Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: After Ever by Jillian Eaton

After Ever by Jillian Eaton
My rating: 3 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Published: October 12, 2012
Pages: 196
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Requested Review
Format: eBook
Purchase At:

Note: A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

“Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t die again in a thousand different ways.”

For sixteen-year-old Winnie Coleman, dying is the least of her worries. Between coming to terms with her mother’s unexpected death, trying to think up new and inventive ways to break up her father and Girlfriend #3, and keeping her brother from chewing off his fingers, she has her hands full. Courtesy of a thin patch of ice and failed swimming lessons, all of that changes in the blink of an eye.

In death Winnie will find the answers that eluded her in life, and a whole slew of other questions she never thought to ask. Like why is she stuck with Sam for a guide? Sure, he’s funny and cute in a geeky sort of way, but he wears sweater vests… and loafers. For a girl who has tattoos on her face and glue in her hair, it’s not exactly the best match up.

But when Sam is taken and his very existence threatened, Winnie must make the ultimate choice between cowardice and courage. Faithlessness and loyalty. Family... and love.

Suspenseful and action packed, After Ever is a must read for anyone who ever wondered: what happens next?


“Your mother has been dead for a year and a half. It is perfectly acceptable for me to begin dating again. Really, Winnifred. You should want me to be happy.” He frowns, as if I am the bad person. As if I am the one who has shut my family out.

I rest my elbows on the table and look down between them, studying a small chip on the wood surface. “I do want you to be happy Dad,” I say truthfully. “Just not with Girlfriend – er, with Trish. I really don’t think she’s good for you. And, newsflash, she’s not exactly great stepmother material. I mean, the evil stepmother from Cinderella looks like Mary Poppins compared to her.”

“Unfortunately, due to your recent behavior your opinion does not carry much weight with me.”

“How can you say stuff like that?” I whisper, aghast.

His eyes cut straight through me. “You will need to apologize to Trish,” he says, ignoring my question entirely. “Her feelings are very important to me and you’ve hurt them with your outlandish behavior.”

What about my feelings, Dad? What about me? Your daughter?

“No way in hell,” I say.

My dad rubs his chin and sighs. He looks tired, more tired than a forty seven year old man should ever look. If this is his ‘happy’, I would hate to see him miserable. “You will do as I say, Winnifred.”

“Or what, you’ll ground me?” I scoff, beyond caring now. I was stupid to think he would actually listen to me. My dad might not have his nose pierced or wear eyeliner, but he’s changed just as much as I have. It’s the people like him you have to look out for. The ones who are different on the inside.  
The  ones who make you hope they’ll go back to the way they were before because on the outside they don’t look any different, but underneath all that shiny sameness they’re just as broken as you are. Sometimes even more.

My Thoughts

This book is a lot of creativity in a small package. I look at it as more of a novella now, but the story is big enough to keep people interested. Jillian Eaton introduces readers to Winnifred Coleman, a pretty kickass heroine with a lot of spunk and wit to spare; she and her family, comprising of her father, his girlfriend, Trish, and her brother Brian set off on vacation to the mountains. Winnifred is not like most girls, she recently lost her mother and is stuck stepping in her place to care for her brother Brian because her father isn’t up to it.

Ah, Mr. Coleman. Her father is funny in a pitiful kind of way in that he is repressing the feelings of grief over his wife’s death, and hence, pushing what is left of his family away. Winnie looks like her mother and he wants to see as little of her as possible so as not to be reminded of his late wife, and I get that, but the way he goes about it is not right and completely unfair not only on Win, but Brian as well. He needs his daddy, not some man trying to pretend that everything is okay. At the beginning it was strange knowing where to start because Winnie is portrayed as this hard-core goth chick, and yet she has not always been this way, she only retreated into herself post her mother’s death. So the question becomes, is this the real Win, or will she progress and return to the way she was before?

Eventually she settles into herself and after reading more about her the reader knows that Winnie is a combination of things; she is outspoken, impatient, gutsy, emotional, stubborn and girly. Winnifred is not just one “thing” or a “type” she is many. A part of the book I enjoyed was the unpredictability of Win and never knowing what would come out of her mouth next, she almost always surprised me. A few names and concepts like “Unknowns” and the “After” could have been expanded upon; I believe that the Unknowns aren’t nearly as mysterious as their name implies and that the “After” and its world-building require a bit more development. Still, there is always something happening in this book. From Winnifred dying – I will not give away how – to her attending her own funeral at the end, I wanted to see the story through.

It helps that partnered with Winnifred is the particularly cute spirit guide, sweater-vest Sam. Sam… cute, sweet and totally loveable, this guy is a keeper. He takes his job as guide pretty seriously and had immense amount of patience when dealing with Winnie; the girl isn’t easy to keep a hold of. Still, he did it and in doing so, made me love him. This book is gritty, direct and personal; it knows its purpose and goes for it, succeeding in the most parts. I plan on reading the second book in this series because the ending frustrated me; I want to find Ellie and wring her neck a little now! Speaking of which, there was a moment near the end, a conversation in particular, that didn’t feel right. It was a bit of information released through two characters and felt rushed for the ending, but I expect Ms. Eaton has big plans for the second book which probably involve said topic.

I cannot fault this book for much and appreciate its unique take on the paranormal, I would recommend giving it a read if you’re in the looking for anything different. Watch out for minimal spelling errors, they don’t get in the way of the reading, but they are still there, other than that, grab yourself a copy.

3/5 genies

Favourite Quote: “it’s my first time guiding someone across,” Sam explains. “That’s why you could see me before. No one else could. Just you. I picked you.”


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (1) : Also known as The Great Splurge

Hello, it's Judith here, and I will be your book Viking today. I come with great spoils of my last pillage! I have no idea why I'm a Viking for the day? "Stacking the Shelves" is run by Tynga @ Tynga's Book Reviews and I'm linking up with some of the great books I found last week. My shelves, they be stacking! And I know that it's a bit overdue, but better late than never? Argghh, on to the post! And now I'm a pirate.

Library Stash

Last week from the library, I was lucky to get:

**Drink Deep by Chloe Neill**
**Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen (wishlist)**
**Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally**
**Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (wishlist)**
**My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade**
**Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings (wishlist)**

[Viking Judith: *Grunts* "Isn't she a beauty?!"]
I FINALLY snagged:
**The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (wishlist)**
**The Calling by Kelley Armstrong**
**The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman**
**A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink (wishlist)**
**Immortal City by Scott Speer**
**Fire by Kristin Cashore**
**Creature Carnival by Marilyn Singer, Gris Grimley**
**Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi, Gris Grimley**


*Squeals like an insane person* 
This right here (above) is my childhood! I remember when Enid Blyton was my crack, that woman essentially inspired me to write and when I saw The Faraway Tree Stories, my absolute favourite novel by her, I needed to snap that baby up! Disney will never die. The storybook on the left was read to me all the days of my Viking infancy. Both are out of print, and I couldn't pass up on buying either :)

[Viking Judith: "So, do you lovely ladies come here often?"]

*Facepalm* I suck at pick-up lines, and needless to say, this Viking would be slapped pretty promptly. Eesh, you can't catch a break, not even with the fictional ladies! Note, I am probably the biggest procrastinator to date when it comes to getting my releases in hand, mainly because there is never enough time, but I finally had my two main squeezes "The Golden Lily" and "Seraphina" come in the mail. I can't wait to read them! 

All of these books are great, I cannot wait to get to them, but is there anything on your shelf that you're dying to read/have gotten? Do share ;) P.s. If you like/dislike the pillaging Viking and want to see him feature on my rendition of Stacking the Shelves again, let me know!


Spotlight Tuesday (1) : New Look/Announcement!

In honour of the first Spotlight, I thought it fitting to highlight the new look and design of Choice Reads. It was actually designed by Jude Henderson at In Between Designs Studio (I'll link her again below) and the job she did is INCREDIBLE!! I badgered my sister into taking some screenshots for me, one of the blog before the redesign and another of what it looks like now...

Thanks to Jude and her general AWESOMENESS, the blog now looks like this:

Isn't that fantastic?! I have to spotlight this because the blog looks exactly like I imagined it would. For the past few days I have hardly left my house because of all the uploading there was to do; I'm on Goodreads, and moving the reviews from there to over here was one massive task. I did not look my best, kind of like a hermit in track pants. Done manually, it was a headache, but now the great majority of my reviews feature dually on Choice Reads and Goodreads. I am officially open for business! 

There is one book, After Ever by Jillian Eaton that I have to get through today, so expect that review to be up soon. Lately though, I've been thinking of hosting a giveaway to say thanks to my subscribers, BUT I will not host a dead competition. Meaning, You guys should subscribe and hit me up...anywhere. The more subscribers, the bigger the giveaway and it's winners! 

Right now I'm thinking along the lines of 2 winners and their choice of any 2012 YA release. You know, titles like:

I don't know about y'all, but those titles look pretty good ;) I'm looking to adding a couple as time goes on, depending on how many followers/subs I get, maybe 3 more books for 100-150 subscribers? Seems legit. So this is the future...Like it? Subscribe!

But back to Jude, this girl is so special, I cannot stress the amount of patience she had when dealing with me! I could not have asked for a more hardworking and driven friend, because that is exactly what she was throughout this process, very excellent help. She did not rest before giving me exactly what I wanted and the overall success of the blog so far largely goes to her. Thanks girl! So that is it, my Spotlight Tuesday and Giveaway announcement, be sure to comment below if you love the new look, I would love more people to gush along with me :) 



Monday, July 23, 2012

Review (The Skinny) : Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 2.5 of 5 genies
Genre: Inspirational/Christian, Historical Fiction, Romance
Published: October 1, 2010
Pages: 366
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Source: Library Loan
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind.
When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon--and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate.
When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the child--and her inheritance--Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?

The Skinny

It is alarming how well I can see through this plot! I loved the last book I read by Karen, To Win Her Heart, but this one is oodles too long and equally predictable. The beginning half had me - it was funny - and I liked Gideon and Addie, but a quick sweep through some pages tells me that their romance dissolves into the typical Man-Woman corniness I quite dislike. Also with so little time I cannot afford to (sorry) waste the little I do have with something that only mildly interests me. It isn't meant to be a mean remark, I just want something more engaging. This is the second time in a year that I have tried this book, I got farther than the last time, but I'm not sure if there's a third meeting in our future.

This novel had its perks, I wouldn't read it again, but it was an okay read.


Review (The Skinny) : Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Angels, Paranormal
Published: October 13, 2009
Pages: 391
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

The Skinny

Oh I definitely liked this one! It was brooding and sexy and It got my toes curling in the RIGHT way. Since it first came out the cover has captivated me, urging me to pick it up and I'm glad I finally did! It was a great read and definitely doesn't deserve a lot of the negative criticism other than the obvious fact that the protagonist, Nora, has terrible choice in friends. I think I will always hate Vee, but always, always love Patch. Great book and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!

4 genies: A good read. I enjoyed this book, not quite loved, but it 
isn't far off from being amazing.


Review (The Skinny) : Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure
Published: February 1, 2011
Pages: 480
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
The Skinny

It was engaging and crisp. One thing I love about Oliver is her directness, she knows what she wants to say and exactly how to say it! Delirium was oh-so-very inspiring to me and it reminded me why love IS worth it. The characters were superb and the romance was epic, period. The setting was perfect for this book and so was the jacket (beautiful)! Excellent Oliver, hats off to you! :)

genies: A good read. I enjoyed this book, not quite loved, but it 
isn't far off from being amazing.


Review (The Skinny) : Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen by Lauren Kate
My rating: 1 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Romance, Paranormal, Angels,
Published: December 8, 2009
Pages: 452
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, FALLEN is a page-turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

The (Really) Skinny

Unfortunately I really couldn't get into this one and it was much too dreary and depressing for my liking. The romance I found was lacking and the protagonist for the most part ground on my nerves. I won't be reading the sequel but it's a read for anyone who'd want to kill a graveyard.

1 genie: it wasn't that great, obviously, and I would 
NOT recommend the read. 


Review (The Skinny) : Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist

Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist
My rating: 4 of 5 genies
Genre: Inspirational/Christian, Historical Fiction, Romance, Adult
Published: June 1, 2010
Pages: 363
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary 
From the day she arrives at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled—by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in the ways of refined society, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid.

But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangled in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs...and their hearts.

The Skinny

*Sigh* This book was perfect! My family and I went on a road trip and on the way there I had the absolute pleasure of reading this. Time passed quickly with this book, I enjoyed it that much. It was wonderful and so heart-racing! The cover was what got my attention - it is so accurate and relevant to the story.

The title fits, and the story is as moving as its characters. Mack is a complete dream for all that he sacrifices, and Tilly is so likable, a great heroine! It was written beautifully and already a fan of Mrs. Gist I will continue to read all of her books!

genies: A good read. I enjoyed this book, not quite loved, but it 
isn't far off from being amazing.


Review (The Skinny) : Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4.5 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure
Published: September 1, 2009
Pages: 391
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

Sparks are igniting, flames are spreading and the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.
The Skinny

So worth everything. Collins is the ultimate Gamemaster and Catching Fire is equal part heart and adventure. I love every single one of these characters and I am well invested in them; the Games felt realer than ever for me and I truly applaud everyone forced to participate for all their strong will. I love you Katniss. I love you Peeta. And Collins? I love you too.

Now give me my sequel, woman!

One helluva a read, spectacular in the very most parts, tugging rightly at the heartstrings, this book will warm your heart as it did with mine.


Review: This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4.5 of 5 genies
Genre: Adult/Mature, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Vampires
Published: February 22, 2011
Pages: 357
Publisher: Avon
Source: Library Loan
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"; the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

My Thoughts

What to say about 'This Side of the Grave'? Maybe I should start off with the simple statement: 'It didn't suck'. It was good, really good actually and I was going to give this a 4 until near-the end when Bones's interaction with a poltergeist had me laughing so hard I was sure my parents would pick up the phone and dial the mental asylum, RIGHT. THEN.

Lol, good times though! Worth spending time in a straight jacket against padded walls, that's for sure. Okay maybe not, but I considered it.

First off, I really love the covers of this series, they are so unique and edgy there isn't much else of an option BUT to pick one up. The title also rocks, and props to Frost for always incorporating the word 'Grave' in there, Big Ups! It's distinct to the series and I appreciate that. Personally though I found this the heaviest,(content-wise), and was crippled at parts like say, the death of a very important character. THAT had me in tears, so not pretty. It was incredibly painful to read through, and yet Frost just kept tempting and edging me forward until it was all read and I was feeling lower than dirt...Until I kept reading on and saw the end that made it truly worth while! Fabulous ending and gloriously written, a little bit of a cliff-hanger, but I am hanging on until August for the next one!

So now that you know of my definitive plans to catch the next book, let me plunge into the remainder of my review for this one. Why I felt it weird at parts was because they were character couples that I wasn't familiar and sharply bombarded with,(here is where I suggest you pick up the 'Night Huntress World' novels before reading this because you will be more familiar with the pairings of Kira and Mencheres as well as Spade and Denise that way.) Not to mention Denise's shape-shifting! That was a shocker, I was expecting that almost as much as the realization that my Main-Man Mencheres was nuzzling and grinding against some chick I did not know.

I didn't hate Kira, I just did not know her. It was like popping a helium balloon without informing anyone. One minute it's nice and serene and then the next? Boom! Where did that blast come from and WHY do you not have hair anymore? See, shocking. I raised an brow when she got all snarky about Cat pushing Mencheres to do better in his attempts to read the future because I love Cat, and I will not have some woman sass her. No. Way.

But I'd heard of her, I have the 'Eternal Kiss' in my to-read category so I know their story, I just wish someone would have pointed out the order in which to read them; then maybe I wouldn't have wanted to flog Kira. Possibly.

Next was Denise: I love Denise to death because of her alcoholic ways - so much like Cat - but again all of a sudden I see spouses formed out of the blue and then them being territorial. What is this, a snarling party? Bring your own 'tude and sass? Not cool. Spade has always been my gentleman and then to see him suddenly glare Cat down because she asked her best friend a favor for the good of their race as well as the ghouls? Not the guy I knew, that's for sure. What happened to the understanding Baron, did he die somewhere along the way from the previous book to here?

Not to mention Marie! While I'm reeling from weird character turns there goes Marie making me hate her for a good 10 chapters!

I was furious, thinking what was going on?! The only people that seemed constant were Vlad, Bones and Ian...Until the end. Thank God it worked out well in the end! Apollyon got what was coming to him and I officially want Ian and Veritas as a couple! They are my secret desire. Another desire is of course Tate and Cat. I know, what about Bones, right? Well if Bones were to die I'd want 'Cate' to happen (see the merging there!?) He loves her with this burning intensity that makes me weak, I love that! So God forbid Bones were to pass, Tate would be the man for the job. There, cast the first stone if you have never CONSIDERED the pair and I'll listen, but if not join the club!

I enjoyed the mystery of trying to defeat Apollyon, that was prime, man! The combover went down....Haha I am a little pleased okay, bite me! But you know what's better yet? Reading this novel. It is awesome and I urge you not to jump to conclusions like I did. Catch the 'Night Huntress World' books before this one though, it'll make a butt load more of sense regarding the supporting characters. Note: there are scenes of intercourse so watch out for that if you happen to be younger.

I rate this read 4.5 genies because I can't resist a good Exorcist threat when it comes along! Immature I know, and I love it.

One helluva a read, spectacular in the very most parts, tugging rightly at the heartstrings, this book will warm your heart as it did with mine. 


Review: That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake

That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake
My rating: 2 of 5 genies
Genre: Inspirational/Christian, Historical, Fiction, Romance
Published: August 1, 2009
Pages: 348
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Source: Library Loan
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

Gooding, Texas, is about to gain a double blessing--a veterinarian and a doctor. But when siblings Enoch and Taylor Bestman arrive, the discovery that Taylor is a lady doctor has the town up in arms. Especially Karl Van der Vort, the town blacksmith, who becomes the first patient...against his will.
Though hesitant to believe in Taylor's doctoring skills, Karl finds himself oddly protective of this surprising woman who dares to drive about town on her own, wearing the color red, for heaven's sake Taylor, on the other hand, wants only to prove that doctoring is her life's calling, despite the town's opposition. The result? Pride meets attraction head-on, and sparks begin to fly.

My Thoughts

'That Certain Spark' was interesting and NOT in a good way. Interesting like cafeteria meat that you pick with a fork wondering what exactly it is or supposed to be. It was weird for me and you have no idea how it burns me to say that! I love a lot of books by Hake, like 'Fancy Pants' and 'Bittersweet' to name a few, and while I am being honest let me say that not all her books have been easy to get into. Fudge! They have been even impossible at times, but I found that perseverance in those cases proved worth it at the end. Eventually something would happen.

I felt that way about this book too, but that didn't happen. I liked the cover, a picture of Taylor, it was quirky and looked to have everything to do with the story. And yet even though Taylor was a protagonist I never did feel like she was the MAIN focus. It felt like a crowd had been forced into this book, there were just too many people! I can see why Hake did it, and on many occasions I grumble at not being properly entertained, just not on this one.

Sometimes things didn't even check out. Realistically speaking Enoch's courtship with Mercy bordered on lust and was just that, unrealistic. If we are going to have a Lust-relationship be clear about it! Do not mask it as love because barely two weeks together does not a happy marriage make. Who seriously marries a vet who just moved into town 2 weeks ago! Who in their right mind!? He could be a killer who stuffs children into pig carcasses! Didn't think about that, huh Mercy? And Taylor's brother wasn't a guy, he was a pansy. Their relationship was very forced to me, Hake tried too hard to make them seem like twins, insisting that they had a 'connection'. Well the proof is in the pudding and I tasted water.

They were too unrelated for my liking. Sure Enoch stuck up for his sister, but it didn't feel authentic, it felt like someone was going 'Oh, you have to go do something. People are staring and you ARE her twin,' every time someone was rude or tried to get her to leave. Their being related did nothing for me.

Furthermore the love interest for Taylor sucked as well! At the beginning he seemed flipping American then all of a sudden he's... Dutch? What now! At least his brother was spouting German or Danish from the start, not halfway through like Karl. It was as if he up and decided to be German, and throwing random phrases around does not make him that! Why is it that most authors think ignoring a person's heritage is okay? They come from unique backgrounds, all of them do and lumping them into a mold of job, occupation or type based on romantic interest does not tell me about that person! Does that character miss where he came from? Believe it or not but that guy has history in whatever country you're botching to make him look worldly, authors.

I absolutely hated that. Also Karl reminded me of Frankenstein's monster: hulking, bumbling and unaware. He was fine going around defending Taylor, not completely on her side yet but thinking she was hot and doing it just because. Yeah, thanks pal. I didn't think Hake devoted enough time to those two at all because there were no butterflies when I gave up halfway through the book and checked out the ending, I was just like 'Not worth it!' and dropped the book altogether. It was all split between Enoch and his family troubles (which by the way were just ridiculous) and 10 other town people including Karl and his brother. They all had opinions and I'm sure I didn't need to be exposed to all of them. I get that they are important to the town and somewhat to the story, but these people have HAD their stories, why force them into this one? Detain them!

How Hake expected me to devote attention to Taylor when Enoch had so much drama going on is beyond me, it was just too much! I am very disappointed and despite the 2 genie rating I give this novel I will keep reading Hake's work, because she isn't a bad author, this is just a bad book.
2 genies: I wanted to like this, I really did, but too much was left under-developed.
There was far more worse than good.


Review: To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 5 of 5 genies
Genre: Inspirational/Christian, Historical, Romance,
Published: May 1, 2011
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Source: Library Loan
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...
Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.
Levi's renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian's affections?

My Thoughts


Ha, really this book was phenomenal! I was not expecting it to be this good, don't ask me why but I just wasn't. I finished reading 'That Certain Spark' before this and was feeling more than a little sour towards Christian Fiction, especially anything historical! And yet here comes Witemeyer to plummet completely my bias. Really she outdid herself!

This read took longer for me to finish and not because of the ability of the book to keep me interested. No, It was my fault because 1/3 through the reading process, I cracked. There was just so much stuff going on that I'm not getting into that took precedence over reading. That is why I took a bajillion days to finish!

Alright, So we're clear? Excellent!

See the word I used there? It's a perfect description of this novel, perfectly EXCELLENT. I expected to hate it, and though 'A tailor made Bride' was decent I was tired of being preached at. I'm a Christian but I find that some books just make it one sermon; 'don't do this', and, 'stay away from that,' but never once do they expose you to realistic scenarios in which you will need to make tough choices. No, it's often just one dramatic sludge of fail with flimsy heroines and generic males. This book was not that.

I am in love with Levi, an ex-prize fighter turned Christian blacksmith-hunk. I loved his lisp and how intelligent this man was! He was so vulnerable and troubled that I just wanted to 'FIX HIM'! Lol that is what girls tend to do right, I'm not quite sure. Take this scenario for example:

Man who overheard to Judith: Excuse me, but are you insinuating that you are not in fact a woman, madam?

Judith: What do you think this is?! *scratches armpit* I don’t have to answer that. Pansy, get me a sandwich and talk American!

Man greatly disgruntled: I suppose I shall leave you to your...em...activities, madam.

Judith: *burps* that’s right! Ye heard me. Some people just aren’t educated. :/ *burps again*

*Ahem* So as you see I am not very normal. I come close on occasion but that is all, and yet you don't have to be mildly insane to appreciate any part of this book or its fabulous characters! It just ROCKS. I enjoyed the heroine - Eden, a kindhearted librarian, as well and found her to be something rarely seen in fiction these days: lovely. She was so very delightful and cute I adored her! That is why I forgive her for taking Levi, because they deserve each other.

The emotions were so authentic I forgot I was reading at points and just lost myself in this book. It kept me turning pages - especially at the end - and no character was unwarranted. They all served purposes... finally! I was so sick of background sheep-people that just chewed grass and made irrelevant sound, that is what characters with no real point mean to me and I was tired of them. This book held meaning because every single character had a story; not one that could be duplicated, but a tale really unique.

Witemeyer did her research and it payed off - GREATLY. In my opinion, Bethany House should do the smart thing and sign her up for more contracts, she is a gem and officially up there next to Kingsbury and Gist in terms of stellar Christian fiction authors. I want so much more from her! Pick this book up and give it a good read, I'm thinking it would be worth every penny.

5 genies: WOWZA. Yes, this is that book, the book you've been looking for! 
You need this novel in your life, take it from me. 


Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
My rating: 5 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Ghosts
Published: October 3, 2006
Pages: 224
Publisher: NAL Jam
Source: Library Loan
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

My Thoughts

Ok, well that was... INCREDIBLE.

I don't think I expected much from this book going in, (I still don't know why, maybe because the whole idea of the Vampire thing done by anyone not Jeaniene Frost seemed pretty impossible), and honestly I just read it because of the high rating it has going on Goodreads. Well, it's safe to say "Glass Houses" kinda deserves the 5 genies!! And higher. Also I was dead wrong, Rachel Caine can write! It wasn't predictable, but some events were easy to foresight and even though you could see some decisions from the characters totally play out a little before they did - it was still spanking amazing!

Believe me I'm still trying to organize my thoughts because they literally feel scrambled. So where to begin? The Setting: was golden, like crazy original and totally terrifying. I was scared, scared that a place like that existed - even in fiction - it was a nightmare! Crazy (there is really no other word for them) bitches, psycho Vamps, and literally no order. I fainted more than once. No one looks out for each other really and they all care about protecting themselves from the Vampires that rule Morganville; the Vampires think the humans are basically game (like actual cattle) and never hesitate to puncture a jugular, like never.

Oh. You. Have. To. Be. Kidding. Me. That was my recurring thought throughout "Glass Houses". What happened to human rights?!? Not in Morganville, no one cares. Except for the people in the Glass House who've grown up there, and Claire - a total cutie/brainiac - who happens to attend the College. She cares because the head psycho bitch wants to kill her.

Like really kill her. All because she thinks Claire made her look stupid (and that in itself is not a hard thing to do.) This girl was on something, I'm sure, she was so twisted that her imbalanced state of mind shook me. Character-wise in craziness she reminded me a lot of Azula from Avatar the Last Airbender.

Mind you, I never thought that I'd be saying this about anyone, but Monica was all kinds of psycho which Azula never could be. I thought she would give up on Claire, but she never did. It was a crazy obsession and I know she needs a jacket and padded room. Rich people should be able to afford that, right? Why are they letting someone as messed as Monica run loose then, it makes no sense. I don't care who her father is. Second in line for the crazy award is her feral dog, Scruffy Gina. Hm...has a nice ring to it! The girl just needed to be told and she went looking for blood, like a hellhound from Pittsburgh, she was so irrational. I can see why she and Monica are friends, really.

Other notable Characters: are of course Claire, Michael, Eve, Shane (swoon), and Oliver. I didn't think much of Amelie since she wasn't really there for most of the book and showed up 3/4 of the way through. She thought she was a big deal, I didn't. These characters were so awesome, and way normal than crazy Monica & Crew, I could practically see them. They were solid and hilarious, my throat went dry from laughing so hard at some parts. It was awesome.

Claire: Was smart, like really smart and completely lovable. I picture her in my mind and it is instant cuteness; still can't make out whether she had blonde or dark hair (wasn't really specified) but she was as cute as a button. Really Eve, I don't know why we say that, but in this case it applies in every sense of the word.

The friendship between all three of them was made even more believable because of their willingness to do everything to save her. I would save her too, she's just that kind of person; feisty and stubborn, the best kind.

Michael: Had this whole guardian angel thing going that I completely digged, very hot. I bawled when I found out what happened to him! Man it sucked, so much so that thinking of it pulls my spirits down a little still. I want him to be human again in the books to come! But I can only hope.

Eve: So sweet, her personality was catching - easy-going and confident - not to mention the way she handled Claire was extremely caring. Her actions brought to mind the image of an older sister which Claire didn't have, but totally deserved to find in Eve. Kudos to her for being that!

Shane: This name automatically makes me think, surfer, and then I imagine a guy (no offense to surfer-dudes out there) that isn't too bright. Can't help it, it just happens. Like when people hear the name Spongebob they think instantly: possibly-gay-yellow sponge-creeper. No? Well I do, but I love Spongebob, I watch him as much as I can and the same goes with Shane, only I'm wishing I could watch him every day! Oh man, he was very chill, very brave, and very fine. Excuse me while I swoon again.

I liked how far he was willing to go in order to protect Claire, he had this Romantic's heart pounding.

I won't get into Oliver because I don't know where to start with him, also I'm afraid of ruining it for anyone else. He was a surprise and not in a good way.

The Plot: moved easily and nothing felt rushed at all. It was like a very enjoyable stroll and the events that occurred were timed to perfection -- Way to go, Caine! I truly enjoyed myself with this book so you'll get why I recommend it to everyone reading this review, go find yourself a copy!

The writing is very consistent with the whole, I'm in college-I'm still a teenager-but I live in a town full of crazies, theme. It all works together perfectly and it's a ball to read. H.M. (honorable mention): goes to Shane (like you couldn't guess), also Claire, because I like a heroine with smarts, and Richard (Monica's older brother) because anyone who calls out a crazy like that is okay with me. Five genies, Baby:

WOWZA. Yes, this is that book, the book you've been looking for! 
You need this novel in your life, take it from me. 


Review: American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout

American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout
My rating: 2.5 of 5 genies
Genre: Adult/Mature, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Published: February 22, 2011
Pages: 330
Publisher: Mira
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

From the bestselling author of the Blood Ties series comes a stand-alone vampire romance. Buried in the Heartland is a town no one enters or leaves--until Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years. Original.

My Thoughts

Just finished this! I thought it flowed well and I adored Graf, although the chemistry between him and Jessa was mostly based on sexual attraction. Like holy-moly you're foxy and I'm into hick/sexy farm chicks. I think I love you?

Just saying. I would have liked this novel 10 times more if there was something deeper to their connection, not just that they were stuck together, needed each other for protection, oh and they were both REALLY hot so they got together. It kind of made it look like sex was casual and to me it's something very special.

But other than that I liked Jessa too, if I was stranded in her situation I'd probably go crazy! Derek got what was coming to him, he was a jerk and not worth anyone's timenot to mention an all time loserso enough said. Other than that, fabulous cover and interesting read. Was it the best ever? By far, no. But it was interesting.

My younger readers, be warned and watch out for the sex!

This novel had its perks, I wouldn't read it again, but it was an okay read.


Review: The Dead Girl's Dance by Rachel Caine

The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine
My rating: 3.5 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Vampires, Paranormal, Romance, Horror, Urban Fantasy
Published: April 3, 2007
Pages: 248
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Source: Library Loan
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: or
Goodreads Summary

Claire Danvers has her share of challenges--like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains, homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. When a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell really breaks loose. Original.

My Thoughts

Not that The Dead Girl's Dance was a bad book or anything, but it definitely could have been better. I couldn't wait for this to finish. I think one of the biggest problems was character inconsistencies; many characters did many things far from habit and I'm not certain that they were all for the good of things.

For Example:

- Monica is crazy, but she definitely wasn't as threatening and the way she was kind of inserted near the end bothered me. Crazy Gina ended up bagging the psychopath award in this installment.

- I couldn't connect with Shane and Claire's relationship. Before they were this cute couple, I was convinced had genuine emotions and deep feelings for each other, but they just seemed lusty in The Dead Girl's Dance.

- Claire's thing for Michael seems a whole of a lot stronger than her relationship with Shane. When you date a guy, you should not be checking out his best friend I do not care remotely how hot/gorgeous he is. And then she proceeds to risk her life in trying to save him. W.T.F.???! One Stud at a time Claire, do not be selfish!

- Also, Claire's near-deal with Oliver was the biggest character regression and slap in the face. Remind me again how she is indeed supposed to be the smart one?

-Aw, shoot! I'm all sorts of disappointed. I geared myself up for some old-fashioned Monica Morell batty craziness and got zilch. WHY?? Bring the bitch back!

- Eve was so mean, I mean really, things for her were as cruddy as they could possibly be, but what happened to the sweet goth? She was snappy, cruel (at times), hard and suicidal. I wanted not once or twice, but on five+ occasions for the old Eve to come back.

I don't know why but I was expecting this to be as good as the first, the possibility of The Curse of the Second coming into play never really hit me until I was half-way into this book. The curse strikes again! BTW, whoever conjured up that little vat of voodoo suckiness is no small amount of twisted. Why can't every book after be as good as the first? Oh right, because I live in a world where fictional men aren't real.

What I liked:

- The writing was as good as ever, a little slow in some instances but still enough to keep me mildly interested.

- I wholly enjoyed Richard and he is by far the H.M. (honourable mention) character. Maybe because in this whole scope of inconsistencies he remained...well, consistent. My secret fantasy is for him and Claire to get together. Hey, a girl can dream.

- Sam is also an instant fave, he was so gentlemanly and awesome. *Sigh* I WANT TO STEAL SAM.

In Closing

Overall, I do believe that is it. The plot could have been more engaging, that's for sure, and I kind of detested the addition of Eve's diary at the end. Why weren't things with her brother/every other loose end tied up with the other part of the story? It wasn't a good way to go out.

But I think I will read the next a little after a break. Partly because I need the time away from Morganville and also, the person who has it requested before me is a little Quadruple Dipper. Yeah, I said it!

3.5 genies:

I couldn't make my mind up about you, you were almost there, almost perfect, but overall something was missing. Still a special piece of literature, though, 3 and a half genies.


The Truth And Nothing BUT...

Going by FTC guidelines, allow me to point out that all the novels reviewed on this blog were either bought by me, or given by an author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Those books received from Authors and Publishers will be stated clearly as such, as will the ones purchased by myself. There is no shady business going on; no coercion, bribery or compensation has or will ever be received in exchange for any reviews. These thoughts are mine, wacky as they may be, and my honest opinion is all you can truly expect. Still reading? You should be off checking out those awesome reviews ;)