Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Still Worth Finding: A Book Review of The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgans

Book Review: The Next Best Thing
By Kristan Higgins
HQN
4 Heart Review

Lucy Lang isn't looking for fireworks.

She's looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who'll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbecue, teach their future children to play soccer, But most important: someone who won't inspire the slightest stirring in her heart...or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can't risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn't enough either. So it's goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate “friend with privileges ” and hello to a man she can marry.

Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn't going anywhere. As far as he's concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?

Cheeky Summary: CRIED! LAUGHED! ADORED! Seriously, there are too many good things about this book to sum up except to say that Kristin Higgins continues to win over my reader heart with each and every book I read. She's a master at funny, emotional books that stay with you long after you close the book. I'm not kidding – I apparently talked about this book so much that my husband came in when I was writing the review and asked, “Is that the book you talked about and cried over on our vacation?” Yes my dear husband, this is that book.

I've had this book on my TBR shelf for a VERY long time. And even though it's from early 2010, I knew I just had to write a review on it still so that anyone else who missed it the 1st time around could add it to their list of books to check out!

What initially caught my attention about this book was the cat on the cover. If you don't know, all of Mrs. Higgins books usually have a dog on the cover – this was the very first cat and it really stuck with me and helped me remember this book.

Sitting here trying to figure out what to say to help you understand what I thought about this book, and all I can think of to say is READ THIS BOOK. Seriously, this book is a wonderful story that has everything a good book should – likable leads, emotional twists and turns, real laughs and complications that will have you rushing through the pages.

There's nothing else to say that will do this book justice in my eyes. It's Kristan Higgins at her best - funny, sassy, emotional, deep, etc. etc. and so much more!

Read An Excerpt Here

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Morning Cuteness!

Today's Monday Morning Cuteness comes courtesy of my very own sweet pekes Yoda & Gizmo. Here, they pose with one of their favorite books - Hounding the Pavement by Judi McCoy (a 5 Heart Review book from back when I first launched this blog).

They are missing their partner in crime Scruffy, the newest member of our family but I thought I'd still let them have the cute spotlight this week!

They are so cute! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

June Is AudioBook Awareness Month!


I'm getting my Audiobook geek on all June long! It's national Audiobook Awareness Month and I'm planning a month of fun interviews, audiobook reviews, Audio Publisher Spotlights, post about the ins and outs of books you listen to instead of read, and of course...GIVEAWAYS!

There'll still be plenty of print and ebook news and reviews, but I'm hoping you'll share the audio love or give it a try for the first time this June. Don't knock it until you've tried it - maybe a few times to get the narrator and story you love - and I think you'll fall in love with how much "extra" reading it lets you enjoy!

Happy Reading & Listening!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Hardest Decision For A Reader: Name Your Top 3 Authors

The other day on Twitter - before I got sidetracked with updating and tweaking my blog design - I asked if you could only name 3 authors as your favorites who would they be.

Now, think about it. This isn't about a favorite book or best book you've read lately, but what authors do you really just enjoy their entire body of work. Now, obviously some books you'll love more than others but what 3 authors would be like the TRIFECTA OF READING for you?

Since I'm a romance blog most the the answers from my followers were romance authors. The most common comment was "How in the world to narrow it only to 3?"

I thought I would share the responses I got on Twitter and even let you know the top 3 most mentioned authors to see how they stack up against your own list.

See someone here whose work you've never read? Well get on it because apparently they write good stuff! Don't see your fav here? Then tell me who you would add to the list!

Top 3 Most Mentioned:

1. Nora Roberts
2. Lisa Kleypas
3. TIE - Victoria Dahl & Julia Quinn

Other Authors Mentioned as FAVS:

Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Kristan Higgans
Maya Banks
Kresley Cole
Rachel Gibson
Elosia James
Lauren Dane
J.D Robb
Loretta Chase
Jennifer Cruise
LaVyrle Spencer
Shiloh Walker
Roxanne St. Claire
Lora Leigh
Elizabeth Hoyt
J.R Ward
Karen Marie Moning
Sandra Brown
Karen Robards
Lynsay Sands
Barbara Michaels
Lisa Gardner
Karen Rose
Nalini Singh
Linda Howard
Meg Cabot
Annie Solomon
Laura Griffin
Aleksandr Voinov
Carole Matthews
Milly Johnson
Patrick Gayle
Elizabeth Arthurs
Jim Butcher
Suzanne Enoch
JK Rowling
Shelly Laurenston
Mary Calmes
Stephanie Laurens
Charles de Lint
Felicity Heaton
Christina Dodd
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
J.K. Beck
Judith McNaught
Jet Mykles

Who would you add to this list? If you could name only 3 authors as your all-time fav who would it be. Sorry - no more than 3 - someone has to crack the whip!

Oh, and if you were wondering mine I went with Dahl/Kleypas/Higgans. But wanted to add Cruise/SEP/Johanna Lindsey/Gibson. :) I'm not a very good whip cracker!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Romance Book Review: The Inherited Bride By Maisey Yates

Book Review: The Inherited Bride
By Maisey Yates
Harlequin Presents Extra - May 2011
3 Heart Review (It could have been 4!)

Princess Isabella was cetain of three things...

She desperately didn't want to marry the sheikh to whom she was betrothed...

There was more to the darkly handsome, dark-hearted stranger escourting her back to the alter than met the eye...

And, having kissed that stranger once, she was never going to be the same again...

 
Cheeky Summary: What I really enjoyed about this book was the glimpse of insight author Maisey Yates gave us into what it could be like growing up in royalty or anywhere were a person was heavily protected. The heroine Isabella's desire to find out who she is would have seemed like a very small thing except for how expertly the author goes about explaining the kind of life Isabella had grown up living. This book has definitely made Mrs. Yates an auto-buy for me in spite of the fact that Harlequin Presents aren't usually my go-to Harlequins.

The story is very well written and as I mentioned, I really enjoyed this heroine. The hero Adham was well done as well and more likable than some of the alpha Presents heros one ususally reads. What kept this book as a 3 heart review was that the love scene between them just didn't feel right to me. It's hard to explain without spoilers, but I felt the hero went against his moral code and did so seemily without fighting against it too much.

I mean you kind of knew reading the book what would have to happen, but when it did I just expected something BIGGER to have pushed the two of them past their own control. Something about the scene just didn't feel like they resisted that much and it let me down.

Even with that let-down, this was a really enjoyable read and I really loved this heroine. I actually thought that the end of the book was immensly satisfying as it let the heroine shine and not be just some witless woman who falls at a man's feet. I know some readers who don't read Presents stories very often might at first believe that all the heroines are pushovers, but I think that you would really be happy to meet the heroine in this book.

Mrs. Yates has a writing style that I greatly enjoyed and I cannot wait to see if that comes through in her other Presents stories or if it was just the heroine who won me over so much in this book. Either way, I’m reading more of her Harlequin Presents books!

Have you read a Harlequin Presents by Maisey Yates yet? If so, what did you think? HA - I guess I should ask: Do you read Harlequin Presents books? Why or why not? What appeals or doesn't appeal to you about the line?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

When Loins Attack: Need Help From Linda Howard Fans

MacKenzie's Mission by Linda Howard
Audiobook - Brilliance Audio
DNF

For the very first time I picked up a Linda Howard Audiobook to listen to. It's not only my first audio version of hers I've listened to, but also the first book of hers for me period. The problem? I'm having MAJOR issues with it. This was unexpected because she's a big name author that I assumed would have to be half-way readable to a vast majority of readers in order to have made her books so popular. I'm not seeing that in this book at all. So now I have to ask: Is is just me?

Okay, so the book is MacKenzie's Mission and it will officially be my first ever DNF book or audiobook. A few months ago I talked about not finishing an audiobook but I had managed to work my way to the end. This time, I just can't take it anymore and I turned it off and ejected it this morning on my way to work. Which is saying something because I HATE morning radio and the nimwits who hosts shows and yet that was prefereable to me over this audiobook.

So what's the issue? There are many and I talked about a few of them with some awesome readers on twitter yesterday.

The first might be that I really don't like the hero and heroine and that might be clouding my opinon. In addition, there is a male narrarator and I'm not so hot on male narrators. Why? Because they always make the female voices sound ridiculous. They make them whiney and shakey and little girl sounding instead of like an adult woman.

So those are the issues to start with.

BUT then come the things I started to get riled up over.

The hero grew up on a horse farm and so the reader is treated to EVERY SINGLE reference of the hero to the heroine is full of horse metaphors. I stopped counting how many times he spoke of mounting her, taming her, breaking her spirit, etc. Give me a break already. We get it - you don't have to beat those phrases into the ground.

The heroine is a virgin. Okay. I have no problem with that and had no issue with how it was explained that she is 28 and still hasn't been with a man. Those things were explained well. What did I have an issue with? She has sex 5 TIMES in one night on her first night. NOT ONE SINGLE time is described as gentle and yet the next morning they immediately wake up and she's all "Oh, I'm only sore a little we can get it on" and off they go for more marathon sex. THAT LASTS AN ENTIRE WEEKEND. As a virgin with a supposedly huge, rough man.

Now, maybe this would have been more believable if this was an erotic romance or erotica but this was a plain old romance with a naieve woman and I just didn't buy it.

What else was wrong with that? The entire thing is told through the hero's POV and it's all about getting his pleasure, slating his lust, etc. Not really any mention of caring more about how she feels and if she is hurting than "relieving the tighness in his loins."

Yes, loins are everywhere in this book. Yet another romance book with a built-in drinking game. I mean it's the male POV and all he can think to himself about his man junk is loins?

Then IT happened. The part of the story in which I could take no more. The heroine is accused of something and instead of going with her character's obvious personality traits, she decides to do the most insane, stupid thing ever and it completely flies in the face of everything you know about this character. WTF! STOP. EJECT. I just couldn't take it anymore.

So Dear Readers, I'm asking for any Linda Howard fans out there to help me understand. Is this a one-off bad book? Did you read this book and love it and apparently I'm just not going to like her writing but there are plenty of others who love it? If you've read this book what did you think?

Lastly, what Linda Howard book would you recommend that I read as her best work? I've heard from Twitter to try Mr. Perfect - would that be the "perfect" one to read? (Insert groan over my silliness here)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hot Book Cover Alert!

Romance author Carrie Lofty revealed her new cover for FLAWLESS on twitter today and boy howdy is it stricking. Check it out for yourself...



So what do you think? Do you love the flowing dress and the hint of sparkle? Or is it just me!?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Win A Sony Pocket Reader or Other Awesome Goodies From Author Maureen O. Betita!

My kick-ass author friend Maureen O. Betita is hosting a pretty cool contest and giveaway right now so I wanted to share it with you. Here are the details, but make sure to visit Maureen's site or a site she is visiting to leave your comments for entry. Here's the direct link to her site to enter!

From Maureen:

Between the electronic edition of The Kraken’s Mirror and the print edition of The Kraken’s Mirror…my kraken disappeared. Now, he’s a responsible beast and I choose to believe he has a reason and a place he was driven to go… (Yes, there was a reason and it wasn’t on purpose…these things happen.)



I’m making the most of a sad situation and having a CONTEST! What am I giving away? 1st prize is a Sony Pocket Reader! 2nd prize is A kick-ass kraken parasol and…a 3rd prize is a Betsy Johnson ‘kraken’ ring! When does the contest run? From May 1st to May 31st! So… Where did the Kraken go?




Here are the options: Where did the Kraken go?
1.) He’s in Scotland, wooing Nessie
2) He’s outside the Mines of Moria at Gandalf’s request, fighting off the menace in the waters
3) Sharing rum with the monster in the lake at Hogwarts
4) ? Your idea?


How to enter the contest?
1) Comment on my blog at www.maureenobetita.com and pick an option, or create your own.
2) Friend my author page on Facebook, Maureen O. Betita Author and leave a comment, telling me which option you’ve picked, or where you think the Kraken went.
3) Find me on any blog I guest at during the month of May and tell me your option. (Be sure to leave an e-mail address in the comment section.)


I’ll award the three biggies on the 31st…during the month I’ll give away smaller prizes…free books, pirate perch hats and kraken jewelry. Amuse me with clever ideas and you might win something!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Book Review: Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis - 4 Heart Review


Book Review: Animal Magnetism
By Jill Shalvis 
4 Heart Review
Berkley Sensation - Contemporary Romance
Sunshine, Idaho, is a small and sunny town – the perfect home for man and beast. Well, maybe not for man, as pilot-for-hire Brady Miller discovers when his truck is rear-ended by what appears to be Noah's Ark.

As the co-owner of the town's only kennel, Lilah Young has good reason to be distracted behind the wheel – there are puppies, a piglet, and a duck in her Jeep. But she doesn't find it hard to focus on the sexy, gorgeous stranger she's collided with.

Lilah has lived in Sunshine all her life, and though Brady is just passing through, he has her abandoning her instincts and giving in to a primal desire. It's Brady's nature to resist being tied down, but there's something about Lilah and her menagerie – both animal and human – that keeps him coming back for more...

Cheeky Summary: Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis is exactly the type of contemporary romance I lust after and wish for more of! Lilah is a fresh heroine who I completely identified with and Brady is a complicated but lovable special forces hero that readers will eat up with a spoon. This book proves yet again that Jill Shalvis is one of our most exceptional contemporary romance authors and that we need more authors like her!

There was so much to love about this book that nothing I could write would be able to include all of the many things done right. The characters are wonderfully developed and I really enjoyed Brady's emotional journey. The townspeople and the vet clinic made for a delightful cast of supporting charactes and I'm so looking forward to Brady's “brothers” books.

There was only one thing about this book that slightly felt off to me and that's because it was built-up so much throughout the story that when it comes out in the story I felt cheated. From the start of the story everyone alludes to something in Lilah's past that made her give up her dreams and come back to her hometown. Eventually you will learn what happened and it is something bad, but there was almost too much build up for how Lilah calmly explains it to Brady. She almost shrugs it off and that bothered me for something that made such an impact on her life. Others might not feel as put out by this as I was, so I wouldn't overlook this book because of it. In fact, you might see her shrugging off her past as oart of her emotional development, but it just didn't strike it that way to me.

That one aspect to the story came very close to the end of the book so it didn't take away from how much I enjoyed reading it. It did leave me feeling the book was close to perfect, but just shy of getting a perfect rating for me. I mean this is a REALLY good book. :)

Even with the issue I had, I recommend romance readers give this one a try and if they haven't read Jill Shalvis before then please do. If you don't normally read contemporary romance then Jill Shalvis is a great place to start and Animal Magnetism is a great series to start with!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Covers That Make You Go WOW!

I ran across this cover on Shelf Awareness the other day and it instantly struck me and I found myself staring at it:

















Let's also not forget this cover that set twitter on fire when it released:




















I think Jaci Burton will have a hit with the next cover too:



















Now Cheeky Readers, I want to hear what covers made you stop and pay attention. Let me know the best covers you've run across lately, or your favorite covers of all time. I'll search them up and add them to this post so we can all behold the beauty that is an awesome book cover.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Steal of a Deal - Bid on a Awesome Book Package!

So today's Bria GH Auction Items have gone live and there is one that I really wanted to highlight for Cheeky Readers followers:

A book package from author Leslie Dicken - Either Print or EPub
OPEN: 2:30pm

CLOSE: 4:30pm


Leslie Dicken has offered up her three books – A Tarnished Heart, Beauty Tempts the Beast, and The Price of Discovery — for auction, as well as a lovely heart pendant.
Here's what I've previously said about Leslie's book Beauty Tempts the Beast right here on Cheeky Reads:

I read Beauty Tempts the Beast in one sitting and really loved it. In fact, when I went to draft the questions for this interview I found myself completely re-reading the story - less than a month later! If you are a historical romance fan I cannot recommend this book enough. On the Cheeky Reads scale I give it a 4 Heart Review - It really is a fantastic read! -- Cheeky Girl Sabrina
You can go bid on Leslie's package by clicking here!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Amazing Auctions Ahoy!

I met the lovely and amazing writer Bria Quinlan at RWA Nationals last year and was super excited when she was nominated for the Golden Heart this year! Unfortunately Bria can't afford to pay for it this year so Bria's GH Auction was born!

Read all about Bria and check out the auction items by clicking here. Today's items go live at 2:30pm EST. Some items yesterday went super cheap!

There are some pretty awesome things there - from Critiques for writers, books for readers, pretty awesome looking steampunk jewelry and more! Please stop by and consider bidding to help a writer not miss her possible big award day! :) *crossing fingers*

Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Back From Vacation!

So yesterday I got back from my Caribbean vacation and had to spend the day getting settled back into work before I could start posting again. I thought I would post a pic of the beach or me reading on the beach this morning, but my camera is not coorperating. :(

As a blogger, you always say you are going to write up some blogs to auto-post while you are gone, but in the hetic days leading up to your vacation it never seems to really happen. Usually I can also ask for guest bloggers and authors while I'm out but the day job has been crazy lately so I ran out of time for even that!

So, all that is to say I'm sorry I left you hanging in the lurch!

I have a few blogs coming up later today about some really awesome auctions going on right now for great causes and I hope you will come back to check them out.

I miss you all and hope you read something awesome this past week!

Cheeky Girl Sabrina

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