Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Love's Labyrinth by Anne Kelleher

Love's Labyrinth by Anne Kelleher

My Rating: 8 *'s

Description: When two best friends enter the labyrinth at Talcott Forest, they think it will be fun to pretend to be Elizabethan ladies. But when they finally leave the maze, they have traveled farther than they could ever have imagined -- 400 years into the past.

ENGLAND 1999: When best friends Olivia Lindsley and Alison O'Neill put on sixteenth-century dresses and entered the labyrinth at Talcott Forest, they thought it would be fun to make believe they were Elizabethan ladies. But when they finally left the maze, they had traveled farther than they could ever imagine.

ENGLAND 1586: Before them stood Geoffrey Talcott, amateur scientist and younger brother of Lord Nicholas Talcott. Though he played the part to perfection, both women knew time travel was impossible -- until they met Queen Elizabeth herself! Lord Nicholas managed to pass them off as cousins from the north, but their weird ways soon raised suspicions of witchcraft. Now, with Geoffrey's help, Olivia and Alison will search for a way back to their own century, lest they lose themselves to the past, and lose their hearts ot the dashing brothers Talcott.

My Thoughts: To be quite honest, I had deep reservations about whether I would enjoy this book. My reading tastes have undergone some drastic changes over the years and I wasn't sure I would enjoy this time period. Fortunately, I've been proven wrong. This isn't the typical time travel I've been used to reading. Some of the surprises that await Olivia and Allison in 1586, including meeting Will Shakespeare and meeting people who aren't that different from them are just a few events that made this story quite interesting. Adding to the story some of the scientific theory of time travel and court intrigue and international espionage reinforced to me how dangerous and precarious life really can be living in that time period.

I really liked the characters and enjoyed watching how differently Olivia and Allison react to the change in their time period. I also enjoyed watching how Nicholas and Geoffrey react to their arrival and the ease of their acceptance of their visitors, though Nicholas wasn't thrilled at all. It reminded me how superstitious people of this time period were and the smallest action or perceived behavior could result in a charge of treason or witchcraft, which almost always resulted in death.

I especially enjoyed the ending as it brought a different twist to the time travel genre for me. I will definitely be on the lookout for more titles by this author.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Imitation In Death by J.D. Robb

Imitation In Death by J.D. Robb

My Rating: 10 *'s

Description: Summer 2059. A man wearing a cape and a top hat approaches a prostitute on a dark New York City street. Minutes later, the woman is dead. Left at the scene is a letter addressed to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, inviting her to play his game and unveil his identity. He signs it "Jack."

Now Eve is in pursuit of a murderer who knows as much about the history of serial killers as she does. He has studied the most notorious and the most vicious slayings in modern time. But he also wants to make his own mark. He has chosen his victim: Eve Dallas. And all Eve knows is that he plans to mimic the most infamous murderers of all --- starting with Jack the Ripper.

My Thoughts: Great installment! I love this series! I love how the characters are developing out and growing. Several moments had me laughing and there were a few that made me teary eyed too. The story kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. I enjoy how the author weaves an intricate plot that holds the reader's interest while using characters that are thoroughly entertaining.

I can't wait for each book just to see how Somerset and Eve annoy one another. Another great feature of this series is that the secondary characters are so well written that they become integral to the reader's enjoyment of the story. Peabody and McNabb; Mavis and Leonardo; Feeney and Truheart; and of course Somerset and even Galahad.

I hope this series never ends as I would feel like I would be losing contact with family and close friends.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Hoboken Hipster In Sherwood Forest by Marianne Mancusi

A Hoboken Hipster In Sherwood Forest by Marianne Mancusi

My Rating: 5*'s

Description: If Chrissie Hayward knew that morning she'd be going back in time to rescue her crazy coworker Kat, she'd have worn better shoes. Doubly so if she'd expected to meet her true love. According to the mysterious gypsy, Chrissie was the "gentle soul who would tame an outlaw's thirst for revenge" -- aka the real Robin Hood. So how come the guy was such a dud?


No, Robin of Locksley was no Prince Charming. And the part about robbing the rich to feed the poor? He didn't get the memo. In fact, all the guy seemed to do was mope. (And he and his not-so-merry men thought Chrissie was a boy. Sure, she wasn't stacked, but still!) Nonetheless, he was loyal and brave and handsome as sin. If Chrissie coudl just get him with the program, she could right his wagon and get these boyz'n the wood to be heroes of the realm instead of twerps in tights. Only then could this prince of thieves become king of her heart.

My Thoughts: Lots of funny moments made this book entertaining but also quite campy at times. Quite a different spin on the Robin Hood legend I remember with quite a few surprises. I found it difficult at times to suspend disbelief at the ease with which Chrissie is accepted in the past, especially with her 21st century vernacular.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Quickie by James Patterson

The Quickie by James Patterson

My Rating: 8*'s

Description: A STOLEN KISS

When she sees her husband with another woman, Lauren Stillwell's heart nearly stops beating. Her marriage was perfect, she has a great job, she loves her life. But his betrayal turns her into someone she never imagined she could be–a woman lusting for revenge.


Determined to even the score, Lauren seeks to have her own affair. It was supposed to be a quickie, but Lauren's night of passion takes a shocking turn when she witnesses an unexpected, unbelievable, and deadly crime. Now her horrifying secret threatens to tear her life apart, pitting her need to uncover the truth against her fear that the truth may be too horrible to bear. And whichever choice she makes may cost her dearly—her job, her marriage…or even her life.


My Thoughts: I can always, ALWAYS count on James Patterson to rip the rug out from under my feet when I read one of his books. Even the ones I didn't really care for. With The Quickie, Patterson weaves a tale of betrayal and murder so tightly knit and intricate, the reader is left shocked and flabbergasted at the end. This book is definitely one of those that delivers an ending you never saw coming. Lauren Stillwell is a character any woman who has had an affair or a spouse suspected of having an affair can relate to. On the outside, she is a tough, hard as nails, take no prisoners, NYPD homicide detective. On the inside, she is a woman grieving over her inability to conceive and struggling with coming to terms with what her husband, Paul, is up to when she witnesses him entering a hotel with another woman. Unfortunately, she doesn't make wise choices and in a moment of poor judgment decides to have an affair out of revenge. Her spontaneous choice leads to disaster for Lauren at home and at work. I enjoyed how the story unfolds layer upon layer of bad luck with every decision or action Lauren makes. Just when you think you have figured it out, off comes another layer and once again you are blindsided by the result.

I enjoyed the complexity of the characters. Throughout the story, I found it difficult to decide whose side to be on as the lines delineating the heroes from the villains was not clear. This story may not be for everyone as Lauren does hold the blame for the mess she finds herself in, but many readers should enjoy the creative and interesting way she resolves it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Deja Demon: The Days and Nights of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner

Deja Demon: The Days And Nights Of A Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner

My Rating: 10*'s

Description: Between attending gala fundraisers for her husband’s political campaign, training her teenage daughter to wield a crossbow and a stiletto, pottytraining a toddler, and her increasingly complicated personal life, Kate Connor hardly has time to prepare for the impending chaos of a neighborhood Easter party that has her enslaved to dying hundreds of hard-boiled eggs.

Keeping the local kiddos in line will take all of Kate’s skills as a mother and demon hunter, just when she’ll need them the most. The High Demon Goramesh has returned to San Diablo—this time with a full-blown army of the undead and a powerful demonic ally. Once again, it’s up to Kate to save the world. Good thing she can multi-task...

My Thoughts: Another fantastic installment of the Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom! I am loving this series. Kate Connor is the type of character that amazes me on all levels. Managing home, hearth and family is a tough job on its own for some people, but throw in some serious demon ass kicking and you would need a miracle.

Julie Kenner's imagination to bring this story to life is proof of her immense talent. Each story in this series is better than the last and makes me want more. I'm on the edge of my seat with wondering what will happen next? How will Kate's husband react when he finds out the truth? Is Kate's daughter destined to be a demon hunter? Will Eddie get a date? Will the demon hiding in Kate's pantry cause her to burn dinner?

This is a series not to miss. Lots of humor and action keep the stories moving at a rapid pace with characters that you can care about and root for.

Monday, February 02, 2009

New Additions To The TBR Pile In January

Lots of new additions to make room for last month. ... The good news is there are a few I either am reading now or did manage to read right away. The bad news is I will have to take up residence in my car soon as there will be no room in my flat for me.

You've Been Warned by James Patterson


Kristin Burns has lived her life by the philosophy "Don't think, just shoot" – pictures, that is. Struggling to make ends meet, she works full-time as the nanny for the fabulously wealthy Turnbull family, looking after their two wonderful children and waiting for her glamorous life as a New York photographer to begin. When her photographs are considered by an elite Manhattan art gallery, it seems she might finally get the chance that will start her career.


But Kristin has a major distraction: forbidden love. The man of her dreams is almost hers for keeps. Breathless with an inexhaustible passion and the excitement of being within reach of her goals, Kristen ignores all signs of catastrophe brewing.


Fear exists for a reason. And Kristin can only dismiss the warnings for so long. Searching desperately for the truth through the lens of her camera, she can only hope that it's not too late.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead


Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires --- the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking Academy hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's --- inside the Academy's iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals, and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the tempation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...

Undead And Unworthy by MaryJanice Davidson

Description: Betsy Taylor thought entering the world of the undead was a big adjustment. Being a new bride isn't much easier. The blush has only been on for two months, and Betsy has a lot to do: set up the new house, finish writing thank-you notes, and raise BabyJon, her half brother and legal ward. Just another happy American family adjusting to marital bliss.

Betsy's husband, Sinclair, has been perusing the Book of the Dead, and Betsy's visited by a ghost who's even more insufferable, stubborn and annoying in death than she was in life. She not only blames Betsy for her condition but insists she fix it. It's all just a prelude to the fun and games awaiting Betsy and Sinclair when a pack of formerly feral vampires, hungry for blood and power, pays a visit to the happy couple.


The Last Of The Honky-Tonk Angels by Marsha Moyer

Description: From Marsha Moyer, the critically acclaimed author of The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch, comes a second novel as rich in atmosphere and heart, as brimming full of colorful, unforgettable small-town characters and incidents as her notable debut.

On a lazy June morning in Mooney -- a wooded patch of sparsely populated northeast Texas -- a shiny red Chrysler sedan pulls up to the home of Lucy Hatch and her live-in beau Ash Farrell, depositing a teenage girl on their doorstep before speeding away. For Ash, town carpenter and musician, the unheralded arrival of his daughter, Denise -- whom he hasn't seen in nearly eight years -- is a major life-altering shock. It's a surprise for Lucy as well, since she's had little reason till now to recall the fourteen-year-old's existence. And the unanticipated intrusion is certain to further complicate Lucy's increasingly complex relationship with Ash, now that she has discovered she is pregnant with his child.

Angry, rebellious, and uncertain -- having been unceremoniously dumped by her mother on the father she barely knows and the stranger who now shares his life -- Denny must somehow find a place where she belongs in a town far tinier than any that hasimprisoned her before. But it's not until she picks up Ash's guitar -- and hears the songs that were born in her father's heart -- that Denny and Ash are drawn closer together by the common bond of music. In its haunting strains and true emotions lies hope -- that Denny can finally settle down, that she and Lucy can build a real friendship, that all of them can become, at last, that most rare and precious thing: a family.

But anything that happens ina place as small as Mooney has repercussions for every one of its residents. And when an ugly incident divides the community -- raising specters of suspicion, hatred, and intolerance -- the members of the growing Farrell-Hatch household will be deeply affected as well.

From its rollicking dance halls to its tree-shaded front porches, the world Marsha Moyer creates in The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels draws us inexorably in and makes us feel right at home. A glorious novel of love, family, and forgiveness, it is at once funny and poignant, startling and uplifting, richly imbued with the author's luminous prose and a vitality that reminds us all of how good it is to be alive.

Suite 606 by J.D. Robb, et al

Description: J.D. ROBB plunges Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the violent aftermath of a ritualistic murder --- and into the mind of an alleged witness who can't remember a thing to save his life

Love endures for MARY BLAYNEY, who investigates the connection between a ghost, a magic coin, and a deception that has kept two lovers apart for years.

RUTH RYAN LANGAN brings a lost man out of a pounding storm and into the arms of a welcoming woman for a breathtaking twist of fate.

And MARY KAY MCCOMAS follows a mother and son lost in the threads of history an an impaired wizard who must return them to their own world to fulfill his own destiny --- in time.

Persuading Annie by Melissa Nathan

Description: After years as a sweet, good-natured pushover, Annie Markham has had to face up to three hard truths:

You've got to be tough to succeed in business and romance.
Sometimes your meddling loved ones are right about your worthless, no-good boyfriend being worthless and no good.
The only reliable thing about men is that they're totally unreliable.

Okay, she's been persuaded. So now, seven years after wisely and abruptly dumping the "love of her life," Jake Mead, things should be going better for Annie Markham, right?

Unfortunately, her life's going nowhere, her family's going mental, and the family business is heading straight down the tubes. Could it get worse? Of course! Jake's back, Annie's getting ready for bankruptcy, and no one's ready for Christmas ... let alone a happy New Year.

And no amount of persuasion will ever convince Annie that magic does happen and dreams do come true, not even at the stroke of midnight on December 31 at New York's Plaza Hotel ... will it?

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin

Description: I'm Jaz Parks. My boss in Vayl, born in Romania in 1744. Died there, too, at the hand of his vampire wife, Liliana. But that's ancient history. For the moment Vayl works for the CIA doing what he does best --- assassinating people. And I help. You could say I'm an assistant assassin. But then I'd have to kick your ass.

Vayl and I have to take out a Miami plastic surgeon with ties to terrorism. But the assignment gets complicated when it turns out he's in cahoots with a supernatural nasty powerful enough to bring America to her knees.

No Rest For The Wiccan by Madelyn Alt

Description: Maggie O'Neill loves her job at Enchantments as much as she loves being Indiana's newest witch. But when her family needs her, she's still willing to lend a hand --- even if she has to reach beyond the grave.

It's a long, hot summer in Stony Mill, and Maggie is busy watching TV reruns, minding the store, and figuring out her love life. Then, she reluctantly volunteers to care for her bedridden, oh-so-perfect sister, Mel. But Mel isn't the only focus of Maggie's attention. There are some strange spirits hanging about the area --- and it looks like a job for Maggie and the N.I.G.H.T.S. ghost-hunting team.

Even as she tries to deal with the long dead, Maggie must also cope with the recently deceased. When a friend of Mel's loses her husband to a dreadful fall, the police call it an accidental death. Maggie's not so sure, and sets her second sights on finding a first-degree murderer...

Murder With All The Trimmings (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper) by Elaine Viets

Description: For Josie, the appeal of the year-round Christmas shop is an enigma wrapped in tinsel. But when three such holiday houses pop up within two blocks of one another, she's assigned to rate them. Things start turning sour when Josie puts a store owned owned by her boyfriend's ex on her naughty list. And worse yet, shoppers are finding a strange --- perhaps deadly --- secret ingredient in a rival store's holiday cake. Now, desite the dire problems at her own hearth, Josie must get to the bottom of it all --- before someone else becomes a Christmas spirit.

Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter


For Taylor Young, life is very good. She has a handsome husband who loves her, three gorgeous children, a personally designed and decorated dream house. Suburbanite trendsetter and super mom, she reigns supreme over her perfect world. And as long as no one notices the fragile woman beneath her coiffed and polished image, things will stay that way.

Then a devastating secret bursts Taylor's fairy-tale bubble, suddenly making her a cul-de-sac pariah and stripping her of the role that defined her. Struggling to maintain her alpha image, Taylor finds help from the unlikeliest of people, her nonconformist nemesis, Marta Zinsser. But to become the woman her family truly needs, Taylor must first believe in the person she is hardest on --- herself.

Little Pink Slips by Sally Koslow

Description: Maggie Goldfarb, born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, was born to be a magazine editor. In pursuit of her dream, she moved to Manhattan and, with luck, persistence, and hard work, morphed into Magnolia Gold, the highly paid editor in chief of Lady. With a corner office, a designer wardrobe, and dozens of loyal employees, Magnolia has been hired to update the stately dowager of women’s magazines. She’s on her way to giving Lady a facelift when she is ignominiously replaced by Bebe Blake, a brash television personality who remakes Lady in her own, hilariously inappropriate image. With her ketchup-red hair, skintight clothes, and penchant for “boy toys,” Bebe is more out of control than a speeding limo. Maddeningly unpredictable, she confounds everyone at the newly christened Bebe with her personal vision of what a women’s magazine should be.

Shunted off to the darkest corners of executive purgatory – an overlooked back office that she shares with a cockroach or two – Magnolia seethes from the sidelines as Bebe turns her beloved, once profitable Lady into a sideshow. Then things go from bad to worse: Magnolia receives a pink slip. Brooding about her fall from grace, she fears that her career will never recover, but even she can’t predict how deeply satisfying her eventual triumph will be. And not just at work: amid the frenzy of backstabbing at the office, Magnolia finds Mr. Right in a city of Mr. Not Quites.

How To Be Cool by Johanna Edwards

Description: Kylie Chase always thought once she lost weight, life would be perfect. And for the past couple of years, that’s proven to be true. After shedding seventy-five pounds and reinventing herself as a savvy trendsetter, Kylie’s enjoyed amazing success. She’s even found a new career, working as a “cool instructor,” transforming the socially inept from geek to chic. Her classes on How to Be Cool are Chicago’s hottest ticket.

But despite her outward image, Kylie’s still uncomfortable in her skin --- and she’s still a dork at heart who knows more about board games than Balenciaga (she thought the latter was a tropical disease). Kylie would sooner die than let her clients know about her overweight, nerdy past.

But things start to unravel when Kylie’s apartment burns down and she’s forced to shack up with her parents. (No matter how you slice it, a twenty-nine-year-old living with Mom and Dad is definitely not cool.) Now her father’s enforcing house rules and her mom’s proving she’s way cooler than Kylie’s ever been. Making matters worse, there’s a journalist shadowing her every move. The last thing Kylie needs is someone snooping around and uncovering her dirty little secret … no matter how sexy he may be.

The stress is driving Kylie nuts --- and the weight she fought so hard to lose is starting to creep back on. But with the help of her best friend, Ruby, a confident plus-size model, Kylie’s starting to learn that appearances aren’t everything. And that morphing from an ugly duckling into the queen of cool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

Deja Demon: The Days And Nights Of A Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner

Description: Between attending gala fundraisers for her husband’s political campaign, training her teenage daughter to wield a crossbow and a stiletto, pottytraining a toddler, and her increasingly complicated personal life, Kate Connor hardly has time to prepare for the impending chaos of a neighborhood Easter party that has her enslaved to dying hundreds of hard-boiled eggs.

Keeping the local kiddos in line will take all of Kate’s skills as a mother and demon hunter, just when she’ll need them the most. The High Demon Goramesh has returned to San Diablo—this time with a full-blown army of the undead and a powerful demonic ally. Once again, it’s up to Kate to save the world. Good thing she can multi-task...

Blood Is The New Black by Valerie Stivers

Description: Fashion is a bloodsucking business. Literally.

When nice-girl Kate McGraw finds herself working at Tasty, a magazine with its finger on the pulse of modern style, she's finally able to put her flair for fashion to good use. But can she keep up with Tasty staffers? Ethereally beautiful and extremely emaciated, they stay out all night, never look the worse for wear, and are always dressed to kill.

Like everyone else around the office, Kate finds herself begrudgingly reading dispatches from a snarky industry blog that dubs her colleagues "bllodthirsty vamps." She knows they don't mean it literally, but ... she's heard whispers of "fashion murders" and she has noticed strange things around the office. Like, why doesn't her boss get laminates to fix her sharp teeth? Why are the blinds always drawn, and why is there a no-garlic policy in the cafeteria?

As well-dressed bodies begin to pile up near all the hot places, Kate has to wonder if there's a serial killer loose with a grudge against the stylish. Or if the truth is even more sinister: Are Kate's coworkers actually undead? And, if so, can she design an exit strategy before she finds herself at Tasty forever?

A Compromising Position by Carole Matthews

Description: A brilliant blend of bad boys, betrayal and bare-faced cheek...

Emily Miller has been betrayed. When her boyfriend posts compromising photos of her on the Internet, her life goes into sharp decline. Emily is about to lose everything --- including the man she thought she loved.

Her best friend, Cara, is determined to mend Emily's broken heart and she believes that a little magic is all that's required. But will Cara cast the right spell to get Emily out of her current position? Or will it go horribly wrong when they both fall in love with the same man?


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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)