Monday, February 28, 2011

Virtual Book Tour - Starless Sky

Author: Paige Agnew
Publisher: Trafford Publishing

Life is funny sometimes. Little kids drop ice cream cones, people in general often run in to screen doors, there's even the occasional moment when one might trip going up the stairs. Kahlen could expect those things, deal with them even. But what she didn't expect, not even in her wildest, horrific nightmares, that just as something so terrible could happen, something so wonderful could follow after it.

When Kahlen Thomas has a difficult time dealing with the lost of her best and only friend, she has hopes that the new boy at school, Kennley Morgan, will be the perfect distraction from her pain. She slowly realizes that Kennley doesn't as much distract her from her problems as much as he adds to them because of his own interesting past.

Starless Sky is the debut novel written by Paige Agnew. I was impressed to find out that she wrote this book when she was 15 years old. I did enjoy the book. It was beautifully written and I was drawn into the characters right from the beginning. Kahlen is a shy, not overly confident teen who is dealing with a very tragic personal loss. Through this tragedy, she is able to open up and really start enjoying and living life. The author was able to really capture the drama and angst teenagers go through while navigating friendships and first love. The peripheral characters were well written and likeable.

My only issue with the book is that the author could have used a better editor. There were many typos and editing mistakes in the book. It did get a bit annoying after a while. I would recommend this to any YA reader. I think Ms. Agnew will be a rising star in the literary world. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.


* note: I read an copy of Starless Sky supplied courtesy of the author. I was not compensated in anyway for this review. By receiving a complimentary copy, I am in no way obligated to write a good or bad review. I am an honest reviewer and my reviews are based on my own opinion and only written by me.*

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Throwback Thursday - Grand Passion

Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
First published in 1994 by Harlequin Temptation

Cleopatra Robbins has imagined the moment she'll meet the man of her dreams. But when Max Fortune strides into the Robbins' Nest Inn, a devastating sensation sweeps through her. She knows it's him. And he's wrong.

While I enjoy JAK's Arcane series, I also enjoy reading her earlier works. As I was saying to fellow contributor Melissa, JAK is like comfort food. You read her when you want something that is reliable. Grand Passion didn't disappoint. It was an amusing read. I did find myself laughing in a few spots. The main characters, Cleo and Max are good together and have great chemistry, but it was the "family" that really tied the book together. Family is a big theme that runs throughout the book. It was nice to watch Max realize that he could have a family, something he had searched for all his life. As always, there is a little bit of a mystery. While this wasn't the best that I have read by JAK, I would recommend picking it up if you are seeking out her early books. I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Seducing the Governess

Author: Margo Maguire
Publisher: Avon

A Proper Governess Should Never. . .

Assist a handsome stranger, alone on an unfamiliar road . . . unless the rake happens to be her new employer.

Take a position in a crumbling manor . . . especially if the household staff has been replaced by unruly former soldiers.

Allow her young charge entrÉe to her heart . . . for once done, it will be impossible to maintain proper distance.

Permit her charge's uncle a breathtaking kiss under a star-lit sky . . . henceforth she will most certainly lose composure whenever he is near.

And above all, she should never, ever fall completely, irreversibly in love with her employer . . . for nothing good can possibly come of it.

Seducing the Governess is the first in a new series by Margo Maguire. I enjoyed the book. It was a pretty quick read. Mercy and Nash are both likable people and I enjoyed the exchanges between them as they really enhanced the attraction between the two. The hero in this book is physically flawed in the face, having been burned in the war. That was a nice change of pace. I felt like Mercy really loved him for who he was and not just what he looked like. In Mercy, Nash finds what he has been searching for, a second chance. There is a little bit of a mystery, yet the solution wasn’t too hard to figure out. I look forward to the next book.


* note: I read an advanced review copy of Seducing the Governess supplied courtesy of the Avon Books. I was not compensated in anyway for this review. By receiving a complimentary copy, I am in no way obligated to write a good or bad review. I am an honest reviewer and my reviews are based on my own opinion and only written by me.*

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Heiress

Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: HarperCollins, February 2011

Suzette is not like other heiresses; she wants a poor husband, a gentleman who will be so grateful for her dowry that he will allow her access to it so that she can pay off her father's gambling debts. When this alluring beauty encounters Daniel Woodrow -- handsome, titled, single...and even more impoverished than she could have hoped for -- it seems Suzette's wildest dreams have come true.

But Daniel has not been truthful. Tired of being accosted by an endless stream of vapid coquettes and their fortune-hunting mothers, Daniel has decided to plead poverty to stop them in their tracks. Yet here is a most refreshing and delectable lady, who claims to be thrilled by his penury. Now all Daniel has to do to find true happiness is to keep a little white lie alive...while avoiding a villain who's determined to prevent this union by any means necessary.

The Heiress is Suzette and Daniel’s story. They are characters that were first introduced in The Countess (see my review here) Most of the story takes place at the same time as The Countess. I liked Suzette’s character. She is funny, sassy and very curious. She has great passion that she isn’t afraid to explore. Daniel is a likable hero and I liked them as a couple. Daniel’s mother is also a very funny character and I hope to see more of her in a future book. I also hope Lisa and Robert get their own story.

As I mentioned, the first half of the book is pretty much the same story as the Countess, except told from Suzette and Daniel’s point of view. While it was interesting to see what was going on when they were out of the room in the first book, I found myself skimming over sections. There were many of the same conversations and this got boring after a while. The idea for the two books was a good one, but it just didn’t work well for me. The second half of the book deals with what happens on the second journey to Gretna Green. The ending was a bit rushed, but did tie up loose ends from the first book. In my opinion, both books could have been combined into one. That being said, I did enjoy the book and would recommend to anyone who read The Countess. 3 out of 5 stars

- Kari

* note: I read an Advanced Reader’s e-proof copy of The Heiress supplied courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers. I was not approached or compensated in anyway for this review. By receiving a complimentary copy, I am in no way obligated to write a good or bad review. I am an honest reviewer and my reviews are based on my own opinion and only written by me.*

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Am Number Four

by:  Pittacus Lore
published by:  HarperCollins

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I finally read this book!  When I was reading this book I was having some Superman flashbacks.  Wasn't that the basic premise of Superman?  His planet was destroyed so he was sent to Earth to live as a human? 

I really did enjoy the book and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.  The characters were interesting and surprising in ways you don't often see in YA books which was quite refreshing.  I was particularly pleased with the dynamic of Sam and Emily.  Emily was a very minor character, but still it was still a happy occurance.  Mike was a surprise too.  I was happy with him in the end too. 

The reason why they were numbered was pretty interesting and it added a little extra tension to the story.  The addition of the conspiracy theory rags was pretty cool.  If you've ever seen the movie Conspiracy Theory you know what I'm talking about.  I wonder if those things actually exist...

I'm curious to see how all of the elements of the book will translate into the movie.  I think it's probably well cast, looks like it so far anyway.  Will I rush out to see it in the theater?  Probably not, but I'll definitely get it from Netflix.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor

Author: Robert G. Pielke
ARC supplied by Publisher, Tribute Books

When a stranger carrying a shiny, metallic valise steps aboard a train carrying Abraham Lincoln home from a two year stint in Congress, everyone stares, wondering about the stranger's odd clothing and strange footwear with the word Nike emblazoned on them.

Thus begins the first novel in an alternative sci-fi history trilogy. The story is intriguing and interesting, but I will admit to two rather annoying aspects. The first is the focus on slavery as the primary reason for the War Between the States. Every character, it seems, makes this reference. I admit, I am married to a Southerner, but even so, I've had an interest in the war for years and was very surprised that neither Robert E Lee or Lincoln himself mentions the issue of States' Rights.

It's fiction, I know. But if you want to create a dramatic impact, keep the history as accurate as possible.... right?

The second annoyance was the main characters tendency to talk to himself to explain other people's actions. This quickly becomes a crutch, in my opinion, having the character (a history professor) constantly comparing historical figure's responses and actions to his knowledge from previous research in his own time. *Show* don't tell....

That said, there's a good chance I'll pick up the second installment just to see how things turn out and the author resolves the paradox of changing history...

Note: This Advanced Copy was supplied to me by the publisher, but I have received no other recompense for my review. As such, this is my honest opinion and has in no way been influenced by the method of acquistion.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Throwback Thursday Giveaway!

It's been a busy week, so I don't have a review prepared. Instead, I am giving away one gently used copy of The Touch of Fire. I reviewed it last week. Just leave a comment below with an email address. Tell me about your favorite Throwback Thursday book. I'm always looking for new (older) books to read! I'll randomly pick a winner then notify the winner Friday by the email left with the comment.


Monday, February 14, 2011

No Cure for the Broken Hearted

Author: Kenneth Rosenberg
Self Published

Katherine Spencer is an up-and-coming architect in New York City. Her professional life is on the fast-track. Her personal life is a shambles. Katherine compares every man she ever meets to Nick Bancroft, the billionaire’s son who broke her heart one summer long ago. Now, twelve years later he’s suddenly reappeared, asking her to design a house at the cove where they shared their first kiss. Is he looking for an architect, or something more? And should she forgive him?

No Cure for the Broken Hearted is the debut novel by Mr. Rosenberg. I enjoyed the book. Katherine is a strong woman whose one weakness is her first love that she has never gotten over. The heart break she ezperienced has largely shaped how she hadnled her adult relattionships with men. The book is written largely from her perspective, so I felt I got to know her very well. I enjoyed the flashback scenes that explored how Katherine and Nick first met. The author did a nice job of capturing the feelings that first love brings about. The one thing that I wish the book had more of was Nick's point of view. I think it would have rounded out the story nicely and I would probably have believed the mature relationship between the 2 characters more. Aside from that, it was an enjoyable read. This author has a bright future and I look forward to his future works.


* note: I read an e-reader review copy of No Cure for the Broken Hearted supplied courtesy of the author. I was not compensated in anyway for this review. By receiving a complimentary copy, I am in no way obligated to write a good or bad review. I am an honest reviewer and my reviews are based on my own opinion and only written by me.*

Friday, February 11, 2011

In Too Deep

Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Publisher: Putnam

Jayne Ann Krentz follows up her highly successful Dreamlight Trilogy- written in collaboration with her two alter egos, Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle-with a brand-new story arc that begins in a secluded coastal town in northern California.

Scargill Cove is the perfect place for Fallon Jones, confirmed recluse and investigator of the paranormal. It's a hot spot, a convergence point for unusually strong currents of energy, which might explain why the town attracts misfits and drifters like moths to a flame. Now someone else has been drawn to the Cove-Isabella Valdez, on the run from some very dangerous men.

When she starts work as Fallon's assistant, Isabella impresses him by organizing his pathologically chaotic office-and doesn't bat an eye at the psychic aspect of his job. She's a kindred spirit, a sanctuary from a world that considers his talents a form of madness. But after a routine case unearths an antique clock infused with dark energy, Fallon and Isabella are dragged into the secret history of Scargill Cove and forced to fight for their lives, as they unravel a cutthroat conspiracy with roots in the Jones family business . . . and Isabella's family tree.

I enjoyed JAK's latest featuring the Arcane Society. I have always like Fallon Jones and I was looking forward to his story. Isabella is a good match for Fallon. She is the one person who can understand him and the way he works. I liked their relationship and found it believable. I was a bit disappointed in the love scenes though. I know JAK can write better love scenes; these were kind of boring. In Too Deep had less of the psi stuff that her books usually have. It felt like it was largely used as a set up for the other novels in the Trilogy and future Arcane novels while they fight against Nightshade. One thing I found pretty cool was her use of a character from her Eclipse Bay novels. I like when authors do that. There was a nice twist at the end that I didn't see coming. If you have been reading this series from the beginning, pick this one up. It is a pretty quick read and entertaining.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Throwback Thursday - The Touch of Fire

Author: Linda Howard
First published in 1992 by Pocket Books

Rafe McCay has a bullet in his side and a bounty hunter on his tail. Since there are few doctors in the Arizona Territory, he takes what he can get...literally. Pointing a gun at Dr. Annie Parker, he abducts her into the mountains so she can tend his wounds. In this dangerous wilderness world, Rafe awakens in Annie a woman's hungry desire, as Annie finds a man wounded in soul as well as body. Her healing touch brings him new hope, but the secrets of the past still pursue them. The exhilarating journey they must take together teaches both the true meaning of danger...and of enduring love.

One thing I can say about Linda Howard is that she knows how to write a love scene. The scenes in The Touch of Fire are very hot! Overall it isn't a bad story. It is easy to get over the fact that Rafe kidnaps Annie because Rafe is actually a likable character. You can tell that he comes to care about her very early in their association. I had a harder time liking Annie. She is a 29YO female doctor who has seen so much in her life, yet she is so prudish and shy in the beginning. I had a hard time buying that scenario. However, I was rooting for them in the end and believed their HEA. If you skipped this earlier Linda Howard, give it a shot. I listened to the audio version of the book. Natalie Ross is one of my favorite narrators. She always does a great job.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Invasion: A CHAOS Novel

Author: J.S. Lewis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

When a drunk driver kills Colt McAllister’s parents, his life is turned upside down… and he had no idea that was only the beginning. Before his journalist mother died, she was about to expose a mind control program run by Trident Industries, one of the world’s largest conglomerates. When an informant inside the company tells Colt that his parents were actually murdered, Colt becomes a target as well.

With nowhere to go, he’s forced to move in with his grandpa in Arizona. Bizarre things start to happen when Trident Industries awakens sleeper cell assassins who don’t realize they’re being used to commit murder. It’s impossible for Colt to know friend from foe.

Then Colt learns that Trident is a front for a group that wants to open a gateway to a world filled with shape-shifting aliens who want to wipe out humanity so they can colonize Earth. With the aid of his friends and a secret organization called CHAOS, Colt joins the fight to save mankind.

I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book that I have read by Mr. Lewis. I may have to seek out some of his earlier works. He does a great job at sucking you right into the story. The characters are strong and likeable. It is filled with action. Since this is a first in a series, a large part of the book sets the background for the sequels that will follow. I liked how the author brought in some World War II mythology into the book. My only regret is that is ended too soon. I wanted more! I look forward to Colt's further advenures. This is a great novel for YA readers.


* note: I read an Advanced Reader’s copy of Invasion supplied courtesy of Thomas Nelson. I was not approached or compensated in anyway for this review. By receiving a complimentary copy, I am in no way obligated to write a good or bad review. I am an honest reviewer and my reviews are based on my own opinion and only written by me.*

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Heartbeat Away

published by:  St. Martin's Press
publish date:  February 15, 2011

The New York Times bestselling author and master of suspense delivers another novel at the crossroads of politics and medicine in this shocker of a thriller.

On the night of the State of the Union address, President Max Hilliard expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself “Genesis” has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development—a team headed by Hilliard, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Hilliard offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.

Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol—every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the “Designated Survivor” for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments…and time is running out.

First off, I'm really sorry I've been so absent lately.  Work is CRAZY!!

On to this was very good.  If you've read Michael Palmer in the past and liked him, you'll enjoy this book.  This was a great medical thriller wrapped in a suspenseful political thriller. 

This book had all the things you want in a good action story;  lots of twists and turns, the unlikely hero, the beautiful love interest, and the diabolical bad guys.  The progression of events seemed fairly realistic to me.  How the virus got into the Capitol building wasn't too terribly far fetched.  I could definitely see this being made into a Hot Zone.

My only issue was with the end.  I wasn't really impressed with who Genesis was.  I guess I was expecting something else, like Dr. Evil maybe.

As a little side note, I had first started reading this book right before the real State of the Union Address.  It was kinda creepy.  I kept waiting for something to happen.  Cue Twilight Zone music...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Throwback Thursday - The Old Girl Network

Author: Catherine Alliott
First published in 1994 by Headline Book Publishing

Polly McLaren has a gorgeous yet elusive boyfriend. But when a handsome stranger on a train recognises her school scarf, her life changes forever...This American Romeo begs her to help him find his Juliet and Polly agrees. However, everyone and everything soon becomes entangled as the old-girl network turns into a spider's web of complications.

Even though this book was published in 1994, it just became available for download on my library's audio book site. Polly is young, often naive and not overly confident character. In all, she is just a young woman looking for love and acceptance. She stinks at her job, her love life is a mess and she parties a bit too much. She has a habit of telling little lies to get herself out of situations. The problem is that she can't just tell the one lie. She must keep embellishing. This gets her into some very amusing situations. I admit that I laughed out loud more than a few times. The narrator did a wonderful job. I was reminded of Bridget Jones Diary while I was listening to this. If you liked BJD, you'll want to give this one a try.