Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why I covet this series: I've heard of this series before but I wasn't seriously interested in reading them until I read the reviews of all three books on the Book Binge. It came highly recommended and since their recommendations are always spot on... I've also never read any post-apocalyptic books before so I'm doubly interested.

beyondthenightBook 1 (blurb from Goodreads)
A man with no future...
When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift" – he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past
Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one... until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that takes them beyond danger.

Beyond desire. Beyond the night.

embracethenighteternalBook 2 (blurb from Goodreads)
Everything they knew is gone. From the raging fires, five men emerge with extraordinary new powers. They must learn how to survive this dark, ravaged world... but they cannot do it alone.

Simon Japp will never forget his violent past. But when civilization is all but destroyed, he sees his chance for redemption. Blessed with a strange "gift," he's determined to help the resistance against the Strangers, the mysterious force that stalks them at every turn. He can't afford to get distracted, even by the stunning, soft-spoken woman fighting by his side...

Sage Corrigan has learned to be careful where she places her trust. But she sees something good in Simon, even if he can't see it in himself. Posing as lovers to infiltrate a group key to their fight, they find that their staged affection soon develops into a desire that will leave them fighting for their lives in the night eternal...

abandonthenightBook 3 (blurb from Goodreads)
From the raging fires, five men emerge with extraordinary new powers. They are humankind's last hope . . . but they cannot survive this dark, ravaged world alone...

Quentin Fielding had everything. Money. Power. Women. But now that civilization is all but annihilated, Quent wants only one thing: revenge. Harnessing a strange new "gift," he embarks on a deadly mission to find the man responsible for the chaos and destruction, the man he should have killed years ago: his father. Only one thing stands in his way—a mysterious, arrow-wielding beauty...

Zoe Kapoor is on her own quest for vengeance, searching for the monstrous fiends who murdered her family. Soon she and Quent join together, journeying through the ruins of the world they once knew as a desperate desire builds between them. Drawing closer to an enemy they never imagined, Zoe and Quent must abandon all fear, abandon all regret, abandon the night...

All three books in the Awakening Heroes Trilogy are out in stores.
For more info about the check out the author's website.


"Books I Covet" is a new weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, March 29, 2010

temptmeifyoucanPaperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416595449

ISBN-13: 9781416595441
Source of my copy & Cover Image from: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis
HE'LL PLAY BY HER RULES UNTIL SHE FALLS FOR HIM...HOOK, LINE, AND SINKER.

When an anonymous letter stuns shipping magnate and confirmed bachelor Ben Sinclair with the news that he has a teenage son, he's determined to make good on the past. But Emma Sands doesn't trust him. The beautiful, fiery blonde has raised her nephew in the peaceful woods of Maine since he was five, and just because fifteen-year-old Michael is the spitting image of his tall, handsome father doesn't give Ben the right to march in and change their lives forever. Or so she thinks, until his return mysteriously unearths a dangerous small-town secret. With Michael's help, Ben will do whatever it takes to prove to fiercely independent Emma that he can be the fearless protector she never knew she wanted...and the passionate lover she always thought she could resist.


Michelle's Review:
Tempt Me If You Can is the second book in the Sinclair Brothers series by Janet Chapman. I didn't read the first book and there is not need because but this book is a standalone. This book tells the story of wealthy businessman Ben Sinclair who received a letter from an anonymous source saying that he fathered a son fifteen years ago. So, after doing some investigating and finding out the letter speaks the truth, he left New York for Maine. There, meets his son Michael and Emma Sands who was sister to the mother of his child who had mysteriously disappeared.

My favorite scenes in this book are ones with Ben and Michael, his son. I really enjoyed reading those scenes and I thought they were really sweet. However, the pacing of the book was really choppy and the telling not so smooth--least of all the build up of Emma and Ben's relationship. They went from hating each other to trying to get along for the sake of Michael and suddenly Ben wants to marry her. I just didn't feel that gradual change of feelings between the two. The one sex scene they had felt tacked on for the sake of having a sex scene in the book and it was lukewarm at best. I also didn't like how Ben manhandled Emma in the beginning--for that matter Emma got hurt a lot in this book. From being attacked by a violent suitor to plane crashes to being chased through the woods by the villain--this lady suffered but then again I thought she's on the verge of being TSTL. I could keep going on of things I didn't enjoy so much but suffice to say there were too many things going on (especially that mystery that suddenly popped up about two thirds into the book) that bordered on in the absurd with choppy scenes and a hero and a heroine I didn't really feel a connection with.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. It might be worth borrowing from the library if you want to read a light romance with a bit of a mystery set in Maine but if you haven't read this author yet and want to check out one of her books I suggest you read The Seduction of His Wife. I read that book a few years ago and I remember it being a better read than this one.

Other books in the series:
atouchofscandal
Remember: If you leave a comment here, you get an extra entry in the A Touch of Scandal Giveaway (ends 4/7, US & Canada only). However, generic comments like "great review" will not be accepted.
You do
NOT have to go back to the original giveaway post to let me know you commented here.


atouchofscandalPaperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446540277
ISBN-13: 9780446540278
Source of my copy: Hachette
Cover Image from Hachette
Synopsis

The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.

Kate knows her duty to her family, yet how can she ignore Garrett's powerful pull on her heart? Or the heady temptation of his stolen-and sizzling-kisses? Scandal has followed the duke since the war. Now the greatest shock of all is on its way-the one that can separate Garrett and Kate forever.


Michelle's Review: (contains minor spoilers)
I stayed away from the first book in this series A Hint of Wicked because it has one of those love triangle plot lines and if there's one plot line I dislike it's that. When this book was offered by Hachette as one of their blog tour books and it doesn't seem like it has that plot line, I jumped at the chance to read it as I've been wanting to read this author since A Hint of Wicked came out and made a bit of a splash.

I wasn't disappointed. The writing was really good and the book was interesting. It's a love at first sight story that began when Kate met Garrett, a man she had been watching in fascination for a few days after she was done from working as a maid for her brother. Garrett caught her finally and they instantly connected. What Kate doesn't know is that Garrett is actually plotting revenge against her brother because of despicable acts he did to Garrett from the previous book. Not having read the first book, I thought the author did a good job filling in a new reader of what had occurred previously--reading the first book adds to this story (there you'll learn more about the whole conflict with Garrett and Kate's brother and how that all began) but A Touch of Scandal is a standalone book.

The whole time I was reading it though, I felt really sorry for Garrett. That man was put through a lot of really sucky situations: war, losing his memory for a number of years, losing his wife, betrayal from a man he thought his friend, scandal... I just wanted him to find his happy ending. As for Kate, I don't know how I feel about her. I thought she was a bit weak especially when it came to Garrett. Not that he was demanding really, but she pretty much agreed to everything he said and did everything he said to do with little or no thought. Almost everything she did from the moment she met him was all for him and that didn't sit well with me.

As I've mentioned above, this is a love a first sight story and I'm not a big fan of that plot line either as I prefer the hero and heroine to have a shared history before the story even began or for the falling in love part to be gradual so I don't think I'm sold on Garrett and Kate's love in the end. However, I thought the book was entertaining enough for a weekend read. This is the first book I remember reading where the villain was killed off in the middle of the story (not to worry there's another, though less evil, villain at the end of the book) and it was interesting to see where the author would take the rest of the story. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Other book in the series:
ahintofwicked

Today, Avon paranormal author Juliana Stone has stopped by to chat with us. Her newest release and debut book THE DARKEST HUNGER comes out tomorrow. Please join us in welcoming her.

julianastoneDo you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always been moved by the power of words and music. My mother is an avid reader and while I’m not sure this is what led to my love affair with books, it certainly helped. Because I have such a need to express myself a natural progression to music and writing occurred. But, it wasn’t until I was older, established in my life that I finally took a stab at creating my own world and The Jaguar Warriors were born. Lucky for me an agent fell in love with it, and she sold to Avon!


What inspired you to write your first book/story?

His Darkest Hunger is my first book and was totally inspired by my love of paranormal romance. I love the fact that it’s much easier to break rules, create what is in your mind and just go for it.

What books have influenced your life the most?
I am by no means a literary reader. I read for enjoyment and love a book that will take me away. When I was younger I devoured Nancy Drew. Loved those books…but as I got older romance was it for me. On a personal note, four years ago I picked up a copy of Dark Prince by Christine Feehan and my world was rocked. I loved it, read all of her books and became fascinated by everything paranormal.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
As stated in the previous question Christine Feehan was a huge influence on me. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet her two years ago, just before I sold and she was amazing.


How many books do you read in a month? What book are you reading now (if you are)?
Sadly, I don’t have much time for reading anymore but when I do I like a variety. I’ve rediscovered my love of historicals, I love YA, but paranormal is still what I love to read. I’m currently reading The Mammoth book of Time Travel Romance. A few of my friends are in it and it’s a great read.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Only until recently. I mean, I wrote His Darkest Hunger in the Spring of 2008 and never looked back.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? A place you've always wanted to visit?
No, not yet. Although part of this series is based in Belize which is a country I’d visited on vacation with my family.


Your favorite musician/type of music you listen to while writing?
I can’t listen to music while writing. I need quiet... I talk to myself a lot when writing. I will sometimes listen to a certain song to get me in the mood and the artist can vary.


Have you ever had writer's block? How do you overcome it?
I don’t think I’ve had writers block per say. I’m a fast writer and can usually get my 2-3000 words a day in no problem. Usually within a few hours. When I’m on deadline I like to write 10-15k a week. I have had moments where I’ve been lucky to get 3-5k done... but that usually because I’m stuck in the story and there is always a reason. If the scene isn’t working it usually doesn’t belong. I’ve learned to listen to myself that way and cut.

What was the hardest part of writing your just released book? Easiest?
I’m the writer that most hate... I wrote His Darkest Hunger in 7 weeks with no issues.

What are your current projects?
I am currently working on the third book in this series for Avon and I’m also working on a series of time travel romance short stories for Samhain Publishing. The first one, Black Legacy released in February and there will be a second short coming in the summer. I also would like to sell into the YA market and currently have a few things on the go!

Now, let's talk about your book HIS DARKEST HUNGER...

hisdarkesthungerHero & Heroine Names: Jaxon Castille and Libby Jamieson
Romance Subgenre:
Paranormal
Setting:
Michigan and Belize

Your favorite secondary character and will you ever write this character's own book?
Declan O’Hara. And I sure hope so! I have three Castille brothers to write, but Declan is clamouring for his own story. He’s a sexy man of Magick.

Your favorite scene:
The opening scene. When Jaxon is setting up his sniper gear to assassinate Libby. He’s been searching for her for three years and his revenge is finally within his grasp. But then something stops him, something about her is different. Haunted. Instead of pulling the trigger he goes to her. Imagine his surprise when she has no clue who the hell he is!

Celebrity who'd might play your hero/heroine:
Ali Larter would be perfect for Libby and I pictured an older version of Steven Strait to play Jaxon.

Book Blurb:

Jaxon Castille: jaguar shifter, warrior, assassin. He has long hungered for the chance to make his former lover, Libby Jamieson, pay for her deadly betrayal. After three long years he's finally found her. The hunt is over . . .

But the Libby that he finds is not what he expected. She has no memory of their tumultuous affair, of her treachery, of anything beyond her own name. A shadowy and deadly clan has marked them both for death, and in an instant, he game changes: the hunter has become the hunted.

On the run, with the ghosts of their past between them and a dark, desperate hunger quickly reclaiming their bodies and souls, Libby and Jaxon must discover the truth behind the dark forces working against them. Together, they must grab hold of a destiny that has the power to either heal them or destroy them.

But the truth is far more shattering than anyone could imagine . . .

Doesn't that sound good? I love that blurb and I'll definitely be grabbing my copy soon! I want to take this time to thank Juliana Stone for stopping by and sharing with us a little about her writing and her debut book HIS DARKEST HUNGER.

For more info on Juliana Stone and her books please go to her website.



"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is hosted by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!





Last week I read:
inbedwithastrangerperfectmurder
I was in a slight reading slump and it took me a week to finish In Bed With a Stranger--not because the book is bad but I think I was burned out after spring break reading all those books one after the other. I got over it though in time to read The Perfect Murder (one of my Romcon books I'm to judge which finally came in the mail on Saturday).



This week I'm reading:

mcalistairsfortune darkdeceptions
I'm hoping to read two books again this week. McAlistair's Fortune is my other Romcon book and Dark Deceptions is for review. I'm very much into romantic suspense lately so I'm very excited to read DD.






Next week I plan to read:

somethingaboutyou
I really want to read Something About You and maybe one of the YA books I ordered that arrived in the mail last week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

iceHardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Language: English
ISBN-10:
141698643X
ISBN-13: 9781416986430
Source of my copy: I bought it
Cover Image from Amazon
Synopsis (from the author's website)

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

Michelle's Review:

There is always an adjustment whenever I switch to a different genre after reading the same one for while (here from romance to YA). A little strange but true for me nonetheless and it took a bit for me to get into this book because of that. However, after I got going I thoroughly enjoyed Ice. This book is based on the Norwegian fairytale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and I read other retelling of this tale before (one I particularly enjoyed was East by Edith Pattou) but I liked the author's take on this one.

This book is a modern retelling of the fairytale so we have Cassie, a girl who had lived all her life in the Arctic with her scientist father. I loved Cassie and she's everything you want in a female lead: strong, spirited, intelligent and determined. She is not without her faults, however, and I thought this book is more a search for self-identity than anything else. This girl was put through the wringer--she suffered in her journey to find her love but in the process learned more about herself, family, identity, magic and love. There is a strong romantic element in this book between Cassie and Bear, who was a great "nice guy" hero. The buildup of their love was gradual and was developed by the author beautifully. I fell in love with Bear along with Cassie and I wish there are more heroes like him in the YA genre instead of the mean "bad boy" jerks that is so prevalent in the genre today.

The writing in this book is superb. The story's setting went from the cold Arctic to a boreal forest to a windy, mountainous region--the author wrote the descriptions of all the places Cassie traveled through in a way that is beautiful, captivating and I can easily visualize it all in my head. All I can say about this book is that it gorgeous: the main characters are great, the settings described aesthetically and the book was written in a clean, precise, simple prose I like. However, this book is not without its flaws. I thought there could have been a lot more about Cassie's parents--their story was a secondary plot in the beginning but it was never developed and just kind of disappeared after a while. Also, I thought the ending was abrupt and it's one of those that could have used a epilogue to tie everything up including the parents' story.

I give this very lovely book 4.25 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to all looking to read an epic adventure type book with a great heroine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

**CLOSED**

On the spotlight today is...

The Author: Jennifer Haymore

Bio: (Taken from Hachette website)
I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil….

Wait, no…that’s what every other writer says! I started writing just before my eighth birthday, and it wasn’t on my own volition. I was sailing with my family in a 42-foot sailboat across the Pacific, and since there were no local schools (except those pertaining to fish) nearby, my mother homeschooled me. She was a strict taskmaster! A veritable slave driver! She demanded a new story every day.

So I’d sit in the boat’s galley and write. And stare out the porthole, and write some more. And doodle, and write some more. By the time we arrived in Hawaii the following year, I had a portfolio of stories, and I was hooked. Since then I haven’t stopped. (Well, much. I did take breaks now and then, for things like college, young kids, and a master’s degree.)

I love to read just as much as I love to write, and actually the reading bug hit me at about the same time my mom was cracking the whip over my head and commanding me to write. What else to occupy your time with when there are no other kids to play with and nothing to do but stare at the endless sea? Some of my most recent favorites: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, River God by Wilbur Smith, and anything by Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase.

For more on Jennifer Haymore follow her on Twitter, Facebook and her website.

The Book: A Touch of Scandal

Blurb: (taken from Hachette website)
The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.


Kate knows her duty to her family, yet how can she ignore Garrett's powerful pull on her heart? Or the heady temptation of his stolen-and sizzling-kisses? Scandal has followed the duke since the war. Now the greatest shock of all is on its way-the one that can separate Garrett and Kate forever.




Do you want to win your very own copy of A Touch of Scandal?

To enter:
Simply leave a comment and tell me why you want to read this book.

Extra Entries:
+1 if you are a visible follower of this blog
+1 if you leave a comment on my review for this book that will be posted on March 29
(Edited to add:
LINK to my review of this book)
+1 if you advertise and leave a link (tweet, sidebar, post)

Rules:

1. Only residents of the U.S. or Canada are eligible to win.
2. No P.O. Boxes.
3. This giveaway will end on April 7 and the winners will be selected using random.org. The winners will be announced here on the blog soon after.
4. The winners are responsible for emailing me with their shipping address within 72 hours. If they fail to do so, I will select new winners. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS.

Disclaimers:
VERY IMPORTANT! Please read before entering!
1. This giveaway is being sponsored by Hachette Book Group and NOT Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks. If you win, you'll receive your book directly from Hachette.
2. Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks is in NO way for responsible for prizes that are not honored by the sponsor, dispersed in a timely manner, stolen, lost and/or damaged during transit.
3. Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks have the right to change or cancel this giveaway at any time without a prior notice.
4. Please make sure you understand the above disclaimers before entering and good luck!



**Please DO NOT comment if you are not entering this giveaway. Thank you!**

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why I covet this book: I love the blurb! It sounds like this book has everything I love in YA fiction: creepy mystery, a strange town filled with secrets, a romance and paranormal elements. July can't come soon enough!

shadowhillsBlurb: (from Goodreads)
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

Shadow Hills comes out on July 13, 2010. For more info check out the author's [really awesome] website.


"Books I Covet" is a new weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!
instanttemptationPaperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Brava
Language: English
ISBN-10: 075823127X
ISBN-13: 978-0758231277
Source of my copy: the author for an honest review
Cover Image from GoodReads
Synopsis

T.J. Wilder is the perfect package of breathtaking adventure and raw sex appeal. Even better, he's about to reconnect with the one woman he's never been able to forget. . .
To Harley, the landscape around Wishful, California, is exhilarating, untamed, and more than a little dangerous. The same could be said for T.J. Wilder, who's invited himself along on her trek to study a rare coyote. Harley's career is riding on this trip, and she doesn't need a stubborn, incredibly sexy distraction. But T.J. is a professional guide who knows when to stay back and when to provide invaluable expertise--just like he's done since they were in high school. And Harley, as usual, is torn between throttling him and giving in to the raw attraction that's been smoldering all these years.
T.J. knows how proud and capable Harley is, but he's damned sure not letting her put herself at risk when there are illegal hunters in the area. She needs him, with the same soul-stirring urgency that he's always craved her. And here, in this beautiful place days from civilization, he'll finally have a chance to prove it--over and over again.


Michelle's Review:
This book being my first ARC sent to me by an author I planned on keeping it on my shelf forever and ever because I'm a sentimental sap. After I read it though this book is staying on my shelf forever and ever because I genuinely liked it and I'll be revisiting it to re-read my favorite parts.

Instant Tempation was my first Jill Shalvis book and I think she writes in a very entertaining, easy to read way. I haven't read the first two books in Ms. Shalvis's Temptation series but this book is definitely a standalone--if you'd read the previous books, the characters you know and loved from those are great secondary characters in this book. Set in a tiny but beautiful town of Wishful, this is the story of super sexy TJ and tomboy Harley.

I really liked Harley and loved her inner dialogue and of course I couldn't help but fall in love with TJ along with her. I like the banter between TJ and Harley and their back and forth flirting. There was also great sexual tension between the two but I thought the whole "will they or won't they" just got a tad bit too long and dragged the story a little. Also, I don't know if it's just the ARC but I got a bit tired of reading how damn fine and hot TJ was, which was pretty much in every other paragraph when you're reading the story through Harley's perspective but this didn't take away from the story. However, I really liked that Harley didn't hold "the incident" that happened when they were in high school against TJ and TJ in turn didn't obsess over it too much. I've read books in the past where it's centered around a past "incident" between the main characters and the story just went around in circle over that but I'm glad it didn't happen in this book. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be. I've read books published by Brava before and they were very spicy (maybe even too spicy for me) so was expecting that with this book but it has just the right amount of steam for me. This book also had great secondary characters like TJ's aunt Annie, Harley's sister Skye, and of course the other two Wilder brothers.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and the ending left a smile on my face. Both TJ and Harley were likable, fun characters and I enjoyed their story. Now, I want to check out Stone and Cam's (TJ's brothers) books as well. It's a fun romantic comedy and perfect for a sexy weekend read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Other books in the series:
instantattraction instantgratification instanttemptation
Instant Temptation comes out on March 30.








Note: I'm so sorry! This review accidentally got published before I was ready to publish it on the blog. I edited the content a bit to polish the review (7 hours after it was published on the blog) but I did not change the rating.
practicemakesperfectPaperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425226743

ISBN-13: 978-0425226742
Source of my copy: I bought it
Cover Image from Amazon
Synopsis
When it comes to the laws of attraction...
Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.
...there are no rules.
But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar . . .


Michelle's Review:
Practice Makes Perfect was my first read from Ms. James and it certainly won't be my last! I absolutely adored this book! It was written in a witty, fun way that kept me reading through the night and laughing out loud. I absolutely love the banter and sexual friction between Payton and J.D., who were both lawyers working in the same firm. They were definitely one of the best "opposites attract" couples (Payton being a vegetarian liberal with a hippie mom and J.D. being a conservative from an affluent family) I've read in a while. Not that they're complete opposites: both are hard-working, at the top of their class, intelligent and perfectionists. Payton and J.D. have also been quietly at war for eight years but their silent battle came to a head when they were both up for partner and there was only one slot. Hijinks ensues of course, complete with pranks that made me laugh out loud! Before long, they both realize what they'd been denying for years--that they're attracted to each other and when they finally get together, I gave a happy sigh.

I liked Payton from the start but I wasn't sure of J.D. in the beginning because he was a bit of an a-hole. But as the book went on, he's an a-hole you can't help but like because beneath that exterior is a guy with heart. My favorite part of the book was when J.D. was asking his best friend Tyler for advise about his feelings for Payton and Tyler based his advise on Pride and Prejudice. That bit was awesome--I even read it out loud to Leslie (who didn't quite get it because that sucker still haven't read P and P yet!). This book is a definite must read! It reminded me how good a contemporary romance can be. For me, it was one of those books that after I read the last page, I want to re-read it all over again because I didn't want to leave the characters just yet. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for a very satisfying read.

Here's hoping the author will revisit Payton and J.D. in a future book as secondary characters? Or better yet, write a sequel to Practice Makes Perfect?

Monday, March 22, 2010

I should be working on my reviews but I'm the biggest procrastinator in the planet. When I saw that Princess Bookie is having another recreate a book cover contest, I found the perfect distraction. I had fun making my version of The Body Finder cover, that I had to join in on this one too. For this contest, you have to pick one of nine book covers to recreate. I chose The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride to do because it's the only one of the nine I'm kinda interested in reading. Go to Princess Bookie's blog to learn the rules to enter and for more information.

thetensionofopposites



















The on the left is my creation and on the right is the original.

Here's the book blurb:
It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear. For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with?

And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.

The Tension of Opposites will be released on May 25, 2010.



"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is hosted by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!





Last week I read:
temptme temptmeice practicemakesperfect

I read FOUR books last week--being the one-book-per-week girl that I am, this is a feat! It was spring break and I was in reading-without-interruption heaven! Unfortunately, now I'm behind on reviews for all these books... but at least they're read! :)

This week I am reading:
temptme
Check out the cover on this one! I'm almost at the halfway but I don't have an opinion yet.

I plan to start reading either The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak and McAlistair's Fortune by Alissa Johnson as well--these are my review books for RomCon but they haven't come in the mail yet and scores are due on the 7th next month. Yikes! Now that there's work again, I'm back to my one book a week. Cross fingers they come soon so I can read them in time.


Next week I plan to read:
Whatever books I don't finish this week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

100th Post Giveaway WINNER!!

Friday, March 19, 2010 with
With the help of random.org, the winner of our 100th Post Giveaway is...

Patty

who picked greatterriblebeauty as her book prize.

Congrats Patty! Please email us with your shipping address in the next 48 hours:
bookmakeupreview @ gmail . com (no spaces)
Thank you for entering everyone! Sorry to all who didn't win this time but please see our sidebar for other awesome giveaways happening around the blogosphere and look for more giveaways to come here at M&L's Book Pick in the future as well!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

thirteenthtaleTrade Paperback: 406 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0743298039
ISBN-13: 978-0743298032
Source of my copy: I bought it
Cover Image from Amazon
Synopsis
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father's antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise–she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.
Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.
As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still.


Leslie's Review:
Margaret Lea, a biographer troubled by her past, is called upon by the famous storyteller, Vida Winter. Miss Winter finally decided to comes clean by telling Margaret her true story of "the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire." As the truth was revealed, Margaret and Miss Winter finally confront what has been haunting them. The story takes place in Yorkshire, England and the plot is very fascinating and mysterious. The twists and eerie disasters of Miss Winter's past was a great read in this book that I completely loved.

I think the main effect that grabbed me was how Margaret was a total lover of books. In the beginning as she introduced herself, she kept me wanting to continue to read, reminding myself of my own love to books. Like Margaret, I was sucked into Miss Winter's past and I liked the mystery of it the most. It led to questions that, when answered, led to more questions, which made keep reading and reading.

For me, Miss Winter was a confusing character. She was a liar, she's not very nice and very demanding. Yet, in the end, I find myself sort of liking her. She had a troubled past, she loves books as well and very intelligent and I guess she's one of those people you grow to love. She was a very interesting character.


I love Setterfield's writing in this book. She did really well describing feelings, settings and situations by a variety of colorful words. She has great vocabulary. In conclusion, I give this book
4.95 stars out of 5 and is recommended to all book addicts that love a good mystery!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The awesome Wena (who I consider as a sort of older [book blogging] sister) of Book Binge and Coffee House Banter tagged me for the Sugar Doll Blogger Award. Thanks Wena!

The rules say that I'm supposed to list ten things about me and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce myself better to the new readers of this blog. So, here we go...

1. I'm named after the Beatles song "Michelle." This song is my least favorite Beatles song. I prefer "Here Comes the Sun" which always puts me in a good mood whenever I listen to it.

2. I'm the oldest of 4 children. My youngest sister is sixteen years younger than me. Sometimes I'm mistaken for her mother.

3. I think orange flavored things are icky: orange soda, orange starburst, orange sorbet, etc. The only orange flavored foods I can eat/drink are oranges (the fruit), orange flavored chicken, and orange juice.

4. I learned how to crochet by watching how-to YouTube videos one semester while I was in college.

5. My newest TV obsession is Life Unexpected. My newest TV find Criminal Minds (I don't know why I haven't found this show sooner). I'm so excited for Glee to come back next month!

6. English wasn't my first language. I was born in the Philippines and lived there until my family moved to Hawaii when I was nine years old. Sadly, I'm more comfortable speaking English now than Ilocano.

7. To save money, my mom insist on hanging our laundry outside to dry in the sun. Sometimes when she's at work, I secretly use the dryer for my clothes.

8. I belonged to a sorority in college.

9. I'd rather go book shopping than clothes or shoes or food shopping.

10. I did some damage on the Book Depository last night. I was going to wait for more reviews before I buy The Body Finder but I ended up getting it because I couldn't resist the $10.99 price. I ended up getting Before I Fall, The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves as well because you can't buy just one book, you know?

Not really book-related but I hope that's okay? I tag Jenny, GMR, Kayla, Jan, Darlyn, Debbie and Trillian who passed on bloggy awards to us in the past. And of course if anyone else want to do this tag too, go for it! :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

doubleplayPaperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425228681

ISBN-13: 978-0425228685
Source of my copy: I bought it
Cover Image from Amazon
Synopsis
Getting to first base is a cinch...But getting home will take a grand slam...
Pace Martin is the ace pitcher for the Pacific Heat. He's got the arm, the experience, and the wins. He's also got the pain, the pressure, and the possible end of his career looming over him. The last thing he needs now is a distraction, even if it comes in the form of a tough, beautiful, tell-it-like-it-is writer who sees past his defenses.
Holly Hutchins knows a good story when she sees one, and the tall, dark, and slightly attitude-challenged Pace Martin fits the bill. But when she realizes there's more at stake than just a win, she starts to see the handsome, broad-shouldered jock in a different light.
Pace and Holly begin a seductive game, but in the face of unexpected betrayal and challenges, they'll have to find the courage to swing for the fences...


Michelle's Review:
Double Play is book one in Jill Shalvis's Pacific Heat series and I may have found my go to author for fun contemporary romantic comedy reads in Ms. Shalvis. Pace was one of those heroes where after I read the book and I wanted a Pace of my own. There's something about him that is not like other heroes I've read--he's not your typical alpha but he's no beta hero either. He was an MLB pitcher for the Santa Barbara Pacific Heat and hot, sexy, smart and his team's ticket to a winning season. He was paired with Holly Hutchins, a reporter who has a reputation for exposing secrets from any assignment she takes. I liked Holly--she was outspoken, tells it like it is and does what she wants to do with no apologies. However, she had her principles when it came to her job and wasn't underhanded about it. I thought these two were well matched: both had a crappy childhood, both believe that their job was the only thing going for them and both were loners in their own way. There was great chemistry between them and great dialogue and flirting between the two. These two had some issues to work out especially the trust issue because Holly was out to uncover the truth about a possible drug scandal within Pace's team.

My biggest concerns going into this book was the whole baseball thing. I'm not a baseball fan at all so I went into this book wary that it'll be bogged down with baseball facts but it wasn't at all. It actually focused more on the ups and downs of a glitzy celebrity life of a professional baseball player, which was fine with me and was actually an interesting read. The thing that I found unbelievable was how secretive the group of boys Pace coaches were that a freakin' celebrity was coaching them every weekend and giving them free stuff. I mean these are young kids and they'd want to feel important and what better way than tell everyone and everything that they're chummy with a pro pitcher for the hottest MLB team in the country! I also don't see the boys caring too much about Pace's love life either. These didn't take away from the story but it did raise my eyebrows.

A great read all in all with a likable hero and heroine, a good cast of secondary characters and with an equal amount of fun baseball silliness (crazed fan, baseball superstitions) and reality (drug scandals, injury) which makes for a perfect weekend read. I'm definitely going to be reading the next book in the series and more from Ms. Shalvis. I give this book 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Other book in the series:
slowheat


"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is hosted by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!





Last week I read:
doubleplay


Review coming soon!







This week I am reading:
temptme temptme
Chee-hoo!! It's spring break week! And that means I'm going to have a lot of reading time. I'm hoping to finish these two at least as well as a few more.







Next week I plan to read:
The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak
McAlistair's Fortune by Alissa Johnson

Saturday, March 13, 2010

ABCNot a very good month for challenges is March. The first challenge I did not complete is my which I gave myself way back when I first started blogging. I was supposed to read 26 books total with a word in the title to correspond with the alphabet in six months. I read more than 26 books in that time but I was still missing titles for letters K, N, P, Q, X, Y, and Z. Not a total loss I guess because my primarily goal back then was to keep reading one book after the other. I just was in a book rut and this challenge kept me going with my reading. It served its purpose and not a total failure.

The next one is a total FAIL. Remember my lovely Project 20 Books? You know, the one where I was either going to read 20 books OR not buy any books with my own money until April 1st. No amount of rationalizing is going to hide the fact that I broke down and bought books without the aid of gift cards or other people's money. I think the start of my downfall occurred when I somehow ended up winning two Amazon gift cards one week after the other. I had $30 of book money to burn and burn them I did. Earlier this month I bought:
Which was okay. No resolutions broken and I was still in the game... But then were so many great books being released and my wishlist was just getting longer and longer by the day. All the blogs were reading there great books and giving glowing reviews and I had book envy pretty much every time I open Blogger. I couldn't take it any longer. I have to get my hands on those books and read them too!!

One night last week while Leslie (who has been policing my book buying habits and keeping me on the straight and narrow) was away on an overnight school band thingie, I did it. I ordered books and paid for them with my money. I FAILED though that sense of failure only lasted for a minute, mostly I was relieved the book buying ban was over.

I can't take a picture because they haven't come yet but I ended up getting:
ironkingice nochancedarkhighlandereternalhuntereternalhunter








I'm giddy with anticipation! I can't wait till they come and are squeezed into sitting on my overstuffed bookshelf waiting to be enjoyed.

In other news, I now have an Amazon Associates accounts. From this point forward all the books featured on this blog will link to Amazon. If you click on a book cover with a link and/or a plain text link, it will take you to Amazon and if you end up buying that book I will get a very, very small referral fee. I joined on a whim one night but I figured what the heck--I'm not losing out by joining and whatever money comes out of it will go directly back to the blog for giveaways and postage costs. Just letting you all know! I'll be updating our disclaimers as well to reflect this change. Anyone else on this program? Any cons you've experienced?