May 31, 2009

Review: Priceless Memories by Bob Barker

With a 50 year television career, Bob Barker, is a familiar face. Beginning as a radio host Bob made the jump to TV with the audience participation show Truth or Consequences. He’s hosted numerous specials including Miss USA, Miss Universe and The Rose Parade. But of course he’s most famous for The Price Is Right.

In this audio book narrated by Barker himself he shares some of his most treasured memories starting from life on a Native American reservation to his stint in the military through his romance with his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo up to his retirement.

I was a little disappointed by Priceless Memories. Barker’s stories are repetitive and lackluster. With such a long career and knowing so many celebrities I was anticipating more interesting or humorous adventures. The best story he told was when he moved and his elderly dog escaped through an open door. It took two days and nights to finally track him down and thankfully there was a happy ending. In my opinion this one gets a pass as purchase but it might be a good library read.

May 29, 2009

Review: Reasons by Tracy Fabre

Courtesy of I Just Finished

Growing up Delphi Brent and her family spent every summer with their old family friends, the Laughlins who owned a horse ranch in Statler, Colorado. Ten years ago as the family was heading home seventeen year old Delphi was struck and injured by a hit-and-run driver. What Delphi never knew was that her father saw the license plate of the car that hit her and knew it belonged the Laughlins but didn’t see which one of the their sons was driving.

Now as an adult Delphi re-connected with Annie Laughlin and is preparing to spend another summer on the ranch before taking a two-year research assignment in Maine. To try to stop her Delphi’s parents finally reveal the truth about car belonging to the Laughlins. They never revealed the truth because Artie Laughlin died as a result of the accident and her parents didn’t want to cause any more pain.

So instead of a relaxing summer Delphi heads out to learn the truth about the accident. What she didn’t expect was an instant attraction to Tam Laughlin who very well could been the one who was driving the car that injured her.

Fabre makes Statler seem like such a beautiful place that I wanted to pack up and move there instantly. It’s a small town with wonderful characters that keep it going and incredibly scenic views.

In addition to the scenery Fabre gave the characters such distinctive traits that you can’t help getting drawn into their lives. From the bitter and jealous Noreen to the wise-cracking household help Hazel (what wonderful old names too) I enjoyed all the characters in the book, especially Tam. For one thing he’s a vet and who doesn’t love a doctor but he’s also strong, loyal to his family and friends and always manages to save the day.

The story had a bit of a slow start but it quickly picked up the pace and I enjoyed the ending. Delphi wasn’t out for revenge just the truth and it wasn’t a phony happily ever after ending but a genuine resolution. I recommend this one to all contemporary romance lovers.

May 24, 2009

Review: Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott

After Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden they traveled far away and established their home. Soon after, Eve gave birth to her most famous children Cain then Abel. Later they were joined by the other children in this story, Naava, Aya and the twins Jaken and Dara.

The book opens with Eve remembering the fateful moment when she realized that Cain just killed Abel. On her deathbed, Eve tells the story leading up to this terrible occurrence flashing back from her time in the Garden of Eden and the years in between including their meeting a strange group of people who have arrived on their lands to establish a city nearby. Also narrating their own parts of the story are her daughters Naava, Aya and Dara.

The oldest daughter Naava is self-absorbed and has her sights set on marrying Cain yet she cannot help being tempted by Abel’s good looks and the strange new Prince that shows a growing interest in her.

Aya is the middle daughter with a crippled foot that has become somewhat of a backbone to the family. She cooks and tends to their wounds with a secret wish to become a bird that will fly far away from her family.

The youngest Dara is bartered away to the strangers to become their babysitter. She feeds Eve’s guilt over this by wondering what she did for her family to send her away and yearning to be back with her twin and the others.

I enjoyed this book for exactly what it was, a fiction novel. There are some readers who were upset by the fact that the author changed things around some or got things wrong but it was not meant to tell a biblical story it was meant to entertain and I feel the book did just that.

There is more to the story than why Cain killed Abel. Eve shares her hopes and fears about life and her children along with the growing knowledge that Adam is not the same man he was while they lived in the Garden. In her narration of the story she comes across as strong and brave but when seen by others she seems week and even at times needy and whiney. It’s an interesting contrast.

Overall I liked the story I just feel that there could have been more depth to both the characters and the storyline. Elliot seemed more focused on graceful flowing words than a deeper intense story. Recommended as a library read for historical fiction lovers.

May 21, 2009

Review: Shadow of Colossus by T. L. Higley

On the Greek island of Rhodes in 227 BC, Tessa of Delos is as highly respected as a high-priced hetaera can be. She is the arm candy a wealthy and powerful politician, Glaucus. She is also desired by many others and has the ability to influence the council that rules Rhodes through Glaucus. Despite all this the only thing Tessa wishes for her freedom.

Upon Glaucus’ abrupt death Tessa learns the truth. She’s not to be set free but sold to the next person in line with enough money to buy her, a man even crueler than Glaucus ever was. With the help of one of Glaucus’ most loyal servants, Tessa is able to keep his death a secret while she plots her escape but being the most recognized hetaera on the island makes this an almost impossible task.

Shadow of Colossus is the first book in the Seven Wonders Novel series. I can’t believe I haven’t been reading historical fiction longer. I never had any interest in these types of books but after reading reviews on other blogs I picked up a few like this one.

This was a wonderful saga intertwined with a heart-warming romance. On the opening pages Tessa is on the verge of suicide but she sees a light at the end of the tunnel that blossoms into brilliant hope. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read City of the Dead which is out now and Guardian of the Flame due out in October. I highly recommend this for historical fiction lovers.

May 20, 2009

Review: Death's Daughter by Amber Benson

Three years ago Calliope Reaper-Jones put herself under a nice and comforting forgetting spell. Gone were the days of dealing with the craziness of the family business, Death, Inc. All Callie had to worry about now was finding the perfect man on Craig’s List and finding organic dim sum for her boss.

One bite of an organic cupcake later and Callie is right back in the middle of the family drama. Her father’s right hand man, Jarvis, has come to notify Callie that her father and older sister have been kidnapped. Callie being next in line must assume the role of Death or her family losses their immortality. But it’s not as simple as being the second oldest, Callie has to complete three tasks in order to take the reins and she has a competitor for the job… the devil’s incredibly “hot” and irresistible protégé.

I got a total kick out of this book. It’s very different from the usual fantasy/paranormal story lines and it was funny to boot. Among the characters Callie had to face off against where, a psychical detective, an evil sea monster, a bitter Goddess and the devil himself.

This was the first of a new series featuring Callie. It was a faced paced read and I look forward to many more books in this series. Highly recommended for urban fantasy or supernatural fiction lovers.

May 19, 2009

Review: Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione

Walking in on her lover Shade with two other women, Runa Wagner ran from his apartment and into the arms of immortality. Runa was bitten by a warg (werewolf) and she spent over a year in hiding while her brother, a part of the US Army’s paranormal unit, searched for a cure.

Long ago the Seminus (sex) demon Shade was cursed to never know love. If at some point he were to fall in love he would slowly fade away to nothing yet fully aware of his surroundings, never able to interact with anyone or fulfill his endless sexual desire. He used this curse as an excuse to never form attachments to women.

As Runa sets out to find a supposed traitor she is captured by the Ghouls, demons who harvest organs for money. When she’s brought to the dungeon to await her fate she comes face-to-face with none other than Shade. Together they fight for their lives and despite their reasons for not wanting to get close they can’t help turning to each other regardless of the danger for both.

Again this was a smoking hot book that I really liked but it’s my least favorite of the series so far. It may be due to the fact that some of this book’s sex scenes have hints of S&M and while I might like a naughty spanking every now and then I was a bit turned off by some of it.

Other than that I loved Runa and Shade as characters. Runa is a strong female and Shade has a tender side. Together they made a great couple and I enjoyed the way the book ended.

In this book also is the beginning of the relationship between two characters Gem and Kynan that finishes up in book three, Passion Unleashed my favorite book in the series so far. This is another must read and I can’t wait for the next installment Ecstasy Unveiled due out in February 2010.

May 17, 2009

Review: Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

A chance encounter at a Yoga class for pregnant women brings together three very different ladies that become fast friends.

Kelly Day, the woman who has it all, a perfect marriage, a picture perfect home and a job doing what she loves. But behind the scenes trouble is brewing in her home life and she’s finding that the balance between being a mom and being successful at her job is tougher than she ever imagined.

Ayinde Towne is a wealthy and happily married to a basketball superstar. On the day of her delivery her husband comes to her side smelling like another woman’s perfume and the doubts begin.

Rebecca Rothstein Rabinowitz is blissfully happy with her doctor husband and her job as a chef in an acclaimed restaurant. But her mother-in-law who’s been a thorn in her side since she showed up at Rebecca’s wedding in a wedding gown is moving from her home in Texas a little too close for comfort and Andrew doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to her.

As their lives are shaken by these little earthquakes another mother, Lia Frederick, takes an unhealthy interest in Becky while dealing with her own tragedy.

I really love the way the women find each other by the chance encounter and grow their relationship. When all looks doomed they have each other to lean on and get through the rough times. Reading this really made me value my close friendships even more.

My review is based on the abridged audio narrated by the author who did an excellent job. She gave each character a different voice and personality which fit them perfectly. I enjoyed this quick read and recommend it to all chick-lit lovers.

May 16, 2009

Review: Judge & Jury by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

All FBI agent Nick Pellisante’s hard work pays off when notorious mafia don Dominic Cavello is captured. Awaiting a trial that will surely convict him for life Cavello taunts agent Pellisante with his careless attitude.

Single mom and part-time actress Andie Echeverra, along with several other potential jurors, initially tries to get out of serving on the Cavello jury. Having been seated as juror #11 Andie rethinks the idea and steps up to the plate to fulfill her obligation as a juror.

When a horrifying incident leads to a mistrial it takes more than 6 months to re-seat a jury and begin the new trial but again Cavello is confident that he’ll be a free man soon and sets his escape plan in motion.

On leave from the FBI Pellisante takes his escape personal and makes it his goal to track down the ruthless killer. With nothing but vengeance on her mind Andie joins in the hunt.

…and my James Patterson audio book love affair comes to a screeching halt! I’ve enjoyed so many of his collaborations on audio in the last couple of months but this one was almost boring enough to put me to sleep. The action doesn’t start until the last few chapters in the book and the characters were way too bland for me. There was nothing about them to identify with and I feel that Andie’s reaction to **SPOILER ALERT - HIGHLIGHT TO READ** her son’s death was totally unrealistic. Lastly the love affair that develops between Pellisante and Andie was just too dull to be interesting. This one gets a pass from me.

May 15, 2009

Review: Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

Courtesy of I Just Finished

In a story told completely by email we get a glimpse into the life and loves of Holly Denham. From her first day as a receptionist in a London investment bank we share the ups and downs during five months worth of Holly’s interactions with friends, family, co-workers and of course the men in her life.

Being fed bits and pieces with each email keeps the pages turning. Holly’s conversations jump from family arguments to flirting with the hot VP of Corporate Finance to snarky conversations with the office know-it-all. Throw in backstabbers, sluts and long lost loves and you have the makings of a hilarious adventure.

This book was so unique. In first glancing at the book you might be put off or overwhelmed by the heft of 665 pages but they fly by so quickly you’re left wondering why there isn’t any more. The only down side to the book is that the emails jump from one sender to another with just a change in subject and sometimes I got caught up in the story so much that I frequently skimmed over the subject in my haste to continue reading and got thrown off by the changes.

If you’re a fan of chick lit then this is a must read for you and don’t forget to visit Holly's Inbox to catch up on Holly’s most current inbox revelations.

May 13, 2009

Review: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Demon slayer Tayla Mancuso is alone in the world with no family or close friends. The only thing going for her is her work as a guardian in The Aegis, a group of humans dedicated to ridding the world of evil. While out demon hunting one night she experiences sudden numbness in half her body which leads to a fellow slayers death and her own admission into the Underworld General Hospital.

Eidolon, a Seminus (sex) demon is the doctor who created and runs UGH. Nearing his 100 year S’genesis, a transformation into maturity, Eidolon needs to find a mate before the change is complete or he can end up as sex crazed demon that will stop at nothing to impregnate as many women as possible.

Forced by The Aegis to befriend Eidolon, Tayla gets drawn into a conspiracy that shakes her to the core. Betrayed yet again she seeks comfort in his arms but is it really becoming true love or just the means to stop the S’genesis clock?

I’m doing this backwards but when I read and loved book 3 in the Demonica series, Passion Unleashed I knew I had to start from the beginning. This book is just as sizzling as the 3rd one. The characters are well developed and their storyline is unique. I like that even though the characters are demons they still feel things like guilt, shame and fear. They also have their own personal demons (snicker) that they have to battle and overcome.

This was a great beginning and I can’t wait to read book 2, Desire Unchained featuring Eidolon’s brother shade. Highly recommended for paranormal lovers.

May 12, 2009

Review: The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

Tall, muscular and big-headed, Tim Carrier is rarely mistaken for someone else but one night while enjoying a beer a nervous man sits next to him at the bar and does just that. The man hands over an envelope with $10,000 and a picture of a woman telling Tim he’ll get the rest when the job is done.

Speechless Tim watches as the man walks away. Within 5 minutes a guy who looks eerily similar to Tim walks in and seeing the envelope in front of Tim makes contact. Without thinking it through Tim tries to tell the guy that he’s changed his mind. The hired killer laughs and says that’s not an option.

Tim sets out to find the woman and instead of just warning her that the killer is coming he gets pulled into an evil game of cat and mouse.

The Good Guy was quite a departure from Koontz’s usual scary books with a supernatural twist but it was excellent. The story was a heart pounding thrill ride that had me shrieking at the cd player while Tim was trying to out think the mad man. Plus with the added intrigue of not knowing why Linda Paquette is targeted for murder the suspense carries through to the last page. This is a must read for suspense and thriller lovers.

May 11, 2009

Giveaway: The Richest Man in Town by W. Randall Jones


I normally only have one giveaway running at a time but Hachette Book Group has been very generous with their giveaways this month so I am currently running more than one. Be sure to click both the giveaway and bonus tabs above to enter all my giveaways.

Visit Author's Website

Randall Jones, founder of Worth magazine, talked to 100 of the wealthiest individuals in a 100 towns and communities across the country. Remarkably, during his research, Jones found that these successful people were not so different from each other - they all had the same traits in common: The 12 commandments of wealth. Now he shares them with you.

[Jones’] “book is a kind of tribute to the system of the American Dream.” --- David Patrick Columbia

To enter to win one of five copies click the sprout below, take the Have You Got What It Takes To Be Rich? quiz and enter your score in the comments. Be sure to leave me your email address if you don't have a blog or it's not in your Blogger profile.

Open to US and Canada only, no PO boxes please. One main entry per household. Giveaway ends May 20th and the winners have 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner will be selected.

Please note: SPAMMER ED has hit my blog twice so I switched to comment moderation. I will approve comments as quickly as I can.

Thanks for visiting and GOOD LUCK!

May 10, 2009

Gray Apocalypse By James Murdoch

Book Website

In the course of one day an asteroid projected to pass a million miles from earth is suddenly redirected on a collision course with our planet. Projected to impact near Puerto Rico, this asteroid will destroy all forms of life leaving the planet free to become the home of The Breeders and their human hybrids.

Taken from an orphanage at a very young age, Michael Kendon was trained as a Directorate assassin. For many years he carried out his job with no hesitation but once Michael learned of the coming genocide he went undercover into the resistance and became a double agent.

Led by Dr. Donald Meller the resistance has a powerful weapon designed to deflect the asteroid but it’s been hidden away and when all the members of the resistance are captured and killed Michael is expected to lead the Directorate to the weapon but he has other plans.

Gray Apocalypse is the perfect blend of sci-fi and thriller. With just enough technical aspects to make it realistic the book doesn’t get lost in fantasy. It is action packed and suspenseful enough that it kept me up late into the night. I can definitely see this as a blockbuster movie staring some sexy action hero as Michael Kendon.

Be sure to visit the book website above for a sample chapter and a chilling video of what an asteroid hitting the earth would look like. Scary! Gray Apocalypse is a must read for sci-fi and thriller lovers.