Vision in White - Nora Roberts

Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Genre: Adult Romance

Form: Paperback Book

Series: The Bride Quartet

After years of throwing make-believe weddings in the backyard, flowers, photography, desserts, and details are what these women do best: a guaranteed perfect, beautiful day full of memories to last the rest of your life.

With bridal magazine covers to her credit, Mackensie "Mac" Elliot is most at home behind the camera - ready to capture the happy moments she never experienced while growing up. Her father replaced his first family with a second, and now her mother, moving on to yet another man, begs Mac for attention and money. Mac's foundation is jostled again moments before an important wedding planning meeting when she bumps into the bride-to-be's brother...an encounter that has them both seeing stars.

Carter Maguire is definitely not her type: he's stable, and he's safe. He's even an English teacher at their high school alma mater. There's something about him that makes Mac think a casual fling is just what she needs to take her mind of dealing with bridezillas and screening her mother's phone calls. But a casual fling can turn into something more when you least expect it. And with the help of her three best friends - and business partners - Mac must learn how to make her own happy memories.

Source: flap of book

One word summary: beautiful

For once I can’t claim that the characters were the best part of a book that I liked. Not to indicate that the characters weren’t good, because that is very far from the truth, but I actually fell in love with the descriptions in this book. Nora Roberts made you feel like you were Mac, behind the lens of a camera. She made you want to pick up your camera and try it yourself. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the “Vows” business run by four best friends. No matter who was narrating, you felt as if you were walking in their shoes.

I loved Carter as well, but who wouldn’t love the homebody, bookish, tweed-wearing teacher who has a passion that is a little bit out of his control. I never would have thought “nerd” could be sexy, but on Carter, it definitely is. Mac’s mother, Linda, is incorrigible, and you root for Mac to plan her feet and tell her what’s coming to her. I wanted to scoff and shout at her too, whenever Linda just couldn’t open her eyes enough to see beyond her own nose. Even better than Carter though, were Mac’s best friends and business partners; Parker, Emma, and Laurel. To have such a strong and long lasting relationship, and a built in support group, a bond that any other woman would be jealous of. I know I was.

Most of all, I wanted more. I wanted to see Mac and Carter’s wedding. I wanted to see her become just one of the family at Carter’s parent’s house. I wanted to see the growth and love there. The thing is, it’s okay that it wasn’t there too, because you can see how it’s going to happen. You know Mac is getting the HEA she never thought was possible.

I am looking forward to Bed of Roses, which is coming in October, and I will say…I’m most excited about Parker’s book. For some reason I just think her HEA is going to be especially good.

Visions of Sugar Plums - Janet Evanovich

Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Fiction

Form: Audio Book

Series: Stephanie Plum

Narrator: Lorelei King

It's five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn't got a tree. She hasn't bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There's not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment. And there's a strange man in her kitchen.

Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. Strangers, weirdos, felons, creeps, and lunatics are always finding their way to her front door. But this guy is different. This guy is mysterious, sexy-and he has his own agenda. His name is Diesel and he is a man on a mission. And Diesel is unlike anyone Stephanie has ever met before in her life. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn't look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant? These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas "surprise" for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn't believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style. "Visions of Sugar Plums"-the world of Plum has never been merrier.

I’m shocked, a Stephanie Plum I wasn’t too crazy about. I’m not exactly what it was I didn’t care for about this book, except maybe it felt rushed. You never got a good idea of who Diesel was, which I guess could have been purposefully done. He also took on too many Ranger-like qualities, in a mysterious, handsome, “he’s got his ways,” type of way. The action was sub-par as well, and it all seemed, well, cheesy. I’m a big Stephanie Plum fan, but this wasn’t her greatest adventure.


Because She Can - Bridie Clark

Because She Can by Bridie Clark
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Audio Book
Narrator: Mary Birdsong

In a New York minute, Claire Truman lands both a plum position at a top publishing house and the man she's wanted for ten years...then reality intervenes. Her new boss is Vivian Grant, a notoriously ruthless tyrant known for her tirades, traumatized assistants, and tabloid-inspired bestsellers. Soon Claire's job is stealing more and more of her time and her relationship with her fiance begins to feel the strain. It doesn't help that she's working late nights with a brilliant-and handsome-first-time author. As Vivian's outrageous demands continue to escalate, Claire wonders if she likes where the fast track is taking her-and worries about what she might turn into...

One word summary: enjoyable
I could see this book playing out in real life. Based on outside appearances, Claire seems to have the perfect life. She’s got a job as a book editor and a gorgeous, sweet, loving man. Perfect. But deep down, the flaws are many. She puts up with the boss from hell, and while her boyfriend seems to think of everything and say and do all the right things he’s also overly committed to his work and finds appearances and doing the “right” thing most important.
I really enjoyed Claire’s relationships in this book. Her relationship with Bea, her best friend, is strong and supportive. Bea is always there for her when she needs her even though Claire herself, at times, seems to be detached from everything real. Her relationship with Randall, who was her high school mega crush and is super sweet and says and does all the right things…when he’s around. I especially liked how it was Claire who helped him realize that the relationship wasn’t really working, or as she put it “it’s not enough.” Finally, her relationship with Luke, which is very friendly and fun and interesting as they begin to share more and more about themselves with one another.

I think the only disappointment I had with the book was at the end I really wanted more of a declaration from Luke. I wanted him to step up back up to the plate. Or Claire to run after him. That, would, of course take away the "this could happen in real life" realm and placed the book more on the romantic "sigh" type book. The relationship was there, it just wasn't as grand of an finale as I wanted.

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You - Peter Cameron

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Form: Audio Book

Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe

IN RE: James Sveck - eighteen-year-old New Yorker, charming, precocious, confused, doesn't quite fit in (doesn't really want to), If: his future (i.e., college) seems completely meaningless, not to mention terrifying Then: he'll start anew (move to the Midwest?) In re: James Sveck - misunderstood by a capricious mother, a self-absorbed father, a mordant older sister, Et alia: his Teutonic therapist, his D-list celebrity grandmother, his unnervingly attractive art gallery colleague... If: What one wants is enigmatic... Then: Life can be hell. But: as the summer gets hotter, James comes to recognize the wrenching truth of his emotions. Jame's archly comic bravado fuels this sharply observed novel of a teen adrift in an adult world, struggling to make sense of the problems of love and of lack. The engaging voice of our idiosyncratic antihero is deftly captured by the adroit prose of Peter Cameron. Often hilarious, deeply compassionate, smart, and lyrical, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is every bit as sui generis as James Sveck himself.
Source: back of Audio Book

One word summary: boring.

I just kept waiting on this book to get good, or to just go somewhere. For whatever reason, it just seemed more like a long drawn-out running commentary on a depressed teenage boy’s life for about 6 months. While some of his thoughts and ideas I could relate to, mostly he had a really depressed outlook on life in general, and really just could not look at the bright side of anything. At the end of the book, I’m not even sure he had grown as a person at all. His mom, sister, and pretty much every other human contact in his life seemed condescending, and didn’t even attempt to try very hard to see his point of view. Not that James made it easy.

I found this book in the young adult section of the library, but I can hardly see how any young adult would like this. Maybe I’m wrong. I can guess there might actually be a few out there who could relate to James, heck there actually were points that I could relate to James in – but the fact that he doesn’t seem to get better, try to get better, or really see too much outside of himself, his wants and needs. If this had not been an audio book, I would not have finished it. Since it was relatively short and the only thing I had to listen to at work at the moment, I trudged through the entire thing, but cannot recommend anyone else to do the same.


Glory in Death - J. D. Robb

Glory in Death by J.D. Robb
Genre: Adult Mystery & Detective
Form: Audio Book
Series: In Death Series
Narrator: Susan Ericksen

In a time when technology can reveal the darkest of secrets, there's only one place to hide a crime of passion - in the heart. . . The first victim was found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second was murdered in her own apartment building. Police lieutenant Eve Dallas had no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women. Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with men of great power and wealth provided Eve with a long list of suspects - including her own lover, Roarke. As a woman, Eve was compelled to trust the man who shared her bed. But as a cop, it was her job to follow every lead . . .to investigate every scandalous rumor . . .to explore every secret passion, no matter how dark. Or how dangerous.
Source: Booksfree.com

I never would have thought of myself as a crime/mystery book reader, but here I am in love with a mystery series. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the characters, and the world that J.D. Robb has created. It's amazing to be transformed into a future (yet not all together unbelievable with the way our technology advances) setting. But more than that, the stories created in this series are amazing captivating. You just have to find out what happens. Of course Eve and Roarke's relationship helps in moving the plot along as well.

Once again, my hat's off to the narrator, Susan Ericksen. The production of the audio book is wonderful. I love it when you can feel the emotion of the characters, and I must say - when Roarke says "Eve, I love you" in his lovely Irish accent, you can feel it in your toes. There are some books that are just better as an audiobook, and I would hesitate to say that this series is one of them, in fact I think that I would love to sit and read these books - but Susan really makes it a very enjoyable experience.


Evermore - Alyson Noel

Evermore by Alyson Noel
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Form: Paperback book
Series: The Immortals

After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people's auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone's entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school - but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

Damen is gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head - wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is - or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.
Source: back of book

One word analysis: Decent

There are many ways in which Evermore was a good book, and many ways in which I felt that it could have been a better book. I felt like Alyson Noel was sort of going for the attraction found between Bella and Edward in Twilight, and fell just barely short in that area. Perhaps it was the similarities found in the relationship of Bella and Edward that made Ever and Damen’s relationship pale in comparison or perhaps it’s the fact that Ever was never quite as fascinated, so while we understand Damen was gorgeous, rich, and apparently supernatural, I think we still felt disconnected from him.

But it is unfair to try and make a book live up to Twilight expectations. The story line was good. It moved forward, and kept you captivated almost to the very end. I say “almost” because around the time that you figure out Damen’s secret, I feel like Ever spends too much time wavering in what to do next. It was at that point that I was loosing interest in the book all together. I mean, we made it that far – and now she’s just being silly. Damen had perfect explanations for everything that happened throughout the book. My mind wants to say, “ah Damen, you don’t deserve her, you’ve waited forever for this moment and she’s on the edge of throwing everything away.” This was true even at the very end after the final show down, at which point I almost threw in the towel with 2 pages to go, sooo frustrating. But alas, I’m giving too much away.
Another part of the story that I felt could have had a bit more play time was the fact that apparently this isn’t the first time Damen and Ever have crossed paths, in the recent and also very distant past. Where was the foreshadowing? Why didn’t we play that up a bit more? Flashes of memory? I mean the reason was explained, but wouldn’t some kind of memory, confusion, etc., made a more interesting plot?? Ah well, I’m not doing the writing I suppose.

The characters get an A+, and as readers of my blog know, this is a major for me. I do like the characters, even the antagonists were well written. They wrap you up in to their story, especially at the beginning. I’m not sure if this is Alyson’s first book or not, but I’ll probably keep an eye on her books, because I expect that with experience her stories are going to get really good!

Kissing Coffins - Ellen Schreiber

Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Form: Paperback book
Series: Vampire Kisses Series

When goth-girl Raven's vampire boyfriend, Alexander, disappears, she embarks on a dangerous search and ultimately faces a life-transforming decision she's not sure she's ready to make.

One word analysis: Eh…

I’m not even sure that counts as a word. I really like Raven, really I do. I like Alexander more. I just feel like these books are lacking in maturity. Yes, I know, they are young adult books, perhaps even as young as 13, when I’m looking for the 15-18 type stuff. Maybe that is the main problem. Mostly, I feel like the book didn’t really go anywhere. Oh, there was a plot, a climax, and sort of a wrapping up (okay, maybe not a true wrap-up, but it is a series, and she wants to keep us reading), but to me it sort of just stayed flat-line throughout. Even the new antagonist, Jagger, is mild. There was also a lot of blurry lines and sudden decisions, i.e. visiting Aunt, leaving Aunt’s early. No adult thinks this stuff is weird? Does she really have this much control of her life, and yet in some cases seems to act younger than her 16 years?

I’ve already go the next two books in this series, and I’ll probably read on at some point. I just think that there are better books out there.


The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl - Barry Lyga

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Liga
Genre: Young Adult fiction
Form: Audio Book
Narrator: Scott Brick
Series: Not a series, but sequel coming Fall 2009

Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form nown as Fanboy's new little brother or sister.

Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he's been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced wil lead to publication, fame, and - most important of all - a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and away from all the people who make it hell for him. When Fanboy meets Kyra a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies.

But Kyra has secrets, too. And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams...or down a path into his own and Goth Girl, darkness.
Source: Back of audio book

One word summary: Wonderful!

Fanboy and Goth Girl is one of those books that you just don’t want to stop until you reach the end. First off, listening to this as an audio book instead of reading it – I think it may have actually made the book for me. The narrative was great – and the narrator did very well at capturing the heart of the text as well. The dialogue between characters is spot on! Barry captures the teenage thing perfectly.

I honestly feel that the best parts of the book are the lessons learned. I feel like Fanboy ,whom the only other name we are given for him is “Donnie,” is very troubled and seems to feel like he’s on the outside of everything looking in. He’s got a bit of a temper, but also is extremely reasonable and not apt to getting overly carried away…most of the time. I was surprised by his thought process, and felt that Barry Lyga captured the head of a teenager with decent precision. Fanboy is picked on, teased, bumped, punched, and just seems to be the target for all that is bad. At least that is how it is from his perspective. He has exactly one friend as the book opens. What he realizes as the book moves forward, is that he’s not the only person who is made fun of (proven by a car ride with Cal and some of Cal’s other friends). He learns that while at school, he’s not completely invisible (proven by Cal – when he notices Kyra aka Goth Girl’s emergence in his life. Also proven by Kyra when she notices the beating he gets daily at gym). He learns when he has confidence and believes in himself, he’s not small and helpless (proven during his revenge on his gym class abuser, and his visit to the principle’s office). He learns the difference between lusting after some hot chick and what it is to really like someone (his first kiss). I think most of all, he learned everyone has something that is important to them – and it does not always line up with how he feels. I felt that by the end of the book he was discovering how selfish he was. In some ways, despite the fact that he was treated badly on some levels, Fanboy was a bit of a brat. He expected everything to fall right into line with what he wanted - which he seemed to be rectifying by the end of the book.

I am excited about the sequel. Goth Girl, though she played such a prominate part of this book and Fan Boy's maturing, lacked her own resolve. I felt like her character was just left hanging...while the book was narrated and most about Fanboy, Goth Girl deserves her own growth process as well.


Hard Eight - Janet Evanovich

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Audio Book
Series: Stephanie Plum Series

When Stephanie Plum is hired to find a missing child, she begins to wonder if she is working on the right side of the law when events turn suspicious, and as her relationship with Morelli gets rocky, Ranger finds an opportunity to act on his feelings.
Source: booksfree.com


Honest Illusions - Nora Roberts

Honest Illusions
by Nora Roberts
Genre: Adult Romance
Form: Mass-Paperback Book

The daughter of a world-renowned magician, Roxy Nouvelle has inherited her father's talents - and his penchant for jewel thievery. Into this colorful world comes Luke Callahan - con man, loner, lover. He's the escape artist who captures her heart. And who keeps secrets that could send their house of cards tumbling...
Source: Back of book

If I could describe this book in one word, it would be: captivating. I cannot express how much the characters of this book captured my heart. Not just Roxy and Luke, although they were awesome together - their sparks flew right off the page and into my own heart, but Max, and Lily and the rest of the Nouvelle crew.

The story line was awesome. It had everything you could ask for. I sometimes felt I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat for what happened next. There were other times that I was so happy with where the characters at that precise moment in the book that I almost wanted to put the book down because I couldn't stand the idea of something bad happening.

I loved Nora's descriptions. She would describe the magic act, and never giving away any kind of "secret" as to how it was done (perhaps she didn't really know herself, who knows), but many times you felt you were right there with the characters. And the sexual attraction between Roxy and Luke - especially when they were fighting against that attraction - is amazing. The hairs on my arms would stand up with the tension. I fell in love with these characters, so their happily ever after was the best ending I could ever have hoped for.

A "friend" on Karen Marie Moning's web forum recommended this book - and I absolute do not regret picking it up!


Can You Keep a Secret - Sophie Kinsella

Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Chick-Lit
Form: Audio Book

With the same wicked humor, buoyant charm, and optimism that have made her Shopaholic novels beloved international bestsellers, Kinsella delivers a hilarious new work and an unforgettable new character--Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets.
Source: booksamillion.com

Can You Keep a Secret is a fun book. Quite entertaining to listen to on those long work-days sitting at the computer hammering out work. I always find Sophie's characters fun and usually pretty silly. Not silly in a bad way, but in a funny, goofy, maybe a tinsy bit over the top sort of way. But it's good - that type of humor usually works for her.

I enjoyed main characters quite a bit, but felt that they really didn't have much time to really connect in the book, therefore I wasn't feeling the attraction really. I think the other thing that bothers me about Kinsella's novels is usually there is usually a lot of money involved in one way or another. Somehow, everyone always is able to get whatever they want because either they have a lot of money, or they will have a lot of money or, as it is in this case, your male interest has a lot of money. I don't mind unrealistic, but I don't actually like everything to be silver plattered to you.

Outside of those things - I do like this book. It's funny, and as I said before, entertaining. It hits the spot for a easy, relaxing read.

Naked In Death by J.D. Robb

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
Genre: Adult - Mystery & Detective
Form: Audio Book
Series: In Death

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all - and knows that her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire - and suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about - except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.
Source: Booksfree.com

This is the beginning of a loooong series that has been recommended to me by several people. I can see why. I like Stephanie Plum, the bounty hunter that accidently get’s her man every time. I like Mackalya Lane – who hunts evil Fae, and with no real training, pulls off some pretty sweet moves. It’s only natural I’m going to like Eve Dallas, the futuristic cop who is the best at the job. I am concerned about the length of the series, and the fact I’m coming in on it so late in the game. On one hand, it’s good – because I don’t have to wait forever for the next book to come out. On the other hand – with over 20 books into the series, there is a chance that I will get bored with it. Plus, I like status quo right now. Roarke made such a great beau for Eve, I don’t want to see that boat rocked, but I can’t see how that will be possible with such a long lasting series.

Naked in Death, and probably the other books in the series – is much more serious and graphic than I am used to. The crimes committed are described in great detail, and you even get to be a witness in some cases. I just hope there is not much more involvement with kids. Having three kids of my own, I’m not really interested in reading about child abuse, murder, etc. It’s just too much for me to handle.

I was really shocked at J.D. Robb’s (aka Nora Roberts) ability to create such a wonderful setting. She has developed an entire new future, one that probably really isn’t that far off the mark. I completely understand the need for a pen name, because this is so very far off the track from what I’ve read out of Nora Roberts in the past. I imagine it’s hard to make such a drastic genre change without some repercussions. Actually, I have seen first hand some of the results of that kind of change in some of the reviews of Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series. Some of her fans picked up the series expecting it to be somewhat reminiscent of her Highlander series, and while the books are excellent (my opinion of course) they are not the same. I think some fans felt a bit duped – and Karen Marie Moning made just a little bit of a change. What Nora Roberts has done is way different from her norm.

I am captivated. I love this look at the future, I love the characters. The writing is great! This will definitely become one of my favorite series – I can tell already.