Paperbacks And Frosting

Mark of the Demon

6048518by: Diana Rowland
Pages: 370
Published: June 23rd 2009 by Bantam
ISBN: 9780553592351
From Goodreads: Cop and conjurer of demons, she’s a woman in danger of losing control—to a power that could kill….

Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.

Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head…

****

This book has been on my TBR pile for quite a while. The author was the keynote speaker at a luncheon my writer’s group hosted last year and I bought every book in this series. I’d already read the white trash zombie novels and adored those, so I wanted to give this series a shot. To be completely honest though, I wasn’t as excited because it was a procedural. I’m not really that big of a fan of those. Mainly because I think they’re overdone and don’t have the kinds of stories I’m looking for. This was so so good though. I gobbled it up and couldn’t wait for more. I think the demon twist was exactly what I needed to keep me interested and invested in the case. It’s very well written. The main character having to hide from everyone she works with may not be the most original idea out there, especially when it comes to urban fantasy, but I loved it just the same. It was interesting watching Kara solve the case using her arcane skills and knowledge that no one else had. I thought the characters were well thought out and I enjoyed getting to know them. I was little torn with whether there was a love interest or not, so the romance element is definitely not very heavy in this book, so if that’s what you’re looking for you may be a little disappointed. The story even surprised me at the end. I thought for sure what I’d been suspecting was right and everything was confirming that and then BOOM! twist. Ha. It was really good though and I recommend it to any mystery/urban fantasy fan. I’m already halfway through the second book. I’ll be writing a review for that one soon.

Cupcakes: Paranormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban Fantasy

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

13424032by: Sarah MacLean
Pages: 373
Published: January 29th 2013 by Avon
ISBN: 9780062068538
From Goodreads: Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she’s never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa’s done her research and Cross’s reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it’s more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

****

If you know my reading style, you’ll know that I always bite off a little more than I can chew and go crazy when I find a new list of books. I always want to read them all. I found a list of the best historical romance authors out there and added them all to by TBR list. I had read the first book in this series as part of an internship I did. Sarah MacLean’s agent was who I was working with, so I figured I’d read one of her books. I remember loving it and not being able to put it down. Historical romances are like chocolate to me. I don’t know why it took me so long to finally pick this one up, but I’m so glad I finally did. I was immediately drawn in by the idea of this book, a lady wanting to find out the details of what happens between a man and a woman before she takes her vows. She’s a scientist with a curious mind and is looking at it as a science experiment. She picks the owner of a notorious gaming establishment, which is somewhere no lady should find herself. This premise was so cute to me and I loved watching all of the mayhem unfold. Sarah MacLean is a wonderful and witty author. If you’re looking for a fun historical romance to sink your teeth into, then I’d recommend this. The first book in the series was just as much fun, but you aren’t missing anything really if you start here. You’ll be able to follow along just fine. 🙂

Cupcakes: Historical_romanceHistorical_romanceHistorical_romanceHistorical_romance

Waking up Married

22012945by: Mira Lyn Kelly
Pages: 181
Published: April 15th 2014 by Harlequin KISS
ASIN: B00J8X2SUK
From Goodreads: Her first thought: Who are you?

It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse, having woken up with something else, as well a funny, arrogant, sexy…husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter…no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don’t want a divorce.”

****

I remember when this Harlequin line started. I was so excited because I’ve always had this fantasy of reading an entire one of these lines. Of course, I’m only getting started years later. But this line seems more realistic than the others because it’s the newest so has fewer books in it. I know, I’m probably never going to read all of them, but a girl can dream. Anyway, this is the free book Harlequin gave out to get people hooked on the line and hopefully get some subscribers. I gotta admit, if I’d read this back when it first came out it would have worked. This was really cute. Sure, it was a little predictable. I knew how the story was going to play out from the very beginning. I also found the heroine to be incredibly frustrating. She kept wanting to run away from this man who was almost perfect. But of course she had to in order to keep the story going. This book isn’t anything more than what it advertises. It’s fluff. But it’s delicious fluff. If you’re looking for a beach read or something to just help you unwind and escape from the stresses of every day life, then look no further. This is short and sweet and gives your brain that same satisfaction you get after eating some really delicious junk food. I’m looking forward to trying to read the rest of this line even more now. 🙂

Cupcakes: Spicy RomanceSpicy RomanceSpicy Romance

Buy this from Amazon here: Waking up Married

The Wrath and The Dawn

18798983by: Renee Ahdieh
Pages: 388
ISBN: 9780399171611
Published: May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
From Goodreads: One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

This is one of those books that I just randomly found. I wasn’t looking for anything particular, I was just casually scrolling through Goodreads. This book captured my attention because everything about it seemed beautiful. I was right. Not only is the cover gorgeous, can we talk about the title? It’s like everything I ever look for in a book. I want to get swept away in a dream like world, every time I read. I rarely find something that truly satisfies my desire for that, but as long as I’m entertained that’s okay. This books completely gave me everything I look for in a book. It was so well written that I never felt myself wandering, even when there were long backstories or descriptions. I loved absolutely everything about this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. If you’re looking for a book that feels dream-like and lets you escape somewhere far away and foreign, then look no further. The characters in this book are rich and wonderfully portrayed, making you care about them, even if you think you’re not supposed to. This is a retelling of folklore that I am not familiar with, but I enjoyed it even without any background knowledge. I wish I did have some and I’m going to look into it. I seriously cannot rave enough about this book and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before now. I think anyone looking for something new to read should pick this book up, it’s truly one of the most beautiful reads I’ve experienced in a long time. I also can’t believe this is considered young adult! You could have fooled me. I guess that’s because the characters are young, but wow! This book is so, so good.

Cupcakes: FantasyFantasyFantasyFantasyFantasy

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with , , ,

Reading the free books I get on my Kindle #1

19175629The Trouble with Being Wicked
by: Emma Locke
Pages: 326
Published: December 9th 2012 by Intrepid Reads
From Goodreads: HE PUT HER ON A PEDESTAL
When Celeste Gray arrives in the sleepy village of Brixcombe-on-the-Bay, she thinks she’s one step closer to leaving her notorious past behind. She even suspects the deliciously handsome—if somewhat stuffy—viscount next door is developing a tendre for her. That is, until the day Ashlin Lancester learns she’s not the unassuming spinster she’s pretending to be.

NOW SHE HAS FARTHER TO FALL
After a decade of proving he is nothing like his profligate father, Ash is horrified to have given his heart to a Cyprian. He launches a campaign to prove his attraction is nothing more than a sordid reaction he can’t control. But he soon learns that unlike his father, he can’t find comfort in the arms of just any woman. He needs Celeste. When he takes her as his mistress, he’s still not satisfied, and the many late nights in her arms only make him want more…

So every once in a while I go on a mini shopping spree of free books from Kindle. This is the first book I decided to read from one of those sprees and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m never sure what I’m going to get from free books. I love a good historical romance, especially one where the heroine isn’t your standard lady of the ton that follows the rules. Celeste is tough and a ton of fun. She’s strong in the face of a man who isn’t sure how to handle her. Maybe I love heroines so much like that because in an ideal world I would be that awesome. This was a great book to help me escape from the real world around me. Ashlin was a pretty good hero. I can’t say he was my favorite book boyfriend. He was a little bit too goody goody and had more trouble adapting and accepting the situation in front of him than I would have liked, but I guess maybe if he’d accepted too easily there wouldn’t be as much of a story. Regardless of that I thought this book was a ton of fun and a great free read. If you’re a historical romance fan like me, I’d recommend picking this up! I even picked up the next couple. I was willing to spend money to spend more time in this world so that should tell you how much I enjoyed this book!

Cupcakes: Historical romanceHistorical romanceHistorical romanceHistorical romance

Juliette crushes her TBR in 2016 #2!

So this one might not have been on the list I’ve been trying to read through, but it’s one I’ve been wanted to read for a while. The cover is so gorgeous and every time I found myself looking around the young adult section at Barnes and Noble this cover stuck out to me.

12558285Splintered
by: AG Howard
Pages: 371
Published: January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
ISBN: 9781419704284
From Goodreads: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

****

This book was a crazy wild ride. Probably one of the most absurd books I’ve ever read, and I was an English major. The book was very plainly written but I still found myself getting lost occasionally because I wasn’t even sure what was happening anymore. That’s not saying that I didn’t like the book though. I really did. I think the author has an amazing world in her head that must be killing her trying to get out. It’s so rich and crazy and vibrant. I loved Alyssa SO SO SO much. She was so much stronger than I was as a teenager and if I’d read this book back then she would’ve been my hero. This is something I usually don’t care about, but I loved the descriptions of her clothes as well. I was so jealous of her wardrobe. Teenage me was drooling everywhere for those clothes. I think I loved this book so much because it reminded me of who I was in a simpler time of life. The world was also so descriptive and beautiful. It’s really a ton of fun. Sometimes it’s a little confusing but that’s only because it’s so different from our own world. I also loved how the author blended that world with the everyday world. It’s a quick read that let’s you escape for a while. I read it on the beach all day in Puerto Rico. I recommend this book to any YA fan looking for something different. 🙂

Cupcakes: Paranormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban Fantasy

Buy this from Amazon here: Splintered (Splintered Series #1): Splintered Book One

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with , , , ,

Book Club Selection: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

So as I mentioned in my last post, I just got married. One of the things I do with my husband to keep having fun and share each other’s interests is a book club. We take turns picking books and it can’t be the same genre he picked last or the one I picked last. It’s a lot of fun and we’ve been doing it for a while. I just realized I should be reviewing these books too. So the first one for this year was my pick.

11275The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by Haruki Murakami
Pages: 607
Published 1997 by Knopf
ISBN: 9780965341981
From Goodreads: Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.

Three books in one volume: The Thieving Magpie, Bird as Prophet, The Birdcatcher. This translation by Jay Rubin is in collaboration with the author.

I don’t know what I expected when I picked this book up. I’d heard about this book from a few different people and after showing my husband the back cover he expressed interest and I picked it. It was definitely not a book I would usually pick. I’m more into genre fiction and not straight literary fiction. Having majored in English, I’ve read my fair share of literary fiction. Every once in a while I like to go back and explore that world again though and this was one of those times. This was an interesting journey to say the least. The writing is incredibly smooth. By that I mean that I could just devour whole chunks of the book without it feeling like any time had gone by. There was no part of it (except for maybe some war flashbacks) that made me zone out or want to read something else. This is such a bizarre story but I wanted to keep reading and I honestly did find it hard to put it down. I felt so bad Okada and wanted his journey to end well. He was a great main character to share a head with and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something new, especially if you’re like me and this isn’t your usual. I think you might be pleasantly surprised. I know my husband was a little nervous about starting it, since he hasn’t ever read anything like this and so far he’s been really enjoying it.

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

Buy this from Amazon: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle[WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE][Paperback]

Juliette Crushes her TBR in 2016 #1: Queen of Shadows

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The first thing I want to do is apologize to my very few regular readers out there. I’ve been gone for quite a while, but I have a good excuse! I got married and went on a Disney cruise and got into a wreck and have been dealing with that aftermath! SO… I’ve been incredibly busy and unfortunately, something had to give. Because of the Disney cruise though, I’ve been reading up a storm and am ready to continue crushing my TBR pile for you, starting with…

18006496QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J Maas
Pages: 648
Published: September 1st 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
ISBN: 9781619636040
Summary from Goodreads: The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

I enjoyed this book way more than I expected to. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t really enjoy the last book in this series so this book has been sitting on my Kindle starting at me for a while. I didn’t want to sit down with a book this big if I was going to have to force myself to read it. But one day I gave in and started it and was pleasantly surprised. Aelin is way cooler than she was in the previous books, even though I think it would be confusing that she has so many different names for any new readers that didn’t start in the beginning of the series. But she’s so much stronger and smarter and way more fun to read about. She still annoyingly feels way too romantically about every man in her life, but even that was toned down in this book. I think it was overall way deeper and more enjoyable than any other book in this series. There’s a reason it won the goodreads choice award, and it isn’t just because this series already had a major following behind it. Each relationship is explored and deepened and a lot of decisions that had been made earlier in the series are explained. It was a lot darker overall too, which I loved. The first two books in the series are very light. (Even though there’s a lot of murder. :P) But this last one is dark and beautifully written and I’ll be honest and say I had trouble putting it down when no other book in this series had done that to me. Sarah J Maas has proven herself to be a great writer and I’m now much more likely to pick up her other series. If you’re like me and don’t quite understand what the hype is about, give it another chance and give this book a shot. It’ll be well worth it, I promise.

Cupcakes: FantasyFantasyFantasyFantasyFantasy

Buy this from Amazon: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass)

Juliette crushes her TBR #3: Red Queen

17878931Red Queen

by: Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 383

Published: February 10th 2015 by Orion

ISBN:  9781409151173

From Goodreads: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

This book came with a lot of hype. I kept seeing pictures of it everywhere and the cover is just so pretty. It made me think this would be the next big book series for me and I was excited about actually not being too late to the party for once.

Except I was disappointed. I listened to this book to and from work because that’s part of my plan to get more books read. I admit that I’m not always the best at listening to books, but I’ve been kind of on a roll with them lately and assuming they aren’t too complex and full of a bazillion characters I tend to keep up just fine.

This book made me long for the end though. I was so tired of the main character by the end of the book that I was kind of hoping the bad guys got her. I don’t know whether the voice actor just made her too whiny or if that’s how she was written. I’ll admit that this could be, but I don’t really think so. She just whined absolutely all of the time. She also had no sense of loyalty. It seemed like she’d complain about helping anyone and about people betraying her when she was just as quick to do that if she thought she’d have the most to gain out of it. She also was so angry about not being special all the time it made me want to hit her. She just wanted attention and validation ALL THE TIME. It got really hard to care about after a while.

I thought the world was really cool and I was actually pretty excited about the book when I started. About halfway through her whining had gotten to me and it was a struggle for me to finish the book. The different blood types and abilities were cool, but it seemed sort of unrealistic to me that she wouldn’t have had anything happen with her powers before it did. I think she would’ve noticed at least SOMETHING before. 

The weird thing about me is I don’t know if this is going to keep me from continuing the series. I’m probably gonna give the next book a shot to see if it gets any better for me. I know it has been very well received and is going to be a movie. 

Cupcakes:Paranormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban Fantasy half

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16034235Juliette crushes her TBR pile #2: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Pages: 404

Published: May 7th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

ISBN: 9781619630345

From Goodreads: In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Buy this from Amazon here: Throne of Glass

My expectations were way way high for this book. I’ll admit I’m a fan of book porn and follow quite a few book instagram pages. This book is all over those. It already looks like a ton of fun, but that fact that it kept showing up in these pictures made me want to read it even more.

I was not disappointed. I also wasn’t blown out of the water. It was a lot longer than I expected and I felt like a lot of it could have been condensed to make the book more approachable for less experienced readers. But that’s okay because this book seems to be doing just fine being as big as it is.

This book gets criticized a lot for Celeana being obsessed with clothes even though she is this well-trained assassin. I have a couple arguments with that. First, people can like whatever they want and don’t have to fit neatly into specific boxes. Second, she didn’t choose to be an assassin. Who knows how her life would have gone if she could have done anything she wanted? She had no choice in what happened, but she did the only thing she could do and she became the best at what she was. That doesn’t mean she lost all the other parts of herself, like loving pretty dresses. Also, the author wrote this book probably knowing that her primary audience would be women. Don’t women love reading about the clothes? I don’t think there was anything wrong with this aspect of the book.

What I didn’t like very much was how she seemed to be attracted to every guy. Okay, maybe it was just two and I know love triangles are a big part of YA literature but it felt really forced to me. I didn’t really think her connection with either Chaol or Dorian was very strong and I didn’t really find myself wanting her to be with or fall for either one of them. For me, that’s a crucial thing. I need a good love story to at least be a good side story. I wasn’t feeling it at all.

The writing was pretty well done. I didn’t think the magic system that seemed to be being set up in this book was very unique or original. But it moved fairly quickly and strong female heroines are always good to see.

I’m surprised this book gained as much popularity as it did considering the lack of emotional connection that I felt. But maybe I’m the exception in this case and a tons of people feel differently than I do.

Reading this review back to myself it sounds like I’m giving it a bad review. I’m not, I actually really enjoyed this book and plan on reviewing the rest pretty soon. It’s rare that I’ll enjoy a book based on plot alone, but it feels like this book has a lot of potential and hopefully it’ll go somewhere great. 🙂

If you’re a YA fan or want to explore the genre this one would be a good one to pick up. It’s not whiny like some of the other books out there and it’s pretty solid, even if the love triangle makes me roll my eyes a bit.

Cupcakes: FantasyFantasyFantasyFantasy

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with ,