Friday, November 30, 2012

The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams~review

The Shadow Reader
by Sandy Williams
Series: McKenzie Lewis #1
Publisher: Penguin/Ace
Publication date: October 25, 2011
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

There can only be one allegiance. It’s her time to choose.
Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies. A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden. But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
I purchased the Shadow Reader after reading a delightful review some time ago and this sat in my TBR pile until I found myself in the mood for a good urban fantasy. Williams takes us to Houston and to the realm of the Fae. The tale is filled with battles, a love triangle and characters you cannot help but fall for. I was immediately swept away.

McKenzie Lewis is human and a shadow reader. She is able to read the shadow of a Fae as he fissures out from this world to the next. She is invaluable to the King and has been tracking vicious rebels for him since she was sixteen. She has also been in love with the king’s sword-master Kyol.  There love is forbidden and despite a few stolen kisses they have honored the king. The rebels discover McKenzie’s whereabouts and despite Kyol’s efforts she is kidnapped. Aren the smexy rebel leader whisks her away to a safe house within the realm outside of Germany. McKenzie’s world is about to get turned upside down as Aren teaches her the Fae language and shares with her truths about the Court. Things get really complicated when she begins to develop feelings for Aren all while trying to make her escape. The tale was captivating, the romance complicated and the world of the Fae mesmerizing.

Told from McKenzie point of view and despite some annoying moments we get inside her head. She is smart, fiercely loyal and hilarious at times. The conversations in her head had me giggling more than once. Her soul has been damaged in this awful war and her life put on hold. Her feelings for Kyol have kept her from moving forward. I hate love triangles and my stomach did a flip-flop when I realized I was smack-dab in the middle of one. McKenzie has crushed on Kyol since forever and he has ruined her for mere humans.  He is kind, sweet and gentle. They have had beautiful stolen moments, but never gone too far. His first loyalty has and always will be to the king. I liked Kyol. He is smexy, protective, and moves like a god with a sword. Now, Aren is a rebel, he loves his people and he is immediately attracted to McKenzie. He tries to teach her and show her their side of the war. They desperately need information she has, but Aren chooses to allow her to make the choice. I really liked this about him and felt his feelings for her are genuine. Their relationship progressed slowly and we were sparred insta-love. Who did she pick? Read and see. We meet many different Fae and each was unique and added to the tale. There was a couple who stood out and I became swept up in their side stories as well.

The world-building in Williams universe was stellar and I found myself completely enthralled. The Fae court, the rebels and the realms were all spectacularly portrayed. The effect of technology on the Fae was interesting, as was the hierarchy. The interaction and reaction that occurred when a human and Fae shared an intimate moment was ooh-la-la. I am looking forward to learning more in the next novel. From the beginning we realize that McKenzie has been trained that the court is good and the rebels are evil. We also discover they have kept things from her. I cannot help but wonder if she would have questioned things more if Kyol was not a part of the equation. The McKenzie, Aren, Kyol triangle was complex and felt genuine. It created angst and kept me on edge. The pacing of the novel was delightful with its ebbs and flow. It allowed me to catch my breath and appreciate the world around the characters. The ending tied things up nicely, and while there is still much to be done and the pockets of the war still continue we get some closure.

I recommend the Shadow Reader to fans of urban fantasy, Fae and high end fantasy. I am looking forward to reading The Shattered Dark the next book in the McKenzie Lewis series. 

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Take Control~ March 2013 TBR Pile Challenge

Take Control of Your TBR pile

While I do an excellent job of keeping up on new releases and ARC reviews, my own personal bookshelf has suffered, so I decided that for the entire month of March I would focus on cleaning up my TBR pile, catching up on some series and finally cracking the spines on some of those books I cannot wait to read. So I am clearing my schedule, setting aside the ARC's and drowning myself in my own pile of lovely books. (new releases on my gotta have it now or die list-excluded..I will still read those, even though they will not count..LOL) 

So I am inviting you to join me! Glance over your shoulder at your own TBR pile...*yep it's that big!* Ya know you want at them and to encourage you for every book you read you'll get one entry into a Rafflecopter drawling to win a new 2013 release of your choice! 

  • Link-up! This is open to everyone. If you do not have a blog then link your Facebook or Goodreads account. 
  • Beginning March 1st, 2013 and ending March 31, 2013 at midnight read books from your TBR pile ALL books must have been published before March 2013. 
  • Post a review to Goodreads, your blog or Facebook then link it to the Rafflecopter for an entry. 
  • Rafflecopter will close on April 2, 2013 at midnight and a winner will be chosen. Open internationally as long as Book Depository or Barnes and Noble ship to you. Prize: New 2013 release. I will do pre-orders as well.  

You can use hastag #TakeControl on twitter and share your progress. Share the Take Control Button or this post on your blog, Facebook or twitter to earn an extra entry for each place you share. (Rafflecopter will post March 1st, so be sure and enter them)

*note this challenge can be done in conjunction with any other TBR challenge as long as the book is read between March 1st and 31st.

I hope you will link up and join me! Spread the word and let's
Take Control of our TBR piles! 

I am also hosting a Take Control Read-A-Thon 
March 15th to the 18th
look for details to post in January :) 

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Crusher by Niall Leonard

by Niall Leonard
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: September 13, 2012
Genre: YA Mystery
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

To catch a killer,Finn Maguire may have to become one....
Everything changed the day Finn found his father in a pool of blood, bludgeoned to death. His dull, dreary life is turned upside downas he become's the prime suspect. How can he clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him?
Facing danger at every turn, uncovering dark family secrets and braving the seedy London underworld,Finn is about to discover that only the people you trust can really hurt you...
In the mood for a good mystery thriller I accepted a finished copy of Crusher by Niall Leonard from the publisher. At the time I did not know this author is EL James’ husband or that this tale was written during NaNoWriMo. The tale was action packed and the list of suspects kept me guessing.

The tale begins when we meet Finn a seventeen year old drop out who lives with his step-father a drunk and has been actor who spends his days trying to write the perfect script. Finn goes off to his full-time job at a chicken joint and when he returns home he finds his Dad shot dead and immediately calls the police. He is immediately labeled suspect number one, but as Finn realizes his Dad’s computer and notes are missing he remembers a conversation about his Dad’s current project. The tale that unfolds is suspenseful and action packed as Finn’s search for truth. If he isn't careful he may just end of up dead.

Finn is a drop out boxer and supposedly has dyslexia. As a mother of a child who suffers from this I was particularly annoyed at comments made regarding this disorder. Finn was really devoid of emotions and I never truly connecting with him. He wasn't unlikable we just never really get to know him. In fact none of the characters are really developed. We get a taste of them but the plot really drives this tale.

The world building was interesting and the twists in the plot kept me reading till the end despite major problems. The novel pushes the edge of YA with foul language, brutality, drinking, drugs and sex. While there are some climatic scenes Finn’s lack of emotion made the events fall flat and the lines of reality never blurred for me. The tale is told in Finn’s voice and sadly it wasn't believable especially since the author depicts him as lacking intelligence one minute and has him using metaphors the next. Sadly the twists and conclusion read more like a made for television script and I had a hard time buying it.

I had no problem finishing Crusher and read it in a few hours. Despite holes in the plot, unrealistic scenes and made for TV coincidences and paper characters I enjoyed it.  

I want to thank Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I gave this novel 2 cups of coffee out of 5
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #31

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme
 hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: 
Genre: YA Dystopian
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.
I have been enjoying this series and well you all remember that cliff-hanger right?

Grave Intentions
by Lori Sjoberg
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: January 3, 2013
Genre: Adult Paranormal
Purchase:Barnes and Noble/Amazon

He’s handsome, reliable, and punctual—the perfect gentleman when you want him to be. But this dream man is Death’s best agent—and now he’s got more than his soul to lose…One act of mercy before dying was all it took to turn soldier David Anderson into a reaper—an immortal who guides souls-of-untimely-death into the afterlife. But the closer he gets to atoning for his mortal sin and finally escaping merciless Fate, the more he feels his own humanity slipping away for good. Until he encounters Sarah Griffith. This skeptical scientist can’t be influenced by his powers—even though she has an unsuspected talent for sensing the dead. And her honesty and irreverent sense of humor reignite his reason for living—and a passion he can’t afford to feel. Now Fate has summoned David to make a devastating last harvest. And he’ll break every hellishly-strict netherworld rule to save Sarah...and gamble on a choice even an immortal can’t win.
This one had me at Reaper and  it doesn't hurt that David Anderson the reaper's best agent sounds down right smexy.. right?

What book(s) are you waiting on?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Deceive a Duke by Lecia Cornwall ~ Release Day Review

How to Deceive A Duke
by Lecia Cornwall
Publisher: Avon HarperCollins
Publication date: November 27, 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

When her sister runs off to avoid an arranged marriage, Meg Lynton takes her place at the altar, since marriage to Nicholas Hartley, the infamous Devil Duke of Temblerlay is the only way to save her family from penury. By the time her wealthy groom discovers he's married the wrong sister, it will be too late to annul their vows. And how difficult can it be to marry a rake and a rogue like Temberlay? All she needs to do is give him an heir and move on with her own life...but deception comes at a higher cost than Meg may be prepared to pay. When Nicholas Hartley inherits the family title after his brother's untimely death, an arranged marriage to a woman he's never met is the last thing he wants. But when his bride raises her veil at the altar, Nicholas realizes that his wedding night might prove to be a pleasure after all. After a bedding that leaves them both breathless, Nicholas discovers Meg's deception, and decides to teach his scheming bride how to be a proper duchess, kiss by devastating kiss...
I stumbled across How to Deceive a Duke and while the cover whore in me was not impressed I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis.  How does a sister replace another at the altar to save her family from penury? How would the groom not know? I of course had to have some answers. Cornwall answered my questions while delivering a fast paced tale that had me laughing, banging my head and kept me reading late into the night.

The tale begins in the home of Meg and her sisters. The Duchess of Temblerlay has just offered Rose the oldest daughter, a chance to save them all.  She offers a marriage proposal to Nicholas Hartley, her grandson the infamous Devil Duke of Temblerlay. It would mean saving their home and a chance for her younger sisters to wed. Rose wants nothing to do with this, and despite agreeing, runs of in the middle of the night leaving her family to deal with the mess. It is agreed Meg will go for the wedding gown fittings, while their Uncle Hector searches for Rose. The tale that unfolds was positively delightful as all the characters plot and scheme to get their desired outcome and find something more.

There were so many interesting characters from servants to dukes in this novel. I adored Meg Lynton our feisty, head-strong, romantic heroine. Nicknamed the ugly duckling by her father she is the one her entire family turns to upon his death. She loves the scandal sheets and a part of her was curious about the handsome Duke referred to as the devil. I loved how she interacted with Nicholas, the meddling grandmother and ton. She is strong, smart and even when she is fuming mad she is ever the lady. Nicholas of course is swoon worthy, skilled with his hands and completely flawed. Raised as the second son, he has been to war and it’s changed him. Now he finds himself the Duke, in financial trouble and at the mercy of his grandmother. I loved and hated the interaction between these too. Just when I thought things could work out, someone interferes or they ruin the moment. Eek gads. I dare you not to root for them! Bwahahaha! Nicholas’s grandmother is quite the character and I so wanted her to get what she deserved. *evil grin* Other characters add to the suspenseful story lines the author wove into the tale. It kept me turning the pages at a dizzying pace.  

Cornwall did an excellent job of captivating me from the onset with her colorful, likeable characters, secrets and mysteries. The tale flowed at a wonderful pace and I was completely enthralled. So by now you are looking at what I have written and gazing down at my cups of coffee rating and asking yourself, "Why isn't this a five cup of coffee review?" Sadly, the last few chapters of the book took a dramatic turn, and while I get why Nicolas acted the way he did, and a part of me found it noble it irked me. The pacing changed and while it tied up some threads, and further made me adore Meg, it also exhausted and frustrated me. There is a happy ending but that bump at the end. *shakes head*

I recommend How to Deceive a Duke  to fans of historical fiction looking for a fun romance filled with suspense and twists. I look forward to reading more of Cornwall's novels. Despite that little detour at the end this was a delightful read.

I want to thank HarperCollins/Avon for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this 3.5 coffee cups out of 5
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The View From Here by Cindy Myers

The View from Here
by Cindy Myers
Publisher: Kensington 
Publication date: November 27, 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

In this heartfelt, beautifully written novel, a woman with nothing left to lose finds the courage to start over in the last place she ever expected…Newly divorced Maggie Carter has little to show for her marriage except a pile of boxes and regrets. So when she learns she’s inherited an old house and an abandoned gold mine in Eureka, Colorado, she doesn’t hesitate to leave Houston behind. In Colorado, she can learn about her estranged father and take stock of her life. After all, where better to decide what your next move should be than in a cabin 10,000 feet above sea level? Eureka is a tiny hamlet with a café, a library, and plenty of intriguing locals. There’s the colorful town mayor, Lucille, and her prodigal daughter Olivia, bitter librarian Cassie, and handsome, enigmatic Jameso Clark, who had a fascinating love-hate relationship with Maggie’s father. Then there are the soaring views of distant mountains and clear blue sky, of aspen trees and endless stars. Piece by piece, Maggie is uncovering her father’s past—and reconciling with her own. And in this small mountain town, she just might find a place where she truly belongs.
The View from Here takes place in the small town of Eureka, Colorado and shares with us Maggie’s story and those of some of the townsfolk. It is the debut novel of Cindy Meyers and it was absolutely delightful. I have to tell you I am very excited to have found this author and look forward to reading more of her work. With fleshed out characters, growth and small town drama this tale completely captivated me and had me longing to see the mountainside of this small mining town.

The tale begins when we meet recently divorced Maggie Carter. She is boxing things up after the sale of her home and planning to travel to recover from the loss and the grief. She receives a package from a lawyer advising her she is the sole heir to a cabin, gold mine and two vehicles. All of it belong to the father she never knew and strangely he left it all to her. With no set plans, she decides to head to Eureka and learn more about her father. She thinks this will be the perfect place to reevaluate her life and what she finds is so much more.

I connected with Maggie and loved the growth we see in her throughout the novel. The author does a great job of fleshing Maggie out and I had a real sense of who she was. Jameso is a biker, a bartender and a ski instructor. He is also smokin’ hot and troubled. In his thirties, and ex-military he was friends with Maggie’s father. The banter and chemistry between these two was funny and the relationship that developed felt genuine. I loved the townsfolk of Eureka and learning the history of each of them. In addition to Maggie’s story thread there were several others. Lucille the mayor is adjusting to having her daughter move back in  with her child. She spends some time contemplating her own parenting skills and working to make amends. Cassie the town librarian is a bitter woman, who once fancied herself in love with Maggie’s father Jake. Her story was interesting and her outrageous behavior had me giggling. We meet other characters who added to the story and simple brought the town to life for me.

From the soaring Aspens to the steep roads and Maggie’s new cabin hanging over the cliffs Meyers brought this town to life. She carefully balanced details about the countryside while sharing it’s townsfolk with us.  The pacing was neither slow nor rushed and I enjoyed reading as the tale unfolded. A few twists, humor and dangerous moments added to the tale. This is so much more than a contemporary romance; it’s about new beginnings, personal growth, family and community. I am sincerely hoping the author takes us back to Eureka soon.

The View from Here is perfect for fans of small town romance with fleshed out characters. Meyers is an author to watch and I look forward to reading her next novel.

I want to thank Kensington for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this tale 4.5 cups of coffee out of 5 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Sunday Post ~sharing blog news and book haul

The Sunday Post ~ 31st Edition
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. 
I am just going to say it and get it over with, "Christmas is in Twenty-five days!" Eep, well our house is decorated, now let the shopping, shipping and baking begin! Have a great week and for those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving I hope you had a good one.

Last week on the blog I shared: 
This week on the blog look for:
  • The View from Here by Cindy Meyers (review)
  • How to Deceive a Duke by Lecia Cornwall (review)
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Crusher by Niall Leonard (review)
  • The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams (review)
  • Gilded Wings by Amy Lignor Blog Tour (guest post/excerpt/giveaway)
Around the Blogosphere: 

  • Danielle @ Book Whore has a weekly post called "Cover Wars" where she pits two covers against each other...check it out and vote for your favorite. 
  • Fran's blog got a whole new look this week and a new name, stop by and check out her new feature Beauty and Brains @ Bella's Bookshelf and be sure and ooh and ah over Giselle @Xpresso Designs creation. 

Book Haul:

For Review:

The Bonded by John Falin 
courtesy of author

Grave Intentions by Lori Sjoberg
thanks to my friends at Kensington Publishing

White Horse by Alex Adams
from my friends at Simon & Schuster

Slated by Teri Terry
courtesy of Penguin 

Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle Cards
from Random House. These cards are lovely and come
with a bound book on how to read them..look for my review in December.

The Intercept by Dick Wolf 
courtesy of HarperCollins

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
thanks to my friends at HarperCollins 
(yes I fainted and did a little happy dance)

Another week with no book purchases!! *faints*

personal note:
Samsung Galaxy S III
Thanks to our daughter who stood in line, the hubby and I have finally joined the 21st century and have phones with i can Tweet, Facebook and Instagram for my blog. The kicker..we got them new for .96cents each..woot! woot!

Fiery Hot Reads for Icy Cold Nights
Have you signed up for the giveaway hop yet?
I would love for you to be a part of this event :)

That's my news...what's happening in your world? 

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

The Perfect Hope
by Nora Roberts
Series: Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #3
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley trade
Publication date: November 6, 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Purchase*: Barnes and Nobles/Amazon/Book Depository

The Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother are breathing new life into the town of Boonsboro, Maryland, by restoring its historic hotel. And they’re finding their own lives revamped by love. This is Ryder’s story... Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out — with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except apparently Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro. And though the Inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome — and embarrassing — appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him...
Nora Roberts has been one of my favorite contemporary authors for romance and the occasional paranormal woo-woo for almost twenty years.  Her plots are always engaging and her characters melt my heart.  I pre-ordered The Perfect Hope and despite my eagerness had to wait for the weekend to start it, and start it I did. I opened the book around eleven pm on Friday evening and finished it at 4 am. Thank goodness it was the weekend. My hubby wondered why I slept in till almost 10 am. *IDK*

This is the third and final book of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy. While all of the books can be read as a standalone, there is a plot thread about a ghost haunting the inn that is delightful and best if read from the beginning. In this tale we get the last Montgomery brother's romance, and boy howdy they saved the best for last. Ryder is handsome, rugged and a little anti-social. Since day one he hasn’t really liked the innkeeper, Hope Beaumont. She smells like city and wears those pencil thin heels. Or maybe he protests a little too much ….

It was so good to come back to BoonsBoro and I was excited to finally get Ryder and Hope’s story. Ryder just oozes smexy. He swaggers in his tool belt *swoons* He is talented with his hands, a real looker but not good with socializing or tears. Hope is finally realizing she is happy, but she is also lonely. She thinks of the kiss she shared with Ryder at New Years and despite how good it was insists it was just a fluke. Lizzy the inn ghost has other ideas and the romance that unfolds was warm, intense, and funny. I enjoyed every minute of it. We see all of the key characters from the previous two novels. I loved all the updates and their interaction with this couple add to the humor and enjoyment of the tale.

I loved the small town setting and especially the Inn. The Montgomery family is wonderful and I adored all of the brothers and their antics. While each is stubborn in their own right, together they are a force to be reckoned with. The banter between Hope and Ryder was priceless and this book made me laugh, giggle out loud and even cry. I really enjoyed the paranormal thread in all the books about Lizzy the ghost. Her history and the role she played in the three Montgomery brother’s romances was so much fun. Who doesn't love a mischievous ghost with good intentions playing cupid? The inn’s history and Lizzy’s tale captivated me almost as much as the romance. I loved how Hope peeled back the layers of Ryder’s tough exterior. The romance felt genuine and developed slowly, making each advance that much sweeter.  In the end I was happy but sad to see this trilogy come to an end.

I recommend The Perfect Hope and the entire Inn Boonsboro trilogy to fans of small town romance. Nora Roberts is one of my favorite authors and delivers books from mystery to paranormal with a healthy dose of romance. I do not think I've ever read a book of hers I did not enjoy.

I gave this novel 4 cups of coffee out of 5 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Bonanza {#Giveaway}

Black Friday is a crazy day for shopping and my family chooses
to spend it decorating the house for Christmas
but whatever you choose to do today I wanted to gift you with a book!
So I've joined up with the hosts of
  Black Friday Bonanza Giveaway
 Heather @ Book Savvy Babe

 Be sure to visit all of the blogs in this hop. 

Enter the International rafflecopter below for A Book of Your Choice
valued at up to $12.00 from the 
Book Depository (INT) or Barnes and Noble (US)
As long as they ship to you and you follow this blog you
are eligible to enter.

Enjoy the Holiday season and be
sure to make time for a good book and a cup of Joe!

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Exclusively Yours
by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: June 7, 2010
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

When Keri Daniels' editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job. Joe's never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he's intrigued to hear Keri's back in town--and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he'll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school. He proposes an outrageous plan--for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she's worked too hard to walk away from her career. But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe's sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn't ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever.
As you know I am not a huge fan of contemporary romance, but there are a few exceptions; small town romance series, cowboys (I am a sucker for a man in cowboy boots) and families. Over the summer I read Slow Summer Kisses and picked up this series. Exclusively Yours is the first novel in the Kowalski Family series. It had all the elements I love in a contemporary romance and I quickly consumed this. If you are looking for a feel good, clean romance surrounding a fun, quirky, tight-knit family Shannon Stacey has just the series for you.

Keri Daniels and Joe Kowalski were highschool sweethearts and Joe thought they would be together forever. After graduations they parted ways as Keri went off to Los Angeles to pursue a career in journalism. When Keri’s boss discovers she dated the reclusive author she gives Keri an ultimatum. Get an exclusive interview or find another job. It took Joe a long time to get over Keri. When he discovers she is home and looking for him he’s determined to send her packing. When they meet he discovers the chemistry between them is still there. So he blackmails her instead. She has to go on the annual Kowalski camping trip, participate in all activities and in exchange she will get to ask one question a day. The tale that unfolds was positively delightful as we watch their romance develop and other relationships in the Kowalski family.

I adore the complex, fleshed out characters Stacey brings to us. The camping trip was the perfect venue for introducing the Kowalski’s and their significant others. Keri is strong, competent, and she thinks she has it all; that is until she sees exactly what has been missing. Joe is adorable, takes care of his family and still head over heels for Keri. The chemistry between them was delightful, full of sexual tension. Terry, Joe’s twin was a hoot, a bitch and I ended up liking her. She and Keri use to be best friends and it was interesting and funny watching them interact. Her marriage of thirteen years to Evan is on the rocks, and this was an enjoyable side story. Kevin is the only single brother in the mix, he is recently divorced and has changed careers. I cannot wait to learn more about him. Mike Kowalski and wife Lisa are struggling as their youngest son approaches the first grade. All of the romances were bittersweet, believable and heartwarming. I love how Stacey blended humor. Joe's' mom had her spoon in everything!

The family and history Stacey created in the Kowalski’s was wonderful. The characters were believable and I connected with them. Their interactions, humor and problems were portrayed in a realistic way, complete with sibling bickering. The author weaves a light, humorous, heartwarming tale around this family and I cannot wait to read more about them. While there is sexual tension and some hanky-panky, it was clean and mostly implied. I could easily talk to my daughters about this one without turning fifty shades of red. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this family series.

I recommend Exclusively Yours to fan of small town, family romance series. This is a funny, romantic, contemporary that will leave you feeling good.  Undeniably Yours the next book brings us Kevin’s story and I cannot wait to read it.

I gave this novel 4 hazelnut cups of coffee out of 5
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

See my review of Slow Summer Kisses

Happy Thanksgiving!
This year I am thankful for my family and for all of you
who share my passion for reading. Thanks for following my blog and for your 
friendship. May you be blessed! 

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