Friday, June 29, 2012

One Moment by Kristina McBride



* * 1/2

"This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie's life. Now it's the one she'd do anything to forget.”

Maggie remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party. She remembers climbing the trail with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can't she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below-dead?
As Maggie's memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?
The latest novel from the author of "The Tension of Opposites," "One Moment" is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.


The Good: 

Although predictable, the story moved along well and kept my interest.  Also, I think this story ended up being a good lesson on how it is normal and okay to be angry with someone you have lost.  Something that is difficult for people of any age to learn and accept. 


The Bad: 

Even having read the synopsis, I was not ready for the first chapter of this story.  In my experience, stories about trying to discover the truth of a tragedy don’t usually start out by showing you the tragedy. Usually you will learn pieces along the way.  Not so with One Moment.  The first chapter builds up the scene well.  And although there are pieces missing that you will learn later on, you see enough in that first chapter to make you feel sad and sick to your stomach.  Not a feeling I enjoyed. Granted I fully admit that I am a bit sensitive.

I also felt that the first chapter sets everything up for the story a little too well.  When I say “too well”, I mean that the reader can easily predict everything that will happen in the book.  It’s fairly easy to figure out what everybody’s secrets are.    

This book gets just shy of 3*’s from me.  If you are looking for a similar story I would also recommend Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf.



Nat

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

Woohoo!  Today we are starting the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop!  I love the 4th of July - not just because I am a huge constitutional nerd (which I am), but because it is just a celebration filled with fun, friends and great food.  No gifts to worry about, no icky winter weather - just good times all around.

So, we are celebrating our freedom to read!  The Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop is sponsored by Mundie Moms and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer -  A huge thanks for bringing us all together for this fantastic giveaway.

You all know the drill, fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Sorry, this giveaway is for U.S. shipping addresses only.  The rest of the rules can be found in the terms & conditions below.  

For our giveaway, we are giving away two books Bel has loved!  First up:

 
Everyone has secrets.
Even best friends.

Swirling black descends like ravens, large enough to block the glow of the streetlights. A dull roar starts like a train on the ‘L’, a far-away rumbling that grows louder as it pulls closer, until it’s directly overhead and you feel it in your chest, except this doesn’t pass you by. Verity, white-faced and eyes blazing, shouts through the din, “Run, Mo!”
Mo Fitzgerald knows about secrets. But when she witnesses her best friend’s murder, she discovers Verity was hiding things she never could have guessed. To find the answers she needs and the vengeance she craves, Mo—quiet, ordinary, unmagical Mo—will have to enter a world of raw magic and shifting alliances. And she’ll have to choose between two very different, equally dangerous guys—protective, duty-bound Colin and brash, mysterious Luc. One wants to save her, one wants to claim her. Which would you choose?



AND


Constance started to keen as the air around us began to thrash and twist, the caustic scent of ozone burning my nose. As I watched, her dark gold hair began to lift and kink into knots. “I’m here. It’ll be okay.”It was the last thing I said before my best friend’s little sister went supernova in the second-floor girls’ bathroom, taking me with her.

A month ago, Mo Fitzgerald risked her life to stop an ancient prophecy and avenge her best friend’s murder. Now, she only wants to keep her loved ones safe. But the magic – and the Chicago Mob – have other plans.
Mysterious, green-eyed Luc is back, asking for help – and a second chance. Colin, her strongest protector, is hiding a shocking secret. And inside Constance, the magic is about to go terribly wrong. Tangled in a web of love and betrayal, Mo must choose between the life she’s dreamed of and the one she’s destined for.



So, go forth and enter to win fabulous prizes!  There are approximately 200 blogs participating in this hop, so check out the others on the linky below.  Good luck!

~Shel

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

* * * *



 “One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them … until one summer night Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time to save herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

I don't read contemporary romance too often but if they're written as lovely as My Life Next Door then I am thrilled to read more. It's been a while since I've read a book and seriously gushed over it to anyone who comes near me.
Seventeen year-old Samantha is an absolute delight. I enjoyed everything about her – her naiveté her awkward moments, her maturity and most importantly her eventual decision toward the end of the book to stand up for what's right – even if it means she has to stand up to her narrow-minded mother. Samantha’s mom, Grace, has good intentions for her children, though it’s evident from the beginning that since she entered into politics, her attention to her daughters has lessened. It’s Samantha who notices how much her mother has changed especially when she starts dating a younger man who also happens to be her campaign manager. Samantha is a bit blindsided by these events yet Grace shows no recognition of how much Samantha is changing.  Instead she mothers through post-its and schedules but doesn’t really engage with her daughters. She sees what she wants to and has expectations that are a bit unfair. Samantha, being the good kid that she is takes it in stride. She is very insightful when it comes to noticing her mother’s change. It's too bad her mother doesn’t wake up for a while.

It's when Samantha offically meets Jase for the first time after years of observing his family over their privacy fence that her world starts to change. Jase is impossibly perfect but a dream come true for Samantha – and for all us other girls too. He’s easygoing and unfazed by things. Plus he can fix cars, motorcycles, vacuums and babysit! But it's his thoughtfulness that really does a girl in. Case in point:

"Jaces' green eyes meet mine, then his lashes lower. 'I guess I like things that take time and attention. More worthwhile that way.'"

Seriously, can we clone this guy?  The Garrett’s home is a culture shock to Samantha who has only known order and routine all her life. Every member of the Garrett family shines with abundant personality and she takes to them instantly. 

As Samantha spends more time with Jase and his family she learns the valuable lesson of looking beyond the surface. Sure their yard may be a perpetual mess and Jase’s parents my breed like rabbits but that doesn’t make them bad people. In fact, they’re all hardworking, upstanding folk. This lesson comes in handy particularly when she is blindsided by how her two best friends, Nan and her brother Tim, have always viewed her as a trust fund baby. They’re under the misconception that she has always had it easy because her family has money. As these two worlds eventually meet, Samantha has to figure out how she'll balance her mother's expectations with her own growing independence. And when things take a turn for the worst, Samantha finds a way to push through. This is what I adore about this book: Fitzpatrick allows her characters to evolve and surprise you and she does it so well. Samantha learns that given the chance, some people can pleasantly surprise you and some can also disappoint you.

I know Huntley Fitzpatrick hit the mark with me when I kept reaching for the book even after I finished it. After the initial twinge of sadness that I had done so, I reminded myself that I can always reread it. This book is simply dazzling and will appeal to anyone who loves Stephanie Perkins’  Anna And The French Kiss  and Lola And The Boy Next Door. It has the growing pains issues of the latter but will leave you with the same good vibes that you get from reading Anna. Needless to say, My Life Next Door stands in good company on the bookshelf.
~ Bel






Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (22)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.


By Tera Lynn Childs
Publication Date: July 3, 2012

When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land—with gorgeous human Quince by her side—Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin Dosinia seems to know more about ruling than she does.

But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. Lily knows this is a seven seas–sized problem: from sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans. They’ll need to create some serious waves to make the mer community aware and get it to join together to make things right. Even if that means facing one of the iciest queens in the mer kingdoms.

Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and Quince after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave!

In this third installment in the series that began with Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people as well as for the humans she loves

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Peek in the Bibli-Bin (30)


Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the Biblio-Bin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

This is what we have in our bin this week. Tell us what's in your Biblio-bin!






Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Redemption by Veronique Launier


Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs

*** 1/2

From Tera Lynn Childs:

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters—after all, she’s spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss—but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe?

Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won’t leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home—like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He’s hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?
With the warring factions among the gods of Olympus coming for them, the creatures of the abyss pushing into their world, and the boys in their lives hiding secrets at every turn, the three girls must figure out where their fate will take them and how to embrace the shadows of their legacy.

The Bad:
Sweet Venom and Sweet Shadows are both told from the point of view of all three sisters, Grace, Greer & Gretchen.  I enjoy the multiple point of views but occasionally it leaves me feeling a tad disjointed. 

The Good:
Tera Lynn Childs is a great writer.  Sweet Shadows is a fascinating and cleverly written re-imagining of Medusa's mythology.  Shadows is full of foreshadowing and Tera's ability to cast doubt and suspicion over even the most lovable characters is amazing.  I thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Venom and Sweet Shadows and recommend both to anyone who enjoys new twists on old myths.  

We have one more "Sweet" book to come - I wonder what the title will be...

~Shel 

Q & A with Tera Lynn Childs - TLC Week!


As we continue our week dedicated to Tera Lynn Childs and her fantastic books, we are happy to give you a little peek into the psyche of Tera as she answers random and nonsensical questions! 

I have enjoyed Tera's books for years.  Last year, shortly after we began the blog, Nat, Bel and I were lucky enough to meet Tera (with Sophie Jordan) at a signing held by a local bookstore.  I immediately became an even bigger fan because Tera is possibly the sweetest person alive.  Tera and the BiblioJunkies crossed paths again at this year's Romantic Times Convention where she tormented me with Sweet Shadows.  We were thrilled that Tera agreed to come out to the blog to play with us this week and if she didn't live across the country, we would totally invite her along for our next movie & pie adventure (I am sure it will shock you all to discover that our next movie & pie adventure will be for Magic Mike next weekend!)! 

So enough about us, I give you Tera Lynn Childs!


BiblioJunkies:  Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch?
TLC:  Fruit Loops (I like to keep the roof of my mouth intact, thank you very much)
BiblioJunkies:  It drives Shel nuts when people use the word literally to describe something figurative - what word or phrase do you think is over/incorrectly used and should never be used again? 
TLC:  It's not so much overused as just something I don't like reading. I hate the term "caused." As in, "The fierce wind caused her to fall over." How about, "The fierce wind knocked her over." Or "She fell over in the fierce wind." I'll even take, "The fierce wind made her fall over." It's just the caused that bugs me…
BiblioJunkies:  Your characters are all descendants from mythological beings with special abilities – From which mythological being would you most like to be descended?  And what special abilities would you most want?
TLC:  Well, I'm not supposed to play favorites… But I'm a research junkie—I'm obsessed with the History Channel, the Science Channel, the Discovery channel… you get the idea. I've always felt the most connection to Athena. I'd love to have her wisdom and, also, the ability to autoport. I love to travel, so I'd love to be able to visit anywhere in the world in a blink.
BiblioJunkies:  What is your favorite story in mythology?                                   
TLC:  Aaaah! There are so many to choose from. I've always loved the story of the golden apple, of Eris throwing it into the circle of goddesses and letting them duke it out over who is the fairest. And my other favorite would be the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. It's heartbreaking how he made the journey into Hades to retrieve her, but couldn't stop from checking over his shoulder to make sure she was there.
BiblioJunkies:  Do you read your own books?
TLC:  No, of course not. *looks shifty left and right* Oh, okay… sometimes. But not all the way through. I almost always read through the opening pages when I get the first real copy, and then the ending to make sure I did a good job.
BiblioJunkies:  We are big fans of pie (cupcakes and really any treats) here at BiblioJunkies HQ – what is your favorite treat?
TLC:  Vegan cupcakes! I love making them almost as much as I love eating them. *stares longingly at oven*
BiblioJunkies:  Who is your literary crush?
TLC:  Besides Colin Fir—I mean, Mr. Darcy? I am ridiculously in love with Simon Basset from Julia Quinn's The Duke and I. But my first literary crush was Logan from The Baby-sitter's Club series.
BiblioJunkies:  Action flick or comedy?
TLC:  Action flick! I'll take something blowing up or people planning to steal stuff or zombies eating peoples' faces off over a cutesy girl movie any day.
BiblioJunkies:  What summer movie are you most looking forward to?
TLC:  It's bad, right, that I had to go check IMDB to find out what the summer movies are? I've been in deadline/moving/getting ready for a summer of crazy mode so I have barely even been watching TV, let alone thinking about movies. (Anyone who knows me knows that there is something seriously wrong if I'm lacking TV time.) But, after a quick check, probably the ones I'd most like to go see in theatres would be Brave (I love anything Disney), Snow White and the Huntsman (um, Charlize Theron anyone?), and either the Bourne Legacy or Total Recall (gotta get my action in somewhere).
BiblioJunkies:  What 3 books would you want with you on a deserted island?
TLC:  Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games, and a survival manual.

We want to give our heartfelt thanks to Tera for participating in our insanity this week and for donating her fabulous books and swag for giveaways.  I hope you all enjoyed our silliness and entered to win the  fabulous prizes.  Our winners will be chosen soon- so enter now!

Make sure you pick up your very own copies of Just for Fins (available on 7/3/12) and Sweet Shadows (available on 9/4/12) and remember, Tera's other books are available now, so you have plenty of time to catch up for the new releases!  You can visit www.teralynnchilds.com for more information on what Tera has in store for us next. 

~Shel

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TLC's Yummy Green (Drink) Salsa


We may have mentioned that we met Tera Lynn Childs and Sophie Jordan last fall at the Magic Tree Bookstore.  We had the chance to talk with these two awesome ladies for quite a while and it was a blast!  I think we pretty much covered every subject under the sun - including books, boys and pie.  At the time Tera mentioned a salsa/dip she made with cucumbers.   I was intrigued.  It sounded delicious.  I meant to ask her for the recipe but the conversation moved onto something else and I completely forgot. 
When we were planning fun things to do for Tera week I suggested asking for a favorite recipe.  Our previous conversation for some reason didn't occur to me so my subconcious must have been at work.  My subconcious must have also be talking to Tera's subconcious because she sent the recipe!  Seriously.  Coolest. Author. Ever.
So here is the recipe along with photos of my first attempt of the deliciousness that is....

TLC's Yummy Green Drink Salsa
Ingredients 
Looks so summery!

·         1 cucumber
·         1 tomatillo
·         1 ripe avocado
·         1 jalapeno pepper
·         ½ Cup fresh cilantro
·         1 Tbsp lime juice
·         2 tsp garlic powder
·         1 tsp salt


Directions
1.       Peel cucumber and cut into cubes.
2.       Remove tomatillo husk and stem.
So THAT's what a tomatillo looks like on the inside...
3.       Remove avocado rind and pit. (I cut it into quarters, pull out the pit, and then peel off the rind.

4. Remove jalapeno seeds and stem.
Pretty green chopped veggies...




5. Place all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth with small chunks.

I doubled the recipe. Good thing I didn't try to use the mini-chopper. It wouldn't have fit!

6.       Season to taste.

I almost forgot the lime!

Much Better!

7.       Enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips. (I prefer Baked Tostitos Scoops.)

A double batch made 4 cups.  That is a LOT of delicious flavor!

This was so good that the first thing I did was text Shel and Bel and tell them that I was going to marry Tera.  Right after I married her Green Salsa.  Tera isn't kidding.  This is so delicious, you could drink this.   I am contemplating a Green Salsa Martini with a tortilla chip garnish.  Hmmm...I might be on to something...

Eye Candy by Tera Lynn Childs


* * * *

Lydia Vanderwalk has an obsession with candy, so when she invents an NEB--non-existent boyfriend--who turns out to be the male hire-a-date equivalent of a jumbo box of Hot Tamales she knows she’s in trouble.

Lydia has worked hard to have the right job, the right wardrobe, and the right everything else, in the quest for the appearance of perfection. Fed up by conversation #3,524—not that she’s counting—about long-since-exed fiancé Gavin, Lydia goes to drastic measures to change the subject. When she needs her NEB for a golden career opportunity, she enlists a talent agent friend’s help to produce perfect date Phelps. He was supposed to be pure eye candy, but there’s more going on beneath the surface than Red Hots looks and Pop Rocks spontaneity.

Throw in a banking wunderkind ex-fiancé, a trio of cutthroat couture-climbers, and a designer of questionable orientation and origin, and Lydia soon learns that what you see is often much less than what you get when it comes to people and not everything in life can be solved by a Jolly Rancher and a trip to Ann Taylor.



I have a confession to make.  I am not a chick lit fan.  The exception being the Stephanie Plum series.  And even then I really have to be in the mood.  But after reading Straight Talk and Eye Candy by Tera Lynn Childs, I just might be a convert. 

Eye Candy was a delicious read.  With a secret locked drawer full of candy and an antique silver soup tureen full of gummy bears, Lydia is a girl after my own heart.  The sticky situations Lydia finds herself in are laugh out loud funny and kept me turning the pages to see what happened next.  The constant allusion to candy might be too much for some but I ate it up.  I think Hot Tamale and Double Bubble Damn will probably be making it into my everyday vocabulary. 

And, oh, the ending.  The ending will catch you by surprise.  All I can tell you is that in the words of one of Lydias’s beaus, Tera is a “naughty, naughty girl.” 

I loved both of Tera’s adult contemporary romances.  They are original and fun.  I highly recommend them.  They make for excellent summer reads.



Nat

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Goddess Bootcamp by Tera Lynn Childs

* * *



Phoebe, who recently discovered she's a descendant of Nike (the goddess, not the shoe), is finding that supernatural powers come with a crazy learning curve. Her stepfather, headmaster of the Academy for descendants of the Greek gods, has enrolled her at Dynamotheos Development Camp-aka Goddess Boot Camp-with a bunch of ten-year-olds for the summer. Embarrassing as that is, hopefully it-ll help her gain control over her powers in time to pass the test of the gods, continue training hard enough to qualify for the Pythian Games, and enjoy her godly boyfriend, Griffin, all while avoiding the ultimate mistake of accidentally misusing powers.

It's another fast-paced myth-inspired heroine's quest that's sure to bring out the goddess in anyone.

Any title with the word “bootcamp” in it has to mean trouble. Considering how things went for Phoebe in Oh. My. Gods. I was prepared for plenty of mishaps in this one!

Apparently since her ancestry was revealed, Phoebe has had a hard time controlling her powers. Unfortunately for her the gods have noticed too and are threatening to take action. To circumvent his, her stepdad, who is also the principal at her school, has enrolled her in a special two-week bootcamp. It’s do or die time now because if she fails the bootcamp and fails the test that follows ... well the gods won’t be too pleased. Plus, she has the Pythian Games trials coming up and she wants to make sure she has her best race ever. Should be a breeze, right? … unless she gets smoted. And you know it’s really bad when her stepsister, Stella offers to help her.

Goddess Bootcamp has the same goofiness as the previous book, if not more since Phoebe’s powers always end up with something pretty ridiculous occurring. As much as I enjoyed that,  I didn’t like Phoebe as much this time. She’s too distracted by other issues – her boyfriend Griffin’s continued friendship with Adara, his ex and Phoebe’s arch nemesis, causes her much displeasure and she's alsoreceiving cryptic messages about her father’s death. With regards to the latter, Phoebe’s curiosity about her father’s demise is understandable as she tries to covertly solve that mystery.

But it’s the whole “I thin my boyfriend's cheating on me" scenario bothered me. Phoebe ‘s reactions and how she chooses to handle it disappointed me. Her old hang ups resurface and she allows herself to get swept up in her jealousy. She just seems smarter than all that so I guess I didn't like seeing her behave so childishly about things.

Still, Phoebe demonstrates plenty of self-depricating humor which makes it easy to forgive her silliness over the whole Griffin issue. Goddess Bootcamp is a good time especially whiile she's at bootcamp and the little surprise that awaits her when she first arrives.
~ Bel






Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TLC Week Fins Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is an AWESOME prize pack of Tera's Mermaid Series - The pack includes:



On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all.
Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form, when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?
The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?




I don't want to give any spoilers here, so let's just say that Fins Are Forever and Just For Fins continues the adventures of Lily and her friends.

















And TLC Swag!

To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form below. 

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

* * *




If Phoebe Castro can keep her grades up and have another stellar cross-country season, her dream of attending USC with her best friends is only a track scholarship away. She’s made all her plans, so it’s a complete shock when her mom announces she’s marrying a mysterious stranger and moving them halfway around the world – to Greece.

Phoebe’s stuck on a secret island in the Aegan, attending the super-exclusive Academy, where her new stepfather is the headmaster and the kids are anything but your average students – they are descendants of the Greek gods, superpowers included. That’s right, Greek gods are no myth! If Phoebe thought high school was hard, she knows this is going to be mortal misery.
Securing that scholarship seems like Phoebe’s only ticket out of Greece, but training and maintaining her grades will be grueling, even without a sabotaging stepsister from Hades and a gorgeous guy – what a god! – who just might be her Achilles’ heel. One thing is for sure – summoning the will to win and finding her place among the gods could be Phoebe’s toughest course yet.
The Greek gods get a makeover in this romantic odyssey of mystic proportion.


Every once in a while you just need a book that entertains you and doesn’t ask too much of your brain power. Oh. My. Gods. has plenty of smiles and silliness to go around. While there are moments when the plot is a little iffy, Phoebe’s adventure in Greece is simply fun. It sucks that her newly remarried mom decides they should move from California to Greece prior to her senior year to live with her new Greek husband. I thought the mom was annoying. Seriously, who makes a life-altering decision like that without consulting their child? Phoebe suffers through it as best she can though even she can’t help but succumb to the beauty and history of Greece once she’s there.

Phoebe is a fun character – average teenager with your typical teenage reactions to things that happen to her. She cringes when she witnesses her mother and stepfather being “affectionate”.  She’s equally perturbed by her new stepsister. And her learning to adapt to her new school is hilarious.  If you think being the new kid at school is awful, then being at a school filled with mini-gods with special powers is downright miserable!  She’s immediately blackballed as a “nothos” – basically an ordinary person with no special claims to her ancestry. Thankfully she’s befriended by two kids at school who show her the ropes. And then of course there's that one hot guy who captures her attention and that god-awful (no pun intended) mean girl who wants to ruin her. And wouldn't you know it? Greek God and Mean Girl are together.  Oh this will not stand and Phoebe gets embroiled in some sort of ridiculous scheme to break up the golden couple.
That aside, the story also focuses on Phoebe's first love – running. One of my favorite passages in the books is when Phoebe describes how it makes her feel.

“I love everything about running: the steady rhythm of my sneakers hitting the ground, the adrenaline and endorphins pulsing through my bloodstream, the cotton of my PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY tee rubbing against my skin with every step. If I could do it without winding up in a tree or a ditch I’d close my eyes and just … feel. Running is when I know I’m alive. Everything else is downtime. Step, step, step, breathe. Step, step, step, breathe. That pattern is my comfort… All I know is I’m running and I feel perfect.”

I will not lie. I want to start running now.  Where is that C25K app again?
I digress. Oh. My. Gods. is a lot of fun and it was refreshing to read something that's pretty innocent. It's a good choice if you have any interest in Greek mythology, Greece or running. And if anything, you'll have a good laugh at all the ridiculous things that happen.
~ Bel


















Monday, June 18, 2012

Straight Talk by Tera Lynn Childs

* * * *

Southern bell turned city girl shop owner, Bethany Lange knows a thing or two about gay men. She’s dated five of them.

On top of her failed romantic life, she’s trying to keep her SoHo boutique ahead of the creditors and on top of the trends. When an old friend offers her a consulting job on a new gay makeover show, she snatches up the golden opportunity faster than you can say, “Never wear stripes with paisley.”

Color her déjà blue when one of the cast members turns out to be her latest ex. Well, she doesn’t believe for a second that he’s gay. He’s a lying louse and she’s going to prove it, even if she has to stalk him to get the proof.

In the meantime, she’s battling a growing attraction to the show’s kitchen god, Chris, despite knowing beforehand that he’s gay. He’s sweet, sexy, and funny. The perfect guy. And things only gets worse when he joins in on the stalking. Long, late nights in the cramped quarters of her car are not exactly fostering emotional distance.

As the stalking and her attraction to Chris escalate, can Bethany prove to herself, once and for all, that she’s not the closet cleaner she fears she’s become? Can she stop falling for unavailable guys and find one that’s a lifetime keeper? Only time—and stalking—will tell
.


If you have ever met Tera Lynn Childs you will understand when I say that Straight Talk is just as darling as its author.  We have met Tera twice before – once at a signing at The Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park, IL and more recently at the Romantic Times Conventions.  She is super fun and sweet.  And those are the exact words I would use to describe this book.  

Bethany is a fashion guru with a fledgling boutique in SoHo.  Although not thriving, her business is surviving…unlike her love life.  In that area she is doomed.  Four of her last five boyfriends have broken up with her because they are gay.  When an old friend offers her a dream job as fashion consultant for the new reality show, One Straight Guy at a Time (think Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), she doesn’t hesitate to grab the opportunity that will boost her business.  What she didn’t expect was to find ex-boyfriend #5 (the straight one) playing the gay interior designer.  She KNOWS he’s not gay and she is bound and determined to “in” him to the world.  On top of dealing with her current mission she is falling for a man that she already knows is gay - Chris, the gay chef on the show.  What follows is a series of mishaps that will leave you smiling and laughing.  Although you will figure out much sooner than Bethany what is going on you will still be surprised by the ending.  Swear to god, I didn’t see it coming.   

Seriously, this book was just plain fun and it would make an excellent movie.  Hint, Hint, Hollywood.  Get on it, will you?  While Reese Witherspoon is still young enough to play the lead?  See there, I already did some of the work for you.  If you are looking for additional casting help I am available and can be paid in books, boys and pie. 

Bethany was a loveable character.  More than a little clueless but still lovely.  Kit was a total tough cookie.  She was also what best friends are made of.  A good friend will give you a shoulder to cry on when your boyfriend breaks up with you.  A Kit will wholeheartedly help you stalk the boy that broke your heart.   

Then there are the boys in this book.  Love. Them. All.  We all know that I love the forever boy.  And every single male character in this book is a forever boy one way or another.  Even ex-boyfriend #5. 

You can probably tell that I loved this book.  It left me with a smile on my face and I think it would do the same for you. 

Straight Talk is one of Tera's self-published books and can be purchased at smashwords.com, bn.com, and amazon.com.



Nat

It's TLC Week! Giveaway - Swag & Sweet Shadows by Teral Lynn Childs!

Hello Readers!  Today starts the beginning of a very special week here at BiblioJunkies.  This week we are thrilled to dedicate the whole week to the fabulous, the divine, and super sweet Tera Lynn Childs!



Tera is the award winning author of three fantastic series -

The mythology-based gods series:






The Mermaid Series:





And the upcoming...


And the Sweet Series based upon triplet descendants of Medusa -



And the upcoming...



Tera also has two self-published romantic chick-lit comedies:




You can find out more about Tera's books at www.teralynnchilds.com.  This week we will be featuring Tera's books, a Q & A with Tera, giveaways AND a recipe for Tera's Green Salsa!

To kick off TLC Week, we are giving away a Sweet Series Pack - we have one hardcover of Sweet Venom, an ARC of Sweet Shadows AND some TLC swag!  The rafflecopter is below - fill it out to enter!  Stop back by every day this week - we will have more TLC awesomeness and giveaways!  Good luck!

~Shel




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kiss Me, I’m Irish by Roxanne St. Claire, Jill Shalvis and Maureen Child (Adult Romance)

* * 1/2

Three bestselling authors brings fans three classic stories of sexy Irishmen and the women who love them. Includes St. Claire's "The Sins of His Past", "Tangling with Ty" by Jill Shalvis, and "What Reilly Wants" by Maureen Child. Original.

The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire
For one incredible night, Kendra Locke gave Deuce Monroe everything she had. Then he walked away without a backward glance to chase his big-league dreams. Now after one too many daredevil stunts, he's back in his hometown ready to pick up where they left off—but Kendra has no intention of giving in so easily….

Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis
Dr. Nicole Mann, a child prodigy who graduated high school at the age of thirteen, has no room in her mind or her schedule for romance. But when the architect renovating her apartment turns out to have a charming Irish accent, all bets are off—and Ty Patrick O'Grady plans to use every trick in his book to stay in her life for good.

Whatever Reilly Wants by Maureen Child
Connor Reilly only has a few weeks to go in his "no sex for ninety days" bet with his brothers—and he figures no woman is safer to be around than his best friend, Emma Jacobsen. Until Emma shows up at a bar in a short skirt and high heels, and suddenly seems anything but safe!




As I mentioned previously, I am not a big fan of romantic short stories or novellas.  In the past I have found that the shorter the story the less character development which makes the romance unbelievable.  But after being wonderfully surprised by Boys of Summer, I decided to give this collection a shot.  And let’s admit it.  It has story by JILL SHALVIS and we all know how fangirl the three of us (especially Shel) can get over Jill. 

The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire – Deuce has “retired” from his lucrative baseball career and has returned to his hometown in Cape Cod with the attention of taking over the family bar.  But Deuce has been so absorbed in his own life that he isn’t aware of the changes that have taken place back home.  What he finds when he returns is that his dad is engaged and has allowed Deuces old flame, Kendra, to take over the bar.  Kendra is more than half way through plans and renovations to turn the bar in an internet café and the surrounding area into an arts center that will benefit the community. Deuce has already turned her life upside down once before.  Now his return threatens to turn all her hard work on its head.  When I started this story I complained to Shel because Deuce was so selfish and arrogant and Kendra seemed to be put up with too much.  But this was a surprisingly well laid out and developed story.  By the end I was rooting for both of them and their happily ever after. 

Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis – Nicole has taken a vow of singlehood.  She has her career (every hour of every day) and her family (when they are convenient) and her friends (when she wants them).  When you have what you want on your terms why add something as uncontrollable as love?  Ty has risen above his shady past.  He is an architect and a wanderer.  Picking up and moving when his current location and friends cease to keep his interest.  When his current job brings him Nicole, he starts to rethink his wandering habits.  It pains me to say this but I did not like this particular story. I had a hard time getting in touch with the characters.  Not that they were unlikable.  I just didn’t understand them.  And to be honest, Nicole frustrated me.  She was cute and her flakiness was kind of adorable.  But she is a surgeon and she NEVER sleeps.  Every time she comes home from her time consuming job she is paged back to work or she runs back to work to avoid something else.  I think she slept twice in the entirety of the story.  All I could think was I would not want her performing surgery on me - EVER.  After reading and falling in love with some of Jill Shalvis’s more recent novels, it was disappointing to not fall in love with this one too.  But I do have to remind myself that this is an older story of Jill’s and her work has only gotten better over the years.  

Whatever Reilly Wants by Maureen Child – Connor Reilly still stands to win a $10,000 inheritance if he can manage to stay celibate for two more months.   Not an easy bet but one he thinks he can manage.  That is until his best friend of two years, Emma Jacobsen, turns his head at the local bar.  Emma is pissed that Connor plainly stated he is hanging out with her more during the bet because she is safe.  Not exactly the most flattering thing to say to a girl.  She decides to seduce him into bed proving that she isn’t the safe bet he thought she was.  What she didn’t plan on was losing her heart to her best friend.  This story was cute.  I am a sucker for best-friends-turn-lovers stories so I was immediately sucked in.  Both Connor and Emma were likeable characters and the supporting characters had surprisingly significant roles to play in this short story.   

In the end, this collection met my previous expectations for romantic shorts or novellas.  It was an ok read but not something I would re-read later as a comfort read like I do with so many of my full length romance novels. 



Nat