29/07/2013

Book Review: Dr. Pepper Prophecies By Jennifer Gilby Roberts.

Blurb: 25-year-old Mel Parker has a few tiny problems: • Her job is terrible • She's been dumped yet again • Her ex is now her boss • Her parents think she's a loser compared to her perfect younger sister • All her efforts to improve her life seem doomed to failure • There just isn't enough chocolate in the world to make up for the above. The one good thing in her life has always been her best friend Will, who has seen her through every crisis from lost toys to pregnancy scares. But his girlfriend (who's prettier, better-dressed, more successful and secretly evil) is determined to replace Mel as the woman in his life and how is Mel supposed to compete? So what do you do when you've pretty much given up on your own life? Help others, of course! After all, what's the worst that can happen? Well, Mel's about to find out.

I have been going on and on that I have got new reviewers. And I must admit, even I was finding myself boring. Well, now that all is over I am happy to introduce our new reviewer T.

She's a very honest, no-nonsense reviewer who wouldn't respond to my emails if the book I sent is, uh, not good enough. So be sure if her review is hosted, the book must have made her lips twitch (in a positive way). If she isn't reviewing, she's busily doing some editing for some big-name authors I am in no position to disclose. I am really psyched to have her around, and I hope she stays for long.

So I present you T.

---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: T. Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 11:33:49 -0400 Subject: Fifty Shades of Emma To: kobbyben gyampoh

As a woman who searched for her Mr. Knightly for many years, I identified with Jennifer Gilby Robert's modern-day Emma, Mel Parker. One evening, fueled by chocolate and disappointment, Mel uttered "I don't know what I want. I only know that I don't have it." This line (perfectly summed up my life before I married Mr. T. Roberts) gets the struggle of the single girl, from blind dates, to personal ads. Mel is unlucky in love, then meets a man who seems to check all her boxes. Somehow, though, it doesn't spark, no matter how hard she tries. I've been there, too.

Roberts pays homage to Jane Austen's *Emma* while staying true to her own voice. Austen's influence is seen throughout, but the author isn't afraid to take a risk. Mel is a believable character whose flaws don't overwhelm her likability. Her best friend Will is a little one-dimensional, but then, so was Mr. Knightly. Mel's roommate Beth is fleshed out with a great back story, as far from Harriett Smith as dove gray is from charcoal.

I found the novel to be a little dated, especially in regards to the technology and current events mentioned. Also, being written by a British author, a lot of the references meant nothing to me, including the title-I still have no idea what that means! Additionally, I noticed a few type-o's and grammar mistakes.

Therefore, I am going to give it a ....

3.5-star rating.

Dr. Pepper Prophecies is available at Amazon.

I enjoyed the story, and it well met it's chicklit audience. If you're looking for a fun, quick read, give The Dr. Pepper Prophecies a try.

My work not done here. Off to post T's review on Goodreads.

Book Review: Given Away: A Sicilian Upbringing by Marianna Randazzo

Blurb:

In Sicily, 1935 a four-year child walks away from her loving family, her mother, her sister and an infant brother, with a great-aunt for a vacation. She spends the next eight years of her life absent from their lives. It was not an abduction nor was it an adoption. Tina lives in a one-room house in one of the poorest regions of Sicily. She sleeps between a loving aunt and a deranged uncle. She shares her breakfast with goats and chickens while living in the shadow of fascism. The child grows up while WW II ravages the town. Her school is taken over by German soldiers and the things like bread and eggs that were once plentiful, no longer exist. Less than 25 kilometers away her family leads a very different life. After eight years, she returns home to find her childhood interrupted again. This time sickness, warfare and destruction are her enemies. In wartime Europe childhood does not exist. The child witnesses and experiences many disturbing things from her uncouth, unsanitary living conditions to the failed paratroopers dangling from trees during the allied invasion. Tina is a survivor. She is able to forgive those who took so much away from her. Her spirit trumps over adversity during the war times within and around her. As she grows older, she struggles to keep the harsh realities of World War II and abandonment at a distance through her sense of humor, imagination and determination. By the age of 15, her fate is sealed, again, without her permission. To gain passage to America she must accept the role as a war bride. A tyrannical,overbearing, bootlegging aunt in America arranges the match. Tina must live under her roof and her rules until her citizenship is secure. Tina has earned the right to complain, yet at no point does she play the victim. At times, her nonjudgmental stance is disquieting. Despite circumstances that could be categorized as abusive and undeniably negligent. Tina respects her parent's decisions and sacrifices herself for the greater good—even when it is not apparent to her. Despite a raging war, Tina thinks about her family and her friends more than about the horrors of the battle fought across the continents, even when she is a victim of the German soldiers’ mockery and the American soldier’s unusual ways. She is remarkably clever and insightful. The plot and setting are true to life in the period of the past. It will bring the history of war torn Europe to life, providing us a lens upon our collective past that define our unique lives. Tina triumphs against all odds with an unconditional love for a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fortitude to carve out a successful life on her own terms. Given Away,A Sicilian Upbringing, demonstrates that even in the midst of the most horrendous conditions of war, without trivializing the historical tragedy, perseverance prevails as Tina declares what is rightfully hers.

"...not Chick-lit. BUT it's a book for chicks and a great lit."

That's How Marianna pitched to the blog. And by those words I thought to myself, "Hmm... why not give this not-chick-lit a try."

Great, great book. So I am going to write the shortest review.

Set in the era of 'Il Duce' regime when Italy was a bloc of fascists and illiterates, Marianna drops in tidbits of info during the period and keeps us informed about the political events as years pass by. Such background gives relevance to the story-line and gives the reader a clear and accurate imagination of the physical, mental and social states as well as the political institutions of the Italian citizenry in the early nineties right to the 1950s.

Written in third-person with easy-to-grasp language, the story is mostly told in the point-of-view of Tina. So being the main character, more is expected from Tinnuzza-and she gives you more than expected!

The novel opens with her being little, as the blurb states. It highlights all the events of this little girl's rough childhood and portrays her as a character we all sympathize to-yet adore!

At a young age, Tina is given out to her grand Aunt, Zia Vittoria, forcing her to evacuate the home she has known all her life and her family. Her stay with her great aunt Vittoria and his husband is not all blissful as her sister Lena thinks (since She's envious her little sister is taking a 'vacation' to the countryside they've only heard good things about). Her Uncle Gianni's house is a one- room house with about eighty percent occupied by the animals they rear (Yes, inside!), her new school teacher hates her and her uncle Gianni beats Zia Vittoria... every other night. The guy's a moron (not an uncommon trait in men during that age), but you will find him adorable because even if it's Tina who gets on his testy nerves he vents out all that anger on Vittoria and never lays a hand on Tina (... at least I found that adorable ). Vittoria is barren and can't give birth so it's not surprising she loves Tina with all her heart. Also, she has a poor fashion sense (shockingly Marrianna makes us aware that is uncommon in poverty-stricken Italy. Milan was the same as it is now) and holds on to her only pair of boots which have become somewhat of a signature look. Tina hates it at Vittoria's, telling her siblings whenever she comes back for Christmas, "The place has no trees!" (I would have broken a rib or two out of laughter if I was in that era). But no matter how much she wants to return for good, her mother wouldn't let her, and her father keeps being indifferent about the matter.

The question that plagued me most, was why Tina was Given Away (Err, no pun intended). I really didn't find a specific answer (ha! You think I'd share!), but I know who gave her away, and I can rant about her. Tina's mum, Sarina, takes the attribute of a 'baby factory'. This woman looooves to produce and she's prolific as a doe. Yet she doesn't bother taking care of the babies. Raised from a family of artists in some kind of craft, she has a keen eye for what's in fashion and what's not. Having a very generous heart and providing for the poor, questions like the above got me confused. If you can care for people who are not your own, why can't you care for your daughter? Francesco, Tina's father, is the fascist. He aligns himself with Mussolini knowing he is going to be raised above ranks... until Mussolini gets trampled by Adolph Hitler and the Nazi forces.

Tina's family is one big extended Italian family (shocker she didn't have Her Big Fat Italian Wedding). There are all her artistic aunts and uncles on her mother's side, great aunts, great uncles, grand parents. On Sarina's side the women take procreation too seriously. And in those days there was no mention of rubber, IUDs and foam tablets. But hadn't they heard of coitus? It's intriguing how Marianna makes the novel so crowded yet it's not difficult to remember each of those relatives since they've all got memorable traits. Zia Nancy with a tendency to spit (on Tina). Vincenzo, an OCD uncle. Nino, another uncle with a good eye for Haute Couture. Giannuzza, an aunt who depises her sister Sarina for being one of those women who produce more than they will take care of.

Soon there's war in Italy. War brings poverty, starvation and... a fall in Fashion trends. Sarina's reduced to selling her clothes for bread. And the whole family lives on an Orange-a-day diet. Marrianna describes this scene of abject poverty and violence so vividly readers experience a flashback to that era of Nazi domination in Europe, monochrome pictures with children, women and the old shivering in their thin clothes along the streets amidst an ongoing parade of Nazi forces to instill fear in the vulnerable. During the war, Tina's life is still alternating between her family home at Christmas and her great aunt's. It's important to note that in Sicily where her family resides there are no severe bombings, but in Vittoria the bombings even occur in schools, wounding and killing children. It's rather unfortunate that when Tina goes back home, there's no food even if the risk of having a grenade dropping on your lap is lower, but that isn't the same story in Vittoria where she's feasting on lots of porcupine (sweet!) from Gianni's hunting expeditions.

As the novel goes on there's lots of tragedy and growth on the part of Tina. She's no longer the little girl we used to know, but is developing into a grown woman who has taken to writing journals Marianna keeps giving us a peek into by introducing a chapter with 'Tina's Journal' and taking a swift turn from thirdperson to first-person narrative. I always looked forward to reading Tina's journals since they offer a fresh perspective from Marianna's (No offense taken, Marianna? I hope. You look ageless in your photos. ). And Tina also begins to develop an interest in singing. Her popular songs are Let's Go and Mamma (she wrote them herself). But does she have a beautiful voice? Hmm.... let's note that Italians are better of doing Opera.

Soon Tina has to live for America where she works diligently, indulges in an entanglement with Tony (romance we'd been waiting for, for ages), and whenever she gets the chance she records a track and sends it to her parents who are not faring well after Mussolini's fall.

Throughout the book, themes such as love, family, responsibilities are touched on. These themes are portrayed beautifully by Marianna. I was dazzled by the structure of this novel since the continuous flow of events were rhythmic. There's no suspense in this tale, even towards the end. There's no feeling of oh-I-want-to-see-how-this-ends. Everything was soothing and relaxing. With everything falling into place. It was like reading a memoir. In the end, Marianna explains how each and every one of the characters' lives turned out: some were successful, others were not and for others the reproduction rate kept increasing.

Villain role in this novel could be taken up by Zia Nancy who brought Tina to America and wanted to dictate every aspect of her life including rebuking her for indulging in a little binging. But I do understand her, she plays matchmaker of the family and it's hard to get a groom for a plump bride-in those times. And Uncle Gianni stops being Villain once you forget all the maltreatment inflicted on his wife. Arch-villain would go to Hitler, though he doesn't make a physical appearance, his actions contribute to a majority of Tina's suffering.

There isn't supposed to be humor in this book, but sometimes the plight of the characters sends me into gales of laughter. Take for example this excerpt, taken during the time the people of Vittoria had to evacuate their places of residence due to the appearance of American forces to rescue them from the Germans. American paratroopers were mistakenly caught in trees. And this happens when the people were evacuating in a bunch:

'Throughout the fields hundreds of children were busy cutting up and stealing the yards of silk parachute materials from their ropes. The material would prove to be a sturdy cloth for the desperately needed clothes. A torn beige parachute created knickers, blouses, brassieres, and within days, strips from parachute portions were sported by children as new short pants.'

Never in my blogging years did I ever think I will pick a title like this to review, and little did I know I was going to give it a.....

5-star rating.

Given Away, A Sicilian Upbringing is available at Amazon.

Too much sorrow, too much domestic violence, too much hunger and too much excitement. I didn't mind the throughly informative Sicilian education. One history lesson I didn't want to doze off to (shocker!).

Somewhere in this novel, I wasn't blind to the fact that this fiction, uh, has lots of facts in it. And Marianna, I would do a little snooping-for my own benefit, if you don't come out. It would be good to know all these happened in real life.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

Well, I said I will do a short review didn't I?

22/07/2013

Book Review: Strong Enough By Ellen Harger

Blurb: Starting over is hard. And sometimes, you have to burn a few bridges to do it. Whitney Brown is average--average intelligence, average height, average weight--but she wants to be someone new. To kick-start her rebirth, she wears formal mourning, a black veil and vintage dress, to a wedding in her hometown, Woods Cross, a community that treasures family values. Is it an attack on marriage or has she just gone bonkers? Emboldened but lacking a plan, she forces her foot in the door of a radio station in Sundown. A small metropolis of nearly 150,000, Sundown is a notch of urban flair along the Midwest's Bible Belt. Getting in proves to be the easy part and the anonymity of being a DJ suits her well. But off air (and in person) Whitney must stand up to Sadi, an angry feminist and the bane of her college years while an old friendship with her former roommate, Leah, devolves around a guy. It's 2002 and the Midwest radio scene is changing. Just as Whitney hits her groove, the radio station undergoes its own identity crisis. But what rocks Whitney to her core is the moment the condom breaks. Her abstinence only background leaves her embarrassed and facing a difficult choice.

OK. I don't get it. They sniff each other's armpits? And he says, "Yup." afterwards??

More like... YUCK!! But then again it's not always you have characters who don't have body odor (from all the chaos you put them through). A plus to Whitney.

I loved, loved this book. A shaky start, I must say, but it turned out well through not-far-from-the-start, the middle and the end.

One thing I love about this book: there's no room for predictions. Everything in the blurb ends before the first chapter. And you are left guessing, what now?

This book touches on issues such as friendship, relationship and prejudice- from the beginning. The basic composition of every Chicklit.

The humor is subtle. And the characters are unique, well-developed and entertaining to read about.

Ellen Harger beautifully sets a vivid description of Sundown, that it's hard not to believe there's something as 'mid-west charm'. Wherever you are sitting, you get a great view of Sundown. The scene is as lively as it can get in the west. And Ellen creates a world undertaking rehabilitation with the introduction of a fun facilities for a lively nightlife. New clubs are set up, restaurants increase in number, malls and bookstores. Not the Sundown of years prior to 2002 (as stated in the novel). A county that's undergoing development as much as the characters in the novel.

So first off, we've got Whitney. She's mostly confused, nervous and always in some fierce internal battle. From the beginning, I didn't get this girl. The black ensemble to that wedding amped me up about this character. But it's shocking when you find out this girl isn't as gutsy as the blurb misled you to believing, but... antsy. She's the kind of girl who is so good at her job, but she questions everything that you are screaming: Just do it already!

Leah, I loved, is a friend/roommate of Whitney. This girl is so flirtatious and loose (not loose-loose, classy loose) her relationships don't make it past the moving in stage yet she still goes in for those scoundrels knowing for sure she'd dump them eventually and be single-not for twenty-four hours-again.

And there's Sadi, my favorite. Her fierce independence is striking and appealing. The character, most of you would enjoy reading about and mostly be the subject of your discussions. She isn't the die-hard, will-fight-tooth-to-nail-for-equal-suffrage-rights feminist Whitney made us believe. And hatred towards her in the start is unavoidable, but through the middle you begin to relish her point-of-view and pray it would forever last to the end... until Whitney makes that dream impossible.

Sadi is single. Whitney is single. Leah is screwing Tom, co-owner of Impressions, a restaurant and a regular setting in the novel. Sadi, through a mistake, is introduced to Marc, other owner and chef of Impressions. Whitney meets Gabe, fireman and the guy always around (it's annoying) to get Leah through her breakups. Leah isn't the friend we all thought she would be and right from the start a silent resentment is embedded in Whitney as they argue over ownership of a pair of socks that is Whitney's (At least, that's what Ellen made us believe. Socks were too good to be Whitney's).

Sadi and Marc have great sex. Gabe and Whitney have drunken sex. Leah screws Todd's brains out and judging from her character, they probably employ whips and cat suits into their routine.

Though the main stress is on relationships, Whitney's career is also a permanent feature. The fact that her job security is unstable, leaves her on tenterhooks. (A feeling most DJs can relate to.)

Marc is charming, even with his heavy cynicism. Todd is far from charming and relies on Leah's dictates. Gabe, I hate so much, is adorable but puts Leah first to Whitney.

Stock characters you will find humorous are Christian, Sadi's assistant and Meredith A.K.A Mer, A.K.A The Amazon because she's completely buffed and has an equally daunting but friendly personality. There's also one Erin who plays the role of the workplace friend until... (spoiler here) she's let off as part of the radio station's budget cuts and Jerry, Whitney's man-of-few-words boss and Rick, Whitney's moronic co-anchor of the morning show who draws out 'laugh here' placards on Whitney's script.

Despite this book being slow-paced it's nice reading about the lives of these different women and their dilemma.

Most of the info if I relay would be spoilers. But it's a really good book and I highly recommend it.

Every section (start, middle, end), puts emphasis on a new theme. But overall, I think this book preaches against too clingy women, false friendship and the effects of fierce independence to some extent. How much should we let go, compromise for love? Is there anything as being without a man to figure out the real you? Surely, no one can live without 'the one'. But with the help of true friendship we can still find our way.

My rating is: 4/5 stars.

The book is available at Amazon.

Great book, Ellen Harger.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

16/07/2013

Review of Just Add Salt (Hetta Coffey mystery series, #1)

Blurb: Hetta Coffey is a globe-trotting civil engineer with attitude who is working on coming of age, a little late. Pushing forty and still single, Hetta is the epitome of the b word: bold, bossy, brassy, breezy and brash. After leaving a lifelong swath of failed multi-national affairs in her jet stream, it is no wonder Hetta prefers living with her dog R.J. But old habits die hard, and trolling for triceps is Hetta s hobby. Plying the waterfront in search of Saturday brunch, Hetta s attention is snagged by a parade of passing yacht--especially their predominantly male skippers--and experiences a champagne-induced epiphany: if she had a boat, she could get a man. In hopes a floating Valhalla will overcome an all-time low-water mark in her life, Hetta buys her dream boat in spite of a spectacular ignorance of all things nautical. But a shadowy stalker, an inconvenient body, and Hetta s own self-destructive foibles imperil not only her new life, but a newly- found romance.

...with so much spunk Hetta Coffey would get you laughing so hard you might tip overboard. (Another reason why you wouldn't want to read an aquatic related book on an Aquatic habitat.)

Jinx Schwartz has got so much humor and isn't afraid to use it. All my life, there are two authors that really, really, make me laugh and it's no wonder these two writers have books similar to Just Add Salt. Janet Evanovich and Sarah Strohmeyer. No, it isn't like I only laugh-no, sorry-guffaw and clutch my ribs praying they won't snap reading about Chickroines with so much temerity and chutzpah. But can you blame me? There's nothing thrilling than reading a chicklit number with a lead who isn't afraid of a little adventure (or a not-so-little adventure as in Hetta's case).

If you are like me and looking just to have a good laugh and more than a little adventure, Hetta Coffey would give just that (and more if you are willing to read all through the fifth book in the series.)

So Hetta has got a yacht and isn't afraid to use it. But since this is the first installment in the series, we get to know why she had the yacht (How, when comes into place when you want to consider humor). Because it's one of the most unlikely situations to revolve a storyline around (which makes for good reading ). Why would a woman want to own a yacht in hopes of getting a man? I am finding it hard to get women these days. Always looking for ingenious ways to meet the perfect man. Gone are those days when major manhunt began in singles bars.

(As Hetta puts it: Besides, it had been my experience that the only thing most men in singles bars have in common is they’re married. Some of them to each other.)

But unlike most characters, you can't judge Hetta as shallow (for wanting to incessantly find a guy) because it took a series of (dangerous) events to make her decision of getting a boat final.

The book starts with a racy/fast-paced scene that renders doubts that this might be chicklit. The prologue is told in third-person of a guy named Hudson who is escaping after swindling cash and some secret-y stuff from some shady people he does equally shady business with. It's entertaining (highly), adrenaline lacing through your blood and all (Thanks to Jinx's description). But then it continues to the first chapter in a first-person viewpoint of a girl. By then you've got really hooked onto this Hudson guy and then you start thinking, "Another one of those books with a exciting prologue, but no action thereafter." And how silly you will be, if you are not curious enough to make the connection (Hey, not me. If I didn't make the connection I wouldn't be writing this review).

That's when we meet Hetta. The girl so opinionating and not willing to hold back (on her views about so many things you'd find amusing-from men, dogs to dawgs). She's become a civil engineer after dropping art and Swahili as her majors. She so ostentatious you'd love her voice which is a mix of snobbish aristocracy topped with lots of utter shittiness. She lives with her dog, RJ who has its own VW (eat your heart out, Amanda Brown!). She owns twenty credit cards (Don't laugh if you know anyone who has more. I don't). And she is single and mingling a lot in company of her friend Jan who is so funny she's still hooked on to BDR (Big Dick Richard, as Hetta calls him).

We later find out that this Hetta, five years ago, was the bride Hudson had ditched.

The novel starts out as four Sex And The City girls prowling for men in the most unlikely places. Except these girls are outnumbered by Candace Bushnell's lead girls. They are only Hetta and Jan who have been best buds for over fifteen years. All is well with the two as long as they are both single and can both face (the world and) Jan's meterosexual ex, BDR from making Jan the miserable girl she is when he is back in her life (as Hetta argues).

Everything is fun until RJ is mercy-killed when he is diagnosed of bone cancer.

It gets more fun.

Jan gets involved with Lars, one of the Jenkins brothers Hetta hates so much. And Hetta goes through a mid-life crisis triggered by fears from the return of Hudson, who is back with unknown reasons tampering with her state-of-the-art security system. And to make matters worse, she's been fired after a coworker who has always been in it to kick her arse out frames defraud charges. Gee, I must have forgotten she's not sure she's a drunkard being the queen of bacchanalia and her waistline is expanding!

Now not only does Hetta decide on living in a boat, she has to deal with Garrison, a guy who falsely owns the boat she has to buy and who spreads false news about being with Hetta (if you know what I mean). And the other annoying Jenkins who doesn't notice her (or is pretending not to notice her).

It's amusing How Hetta can forget about all her troubles (add an attempt on her life to the list) and focus on this Bob Jenkins guy. Or is this Bob Jenkins guy too hot to make you forget two partners in International crime are on your tail? I am not sure. But that's Hetta. She's that crazy most of the time.

This book is a mix of all the hilarious characters you could think of. From the Trob who wouldn't make more than a one-word phrase to Allison the lawyer friend who is always looking for a case (in Hetta's life) and the loan officer friend, Aline Watson who only Hetta seeks when she needs a loan to Mother and Father who are worried Hetta hasn't had sex since Hudson (Five years?! I know!) to Martinez, the detective who scribbles 'pants on fire' in his notepad when an interogatee (I can say that if Hetta is queen of neologism) is lying.

My rating is... (drumroll)....
five out of five stars.

I couldn't stop laughing. So don't be surprised if you find a quotes from Hetta Coffey handle on twitter.

Just Add Water is available at Amazon in ebook and PAPERBACK.

And I wouldn't say it through an email, out loud, "Jinx Schwartz I want to review all the books in the series!"

My work here not done. Off to post on Goodreads.

15/07/2013

Book Review: Ocean's Gift by Demelza Carlton (Ocean's Gift, #1)

Blurb: Sirens don’t fall in love with humans. For centuries it has been so… But Sirena is different. She lost her first love to sharks and a storm, cursing the islands that stole him from her.Times have changed and she must swim ashore once more, at the islands she once cursed.Gone are the boats powered by sail and steam – jet boats with GPS are now the order of the day. Enter Joe, the deckhand on the Dolphin. A handy man to have around when the lights go out. He’ll fix your generator and have the lights back on in no time, no worries. But can he seduce a siren? Or will she swim away, before he can uncover her secret? A story about fishing, lobsters, beer and boobs, on some cursed islands off the West Australian coast. At least that’s how Joe tells it. For Sirena, it’s a very different story.

...No fairy-tale in the making here. Just mermaids.

I keep going on and on about not being a fan of fantasy to pick up fantasy. So far I have reviewed two fantasy books on this blog and I loved them. I decided to let my friend, Fran, who is a die-hard fan of books that are not created out of unrealistic worlds. And this is what she has to say. Behold she is a girl of very few words. The 'good' or 'not good' kinda reviewer. The very one you wouldn't want to review your book.

Fran says: Good. (See I told you)

(But she goes on)....

It's not your bull book about mermaids and creatures with long tails and boobs that sit flat on their chests (probably due to lots of strenuous swimming)

Mermaids are to mate with humans-strong male humans and propagate (warning you, biology was her major).

Vanessa holds a torch to the Island for taking away her lover. Fire torch, I mean.Vannessa is the mermaid who saves Joe's life at sea. Because he can't swim. I am wondering why a guy in his late twenties can't swim. Where are the days when swimming was just flapping your arms about and beating the water with your legs. Summoned by her elders to gather information on the changes in the sea floor posing a threat to the mermaids (because changes in the sea floor meant humans were going extinct and since the relationship between the two was more or less parasitic since they depended on humans for procreation, eventually they would also go extinct), and it's no coincidence she finds Joe. And sleeps with him. Sex that gets you asking yourself: Who knew mermaids could have multiple orgasms? Does the transition from caudal fin to tail mean there's now a vagina? (Ooh! Going too far with Biology. Typical pragmatic behavior!)

Joe is a handy man. Goodlooking and, yes, he's probably the guy you would call to fix your leak. But one off point: he lives with his parents. Failure to launch kinda guy? No. Because he is looking to buy his own house. Too convenient Vanessa is a mermaid. (Goes to prove great sex doesn't matter the habitat).

I love Maria, Berlinda and Skipper. Maria is the confused daughter of Nessa. Skipper is Joe's too-friendly-for-a-boss' boss. Berlinda was the Ice Queen. This Berlinda puts the fun in mean. (Now that's what I call Revenge of the MERmaids).

There is never a dull moment.

I honestly can't wait to see the next title Ocean Infiltration. Very disappointing Demelza didn't attach an except.

Very gripping. Highly entertaining and fascinating.

And as though that isn't reason enough to pick it, the book has the ending of a real (TV) series: An OMG moment that would leave you wanting more. Not H2O kinda series. Like Gossip Girl with mermaids.

Will recommend for anyone who has the misconception that mermaids have been so last season since twilight. (True in the beauty world where no one wants a tan because of frigging twilight)

My (Fran's rating): 4/5 stars

Ocean is available at Amazon

Her work not done here! Off to post her review on Goodreads.

08/07/2013

Book Review: Dark Desire (Touched By You, #1) by Emily Jane Trent

Blurb: Tanner Clarke, the gorgeous billionaire, was bad for her....but Natalie would never stay away!
Author of Touched By You brings you Dark Desire - Book 1 of 8
Natalie Baker, a girl from rural America, has an unforgettable sexual encounter with billionaire, Tanner Clarke. The story of their
steamy romance radiates off the page...
“There was something in his face. She couldn't think the thought she grasped for. His skin was pale, and she got the impression he wasn't out in the sun much. His baby blue eyes were so bright, they appeared luminous. And his dark brown hair shimmered with auburn highlights, here under the blaring brightness
of the lobby. He was just beautiful. She'd never known a man could be beautiful, but he definitely was.”
The passion between them ignites a flame that can’t be put out. She discovers her dark desire and her life will never be the same.
Dark Desire, 1st novella in the Touched By You series, is a romantic tale that takes place in
New York. The author was inspired by the endearing romance in the Twilight series. And the sexual enlightenment, and sweet romance, in the Fifty Shades Of Grey series. Touched By You is a unique love story, with full character development, and added intrigue from the billionaire’s life, that will make each book in the series hard to put down.

For starters the book has a great blurb. I got reeled in right when I saw one-night stand, billionaire, Fashion, New York.

...But that's as far as my enthralment went.

This book is erotic romance.  One of my first few experiences with the genre. I read my first at fourteen with one Bonjour Amour.  I totally adored the main character Odette, I think. But I couldn't pass on the feelings to Natalie.  I felt she's the same ol' same ol' character you pick from a Harlequin title. And I had the feeling this Natalie I have encountered was Lacy in some book,  Bree in another and the list surely goes on and on. 

So Natalie meets bachelor and billionaire Tanner at some concert. The prologue was epic, sex was great- got me sitting in different positions throughout.

......

That's it.

The excitement dwindled so fast I was stunned. One minute this book grabbed my attention then the next I was looking up the Adobe menu bar shocked this was Dark Desire I was reading.

The only character that I took to liking was Tanner. Only because this guy is a moron. He's all about business, even in the bedroom. Wouldn't like to play a passive role (in a very domineering way) and considers himself too harsh to be with the delicate Natalie. If this was a choose your (sexual) adventure book, I wouldn't pair the two. But what can I say, in this case the  Opposites Attract phenomena shows its head.

Though the book was mostly a let down (I did the horrible;  Judged by its cover). There were some moments in there. Like the second encounter with Taylor after he disappears, and the fashion show Natalie attends... and of course all the sex and the experimentation*

This book is really a quick read when you are in the mood for something light and steamy. Will recommend it to anyone who is a sucker for erotic stories with a story-line.

My rating is:

That was two stars for story-line and one star for mind-blowing sex.

Dark Desire by Emily Jane Trent is available at Amazon

My work not here done. GOING to post my review on Goodreads

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02/07/2013

Book Review: Transition (Chimera Hunters series, #1)



Blurb: The Chimera are a race so old, the humans relegated them as a myth. The Gods feared the Chimeras' powers, believing they were a deadly race with physical abilities beyond belief. So they split their race in half, condemning them to wander the earth searching for their other half to be complete. Without their sodalis, each is destined to live life without dreams, without love, without hope. The future rests on finding their one true mate for life.

SHELBY O'NEIL has led a solitary life with her parents. So when she goes to college, she believes her life has just begun. Now in her second year, the dreams begin. She dreams with the same man, night after night for months. When her dream world becomes her reality, and her life becomes a danger zone, she quickly learns to trust the one man who has thrown her into this new and dangerous world.

DEVELON COLE is Chimera and his race has been on earth as long as humans. His people are desperate to find their one true mate for life, and Develon has just found his, in the small college town of Pullman, Washington. His duty is to protect her against the Chimera hunters and guide her to who she was always meant to be, his sodalis, his mate.


Get packing Stephanie Myers, Megan Johnston is here to stay.

Think twilight, But minus vampires and werewolves. In Transition Megan Johnston sets off on a pace that would get you addicted to the series and wait through lip curling and chewing for the subsequent titles

With two good-looking main characters it's possible they were carved out of a fairy-tale. Johnston starts off the tale by describing the physical attributes of her main characters.  A rather old technique,  I must say, but she gives out such details (like sexy Siberian tiger tattoos) it's hard not to get hooked (I mean really, really hooked).  And as though all the libido teasing isn't enough, this description is given out through a sexual fantasy (How is that for incredibly sexy and visually stimulating?).

Shelby, a college student juggling between school work,   sexual fantasies and keeping in constant contact with her overprotective parents. Raised up in a farm far from her college life in Washington, she has no or little social life. No drink nights with her pals, no meeting new guys, little or no contact with the opposite sex(... well, except in her fantasies.) With a passion for photography and inspiring lanscape, she's the girl who would grab a camera for a night out instead of a clutch. In other words, she isn't your typical college student and you don't ever feel like you have met this particular character in some other literary piece. Later in the novel we find out she's no ordinary girl with some no ordinary family.

In the opening pages of the novel, you'll find out in these fantasies she's been with the same guy and oddly, it's stopped being just a fantasy. To her (and readers) the guy is very real, alive and no product of her imaginative mind as Jen, her only girl pal, puts it.

The guy is Develon (I agree, the name suggests he is a hunk), he isn't only just flawless, he is Chimera and is in search of his sodalis. It's no surprise the object of his fantasies, Shelby, happen to be that sodalis.

Their first ever physical meeting is urged by the decision of Jen and Shelby to plan a week's vacation of skiing at the mountains of.... For Shelby she is excited for the photography as well as more sleep time(for other* needs). But for Jen it's meeting new boys and starting flings. I wonder what would convince a girl going skiing is a great opportunity to meet up with guys (no offense to women who have 'Must Ski' on their List). They meet Stephen, brother of Develon (not by blood) and neighbor . Stephen is the player and doesn't go by Chimera rules which prevent any form of emotional attachment with humans. It's obvious from the start he wants to get himself entangled in Jen's lace panties.

By the action of Chimera hunters, Gavin and Leandro who have the power to control water and air respectively, the holiday ends before it can start with the roof of their 'cabin in the woods' caving in. Deciding on taking up Stephen's offer, Jen suggests they go seek refuge from their neighbors.

The two meet and more than sparks fly.

If you are thinking the sex in the fantasies are good as the physical, think again. Double the desire, the time spent on foreplay and deduct the annoying interruptions by Shelby's alarm, and there you have it: mind-blowing lovemaking!

But the two have more than great chemistry to protect, with Shelby's discovery of her new-found (not-so) awesome powers, the two have to stay clear of anything that could send any of them (especially Shelby) six-feet under. Or where the hell Chimeras go when they die.

Together the two unravel secrets about Shelby's childhood hidden for years by her parents. And explore more desirable* qualities of one another.

The release of well-hidden secrets shake the plot of the story... or at least what we all think might happen. Too much twilight comparison would leave you gob-smacked even before you get to the middle so don't go over the same mistakes I commited.

The arch-villain, happened to be Leandro (no spoiler here as that is evident from the beginning of the story). Also good-looking in a very aristocratic way, he is also Chimera and desperate to find his sodalis. He is a delusional sniffing freak who is drawn to and thinks Shelby is rather his mate.
/
But what if two Chimeras are to share one sodalis? I found myself asking most of the time (mostly because the thought was a turn on) But seething as to why Megan never thought of it (another of my twilight comparison let downs). Obviously to Johnston, I was another reader who was inexperienced in Chimera affairs and needed to understand the very tricky course.

Enough about me.

Though there's a huge anticlimax as one draws closer to the end (another one of Megan's techniques that made me give up thinking ahead), the climax (or end) tends out to be more satisfying than what I had wanted. At this stage of the story, the reason behind the title makes it appropriate.

I really enjoyed it, but I wasn't a fan of the mind games Johnston was playing with me. She Really got my head messed up and I learnt a lesson when it comes to reading (her novels): Just flow with the go. You never know what might not happen.

I loved, loved this book (and this is coming from someone who pays least attention to things that are unrealistic). I feel really left out because there is a franchise I haven't been keeping up with. If Megan would allow me, I would read all the books in the series and what little price I would have to pay in writing reviews.

My rating is a whooping 5/5 stars.

Once you pick up this title, besides the thrills, you get to polish up your (inexistent) Latin vocabulary (in ya face those of ya who thought sodalis could be found in the dictionary). And who knows, you might think against the online classes you planned on taking.

I am definitely following this series.

Transition is available at AuthorHouse Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.

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01/07/2013

Have You Got It In You?

In response to our excessive requests for reviews,  we want to announce that we are in dire need of reviewers.

If we do not get any response But keep getting the review requests, we would announce a halt on requests. And we do not want that. The Indie book community publishes, I presume, over a thousand ebooks a day and we'd want to keep up.

Writers bring in your fans. Any volunteers? We'd be happy to receive you providing you own an account on Goodreads...  and can type. :)