This Week in Review World

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I spend a lot of time reading in public: on the bus, in line at the grocery store, waiting for events to start. Unfortunately for the people around me, I am not a quiet reader. I laugh out loud at the funny bits, sometimes with my head tossed back and sometimes there’s an “OMG” thrown in there too. If they’re really lucky, I might mutter commentary as I go along. Yes, I am that crazy person on the subway.

Luckily for all of you, most reviewers blog their thoughts instead of broadcasting them to the entire bus. :)

The Kiss Test by Shannon McKelden – Seriously Reviewed

“I swear there were parts in this story that had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes and had to keep my legs crossed to keep from wetting myself :) It’s full of ups and downs. Dilemmas and eye opening experiences. All of which were well written and delivered in a manner that pulled the story together and rocked.”

Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey – RT Book Reviews

“This is the perfect contemporary romance! Stacey does an excellent job conveying each character’s emotional struggle as they attempt to bridge the gap between who they are and who the other person would like them to be. Readers will enjoy watching this highly relatable drama play out. Furthermore, the secondary romance between Kevin’s bartender and her ex-fiancee is both heart warming and hilarious. This story will leave you itching to get your hands on more of Stacey’s romances!”

Shall We Drown in Feathered Sleep by Michael Merriam – Amazon Member: Kenneth Mark Hoover

“In the hands of a lesser writer such themes would become maudlin and downright embarrassing. But Merriam protects the fragile beauty of his story, and the human strength of his characters, and delivers an ending that resonates and speaks of the wonder all of us can find in the corners of our lives.”

Sunrise Over Texas by MJ Frederick – Dr J’s Book Place

“This is a feast for the love of historical romantic fiction that embraces American history. I found it vastly entertaining. I read it from start to finish in one sitting. I highly recommend it and feel it is a worthy addition to this genre. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.”

Reviews and Subways

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Reading is one of those activities that makes me utterly oblivious to everything around me. Sometimes this is a good thing (allows me to finish an entire novel in one sitting), but most of the time it just causes problems. For example, while reading The Sevenfold Spell on the subway a few weeks ago, I completely missed my stop and I didn’t even notice until two stations later. Even worse, I didn’t care, I just looped around so I could finish the last ten pages.

And based on these reviews, it looks like I won’t be getting off the subway anytime soon…

Second Chances by Lauren Dane – Black Raven Reviews

“Second Chances is absolutely amazing in regards to its secondary characters and how they increased the depth of the story and brought the little town of Oakley to life. Being someone who lives in a small town, Ms. Dane’s depiction of small town life and gossip was right on the money. In fact, the little town of Oakley took on a life of itself for me, which is often the case with small towns.”

Fatal Affair by Marie Force – Romance Junkies

“This edgy, spine-tingling tale left me breathless and I was perched on the edge of my seat with immeasurable anticipation. The murder was described in gruesome and chilling detail, and the atmosphere was tense from start to finish. The plot took exciting and unexpected twists and turns. There were times I was sure I knew who the killer was only to be proven wrong again and again until the final climaxing moment.”

A Rogue’s Pleasure by Hope Tarr – Seriously Reviewed

“This is one that I plan on re-reading in the future and will have my eyes open for more from this author. Ms Tarr’s ability to create a vivid, heart-stopping tale sucked me in.”

I have a small (metaphorical) pile of books I would like to re-read, unfortunately it tends to get bigger the more I delve into my TBR list. It’s a vicious cycle I tell you.

Do Over by Mari Carr – Joyfully Reviewed

“Ms. Carr accomplishes the impossible: she makes Do Over incredibly sweet, but without ever turning it saccharine. I admit, my favorite parts of the story were the letters Troy wrote to Faith. Quite honestly, they made me cry. Yes, each and every one. Troy’s letters alone would be enough to make me Joyfully Recommend Do Over, but Ms. Carr delivers the whole package with Faith and Troy’s story.”

Review Links and Random Thoughts

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The other day I was really sick. When this happens, I tend to just lie around on the couch and do… well, a whole lot of nothing. My book-a-holic self makes a valiant effort to make a dent in the TBR pile, but my mind ends up wandering in and out of the plot with totally random thoughts that are only marginally related to the story. I was still kind of sick while sifting through the reviews, so random thoughts were definitely bouncing around. Here are some of the more interesting ones.

Trash Course by Penny Drake – Fresh Fiction

Maria would love to “drink coffee and eat cheesecake with [the heroine] as she tells her about her latest case” because Maria thinks Terry the heroine was “a little snarky, a lot smart, and seriously kickass”.

I would totally want to be Terry’s only confidante and muse about her work life over cheesecake and coffee. I know some people like to imagine themselves as an existing character the book, but I always like to envision myself as a completely new character that happens to be “in-the-know” about everything.

True Believers by Maria Zannini – Rom Fan Reviews

Ms. Carla said, “There were a few times I wanted to slap the characters for their stubbornness and failure to see the obvious, but that was also the reason I kept reading, hoping they’d finally realize what I already knew, and I wasn’t disappointed.”

Sometimes I get so infuriated with characters that, like Carla, I just want to jump into the book and set them straight. But, I only ever feel this way when I really connect with a character and I just want them to do well because they’re like a close friend to me.

Do Over by Mari Carr – Night Owl Reviews

Chris says, “I suspect a lot of women will be both envious of Faith and angry with their own husbands. While I’m sure there are some men who would and could do this, remember that this is fiction. This is a story I will read again just for the sheer joy of it.”

The whole time I was reading this review, all I could picture in my head was George Clooney playing Troy and Julianne Moore playing Faith in the movie. He’s just got the dashing-handsome-mysterious-older-man look and she’s got the I’m-a-housewife-but-I’ve-got-these-oh-so-sultry-sexy-eyes look.

In Darkness Bound by Christine Price – Smokin’ Hot Books

K.C. thought the book was “full of suspense with a dash of manlove” and “highly recommends this one for those looking for something a little darker and might have you jumping at things that go bump in the night.”

Actually, when I’m clearly not sick, I tend to get very engrossed in most books and will shriek like a little girl when someone sneaks up on me (and by sneaks up, I mean, they probably just said hello).

Halloween reading

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Okay, maybe I jumped the gun a little bit, but I am really excited for Halloween. In between trying on costumes and stocking up on candy which probably won’t make it til the 31st, I’ve been reading some awesome fantasy and paranormal books.

I’m getting really into the Urban Arcana series, and Book Two is out this month. Motor City Witch is, if possible, even more action-packed and full of emotion. I’m very much actively against prejudice of all kinds (I don’t even let people tell off-color jokes around me) and watching Elise trying to work with her former lover to navigate the fairy and human worlds to rescue her daughter from a racial purity movement really struck home.

Demon's Fall

Another book that’s really grabbed my attention is Demon’s Fall by Karalynn Lee. I was intrigued by the premise of an angel in Hell, and wondered what her relationship between an incubus would be like. Also, on a separate note, Demon’s Fall has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen in a long time.

Since I’m the Production Coordinator for the digital department at Harlequin and Carina Press, I’m super-lucky in that I have advanced copies of ebooks. If you’re a book blogger, I’d love to send you some eARCs of these books, along with some paranormal/fantasy upcoming releases from Harlequin. Please send me an e-mail at if you’d like to receive more information (Please note: If you were sent a mailing about Big Summer Reads from me this summer, I already have your contact information and there is no need to re-send it).

Happy reading, folks! And don’t get so busy reading that you forget to dress up in crazy costumes and bob for apples this Halloween!

I Heart Reviews

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Hi World,

I really do heart reviews. Why you ask? Because I REALLY heart books. However, the sheer volume of books out there is enough to make you dizzy, which is why reviews (and this blog post) were invented. To make your life just a little less dizzy, here are some recommended reads.

Rakes and Radishes by Susanna Ives

Caroline over at Book Lovers Inc. wasn’t quite sure about this one, but the cover drew her in and then “BAM [she] was hit by its awesomeness”. If anyone can makes radishes awesome, it’s Ms. Susanna Ives.

Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel

Texas Tangle is definitely one hot book. So hot, that Talia at Joyfully Reviewed read it not once, not twice, but THREE times.

The Sweetest Deal by Mary Campisi – Seriously Reviewed

“One of those that tears you up, pulls you in and spits you out…then leaves you wanting to read it again.”

Fair Game by Josh Lanyon – Smokin’ Hot Books

Fair Game hit all of K.C.’s manlove buttons… which is more than you can say about most men. ;)

Dark and Disorderly by Bernita Harris – Literary Escapism

Lisa was intrigued (and creeped out) from the very first sentence, and with a line like “I was standing there naked when my dead husband walked into my bathroom”, I think you will be too.

Review Update

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Hi World,

This is Carly, the Digital Coordinator for Carina Press. I do many odds and ends around the office, but mainly I manage the review program via NetGalley. We’ve been getting a lot of amazing reviews for our titles (seriously, my inbox is FULL) and I couldn’t go another minute without bragging about sharing some of these awesome links.

The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt

The Sevenfold Spell was made a Top Pick over at Night Owl Reviews, Reviewer Valerie said “The tale is an amazing, imaginative tale that enraptures the reader and tells the intriguing story of what happens to all the other people in a fairy tale. It is a novella that is well worth the read.”

Sunrise Over Texas by MJ Frederick

Camellia at Long and Short Reviews (LASR) calls Sunrise Over Texas “…a feast for the senses – the cold and fear while crossing the Trinity River, the roar of the cannon, the taste of food, the smell of a loved one…”

I don’t know about you, but now I really want to go to Texas!

Gambit by Kim Knox – Rom Fan Reviews

Carla was sad to see the story end, but you know what’s not sad at Rom Fan Reviews? The four out five naked torsos.

No One Lives Twice by Julie Moffett

I like how the Tales of Whimsy blog breaks up the review into easy-to-read sections. Her final verdict? She is ANXIOUSLY waiting on Book #2.

Presumed Dead by Shirley Wells

Now, I may be a little biased towards this blog (Journey of a Bookseller) since I also work part-time at a bookstore, but when bookseller tells you they couldn’t stop turning the pages… you KNOW it’s good.

Rakes & Radishes by Susanna Ives

Rakes & Radishes got a Top Pick (9.5 out of 10) over at The Season. Did I also mention Susanna Ives is a debut author? What a way to start your writing career!