REVIEW: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins 
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Published: September 29, 2011 by Dutton

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Why I Read this Book: I hadn’t read Anna and the French Kiss before getting my hands on a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door but I heard such great things about Anna’s novel that I wanted to read both.

What I Liked: Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss. It was nice to see Anna and St. Clair make an appearance in this book. I did like Cricket more than I did St. Clair. Cricket knows what he wants and he wasn’t afraid to express his feelings. St. Clair was in a ‘situation’ that got in the way of his feelings for Anna.

Lola has quite a complex background but everything was explained so I never felt lost. I like the family structure.

I loved the scene where Lindsey, Lola’s BFF, asks why the twins (Cricket and Calliope) aren’t dressed up for Halloween. Calliope tells Lindsey that they are wearing costumes – they’re dressed up as twins. Lindsey asks if they’re fraternal or identical and Cricket replies “I have a penis.”

What I Didn’t Like: I think the relationship between Lola and Max went on a little too long. I didn’t feel the connection between them so I don’t know why they stuck together for as long as they did.

Another thing I wasn’t into was the drama surrounding Lola’s mother. I don’t think it helped the story by keeping the mom in the picture.

Overall Impression: While Contemporary YA is exactly my favorite genre to read (I’m more into riveting, life-changing YA reads or paranormal YA), I still enjoyed reading Lola and the Boy Next Door. I do need to be ‘in the mood’ to read a book like this but it was a cute, sweet story and I look forward to reading Isla and the Happily Ever After when it comes out next year.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs

New Kindle Line-Up

Amazon made a big announcement today; not only did they introduce the new (and highly anticipated) Amazon Kindle Fire tablet but they introduced a $79 Kindle (sans keyboard) and the Kindle Touch. Here’s the new line-up:

Kindle Wi-Fi 6" E Ink Display

In Stock.

- $79 with Special Offers (Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers display on Kindle when you're not reading)

- $109 without Special Offers

The all-new Kindle - Lighter, smaller, faster

  • 30% lighter, less than 6 ounces
  • 18% smaller body, same 6" screen size - Fits in your pocket
  • Most advanced E Ink display, reads like paper
  • Built in Wi-Fi - Get books in 60 seconds
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New - Borrow Kindle books from your public library

Kindle Touch Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display
(US only)

Pre-order (will be released on November 21, 2011. Orders are prioritized on a first come, first served basis.)

$99 with Special Offers (Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers display on Kindle when you're not reading)

$139 without Special Offers

Simple-to-use touchscreen, with audio and built-in Wi-Fi

  • Most-advanced E Ink display, now with multi-touch
  • New sleek design - 8% lighter, 11% smaller, holds 3,000 books
  • Text-to-speech, plus audio books and mp3s
  • Built in Wi-Fi - Get books in 60 seconds
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New - Borrow Kindle books from your public library

Kindle Touch w/ Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display
(US only)

Pre-order (will be released on November 21, 2011. Orders are prioritized on a first come, first served basis.)

- $149 with Special Offers (Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers display on Kindle when you're not reading)

- $189 without Special Offers

Top-of-the-line e-reader, with touch and free 3G wireless

  • Free 3G wireless, no annual contracts or monthly fees.
  • Download books anywhere, no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
  • 3G wireless works globally
  • Most-advanced E Ink display, now with multi-touch
  • New sleek design - 8% lighter, 11% smaller, holds 3,000 books
  • Text-to-speech, plus audio books and mp3s
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New - Borrow Kindle books from your public library

Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display

In Stock. Same version as the 3rd Generation Kindle, just with a LOWER price!

- $99 with Special Offers (Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers display on Kindle when you're not reading)

- $139 without Special Offers


Kindle Keyboard Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display

In Stock. Same version as the 3rd Generation Kindle, just with a LOWER price!

- $139 with Special Offers (Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers display on Kindle when you're not reading)

- $189 without Special Offers

Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi
(US only)

Pre-order (will be released on November 15, 2011. Orders are prioritized on a first come, first served basis.)

- $199

Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon's revolutionary, cloud-accelerated web browser

  • 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
  • Amazon Appstore - thousands of popular apps and games
  • Ultra-fast web browsing - Amazon Silk
  • Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
  • Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle
  • Fast, powerful dual-core processor
  • Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows


I currently have what’s now called the Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi version. I got it when it was $139 (and before the ‘Special Offers’ version was available). I don’t have plans to upgrade my Kindle any time soon since I’ve only had it for about a year. But if you’re looking to buy an eReader, now seems like the best time to do so.

The Kindle sans keyboard would be good for your ‘average’ reader. For book bloggers and reviewers, I’d recommend going with the Kindle Keyboard version. I’m constantly using the keyboard to jot down notes.

If I were in the market for an eReader as a first time owner, I’d go with the Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi model. And I’d save myself the $40 by going with the Special Offers version. I personally do not need the 3G since I always buy ebooks when I’m at home and I have Wi-Fi here. And I wouldn’t have a problem seeing special offers as my screen saver. Though, I’d love to get my hands on a Kindle Touch to see how it operates…

And Kindle Library Lending is here! I haven’t used it yet myself but I have checked my library and can see the Kindle editions are already on there.

What do you think of the eReader market now with the addition of these new Kindle models? Does the B&N Nook stand a chance against Amazon? Any iPad owners out there looking to trade-in for the Kindle Fire?

Will you be getting one of the new Kindles? Will it be your first Kindle or an upgrade?

Top 10 Tuesday (3)

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Want to Reread

  1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  2. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
  3. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
  4. Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
  5. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  7. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
  8. The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
  9. The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

I’m not one to re-read a book so for these books to have made my list, says a lot.

REVIEW: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Source: free Kindle read
Published: December 2010 by Dutton’s Children’s

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

Anna and the French Kiss

Why I Read this Book: I first heard the buzz about this book about a year ago. Everyone was raving about it or they were anxious to get their hands on a copy to read it. So when it came up as a free Kindle read, I jumped all over it. Now, it has been sitting on my Kindle since last November. While I was anxious to read it (and see what all the fuss was about), at the same time I was afraid to read it because of all the hype the book has received. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to my high expectations and unfortunately that’s exactly what happened.

What I Liked: Anna is likeable; she’s relatable. She’s thrown into this whirlwind adventure of being sent to a boarding school in a different country. And the best part of all – she’s a film reviewer/blogger.

The secondary characters brought interest to the overall storyline. I found myself caring about them as much as I did the main characters. And the writing and storytelling flowed in such a way that made Anna and the French Kiss a good read.

I loved the declaration St. Clair made to his best friend at the end of the book. It gave me chills. Very sweet ending.

What I Didn’t Like: I enjoyed reading Anna and the French Kiss but it didn’t blow me away. It seemed as though everyone who has read this book loved it. They rave and gush over this book, over Anna, over St. Clair, and over their relationship. But I just thought it was okay. I didn’t read any of the reviews on this book because I didn’t want to have a tainted opinion going into it but I did have high expectations and I was expecting to be blown away. Sadly, I wasn’t.

And there were parts of the storyline that were predictable, especially with what happened with Bridge, Anna’s BFF from back home.

Overall Impression: I enjoyed reading Anna and the French Kiss but it just didn’t WOW me.  It was a cute story about friends and relationships but it didn’t live up to the hype in my case. I am still interested in reading Lola and the Boy Next Door.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs

On My Wishlist (84)

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.

Hard EvidenceHard Evidence (I-Team, #2) by Pamela Clare

After the murder of a teenage girl, a mysterious man in a black leather jacket was seen lurking near the crime scene. Investigative reporter Tessa Novak has him in her sights as the culprit…

That man was Julian Darcangelo—an undercover FBI agent working with the Denver police. He’s closing in on the trail of a human trafficker and killer. Tessa’s accusations could blow his cover—and he wants her off the investigation.

But just as Tessa has made Julian a target of interest, she is now a target—of the killer. And as they are forced to trust each other, their physical attraction escalates as intensely as the threat from a ruthless murderer who wants to see both of them dead…

Hard Evidence (I-Team, #2)


Unlawful ContactUnlawful Contact (I-Team, #3) by Pamela Clare

Taken hostage by a convicted murderer while reporting at a prison, Sophie Alton has no idea that the man holding the gun to her head is the bad boy who was her first love in high school. Condemned to life without parole, Marc Hunter finds himself with no choice but to break out of prison after his younger sister disappears with her baby.

Though he regrets what he has to put Sophie through, he can’t let anything get in the way of his stopping the corrupt officials who are set on destroying what’s left of his family. But being near Sophie rekindles memories for both of them. As the passion between them heats up, so does the conspiracy to put both of them in their graves.

Unlawful Contact (I-Team, #3)


Naked EdgeNaked Edge (I-Team, #4) by Pamela Clare

What do you do when desire drives you to the very brink?

The day Navajo journalist Katherine James met Gabriel Rossiter, the earth literally moved beneath her feet. Nearly killed in a rockslide while hiking, she found her life in the tall park ranger's hands. Although she can't forget him she thinks she'll never see him again. She is crushed when she recognizes her rescuer among the law enforcement officers raiding a sweat lodge ceremony one night, throwing her and her friends off Mesa Butte, land they consider sacred.

Gabe long ago swore he would never again lose himself to a woman not even one with long dark hair and big eyes that seem to see right through him. But from the moment he first sees Kat, the attraction he feels is undeniable. Appalled by what he has been ordered to do, he's determined to get to the bottom of recent events at Mesa Butte and to keep Kat safe.

But asking questions can be dangerous almost as dangerous as risking one's heart. And soon Kat and Gabe's passion for the truth and each other makes them targets for those who would do anything, even kill, to keep Native Americans off their sacred land.

Naked Edge (I-Team, #4)


Breaking PointBreaking Point (I-Team, #5) by Pamela Clare

While investigating border violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Denver journalist Natalie Benoit is caught in a bloody ambush and taken captive. Alone in the hands of ruthless killers, she will need every ounce of courage she possesses to survive.

Betrayed by another operative, Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride has endured a week of torture and interrogation at the hands of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Ready to give his life if he must, he remains unbroken - until he hears the cries of an American woman.

Although Natalie is only a voice in the darkness of their shared prison, her plight brings renewed strength to Zach's battered body. With her help, he overpowers their captors, and they flee through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun.

But past loss and tragedy leave both of them reluctant to follow their hearts, even when the passion between them reaches its breaking point. Faced with feelings neither expected, they fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both…

Breaking Point (I-Team, #5)


What’s on your wishlist?

REVIEW: Only His by Susan Mallery

Title: Only His
Series: Fool’s Gold, #6
Author: Susan Mallery
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: NetGalley
Published: September 27, 2011 by HQN Books

Wedding bells are ringing in Fool's Gold, but not for Nevada Hendrix. Her triplet sisters are engaged, and even her mother has a more active love life than she does. Determined to make a fresh start, she applies for her dream job, only to discover that her new boss is her first love. Maybe she could overlook the fact that they've seen each other naked, but she'll never forget the way he broke her heart.

Tucker Janack agrees to Nevada's "business only" ground rules. After all, love is a trap that the construction millionaire has avoided his whole life. But when great business partners turn out to be so much more, every rule gets broken. Will either of them be willing to try again…or will their past get in the way?

Only His (Hqn)

Why I Read this Book: I can’t help myself, I enjoy a good reliable contemporary romance novel and that’s what Susan Mallery delivers with her Fool’s Gold series.

What I Liked: I love romance stories where the hero and heroine have had a prior relationship that didn’t exactly work out but they get a second chance at love. I also really like it when either one or both of them are adamant about not trying to rekindle that flame because I’m the kind of reader who likes tension. It doesn’t have to be fierce tension or uncomfortable tension; just enough that will make one or both characters squirm a little bit. And it’s even better when someone from their past, a person who was the third party in their love triangle, comes back into the picture.

As annoying as Caterina’s character was, she was written so well. I could hear her accent when I read her dialogue. I could sense her eccentricity and exuberance. She was extremely arrogant yet it didn’t come off in a brash way.

OMG!! – we finally get to find out about Jo’s mysterious past! And it was definitely not what I had expected, at all. And she has a bit of a love interest of her own in Only His. Speaking of secondary characters and their love interests (which by the way do not take away from the main characters’ story arc at all), we get more to Denise’s (the triplets’ mother) story arc. There was a bit of drama going on it but it quickly gets resolved.

I love how the author introduces new secondary characters in each book. The hero and heroine for each Fool’s Gold novel don’t completely steal the show so the reader is able to ‘get to know’ these new characters.

One of my favorite funny quotes:

“I want you to make it go away. All of it. Ms. Stoicasescu, her assistant and the vagina.”

What I Didn’t Like: The love interest in Jo’s life falls in love with her too quickly. He hasn’t even known Jo that long to declare his love for her. Especially so quickly after their little ‘tiff’. Though I did love his approach of going after what he wants with a strong determination. He wasn’t go to let Jo slip through his fingers without a fight.

Overall Impression: Only His is one of my favorite Fool’s Gold novels to date (another being the first Fool’s Gold novel Chasing Perfect). Only His was definitely my favorite of the triplets’ books. It had exactly what I was looking for as far as a hero and heroine go and I got updates on two characters I’ve been anxiously waiting for. It excites me to know that the author plans to continue on with the Fool’s Gold series.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs

REVIEW: Only Yours by Susan Mallery

Title: Only Yours
Series: Fool’s Gold, #5
Author: Susan Mallery 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: NetGalley
Published: August 2011 by HQN Books

Montana Hendrix has found her calling—working with therapy dogs. With a career she loves in a hometown she adores, she's finally ready to look for her own happily ever after. Could one of her dogs help her find Mr. Right… or maybe Dr. Right?

Surgeon Simon Bradley prefers the sterility of the hospital to the messiness of real life, especially when real life includes an accident-prone mutt and a woman whose kisses make him want what he knows he can't have. Scarred since childhood, he avoids emotional entanglement by moving from place to place to heal children who need his skillful touch. Can his growing feelings for Montana lead him to find a home in Fool's Gold, or will he walk away, taking her broken heart with him?

Only Yours (Hqn)

Why I Read this Book: I’m hooked on this series. I love the town of Fool’s Gold and its inhabitants.

What I Liked: Only Yours is a romance story between two beta characters. Montana and Simon both have their insecurities. While Montana has ‘typical’ insecurities about herself, Simon’s insecurities are the result of his tortured past. Because of his horrible past, he’s very anti-social and just tries to keep to himself. On the flip side, he has used his bad experience in the best possible way – he contributes his expertise and dedication to helping children who are burn victims. His profession is essentially the reason for his being.

The secondary story arc revolving around the triplets’ mother was very interesting and mysterious. Their mother, Denise, got quite a bit of page time in Only Yours. There’s more to her past than she admits to and I hope we get to find out more in the next book. Perhaps there’ll be a rekindling of an old flame…?

What I Didn’t Like: Montana was trying too hard to repair Simon, which only upset him. Yes, he was still struggling with the demons from his past but he’s the only one that can fix that. Montana was overstepping her boundaries in this aspect.

The timing of Montana trying to set up her sister with the town’s new vet was a poor fit. If I had been in Montana’s shoes, knowing all along that Simon didn’t plan on staying in Fool’s Gold, I would have gone after the vet myself. Being that they both work with and love animals, Montana seems to be a more suitable match for the vet (and vice-versa) than her sister. It would have felt more right if the match-making attempt would have been saved for the next book.

The ending left me feeling unsatisfied and empty. Things were quickly wrapped up and there wasn’t enough closure for me.

Overall Impression: This is my ‘comfortable’ contemporary romance series. I know what to expect and what I’m going to get; nothing earth-shattering but a good, light romance novel perfect for an afternoon read.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs

Top 10 Tuesday (2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Feel as Though Everyone Has Read But Me

  1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  2. Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
  3. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
  4. Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep
  5. Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
  6. Lord of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter
  7. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
  8. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  10. A Jane Austen book

I went with books that I own, that are sitting on my shelf (or Kindle) this very second. There are many more books that I feel everyone else has read, except me, that I have on my wishlist.

REVIEW: Dangerous Race by Dee J. Adams

Dangerous Race by Dee J. AdamsTitle: Dangerous Race
Series: Adrenaline Highs
, #1
Dee J. Adams
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: September 5, 2011 by Carina Press

Four years ago, race car driver Tracey Bradshaw almost died in a horrific crash. Now scarred inside and out, she's making a comeback, but her team is plagued by a series of "accidents".

When the team leader dies under mysterious circumstances, former driver Mac Reynolds takes charge. The pair clash as Trace resents his high-handed attempts to control her, while Mac fears Trace's recklessness will get her killed. Neither can throttle back the desire that spins out of control whenever they touch. Trace lets herself be seduced when Mac convinces her he finds her beautiful despite her scars, and she begins to hope for more. But Mac knows he's not nearly good enough for Trace…

Why I Read this Book: When I saw Juliana’s review on this book, I knew I had to read it. Juliana had me at ‘romantic suspense’ and ‘female race car driver’. If it weren’t for Juliana and her review, I may not have come across this book.

What I Liked: I loved that the protagonist is a female race car driver. I love reading romance novels about race car drivers period but make the main character a female race car driver and that deserves props. I love a heroine who can hold her own, especially in a male-dominated industry.

You don’t always get the mystery element in romantic suspense novels; sometimes the whole mystery aspect is given away in the beginning and thus leaves a more suspenseful feel for the reader. But I like romantic suspense novels that have both. The suspense and mystery element kept up until almost the end of the book. I appreciate that the author didn’t give away the mystery aspect upfront.

The pier/lake scene was intense! I was on the edge of my seat gasping for air.

Loved the little trick Tracey and Chelsea played at the end of the book!

What I Didn’t Like: The shift in POV from Trace’s character (the protagonist) and storyline to that of Matthew’s (a secondary character) felt a bit jagged. It was not a smooth transition and it felt like Matthew was stealing the limelight from Trace and the mystery of events surrounding her. His character got a lot of page time, which was distracting and overshadowed the main story arc at times. Matthew also had better chemistry with his love interest than Trace did with hers.

I didn’t know what to make of Chelsea’s character for a long time and it was constantly in the back of my mind. She unnerved me and I was extremely cautious.

Why would Tracey take off her helmet before climbing out of a moving race car, why?!! You just don’t do that.

Overall Impression: I’m a sucker for romance books with race car drivers. I can’t wait for the second book in this series, Danger Zone, to come out. Fans of Erin McCarthy’s Fast Track series will enjoy Dangerous Race.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:
4 Frogs