Devil's Desire - Laurie McBain

Devil's Desire by Laurie McBain

Elise is way down on her luck. She recently lost both of her parents in an accident, and her brother to the sea. She was forced to sell most of her possessions off to pay off debts, including her beloved horse, Ariel. At the opening of the book, she is living with her half-aunt, her last living relative, who treats her as though she rates below the servants. At best, her life is miserable.

Alix is the luckiest man alive, and the most notorious rogue. It isn’t wise to bet against him, because he has never been known to loose at anything; many say he’s made a pact with the devil himself. His biggest troubles are getting rid of his most recent lover, and the fact that he no longer finds his life fulfilling.

Elise and Alix's lives collide in a scandal. With no way out, they are forced to marry, settling for a semi-fulfilled life. What they get instead is much more passionate, adventurous and fulfilled than either of them imagined.

What I really enjoyed about Devil’s Desire was the chemistry between Elise and Alix. They are wonderful together, so much so that the book is best during the scenes where both are involved. Their banter and snide remarks toward each other do nothing but fan the sparks of attraction that fly between them. Their relationship, and it’s progress and growth throughout the book are what made it enjoyable to read. I loved Elise, she was a solid character from beginning to end. Alix was a bit harder. He was suppose to be a dark, sinister character; but in most of his interactions he was much too polite and well mannered to be the person everyone claimed he was through the entire book. He has his dark moments, but in his conversations and his thoughts and his dealings with other people he was very fair and reasonable, making the opinions of others seem unreasonable.

The storyline, to me, is very jagged. I could never tell what direction the book was going to go. At one point you’ll be following down one path – and you think you have an idea what might happen or where the story will turn, but then all of the sudden that path dead ends and you find yourself walking down another road all together. This made it difficult to take any part of the story as “important” because all too many times from the beginning all the way to the end, what just happened has no significance to what is going to happen. I feel a story should have a nice smooth line, foreshadowing, maybe a scene or two to explain the hows and whys. There also should not be so many villains (this story had seven that I can count right off the top of my head). Two of these villains ended up spewing their disgust and hatred in a very Scooby-doo fashion. At the point when they believed they had the upper hand and are going to “win” their battle they would spew their whole plan of action and all of it’s intricate details in one conversation. I find it much more fulfilling to have the mystery or details revealed as the story unravels. little hints laid down here and there for you to grasp on to until the end of the book.

As long as you're able to read through the storyline (and who knows, you may not agree with my assessment) this was a perfectly romantic book. Alix and Elise, as well as the happy ending, make this book worth the read.

Devil's Desire was published previously, but is being re-released in November by Sourcebooks, Inc. Romance lovers really should not hesitate!


The Red Scarf - Kate Furnivall

The Red ScarfThe Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When thinking about trying to summarize The Red Scarf for a review, I found it very difficult. Kate Furnivall has written such a completely intertwined story that pretty much every moment from beginning to end is significant. As I write reviews, in most cases I like to be sensitive and not give away pertinent information to anyone who may be reading the review. I might give away names of characters or a side plot or something, but not something that will ruin the entire book for the reader. Below is the summary from Barnesandnoble.com, and to me, it really does not do the book justice…but it also does not give anything away you don’t already learn within the first few chapters of the book:

Davinsky Labor Camp, Siberia, 1933: Only two things in this wretched place keep Sofia from giving up hope: the prospect of freedom, and the stories told by her friend and fellow prisoner Anna, of a charmed childhood in Petrograd, and her fervent girlhood love for a passionate revolutionary named Vasily.

After a perilous escape, Sofia endures months of desolation and hardship. But, clinging to a promise she made to Anna, she subsists on the belief that someday she will track down Vasily. In a remote village, she's nursed back to health by a Gypsy family, and there she finds more than refuge—she also finds Mikhail Pashin, who, her heart tells her, is Vasily in disguise. He's everything she has ever wanted—but he belongs to Anna.

After coming this far, Sofia is tantalizingly close to freedom, family—even a future. All that stands in her way is the secret past that could endanger everything she has come to hold dear...

In my opinion, Kate Furnivall is a master storyteller. Under any normal circumstances, I wouldn’t pick up the books she writes based on the summaries given, because I can tell, by the summary, that there is a lot of real life anguish that is going to happen which is what I usually avoid when picking out a book. Life is usually real enough for me. Plus, her books tend to be rather political in nature…which is a bit of a turn off for me as well. I don’t even know what made me pick up The Russian Concubine, my introduction to Kate’s work. I’m pretty sure it was an impulse buy at Half Price Books, but I am glad I gave her a chance. As I said, the books are political and they are usually about struggle, but the characters are so real and unbelievable strong, they suck you into their lives and do not let go. There is always an air of hope that is mixing and spinning in all the distress and injustice.

The Red Scarf was, to me, ultimately about friendship and love. Sophia struggles with her decisions to do what is right for herself or, in a sense, laying down her life for her friend. It is about survival. Anna spends most of her time just focusing on surviving, and never giving up hope. Sophia, too, must survive and find a way to save her best friend. I don’t know many people or friendships that are as tight as this friendship, but I love it because we should love each other in such a way that we would walk to the ends of the earth for them. Could you imagine the world we would live in if we did?

I really enjoyed the way this book was set up. Usually I’m not big on bouncing forward and backward in time, but the flashbacks in this book were appropriately placed and absolutely necessary. The book would have been too long and too slow moving had it been told from the beginning to end in a straight line. This was my biggest surprise of all though, the fact that the book never seemed to really slow down. Even if there were moments of “down time” they were fast moving and still pertinent to the story. There was absolutely no extra fluff anywhere in the story that I could tell. The story and it’s message are just beautiful, even in all of its harsh realities.

View all my reviews


Torment - Lauren Kate

Torment (Fallen, #2)Torment by Lauren Kate

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Torment is book two of the Fallen Novels by Lauren Kate. This book picks up pretty much right where Fallen left off. Lucinda (Luce) is sent to a new school, to make new friends and face new challenges. She is lying to her best friend, and her family, and she has no idea what is going on. Daniel is being cryptic about everything that is going on and is just not there whenever Luce needs him. Luce knows that everyone (Daniel, Cam, even her teachers) tell her to stay at school and to lay low is for her own good, Luce still can’t help but do a little investigating of her own to try and figure out what the big mystery really is. This sets her off on an exploration of her past lives, and on a path to discover who Daniel really is.

I am stuck. That is for certain. I must know what happens! The thing is, this book actually annoyed me a lot. To me Luce whined a lot, even if a lot of it was justifiable. She didn’t ask enough questions. I mean Steven (super hot demon-angel teacher at the new school) – hello, he was helping you, why not ask him more questions? He may not have answered, but he seemed willing enough to help. Why in the world can’t she follow directions? I mean, after the first ‘holy crap, I just about got myself killed’ moment, you could think she would learn…but nnooooo. Daniel was a big jerk because he just wouldn’t talk. Even if he couldn’t tell her everything, he could have at least told her some things – like, “oh yeah, there are people out to get you” or “hey, this school we just stuck you in to fend for yourself – it’s a shield. It will protect you!” That is the least he could have done. The shadows/announcers/portals. Honestly!? Can we pick ONE THING that they are. I can say much more on this topic – but it would give way too much away, but I did think that they were SO ‘useful’ in this book, it made them even more unbelievable – even for a fantasy novel.

So why does every book have to have a love triangle now? That is one plot that has been overdone. And this is the SECOND one for this series…I really hope a 3rd isn’t going to show up. I will say that I really liked Miles. His character was my favorite out of all of them in this book. I want to see good things for him in the future! The Twilight reference in the book “Team Daniel/Team Miles” was funny, and probably a little cheesy. I laughed, because I’m pretty easy going and okay with whatever in books, but I’m betting a whole lot of people rolled their eyes, slapped their head, groaned, etc.

What I’d like to see in the future? A little more maturity. I mean, if this is a “love of your life” type deal, GROW UP! Both parties! Relationships are based on communication and trust. I’m serious. More Steven. I’m okay with Francesca also, but I like Steven! Less running across time. More answers…like, what the heck, IS Luce human or no? What would have happened if the rebels had taken her? Stop beating around the bush, this isn’t LOST.

One last thing..and this may become a bit of a review tradition, IF I can find a good song each time. But I was listening to my IPod and this song came on, it seemed perfect for Daniel and Luce's relationship. Maroon 5’s "How." It’s on their new Hands all Over CD (highly recommended btw!)

View all my reviews


Falling Home - Karen White

Falling HomeFalling Home by Karen White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lately I have been very choosey about ARCs that I agree to read. I find that it is a very narrow road for me, whether I will like a book or not, and I am not the kind of person who enjoys simply saying "I do not like this book," because someone took the time and energy to create the characters and the story and write it. Inevitably there are people who will like it, it's just in that instant, it wasn't me. This is a horrible way to preface this entry, because this is not what happened with this book. I am so very thankful I decided to say yes to reading this book. Technically, Falling Home isn't exactly a new book. It was first published in 2002, but has been reworked and is being republished November 2, 2010.

Falling Home was one of those books I hated to put down. Fortunately [and unfortunately] I got a stomach bug, stayed home from work and had an entire day to lay around reading it, so it wasn't really a problem.

Cassie is returning home to her small hometown in Georgia after 15 years away, returning to a life she has left behind. A life where her younger sister went off and eloped with her first love, and where the small town hustle and bustle has everyone knowing your business. She is reluctant to go back, but her father has suffered a heart attack and is not expected to make it, his dying wish is to have both of his daughters at home with him. According to Cassie, the only thing waiting for her at Walton is her past. What she does not expect to find is a community, a family, a life that she never knew she was missing, and who welcome her home with open arms.

I absolutely fell in love with this book! The characters are beautiful and fun. I did feel like I was reading the book version of Sweet Home Alabama at first because of the 'big-time girl going back to small-town life' story line, but there is so much more to this story about love and life, and learning from your past mistakes, and moving forward from past hurts. The book had me laughing, and crying and wanting to grab my kids and keep them as close to me as possible.

I loved how Karen White was able to create a picture that I could visualize and made me want it for myself. I could just see the old houses, the porch swings, and hear old porch doors slamming against the frame. I wanted to run in a field and catch lightening bugs, and be wrapped up in this community, even with it's downfalls. There were a few times I was actually wishing I was listening to an audio book, just so I could hear Sam's southern accent, which I imagined to be super sexy when he wanted it to be, and ultra-hick when he wanted it to as well. I would have loved to have been able to hear some of Cassie and Sam's verbal battles.

View all my reviews


A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gemma Doyle possesses great power that she knows nothing about. After witnessing her mother's dramatic suicide via an out of body experience, Gemma is shipped off to an all-girls finishing school so that she can be educated and trained to be a gentle sophisticated wife. It is there that she meets Ann, Felicity and Pippa; the three girls who become her closest friends and who help in her own exploration of her wonderfully, frightening gift.

Libba Bray did a great job at developing her characters in A Great and Terrible Beauty. The relationship between the four girls is so familiar and true to that age that you feel like they are your friends too, because in reality you either were someone just like them, or knew someone who was. It is these girls and their relationship that made me love this book. Each girl is broken in her own way; Gemma has lost both of her parents, her mother to her mysterious suicide, her father to addiction. Ann is an orphan with no wealth or hope of marrying, Felicity's mother ran off on her father to be with a painter in France, and her father sent her to finishing school never to return or visit. Pippa has a serious illness that marks her as faulty, thus giving her parents the drive to marry her off quickly to the highest bidder before it's too late; no matter how Pippa feels or who the person is. It is through these character flaws and challenges that the girls grow and become unique individuals. This is the story I love.

The story about the girls dabbling in a power they do not understand was a bit weak, in my opinion. It is interesting enough to keep you entertained and wondering 'what next?' After drawing the information and exploration of the power and realms out for several hundred pages, the ending felt very anti-climatic and rushed. I realize there are more books to be read, more story to be told; but I was disappointed with the development and ending of this storyline. I was also disappointed in Kartik's role in this book. He did help the girls a couple of times, but his part in the whole book was much more minor than I had hoped. He mostly just went around saying, "I am Rakshana," and making empty threats. The elaborate dreams of Gemma are interesting enough, but even if there was nothing in their relationship in their book, I had hoped for more of his involvement elsewhere.

View all my reviews


EXCITING - Preorder a Signed copy of Forever

I am very excited for the release of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater....isn't the cover beautiful?! If you haven't read this series...you don't know what your missing!

Pre-order your signed copy of Forever here: Fountain Bookstore (Click the link!)


Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by Finding Alaska. For me, it started out very young and teenager-ish, which is probably because…well, it’s a book about a bunch of teenagers, doing very teenage things. For a while I was thinking that I was just listening to a book that was going to be basically just that, teenagers doing teenage things; drinking, smoking, sex, and tormenting each other (yes, all of the above are included in this book). I figured there was going to be some great disaster and a lesson learned and wam-bam, you’ve got a book. The thing is, the book received several great reviews on audible.com that I just couldn’t give up on it. People saying how great a book it was – usually ”people” do know what they are talking about…well at least some of the time.

It took half the book – and then it happened, the great disaster I was talking about before. The thing is, it’s much greater than you wanted or expected. And John Green is a genius, because by this time, you’re laughing and enjoying yourself with these characters, so the blow is not just to the characters, but you feel it too.

So, no, this book is not about a bunch of teenagers, doing teenage-y things, no matter how much of it is included in the book. It’s a book about life. It’s a book about very young people attempting to discover the meaning of life, love, true friendship, having fun, tragedy, depression, and even God. I was so impressed with some of the things that the author included about God, and religion in general, and not just one but several different religions. I am a Christian, and while he was simply skimming the surface of religions and religious beliefs, John Green nailed some things on the head, or at least included things that nailed it on the head. My favorite religious section: the discussion about the lady (I can’t remember names right now – and since this is an audiobook, no book to reference) who wanted to destroy Heaven and Hell because she wanted people to love God not because he could get them into Heaven, keep them out of Hell, but because God is God!

I was reading the reviews on Audible, and many were saying that due to the mature nature of some of the stuff in the book, it probably isn’t for young teenagers. I would have to agree. There are moments when I felt like smoking and drinking and even sex was not glorified exactly, but it seemed normal. And it is, somewhat, but as adults and parents, we should attempt to move and motivate for it not to be normal. On the flip side, the consequences of some of these actions are shown throughout the book.

View all my reviews


Maybe This Time - Jennifer Crusie

Maybe This TimeMaybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book about Andie, a lady in her thirties who is just getting ready to move on with her life, and North - an ultra-busy, work-minded man. Andie and North are madly in love with each other (which is evident even from the very beginning) even though they've married, divorced, and supposedly moved on with their life. Andie meets with North for the first time in ten years with a gesture of closure that turns out to be a moment of new beginnings. This meeting spirals Andie's life into a new direction when he asks her to go and help to get the lives of his "wards" (Alice and Carter) back to some kind of normal. What Andie finds in Southern Ohio is much more than just two grief stricken, problem children.

I have enjoyed Jennifer Crusie's fun characters and witty dialogue in the past, and I was not disappointed with Maybe This Time either. I was laughing out loud quite a bit, between some of Alice's kid moments, and Andie's sarcasm - it's hard not to. This was a fun book with moments of seriousness, though not many. The story line is great and will keep you sucked in. A time or two I thought there were some inconsistencies with the story, but the relationship between North and Andie, the funny interludes, and well...just the whole thing held my attention the entire time.

Highly suggested!

View all my reviews