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Musing Mondays: Vampire Academy

Published February 3, 2014 by Chick-Lit Cafe

musingmondays51 Musing Mondays, a weekly meme hosted by Should be Reading, asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.

• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).

• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

 • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing: 

345627I’m currently reading Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I have to confess that I’m only reading this because the movie’s coming out. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good teeny bopper vampire flick!  It’s been a while since I’ve read another Twilightesque book, mainly because the whole vampire/boarding school sub-genre is getting tiresome.

Just 100 pages into the story, I’m already sensing that a love triangle and an epic vampire clan showdown are in the midst.  Yes, this series appears to be following the formula, yet the author is shaking it up a bit with some creative twists on the vampire lore. I’m interested to see how things pan out for the main character, Rose, who is getting a lot of one-on-one time with her personal defense-against-the-Strigoi trainer, Dimitri. They’re currently in the love-hate stage, which I’m sure will turn into a forbidden love affair. You see, Rose is at the bottom of the vampire totem pole and is forbidden to canoodle with members of the royal class. 

Oh how I love a scandal! Stay tuned for the book/movie review.

Teaser Tuesdays: The Orphan Train

Published January 7, 2014 by Chick-Lit Cafe

tuesdays

15818107For this week’s Teaser Tuesday, I’d like to spotlight a rare moment of bliss for little orphan Niham in this heart-wrenching tale of survival and self-discovery. I’m so glad I took a chance on Orphan Train after reading The Fault in Our Stars.  That book was a tough act to follow, but I have been just as mesmerized by Niham’s brutal homeward-bound journey as I was by John Green’s epic teenage love story. Stay tuned for the review!

“He clasps Carmine’s legs and twirls, Carmine stretching out his arms and throwing his head back, gazing up at the skylights, shrieking with glee as they turn, and in that moment, for the first time since the fire, my worries are gone. I feel a joy so strong it’s almost painful – a knife’s edge of joy.”

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. What are you reading right now? Care to share a teaser with me?

 

 

Teaser Tuesday: The Secret of Cypriere Bayou by Jana Deleon

Published December 3, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

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9380311It’s Tuesday Teaser time! On this chilly December morning, I bring you an intriguing little snippet from Jana DeLeon’s creeptastic romantic mystery The Secret of Cypriere Bayou.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here’s how it works:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser:

She’d tromped through a swamp in the rain, been chased by a man with a gun, fallen two stories, twisted her ankle and been locked in a dark tunnel in a haunted house. It had definitely been a full day.

Yikes! Sounds like she’s in a bit of a pickle! Perhaps rattling around a haunted mansion all alone in the middle of Louisiana’s swamp country isn’t such a bright idea. Good thing the stud muffin caretaker decided to stick around!  

Swoon Worthy Saturday: Zak Bagans

Published November 30, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

swoonworthy-saturdaySwoon Worthy Saturday is a meme hosted by Stay Bookish that shines a spotlight on a fictional boy who has swept us off our feet, given us butterflies, made our hearts do acrobatics and driven us absolutely crazy!

11284808Hooray for Thanksgiving weekend! Four blissful days of uninterrupted reading time! This book was meant to be my Halloween read, but October zipped right on by in a blur of moving, traveling and work, work, work. But no matter what time of year, this is a spooky, entertaining read. To be honest, I’ve got a smidge of a crush on Zak Bagans, Ghost Adventures frontman and “author” of Dark World. I use the word “author” very loosely because I’ve heard this guy speak on TV and a lot of words in the book don’t’ seem to be a part of his vernacular. Articulate he is not, but he does have some interesting stories from his ghostly escapades, particularly the demonic infestation at Bobby Mackey’s Music World. Let’s just say I will never look at dusty old honky tonks the same way.

It was fun getting an inside look at the Ghost Adventures “lock downs” and learning about the stuff that follows Zak and his crew home. Isn’t it terrible that the ghostly hitchhikers seem to have it in for all of his lady friends? So sad…really I’m not being sarcastic at all. ;)

Friday Finds (Oct. 18)

Published October 18, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

fridayfinds_bringontheinkFriday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should be Reading that showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Happy Friday everybody!!! Don’t you just love this day of the week? It’s almost as awesome as Saturday, a day I reserve for running ungodly amounts of miles and then crashing into my reading nook for endless hours of book-nerdage.

Here’s all the lovely reads that I can’t wait to devour!

 Picked this one up at the airport
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 Scored this audiobook from the author! Post a comment to win a free download of this audiobook!
Dance-On-His-Grave-by-Sylvia-Dickey-Smith

 Bought this for only five bucks on Audible
the-forgotten-garden

 Downloaded this on my Nook to retain my sanity
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I really have no business buying any more books, but what can I say? I’m a total book junkie! What are y’all reading this weekend? Post a comment and tell me all about it!  To enter the audiobook giveaway, post your answer to this question in a comment below: Who is your favorite strong female protagonist?  The winner’s name will be drawn at random.  Good Luck!

Teaser Tuesdays (No. 3) Broken by A.E. Rought

Published October 15, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

tuesdays

13515848It’s Tuesday and you know what that means! Time for Teaser Tuesdays!!! This bookish meme, hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, is all about tantalizing readers with two “teaser” sentences from a current read. I’m about halfway through Broken and am loving the deliciously spooky Halloween ambiance! If you’re looking for a good YA paranormal mystery filled with teen angst and unearthly romance, check this one out. It’s only two bucks on Nook, so you really can’t go wrong!

Here are the rules:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two “teaser” sentences
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
• Share the title & author, too, so other bloggers can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

 And here’s my teaser:

Jack-o’-lanterns leer from porches, glowing faces following my every step, as if they see the hollow space in me and find it familiar. The Peterson’s pumpkin is particularly vicious looking, with narrow pointy teeth and angular flaming eyes, squatting like a gargoyle on the front step.

What’s on your nightstand? Care to share some teasers with me?

Short & Sweet Sundays: Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine

Published September 30, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

Sundays are a day of rest. So in honor of this one day of the week when I can legitimately loaf around in my Garfield jammies in front of the DVR, I bring you this new feature that I like to call “Short and Sweet Sundays.” This is a fun way for me to write up a quick and dirty book blog without getting too overambitious.

13498001The gist (from the publisher): When Jaine Austen’s beloved cat Prozac unwittingly scares to death a parakeet belonging to the neighborhood’s resident curmudgeon, Jaine finds herself knee-deep in toil and trouble. The cantankerous Hollywood has-been once played Cryptessa Muldoon, television’s fourth most famous monster mom. Now she spends her days making enemies with everyone on the block. So when the ornery D-lister is murdered with her own Do Not Trespass sign on Halloween night, the neighborhood fills with relief–and possible culprits.

With a killer on the loose, Jaine hardly has time to fall under the spell of her yummy new neighbor, Peter. As the prime suspect, she summons her sleuthing skills to clear her name and soon discovers that everyone has a few skeletons in their closets. . .

The pros: If you’re having a bad day, week – or in my case – month, this book will turn that frown upside down! It’s a fun, fluffy, fast read filled with zany hijinks, quirky characters and slapstick humor. There’s a smidge of a mystery somewhere in between Jaine’s clumsy shenanigans, but really it’s all about the comedy. Toward the end, I was preparing myself for disappointment, but the author managed to surprise me with an unexpected plot twist. All in all, not too shabby!

The cons: I was hoping this would be an atmospheric Halloween mystery, but not so much. Don’t let the cute witchy kitty and jack-o-lantern on the cover fool you. Aside from an ill-fated costume party and couple trips to the store for fun-sized Halloween candy, this book is not Halloweenie at all.

I should also add that I was really annoyed by the wonky subplot involving sporadic email messages from Jaine’s kooky parents. Their kooky antics were a little too over the top, and I just flat-out didn’t care about their silly neighborhood drama. I’m sure loyal fans of this book series find this kind of thing to be cute and endearing, but I thought it was lame and distracting.

Thoughts on character development:  Jaine Austen really is the star of the show. She’s cute, spunky and riddled with all sorts of bad habits. Unlike a lot of main characters in chick lit books, she’s fashionably challenged and a little on the pudgy side. She wears her elastic-waist jeans with pride and has a weakness for all things sugary and deep fried. How can you not love a girl like that? We could totally hang out! Although, she can leave her freinemie at home. Her next-door neighbor, Lance, is a real tool. I was really hoping he was the killer just so he’d get pushed off a cliff or locked up in prison for life.

Why I chose this book: The cover was too hard to resist! I’m a sucker for jack-o-lanterns and cute kitties.

This book is best paired with: A furry, four-legged lap-monger and a handful of “homemade” brownies.

Would I read another book by this author? Oh sure. Next time I need a little pick-me-up, I’ll grab another book in this series.

Musing Mondays: Audiobook Narrators

Published August 26, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

musingmondays51Musing Mondays, is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading that asks book bloggers to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it then!

My Musing:

9781615455201_p0_v1_s260x420Let’s see here…I think I’m going to opt for the bookish rant option. The narrator for Nora Roberts’ Black Hills was AWFUL! Considering that the story was excruciatingly long and tedious, it’s a wonder how I managed to power through the entire thing. But hey, audiobooks are expensive and I hate wasting a monthly Audible credit.

Here’s the thing: Dudes should not narrate sappy romance books, mainly because they sound like drunken drag queens with their nasally high-pitched “female voices.” I just couldn’t take the main character seriously because he made her sound RIDICULOUS!

I’m not saying that I don’t like male narrators. In fact, they’re excellent for any genre other than romance. Have you ever heard a book narrated by Neil Gaimen? Incredible! Oh and I also adore Jim Frangione, the narrator for Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie Mysteries. He does an excellent job capturing Chet’s happy-go-lucky dog voice!

So there’s my bookish rant. Sorry to sound like a crusty curmudgeon. Next time I promise to choose a much more chipper topic!

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

Published August 14, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

New WoW

61jDLYxFhdL__SY346_“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. This week I’m waiting on the first installment of Nora Roberts’ paranormal triology: Dark Witch (Oct. 29, 2013). Just in time for Halloween, it’s full of witchcraft, Irish legends and saucy love scenes with a swashbuckling wild tribal horseman! Yes, her books are rather predictable and formulaic, but I’d be lying if I said that her paranormal trilogies aren’t entertaining.

From the publisher: With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends. Ireland. County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits. Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives. When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package. Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

The Friday Five: Veiled Revenge by Ellen Byerrum

Published August 10, 2013 by Chick-Lit Cafe

In honor of my favorite day of the week, I bring you The Friday Five. Every Friday I will ask the same five questions to myself, or any other willing participant! All my fellow book lovers are welcome to join in on the fun.

15808443From the publisher: Washington, D.C., fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian has always believed clothes can be magical, but she’s never thought they can be cursed. Until now. Lacey’s best friend, Stella, is finally getting married, and at her bachelorette party, fellow bridesmaid—and fortune-teller—Marie Largesse arrives with a stunning Russian shawl. A shawl, Marie warns, that can either bless or curse the wearer. When a party crasher who mocks the shawl is found dead the next day, the other guests fear the curse has been unleashed. But Lacey has her doubts, and she must employ all her Extra-Fashionary Perception to capture a villain who has vowed that nobody at this wedding will live happily ever after…

Why did you choose this book? I recently watched a re-run of Killer Hair on the Lifetime channel and felt the urge to delve into another Lacey Smithsonian adventure. And really, how could I turn away from a mystery revolving around a cursed shawl? Plus Stella’s getting hitched, which means lots and lots of outrageous fashions and melodrama galore!

Where did the author go right? Or if it’s a turkey, what went wrong? Like going to my favorite hamburger joint in a city full of restaurants, I know without a doubt that any book by Ellen Byerrum is a surefire winner. It’s like she studied me and figured out how to blend all of my most favorite elements into a book series: Quirky gal pals, vintage fashions, a headstrong reporter sleuth, and just a dash of romance. As a journalist, I tend to be a little biased toward my fellow newshounds, which must be why I’m rather fond of Lacey. But there are many other reasons why she stands out among the many amateur sleuths on my bookshelves. She’s fiercely devoted to her friends, and she’s got this mysterious connection to her aunt Mimi. Although Mimi is long gone, she still gives comfort to Lacey through the treasure trove of vintage fashions she left behind in her trunk. Wouldn’t it be fun if the author wrote a spinoff about the enigmatic Aunt Mimi? Perhaps she was a fashionable amateur sleuth back in the 1940s!

Did anything bug you about the book? Ugh, yes! Stella’s sanctimonious new-agey mother totally bugged me. I almost threw my book against the wall when she threatened to torch Stella’s pretty princess wedding gown in a “cleansing ritual.” Oh and while I’m at it, I’m also really annoyed that the Lifetime channel didn’t continue on with the series. Go here to read more about my thoughts on the books vs. TV series.

Dear Lifetime Channel, please reinstate the Crimes of Fashion series. I miss these ladies!

Dear Lifetime Channel, please reinstate the Crimes of Fashion series. I miss these ladies!

Would you read another book by this author? Absolutely! I’ve been reading this series out of order, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

How would you sum up the book in three words? Hilarious, witty, suspenseful.

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