DAY 15: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Ivy @ Ivy Reads, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for an ARC of Flip by Martyn Bedford.




One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to  bed. He wakes up to  find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him.  A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life,  he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else.  Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.


Places to find Ivy Reads online: 
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Ivy Reads, one lucky winner will receive an ARC of Flip by Martyn Bedford!!

  • Giveaway open to US 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 14: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Dee DeTarsio, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for 3 Kindle copies (via Amazon Kindle Gifts) of The Scent of Jade by Dee DeTarsio. Dee DeTarsio is also here today to share some poems and words of wisdom with us. Take it away Dee DeTarsio!

 
 


The Book Vixen
There once was a Vixen of Books,
Who loves getting all the looks.
You have to kiss a frog
To be on her blog,
‘Cause romance is how she cooks!



Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may always set the tones. The passion and power of words--those we read and those we write, and even more importantly, those we speak--create a magic potion.

From saying a word over and over until it becomes nonsense, to the wishes behind a favorite name that we bestow upon our child, to words that conjure up our personality (Literally, Rob Lowe on Parks and Recreation!)--it’s up to us to use our powers for good.



For Pete’s Sake!
My friend, Pete, joined us for a dinner party a little while ago. I was complaining about how much my husband loves salmon. Seriously: morning, noon and night. Guess what I served that evening? I do have a great, (according to reports) easy-peasy salmon recipe that does NOT have to be prepared with love! (You don’t even have to touch it.)

"I hate salmon," I said. Pete smiled at me and told me I shouldn't say hate. I laughed, and agreed. He is right--I used to tell my kids that all the time. The conversation turned to weather. "I hate to be cold."

From across the room, I glimpsed Pete as he turned his head, whispering, "We don't say that." We laughed together.

I had no idea how often Negative Nellie was inviting herself to my party--but thanks to Pete's gentle reminder, she is officially off the guest list.

Pete's got a big birthday coming up this month, too: he'll be 4.

Happy Birthday, Pete--and The Book Vixen!

 

 

OMG I LOVE The Book Vixen poem!! Thank you Ms. DeTarsio!! And happy birthday to Pete too!




From TV writer Dee DeTarsio, a new novel, The Scent of Jade. When an ancient jade relic that holds secrets to global warming ends up in the hands of a not-so-perfect heroine, she is thrust in a fish-out-of-water adventure, lost in the Costa Rican rainforest.

“Romancing The Stone” meets “Survivor” for Julie Fraser, who was minding her own business, living her life as snug as a bug in a rut in San Diego, California. As the least adventurous person she knows, Julie finally whooped it up one day to jet off and surprise her husband, who was on a business trip in Costa Rica. Reeling from the discovery that her husband wasn’t who she thought he was, she accidentally steals an ancient artifact and is chased through the wilds of the rainforest, not knowing where to turn, literally, or whom to trust. She knew she should have stayed home.

Can a monkey, a blond Juan, a foreign scientist, a mysterious ‘love potion’ and the jade stone itself (that may hold secrets to global warming), help Julie on her mission to find and forgive her husband?

The stolen idol catapults her on a quest, as she discovers truths along the way about herself and her place in the universe. The Scent of Jade is creative and unique with surprising twists--in turn suspenseful and heartbreaking, combining humor and romance to reach the payoff ending. Original characters keep the pages turning.

The Scent of Jade spins its story with wit and wisdom, drawing those who love mystery, suspense, romance and adventure. While there are no vampires, readers are invited to enjoy the intrigue...



Places to find Dee DeTarsio online: 
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Dee DeTarsio, three lucky winners will receive a Kindle copy (via Amazon Kindle Gifts) of The Scent of Jade by Dee DeTarsio!!

  • Giveaway open to US 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 13 - Part 3: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Eve Langlais, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is an ebook copy of Once Bitten, Forever Burned by Eve Langlais and Stacey Kennedy.




A mini anthology containing:

DEVON'S REDEMPTION by Eve Langlais

Bethany lost her one and only love to a war overseas. As if that weren’t bad enough, a brutal attack and claiming by a Lycan makes her life a living hell. She lives only for revenge until the day love comes back into her life and promises to rescue her from her misery. However, the mate who forced her isn’t about to let her go.

Devon died on the battlefield only to be reborn as a creature of the night. He fights to stay away from his one true love, but when he caves to his desire and sees her again, he discovers redemption is possible even for one who walks in darkness.

CRUZ'S SALVATION by Stacey Kennedy

Cruz understands torment. A mortal turned vampire in the war, he has suffered untold loneliness and despair. That is until he meets Kiara—a werewolf he’s forbidden to love.

Though Kiara needs Cruz, and wants him forever, werewolves and vampires are bitter enemies. To make matters worse, her Alpha, also her father, suspects that Kiara pines for a mate. Mistaking her sadness for the longing she feels for Cruz, he sets out to give her all the happiness he can provide.

Together, Kiara and Cruz will have to fight against the rules placed upon them to hold onto their love. But an unwanted visitor creates a complication neither of them planned for. Milo, Kiara’s chosen mate, has come to stake his claim. Now, not only are lives at risk, but hearts are threatened and dreams hang in the balance.



Places to find Eve Langlais online:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Eve Langlais, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Once Bitten, Forever Burned by Eve Langlais and Stacey Kennedy!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 13 - Part 2: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Eve Langlais, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is an ebook copy of Hybrid Misfit by Eve Langlais.




Mixing DNA is never a good idea, just ask this Hybrid Misfit whose very existence will change the world.

I lost my humanity in a government experiment, and now find myself hunted because of it. Demons, vampires and even angels—everyone wants a piece of me. I say bring it on and prepare to die, because I intend to fight for my right to live.

A chance meeting with a giant shifter and his best friend--an actual genie with a bottle--has evened the odds just as a prophecy involving me increases the danger. But, this Hybrid Misfit isn’t about to give up, and with my lovers supporting me, I will change the world—and discover that two naked men in bed is better than one.

Warning: Hot threesome story with all the focus on the woman.

Genre: Urban/Fantasy Paranormal Romance with Angels/Demons/Shifters



Places to find Eve Langlais online:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Eve Langlais, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Hybrid Misfit by Eve Langlais!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 13 - Part 1: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Eve Langlais, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is an ebook copy of Accidental Abduction by Eve Langlais.




Abducted by a space pirate, she fights the temptation to let him plunder her goods.

A boyfriend’s attempted murder leaves Megan floundering in the ocean. Sinking without hope, the bright light she sees in the night sky isn’t her doorway to heaven, but rather the beginning of her accidental abduction by a space pirate. While thankful of his rescue, Megan stays true to form and just can’t keep her mouth shut, even when he keeps threatening to kill her--or auction her off to the highest bidder. Even odder, despite her decision to not get involved with her wickedly hot captor, she can’t help craving his touch.

Tren retired from his job as a mercenary so he could enjoy life, but he never counted on the boredom of normalcy. The acquisition of rare items has somewhat filled the void, but his accidental abduction of an outspoken earthling, who doesn’t know when to shut up, turns his life upside. Her fiery spirit draws him while at the same time drives him insane. Struggling with his urges, he must decide-- throttle her barbarian neck or ravish her delectably lush body?

Despite what his heart tries to tell him, he’s determined to sell her to the highest bidder even as he seduces her body. However, despite his best intentions, he discovers he can’t let her go. And when a foe from his past thinks to steal her, he’ll do anything to get her back.



Places to find Eve Langlais online:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Eve Langlais, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Accidental Abduction by Eve Langlais!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]: Savor the Danger by Lori Foster

Title: Savor the Danger (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor, #3)
Author: Lori Foster
Format: eBook
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: June 28, 2011 by HQN Books

The one woman he couldn't have was the only woman he desired…

She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty—with no memory of what happened—he knows he's been drugged… even if Alani doesn't.

After she was kidnapped, Alani swore she'd never trust another man again. Still, something about this strong, sexy hero with the tender touch makes her want to believe him. As Jackson hunts downs a mysterious intruder, he swears he'll move heaven and earth to keep Alani safe. But what really happened that night? And will the truth bring them closer than they ever thought possible—or put Alani squarely in harm's way again?


Why I Read this Book: Truth be told, I pretty much gobbled up When You Dare (my review), Trace of Fever (my review) and Savor the Danger one right after another. Thank you Lori Foster and the publisher for releasing the books in this series back to back! I wonder if they know how much this pleases me?

What I Liked: The characters. The action. The suspense. The smut. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Savor the Danger starts off great. Jackson wakes up and finds Alani next to him in his bed – naked. Unfortunately, he can’t remember anything that happened because he was drugged. The question is, who drugged him and why?

I got a glimpse at Jackson and Alani’s attraction and chemistry at the end of the last book, Trace of Fever. That little bit was hot and their relationship only gets hotter! I love how open and honest Jackson is about his feeling towards Alani. He’s honest and upfront about it with Alani and with her big brother (and Jackson’s boss) Trace. And Jackson makes no apologies for his feelings to anybody.

There are a couple of new characters brought in. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that there was a great set up for Spencer’s character in the next book. Spencer’s heroine is bad ass!

These books can be read as stand alones but it helps to get the background on the mercenaries and their mission by reading the first book in the series (When You Dare). The first book sets the foundation for the guys’ fight against human traffickers.

What I Didn’t Like: Nothing I can think of.

Overall Impression: I found me a new favorite romantic suspense series. I love sexy alpha-male mercenaries! I can’t wait to read more by this author. And I definitely can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

 

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Thanks to Meryl Moss Media Relations, one lucky winner will receive a print copy of Savor the Danger by Lori Foster!!

  • Giveaway 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Monday, July 11, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 12: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Ann Aguirre, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for a *SIGNED* copy of Nightfall by Ellen Connor (Ellen Connor is the pseudonym for the writing duo Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty).




Their instincts will save them.

Their passion will transform them.

Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought, in her wildest nightmares, that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her–one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.

The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna’s father. Skilled and steadfast, he’s ready for the Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and the mutant dogs attack–vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong.

When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion–a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.



Places to find Ann Aguirre online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Ann Aguirre, one lucky winner will receive a *SIGNED* copy of Nightfall by Ellen Connor!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 11 - Part 3: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Nadia Lee, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for an ebook copy (ePub – DRM-free) of The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee. (Note: Author will email the winner a copy of this book as soon as she gets the author copy, later this year.)




Unofficial Blurb:

Ashera del Cid is a demon hunter who takes great pride in her work, but when she kills a demigod's pet dragon, the hunter becomes the hunted. Her only potential ally is Ramiel, an untrustworthy, sexy-as-hell demon who destroyed her home. Now the two must work together to battle dragons and demigods...and the chemistry sizzling between them.



Places to find Nadia Lee online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Nadia Lee, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy (ePub – DRM-free) of The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee!! (Note: Author will email the winner a copy of this book as soon as she gets the author copy, later this year in November.)

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 11 - Part 2: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Nadia Lee, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for an ebook copy (Kindle, ePub or PDF) of Carnal Secrets by Nadia Lee.




After a rapid change in management, Natalie Hall is surprised to find that she's being promoted so quickly. But when it becomes obvious that the new CEO is interested in her on a more personal level, she pushes him away -- she doesn't want to repeat her past mistake of giving her heart to the wrong man.

A self-made billionaire, Alex Damon has his own reasons for pursuing Natalie. Her adoptive father, a powerful U.S. senator, is using his political clout to protect his friends the Rodales, who Alex intends to destroy for ripping his own family apart when he was a child. Furthermore, he suspects that Natalie is spying for the Rodales.

What he hasn't planned on is her unflinching sense of loyalty and integrity, the sizzling attraction between them that threatens to turn into something much more, and the dark secrets that can destroy them both.



Places to find Nadia Lee online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Nadia Lee, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy (Kindle, ePub or PDF) of Carnal Secrets by Nadia Lee!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 11 - Part 1: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Nadia Lee, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for an ebook copy (Kindle, ePub or PDF) of A Happily Ever After of Her Own by Nadia Lee and an ebook copy (Kindle, ePub or PDF)Destiny Entwined by Nadia Lee.




Melinda Lightfoot, a preschool teacher with an unusual ability to flit in and out of fairy tales, never thought she would get into trouble...

...until the Fairy Tale Police arrest her while she is in Beauty and the Beast. They offer her a deal: Find Beauty, who left the story when Melinda trespassed into it, or be charged with the ultimate crime -- Fairy Tale Killer. If that's not bad enough the Beast tags along in search of his true love, and Melinda starts falling for the fairy tale prince. She must choose between doing the right thing and having her own happily ever after.

Warning: This title contains the following: Fairy Godmother, the Wicked Witch, dysfunctional fairy tale families, ax-wielding executioners and a happily ever after (or two).

 


A Greek god, master of the arts of persuasion and seduction.

An exiled Minoan princess, abandoned to live out the rest of her life on a deserted island.

And a prophecy that could bind them together forever...if only she can take one final leap of faith.





Places to find Nadia Lee online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Nadia Lee, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy (Kindle, ePub or PDF) of A Happily Ever After of Her Own by Nadia Lee and an ebook copy (Kindle, ePub or PDF)Destiny Entwined by Nadia Lee!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 10: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Kai Charles, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for a beach reads gift pack that includes: previous read ARCs of Clarity by Kim Harrington and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray along with a tote bag and bookmarks. Kai is also here with us today sharing some books from her summer reading list. Take it away Kai!



Hello everyone! When Brianna put out the call for posts for her Birthday Celebration I had to sign up! I’m a June baby as well. No offenses to the other 11 months but June birthdays are marvelous! Growing up June not only meant the end of school but as a young bookworm unfettered access to reading and of course the library!

Every June I get that same excited feeling for summer and my birthday. Though Adult responsibilities limit me to some extent I always make time for reading vacations. Whether it’s an afternoon in the park, a table at Starbucks or my reading “nest” at home summertime reading is a priority. Along with shopping for what else? More books! So I thought Id share with you some books from my summer reading list:


A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware

Summer always inspires escapism in me. I want to visit different times and places Race to Splendor really fit this description. Set in San Francisco in 1906 this is the story of two young female architects racing to complete competing hotels. I love the premise and a peak into the past. Looking forward to this one a lot!







The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

What’s summer without a really good thriller? This crime novel set in the Artic Circle by a Swedish writing pair is really intriguing. After being a bestseller in over 30 countries it’s now been translated and is being released here in the USA in July.







Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres. Add romance, Royalty and Scandal and I’m even more intrigued. Actress Ellen “Nell” Gwyn has risen to popularity as an actress. She is grateful for her modest success after coming from severe poverty. She never imagined the theater would lead her into the arms of Charles II and the life of a mistress. Perfect poolside reading!





 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Witchy Women! It’s been a while since I’ve read some adult paranormal fiction I’ve been really immersed in YA fiction lately. These two books have been getting tremendous buzz. I’m looking forward to both.


Hope I’ve intrigued you to give one or all of these fine books a try. I’m also donating a prize pack to get you started on your own summer reading: Arc’s of Clarity and Beauty Queen! Check the bottom of Brianna’s blog for more information.

Happiest of Birthday’s to you Brianna! Hope your day is full of Joy and surprises!



And Happy Birthday to you too Kai!!




When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

 


From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.



Places to find Kai Charles online: 
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Kai Charles, one lucky winner will receive a beach reads gift pack that includes: previous read ARCs of Clarity by Kim Harrington and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray along with a tote bag and bookmarks!!

  • Giveaway open to US 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 9: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Jennifer Lane, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for an ebook copy of With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series, #1) or Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series, #2) by Jennifer Lane. Jennifer Lane is also here with us today talking about TOPIC. Take it away Jennifer Lane!



The Most Thoughtful Birthday Gift

Happy Birthday to the Book Vixen! Thanks for the opportunity to do a guest post for your blog, Brianna. In honor of your birthday, today I’ll discuss awesome birthday gifts in books and life. What are the most thoughtful gifts characters have given in your favorite novels? What gifts touched your heart?

One of the most thoughtful birthday gifts I’ve received is when my bff Gwynn gave me “The Girlfriend’s Keepsake Book”, complete with her written stories and photographs of our friendship. My oldest sister has also given wonderful gifts, including birthday plane tickets to visit her when she lived in Tokyo and London.

In New Moon, I liked Edward giving Bella a CD of his music, but I was angry when he stole his family photos from the album her mother had given her for her birthday. I think he should have given Bella a motorcycle helmet to make up for it. Smile But Edward’s present for Bella’s next birthday—the key to the secluded cottage—was perfect. Hubba hubba!



I recently read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and wasn’t impressed by the birthday gift given to the main character Nell. For her 21st birthday, her “father” told her he’d found her on the docks at age four and so he and her “mother” had pretended to be her real parents. Not a nice gift at all to learn that bombshell at age 21!




In a YA novel I’m working on, a teenager gets pregnant but loses the baby when there’s a trauma in her boyfriend’s family, which devastates her and her boyfriend. She then gives her boyfriend a baby bracelet for his birthday as a promise that they’ll have another child when they’re ready. This gift means a lot to him.



What’s your favorite birthday gift, real or fictional? I hope Brianna receives some special gifts for her birthday!



Thanks Jennifer! I’d have to say that my favorite birthday gift (going fictional here) would be a special cake with Vin Diesel popping out of it. Shirtless. Yum!



Here is the choice of books up for grabs:




In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.

Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer's door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.




Grant Madsen’s got issues. He’s still battling his Mafia family and doing everything possible to keep his loved ones safe. With the cruising season coming to an end, he has to find another job soon or he’ll rejoin his father in prison. And he’s trying to convince his rebellious teenage nephew to stay away from their criminal relatives (you can imagine how that’s going). But worst of all, Grant’s parole officer has mandated that he attend therapy.

The only saving grace is that they’re couples sessions with his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, a fellow parolee who’s struggling with a few issues of her own. Sophie desperately hopes her past with Grant’s brother won’t destroy her future with him. There’s a sleazy professor at work who revels in sexually harassing women in the psychology department. And her father still hates Grant.

Their psychologist has his work cut out for him.

When Grant’s ruthless father hints at a plot to get out of prison, Grant must use everything he’s learned in therapy and beyond to try to stop him. It’s a race against time -- and a race to rescue Sophie from the Mafia’s clutches once again. But this time McSailor and Bonnie refuse to play victims. This time the cuffs are coming off.

 

Places to find Jennifer Lane online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Jennifer Lane, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series, #1) or Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series, #2) by Jennifer Lane!!

  • Giveaway open to Internationally.
  • Comments are appreciated, however, you must fill out the form below in order to enter the giveaway. But you should really comment and answer Jennifer’s question (I want to know what all your favorite birthday gifts are/would be!)
  • Please read the Contest/Giveaway Policy for complete list of rules.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 8: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Laura Hunsaker, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for a PDF copy of Highland Destiny by Laura Hunsaker. Laura is also here with us today talking about why she’s addicted to Highlanders. Take it away Laura!



Hi, I’m Laura Hunsaker, and I’m addicted to Highlanders.

When I was 14 I used to babysit for my neighbors every Friday night. I was really nervous to watch their little ones at night, so I’d sit in the loft and watch TV. The only problem was that they would tape (remember those? No TiVo back then, Stone Age!) well, they would tape their favorite show…the Highlander. I was always afraid to change the channel since I didn’t know if that would mess up their taping. Next thing you know, I’m hooked on this show.

Have any of you guys seen Highlander? Oh holy Highland goodness Batman! Adrian Paul dressed in a kilt, with all of his hair down? The pitter patter of my 14 year old heart recognized a real man in that Highlander-thus the Highland Hussy was born. Whenever someone asks me why Highlanders? I usually tell them Why not? You have this hunktastic Alpha male who wields a frickin’ claymore and protects what is his. Who wouldn’t want that! And hello! Kilts. Men. In. Kilts. ‘nuff said, right? Well, my little secret is that I don’t think I’ve ever outgrown my schoolgirl crush on the Highlander.

I’d like to say he was my first crush, so that I could put it off on the actor himself (not that Adrian isn’t just yummy), but if that were true I’d still have a thing for Joey from New Kids on the Block. I think it was the actual character, Duncan Macleod of the clan Macleod. This Immortal was Alpha as can be, but he had that softer side we all want our caveman Alpha to have. Granted if you decide to go over to Netflix and instantly watch season after season in a Highlander marathon (not that I’ve done that, or anything) you might be surprised at the 90s cheesefest it can be (yes I’ve dated myself with that one), but give it a shot, because he is just one delicious Highlander.

In my novel Highland Destiny, the hero Connor MacRae is also just as Alpha as can be. Even though he does everything for his people, even though his every decision is for the good of his clan, he wants more than just the “good of his clan” when he sees Mackenzie. I wrote my heroine Mackenzie as a modern twenty-first century woman because I think sometimes those Alpha men need a good challenge. What better way to challenge a man used to having everything his way, than throwing something at him that he can’t have? I also wanted a woman who could be a bit more forward, blunt and sarcastic than the typical heroine from an Historical Romance novel. I’m also one of those readers who prefers to be able to identify with the heroine since I pretend to be her for the duration of the book- so I wanted to be my heroine.

My next novel in the Magic in the Highlands series is all about our hero’s younger brother Liam MacRae. Liam isn’t quite as responsible, or dare I say, broody as his brother. He’s a shameless flirt and he hates responsibility. What better way to challenge him, than to give him an overly-responsible woman who needs to learn how to play? His woman, Marley, is no-nonsense, all-work, no time for play. But what’s a girl to do when she’s tossed back a couple centuries? Not only will she have to rely on Liam, but she’ll have to finally face what she’s been hiding from her whole life. (not telling! That would be spoiling it!)

*For book info and up and coming blog dates, find me at www.laurahunsaker.wordpress.com

Thank you so much to the Book Vixen for letting me take over her blog today, and Happy Birthday, babe!!




Mackenzie Stewart’s in Scotland for a much-needed vacation. During the castle tour, Mackenzie becomes completely enamored with a painting of one of the previous lairds. Two gentlemen come up behind her and, begging her pardon, they kidnap her, dragging her through time.

The men are sorcerers attempting to end a feud that has plagued their lands for years. Their patron has begun to dabble in the black arts, and between his irrational thirst for power, and his dark secret, the sorcerers are frightened. They believe Mackenzie can break the Stewart curse. They try to convince her to play along with their crazy scheme: marriage to the evil John Campbell.

Before Mackenzie can protest, her carriage is halted and the door thrown open. For a split-second she is arrested by the same beautiful piercing blue eyes that belonged in an oil painting.

Mackenzie then finds herself the victim of a second kidnapping!

Her new captor, however, does nothing but tempt her body and her temper. Believing her to in fact be the betrothed of his mortal enemy the Campbell, Connor originally sets out to capture his enemy’s betrothed. He never thought he would be so attracted to her that he’d want to keep her.



Places to find Laura Hunsaker online: 
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Laura Hunsaker, one lucky winner will receive a PDF copy of Highland Destiny by Laura Hunsaker!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 7: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Shiloh Walker, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for a *SIGNED* copy of Veil of Shadows by Shiloh Walker.




With demons running amok throughout the forests and mountains, a rebel army has been established to win back the land—and a new soldier has appeared out of nowhere to join them. His name is Xan, and his past is a mystery to everyone, including Laisyn Caar—a beautiful captain in the rebel army—who is shocked by the powerful, all-consuming desire she feels in his presence. But now isn't the time for distraction. The future of her land—and of her people—is in her hands. On top of that, she's been stripped of her magic—and without it she feels like part of her soul has been stolen away.

But when she discovers the dark secrets of Xan's agenda, it will be up to her to determine whether the man she's starting to love is a friend of her people—or a dreaded enemy...



Places to find Shiloh Walker online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Shiloh Walker, one lucky winner will receive a *SIGNED* copy of Veil of Shadows by Shiloh Walker!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 6: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to J.A. Saare, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for a *SIGNED* copy of Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between by J.A.Saare.




One bad corpse can ruin your whole day.

No one knows better than Rhiannon Murphy that one bad corpse can ruin your whole day.

She left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her—until now.

The deliciously good-looking vampire, Disco, knows her secret. When he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, Rhiannon discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no.

But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.



Places to find J.A. Saare online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to J.A. Saare, one lucky winner will receive a *SIGNED* copy of Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between by J.A.Saare!!

  • Giveaway open to US 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 5: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to C.J. Archer, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for an ebook copy of A Secret Life by C.J. Archer. C.J. Archer is also here with us today talking about things she learned while researching history. Take it away C.J. Archer!



10 Bizarre Things I Learned While Researching History

One of the best things about being a writer is I get to make stuff up. But as I researched 16th century England for my historical romance books, I discovered there's some things that are so weird readers would have a hard time believing they were true. Here's 10 of them, in no particular order:

  1. Shakespeare's famous Globe theater, a multi-story complex that held over 3,000 people, was built from the timbers of an older theater called (unimaginatively) The Theater. The Theater was dismantled and transported across London and re-erected on the other side of the river in under a month in the middle of one of London's coldest winters. Try getting a builder to do that these days!
  2. Clothing was often arranged with the aid of pins. Elizabeth I's outfits were so elaborate that she went through nearly 100,000 pins in a 6 month period. These weren't the safety pin variety either, so I can't imagine how she didn't have a wardrobe malfunction from time to time.
  3. A gown's sleeves were often detachable and simply pinned onto the bodice at the shoulder. The benefit of this are 2-fold: (a) a daytime outfit can be quickly spruced up by swapping the sleeves, and (b) a spare sleeve can be given as a "favor" at jousting tournaments.
  4. The first flushing toilet was invented in 1596 by John Harrington, but the idea didn't take off in England.
  5. 165 days of the year were set aside as "fish days", or more specifically non-"flesh" days when meat couldn't be eaten but fish could. Anyone caught eating flesh was punished. A woman was pilloried for breaking this law and another 4 spent the night in the stocks. Naturally the nobles could purchase temporary or annual flesh-eating licenses to be exempt from this law.
  6. Apothecaries sold various remedies in their shops including unicorn's horn, quicksilver and hemlock. You might see tortoises, alligators, fish and other animal skins hanging in one of their Bucklersbury Street shops. I'd like to know where they got their unicorns from as those horns could cure anything from plague to a bite from a mad dog.
  7. A marriage didn't have to be conducted in a church service. A couple could consider themselves legally wed by agreeing to take the other as their spouse then having sex. This probably caused more than a few couples to wake up after a night of drunkenness and regret their hasty decision. Not much has changed really.
  8. Prisons were run as private enterprises and jailers weren't obligated to provide good conditions let alone feed their prisoners. The rich could pay "rent" for a private chamber where they could entertain guests with hearty meals.
  9. Crimes punishable by death included the usual such as rape, murder and treason, but also included the stranger charges of witchcraft, hawk stealing and "letting out of ponds". The hanging wasn't conducted by an executioner employed specifically for the task, but by the local butcher roped in (pardon the pun) to do the job.
  10. They were a superstitious lot back in Tudor and Elizabethan England. Some of the most famous medics of the era were also mystics. A doctor might treat you for kidney stones and give you an astrological reading in the same visit, which was no doubt handy if you were busy. One doctor, Simon Forman, wore a ring that protected him against witchcraft, devil's possession, thunder, lightening and helped him to "overcome enemies". Now that's one valuable piece of bling.



Minerva Peabody needs a man. Unfortunately she picked the wrong one. The impoverished playwright has a dream to see her plays performed on stage but in Elizabethan England, not only are women considered the inferior sex, they simply do NOT write plays. Faced with rejection after rejection, she decides to take one more chance with the most desperate theater manager in London, only this time she'll use the cover of a man. Sucked in by a pair of bright blue eyes and impressive shoulders, she chooses Blake out of the crowd, never thinking he'll actually play an active role in her ruse. But when he does, he gets under her skin in the most alarming way.

Privateer (don't call him a pirate to his face), Robert Blakewell, accepted Min's proposal in order to discover which cur among Lord Hawkesbury's Players got his sister with child. But when his mission threatens to destroy Min's fledgling career, he must make a choice: protect his family or the woman he has grown to love. Either choice will see him lose something precious.

A SECRET LIFE is a romp through Elizabethan England and features cameo appearances from William Shakespeare.



Places to find C.J. Archer online: 
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to C.J. Archer, one lucky winner will receive an ebook of A Secret Life by C.J. Archer!!

  • Giveaway open Internationally.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 4: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Lily of Darkness, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for a $10 USD Amazon Gift Card.


 

Places to find Lily of Darkness online: 
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Lily of Darkness, one lucky winner will receive a $10 USD Amazon Gift Card!!

  • Giveaway open to anywhere that can use an Amazon Gift Card.
  • 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 3: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Thanks to Lily of Darkness, today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is for previously read copies of The Notebook, Dear John (movie tie in cover), The Last Song (movie tie in cover), and Safe Haven (hardcover) by Nicholas Sparks.




Every so often a love story so captures our hearts that is becomes more that a story-- it becomes and experience to remember forever. The Notebook is such a book. It is a celebration of how passion can be ageless and timeless, a tale that moves us to laughter and tears and makes us believe in true love all over again...

At thirty-one, Noah Calhoun, back in coastal North Carolina after World War II, is haunted by images of the girl he lost more than a decade earlier. At twenty-nine, socialite Allie Nelson is about to marry a wealthy lawyer, but she cannot stop thinking about the boy who long ago stole her heart. Thus begins the story of a love so enduring and deep it can turn tragedy into triumph, and may even have the power to create a miracle...



"Dear John", the letter read. And with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives changed forever.

When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets Savannah, the girl of his dreams. The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty. John must choose between love and country. Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover how love can transform us in ways we never could have imagined.





Her parents' divorce left 17-year-old Veronica Miller embittered and confused. Three years later, "Ronnie" still seethes with anger toward her father, a musician and teacher who has abandoned hectic New York City for the quiet beach town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Nevertheless, she reluctantly agrees to her mother's altruistic plan that for the good of all concerned, she should visit her estranged father in his new home. As the story of The Last Song unfolds, novelist Nicholas Sparks weaves his magic, threading together the intricate story of three very different people tied inextricably together.









When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.



Places to find Lily of Darkness online:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to Lily of Darkness, one lucky winner will receive previously read copies of The Notebook, Dear John (movie tie in cover), The Last Song (movie tie in cover), and Safe Haven (hardcover) by Nicholas Sparks!!

  • Giveaway open to US 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 2: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Today’s Birthday Extravaganza giveaway is a *SIGNED* copy of Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.




When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.




GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to me, one lucky winner will receive a *SIGNED* copy of Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks!!

  • Giveaway open to US 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

DAY 1: Birthday Extravaganza [CLOSED]

Guess what? Today is my birthday! I’m *cough*24*cough* (again). Woo hoo!! Bring out the balloons, the streamers, the strippers, the cake! Oh wait, I forgot. Since I can’t have any cake this year, I expect y’all to have some for me. Just make sure it has buttercream frosting, okay?

Last year I had a blast celebrating my birthday with my readers. Nothing’s better than sharing the love, right? And that’s why I’m doing it again this year. So instead of me getting the presents, I’m giving them to you, with the help of some really awesome people. (Of course, if you want to give me some presents, be my guest!) Over the next several days I will be posting giveaways so be sure to come back now, ya hear.

First up is my special present to 2 lucky winners.

  

 

ARC of The Power of Six (Lorein Legacies, #2) by Pittacus Lore
ARC of Wildwood by Colin Meloy
ARC of Illusions (Wings, #3) by Aprilynne Pike
ARC of Secrets (Ivy, #2) by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to me, TWO lucky winners will each get two ARCs. The first winner selected by random.org will get their 1st two choices  followed by the 2nd winner.

  • Giveaway open to US 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.
  • You have until midnight (your time) on Thursday, July 7, 2011 to enter.


Good luck to all who enter!

REVIEW: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Title: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Format: ARC, 354 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: June 7, 2011 by HarperTeen

2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.


Why I Read this Book: I was in the mood for a fun and entertaining YA novel; a book where I didn’t have to think and I could just sit back and watch someone else’s life play out. Ten Things We Did was definitely that novel.

What I Liked: Ten Things We Did has a very interesting premise; you just know there’s bound to be trouble with that scenario. It’s fun to watch trouble play out for someone else, isn’t it?

Ten Things We Did is not what I would consider realistic fiction but in some ways it was. In a farfetched sort of way. I’m sure it has happened, somewhere, right? I guess what I mean to say is that the story in relatable with some of its plot points. But the whole premise of April being able to live 500+ miles away from her father is just so far out there. But at the same time it was fun to read about all the things happening with April.

While the book is a fun read, it also touches on some important topics. There’s teenage sex, unprotected sex, STDs, relationships, losing their v-card and ‘real life’ responsibilities. April and Vi have no adult supervision so they’re completely on their own. They have to make sure the rent and other bills get paid, take car of a cat they took in (there’s an emergency vet visit), and get themselves to school each day. I was really impressed with Vi taking the initiative, for not only herself but for April as well, in regards to having safe sex. 

What I Didn’t Like: There was a plot point surrounding April and Noah having sex for the first time that was a bit predictable. It was a shift in one of the character’s demeanor that gave it away. My suspicions turned out to be correct.

A lot of the book was heavily focused on sex and April losing her virginity.

Overall Impression: Ten Things We Did  was a very fun and entertaining read. Nothing riveting but I did enjoy it for what it was.

 


The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs

REVIEW: Inside by Brenda Novak

Title: Inside (Bulletproof, #1)
Author: Brenda Novak
Format: eARC
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: June 28, 2011 by Mira

Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn't commit. He's finally been exonerated, but he can't escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They'll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can't get to Virgil they'll go after his sister and her kids.

The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that's taking control of the state's most notorious supermax. Virgil agrees to do it under an alias—in exchange for his sister's protection.

Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she's far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe—and it gives him someone else to lose.


Why I Read this Book: The first book I read by this author, White Heat (my review), didn’t work out so well for me. I felt that it focused too much on the cult aspect and lacked in the romance department. But since I’ve heard great things about Brenda Novak’s novels, I decided to give this author another shot. And I’m glad I did!

What I Liked: This was a fascinating romantic suspense novel. The title says it all – Virgil is going back on the inside (of prison) to help the CDC find out who was behind the murder of a local judge. In turn, Virgil will get his sisters and her 2 children into a protective program. Virgil is an incredible and honorable man for putting his life on the line to protect his sister and her family.

Peyton is the Chief Deputy Warden of the Pelican Bay prison and has been placed in charged of overseeing the operation from inside the prison. She’s a good person; she doesn’t write off the inmates just because they’re in prison. Instead, she treats them with respect (when respect is due). But don’t let her lack of prejudice fool you though; she’s no push over and she’s not gullible or na├»ve.

Peyton puts a lot on the line just by having a relationship with Virgil. There are so many reasons why the two shouldn’t be together: she could lose her job and her life could be in danger. The Crew, the prison gang Virgil was associated with during his 14 year prison stint, will do anything to get to him, including hurting those he loves. Which is why his sister and her kids are on the run. So just by having a relationship with Virgil, Peyton herself could be on the run for the rest of her life. If she truly wants to be with him and make a life together, she would have some serious sacrifices to make as well as having her own life on the line.

What I Didn’t Like: It was so emotionally hard for me to get through the part where Virgil’s sister got attacked with her children watching. It was terrifying to read and it broke my heart. It was especially difficult because I’m a mother myself and I can’t bare to imagine myself, nor my children, being in that position. It affected me so much emotionally, I cried. Very powerful scene but one that had me feeling distraught while reading it.

Overall Impression: Brenda Novak won back my readership with Inside. It had a great mix of romance and suspense and it was suspenseful right up to the very end. I was emotionally invested into these characters and I cannot wait to read In Seconds, the next book in the Bulletproof series. I am so glad I gave this author a second chance!

 

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs

REVIEW: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)
Author: Andrea Cremer
Format: hardcover, 452 pages
Genre: Paranormal YA
Source: library
Published: October 2010 by Philomel

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers.

But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?


Why I Read this Book: I almost didn’t read Nightshade. It was one of those books that I saw around the book blogging community but nothing about it really caught my attention, save the cover. But once the buzz got going and I heard it was about werewolves, I knew I had to pick it up.

What I Liked: Nightshade has two things I love: a good love triangle and werewolves. The love triangle has me caught in the middle – I’m rooting for Shay but Ren’s not a bad guy himself. Ren is just trying to live up to what’s expected of him. He really tries to make the unity of the pack work. Can’t beat a guy down for that. So I guess, for now, I’m Team Shen….or would Team Ray sound better? Well, I’m one of those.

The secondary characters were interesting as well. I would like to read more about Calla’s brother Ansel. I think there’s more to him than meets the eye. There are a few others in the pack that stand out as well and I’m hoping to read more about all them in the next book. Nightshade has a great ensemble.

The author’s writing style sucked me right in. Every time I had to put the book down, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again.

Nightshade, as a book in general, is aesthetically very pleasing. I love this cover and I love a book with deckled edge pages.

One of my favorite quotes is when Mason explains to Calla why he didn’t tell her about his relationship between him and Neville.

“Who I am, who I love…they’d never accept it. Neither would the elders in the pack, not my parents. No one. It would be the end for me and for Nev. And not just for our relationship. It would be the end.”

What I Didn’t Like: There are still some things about Calla’s world that remain a mystery and I’m hoping it will be explained in Wolfsbane.

Overall Impression: Nightshade was a really good YA Paranormal read. If you like werewolves and love triangles then you should pick this one up. There was a major cliffhanger ending so I’m definitely looking forward to reading Wolfsbane.



The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs