30. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Collide by Gail McHugh, 404 pages, read by Jessica, on 01/31/2013

A missed first encounter… Colliding with a second chance… On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start. While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man. Until she meets Gavin Blake—a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over. This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life.

29. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier, 304 pages, read by Angie, on 01/29/2013

Minnie and Kira are twin sisters and best friends. They are going to spend some time with their Grandma Johnson in North Carolina so they can participate in the Miss Black Pearl pre-teen program (not a pageant!). Kira is really excited about it, but Minnie is nervous and scared. When they get to North Carolina they are forced to confront racism. Even though Minnie and Kira are twins they look nothing alike. Minnie is tall, red-headed and white. Kira is short, curly-headed and black. Their mom is black and their dad is white. They are treated differently by everyone around them it seems. Even Grandma Johnson believes Kira needs improving while Minnie is close to perfect. Minnie comes to realize that both she and Kira are discriminated against and have to come to terms with it.

I think this book as a really good message. The fact that both Kira and Minnie are discriminated against in different ways makes for a good discussion on how we treat people. I thought it was really interesting how Grandma Johnson (who is black) treated her granddaughters. It is explained at the end of the book, but I still felt like she was too harsh. I can’t imagine having her as a grandmother! Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on audio and thought the narrator did a great job. I guess my only complaints were about the relationship between Grandma Johnson and the twins. I thought everyone was really terrible to each other and even though it might have been realistic it still was a little uncomfortable. However, I really liked how the girls grew and matured and became more confident in themselves.

29. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Collide by Gail McHugh, 402 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/29/2013

41VPubeji-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-61,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Emily Cooper has just lost her mother to breast cancer and has decided to make a big move to Manhattan to live with her best friend and roommate Olivia Townsend. She’s also moving there to live closer to her boyfriend Dillion Parker. She has been dating Dillion for 8 months and while her mother struggled and lost to breast cancer Dillion was right there with her through the whole thing. Once Emily gets settled in Manhattan she starts to see a different side of Dillion and meets one of his friends Gavin Blake. Who she is instantly attracted to. Gavin Blake never believed in love at first sight until he saw Emily. Although Emily is one of his closer friends Dillion, Gavin can’t help but to try and be with Emily.

This book did nothing but piss me off! Angry, and anxious is how I felt through this whole book! I wish I had read this book in actually paper form so I would have been able to throw the damn thing every time I got mad. Never in my life have I been so pissed reading a book that I vowed to stop reading it and never finish only to pick it back up again 5 minutes later. And unfortunately it ends leaving you hanging, so there is another book on it’s way out which means I’ll have to read it, which only pisses me off more!

29. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Up to Me by M. Leighton, 288 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/26/2013

41+CMsPxlqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Cash and Olivia are together and are both willing to put in the work to make it happen. But when the past comes back to haunt Cash it drags Olivia down with him.

This is the second book after Down to Me. It was more like an action book with romance. It was surprise after surprise, with lots of lust and girly romance. Very much enjoyed.

29. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Down to You by M. Leighton, 298 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/25/2013

518x8bja+7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Olivia Townsend is working her way through college to become an accountant so she can help her father with his business. Olivia takes a job at a club owned by Cash Davenport. Her first encounter with Cash is anything but embarrassing. And she is overwhelming attracted to him. But she knows she has to stay away from the bad boy types. So when she finds out that Cash has an identical twin brother named Nash who is the exact opposite of Cash, she is shocked! That’s all I’m really gonna say about this book for fear of giving anything away.

I’m not exactly sure when this author delved into my brain and found this juicy fantasy of mine with really hot twin brothers, but she did. And I love her for putting it all down into words. Not only did I love this book for it’s beautiful smut, but it also had a lot of twists and surprises I wasn’t expecting which made the book more fun to read.

29. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Janet

The Face-Changers by Thomas Perry, 372 pages, read by Janet, on 01/24/2013

The Face-Changers       This is a fast-moving story of an Indian American woman who helped people who needed to get out of a life-threatening situation.  She used many methods and always seemed to know who to contact or avoid.  Jane Whitefield had promised her husband to quit being a “guide”, but when a friend of his needed her help, she gave in “one last time”.  In this story she helped at least five other people escape the “face-changers” who were using her name and techniques to destroy human lives.

27. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner, 390 pages, read by Angie, on 01/27/2013

The queen has disappeared and the king has gone mad. They have left Princess Charlie at the mercies of her cruel staff. Mrs. Odair the housekeeper has kept Charlie a virtual prisoner in the castle. The people seem to have forgotten she even existed. The Prime Minister Windlass is running the country into the ground. Charlie, with the help of a few friends, decides she must find out what happened to her mother. She becomes aware of what is going on outside the castle walls and starts helping the Resistance fight against Windlass.

This book had a lot of promise and it really isn’t that bad, but there are plot holes galore and some very convoluted story lines. Charlie is an interesting character and pretty believable. It is those around her that are a little harder to swallow. I can’t believe the queen would run off leaving her husband and child instead of just getting rid of the prime minister. I can’t believe the populace would forget all about the princess. I can’t believe the cruelty of Mrs. Odair and the strange twist her story took at the end. Charlie’s friend Toby’s story line isn’t much better. He is pretty interesting up until the mystery of who is father is is revealed and then you are just shaking your head. I can’t believe how this one ended. Too perfect to be believable. There are much better young princess stories out there. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica George is a wonderful read and much better than this mess.

27. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Teen Books

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott, 276 pages, read by Angie, on 01/25/2013

Amy and Julia are best friends. They don’t need anyone else. They like to party and drink. One night they are in a car accident and Julia dies. This is Amy’s story and how she comes to grips with her survivor guilt. Even though Julia was driving, Amy believes that she killed her. She encouraged her to leave the party where they found Julia’s boyfriend Kevin cheating on her. She encouraged her to get in the car and drive. Our story starts months after the accident as Amy is being released from rehab. She has to deal with going back to school without Julia, with her parents sudden interest in her life, with her therapist and with her own guilt. Amy starts writing to Julia and through her letters she realizes things about herself, Julia and their relationship. The end of the story is not necessarily a happy ending, but it leaves Amy in a much better place than she began.

I really love Elizabeth Scott’s books. They are dark and depressing and real. In some ways, Amy is your typical teen girl. She is dark and moody and depressed; she likes to drink and party. Yet she is different because she has to live with the guilt of Julia’s death. Right or not her belief in being the cause of Julia’s death makes her who she is. She was always part of a pair and now she has to learn to survive on her own. I think her reactions and the reactions of those around her were pretty spot on. Did I want to slap some sense into Amy at times? Of course! She is not the most likable of characters. But her journey of recovery is an interesting one. I don’t think this is Scott’s best story, but it is compelling in its way.

25. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

The Secret of Ella and Micah by Jessica Sorensen, 317 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/24/2013

Secret of Ella and MicahElla Daniels has had a hard life. Her mother committed suicide which her brother blames her for, and her father is an alcoholic. The only thing that has kept her sane has been her best friend since childhoold, Micah. Once Ella figures out that she’s fallen in love with Micah she decides to run away for fear that if she lets her feelings out to Micah she might lose another person that means the world to her. After a tragic night between Ella and Micah she disappears for 8 months and doesn’t tell anyone where she went. Which happened to be college in Las Vegas. When summer rolls around she has no where to go but back home. Where her alcoholic father and Micah are.

Micah has been looking for Ella everyday since the day she disappeared. When she returns he decides he’ll do everything he can to make her realize he loves her and she loves him too. He’s determined to help Ella get over her past and move on with her future with him.

I really enjoyed this book. I love books where the main character(s) have serious life issues. Makes everything seem more real. Though what I do hate about these kind of books is how people deal with life issues. I mean if Ella hadn’t run away and changed everything about herself there wouldn’t have been much of a story, or how her father became a complete alcoholic because his wife killed herself. But sometimes I just want to read a book where something tragic and terrible happens and the character just deals with it and moves on. Doesn’t dwell about the past and try to change everything from keeping it from happening again, or try to self medicate. I mean there are a lot of people out there where really horrible things happen to them and they just deal with it. Obviously there are a lot of people who can’t deal with it too. I mean all the books I’ve read like this, the characters almost always eventually get over it and move on in life, but it just takes so long, or so much pushing and convincing by other people. I just want to scream at them and say shut up, quit whining and get over it! There I’m done ranting.

24. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Perfect for You by Kate Perry, 366 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/22/2013

Perfect for YouFreya Godwin is a web designer who has lost her creative touch. She decides to put out an ad on Craigslist to get the attention of a man to rekindle her creativity for a new account she landed. It takes her a few weeks to realize she doesn’t have to go far to find her man to help her is just right upstairs from her flat. Greg Cavanaugh, is a lawyer who has been in love with Freya ever since he moved in. When he finds out she’s placed an ad, he decides to do whatever he can to get her attention and make her realize she’s in love with him too.

Loved this book! Freya is hilarious. She’s a smart ass and doesn’t let people walk all over her. In this book you read from both Freya and Greg’s points of view, which I love!

24. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Private Pleasures by Jami Alden, 177 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/08/2013

Private PleasuresWendy Carmichael is a work driven woman. She spends almost all of her time at her law firm. She hardly  has time for any kind of relationship. So when Drew Walker proposes a no strings attached relationship that will only last a month before he moves from San Fransisco to Boston, she can’t resist. They have amazing sex and fall in love.

Not to much to this story. Mostly just sex, which don’t get me wrong was fun reading, but it was almost difficult to read it. Painful really. All the grammatical mistakes almost made me dizzy. Other than that, it was good.

24. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst, 336 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/06/2013

Marriage BargainAlexa McKenzie casts a love spell to try and save her family from losing their home. She cast that she would fall in love with a wonderful man who also happened to be rich. And to her surprise her spell actually worked. Only not what she was hoping for. Her best friend since childhood’s older brother, Nicholas Ryan, needed to marry a woman immediately to be able to inherit his uncle’s corporation. The two decide to make a deal and marry for one year. Neither one of them can stand the other since childhood. Nicholas always picked on Alexa, and Alexa hated him for it. But after being married for one year they begin to love each other.

I loved this book, mostly because there were some seriously hilarious scenes in this book. But also, because I enjoyed the love story. They hated each other and then couldn’t help but love each other. Good story.

24. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis, 318 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/05/2013

KatInstant Attractionie Kramer lives her life carefully. She’s grown bored with her everyday routine but has no plan to change it. Until one day driving to work the bridge she and other commuters are on gives out. She’s the only survivor. After the accident Katie decides to live “balls out” (let me point out that is the exact wording from the book, as I would never say that…ever) and moves to Sierra Madre mountains. The complete opposite of L.A. There she gets a job with Wilder Adventures. In the middle of the night she is woken by a very attractive man, Cameron Wilder. Cameron has returned after a year of disappearing from his family after his snowboarding accident. Cameron and Katie are both instantly attracted to eachother but neither one of them wants to commit. So the rest of the Wilder family decide to push the two into realizing they should be together.

This book was ok. It satisfied me until I found another book to read. I did like Katie’s personality. I get tired of reading romances with helpless women who get pushed around and told what to do all the time. So her character was refreshing in that she was dealt a tragedy and went the route of rising above it.

24. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, 413 pages, read by Nikki, on 01/02/2013

Gabriel's RaptureGabriel’s Rapture is the sequel to Gabriel’s Inferno. In Gabriel’s Rapture, Professor Gabriel Emerson and his student/lover Julia Mitchell have returned from a trip to Italy and have decided to work on their new relationship while keeping it as low key as they can. Julia is no longer a student to Professor Emerson, but they decide to keep it quiet to be safe until she graduates in a few months. Unfortunately one of the Professor’s students finds out about their relationship and brings it to the school boards attention. If that wasn’t enough, one of the Professor’s ex lovers starts to cause problems between the two also.

I enjoyed this book more than the first. I felt like there was more going on, kept me way more entertained. How the love story actually began was a little weird and not quite believable. But then again I’ve never done so many drugs that I completely forgot a good 10 hours of my life, 2-3 hours is the most I’ve ever forgotten. But it’s whatever.

23. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction · Tags:

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby, 395 pages, read by Angie, on 01/22/2013

Hannah is a maid at a hotel. She is working to support her family since her dad got sick. Frederick is a clockmaker’s apprentice. He is glad to be out of the orphanage and wants to create an automaton man. Guiseppe is a street busker. He plays his violin in the hope of making enough money for food and shelter from his padrone. These three young people’s lives come together in a way no one expected. They become friends and go on a quest for a missing treasure. The hunt leads them down paths they didn’t expect, including theft and murder.

This book is told from the perspectives of the three young protagonists. We learn their stories in the alternating chapters. They are interesting stories, but I have to admit I found this book a little slow. While the three storylines are interesting, they don’t truly intersect until the very end. I also found the ending just a little too easy. This is a kid’s book so of course I knew everything would turn out ok, but I don’t like perfect endings. They are certainly not true in life and shouldn’t be in literature. This is a 2012-13 Mark Twain nominee.

23. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Kim B, NonFiction

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill, 343 pages, read by Kim B, on 01/22/2013

Mrs. Kennedy and MeI greatly enjoyed Mr. Hill’s retelling of the Kennedy White House years because it was from an insider’s point of view. I felt a little uncomfortable at times with his depiction of Jacqueline Kennedy because it almost sounded as if he was half in love with her. If you’ve ever read Paul Burrell’s account of his years with Princess Diana, you’ll know what I’m talking about. One thing that I liked about the book was that he did not dwell morosely on the assassination even though he was a personal witness to this event. Still, from an historical perspective it was fascinating reading especially for anyone who is interested in the Kennedys and this era of history.

23. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Eyes like Stars by Lisa Mantchev, 356 pages, read by Kira, on 01/19/2013

Eyes like StarsFor foundling Beatrice Shakespeare Smith the theater is the only home she’s known since she was abandoned as an infant on the doorsteps.  She’s being forced to leave, unless, she can make herself invaluable to the theater.  However, Théâtre Illuminata is no ordinary theater. Characters from the world’s major plays live inside. They are bound to the physical confines of the theater by the pages in The Complete Works of the Stage, an enchanted book. 

Like Cornelia Funke’s protagonist in Inkheart, the characters from the theater cross over into the real world (though limited time is spent there).  I really enjoy books where all is NOT as it seems.  Like the novel Chime by Franny Billingsly, there is a mystery afoot, that the reader is Not aware of at first.

22. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction · Tags:

The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury (The Governor Trilogy #2) by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga, 277 pages, read by Angie, on 01/20/2013

road to woodbury This is the second book in the Walking Dead trilogy. It tells the story of Lilly Caul and how she came to Woodbury. Lilly is a survivor from Georgia who is part of a large group. She and a few others leave the group and set off on their own. They eventually reach Woodbury. Some of the group find their place right away. Bob, the drunken Army medic, becomes a favorite of the governor. Megan becomes a prostitute selling herself to survive. Scott, Megan’s druggy boyfriend, disappears. Lilly and Josh are left wary of Woodbury and its leader the Governor.

I really enjoyed this book as a addendum to the series. Lilly and Bob are both seen briefly in the comics. Bob is given the tasks of fixing the Governor after Michonne has her way with him and of taking care of Penny. Lilly is actually responsible for killing Lori and Judy and because of that she kills the Governor. I love that these little characters are given a backstory and a book of their own. I found their journey interesting. I think Lilly’s story is a fascinating one. She goes from basically helpless and reliant on others to survive to part of the Governor’s army. I am a little confused on how she went from hating the Governor to fighting for him but I think it is all part of surviving the world of the zombie apocalypse.

22. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Chi's Sweet Home, Volume 1 by Kanata Konami, 168 pages, read by Angie, on 01/20/2013

chis sweet home 1I love cats and can’t imagine my life without my kitty. Chi’s Sweet Home shows what happens when a kitten appears in your life. It accurately portrays how a kitten behaves and how its humans’s lives change because of having a cat. I loved it! I think the drawings are wonderful and truly tell the story. I love that the book is told from the point of view of the cat, who is just precious. I think this is a wonderful graphic book for kids and I can see why the series is popular.

22. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction · Tags:

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor (The Governor Trilogy #1) by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga, 308 pages, read by Angie, on 01/20/2013

rise of the governorThe Governor, our big bad villain from the Walking Dead series, turns out to have a really interesting backstory. This book explores how a person becomes the sadistic creature we know from the comics. Rise of the Governor follows a band of survivors comprised of Phillip Blake, his daughter Penny, his brother Brian and two buddies from high school. This group is just looking for a way to survive the zombie apocalypse. They move around a lot, making their way to Atlanta and then escaping to the country. Along the way who they are becoming is taking shape. Phillip is the leader of this group and he does whatever needs to be done to survive. Penny is pretty much catatonic throughout the entire book. Brian is whiny and not surviving very well; he has problems killing zombies and relies on his brother for everything. We lose one HS buddy and the other becomes more and more religious. This all comes to a head when the group is attacked by evil humans. Penny is killed and Phillip goes off the deep end. He starts raping and torturing their captives and he keeps Penny alive (or undead) and tied to a tree. Our group makes their way to Woodbury where they live in obscurity until the Governor steps up. I am not going to give away the twist but it was definitely a big one. Holy cow!

After reading the graphic novels I was really interested to know how the Governor became the Governor and this book does that. It explains the crazy journey of the Governor and what led him to become the benevolent leader of Woodbury. It is a fun addition to the series.