Friday, April 30, 2010

jillshalvis Paperback: 315 pages
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Language: English
Source of my copy: I bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
After a woman claims she's pregnant with Wade O'Riley's love child, Major League Baseball's most celebrated catcher and ladies' man is slapped on the wrist by management and ordered to improve his image. His enforcer is the team's publicist, the tough and sexy Samantha McNead.
When Wade needs a date for a celebrity wedding, Sam steps up to the plate as his "girlfriend". But given her secret crush on him and that one awkward night a year ago in a stalled elevator with too much Scotch, the whole thing is an exercise in sexual tension.
Wade is thrilled when the pretense turns into an unexpected night of hot passion. But the next day Sam is back to her cool self. As a catcher, Wade's used to giving the signals, not struggling to read them. Now, to win the love of his "pretend" girlfriend, he needs a home run--even if it involves stealing a few bases...

Michelle's Review:
Slow Heat is the second book in the Pacific Heat series and is another great contemporary romance by Ms. Shalvis. Having read Double Play, the first book in the series (my review here), I found I liked this one better. I mean I really liked Double Play but I really, really liked Slow Heat all the more. Maybe it's because prior to the start of the story, Wade and Sam already have a shared history--they work together (Sam being the publicist for the Heat and Wade is the star catcher) and they had sex in an elevator one drunken night and both can't forget about that "incident." I definitely prefer the hero and heroine having prior history as oppose to them just meeting in the beginning of the book.

Wade is described as a laid back, easy going blond surfer-like guy while Sam is more of a plannner and organization type of gal and the whole opposites attract dynamic they had going on was done well. I really liked the progression of their relationship from denying their feelings to themselves and each other to that last scene when the "three words" were spoken. If you haven't read the first book of the series, have no fear as SH is a standalone book but you probably might want to read Double Play anyway. This is a contemporary romance at its finest. This book is filled with humor and banter, plenty of sexual tension and flirting and two very likable hero and heroine--both of which are wonderful in their imperfections. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a fun and satisfying contemporary romance read. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It appears I'm having a reviewer's block because every time I try to write one for the last few days, I can't organize my thoughts enough to come up with a coherent review. So, I decided to start a new feature called Discovery of the Week, which will feature random book-related discoveries I made that week (if I do at all) and the posts will be similar to the one below. This idea just came to me tonight, but if you know anyone with a similar idea please let me know so I can give them credit/link them/contact them. So, here goes the first one...

I was Youtube surfing yesterday and I found this trailer:

alexflinn Umm... Okay, so I thought when the guy turned into an "ugly beast" he looked more like a really hot version of one of those body art guys from National Geographic's Taboo than ugly. But since Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite fairy tale and this movie is clearly a retelling of it, I took interest and looked into it some more. Lo and behold, it's based on a YA novel of the same title! Of course, now I'm more interested in the book than the movie. I'm surprise I haven't heard of the book or the author before yesterday because it appears that it came out just last year and made a bit of a splash. Anyway, I'm currently trying to decide whether to buy the book Beastly or just borrow it from the library. Thoughts? Anyone read this book--is Beastly a buy or a borrow?

Monday, April 26, 2010

isabokelly Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Language: English
Source of my copy: from the author for review
Synopsis (from the author's website)
She is a Siren, capable of driving men mad with her song.
Sonia has been preparing for her marriage to Vander since before her father announced their betrothal. Their marriage will unite their homeworlds against a common enemy, and Sonia has done everything in her power to be ready for that union. All her study has had an unexpected side effect, however: she’s fallen in love with him.
He is a genetically engineered soldier determined to save his homeworld.
Vander had no intention of being married in anything but name, but as soon as he meets Sonia, he knows he must have her in his bed. And as soon as he hears her song, he realizes her powerful voice will be an unmatched asset to the war effort…and will put Sonia in terrible danger.
With enemies on all sides and treachery at every pass, Sonia must find a way to use her extraordinary voice to hold back the Selmorahn Empire…and use her mind and body to win the heart of the man she loves.

Michelle's Review:
Siren Singing is a novella length book published by Ellora's Cave. This being my first EC book, I didn't know what to expect but when the author assured me that her books "tend to be a little vanilla" compared to other EC books, I breathed easier. I like some steam in my books but the hardcore erotica stuff (i.e., menage, BDSM, etc.) are just not my cup of tea...

Well, I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this book! It is a bit more steamier than your average romance novel but nothing crazy which I really like. The thing about this book is that the relationship between the hero and the heroine is more than lust and sex. Reading the story, I felt that they genuinely were falling in for each other and by the time the book ended I believed in their professed love for one another. This is important because from the reviews I've read featuring other EC books, the sex often gets in the way of relationship building between the main characters but I'm happy to say that does not happen in this book. I like both the hero and the heroine and the futuristic world they lived in is interesting. However, I thought the characters and the world building were under developed, but with a novella of only 170 pages that is to be expected (I really wished SS was a longer book!). The only part where I went "huh?" was that thing with Sonia hating snakes--it was mentioned twice and both times it took me out of the story for some weird reason (maybe because that quirk was out of character for her?). I thought the story could have done without that. The writing was good and I like the author's voice (I'm very happy I have another book by her waiting for me on my shelf). For a fast and steamy read, consider giving Siren Singing a try! 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, April 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:
juliekagawa isabokelly
My review of The Iron King can be found here and my review for Siren Singing will be posted sometime this week.

This week I'm reading:

I'll be reading these two books for the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle (hosted by Alyssa of The Shady Glade) and as a judge, I'll be picking which of the two will move on to the next level.

Next week I plan to read:
lrhieber ritaherron
Next week, I'll be catching up with review books. I'm most excited to read The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker!
Today is the official start of the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle hosted by Alyssa of The Shady Glade blog. Despite the fact that I am very behind on writing my reviews (when am I ever not?), I decided to join in and act as a judge. Here are the books that will be battling it out:

I'll be reading and judging the following books:
kderting and bfitzpatrick

I'm really excited because I have both books sitting on my shelf for a long while and this is a good push to get me reading YA titles I've bought months ago but haven't read yet. I've read good and not-so-great reviews of both books so we'll see after I'm done reading to see which one of the two I'll choose to move on to the next level (I'll be doing another post in two weeks to reveal this).

Any of you read either or both of these books? If you were judging the two books above, which one will you choose to move on? My inquiring mind wants to know! :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

juliekagawa Paperback: 363 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Language: English
Source of my copy: I bought it
Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.

Michelle's Review:
From the very beginning, I was drawn to this book by the cover. Sure, I saw that this book received great ratings but I never read any reviews on this book before I bought it. It has been sitting on my shelf for a while, when I finally picked it up and took it with me to read during my weekend trip... And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised by the story!

This is a debut book by author Julie Kagawa and I thought the writing was good overall. It was slightly awkward in the beginning but as the story went on it got better. I thought the world building great and I enjoyed reading about the faery creatures Meghan encountered. The creatures and some of the scenes in this book reminded me a lot of that 80s movie Labyrinth (you know the one with David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly) though--actually this book reminded me a lot of that movie. The book's pacing was slow at times and only picks up in the last third of the book but I wasn't bored. I really liked the secondary characters in the book like the prankster Puck, the cunning cat Grim and the book's heartthrob Ice Prince Ash but I wasn't sure what to make of the heroine Meghan. The book is written in first person in Meghan's perspective and I thought I should've gotten to know her best but I didn't. Yes, she's brave and good and determined but most of the time I was reading I kept asking what else? The last few chapters of the book it finally felt like I'm getting something else from Meghan but the book ended...

There may be a possible love triangle between Meghan, Ash and Puck but I don't think it's going to be as stressed a plot device in this series as say in The Hunger Games. Well, at least I hope not because, as some of you know, I really dislike love triangles. All in all, I liked it and I've already decided that I'm going to follow this series--it's interesting and I want to see where the author takes the story. 4 out of 5 stars
Today, we are excited to have one of my favorite romantic suspense author Elisabeth Naughton as our first ever guest blogger! Her latest release is MARKED, a paranormal romance and the first book in her new Eternal Guardians series comes out this coming Tuesday, April 27th! Please join us in welcoming her... Take it away, Elisabeth!

Thanks so much to Michelle and Leslie for having me here today!

Help! My Favorite Author Has Abandoned Me!

As I make the jump from romantic suspense to the paranormal genre, I find myself fascinated with what it is about the paranormal genre that draws readers. I’ll admit, I was never a huge paranormal fan until just a few years ago. My genre of choice has always been romantic suspense. Danger, intrigue, romance…those are the elements that always pull me. But as I’ve read more, branched out into different genres, I’ve discovered paranormals aren’t all that different from what I’ve been reading for years.

Take my two series, for example. My Stolen Series is considered light romantic suspense or romantic adventure. All three books deal with some kind of treasure hunt, characters on the run from bad guys out for their own gain, and everyday people forced into extraordinary circumstances. Broken down distinctly, in each of my romantic suspense books you’ll find murder and mayhem, danger and suspense and a super hot romance twined through the entire thing.

Compare that to my new paranormal series—the Eternal Guardians—which begins with MARKED (April 27, 2010). These books are different in that the heroes are all descended from the heroes of Ancient Greece—Hercules, Odysseus, Achilles, Jason, etc. They are the protectors of their realm who battle daemons from the Underworld and one specific god hell-bent on revenge. But broken down to its most basic level, these books also contain murder and mayhem, danger and suspense and a smokin’ hot romance. They just happen to have a little something “extra” that my romantic suspense books don’t.

I’ve heard from some fans of my Stolen Series who love romantic suspense and aren’t big paranormal readers. A few have expressed frustration that I am “switching genres so soon”. I can understand this disappointment. You find an author you love in a genre you adore, and then that author moves off to write something else. And the paranormal genre seems to be so wide sweeping. Why is everyone switching to that genre?

I don’t know about other authors, I can only answer for me, but I will tell you flat out that I never planned to write paranormals. I have, however, always been fascinated with Greek mythology. When I was writing STOLEN FURY (my 2010 Double Rita nominee), I immersed myself in the stories from Ancient Greece. That book centered around three ancient relics of the Three Furies – the goddesses of punishment and crime in Greek mythology—and when I got done, I knew I wanted to do something else that was as steeped in the old stories as that was. The result was MARKED, my first paranormal. Yes, there are daemons and snarky gods, immortal beings and a millennia-old prophecy that could bring about the end of the world. But the book is still written in my voice, it still combines romance and danger, suspense and intrigue. So at the heart, when you peel away that paranormal layer (which is all the Greek mythology that I have always loved), you’re left with a book that’s really not all that different from my romantic suspense work.

I’m hoping fans of my Stolen Series will give MARKED a try. A good friend (who only reads romantic suspense and contemporary romances) read it recently and told me she was shocked by how much she loved it. More than my other books, in fact. That was quite a compliment coming from someone who has avoided paranormal novels pretty much altogether. The more I read (and write) the more I’ve realized that if I love an authors voice in one genre, regardless of where they go next, it’s a pretty good bet I’m going to love them in the new genre as well.

And for those readers who are worried I’ve abandoned my RS roots? Don’t fret, I haven’t. I love writing romantic suspense and always will. As publishers are willing to buy my work, I’ll continue writing it. In fact, my next project is an RS novella I’m writing for Kensington, which I can’t wait to start. I truly love writing in BOTH genres.

How about you? Have you ever felt abandoned by an author you fell in love with? Did you give that author a chance in their new genre? I’d love to know why or why not.

I have an ARC of MARKED to give away to one lucky commenter today, so tell me what you think! And to learn more about me and my books, please visit me at (Elisabeth assured me that INTERNATIONAL entrants are welcome and ends May 1st)

MARKED is one of my most anticipated releases in 2010 so I'm really excited! I love her Stolen series (my review of Stolen Fury) and I can't wait to read her jump from romantic suspense to paranormal. Don't forget to pick up your copy on Tuesday!
Leslie and I want to take this time to thank Elisabeth for stopping by today and for writing this wonderful post.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today, we have the lovely Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the wonderful book The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker on the blog. Her newest release and the sequel to Strangely Beautiful called The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (how awesome and poetic are these titles?!) comes outs next week Tuesday, April 27. Please join us in welcoming her.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? What inspired you to write your first book/story?
I was twelve years old and had issues with the way The Phantom of the Opera ended and so I decided it was up to me to write a sequel (Set in 1888 - a year that clearly haunts me). Thank goodness that endless, sprawling, miserable drama of 1,000 pages and 20 different endings never saw the light of day. And thankfully never will. I set it ablaze in a ritualistic and overdramatic ceremony in our fireplace.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I began writing that book, at 12, I was a secret writer. It wasn't until years later that I confessed to having writing tendencies. I was far too nervous to share my work until I wrote, directed and produced a play during high-school and that sort of broke the ice.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Tie between Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling and Charles Dickens

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? A place you've always wanted to visit?
London is my soul's home and going there is heaven.

Your favorite musician/type of music you listen to while writing?
Classical music.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I cannot wait until my friend Elizabeth Kerri Mahon's Scandalous Women comes out, a thrilling non-fiction book about notorious women of history, taken from her award-winning blog I'm also entranced with Julie Rose's new translation of Les Miserables (one of my favourite books of all time).

What was the hardest part of writing your just released book? Easiest?
Hardest: I can't tell you the hardest part or I'll give something away. But I wept. A lot. Easiest? Expanding Percy and Alexi's relationship and indulging Lord Elijah Withersby's unending sass.

What is next after Darkly Luminous? Do you have any current projects?
More "Strangely Beautiful"! I'm on to books 3 and 4 in the series. Book 3 is a prequel (likely will release March 2011) and Book 4 will continue with the Rychman familial legacy up into World War 1.

Now, let's talk about your new book The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker...

lrhieberHero: Professor Alexi Rychman
Heroine: Miss Percy Parker
Romance Subgenre: Gothic Victorian Fantasy / Paranormal
Setting: London, England, 1888

Your favorite secondary character and will you ever write this character's own book?
Headmistress Rebecca Thompson. And yes! She gets her own novella! Stay tuned for "A Christmas Carroll" (Strangely Beautiful #2.5) included in Dorchester's A MIDWINTER FANTASY anthology, October 2010)

Your favorite scene:
Oh, goodness. A tie between the tender moments of Percy and Alexi's home life and the EPIC final battle within Athens Academy.

Celebrity who'd might play your hero/heroine:
Well, when I began the series ten years ago, I'd envisioned Alan Rickman, and so he'll always hold that honour in my head. However if it were played today, I'd choose Richard Armitage (BBC star of North & South *swoon*, BBC Robin Hood, MI-5, etc.). Alexi must be played by someone who can be intense, enigmatic and brooding, can command a room with an iron grip, and yet be cut to the quick by a sweet girl who becomes a radiant tonic to his loneliness. Alexi needs a range of power, stoicism and gentleness. As for Miss Percy, well, I'm a professional actress so I'd like to at least audition for the eerie and death-pale Miss Percy. *grin* (You can see my run as Miss Percy for halloween at yourselves, she's a unique lass.)

Book Blurb:
With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun. Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come.

Doesn't that sound like an amazing read? The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is the second book in the Strangely Beautiful series and it comes out on April 27th. Go forth and buy it!

Now, if you haven't read the first book of the series
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (my review here), here's your chance... Leanna is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky reader (US only please) of this blog who comments below. Ends May 1st.

I want to take this time to thank Leanna Renee Hieber for stopping by and sharing with us a little about herself and her books. If you're hankering for more, check out her website, blog and follow her on twitter.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This post is not really book related but I thought I'd share about my weekend trip for this midnight confession:

I hopped on over to the island of Oahu this weekend not only to attend my sorority's annual Deb Ball (a debutante ball to welcome the neophytes into full-fledged sisters) but also to see my friends one last time for a while before we all scatter to places unknown and farther than the next island over. However, before I met my friends and all the crazy weekend fun began I made a stop to the mall to halfheartedly look for a dress to wear for the ball. But in true bookworm fashion instead of a dress I ended up leaving the mall with a book--Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.

The weekend was a blur filled with dinners at our old hang-outs, catching up with news and gossip, reminiscing about old times and just aimlessly driving around while we decide what we will do next... It was just like old times with my pledge sisters, the girls I became really close to in college. When the day of the ball came, I borrowed a dress from one of the girls and at the event we watched the neophytes do their deb/fancy curtsy, eat some good food and I mingled with the older alumni. Being an alumnus now myself, the experience this year was different--last year I was running around with the other actives making sure everything was going smoothly behind the scenes but this year I was relaxed and enjoyed the event without any worries. After Deb Ball, I was back at the dorms with my sisters for a couple more nights before my flight back home.

Now, here's the thing about the whole sorority business--never in a million years did I think I'd end up pledging and joining a sorority when I was in high school. I was painfully shy back then and though I had a couple friends that I hanged out with and was involved in a couple extracurricular activities, I didn't really talk to anyone and I tried my best to be inconspicuous in class so that my teachers won't call on me. But in my junior year of college, I felt it was time for a change. I wasn't as shy but I still needed to come out of my shell. I've met new friends and when one invited me to rush for a sorority, I went not knowing what to expect. The semester I pledged was hard because I had to step out of my comfort zone but I got through it and looking back now I have no regrets. I gained great friends for life, a better college experience and while I was still shy I had more confidence in myself afterward.

Anyway, back to my trip... On my last day on Oahu I had to stop by my mom's favorite bakery and per her request, I bought boxes of pastries to take back home. I also bought six bottles of the Victoria's Secret lotions (love!) because there was a sale and I figured I might as well stock up since there's no VS store at home. Then, because I had a few more minutes to kill before I bussed it to the airport, I stopped by a B&N store as well. And in true bookworm fashion, I ended my weekend trip by buying another book--Promise Me Tonight by Sara Lindsey. Yup, great trip! :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

juliejames Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Language: English
Source of my copy: I won it from a giveaway
Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…
Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…

Michelle's Review:
Something About You is another awesome read by Julie James. I fell in love with this book the same way I did Practice Makes Perfect and after I turned the last page I felt a sense of lost because I wanted the story to keep going and wasn't ready to leave Jack and Cameron yet. The story goes like this: Cameron is an assistant US attorney and one night while staying at a hotel, she inadvertently becomes the only witness in a crime involving a married US senator and a dead prostitute. In charge of the investigation is Special Agent Jack Pallas (who had a brief but rocky history with Cameron) and now he has to protect her and work with her to catch the murderer.

Man oh man, I fell in love with Jack Pallas--he has this gruff, "glowering" exterior but beneath all that is a man to swoon for. He is the type of hero I love to read about in my contemporary romances. I thought Cameron is a great character as well and a heroine you can respect. She's smart, plucky and strong yet soft at the same time. She knows her capabilities and is not that type of heroine out to prove that she's an "independent woman" by doing something stupid that will get her killed just to prove her point and I really, really liked that. The chemistry between Jack and Cameron is apparent from the beginning and it doesn't let up till the last page. This book is a bit different from the author's previous work because it's more romantic suspense and whereas in PMP the sex scenes are fade to dark, the sensuality level is upped a couple notches and is steamier but nothing crazy. However, none of the charm and wit and the wonderful chemistry between the hero and heroine that I loved in PMP was lost in this book--again (like I said of PMP on my review of that book) I thought Something About You book read like a wonderful romantic comedy movie and I ate this book up right quick! I highly recommend this first-rate contemporary romance and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I've read two books by Julie James so far and I gave both books 5 out of 5 stars. If you go through my reviews on this blog, you know I don't give 5 stars lightly--if I remember correctly only four books received perfect scores from me and two are Julie James books...

And because of that, I thought I'd give away a brand new copy of Something About You so that you can read for yourself the awesomeness that is a contemporary romance by Julie James. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and ends on May 15. I won my copy of this book on a giveaway and now it's your turn to try win it. Good luck!

Enter by filing out the form HERE

**This is my first time using a Google Docs form for a giveaway so if there's a problem with it, please comment below and let me know. Thanks!**

Thursday, April 15, 2010

chloerhodes Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Language: English
Source of my copy: from Simon & Schuster for review
Raised by vampyre relatives, Jane grows to resent the lifestyle's effect on her upbringing. No sunlight, nighttime hours, and a diet of bloody red meat is no way for a mortal girl to live. Things change for Jane when the ghost of her uncle visits her, imparts her parents' slayer history, and charges her with the responsibility of striking out to find others of her kind and learn the slayer ways. After trying her luck at a school full of zombies, Jane finds a position as a governess, where she meets and falls in love with Mr. Rochester. But evil strikes in the form of Mr. Rochester's first wife, a violent werewolf he keeps locked in the attic. Jane departs to study the slayer tradition with her cousins, but finds herself yearning to reunite with Mr. Rochester. She returns to find that Mr. Rochester has been bitten by the werewolf, and only she can release him from his curse.

Leslie's Review:
Before I begin my review, let me first say that I don't read the English classics. They bore me and I have a hard time with the language as it's not something I'm used to. However, after reading this book I really, really want to read the original Jane Eyre. Also, this was my first "twisted classic" book and I didn't know what to expect when I first began. Anyway, to sum this book up: Jane Eyre + paranormal creatures = Jane Slayre. And wow, this book was really good!

Jane was awesome! She is brave, determined and very smart. She didn't start out that way though and I loved reading about her growth as she became a kick-ass slayer. I also liked Mr. Rochester who was strong and handsome. Together they were amazing! I loved, LOVED their romance. When the conflict came between them, they had dealt with it perfectly, in their undying love for each other, without getting too crazy and loosing their senses. My favorite part would have to be the ending with Jane and Mr. Rochester--I gave a happy sigh when I closed the book and had the biggest urge to beg my dad to drive me to the library so I could borrow Jane Eyre. This is one awesome book! 5 out of 5 stars
rrogersknight Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Language: English
Source of my copy: from the publisher Sourcebooks for review
Perfect for teens who love to read and those who need a companion for school assignments or summer reading programs, Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens offers more than 2400 award-winning and notable reading suggestions in many genres, cross-referenced to help parents and teens chose the right books for them.
This unique journal sold out its first print run, attracting readers with recommended lists for fiction, manga, historical fiction, romance, westerns, crime novels, and poetry, as well as nonfiction sections focusing on biography/ autobiography.
College-bound readers will find a section to help guide their reading selections. The journal also provides room to record books read, jot down thoughts and ideas, and keep track of recommendations, books to read next, and works by favorite authors.

Leslie's Review:
I love to write and when I say write I mean "paper and pencil write" not "computer typing write." I'm not much of a computer person and I don't want to join a site like Goodreads like my sister to organize my books so this journal is perfect for me. It's a great companion book in my opinion because it's very organized and helpful. But when I got it in the mail, it was nothing like I expected it to be--I was expecting a list of books and lined pages. I was right and there is that but also a lot more and way better!

I love how the different sections were labeled using tabs and I appreciate the selected quotes before each section began. These different sections helped me to keep track of my to-read books, there's room for me to jot down my thoughts on books I already read, a list of award-winning and recommended books and a great reference section of authors' websites and literary blogs. The section that is most useful for me is the "To Read" section. There, I have room to write down the books I need to read, where I could a copy of it and who might've recommended it to me. All my to-read books are there and I don't have that "what am I going to read next" feeling as much since I started listing books I want to read and I can go to this section whenever. I also love the "Journal Pages" section. This one had great outlines including a place to record what you've read, words you found you want to define and quotes from the book you might want to remember (which is cool because I never want to mark the actual book I'm reading).

I'm so glad Sourcebook was kind enough to send me a copy of this journal because I really find it useful. It also helps me write my blog reviews easier because now I have a place to write down my thoughts and remember the details in a book I'm reading. I totally recommend this journal to anyone who enjoys reading YA and is a pen/paper journal writer type like me. But even if you're not a pen/paper type this book is great anyway because it's a fantastic resource book for YA lovers because like I mentioned above, there are hundreds of books listed here as well as helpful websites and blogs and it even list and defines literary terms and all nicely organized. I think this book journal deserves 5 out of 5 stars!

You can find out more about the author Rachelle Rogers Knight on her blog. If you are not into YA there is an adult version of RRR available:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

With the help of, the winners of beautifulcreatures are:

Sue A. (magenta2red@g)
Cheryl F. (theluckyladybug@g)
Chey (chey127@g)

Congratulations! PLEASE email me (bookmakeupreview @ gmail . com [no spaces]) with your shipping address by this April 16, Friday 2:00 PM EST or 11:00 AM PST--I want to pass your info on to Hachette before I leave for my trip on Friday.

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.

Your opinion please...
I'm planning to give away a number of my previously read review books (titles include Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis, Jordan by Susan Kearney, A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore and more--all of these books were previously read but are in excellent condition albeit some have creased spines). I was just going to donate them to my local library but... My question is would you be interested in winning gently read books? Please comment below and let me know.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Odd Book Out" reviews will feature books that are neither romance nor young adult fiction but instead will [most likely] be reference type non-fiction books that we nonetheless think interesting.

chloerhodes Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Readers Digest
Language: English
Source of my copy: from FSB Media
Carpe Diem and Become a Word Connoisseur!
English is filled with a smorgasbord of foreign words and phrases that have entered our language from many sources -- some from as far back as the Celts. A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi," which tells the story of how many of these expressions came to be commonly used in English, will both amaze and amuse language lovers everywhere. You'll be fascinated to learn, for instance, that . . .
* ketchup began life as a spicy pickled fish sauce called koechiap in seventeenth-century China?
* honcho came from the Japanese word hancho, which means squad chief? The word was brought to the United States sometime during the 1940s by soldiers who had served in Japan.
* dungarees comes from the Hindi word dungri, the thick cotton cloth used for sails and tents in India?
Organized alphabetically for easy reference, A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" tells the little-known origin of some of these thousands of foreign words and phrases -- from aficionado to zeitgeist. Inside, you'll find translations, definitions, origins, and lively descriptions of each item's evolution into our everyday discourse. With this whimsical little book, you'll be ready to throw out a foreign word or phrase at your next party, lending your conversation with, well, a certain je ne sais quoi.

Michelle's Review:
My interest for this book was piqued one afternoon while I was browsing the books they had for sale in Costco. I didn't buy it then (though I thought about it) but when I found out it was being offered for review, I jumped at the chance. I've always been interested in language origin so this book was an enjoyable read and I learned a lot. A few of my favorites are:
robot - drudgery (Czech), honcho - squad leader (Japanese)
cushy - easy/pleasant (Urdu), khaki - dusty (Hindi), confetti - sweets (Italian)

The book is filled with interesting stories (both humorous and strange) of the origin of a number of foreign words and phrases used in the English language written with just the right amount of detail. I liked that the words were organized in alphabetical order with the literal meaning of the word (i.e., paparazzi - mosquito [Italian]). Each of the words were also used in a sentence ("Tamara never used the front entrance to department stores; the paparazzi made window shopping impossible"). I also liked the small playful illustrations that came with some of the words. However, I do wish there's a sort of index at the back of the book with all the words listed and the page number of where to find it--that would've made it a lot easier to find a specific word without doing a lot of flipping. But other than that, A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" is good little reference book with just enough information presented in a fun way for it to be interesting yet very easy to read. 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 12, 2010

Important Announcement
I'll be out of town from Friday this week till next week so I'm moving up the deadline for the Dark Deceptions Giveaway to Tuesday (4/13). Remember: If you leave a comment here, you get an extra entry in the Dark Deceptions Giveaway (ends 4/13; US & Canada only). However, generic comments like "great review" will not be counted.

darkdeceptions Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Hachette
Language: English
Source of my copy: from the publisher Hachette for review
A-Tac is an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Brilliant, badass, and seemingly bulletproof, the members of A-Tac are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets.
Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she's back in the game - this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security.
Annie's son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. When Nash and his group find her, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she'd never contact again blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn't be higher: Their enemy's endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.

Michelle's Review:
I do love a good romantic suspense and if you add espionage to the mix, all the better. I like the idea of A-Tac, a secret branch of the CIA whose headquarter is located on a college campus and the people who worked in it are college professors by day and spies taking on dangerous missions by night. I also like the fact that A-Tac is comprised of both men and women and there wasn't any "you're a woman therefore you're weaker" mentality. The story was predictable, the villains easy to figure out and a bit slow at times but when it gets going you're treated to explosions, big guns, a car chase, sneaking around and other stuff along that line that I got a kick out of reading.

I like the heroine Annie--she's smart, brave, strong and can handle a gun. She loves her son Adam and is willing to go at any lengths to make sure he is safe. My biggest grievance with this book goes to the hero, Nash. The biggest issue in the book between Annie and Nash was trust. Nash thought and kept on thinking until about the last fourth of the book that Annie betrayed him on their last mission together. I thought him not trusting Annie went on too long--I wanted Nash to champion Annie, to be the first to believe in her, to recognize Adam as his son... Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed on the hero and heroine's relationship part of the story and in the end their HEA came too quickly and I didn't quite believe in it. However, I did enjoy the scenes between Annie and her son Adam and scenes with Annie, Nash and Adam together.

This book has great secondary characters, especially the men and women of A-Tac and I am interested in reading their own stories in the upcoming books of series. What makes it more interesting was that it was revealed in the end that there might be a possible mole within the A-Tac. I have my guess as to who it is and I want to read more of the progression of that storyline to see if I'm right or if I'll have to change my guess--guessing who the villain just might be is my favorite part of reading suspense novels. This book has enough excitement to grab my attention and all in all a good read. 3 out of 5 stars

"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:

After Dark Deceptions, I am finally caught up with review books. Yay!

This week I'm reading:


I read most Something About You yesterday and only a third to go. This book is so good... Hmm, I might have to share the awesomeness of it by giving away a copy!

My next read is a toss up between jshalvis & dgrant. Contemporary or historical?

Next week I plan to read:
Maybe something YA for a change?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

FYI: Elisabeth Naughton's Marked Release Contest

Saturday, April 10, 2010 with

This is a post to spread the word about Elisabeth Naughton's (one of my favorite authors) awesome contest to celebrate her new paranormal Marked--a book I've been anticipating since I first heard about it. There are two parts to the awesomeness:

For ten days (April 17 to April 26), she'll be posting a daily question on her blog and everyone who answers correctly that day (before midnight PST) in the comments will be entered in that day's drawing. The winners will be chosen at random and there may be more than one winner for several of the days. Here's the list of what you could win (see Ms. Naughton's blog visuals of the prizes):

Juliana Stone - His Darkest Hunger
Donna Grant - Dangerous Highlander
Anita Clenney - $15 Borders Gift Certificate
Barbara Monajem - Sunrise in the Garden of Love & Evil
Annette McCleave - Bound By Darkness
Joan Swan - Handmade personal journal
Nina Pierce - Promo pack of goodies – book bag, t-shirt & other assorted goodies
Angie Fox - A Tale of Two Demon Slayers
Vivi Andrews - The Sexorcist
Jessa Slade - Seduced by Shadows
Helen Scott Taylor - The Pheonix Charm
Lucy Monroe - Moon Craving
Heather Davis - Never Cry Werewolf
Loucinda McGary - The Wild Irish Sea
Kari Thomas - Hold onto the Night
Larissa Ione - Choice of Demonica Book or Demonica Tote
Alix Rickloff - Dangerous as Sin
Vivi Anna - The Vampire’s Quest
Melina Morel - TWO copies of Smolder & TWO copies of Prey
Isabel Roman - Murder and Magick

This part of the contest begins now: She is also giving away three $25 gift cards to three winners to their online bookstore of choice. All you gotta do is what I'm doing right now... spreading the word about this contest!! Then, email her with links of where you posted about this giveaway or about the release of Marked. Her email address is, put “MARKED Release Contest” in the subject line of your email, and if you post the Marked widget (like the one above this post) you are entered twice. You can enter part two as many times as you want and the more times/places you talk up Marked, the more chances you have to win!

thewishlistPaperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Leisure
Language: English
Source of my copy: Romcon
Cover Image from the author's website
Fortune's Lot
To Miss Evie Cole, ignorance was never bliss. That principle had driven her to become quite adept at a most unladylike pursuit—eavesdropping. And it was while honing this skill that she heard her guardians’ elaborate scheme to find her a husband. Too bad she’d vowed never to marry. At least she knew the peril they were planning to help entrap her was only pretend.
What she didn’t hear would change everything. James McAlistair wasn’t supposed to be part of the bargain. Not only was the retired assassin dark, silent and intimidating, but Evie also happened to know from an accidental encounter on a warm, moon-drenched night that the man was an exceptional kisser. Now the danger was real. Because now Evie might fall in love.

Michelle's Review:
My initial reaction to this book wasn't great. I saw the book cover and read the blurb in the back of the book and I was less than excited. But I had to read it because it was my panel book for Romcon so I took a deep breath and began... I ended up really, really liking it!

The writing is wonderful, really witty, lots of humor and just a really fun lighthearted romance. I loved both of the leads-- I thought them both refreshingly lovely characters. McAlistair, is your quintessential hero with a very dark past but he is not a lord of the realm and is comfortable financially. Instead he is a hermit living in the woods behind the heroine's home for the past eight years and in love with her for just as long. Evie Cole is 26 years old and described as having a "curvy" figure. She also has a long scar on the side of her face and have an unnoticeable limp due to a carriage accident when she was younger. I thought them both refreshingly lovely characters. I like books where for a number of days the hero and heroine are left to themselves because it makes me believe in their relationship more and that ultimate HEA, especially when there wasn't much interaction between the two before the story began. Well, that happened in this book and McAlistair and Evie got into some chuckle-out-loud antics.

There's is a little mystery in the book but I thought there was really no need for it and the book would have been fine without it. Know though that this book is the third in Ms. Johnson's Providence series but it's a standalone book (though I do want to read the first two books after reading this one). I don't know if you share my opinion of the cover but don't let it fool you or the blurb (which paints Evie to be sort of silly with the eavesdropping bit). If you're looking for a fun, lighthearted historical romance, you can't go wrong with this book. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Other books in the series:
alissajohnsonbook alissajohnsonbook alissajohnsonbook

Thursday, April 8, 2010

With the help of, the winners of beautifulcreatures are:


I Heart Book Gossip

Congratulations! Please email me (bookmakeupreview @ gmail . com [no spaces]) with your shipping address in the next 48 hours so I can pass it on to Hachette. If you already won the book at another website please let me know as well so I can pick new winners.

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. Don't forget to also enter to win a copy of Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis (here's the link) right here on the blog!

Monday, April 5, 2010

thewishlistARC Copy: 384 pages
Publisher: Tor
Language: English
Source of my copy: from the author for an honest review
Cover Image from the author's website & Synopsis from Amazon
Kristin Montgomery is more than a little shocked when her aunts inform her they’re fairy godmothers. Worse, after dropping that bombshell they hand her a wand and head off on a world cruise. Now Kristin’s uncomplicated life as a CPA in San Diego has disappeared like magic and she not only has to deal with her burgeoning magical powers, but also a reluctant—and distractingly sexy—magical arbiter.

Tennyson Ritter is a historian. A scholar by choice, he is yanked from his studies to act as arbiter for the newly chosen fairy godmother. He doesn’t want to waste his time with a woman who doesn’t know anything about magic or the magical world, but soon the beguiling Kristin draws him away from his books and into her life.
But before Kristin can hone her skills and pass the tests necessary to fully claim her powers, she and Tennyson must work together to defend the world – both magical and human – against those that would claim her powers for their own.

Leslie's Review:
Kristin Montgomery is completely shocked when her three aunts tell her that they and Kristin herself are fairy godmothers. Worse, they hand her a wand and leave on a world cruise! And when her unwilling yet hot magical trainer and judge, Tennyson Ritter, steps into her life, he wasn't much help. Despite that and before Kristin can control her powers and pass the tests to become a full-fledged fairy godmother, she and Tennyson must help each other fight a villain who wants to steal her magical powers for their own. This amusing paranormal romance takes place in a hidden magical world in sunny California complete with magical creatures.

The author sent us this book for review and I was hesitant at first but it surprised me--I ended up really liking this book! It was amusing and the characters' personalities in this book are very similar to some of the people I know in real life. I thought Kristin was likable, smart and quick and Tennyson a sweet guy despite the impatient, curt front he showed Kristin. I liked how the author told the story and wrote the book in the hero and heroine's voice and she had put life into both of them--by that I mean I love the characters and their imperfections and fears. I also found the characters' sarcastic and comic remarks amusing and I found myself smiling a lot. I thought the setting perfect for the lighthearted, comedic feel of the book as well.

However, I figured out who the villain was early on but he was creepy. The Wish List is the debut novel by Gabi Stevens and I thought it a great start to a new series. It's a typical romantic comedy type paranormal read but I haven't read many paranormal books with fairies so I thought this book refreshing to my usual vampires and werewolves. I am definitely interested in reading the next book. I recommend this book and I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Wish List will be released on April 27, 2010.

Important Announcement

I'll be out of town from Friday this week till next week so I'm moving up the deadline for the Dark Deceptions Giveaway to Tuesday (4/13).

On the spotlight today is...

The Author: Dee Davis

Bio: (taken from the Hachette website)
Dee Davis has a BA in Political Science and History, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. During a ten-year career in public relations, she spent three years on the public speaking circuit, edited two newsletters, wrote three award winning public service announcements, did television and radio commercials, starred in the Seven Year Itch, taught college classes, lobbied both the Texas State Legislature and the US Congress, and served as the director of two associations.

Her highly acclaimed first novel, Everything In Its Time, was published in July 2000. Since then, among others, she’s won the Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Holt and two RT Reviewers Choice Awards. To date, she has sold eighteen books and three novellas, including Chain Reaction and A Match Made on Madison.

She’s lived in Austria and traveled in Europe extensively. And although she now lives in Manhattan she still calls Texas home.

For more on Dee Davis follow her on Twitter, Facebook and her website.

The Book: Dark Deceptions

Book Blurb
: (taken from the Hachette website)
A-Tac is an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Brilliant, badass, and seemingly bulletproof, the members of A-Tac are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets.


Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she's back in the game - this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security.

Annie's son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. When Nash and his group find her, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she'd never contact again blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn?t be higher: Their enemy's endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.

Do you want to win your very own copy of Dark Deceptions?

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

Extra Entries: (only if you want them)
+1 if you are a visible follower of this blog
+1 if you advertise and leave a link (tweet, sidebar, post)
+1 if you leave a comment on my review for this book that will be posted on April 12

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 16 and the winners will be selected using 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. Thank you for entering and good luck!

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

"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:

I really enjoyed this one. Review to come soon. :)

This week I'm reading:

darkdeceptions somethingaboutyou

I've read about a third of Dark Deceptions so I'm really hoping to start Something About You this week.

Next week I plan to read:
Not sure but most probably a romance ;)