Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How To Marry a Warlock in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

I laughed a lot while reading this book. Midnight "Middy" Cherry wood is a nice girl and a good witch. She's not that wild and she helps raise money for a charity that benefits women and children in the magical community that she's in. Mordred "Dred" Shadowins is a powerful warlock with a reputation that is partially deserved. He has had enough female conquests for his reputation as a Casanova to be fairly accurate. However his reputation as being a wicked, powerful warlock intent on destroying everything and anyone in his path in the pursuit of dark magic and dark objects is entirely undeserved. In reality Dred is a spy for his government for the greater good and performs heroic deeds that nobody ever knows about. They knew each other from school. Middy always thought Dred disliked her because he would always pick on her - turning her braids into snakes and calling her Cherry-Would-If-She-Could. You find out later that he turned her braids into snakes because he thought her hair was so beautiful that he could only think to turn them into something unpleasant so he could concentrate. There are some very "out there" scenes in this book - Dred has some bizarre but funny dream sequences & he posed for a sort of magical version of Playgirl magazine. However with this magazine, buyers have the option of paying for an interactive edition which makes for some very comical moments. At the very beginning of this book, I thought that Dred was going to very a sleazeball type that would steamroll Middy's character. Dred ended up being a better hero than that and Middy ended up being a stronger character than that. There were some scenes that showed Middy being highly embarrassed (though they were very funny to read), but I liked how she put Dred off balance by her frank and sassy comments. I really enjoyed this naughty, very funny book. I found the supporting characters interesting. I can't wait to see what happens with Middy's friend Tally in the next book. And, since I haven't read the previous book, I will have to grab a copy of it so that I can read Caspian's story.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed by Anna Campbell

I loved the gothic feel that I got when I first started this book - the bad weather, the castle, the sister traveling on her own to sacrifice herself for her sister. When I first started reading this book, I thought this would be a simple revenge story. The hero had originally arranged it so that Sidonie's sister would end up owing him her gaming debts, thus enabling him to force her to betray her husband by sleeping with him. The point was not so much to degrade Sidonie's sister Roberta, but to anger and humiliate Sidonie's brother-in-law William. The beauty of this tale is the complexity of the story and that things are not as they would first appear. The hero is not the monster we were led to believe at the beginning, but a scarred man made bitter by the injustices and cruelties he's experienced in life. The beloved sister who Sidonie is willing to sacrifice her virtue for is, although an abused woman, a woman with a gambling addiction and grasping and self-centered. The sister's husband, who at first glance might be the object of pity, is actually a cruel bully who deserves his own destruction. The only person who is who they first appear to be at face value is the heroine - Sidonie Forsythe. She is a woman who very much cares about her sister and her nephews and would do anything to help them. She is a virgin who sees the worst example of marriage on an almost daily basis, therefore making her long & plan for her independence. The hero, Jonas, changes his plans as soon as he first meets and is intrigued by Sidonie. He finds her beautiful and falls for her personality. It's at this point that I feel the hero changes - he seems not quite as hard-edged and has more depth. At first the bargain was for Sidonie to stay with him for seven days while being ravished by him. After meeting her and instantly being captivated by her, he changes the bargain to just staying with him for those seven days during which he will try to entice her into his bed. I loved the period of romancing while Sidonie is with Jonas at the castle. I feel like they grow very close emotionally and the connection they form is beautiful to watch. The only part I didn't care for was the little period of misunderstanding and estrangement at the end.

Going Organic Can Kill You by Staci McLaughlin

Dana moves back home both because of economy & to take care of her mother (emotionally as well as helping financially) after the death of her father. Even when Dana gets a better job offer, she opts to stick around and help out family. She works at a local organic farm and spa, first by doing PR for the place but later as a kind of jack of all trades.
There were many things I liked about this cozy mystery. Dana and her family were realistic and likable. This could be a very unpleasant situation for Dana if her mom was a harridan or her sister was a jerk. Luckily her mom is a good person who tries to get the family all eating healthier in an attempt to avoid the heart problems that led to her husband's death. Her younger sister can be a little self-absorbed and goofy, but she tries to help out & she encourages Dana's blossoming love interest with Jason, the local reporter. And Dana herself is very likable and easy to relate to, not given to flakiness or wild changes in mood. I also like that, while she may work in a healthy environment, she's a woman after my own heart and cannot find a thing to eat that she finds palatable in the sea of healthiness. She's a good sport though and doesn't make snide remarks about the food and will usually give the stuff a try.
I liked the set-up of a guest at the spa being the murder victim. It gave Dana a realistic reason for trying to find out what happened - lingering unease about the farm/spa equals the place closing down and she loses her job. The mystery kept me interested and guessing until the end. I would be interested in more mysteries in this series.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Giveaway - "Death Of A Neighborhood Witch" by Laura Levine

I am an early reviewer for Kensington and they gave me two copies of Death Of A Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine. The official release date is Aug 28, 2012. I got the ok use one as a giveaway. I happily found a random name drawer online so I'm good to go. :) Anybody interested, please leave a comment to this post by July 31st with your first name and email address. I will do a drawing and contact the winner. This will be open US residents only.

For anybody who has never read anything by this author, her books are very funny.
Here is the book description:

Halloween is just around the corner, and between cauldrons of candy and a deliciously cute new neighbour, Jaine Austen is struggling to resist her sweet tooth. But this year, her once humdrum neighbourhood seems to be handing out more tricks than treats...When her faithful feline Prozac unwittingly scares to death a parakeet belonging to the neighbourhood's resident curmudgeon, Jaine finds herself knee-deep in toil and trouble. The cantankerous Hollywood has-been once played the part of Cryptessa Muldoon, television's fourth most famous monster mom. Now a bitter, paranoid old dame, Cryptessa spends her days making enemies with everyone on the street, and accidental bird killer Jaine is no exception. So when the ornery D-lister is murdered with her own Do Not Trespass sign on Halloween night, the neighbourhood fills with relief - and possible culprits. With a killer on the loose, Jaine hardly has time to fall under the spell of her yummy new neighbour Peter. As the prime suspect, she summons her sleuthing skills to clear her name and soon discovers that everyone has a few skeletons in their closets - and the motives for murder are endless. Could it have been Cryptessa's next door neighbours, the barracuda husband and wife realtors whose landscaping Cryptessa had bulldozed? Or the seemingly sweet old lady whose beloved dog was the object of Cryptessa's wrath? Or perhaps the crotchety actress was done in by her own nephew in a desperate attempt to get his hands on her money? As the masks come off, Jaine's search for sweet justice turns up more questions than answers. And just when she thought nothing could be scarier than her run-in with a tortuous Tummy Tamer, she closes in on the killer and learns the true meaning of grave danger...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hunk for the Holidays by Katie Lane

Cassie McPherson works for her family's construction business. She longs to be an architect but is basically a glorified accountant because she is doing what she believes her father (the head of the company) wants. At the beginning of the book Cassie is in need of a date for a family/company party. She hires an escort - something she periodically does - not for sex, just when she needs to go to a social gathering for work. The escorts are usually college kids looking for extra cash. When a handsome man shows up at the appointed pick up time, Cassie automatically assumes that he is her paid date. The reader is aware almost immediately that "James" is actually James Sutton - one of her family's top competitors. At first James keeps quiet about the fact that he's not her intended date because he is physically attracted to her. He later keeps quiet because he starts to fall for her and is worried that she'll be mad that he didn't tell her sooner. James isn't really aware, until late in the story, how Cassie's family views James Sutton. When he finds out, he realizes that this is yet another thing that Cassie might hold against him. There is a little miscommunication at the end between the two lovers but I found this to be a fun, sexy romance between two great characters. James turned out to be a softer and more romantic character than I had thought he would be from the opening of the book. And I thought the thing at the end with the Christmas trees and the neighbor's help to be very romantic and sweet.
I liked the side story with Cassie's brother Rory and her friend Amy. I thought there were a few "Awww..." moments with their romance & was happy that it resolved itself by the end of the book. I look forward to more stories about Cassie's brothers.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, but I think I liked this book a little more. The relationship and feelings of the hero & heroine were a little more clearly defined. I also thought the hero was a little more fun. I loved the super hero-like elements to this book.
Daisy was such a cool character. She almost came off like a Sherlock Holmes type in this story – very intelligent, brave, and I really enjoyed her verbal dueling with the hero. She never seemed like a weak character at all. The chemistry between Daisy and Ian was electric and I loved the verbal exchanges between them as well as the sexy intimate scenes. Ian was a welcome surprise in this book. His character seemed much more likable and had more depth than I thought in the previous book. I was intrigued by the new types of paranormal characters like the GIMs and would be interested in more stories about characters in this world. With the way things ended between Poppy and Winston at the end, I am very anxious to read the next book in this series.

The Sheikh's Redemption by Olivia Gates

This book starts out showing the last few moments before Haidar and Roxanne parted ways. The exchanges between Haidar and his twin Jalal & between Haidar and his lover Roxanne are very intense and hint at the relationships up until that point. The current story takes place eight years later. So much of that bad blood between all the parties involved was an indirect, or more often, a direct result of the manipulations and actions by Jalal and Haidar’s evil psycho mother. Years later, her poisonous ways have affected current events and relationships. Haidar, Jalal, and their cousin Rashid are all in town to compete for the title of King. Roxanne is in town to try to help ease the political climate and offer her diplomatic services. When Haidar & Roxanne see each other again, the attraction is still there, except magnified now that they have become a little older and matured. One of the things I liked about this book is that they don’t jump into bed again before doing a lot of talking to each other and a lot of introspection. The intimate moments were very passionate and sexy. I found the interactions between the lovers and other characters interesting as well and was happy that a lot of talking went on in efforts to repair those damaged relationships as well. I am looking forward to Jalal’s book and hoping Rashid gets a book as well.