Tag Archives: New Author Challenge 2012

MORE, by T.M. Franklin

4 Oct

Format: e-book

Published: October 4, 2012

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

Ava Michaels used to think she was special.

As a child, she fantasized about having magical powers . . . making things happen. But Ava grew up and eventually accepted the fact that her childish dreams were just that, and maybe a normal life wasn’t so bad after all.

Now a young college student, Ava meets Caleb Foster, a brilliant and mysterious man who’s supposed to help her pass Physics, but in reality has another mission in mind. What he shows Ava challenges her view of the world, shaking it to its very core.

Because Caleb isn’t quite what he seems. In fact, he’s not entirely human, and he’s not the only one.

Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient race bound to protect humans, but only after protecting their own secrets—secrets they fear Ava may expose. Fighting to survive, Ava soon learns she’s not actually normal . . . she’s not even just special.

She’s a little bit more.

My review:

This book is FANTASTIC!!!!! The characters are amazing, the story is thrilling and twists in all the right places, and the budding romance is just perfect! It isn’t often I love a female character from start to finish, but I did with Ava. The bit where she lies in bed wondering what he’s doing… I die! Seriously, I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. A stunning debut novel, and I love the cover!

My rating: 5/5

Necropolis, by Michael Dempsey

16 Aug

Format: ebook

Published: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Back cover blurb:
In a future where death is a thing of the past, how far would you go to solve your own murder?

Paul Donner is a NYPD detective struggling with a drinking problem and a marriage on the rocks. Then he and his wife get dead–shot to death in a “random” crime. Fifty years later, Donner is back–revived courtesy of the Shift, a process whereby inanimate DNA is re-activated.

This new “reborn” underclass is not only alive again, they’re growing younger, destined for a second childhood. The freakish side-effect of a retroviral attack on New York, the Shift has turned the world upside down. Beneath the protective geodesic Blister, clocks run backwards, technology is hidden behind a noir facade, and you can see Elvis at Radio City Music Hall ever night. In this unfamiliar retro-futurist world of maglev Studebakers and plasma tommy guns, Donner must search for those responsible for the destruction of his life. His quest for retribution, aided by Maggie, his holographic Girl Friday, leads him to the heart of the mystery surrounding the Shift’s origin and up against those who would use it to control a terrified nation.

My review:
I haven’t read much sci-fi for a while, so this was a refreshing change. The first half was great – innovative, written in the hard-boiled Chandler style and full of concepts that seemed totally conceivable for forty years in the future. I liked Donner and Maggie, and the villains were perfectly evil.

However, in the second half of the book I felt things dragged a bit, and found it easy to predict what was about to happen. I knew quite early on what one of the big gotchas would be, and that soured things for me a bit. This book was best when the sudden violence and twists were out of the blue.

My rating: 3.5/5

How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, by Kerrelyn Sparks

9 Jul

Format: Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published: March 3, 2009 (first published July 26th 2005)
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
Back cover blurb:
So what if he’s a bit older and usually regards a human female as dinner, not a dinner date? Yes, Roman Draganesti is a vampire, but a vampire who lost one of his fangs sinking his teeth into something he shouldn’t have. Now he has one night to find a dentist before his natural healing abilities close the wound, leaving him a lop–sided eater for all eternity.

Things aren’t going well for Shanna Whelan either…After witnessing a gruesome murder by the Russian mafia, she’s next on their hit list. And her career as a dentist appears to be on a downward spiral because she’s afraid of blood. When Roman rescues her from an assassination attempt, she wonders if she’s found the one man who can keep her alive. Though the attraction between them is immediate and hot, can Shanna conquer her fear of blood to fix Roman’s fang? And if she does, what will prevent Roman from using his fangs on her…


My review:

Not exactly laugh-out-loud funny, but very amusing nonetheless, especially in the first half of the book. It reminded me a lot of other vampire series – I read too many of them, I know – and at times I felt like I had read parts of this before in either Twilight or Cat and Bones or somewhere.

Regardless, I loved Roman and all his vampire mates – especially the Highlanders and Gregori – and will be reading the other books in the series just to find out more about them. Shanna was annoying for the most part, but I usually hate the heroines so that’s nothing new. I also think the cover lets the book down a bit.

My rating: 4/5

The Perfect Play, by Jaci Burton

5 Jul

Format: Trade Paperback, 324 pages
Published: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Heat
Back cover blurb:
Football pro Mick Riley is an all-star, both on the field and in the bedroom. But a sexy, determinedly single mom just might be the one to throw him off his game…For years Mick has been taking full advantage of the life available to a pro athlete: fame, fortune, and a different girl in every city. But when he meets and beds confident, beautiful event planner Tara Lincoln, he wants much more than the typical one-night stand. Too bad Tara’s not interested in getting to know football’s most notorious playboy any better.As the single mother of a teenage son, the last thing Tara needs is the jet-set lifestyle of Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand was unforgettable. Tara’s life is complicated enough without being thrust into the spotlight as Mick’s latest girl du jour. Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn’t intend to put herself out there again, especially with a heartbreaker like Mick.

But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind.

My review:
The cover is probably the best thing about this book, and I’ve added half a star on for him alone. The story was ordinary, the heroine incredibly annoying, and it really could have done with a better editing job. Several times the same phrase was used in quick succession, and near the end a character changed her name within the space of a page.

It is very hot, though, and the secondary characters were good. But you can’t base a book on smut alone. I doubt I will be reading the rest of this series anytime soon. Maybe one day, when the price comes down (I paid $18 for this and it really wasn’t worth it).

My rating: 3.5/5

Dark Prince, by Christine Feehan

18 May

Format: ebook, 480 pages
Published: March 8, 2011 (first published August 1, 1999)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Back cover blurb:
Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await, and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible passion.

A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps to catch some of the most depraved criminals. But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit. In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks for a vacation far from home.

Mikhail Dubrinsky is the prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night. Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness—until the day that a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.

From the moment they meet, Raven and Mikhail are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love. Yet even if they survive, how can these two lovers—Carpathian and human—build a future together? And how can Mikhail bring Raven into his dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?

My review:
I don’t know how I managed to get to the end of this. I now despearately need chocolate and a stiff drink.

I’m all in favour of an alpha male – I love them, in fact – but Mikhail is just too far into creepy stalker domineering asshole territory for my liking. The heroine – with the ridiculous name of Raven – was so stupid I shouted at her several times. Of course she lets the creepy domineering dude perform a strange bloood ritual on her without asking any questions, and then waits until later to ask what she had just agreed to (oh, just being bound to him for eternity, no biggie).

The dialogue was extremely stilted, the author uses the word “replentish” several times (this is not a word!) and I cannot believe this book won awards, or that there are another 22 of them in this series! Not for me.

My rating: 1/5

Kamikaze, by Moira Rogers

17 May

Format: Kindle edition, 36 pages

Published: August 15, 2008

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Back cover blurb:

Zoe Bennett is an inexperienced werewolf in the grip of her mating cycle. With no pack and no mate, Zoe must brave the supernatural crowds of Last Call, the bar where your drink order tells everyone what you need. Kamikaze: Werewolf in heat, looking for a temporary mate. The chase is on, and security specialist Connor O’Malley intends to win, if only because the sweet young woman at the bar looks unprepared for what the night might bring, in and out of the bedroom. Little does he know that, when he catches her, he may not be satisfied being just a temporary mate.

My review:

Wowzer! Hot, hot, hot, and an intriguing start to a new series based at a bar for supernaturals, where they can meet and fulfil their desires. While not normally a werewolf girl – I know I’ve said this before, lol – I really enjoyed this and felt the connection between Zoe and Connor. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of this series. The next book is about a witch 🙂

My review: 4/5

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, by Sarra Manning

13 May

Format: Kindle Edition, 560 pages
Published: February 3, 2011
Publisher: Corgi
Back cover blurb:
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve’s heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she’s an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve’s lost her heart – but to who?

My review:
I loved this and almost gave it five cupcakes, but the period in the book from where William phones to when Neve confronts Charlotte dragged a bit for me, so I felt I had to take half a cake off.

Honestly, though, I was surprised how much I did enjoy this story, and really couldn’t put it down. Neve is a believable character: a woman who has lost a lot of weight but who still sees herself as flabby and undesirable. On her sister’s suggestion, she embarks on a “pancake relationship” with Max – you know, you throw away the first pancake in the batch because it’s never perfect – so she can be ready and experienced when her “true love” William returns from California.

The plotline is contrived and cliched, in that it’s clear from the start there will be more to Max and Neve’s relationship than just fake affection and at some point there will be huge conflict, but I didn’t mind because Max is so damn yummy. The things he says… *sigh* He made me laugh out loud and go tingly all at the same time, and that is the kind of man you want to hold onto. Neve thinks he’s a cad when she first meets him, but in the end it is clear the cad in this story is not him. Far from it.

Hilarious and sexy, I’d recommend this book for Max alone!

My rating: 4.5/5

Headhunters, by Jo Nesbo

4 May

Format: Paperback, 376 pages
Published: March 29, 2012 (first published 2008)
Publisher: Vintage
Back cover blurb:
Roger Brown has it all: Norway’s most successful headhunter, he is married to a beautiful gallery owner and owns a magnificent house. But he’s also a highly accomplished art thief. At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position that Brown is recruiting for; he is also in possession of ‘The Calydonian Boar Hunt’ by Rubens, one of the most sought-after paintings in modern art history. Roger starts planning his biggest theft ever. But soon, he runs into trouble – and it’s not financial problems that are threatening to knock him over this time…
My review:
My sister has been recommending Nesbo to me for a while, so when he came to New Zealand recently I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. Now I know, and have to agree with my sister: he is well worth recommending.

Headhunters is the story of thoroughly loathsome Roger Brown, who is both a top Norwegian recruitment agency big-wig and an art thief, and what happens when he falls foul of a former Dutch counterterrorism agent who wants to find a new job. The plot twists and turns with rapid pace, shocking us with horrific violence and acts of betrayal. We dislike Roger from beginning to end, but he is more sympathetic than sociopathic Clas Greve, who seems to turn up like The Terminator no matter what is thrown at him.

I can see how this book was turned into a movie – it almost reads like a screenplay and the images are vividly written – and I would quite like to see it now I have read the source material. The scene in the outhouse may be one I will never forget.

I enjoyed this far more than Stieg Larssen, and will definitely be reading Nesbo’s Harry Hole mysteries. My sister has even given me one to get me started 🙂

My rating: 4/5

A Virgin River Christmas, by Robyn Carr

21 Apr

Format: Kindle Edition
Published: February 1, 2008
Publisher: Mira Books
Back cover blurb:
Last Christmas, Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby’s shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived Stateside. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

My review:
Carr is another new author for me and now I just have to read the rest of this series, even though there are quite a few books in it already.This story, of a grieving Marine widow who goes up into the mountains to track down her late husband’s best friend who has dropped out of society after his experiences in Iraq, had me gripped from the very start. There was no question she would find him, or even that they would fall in love, but the story still held my attention all the way.

The great secondary characters – all of whom have their own books, I believe – made this book even better, and I can’t wait to read their stories. Even if I cry as much as I did at the end of this one. *sigh*

My rating: 4.5/5

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

6 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published: April 14, 2011
Publisher: Orion
Back cover blurb:
It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange.
At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail – and also, I think I love you’.
After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first-sight.
Heartwarming, witty and unforgettable, ATTACHMENTS is an irresistible romantic comedy that has it all.
My review:
Some of my favourite stories are those where people fall in love via letters, where their words mean everything and they gradually reveal their personalities and feelings without taking any notice of physical appearances. So when I saw the blurb for this book I knew it was for me, and add in the newsroom setting and I was hooked.

Firstly, I must say I have worked in newsrooms with plenty of skeevy IT guys before, so it sent a shudder down my spine to find out Lincoln’s job involved reading intraoffice e-mails. However, he turns out to be a lovely, geeky guy working lonely nightshifts who becomes somewhat addicted to the correspondence between movie reviewer Beth and copy editor Jennifer which gets flagged by the office software for containing inappropriate words. In fact they are just discussing their lives – their partners, Beth’s sister’s wedding, Jennifer’s suspected pregnancy – and Lincoln decides not to reprimand them. Instead he keeps reading, and over several months comes to fall in love with Beth. Without ever having seen her.

Meanwhile, she has seen him, although she doesn’t know his name or what he does at the newspaper. When she tells Jennifer about the cute guy, and Lincoln eventually realises she’s writing about him, he dares to hope… *sigh*

I loved the way Lincoln came out of his shell as the book progressed. He made friends on nightshift, joined a gym, and all the while I was rooting for him to pluck up the courage to talk to Beth. There is tragedy, many laugh-out-loud moments, lots of pop culture references, and journalism in-jokes. Rowell is a reporter, so she gets all the newsroom eccentricities spot on and I recognised many of the colourful secondary characters from my own experiences. I also laughed out loud reminiscing at the Y2K subplot; like many I know, the newspaper was reluctant to change to computers and allegedly only got rid of its electric typewriters in 1992. At the newsroom I worked in in 1992, we only just got electric typewriters that year!

I loved this book. It’s so me I wish I had written it.

My rating: 5/5