Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did you come up with the idea for this series? What’s next for you?

I was born a writer. It was never something I thought I wanted to do, it was just something I was. The first time I penned a story that I remember was when I was 4 or 5 years old. My parents divorced and my mother, sister, and I moved to Florida. My father stayed in New York and I remember being upset because he was all alone. I used to write stories on an old manual typewriter my mother had received as a sweet 16 present. I sat on a chair with a New York phone book under my tush, pressing the keys down with two fingers because it was so hard. It was exhausting work but I sent my dad scores of stories so he would never feel alone.

It never occurred to me that writing could be my career. I don’t know why, I was always an avid reader and greatly admired authors. I look back now and think of how many times people told me I should write a book but only wondered why anyone would want to read what I’d written. Sometimes I still wonder…

It wasn’t until I was in my mid 30’s that I wrote something for other people to read (well, other than my father). It was a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a twist of Persuasion. It was so much fun and the story became very popular on several of the Jane Austen fanfiction boards. One of the fellow writers, a woman who was a professor at Cambridge and taught Jane Austen, read it and sent me a note saying I should get it published. We were instant messaging and after about fifteen minutes of hysterical laughter on my part, she convinced me she wasn’t joking. She planted the seed, and after I finished my tome, I started writing my first book toward publication—Romeo, Romeo and the rest, as they say, is history.

I wrote Romeo, Romeo as a stand-alone book. I didn’t know it was part of a series until I sold it and my editor, Deb Werksman asked, “Who is the next book in the series about?” As for where I got the idea, well, I have to blame my husband for that. He’s ruined me for any man who doesn’t clean, cook, and do laundry—it doesn’t hurt that he looks really good in a tool belt either.

I married a real Domestic God, and frankly, I couldn’t imagine ever settling for less so why should my heroines? I find men who take care of the house and their women really sexy. So of course, my heroes do exactly that.

As for what’s next for me? I just started writing a new series, Domestic Gods Gone Wild. The first book, On the Wild Side features Hunter Kincaid, one of the characters in Yours for the Taking. The series will revolve around Ben Walsh’s cousins, Hunter, Trapper, Fisher and Karma—the Idaho contingent. I’m working on the revisions for On the Wild Side, and I’m already plotting Judge Trapper Kincaid’s book. I should start that by March 1. I’m very excited about this series because it mostly takes place in Idaho, where I lived for ten years. I get homesick. I thought writing about Idaho would help, but it only seems to make me miss it more. I can’t wait until I’m able to move back.




He might be too good to be true…

Ben Walsh shouldn’t be single. Handsome and wealthy, Ben is equally at home in Idaho where he grew up and in Manhattan where he’s now an art dealer. Suave and successful with impeccable taste, he normally has women beating down his door. But the one woman he wants can’t be convinced that he’s for real…

She isn’t sure if she has time for fairy tales…

Gina Reyez has fought for every bit of her success, and it’s about time for things to start going her way. So when Ben makes a proposal that will allow her to take care of her family the way she wants to, she agrees. Besides, a guy this perfect would never be interested in her...right? By the time Gina figures out that she’s read Ben all wrong, the arrangements are made, the papers are signed…but what exactly are they getting themselves into?

My review of Yours For the Taking.


Robin Kaye is a professional writer and winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her first novel, Romeo, Romeo. Her romantic comedies feature sexy, nurturing heroes and feisty, independent heroines. She lives with her husband and three children in Mt. Airy, Maryland, where she is working on a brand new series for release 2011 and 2012. For more information, please visit

Find the author online: website | twitter



Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have (2) copies of Yours For the Taking to giveaway to (2) lucky winners!! Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents. Comments are appreciated, however, you must fill out the form below in order to enter the giveaway. Please read the Contest/Giveaway Policy for complete list of rules. Giveaway ends Monday, February 14, 2011. Good luck to all who enter!

On My Wishlist (60)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

book Jude’s Law (Law, #1) by Lori Foster

There's only so much frustration a guy can handle before he gets a little nutty. For Jude Jamison, his frustration has a name - May Price. She's everything the former Hollywood bad boy actor came to Stillbrook, Ohio, hoping to find: open, honest, lovable, and full of those luscious curves you don't find on stick-figure starlets - curves May doesn't seem to appreciate in herself. Every time Jude tries to get close to the skittish business woman, to take her in his arms, she thinks he's joking. Joking? Joking does not involve lots of cold-shower therapy. It's time for new tactics. If May can't respond to his sly compliments and sexy innuendos, he'll just have to spell it out for her. Jude Jamison is going to lay down the law for May Price. And, after that, she'll have no delusions about just how much he wants her...


book Too Much Temptation (Temptation Brothers, #1) by Lori Foster

Virginal and voluptuous, Grace Jenkins has secretly loved and lusted after handsome Noah Harper for three years but he was engaged and, therefore, off-limits. Then Noah walks in on his bride-to-be with another man and abruptly breaks off the engagement, refusing to explain the reason for the canceled wedding to his family. His grandmother and his fiancée's family are outraged. Grace rushes to defend him and is stunned when Noah responds by taking her straight to bed. She thinks this is only mutual lust and decides to enjoy the excitement for as long as it lasts while Noah quickly discovers that what he feels for Grace is much more complicated than simple lust. But convincing Grace is another matter entirely--she refuses to see herself as a permanent part of his life. Meanwhile, Noah's ex-fiancée is stirring up trouble with his autocratic grandmother and before she's done, Noah will have to reevaluate his relationship with his grandmother, Grace will have a whole new self-image, and both will face major upheaval in their careers and personal lives.


book His Woman in Command by Lindsay McKenna

Captain Nike Alexander is in Afghanistan for one reason only—to use her pilot skills. She doesn't have time for men, especially military men. Playing hard to get with Captain Gavin Jackson comes as naturally to Nike as flying one of her Apaches. But Gavin's sexy-as-sin smile is making it harder and harder to say no.

Captain Gavin Jackson loves a challenge, but has never encountered one as stunning as Nike. Just as the ice between them thaws, Nike finds herself in a dangerous situation. Now Gavin will have to use his expertise as a special ops soldier to rescue the woman he can't live without…


book The Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance

Adventurous stories of romance all feature the heroes of the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Air Force Para-Rescue, Green Berets, Army Rangers, and other special forces. This collection includes the work of bestselling romance writers such as Laura Griffin, Marliss Melton, Cheyenne MacCray, Shannon K. Butcher, Stephanie Tyler, and Larissa Ione (writing as Sydney Croft).

REVIEW: Yours For the Taking by Robin Kaye

Yours For the Taking

Title: Yours For the Taking
Author: Robin Kaye
Format: ARC, 368 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Published: 1/1/2011 by Sourcebooks

He might be too good to be true...

Ben Walsh shouldn't be single. Handsome and wealthy, Ben is equally at home in Idaho where he grew up and in Manhattan where he's now an art dealer. Suave and successful with impeccable taste, he normally has women beating down his door. But the one woman he wants can't be convinced that he's for real...

She isn't sure if she has time for fairy tales...

Gina Reyez has fought for every bit of her success, and it's about time for things to start going her way. So when Ben makes a proposal that will allow her to take care of her family the way she wants to, she agrees. Besides, a guy this perfect would never be interested in her...right? By the time Gina figures out that she's read Ben all wrong, the arrangements are made, the papers are signed...but what exactly are they getting themselves into?

Why I Read this Book: Just from reading the book blurb, I knew that things were not going to go according to plan and that things were going to get complicated. And I was looking forward to reading about it. Yours For the Taking is the 4th book in the Domestic Gods series but can definitely be read as a stand alone. I have not yet read any of the other books in this series and I had no problems following the story. More than anything, it makes me want to read the first 3 books in this series. Robin Kaye is a new-to-me author and I’m ready to read more of her books.

What I Liked: I liked Gina’s character. She’s smart, sassy, stubborn and she’s no fool. She definitely knows how to handle her own, despite her short stature. She’s only committing to this “business deal” with Ben for the money, which she plans to use to help out her family. She’s completely selfless and I loved her for that.

Yours For the Taking has some great steamy love scenes, the first one being my favorite. It was the most intense. Gina was so evil!! But it serves Ben right for lying. LOL

One part that I thought was hilarious happened while Ben and Gina were at the ranch. Gina overheard part of a phone conversation between Ben and Trapper, something about some “rules”. Gina put it together that the rules were for a a missed chance at a threesome involving Ben, Trapper and a lady from the bar some time ago. Ben finally gives in (at Gina’s threat to redial Trapper, knowing full well that Trapper would spill) and tells Gina the rules:

-No belittling
-No sword fighting
-No eye contact
-No friendly fire
-No small talk
-And rock paper scissors to see who gets first pick of…Use your imagination.

What I Didn’t Like: Ben’s character felt like two completely different characters in this book. The first Ben we meet is a metrosexual man (think Ryan Seacrest) with OCD. He’s a wealthy, successful business man who thinks everything can just simply be bought. The second Ben, the one we see after he went home with Gina in tow, was more likable. He’s close to his friends and family and quite the small town guy. It didn’t feel like there was continuity in the transition from the first Ben we meet to the second Ben; it seemed abrupt.

I could have done without the constant reminder of Gina being a short woman. There were a lot of references to her short stature. I like to picture myself in the heroine's shoes and this was difficult to do, being tall myself, with the constant reminder.

Rafael’s (Gina’s missing brother) story arc wasn’t complete. It was left wide open and felt inconclusive. This was really bugging me so I contacted the author. She explained to me that she is working on a new series, Domestic Gods Gone Wild, and that she plans to follow the search for Rafael throughout those books.

Overall Impression: Yours for the Taking was a cute, fun, fast read told in a 3rd person narrative. I gobbled this one up in a time span of 24 hours. I’m looking forward to reading the first 3 books in this series as well as the author’s new series. This book’s sweet romance with sizzling love scenes will appeal to fans of contemporary romance who like a little spice mixed in.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 1/2 Frogs

Read, Review and Recommend

The Reader Room

Today, I’m over at The Reader Room for her Read, Review and Recommend feature, talking about a book that made a huge impact on me last year. So come on by and say hello :)


I love shopping at CSN stores because they have everything! My husband can surf the site for hours. Just recently he was looking at wall art and decor because even though we’ve lived in our house for 2 years already, are walls are still barren. When CSN gave me the opportunity to host another giveaway, I jumped at it!  


Thanks to CSN Stores, I have a $45 CSN Gift Code to giveaway!! Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents. Winner may need to pay shipping fees (see CSN website for details). Comments are appreciated, however, you must fill out the form below in order to enter the giveaway. Please read the Contest/Giveaway Policy for complete list of rules. Giveaway ends Thursday, February 17, 2011. Good luck to all who enter!

REVIEW: Free Falling by Sandy James

book Title: Free Falling (Damaged Heroes, #2)
Author: Sandy James
Format: eBook
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: review copy from the author
Published: June 2009 by Siren Publishing

Workaholic Ross Kennedy never learned to enjoy life until he meets the woman of his dreams. If only Laurie Miller can convince him that's exactly who she is.

A psychologist with empathic abilities, Laurie rescues Ross, who has been stranded in the middle of a Montana blizzard. The two strangers are completely snowed in and out of contact. In just a few days, their attraction to each other is overwhelming, but Laurie is troubled. Her empathic gift seems to have vanished. Fascinated by his pretty rescuer, Ross struggles to open up his heart enough to let this woman in.

When the two return home to Chicago, they try to solve a mystery revolving around a Prohibition Era journal they discovered in Montana. Will they find the missing treasure the journal points to? And as a former boyfriend begins to stalk Laurie, how will Ross be able to protect her?

Why I Read this Book: A few months ago I read Murphy’s Law, the first book in this series, and I greatly enjoyed it. Ross was a secondary character in that book and didn’t get the HEA he wanted. But that’s okay because he gets his HEA in Free Falling. I should point out that even though this book is the second in this series, it can easily be read as a stand alone.

What I Liked: Free Falling is a romantic suspense read with a dash of a paranormal element mixed in. Laurie, the heroine, is an empath; she can psychically read the emotions of others. This is a perfect “gift” for Laurie to have since she’s a psychologist. She truly loves what she does and she loves helping others. Laurie coming into Ross’s life was a breath of fresh air for him. Ross is a good guy; a good guy who didn’t get the girl in the last book. He needs a purpose in life, something other than completely pouring himself into the law firm he works at. I love how Ross and Laurie met and how there was a believable attraction from the start.

All lose ends were tied up by the end of the story. The epilogue was not what I had expected! I like the way things turned out. Also, the book is written in third person narrative, which worked well for this story. (You won’t get overloaded on characters’ thoughts or any over analyzing like you might find with a first person narrative.)

What I Didn’t Like: I wasn’t feeling the connection between the journal’s story arc and the main story. I got confused at times by the information in the journal. It was hard for me to follow; the poems threw me off. (It should be noted that I am not a fan of poetry. If you are, you may not have this problem.) I had to leave it to the characters to figure out the mystery.

Ross and Laurie end up in Vegas and as a last minute decision, they get married. after knowing each other for a month. It felt a bit rushed and it wasn’t thought out much between the two characters. I think it would have been better if they would have waited a bit. However, their sex life took a more realistic approach in regards to timing, especially given the certain circumstances that were present (that I don’t want to give away).

I felt a pause at the 50% mark. It felt like a roller coaster ride – like when you’re approaching the plateau and it feels like you’re not going to have enough momentum to get over the crest – but once the story got over the crest, it came roaring down the track.

Overall Impression: Free Falling is a good read for when you’re in the mood for romance and mystery. And if the Prohibition era interests you, you’ll enjoy the second story arc. Even with the few issues I had with Free Falling, I still enjoyed reading it. I’m glad I read this book because I got what I wanted: a HEA for Ross. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series, All the Right Reasons, which features some new characters.


The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 1/2 Frogs

REVIEW: Vesper by Jeff Sampson

book Title: Vesper (Deviants, #1)
Author: Jeff Sampson
Format: hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: January 25, 2011 by Balzer + Bray

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Why I Read this Book: I only just heard about Vesper about a couple weeks ago. Then it showed up in the mail. The cover is captivating and the blurb sounded interesting so I decided to give it a go.

What I Liked: Vesper’s set-up was interesting and different. The first thing you read is a transcript of the interrogation of Vesper 1 (Emily). The book then takes you through Emily’s retelling of the events that lead her to that interrogation room. Every so often there is a break from Emily’s flashback with an update on the interrogation progress.

Emily is an interesting character, one with a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde complex. During the day she is geeky, fly-under-the-radar Emily. At night, her kick-ass side comes out and she’s like a super hero with special powers.

What I Didn’t Like: The book is told in first person narrative, from Emily’s POV. While I like enjoy knowing what the protagonist is thinking, in this case it felt like there was too much thinking. It felt like Emily was over-analyzing everything.

Vesper is a very slow paced read, too slow for me. I kept waiting for something to happen, something that would give me a hint as to what is going on, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I got half way through the book and I still had no idea what was going on with Emily or why.

For the most part, reading a book from a 16-year old female’s POV written by a male author went unnoticed. The author created a female character that would be easy to portray from a male writer’s standpoint, by making her a geek and not a girly-girl. The only thing that sounded strange to me was Emily’s use of the word “décolletage” to describe her chest. I didn’t use the word when I was a teenager, let alone know the word existed. But that was the only thing that felt out of place from what part of the book I did read.

Overall Impression: While Vesper was well-written and the writing style was fluid, it’s snail-like pacing just didn’t work for me. If you don’t mind a slow build up that takes up more than half the book, then Vesper might be for you.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:


Bloggiesta: The Finish Line


Here we are, at the Finish Line. I’m glad it was Bloggiesta time but I’m kind of sad to see it over. Unfortunately for me, something came up this weekend and I wasn’t able to participate as much as I wanted to. I wasn’t able to visit other participants either and that saddens me. Hopefully next time Bloggiesta comes around, I’ll be able to participate more.

Goals I completed:

  1. Set up review posts for upcoming reads – Progress: 10/10 completed
  2. Back up my blog - completed
  3. Post reviews on Amazon – Progress: 72/72 completed(that’s a lot of copying & pasting!) - completed

Goals not completed:

  1. Finish and schedule review posts for books I’ve already read – Progress: 1/5 completed
  2. Write some reviews for a rainy day – Progress: 0/6
  3. Clear out my inbox
  4. Write up Guest Posts I owe (for the wonderful peeps who helped me out during my hiatus)

I’m really bummed that I wasn’t able to tackle more. I’ll be working on this stuff soon though.

How did you do with Bloggiesta? Feel free to leave me a link to your Finish Line post.

On My Wishlist (59)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

book The Darkest Hour (KGI, #1) by Maya Banks

Intelligence: high. Body: hard. Mission: what no one else can do.

It's been a year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly saw his wife Rachel alive. Now he's received an anonymous phone call claiming Rachel is alive. To find her, Ethan will have to doge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise.


nook Dark Deceptions (A-Tac, #1) by Dee Davis

A-Tac is an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Brilliant, badass, and seemingly bulletproof, the members of A-Tac are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets. TORN BETWEEN DUTY AND DESIRE Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she's back in the game - this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security. Annie's son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. When Nash and his group find her, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she'd never contact again blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn't be higher: Their enemy's endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.


book A Lot Like Love by Julie James

The FBI wants her cooperation.

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there — with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her.

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment — one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more...


book Causing Havoc (SBC Fighters, #1) by Lori Foster

Orphaned and torn from his sisters as a boy, sexy extreme wrestler Dean "Havoc" Conor gets a letter revealing how much his siblings want him back in Harmony, Kentucky. To stop his sister from marrying a sleazeball, Dean finds himself teaming up with her pretty-but-smart-mouthed friend Eve-who's heard of Havoc's reputation and doesn't need some hunk trampling on her heart. Now all Dean has to do is protect his sisters, win Eve over, and expose a devious criminal. And he thought winning the heavyweight belt was hard.

Bloggiesta: The Starting Line

Bloggiesta This is my second time participating in Bloggiesta. I’ve actually been waiting for Bloggiesta to come around again because I love this! So here I am. Unfortunately, I have some stuff going on this weekend so I’m not sure how much I will be able to complete but I will try my best.


My Bloggiesta To-Do List:

  1. Finish and schedule review posts for books I’ve already read – Progress: 1/5 completed
  2. Write some reviews for a rainy day – Progress: 0/6
  3. Set up review posts for upcoming reads – Progress: 10/10 completed
  4. Back up my blog
  5. Clear out my inbox
  6. Post reviews on Amazon – Progress: 72/72 completed (that’s a lot of copying & pasting!)
  7. Write up Guest Posts I owe (for the wonderful peeps who helped me out during my hiatus)

I will cross off each task as I complete them. I’ll also probably be adding to my list during the Bloggiesta challenge. I always see some great ideas on other blogs.

If you would like to participate in Bloggiesta, you can sign up at Maw Books Blog. Be sure to check out the current challenges as well as the past challenges (for great Bloggiesta ideas)! If you are participating in Bloggiesta, leave me a comment with a link to your blog so I can cheer you on!

starting line

REVIEW: One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake


Title: One Reckless Summer
Author: Toni Blake
Format: paperback, 370 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Goodreads Swap
Published: June 2009 by Avon

It's tough to play it cool on a sultry summer night . . .

The perfect daughter. The perfect prom queen. The perfect wife. Jenny Tolliver's been the good girl all her life, and it's gotten her nowhere. Now that her marriage has been busted up by her cheating ex, she's decided it's time to regroup and rediscover herself. This summer she's headed back to her hometown of Destiny, Ohio, to the very lakeshore cottage where she grew up, to figure out what life holds in store for her next.

She never dreamed the answer would be Mick Brody, Destiny's #1 hell raiser. He comes from the wrong side of the tracks (or in his case, the lake), and he's landed in hot water more times than he can count. He's exactly the kind of guy Jenny's always kept her distance from . . . but soon the good girl and the bad boy are caught in a raw heat that's out of control. Too bad Mick's got a secret that threatens to tear them apart and ruin Jenny's perfectly, passionately reckless summer...

Why I Read this Book: I had just put down a book that I couldn’t get through. Before that I had read a book that was just okay. I needed something really good to read to get me out of the reading slump I was in and luckily One Reckless Summer hit the spot. I enjoy reading contemporary romance and when I read the blurb for One Reckless Summer, it sounded like it would be a great good girl falls in love with a bad boy romance. And that, it was. 

What I Liked: One Reckless Summer is the first book in the Destiny series. Told in 3rd person narrative, it doesn’t feel overly personal but you do get insight on the characters' thoughts. I enjoyed reading about Jenny and Mick, plus there were some secondary characters that I would like to read more about.

There is a strong attraction, more than just sex, between Jenny and Mick. Jenny’s been labeled a good girl all her life, a label she wants to shed. She runs into Mick (literally), the town’s bad boy, and he is just the guy who can help her get rid of that good girl image. He is the forbidden bad boy; everything about him screams bad.  He isn’t suppose to be in town, yet here he is, and he’s keeping one helluva secret. A secret that will have severe consequences should anyone, particularly Jenny’s father, the Chief of Police, finds out.

The love scenes were well-written and there were lots of them! And boy, were they were sizzling! The scene in the woods was intense and risqué (in more ways than one). I gasped and found myself holding my breathe at times when I read that scene. Then I re-read that scene (and re-read it again for a third time). The passion between Jenny and Mick is there right from the start. The hottest scene in this book was the first encounter between the hero and heroine since Jenny has returned to Destiny. Jenny canoes across the lake just outside her house to get a good spot for star gazing and literally runs into someone, unbeknownst to her at the time that it was Mick, who informs her that she’s on private property and tells her to leave. Tired of being the good girl, Jenny stands her ground and puts up a fight.

He bent down, his breath warm on her ear. “Listen, sweetheart,” he said, voice low and menacing, “you don’t want to mess with me, okay? Now turn your pretty little ass around and get back to your side of the lake while you still can.”

She sucked in her breath, raided her gaze – frightened but bold. “Or what?” she whispered, the words coming out far softer than planned. She remained in his grasp, their faces but an inch apart.

Mick didn’t answer – or maybe his answer was what he did next.

The prologue served its purpose by setting up the tone for our main characters. It takes the reader back 15 years, to the one interaction that occurred between Jenny and Mick during their teenage years. There was also an epilogue, which I need in most romance stories. I love finding out how our main characters are doing further on down the line. Knowing that the characters still have their HEA later on down the road gives me the closure I need. The author also included quotes at the beginning of each chapter, which tied in well with each corresponding chapter. Here are two of my favorites:

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.


Captain, I do not believe you realize the gravity of your situation.

-Mr. Spock

What I Didn’t Like: I only wish I had read One Reckless Summer sooner. It sat on my bookshelf for almost a year before I decided to pick it up and read it. I hadn’t read anything by Toni Blake before and I feel like I’ve been missing out! I’ve already read the 2nd book in this series, Sugar Creek (review to come), and I’m anxious to get my hands on the 3rd book, Whisper Falls, which just released last month.

Overall Impression: Full of passion, acceptance, succumbing to inner desires and secrets you’re dying to discover, One Reckless Summer is a quick, fun read. It’s an exciting romance story that will have you swooning once you get to the end (I know I did). If you love small town romance stories, this series is for you. And if you enjoy a good good girl/bad boy romance, this book is definitely for you.


The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs

Away From Internet

If this was a voicemail greeting, it would sound something like this:

Hi. You’ve reached The Book Vixen. I’m unable to come to the phone (internet) right now because I’m devouring Shadowfever. I have questions that need answering. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I finish reading.


REVIEW: Barbie A Rare Beauty by Sandi Holder

Barbie Title: Barbie A Rare Beauty
Author: Sandi Holder
Format: hardcover, 224 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: review copy from publicist
Published: September 2010 by Krause Publications

What a Doll!

The year is 1959. It is an era of one-dimensional paper dolls and cherubic baby dolls. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, there is Barbie doll. Sophisticated and full of possibilities. Barbie changes everything--forever.

When Ruth Handler created Barbie doll five decades ago she not only introduced a wonderful toy for little girls, she helped create one of the most popular and prized collectibles in the toy market. Imagine, Handler's first doll, a Ponytail Barbie, sold for more than $25,000 at auction; a staggering amount for a doll that originally sold for $3.

Barbie: A Rare Beauty hosts an amazing visual feast of 50 years of beautiful dolls, showcasing more than 500 striking photographs of some of the finest and rarest dolls ever created. Author and celebrated Barbie doll expert Sandi Holder presents a banquet of gorgeous vintage dolls, classic fashion sets, prototypes, one-of-a-kind rarities, Japanese fashions, store displays, licensed products and many never-before-seen items in this stunning presentation of the grandest doll ever: Barbie.

Reviewed by Knitz with Catz

Why I Read this Book: I grew up with Barbie. The first Barbie doll I had was around 1961-62. When I was about 4 or 5 years old, my uncle used to get Barbie dolls for me and my sister (his friend worked at Mattel). My mom felt I was too young for a Barbie doll, that the doll was not suitable for a kid my age, but she let me keep them anyways. I would use tissues boxes for Barbie’s bed and my fuzzy bedroom slippers as cars. To get a new Barbie doll or clothes was Christmas (that was about the only time I would get them). Now, I like looking at pictures of the old Barbie dolls; remembering the dolls and outfits I had and reminiscing about my days playing with America’s favorite doll.

What I Liked: The size of the book is perfect, not too bulky. It’s about 10” by 10” and the photographs were just about true to scale in regards to the size of the doll. There’s about 220 pages – smooth, shiny pages, all in color. That makes a big difference. Had the book been in black in white, I probably wouldn’t have been as inclined to pick it up. The photographs were nice, clear and big! Because of the size of the pictures, I could make out all the details like accessories, make-up and other minute details. There is text in the book and I felt that it was just enough, not too much and not too little.

I enjoyed learning the history behind Barbie, including her creator Ruth Handler. I knew some of the story behind the dolls, like that Barbie and Ken were named after Ruth’s own children, but it was nice to get the whole history.

One of my favorite quotes from the book was one from Ruth Handler herself, explaining what she wanted Barbie to be for young girls:

“My own philosophy of Barbie was that through the dolls, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be.”

And that’s exactly how it was for me. Barbie came donning only a bathing suit. I couldn’t afford to get a lot of outfits so I would make my own outfits by hand with my mother. I’d get together with my friends and we’d make up stories with Barbie, to tell our story. She could be whatever we wanted her to be. We would use our imaginations with Barbie, Ken, Skipper and Midge. We even gave them different names.

It was fun reading about Barbie thru the ages in Barbie A Rare Beauty. I played with Barbie from the time I was about 4 years old until I was about 11, which means I stopped playing with Barbie around 1967-68. So it was nice seeing how Barbie evolved through the decades between that time and the present time. The 1990s began the Collector Icon series of Barbie, which seems to be for one thing and one thing only: look but don’t touch. And certainly do not play with! It was interesting looking at the different collectable things, like the Japanese version Barbie. While the collector Barbie dolls are exquisite, they are certainly not a child’s toy. You can’t change Collector Barbie’s outfit or hairstyle; she’s just a collectable item to be put on display. To me, that went against Ruth Handler’s philosophy.

What I Didn’t Like: Barbie A Rare Beauty leans more towards the collectible and profitable aspect of the dolls. The author of this book, Sandi Holder, has been in the auction business for over 2 decades, which is fine (it gives her some authority on the subject matter) but with a lot of the book talking about how much different Barbie’s have gone for at her auctions, it seems like an advert for her own personal business. Some of the descriptions for the dolls sound like auction write ups. The last sentence in each description says something along the lines of “This doll sold for $25,143 at auction”, which seemed self-serving to me. I think it was fine to say that a particular Barbie is rare and why it’s rare but I’d rather her not have gone into prices she got at her auctions. Parts of the book felt like an advertisement on how well her auctions do.

I would have like to have seen more pictures of the early Barbie. And there was hardly anything on Skipper or Francie. More attention was focused on the collectable Barbie dolls, which is a far cry from what the doll was originally created for. Seems like Mattel is gearing towards high end collectors rather than children these days. With the collectable versions of the dolls, there’s no where to go with imagination as far as clothing is concerned. And in the 2000s, Lingerie Barbie was introduced scantily clad in a bra and panties, which is definitely not a child’s doll.

Overall Impression: Once I got past the author’s self-promoting, which didn’t take away from what was in the book, I enjoyed Barbie A Rare Beauty. I enjoyed seeing all the Barbie dolls throughout the decades. I was amazed at the different kinds of dolls that I wasn’t aware of, like the specialty ones. I still wish there were more pictures of the older dolls, like from when I was a child. Sandi Holder did a good job presenting the subject with all that she put into it. Anyone that grew up playing with Barbie, from any generation, will enjoy this book for years to come. Barbie A Rare Beauty is a good book to hold on to; once you’ve read it you’ll want to go back and look at the pictures. And maybe later on, you’ll want to pass it down to your children.


Knitz with Catz’s Rating:

4 Frogs 

On My Wishlist (58)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

book Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11) by Charlaine Harris

With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit - and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can't 'read' vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his 'child' Pam well - and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot -which is much more complicated than she knows. Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human - and that there is a new Queen on the board . . .


book Behind Closed Doors (McClouds & friends, #1) by Shannon McKenna


Surveillance expert Seth Mackey knows everything about the women that his millionaire boss toys with -- and tosses aside. Raine Cameron is something different. Night after night, Seth watches her on a dozen different video screens. Her vulnerable beauty haunts him and her fresh innocence stirs a white-hot passion that he can barely control. Raine is pure temptation, but Seth has something more important to take care of first. He's convinced that his boss, Victor Lazar, is responsible for his half-brother's murder. He cannot put his secret investigation at risk, but he can't stop wanting her -- craving her -- and soon he knows he can't let Victor have her. For Raine may be Victor's next victim...


Raine knows she's being watched -- but no one can see the secrets in her heart. She has reasons of her own to seek revenge on Victor Lazar, and she will, despite her fear -- and the distracting presence of Seth Mackey. Though Raine has little experience with men, Seth's fiercely masculine good looks and animal sensuality stir her most erotic fantasies when she's alone...and lead her to a bold plan. Offering her body to him, surrendering totally to his ruthless desire might well push her beyond all emotional limits -- and beyond fear itself.


book Shadows at Midnight by Elizabeth Jennings

A lost soul

Claire Day's promising career as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst comes to a shattering end in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Laka, West Africa. For more than a year, Claire has been rebuilding her life and her confidence when she suddenly remembers the man who tried to protect her, and who might hold the key to the mysteries haunting her nightmares.

A lost love

Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Weston believed Claire was dead. But the woman he grieved for has just come back into his life seeking to reconnect with her past, unaware of the feelings he has for her. Determined not to fail Claire again, Dan vows to help her heal.

A lost truth

Together, they begin to unlock Claire's lost memories only to uncover a conspiracy that puts them--and any future they might have together--in deadly danger...


book Bad Attitude (B.A.D. #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

BAD agent Sydney Westbrook must find the perfect assassin for a risky counter-terrorism mission. J.D. Steele, a military sniper whose attitude problem landed him in prison, seems a good candidate. But as they're dragged into a secret world of freelance killers, Sydney begins to discover the man of honor and passion beneath Steele's arrogant façade. It's a man even Steele didn't know he could be — and a man whose mission will risk the life of the only woman he's ever loved....

REVIEW: The Mercenary by Katherine Garbera


They're the Savage Seven--a ragged group of mercenaries who trust no one, risk everything, and get the job done, no matter what it takes. . .

So much for diamonds being a girl's best friend. . .

Once upon a time, Kirk Mann led a normal life. Now, as second-in-command at Savage Seven, he takes on assignments no one else would dare to handle. Like protecting Olivia Pountuf, a sexy, pampered socialite who was engaged to the manager of a diamond mine--until she discovered her fiancé's murderous business tactics. Kirk arrives in Johannesburg too late to stop Olivia being kidnapped, but rescuing her stirs up a firestorm of longing as hot as it is dangerous. And that's just the kind he likes. . .

Olivia grew up believing that money would protect her. But the man she was to marry wants her dead, and the one person who makes her feel safe is a rough-around-the-edges ex-Marine who couldn't care less about wealth or privilege. Now, the only way to survive is to uncover an illicit scheme that others will kill again and again to protect, and trust in a desire that's veering straight out of control. . .

Title: The Mercenary
Author: Katherine Garbera
Format: eBook
Genre: romantic suspense
Source: Borrowed via Kindle Lending
Published: July 2009 by Kensington Books

Why I Read this Book: When I first saw the title, I was like bring it! Who doesn’t love a bad-ass mercenary? I certainly do. I like reading romantic suspense, especially when the heroine falls for the bad-ass guy saving her ass. The Mercenary had an interesting premise, it just didn’t play out well for me. 

What I Liked: The first half of the book was good and it held my attention. I was in the zone and wanted to know how everything was going to turn out with Olivia and her situation. There’s also something going on with Kirk, something from his past, but I didn’t get far enough to find out what that something was.

What I Didn’t Like: Olivia and Kirk were too quick to bed and their tumble in the sheets lacked emotion and chemistry. It went against Kirk’s better judgment but he did it anyways. And even though Kirk held his guard up from letting Olivia in personally, she was determined to get Kirk’s attention which annoyed me to no end.

One of the most exciting parts of reading a romance is the first love scene. It’s the anticipation of getting to the point. Maybe there’s a bit of tension but mostly there’s passion. The first love scene is The Mercenary was anything but exciting. There was no passion. I wasn’t feeling any emotion between Olivia and Kirk.

She straddled him and he entered in her in one smooth motion. She rode him hard, her breasts bouncing with each movement, and they both climbed quickly toward their climax, shuddering together and crying each other’s names.

Kirk had never had sex like this before. Olivia simply rocked his world and his soul and made him feel like he couldn’t survive without her.

Rocked his world? That’s not the impression or effect I got from reading the first love scene. He entered her, her breasts bounced and they both climaxed quickly. Not the kind of love scene that has any kind of effect on me other than that was it?

Overall Impression: I was so disappointed in the lack of connection, emotion and chemistry between the hero and heroine that I couldn’t finish the book. I got 72% into The Mercenary and at that point I just couldn’t go any further. Let me explain why I even went that far. The first love scene didn’t happen until 65% into the book. (The story begins on August 1st and the first love scene takes place August 4th, giving our H/H 3 days before shacking up.) And up until that point the book was okay. But that first love scene, and the few that followed quickly after, turned me away. If you like reading romantic suspense mainly for the suspense and don’t really care about lackluster love scenes, then you might enjoy The Mercenary. However, I need emotion and chemistry tying the main love interests together in order for it to feel real for me.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:


Book Review: The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook by Matt Dunn


Title: The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook
Matt Dunn
Format: paperback, 354 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: 11/1/2010 by Sourcebooks

"It's not me – it's you."

When Edward Middleton hears those words from Jane, his girlfriend of ten years, he knows he's in serious trouble. Determined to get her back, Edward realizes he must learn how to make women want him again. But one thing is certain: if he's to be Jane's Mr. Right, he needs to turn himself around. From Atkins to waxing, Edward works his way through the makeover alphabet. But can he rise from the ranks of discarded exes, or will his journey take him in another direction entirely? With over 100,000 copies sold in the UK, this is a hilarious look at relationships from a man's point of view.

Why I Read this Book: I’ve seen The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook described as the male-equivalent to Bridget Jones’s Diary. I thought BJD was hilarious so I wanted to read The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook. I was even more curious to read a Chick-Lit book written from the main male character’s POV, figuring it would be quite a change from the norm. It was.

What I Liked: The book begins on January 16th, the day Edward discovers that Jane, his girlfriend of 10 years, has left him. The reader follows Edward through his 4 month self-discovery journey. Edward’s best friend, Dan, helps him through the process in a hilariously yet sincere (at least to Dan’s prospective) manner. These 4 months help Edward to assess and re-evaluate his relationship with Jane. The book ends on April 16, shortly after Jane has returned from her own self-discovery journey in Tibet. The whole time I was reading this book I wanted to know if they would get back together or not.

I grew fond of Edward’s character and I wanted to make sure that everything turned out right for him. He got a new insight to life and relationships. Edward really transforms himself, inside and out, and in the end he gets the HEA he deserves.

Dan and his ‘logic’ were most hysterical. Most of which was the blunt, honest truth. Dan doesn’t sugarcoat anything, nor does his mouth have a filter, he just tells it like he sees it. Dan’s analogies were sometimes spot on, sometimes not, but always down right hilarious.

Funny stuff that comes out of Dan’s mouth:

“You’re dressed like a scarecrow. And what do scarecrows do?”

“Cool jacket, Dan. How will they ever resist me?” [Edward] says, strutting up and down in front of the mirror.

Dan shakes his head. “Edward, it’s a nice jacket. Not a magic jacket.”

And here’s a word of advice from Edward’s personal trainer:

If it jiggles, it’s fat.”

The funny part about this line is that it took place in a restaurant during the trainer’s assessment of Edward. No advanced equipment needed; just a jiggle test. These quotes still give me a good chuckle.

What I Didn’t Like: The beginning was a bit slow for me. But once Edward got over his woe is me pity party and started doing something about his situation, I was invested in finding out how his life was going to turn out.

There were a few times when I had to pause and think for a moment about what a particular word or phrase meant. Some I even had to Google. For instance: pint of snakebite (a drink of equal parts beer and cider), kerb (curb), boot of a car (the trunk), jumper (pull-over sweater), snog (kiss and cuddle) and aerial (antenna) – just to name a few. Nothing I couldn’t figure out but it did pause my reading from time to time.

Overall Impression: Fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Chick-Lit will love the male insight from Edward’s POV and the humor that comes along with it. They need to make of movie from this book! The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook would be a great Valentine’s Day read.


The Book Vixen’s Rating:
3 1/2 Frogs

I’ve Been Interviewed by The Crazy Bookworm

The Crazy Bookworm

I’ve been interviewed by The Crazy Bookworm for her Interview with a Book Blogger feature. Come on over and find out which 5 books I would take with me on a deserted island.


“I think that hat looks really good on you. And you know…payback is always a bitch.”

p. 152, Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning

OMG, the story behind that teaser is hilarious! You won’t get it unless you’ve read the book but let me just say that that hat was definitely fair payback.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others.
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

REVIEW: Change of Heart by Shari Maurer

Change of Heart

Title: Change of Heart
Author: Shari Maurer
Format: hardcover, 286 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: library
Published: April 2010 by Westside Books

In a world where the most stressful thing seems to be winning a soccer game or what to wear in the morning, you take some really basic things for granted.

Like the love of your parents.

Or hanging with your friends.

Or the beating of your heart.

When you’re 16 years old, it never occurs to you that you might die. Emmi Miller’s got a fabulous life. She has tons of friends, does great in school and is an all-star soccer player who played in Europe last summer. It even looks like Sam Hunter, a totally cute baseball player, might be interested in her. And then she gets a virus. No biggy, right? Until the virus goes to her heart and weakens it so much that, without a transplant, Emmi will die.

Will Emmi get a heart in time? Is Sam too good to be true? What about her new friend Abe, who has also had a transplant and guides her through these scary times — is he just being supportive or is there more going on between them? And will Emmi realize it before it’s too late?

Why I Read this Book: Since I first heard about this book earlier last year, I’ve been wanting to read it. I’m one of those people that likes a good emotional read every now and then. Sometimes I just need a good cry. I knew Change of Heart would be one of those books.

What I Liked: Change of Heart was one of the most emotional, yet heartbreakingly touching stories I’ve read. It brought me to tears it was so moving. It’s one of those books that leaves a huge impact on you long after the last page has been turned. Readers will definitely take something away after reading it – whether it’s live life to its fullest, cherish those around you or better yet donate life. (The author is a huge advocate for the Donate Life organization, as its mission has affected her and her family personally – see her website for more information.)

Change of Heart is told in first person narrative, from Emmi’s POV. This was important for me, and I don’t think it would have worked any other way, because it enables the reader to truly understand what Emmi was going through. This brought me in as a reader and connected me with Emmi’s character while she went on her journey during this hard, painful and scary time. Even though you’re not in her shoes, you feel what she feels and it strikes a cord with you.

Emmi’s character develops immensely throughout the book. She’s one person in the beginning and comes out a different person at the end. Here’s a snippet from the prologue:

Looking back to how it was before everything changed, I think I’d have done things differently. I’d have stopped to enjoy the smell of the cut grass on the soccer field – and been nicer to my brothers. I’d have eaten that hot fudge sundae, even when I felt kind of fat. But it’s easy to analyze this stuff when you have the perspective I do now.

I love the cover and how it and the title of the book ties into the story. I like how there’s more than one meaning behind the title.

What I Didn’t Like: Emmi was a little irrational at times but I suppose that’s to be expected, especially with someone who just found out that they have a life-threatening heart condition.

Overall Impression: Change of Heart was an emotionally charged read. Once you read this book, you’ll have a different outlook on life and what really matters. I recommend this book to teenagers and adults alike. This book carries a strong message of love, courage, hope, and friendship. Read this one when you’re ready for a good cry and have the tissues ready.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:
4 Frogs

On My Wishlist (57)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

book Dead End by Jason Myers

Dru and Gina are young, in love, and can’t wait to get out of Marshall, Nebraska, a town where bloodline means everything and whoever has the money makes the rules. But all their dreams are shattered when Gina has a monstrous run-in with the son of the richest man in Marshall—an incident that leaves her broken, battered, and violated.

Driven by rage, Dru and Gina take matters into their own hands, and quickly find themselves in over their heads. Without any other options, Dru and Gina are on the run. But there’s more chasing them than they think, and love might not be enough to save them.


book Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Three days before her drama club’s trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled “Top Twenty Reasons He’s a Slimy Jerk Bastard,” instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heart- wrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life—and romance—for herself.


book The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy

Three sisters. One life-changing summer.

Calla loves summer because summer means Duncan. They’ve been best friends for years, but Calla has never worked up the nerve to tell him how she really feels. This summer, the summer before college, is Calla's last chance.

Violet isn't much of a rule breaker in real life. But this isn't real life, this is summer, and Violet is determined to make the most of it. Besides, a little sneaking out never hurt anyone. And sneaking out with James is 100% worth the risk...even though James is completely off-limits.

Daisy has never been the sister that boys notice, but when sparks fly with Joel at the first bonfire of summer, it seems so easy and right. So why is being his girlfriend so complicated?


book Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.