not my typical heroine. She's sassy, but only to people (& I use the term liberally) she doesn't like. She uses her powers when she thinks she has to, which is turning out to be more often than her friends think she should. And she gets into trouble more easily than she should, because she's not quite trained enough to know all the ins and outs of being leader of the forces of good. I'm not even quite sure that I really like her, but she kinda grows on you...

Pace & Plot: Chaos Bites feels like one of those amusement park rides that goes up and down, then up again, then down again... It starts down, as Liz is mourning Sawyer, then the pace picks up when she can't figure out what to do with a baby, then down again when she has to interact with Jimmy and Summer. And etc. But throughout the book, the pace is constant--constant chaos, constant dreaming, constant trying-to-figure-out-how-to-beat-the-bad-guys. Without picking up more demons or getting more people killed, of course..

drey's rating: 3/5 Good: Lotsa things happen, and things get way more complicated for Liz. Hope she can sort 'em out in the next book...

Have you read Lori Handeland's Phoenix Chronicles yet? What do you think of Chaos Bites?

January's Featured Author: Anne Patrick's books!

January 12, 2011
Last week, you met January's Featured Author Anne Patrick... Today, we're here to showcase Anne's books!

every skull tells a storyEvery Skull Tells a Story
When the skeletal remains of three young women are discovered on the vacation estate of a U.S. Senator, the local sheriff enlists the help of Special Agent Galen Schroeder and a local forensic sketch artist, to help him solve the murders. A profiler for seventeen years, Galen knows his skills are useless until they discover the identity of the victims. That's where the beautiful and talented Mackayla Kensingtom comes in.

journey to redemption
Journey to Redemption
Detective Morgan Reynolds thought her nightmare was over when serial killer Gerald ‘The Slasher’ Tate was sent to prison for her husband’s murder. But she was wrong. The Slasher has escaped and he’s making it even more personal this time. Tate has kidnapped her son and is giving her 72 hours to find the answers he wants or Jared dies.

dark alliance
Dark Alliance
Tara, the Crown Princess of Gautier, a small European island country west of France, has gone to the finest schools in the world, was raised in the luxury of a beautiful palace in a country that was fast becoming one of Europe’s hot spots. In the eyes of the public she lives in a fairy tale world, is admired and adored by her people. But in the shadows lurks an evil far greater than even the king can imagine.

Babysitting a beautiful princess sounds like an easy job for former CIA agent Alex Girard, but when it becomes clear that the assassin trying to kill Tara is the same man responsible for killing his father he knows keeping her alive may be the toughest assignment of his life. Just as disturbing is the growing attraction he has for the future queen. Determined to find the answers that will save the monarchy and finally bring the murderer to justice, Alex and Tara team up with friends on an international quest that will change all their lives.

lethal dreams
Lethal Dreams
Dr. Erin Jacobs is making a name for herself in the sports world. Drawing on her own life experiences, she encourages and inspires athletes to recover from career ending injuries. So why would someone want to hurt the good doctor? Detective Logan Sinclair is determined to find that answer. He’s been mesmerized by Erin from the moment she found him and his partner shot in an alleyway. Since that night their lives have never been the same. Will Logan be able to solve the puzzle of who wants Erin out of the way before it’s too late? And if so what impact will those answers have on their lives?

ties that bind
Ties That Bind
Sheriff Austin Garrett enlists the help of FBI profiler, Jo McDaniels, to help him solve a string of murders plaguing his community. Unlike most profilers Jo has an unusual gift that allows her to get to know the victims better than anyone else. She not only feels their emotions; she feels their pain. But the last time she relied on her physic ability it almost cost her career as well as her sanity. As the case progresses and the body count rises they soon realize that Jo’s sanity isn’t all that is at risk. She's become the killer’s next target.

out of the darkness
Out of the Darkness
FBI profiler Alex Michaels’ life was shattered when a sadistic serial killer murdered her twin sister and left Alex with a career ending injury. Hoping to put the past behind her, she sets off across country with a truck driver she barely knows.

Royce McIntire knows Alex is on the run from something or someone, but he doesn’t care. He’s fallen in love with her and is finally getting his life back on track.

The killer is hot on Alex’s trail though, determined to find the one victim who got away. As more bodies turn up dead Alex has no choice but to tell Royce who she really is. Will the love that has blossomed between them be strong enough to sustain them, or will the killer get to Alex before they even have a chance to find out?

fire & ashFire and Ash
Fire Investigator Sadie McGregor is called to her hometown of Emerald Point, Missouri to investigate a suspicious fire which claimed the life of a local college student. By appearance the fire looks like the girl was just careless. What Sadie and the handsome new sheriff discover will not only affect those close to them, but will rock the entire community.

District Judge Katie McKinley takes her career very seriously. No one knows that better than her old childhood friend and first love, Graham Bishop. Her ruling cost him his family’s ranch. So it’s no surprise when an attempt is made on her life that the sheriff turns his suspicions to Graham.

Katie feels horrible knowing what her ruling cost her old friend, and knows his outburst in her courtroom gave the sheriff every right to suspect him. But the Graham Bishop she grew up with would never harm her. Even when all the evidence points to him she refuses to believe it. Could she be wrong?

Anne also writes as Kinzie Monroe, and here are those books:

reservations for two
Reservations for Two
Widower’s Maggie O’Brien and Carson Jennings are both on a journey to rediscover who they are. Maggie, an adventurous former pastor’s wife of thirty-nine years, hopes to find closure in the place she and her husband spent their honeymoon. Carson, a retired judge, is living his lifelong dream of traveling across the U.S. in his RV. When their paths cross in the tranquil setting of Mason Springs, New Mexico, love is the last thing that either of them expects to find.

no greater love
No Greater Love
Attorney Kirby Shelton has met a lot of wackos in her life. But the computer software queen, Leah Dalton, takes the prize. Leah, facing a losing battle with cancer, comes to Kirby with a plan to end her life on her terms. Leah invites Kirby and five of her closest friends to her estate, and offers to make one of them a multi-millionaire. All they have to do is kill her and make it look like an accident. Just as disturbing to Kirby are her growing feelings toward Leah’s ex-boyfriend, Jonas.

Will one of Leah’s friends take her up on her offer? Will Kirby and Jonas’ love for one another survive the trials they face? Join Leah on an amazing journey that changes the lives of all those around her.

christmas with hope
Christmas with Hope (SS in Christmas Anthology)
Christmas with Hope by Anne Patrick
Hope Erickson, a Blackhawk pilot, and Nick Cunningham, an army ranger, renew their acquaintance on the battlefields of Iraq. Will they risk their hearts to one another or does fate have other plans in store for them?

Have you read any of Anne's books? What did you think?

Review: 6. Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich...

January 11, 2011
How does one turn down a Diesel book? Well, in my case, one doesn't!

wicked appetite
Title: Wicked Appetite
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-13: 9780312652913
Hardcover: 313 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
This one's not a Stephanie Plum novel, but does feature Diesel, that six-foot-plus tall yummilicious babe-on-a-stick*. Instead of bothering my gal Steph, Diesel's trying to get Elizabeth Tucker (Lizzy) to help him find the pieces of one of the Seven Stones of Power. A Stone exists for each of the seven deadly sins, and it just happens that the one in Salem is for Gluttony.

Someone else is looking for the stone too though, and things gets a bit crowded around Lizzy. Mayhem quickly erupts, especially when she finds herself with a one-eyed cat and a finger-flashing (you know which one!) monkey named Carl...

Character: I like Lizzy, and even if she's not quite as endearingly klutzy and inept as Steph, she is entertaining. She's especially entertaining as she succumbs to the bits of the Stone that she and Diesel find... Her sidekick's Gloria, who thinks she can cast spells out of a magic book. And who knows, maybe she can! Lizzy's boss is Clara, who's sane. Have I mentioned sane? Sanity is required when one of your employees is casting spells at your customers and the other is hanging out with abnormal pets (see monkey reference above). The "guest appearances" are by the four siblings who inherited the pieces of the Stone, and out of the four I liked Shirley best. Sure, she was introduced first, but she's also the one who made me laugh the most. Then again, it's not like she could help it. You'll have to read the book to find out what I mean. *grin*

Pace & Plot: There's no vehicular post-mortem to analyze here, but there is a house that's blown to bits, monkey-puke, and lots of funnies. All of which keep the action moving at a brisk pace, and if there were any plot deficiencies, I definitely didn't notice it.

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent: Janet Evanovich's Wicked Appetite is full of the same humor and goofy silliness that I love about the Plum novels. Not a bad way (at all!) to spend a few hours this winter.

* Just to clarify, I am definitely still a Ranger girl, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate yummilicious babes-on-sticks. *wink*

Review: 5. Kiss at Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe...

January 10, 2011
Looking for a paranormal romance to laugh-out-loud with? Well, look no further, here it is!

kiss at your own risk
Title: Kiss at Your Own Risk
Author: Stephanie Rowe
ISBN-13: 9781402241956
ARC: 389 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Sourcebooks

drey's thoughts:
Kiss at Your Own Risk started off the laughter early, as the guys--Blaine, Nigel, and Jarvis--are escaping from the wicked witch who's held them captive for a hundred and fifty years.  And it continues throughout the book, that smart-alecky humor that makes you snort and giggle as you read (and causes funny looks to get thrown your way). Read it for that alone, unless you're into the romance part, which isn't half bad at all if you ask me. Yes, that was me attempting snarkiness... And yes, the romantic parts of the book were as good as the funny parts of the book.

Character: Blaine has issues. LOTS of issues. Then again, if your family had sold you to a witch and you've spent the last century and a half trying to survive her trials and tribulations, you'd have issues too. Trinity has issues as well--because as soon as she loves a fella, the poor thing's toast. As in "hasta la vista bay-bee" toast. You can only kill so many boys before you get a complex, y'know... The supporting cast of characters are pretty neat, especially Trinity's BFF, who's one of Death's assistants. And the witch? She's just misunderstood... Hah! All in all this is quite the cast that Stephanie Rowe's come up with.

Pace & Plot: The story is rockin' from the get-go, and doesn't let up on the gas. Storyline was a bit confusing (just a bit) until all the pieces clicked and you go "ahah!"

drey's rating: 3/5 Good: This page-turner had me constantly chuckling at something... Definitely pick it up if that's your thing!

2011 Challenge: New Author

Other reviews:
Debbie's World of Books

Borrow my NOOKbook!

January 9, 2011
I've spent some time noodling on how I could make this work. I have a pretty extensive NOOKbook library now that I've had a year to accumulate books. Not all of them are lendable, of course, but the ones that are, well, I'm going to give y'all a chance to read them if you'd like.

So here's how this is going to work. I am going to list ALL my lendable NOOKbooks here. You sign up in a form I'll provide every Sunday, where I'll post the rules for that week's drawing and also announce the previous week's winner. Books that have been lent will be removed from the list. I hope I have enough books to interest you for 52 weeks!!! *grin*

Without further chatter, here are the books, listed by author:
1/10/2011: I had to adjust the list, because certain books were no longer listed with LendMe. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm pretty bummed out... :(
  1. Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews
  2. Colter's Wife by Maya Banks
  3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  6. Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday
  7. Killer in High Heels by Gemma Halliday
  8. Undercover in High Heels by Gemma Halliday
  9. Christmas in High Heels by Gemma Halliday
  10. Mayhem in High Heels by Gemma Halliday
  11. Shadowfae by Erica Hayes
  12. Switched by Amanda Hocking
  13. Torn by Amanda Hocking
  14. 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson
  15. Crush by Alan Jacobson
  16. The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston
  17. Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston
  18. Go Fetch by Shelly Laurenston
  19. Here Kitty Kitty by Shelly Laurenston
  20. Hunting Season by Shelly Laurenston
  21. To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory
  22. Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory
  23. Toil and Trouble by H.P. Mallory
  24. Behind Closed Doors by Shannon McKenna
  25. Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
  26. Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead
  27. Storm Born by Richelle Mead
  28. Evermore by Alyson Noel
  29. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  30. Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom
  31. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  32. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  33. Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn
To do this, you MUST be able to read these books! It's not fair to the other entrants if you win a book they'd want, but cannot read it. Check out B&N's NOOKbook FAQs if you have questions, or ask & I'll try to answer.

The first giveaway starts now. Fill out the form to enter. Feel free to leave a comment, too--even if that's not necessary for your entry to count! Do it before 6pm Saturday, so I have time to prep for Sunday's post!

(No, I have not read all of them. Yes, I have a book-buying habit.)

Review: 4. Blood Prophecy by Stefan Petrucha...

January 7, 2011
I asked for this one because the cover looked really neat--all dark and broody... And it's about a vampire. Who isn't all sparkly and stuff... ;)

blood prophecy
Title: Blood Prophecy
Author: Stefan Petrucha
ISBN-13: 9780446555999
ARC: 352 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Hachette Book Group

drey's thoughts:
Stefan Petruchas' Blood Prophecy tells the story of a faithful man turned into a beast, who then spends a lifetime trying to redeem himself and save his soul.

Jeremiah Fell's journey starts in 1644 in Dedham, a Massachusetts Bay Colony, when he is infected by a nightmarish creature, and eventually heads towards the desert lands of Egypt and Syria. Why? To find a stone, a mystical stone that according to legend could cure him of this plague in his body. Or unleash a darkness that'll swallow the whole world...

Character: Jeremiah is an interesting character--a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old vampire who's lived without drinking human blood, without giving in to the beast that rides his consciousness, sustaining himself instead on rodents and mammals. He is educated (well, he did have the time), articulate, honorable, and is single-minded in achieving his goal of redemption. There are only a few other characters who remotely interested me--Amala, an Arab woman who can decipher the hieroglyphs on the stone, and Hylic, a Russian mercenary whose original purpose was in destroying the stone.

Pace & Plot: I thought the plot was interesting, and I liked the French-infused (as in language) narrative. The biblical and cultural references are all up my alley. The pace however, could have used a bit more oomph in the section between his infection and when he starts his travels.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good: Blood Prophecy is a vampire story infused with a blend of history and exotic locations, but could move faster.

2011 Challenge: New Author

Review: 3. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong...

January 6, 2011
If you like reading YA urban fantasy, and haven't checked out Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy, you should. 'nuff said.

the reckoning
Title: The Reckoning (Darkest Powers #3)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
ISBN-13: 9780061662836
Hardcover: 391 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Well. Nobody ever said things were going to be easy for Chloe. And after the umpteenth escape from the Edison Group, they're safe with Andrew--a friend of Simon & Derek's dad's. Or are they? Completely tempted to want to be, Chloe nevertheless notices little things that raise her suspicion, even as she hopes that she's just paranoid.

This third and final book of Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy wraps up all the action very nicely. I enjoyed this series immensely--Chloe and her friends are the kind of characters you want to root for, and they're not whiny or bratty. Well, maybe except for Tori, but she grows out of it. :)

Character: Chloe and the gang go through quite a lot in this series, and all of them grow as they help each other survive the Edison Group's attempts at capture and "rehabilitation". Derek has to learn that he's not solely responsible for the entire group. Chloe has to figure out that she can live with her powers and actually use them if needed. Tori matures significantly as a person. Simon featured the least, and it almost felt like he was there just 'cuz he was around in the previous books... Maybe that's just because I got really involved in Chloe's story?

Pace & Plot: The story moves at a quick clip through all three books, and deftly balances suspense, angst, and action. New characters are introduced along with Andrew, and you can't quite tell if some of 'em are just dense or have ulterior motives.

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent: Pick this up if you enjoy YA urban fantasy.
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