Friday, February 18, 2011

REVIEW: Slightly Single by Wendy Markham

Title: Slightly Single (Slightly, #1)
Author: Wendy Markham
Publisher: Red Dress Ink
Publication Date: January, 2002
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 9/10

Description: For every girl who's ever endured a long, hot urban summer on her own, Slightly Single is the summer breeze you've been waiting for!

A heat wave in Manhattan is enough to drive a girl crazy, and for Tracey Spadolini, a 24-year old New York transplant who's been "left behind" for the summer, there's even more to sweat about. Her Slightly Significant Other, Will, will be returning from summer stock in September, to pick up where they left off. (Or will he?)

But, in the days after Will's departure, Tracey decides it's time for a reality check. Her un-air-conditioned East Village apartment is a dump, her entry-level ad job sucks, her thighs don't seem to be getting any thinner, and Will seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. So, Tracey, with the help of her friends and one very attentive guy, decides to spend her summer reinventing herself . . . and taking a chance on liking the new woman she becomes.

A refreshingly honest account of universal female dilemmas, Slightly Single is an engaging story of one young woman's search for happiness.

My Thoughts: Slightly Single by Wendy Markham is an example of why I love the Chick-Lit genre. My reading tastes vary far and wide but when I want a heroine who is intelligent, funny, witty, and manages to rise above whatever life throws at her, I turn to this genre. As with everything, there have been disappointments, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this treasure buried in my “to be read mountain”. Surprised, also, to see how long it has been languishing there.

Tracey is a very likeable character. She possesses many of the character traits I admire and wish more people had. She’s nice, loyal, and considerate. Unfortunately, none of these traits seem to get her anywhere. Her boyfriend decides to take off to upstate New York for summer stock and doesn’t seem inclined to want Tracey with him. Her boss is an overbearing jerk who expects her to run his personal errands. Lastly, Tracey is appalled at the image she sees looking back at her in the mirror.

Tracey doesn’t know how she is going to survive all summer by herself in New York City in a dumpy apartment while Will is away. She decides it is time to reinvent herself. She begins by deciding to lose the weight she has been carrying, start saving more money and begin reading the classic novels she hasn’t gotten around to. I liked that Tracey doesn’t wallow in pity and appears to think quickly on her feet.

Of course, not everything goes smoothly for Tracey. She has her moments when she stumbles and falls, but she’s a character that doesn’t stay down for long.

Along the way, she has some great friends to lean on and I love how this story left me eager for the next book in the series. I absolutely could not stand Tracey’s boyfriend, Will. I thought he was shallow and selfish and enjoyed that Tracey’s best friend thinks he’s gay. I did like Tracey’s friends, didn’t get much time with the family so I’m shelving my opinion on them for later as they may show up in later books. Liked Tracey’s coworkers and intensely disliked her boss.

Overall, this was a great start to a series that I’m looking forward to reading more of to see what becomes of Tracey and if she manages to find the happily ever after we all want…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

REVIEW: Death Perception by Victoria Laurie

Title: Death Perception (Psychic Eye Mystery #6)
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: August, 2008
Paperback: 336 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Rating: 8/10

Description: It took a while for Abby Cooper's FBI agent boyfriend, Dutch Rivers, to accept her psychic gifts as the real deal. But these days he knows better than to question Abby's visions. So when his favorite cousin Chase is kidnapped in Vegas, they both catch the next flight to Sin City. Abby's inner eye insists that Chase is still alive, but nothing else about the case adds up—especially Dutch's reluctance to involve his own Bureau.

On top of everything, Dutch is battling a mysterious illness, and Abby keeps having disturbing dreams that predict his death. Dutch wants Abby to promise that if the investigation goes south, she'll head home to safety. But when the chips are down, Abby won't fold without a fight...

My Thoughts: My enjoyment of this series has been kicked back into high gear with this installment. Dutch and Abby head to Las Vegas after his cousin and the man he was working for are kidnapped. Upon arriving in Vegas, the clues seem to lead to more than they originally thought.

All of a sudden, Dutch disappears without trace and Abby suspects time is running out for him. To make matters worse, the FBI and local authorities think Dutch is somehow involved in the kidnappings. When they turn up the heat on Abby, she does the only thing anyone can do. She goes into hiding and enlists the help of her sister, Cat and business partner, Candice.

I enjoyed the twists and turns in this story and how events from earlier books finally get closure in this story. Candice’s antics provide some much needed comic relief during the investigation into Dutch’s disappearance. The next story looks to be interesting too as this one ends with Abby being offered more direct involvement with the FBI. Hopefully, Candice will continue to play a major role as I really like this character. Where Abby is reserved and cautious, Candice is outgoing and daring. Their personalities complement each other like two halve of a whole.

Fans of cozy mystery stories will enjoy the interesting storyline this series provides without the campy silliness a lot of other series seem to lean toward.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

REVIEW: Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose

Title: Have You Seen Her?
Author: Karen Rose
Publisher: Warner
Publication Date: February, 2004
Paperback: 499 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: 8/10

Description: One by one, the girls disappear from their beds at night. Each one is pretty, with long dark hair. And each one is found brutally murdered.

Special Agent Steven Thatcher has sworn to find the serial killer preying on this small town. As the investigation pulls him one way, his family pulls him in another. A widower haunted by loss, he now worries about his son Brad slipping away. But there's a bright light in his life: his son's teacher, Jenna Marshall, has reached out to help. She's beautiful, kind, and considerate--and slowly, tentatively, she and Steven are starting to fall in love. But both have been hurt before--badly. And as the two try to find the courage to bare their souls, a murderer who has slain many looks for the real treasure he craves. He sets his traps. And waits. For Jenna...

My Thoughts: Really enjoyed this story about two people who find one another and fall in love while their world around them is in utter chaos with a serial killer on the loose. Special Agent Steven Thatcher is a man haunted by pain. After his wife’s death, he is left to raise 3 boys on his own. Fans of this author will remember Steven Thatcher and his youngest son, Nicky from her last book, Don’t Tell. In this book, we find Steven trying to pick up the pieces of the mess his life has become while trying to connect with his boys. Nicky still suffers after his ordeal in Don’t Tell and now the eldest son, Brad, has changed practically overnight into a surly and angry young man who is failing his classes. Trying to balance the chaos of his home life with the nightmare reality of the grisly murders he is investigating at work seems impossible. The last thing he expects is to meet someone he can envision a future with.

Jenna Marshall is Brad’s chemistry teacher who is battling her own personal demons since her fiancĂ© died two years ago. She cares deeply about her students and is gravely concerned about the changes she sees in Brad’s attitude and his grades. Outside of teaching, Jenna hasn’t made time in her life for romantic relationships. When they first meet, the reader is given a very strong view of the instant chemistry between them.

As intense as their attraction toward one another is, so are the serial killings. Here is a killer who is very methodical in his hunt for prey. The grisly execution of each brutal murder leaves the town in fear of who will be next. With the disappearance of each girl, Steven’s frustration grows. The appearance of a detective from Seattle doesn’t help when Steven learns he is investigating similar killings and they are looking for the same suspect.

I really enjoyed the entire story, including the murder mystery. The author does a fantastic job of keeping the reader guessing and holding their interest without downplaying the ending. I liked that the revelation of the killer’s identity did not detract from the rest of the story. So many times a book will just fizzle out once the villain is unmasked. There are lots of unexpected surprises in this story after we learn who the killer is. There were a lot of great scenes involving Steven’s son, Nicky and Jenna and her German Shepherds, Jim and Jean Luc, which were very entertaining to read. I especially enjoyed them because it takes the edge off of the murders and gives insight to the reader about the characters’ multiple layers.

I loved watching these two lonely souls let down their walls and let the other in. I felt the relationship progressed realistically; also dealing with the conflicts and issues that came up in a believable manner. I am enjoying this author’s writing style and am looking forward to reading more of her work.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

New Additions To The TBR Pile In January

With the acquisition of my Nook, I am actually making more space by letting go of the paper format books as I acquire them in Nook format. Also, two of these new additions were actually audiobook downloads so no space lost either. It's all good, right? :o)

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Description: Seven Stones of Power. No one knows when they were created or by whom, each said to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long -- Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues' gallery of power seekers. He's an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She's freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston's North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle's bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it's suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She's not sure about Diesel. He's offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that's fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck

Description: Attorney Sara Constantine is thrilled with her promotion—until she finds out that she must now prosecute vampires and werewolves. The first defendant she’ll be trying to put away? Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius kisses a beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s hoping only to avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss ignites into an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows that Sara is determined to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not a monster. And that might mean making the ultimate sacrifice.

The Chocolate Lovers Diet by Carole Matthews

Description: Survival tips for times of stress:

1. Take deep breaths
2. Count to ten
3. Eat chocolate

When the four members of The Chocolate Lovers' Club call an emergency meeting they go straight to step 3.

Lucy Lombard thought her 'Happily Ever After' was all sewn up with her gorgeous boss Aidan, but she's just caught him in bed with another woman. As always, she's not the only one with problems - Autumn's new boyfriend has yet to meet her parents, Nadia's husband swears he's given up gambling but she just can't trust him, and Chantal is hoping to save her marriage, but not in quite the way she'd expected. It's clear these girls are going to need a lot of chocolate.

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

Description: First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes....a baby carriage? Isnt that what all women want? Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seem too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

This is the witty, heartfelt story about what happens to the perfect couple when they suddenly want different things. Its about feeling that your life is set and then realizing that nothing is as you thought it was- and that there is no possible compromise. Its about deciding what is most important in life, and taking chances to get it. But most of all, its about the things we will do- and wont do- for love.


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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)