Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kiss me by Codi Gary et al.

This entertaining anthology features three female protagonists who hate Valentine’s Day until they are presented with a reason to change their mind.

Ryan Ashton is not looking forward to the upcoming holiday, especially since her crush doesn’t look at her as more than a friend in Gary’s “The Trouble with Sexy.” Ryan finally takes charge and, with the help of a makeover and date auction, finally gets her man.

In Cheryl Harper’s “Love Me Tender,” Julie Dillon is stuck in an Elvis-themed hotel in the middle of a snowstorm with coworker Luke Pearce. She doesn’t trust that Luke’s affections go beyond using her to better his career.

Can Luke convince Julie that his motivations are sincere and that he isn’t just a “hound dog”? Jaclyn Hatcher adds a bit of danger in “Love, Guns, and Heart-Shaped Chocolate” when Katie Quinn finds herself on the lam with Logan Cross, despite her plan to spend the holiday solo. A misunderstanding has them running from money-hungry killers, but love manages to find Logan and Katie, even in the direst of situations.

Readers will commiserate with the characters’ contempt for Valentine’s Day, but these three charming stories will change the hearts of even the most hardened cynics.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, February 15, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Fiction 2/26/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Bad Blood by Dana Stebanow
Benediction by Kent Haruf
Black Irish by Stephan Talty
Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb
Dreams and Shadows by Robert Cargill
Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian
Forbidden Sister by V.C. Andrews
Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina
Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost

Ugggg. Would-Be Witch, the first in the Southern Witch series, started out promising, but just didn't deliver.  Her characters are likable enough, but there were just too many competing plot threads that didn't mesh.  I won't be reading any more books in this series; I guess they can't all be winners.

Tammy Jo Trask comes from a family of witches, although she has never really possessed the power herself. At her best friend's Halloween party, a group of "bandits" steal the guest's jewelry.  Everyone thinks this is part of some party game, like a murder mystery, but turns to they were real thieves.  One of the items forced from Tammy is the locket she keeps around her neck.  Not only is it a family heirloom, but it is were the ghost of her great aunt Edie resides. Tammy's ex-husband is a cop and is working to track down the thieves, but Tammy can't wait around for him to rescue Edie and her locket.

When a neighbor poisons her and raises his wife from the dead, Tammy Jo comes up with a half-baked spell to put the zombie back to rest, but her spell backfires and causes a bunch of factory workers to get an incurable fever.  Unless she wants to be responsible for all these illnesses, Tammy Jo has no choice but to solicit the help of Bryn Lyons, the only other witch in town.  What makes this so problematic is that Bryn, although incredibly handsome and sexy, is on her family's "forbidden" list, meaning she should not be associating with him in any capacity, but what is a girl to do?

There is a lot more that goes on in the rest of the book, including an attack of bloodthirsty werewolves and a family betrayal, as well as a special bond she forms with her side kick, Mercurtio (who is more than just your average house cat).  Meanwhile, her ex-husband is still in the dark on all the otherworld battles going on in the small Texas town of Duvall and is still fighting for Tammy Jo's affections.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Husband List by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly

Caroline Maxwell longs for adventure. As a kid she always trailed after her big brother, Eddie, and his best friend Jack Calhune. But her mother longs for Catherine to marry a Duke. In fact, she has the perfect candidate in mind: Lord Bremerton. Caroline doesn't want to marry a Duke, she has always loved Jack.

Jack Calhune is a self-made man. He owns a couple of breweries and isn't necessarily looking for a wife. But lately Jack has started to notice Caroline. He knows he isn't good enough for the Maxwell family but Caroline doesn't share the same opinion as her mother.

Now Caroline is getting her adventure. She is travelling to England with her family and Jack. Unfortunately it is to see Lord Bremerton. But he isn't who he seems. And Jack is determined to find out the truth and get Caroline for himself.

I really enjoyed this book. It had romance, mystery and comedy. It actually is about the ancestors of the characters from Kelly & Evanovich's first collaboration, Love in a Nutshell.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Fiction 2/19/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
Elsewhens by Melanie Rawn
Firebrand by Gillian Philip
Fuse by Julianna Baggott
Gray by Pete Wentz
Hunt the Scorpion by Don Mann
Perfect Hatred by Gage Leighton
The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Everlasting Kiss by Amanda Ashley

Daisy O'Donnell comes from a family of vampire hunters, but unlike her brother Alex who murders the vampires he finds, Daisy is a blood thief, which means she only siphons the blood of vampires while they are asleep and sells the vials she collects on the Internet.

One night at the club The Crypt, Daisy catches the eye of and is instantly drawn to a tall, sexy, and very dark man named Erik Delacourt.  They start seeing more of each other, although each one harbors a dangerous secret.  Daisy eventually learns that Erik is a vampire when her compass leads her to his liar. Not surprisingly Daisy is distraught to learn that Erik is a vampire, and for them to be together would betray her family.

To complicate matters, her brother Alex shows up in town to hunt the head of the West Coast territory of vampires and Erik's friend, Rhys Costain, who has a two-hundred thousand dollar bounty on his head, and Rhys is determined to take down the blood thief who has been pilfering his kind's blood.  Erik and Daisy stick together to protect her family and one another, but the misaligned allegiances they take will risk their lives. 

I like the premise of the story and her characters, but Ashley's writing could have benefited from some better editing.  I swear every 40 pages or so a character "muttered an oath," which I found to be repetitious and annoying.  Additionally, if you are looking for sexy love making scenes, this book leaves much to be desired in that department.  But, if you aren't as anal as me and just care about the story, then you will find Everlasting Kiss to be an entertaining enough vampire romance.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fierce Pride by Phoebe Conn

Conn’s next offering after Fierce Love brings readers back to Barcelona, a city known for culture and passion and where Libby Gunderson arrives for her half-sister’s wedding. The plan is to talk Maggie out of marrying a man their family hardly knows, but Maggie’s half-brother, famous matador Santos Aragon, proves to be too much of a distraction.

There is no question that Libby and Santos are hot for each other, and fortunately their short-lived romance has the opportunity to last the summer when Santos, who was injured in the ring after a fan held up a mirror that momentarily blinded him, hires Libby as his physical therapist. But whoever has a grievance against Santos escalates the threats that endanger the whole family, and Santos might do whatever it takes to protect Libby, even if it breaks her heart.

It will take a moment for readers to wrap their brain around Libby and Santos not being related, even though they share a half-sister. Once they get past that, they will be drawn into a story that is both sexy and big on family relationships. Conn’s characters are brilliantly developed, and the plot is layered enough to keep readers in its grip.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, February 8, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Fiction 2/12/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Airtight by David Rosenfelt
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
The Afrika Reich by Guy Saville
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers
A Deniable Death by Gerald Seymour
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Extinction by Mark Alpert
Farside by Ben Bova
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
Guilt by Jonathan Kellerman
Harvest by Jim Crace
Hit Me by Lawrence Block
The House Girl by Tara Conklin
The Night Ranger by Alex Berenson
The Power Trip by Jackie Collins
A Time for War by Michael Savage
Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The last book I was reviewed was Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, a book that I very much enjoyed. Out of curiosity I decided this month to read another book of his called The Tipping Point. The Tipping Point focuses on single things or people that have major impacts.

Whether it's about fashion trends or disease epidemics, Gladwell does a good job once again in explaining these concepts to people who are unfamiliar with them. This book has a bit more of a focus on economics, but there is still plenty of interesting things about psychology/sociology.

For some reason, however, this book didn't pull me in as much as Outliers did. I'm not sure why. Maybe because the premise of both books seem a bit similar at times (Admittedly, The Tipping Point was published first) or maybe because I was not as familiar with some of the examples he gave in this book. There were some segments I found to be very interesting, however. (Specifically when Gladwell talks about the Rule of 150 and how word of mouth works)

This book did end better than Outliers did, but overall I think Outliers is a better book. However, if you enjoyed Outliers, you will probably enjoy this one as well. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Brian K. Vaughan is the author of one of my favorite graphic novel series, Ex Machina, so when I heard he was beginning a new series, Saga, I was excited. Happily, I wasn't disappointed.

Saga Volume 1 sets the stage for what promises to be a thrilling, action packed, humorous, and romantic epic science fiction series. The story is narrated by the main characters' daughter, Hazel. Her parents, Marko and Alana, are star crossed lovers, who were soldiers in opposing sides of a galactic war, and come from enemy races. Their pairing is forbidden, and once they escape together, both races send soldiers and bounty hunters after them. Their daughter is born on the run, and the new family barely escapes an ambush.

Along the way, they befriend a young ghost who helps them escape the planet, argue about the name they're going to give their daughter, and fly off with a rocket ship that looks like a giant tree. Their sparring is fun, sexy, and reflective of their diverse backgrounds.

Furthermore, the characters that are preparing to hunt for them are also interesting, and three dimensional. Vaughan has created a fascinating new world that I can't wait to learn more about, and a compelling love story, and the artist, Fiona Staples, has done a wonderful job of bringing Vaughan's vision to life. I thoroughly enjoyed Saga, and I'm anxiously waiting for volume 2.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Fiction 2/5/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss
Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smith
Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas
Deadly Stakes by J.A. Jance
The Golden Calf by Helen Tursten
House of Earth by Woody Guthrie
Indiscretion by Charles Dubow
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne
The Pretty One by Lucinda Rosenfeld
The Queen is Dead by Kate Locke
Schroder by Amity Gaige
See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid
Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner
Wash by Margaret Wrinkle
Wise Men by Stuart Nadler
The Woman From Paris by Santa Montefiore

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

This absorbing story from Frost is the first in the Night Huntress series.  Cat Crawford is the product of the date rape her mother endured from a vampire, so she is half vampire, half human.  She has promised her mother she will hunt down vampires at night to eradicate the race that is the source of so much evil in the world, especially in Ohio.  She seduces vampires at night clubs only to stake them after she has lured them to her car.  On one such night, she encounters the wrong vampire, one who is wise to her game, but instead of killing her on the spot, he brings her back to his cave.

The sexy vampire with the Aussie accent who kidnapped her is named Bones and he has never seen her kind before.  Bones also hunts vampires as well, but ones with a bounty over their head.  He offers Cat a proposition: he will let her live if she agrees to continue hunting vampires, but only the ones he decides who she will be their prey.  Not having much choice in the matter, Cat reluctantly agrees.

But before she is ready to hunt, Bones trains her in the weaknesses of his kind and builds up her strength.  The training is grueling, and she is only able to recover when Bones force feeds her his blood.  The training also involves some dirty talk if she is going to be able to seduce vampires without blushing.  At last she is ready to hunt and with Bones as back up, successfully kills the first victim.

She soon learns that Bones is after a particularly evil sorts, a chap named Hennessy, who enslaves and kills vulnerable young women.  What is even more troubling is that he is working with someone who may be in the police force and who is destroying any traces that these have even died.  Cat has a change of heart about a certain vampire, despite what her mother has brainwashed her into believing, and finds Bones absolutely irresistible. As Cat and Bones close in on their target, she has to make a decision that will put not only her life, but her heart in jeopardy.

Loved, loved, loved Halfway to the Grave!  It was such a page-turner for me, and sexy love scenes and an action packed plot made it so much fun.  The book ended in a cliffhanger so readers who are hooked will want to start on the next book in the series, One Foot in the Grave.