Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Soul Search by Amber Scott Today's Best Seller For a Day

It's that time again. Best Seller For A Day and today the book featured and the great low price of just .99 cents is Amber Scott's Soul Search! In celebration Jesi and I decided to do another joint review, we have so much fun with these, we just can't help ourselves.

*WARNING* there may be spoilers
“Soul thieves, spiritualism, and one swoon-worthy alpha hero make Soul Search my next recommended read.” -ParaYourNormal,5/5 Stars, Reviewer

Three years ago, one horrific night changed his life forever. And now the wolf soul that was invoked to save him is taking over his body, day by day. Can he master his animal instincts in time to discover who is stealing children's souls?

What did you think of Amber's take of the wolf soul "attaching" to Grant?[Jesi Lea Ryan]  I liked this idea of the wolf soul co-existing with Grant’s soul, because it felt like a fresh take on the whole werewolf idea.  I always give authors credit for doing something new with an existing mythos.  Now granted, I don’t read a lot of werewolf books (unless the wolf is a supporting character in one of my beloved vampire novels), but I have not read anything exactly like this before.  Used on combination of the soul thefts, it created an intriguing world.  I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the next two books of the trilogy. 

[Miranda] I loved this twist to the age old myth of werewolves. I have read many paranormal books that try to put their own twist to it, but this by far is the best I have read. Include the fact that the wolf soul had an agenda of his own that he used Grant for, it really upped the game in this book.

What is your take on Leigh and Jacob? 

[Jesi Lea Ryan]  I really liked Jacob, and I am dying to know more about him.  Why is he the one to serve as Leigh’s spirit guide?  How does he really feel about her?  Their relationship is so loving and supportive that I can’t help attaching romantic ideas on it.  Will this turn into a Leigh/Grant/Jacob love triangle at some point?  Will Jacob find his own “happily ever after?”  I think there is so much more to his story.

[Miranda] Jacob had me wondering for a while, if they had been together for so many years, why was he still having difficulty getting things across to Leigh? then when he just up and left Leigh to go chase after the wolf, working on some mystery and didn't even say a be back soon, yeah I kinda got ticked at him for that. I do wonder how things will turn out though, seeing how each soul that the wolf finds and frees seems to bring Jacob further into reality. Interesting addition to the plot and can't wait for the rest of the series.

What part of the story stands out in your head, was a favorite?

[Jesi Lea Ryan]   The chemistry between Leigh and Grant scorched the pages!  It was interesting that both his human form and his inner wolf were attracted to her.  But my favorite part has to be the bond between Leigh and Jacob.  Even after decades together, their verbal communication is still difficult and cryptic, but the emotional and supernatural bonds that hold them together are very tight.  This can be hard for an author to portray, because so much of our communication is verbal and clear.  I don’t know if I’m explaining this right, but with Jacob, sometimes Leigh will get a word or phrase—sometimes it even makes sense—but other times, she only gets feelings or images.  This could give the impression that the connection between the two is weak, but that isn’t how they comes across at all.  

[Miranda] I have to say the scene that stands out in my head is when Leigh sees Grant as a wolf for the first time. She proves how strong she is to us then, or so I think. I love how she stands her ground and how she doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks. You go girl!

Overall thoughts on this book? 

 [Miranda] Once again Amber doesn't disappoint. I loved the book, it was a quick read and honestly it kept me wondering till almost the end "who dun it" A must read for all our paranormal romance/mystery lovers. I give it 4 stars overall.

[Jesi Lea Ryan]   I definitely recommend this book to paranormal romance and paranormal mystery fans!  Overall, I give Soul Search…

Plot – 4 bookmarks
Character development – 4 bookmarks
Love story – 4 ½ bookmarks
Mystery – 4 bookmarks (If figured it out a little early, but it still help my interest.)
World building – 5 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Scarlett Johansson (Leigh), Henry Cavil (Grant), Jessica Chastain (Beatrice), Justin Timberlake (Nick), Maggie Grace (Eliza)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lindsey's review of STIRRED by J.A. Konrath & Blake Couch (A Jack Daniels novel)

So Mr. Konrath has teamed up once again with Mr. Crouch for another of my divine Jack Daniels books...

Now, first of all let me explain my devotion to Jack Daniel's books...I preorder all..I get giddy when they show up on my Precious (aka kindle)...I drop whatever I am reading when these books show up.

I read this in one day....I am not familiar with Blake Crouch's serial murder books. I read a preface regarding how book would work. There was references throughout book to click on. There would be a summary of who character first I thought..."OH GAWD..this sounds like effort...".

It ended up to be the coolest tool in an ebook yet! Crouch's bad guys were going after my Jack (Jaqueline) clue who they were..the references tied it all together.

Soooo, Luther Kite is a scary , scary man...he is after Jack..who is 48 and pregnant by her 10 yr younger "boyfriend"...

Alright Ladies of a cooler age, high five each other...are you done??? BACK TO ME...

I can't explain how scary this book was...there were rooms.. kind of a monopoly game from hell if you will. Anyone who knows me knows I am a weenie..I can barely get through episode of WALKING DEAD.....However, the writing is so damn good and the book puts you right in there...which was not a good thing for me but whatever.

The next morning after no sleep, I read J.A. Konrath's intro (always go straight to the book) find out...hope your sitting...this is the LAST OF MY JACK DANIELS in the hell did I miss that?? HOW??!!! Dare I say, I teared up?? I blame exhaustion, however I was seriously bummed.

There was also a interview between the two authors at the the end. They discussed how they wrote for each OTHER'S characters...heck if I knew...everything flowed so perfectly.....

 To those who have not read any of these books, I advise ,"Whiskey Sour" to start....or you will be lost and emailing me all kinds of questions that I don't want to make time to answer...lalalalalala...

So, in my conclusion..Mr. Konrath- Thank you for writing such a fantastic series. They were funny , scary and I near 40 it was a breathe of fresh air to see a gal who has got it together (mostly) and it still a bad ass... I thank you for your books when I went through my 1st (better be only) major surgery of my existence...they took the stress and anxiety away from reality....

Also, get on your knee's and praise your wife for helping you...she had to..if not, then your the only straight man in the world who seriously knows how women work.

Mr. Crouch- I have downloaded the first in your "Luther" series...I am scared to read it...your writing is fantastic and frightening and slightly realistic....if I lose any sleep due to your terror I will fax you a list of my kid's practices.... you'll be taking them.

Have a good one folks!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Thanksgiving, Jesi's thankful for BOOKS!!!!

All of this talk about Thanksgiving has gotten me thinking about which books I’m most thankful for.  You know...those certain books which changed your life or influenced your thoughts and opinions in ways you never thought possible.  So I thought I would share my list with you. 

And the Band Played On by Randy Shiltz

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th-Anniversary Edition

In 1987, Randy Shiltz, journalist of the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote the first comprehensive, investigative report on the AIDS crisis.  Documenting multiple points of view from the first known cases to the government failures to prevent the spread of the disease to the doctors scrambling to find a cure, the book reads more like a medical thriller than a dry piece of journalism. 

This book changed my thinking in such a profound way.  I read it when I was in my early twenties.  AIDS didn’t seem very real to me, as I didn’t know anyone who suffered from the disease, and since I was married young, I didn’t think it would be something I would ever have to worry about.  What this book did was put a face on the AIDS crisis for me.  Even twenty years later, this book is still relevant, and I can’t recommend it enough (although it really is intended for mature audiences). 

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind, 75th Anniversary Edition

When I was twelve-years-old, I bought a copy of Gone with the Wind.  At almost 1,000 pages, the book looked more like a door stop than something I’d be able to read.  But I was determined.  I knew that if I just took it a sentence at a time, and didn’t think of it as this overwhelming task, I could do it.  And I did.  And when I was done, I read it again.  And again. 

Throughout my teens, I read this book at least twenty times.  Not only did the story appeal to my youthful romantic sensibilities, but I grew fascinated by the history around the American Civil War.  What GWTW taught me was not to be intimidated by literature.  Just because a book is large, doesn’t mean it’s got to be difficult.  The words between the covers are the same English words I’ve been reading my whole life, nothing to sweat over.  In fact, if the story is good enough, I don’t want it to end.  I think this is why I love to read series books so much. 

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

Love Medicine: Newly Revised Edition (P.S.)

I first read Love Medicine in a literary criticism class in college, and I fell in love with this extraordinary piece of literature.  The book can be read two ways, as a novel or as an intertwining collection of short stories, since each chapter can exist on its own.  It focuses on the lives of two Native American families living on a reservation.  Many themes thread throughout the book, but one of the most important is what it means to be civilized versus savage, and is assimilation the answer or a detriment. 

This book taught me to recognize how the structure of a book can contribute to the author’s meaning.  There is nothing in this book that is accidental.  Yes, you can read it purely for the story and enjoy it, but once I began picking it apart, I felt like a new world was opening to me.  As a result, I changed the way I read books.  I look for what the metaphors, the structure, the placement of characters and plot points are telling me. 

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

Twilight 4 Book Set - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse & Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga)

Okay, before you all roll your eyes at me, hear me out.  This series did change my life, but not because Edward is so dreamy or Jacob’s abs make me swoon.  These books changed the types of books I read, opening up a whole new world for me. 

Prior to Twilight, I read exclusively adult, literary fiction, classics or history.  When a friend of mine (also a literary fiction reader) suggested I read Twilight, I thought she was crazy.  The last young adult book I read was Sweet Valley High in fifth grade.  Not only that, I did not read vampire books.  (Okay, I was a total snob.  I know.)  But I decided to give it a shot, because I’d just lost my job and had nothing else to do but read. 

Of course, I loved the books, but more than that, I began seeking out other paranormal young adult books, which led to paranormal romance, which led to other types of romance, then sci-fi, etc.  As you can see, Twilight was my gateway to all sorts of genres.  Now, I read just about anything!  It truly changed my life and for that, I’m thankful.

While these four books are not an exhaustive list, I think you get the idea.  Now, tell me which books you are thankful for.  How have they impacted you or influenced your life?  Have you ever had a book change your opinion on particular topic?  I’d love to hear your stories!!!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jesi's review of STRANGE LITTLE BAND by Nancy Brauer & Vanessa Brooks

Both Addison and Shane are doctors leading research teams inside the powerful, Triptych Corporation.  Both are extremely powerful psychics.  They don’t like each other much and Addison is livid when she discovers that the embryo implanted in her by Triptych is her egg fertilized by Shane’s sperm in a lab.  Management apparently want to see what their two most gifted psychics might produce for offspring.  Expecting a baby together brings Addison and Shane closer, but just as they are standing on the threshold of love, Triptych steps in and breaks them apart with deceptions.

Years pass.  Addison and Shane waffle between insatiable attraction to each other and hatred.  The whole time, the mystery of Tripych and its creepy management fill the story with intrigue.  While there is some serious steamy sex, this is also the story about a family.  Shane, Addison and their kids have very realistic relationships.  The kids are close since there are few other children in Triptych, and both want to see Shane & Addison work things out.  Both Addison and Shane are good parents who do their best by their kids.  I loved how human the characters were.

There were a few areas in this story which could have benefited some further explanation.  Both of my major issues involved world building.  First, this all takes place with a corporation.  I gather they do scientific and psychic research, but the details are sketchy.  What kind of company has the employees live on sight and dictates every aspect of their personal lives, including who they can sleep with and when and with whom they can have children?  The other thing is regarding the aliens.  We know Shane is half-alien and there are a few full aliens in the story, but there is not a lot of explanation about the aliens.  Where did they come from? What is their role on earth? Are they known to humans outside of the corporation?  I felt a bit like I kept missing some fact that would tie all of this together.

Even with these questions, I still really enjoyed this book.  It was very different from most things that I read, yet, I found myself engaged and thinking about it between reading.  That’s the sign of a good book.

Overall, I give Strange Little Band

Plot – 4 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Love Story – 5 bookmarks
Sex Scenes – 4 ¾ bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Halle Berry (Addison), Eric Bana (Shane), James Caan (Daniel), Lucy Liu (Joon)

Monday, November 21, 2011

CybrGrrl A Joint Review

Jesi and I decided to do something a bit different on the blog today. A joint review on Maxwell Cyn's CybrGrrl, I want to warn you before you read further their may be spoilers, but we'll do our best not to give too much away. Read on to see our thoughts on some key questions.

 Created to be a sexy desktop companion program, Marie emerges into a life of her own. She leads her users, Adrian and Haley, through an erotic adventure as she processes what it is to be alive. The search leads her onto the Internet, and a virtual-world community where she can live an independent existence unfettered by the limits of her server - alive in the cloud - then back into the real world.

1. How long did it take you to read CybrGrrl?

Miranda~ It only took me a couple of hours, i picked it up one afternoon after finishing my daily writing for NaNoWriMo and finished it before the kids got home from school. I couldn't put it down.

[Jesi Lea Ryan]   The book reads pretty fast.  I think I finished it in an hour and a half or so.  Once in a while I like a short novella length read, and CybrGrrl fit perfectly.

2. Did you feel Marie came alive or was she just a program to you through the book?

Miranda~ For me she became a real live character, it became hard to sit back and remember that she was just a program, and honestly in the end I think she was alive in her own way.

[Jesi Lea Ryan]   I have to admit, I had to keep reminding myself that she was a program.  Marie seemed to be developing a real personality as the story went on.  I think she began to be more human to me when she began to experience sexual pleasure because she wanted to, not at the direction of humans controlling her.  I’ve never walked in on my Sims pleasuring themselves.

3. Did you feel the advance AI and electronic toys were believable or a bit out there for you?

Miranda~ I think I am 50/50 on that, the AI technology is believable and I have no doubt that it will happen in the future, but the "toys" got to be a bit beyond my sexual comfort level. Though were great for the feeling of the book and the relationships that developed between Adrian, Marie, and Haley.

[Jesi Lea Ryan]   Honestly, I found the AI both fascinating and frightening, because I can see how this might happen in the near future.  The way Maxwell Cynn described how each advancement Marie made was done, certainly lent to the believability of the AI.  We learned about the program along with the characters. 

4. What was your favorite part of the book?

Miranda~ Hmm, good question, I would have to say Haley's first encounter with Marie, when they sit down for "girl talk", the intimacy they share and how it ulitimately effects Haley is a turning point for me in the book.

[Jesi Lea Ryan]   I have to say, my favorite part of the book revolved around the AI.  As I said, it was really cool, but also kind of scary.  I can almost picture us all having CybrGrrls in the not-so-distant future.  Of course, my business mind kept going back to the efficiencies that could be created for businesses and the number of real humans who could be out of work as a result. 

5.Be honest, could you use your own CybrGrrl? 

Miranda~ Most definitely, i so could use a virtual assistant. Though if I did have one, I would probably never leave my home. LOL

[Jesi Lea Ryan]  Heck, yeah!  Only mine would look like Robert Pattinson, have his British accent and sing me sleep at night.  J  My husband might have an issue with this though. 

6. What is your overall feeling and rating of CybrGrrl?

Miranda~ this was a fantastic erotic story that was not only steamy and sensual, but had a good back story that kept  you turning the page to find out what happens next. I loved the relationship and trust that is evident with Aiden and Haley. I gave this a 5 star rating, check it out , it's a great read.

[Jesi Lea Ryan]  I like reading erotica, and the sex in CybrGrrl was well done.  But the more interesting part of the story for me was the AI.  It made the story feel fresh to me.  I also liked the theme of what it means to be human.  I do think the sex was essential for the story, because CybrGrrl was originally marketed as a sex toy (again, totally believable).  I give CybrGrrl…
Originality – 5 bookmarks
Character Development – 5 bookmarks (He turned a computer program into a human!)
Sex Scenes – 4 bookmarks
Plot – 4 ½ bookmarks (Some scenes had a lot of talking and no action. Considering most of the story requires the main character to sit at his computer, I thought Cynn did a good job with keeping the pacing up.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Henry Cavill (Adrian), Emily Blunt (Haley), Holly Valance (Marie)