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Showing posts from May, 2009

You're So Vein by Christine Warren

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You're So Vein, the story of Ava Markham and Vladimir "Dima" Rurikovich,is the seventh in The Others series by Christine Warren.
Dima and Ava meet when he saves her from an attack by a rogue vampire. The only way to save her from dying, of course, is to complete the conversion process, something Ava wouldn't have chosen on her own.
Was Ava a random victim, or was she chosen for a specific reason? And how does she deal with becoming a vampire, one of the creatures she despises? What lengths will Dima go to in order to keep Ava close to him long enough to teach her about being a vampire? Ava is a strong, opinionated, wise-cracking heroine, and she shines in this novel. Although Dima plays more of the "straight man" role, he comes across as Alpha male enough to handle the challenge of dealing with Ava and her ingrained cynicism, caution, and veneer of brittle self-confidence.
There is also time with characters from past books in The Others series, providing a nic…

Donation for Pre-school Library

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My daughter's pre-school suggests book donations to their library in honor of kids' birthdays. So far, I have the following two books to donate for Maya's fifth birthday, which is on June 15th. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dowdney
Fancy Nancy: Explorer Extraordinaire! by Jane O'Connor

Any suggestions from anyone for a third title to donate? Books need to be appropriate for ages somewhere in the 2 to 6 range.

Kindle Countdown

I started the plunge into ebooks by ordering a Kindle right before Memorial Day weekend. I received an e-mail today that my Kindle shipped, and June 5th is the anticipated delivery date.

I can't wait!!

Once I have my Kindle, I'll report back. For now, I'm excited about having instant access to downloads, fewer books cluttering our house, and the cheaper prices that come with ebooks.

Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher

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Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher is the first in a new paranormal romance series, The Sentinel Wars.

Helen Day sees the man who has been in her nightmares about dying in a fire while in a diner. Fear at first sight. For his part, Drake's attention is snagged by this human female who appears to be hiding from him behind her menu.

Helen knows nothing about life beyond regular humans, yet Drake is a Theronai warrior, already alive for 200 years. Something in Helen, who isn't just a human at all, calls to Drake, who takes her away with him. Everything moves fairly quickly for the couple during the four days the book covers, including falling in love, losing one of Drake's friends, and Helen facing her nightmare in reality.

Dialogue is fun and fast-paced, the characters are strong, and Drake has the perfect touch of vulnerability and willingness to do whatever is necessary to keep his woman happy. Sigh.

Yes, I may have been at least partly influenced by the cover to buy this boo…

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

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The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano is the bittersweet tale of the twenty-six-year-old former Melody Grace McCartney, a name she has been unable to use since the age of six, when Melody and her parents entered the Witness Protection Program. Just a random, regular family trying to eat breakfast at Melody's favorite restaurant, they witnessed a murder by Mafia member Tony Bovaro. The losses just kept coming because, in addition to numerous moves and identity changes, teenager Melody, angry at her parents, gave an interview to a reporter. Her parents lived exactly 29 hours after the article was published.At the start of the book, though, Melody is living on her own and working as a math teacher. Feeling a certain sense of dissatisfaction and restlessness, she falsely claims that she has received a phone call from someone who used her real name. Time for another move. Ironically, Jonathan Bovaro, Tony's son, does know exactly where Melody is, and he's ready to enter h…

More Recent Book Covers I Like

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Something about Her by Jeannie Ruesch. Pretty lady with a hint of mystery in the way that her hair is obscuring her face.
Sea Lord by Virgina Kantra. Almost makes me want to buy the book without reading a summary.

Chains by Shiloh Walker. Hmmm. Creepy in a potentially interesting way.

The Link by Colin Tudge. Just plain creepy.

Wings by Aprilynne Pike. Beyond beautiful.

One Night with You by Sophie Jordan. I don't know which is more attractive--the guy or the dress.

13 Sentences that Mark the Beginnings of the Books I'm Writing

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Marriage Material for Nico
Cara spared a brief glance for the tall, dark man standing alone at the edge of the party before focusing on the wall behind him and rapidly crossing the room to fling herself into his arms. She quickly closed her eyes after catching only a glimpse of strong, chiseled jaw and firm, full lips and just before his arms closed around her, lifting her from the floor, and his lips fastened on hers in a hard, almost violent, kiss of sheer possession. In return, she had no choice other than one driven by instinct to grasp the lapels of his crisp, elegant jacket while kissing him back with a hunger she suddenly didn’t need to fake.
As the kiss finally ended when he slowly lifted his head, Cara had no desire to leave his arms. With a sigh, she forced her eyes to open after realizing that the room, filled with the soft sounds of upper-echelon acquaintances conversely politely, occasional laughter, and delicate nibbling and heavy drinking when she originally entered, had…

One Night with You by Sophie Jordan

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Sophie Jordan is very successful at creating interesting characters, and One Night With You doesn't disappoint.
Widowed and living as little more than a nanny to her dead husband's brother's daughters, Lady Jane Guthrie is miserable. After fifteen months of officially mourning a man that she never loved, Jane, with a little help from her friends, goes to a party disguised as Aurora, a woman looking for fun.
Spurned years earlier by Jane's (evil) sister Madeline, Lord Seth Rutledge has returned from war to care for his sister Julianne, blinded in their youth by an accident for which Seth blames himself, and claim the title that his cousin has been trying to obtain since the deaths of Seth's father and older brother. His goal is to find a wife who can stand looking at his scarred face and who will take care of Julianne if something should happen to him.
Seth finds himself attracted to two women at once--the mysterious Aurora and his childhood best friend Jane. After Jan…

Update on My Writing

I'm still plugging away on my own writing.

I'm in the middle of writing Claimed, a Young Adult novel about a teenage girl who becomes involved with an adult gang leader. I'm at 14,897 words (thank you, word count), and my goal is to have 30-35,000 total.

The first half of the critique from a published author that I won through an online charity auction arrived in last Monday's e-mail. I admit that I was pretty devastated on the first read-through, probably in part because I was so sick with the flu at that point. After just re-reading her comments, I'm feeling much better. I think she made some excellent suggestions that I needed to hear, and she also made positive remarks that I glossed over the first time I read her message. Yes, leave it to me to focus on the negative! She was actually very kind and encouraging.

I'm not sure I was emotionally ready for the constructive criticism part of the critique, sick or not, but I do appreciate her comments and sug…
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Although I'm not fond of series, I seem to be finding more and more of them I enjoy. Moonlight Warrior is the first book in Janet Chapman's Midnight Bay Series. And I'm hoping for a long series now.

Eve Anderson, recently single and living with her mother, Mabel, who is having memory problems, meets Kenzie Gregor in the local bank. New to town, Kenzie is handsome, rich, and speaking with a Scottish accent. What woman could resist, especially when Eve becomes Kenzie's housekeeper in order for them to stay at Mabel's home, which Kenzie has bought from Mabel's deceased boyfriend's brother?

Besides the usual romance, Chapman provides an especially tender, well-formed character in Mabel. According to the author note, the portrayal of Mabel and Eve and Mabel's relationship as Eve seeks to care for her mother is drawn from Chapman's own experiences. That's probably why the portrayal is so resonating.

Moonlight Warrior is full of witty dialogue and interes…

Pet Peeves--Reprints

I realize that publishers are all about making money. Particularly in the current economy, they want to publish works by authors that provide an "automatic purchase" for a certain segment of readers. And how better to make money than to issue a reprint of a previous bestseller?

The part I find annoying is that publishers don't seem to mind whether buyers are "tricked" into purchasing an older book as new. Most of the book covers don't clearly state that the book is a reprint or reissue--or some sort of word or phrase that indicates "Hey, you; you may already have read this book before."

At one point, every Christine Feehan book released seemed to be a reprint of an earlier book with a different cover. At least I had read the original releases recently enough to realize from just reading the blurbs on the backs that I had already read them!

I just walked into a reprint surprise with my recent purchase of And the Desert Blooms by Iris Johansen. W…

Barbie & The Beast by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

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Yes, I seem to be stuck on a Beauty & the Beast theme, and Barbie & The Beast by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom is likely my least favorite retelling.

Barbie Bradley and her best friend Angie go to a singles party, only to learn that the address they've been given leads to a cemetery. After an encounter in complete darkness between Barbie and Darin Russell, cemetery protector and, for three days a month, werewolf, Barbie leaves her number for Darin in the parking lot.

When Barbie and Darin meet face-to-face, she can't believe someone so perfect could still be single. And Darin isn't too eager to share his shape-shifting secret because he's hoping that Barbie is The One.

At a certain point, I just kept reading to learn how long Barbie would have to wait to learn about Darin's werewolf side. Too late in the telling for my taste, and then the book just seemed to end rather suddenly--oh, after setting the stage for a book about Angie. A book I won't be reading.

My ov…

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

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In Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, Audrey breaks up with Evan during the afternoon of the night when his group, the Do-Gooders, have a rep from a recording label in the audience for their performance. Between the time of the break up and the concert, Evan manages to write the song that will catch the rep's attention and launch their career, Audrey, Wait!

Will Audrey's life ever be the same after she's revealed in the national media as the muse for the song--and comes across in the article based on an impromptu phone interview as not-so-nice, just like in the song? Does Audrey have a chance at forming a new relationship with James, her co-worker at the ice cream shop, despite all the attention from the other students at their high school and the national media and the fact that the song about her hits the Top 10 at the same time as their first date?

Not to worry because Audrey has not only James, but a decent set of parents and her best friend Victoria to help her through her…

13 Brilliant Book Titles

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Paradise Lost (John Milton)Beneath Brimstone (Amber Blaisdell, Tessa Witek)The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)Bitter is the New Black (Jen Lancaster)Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague (Geraldine Brooks)Seduce Me at Sunrise (Lisa Kleypas)The Blood of Flowers (Anita Amirrezvani)East of Eden (John Steinbeck)Blood and Chocolate (Annette Curtis Klause)The Enchanted April (Elizabeth Von Arnim)Lipstick Jungle (Candace Bushnell)Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (Judy Blume)The Kitchen God's Wife (Amy Tan)

To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

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To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt is definitely one of my favorite adaptations of the Beauty & the Beast fairy tale.

Helen Carter (birth name)/Helen Fitzwilliam (mistress name)/Mrs. Helen Halifax (housekeeper name) has fled from her former lover/patron of fourteen years and father of her two children, Abigail and Jamie, and the life provided by him in London. At the suggestion of her friend, Lady Vale, Helen and the children move to Scotland in order for Helen to serve as the housekeeper for Sir Alistair Munroe, naturalist, author, and severely wounded survivor of his time as a prisoner in the Colonies.

Of course, Alistair doesn't want a housekeeper. And Helen has no choice other than to force her way into his home.

The children, Alistair's sister, and a couple of dogs provide nice side characters for the story.

What happens when the children are kidnapped to force Helen's return to London? What happens when Alistair learns the truth about his housekeeper? Can Helen…

Secrets of Surrender by Madeline Hunter

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Okay, this isn't a true review because I just couldn't get into Secrets of Surrender by Madeline Hunter, and I didn't read the majority of the book. There are so many books in my TBR pile that I'm not wasting my time on books I don't appreciate on some level.
Basic story--The book begins with Roselyn Longworth, fallen from her place of privilege due to the fact that her brother has stolen a great deal of money from various members of society, at a party with her lover of one month, Lord Norbury. Roselyn is miserable because the house party is for those of rank and common whores, not their mistresses or wives. And Lord Norbury had expected her to do something of horror (what?) in the bedroom the previous night. Since she refused, he's peeved. And he's a vindictive, spoiled jerk, which she didn't realize before.
Really? She knew so little from general society about Lord Norbury that she thought being his mistress would be a walk in the park? She had no idea…

Recent Covers I Really Like

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Vision in White by Nora Roberts. I haven't read a book by Nora Roberts in years, and I probably won't return with this one. Who doesn't love a princess dress, though?
Stargazer by Claudia Gray. I like what Gray has going with the covers for this series. Evernight was in red.

Columbine by Dave Cullen. Zero interest in reading this work of nonfiction. I love the way the sky dominates the school on the cover, though.

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler, M.D. While this isn't yet in my TBR pile, I have no doubt it needs to be. I like the contrast of the carrot cake and the carrots.
Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg. I don't have any plans to read this book, but I really like the cover with the bird seeming to peck at the egg.

Lover Avenged (Book 7 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series) by J.R. Ward. Just picked this one up in hardcover at Target on Friday. No comment needed beyond, "HULLO!
The Shack by William Paul Yo…