2013 reading goal:
15 new-to-me authors.
1) Stacy Gail
2) Heather Massey
3) Sidney Bristol
4) Ann Mayburn
5) Thea Harrison
6) Virna DePaul
7) Mary Quast
- ► 2013 (185)
- ► 2012 (464)
- G'day from Australia
- Quickie Reviews: Island Heat & Wicked Games
- Sunday Snippets #60
- Review: Flying Blind
- Review: Infernal Affairs
- Review: Magic Slays
- Review: Agnes & The Hitman
- Review: Kiss of Snow
- Sunday Snippets #59
- IAD Discussion: Dark Needs at Night’s Edge (#5)
- Review: Dark Needs at Night's Edge
- Review: Wickedly Charming
- Review: A Lifetime to Find Love
- Review: The Stepsister Scheme
- Tuesday Teaser #1
- Bittersweet Mother's Day
- Sunday Snippets #58
- Going on Vacation!
- Review: Ender's Game
- Review: Here's Blood In Your Eye
- What Makes a Story a 5-Star Book?
- Sunday Snippets #57
- Contest Winner - Hard Bitten
- Review: Awaken The Highland Warrior
- Review: The Legend of Michael
- Review: Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Oc...
- Review & Giveaway: Hard Bitten
- Sunday Snippets #56
- ▼ May 2011 (28)
Books I've Read
Authors I Enjoy
My husband and I spent 10 wonderful (kid-free) days Down Under in Australia (plus 2 days of travel, but who's counting?)
The first half of the trip was spent with my cousin, her fiance and her friends in Melbourne. Melbourne is in the Southeastern part of the country. We did some sight-seeing in the city, then drove along the Great Ocean Road (runs along the southern shores of Australia). Here are a few highlights:
Yes, it was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime type of trip. If you want to be board by my other 100 photos, just give me a shout! I am glad to be home and I did eventually miss my kiddos. Now I'm trying to recover from the long weekend celebrations - I think I ate one too many BBQs.
Thanks to all and Happy Reading!!
Author: Deborah Cooke
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: NAL Trade
The Dragon Diaries #1
Genre: Young Adult
Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book
We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.
From the author’s website:
Zoë is the Wyvern of the Pyr – the one female dragon shape shifter with special powers. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr, and her powers are AWOL. Worse, there’s no reference book to consult, and the last Wyvern is dead….
Everything changes when Zoë’s best friend is bullied and Zoë reacts. Before she can blink twice, her inner dragon is loose, and she’s suspended from school and headed to a shape shifter boot camp with guys she’s known all her life. But soon she’s doubting her powers – and even some of her friendships.
Zoë quickly realizes she has to master her powers yesterday – there’s danger ahead and boot camp is a trap. A secretive group, the Mages, want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line – unless Zoë and her friends can solve the riddle and work together to save their own kind…
What Gikany & Una are talking about:
Flying Blind is the debut novel in the Dragon Diaries. This series seems to be a spin-off her adult Dragonfire series. Although neither of us have read this series (however it is on our TBR list), you do not need to have read it to enjoy this book. The premise is intriguing with the mythology of the existence of dragon shape-shifters. Within this group known as Pyr they are all male, except for a single female Pyr called the Wyvern. She has similar abilities to the men; superior senses, shape shifting, and longevity, but she also has additional powers. We found the world-building to be pretty good.
Like most first books in a series, there are always, what Una likes to refer to as, growing pains. This book felt a bit jumpy, the continuity was not smooth between the chapters. Occasionally it felt as if it skipped or glanced over matters. The main character, at first, was quite annoying. However, if you are junior high school age, maybe you can identify better with her than an adult can. We felt she was a bit whiny, although this lessened through the course of the book. Flying Blind was slow to start but once we were halfway through, it seemed to pick up and really improve. We especially enjoyed the perspective through Zoë into her dad’s mind.
There are a few issues we would like to point out in the Flying Blind. We were bothered by one of Zoë’s love interests in the book. We feel having a fifteen year old (Zoë) lusting after a twenty year old a little uncomfortable. The fact that the twenty year old encouraged and welcomed it; was of greater disappointment and discomfort. Considering that this is for younger audiences, we felt it was slightly inappropriate. Without giving anything away, maybe due to the way the book plays out in the end, this issue is to be resolved in the next novel.
We were also perturbed by the possible misinterpretation of the Wyvern’s powers and their connection to sexual activity; most especially to the possible emphasis on life-long abstinence for girls only (because there is only one Wyvern at a time). However, we must note that Flying Blind is told from first-person perspective (Zoë’s) and that could be contributing to what may end up as a plot device/twist later in the series.
Considering that overall the book lacks real substance, these two issues really struck us while reading. Are they enough to ruin the book for us, not quite. We are actually intrigued to see how Ms. Cooke will deal with these issues in the Dragon Diaries. Perhaps they will add to the next story arc in upcoming novel and will end up as part of the overall series story arc.
Flying Blind is a light-hearted, quick, and enjoyable read (once you get past the whininess). Although we felt there are a few issues as we mentioned, we did enjoy it and look forward to reading the next novel in this series, Winging It, due out December 2011. We especially want to see how these possible issues are either addressed or resolved in the next book.
3 stars: Liked it, there were a few issues - recommend (B)
I took a deep breath and tried to exhale my worry. Too late for warnings now. I was Curran’s mate and the female alpha of the Pack. The welfare of fifteen hundred shapeshifters was now my responsibility. Whatever storm was brewing in Atlanta, I’d find it and fight it. If it was the price of being with Curran, then I would pay it.He was worth it.
Author: Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): Hardcover (368 pages), paperback (432 pages), e-book, audiobook
We (Gikany) purchased a copy (in numerous formats) of this book for the purposes of our own enjoyment.
From the author’s website:
If you can’t stand the heat…
Agnes Crandall’s problems are roiling to a boil. First, a dog-napper invades her kitchen, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that’s she’s staked her entire net worth on. Then a man climbs through her bedroom window to save her. “Shane” (no last name) may be Agnes’s hero, but he’s also a professional hitman–so he’s no stranger to trouble himself…
Get out of the kitchen.
Between a rival who wants to take him out and an uncle who may have lost five million bucks in Agnes’s basement, Shane’s plate is plenty full. Soon Agnes and Shane are tangled up with the lowlifes after the money, a gang of Southern mob wedding guests, a dog named Rhett, and–most dangerous of all–each other.
What Gikany & Una are talking about:
One of the most noticeable and delightful elements of this book, is the hardcover looks like a cookbook (once you remove the dust jacket). Maybe we are easily amused but we find that a really nice touch for this book. It is not the first book that Ms. Crusie and Mr. Mayer teamed up on, but is by far their BEST collaboration, bar none. Agnes and the Hitman is witty, sexy, fun, adventurous, engaging, did we mention fun? We can’t tell you how many times we have read this book and yet every time we picked it up, we laugh, we giggle and enjoy it all over again.
The book begins with Agnes on the phone, baking of course, with Rhett, her faithful hound patiently waiting for scraps, when some kid comes into her kitchen with a gun. The kid attempts to dog-nap Rhett, which Agnes will have none of. She successfully thwarts the dog-napper, only to find herself deeper in trouble. Her “Uncle” Joey, looking out for her best interests, sends his nephew Shane to protect his “little Agnes.” We could go on, but the unraveling of the story is all part of the fun. Agnes tries to dig herself out of trouble while not falling for the mysterious Shane, hosting a wedding (if she gets the house fixed up in time), keeping the bride and groom together, surviving the bride’s wicked grandmother, baking the wedding cakes, hosting the rehearsal dinner, and write her darn column. Sounds interesting, it should!
Agnes and the Hitman will keep you glued to the pages. The characters are hilarious, grounded and real. The different intersecting plots lines you would think would be confusing and too much, aren’t. It helps add to the richness of this adventure/mystery/humorous romance. The writing is witty, the pace and flow are even and well balanced. And between the flamingos, grass green fondant, mob bosses and the Venus de Milo statue, you will be sitting on the edge of your seat, laughing out loud while fully engrossed in the story.
So, if this isn’t enough to convince you…check out our VERY terse teaser coming up on a Sunday Snippet.
5 stars: Personal favorite - a must read (A+)
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