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31 October 2013

Review: Live Wire by Lora Leigh

Author: Lora Leigh
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository
Source: Purchased

Meet Captain Jordan Malone. For years he has been a silent warrior and guardian, operating independent of government protocol or oversight, leading his loyal team of Elite Ops agents to fight terror at all costs. A legend in the field, Jordan’s true identity has remained a mystery even to his own men…until now.

Tehya Talamosi, codename Enigma, is a force to be reckoned with. A woman this striking spells nothing but trouble for Jordan. Armed with killer secrets—and body to die for—she’ll bring Jordan to his knees as they both take on the most deadly mission they have ever faced. Because this time, it’s personal.

Live Wire is part of the Elite Ops series and I believe it's the last book in the series. I have not read any of the other books in the series. I don't think you necessarily need to read the other books in order to enjoy this one but there was obviously a lot of history between all of these characters. Tehya's been on the run for most of her life until the day, 6 years ago, that Elite Ops helped her take down her father, an infamous and cruel criminal lord. Since then she's become a valuable member of team. Jordan Malone is the leader of Elite Ops, a man who has sworn never to feel or love again after losing one of his teammates in an op. He thinks that getting too close means getting sloppy and he doesn't want to make another mistake again. Of course, the two are insanely attracted to each other but Jordan insists on maintaining his distance.

This book was just an OK read for me. There wasn't anything really wrong with it but it also had a hard time keeping my attention. It was a little too long and there were slow periods where not much happened. It was certainly steamy enough and the two main characters had a lot of physical chemistry and some intense love scenes. Those were fun to read but I also felt that some of the love scenes were a little long (I never thought I'd say that about a love scene) and, at a certain point, became repetitive.

I wasn't the biggest fan of Jordan's. I get why he didn't want to fall in love but he treated Tehya pretty poorly. He warned his teammates and friends to stay away from her but he never made a move on her himself. He wants her to give him everything but holds himself at a distance. Tehya's a really interesting character. She had a really brutal childhood but managed to survive and do well for herself. But her past has definitely left a mark on her and she often feels lonely and unloved. She's a fighter though and I admired her. I liked that she called Jordan on his BS.

The plot wasn't terribly interesting to me. I wanted to find out who was after Tehya but it felt like we were taking the long road to figuring it out. I wish it had been a little more fast paced as I think it would have kept my attention better. Fans who have read other books in the series will probably enjoy this one, having more invested in the characters. This book just failed to fully engage me and I found myself reading it just to finish it rather than because I was really interested in the outcome. Fans of romantic suspense might still want to check it out. It just wasn't for me.

Visit the author online at loraleigh.com and Facebook.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

Trick or Treat!

Just popping in to wish everyone a safe and fun Halloween. I hope you all have some fun plans. I will be hanging out with my friends and their kid, which should be entertaining. That's my niece in the pic above. She's gotten so big! Kids with pumpkins = cute. Happy Halloween, everyone!

30 October 2013

First Trailer: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Hi, guys. Fox recently released the first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past. I am really excited about this movie. X-Men was my favorite comic books series when I was a teenager. Days of Future past was a really big deal at the time and I am glad to see that it's finally making its way into the X movies. This trailer feels very ominous and it's really cool to see both generations of the X-Men cast. Bishop looks awesome and I can't wait to see what new characters pop up.

This one is not coming out until May 2014. :( Anyone else looking forward to this movie?

Recap: S.J. Harper at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach

Hi, everyone. As you may remember, a few weeks ago I mentioned that I went to Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach and happened upon a book signing for S.J. Harper's new book, Cursed. S.J. Harper is the pen name for Jeanne C. Stein (Anna Strong) and Samantha Sommersby (Forbidden). Both are established names in urban fantasy and I decided to sit in on the signing to learn more about their new book. (Side note that I already read the book and really enjoyed it. I am excited for book 2!)

The signing got off to a bit of a late start due to a misunderstanding about the start time, but it was all good and I got to catch up with some fun people that I had met previously at the Nalini Singh signing. Sam came out first and read a little bit from the book.

sam reading from cursed
Jeanne was nearing the end of her Anna Strong series and her publisher asked her to come up with some ideas for a new series. Sam had an idea for an urban fantasy series that she thought would work well with Jeanne's knack for writing police procedurals and her knack for romance. They pitched the idea to Jeanne's publisher and they quickly picked it up.

sam and jeanne

The two mapped out each scene of the book in detail. They would write at the same time, each taking a different scene. When they were done, they swapped scenes and critiqued each other. They said that the method worked well and the process was a lot faster with two people writing. 

They have already turned in book 2 of the series and, at the time of the signing, the cover to the book was being discussed.  Hopefully this means that it will be coming out soon and not a year from now. The two discussed how happy they were with the cover model for Cursed and how she ended up getting in touch with Sam. 

that's suzanne lazear's adorable daughter in the background
They said that the S.J. in their pen name stood for their real names (Sam and Jeanne) but that the H was made up because they found out that the letter H was usually at about eye level at the bookstore. Harris and Hamilton were already taken so they decided on Harper.

Both of these ladies were lovely in person. It's clear that they are good friends and it was fun listening to them both. Like I said above, I already read the book and liked it a lot. I would definitely recommend this series for urban fantasy fans. 

If you stuck through this whole post, gold star for you! Let me know if you end up picking this one up and what you think of it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.She's cursed. He's damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.

Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.

Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.

Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.

28 October 2013

Manicure Monday (38): The Book Thief

Hello again! I hope you all had an awesome weekend. It was super warm here this weekend but it's supposed to be cold tomorrow so crossing fingers that it actually happens. I can't have a warm Halloween. That would just not be right. I did not reach as much as I thought I was going to this weekend but I did get a lot of house stuff done and I have part of a Halloween costume. The lovely Alethea (aka frootjoos) made a Louise Belcher (Bob's Burgers) hat for me. I was there but I did not really help. I "supervised." I don't have a dress yet but the hat is pretty awesome. You can see it on Instagram here. Sorry that was off track a bit. Let's get back to business.

Today's manicure was inspired by The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

As you can see, my copy is a bit battered. I am one of the few people I know that has not read this book yet. I am going to the book signing on Tuesday and figured that it was a good reason to start. I don't know if I will finish by then but I am OK with that. I really like it so far. It's written in a way that I didn't really expect that it unique and really compelling.

I had some trouble matching the colors to this cover. I originally started with a base of Zoya Avery on all my nails and then decided it was not yellow enough. So I sponged on some yellow (it was by Nubar) which helped. I then used a whole plethora of browns and cremes and a beauty sponge in an attempt to match the colors of the cover. I am still not sure that they match really but it looks pretty good from far away. 

The whole cover has a sort of vintage photo look and I did not want to have any hard edges, so I used the flat end of the beauty sponge to create the soft rectangles of the dominoes. I then went back in with American Apparel Trenchcoat and a dotting tool to make the dots.

The written word is very important to this story and I knew I wanted to incorporate that somehow. I decided to do a newsprint mani on some of my nails. You can find tutorials online but basically you dip strips of newspaper into alcohol and press them onto your painted nails. It turned out well and you can see it on my pinky above. 

I also realized when I was editing these that I totally forgot to take a pic of my right hand, which I painted differently. I will take a pic tomorrow and add it later. I hope you enjoyed today's manicure. If anyone else is going to the L.A. signing at The Grove, let me know, and we can say hi. Have a great week!

ETA my right hand

27 October 2013

Stacked (78)

You guys have no idea how long it took me to write this post last night. My internet decided to be an @sshole and got really weird on me. You never realize how much you depend on something until you do not have it any more. Anyway...

I hope you are all having a good weekend so far. Last week was kind of rough for me at work and my allergies have been attacking me as well. Hoping I can recharge a bit this weekend. I have kept things pretty low key on the book front, though that is going to change next week because I am going to a book signing and the new Nalini Singh book is coming out, and you know I have to get that. I did grab two historical romances off of Edelweiss though because they are two of my favorite authors. Check them out. 

When The Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries - This is the second book in The Duke's Men series. I haven't read a book by Jeffries yet that I have not liked and I am looking forward to this one.

Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare - This is the first book in a new series by Dare. I was just on Dare's website last week reading a wee excerpt of this book that really made me want to read it. Then this weekend it popped up on Edelweiss, which I took as a sign that I needed to read it.

See? Not too crazy this week. I did make a big purchase though and that was a new phone. My old Android was on its last legs and was freaking out today so I finally went into the store and came out with a shiny new iPhone 5c. I didn't want to spend more for the 5s. So far I am liking it. I don't have a preference for Androids or iPhones and it's all about just getting used to the new features. I am excited about FaceTime though because I really want to use it with my baby niece.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Are you guys going to Halloween parties this weekend? Anyone have a good costume?

26 October 2013

Advance Review: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

Author: Julia Quinn
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't care that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless.

New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn's enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

I am a huge fan of Julia Quinn and was really excited to hear that she was putting out another book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet. This is the third book in the series but you don't need to read the previous books for this one to make sense. There is definitely some history between Daniel and Hugh, but Quinn does a great job of getting readers up to speed quickly.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like Sarah at the beginning of the book. She's been holding a grudge against Hugh for a very long time. Even though her family has forgiven Hugh, she refuses to let go of her resentment. My first impression of her was one of a very selfish, frivolous girl. But this book is about seeing past those first impressions and I soon found myself getting to know the real Sarah - a woman who is kind, brave and loyal. She is able to see good even when things look their darkest.

Hugh is a wonderfully complex character. He can't forgive himself for his long ago mistake. I felt for him as I watched him struggling to come to terms with his injury. These two are as opposite in attitude and outlook as two people can be but they really balance each other. I loved watching them evolve from being enemies to friends and finally to lovers. I loved how Sarah brought Hugh out of his shell and treated him like a real person, one who is not defined by his injury. They really complemented each other well and brought out the best in each other.

The book was not quite as steamy as what I expected from a Julia Quinn novel. Not to say that there were no sexy scenes, but I am used to them happening a little earlier in the story. It was just something very small that I noticed but did not detract from the story. My very favorite scene happens near the end of the book when Sarah and Hugh are in bed and she is ministering to his leg. It’s one of the sweetest and most romantic scenes I have ever read.

Julia Quinn has done it again and delivered a wonderfully written romance that is sweet, emotional, funny and often unexpected. I fell in love with Sarah and Hugh and I think you will, too.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.juliaquinn.com and Facebook.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

25 October 2013

Uncovered (85): The Night Guest

When I go shopping for books I will actually take pictures of awesome book covers that I want to remember. The Night Guest is one such cover. I spotted it several weeks ago while shopping at Mysterious Galaxy and had to grab a picture of it. I did not have the funds to buy it just then but it's definitely on my wish list.

This cover has all of the things I really like in a book cover - bright colors, illustration, fantastical and somewhat creepy imagery. I also really like it when one part of the illustration forms another part - how the images of the jungle form the face of of the tiger. The actual book cover also had a really nice raised texture. I should have looked at the inside cover to see if there was anything special, but I totally forgot.  Here is the synopsis for the book.
Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman—Frida—claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.

Now that Frida is in her house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry with her her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth trust herself?
This actually sounds a little spooky. I can't tell if it's going to be a drama or some kind of horror story. Guess I will have to read it to find out. Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend!

23 October 2013

Review: Fury of Desire by Coreene Callahan

Author: Coreene Callhan
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N
Source: Purchased

No warrior of the Nightfury pack is more complicated or damaged than Wick.

Scarred from a childhood of slavery and torture, Wick cannot bear the touch of another person. But all bets are off when he meets J.J. Solares. When she is unjustly imprisoned, Wick agrees to help rescue and keep her from harm. But Wick lives a life of self-imposed isolation and venturing into the world to seek justice for J.J. may be more than he can bear.

Brutalized by the harsh reality of prison, J.J thinks she is hallucinating when a majestic dark-haired god sweeps in to save her—and Wick is shaken to his core by the attraction he feels for J.J. But neither is out of harm's way yet. When they find themselves at the center of a Dragonkind war, they are forced to make the ultimate choice—surrender to their fears or accept each other’s love.

FURY OF DESIRE is the fourth book in the Dragon Fury series by Coreene Callahan. It is a story of dragon shifters who live in packs.  The Nightfuries (the good guys) are at war with the Razorbacks (the bad guys).  Each book to date has focused on one of the guys in the pack and the female that he ends up falling in love with and mating.  In addition to the relationship between the hero and heroine, there is a continuing conflict arc that has been going on since the first book.  I do not way to say to much in case someone still hasn't read the earlier books.

So...I have mixed feelings about this book.

What I loved about the book:

Readers are introduced to the hero, Wick in the first book (Fury of Fire) and we learn that he does not typically communicate in more than a few word sentences, and consistently he is described as one scary dude.  He also has a very tight relationship with Venom (another member of the Nightfuries).  I have always been intrigued by Wick and wanted to learn more, especially since he seems to have a ton of secrets.  In the third book (Fury of Seduction), we are introduced to the heroine, Jamison Jordan Solares or J.J.  I was not surprised to see them paired together in this book and for me the relationship made sense, even if it was truly insta-love.  Additionally, I liked seeing the other guys from the previous books, and their mates.

What I wasn't so happy about:

In Fury of Seduction (book 3), I noticed a change in Callahan's writing.  Despite her books having approximately 400+ pages, there seemed to be an increasing dependence on descriptive vernacular that went on and on.  A similar style was used in the first two books but not to the same lengthy extent. Unfortunately, this made me want to skim through parts of nearly every paragraph in both Fury of Seduction and Fury of Desire.  It also resulted in Callahan not really developing her story as effectively as she could.  The side story with Ivar and the Razorbacks (which continues throughout each book) feels more diluted and less focused.  Additionally, important pieces of the story are never developed, such as how Wick's relationship with J.J. results in a significant change for Wick and Venom.  It is alluded to but never really explored.

Fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward will see striking similarities between the two series. I didn't realize this at first since I started the Dragon Fury series before reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series (BDB). The Dragon Fury Series, even more so than the BDB series is extremely formulaic so if you enjoy predictability - you get it here.

Since the price of the e-book is reasonable, I will probably continue to "read" (skimming the sentences that aren't needed) the series but I wish the author had a stronger editor that could help her really develop this series.

Check out the official book trailer:

Visit the author online at www.coreenecallahan.com, her , like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @coreenecallahan

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

22 October 2013

Top Ten Character Names I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is a featured created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their website for weekly topics. This week's topic is Top Ten Character Names I Love or Top Ten Unusual Character Names. As someone with a slightly unusual and hard to pronounce name, I appreciate it when characters have unusual names. However, I don't like it when everyone has a really different name (unless we're in a totally new world) because it just doesn't feel authentic. I am also not a huge fan of traditional names with just really weird spellings.

1. Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) - This is such a great name. It just sounds cool.

2. Aria (Under The Never Sky) - This is a really pretty name and I like that it actually has meaning to the character.

3. Cinder (Cinder) - Love this character and the name. There is actually a male character named Cinder in Under the Never Sky as well. I prefer it as a female name but it's good as a male name, too.

4. Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones) - There are a lot of vowels in this name! But Daenerys is such a strong character and I think I read somewhere that people are starting to name their kids after her. How cool is that?

5. Ismae (Grave Mercy) - Badass name for a badass character.

6. Colin (Romancing Mr. Bridgerton) - Colin is a solid boy's name and it's not around much anymore. The Colin in this book is also rakish and adorable, which is another reason to love it. I used to know a lot of Colins when I was a kid but I think it's gone out of style. Bring it back!

7. Vlad (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Cat & Bones) - Such a traditional and slightly ominous name. A name like Vlad holds a lot of power.

8. Sam (Lord of the Rings) - There are a lot of Sams in literature. It's a really solid, dependable name. Someone named Sam is someone you can count on. It also works as a girl name though I can't think of any female Sams in books off the top of my head.

9. Dorian (Dorian Grey, Hostage To Pleasure) - This name has a slightly exotic and mysterious feel to me. It's not used too often but I really like it.

10. Gabriel (Storm, Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake) - I have always had a soft spot for Gabriels. I prefer the full name to the shortened Gabe but both are cute.

Honorable mentions for the worst character names
Renesmee (Twilight) - Seriously. There's no need to explain this, right?
Shadoe (Riding on Instinct) - It annoyed me throughout this whole book that this character had this unusual name with a strange spelling and not once did anyone mention it or make a comment about it. In my head is sounds like Shad-Ohhhhhhhhh.
Jasper (Twilight, I Hunt Killers) - OK I don't actually have an issue with the name Jasper, only the fact that they all seem to shorten it some some version of Jazz. Seriously - Jazz? It just makes me think of jazz hands.
Daemon (Obsidian) - What's with the extra "e" in there? I just never know how to pronounce it...

That's my list of character names I love (and don't love). Let me know what names are on your list by linking up below. Also, if any authors out there want to use Thuy in a book, please feel free. :)

21 October 2013

Manicure Monday (37): The Bro-Magnet

It's Monday which means it's time for a new manicure. This week I have a manicure inspired by The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

This has been on my to-read list for a long time and I am just getting around to it. It's the first book I started from the Better Late Than Never Challenge. So far I am failing at this challenge since I have only read about 20 pages of this book and it's more than halfway through October. It's not bad so far, very different from most romances I have read in that it's told from the male's POV. Verdict isn't out yet but I definitely want to keep reading.

Since the cover to this book has a pool table on it, I decided to use that as the starting point for this manicure. I had a lot of issues with this manicure. First, I totally got the striped balls wrong and, when I first painted them, painted them as colored with white stripes when it looks like stripes are white balls for colored stripes. I actually wasn't going to fix the mistake but I could not take pics the first day of this manicure which gave me an extra day to fix is so I took off my middle and ring fingers and re-did them.

I also had trouble writing Bro-Magnet on my nails. Bro wasn't too hard by Magnet was really hard trying to paint on. In the end, after I re-did those two nails, I just used a fine Sharpie to write the title in.

I used a lot of colors for this manicure. Below is a list of what I used.
  • Kleancolor Black
  • Cult Nails Tempest (white)
  • Sinful Colors Endless Blue (blue)
  • Sinful Shine Banana Appeal (yellow)
  • OPI A Roll in the Hague (orange)
  • OPI Jade is the New Black (green)
  • Seche Signature (red)

My favorite nail was my thumb because I think it came out the cleanest and most pool ball-like. This wasn't my favorite manicure I have done but I think the results weren't too bad. Has anyone read this book yet? 

Let me know what you guys think of this mani in the comments below. Thanks for visiting!

20 October 2013

Stacked (77): YABC Book Swap

Happy Sunday, friends. Have you all been enjoying your weekend? It's still quite warm here in California so I have been able to enjoy being outside a bit. It is getting cooler at night though, which is nice, and it's starting to feel more like fall. I bought a few baby pumpkins over the weekend, and am starting to get my Halloween on.  I have a pretty awesome book haul this week. I did a little Kindle shopping and made out like a bandit at the YABC book swap (but more on that later).

My friends sometimes make fun of me because I have this crazy long Amazon wishlist. I use it really as a means to remember things I want to reach/check out. With Goodreads now it's a bit easier to just mark things as Want To Read instead of putting them on my wishlist, but it's still really long. Occasionally I will go through it and cull things and see if anything has dropped in price. I was able to snag a couple of great deals this week because of that.

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt - This is the newest book in Hoyt's Maiden Lane series and was just released. I have been waiting for this one and the Kindle price was less than $4. Sold! Already read this one and it's prety awesome.

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone - This is one from my wishlist that I noticed had gone on sale. No doubt it did so because the second book in the series is coming out really soon, but I never would have known had I not been going through my wishlist. It was only $1.99 when I bought it earlier this week. Not sure if it's still on sale but you should definitely check if you want it. I hear good things about this series.

So the other part of my haul this week came from the YABC Book Swap. YABC is the Young Adult Book Council, a great group in Los Angeles that started with a book club but they also put on other types of events. It's a small group and consists of librarians, educators, bloggers and YA enthusiasts. Every once in a while they will organize a swap where you can bring in books and also take books. My goal is to bring back less than I brought. This time I think I broke about even, but I got an awesome stack of books. And this was only a small selection of it. If you live in the LA area and are interested in future YABC events (including future swaps), follow @yabc_la on Twitter for updates. The turnout was good and I was glad to see some of the bloggers we met at the LAPL Teen Book Fest there.

I am not going to list all of these books because I am way too lazy but I am most excited for This Song Will Save Your Life, Rot & Ruin, The Faerie Ring and The Beautiful & The Cursed. My friend was making fun of me because I definitely picked up a lot of books because of their covers. What can I say? I love a good cover.

That's my book haul for this week. Now I need to go make myself presentable because I am finally going to see Gravity this afternoon. Space freaks me out so I am sure I will come back a bit traumatized, but I hear it's amazing. If you have a book haul post, link it in the comments below and I'll stop by. Have a wonderful afternoon!

18 October 2013

Uncovered (84): Perfect Ruin

Happy Friday, guys. Man this has really been a week and I am soooo happy that it's Friday. I plan on reading a lot this weekend (have to start my book club book) and catching a movie or two. I know I owe you guys some event recaps so I'll work on that, too.

This week's featured cover is Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano. I've had my eye on this cover since I first saw it. I love the contrasting colors with the navy blue and red. Also love the illustration accents with the steampunk motifs. There is something romantic yet haunting about this image. The girl isn't in complete focus and it just looks sort magical. Sorry my description is pretty lame I know but basically I think this cover is awesome.

Has anyone else been lusting over this cover? I can't wait to see it in person when the book comes out. Thanks for stopping by and happy Friday!

16 October 2013

Audiobook Review: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Author: Darynda Jones
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Publication Date: August 16, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, Audio by Brilliance Audio
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository, Audible
Source: Library

If you hang around with dead people, life can get pretty complicated. Take it from Charley Davidson, part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Complicated is her middle name. The deceased find her very sparkly. Demons find her irresistible. And one entity in particular wants to seduce her in every way possible.

When Charley and Cookie (her best friend/receptionist) have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Cookie's friend Mimi disappeared five days earlier. Mimi then sends Cookie a cryptic message telling Cookie to meet her at an nearby coffee shop. The coffee is brewing, but Mimi's still missing. There is, however, a clue Mimi left on the bathroom wall: a woman's name. Mimi's husband explains to them that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old high school friend had been murdered. The same woman whose name Mimi had scribbled on the bathroom wall.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He's left his body because he's being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can't let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they'll have a portal to heaven...well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.

Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Can she keep those she loves out of harm's way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?

Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the year: Second Grave on the Left.

I read and really liked First Grave on the Right, the first book in the Charley Davidson series. Charley’s sarcastic wit and self-deprecating nature really appealed to me and had me laughing out loud. The super hot romance with Reyes was an added bonus and I was really happy to find a fun new series to get into. I don’t know what happened between when I read the first book and when I read the second one, but Second Grave on the Left was not fun and I really had to push myself to finish it.

The main problem for me with the book was Charley herself. I remembered that she was super sarcastic in the first book and the jokes felt a little forced at times but, overall, I liked her and enjoyed the sarcasm. This time around though, I really noticed how every sentence and word out of her mouth was a sarcastic quip or catch phrase. It’s like she could not utter a normal sentence. Because she would only speak in wisecracks, nothing that came out of her mouth seemed sincere. She also used “like,” “duh” and “totally” too much and I kept wondering if she was a grown woman or a testy teenager. She is also described as being a great PI but I did not see any evidence of this. At least 3 people tail her during the book and she doesn’t notice a single one of them. Later she ends up leading the bad guys to a witness. She makes really dumb decisions and barely manages not to get herself killed every few hours.

I was hoping that Reyes would save this book for me but I didn’t like him either. His interactions with Charley in this book consist of threatening her and saving her life. He even calls her a “whore” at one point, which isn’t a good sign in a relationship. The two still have physical chemistry but the book doesn’t go anywhere with it. And if I have to hear about Reyes’s “liquid brown eyes” one more time, I may scream. There is a reason that I have avoided audiobooks with a lot of romance. Lines that sound swoon-worthy when reading often sound cheesy when read aloud.

Then we get to the ending, which really annoyed me. I don’t want to give it away but Charley’s actions at the end of the book just show how immature and selfish she is. I really can’t think of any other reason why she does what she does.

Lorelei King read the audiobook of Second Grave. I have heard good things about King but this is the first time I have listened to her. King is very talented, giving life and expression to the words and dialogue. However, her voice didn’t quite match what my image of Charley. As I said, Charley is very immature and speaks more like a teenager than an adult. King has a really rich, deep voice that is incongruous with how I perceive Charley. It just wasn’t a good fit for me.

Sad to say that I won’t be continuing on with this series. I don’t think I can take another book of Charley’s one-liners and pouty quips. It’s unfortunate, too, because I really enjoyed the first book in this series. But Charley’s schtick gets old fast and, without a viable plot or other likeable characters, the humor simply isn’t enough.

Visit the author online at www.daryndajones.com and follow her on Twitter @darynda

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