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Monday, July 31, 2006

Marly's Choice by Lora Leigh

Marly's love for Cade has spanned her teenage years, and survived strong and intact into womanhood. Her fantasies and daydreams have sustained her, but she's no longer content with merely imagining the touch of his hands, the taste of his kiss. It's time to seduce the tough, sexy cowboy.

She's heard the rumors for years, the tales of his sexual preferences. She's prepared herself to accept his desires. Prepared her body for his touch. But she wasn't prepared for the choice to come...

Cade's dark desires, his sexual excesses are based in the past. In a time when pain, shame, and blood stains his very soul. He carries a secret shared only with his brothers. A secret that has scarred the bond, the ability to be a brother or to accept the love of the men he was raised with. He knows the only way to prove his loyalty, his love for those brothers and Marly will be the key.

She has a choice. She can surrender to Cade's needs, his soul deep desires, or she can walk away. A choice only Marly can make. A choice that will change her life forever

Warning: This book contains male dominance, foresomes and anal sex. It's basically erotica. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, I suggest you skip this one.

I heard about this book from one of the simon says BB. They were discussing it and it caught my interest.

The Plot: Marly is raised by 3 brothers. Cade, Brock and Sam because her step father is a pervert. She falls in with Cade but she hears rumors about his sexuality. That he likes it rough. He likes to be control. He likes to share his women with his two brothers.

Marly prepares herself for what Cade wants and sets out to seduce him. This is where Cade annoys me. He wants her, then he doesn't want her. "We raised her." As one of the brothers said, "She's no niece of mine." Cade then wants her, but then doesn't want her again, but then doesn't want anyone else to have her. Marly of course is getting mad at Cade. I don't blame her.

Cade is worried Marly won't be able to accept him and sexual appetite. Or the two other brothers. Something happened to the brothers that they "need" this. The book doesn't go into too much detail. (I'm thinking the author explains it in one of the brother's books.) So Marly is given a choice. Does she love Cade and accept him or does she walk away?

All the while, Marly's step father has found her and has been stalking her.

The sex scenes are hot. The big scene was a disappointment. Too short. The story was all right. Cade bugged me a little. I understand his hesitation, but after a while it got old. However, I do want to read Brock and Sam's story. I also must say, this is the first book Hubby was interested in. "Highlight the good parts in yellow and get back to me." The nerd.

Grade: C.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Somewhere I'll Find You by Lisa Kleypas

All London is at Julia Wentworth's feet. The beautiful, enchanting actress is the toast of the theater world—and anything she desires is hers for the asking. But the incomparable leading lady guards a devastating secret: a mystery husband whom she does not know, dares not mention. . .and cannot love.
For years Damon Savage has been searching for the stranger his unscrupulous parents wed him to without his consent. Wanting no more than to be legally rid of the foolish chit, Damon is shocked to discover his "bride" is the exquisite stage performer whom he intended to make his mistress! But though his wife by law, Julia will never truly be Damon's—until he conquers her fears, his formidable rivals. . .and the stellar lady's proud, independent heart.All London is at Julia Wentworth's feet. The beautiful, enchanting actress is the toast of the theater world—and anything she desires is hers for the asking. But the incomparable leading lady guards a devastating secret: a mystery husband whom she does not know, dares not mention. . .and cannot love.
For years Damon Savage has been searching for the stranger his unscrupulous parents wed him to without his consent. Wanting no more than to be legally rid of the foolish chit, Damon is shocked to discover his "bride" is the exquisite stage performer whom he intended to make his mistress! But though his wife by law, Julia will never truly be Damon's—until he conquers her fears, his formidable rivals. . .and the stellar lady's proud, independent heart.

This was all right. Damon and Julia were married at a very young age. When Julia is old enough she leaves homes and becomes an actress. A very good one. At some function for the theater, she meets Damon for the first time. Because she knows his name, recognizes him as her husband. Since she goes by her stage name, Jessica, Damon does not know it's her. What gets me, she's pretending she's not married (not by sleeping with men) cause she hated she was married at a young age but she gets mad cause Damon claims to not be married. Whatever.

Damon wants Jessica. He wants to end his marriage to Julia so he can pursue her. It's his lucky day when he figures out Jessica is really Julia but he doesn't want Julia to be an actress. sigh.

Meh. It was all right.

Grade: C-

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Crazy Love by Tara Janzen

Government operative Dylan Hart has survived some of the riskiest missions known to man. But no nemesis could have prepared the Special Defense Forces commander for the newest member of his team. A street-smart heartbreaker in Day-Glo pink and black leather, Skeeter Bang has been recruited to aid and abet Dylan's latest mission: steal a top-secret file and bury it before all hell breaks loose.

Teaming up with a man who may be the last bona fide defender of the free world is a risk Skeeter's ready to take. Until a black-tie Washington soiree erupts in a bullet-flying free-for-all. Now Skeeter's got danger on her trail and Dylan arousing every bad-boy fantasy she ever had. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is about to plunge one man and woman right into the sizzling line of fire....

I have been anxiously waiting for this book since I finished Crazy Kisses months ago. I was so excited that it was finally out that I just barely restrained myself from rushing right out to the bookstore to get it.

I read this review by Kristie J and got even more excited. Then this one from Devon and man, I couldn't wait! But then I read this one by Jane and started rethinking my stance here. I mean, I wasn't in the mood for some crappy 5th story, you know?

I'm happy to report, however, that I didn't think it was as bad as Jane did. I wasn't super impressed with it, but I wasn't gagging while reading it either..or not much, anyway.

I was really looking forward to reading this book because of Skeeter, the heroine. I'm sorry, but IMO, you just can't go wrong with a bitchy, psychic, hot-as-hell auto-machanic with a name like Baby Bang. Unfortunately, I don't feel that TJ did a very good job of staying in tune with her character. I guess I was just expecting some UBER kick-ass heroine and she fell a bit short.

Dylan totally disappointed me. I expected him to be way more Alpha and way less whiny and indecisive. Yes, I realize that Skeeter was a lot younger than he was (though we were never told just EXACTLY how much younger), but he made way more out of it than he should have. And his disappearing act at the end? Un-Freaking-believable. Sorry, but that was some sorry ass shit and he deserved to be beat over the head with a rather large skillet.

The lack of sex scenes didn't really bother me until I realize the book was over and that was it. I give TJ credit for keeping the story flowing, but the


The whole twist with Travis kind of worked for me, until the epilogue (or was it the teaser 1st chapter for the next book?) totally ruined it for me. Sorry, but I'm not feeling the whole "she lost her memory" gig. Not my cup-o-tea, you dig?

I've enjoyed the series up to this point, but I honestly think she's going down hill. IMO, not many authors can take a series past the 5th book without dragging it down, and that seems to be exactly what happened here. Methinks I won't be reading any of the other books in this series. Well, unless Devon twists my arm. ha ha

I'm giving this one...

2.75 out of 5

Crazy Hot
Crazy Cool
Crazy Wild
Crazy Kisses
Crazy Love

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It by Lucy Monroe

The last woman business consultant Marcus Danvers expects to find at Kline Electronics is Veronica Richards. He’s supposed to be rooting out a corporate spy, not rehashing an old love affair—with the woman who sold out the company they both used to work for and then took off without so much as a kiss goodbye. All the clues point to Ronnie as the firm’s newest mole, which means he’ll have to spend time with the stubbornly reticent—and mouthwateringly sexy—woman he hasn’t been able to forget, and uncover every last thing she has to hide…

It’s just Ronnie’s luck. The one man she’d hoped never to see again is suddenly everywhere she looks—and taking up a starring role in her daydreams, too. Remembering the passion she and Marcus once shared certainly isn’t going to help, though, not when she has so many secrets, and no explanation for the way she left him eighteen months ago—or at least not one he’ll want to hear. The problem is, when Marcus is around all her good intentions go up in smoke…-- Lucy Monroe website

It had been 18 months since Veronica Richards had sold out their company. 18 months since Marcus Danvers had last seen her. And it had been 18 months, 2 weeks and 3 days since Marcus had slept with anyone. All because he couldn't get Veronica, the woman who shared his bed but nothing else, out of his system. Even knowing that she had betrayed him in more than just a professional way, wasn't enough to douse out what he still felt for her. So when Veronica is unexpectedly thrown back into his life during his investigation regarding a corporate spy, all hell breaks loose.

As exptected, Veronica tries to avoid Marcus like the plague, but Marcus is having none of that. From the moment he was appointed to do some digging around at Kline Electronics, he found a sure way back into Veronicas life too. But as determined as he is to catch the spy, (with Veronica's name shooting higher and higher up the suspects list) he also wants answers. Answers to questions that had been weighing down on him, ever since Veronica took off without so much as a thought to him. And what Marcus wants, Marcus gets. Which is what ultimately scares the crap out of Veronica. She knows that if he gets too close, he'll find his way back into her heart and then he's bound to find out the entire truth - something she definitely can't allow to happen. Not if she wants her carefully built life to stay in tact.

I was hooked into this one, right from the beginning. My nosy self had to find out what could have possibly motivated the prim and proper (or so we're made to think) Veronica to cash out on company secrets and then run and hide right after signing a confession. But even more so, I had to find out what became of the initial flirtation between Marcus and Veronica in Come Up & See Me Sometime. And after reading this, I wasn't disappointed.

Marcus Danvers is every bit as arrogant and possessive as Alex Trahern , which should tell you, that I absolutely loved him too. What I also loved was that even though Marcus knew that there was a significant chance that Veronica could very well be the corporate spy and even though she had professionally and emotionally betrayed him, he still wanted to protect Veronica any way he could - he cared about her even when he didn't want to. It was also nice to see that the heroine didn't have to be the only one who was vulnerable in this book. Marcus had some moments when his insecurities came to the surface..like when he admitted how he felt about her betrayal and desertion, or about his childhood.

I thought Veronica Richards was a likeable heroine, especially realising the motive behind her actions and the heavy responsibilities she had to handle all alone. Having solely raised her sister after their parents deaths, battling serious health issues and a baby - my admiration for her raised a fair few notches. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult or lonely it must have been for her. Or how the weight of guilt and worry consumed her. It doesn't mean those things completely excuse her choices and actions, but it did help me understand the situation more. And cheer her on for her HEA.

The only minor thing I didn't like was the overuse of endearments throughout the book. Don't get me wrong, I love to hear couples using endearments here and there, sometimes it even manages to make me awwww...but I just found too many "baby's" for my liking.

Bottom line: Finding out what became of Marcus and Veronica's hook up in Come Up & See Me Sometime , is definitely worth it. If you're looking for a great contemp read, I suggest giving this one a go. :o)


Related books:
Come Up & See Me Sometime

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Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann

Hero: Sam Starrett
Heroine: Alyssa Locke
Grade: A

Tough-talking Navy SEAL Sam Starrett and FBI sharpshooter Alyssa Locke, who played supporting roles in Brockmann's four previous romances (Into the Night, etc.), finally claim center stage in the author's suspenseful hardcover debut. Unfortunately, the oft star-crossed lovers must share the limelight with a plethora of characters from Brockmann's earlier SEAL Team 16 tales, which makes for an overstuffed and somewhat disjointed read. The book's primary and most compelling thread focuses on Sam and Alyssa's search for his daughter and almost ex-wife, who may have been kidnapped by terrorists. As the pair scour Florida, they slowly learn to trust each other. At the same time, Alyssa's boss, renowned FBI negotiator Max Bhagat, must deal with his attraction to a much younger woman, and Sam's former SEAL commander, Tom Paoletti, is all but accused of aiding terrorists. To top everything off, Brockmann throws in snippets of Sam's childhood friendship with Noah Gaines, a black boy he rescued from bullies, and includes her trademark-a WWII love story relayed through letters. Although Brockmann has effectively juggled several story lines in her previous romances, here she simply has too many balls in the air, and inevitably she loses track of a few. Still, the author's fans will find plenty of enjoyment in watching passion-and tempers-flare between Sam and Alyssa. New readers, meanwhile, will find that Brockmann has gone to great lengths to get them up to speed, and those who aren't discouraged by the book's slow start will find themselves drawn in by the characters' snappy dialogue and jam-packed lives. -Publishers Weekly 2003.

I finished this book for like the thirtieth time since the book came out. It's really good, I promise. I know that there are others out there that didn't like this book (not even a little bit) but that's okay because I know there are some people out there that share my enthusiasm for these characters, I love Sam Starrett, he's #1 in my book, up there right alongside Dageus MacKeltar as my Ultimate Hero. He's just one of those men that I can't seem to get enough of. If SB wrote lots of second and third and fourth and fifth epilogues about Sam and Alyssa, I would happily read each and every single one of them because I love Sam that much. There's just something about the realness of Sam that I find appealing. He's real. I like that. A song that I hear all the time that totally reminds me of Sam, is Tim McGraw's A Real Good Man. I love all of his imperfections and though he's made some major disappointing choices in his life, none of that matters to me, because I love his character.

He's got one helluva foul mouth, he never loved his wife not even a little bit, he hid from his marriage and he lusted after a former lover, one that he very much loves with all that he is. He throws up after every target that he eliminates, he was a macho, trash talking red neck who had little respect for women in the Military or gays in the FBI, what's to love, right?

One of the reasons I love Sam so much is you can see the great wealth of growth that Sam did throughout the entire Troubleshooters series. In the beginning, yeah he was hateable (is that a word?) because he slept around, he got rip roaring drunk all the time and he mouthed off all the time but you see the change in him with each book, you see the change him from the fun loving, care free Sam to the duty over love Sam in the following books and then the miserable husband in the last books and then finally, we get his book and you can see the real man beneath the man he shows to everyone else.

We get to see the real Sam, his roots, where he came from, how he became the man we knew and how he turned into the man I know and love now. It's just effing great, if you ask me.

In Gone Too Far, we finally get to read Sam and Alyssa's happy ending. It was a long time coming because Suz built their characters up in the previous books and if you didn't read the other books in the series, you can't truly appreciate the uniqueness of Sam and Alyssa's relationship. Their whole relationship was complicated from the very beginning so it didn't come as much of a surprise to me that their book was filled to the brim with complications.

I was very happy with Sam's happy ending in GTF because he finally got what he always wanted, a shot at a real relationship with the love of his life, Alyssa Locke. Alyssa Locke wasn't called the ice queen for nothing, she was a real power to be reckoned with. Stubborn as a bull, annoying as all get out, but that's who Sam loved, he couldn't help it anymore than she could.

I understood a lot of why Alyssa acted the way she did and though it bothered me sometimes, like when she was always yelling at Sam about coming on to her in the car and how she always just assumed the worst in Sam, all of that bothered me but not enough to hate the book though. Oh heck no, I loved these characters too much.

My only problem about this book is after all this time, you would think that we knew a little more about Alyssa but we never really got that. We got the general background information about her but nothing really concrete, like we hear a lot about all of her sisters and what not but they didn't play a big part or even a small part in Alyssa's story, it would have been nice to get to know Alyssa, see Alyssa back in the day the way we got to see young Sam.

Not that I'm complaining about all of the Sam we got in the book, oh no, I loved reading about Sam's old life back when he was Roger Starrett, I loved reading about how he met and befriended Noah and then how he developed a strong and loving relationship with Noah's grandfather, Walt. I also loved the secondary story between Walt and Dot. I loved reading about Walt and Dot's letters from the war and I loved watching true love prevail in their case. Their story was a great addition to the story and it didn't overpower Sam and Alyssa's story in the least, like some of the other stories have in the past.

Another thing I couldn't stand about this book was Tom and Kelly's wedding. I hate Kelly's reasons for wanting to finally marry Tom. Someone as big and as important to the men of the series should have gotten a better wedding than the one that SB gave him. I hated that it took Tom getting sent to jail, possibly prison for her to wake up and realize that she had to marry Tom, because they wouldn't let her in to visit him. After all the time that Tom has spent trying to convince Kelly to marry him, for her to finally want to marry him because he was in jail is kinda bittersweet for Tom. He deserved more and I was pissed to high heaven at Kelly for this. Although I do have to say that I laughed at the wedding scene, you gotta admit it was funny, I just thought that Tom deserved better.

This book is filled with all the oohs and ahhs of good scenes and the OMG of the action scenes, there's plenty of a swoonworthy quotes in this book and heart warming scenes that will leave all of us chicky lala's happy, you gotta love these SEALs. It's a very good book and a great ending to Sam and Alyssa's story.

I totally recommend this book.

*edited to add* You must read this series in order to really enjoy this book...

The Reading Order:

  • The Unsung Hero
  • The Defiant Hero
  • Over the Edge
  • Out of Control
  • Into the Night
  • Flashpoint
  • Gone Too Far
  • Hot Target
  • Boiling Point
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    Suddenly Sexy by Linda Francis Lee

    When a legendary bad boy returns to town, Kate must summon her inner temptress.
    Kate Bloom’s ordered world is turned upside down when notorious bad boy and superstar athlete Jesse Chapman comes home. Seeing him again reminds Kate of all the reasons she harbored a Texas-sized crush on him back when they were kids. But she isn’t a little girl anymore . . . and she’s ready to show this hell-raising playboy just how sexy she can be.
    After a reporter starts digging into his past, Jesse Chapman returns home looking for space. The last thing he needs is a distraction, but that’s just what he gets when he sees his little Katie. Suddenly the girl next door is hot and sexy–and more than even this legendary ladies’ man can handle.

    First let me say woooo hooooo! I'm outta my reading slump! I started this book yesterday afternoon and finished today! Or I think that's when I started it. Anyway . . . back to the book.

    Kate (or Katie to our hero) and Jessie, what a pair. Friends since childhood, Jessie is four years Kate's senior. He's the one she runs to every time her mom divorces or remarries (5x's). She's the one he opens to when his mom dies and he has problems with his father. But while Kate is completely open and honest with Jessie about her problems and her feelings for him, he withholds. Partially because how can he go into detail about issues with his father that involve sex, smoking and drinking when he is 11 and that would only make her 7. Jessie learns quick to become a buddy to his dad and to turn into a wild boy in order to keep his father close and not lose him like he lost his mother. But he also loses his brother in return, or at least his brothers respect. But with his brother being 7 years older he should have been the one protecting his younger brother from the bad influences of their father, not begrudging him the attention he got or the way he turned out. Which makes for a lot of sibling tension through the book. One of the things Jessie picks up while always with his father is golfing. Which he takes to from the start. So as he lives his wild life he becomes a professional golfer. He has women, he has his game and he feels he is in no way good enough for his Katie. So when on the day of his brothers wedding Kate walks in on him naked and offers herself he pushes her away. But not before he let himself see how sweet it could be with her, he stops in the nick of time. After telling her no and to leave, she flees crying.
    So when Jessie comes back into El Paso and into Kate's life she is a bit weary. Her job is falling apart she is "dating" a great guy that she just can't drum up any passion for and just the site of Jessie makes her melt.
    Time after time we see the simmering heat between our h&h. After awhile I'll be quite honest I felt like screaming "JUST DO IT!!!" I did love the character development in the book. We really got a good glimpse of who these characters are and what made them the way they are. But there was just to much getting it on to a certain point then just stopping between Kate and Jessie. You know? I get she was going for good sexual tension but it got old real fast.
    We do get a big surprise for our hero in the middle of the beginning of the book that really puts a sweat and emotional turn on the story. But to which I don't' think the author knew enough on the subject to write it as well as it should have been.
    With Kate being a News Anchor I also felt that there wasn't enough on that, we never really got to see what she was before her ratings plummeted and made her resort to doing "Getting Real With Kate" while the GRWK segments were funny they lacked reality of what that job would really be like.
    I did love the friendship between Kate and her two best girlfriends, Chloe and Julia. In the beginning of most of the chapters we read emails back and forth between the girls. It was fun and added to the story a lot.
    All in all it was a good book, I just felt as if the author should have tweaked it a bit more before releasing it. So it made me want to read the next book and also hope it's written just a little bit better.

    Grade~ B-

    Read them all:
    Suddenly Sexy
    Sinfully Sexy
    Simply Sexy

    *****Editing to add something I forgot******

    The surprise that I told you about...with the hero? Well in the end of the book it never got an ending so to speak. Pretty annoying...

    Grade must go down to a C+ for that alone.

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    The Best Birthday Gift EVER!

    Yes, Dear Readers, I, Holly, received for my birthday THE best gift ever. What, you might be wondering? Well, if you've visited my personal blog then you already know. For those of you who don't, however, let me share with you here...

    My sweet, wonderful, lovely, amazing (YES,I'm done now, you can stop gagging) boyfriend bought me my ENTIRE amazon wish list. Yep, the WHOLE FRIGGIN THING! Isn't he a peach?

    I just wanted to share since I'm UBER stoked, because I've already received three shipments.

    The first included:

    Bad Boys ahoy by Sylvia Day (which I read already. Look for a review...sometime? LOL)
    Broken by Kelly armstrong
    Cover of Night by Linda Howard
    The Kept Woman by Susan Donovan
    Heiress for Hire by Erin McCarthy
    California Demon by Julie Kenner
    Just for Kicks by Susan anderson
    (I read this one, too. Review forthcoming..I promise!)
    Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich (I already had it, but now I can give it to my mom for her bday..hehe)

    He even pre-ordered all the books I had on there that don't come out until later this year or the beginning of the next! WOOHOO ME!

    I also got an eBookman EBM-900 eBook reader. I'm so stoked about it! ;)

    Total? 37 books and the eBook reader. Isn't he the best? *dreamy sigh*

    Some great friends I have got me a gift card for Borders, too, so tonight I went and got:

    Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
    Thrill Me To Death by Roxanne St.Clare
    (the second book in her Bullet Catcher Series, see Kill Me Twice)
    Darker than Midnight by Maggie Shayne (see Thicker than Water)
    Big Guns out of Uniform antho with SK, Liz Carlyle and Nicole Camden (Kristie(j) said the NC and LC's were fab!)

    So, that's it for now, but I'm so stoked! I'll try to get some reviews soon! Really!



    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Cover Snob or Not?

    Hi my name is Jazz and I AM a cover snob! I am not by any means ashamed of reading romance but I am also not ashamed to admit I am embarrassed by some of the covers of romance books. See it's like this, I'll be reading say.....Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
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    and I love this cover. No you cannot tell right off that it is romance from the cover. But if someone asks what I'm reading I'll tell them and not shy away from the fact that it is romance.

    And don't think I only like non-romance looking covers. I have a huge selection of covers I like, some scream romance in a very classy or fun way, just not a stupid way.

    Another thing I completely HATE about covers, and I was just discussing this with our very own Rene Lyons, is when a heroine is blond in the story but a brunette on the cover. Now hello, does that make sense to you? Rene did explain that authors don't always have a say in their covers. But still you'd think the cover artists would at least get some knowlege on what the heroine and heo's coloring is like before they go to work.

    But enough negativity! Here are a few examples of covers I love:

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    Very historical romance, but very tasteful too. Not two half naked people groping each other.

    Now I usually HATE any type of faces on covers, after all, I am reading to use my imagination. To escape the world as everyone else sees it. Let me use my imagination, don't force what you have in your head on me. But.....
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    Love this! This cover just gives a glimpse at a feature and the rest is left to your imagination. Perfection, just like all KMM's other covers.

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    Love the funky chick vibe on this cover! Carly Phillips for the most part has really great covers too! On all of her more recent books anyway.

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    I really like Laura Lee Guhrke's covers of both this book (which is my favorite by her) and Guilty Pleasures. Very unique in my opinion.

    But one of the reasons I won't read Blaze or Harlequin books is because I am totally horrified by the covers. They are so cheap looking, they look like they are stuck in the 70's and 80's. I just cannot help being ashamed. Sorry but does that make me a bad person? I don't know. But I'll tell you I'll only read one of these books if they are very highly pimped out. And then, only at home or behind a magazine cover.

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    I simply have no words for these covers! I'm sorry they may very well be great reads. But I just cannot buy the covers. Like I said "I'm a cover snob".

    Are you???



    Monday, July 24, 2006

    Come Up And See Me Sometime by Lucy Monroe

    In a high-stakes game of love, attraction, and desire, two people playing for all the wrong reasons are about to discover how delicious it can be when plans go deliciously awry and love is all that matters.

    Like father, like daughter.
    That's what businessman Alex Trahern thinks about Isabel Harrison. If the prestigious headhunter thinks she can steal his top employee, just like her father stole his dad's ideas, she's dead wrong. Alex is always a man with a plan, and his plan is to get revenge on John Harrison through his daughter. But there's no contingency plan for the impact Isabel's sparkling green eyes and honey brown hair have on the decidedly non-business side of his brain…

    If at first you don't succeed, change the game.
    After some relationship flameouts, Isabel's decided to leave love out of it and approach her search for a husband like finding a suitable job candidate. And according to her list of requirements, Alex Trahern certainly has potential. He's sexy. (Check.) Forceful and fascinating. (Check, check.) Also arrogant, obnoxious, and way too hot for her own good. (Erase. Start over.) Now, if only she could find out what he's really after… -- Lucy Monroe's website.

    I have Holly to thank for yet another fab find. She devoured this one and then raved all about it to us, so of course I immediately added it to my ever growing TBR list. And having read and devoured it also, I'm only sorry I didn't order it sooner.

    Alex Trahern, who is one sinfully sexy businessman, is hell bent on seeking revenge for his father's death. Firm in the belief that his father died over John Harrison's betrayal, Alex wants nothing more than to hurt Harrison any way possible as a means to an end. And so, he targets the one thing Harrison prizes most - his company. But as Alex continues to work behind the scenes aiding another company in their hostile take over attempt against Harrison, Alex crosses paths with none other than Harrison's daughter, Isabel.

    At first, he believes her to be every bit like her father - where he was a man who stole men's ideas and she was a woman who stole key employees. But from the moment he sees her face to face, he realises that father and daughter are nothing alike. That she was indeed every bit as good and innocent as Harrison was not. Alex also sees that not only is Isabel dedicated to her job, but she's dedicated to the people, wanting to provide them with the best work environment possible - not to steal employees away. And slowly, he becomes torn over his long overdue revenge, winning over the daughter of the enemy who'd stolen his heart and doing whats right. You can probably guess which path he takes, but lets just say he nearly screws up because he's blinded by everything in the past.

    I can't say enough good things about this book. The fact that I was on holidays and still managed to gobble this one up in a few sittings just goes to show I couldn't stay away from it. I loved both Alex and Isabel. They both had their issues and insecurities, but I think they were well developed.

    I have a weakness for arrogant heroes, so Alex Trahern did great in my book. He was arrogant as hell, with his comments and cocky attitude, but that didn't bother me at all. I also really liked the fact that once he realised that he wanted Isabel, he wasn't going to try to deny himself. He was strong in his pursuit, even though he knew that chasing after Harrison's daughter complicated matters greatly. It was so funny to see him work his way into Isabel's life, when she clearly didn't want him to be there, or rather didn't want to want him there, insisting on his dates and what not. The way he came to care for Isabel in such a short time was very heart warming. I loved how he became protective of her physically and emotionally - even to the extent of wanting to protect her from her own father's cold behaviour towards her. It was very nice indeed, to see someone seeing to Isabel's needs after she'd blocked everyone out. Alex also earned major points with me, when he constantly complimented Isabel's sexy shoes - what can I say? He pleased the shoeaholic in me. *grin*

    I thought that Isabel might be a character to annoy the heck out of me, or perhaps have some of those heroine issues - but she didn't and I really liked her. She had insecurities, but I thought they were justified. After feeling like she came in a far second to her fathers company, Isabel learnt to put up walls to protect her heart. She shut people out, she referred to prior nannies by numbers instead of familiar names and she even wrote up a characteristics list for her potential husband, in part to make sure she found the 'right' candidate and probably in part to make it seem more like a potential 'client' than a partner. Her insecurities felt real to me, and her way of dealing, not so far fetched. I really don't blame her for wanting to protect herself.

    Lucy Monroe did a great job with this one. There is one point in the book where Isabel is emotionally betrayed by Alex, and I felt it. And it hurt, like it were me he had betrayed. Then when Alex makes up for it later? I felt that too. It was the though the constriction on my heart eased and everything was going to be alright. Lucy Monroe is just that good in expressing emotions. And don't even get me started on the part where Alex declares, "You belong to me." Damn.

    Bottom line: This is my first Lucy Monroe book. But if the rest of her books continue to be of this standard, I won't even flinch at paying 20 bucks a book. I say, bring it on. *grin*


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    Kiss the Cook by Jacquie D'Alessandro

    Bubbly, off-beat beauty Melanie Gibson has her hands full. Not only is she caring for her beloved grandmother, she's also working desperately to secure a bank loan for her fledgling gourmet catering service. The last thing she has time for is romance—not even with Christopher Bishop, the sexy financial whiz who's been evaluating her business.

    After eight years of toiling to put his younger siblings through school, Chris is ready to lead the life of a carefree bachelor. Then he meets Melanie, and finds himself thinking about forever. Melanie insists she's too smart to fall for a man with the devilish good looks of a practiced playboy, but Chris is determined to show her that their passion is too powerful to deny—and that love is the sweetest thing of all.

    This is a really light, fast, fluffy read. It's a cute story, but Melanie bugged me.

    You see, she's one of those girls who got hurt in the past and now thinks she doesn't need to fall in love. So after meeting Chris she keeps telling herself it's just an affair. Yeah right. She finds herself falling in love, but tries her hardest to talk herself out of it. When Chris makes one tiny mistake, she totally blows it out of porportion. Which really irked me. Like first chance she got, she dumped him.

    Chris is an accountant and he's hot. He's sweet, funny and rides a motorcycle. That's one hot account. Melanie has a brand new catering business. She's sweet, an awesome cook and she has the coolest name: Melanie Gibson. You know, Mel Gibson.

    Anyways they meet and Chris knows there is something between them. Melanie is in denial. They meet when she double parks in front of his car while making a delivery. Her cars dies, Chris offers to help her out.

    I love when Chris says, they'll make beautiful love together. Not sex, love. Sigh..

    Grade: B only cause Melanie got on my nerves.

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    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe

    Duty-bound to marry and bear the King an heir…

    Principe Claudio Scorsolini had strict criteria when he selected his future wife – she must make a suitable figurehead for his people and provide him with an heir…

    Claudio’s convenient union with Therese is hailed a success: his subjects have fallen in love with their future queen, and she’s performed her duties in the bedroom – to Claudio’s immense satisfaction…

    However, Therese has secretly fallen in love with her regal, dutiful husband. How can their marriage survive when she knows she can never give Claudio a child?

    This is the final book in Lucy Monroe's Royal Brides Trilogy from Harelequin Presents. And it has been much anticipated by me for three full months.

    I'm very happy to report that LM didn't disappoint. At all.

    Througout the other books, we caught glimpses of Therese and Claudio and we knew something was amiss with Therese, and I for one, had a hard time waiting to find out what it was. Much as it pains me to admit it, however, it was worth the wait.

    Princess Therese Scorsolini knows her husband, Prince Claudio - heir to the throne -, married her for convenience and the heirs she could produce for him. She hadn't harbored any delusions about her husband's feelings towards her, and that was why, when she found out she had a disease that was causing her to become infertile, she knew she'd have no choice but to offer him a divorce.

    Prince Claudio knows nothing of his wife's health problems, but he has noticed her change in behavior and has made his own assumptions based on them. Terribly wrong assumptions. When Therese explains that they must divorce, he doesn't give her a chance to explain why, simply reacts, assuming he already knows the reason, that she's found someone else. He's pissed about it, of course, and says some things to her that later come back to haunt him, but he swears his anger is justified.

    Of course, eventually he learns the real reason she's asking for a divorce and besides having a lot of making up to do, he also has his work cut out for him convincing Therese that a divorce isn't the way to go.

    This was a sweet and - for me, at least - a very emotional read. LM is amazing at taking real life issues and bringing them to life in a very positive way. All women face different issues, whether they be physical or emotional and I think LM does a fabulous job of addressing them, without making me feel preached to.

    I loved Therese, and I felt that her reasons for insisting on the divorce insecuritiesecurties were totally valid. She stood her ground, too, when Claudio finally came to his senses and didn't cow to him. I love that.

    Claudio was an awesome hero, too. I love how amazing Lucy is at making me hate a hero and then fall in love with him. He sayed and did some things when Therese first asked for a divorce that made me so angry I wanted to beat him, but once he realized his mistakes he did everything he could to make up for his earlier stupid actions and make the heroine realize how much he truly cared for her.

    I loved the entire premise of the story. The characters were fab, the storyline amazing and I didn't even mind the shortness of the story. LM did an amazing job of wrapping this trilogy up. The only thing I disliked about this book was that it ended. LOL I can't wait to see what LM has in store for us next!

    Because of this book, Stacy over at Stacy's Place put up a wonderful, thought provoking post that I think y'all should check out. And Lucy herself addressed the reasons she writes "Issue" stories. Be sure to pop over to her blog and check it out.

    5 out of 5

    The rest of the books in the series are as follows:

    Wedding Vow of Revenge (Not part of the trilogy, but shares some of the same characters)
    The Prince's Virgin Wife
    His Royal Love Child
    The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain

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    The Princess Bride By William Goldman

    Once upon a time came a story so full of high adventure and true love that it became an instant classic and won the hearts of millions. Now in hardcover in America for the first time since 1973, this special edition of The Princess Bride is a true keepsake for devoted fans as well as those lucky enough to discover it for the first time. What reader can forget or resist such colorful characters as

    Westley . . . handsome farm boy who risks death and much, much worse for the woman he loves; Inigo . . . the Spanish swordsman who lives only to avenge his father's death; Fezzik . . . the Turk, the gentlest giant ever to have uprooted a tree with his bare hands; Vizzini . . . the evil Sicilian, with a mind so keen he's foiled by his own perfect logic; Prince Humperdinck . . . the eviler ruler of Guilder, who has an equally insatiable thirst for war and the beauteous Buttercup; Count Rugen . . . the evilest man of all, who thrives on the excruciating pain of others; Miracle Max. . . the King's ex-Miracle Man, who can raise the dead (kind of); The Dread Pirate Roberts . . . supreme looter and plunderer of the high seas; and, of course, Buttercup . . . the princess bride, the most perfect, beautiful woman in the history of the world.

    S. Morgenstern's timeless tale discovered and wonderfully abridged by William Goldman pits country against country, good against evil, love against hate. From the Cliffs of Insanity through the Fire Swamp and down into the Zoo of Death, this incredible journey and brilliant tale is peppered with strange beasties monstrous and gentle, and memorable surprises both terrible and sublime.

    I think everyone has seen this movie. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love it. My bought me the book and it's also one of my favorites. Since I think everyone has seen the movie, I'm not going to go over the plot.

    William Goldman writes how is father used to read him the book, however only read him the "good parts." Later on Goldman would publish an abridged version or the "good parts" version.

    Now, the movie follows the book pretty good. The plot is all there. A few back stories are left out. Like, how Buttercup is the most beautiful woman in the world. The Prince created the Zoo of Death to hold all different types of animals so that he could hunt. (That's where Wesley is kept captive), Fezzik's history and he was stranded in Greenland, how Inigo is the best fencer in the world, etc.

    During the book, Goldman writes in about the parts he cut out and explains what was happening or his memories when he was being read the book. Like in the movie, when the grandfather says, "She doesn't get eaten by the eels."

    Now, I always flip flopped about was S. Morgenstern being real. Goldman claimed he was. Then I found this link. So I have to say, that was pretty good. Cause I was one of people who sent in for the reunion scene.

    You see, when Buttercup throws herself down the ravine, "Morgenstern" cuts to them running towards the fire swamp claiming every couple is entitled to some privacy. Goldman writes about how he felt cheated about not seeing the reunion between Buttercup and Wesley. He was going to add his version. Supposedly his publisher said no but you could write in and request Goldman's version. All you get is a letter saying there is some legal battle.

    I really like this book. Gives you a little bit more information on the characters.

    Grade: B+/A-

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    What Do YOU Do When You're In A Funk?

    I'm in a funk! I never, NEVER, read more than one book at a time. But right now I am reading Midnight Sun and trying to read Bait at the same time. I am all kinds of into MS, but since it is an E-Book and I don't have the means to print it out right now I need another book to read while on breaks at work, and in bed. But I can't seem to get into anything. I never start a book and not follow through. But I swear I've read the first chapter of almost three books this week. And now that I've settled on Bait as the book to follow through with, I am reading soooo slow! I started yesterday and am only in the third chapter. Uggg. So help me out everyone. What do YOU do when in a reading slump? Cause it's not that I don't want to read, I just can't get into any of my books!

    That's obviously why I have been MIA around here. If I'm not reading, I have nothing to review. So sorry....



    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Apocalipstick by Sue Margolis

    Hero: Max Stoddard
    Heroine: Rebecca Fine
    Grade: C

    From the author who brought you Spin Cycle and Neurotica comes a hilarious new novel about falling in love, hating your job, and getting what you want out of life---without ever mussing your lipstick!

    When it comes to men, beauty columnist Rebecca Fine always seems to be on the scruffy end of the mascara wand. But all that changes the morning she meets Max Stoddart, her new colleague at the Daily Vanguard. With his upscale suit, Hugh Grant hair, and obscenely sexy good looks, he’s a single woman’s dream come true. Finally, her grandmother can stop surfing the Net for eligible Jewish males. But is Max the catch of the decade---or just a major babe magnet?

    Meanwhile, Rebecca’s old high school nemesis has resurfaced, a former blond bombshell called Lipstick who is now engaged to Rebecca’s widowed dad. And it’s good-bye to articles on toe cleavage when a hot tip sweeps Rebecca to the center of the Paris cosmetics world, where a miracle anti-wrinkle cream is about to be launched. That is, until she blows the whistle on a scandal that could set the beauty business---and the future of world peace---reeling. Will Rebecca win the recognition---not to mention the Pulitzer---she yearns for...and get the man of her dreams? Stay tuned.

    I've been uber busy this week at home so it was hard for me to make time to read when I was so tired when reading time came around, but I finished this book last night and I enjoyed it, very much. But there were too many things that bothered me about the heroine in this story, she's not exactly TSTL but she was SS, stupid sometimes. LOL.

    You see, the story is about Rebecca Fine, Becks for short. She's the beauty columnist and she hates it, she's trying to find her one story that will shoot her career to the top but because she needs to pay bills, she takes a job as a beauty columnist to make ends meet.

    This is where she meets Max Stoddard, he's the new guy and he's dreamy and he took her desk and she doesn't care because he asked her out and so many things come up that when they finally get together, everything else falls to the background and they have a magical night which ends up with Becks in the hospital and her telling Max, while drugged up of course that he's sexy as all get out. It's funny, the things Becks gets herself into is the same crazy things Bridget Jones gets herself into, stupid things that can't be helped because she just lands into stupid situations, so because of those stupid situations, the book can be funny but it can be annoying because just once in the book, you kinda want things to just go normally for Becks, but of course they don't.

    The thing I liked about this book is Becks friendships and the closeness of her family. I'm really drawn toward family oriented books and books about friendships because I'm all about the happy stuff, Becks relationship with her Dad was great and her relationship with her Grandma is even greater, the stuff her Grandma does to get Becks married off seriously cracks me up. Beck's Dads relationship with his new fiance is even better.

    You expect things to happen a certain way and it totally doesn't but the way SM writes out this story, it totally works.

    Between all of the bad shit that happens to Becks and the retarded things happening to her best friend Jess with her husband, Ed...you can't help but laugh at this book, it's funny, it can be downright annoying when Becks is forever doubting Max but at the end it all works out, the whole story comes together and SM ties all the loose ends into a pretty little bow and presents the world with this book.

    It's cute, it's not the best book I've read this year, not the best book I read last year either, but I'm not mad that I read it, I don't feel like I've wasted my time reading it, I'm glad I read it but I probably won't read this story again for quite a long time, I liked the book, I liked the characters, I even liked Lipstick.

    What I didn't like about the book was really, all the shit that Becks went through, I get it, stupid things happened to her, but she kinda brought a lot of the shit on herself, she lies, she assumes and she just pay attention to shit and it all comes falling down on top of her dumbass head, all the fights she got into with Max, could have been avoided if she just asked him what the hell was going on, instead of charging full steam ahead and dropping him without anything and then I hate, hate HATE when heroines try to get back at the hero by making them jealous, it's stupid and petty and it gets on my nerves so I was pissed that it happened in this book.

    Would I recommend this book? Yeah, if you've got it and you've got nothing else to read, then yeah read it, but it's not a OMGOSH YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK! I did like this book better than I liked SM's Spin Cycle. But that's about all the good stuff I can write about this book. Read it or not, it's not a big deal.

    But I liked Max.

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    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Midnight Sun by Rene Lyons

    When things go bump in the night, Allison Parker bumps
    back. As the resident Ghost Hunter in a quiet, rural town,
    she's thrust into the nocturnal world of the Templars.
    Embracing the night, she finds a place where she belongs.

    Damned by God, Sebastian of Rydon knows only blood and
    death. After eight hundred years of merely existing, he
    learns what is to live after Allie comes bursting into his life.
    Her spirit guides him out of the dark.

    Caught up in a web of hate and revenge, they search for love
    as their world is torn apart

    I have been anxiously awaiting this novel. Over the course of the last few months, I've come to know Rene Lyons quite well, and I'm very pleased to announce that I don't have to write a terrible review for her first book. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    Allie Parker is a Ghost Hunter. She spends her nights walking through creeping houses and buildings looking for the things that go bump. One night, however, her entire world changes. She's attacked in a park by some vampires and is saved by...some other vampires. Damned Knights Templars to be exact. Through them, she's drawn into an entirely different world. She's also drawn to one of the Knights, Sebastian of Rydon.

    Seb doesn't want anything to do with Allie. Sure, he's attracted to her, finds her funny and intriguing, but he's damned to live as the un-dead for who knows how long, and contrary to popular belief, Allie's of the living. He's not touching that with a ten-foot pole. His counterparts (the other Templars), however, have a totally different plan, so they set it up so that Allie finally gets entrance into Seb's home, which she's wanted to check for ghosts, but she was set up, because Seb is there. Something she didn't plan on at all. They share a moment of extreme passion and then Allie walks out, leaving Seb reeling.

    In the meantime, the Templars are searching for The Daystar, a holy relic which will allow vamps to walk in the daylight and give them absolute power. Through one mean, creepy renegade who's after Lucian, another Templar, the other renegades figure out that Allie is the key to the Daystar and start stalking her. Of course, Allie knows nothing of any Daystar, but that doesn't stop the renegades from going after her, of course.

    Throughout this, Seb and Allie find themselves together more often than not and falling totally in love, much to the amusement of the other Templars.

    Overall, I loved this book. The Templars themselves are amazing. Each of them has their own personality, and they're all fiercely loyal and protective of those they consider their own, like Allie. The humor and sarcasm was awesome and I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading. But unlike some other books, I didn't think the sarcasm seemed out of place.

    The best part? Allie. She was an amazing heroine. She didn't suffer from Penis Envy, she didn't fight her feelings for Seb, and she didn't act TSTL by trying the whole Ultimate Sacrifice thing. She was a real woman, and one I was very pleased to read about. I was totally cheering her on! She acted like a real woman would, too, when faced with dangerous situations! Loved her.

    Seb? Well, I loved him, too. He was more withdrawn than some of the other Templars, but he was tortured and once he committed to Allie, he fought with everything he had to keep her and prove to her that she was his world. I loved that.

    There were a few things that bothered me. The beginning is kind of confusing. RL was setting the stage for the series, I think, but the POV's jumped around too much, IMO. I was also a little disappointed in the ending. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it yet, but basically what I thought was going to happened DIDN'T and it bugged me. Of course, that's totally personal preference and doesn't have much to do with the story itself.

    To be honest, I'm very anxious to read the rest of the series (you might remember from our interview with her that there will be 5 books total), especially Constantine and Lucian. For a first novel, this one was amazing and I can't wait to see what RL has in store for us in the future! I highly recommend this book!

    4 out of 5

    Dylan's Review:

    Okay, Holly gave you guys the run down of what this book is about so I'm just going to skip right over that part of the review...

    Hero: Sebastian of Rydon
    Heroine: Allie Parker
    Grade: A

    I really enjoyed this book.

    A whole lot.

    No, I'm serious. It met all of the expectations that I had for it. A hot hero, a great heroine and a great storyline. It didn't drag on and on like some of the books that I've read lately. And the secondary characters were second to none. Especially my Raphael. But don't mind me because where he's concerned, I'm all kinds of biased. hehe.

    Now, Sebastian of Rydon.

    What a fantastic hero. He's one of those heroes that grabs you from the very beginning, at the beginning when we first meet Sebastian and he's his usual surly, grumpy self who gets all pissed off at Raphael and Con for their little prank, it was so cute to me. I think what I loved the most about him is he didn't turn away from his feelings for Allie. They were strong and they were true and he didn't shirk them aside like most heroes do, he knew what he had was special and he guarded her as best he could. He was such a strong warrior and the softer, tender side he showed Allie was just too sweet for words, he was sweet without being a wuss, I liked that very much.

    My favorite Sebastian part of the book is when he thinks this about Allie:

    The smile she gave him when he told her they were already friends reminded him of the sun he hadn’t seen in hundreds upon hundreds of years.


    That’s what she was—a blinding midnight sun cutting through the darkness of his existence

    Say it with me now, Awwwww....

    Now, onto Allie Parker.

    She is probably my most favorite heroine to date, I'm talking from any book that I've read or even written myself, Allie Parker is one balls to the wall girl that I think is absolutely awesome. She's definitely one that I can relate too, she's outspoken, fun and witty like no one's business. Her sparkling personality and her razor sharp wit is great to read about and just her character in general, I loved that she didnt feel the need to fight battles bigger than her body. She didn't have penis envy, she didn't try to 'help' Sebastian out by doing stupid things to get her into danger and she was just out and out great fun to read about. Her growing love for Sebastian was sweet and how she fought to keep Sebastian for herself was something I admired about her, she didn't let the future bother her so much, she savored the time she had with Seb and it was just fantabulous to read.

    Sebastian and Allie as a couple was probably my favorite part of the book, they just worked well together, they didn't function well apart and so they spent a great deal together and I just loved that very much. They completed each other and as corny as it sounds, it was GREAT to read about.

    What I liked about the book and about Rene's writing is that her characters stand out in my mind. Sebastian of Rydon is Seb to me, he doesn't remind me of anyone from any other books that I've read, he's seperate in my mind and he's an individual, I mention this because as much as I loved J.R. Ward's Brothers from her Black Dagger Brotherhood books, Zsadist to me, is Zarek of Moesia incarnated. Same pissed off attitude, same back story, tortured and all that jazz, it's just, familiar to me. And that's fine and dandy, I can still love both series (well, that last statement can be said for one of the series still anyway) and be okay with that but in Rene's Knights Templar series, each of her characters are individuals, Tristan, the Leader of the Knights Templar does not remind me of Ash nor does he remind me of Wrath, he's Tristan and he's unique in his own way and I very much look forward to getting to know him in the upcoming books, as well as the other Templars.

    I wasn't as confused as I was when reading the other series when I read this book, it's easy to follow, the storyline flowed well and the book was just awesome, I really do love this book. It's a fantastic start to a great series and I'm very anxious to read the rest, so Rene sweets, brava sweets, brava!

    One thing I hate about this book?

    You know my cover snob ass had to comment on this one...I hated the cover! Ugh, I know Mailyn could have really hooked up your cover, you're lucky I can overlook the not so greatness of your cover to look deeper into the greatness of your book.

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    Midnight Sun by Rene Lyons

    Where the damned come to play.

    When things go bump in the night, Allison Parker bumps back. As the resident ghost hunter in a quiet, rural town, she's thrust into the nocturnal world of the Templars. Embracing the night, she finds a place where she belongs.

    Damned by God, Sebastian of Rydon knows only blood and death. After eight hundred years of merely existing, he learns what is to live when Allie comes bursting into his life. Her spirit guides him out of the dark.

    Caught in a web of hate and revenge, they search for love as their world is torn apart.

    ...following on from Holly & Dylan's review.

    I was completely hooked to this one, right from the beginning. In fact, I became pretty foul when I was constantly pulled away from my Sebastian time - of which my family can undoubtedly attest to. Suffice to say, my ever romance loving heart could not stay away. Every minute I could spare, I had my eyes glued to the screen, reading with anticipation and glee - and often found myself laughing out loud, thereby causing anyone who sat beside me to see what was so darn funny.

    And this one indeed had many outright funny moments. I think the humor sprinkled throughout the novel has got to be one of my favourite things about it. It can be deadly serious and heart thumpingly spine chilling, and then bam! *insert humor here* It was FAB! In particular, there's a scene towards the end of Chapter 3 that made me laugh so much, it has fast become one of my favourites.

    There were just so many great things in this one..but some that must be mentioned:

    * Hands down, Sebastian of Rydon is one smokin' hot Templar. *fans self* I love how he's so fierce yet so gentle with his Allie. And it was great to see how quickly she was able to penetrate his defenses that he had put up and held for so many centuries. It was heart warming to see him finally find some sort of peace, after suffering for so long. I loved everything about him, hell, even the way he 'broods' is sexy to me. LOL.

    * As Holly has already mentioned, Allie didn't suffer from common heroine issues and she definitely did NOT get on my nerves! I thought she was sassy, smart and very brave - and when the shit hit the fan, she didn't go charging in but rather thought quick on her feet, assessing the situation and the best way to keep herself safe. She was independent, yet she knew exactly when she was out of her league and when reinforcements were needed. Smart girl, indeed.

    * The way all the Templars embraced Allie into their fold, and swearing to protect her with everything they had. They were fierce and deadly and yet, all of them had a softness about them that had me grinning like a fool. I even loved how Constantine, who seems to be the more intimidating of all the Templars, wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to Allie's welfare.

    ""Like we wouldn't protect you.." -- Constantine to Allie

    and then later, a fierce warning..

    "Allie better be in one piece, Sebastian"

    To be honest, I was a bit hesistant to Constantines character for such a small insignificant reason, but now..I can't wait to see what Rene will cook up for him!

    * The sizzling chemistry between Allie and Sebastian. They both wanted each other, but being from two totally different worlds, Sebastian didn't want anything to do with her. Without a soul and in search of redemption, he of course thought Allie should have nothing to do with him. But as fate would have it, nothing could squash what was between them. And when both of them realised it, neither tried to fight it anymore. They accepted it and fought to be together and ultimately, fought for their other half.

    Overall, I was very pleased with Midnight Sun. After waiting impatiently for its release, I had set expectations for it in my mind - and I'm delighted to say I was not at all disappointed! So KUDOS to you, Rene! It's a keeper! :D

    The only thing that stopped this one from being a perfect 5 is that I wanted more. I wanted more insight into the world of the Templars and of how they came to be doomed, and perhaps a sneak peek into their lives prior to the present day. I just wanted a little more background info to see the 'bigger picture'..or maybe that's just me being a curious wench. ;o)

    Bottom line: I highly recommend this one, especially those that enjoy a good paranormal. Don't pass this one up! *grin*

    4.5 / 5

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    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Did You Remember...

    ...to buy Rene Lyons' book today? That's right, Dear Readers, Midnight Sun is out today!!!!!

    Show our girl some support and BUY IT!

    Dance Chica, I'm thinking you especially will want this one, because it's a GOOD vamp book. Isn't that exciting? Ask Mailyn what she thinks so far! :)

    Everyone head over and buy it..RIGHT NOW! If you need some incentive, check out my review of it and the interview Rene so graciously did with us last week.



    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Bombshell by Lynda Curnyn

    Hero: ??
    Heroine: Grace Noonan
    Grade: B-

    She has more shoes than Sarah Jessica Parker and a skin-care system that could make Madonna swoon, but unlike her celebrity counterparts, Grace Noonan doesn't have it all. Her latest utterly-eligible-yet-maddeningly-unavailable boyfriend has revealed that having sex with her is one thing and having babies quite another, forcing Grace to move on — again. And now that her employer — a top cosmetics company once devoted to "beauty beyond thirty" — is pursuing a teenaged supermodel as its future face, this thirty-four-year-old marketing exec is starting to wonder if she is going to get it all before the closing credits. Could it be time for Grace to back out of the beauty race and trade the singles scene for the sperm bank? Or is there something even this savvy bombshell has yet to discover about life and love in New York City?

    This book was cute.

    It wasn't this I have to run out and get this no matter the cost kind of story, but it was a cute. I don't regret the purchase but you see, this is the book after, Engaging Men, and of the two I liked Engaging Men better but I didn't hate Grace's book, I think I liked Grace better than Angie, though I liked Angie better in her book and not so much in this one.

    It was good to revisit the characters from Engaging Men, and it was also good to see them through Grace's eyes. I liked Grace in EM and I liked her in BS, I just wished that she wasn't so stubborn or so independant, because after a while the whole "I don't need anybody" attitude started to grate on my nerves.

    I've got to admit that I was really intrigued by Michael and even cheered a bit for him (I don't know why, I just did), and I'm happy that nothing was left untied in this book, all the loose ends were tied, until I got to the very end and the way it ended, I wasn't very happy with that ending, I was just hoping for a bit more from Grace and the guy she ended up with, but then if you take into account that this is a chick lit book and they don't necessarily end in romance novel extraordinaire, but aside from the crappy ending, the book was cute.

    Read it or not, it's up to you...but for me, it was just cute.

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    Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? by Melissa Senate

    In exchange for a free $100,000 dream wedding, she'll be featured in a trendy magazine as "Today's Modern Bride." So what if the advertisers dictate what she wears, eats, and registers for? From the gown (it has yellow feathers) to the reception hall (vampire chic) to the rings (what metal is that?) to the prime rib (tofu!), Eloise knows that what really matters is the groom (cold feet?). All she has to do is keep a wedding-planning diary (heavily edited) and have her friends and family ooh and ahh over her leather veil in photo shoots.

    Friends, Eloise has: bridesmaids Jane, Natasha, Amanda and oddball co-worker Philippa, the magazine's "traditional (ha!) Bride." Family, she doesn't have. Eloise's mother passed away, her father took off years ago, her too-cool-for-words brother is either climbing Mount Everest or scamming a rich older woman in Beverly Hills and her fiancé's family is certifiable. So between choosing rubber bridesmaid dresses and worrying about the photo shoots, Eloise finally asks the question: Hey--whose wedding is it anyway?

    Hero: Noah Benjamin
    Heroine:: Eloise Manfred
    Grade: C

    This book is the follow up to another book that I read earlier this year by Melissa Senate called, See Jane Date. This book is about Jane Gregg's best friend, Eloise Manfred.

    Eloise is getting married to the man of her (and mine) dreams, Noah Benjamin. Noah is an investigative journalist who is always on the go, traveling from one place to another, covering all of the latest hot stories. And though, he's almost never around, there is no doubt that he is in utter love with Eloise.

    He is a regular guy but a really good guy who loves his fiance.

    And his fiance has got some serious issues and he knows about them all and loves her anyway...what more could you want in a guy, huh?

    Not much.

    But Eloise has got a lot of emotional baggage that she's got to deal with before she can finally settle down and be a wife to Noah, she's got to deal with the fact that her brother is a leave at the drop of a hate type of guy, the kind of guy that they (Eloise and her brother) can't stand, as it's the kind of guy that their father is and she's also got to come to grips with her father who left their family the day before her fifth birthday.

    So with all the finding herself that Eloise did in this book, it was at times trying to get through because you wanted to scream at her to just hurry up and get over it and move on, but at other times you felt sorry for her and wanted to give her a hug and tell her that everything will be alright.

    As soon as she comes to grips with all of her issues with her family, with her boss and with the wedding that is being planned for her that she doesnt really want, everything falls into place and the story ends happily, which I liked.

    The characters in this story spilled over from See Jane Date and so it was good to see the gang back together again, Jane, Natasha, Amanda and it was nice to meet all of the new characters as well, Eloise's Grandma is a character that I really liked in this book, Eloise's brother, Emmett was one heck of a character as well, there were times, a LOT of times that I wanted to poke his eyes out and tell him to get over himself and grow the heck up but I got over it all at the end. Charla was a good character and a great friend to Eloise, Noah was also great, he had that hero thing down pat, just uber cute and super sweet and everything nice.

    The book was cute and cuddly and all things nice when it wasn't driving me bloody mad with all of the stupid crap that Eloise thought and did, I wanted to slap her silly when she didn't stand up for herself and what she wanted with her stupid boss but again, I got over all of it at the end, so all in all this was a good book.

    A treat.

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    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    The Bride Thief by Jacquie D'Alessandro


    At six-and-twenty, Samantha Briggeham knew her marital prospects were fading by the season and she was pleased by the thought. She had no intention of being betrothed. Especially against her will to a man she did not love. She had a plan...and didn't include being swept into a pair of powerful arms and spirited away by a masked rider. News of Sammie's heroic rescue from undesired wedlock turned her into the toast of the ton, wooed by suitors far and wide. But couldn't forget the swashbuckling brigand who abducted her. something about him intrigued her completely. Then she met Eric Landsdowne, the dashing and seductive Earl of Wesley.

    His exploits were legendary, his life filled with danger. He was the elusive Bride Thief, who had his own reasons for helping young women escape the unhappy fate of arranged marriages, and whose true identity was a scrupulously guarded secret. But from the moment he rescued Sammie only to discover she already managed to get herself un-betrothed Eric knew he couldn't lose her a second time. Marriage was out of the question. Which left only one option: A clandestine affair that might lead to scandal, social ruin, and the unmasking of a love-bested legend. . .

    I couldn't get into the story. It had promise too. But about 200 pages into it, I was thinking, "I really don't care what happens." So I peeked at the end and put it down.

    Sammie seems like a sweet girl. Not your average girl into dancing and gossip. She likes science and math. (Ok, who likes math???? I hated math when I was school)

    Eric is man who isdeterminedd to help young women out of forced marriages. His sister would forced into a marriage and itdevastatedd her.


    Grade: F

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    It's In His Kiss by Julia Quinn

    Meet Our Hero ...
    Gareth St. Clair is in a bind. His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth's sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past .. and the key to his future. The problem is -- it's written in Italian, of which Gareth speaks not a word.

    Meet Our Heroine ...

    All the town agreed: there was no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton. She's fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, probably best in small doses. But there's something about her -- something charming and vexing -- that grabs him and won't quite let go ...

    Meet Poor Mr. Mozart ...

    Or don't. But rest assured, he's spinning in his grave when Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual -- and annually discordant -- Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth's every word seems a dare, and she offers to translate his diary, even though her Italian is slightly less than perfect. But as they delve into the mysterious text, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the diary, but in each other ... and that there is nothing as simple -- or as complicated -- as a single, perfect kiss.

    Only read my review if you've read the book because there will be spoilers!

    I really really liked this book, I think it had the light fun feel of most of JQ's book. And I just plain and simple loved Hyacinth and Gareth. Neither of them annoyed me at all, they were both refreshingly unique. There was no "forcing" of a wedding, which was a nice change of pace, you know for a gentleman to actually make a choice to marry a young woman and her to say yes all of their own free will.

    I must admit that at one point during the book Hyacinth is reading the Italian diary to Lady D and I thought for sure Lady D had only feigned not being about to read Italian to get Hyacinth and Gareth together and really understood it all. But no, that was not the case. To bad it would have been kinda funny.

    I unlike most was not let down by the final scene with Gareth and Lord St. Clair, I felt it fitting. Any more emotion would not have fit the norm for them.

    One thing that did bother me? Okay I HATED HATED HATED the very last page of the book!!!!!! I was soooo beyond pissed that Isabella (H&G's daughter) found the diamonds and didn't tell her mother!!!!!! It was not cute, not funny, not anything but ANNOYING!!! The entire freaking book we go through this wild goose chase with Hyacinth and Garth looking for the jewels and then the NEVER find them????? Just plain old aggravating.

    My Grade: A- (minus for the last page!)

    Favorite parts:

    "You weren't very subtle," Gareth said.
    "No," she replied, "but then, I really am. It's a skill one must be born with, I'm afraid."

    I just love the interaction with Gregory! This all had me rolling!
    "Milk?" Lady Bridgerton asked?
    "Thank you," Gareth replied. "No sugar, if you please."
    "Hyacinth takes her's with three," Gregory said, reaching for a piece of shortbread.
    "Why," Hyacinth ground out, "would he care?"
    "Well," Gregory replied, taking a bit and chewing, "he is your special friend."

    Gregory turned to Hyacinth. "Do you still read to her (lady D) each Wednesday?"
    "Tuesday," Hyacinth corrected.
    "Oh. Thorry."
    Gareth blinked. Did Hyacinth's brother have a lisp?

    And I can't say enough how much I loved our hero and heroine together!"All right," he acceded, "but the only words I'll allow from your mouth are, 'Oh, Gareth,' and 'Yes, Gareth.'"
    He lifted his finger.
    "What about 'More, Gareth?'"
    He almost kept a straight face. "That will be acceptable."

    "I love you too," she said
    He took her face in his hands and kissed her, once, deeply, on the mouth. "I mean," he said, "I really love you."
    She quirked a brow. "Is this a contest?"
    "It is anything you want," he promised.
    She grinned, that enchanting, perfect smile that was so quintessentially hers. "I fell I must warn you, then," she said, cocking her head to the side. "When it comes to contests and games, I always win."
    Her eyes grew sly. "Whenever it matters."
    He felt himself smile, felt his soul lighten and his worries slip away. "And what, precisely, does that mean?"
    "It means," she said, reaching up and undoing the buttons of her coat, "that I really really love you."

    Read them all in order:
    The Duke and I
    The Viscount Who Loved Me
    An Offer From A Gentleman
    Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
    To Sir Phillip, With Love
    When He Was Wicked
    It's In His Kiss
    On the Way to the Wedding

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    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Veils of Time, an Anthology

    Title: And The Groom Wore Tulle
    Author: Lynn Kurland

    Scottish nobleman Ian Macleod falls asleep in a medieval dungeon-and awakens in a room filled with long white dresses. Jane Fergusson longed to create great fashions, but instead toils in a bridal shop. Will their fateful meeting over dressmaker's shears lead to bloodshed or bliss?

    Hero: Ian MacLeod
    Heroine: Jane Fergusson
    Grade: C

    This story was too short but sweet.

    Ian MacLeod does unmentionable things that lands him in the hands of his bitter enemy, the Laird of the Clan Fergusson. He wills himself more or less (actually we don't know how he does this but he does) and finds himself in Modern day New York, the year is 1999. He thinks he's in heaven or in limbo, so he tries to dress the part to impress St. Peter, but since he's in the middle of a Wedding Gown parlor, he puts on one of the wedding gowns and I laughed.

    He meets Jane Fergusson and she agrees to help him even though she thinks he's psycho. (of course, don't they always think they're psycho but still help them anyway?) Between the two of them, they set off to find Ian's family.

    It was a really sweet story, I would have liked like one more chapter of Ian and Jane falling in love because everything happened so fast for me to really believe the story, it just seemed implausible that Jane fell so fast for someone she thought was a complete lunatic two weeks before, but I guess that's what love does to a person.

    I did like watching Ian learn about the future appliances, him eating Cheetos was a riot, the elevator? hilarious...it was a good, sweet read, I just wish there was more.

    Title: The Con and the Crusader
    Author: Maggie Shayne

    Fleeing thugs, con man Jack McCain jumps into a well- and into the past. Mistaken for a criminal, he's headed for prison, until he's freed-with a wedding proposal! The widow Hawkins marries him to get help for her farm, but the attraction between them makes Jack wish he'd never escape this sweet captivity...

    Hero: Jack McCain
    Heroine: Emily Hawkins
    Grade: B+

    I enjoyed this story much more than the Lynn Kurland story, but I like westerns, I love cowboys and farm hands, all of those things don't bother me none. To see Jack really having to earn his keep, and keep his word was just all around sweet.

    His relationship with Emily was a strong one and it showed in the short story. Even though this was a short story, it didn't end abruptly, I didn't get the feeling that it was rushed or anything, the story flowed great with the pace the author set and everything just worked.

    The change we see in both Emily and mostly in Jack was fantastic to read about, to see Jack developing relationships with Emily's kids was touching and very endearing and then with him learning how to be a hardworking husband, while he's out there plowing the fields in the hot summer sun, LOL it was just good to see that he became someone his grandmother would be proud of and to see Emily learning to lean on others for help and for it to be okay with her gave you a sense of satisfaction at the end when everything worked out for the best between them both.

    So far, this is my favorite story in the anthology, Jack was a stud and Emily was sweet. A very good story.

    Title: A Bride Most Common
    Author: Angie Ray

    A time machine hurtled Lucy Taylor back in time to Regency England- and into the middle of a wedding to a dashing gentleman! Could she change history to save her future, without falling in love with a handsome new husband?

    Hero: Kieran
    Heroine: Lucy Taylor
    Grade: D

    This story I couldn't get into at all. I didn't think anything was funny, I didn't like the whole time travel idea behind this story, it just all seemed so unlikely and unoriginal, I just didn't really like the whole time travel machine concept that Angie Ray came up with for this story, because well the hero never got to see and fall in love with LUCY TAYLOR, there was nothing wrong with Lucy and yet because of the way the story played out, Kieran, the hot stud muffin didn't fall in love with Lucy, as she really was but by Lady Cynthia, who was totally different from Lucy.

    It just didn't pan out for me, I was bored with the story, I was unhappy with her whole time travel concept and I just didn't really care for anything in the story. I didn't connect with either Lucy/Cynthia or Kieran and because of that, I didn't really care for the story.

    I didn't like it.

    Title: Conyn's Bride
    Author: Ingrid Weaver

    On the eve of her wedding, museum curator Alanna Moore is cataloguing antiquities, when suddenly a Celtic warrior appears-claiming to be her long-lost betrothed! Can she listen to her heart, and remember a love that was destine to be?

    Hero: Conyn ap Rhys
    Heroine: Alanna Moore
    Grade: C

    This story was all cheese and fluff. But it was cute, I thought that Conyn's undying love for Alanna was a little over the top but hey, you do crazy things when you're in love I guess. This story was really short, really sweet and just cute. Nothing grand or anything, I didn't get an instant connection with the characters but I didn't hate it and it was just that....cute.

    Before I end this review, I'd like to send a million thank you's to Mailyn from Imaginary Origin for sending me this book, I really did enjoy it and I'm still fantasizing about Jack McCain, thanks a bunch sweetie, love ya tons!! =)

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    The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot

    Dylan Says

    Hero: John Trent
    Heroine: Melissa Fuller
    Grade: B+

    Using the clever medium of email transmissions from character to character, Meggin Cabot -- author of the popular young-adult Princess Diaries series -- crafts a hilarious story of a New York gossip columnist with journalistic aspirations, romantic complications, and one very large problem: what to do with her comatose neighbor's Great Dane. For Melissa Fuller, the path to true love is riddled with a pretentious ex-boyfriend, a best friend who's marrying into a crazy Italian family, nosy coworkers, and a boss who might fire her at any minute. If that's not enough, there's the mystery of who bonked her elderly neighbor on the head, and whether the neighbor's nephew is the man of her dreams or just a bad nightmare. This zany romantic caper is truly a novel for the 21st century!

    I read a fantastic book last night, I started and finished it in just under four and a half hours. I was so proud of myself, I felt like one of the great speed readers of all time, Holly. LOL. This book was so different from any other book I've read because the entire story was written through emails and so you know my nosy ass was all over this one. It totally reminded me of our group work day emails throughout the day, EVERYDAY, the ones between Izzy, Holly, Grace, Jazz and myself. We have a group email usually sent out by Izzy since she's the first to arrive to work each day before anyone else or maybe now that Jazz has her computer back, we'll be hearing from her first like today, since she's a full 3 hours ahead of us and usually if we're talking about something about the blog, I'll call Grace all the way in Australia at odd hours of the early morning to wake her ass up to get her input on everything, it's hilarious how many times I've called Grace and woken her up, gotta love the torture older sisters get to play on the younger ones....hehe.

    But anyway, I digress (as usual)...back to the review for The Boy Next Door. It was such a cute read, it wasn't some drawn out drama with an emotional train the size of the United States, although I did think that Mel went a little overboard with her retribution for John's little fib about just who he was, I mean I seriously thought she crossed the line with her revenge but that's just me, it didn't take away from the greatness of the book though, because I still enjoyed the heck out of the book, although I thought that John was too easy on forgiving her.

    You see, it's like this. Mel is a gossip columnist for The New York Journal, her 80 year old neighbor gets knocked on the head by someone and is left to die in her house all alone, on Mel's way to work she notices that her creature of habit neighbor hasn't picked up her newspaper, which is NOT the paper that Mel writes for, but her rival newspaper, The New York Chronicle. So wanting to see if everything is alright, because not only did she not pick up her newspaper but her dog is barking something fierce up in that apartment, so being the caring neighbor that Melissa is, she goes to check on her elderly neighbor to find her laying face down on the floor, so she takes it upon herself to call 911 and take care of the old lady as best she could, which I thought was really cool of her.

    While all of this is happening, the emails at work are running wild, her HR department is writing her up for excessive tardiness, her boss is yelling at her to hurry up and get to work to get her article in, her best friend is wondering where the hell she is and giving her a heads up that their boss is on a warpath because she hasn't called and isn't in at work, her coworker is writing her to tell her that she saw her at the restaurant last night with yet another coworker, who also happens to be Mel's boyfriend and she saw her bean the boyfriend over the head with her Kate Spade clutch (I was so jealous that Mel has a Kate Spade clutch, I want one so bad) and wants to know if it's over so she can make her move.

    It's a whirlwind of activity going on and it's just hilarious to read how fast the story goes and even though the story is moving at a fast pace, it doesn't leave you confused, I think Meg Cabot did a great job bring life to these emails and she did an excellent job telling a story and making it work with the kind of format she used, I absolutely loved it.

    We meet John Trent because he owes Max Friedlander (the 80 year old's last living relative, her nephew) a fovor and Max is cashing in on it, he's going out of town with a super hot model and he wants John to pose as him since his Aunt is in the hospital and since Max stands to inherit a crap load of money, he has to be there to help the old lady so that the old lady doesn't disinherit him and leave him with no money. So Max instructs John to go and walk his Aunts dog and feed her pets until he gets back, a thoroughly disgusted John does it because Max DID save his butt back when they were in college so he agrees to do it, shouldn't be so hard, right? Just go over to the aunts house, feed the pets and walk the dog? No problem...

    Melissa isn't expecting to like "Max" so much and John isn't expecting to like the neighbor near as much as he is, so something that was supposed to be so easy turns into something so hysterical to read about, it's funny, it's sweet and it has a happy ending, so I was one happy camper.

    As a whole, the book was great. Nadine, Mel's best friend and her fiance', Tony were too cute and too funny. They were a great addition to the story, but I have to say that my most favorite addition to this story was the emails from John's family. His brother, Jason had me crackin' up at flippin' 2 o'clock this morning, the constant ribbing between brothers was such a joy to read about and then the hormonal emails from John's sister in law, Stacy had me laughing out loud, plenty of times. Even, his emails from Jason and Stacy's two girls, were fun to read. The work emails between Mel and everyone else was a riot.

    This book was just a fun read, ya'll should definitely read this.

    Isabel Says:

    Awwww, I like this book. It was a very fast read. Once I got into it, it was hard to put down. I felt like I was spying on everyone's emails.

    I loved Dolly, oh she cracked me up. ha ha. I thought it was funny when Mel came into work all glowing after the first time they had sex. John's email to his brother: "we did it." Ha ha. So funny.

    Then he wrote emailed her "I love you- Han Solo" Mel replied, "I know- Princess Leia" I just thought it was soooooo cute. The roses he gave her, the short story he wrote after they had sex. It was just sooo cute.

    Max was a jerk. Ugh, glad he got his.

    Yup, I really enjoyed this one. I loved John. Will agree with Dylan, Mel took her revenge a little too far.

    Grade: A-/B+

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