Sunday, May 31, 2009

Book Review: A Little Light Magic by Joy Nash (2009)

A Little Light Magic (Leisure Fiction) A Little Light Magic by Joy Nash

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Back Cover:

When a girl with no family meets a guy with too much …

For Tori Morgan, family’s a blessing the universe hasn’t sent her way. Her parents are long gone, her chance of having a baby is slipping away, and the only thing she can call her own is a neglected house. What she wants more than anything is a place where she belongs. . . and a big noisy clan to share her life.

For Nick Santangelo, family’s more like a curse. His Nonna is a closet kleptomaniac, his mom’s a menopausal time bomb and his motherless daughter is headed for serious boy trouble. The last thing Nick needs is another female making demands on his time.

But summer on the Jersey shore can be an enchanted season, when life’s hurts are soothed by the ebb and flow of the tides and love can bring together the most unlikely prospects. A hard-headed contractor and a lonely reader of tarot cards and crystal prisms? All it takes is. . . A Little Light Magic.
First let me say – I started this one while laying out and this is the perfect beach/sun read. Light and fun is the best way to describe it. I love the total opposites attract and you don’t get much more opposite than what you see with Nick, the straight-laced, by-the-book man in life and business. Tori believes in ghosts and spirits. tarot readings and candle magic spells. Tori has never really had a family and that is what she desires most in life.

I loved the interaction between Nick and Tori. I also loved watching them grow as characters. The additional characters of Nick’s family really added something, especially his daughter Leigh and his younger brother Johnny. Nonna. the kleptomaniac grandmother is an interesting addition to.

This is a fun and quick to read story. It is my first by Ms. Nash and it will not be the last. I hope she does more with this family as I would love to hear stories about Nick’s brothers.

So if you want a good summer romance, this is for you especially if you like the opposites attract plot. I always love the play between the hero/heroine in these type of books and it’s definitely not lacking here. The attraction between them is also very strong and I loved the tension that
was throughout the book.

Don't forget my two contest going - I'm giving away Strange Angels ARC by Lili St. Crow and also the hardcover of Admission by Jean Hannf Korelitz. Scroll down to enter.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review and a giveaway: Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Admission Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the cover flap:

For years, thirty-eight-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy (and sometimes punishing) career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia is faced with an extraordinary test. Just as thousands of the nation’s brightest students await her decision regarding their academic admission, so too must Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission.

ADMISSION is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return and shake a woman’s life to the core.

I honestly did not know what to expect from this book when I started reading it. I received it through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer Program. I just knew it sounded like an interesting book that I wanted to read. My first impression was definitely correct. From the first page of Admission, I was hooked.

Portia is a woman who thinks her life is just fine until one decision shakes up everything in her life. At that point she begins to question all that she has done as she has coasted through her life for almost 20 years. I found Portia a likeable character. I cared about her and wanted her to sort out her life. I also saw some of me in Portia. Don’t we all just sort of accept things and coast through our lives? As Portia works through her life I found myself turning the pages and wanted to know more about her. I didn’t always agree with decisions she made, but I never reached a point where I didn’t care about her.

The backdrop of Princeton admissions was very interesting and I loved the insight into the process that was throughout the book. I also enjoyed the other characters introduced and the setting of the Northeast and the Ivy League colleges. Growing up in the south, this book was a lovely look into the northeast for me.

This book is wonderful and I will definitely be checking out Jean Hanff Korelitz’s backlist (The White Rose, The Sabbathday River, and A Jury of Her Peers). I hate making comparisons to other authors because I truly believe each author is an individual and while their works are similar to other authors, they have their own way of writing and creating the characters. That said, if you like the type of books that Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult write, I think you will like Jean Hanff Korelitz’s Admission. It has that serious tone (though there are some pretty funny moments) and a very real-life feel.

I can’t recommend this book enough and I am thrilled to have had a chance to read it.

Don't forget my Lili St. Crow Strange Angels giveway in the post below.

And for a chance to win my hardcover copy of Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz, just post a comment. Additional entries for following me or being a follower and also for tweeting or blogging a mention of this contest. I will run the contest through next Saturday June 6th at midnight and will draw a winner on Sunday or Monday June 7th or 8th and post on the blog.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review and a giveaway: Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Strange Angels Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the back:

Dru: Sixteen-year-old Dru has what her grandmother called the touch - a sixth sense that drives her from town to town to hunt ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional reanimated corpse. But when evil comes knocking, can this loner tough girl stand the heat? Or is it just a matter of time before her blood turns cold?

Graves: Goth boy Graves has a big crush on new girl, Dru. And with his lopsided grin and shaggy hair, she's noticed him right back. Then a wulf bite threatens to change him for good and Dru will have to keep her distance...or else.

Christophe: Christophe's ice cold baby blues and wicked smile are the kind of looks that kill. He's got a hunch that Dru is way more special than she knows. Trouble is, he's not the only one who has caught her scent. And it will take more than his razor-sharp fanges to take out whatever - or whoever - is hunting her.

Can Dru stay alive long enough to fall for one - or both - of the guys hungry for her affections?
There is a lot of world building in this one. As the start of a series, Ms. St. Crow has a lot of explaining to do about this world and she does it. I think it takes a little away from the book itself as it never seems to really get going until the end.

However once it did get going, it really did get going. Even though I was slightly disappointed in this installment, I have to say I will gladly pick up the next installment when it comes out. I have now fallen in love with Dru, Graves and Christophe and want to learn more about their adventures and the world they live in.

So prepare yourself for the world building and I say that you will enjoy this book. The characters are very interesting and you care about them and also what is going on in this world is intersting. It's a different take on the paranormal and I really like it. You learn about all sorts of different paranormal types instead of just one or two that seem typical in paranormal books right now.

I'm really glad I got a chance to read this book and will continue to read Ms. St. Crow's books both young adult and her other books.

Would you like a chance to win my ARC of this book. I'd like to pass on my good fortune and share it with one lucky reader from my blog.
The normal rules apply - post for a chance to win. Post again if you are a follower or have started following me now. You can also post again if you tweet about this giveaway.
I'll draw a winner from all entries next Wednesday, June 2 and post that day. Make sure I have a way to contact you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review: Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher

Ghostwriter: A Novel Ghostwriter: A Novel by Travis Thrasher

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

For years Dennis Shore has thrilled readers with his spooky bestselling novels. Now a widower, Dennis is finally alone in his house, his daughter attending college out of state. When he's stricken by a paralyzing case of writer's block and a looming deadline, Dennis becomes desperate. Against better judgment, he claims someone else's writing as his own, accepting undeserved accolades for the stolen work. He thinks he's gotten away with it . . . until he's greeted by a young man named Cillian Reed--the true author of the stolen manuscript.

What begins as a minor case of harassment quickly spirals out of control. As Cillian's threats escalate, Dennis finds himself on the brink of losing his career, his sanity, and even his life. The horror he's spent years writing about has arrived on his doorstep, and Dennis has nowhere to run.

Okay I admitted yesterday that I am addicted to Travis Thrasher's books and this one is great. I received this as an ARC from Faithwords (and thank you so much) and it is an amazing book.

Suspenseful, Creepy and even heartfelt, this book has it. Dennis Shore obviously is a flawed character, but you learn why and you learn all about the harassement of Cillian. The story's pacing is perfect, it keeps you turning the pages and wondering what the heck will happen next. Everytime I though I had this book figured out, it took a new turn and by the last 100 pages I did not want to put it down for one second.

So if you like your suspense mixed with a little horror and supernatural with a small dose of Christianity (and no it does not show any character as perfect in this book - the characters all have their flaws) then this is the book for you. If you haven't read Travis Thrasher before I recommend this one - it's a wild creepy suspenseful ride that I am actually eager to take again.

Oh and I also like his references to music. I follow him on Twitter and he is often talking about music. I always seem to have a soundtrack in my head so I like that his books have somewhat of a soundtrack to them. It really helps you get the feel of the book and what is going on at the moment.

View all my reviews.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Review: Gun Lake by Travis Thrasher

Gun Lake Gun Lake by Travis Thrasher

rating: 4 of 5 stars


Thrasher's Gun Lake is the story of five escaped criminals who leave dead bodies in their wake. One man, Kurt, is plagued with guilt for his crimes and longs to make amends to his grown son. Another, Sean, wants revenge on his father and guides the group to a hideout in the resort town of Gun Lake, Michigan, where the old man lives. There the sins of the group are resolved, but not before the reader meets a hapless alcoholic deputy, a brokenhearted waitress, and an ex-con trying to live honorably. Events pile up into an overheated conclusion, but Thrasher's feel for characterization makes this his best effort yet. John Mort

Okay so I read Isolation a while back and then received Ghostwriter as an arc and I must say I am officially addicted to Travis Thrasher. So I was thrilled when I found Gun Lake at my local library.

This was an really good book - a little confusing with the cast of characters at times, but I really like reading books where a whole bunch of different people's lives that don't know each other end up intersecting and how that affects everyone.

The suspense and pacing of this book is great. The characters believable, from the convicts to the abused girlfriend, to the alcoholic deputy, to the mother and son with problems, I liked learning about all of them. They all had their story to tell and Mr. Thrasher did a wonderful job getting their story out.

It all meshed together well and kept the plot moving along so that I was never bored and I was always wondering what would happen next. Some moments would have me holding my breath and some with a sigh of relief. If you like suspense and enjoy good characters then you will like this book and all of his other books!

Remember Ghostwriter comes out tomorrow and it's wonderful - review will go up then, but you must must must read Ghostwriter!

View all my reviews.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Review: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Sweethearts Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts.They were also one another's only friend.So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennifer thinks she's lost the only person who will ever understand her.Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed.Known as Jenna, she's popular, happy, and dating, everything "Jennifer" couldn't be---but she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost friend. When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.

Wow - what a book - I read it in a few hours but could not put it down. Sara Zarr does it again. I loved Story of A Girl and I also love Sweethearts.

Just reading about Jenna's insecurities and meeting Cameron again took me back to school. Who didn't have insecurities, even the popular people. This book just takes a deep look into how things in our life affect us and how we must take these things that shape us and move on with our life. Jenna does this through the book but she does it in a typical teenager way that made this book feel so real to me and really resonate with me.

An enjoyable cast of typical teenagers and a real feeling book - this is a book I would recommend to anyone - especially teenagers and even their parents because I believe there are great insights in this book.

As I said earlier though - it is a delightful quick read that you don't want to put down and truthfully I was sad at the end because I wanted more of Jenna, but the ending is fine, don't get me wrong. You aren't left hanging, I just enjoyed Jenna's story and wanted to hear more.

Other Reviews of this book:

Natasha at Mawbooks

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review: Because I'm Worth It - Gossip Girl #4

Because I'm Worth It (Gossip Girl, Book 4) Because I'm Worth It by Cecily von Ziegesar

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
From Goodreads:

Everyone who's anyone in New York City is suffering from post-college-application cabin fever and it's time to run a little wild! Could it be that Serena is smitten with Blair's stepbrother or will the Fashion Week parties pull her away from any attempt at true love? Dan and Vanessa are mad about each other and pursuing their creative dreams -- but be careful of what you wish for. Nate hits an all-time low as Blair's Yale interview with a tall, handsome alum takes an unexpected turn and Jenny makes a new friend who gets a little too close for comfort. And just who is going to get into college early acceptance? Wintertime has never been hotter in NYC as things steam up all over Fifth Avenue.

This one was great - a lot happens and we learn even more about our favorite people we love to love and love to hate. More fun, plenty of laughs and plenty of heartache too. Just what you have come to expect from the series. I like that Serena and Blair are friends again and I like the new characters that are being added. Fashion week made a really fun backdrop for this one and it just feels like you get in on a lifestyle that you only see from a distance. Another quick easy read and I am already chomping at the bit for the next one.

View all my reviews.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Review: All I Want is Everything - Gossip Girl #3

All I Want Is Everything (Gossip Girl, Book 3) All I Want Is Everything by Cecily von Ziegesar

rating: 4 of 5 stars


S and B and J and N are back, along with A, D, V, and assorted other rich, catty Manhattan teenagers in this third installment of the Gossip Girl series. An omniscient and anonymous narrator keeps track of the scene in (now an actual site), where the rumors fly, backs are stabbed, and celebrity sightings are dutifully reported. Serena (S) and Blair (B) are best friends again, shoring each other up as Blair faces life without her ex, Nate, who has hooked up with a sweet, busty 14-year-old, and Serena fends off advances from drop-dead-gorgeous rock star, Flow. Life’s rough. Meanwhile, Vanessa and Dan play the will-he/won’t-he game of sex, and Aaron tries to thwart his own crush on new stepsister Blair. (Ages 14 and older) --Emilie Coulter

Ah - the Gossip Girls - for some reason these books are really good to me. They are quick, easy, enthralling reads. It's like a teenage soap opera and I am hooked. I love the characters and the reange of characters that Ms. von Ziegesar uses. You have the wealthy elite, and the middle class, you have the stoner boy, the poetry boy, the vegan boy and the metro boy. The girls are all different too, but with typical and non-typical teenage problems.

Book number 3 helped me to get to know the characters better and be more intrigued by the story. I will definitely be reading these through to the end and look forward to each one I read.

For parents of teenagers - realize this is what is out there right now - there is sex, some language, drinking and drug use. I think of reading these as a way of educating myself for when my boys are older so I know what is out there. I think it's typical of the tv shows out there for teenagers now - it's just a little more advanced than the 90210 that I grew up with :)

View all my reviews.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: Trial by Fire by Jo Davis

Trial by Fire (Firefighters of Station Five, #1) Trial by Fire by Jo Davis

rating: 4 of 5 stars


Dont get burned...

Lieutenant Howard “Six- Pack” Paxton loves three things: being a firefighter, riding his Harley, and his bachelorhood. That is, until the curvaceous Kat McKenna falls into his arms at the scene of a fire—and melts the six-foot-six tower of bronze muscle…

But just as passion ignites between them—and they explore new heights of ecstasy—a ruthless arsonist with a deadly secret and a thirst for vengeance becomes their worst nightmare.

Wow - what a ride this book was. It took a few pages to get into, but after the first 20 or so I was hooked and could not put it down. I really liked the look into the characters of Howard and Kat. They felt real, a little more raw than I am use to, but I really liked them. I also liked getting the glimpse of the rest of the Firefighters of Station 5 and can't wait to read their stories.

The characters were well done in this book. The romance moved at a good pace. There was heat and problems between the main characters that really held your interest and the suspense kept you turning pages to find out what would happen next.

This isn't your happy-go-lucky romance novel, but if you love romantic suspense with an edge this is right up your alley. If you haven't tried romantic suspense then this is one book you should try. Ms. Davis offers us everything this book and I just can't recommend it enough!

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Winner is . . .

Alicia - I've emailed you for your address and will get the book out as soon as possible. It's a great one.

Thanks everyone for entering my contest. I hope to have a new one up soon and a review of this wonderful Travis Thrasher book in the next few days. It comes out next Tuesday and you don't want to miss it!

Sorry for the delay - I am having some health difficulties but I'm able to read like a bandit at the moment. Lots of reviews coming and more giveaways. Stay tuned!

All giveaways will be announced on Twitter so follow me there to be the first to hear!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


First - don't forget my Ghostwriter contest in the post below - win a copy of Travis Thrasher's Ghostwriter before it's even out - contest runs through next Tuesday!

So audiobooks - I love them, they get me through my short commute and some days make me want to stay in the car longer. This week they are helping me during my commute as they are working on a bridge which is the only way about half of our county can get into "town" as we say. So my commute has stretched from the normal 20 minutes to about 45 minutes. Fun - but in a way it is - I don't have a specific time to be at work, so that is not stressful and what it is giving me is time to listen to my current audiobook - Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. This is a wonderful book and I am enjoying it and the reader.

I get most of my audiobooks either from the library or from Audible (which has a wonderful subscription program and also a lot of sales). The ones from audible go on my mp3 player and I use a tape player adapter to listen in the car. CDs or tapes are played in my car also (I have a pre-2000 van that has both tape and CD).

So my question to you is what are some of your favorite audiobooks and audiobook readers? I love the David Baldacci books read by Scott Brick and I will pick up anything that Scott Brick reads now, because I enjoy him so much. I also enjoy the Stephanie Plum books which are read by C.J. Critt. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult was also wonderful and they used several readers for the different voices (each chapter was a different person in the story and a different reader to go with that character).

So what do you love about audiobooks and give me your suggestions, I'm always looking for suggestions of things to read!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Contest - Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher

Oh my goodness - I just finished Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher last night (thank you Faithwords for the arc!) and I cannot say enough about this book. I will post my review next week, but until then I would like to help build the interest in this book, so I'm having a contest to win one of my two arcs of this wonderful, scary and gripping book. Here is the summary of the book from the Hachette book website:
For years Dennis Shore has thrilled readers with his spooky bestselling novels. Now a widower, Dennis is finally alone in his house, his daughter attending college out of state. When he's stricken by a paralyzing case of writer's block and a looming deadline, Dennis becomes desperate. Against better judgment, he claims someone else's writing as his own, accepting undeserved accolades for the stolen work. He thinks he's gotten away with it . . . until he's greeted by a young man named Cillian Reed--the true author of the stolen manuscript.
What begins as a minor case of harassment quickly spirals out of control. As Cillian's threats escalate, Dennis finds himself on the brink of losing his career, his sanity, and even his life. The horror he's spent years writing about has arrived on his doorstep, and Dennis has nowhere to run.
Let me tell you that this is a wonderful book and you really want to read it. It's release date is 5/28/2009. But you can get it a little early by entering and winning.

So here are the ways you can enter:

1. Comment for the first entry (make sure I have a way to contact you)
2. Become a follower or subscribe to my blog for another entry (or let me know you are currently a follower/subscriber).
3. Follow me on Twitter ( (or let me know if you already follow me)
4. Tweet about this giveaway or post on your blog about this contest (+1 for each)

The contest will go through next Tuesday, May 19th and I'll announce the winner on the 20th.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Musing Mondays - May 4

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page. You can click on the link (or the picture) to see her blog and read everyone's Musing Monday post.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about your to be read list…

How many books (roughly) are in your tbr pile? Is this in increasing number or does it stay stable? Do you ever experience tbr anxiety in the face of this pile? (question courtesy of Wendy)

I have absolutely no idea how big my tbr pile is since it encompasses numerous bookshelves and stacks around the house. I do have a smaller pile on my nightstand and dresser that contains my books from booksfree, review books and other books I am dying to read. I consult this first to pick my next book, but sometimes make my way to my shelves. Sometimes just looking at my shelves makes me want to read - not out of anxiety, but just because I love to read and love looking at my books.

I don't have anxiety because I look at all the books as an investment. One day I may not have money to freely buy books and then I have plenty of books to read. I don't seem to make headway because I am always adding, but I'm okay with that, I know I have plenty of entertainment for the years to come!

Have a great Monday!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Where have I been?

Wow - I didn't mean to but I let the blog slide. I will be back though starting next week hopefully. I'm still reading and writing reviews that I will post through time. It's just been busy around here. My youngest turned 4, the oldest is playing baseball and I have a chronic health problem plaguing me on top of the new diagnosis of something wrong with my C6/C7 vertebrae. Fun stuff and lots of doctor's appointments. Work is also crazy so forgive me for the moment.

And thanks to everyone for the blog awards. I will post them in the next few days. I just wanted to say I haven't given up and I'm not ignoring anyone, but life interferes from time-to-time.

Take care all and have a wonderful weekend.