Friday, April 27, 2012

Pre-order FATED, Get A Pair of Free Earrings

Friday, April 27, 2012 with
Hey guys! Did you hear about the promotion St. Martin's Press is having for Fated (Soul Seeker #1) by Alyson Noel?

If you haven't, basically, they are giving away a pair of soul seeker inspired earrings to the first 3,000 readers who pre-order Fated in any format (print, e-book or audiobook) and submit their receipt!

Get all the details on how to submit HERE.

The promotion ends on May 21, 2012 and is open only to U.S. residents only. If you want to read more about Fated, you can read an excerpt & a special bonus scene on the Fated Facebook page. Read the synopsis on Goodreads.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In Our Mailbox (60)

Sunday, April 22, 2012 with
Leslie and I each got a book this week and they're matching in color! How cool is that?! :D
Starlight by Carrie Lofty (ARC; unsolicited)
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young (ARC; for review)
(Thank you to Pocket & HarperTeen!)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?


"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book I Covet: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 with
Why Michelle covets this book: I am not a fan of horror movies but I am a fan of horror books and I have yet to read any that truly scared me. I want to see if Ten will scare the pants off me.

book coverTen by Gretchen McNeil
(HarperTeen; out September 18, 2012)
And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
For more info about the Ten, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a 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!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

book cover ARC: 400 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: April 17, 2012
ISBN: 9781451617375

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Tracers #5
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin chills with her newest novel of suspense and romance in the award-winning Tracers series, when a woman police detective in a small Texas town discovers that the only thing more terrifying than a killer you don’t know . . . is the one you do.
Motive, opportunity, and no alibi—it seems close to a slam-dunk. But while rookie detective Allison Doyle’s department has ID’d a suspect in a young woman’s vicious murder, she is uneasy. Then legendary FBI profiler Mark Wolfe shows up with a startling theory: if he’s right, the real murderer is an elusive psychopath just days away from another kill.
Using Allison’s contacts at the Delphi Center crime lab, Wolfe is finally in striking distance of the monster he’s pursued for ten years. Except that as they work together, Wolfe finds the ambitious, stubborn woman a tempting distraction. And with this brutal predator, every thread of evidence can make the difference between being the hunter . . . and the prey.

Michelle's Review:
As soon as I got Twisted in my eager hands in late January, I quickly devoured it. Laura Griffin is one of my favorite romantic suspense author and one of my few auto-buy. She is a damn good writer; I have read quite a few of her books now and she has yet to disappoint me. Although Twisted is not my favorite by her (Snapped is) it's still very, very good.

The heroine, Allison Doyle, was introduced in Snapped and she certainly made an impression there. I knew she's going to be a kick-ass, tough as nails kind of gal and I was really excited to see what kind of hero the author will pair her up with. Has-the-weight-of-the-world-on-his-shoulders Special Agent Mark Wolfe who was 43 years old to Allison's 27 was not who I expected but they worked. The romance aspect was a bit more downplayed in Twisted than in the author's previous novels but it was still well-done. The romance here unfolded slowly but it made it more believable--besides the fact that Mark and Allison's focus is on the case and trying to piece together the clues to catch the serial killer, they had a few big issues they have to work out (their age difference being one of them). But, yes, there was enough steam between the two to satisfy romance readers.

The whole time I was reading Twisted I felt like I was watching a really good episode of Criminal Minds. The suspense took center stage in this book and it illustrates that Laura Griffin is the queen of well-written, gripping, unputdownable mystery. If you haven't read the previous Tracer books, Twisted reads as a very good standalone. But if you are following the series, some of characters from the previous novels were secondary characters in this book and you'll get an update on what they've been doing which is always fun. Twisted is a very good addition to the Tracers series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am once again counting down until the next one by Laura Griffin. If you have not read any of Ms. Griffin's books, what are you waiting for? [I especially recommend Snapped and Unforgivable.]

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (59)

Sunday, April 15, 2012 with
On Tuesday, I came home to a curious box. I knew that it contain books because all the boxes and packages I get in the mail contain books 95% of the time. I quickly opened it and found these inside:

and this
I was one of the winners of YA Book Central's Mega Giveaway and I wasn't even aware! It was truly a fun and welcome surprise. Thank you YA Book Central!

I got: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (this is the book I am MOST excited about!), The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Niki Burnham, Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins and Lynda Sandoval, Living Violet by Jaime Reed, The Deepest Cut by J.A. Templeton and a whole LOT of awesome swag!

What did you guys get in your mailbox?


"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Before I begin, let me just say that I love book blogging. It started out as something to keep my mind of my unemployment blue after I graduated and it turned into something much, much more than just a hobby. Leslie enjoys blogging too, of course, but I love it. This blog is my baby. I have been blogging for almost three years and I do not see myself stopping any time soon.

But since going back to grad school and having to juggle school, my friends and family, my job, church and all the other life things, it does not leave me a lot of time to read and blog. The fact that I am a slow reader to begin with (it takes me an about three days to finish a novel if I can read everyday), it's definitely a challenge.

Because of this, most definitely since I started grad school, I find myself picking up review books 75% of the time (rather than the books I buy myself). I have an obligation to read and review these books and feature them on the various social media I am part of so reading review books take precedence over the books I personally buy.

This is part of the reason why there are times when I get into a blogging slump, when book blogging feels more like another chore that I have to do rather than something I want to do.

I'm very happy that the review books I get are books I would read regardless and I feel very comfortable recommending most of them. Doing all that is not a hardship, it is just very time consuming, and for this reason (unlike when I first started blogging) almost all of the books I review here on the blog are "review books."

Because of this, I find myself putting books into two piles: my "review books" pile and my "fun-NO-obligation-to-review books" pile.

[I have a third pile called "grad school books" but that is irrelevant here.]

Sometimes I find myself looking at my "fun books" pile with longing. There's nothing better than reading a book and simply enjoying it--not having that obligation or pressure to have to review it, to have to talk about it.

And I miss that. Reading for fun.

Of course, some bloggers would argue that you don't have to review a book if you do not want to. True. But for me, especially if I requested a book (it is why I hardly request books anymore), it just doesn't feel right choosing not to review a book at all regardless whether I liked the book or not. There's a reason why publishers and authors send books to book bloggers: so we can read, review and share their opinions, spread the word or create buzz about the book.

I guess my question for busy book bloggers [who review books for publishers] are: how do you find time to read all your review and non-review books? Do you miss reading for fun without having to write a review? Do you also find yourself putting your books into two piles similar to mine? Do you get into blogging slumps?

Or unlike me, you have no trouble juggling every thing, is a fast reader and have time to read and review all of your books?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Michelle covets this book: The synopsis of Renegade really intrigues me. It does not sound like anything I've read before. Long wait til November tough.

book coverRenegade (Elysium-Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders
(Tor Teen; out November 13, 2012)
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
For more info about the Renegade, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a 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!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Goodreads is hosting the Independent Book Blogger Award (IBBA) and Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks is in the running for the YA and Children's category!!

If you haven't heard, IBBA a competition where four winning book blogs (from four different categories) will be awarded a trip to the June 2012 Book Expo America in New York City. Living in Hawaii and being a poor college student, to traveling to NYC and attending BEA has always been a very distant dream for me... But how awesome no, AMAZING, it would be to win IBBA and be able to attend BEA!!??

There are two rounds of judging. The first round is the public voting where readers get to cast their vote and the top 15 in each category will move on to the final round where industry representatives will judge the blogs on five different criteria.

To get to the final round, we need your help! Please vote for Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks and help our blog get to the finals--even just getting to the final round would be... WOW! I know our blog is not the biggest or the flashiest but I am very, very proud of it and I would be so grateful for your help and support.

Voting is open from now until April 23rd. Please click on the vote button below or on the top left of our sidebar. Thank you!

Independent Book Blogger Awards

Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!


Monday, April 9, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: February 16, 2012
ISBN: 9780670012800
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
A 17-year-old Moldovan girl whose parents have been killed is brought to the United States to work as a slave for a family in Los Angeles.
Hannah believes she’s being brought from Moldova to Los Angeles to become a nanny for a Russian family. But her American dream quickly spirals into a nightmare. The Platonovs force Hannah to work sixteen-hour days, won’t let her leave the house, and seem to have a lot of secrets—from Hannah and from each other.
Stranded in a foreign land with false documents, no money, and nobody who can help her, Hannah must find a way to save herself from her new status as a modern-day slave or risk losing the one thing she has left: her life.

Cherry's Review:
This book is a great introduction for not only young adults but also adults to start learning about the horrors of human trafficking in America. It hits so close to home because it shows the reality of human trafficking: that you can find it everywhere, even in the suburbs! However, some stories remain the same: Hannah is a young girl who thought that she was going to go to America to create for herself a bright future. Unfortunately, she was deceived by these so called "agents" and abused by the family she took care of. Hannah was only a teenager but she quickly learned to grow up in order to survive.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book. I was captivated by Hannah and her desire to make a friend. Despite her situation, she just wanted someone to talk to. I also enjoyed the book because it was very suspenseful until the end. My only issues is that I thought that the ending was rather sudden and rushed. What happened to the family that abused her? Did Hannah get any justice? Was she able to return home? What exactly happened to her uncle? There were so many questions left unanswered that I thought the author could've answered without hurting the type of ending that she was trying to create, which is that there is not a happily ever after because it's still an ongoing issue. However, I would have liked more of a closure. On the other hand, I think this a great book that will open the eyes and inspire many young people to help put a stop to this issue. Even though we are young, we have the power to affect change. For some information, please visit:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In My Mailbox (58)

Sunday, April 8, 2012 with
We got two books this week: a YA debut that we are really excited about that is set in a post-apocalyptic world and a surprise romance novel that looks like a super-cute read.
Review Books
Struck by Jennifer Boswort
The Taming of a Scottish Princess by Karen Hawkins (unsolicited)
(A big thank you to Macmillan and Pocket/Simon & Schuster)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

book cover Mass Market: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: April 3, 2012
ISBN: 9780425246955

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: FBI #3
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.
Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten...

Michelle's Review:
Ms. James can do no wrong. Seriously. She the queen of writing the most smart, witty, fun, steamy, can't-put-down, read-with-a-smile-your-face contemporary romances and About That Night is another example of her brilliance.

Kyle Rhodes is quite different from gruff, broody Jack of Something About You and tough and manly Nick of A Lot Like Love. Kyle Rhodes is flirty and charming and can wine and dine a woman like a master. He may be the son of a billionaire but he is wealthy in his own right--basically, he works hard and plays hard. Rylann is a classic Julie James heroine: a lawyer, smart, hard-working, ambitious, independent and has quite a bit of sass. I love the banter between the two of them and there were so many quotable exchanges between them. The chemistry between Kyle and Rylann practically leaped off the page from the start and to finish.

Kyle and Rylann's story began when they were grad students, celebrating the end of the semester at a local bar. Rylann caught Kyle's eye that night and there were major sparks between them. He walked her home that night, they shared an unforgettable kiss and planned to go out on a date the next night. But Kyle's mom got into a terrible car accident and their date never happened. Fast forward nine years later and Rylann is back in Chicago after landing a job as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA). On her first court appointment she finds herself face to face with Kyle Rhodes. They were both surprised that there were still major sparks between them.

After the debacle with his ex-girlfriend, Kyle had sworn off serious relationships. But after seeing Rylann again, there's just something about her and he couldn't get her off his mind. Rylann also couldn't get Kyle off her mind but dating an ex-con whose case was handled by her office? And her being the newest AUSA? So, they decided to keep their relationship a secret. But soon Kyle realized he wanted something more, for Rylann to be truly part of his life. Rylann, however, was not sure she can take that chance with Kyle.

The first half of the book dealt with a case in which Kyle was a witness and I love how the author combines great courtroom drama and a sexy, steamy romance. And, ladies, this one is Ms. James's most steamiest yet--you're gonna want to crank up the AC for this one! I quickly devoured this one but I'll be going back to read my favorite parts. Looking for a contemporary romance that will make you smile and melt? You truly can't go wrong with a Julie James novel.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Michelle Covets: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Geir

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 with
Why Michelle covets this book: I absolutely loved the first book in the series, Ruby Red, and I curse the long wait until Sapphire Blue comes out. I WANT IT NAO!!

Cover Rant: Not sure I like the new covers though.

I liked the uniqueness of the Ruby Red cover (see below) and I was looking forward to a variation for it for Sapphire Blue. Alas, they decided to change it to the standard covers nowadays featuring a girl in a pretty dress. Sigh.

book coverSapphire Blue (Edelstein Trilogy #2) by Kerstin Geir
(Henry Holt; out October 30, 2012)
Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.
For the latest info about the Edelstein series, visit check out the author's Goodreads page. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

As for the cover, what do you guys think? Old versus new.
book cover vs. book cover

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a 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!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

book cover ARC: 338 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 13, 2012
ISBN: 9780385739375
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
It all begins with a stupid question: Are you a Global Vagabond?
No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.
Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.
But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.
Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

Michelle's Review:
Upon finishing this book, I wanted to pack the essentials and go backpacking myself. Wanderlove is an outstanding contemporary young adult read about going off the beaten path and finding yourself.

Bria just graduated from high school and broke up with her boyfriend. To get away for a while, she decided to go on a guided tour to Central America. She soon met Starling and Rowan, siblings and veteran backpackers and realized that a guided tour was not for her. She decided to ditch the tour group and join them for the rest of her trip. Soon, Bria was traveling on chicken buses, staying in insect-ridden hostels with no indoor plumbing (sometimes no plumbing at all), meeting other colorful backpackers and seeing and experiencing Central America as it was meant to be seen and experienced. Along the way Bria work through issues that she cannot shake about her art, her failed relationship, her parents, her future and the possibility of a new love.

Right away I liked Bria--she's the kind of girl I would be friends with. She was not perfect and she had a lot of issues (especially with her art and her inability to do anything since her break-up with her artist boyfriend) but she's very likable. I knew where her thoughts and feelings were coming from and I saw a bit of myself in her.

As for Rowan, I was not sure about him in the beginning. He had a mysterious past but as the book went on and I got to know him along with Bria, I grew to like him as well. I really liked that the romance element was downplayed until the end of the book. Yes, the attraction was there (of course!) but Bria and Rowan had a true friendship first and foremost. The slow build of the romance made the moment between Bria and Rowan in the end all the more sweeter.

Besides Bria and Rowan, there were other characters that I liked from Starling to Glenna Heron to Sonia of Laughingbird Caye--I even liked Ariel and Emily to a point. The only character I didn't like was Bria's ex-boyfriend Toby. There was this one particular flashback scene when they were waiting for the results of who got in this art program they both applied to and when Toby breaks up with her. The way he did it... I wanted to jump into the book and wring his neck because I knew exactly what Bria was feeling as I was in a similar situation.

Of course, the exotic places Bria and Rowan traveled to were amazing.
A traveler herself and having visited many of the places in the book, the author's love for the region really shined through. She did a really wonderful job with the descriptions and the imagery it brought to mind. I absolutely loved the illustrations and they complement the story and Bria's character well. This novel was just plain delightful: great writing, a colorful setting and interesting characters. Wanderlove was a unique and inspiring story that makes you want to take a chance and go off the beaten path to places unknown.

Enter to win our Wanderlove giveaway!
We've extended it until April 6th so get your entry in.

Monday, April 2, 2012

As part of the The Marked blog tour, Leslie and I are delighted to welcome author Inara Scott today. The Marked is the sequel to The Candidates and second book in the Delacroix Academy series. Read on for a chance to win a copy of The Marked!

book cover
In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy.

All of her life, Dancia Lewis has wanted to use her powers for good. And now that she’s learned the truth about Delcroix Academy—and herself—she may just get the chance. But being part of Delcroix’s top secret Program isn’t anything like Dancia expected. She has to ask herself: what happens to the Talented kids who refuse to pledge their loyalty to the Program? And why did her friend Jack run away rather than join? Dancia’s adorable boyfriend Cam insists they need the help of every Talented student to defend Delcroix from dangerous enemies outside their gates. But Dancia has to wonder: what if Delcroix’s most frightening enemies come from within?
Take it away, Inara...

What Are You Looking For In a Novel?

book coverWhenever I read a review of my books (and believe me, I do read them!) I am struck by how differently two people can read a book. One reviewer will find a book thrilling and action-packed, while another will find it plodding or slow. While this reflects different reviewers' individual taste, I think it also reflects what they're looking for in a book.

Let me explain the distinction with an analogy. I'm not a fan of the super-cutesy, pastel colors, lace and ribbons they put on some girl clothes. Whether I'm picking clothes for my daughter or myself, I'm much more inclined select a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt than something that's embellished with sequins and sparkles. That's my taste.

Then there's what I look for when I buy clothes-their function, if you will. I like my clothes comfortable. I want to be able to go for a hike, clean the kitchen, do a few yoga moves, and then sit on the floor and play with my dog. Athletic gear, I'm sure you can imagine, is a staple part of my wardrobe. I could wear sparkly sequined yoga pants, but I don't. For me, the perfect blend of simple (taste) and comfortable (function) is a pair of black yoga pants.

What I'm looking for in clothes, however, changes. When I'm dressing for work, I need something different than when I'm hanging out on the weekend. For work I want polished, rather than comfortable.

So what the heck does this have to do with books? Taste in books, I think, has a lot to do with the way the author puts together sentences. It's the quality of the prose, the way the author uses language, the rhythm of paragraphs, pages, and chapters. I think this can also be called the author's voice. It's the unique sound that every author has, and doesn't change much from book to book, even if the plot is totally different. If your taste and my voice match up, fabulous--we're halfway to being in love.

But there's also what a reader is looking for in the function of the book. This is what you're looking for when you pick up a particular book, on a particular night. A dreamy romance with a super hot leading guy, maybe? Or perhaps a really complex plot, with a mystery to unfold as the pages turn. Then again, sometimes you're in the mood for a character driven story--a story that revolves around the growth and transformation of the internal arc of a character, rather than things happening externally.

I think both these things have to match up in order for a reader to fall in love with a particular book. You've got to love the author's voice, but you've also got to be in the mood for the kind of story that the author is telling. My books are often character-driven, but some are more action-oriented than others. Some are a short, quick love story with a fairly simple plot, and other are more complex and nuanced.

Obviously, if you read the wrong sort of book, you aren't going to like it. If you like a book with a lot of description and complex prose and you pick up a book with a terse, direct voice, you may find it overly simplistic. If you wanted a character-driven story, and you read something that is all about the plot, you're going to be unhappy with your selection.

As a reader, I've never been much for description and setting. I like dialog and crisp prose. That's my taste. But what I'm looking for in a book really varies. Some days, I pick up an adult category romance, because I want a fairly predictable love story that will keep me smiling the whole way through. Other days, I go for a complex YA dystopian that is going to make me think and imagine.

So, here's to you--what do you look for in a novel? What's your taste in an author's voice, and then what do you look for in a book? Characters, love story, action, or mystery? Does it vary, or do you find yourself always looking for the same thing? What do you do if you have to review a book that simply isn't to your taste?

A big thanks to Inara for stopping by our blog today. To learn more about Inara and her books, check out her website, follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

Okay, it's giveaway time!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Our Mailbox (57)

Sunday, April 1, 2012 with
These are the books I got in the last two weeks.
Young Adults
Fated by Alyson Noel (ARC; unsolicited review book)
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig + $100 gift card (won; signed)
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (bought)
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (bought)

(Thank you to St. Martin's Griffin and HarperTeen!)

The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley (bought)
Angels' Flight by Nalini Singh (bought)
About that Night by Julie James (review book)
Angel Betrayed by Cynthia Eden (ARC; signed; won)
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks (ARC; won)

Look!! Our blog was quoted in The Duke's Perfect Wife!

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.