Review: That Day In September - Artie Van Why
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So I’m starting up again, now that school’s started and I’m finished working full time and once again have time to read, blog, etc. I’m grateful for my summer employment but damn does it kill my social life.


 
Title: That Day In September: A Personal Remembrance of 9/11
Author: Artie Van Why
Publisher: Van Hughes Publishing (Lulu Press)
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2006
Length: 84 pages
Genre: Memoir
Source:  Won
 
Rating:  8/10
 
Back Cover:
We all have our stories to tell of where we were the morning of September 11, 2001. This is one of them. In "That Day In September" Artie Van Why gives an eyewitness account of that fateful morning. From the moment he heard "a loud boom" in his office across from the World Trade Center, to stepping out onto the street, Artie vividly transports the reader back to the day that changed our lives and our country forever. "That Day In September" takes you beyond the events of that morning. By sharing his thoughts, fears, and hopes, Artie expresses what it was like to be in New York City in the weeks and months following. The reader comes away from "That Day In September" with not only a more intimate understanding of the events of that day, but also with a personal glimpse of how one person's life was dramatically changed forever.
 
Review:
My sister read this first and demanded I read it. It took about twenty minutes, while I waited for my bus and on the ride home from school. It’s one of those rare short books that really grip you. The writing style is amateur, and I was a little bothered by it in the chapter he’s recounting his life and how he ended up in New York. However, you soon stop noticing and are completely taken in by the emotion behind his words.
Like I said, it’s very short and to the point, starting with what he first felt when hearing about the plane crash—curiosity, not understanding the damage done, and quickly followed by horror. From there, we go back to how he came to be in New York at the time, as a wannabe actor who eventually took a steady if boring office job and started drinking too much. As he sobered up, he started re-evaluating the choices he’d taken, whether he should go back to his dream, when 9/11 happened and made everything different.
The writing is very powerful, the characters introduced in a natural way. Small things stand out, the injured man whom he’d held a jacket to his head, trying to stop the bleeding; to a single high heeled shoe left on the road, leaving him to wonder about the owner.
For me, the most powerful words were these, taken from page 62:
 
You know, I don’t think I had witnessed the wrath of anyone’s God that morning. What I had been a witness to when I had looked up on those burning towers was the ultimate evil that man is capable of. The evidence of just how deep hatred could run, how far it could go.
But I had also been a witness to something else that day—down on the ground. I witnessed the ultimate goodness of man, the evidence of how strong courage could be, to what lengths it would go.
I believe God was in the hands of everyone who reached out to help someone else. He was in the arms of people in the streets as they embraced one another. He was in the tears of strangers who cried together. He was in all the lives who were given in the line of duty, in the acts of heroism. He was in the hearts of people across the country who, as they watched the horror from afar, felt compassion.
 
For me, that entire segment is amazing. I suppose part of this book’s intensity is the reader’s own memories from that time.
In short, I recommend this book very highly. Short, straightforward, and powerful. Enough said.
 

Giveaway and Updates
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Check out this giveaway at Reading Teen, Heather Dixon's 'Entwined'
http://www.readingteen.net/2011/04/reading-clean-spotlight-entwined-by.html
Good luck to everyone.

I got a bunch of my winning books this past week; Stephen King's 'The Stand', Lori Handeland's Apocalyse series; I'm saving them to read in Mexico in a few weeks.
I'm still trying to figure out the use of my Tablet. I love it, but it frustrates me so lol.

I've been awol lately due to some medical concerns, but now I know what's wrong with me and how to fix it. Thank God. There I was, lying on a hospita bed thinking up my excuses for St. Peter lol.

Have a lovely weekend everyone

Review: Girl Stays In The Picture by Melissa De La Cruz
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Title: Girl Stays In The Picture

Author: Melissa De La Cruz

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Publication Date: June 2nd, 2009

Rating: 9/10

Summary: If you can’t be a mega-selling teen pop star, maybe you can join her entourage…

Devon—one name only, please—is the latest and jail-bait-est pop star to hit #1 on the Billboard chart and she’s making her big screen debut in Juicy. But after a stint in rehab, the studio isn’t so sure she’s their girl anymore. If they cut any more of her lines, she’ll be a silent film actress! Can Devon regain her star status? She needs to watch her back and make sure that flash doesn’t catch her causing a scene, and we don’t mean the kind you can yell "Cut!" after.

Livia has lost the weight and gained a reputation for attitude in the Hollywood party scene. Her dad’s an Oscar-winning producer, and with a hot Beverly Hills boyfriend on her arm as well as her photos all over the pages of Gossizzle.com, Livia looks like she has a perfect life. But looks can be perfectly deceiving…

And there’s fresh-faced Casey, who left a job bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly to play personal assistant to her best friend...and Devon’s biggest rival. She’s got the biggest crush on the biggest star of the film—a hot Brit known for loving and leaving them. Will Casey stay true to herself while trying to find a place in his universe?

Stars. They’re just like us. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Stay tuned, people.

Review:  This book was fantastic.

After finishing off the Blue Bloods series I returned to Melissa De La Cruz’s contemporaries. This is the start of a new series, Girl, with three characters who each stand on their own with individual story lines that come together as a friendship between the girls develop.

So Devon used to be quite the party girl, sort of drinking away her worries. But after rehab she’s shaped up, ready to show the world she can act and instead no one trusts her, and her part becomes smaller and smaller as she goes from main character to supporting to barely-in-the-movie. She’s desperate to get back on top, and to make things worse her mom is trying to get her to use her skeevy loser boyfriend as a manager. Meanwhile her relationships get complicated as she kind of wants to get back together with Randall, her rapper ex, but doesn’t want the partying lifestyle that comes with him, and her attraction to rich playboy Spy. Even worse, she then almost dies at a party after someone slips her a date-rape drug she has an allergic reaction to.

Personally, I loved Devon’s character. I find that with Melissa De La Cruz even when her characters are so outrageous they’re still wonderfully relatable. Devon is smart, spunky, and surprisingly generous and kind without becoming unrealistic.

Meanwhile Livia is dealing with her boyfriend really only wanting her because she’s ‘hot’ now, and he’s pressuring her for sex that she frankly isn’t prepared to have. At the same time she’s reconnecting with her old friend Bruno, whom she’s starting to discover is probably the right guy for her, the one who loved her back  before the surgery and still thought she was beautiful. I found her struggle to accept her new self very powerful, and could relate to her family trying to pressure her into eating the same foods as before. At a family dinner she’s pushed into eating a large portion of greasy foods and is violently sick because her new stomach can’t handle it. The love-hate relationship with herself and her family was very well done.

Casey is so sweet it sometimes makes me want to smack her. She and Summer, the girl really taking over Devon’s movie, used to be best friends in elementary and high school; Casey was the popular overachiever and Summer basically a hanger-on. Summer hires her as an assistant and Casey starts realizing that the only reason she’d been hired was so Summer could humiliate her after years of being second-best. Casey’s inability to stand up for herself gets tiring after a while; you understand why she’s taking it but I just wanted her to stop being so damn nice and realize that she’s being taken advantage of. Besides that, her building-up of a romance with movie-star Jamie was pretty good, and I found him to be likeable and good to read about.

Overall, very good read, I just flew through it. Highly recommended!

Cover Comments: I love this cover. I like the glamorous celebrity-snapshot feel to it.



Reviews: 'Ruby' V.C Andrews & 'Black Magic Sanction' Kim Harrison
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Title: Ruby

Author: V.C. Andrews

Series: The Landry Family Series

Publisher: Pocket Books

Publication Date: February 1994

Rating: 6/10—Good, would probably recommend

Book Jacket Summary: In the heart of the bayou, Ruby Landry lives a simple, happy life. But innocence can't last forever....

The only family Ruby Landry has ever known are her loving guardian, Grandmère Catherine, a Cajun spiritual healer, and her drunken, outcast Grandpère Jack. Although thinking about her dead mother and mysterious father sometimes makes her feel as mournful as the wind sighing through the Spanish moss, Ruby is grateful for all she has. Her life is filled with hope and promise... especially when her attraction for handsome Paul Tate blossoms into a mysterious, wonderful love. But Paul's wealthy parents forbid him to associate with a poor Landry, and Grandmère urges her to follow her dream of becoming a great painter, foreseeing a time when Ruby will be surrounded with riches in the dazzling city of New Orleans! Yet she cannot know how close that uncertain future looms....

In a faded photograph, Ruby glimpses for the first time the image of her father -- and learns of a shameful deception and a shocking scheme of blackmail that now must come to light. Stunned by these revelations, she is devastated when Grandmère dies, leaving her to seek out her father in his vast New Orleans mansion. There, in a house of lies, madness, and cruel torment. Ruby clings to her memories of Paul to keep her heart alive. For only their love can save her now....

Review: Having had a friend of mine rave about V.C. Andrews for years I finally started reading her books a while ago. Ruby is her third series I’ve tried and while it is a very good book my complaint is—and this might change with subsequent books, like I said I’ve only read three of her series so far—is that her heroine, Ruby, seems to be the same main character is every book but with a different name and background. All the characters: Leigh, Heaven, Annie, Lorelei and now Ruby are all beautiful young women who want a family and are people-pleasers, they love books and learning and long for true love, which arrives in the form of a handsome guy but is impossible for some reason and there’s incest through in too. I’m not saying the books aren’t well written, because they are, the plots are thrilling and the writing style is engaging and thoughtful; but at the same time I’m getting a little bored with seeing the same character again and again.

That said, Ruby is a very good book. While her character got on my nerves at times—she is very willing to believe the best in people and is so easily deceived and taken advantage of it makes me want to smack her—she is generally likeable. The book starts with her life on the bayou with her grandmother and her boyfriend Paul, a life that is genuinely happy for her. Things fall apart as Grandmere dies, she discovers Paul is her half-brother and her truly odious grandfather sells her into a marriage to a cruel, wealthy man. She runs away, seeking her father’s family. Things don’t really get better as she’s pushed into a world of betrayals and double faces. Giselle, her twin, is a selfish, vain, and cruel character who resents Ruby’s intrusion into their lives. While you hate her, it’s still easy to understand why she is that way; and Daphne, her mother, is a hateful, jealous woman who is honestly chilling to read. The book is very engaging, I found myself desperately flipping the pages toward the end, with a startlingly real and evocative cast of characters. I also liked the mix of Voodoo through in, and the way in which it was portrayed. Spooky stuff.

All in all, I would recommend this book as a whole; but for anyone looking for ‘something fresh’ from the author’s main style this book is simply more of the same.





Title: Black Magic Sanction

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: Rachel Morgan/The Hollows (Book 8)

Publisher: Eos

Publication Date: December 13th, 2010

Format: Mass Market Paperback, 576 pages

My Copy: Bought

Rating: 9/10

Product Description: Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now.

Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—her worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom. But trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and a lowlife ex-boyfriend-turned-thief.

Review: What can I say? I love Kim Harrison’s writing, once again she’s turned out another winner—something not easy to do once you’re on Book 8 of the same series. This is a fun read, exciting and somewhat horrifying (somehow Rachel facing a lobotomy is scarier than all the demons in the Ever After combined) with plenty of action, humour, and magic.

One of the most heartbreaking scenes is the death of Matalina. The sorrow of this moment had the groundwork laid out throughout the other novels as the reader realizes that Jenks and Matalina are reaching the end of their life. Jenks, by going big via  a demon spell, reset his biological clock and is probably the first pixy to significantly outlive it’s mate; typically they die pining for the other. Rachel’s determination to save her friend by making herself small and simply supporting him made me cry; and the faeries as seen through the eyes of someone their size are really kind of scary.

Rachel’s relationships are, as always, royally messed up. She’s reinforced that she and Marshal were never really an item, their past relationship is only briefly mentioned but again her feelings for her dead lover Kisten are shown, when she comforts Jenks saying that if it were possible to die of a broken heart she’d be dead already. Nick has returned to once again screw her over, and for once she repays the favour in a humorous scene with Al in which she terrifies the living crap out of him. Although she and Pierce get much closer there’s still a sense of distrust between them, Rachel knows she’ll never be able to fully rely on him.

I loved the tension done with Rachel and the other witches of the Coven; Brooke especially. Rachel’s frustration is palpable; and at the same time her student-teacher relationship with Al is deepening, the link both condemning and saving her.

As always there is so much going on it’s difficult to review without making it about ten pages long, but rest assured this novel has a perfect mix of action, plot, character, romance and humour. I especially liked seeing Lee again and how he was doing after having been rescued from Al. He and Rachel essentially make up and I really hope to see him again in the later novels.

Black Magic Sanction just grabbed me from the beginning, reeled me in, and didn’t let go. It’s a wonderful, fast-paced read that anyone who enjoys UF or paranormal will enjoy. Excellently written up until the last page. Highly recommended!



Review: "Pants On Fire" Meg Cabot, "Learning To Fly" Victoria Beckham
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Title: Pants On Fire

Author: Meg Cabot

Publisher: Harperteen

Publication Date: April 19th, 2007

Rating: 8/10—Very good, would probably recommend

Book Jacket Summary: Liar, liar.
Katie Ellison is not a liar.
It's just that telling the truth is so . . . tricky. She knows she shouldn't be making out with a drama club hottie behind her football- player boyfriend's back. She should probably admit that she can't stand eating quahogs (clams), especially since she's running for Quahog Princess in her hometown's annual Quahog Festival. And it would be a relief to finally tell someone what really happened the night Tommy Sullivan is a freak was spray-painted on the new wall outside the junior high school gymnasium-in neon orange, which still hasn't been sandblasted off. After all, everyone knows that's what drove Tommy out of town four years ago.
But now Tommy Sullivan has come back. Katie is sure he's out for revenge, and she'll do anything to hang on to her perfect (if slightly dishonest) existence. Even if it means telling more lies than ever. Even if, now that Tommy's around, she's actually-no lie- having the time of her life.

Excerpt: http://www.megcabot.com/pantsonfire/pantsonfire.php

Review: I really liked this book, it made me laugh aloud plenty of times. It may seem difficult to work up empathy for a character like Katie—straight-A student, popular, pretty, pageant contestant with two gorgeous boyfriends (an actor and a football player). On paper, you hate her; in reality she’s very sweet and likeable.

Her character has its flaws; she is a little shallow and self-absorbed (constantly accusing Tommy of having come back to town just for her among other things) but she’s also a very sweet person who tries to do her best. Such as Seth, her boyfriend, whom she isn’t really in love with anymore but she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings or admit she made a mistake with him by dumping him, so she just cheats on him kind of subconsciously hoping he’ll dump her. She feels guilty over what happened with Tommy but even then she did act in the way she felt was best. It’s nice because her character really grows up throughout the book.

The sexual tension between Tommy and Katie was really done; I love the I-want-you-to-go-away-but-kiss-me-vibe she has going on, where she’s on one hand telling him to leave her alone but batting her lashes and letting her hair down while she does it.

As usual of Cabot’s books it was full of humour, charm, and loveable characters. While it’s not up to standard on some of her other books (All-American Girl or the Princess Diaries series, for example)it’s still a wonderful read.

Title Comments: The title works for this book; I like how Katie says a lot in the book; sort of a ‘I may be a liar but my pants are not on fire’ in regards to her cleaning up her messes.

Cover Comments: Love this cover, it’s a little more hormonally driven than her usual fare but it works and it has a sense of fun and flirtatiousness over trashy.





Title: Learning To Fly

Author: Victoria Beckham

Publisher: Penguin Global

Publication Date: May 16th, 2005

Rating: 7/10—Very good, would definitely recommend

Book Jacket Summary: Juicy & compelling—Heat.

From the time she saw the movie Fame, Victoria wanted to be a star. A line from the theme song stayed with her—‘I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly.’ With this amazing book she gives us the chance to fly alongside her on her journey from lonely teenager to international star.

This is the real Victoria Beckham, telling us what it’s like to be part of the most watched couple in Britain. Standing up for herself, David and Brooklyn, and setting the record straight about the controversies that have surrounded her. She reveals the truth behind the beginnings of the Spice Girls, her wedding, her health and the terrifying kidnap and death threats. And what it took for little Victoria Adams to become the star she is today, and why she wanted it so much.

‘The sensational autobiography of one of the most photographed and talked-about women in the world’ Mail on Sunday.

The Review: I’m going to start by saying I’m a big Victoria Beckham’s fan. I don’t think a single person who grew up listening to the Spice Girls could avoid absolutely loving them, and now that I’m older I admire her style, her designs, and the grace and elegance she carries herself with.

 The book opens with a scene from ‘present’ time, when David was photographed giving the paparazzi the finger. Why? Because someone had said they wished his kid got cancer and died. Ouch. This is only one of many things they deal with in regards to Brooklyn, the worst being the constant kidnap threats predominating the fourth half of the book.

The book discusses where Victoria’s passion for dance and performance began, her struggle with her weight—she was remarkably on the heavier side, comparing her to the size she is now some of those photographs really shocked me—and how to Spice Girls got together. She warmly describes each girl, what they brought to the group, and was refreshingly modest without sounding at all fake about her own participation. When seen through this perspective it’s impossible not to route for her, seeing her struggle with anorexia and being overworked and tired from rehearsals and performances when all she wants is to see her family and relax.

It also goes into her relationships, including the engagement with Mark in her pre-Spice Girl days and later how she and David met, fell in love, and fought to stay together and happy despite the craziness of their lives. Victoria makes a good narrator, she’s witty and to the point; carrying the book from scene to scene like a camera lens but still filling it with little ‘stop’ moments of human emotion. She’s very likeable and as a reader you can empathises with her easily. For example, Geri’s break from the group, Victoria’s feelings of loss and betrayal are genuine, when she’s faced by a media circus and she’s longing is her best friend to call and ask if she’s okay and she realizes that Geri won’t was actually very sad.

The writing and characterizations are very well done. You feel like you really get to know everyone, sort of as a fly on the wall.

All in all a very good book. It’s a fun read to sit down to, provides some nice insights on Victoria and David and is genuinely entertaining. I will most definitely be reading this again.



Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
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Title: Glass Houses

Author: Rachel Caine

Series: The Morganville Vampires, Book One

Genre: Paranormal/Horror

Excerpt:http://www.morganvilletexas.com/Morganville_Texas/MV_Novels/Entries/2010/12/18_Entry_1_4.html

Publisher: NAL Jam

Publication Date: October 3rd, 2006

Source: Library

Format: Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages

Rating: 10/10—Would definitely recommend and will reread again and again

Description: Welcome to Morganville, Texas. Don’t stay out after dark.

It’s a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows—one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn’t have the right connections—to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

Review: I almost didn’t read this book. I’ve seen the series a million times at Chapters but it looked like another pop-up vampire-romance poorly written crap that’s been overtaking bookstores since Twilight took off. Fortunately I did end up reading Rachel Caine’s Outcast Season novels and then realized it was the same author. I am so glad I did.

This book is an excellent start to a new series. Claire, shy and a bit younger than the other students is under some serious bullying. After getting pushed down stairs she decides her life is in danger and starts looking for another place to live. Her new roommates don’t initially seem like the most savoury of characters: there’s Shane who’s sort of a bad boy, Eve a little perky goth, and Michael a mysterious musician; but they seem better than the girls in her dorm actively trying to kill her. The three turn out to be really good friends and help her out, protecting her at school and informing her of the vampires and how to defend herself from them.

I loved the build up of relationships. Eve is simply adorable, and Michael is incredibly sexy. Like Claire, I was fascinated by Shane and I love the way their crushes on each other is slowly built up. Claire has very little physical power but she’s very intelligent and resourceful; when Shane makes a bad bargain trying to keep her safe she risks herself to get her hands on a book the vampires want so she can trade it for their Protection and null Shane’s deal.

Claire is a wonderful heroine, one of the few in the teen vampire genre that never gets on your nerves. I admired her struggle to stay in her classes—which is, after all, why she came to Morganville—and the kind of courage it took to not only face Monica and the other girls but the vampires after them.

The setting of Morganville is excellent, just a nice town with a dark secret. The characters were all wonderfully done and believable and the plot was thrilling and nicely paced, ending perfectly for the sequel. This is a series I will definitely be reading more from and am very happy to have found.



Review: 'In The Blood' Abigail Barnette
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Title: In The Blood

Author: Abigail Barnette

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Publication Date: January 25th, 2011

Format: E-Book, 107 pages

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Rating:  8/10—Excellent, I flew through it

Goodreads Summary: Her blood is his lifeline. His love could be her salvation…

Call girl Cassandra Connely drifts through life in a haze of guilt and sedatives, burdened by a deadly mistake from her past and plagued by nightmares of horrific, clawed creatures. Her newest client is a mouth-watering distraction, and she finds herself intrigued by Viktor Novotny’s eccentric…tastes. Until he touches her, and her nightmares become real.

One look at the woman in the hot red dress, and Viktor rests assured he will hang onto his humanity at least one more night. In the century since an attack turned him into a vampire and killed his wife, regular sexual encounters are his only defense against becoming a mindless Minion. Yet when Cassie agrees to be his companion—and meal—for the evening, she stirs his soul in a way he hasn’t felt since his lost lover.

Viktor’s haunted eyes pull at her heart, but Cassie cannot bear to feel anything, ever again. When she flees his apartment, though, she is in more peril than she knows. Tasting her blood without completing their union has left Viktor hungry for no other but her. And vulnerable to the very Minions that wait to drag him into the void. Worse, Cassie is their next target…

Warning: Contains explicit love scenes that will make your blood boil over, including a brief m/m encounter, ill-advised (but oh-so-sexy) use of sharp objects, and hypnotic kisses that could—just for a moment—make you imagine you are Viktor’s lady of the night.

Opening Paragraph: They waited for her below. Claws extended, gleaming in the moonlight. Flashing teeth dripped in anticipation. She searched the darkness, looking for help, for a savior she could not name, though she called out to him. One quick shove sent her over the ledge, into the pit, and their greedy claws scored her arms, tangled in her hair. Faceless, rubbery white skin parted in a sick imitation of a smile, revealed long, serrated jaws. It sprang.

Review: I knew I was going to love this book. I adored Glass Slipper, the first of Abigail Barnette’s novles I read; and I love what she did with vampires in her series Blood Books (under the name Jennifer Armintrout). I’m glad my high expectations were met.

First I’d like to say that I don’t generally like straight-out romances because I find many times there’s very little thought put into the plot or characters; it’s more of a she/he’s hot bangbangbang. This book, however, isn’t at all like that. Cassie and Viktor are drawn together because Cassie is the reincarnation of Viktor’s past love Melina—a love he doesn’t renounce, even when he loves Cassie for herself.

The vampires are very different; they use blood and sex to retain humanity and keep from becoming a ‘full’ vampire—and mindless rubbery Minion. Acts of humanity, such as compassion or kindness keep the beast at bay while violence, etc. causes it to develop faster.

Cassie was attacked by Minions years ago. Not only that, but she carries the guilt of having been responsible for her best friend’s death, an irresponsible night of drinking and then driving them back and getting into a car crash. The call girl job keeps her able to continue running from herself by putting on the layers of masks her customers want to see.

Meanwhile Viktor feels the guilt of not having been able to keep his beloved from dying. His best friend, Anthony, is working for the Conclave—a group that monitors and controls the vampire population—and he knows Anthony will kill him soon as the Minion takes over. Cassandra’s blood poisoned him, but at the same time she causes him to retain his humanity. He’s drawn to her, determined to help with her pain.

This book is about love arising in two broken-down people, and how it helps them stand on their own feet again, and makes them whole in a way they could have never been otherwise. It’s very romantic but also carries stunning sensuality (especially the male/male scene with Cassie watching—I could feel myself turning red)and genuine horror.

This book is also very easy to read, the language is very natural and the pacing is perfectly done. Unlike some other e-books/novellas I’ve read it  doesn’t at all feel choppy or like it’s going too quickly. You get into it right away. Another thing I liked were Cassie’s and Viktor’s personalities. Unlike many a romance hero, Viktor doesn’t demand Cassie quit her job their first meeting, or try to buy her full-time (which is insulting, not romantic); and the thought of all the other men she’s been with didn’t send him into a red-eyed frenzy of possessive rage (Thank God). In fact, it’s Cassie who decides to quit, and for her own reasons.

I was really engaged with these characters, they were realistic and intriguing. I loved Anthony, who goes from threatening to accommodating and helpful. It throws Cassie off balance butt it’s delightful as a reader. I also love the way Cassie speaks up for herself, in one scene when Viktor wants to leave her for her own good she snaps: “You’re telling me all these things I deserve but you’re not asking what I want.” I love this sentence; I wish I could put it on a card and pass it to all romance heroines.

I also liked the way the past life thing was done. Viktor was always very aware of Cassie and Melina being separate people; and he doesn’t compare them or cheapen one love with the other. they’re both people with a history and neither can simply erase that. Their love doesn’t make all the past problems better it makes them stronger and able to face them.

I have no criticisms of this book other than its length. I would have loved a longer read and more time with the characters.  

Cover Comments: not sold on the cover. I do like the dark, traditional horror aspect of it with the colours and the photo flash effect but it seems more like a paranormal thriller or crime novel than a romance. Take it or leave it.



Contest
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Follow for a contest for Those Who Hunt Monsters anthology:

http://maryinhb.blogspot.com/2011/03/giveaway-review-those-who-fight.html?


Review: Breaking Up by Aimee Freidman art by Christine Norrie
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Title: Breaking Up: A Fashion High Graphic Novel

Author: Aimee Freidman

Artist: Christine Norrie

Publisher: GRAPHIX

Publication Date: January 1ST, 2007

Rating: 8/10

Description:

"There's a fine line between a friend and an enemy. One minute there's all this trust, and laughter, and love. And the next minute... ... there's hurt. And cruelty. And betrayal." Meet Chloe Sacks: Thoughtful, artistic, and a junior at Georgia O'Keefe School for the Arts, nicknamed "Fashion High" for its trendy student body. Along with her best friends, Erika, Isabel, and MacKenzie, she's looking forward to a sparkling year of parties and romance. And it is an eventful year. But not quite what she expected. Who'd have thought that falling in love would be such a disaster?

Review:

This book had everything I’ve come to expect of an Aimee Friedman work: a likeable heroine, a charming love interest, and well-developed ‘friend’ characters mixed in a charming, sweet, and funny story that touches on reality.

Chloe is the artistic one in her little group, Erika is the sweetheart, Isabel the glamorous dancer, and MacKenzie the beautiful popular-girl wannabe. Despite having been friends since childhood, they each start drifting apart due to different personal problems. For Chloe, she starts dating Adam, a guy in her art class that makes her heart beat faster—but she’s determined not to let her friends find out because she knows they’ll make fun of her for his unpopularity and blatant Star Wars geekdom.

Meanwhile, Mac is out for the title of Queen bee, becoming besties with the current Queen Nicola while hooking up with her boyfriend Gabe behind her back. Chloe feels betrayed by the new closeness between Mac and Nicola and feels like she’s being shut out. Mac is likewise uninterested in anything Chloe has to say regarding her less-than-friendly behaviour regarding Gabe.

There’s really a whole lot going on in this book, which is great because it makes the characters seem so alive and it really reminds me of being in high school and sort of struggling with all these issues. Since the girls are all so different, and each has her own set of unrelated issues, it’s easy for a reader to connect to the one who best suits them. I love the way the romance was done, Adam is such a sweetheart and Chloe is really so sincere; I also loved the way the friendships were portrayed. The mini power-struggles and build-up of tensions that could all be talked over and forgiven over a coffee really brought me back to my high school days.

The art is also very engaging. It’s very comic-style, vaguely reminiscent of the Archies but more modern. I like how each girl was given such an individual look. Every outfit looks panned out, with plenty of attention to detail. Very nice.

Cover Comments: Really like this cover. I love Chloe’s expression, sort of nostalgic as she holds the picture of the four friends at the beginning of the school year. It really fits the book perfectly.



Review: Beauty by Robin McKinley
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Title: Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & The Beast

Author: Robin McKinley

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: October 25th, 1978

Format: Paperback, 247 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Rating:  7/10 (good)

Book Jacket Summary:

An unfortunate nickname

Sixteen-year-old Beauty has never liked her nickname. Thin, awkward, and undersized, with big hands and huge feet, she has always thought of herself as the plainest girl in the family—certainly not nearly as lovely as her elder sisters, Hope & Grace. But what she lacks in looks, she makes up for in courage. When her father comes home one day with the strange tale of an enchanted castle in the wood and the terrible promise he has made to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows what she must do. She must go to the castle and tame the Beast—if such a thing is possible...

Here is the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty...and the Beast.

Opening Paragraph: I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour, but few people except perhaps the minister who had baptized all three of us remembered my given name. My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. I heard him out, but with an expression of deepening disgust; and when he finished I said: “Huh! I’d rather be Beauty.” He laughed; and over the next few weeks told everyone he met this story of his youngest child’s precocity. I found that my ill-considered opinion became a reality; the name at least was attached to me securely.  

Review:

I love Beauty and the Beast so I was attracted to this book. I really like Beauty’s character; she and her family have a wonderful dynamic (the sisters as sweet and pretty was a new, nice touch) and she herself is fully developed and interesting. I especially love the scene where the ‘servants’ are trying to force her into a beautiful silver gown and she’s constantly trying to persuade them to give her something simpler. The plot is basic, but only because anyone who’s read the fairy-tale knows what’s going to happen. Beast I never warmed up too, he was entirely too flat in my opinion. As a character he worked but he was never ‘real’ to me.

But apart from that, I do like the book. The romance is slow to develop, but I like how her feelings for Beast gradually begin to change. The descriptions are also excellent, you really feel as though you’re there in the castle.

Cover Comments: This cover is gorgeous. The colours give it such a regal look, and I love her expression: she looks at peace, but still thoughtful. I also love the look of the model, she’s very pretty but in a subtle way that carries intelligence and personality not just big pouty lips and sloe eyes.



 



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