Sunday, June 01, 2008

New Additions to the TBR pile in May

Once again, I have taken in quite a few more books this month than I've actually read and space is, as always, an issue. Doesn't seem to slow me down though...

The Queen Gene by Jennifer Coburn


You are so lucky to have a mother like Anjoli." That's what all my friends say. But really, my friends weren't there when I was eight and my theatre-savvy, drama queen of a mother said she didn't want to take me to the Central Park Zoo because the animals didn't put on a good show. My mother is like a vapor: when she enters a room, she occupies every bit of space. Don't get me wrong --- I adore my mom ... from a distance. It's just, well, what can you say about a woman who takes her teacup Chihuahua to every new age healer in Manhattan, who has a living beauty will so her eyebrows will still look great if she's in a coma, and who tells my cousin Kimmy that the sperm bank has too many rules and suggests a new lipstick and a train ride to Princeton instead?

To top it off, she calls me ten times a day to say, “Darling, I’m in crisis!” What, like I’m not? In addition to mothering my mother, I’m also trying to keep my marriage hot with a two year old underfoot … babysitting the artists in residence of my Berkshires artists’ colony, which seems to be the Bermuda Triangle of creativity but a breeding ground for seriously insane … resisting an attraction to a man so sexy he could give your eyeballs an orgasm … and trying to rid my 100 year old home of mischievous ghosts. Yeah, sort of got my hands full. The way I see it, I’ve got two choices: go completely mad, or start living my own life on my own terms, starting with my mother. I’m just not sure which option is crazier…

Wouldn't Miss It For The World by Tara McCarthy

A striking exploration of dubious pursuits like destination weddings, book clubs, and rock 'n' roll, Wouldn't Miss It for the World is a spirited and surprising new novel from Tara McCarthy, the author of Love Will Tear Us Apart.

The cast of characters that Tara McCarthy sends down to the tiny Central American country of Belize for a destination wedding are in for a few surprises. There's mother-of-the-bride Alice, a widow, who is about to come face-to-face with an impressive array of Belizean creatures from toucans to intriguing ex-pats. There's Abby, who would rather be back home at Chelsea Lambert's Sweet Sixteen but isn't entirely displeased with the effect her new black bikini has on some of the wedding guests. And there's Dan, an old friend of the groom, who has decided it's time to declare his love for the bride -- until complications with his girlfriend arise. As their story unfolds against a backdrop of Mayan temples, butterfly farms, and coral reefs, we learn, too, about the bride and the groom. June and Cash are members of the Starter House, an up-and-coming rock band that is certain to either break through or break up -- and this will be the week that decides it.

Speechless by Sandy Rideout & Yvonne Collins

A story about waxing, wedding bouquets and the power of the written word...

What happens when a political wordsmith finds herself at a loss for words?

Libby McIssac is known for two things: catching bridal bouquets (her record's an even dozen) and having a way with words. Since the former isn't really something that looks good on a resume, it's a good thing she's been able to parlay the latter into a new career as a political speechwriter. But just as she's being careful to dot her i's, cross her t's and make her boss look like she knows something about . . . well, anything, Libby's world is turned upside down.

Libby just wants to write the speeches that'll make the whole world sing, or at least ones that will get her boss to remember her name correctly and stop using Libby as her coatrack at flashy events. But in Clarice Cleary's office there's only one belle of the ball, and it's the one reading the speeches -- not writing them. Enter a handsome British consultant -- a bit on the cagey side, perhaps -- who upsets the delicate chain of command around the office and somehow always gets what he wants, including Libby?

When a media leak of a big-time scandal sends everyone into a tailspin, Libby fears she may get caught in the cross fire. Cue the fake alliances, the secrets, the sex, the subterfuge, the hidden friendships: it's all there.

Welcome to the world of politics, where perception is everything, nothing is as it seems and the last thing you want is to be left speechless.

Spells & Sleeping Bags by Sarah Mlynowski

At long last, Rachel's powers have arrived and she's a bona fide get-your-broom-ready witch! And it's happened just in time. No Manhattan for her this summer—she's spending her vacation at Camp Wood Lake with her little sister Miri, and her big crush, Raf. But bug juice, sailing lessons, and moonlit walks under the gorgeous July stars will to wait ... she's having some serious issues:

Mosquitoes in the Adirondacks are incredibly thirsty.

Her stepmom keeps sending embarrassing feminine hygiene care packages.

She accidentally zapped away all her clothes (her spells are a wee bit out of control).

And there's a backstabber in her cabin intent on making life miserable.

Good thing Rachel's a witch.

Wonderboy by Fiona Gibson

Ghastly new home.

Potentially adulterous husband . . .

Not quite the fresh start in the country she was promised.

A fixer-upper in the sticks was the last place city girl Ro Skews expected to live. But her husband, Marcus, wants it -- and all the arguments are on his side, namely a better life for Tod, their wonderboy, who has developed social problems in London. Of course, the five-year-old has never been the most . . . conventional child.

While Ro (grudgingly) makes a life for herself in stuffy Chetsley (if you can count reaping the whirlwind of floor sanding and playing Suburban Lawn Warfare with her sexy neighbor as a life), Marcus starts spending more nights in the city with his cell phone switched off. And Tod, whose fascination with mazes seems to have blossomed into a full-blown obsession, treads the worrying line between eccentric and problematic.

Ro searches for the right path in a few mazes of her own -- her marriage, motherhood, country customs -- but when she unearths a shattering secret, more than one truth is revealed and Ro is left wondering: Is the country any place to raise a family?

These Boots Were Made For Stomping by Julie Kenner, Jade Lee, & Marianne Mancusi

...and romping and kick-starting your life.


Whether facing the forces of evil or simply battling a bad hair day, fantastic footwear is key.

Yes, there are the right shoes for the right situation, and not every moment calls for Manolos. Sometimes a woman's gotta be fierce as well as feminine, fiery as well as fragile. And when the legwork required is a roundhouse, when a girl's mantra has to become "I am woman, hear me roar," those are the times it's good to know there's magic in the world...because in super-powered pumps, the shrinking-est Violet or the nervous-est Nellie can do anything. Every step in magic shoes is sure to be a big one.

After a single trip to, our heroines are safe. Their hearts are not.

The Art Of French Kissing by Kristin Harmel

How do you say, 'So many men, so little time,' in French?

Well, Emma Sullivan can always figure that out later. The point is -- she's in Paris! Which would be great, except that she's stuck doing public relations for one of the hottest -- and craziest -- rock stars on the planet. Making things worse is Gabriel Francoeur, the sexy and stubborn reporter who refuses to believe her when she tells him that her client was just playing Go Fish in that hotel room with all those scantily-clad girls....

But Emma will always have Paris. The City of Light, of romance, of high fashion and of unfathomable varieties of cheese. If a girl can't reinvent herself here, there's no hope! It's time to leave the old Emma Sullivan behind and become someone courageous, exciting, successful. The type of girl who, when faced with a reporter who won't stop asking questions, knows just what to do. After all, they don't call it French kissing for nothing!

The Blonde Theory by Kristin Harmel

Do gentlemen really prefer blondes?

Harper is the youngest attorney in her firm to make partner and, at thirty-five, the oldest one to remain unmarried. It seems the more successful she gets, the faster men run for the door. What to do? Apply her very expensive law school education to the problem, of course!

PRECEPT #1: Harper is blonde. Harper is smart. Harper is successful. Harper is not having fun. Therefore, it’s not really true that blondes have more fun, because right now she’s really being kinda cranky.

PRECEPT #2: If Harper were … say … an NBA dancer instead of a partner at a prestigious New York firm, would she be on a date right now? Survey says: Yes!

PRECEPT #3: There is only one way to prove Precepts #1 and #2: Send Harper out into the world acting a lot dumber than she is. Luckily, she comes by the blonde naturally. Thank you, Universe, for your assistance in this matter.

PRECEPT #4: Harper has just informed us that we are misusing the word “precept.” Which means we have a lot of work to do…

The Matzo Ball Heiress by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Q: How does Heather Greenblotz, the thirty-one-year-old heiress to the world's leading matzo company celebrate Passover?

A: Alone. In her Manhattan apartment. With an extremely unkosher ham-and-cheese panini.

But this year will be different. The Food Channel has asked to film the famous Greenblotz Matzo family's seder, and the publicity op is too good to, ahem, pass over. Heather is being courted by the handsome director and the subtly sexy cameraman, and she's got family coming out of her ears. It's enough to make a formerly dateless heiress feel like a princess.

Here's hoping that no one will discover that a Greenblotz family seder is about as real as the Easter bunny.

After she casts an ancient shopkeeper as Grandma and coaxes her bisexual father to make an appearance, Heather thinks she's pulled it off. Until her mother stages an unexpected walk-on. As the live broadcast threatens to become a Greenblotz family expose, Heather must dig deep to find faith in love, family and, most of all, herself.

High Stakes by Erin McCarthy

When you sleep with a vampire in Vegas, it stays in Vegas.

From the national bestselling author of Heiress For Hire comes a vampire-meets-girl story about lust and love in the city that never sleeps --- except during daylight: Las Vegas...

He's a bloodsucking freak of nature. But, unlike other politicians, Ethan Carrick is actually a nice guy. Not to mention a very hot, wealthy, casino-owning vampire. It's an election year for vampires, which means he'll first have to escape his opponent's hit men. Then he'll have to find a suitable First Lady, preferably here in Vegas.

Brittany Baldizzi fits the bill. She's smart, pretty- and sweeter than a glass of diabetic O-Negative. But her protective sister Alexis steps in with a message for Ethan: Bite me. It's then that he realizes it's the sexy, no-nonsense Alexis who raises his stake. And as much as she denies it, Alexis wouldn't mind a romp in the coffin with him. But can a mere mortal, even one who risks her life for him, make a centuries-old, womanizing vampire feel something entirely new?

Just Friends by Robyn Sisman

Thirtysomethings Freya and Jack have been “just friends” for more than ten years. Of course, they’ve had their differences. Freya doesn’t approve of Jack’s taste for student teeny-boppers from Planet Bubblegum, and Jack has problems with Freya’s utter scorn for human frailty–especially his own.

So when Freya, dumped by her lawyer boyfriend, moves temporarily into Jack’s apartment, tensions simmer. They reach a boiling point when Jack agrees to act as Freya’s Significant Other at her step-sister’s society wedding. Now, old friends, best friends, just friends, are fighting like cats and dogs.

Bestselling author Robyn Sisman has written a sexy, hilarious novel about that eternal struggle to find “the one”–the one for now and the one forever!

No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong

Jaime, who knows a thing or two about showbiz, is on a television shoot in Los Angeles when weird things start to happen. As a woman whose special talent is raising the dead, her threshold for weirdness is pretty high: she's used to not only seeing dead people but hearing them speak to her in very emphatic terms. But for the first time in her life - as invisible hands brush her skin, unintelligible fragments of words are whispered into her ears, and beings move just at the corner of her eye - she knows what humans mean when they talk about being haunted.

She is determined to get to the bottom of these manifestations, but as she sets out to solve the mystery she has no idea how scary her investigation will get, or to what depths ordinary humans will sink in their attempts to gain supernatural powers. As she digs into the dark underside of Los Angeles, she'll need as much Otherworld help as she can get in order to survive, calling on her personal angel, Eve, and Hope, the well-meaning chaos demon. Jeremy, the alpha werewolf, is also by her side offering protection. And, Jaime hopes, maybe a little more than that.

Real Women Eat Beef by Tracy McArdle

New and improved -- now with added goats!

Welcome to advertising executive Jill Campbell's life, version 2.0. Gone are the cheating ex-husband and the chaos of New York. Brand-new features include a prestigious job at a Boston ad agency, a stronger father-daughter relationship, and a gorgeous old farmhouse. It's bliss -- until a snazzy car account evaporates, leaving her branding...beef. Un-snazzy, un-sexy beef -- which she hasn't eaten in twenty years. Talk about false advertising. Owning a two-hundred-year-old house in a one-store hamlet is not the nirvana Jill imagined, even with the addition of a dog, two needy goats, and unexpected encounters with the town's most eligible -- and probably only -- bachelor.

Peace of mind sold separately.

Wondering how she sold herself on this new existence, Jill forms an unlikely bond with Sarah Watson, a feisty twelve-year-old with an aversion to training bras, makeup, and all the trappings that supposedly make sixth grade worthwhile. While Sarah teaches Jill the basics of home maintenance and animal husbandry, Jill helps Sarah deal with impending womanhood. And as men start to complicate matters, every idea Jill ever had about love and advertising gets turned on its head. Suddenly, her life looks nothing like the picture on the box, but it could turn out to be exactly what she didn't know she needed.

Special Relationship by Robyn Sisman

A razor-sharp romance from the author of Weekend in Paris and Summer in the City

Renowned London literary agent Annie Hamilton never forgot Jordan Hope. And now he's back. As the saxophone-playing United States presidential hopeful, Jordan is a constant reminder to Annie of their whirlwind love affair during the heady days of Oxford in the 1960s—and of the secret she's kept ever since.

Comfortably married with three wonderful children, Annie thinks her life is complete. But her son Tom, now twenty-one years old, discovers Annie's secret—and his own shocking connection to it. In tumult, Tom flees to Manhattan to try to unravel the past and confront the man who might be his father, with no regard for Jordan's delicate political situation. Desperate to explain, Annie races after Tom…and straight into the arms of the man she thought she'd never see again.

All Soul's Night by Jennifer Armintrout
I have reached my breaking point. And now I will not, cannot be stopped. With the Soul Eater on the verge of god status, it's time for me to take a final stand, even if it means losing everything I love. Even if it means losing my life.
I've got plenty of power on my side, and some I didn't know I could count on in the first place. But it's nothing compared to the army of the undead the Soul Eater is building up. And time is running out.
They say that good always triumphs over evil. I hope that's true. Because the odds aren't in our favor, and the fate of the world is in our hands.
Confessions Of A Nervous Shiksa by Tracy McArdle

Lights! Camera! Ultimatum!
When movie studio publicity V.P. Alexis Manning's fiancé -- Jewish bartender/actor David a.k.a. Deke -- goes home with her for a holly jolly Christmas in Vermont with her family, there's a chill in the air and it ain't just the weather. Overwhelmed by the Christianity of it all, David confesses that he can't marry Alexis unless she converts to Judaism. Alexis might not know exactly what she wants to do with her life...but she knows she doesn't want to spend it pretending to be something she's not. Alexis believes in only one religion -- movies. So with her well-scripted romance on the cutting-room floor, she begins replaying favorite film scenes in her head and breaking down her own life into dramatic clips, searching for the right ending. If only she were Julia, or Demi, or Meryl, things would be different.

Get me rewrite!
Is Kirk, the hot new director of her latest project, meant to be Alexis's leading man? Or are she and David headed for a dramatic act-three reunion? And what of Andrew Sullivan -- the proverbial One That Got Away? Between film festival dramas, uncontrollable actors, egotistical directors, a heartbroken sister, an ailing, peculiar cat named Little (and her accompanying astronomical vet bills), and fantasies about simpler times back in New England, it's all Alexis can do to keep production on schedule. But surely there's a happily ever after for her -- and hopefully for Little, too -- before credits roll.
Demon Envy by Erin Lynn
Being a teenager can be hell-especially when you're friends with someone who was born there.
Kenzie Sutcliffe woke up to another normal morning-until a demon popped up in her shower. While trying to get rid of a monster zit, she dropped her acne lotion in the tub. And when fifty bucks' worth of it swirled down the drain, it freed a demon from his prison portal. A mysteriously geeky-looking demon.
So now Kenzie is saddled with a creature who looks and acts like every other guy she knows-that is, annoying. At least Levi has a job-if you can call it that. He has to stir up envy and jealousy in humans, or he starves. All he's tempting Kenzie to do is to crawl back into her bedroom and hide there forever. Because no one is going to be coveting her life after this.
Don't Even Think About It by Lauren Henderson

Three's company....
Best chums Sally, Jude, and Michael are living the single life in cool flats a mere stone's throw apart in London. But the girls find the sitcom life they love taking an unexpected twist when Michael's new girlfriend, Katie, moves in with him. Michael's a notorious womanizer -- he broke it off with Sally years ago -- and the girls have gotten used to his endless parade of brunettes. Sally acts like she's over Michael; Jude prides herself on knowing better; and they're both sure Katie's not going to last.

Four's a crowd.
Katie's not particularly thrilled that Michael's ex and her best friend live right across the street, but she makes the best of it. After all, things with Michael are going brilliantly, and he seems determined to commit to their future. But when another brunette from Michael's past arrives from Paris and Katie begins to fear that she's just another notch on Michael's bedpost, the girls realize that they're all just playing parts in Michael's drama. So what will his reaction be when they try to break free? Don't even think about it!
Fendi, Ferragamo & Fangs by by Julie Kenner, Johanna Edwards, Serena Robar
The nights belong to the new girls in town.
I have an I.Q. over 170, so my flat stomach was a bonus. Then I won a modeling contest and hooked up with Vamp Modeling, Inc. Unfortunately, my boyfriend doesn’t know exactly how I’ve changed since becoming a … model.
I’m your average teenage girl --- give or take thirty pounds. And I love every inch of me. So does Vamp Modeling, Inc. They just turned me into their plus-size model, among other things. But this all-blood diet can really get in the way of romance.
Even after I won that beauty contest, I never got rid of my party behavior. Hey, it’s made me a hit on the runway --- and in the tabloids. A celebrated mystery girl. They don’t know the half of it. There’s a perfectly good reason that nights are my thing.

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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)