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Book Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Book Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Format: paperback

Published:  October 26, 2010

Genre: Young adult, Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

I’ve left some clues for you. 
If you want them, turn the page. 
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” 

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times best-selling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own

Review: 

Two teenagers, each facing the prospect of facing Christmas alone in New York City, embark on a city wide scavenger hunt involving a little red moleskin notebook. Dash, alone by choice, and Lily whose parents abandoned her to have their second honeymoon in tropical paradise, both find a new friend though this bizarre game of dare and possibly something more.

There was a lot I liked about this book, and a lot that I didn’t. I enjoyed the game. As someone who’s favourite episode of One Tree Hill is “Dare Night”, the whole concept of this book appealed to me. I loved the quirkiness of Lily’s extended family as well as the adorably almost puppy-like enthusiasm for life of Dash’s friend, Boomer.

What I didn’t enjoy so much was Dash’s pretentiousness. He’s the ultimate hipster kid – a little too cool for life, a little too well read dropping literary quotes like they’re going out of style. I enjoyed reading his thoughts and conversations but they lacked a little realism for me. The conversation he has with Lily’s great aunt Ida – it just a little too much for me. He was trying to be a modern day Holden Caulfield and he knows it.

I liked Lily’s innocence especially when contrasted with Dash’s been-there-done-that attitude. They were a great match for each other.

This is one of those books that if I were still a teenager, I think I’d love.


Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (paperback) / FishPond (paperback)

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Book Review: Can’t Buy Me Love by Maggie Marr

Book Review: Can’t Buy Me Love by Maggie Marr

Format: ebook (an ARC provided by NetGalley)

Published:  March 28, 2012

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit

Sensuality Rating: Warm.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Everyone knows that Cole Jackson is lethal–in his charm and in his reputation as ruthless media mogul and one of the world’s great CEOs. A fact his former executive assistant Meg Parson has learned firsthand. He’s the one who banished her from his executive suite with no explanation.

Determined to secure her long awaited promotion within Comnet, Meg Parson is back and can deliver the one deal Cole Jackson has always wanted and could never get. This deal is Meg’s ticket to the top. Now Meg must juggle this high-stakes deal with her unfathomable attraction to her former boss–an attraction Meg has denied for three years. An attraction which raises painful memories from her past. An attraction that Meg’s boss Cole seems to share. If Meg can’t pull off this multi-media merger, not only is her career at stake but also her heart.

Review: 

Cole Jackson and Meg Parson are moments away from closing the deal of their careers when they encounter a slight hitch. Instead of letting the opportunity slip away, ladies-man Cole and slightly obsessive compulsive Meg board a private plane to Costa Rica to try and convince Stan and Allison Morton to sell them their company.

On top of their business plans possibly falling thought, Cole and Meg have another issue – the lingering sexual tension between them. Both have wanted the other for a while now but for their own personal reasons they’re too scared to try a more personal relationship in case they lose their professional one in the process.

This was a very enjoyable read. I enjoyed the interactions between Cole and Meg – at first I found him slightly condescending but I think that’s just because I read him wrong and what I thought was condescension was actually him being affectionate. They’re very cute together.

I liked Allison and Stan Morton too. I really believe that the relationship they share is exactly what Meg and Cole could be able to have in the future. They are proof that working together and being together is entirely possible. Although I can’t imagine there haven’t been any giant arguments in the meantime 😛

This book was very easy to read with a rather light hearted and entertaining story. Perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Amazon (kindle version) / All Romance Ebooks (mobi, epub, html and pdf formats)

Click here to visit the author’s home page

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking (Trylle Trilogy #1)

Format: ebook

Published:  July 12, 2010

Genre: Young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, magic

Sensuality Rating: kisses

Synopsis (from Goodreads)When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might’ve been telling the truth.

With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – and it’s one she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of.

Review: 

At her sixth birthday party, Wendy Every’s mother tried to kill her with a cake knife. Way to kill the party vibe…

Since then Wendy has been living with her very over protective older brother, Matt, and her aunt Maggie moving every few months whenever Wendy gets kicked out of yet another school. When not another private school will take her Wendy enrols in a public school but her attitude hasn’t changed at all. Brawling with girls in the bathroom and sleeping her way though History class – that’s literally sleeping complete with drool. Nothing seems to have changed at all. Until she notices Finn Holmes – the only kid in the class that’s even newer than she is – staring at her. Constantly.

The only thing worse than his creepy behaviour is the fact that Wendy can’t help but notice how attractive Finn is. After a disastrous date to the school dance, Wendy isn’t even sure if she wants to see Finn again but he drags her into a world she’s knows nothing about complete with princesses, magical powers and trolls…

I really enjoyed this story. After reading many paranormal teen novels that follow the same formula (girl meets boy, they fall in love for no apparent reason, they have drama but end up happily ever after) I was glad to read a story where the romance isn’t the focus. Yes, Wendy does develop feelings for Finn but that’s by no means the focus in this story.

The world of the Trylle was fascinating. I love the idea of changeling children being “switched” out with the children of wealthy parents in order for the Trylle society to inherit generous trust funds that they then bring back to the society after Trackers are sent to find the changelings.

One of the few things that I did have issues  with in this novel was the pacing – there was a lot of world building and background information that was important to set up the series but I was 50 pages from the end and was waiting for the climax to start. 40 pages to the end I was still waiting. It wasn’t until twenty pages from the end that all the drama unfolded but it was all wrapped up within a few pages – it had to be because we were running out of pages before the novel ended.

I really enjoyed this story. It was a great YA paranormal story that offered me something new. I’d never read a troll story before but I will be reading another  – the sequel is already on my kindle and waiting for me! 😛

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

Book Review: Midnight Remedy by Eve Gaddy

Book Review: Midnight Remedy by Eve Gaddy

Format: ebook

Published: February 2012 (first published March 31st 1997)

Source: an ARC provided by NetGalley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sensuality Rating: Hot!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)BELIEVE IN SECOND CHANCES . . .

Piper Stevenson’s mysterious “potion” cured one of his patients. Dr. Eric Chambers is determined to unravel the secret of her painful past. Can they heal each other’s hearts?

Review:

Dr. Eric Chambers is on a mission. A mission to find the herbalist who has been treating his patients behind his back. But when he arrives at a farm in the middle of nowhere – Single mother Piper Stevenson is not quite what he has expected. There’s sexual tension between the two from the get-go but both are slightly damaged from their pasts and suspicious of relationships. Piper especially has some history with doctors and everyone in town knows it. In addition to wanting to berate the herbalist, Eric wants the secret formula to what she gave his patient – it could be the cure to mail infertility that would rival Viagra – but Piper won’t give it to him. Firstly she hasn’t given his patient anything. All she has done is given some skin lotion to the patient’s wife. And secondly, she can’t risk the media attention that a discovery like this could bring. She needs to protect her six year old son, Cole.

This is a sweet story that is a light hearted read – just what I needed in between some rather heavy novels I’ve been reading lately. It’s romantic and has a happy ending. The only thing is… I had some issues with Dr. Eric. He’s incredibly rude to Piper at the start. And whilst he does change as the novel goes on, I found myself holding a grudge against him.

But Piper was delightful and I enjoyed her son and grandfather’s antics. I’d recommend this one for anyone that enjoys quick reads that are interesting and have plenty of hot moments.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

Book Review: Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu

Book Review: Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu (Dirk and Steele #1)

Format: paperback

First Published:  March 6,  2005

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shifters, Urban Fantasy, Magic

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Synopsis (from Goodreads)He looks out of place in Dela Reese’s Beijing hotel room- exotic and poignant, some mythic, tragic hero of an epic tale. With his feline yellow eyes, he’s like nothing from her world. Yet Dela has danced through the echo of his soul and knows this warrior will obey her every command.

Hari has been used and abused for millennia. But he sees, upon his release from the riddle box, that this new mistress is different. There is a hidden power in Dela’s eyes- and with her, he may regain all that was lost to him. Where once he savaged, now he must protect; where once he only knew hatred, now he must embrace love. Dela is the key. For Dela, he will risk all.

Review: 

Dela Reese, an artist and sword-maker, is visiting Beijing for business when she comes across a mysterious old woman in the Dirt Market. The old woman insists that Dela buys an ancient little wooden puzzle box and from that moment things get even stranger. On her way back to the hotel Dela is accosted by a man who grabs her but Dela manages to get away. After returning to her room, Dela manages to open the puzzle box only to have a seven foot ancient, shape-shifting warrior pop out. Hari was cured thousands of years ago to do whatever his summoner demands from him – anything from killing to bedding them. Naturally to say, Hari is instantly suspicious and distrusting of his new mistress.

Throw in a few attempts on Dela’s life, the Chinese mafia, some more shape shifters and a few of the agents from Dirk and Steele detective agency and you’ll get a fairly entertaining story.

I enjoyed the characters in this story. Dela was a strong character who was brave and intelligent. Hari was hot and one of those characters that seem to be a little too perfect – he was too caring, too self-sacrificing, too handsome. There’s just something about characters like Hari that rub me the wrong way. I like my heroes to be a bit more flawed in terms of how they treat their mates. He’s just… with the exception of how they first meet and how suspicious he is of Dela, he seems to think she’s perfect. And she’s not. But I liked that about her. I just wish that Hari take off his rose coloured glasses for a little bit.

Whirlwind romances aren’t really my thing and Dela and Hari do fall in love VERY quickly.  I think it’s only a week from meeting to the final showdown. But I liked the development of their relationship. It was a nice progression, just a little intense time-wise.

The members of Dirk and Steele – a ‘detective’ agency where the agents all have special abilities – were a great supporting cast. They’re all a little damaged and should make good heroes in their own books later in the series. There’s nothing I like more than warrior men who have a caring side – which all of these men had.

I didn’t love this book but I did enjoy many parts of it. The romance was sweet, the characters were enjoyable. I will be continuing to read the rest (or at least the next book) of the series. 🙂

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

Book Review: Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer

Book Review: Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer (Pleasure Code #1)

Format: ebook

First Published: March 12th, 2012

Source: an ARC provided by NetGalley

Genre: Romance, Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance, BDSM

Sensuality Rating: Burning!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Why did Lauren Vaughn introduce her sister to the man she herself was crazy about? Now Lauren is watching the happy couple at their combined bachelor/bachelorette party—while Lauren sits all alone at the bar. Until she spots a hot stranger with the telltale black handkerchief in his pocket: the signal for “seeks no-strings affair with sexy submissive.” Lauren can’t take her eyes off him. So when he comes over, she kicks her inner good girl to the curb and follows Jamie Forman to his room, where he makes her scream with pleasure all night long.

But Jamie is a complicated man. He can’t handle how desperately he wants her in his bed—and his life. It’s up to Lauren to teach him how to make all night last forever.

Review: 

This [book is] purely about sex. No strings, just hot and naughty sex, nothing else. (quote from the novella)

But it isn’t. There’s more to the story than just bedroom antics – although I thoroughly enjoyed said antics.

I loved the cover. It’s playful and sexy – much like the story itself. I really enjoyed the story. It starts off with Lauren Vaughn being miserable at her sister’s combined bachelor/bachelorette party – jealous that her sister has managed to snag the man of Lauren’s daydreams and not enjoying the company of the other party guests. That is until Lauren spies a stranger with a black handkerchief in his back pocket… and a very fine behind 😉 Lauren’s been researching the dominant/submissive lifestyle online and is more than a little intrigued by handsome dom.Jamie Forman quickly introduces himself to Lauren and quick as can be, they embark in a wicked weekend that will change Lauren’s life (or at least her sex life) forever.

The story is really enjoyable. It’s spicy and addresses some of the issues that I’ve read about the lifestyle in other BDSM novels. I liked that Lauren made sure to call a friend and check in before her night with her handsome stranger (although I would have liked it if Lauren checked his ID too just to make sure he was who he said he was) – as well as getting someone to vouch for Jamie’s character – but it still felt a little too quick for me. They exchange names and before they can discuss anything else they’re involved in a full blown conversation about the lifestyle and how much Lauren knows about it. It just felt… a little too forward? But then again… this is a novella and it is just a fantasy/story. Sometimes I think I can get a little too hung up on the details. Some of the language used wasn’t my cup of tea. I don’t like it when dirty talk is too harsh or too… gritty? With that said, it fit the situation. Lauren was into it 😛

As for the characters? I thought they were really well written. Lauren was slightly socially awkward but really amusing with her inner dialogue. I was really glad to see that she managed to be more comfortable with herself and also managed to find some common ground with her sister. Jamie, the super confident and experienced Dom, endeared himself more to me as the story went on and we got to see that he wasn’t all that he appeared at the start. There was a lot of character growth despite this only being a novella. There were times when I felt that Lauren was being slightly hypocritical but I was glad to see that those issues were addressed before the end of the story.  I really enjoyed Wicked Weekend. Yes, there were some things I wasn’t overly fond of but this was a steamy love story that, all things aside, was a pleasure to read.

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

 Amazon (kindle version) / Carina Press (epub version)

 Visit the Author’s Website by clicking HERE

Book Review: Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse

Book Review: Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse

Format: ebook

First Published: March 5th, 2012

Source: an ARC provided by NetGalley

Genre: Fae, Fantasy Romance, Shifters, Paranormal Romance

Sensuality Rating: Kisses

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Journeying by steam-powered sled to London’s Frost Fair to perform, Tara and three friends are trapped in a blizzard in the woods. A gruff, handsome stranger offers them shelter-and wants one thing in return. Stories.

The travellers are glad to oblige. Their host, Rolph, is especially captivated by Tara’s story of an orphaned girl raised by the Fae in the world of the spirits. Equally intrigued by Rolph, and aware of an electric pull between them, Tara encourages him to share a story of his own. When Rolph weaves a tale of a man who is doomed by his own folly to turn into a wolf at the full moon, Tara suspects there is more than a grain of truth in his words.

When the veil between the mortal and spiritual worlds is parted, and danger threatens, will Tara make the ultimate sacrifice to save Rolph?

Review: 

Four travelling puppeteers and storytellers are braving a terrible blizzard when they come across a little cabin in the woods. Thankful to the strange but kind stranger who offers them lodging and food until the storm passes, they repay him by telling him stories – stories of dragons, fairies

The stories were enjoyable and were very reminiscent of other stories I’d heard before but with new twists. Whilst I enjoyed reading them, I’m not sure that Beth and Miles stories added anything extra to the novel as a whole.

Rolph’s story was my favourite. I loved the vividness and descriptions of both the story and the characters.

The interactions between Rolph and Tara were very cute. Attraction – at least on Tara’s behalf – from the moment they meet and that continues on throughout the book. It was a very sweet story.

My main negative about the story was the pace – it’s very slow. Action wise, not much happens (until the very end) and there are times when it feels like the characters talk too much about certain topics. I didn’t feel like there needed to be that many words spent in discussing travel and the vehicles they used (although I adored the term “mechanimal” for the mechanical horse) and all the details about the shopping trip that a few of the characters took into town. Sometimes less is more.

All in all, a very sweet story and an interesting take on the old Beauty and the Beast story.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

 Amazon (kindle version) / Carina Press (epub version)