Saturday, October 25, 2014

Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan

Christmas at Tiffany's: A Novel by Karen Swan (Nov 18, 2014)

Book Description
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
What do you do when the man you pledged your life to breaks your heart and shatters your dreams? You pack your bags and travel the big, wide world to find your destiny—and your true love . . .
Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn't giving up. She's going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.
Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she's meant to have . . . and the man she's meant to love.

With the way this novel starts out, I had an idea that it was going to be along the lines of “The Devil Wore Prada” somewhat crossed vaguely with “Sex in the City”, but set in three cities.  I obviously did not do enough research into this book.  I only knew that it had to do with a married woman (Cassie) being jilted by her husband and taking some time to recover in three major cities. 
I was very, very wrong.  This book was so much more than that. I thought that it would be a chick-lit, frothy; popcorn read suffused with fashion and sex…however, it was in turns - heartbreaking, funny, deep, shallow and very special. This book will forever be on my re-read shelf.

This book is a voyage of self-discovery, of making good and bad choices and finally coming to see that no matter what you do to the outside, it is of course, what is inside that defines you. This is something that currently too many people forget.
There is romance, several in fact, which are in turns frustrating and beautiful.  The author has a wonderful way with metaphor’s and descriptions that make you feel as if you are in the city yourself; that you are the one living  in Cassies shoes. Living her life.
This was a beautiful story of growth and will bring tears to your eyes as well as laughter to your lips and hope to your heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire (Love at Stake)

Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire (Love at Stake) by Kerrelyn Sparks (Dec 30, 2014)


Kindle Edition Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on December 30, 2014.  

Mass Market Paperback Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on December 30, 2014.

Book Description
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks delivers the exciting conclusion in the Love at Stake series, where a Marine-turned-vampire finds love with the shifter princess forbidden to him . . .
Russell wakes from a coma to find he's become a vampire. Now he has a thirst for revenge. Determined to hunt down the master vampire who turned him, he's used to working alone . . . until he meets Jia. She is after the same vampire for murdering her parents and insists she can help Russell on this mission. Reluctantly, he agrees, and sets up some ground rules:
Rule #1: Their partnership is strictly business. If he holds her a little too close . . . if she looks at him with those exotic eyes . . . well, that has to stop.
Rule #2: He's in charge. Jia isn't used to taking orders and questions every move he makes. So he stops her the only way he knows how.
Rule #3: Don't fall in love. But the kiss that was supposed to quiet her awakens something else in him . . . something forbidden. Because Jia is engaged. To someone else.

After all these years, it is finally time to bid this series adieu. I have followed this series from the beginning although not religiously. I have a difficult time with series that start with one couple starring in several books and then each subsequent book stars a new couple.  I never really get the feel for the later romances and the main story line of seeing the end put to great evil, seems to fall to the wayside.

 Many fans of this series are going to be - either greatly upset at the way this book plays out or very happy with the ending and the fact that somewhere down the road there may be more written later about these characters.  My guess would be that there would be some novellas interspersed between books in the authors’ new series.

 This book follows the romance/speculative fiction formulas perfectly. We start with the foiled attempt at the enemy, followed by many self-recriminations on the part of the hero and heroine.  We then neatly segue into the building of the romance and the heroine Jia acting as if she were a small child. (I didn’t like the fact that the author made the heroine seem so utterly immature and naïve even though she is only 21).  However, we soon get to the meat of the story, although and of course, not without many setbacks and deaths and one very, very large and unpleasant surprise!

And true to the formula, Russell soon overcomes his 42 years (39 of them in a vampire coma and three on the hunt for Master Han) of pain and misery with the love (and hot sex) of a good woman!

The style of writing is not totally my cup of tea anymore, but it is a fun read nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Your Dreams by Kristen Higgins

 Book DescriptionPublication Date: October 1, 2014Everyone loves Jack Holland, but Emmaline Neal needs him. Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can't go to the wedding alone. In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won't get the wrong idea. What Jack needs is an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he's been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy, especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back, angling for a reunion. He's always liked Emmaline. She needs a weekend date? No problem. So when they wind up in bed together, Em chalks it up to red wine and chocolate cake, just one impulsive night not to be repeated. But Jack's pushing for more, and if she lets down her guard, either she'll get her heart crushed again, or discover that Jack's worth more than just dreaming about.

 Although this book is part of a series, you will have no problems jumping right in and enjoying myself. There is nothing in this book that makes you feel as if you’ve missed something important by not reading the earlier books.
This was a charming, warm, relationship driven novel. Ms Higgins made it very clear that the characters genuinely liked each other.  Unfortunately, this book did not contain the heat normally associated with this genre.  The plot line was a little obvious, but I find that to be true with many romances.  The story-line of Jack having PSTD was quite interesting, since we have mostly seen the books that deal with that to usually be  about returning Vets.

I still enjoyed this book immensely and found myself laughing like an idiot in parts and then suddenly crying like a baby.  The character, main secondary and even tertiary, are well drawn and thoroughly fleshed out.  Each character has their own flaws and you find yourself either loving them or hating them.  It is difficult for an author to have me feel so many different emotions for this many people.

I have not followed this series because I loved Ms. Higgins first books - they are stand-alone books.  However, occasionally I get the yen to read something new by her and this seemed to be a good choice. It contains everything that is important to a romance - flawed main characters, outside conflicts, miscalculations and mistakes by both partners culminating into a climax of happily ever after.

ARC supplied by publisher.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Product Details

Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews (Oct 28, 2014)


Burn For Me – Ilona Andrews
"Book DescriptionPublication Date: October 28, 2014
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . .Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world."

 I could not really help myself; while I was reading this book, I was comparing it to the Kate Daniel’s series.  While this novel is fresh and new… I still see some of the writing teams elements of the Daniel’s series in it.  Moreover, I thank my lucky stars for that! This is a sort of mix of  the Kate Daniels books with a small dose of The Edge series thrown in for good measure.
Like I said this novel is fresh and new but I know I have seen a type of plot like this somewhere before. However, if I cannot remember where I read it, it means that the Andrews did it just that much better!

Billed in some places as a romance –it has the elements of one, but the Andrew’s unique style, does not push the story in that direction all too hard.  Oh, you can surely see that it is coming.  This extremely different couple is surely going to fall in love, but the plot will give it to us inch by delicious inch instead of dumping the romance and sex on us in the first half of the very first book!

 The protagonist’s are an interesting mixture, much like Kate and Curran (the Kate Daniel’s series by Ilona Andrews) or Anna and Charles in Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega series.  Each very strong in their own way, the females can give almost if not better than the men can.

The world is a dystopian one, much like ours but with magic as the added element.  Also, much like our world, their world is broken down to the ‘haves and have not’s’.  To be well respected you must have powerful magic as well as money and to get that powerful magic, families are ‘breeding’ their children by making advantageous, genetically perfect marriages.

This was a fun and dramatic read, with a wonderful underlying layer of the comedy and a HUGE dose of male pigheadedness…you’ll see what I mean in the last chapter.  


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Product Details

The Fever: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Megan Abbott

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $12.99

Book Description
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

This book is told in three different perspectives: Father, daughter, son - which at times makes for a real difficult read. It was very much like putting a jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of having a picture on the pieces. The writing is choppy at best, confusing at worst with its unfinished thoughts and sentences.

If it had not been for the rave reviews, the high kudos for the author and her style of writing (subject matter, depth of characters, how she supposedly understands teens) I would not have agreed to read and review this novel.

I must say that this should have been a very intense read, but it was not.  The girls, though-out most of the book, are not what I would have called ‘bad girls’, though so many readers are saying that this is was part of the books charm.  I found the girls to be inarticulate and flighty but not bad.

The mystery is another aspect – there are so many red herrings; one that is played on heavily, that are just not very believable.  Perhaps it would be more realistic to a pre-teen or young adult…I think even they have more common sense to understand what the author is try oh so horribly, to do.

So much of this novel was just completely unbelievable –what teen girl would ‘help’ a friend (no matter how good a friend) physically adjust a crooked tampon? 

The ending to the mystery of these girls getting sick was easily predictable –maybe that is just my age and experience and the targeted audience wouldn’t be able to see it coming a mile off.  Frankly, with all the sexual innuendo to be found within these pages, I don’t think this book is even appropriate for the targeted pre-teen audience.

ARC –supplied by publisher