Monday, October 24

Fallen Warrior Giveaway Winner!!!

My goodness! I'm so sorry I'm late getting this post out to you wonderful readers. I hope you don't mind me saying that school, work, stage crew, yearbook, vocal lessons, piano, reviews, and just about anything and everything else is really getting to me! However, without any FURTHER ado: The winner of the Rosalie Lario Fallen Warrior giveaway is:

Denise Z!

Congrats to Denise!!! Please contact me at so I can let Rosalie know which book you want and get you in contact with her! Once again, thanks to all who entered - and a special thanks to Rosalie for stopping by with her interesting guest post. May you all have an angelic rest of your week!

Saturday, October 15

Angel's Desire by Rosalie Lario

Book 2 in the Fallen Warriors series

Ethan is an angel – and one of the Fallen. Condemned to die by others of his race when he didn’t go along with their plan to eradicate the human race, he barely escaped with his life. Ethan knows he’s among the lucky. After all, his best friend, Caleb, died – leaving a nephilim daughter (his best kept secret) behind. Ethan has known ‘Taylee’ her entire life and has felt radiating shame for his attraction to his best friend’s young daughter. However, many years later and with a wealth of hurt holding the pair apart, Ethan knows he can’t live without her any longer – and sets out on a quest to make her his mate. Tayla, though, is not convinced. Grown up now, and with plenty of misconceptions regarding Ethan’s role in her father’s death, Tayla is not going to give her heart to Ethan again for him to turn around and break it like he did all those years ago. Is there any hope for this hopelessly misguided couple?

I liked the couple well enough  – I could definitely feel the drama and conflict, even if I wasn’t sure I understood it (this book seemed guilty of the big-misconception-that-was-cleared-up-with-one-conversation-but-has-kept-us-apart-for-years ploy). Ethan was sexy, playful, and dark. I liked, of course, how handsome and adorably boyish he was. He also had some really great lines (as witnessed in my favorite quotes portion) and was incredibly romantic at times – in that angst-y hero way. *Fans self* Ethan really brings the heat, and the sexual tension was overwhelming in a good way. As for the heroine, Tayla, I was occasionally annoyed by her because she seemed overly dramatic and pig-headed, but I was still able to empathize with her. At the end, when she finally gets herself out of her me-me-me rut, she was endearing and sweet. I was charmed by Tayla and Ethan's interactions at the end, and wished them the happiest happy-ever-after there could be.

The plot in the novella was fast-paced but enjoyable. The ending, with it’s last big conflict, left me slightly breathless with anticipation and I wish I’d had a little bit of a better explanation about how it all went down – it was over too quickly for me to truly savor the suspense aspect. The majority of the book serves to further the ‘big-show-down’ plot that runs through the series, as we wait on the edge of our seats for our Fallen Warriors to save the world from their angelic (or not) counterparts. I’m very excited to see how this pans out through the rest of the series. I can’t wait to see this super-team at work!

There’s some excellent world-building, although there are a few loopholes that could bother you depending on how attuned you are to the exact reality of humanity. For example, the suspicious nature of humanity is neglected completely, however the length of the novella would have to be increased considerably were we to account for the reality of human behavior and aspiration for conspiracy. These loopholes didn’t bother me too much, and with some truly fun characters and an interesting story-line I was suitably impressed by Lario’s second novella in her Fallen Warrior series, and am definitely looking forward to the third – I can’t wait to see the rest of the absolutely adorable Fallen fall again – this time in love.

Favorite Quotes:

She'd deserved to be left alone so that she could grow into womanhood unmarred by the sins of angels.

"Touch me and tell me you don't believe were meant to be together. Tell me you aren't mine."

Tayla noticed him watching her. She turned her head and raised a brow. "What are you looking at?"
"I'm looking at you," he answered evenly.

"No, and don't call me that," she snapped. Hearing her childhood nickname [Taylee] had a way of mentally taking her back to that time. It was too weird.
Ethan turned to face her, a wicked grin lighting his face. "What shall I call you then? I need some term of endearment to address you by."
An impish thought prompted her to suggest, "You can call me Master."

 “Sexy”ness rating: Hot!

Overall Rating: B

Bottom Line: With great sexual tension, good character development, and lots of emotion don’t miss book two in the Fallen Warriors series! Ethan is a hero you won’t soon forget!

Pages: 114
Published: September 30, 2011
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy

Author Interview with Mitzi Penzes

Hi everyone! I'm pleased to welcome author Mitzi Penzes to my blog today for an interview! Mirzi has graciously allowed me to ask her all sorts of questions regarding her writing career and her book - Perfectly Crazy. Let's get started!

RM: Hi Mitzi - I'm so glad you could join us today! My first question is: how has your background, growing up in Hungary and moving to the US, influenced your writing? Did your background as a neurologist influence Perfectly Crazy character Nell?

Mitzi: It had to in several ways. She is obviously someone very similar to me in the respect that she was a medical doctor and became an entrepreneur. I did that, I got criticized in one review that who in their right mind would do that? It is completely unrealistic and in a sense it might be if you went through medical school here and you had to spend hundreds of thousands on your education. I did not, just had to pass an exam to prove my ability to learn the necessary science, but my education was free otherwise in Hungary. Also I love being a business person, despite my love for medicine which is probably obvious on my pages, I loved owning a business which I did for many years. If it had been fashion, even better. I work in labs, not in the fashion business and love it, too. I love writing as well, I think I am just a person who does things with zeal.

RM: Do you model your characters after anyone in particular - perhaps even yourself - or is each character their own person entirely?
Mitzi: Nell's love of Mustangs, fashion and shoes are from me and the medical info in the book comes from my background and my experience when practicing. I also love the locales shown here, I visited them or lived in them and I enjoyed it.
Nell's starting relationship with David is very similar to the circumstances of my mother's. Her second marriage was comfortable yet not too exciting when my dashing and determined dad showed up on the scene and made her chose him. It was unusual, sudden and surprising just like the one in the story. Despite the strange start, their marriage was very happy and lasting.
RM: What got you started on writing - and why romance?
Mitzi: My main character popped into my mind and it just went from there. It flowed and gave me a story to write down. I am very romantic and like loves stories, one of my favorite story is Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. I love happy ending, too so in that sense I am rather like any romance writer.
RM: What do you like most about your writing? What makes your novel unique from other romance novels? 
Mitzi: In my stories it will be a lots of love, action and intrigue, some twists and unexpected turns. These are the things I enjoy in life the most and I hope my readers would feel I can portray them the way they just want to see what would be in the next chapter. When I go through my story I see these scenes like a movie, I am a very visual person. Maybe that is why I write about locales I have seen before, it makes it fell more real. On the other hand books are better than movies in a sense that everyone is allowed to picture their own faces for a character whatever they feel would fit the story or their ideals.
RM: If you had one word to describe your 'voice' what would it be?
Mitzi: Optimistic.
RM: Can you tell me about the process of writing and publishing your debut novel, Perfectly Crazy?
Mitzi: It was so much fun! I loved to write it and enjoyed working with all the people who published it, it was an amazing experience. The website is not up yet. Hopefully it will be very soon. 
I just had Nell as my leading character and she made the story unfold. It was unusual, but very interesting, I had expected the story to be there first, but it was not that way for me.  
RM: If you were stuck on an island (yes, I know, the old cliche) what book would you pack and what romance hero would you bring with you?
Mitzi: My  favorite book is also a romantic one, written some time ago by the French writer Alexandre Dumas. It is the Count of Monte Cristo, his story of human achievement and winning against all odds is just amazing. Through education he discovers that knowledge is such power it can forge anyone's fate and from the deepest despair he transforms himself to be a very powerful and successful individual ready to take on the world. He does take on the world and serves justice to the deserving and revenge to the ones who harmed him. 
My other favorite book is the Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell  for obvious reasons. Scarlett O'Hara is a heroine most woman thought emulating with her quick wit, good business sense, her inner strength and infallible instincts except when it comes to her love life. I felt so desperate and disappointed, that she did not return Rhett's love I wanted to shout to her or shake her to realize what a man she is missing. The book is a masterpiece both when it comes to portraying a war and  giving an account of a heart wrenching love story ending badly. 
So the above two books shaped my life immensely. I wanted to be so powerful as the Count of Monte Cristo and as strong as Scarlett or as resourceful and capable as Rhett Butler. All these characters shaped me in a way maybe a very close friend  could have, I related to them, tried to learn their ways and become a little bit like them. I felt they pushed me do things I might not have done otherwise, like emigrating to another country. It is not easy, but I just felt if this is how I  feel, I will have to act on my desire. I was fortunate and I am happy with my decision and some of the courage came from these characters from books.
RM: What have your characters, Nell and David, in Perfectly Crazy taught you about life? 
Mitzi: That there is more than one way to happiness. I think this story touches upon issues like motherhood, relationships, fertility, illnesses and its effect on families. I just want everyone to muse about these subjects and draw their own conclusions maybe different ones than my characters and still a good one for themselves. Not everyone is the same we all have our personalities, me and Nell were going through one story line maybe some of my readers would go on a different one, but the fact that they speculated about these issues are the real asset of the book, I hope. 
RM: Are you planning on writing, or currently in the process of writing, any more books? Will they be connected to Nell and David's story?
Mitzi: I have another story half written titled Perfectly Accidental and despite it is not about Nell and David, the main character could be a sister of Nell's, she is very similar in her background, likes dislikes etc. In other words if someone liked my first book, they will like the second one, too. Some others did not think Nell was a likable character, so for them it won't be a good book to read. I loved Nell and her struggling and moving with life's challenges. She is a strong and very educated woman, very independent and successful so I relate to her. My new heroine is just like her, loves to be a business woman and knows what she wants as long as it does not come to love and emotions that are so hard to rationalize sometimes. Even in that she realizes what the right choice would be, but there are circumstances she had to fight. If I will get great success from my first novel, maybe I will write a sequel to Nell's story. Maybe Chelsea has to find a man fitting to her great spirit. I do know a lot about the infertility issues in this book, some first hand, so that was "easy" to me to give a glimpse of. The one thing everyone commented on was the "quickness"of the book, so maybe next time I will give more details of the things in the story. 
RM:The Favorites Questionnaire (pick one or the other!)
a) Alpha or Beta hero?  Alpha
b) Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Beatles
c) Boxers or Briefs? Briefs
d) Best-friends-to-lovers or Tycoon's-secret-baby? Best-friend-to-lovers
e) Writing or reading? I can't pick!!! Both
f) Roses or Wildflowers? Roses or poppies, again it is impossible to choose...
g) Winter, Summer, Spring, or Fall? Summer
h) Dresses or Sweats/PJs? Dresses!!!
i) Werewolf or Vampire? Neither
j) Smart, but plain, heroine or knock-out ditz? Knock-out for sure!!
I'd like to thank Mitzi once again for stopping by today to share a little bit of her experiences with us! Don't forget to check out Mitzi's debut novel: Perfectly Crazy! 

Saturday, October 8

Darkness Descending by Devyn Quinn

Book 1 in the Vampire Armageddon series

First, I’d like to thank the wonderful ladies at Romance Reviews Today for sending me this book for review – check out their website here:  Thanks again, ladies!!!

Alright, down to business. This book was one of them puzzlers. The book started out and I wanted to cry. The book was all tell. The characters were wimpy, not at all kick-ass, their actions were awkward and all over the place and there was absolutely NO build-up of sexual tension so the ‘smoldering heat’ and lust kinda smacks you in the face when it first comes up. I was terribly disappointed because, well, I hate not liking books. And the first third of this book was headed toward a low D grade. But then…

But then the book totally changed pace. I don’t know if the author wrote the first 130 pages, set the book down for a while, and then picked it back up again when she had developed some actual writing and character development skills, but after that 130 page mark the book actually became… decent. Enjoyable. Kinda cool. Not kick-ass awesome… but not bad. And I was overjoyed – really, really excited that I wasn’t going to have to read another 240 pages in the style of the first 130 because I might have taken Maddox’s gun and shot the book to pieces. The book, after page 130, showed that this author had potential – and since the plot was really interesting, I’m hoping that Quinn develops her talent very quickly for the next book in the series – which I will be reading.

So, here’s a quick re-cap of the plot for ya’ll before I dissect the book a little more closely. Jesse Burke is a human infected with a demon – it crawls under her skin and whispers dreams of immortality in her ear at night. However unlike every other human being who has been infected, Jesse refuses to give in to the demon’s demands – and thus hovers between a state of humanity and undead-ness (which is what one turns into when yielding to the demon's demands). Angry and feeling the hopelessness of her situation, Jesse decides to kill as many of the vampire/demons that infected her as she can. After doing some research into vampire slaying, Jesse sets out for a cemetery in the middle of the night and attempts to kill her first undead. Only it doesn’t go so well. And Jesse almost dies. Until some guy named Maddox shows up with his gun and blows the thing to pieces. Maddox then invites Jesse to his home sweet home for some training and sleep – after all, if she wants to be a slayer she has to learn from the best, right? But what happens when Maddox learns that Jesse has a demon inside her – and is on the verge of becoming something he’s determined to destroy?

So, let’s start off with what sucked (vampire pun – get it?). The first 130 pages, as we already established, sucked in very frustrating ways. The characters don’t act believably make really weird decisions, talk like they’re best friends when they’ve really just met, sleep in the same bed even though they’ve known each other for mere hours… it’s all very odd and unrealistic and awkward for the reader. The romance is terrible, with no build-up of sexual tension or even hints at it. The world building is confusing and doesn’t make much sense – there are a lot of holes in the story. People are dying all over the place from strange bites to their body and the police all think it’s because of some rabid animals? I don’t think so. Humans are way too suspicious for that, and we love conspiracy theories. Surely someone has decided on vampires by now. Also, hasn’t anyone seen the attacks or the feedings? No one is that careful. If there are truly that many vampire/demons (that also isn’t explained very well – are they demons that look like vampires, or are they pretty much what we would call vampires except they have demons inside them… it’s bad when you can’t tell what species something is) someone would’ve caught them at something by now and in such a viral world, it would’ve been all over the place. The book makes humans out to be a very non-assuming, kind of stupid race which is pretty dumb. Just sayin’.

But after a while I got used to the shaky grasp I had on Quinn’s world and I got comfortable enough with it to enjoy the story. And the plot was AWESOME. And Jesse was pretty cool, too. I liked how strong she was and how enigmatic her role in the epic battle between heaven and hell’s warriors (on earth, of course) is. I really wanted to know more, and that kept me hooked for a lot of the story. I loved the legends and the action – that was my kind of story. The plot was well-developed, moved at a good pace, and always had a hook to keep you reading. The plot was this book’s saving grace, along with the admiration I felt for the heroine. She’s stuck between two worlds, hurt and hunted by everyone, lied to and very confused yet she’s strong, determined, and ready for action. Boo. Yah. Baby.

Oh, but ladies. One more thing that made this book sink low, low, low. The hero. Was. Pathetic. He does NOT deserve a capital 'h'. He was addicted to a demon’s kiss (otherwise known as a vampire bite) really weird and kinky-odd, he was awkward, out-of-place and pretty depressing. I sincerely hope he gets better because I did not like him. He was the antithesis of Jesse and instead of helping her I feel like he drags her down. That’s a no-no in a romance, so Mr. Hero Maddox better get his broad backside in gear and fast. He’s also inconsistent and a bit of a Debbie-downer. Like I said. Pathetic.

That’s all there is to this considerably long review! Stay tuned to my blog for updates on the series and if it’s worth your while!

Favorite Quote:

No one came near them. In fact, everyone seemed intent on maintaining a respectful distance. It could be that the shotgun Maddox carried jacked his street cred up considerably.

“Sexy”ness rating: is rated hot, however it’s not terribly sexy due to its rather unpredictable nature. No build-up of sexual tension… it was really weird. Just a sex scene plopped randomly into the middle of the book because the author thought she needed one.

Overall Rating: C-

Bottom Line: I can’t give this book any higher than a C-, but the second half of the book shows the author has some real potential. I’ll be keeping up with this series to let you know how it develops and if you should struggle through this one to get to the rest. While the romance isn’t very well developed the plot is pretty cool.

Pages: 353
Published: August 2, 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

For Love of An Angel by Rosalie Lario

Book 1 in the Fallen Warriors series

A big thanks to Rosalie for sending me this book for review!

Angels aren’t really God’s servants, in For Love of an Angel. No, instead they come from a different dimension. When the veil fell and angels found themselves stuck on Earth, for good, they decided to play up to the fact that humans worshiped them and do what any invasive species does - take over the planet. First, by turning humans into slave laborers and mindless drones fed by pro-angelic propaganda. Second, by methodically exterminating said humans until the planet is all their own. However there are some angels that want to co-exist peacefully with humans – who believe in preserving a species instead of wiping it out. They are known as The Fallen – and they fight a losing battle. Eva is a human, working as a barista, when she meets Michael, who is one of the Fallen. While he is devastatingly sexy, Eva knows that’s not enough to form a connection. But Michael knows Eva’s secrets, and soon reveals how Eva’s very life is in danger. The two must make a daring escape and Eva knows she will be on the run from the angels (the evil, not-fallen ones) for the rest of her life. Can she forgive Michael for risking her safety to meet her, and acknowledge their love? Or will she turn her back on him and leave for a life below-the-radar - and alone?

I love Rosalie’s writing. There were sentences in this novella that literally gave me the chills – that made my eyes light up, made me bounce in my seat in excitement and a shiver crawl up my back. Stealthily eerie and ominous, sentences like “Angels were not known for their compassion” were short and to the point. Sentences like that – that get their message across in so few words – are the mark of a truly great writer. And Rosalie is a fabulous writer. She has good voice and focus, and her writing is exciting. It builds inside you, each sentence upon wonderful sentence of prose and dialogue. I really enjoyed this book. I was entertained by most every page. The book didn’t let up – it was consistent, through and through, in it’s riveting qualities. Let’s sum up this paragraph by saying that, quite simply, there is absolutely nothing lacking in Rosalie’s writing style.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the character development or plot development I needed. While the story moved at a great pace, there was way too much sex and not enough relationship/bonding thrown in. The sexual tension between Michael and Eva could literally be compared to a blazing bonfire, but I wanted to see the more emotional connection underlying the lust. Whether that connection was under-developed because Rosalie chose not to write about it or because there simply weren’t enough pages in the book and something had to get cut out, I was surprised by the lack of bonding. As far as plot went, many of the scenes occurred a bit too quickly for my taste – leaving a few things lackluster in description or in believability.

However the book was suspenseful, and very unique. As with Rosalie’s other series Blood of the Infernum (which I strongly recommend), in For Love of an Angel beings like angels are not from heaven as in human lore, but are instead akin to aliens (that's as apt a description I can give you). I really enjoy the intriguing twist this brings to the story-line (you can read more about that twist here, in Rosalie’s own words when she did a guest post on my blog!) because the book is definitely more interesting than the average angel-infused paranormal. I loved the creativity and imagery in this book – and Michael is mouth-watering both in his dialogue and his physique. I must admit that at first, his pet name for Eva – ‘beloved’ – kinda freaked me out, but as the story progressed I found I liked it. It fit him, and their situation. All in all, this was a good novella – interesting, well-written, and unique. I would highly recommend For Love of an Angel by Rosalie Lario for a quick, fun-filled afternoon of reading.

Favorite Quotes:

Angels were not known for their compassion.

The walking orgasm in front of her hadn’t gotten laid in years?... How was that even possible?

But despite their differences, they all had one thing in common. They all exhibited a blatant, rip-their-shirt-off type of sexual appeal.
Not that any of them was wearing a shirt.

 “Sexy”ness rating: HOT but a little overwhelming in mass and repetitive nature

Overall Rating: B

Bottom Line:  With sexy angels and a sweet but sensible heroine, For Love of an Angel is electric, riveting, inspired, and unique. You don't want to miss this fabulous novella by Rosalie Lario!

Pages: 35,000 words
Published: May 8, 2011
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy

A Guest Post and Giveaway with Rosalie Lario: Fallen Angels with a Twist

Hi everyone!

Today I'm very excited to welcome Rosalie Lario to my blog! I'm a great admirer of her Demons of the Infernum series and just got involved with her Fallen Warrior series - which is what Rosalie is here to talk about today. So without further ado I give you: Rosalie!

Fallen Angels – With a Twist

First off, I’d like to thank Rose May for hosting me on her site. So glad to be here!

I’m here today to talk about the fallen angels in my paranormal romance series, The Fallen Warriors.

I would imagine everyone is familiar with the biblical creation myth featuring angels and fallen angels. In the Bible, angels are servants of Heaven, and fallen angels have been banished from Heaven for their disobedience to God. It’s an interesting story, and one that’s been used as fodder for much fiction.

While thinking up The Fallen Warriors series, I knew I wanted to use angels, but not in the biblical sense. As interesting as that story is, I wanted to distance my angels from any of the religious aspects of the creation myth. So I twisted the mythology. Rather than servants of Heaven, the angels on my world are a race of beings from an alternate dimension. They are forced into our world when the walls between the dimensions collapse.

Once the angels realize they are forever stuck in our world, they convince humans to allow them to rule over Earth in exchange for peace and security...the ultimate utopia. But in reality, their designs on Earth are far more sinister. Total subjugation—and eventually, annihilation—of mankind.

The heroes of my series are a group of angels who seek to protect humankind. Because of this they have been cast out of their society and condemned to die. They are the Fallen.

Read on for more about Angel’s Desire, Book 2 of The Fallen Warriors Series:


In a world where angels rule over humans, twelve outcasts dare to defy expectation, warring with their angel brethren to prevent the extinction of humankind.

They are The Fallen...

Fallen angel Ethan has been outcast due to his love of humankind. In order to preserve his immortality, he must find a mate with angel blood…but the one woman he desires blames him for her father’s death. As a teenager, Tayla had a fierce crush on Ethan, her angel father’s best friend. She was humiliated when he rejected her, claiming she was too young for him. Her love turned to hate when he failed to save her father from being killed by the other angels.
Battle looms on the horizon, and Ethan can no longer afford to waste time. He must claim Tayla as his…but convincing her she’s his mate won’t be so easy.

Here’s a brief Excerpt that takes place shortly after Ethan seeks out Tayla:
The door had no more than slid shut when she felt a rush of wind behind her. She whirled, and Ethan was right there, standing so close she instinctively pressed her back to the front door. "Wh—what are you doing?"

His topaz eyes flashed and a tendril of frustration wafted off him. "An old high school friend, hmm?"

Stunned, she blinked her eyes. "Um...yeah?"

"You seemed very friendly."

When he reached out to wrap a finger around a strand of her hair, she couldn't help her gasp. He was acting like he was jealous or something, which was crazy considering she'd once offered herself to him, and he'd firmly refused. "What's your deal?"

"Why didn't you just tell him no?"

"I don't kno—" She cut off as his finger trailed up to her neck where he slid it along the crease of her jaw. Electric tingles crackled against her skin, racking her body with tremors. A wave of longing heat coursed through her veins. God, he'd always smelled so good—like cinnamon and vanilla and earthier spices.

I'm always going to respond to him like this.

The thought was so distressing she had to put it aside. For now. She could reflect on what that meant later.

Tayla tried her hardest to concentrate on their conversation. On his direct gaze.

"Why are you acting like this?"

"Like what?" he countered, his voice silky.


Ethan laughed, the heat of his breath flicking up a few strands of her hair. He lifted his other arm to the wall, effectively blocking her in. "Thats my nature, little Tayla. You of all people should know."

She blinked up at him. " you're really confusing me."

A hint of impatience drifted off him. "I didn't like the thought of him touching you."

"What?" Shock and anger permeated her senses. He wasn't her father. He didn't get to tell her whom she could and couldn't see. She lifted her hands to his chest and tried to shove him backward, but he didn't budge. "Why are you being such a caveman?"

A soft whisper of laughter drifted off him. "Don't you get it, Tayla?"

In a blink, he closed the distance between them, his lips mere inches from hers.
Suddenly she did get it. With the hardness of his body pressed against hers, there was no way she couldn't get it. She froze, plastering herself to the wall, and her heart rate tripled in the span of an instant.

Find out more about Angel’s Desire at:

Want to Chat? Visit me at:

For you readers, I’d love to know if you’ve read paranormal romances featuring angels (regular or fallen). If so, do you have a favorite? Do share!

I’ll be giving an ecopy of For Love of an Angel or Angel's Desire (winner's choice) to one random commenter.

I really appreciate Rosalie coming to chat on my blog, and the giveaway which will run until the 22nd of October! You'll be getting reviews of both For Love of an Angel and Angel's Desire in the next two days but I'll give you a sneak preview:

For Love of an Angel is electric, riveting, inspired, and unique. You don't want to miss this fabulous book by Rosalie Lario!

Thursday, October 6

Booking Through Thursday: Odd

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly bookish meme! This week's questions are:

1. What’s the oddest book you’ve ever read? 

2. Did you like it? Hate it? Did it make you think?

To be honest I don't really remember all that many really 'odd' books - a lot of what I read when I was younger was fantasy and paranormal, so I grew up on some pretty out-there books. I think the strangest book I ever read was Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I say that because I truly cannot understand the main character at all and I think it was the first time I'd every truly been unable to connect to a protagonist. Every thought and scene was unfamiliar and foreign to me, and yet the book still took place on Earth in the USA. It was the strangest feeling.

2. Ugh, I HATED that book! All I could think of was how whiny, annoying, selfish, insensitive, and phony Holden was. And then we spent a week on it in English class, discussing how lost and confused he was - I tell you, I had NO sympathy for him. Even less after that week he spent making my life a misery. Grrr...

On a happier note, don't miss a special guest post coming soon from one of my new favorite authors: Rosalie Lario! You'll be seeing reviews of her books and a guest post on the 8th - I hope you enjoy! She's written some really great stuff for you and there's a giveaway too! 

Wednesday, October 5

Night After Night by Janelle Denison

Book 2 in The Reliance Group series

A special thanks to Janelle for the review copy!

Zoe Russo is so excited when leasing agent Sean O’Brien contacts her about setting up shop at the Onyx Casino. It fits her budget, is a great location, and has plenty of space for her to use. And when the sexy Irishman asks her out on a date as well – what’s there to say no to? However, Sean O’Brien is no leasing agent, instead he’s an ex-conman working as part of The Reliance Group to locate Zoe’s father, who is accused of embezzling funds from his own work project. Sean has a personal vendetta against Grant Russo that makes this case extremely important to him. He’ll go to any measure to catch this guy and put him behind bars, and if that measure is dating the man’s incredibly attractive daughter, well, he’ll just have to 'suffer' through.

Meanwhile, pop-star Jessica Morgan (Zoe’s best friend) gets a romance of her own when she meets up with high school sweetheart and one-time lover, Noah Young. Single, attractive, and the manager of a successful nightclub, Noah is the package deal. But he and Jessie have some unresolved issues from their past that will put their fresh, new romance on the line and their future at stake. Can Jessie learn to trust in Noah and the amazing man he is? Can she see past her own shame and guilt for leaving him? Could this cute couple possibly have a happy ending in store?

I loved the romance between Jessie and Noah and that, combined with the plot (which, by the way, was a total surprise at the end) is what kept me turning the pages. I liked Jessica a lot, as a person and a heroine. She was a fun but caring and responsible pop star and I liked that her occupation was a little different than the norm. I thought the way she and Noah worked out their problems was classy and deep, and I loved him for his understanding, patience, and unconditional love. Jessica had a lot of issues in her childhood and past, and their romance about overcoming and learning to trust again was touching. Both of their characters were developed well, and I felt very close to them each throughout the book. The suspense plot was fairly well written – and you can bet your bottom buck that you won’t guess where Grant Russo is ‘hiding out’ until it’s revealed at the end. It was a fun, unique premise and fairly suspenseful but not overwhelming.

My main problems with this book were the poor attention to detail, a few absolutely unbelievable scenes, and the protagonists. There were a lot of grammatical errors I can across – missing letters, etc. HOWEVER please note that the copy I received was a REVIEW COPY and therefore the actually print addition may have less (or no) mistakes. I cannot definitively say either way. But things like people thinking about themselves in third person, Zoe calling herself a ‘daddy’s girl’ then getting upset when Sean jokingly calls her the same, and using the word ‘lessoning’ instead of ‘lessening’ bothered me as I read.

As far as unbelievable scenes, how about this one: Zoe is in the parking garage when this guy starts stalking towards her. She gets rightfully scared, runs back to her car, gets in, and locks it. She then proceeds to SIT THERE in her car while the guy pulls out a knife and starts saying scary things to her. And all the while she's thinking of how she's going to die because he can break the window and slash her throat. One would think that she would, oh, I don’t know – DRIVE AWAY? You’re in your car, lady! DRIVE AWAY FROM THE SCARY MAN WITH THE BIG ASS KNIFE!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? Waiting for him to make sushi on the hood of your car? RUN AWAY. I tell you. It drives me nuts.

Finally, the protagonists were a little under-developed, cliché and contradictory. Sean is hypocritical, especially at the beginning of the book, and that in and of itself is an annoyance. Then Zoe, who claims she wants commitment before entering a relationship thinks “…this was just a dinner, not a lifetime commitment, and that worked perfectly well for her.” which sounds like the words of a girl who likes casual dating. Which Zoe has already claimed that she doesn’t. Sean is annoying in his ‘I’m not worthy’ cry baby attitude and Zoe, while pitiable, is kinda wimpy. I just didn't like either of them, especially Sean, and couldn't sympathize with their plights. Overall I wasn’t satisfied with or convinced of their love for one another, and I tried to ignore their romance in favor of Jessica and Noah – the two loveable characters in the novel.

Favorite Quotes:

“Nice?” She lifted her head and gave him an incredulous look. “More like spectacular.”
“Good to know.” Smiling he smoothed her hair from her face then readjusted her bra and top portion of her dress, making her presentable again. “Next time we’ll strive for phenomenal.”

“If you’re talking about me bringing women to Alex Stratta for dinner, you’re the first.”
Her cheeks warmed at the thought, and she was grateful for the dim, outdoor lighting that disguised the extra color suffusing her face. “Lucky me.”
Unexpectedly, he reached out and skimmed the pad of his thumb along her jaw, then trailed his fingers along her bare neck in a sensual caress. “No, lucky me,” he murmured huskily.

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot!

Overall Rating: B

Bottom Line: This book had a great romance between the secondary characters, but the primary romance was a little cliché and stilted and the main characters were contradictory. Nevertheless the book was engaging, if a little underwhelming, and Jessica and Noah’s story really made the book for me!

Pages: 352
Published: October 4, 2011
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Contemporary

Tuesday, October 4

Into the Night by Janelle Denison

Book 1 in The Reliance Group series

Nathan Fox is going undercover to save a young girl, Angela, from being sexually abused and potentially sold into prostitution. However as he begins working up his case he meets this sexy reporter, Nicole, at a single’s meet-n-greet – and the night ends in some steamy, no-holds-barred sex. But she’s gone before the morning is over and Nathan is left with only Nicole’s hot memory burning him up. A few weeks later Nathan sees Nicole at an art exhibit, and is surprised and infuriated to learn that she’s decided to go undercover on his mission, trying to get an expose on Sloane, the virtually-untouchable and incredibly-wealthy man who kidnapped Angela. Can the two work together to save the girl and keep their passion under wraps?

The major problems I had with this book: Tell not show, poor characterization and contradictory nature, Stilted and unnatural prose and dialogue, and poor plot/suspense development. Surprisingly, the book was not so bad that I had to stop reading it – I sort of wallowed. I was stuck in it, like one gets stuck in mud. Not a good feeling or a good image.

The author drove me insane with her redundancy. The way a character acts is supposed to display what they’re thinking and feeling. Several times the author would write about Nicole smiling and laughing – clear indications that she’s enjoying whatever is happening. That's fine - that's good. But then the author has to, redundantly, point out “Nicole was enjoying their witty banter”. That line came up WAY too often in the book – often enough that I can recall seeing it, specifically, several times. There were a lot of examples of redundancy in the book, as well as that ‘tell not show’ attitude that detracted from my reading experience.

The characters were stereotypical, lacking the depth that could have led to any real emotional connections between them. I was unable to believe the love, trust, and developing intimacy between Nathan and Nicole. It was more ‘BAM we like one another and the sex is great’, less ‘Wow, I really enjoy getting to know you’. The author didn’t back up her statements of intimacy with evidence. I never felt or believed the romance of the story – I kinda read it and scoffed like “Yeah, right.” There was a lot of sex (way more than I was expecting, actually) but as most every romance reader knows sex does not equal romance or intimacy.

The unnatural prose and stilted dialogue are self-explanatory – the characters sometimes (NOT always) talked like talking cardboard stereotypes. Laughed like them too. The villain was unoriginal in his insanity (I hate that. Can’t we ever have a sane, smart villain?) as was his assistant being crazy-in-love with him. Oldest trick in the book = unoriginal. In this case, there was nothing defining to make it unique, and therefore I was unimpressed.I expect a lot from the villains in my romantic suspense books, especially when there is so much focus on the villain.

Finally, the plot had the same unoriginal quality that the prose and characters shared. It wasn’t terribly suspenseful – I definitely was never on the edge of my seat. I was a passive observer, occasionally skipping passages because I was bored and wanted things to get a move on. Suspense was not omnipresent throughout the story and I kept waiting for something of interest to happen. Occasionally there was a very welcome change of pace, but for the most part the book was lazy and slow. Not good for a book in the romantic suspense category. Overall, while there were a few isolated scenes in the book that I enjoyed, the book clearly did not earn my overwhelming favor and while it could possibly squeak by with a C but is getting a C-.

Favorite Quote:

“Good morning.” (Nicole)
“Yeah, it is.” He slid into her with a sleek, heavy thrust that made them both groan in pleasure. “And it’s about to get a whole lot better,” he said, and proceeded to make good on his promise.

“Sexy”ness rating: Lots of hots

Overall Rating: C-

Bottom Line: The book was interesting enough, but lacked momentum at times making it a slow, dull read at times. The characters, while developed alright individually, were borderline stereo-typical and had forced interactions with one another. The intimacy of relationships and trusts felt unnatural and forced. The prose was stiff, the dialogue occasionally stilted – while not bad, Into the Night is not a stunner.

Pages: 346
Published: March 29, 2011
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Contemporary