Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran

She’s pretty enough to be popular, and Lord knows she’s rich enough for it. But what society loves best about Gwen Maudsley is how very, very nice she is. So when a cad jilts her at the altar—again—an outraged London brays for blood. Only Gwen has a different plan. If nice no longer works for her, then it’s time to learn to be naughty. Happily, she knows the perfect tutor—Alexander Ramsey, her late brother’s best friend and a notorious rogue.

Unbeknownst to Gwen, Alex’s aloof demeanor veils a very personal interest in her. He has no desire to see her change, nor to tempt himself with her presence when his own secrets make any future between them impossible. But on an educational tour through the glittering casinos of the Riviera, their friendship gives way to something hotter, darker, and altogether more dangerous. With Alex’s past and Gwen’s wildness on a collision course, Gwen must convince Alex that his wickedest intentions are exactly what she needs. [via GoodReads]

I have to confess this is my first Meredith Duran romance. I know, I know, you must be asking yourself if I've been living under a rock right about now... if it makes you feel better, I do own two of her previous works I just haven't gotten around to reading them (bows head in shame). So with that said... wth have I been thinking not to read Meredith Duran before?!?

Ms. Duran is brilliant! I loved her characters. Gwen the jilted (for the second time) super nice, super sweet girl. Alex the rake... I love me a rake. A woman fed up with being the good girl and swearing to live WICKED. A man who has no other recourse but to take care of her (as promised to her late brother) and make sure she gets into no trouble. They were the perfect match with dynamic chemistry, quick wit, and plenty of sigh-worthy moments. And, as if that weren't enough, there's also a bit of a mystery to be solved (although this is not the major plot line in the story). I found this to be more of a character driven novel with plenty of romance, laugh out loud moments, and loads and loads of wickedness (at least what you'd consider wicked for a girl living in the 1890's). Prepare to be whisked away on an adventure through Paris, Nice and Monte Carlo and learn that love comes when you least expect it. This is historical romance at its best and one that I would not hesitate in recommending.

This book was provided for review by Simon & Schuster.

GIVEAWAY: Romance Lovers... it's that time again.


Fueled by her family's murder years ago, Dr. Marlena Bender has devoted her life to understanding violent criminals. But when a serial killer in this small Southern town starts taking the lives of women in diabolical ways--leaving trophies of his kills on Marlena's doorstep--it all hits too close to home. Terrified, Marlena turns to the only man she can trust...the man who saved her life.


Sheriff Dante Valtrez would move heaven and earth to keep Marlena safe, but he's not the savior she thinks he is. A dark legacy runs through his blood and a dangerous secret lies within him. Now a fierce, hot, ruthless desire draws Dante and Marlena together--as a demonic force from his past threatens to rip them apart, destroying everything they hold dear.

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.

They're the McCords...three rugged, sexy cowboy cousins who'll inherit the family range--if they seek the treasure hidden on it. But even more precious are the women who can tame their wild hearts...

Emergency medic Marilee Trainor likes her freedom and lives for trouble. But when she stumbles upon a clue to the legendary McCord gold, she 's suddenly in a mysterious killer's sights--and the arms of irresistible playboy Wyatt McCord. This McCord cousin has been everywhere, yet the ranch is the only place he feels at home. Now Marilee's courage and independence make him want to protect her, win her heart, and finally settle down. But trust is the one thing Wyatt and Marilee can't easily give. And their survival and everything they cherish depends on whether they can surrender to each other--to fight for their... MONTANA DESTINY.


Davina Montgomery is no ordinary English lady. For her own protection, she's been locked away from society, her true identity the Crown's most closely guarded secret. Until a shocking betrayal--and a bold rescue--land her in the arms of a fierce Highlander, a powerful warrior whose searing gaze and tantalizing touch awaken her body and soul.


As the firstborn son of a powerful Scottish laird, Robert MacGregor has no loyalty to the English throne, but he's not the kind of man to leave a woman in distress, even if she is English. He vows to deliver Davina to safety, unharmed and untouched. Yet one stolen kiss leaves them both smoldering with desire...and desperate for more. With Davina's secret threatening to destroy his clan, Rob must choose between everything he holds dear and the one woman he can't live without.

After Katie Charmaine's husband is killed in Iraq, all she has left is a closet full of his clothes, a few pictures, and fond memories. She not only lost her love, but her last chance to have the children she's always wanted. Until Zack Ferguson shows up in town . . . with the daughter Katie gave up for adoption nearly seventeen years ago.

Zack Ferguson has never forgotten Katie, or the one magical night they spent together. Seeing her again brings up a tidal wave of emotions: regret over the way he left her, anger at the secret she kept, and desire he hasn't felt in years. But he's in town for Gracie. Their daughter is sixteen, angry at the world, and-worst of all-pregnant. She needs the love of her two parents now more than ever. Can these three forgive the hurts of the past and open their hearts to each other?

Miki, Valencia, Teela Raye, and Brandi share one thing...they are all addicted to sex. United through Sexaholics Anonymous, these women try to recover from their dependence on wild, spontaneous, and even sometimes, dangerous sex. From whips and chains, to sex in public, they have done it all! Led by Dr. Rachel Cummings, each woman takes the first step to recovery by sharing her biggest sexual act with the group. SEXAHOLICS takes readers through the outrageous experiences of four women on their long path to success.

GIVEAWAY: I have 5 copies of each up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Anna at HBG.

Please make sure to specify if there are specific titles that you are interested in winning.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.) ; and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Monday, May 24.


Burned: House of Night Series


For you fans of the House of Night Series, I have a few goodies to share with y'all thanks to the lovely folks at Zeitghost Media.

(I do forewarn that you read at your own risk since if you haven't read the whole series there might be some spoilers)

Book synopsis: Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampire High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left…

The New York Times-bestselling mother-daughter writing team of P.C. and Kristin Cast again prove why they have become a major force in teen fiction. With over 3 million copies of their books in print, a well-publicized film option, an updated interactive website, daily-growing fan base, the Cast duo will command your attention with every page turn.

Burned Book Trailer:

Like the music in the video? Well it's our lucky day, because it's available for free download here. And, as if that's not enough, you can also read the first chapter of the story here. You can also check out the House of Night website here.


Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart

Ever since her mother passed away, Katie's been alone in her too-big house with her genius dad, who restores old paintings for a living. Katie takes a summer job at a garden estate, where, with the help of two brothers and a glamorous librarian, she soon becomes embroiled in decoding a mystery. There are secrets and shadows at the heart of Nothing but Ghosts: symbols hidden in a time-darkened painting, and surprises behind a locked bedroom door. But most of all, this is a love story—the story of a girl who learns about love while also learning to live with her own ghosts. [via GoodReads]

I've been prolonging writing this review. I think it might be because I felt that this story fell a little flat for me. I'll be honest, it was slow, not too much of anything going on and just when you finally start getting acquainted with the characters, the story ends.

With that said, there were still some aspects of it that I did like. For instance, I loved Ms. Kephart's writing - it was captivating and lyrical. There were really two main threads in the story. Katie's grief for the loss of her mother and then the mystery surrounding Ms. Martine Everlast. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of it. It just felt too slow for me. The build-up was very slow moving and passive and in the end it just didn't hit the mark for me.

The first person narrative was believable. Katie's grief and sense of loss are palpable. It even brought a tear to my eye. I liked the gentle love story also interspersed within the story. And one last thing that I want to make mention of, I loved that the librarian had model looks with her fashionable clothes and killer heels.

All in all, I can see it's appeal, but sadly, it just didn't work for me.


Over My Dead Body: 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise (illustrator)

The Klise sisters are back with the follow-up to 43 Old Cemetery Road: Dying to Meet You. Here we once again catch up with Ignatius B. Grumply, Seymour Hope and that wonderful ghost, Olive C. Spense, who are now part of their very own publishing group. Olive and Ignatius do the writing, Seymour does the drawing and the readers pay $3 for their stories. It's worked out quite nicely since they have been able to buy the house on Cemetery Road and are all living happily.

But their happiness is soon dampened, when upon investigation by the The International Movement for the Safety & Protection Of Our Kids & Youth (a/k/a IMSPOOKY), it is deemed that Seymour can no longer live at 43 Old Cemetery Road without his parents. No matter how much Ignatius tries to prove that Seymour is not "unsupervised", but instead is loved and living happily with him, Olive and his cat Shadow, Dick Tater, the head of IMSPOOKY, will not relent and splits up the trio. They'll need some clever and quick thinking in order to get their trio together again and provide their readers with the promised chapters in the book by Halloween or else it will be complete and utter mayhem.

Once again, this series is cleverly written in epistolary fashion. Mostly told through letters, e-mails, drawings, newspaper clippings and Dick Tater's television broadcasts. I absolutely fell in love with the first book in the series and I was not disappointed in this sequel. It is a fun, quick read that is geared more for a younger crowd (3rd to 5th graders) but can definitely be enjoyed by adults as well. My favorite part of the series still remains the names of the characters who reside in the town of Ghastly, IL: Shirley U. Jest, Dick Tater, Claire Voyant, Fay Tality, and of course M. Balm, the librarian! Full of great humor and a very sweet little story that you can devour in an hour flat.

My Rating: 

GIVEAWAY: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

This eagerly anticipated sequel to Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict asks the question, Can a nineteenth-century girl survive in today's morally confused modern-day world?

You can find my review here.

GIVEAWAY: I have 1 copy of the new paperback edition of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict up for grabs.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, my spiffy All About {n} button, etc.) Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: There aren't any. This contest is open worldwide. Winners will be drawn Saturday, May 15.

GIVEAWAY: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (audiobook)

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation. NEW! Watch Honest Abe in action here:

GIVEAWAY: These is an AUDIOBOOK. I have 3 copies up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Anna at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, my spiffy All About {n} button, etc.) Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Saturday, May 15.

GIVEAWAY: Alex Cross's Trial

The year is 1906, and America is segregated. Hatred and discrimination plague the streets, the classroom, and the courts. But in Washington, D.C., Ben Corbett, a smart and courageous lawyer, makes it his mission to confront injustice at every turn. He represents those who nobody else dares defend, merely because of the color of their skin. When President Roosevelt, under whom Ben served in the Spanish-American war, asks Ben to investigate rumors of the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in his home town in Mississippi, he cannot refuse.

The details of Ben's harrowing story--and his experiences with a remarkable man named Abraham Cross--were passed from generation to generation, until they were finally recounted to Alex Cross by his grandmother, Nana Mama. From the first time hear heard the story, Alex was unable to forget the unimaginable events Ben witnessed in Eudora and pledged to tell it to the world. Alex Cross's Trial is unlike any story Patterson has ever told, but offers the astounding action and breakneck speed of any Alex Cross novel.

GIVEAWAY: I have 3 copies of the new paperback edition up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Valerie at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.) ; and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Friday, May 14.


Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.

GIVEAWAY: I have 3 copies of the new paperback edition up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Valerie at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.) ; and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Friday, May 14.


Giveaway Results: Come One, Come All!

Once again I've been a terrible giveaway winner announcer. I owe you guys giveaway results for like three weeks now. I'm so sorry. I've been so busy with work, kids, the hubs being out of town doesn't help the situation either, meaning whatever time I have left I use to read and catch up with my TiVo. So we'll leave it at this, I promise to not be overly late on posting winners from now on. Like that I don't have to apologize every time I do one of these. And here's a little secret, I'm really close to 600 followers - once I hit that milestone I'll giveaway a box of books. Even though I still owe the 400 giveaway winner hers, which I promise to get out in the mail this weekend. Really, I will. Please don't hate me. You know who you are :) Alright, enough with the blabber.

& the winners are:

This One is Mine by Maria Semple
- Casey
- Tammy
- Bingo

Slip of the Knife by Denise Mina
- CelticLady
- Marjorie
- vampira2468

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
- justicejenniferreads
- Dannie
- Alicia

Apologize, Apologize by Elizabeth Kelly
- Cleverly Inked
- Valerie
- Sandy Jay

Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein
- kittyism

Jordan by Susan Kearney
Mama Bookworm
Debbie F
Linda Kish

A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore
Carol L.
Sophia Lee

Montana Legacy by R.C. Ryan
Carrie at In the Hammock Blog
Darcie K.
Juju at Tales of

To Sin With a Scoundrel by Cara Elliott
Mitzi H.
Diana Owen-Emerson
Karen H in NC
Virginia C

Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione
Stephanie G

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Sarah E
Rebecca Graham

How to Never Look Fat Again by Charla Krupp
christa @ mental foodie

The 3-Day Cleanse by Zoe Sakoutis &Erica Huss
Ann-Kat (Today, I Read...)

And there you have it. I think that pretty much covers everyone that follows me haha. I'm shooting e-mails your way, so please drop me your addys in a response. I promise to have more giveaways up today and later this week.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined. [via GoodReads]

"They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me. "

It's February 12, Cupid Day at school and the day that Samantha Kingston plans on doing the deed with her boyfriend Rob. The day starts off like any other - she drives to school with her three BFF's. The four of them rule the school. They are the most popular, the one's with the hottest boyfriends, and the one's that every girl in school wants to be like. They're not very nice girls - actually to be quite honest, I thought Sam was a bitch and her friends were even worse than she was. At the end of the night they attend a house party where they mercilessly taunt the school outcast, get inebriated on alcohol and eventually get into a car accident that ends Sam's life... and that's just the end of the first chapter.

The story is told in seven chapters each representing the same day (a la Groundhog Day - you know the one with Bill Murray) . Sam goes through all sorts of emotions... denial, anger, frustration, until she eventually uses these daily opportunities to try and right some of the wrongs that she has done.

Of course at first, I absolutely despised Sam and her friends. They were bitchy, shallow, mean and they were just downright hateful. At the end of the first day, my thought was, well you got what you deserved. How terrible is that? And that's really the beauty of this book. It makes you go through a roller coaster of emotions.

I have to admit that the first 200 pages or so were not my favorite. This first half of the book dragged on for me. But the second half, maybe around day three or four, it really picked up. Here is where you really start getting a feel for the characters. You begin to really understand who they are, why they are this way, their fears, insecurities, vulnerabilities. My favorite moments being those where she spends time with her sister Izzy, getting to know Anna in a school bathroom and, of course, Kent (sighs).

Ms. Oliver's writing is flawless, almost lyrical even. She really mastered a way of making this unlikeable heroine, grow on you to the point where you cared what happened to her.

This is the type of book that you won't forget once you put it down. It leaves you thinking about the things we generally take for granted in life. What exactly it is that you leave behind? What are your "greatest hits"? I found it very thought provoking. I'll mention the ending only because I've read several reviews where they comment on it being too tidy or disappointing. I truly enjoyed it. It is bittersweet and poignant and, no matter how it is interpreted, it is not a happy story, but I found that it left me feeling hopeful.

Although it is a YA book, it definitely has crossover appeal for adults as well. All in all, Before I Fall is a very unique story with stunning writing and not-your-average type characters that I found unforgettable.


How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

15-year old Daisy is sent to live with her aunt and cousins in England when her father and stepmother have had enough of her attitude and eating disorder (which said eating disorder came about by refusing to eat since she was sure her dreadful stepmother was trying to poison her). She is sent from her Manhattan home to live in a rural farm in England - even though there is the threat of war looming (which no one believes will actually happen). The day after her arrival, her Aunt Penn has to leave on a business trip and she finds herself alone with her four cousins. But their parent-less freedom and summer bliss is cut short when an unnamed aggressor attacks England and they find the country under occupation by enemy forces.

The kids aren't really affected by the war at first. They are living under the assumption that the war is too far away and their little haven in the countryside will be spared. But when the British army takes over their farmstead and split the kids up sending Daisy and her youngest cousin, Piper, away they find themselves living a harsh and very scary reality.

Let's start with what I really liked about this book - I think Ms. Rosoff did a phenomenal job of capturing the toll that war can have on children. I really liked the way the effects slowly progressed... how at first the kids felt safe as if nothing could touch them. But then slowly airports were shut down, meaning Aunt Penn could not return back home, then electricity was shut off, and eventually getting food and supplies became a problem. The bad things slowly started trickling in. From the moment you meet Daisy, Edmund, Piper and the rest of the cousins you can't help but like them. And it pains you to see how these children have to struggle to feed themselves and survive the atrocities of war. I liked that it was told in the first person. since through Daisy we get a firsthand account of the perilous journey she and Piper go through in order to find their way back home.

There were several things I was not too fond of though. For instance, I really didn't like the way the story was told with its lack of quotations and full of fragmented and/or run-on sentences. You have to go into realizing that Daisy is telling you her story out loud rather than reminiscing about that time in her life. I truly think that because the story is told this way you don't really get an in depth feel for the characters. It did not go into as much description as I would have liked. It almost felt as if you were skimming over it. I also felt a tad uncomfortable with the relationship between Daisy and Edmund... oh yes, kissing (and much more) cousins. Although it is done tasteful, it was still graphic enough to make me feel slightly creeped out by it.

This was a quick read and one that I found impossible to put down. I can't say that I absolutely loved it, but it really had me enthralled and I must say that once I finished it I had a hard time getting it out of my mind for several days. Although it is classified as YA, I personally would not recommend it to younger teens as it is detailed when it comes to war crimes and the relationship between Edmund and Daisy.

All in all, I would still recommend it. It was a good read and one that I'm sure fans of dystopian, realistic fiction will enjoy.

Manic Monday Recaps (Week 4/26/10)

Good morning my lovelies. It's an ugly day here in South Florida. It's dark and gloomy and I'm sure that within the next 15 minutes or so it is going to be raining... bleh. Lovely Monday, huh? It is a fantastic day to be home under the covers with a book in hand. Le sigh. Hope you are all are doing well.

Here's what I plan on reading thi
s week:

Last week I read the following:
- The Day I Shot Cupid by Jennifer Love Hewitt

- Gone by Lisa McCann
- Rapture by Jacqueline Frank
- Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
- Pleasure by Jacqueline Frank
- Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran
- Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer

I reviewed the following:
- Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted [review]
- Flirting with Forever by Gwen Cready [review]

I'm in the mood for romance, can't you tell? Hopefully this week will be more productive when it comes to reviews :D

Have a great reading week!


Perchance to Dream trailer

Here is the trailer for Lisa Mantchev's sequel to the wonderful Eyes Like Stars. Perchance to Dream will be released May 25, 2010 so mark your calendars y'all.

Oh, and for those of you who don't already follow her , here's Lisa's Facebook and Blog (where she's giving away a chance to win an ARC of Perchance to Dream). She's one funny gal. I love her status posts on Facebook. Drop on by and say hello.

Here's a link to the theatre website for your viewing pleasure.

i heart

[via Macaroon on a Stick]

there aren't any words to describe the giddiness I'd be feeling if I were that guy...


Flirting with Forever by Gwyn Cready

Art historian Campbell Stratford is about to make a name for herself with her scandalously sexy tell-all “fictographies” of famous seventeenth-century artists, but she’s more iintimately familiar with her subjects than her eager readers can imagine. Thanks to a time portal she accidentally discovered, she has caused quite a stir in the Great Beyond. To save their reputations, the Guild protecting dead artists convinces playboy Peter Lely, portraitist to the king, to sabotage Cam’s latest project. A few hours posing on Sir Peter’s modeling chaise leads to a night of seductive passion—then Cam returns home and discovers his betrayal. But before she can turn her angry pen on her lover, Sir Peter makes a surprise visit to the future and transforms Cam’s twenty-first-century life into chaos of classic proportions. [via GoodReads]

I've never really read a time travel romance and I think Ms. Cready has opened my eyes to a whole new genre. I really like the way the time travel bit is done in this story. I think there was good development when it came to both the 17th century and the present time. I never found myself confused or disoriented as to what time frame I was in. I'm sure there was a lot of homework done by Ms. Cready to accomplish that with such vivid details.

I have to admit that it had a slow start for me but once Cam is swept away into the 17th century and Peter is in the picture... well, needless to say, it picked up rather quickly after that. There were some very funny moments scattered throughout that not only brought a smile to my face but more than once had me laughing out loud. From Cam's zany antics trying to text message and get enough bars to make a call on her iPhone to her use of names that were definitely not recognized in the 17th century (i.e. Antonio Banderas, Katie Holmes, etc.)

This was a fast-paced romance with plenty of drama, mystery and comedy all wrapped up within that uber cute cover (love the shoes). Not to mention there was that age-old struggle in choosing happiness over ambition. All in all, it was a fun, sexy romp that I found very entertaining.

As a side note, there's this fantastic scene where Cam plays Peter's muse that was utterly steamy and toe-curl worthy. le sigh. ;)

This book was provided for review by Simon & Schuster.


Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.

Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her.

But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering.

Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does. [via GoodReads]

Crazy Beautiful is a very unique retelling of the beloved tale of Beauty and the Beast. Lucius is a tortured soul. Every day he is reminded of the mistakes he made in the past. He has hooks for hands and is always stared at, made fun of, called all sorts of names, and/or completely avoided by the kids in his new school. On the bus ride to his first day of school he meets Aurora. Aurora who is everything he is not. She is beautiful, trendy, bright, popular and perfectly normal. Aurora who instantly feels a connection with Lucius but is hesitant because of the rumors surrounding him... the explosion, his hands, the hooks, the possibility that he might be crazy.

The story is told through alternating viewpoints between Lucius and Aurora. I think Ms. Baratz-Logsted did a fantastic job providing us with both perspectives giving you a more in depth feel for both characters. Plus you get the added bonus of seeing how one situation can be perceived differently by either character.

Now I will forewarn you, if you plan on reading this because it is marketed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, then you will be in for a surprise. For in this story you will find no magic, no rose, no castle. Instead you will find a monster who wasn't overcome by vanity, but instead made the wrong choices in life and now has to live with the repercussions of his own making. This is a love story, but more than just a story about two very different kids falling for each other. It is a story of two kids living life the only way they know how. It is about forgiving and loving oneself. About seeing someone for who they are and not for what they look like. About healing and second chances.

Ms. Baratz-Logsted's writing is lovely and I felt it lent this modern story just the right hint of enchantment and fairytale splendor. My only complaint was that it was so short (208 pages). I read it in one sitting and was saddened that it ended so quickly. I would really have liked there to be more but I also want to make it clear that in no way did I feel like it lacked anything either. On the other hand, it gives you the feeling that you are taking a glimpse into Lucius and Aurora's life. You know there was more before you came along and you know there will be more after you are gone. I think it was pulled off beautifully.

This book was provided for review by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley.


Manic Monday Recaps (Week 4/19/10)

It's been raining all weekend. It's been raining all day. bleh

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Last week I read the following:
- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
- The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
- Gone by Lisa McMann

I reviewed the following:
- The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw [review]
- Into the Dark by Gena Showalter [review]
- The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting [review]
- Hold Still by Nina LeCour [review]

Have a great week!

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