Archives for February 2012

Review: Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight

written by Alyssa Goodnight
published by Kensington Publishing Corporation

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I was lucky enough to win this book from The author, Ms. Goodnight, sent me the book and to my wonderful surprise, it was signed! (That made my day! And yes, Ms. Goodnight, I do believe in magic.)

Did I enjoy this book: I really, really loved this book! It hooked me from the very beginning and didn’t release me until the very end. I read this book every free chance I had…every free moment, every stolen moment, every chance!

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I immediately thought of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. (I am a huge Harry Potter geek fan. So anytime a connection can be made, it usually pops in my head.) I loved that once I hit chapter 3 of this book, there was a Harry Potter reference and Luna Lovegood zing! But, this book was so much more than my initial thought and so much better.

The journal wisdom from “Fairy Jane” was really creative. The wisdom helped Nicola do things she would not normally do…especially if those things deviated from her “Plan.” I kept rooting for Sean ever since his first appearance at the wedding. I wanted Nicola to chuck “the Plan” and follow her heart and “Fairy Jane’s” advice. I cared and I wanted her to find her happiness. And Sean was a great character. I could hear his accent, see his smirk (and him in a kilt!), and I could feel the emotions that he sent through Nicola.

When Nicola kept going for Brett, I wanted to smack her upside the head. Really? Brett? Really?!? The lunch date was enough to stop any of that crazy talk about how perfect Brett is.

The supporting characters were fun. Beck was a great confidante and it was enjoyable to see the mentor turn into the mentee when things went beyond her comfort zone. The neighbors were a bit annoying but fit in well with the story. Gabe was Gabe…that perfect guy friend.

And really, anyone who can reference The Princess BrideHarry Potter, and The Gods Must Be Crazy along side the great Jane Austen all within the first 5 chapters is okay in my book!

Would I recommend it: I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of Jane Austen and you enjoy books that are about Jane Austen. (Who doesn’t love Jane Austen?!?!?)

Will I read it again: This book has most definitely made my to be reread every year list…up there with Pride and Prejudice, the Harry Potter series, and a few others!

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Nicola James is a straight-laced engineer with a “Plan” for her life. One day, while shopping for a unique gift, she stumbled across an antique journal among some Jane Austen novels in a quaint little shop. She purchased this journal then promptly spilled her tea all over it rendering it ungiftable in her eyes. Little did she know that this journal would be the greatest gift she ever gave herself!

Nicola is a lover of all things Jane Austen. She has the books, the calendar, the spin-offs. This journal seems right up her Austen alley. She decides to write in the journal that promises that if she follows the “Micellanious Morsels” within, she will receive “very important Instructions” that will guide her life. To her surprise and chagrin, the journal writes back to her – actually, the journal responds to her. The response is very Austen-esque and Nicola wonders if the journal is channeling Jane Austen herself. Although Nicola is very much a logical person and often bends to reason, she finds herself following the advice of “Fairy Jane.”

Where does “Fairy Jane” lead her?

Nicola has always harbored a thing for fellow engineer and co-worker, Brett Tilson. He is a sensible match that would definitely fit into her Plan. However, when Nicola meets Sean MacInnes at a co-workers wedding, “Fairy Jane” has other plans for Nicola. Sean is the opposite of what Nicola is looking for. He is a Scottish musician who rides a motorcycle and probably doesn’t have a 401k  or any retirement savings at all. Sean is also very romantic and completely smitten with Nicola, tracking her down at her work and whisking her away for a few very memorable dates.

Will Nicola follow the “Plan” and abandon true romance? Or will she follow “Fairy Jane” and “be sensible and indulge in a little romance”?

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

Author Interview: Ryan Collins

Ryan Collins was born in Texas in 1985. While attending Texas State University he earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a minor in writing, and moved toward a post-graduate degree in computer information systems. In the company of a few unpublished short stories, Narrative Loserdom represents his first self-published novel. Ryan works for a local communications company in Austin, Texas, where he resides with his girlfriend and pugs. (Biography from

I wanted to provide my readers some more information about this author, Ryan Collins. I read his debut book, Narrative Loserdom (From Journal One), and thoroughly enjoyed it. I asked Ryan a few questions and here is what he had to say!

Have you always wanted to be a writer? I see that you have a minor in writing.
Not particularly, but in school the writing assignments were often conspicuously enjoyable. Once college rolled around, it was apparent I needed to address the issue.

Why did you write this book?

I wanted to approach the topic of adolescence in as “real” a fashion as possible, and from the scope of a boy’s journal. Though it’s been done before, the sense of urgency to honor the past was too great to resist.

How did you come up with this book idea? Did it come from life?

From a psychological perspective, I always felt the phrase about ‘all writing being autobiographical’ was true. Given this, I suppose a lot of elements from my own life seeped in and formed some of the basis for the story.

Will there be another book? “From Journal Two” by chance?

I’m not quite sure, but if so there are a few separate projects I would like to pursue first. 

Is there anything you would like your readers to know about you or this book?

Just that Narrative Loserdom is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions!

Check out his book – Narrative Loserdom (From Journal One)it is a great read that will have you shaking your head and laughing out loud.

Narrative Loserdom (From Journal One) by Ryan Collins

Narrative Loserdom (From Journal One)
written by Ryan Collins          
published by CreateSpace

Why did I pick this book: The author, Ryan Collins, requested that I read and review his debut novel. I gladly accepted it! (The author provided me with a free digital copy of his book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I really did. I laughed out loud and truly enjoyed this book. I read it in about a day. 

It was funny and insightful for me as a mom of boys who will be this age in the years 2023 and 2026. I know some of the antics will be different in twelve years but I have a feeling they will be so similar. Some of the events in this book reminded me of some of the stuff that my brother did when he was that age, some twenty+ years ago. At least the stuff that I remember occurring or heard about years after the fact. In fact, I was telling my mom about this book and she was laughing and referred to things my brother had pulled that sounded so similar despite happening in the mid 1980s. 

The main character – the writer of “Journal One” – is a very likeable kid that gets himself into trouble. He knows what he is doing is wrong, but he does it anyway and tries to justify it. So funny, some of the rationale behind his thoughts and actions! I love that he loves his Lord and Savior and tries to do the right thing. Unfortunately, he doesn’t always succeed at doing the right thing…but he tries!

Girls are not the main thing in this book. They were definitely present in the writer’s thoughts but they were not the reason for his existence. His obsession over Sterling seems typical…especially when he doesn’t get the hint.

This book is written as a journal. There are misspellings and abbreviations and various rambling to the author – Justin Taggart – himself. It reads as a journal, which was great to me. 

In the end, I wanted this kid to not be a loser or think of himself as a loser.

Would I recommend it: I would if you want a quick read that will make you smile…and shake your head in some parts. Boys will be boys! I would even recommend it to some of my cousins who are this age, or approaching this age…though not for ideas of things to pull, but for the knowledge that hey, we all go through it.

Will I read it again: When I started it, I wasn’t sure. When I finished it, I wasn’t sure if this would be a book that I would read again. Now, after processing and thinking about the book, I will read it again in the future. 

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Justin Taggart is a 15 year old sophomore in high school. He decided to write a journal chronicling a year of his life – the free time, the friends, the girls, the sports – whatever comes to his mind and whatever happens in his life.

Justin has a best friend, Adam, and most of Justin’s journal entries include Adam. Adam is  porn-addicted, easily talked into things, kind of bored but always there friend. Justin isn’t always nice to Adam and Adam isn’t always nice to Justin. But the two are clearly best friends, there is no doubt about that. The two guys mow their neighbors’ lawns together because while Justin needs the money, Adam does not…he just wants to hang out with his best friend. 

This journal tells of Justin’s antics as an amateur lock picker (not too successful – even a crowbar wouldn’t crack open a Coke vending machine), a cable thief, a peddler of late-night movies (he did get some classmates to buy them), a kid who has been saved and who is trying to do the right thing…well, trying to survive the crazy world called high school. 

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls series #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls series #3)
written by Maggie Stiefvater          
published by Scholastic, Inc.

Why did I pick this book: I read the first two books in the series, Shiver and Linger. And both books were cliffhangers that left me wanting more. No sooner did I finish Linger, did I open Forever. I don’t even think I set my Nook down for a breather before I started this book.

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book, very much. I read it every free chance I had! However, with that being said, the ending left me wanting so much more…another cliffhanger without another book to feed my want. That was a huge bummer. The book is still worth reading but I wish I had more answers. What happened to the main characters? Where are they now? What became of Cole’s theory regarding the werewolves and malaria? And more questions that would definitely spoil this book for those who haven’t read it yet!!!

The same four characters narrated this final installment    of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. There was only one small addition to the main four – the voice of Shelby. We only saw her perspective once and it was a great way to start this book and grab the reader’s attention. 

Cole St. Clair emerged as my favorite character of this entire series. His story and the resolution of his story was fantastic. His research and scientific mind was a surprise but a nice surprise that really added to this crazy story. He was funny and romantic and arrogant and just a wonderful character that I wanted to follow and find out what he did and what happened when he was around.

I wish Isabel would have been portrayed a bit nicer and less bitchy. But I get it…that is who she is and how she holds herself out to the world. It suits her and the story. I just wish she were a bit nicer. But she always made me laugh. Her role in the end was great!

Officer Koenig is another favorite character of mine. You wouldn’t think the cop who kept questioning Sam would be a good guy but I’m so glad he turned out to be one!

Would I recommend it: I most definitely would, especially if you have read Shiver and Linger. I couldn’t imagine anyone reading the first two books and not wanting to finish this terrific trilogy! While this last book left me wanting more and maybe even a little disappointed because of that, it was still a great series that I would recommend.

Will I read it again: I will read this series again. I don’t know when, but I will. 

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS – which there definitely will be if you haven’t read the first two books yet!!: Grace Brisbane is now a werewolf, and she is trying to get used to her new life. Sam Roth is missing his girlfriend, his love. Sam is still working at The Crooked Shelf and is questioned rather frequently by Officer Koenig about Grace and Olivia. When Grace finally shifts back, her and Sam pick up where they left off – still in love and sharing their life together. 

Cole St. Clair doesn’t change into a werewolf that often. But when he does shift, it is as a result of his latest scientific experiment to determine what causes the person to shift. He often has the help of Isabel, who is falling in love with Cole – Cole, not the rock star but the person. Isabel helps Sam deal with Cole and his “experiments.” 

Once Grace begins to stabilize, she and Sam along with Cole and Isabel have to figure out a way to save the wolves. Isabel’s father, Tom Culpepper, has orchestrated an aerial hunt to eliminate the wolf pack from Mercy Falls and the Boundary Woods. Grace also has to decide whether to reveal herself to her parents and close friend Rachel. 

Friends are lost. Family is redefined. Some questions are answered while others are left to your imagination.

If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls series #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls series #2)
written by Maggie Stiefvater          
published by Scholastic, Inc.

Why did I pick this book: I read the first book in the series, Shiver, and it was a cliffhanger of sorts that left me wanting more. No sooner did I finish Shiver, did I open Linger.

Did I enjoy this book: I did. I read this book every free chance I had and I couldn’t wait to finish it and see what happened.

I was a bit uneasy when the author introduced two new perspectives to those of Sam and Grace. But the voices of Cole and Isabel were great additions to this story. Their interaction with each other was great to read. 

A good second book in a trilogy. That doesn’t always happen – a second book in a trilogy being good. This was pretty good. It definitely serves as an arc – a necessary, exciting, read it whenever you possibly can arc – between Shiver and Forever.

Cole becomes an unlikely hero. Isabel actual cares about something. Sam is “cured”. Grace gets really sick. All of the characters are trying to find out who they are and where they are meant to be. It is interesting to watch them try to put the puzzle pieces of their lives together. Where do each of them fit in this world of Mercy Falls?

Would I recommend it: Yes, I would. Especially if you’ve read Shiver. (I have a hard time believing that anyone could read Shiver and not read Linger as well.)

Will I read it again: Most likely.

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. especially if you haven’t read Shiver: This book picks up right where Shiver left off. Sam is now a human – somehow the shot of the meningitis virus cured him. And he is back with Grace. He spends every night with Grace in her room. They are in love, a true love not some flighty teenage love. Soon, her parents become parents and start questioning whether Sam is right for Grace and if they are too serious. 

Meanwhile, Grace is getting sick, something she never is. Grace starts getting headaches and nausea. This escalates to fevers and bloody noses to, at its worst, throwing up blood. And on top of all of this, Grace’s parents have forbid her to see her beloved Sam. Grace defies her parents…a first in their eyes and something that must be blamed on Sam. 

Sam has to – rather reluctantly – step into the role of provider and keeper of the werewolves. Beck recruited some new people who want to become werewolves. However, this is Beck’s last change. That means Sam is in charge now. The newest member of the pack – Cole St. Clair – is not a person Sam wants to get to know. He seems toxic and Sam cannot believe that Beck brought him into their pack. 

Isabel Culpepper, despite losing her brother because of the wolf bite and her attempt to cure him, wants to help Sam and Grace, as well as the wolves. She takes an interest in Cole. Will they develop something together? Will Sam and Grace end up happily ever after? 

If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls series #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls series #1)
written by Maggie Stiefvater          
published by Scholastic, Inc.

Why did I pick this book: This book was recommended to me by my cousin. 

Did I enjoy this book: I did. I was a little unsure at first, especially when I checked the table of contents and saw that there were sixty-seven chapters. However, once I got started, the book flew and I read every free chance I had. It was a good story that didn’t deviate that much from the main plot. The subplots made the story that much better. It held my interest and I want to read the next book in the series, especially considering the cliffhanger at the end!

At first, I thought I was going to get confused with each chapter changing perspective. But it wasn’t confusing at all and it helped move the book along. The temperature designations at each chapter title were unnecessary. That actually distracted me from the story.

The description of the werewolves had me initially thinking of Twilight (i.e. the pack mind, the description of the transformation, etc) but the two types of werewolves are very different. It was a nice twist that the people didn’t change until the weather became cold. And that they didn’t change back until the spring. Also, these wolves only had so many changes before they stayed a wolf for good.

Of course, you have to wonder about true love happening at seventeen between a human girl with slight werewolf senses and a werewolf boy who is on the verge of his last change from human to wolf and remaining a wolf for the rest of his life. You just don’t see true love like that every day. You also don’t see – at least I don’t – a seventeen year old daughter who is more the parent than her own parents. If that does occur often in “real life”, that makes me sad.

Would I recommend it: Yes, especially if you are a paranormal young adult genre fan.

Will I read it again: Probably. Maybe not next year, but probably the year after.

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Grace was dragged off by a pack of wolves when she was a little girl. Somehow, she survived this vicious attack. She survived because one of the wolves saved her life. Now, at seventeen, Grace is fascinated by the woods and the sounds of the wolves at night. She is fearless and is constantly looking for her wolf – the one with the yellow eyes that she knows saved her so many years before.

Sam has been watching and visiting Grace ever since that cold day when he stopped his pack from killing her. He stays on the edge of the woods in the dark watching her while Grace is in her kitchen, in her bedroom, outside on the swing of her childhood. 

Sam has been a werewolf since he was bitten as a young child. His parents didn’t take to this change very well and are now in prison because of their subsequent actions toward Sam’s second identity. Every spring when the weather turns warmer, Sam becomes human again. He has a job at The Crooked Shelf, a local bookstore, during the summer months. He lives with his father-figure, Beck – another werewolf that took Sam under his wing and raised Sam when his parents were not there.

Sam and Grace meet each other after Sam is injured. Their relationship develops fast and their love is true. The oncoming winter is the one threat that may keep these two apart. 

If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell

Rumor Has It
written by Jill Mansell          
published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated

Why did I pick this book: I enjoyed the other books that I have read by this author. I thought I would read another one. Plus, the other Two books I was reading at the time I started this one were quite slow and boring…So, I picked this one for something to be entertained by.

Did I enjoy this book: I did. It was cute and, as with all chick lit, had a happy ending. That is why I love reading chick lit, I love a happy ending. Reading the news can be depressing, watching what is going on in the world can be depressing, reading a good chick lit book that makes me laugh out loud is not depressing.

There were quite a few moments in this book when I did laugh out loud. I laughed so much in a few spots that my husband was asking me what was so funny. That is a happy book to me.

There are basically four stories weaved throughout this book. All with the same message…Rumors can hurt and are not always true. In fact, most of the time, rumors are not true and the truth will come out eventually.

My favorite character was Erin, Tilly’s best friend. The way she stood up to Stella, then turned around and supported Stella in her greatest hour of need…impressive and makes me wonder if I could do such a thing . I would hope so (not that I would ever be in Erin’s position, ever. Just that I could help someone out who may not have always been so nice to me in the past.)

Jack was a great character and I figured him out rather early on in the book. It was fun to see Tilly go through the process of whether to trust Jack or the rumors she heard about him. It was a good lesson…don’t believe everything you hear.

Kaye’s story kind of creeped me out. And Lou’s story about her classmate, Eddie, had a great outcome.

Would I recommend it: If you like this author and you like chick lit, then yes I would recommend this book!

Will I read it again: I’m not sure. It wasn’t a book that I couldn’t put down (I took a few breaks here and there)…but it did make me laugh. I may revisit it in the future.

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: When Tilly Cole arrives home after work one day, she discovers that her live-in boyfriend moved out and left her a note on the mantel. Tilly goes to the small town of Roxborough to visit her best friend, Erin. While there and mixing with the locals, Tilly comes across a copy of the small town newspaper. In this paper is an ad for a position of a “Girl Friday.” On a whim, Tilly calls about the job and has an interview the same day. 

Tilly gets the job as “Girls Friday” for Max. Her new job is basically personal assistant, babysitter/friend for his teen daughter Lou, and assistant with his interior design company.  She moves from her flat in London to Max’s house. Tilly soon meets Jack Lucas.

Jack Lucas is one of Max’s best friends. He also has a bit of a reputation in Roxborough. Jack is known as quite the romancer with quite a few notches on his bedpost. Jack lost his fiance days before their wedding a few years ago and hasn’t found or let himself find love since that tragic day. When he meets Tilly, there is an instant connection that scares them both.

There are three other stories that are weaved throughout this story. 

Erin, Tilly’s best friend, has a successful secondhand dress shop and a new boyfriend with whom she is totally in love with. Her boyfriend, Fergus, is in love with her, too. There is only one problem…Fergus’s estranged wife from whom he is not divorced yet. Stella – the wife – is not accepting the separation from Fergus and blames Erin for it even though Erin and Fergus didn’t get together until months after the separation. However, despite Stella’s attempts to embarrass and destroy Erin’s reputation, Erin is a true friend to Stella when she needs her the most.

Kaye McKenna – Hollywood soap opera star and Lou’s mother – gets fired from her show based on some false accusations. She leaves the States and heads back to England to be with her daughter and find some peace. Someone follows her there for a blind date. Who is it? Is he be a dangerous stalker or an innocent, infatuated fan?

Lou (Louisa, Max and Kaye’s daughter from their marriage before Max outed himself) is having some boy trouble at school. Eddie is always poking at her, making comments, chasing her. Is this a school-aged crush? Or is it something different?

If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!