Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck

Book Review: When Blood Calls
By: J.K. Beck
Paranormal Romance
Published by Bantam Books
4 Heart Review

From the back cover
Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.

It's something I never thought I'd be able to say, but this book actually brings something new and fresh to vampire lore! J.K. Beck has created a new world with a very creative and compelling take on how vampires are created and what they do to stay "alive". I usually steer clear of vampire romances lately because they are like cookie-cutter imitations, but I was really excited to get into this one.

Likewise, I was equally interested in the entire world of creatures that the author has created and again felt that there's a new twist to all of them. This isn't just any old world-building. It's different and unique.

The heroine Sara appealed to me and I liked that she was neither a silly fool or overly rigid when faced with this brand new world. Her reactions felt honest to the character and I felt her back story really played well into the plot and conflict.

Lucius made for an hero that really rode that line of good and bad with a past that lets you in on why he lives his life in such extremes and makes you go back and forth in how you as a reader feels about him, his being a vampire, and if it's smart to be with him.

There were a few things about this story that threw me off slightly but it's hard to go into without plot telling a little. I will say that I felt the ending was a little predictable with what happens to Sara and wish this part of the book would have been drawn out more to really play with some twists before the inevitable happens. Other than that, I thought it was a really awesome debut book and a great start to the series!

If you think Vampires are getting tired, give this one a try and it might revitalize your feelings on them!

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Here's The Book Trailer For This Series:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Come Chat With Me At Romance@Random!


Today I'm guest blogging over at Romance@Random, the new website launched by Random House for all things Romance!

I hope you'll stop by and say hi and chat with me and check out the new site!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: The Third Wish by K.F. Zuzulo

Romance Book Review: The Third Wish
By K. F. Zuzulo
Publisher: Sapphire Blue Publishing
Rating: 4 hearts

Book Blurb:
On a dig in the Jordan desert, archaeologist Bridget Devine unleashes cursed and captivating jinni Ashura-Goreem…and her own sensual awakening. The jinni must fulfill three wishes before he is free to settle a 3,000-year-old score, so his attraction to Bridget is a distraction he can’t afford. Bridget soon realizes that she is the captive—bound to Ash by desire and unwilling to let him go. But time is running out for the jinni. As an enemy from his ancient past returns, Ash must decide between freedom and love. The third wish will either release Ash or destroy him.

I really enjoyed this and even though it was a short story it didn’t feel like it was missing anything.
I was impressed with Bridget and how she responded to the events within the story and she came over a strong and intelligent woman who knew her own mind. Even with some of the bizarre events she approached them with a level head and trusted her instincts which made her a very likable character to me.

Ash had a mysterious air about him and on occasion I was unsure how he was going to react but he always kept the story interesting.

Bridget and Ash made a really appealing and enjoyable couple and the passion between them was believable and at times intense! I liked the fact that they didn’t instantly fall for each other but had time to get to know each other. The twist near the end of the story had me a little disappointed, but only briefly!

I haven’t read many books about the Jin but this has made me want to give them a try and I will definitely be on the look out for more books by this author!

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Vicky

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Apparently Sex Gets Texas' Panties in a Twist - Calling Romance Fans to Action


News hit today that the Texas Department of Transportation is suing Author Christie Craig over the title of her brand new release Don't Mess With Texas.

So okay, I'm not saying they can't defend their brand but they way they are going about this makes it a direct attack on the content within the book.

Check out this article for some eyebrow raising quotes from TxDOT.  Not to mention the total asshole headline the blogger uses.

It also pisses me off that according to a MSNBC article, they have never sued anyone before. (looking for that article again - why didn't I save that link!?) Which kinda has everyone questioning why this book? Sounds like Texas doesn't like sex to me.

So what can you do? Tell the TXDOT what you think of this on twitter @TxDOT. Even better? GO BUY THE BOOK! I've read and reviewed Mrs. Craig's books before and they are hilarious and fun -so I expect no less from this one.

Go to Christie Craig's Website For Buy Links!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review: Cowgirls Don't Cry by Lorelei James

Book Review: Cowgirls Don't Cry
By: Lorelei James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
4 Heart Review

Cowgirls Don’t Cry is the story of Jessie McKay and her deceased husband’s brother, Brandt. This may seem like an odd pairing, but as I learned while reading, the McKays are a modern day soap opera and this is not very surprising. Jessie is trying to find herself again about the death of her cheating husband, Luke, and Brandt is in love with his brother’s widow. He has been since her met her. Brandt and Jessie come together while they take of Luke’s illegitimate child, Landon, while his mother is in jail.

Cowgirls Don’t Cry by Lorelei James pleasantly surprised me. I expected a sweet romance with a lot of heat and that’s what I got.

As my introduction to this series, I think this book was a very good one. I have never read a western romance before, but let me tell you, Brandt has me wanting to move to Wyoming and become a cowgirl. Brandt is sweet and kind, but also gruff and strong and powerful- everything a woman can hope for in a man. Their romance is one that wasn’t typical because of the family drama surrounding them, but they persevere through it anyway. It was wonderful to see both Brandt and Jessie grow as characters and to help each other through their problems. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are plenty of family problems between the characters that make your heart break but also make you feel strongly for the two main characters.

There are quite a few sex scenes that are quite steamy. From a few of the reviews of her other books, it’s not quite as out there as her other sex scenes. It seems to be pretty vanilla, but they are good either way. One of my favorite thing about the sex scenes in this book was that they were real. None of them felt fake or unrealistic. It was refreshing. Plus, it was lovely to see the connection blossom and deepen between the two lovers.

I would recommend this book for anyone that loves a good romance with steamy sex and amazing characters. I give this a 4/5 Hearts.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Meagan

Monday Morning Cuteness!

funny pictures - Handy bit of info
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review: The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander

Book Review: The Perfect Wife
By: Victoria Alexander
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Hearts

When the Earl of Wyldewood meets Sabrina Winfield, he thinks he’s found the ideal match.  Graceful and genteel, the elegant blonde will look simply exquisite displayed on his arm.  And a lady like Sabrina will undoubtedly occupy her time with proper matters, leaving him free to pursue his own pleasures…
But beneath Sabrina’s delicate beauty lies the most infuriatingly stubborn, wildly adventurous woman the earl has ever met.  She’s nothing like the perfect wife he had imagined.  And before long, all can think of is quieting her biting wit (with his kisses), putting an end to her outlandish schemes (with his own carefully planned seduction), and doing everything in his power to become the perfect husband.

This book was actually only the second one Victoria Alexander wrote, but you won’t be able to tell by reading it.  Aside from a few awkward scenes – the whole let’s go on a treasure hunt was a little random even with Sabrina’s reasoning – her story flow is top level. 
I was surprised at how well she was able to juggle several side stories and multiple characters.  Usually I feel like I don’t get to know the characters well enough when there is more than one love story happening at the same time, but I was able to get into each story and root for the characters.  And I loved how they all related to one another and interacted.  There isn’t anything I love more than a complicated cast.  Although, I will say that part of me wishes I had more time with the secondary characters.  I could easily see a trilogy here instead of one book.

Sabrina isn’t your typical Victorian-era heroine.  Instead of writing about a virginal maiden making her debut into society, Victoria tells the story of a grown woman who, according to society, is past her prime.  Don’t let her age fool you though; Sabrina acts more like a teenager than a woman closing in on 40. 
The mother/daughter relationship portrayed is also unusual for this genre, but greatly refreshing.  I love the banter between Sabrina and Belinda, even if at times they act more like sisters than mother/daughter.  Think Gilmore Girls in the early 1800’s. 

Nicholas is exactly the type of man to balance Sabrina’s wild side.  He is arrogant, stubborn, and prideful.  There is nothing more exciting in a book than two people who get on each other’s nerves so much they end up falling in love.  I do think Nicholas’ fall could have had a little more depth to it.  I wanted to really see him start to admire Sabrina, not just lust after her. 

If you’re seeking adventure and romance, and don’t mind overlooking a few minor flaws, look no further.  You’ll fall in love with these characters and enjoy every twist and turn this treasure-seeking tale has to offer.
Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl L.A.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review: 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom

50 Ways to Hex Your Lover
By Linda Wisdom
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Paranormal Romance
Rating: 3 Hearts
Story Blurb:

Jazz can't decide whether to scorch him with a fireball or jump into bed with him.
Jasmine Tremaine, a witch who can't stay out of trouble.

Nikolai Gregorivich, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire cop on the trail of a serial killer.

The sizzling love affair between Jazz and Nick has been off-again, on-again-for about 300 years. Mostly off, lately. But now Nick needs Jazz's help, and while Jazz and Nick try to figure out their own hearts and resist their ever-increasing attraction, they must steer clear of a maniacal killer with super-supernatural powers. They are surrounded by a hilarious cast of oddball paranormal characters, including Irma, the chain-smoking ghost who haunts Jazz's sports car, Dweezil, her ghoul of a boss, and Fluff and Puff, a pair of bunny slippers with sharp teeth and short tempers (watch your ankles)!

This book was fun to read and quite light hearted. From the blurb I was expecting an action packed story but felt it was a bit slow at the beginning. When things did start to progress it was intriguing and had me wanting to find out what was going to happen next.
Jazz is a feisty witch with strong opinions and a lot of sarcasm and I grew to like her character. I think Nick came across as quite weak willed and I wasn’t that taken with his character to start with as I normally prefer the Alpha male type. They seemed quite mismatched as a couple and it wasn’t until about 2/3 of the way through that I wanted things to work out for them. I was left feeling that there was a lot more drama to come for the couple in the future!

The secondary characters, Irma, Dweezil and Fluff and Puff really added to the book and made it more enjoyable. Without them I think the story would not have been as entertaining. (I want a pair of bunny slippers like those two!)
Unfortunately I found the ending a bit anticlimactic but it did seem like a good set up for the future books in the series.

Overall I enjoyed this book and would happily read the others in the series.
Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Vicky

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Please Welcome The Newest Additions To Cheeky Reads!

Recently I posted that I was looking for a few good reviewers to add to the team here at Cheeky Reads. The blog had been a one-woman show since it started 2 years ago, and to be honest I was starting to feel completely overwhelmed.

I was so lucky to be receiving book review submissions from publishers and authors but as they kept coming I felt like my reviews were getting more and more behind as I struggled to keep up all by myself. That also meant that I didn't have time to make enhancements to the site, create community chats or write non-review posts for our readers. Now, I can say all of that will be coming soon!

I'm excited to say that I had a wonderful response to my help wanted post and I'd love to introduce you to the newest Cheeky Girls who'll be reviewing and posting here soon!  I asked them to write just a few sentences telling you a little about themselves and what they love to read:

Kerrie - I am constantly reading so my partner calls himself a book widower! I mainly read supernatural fiction and classics, but I'm am really looking forward to branching out into different genres. My fav authors are Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Jane Austin. I hope you like my ramblings!

Lauren - I've had my nose in a book since before I can remember, which motivated me to obtain my Bachelor's degree in English.  I remember my first romance novel - Christina Skye's Overboard - and I still have the battered copy on a bookshelf that I read every summer.  I also love Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Regency Romance.  Some of my favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Joanna Lindsey, and Kim Harrison...and unfortunately for anyone who has ever helped me move, I buy and keep almost every book I read.  I hope you enjoy my insights into the little worlds we call books. 

Meagan - I love to read and will read almost anything! My favorite genres are: romance, fantasy/sci-fi, young adult, paranormal, and I do read contemporary/literary fiction as well. I am the type of reader that reads just about anything you put in front of me. And I generally like it. Some of my favorite authors are: J.D. Robb, Anne Bishop and Laurell K. Hamilton. These are the ones I can think of right now, and only because I follow their series religiously!

Sharon - I have always loved to read, romance books in particular, any kind of romance, historical, modern, fantasy and everything in-between. Kathleen Woodiwiss is my all time favorite author and I really miss her. I think e-books are incredible because I like having a whole library with me at all times rather than just a single book.

Vicky - I love to read paranormal romance but I also really enjoy contemporary romances, UF and cowboys! I'm a big fan of a series as I enjoy getting to know all the characters as the series goes on. My favourite authors are Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lauren Dane and Dana Marie Bell to name just a few! 

Welcome Ladies - I'm so glad to have you as part of the team!

You'll start seeing reviews and posts from these ladies very soon and I hope you'll give them a warm welcome and chat with us!

Friday, August 12, 2011

TGIF Giveaway Winners!

Let's get right to it....

The winners from the Cheeky Reads TGIF Giveaway are:

The Perfect Mistress AudioBook goes to Danielle!

The Billionaire's Unexpected Heir goes to PamS!

Touch of Darkness goes to Linda!

Amazon Ink goes to Barbara E!

I'll be emailing all of you soon to get your mailing details. No one selected Feelin The Vibe in the giveway so anyone who wants that just let me know!

Congrats and Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: Making Waves by Tawna Fenske

Romance Book Review: Making Waves
By Tawna Fenske
Contemporary Romance
Sourcebooks Casablanca
3 Heart Review

Story Blurb:

She Always Wanted To Belong...Just Not To A Dysfunctional Pirate Crew

Juli has trouble fitting in, though she'd prefer to keep the reasons to herself. But when she mistakenly stows away on a ship of misfit corporate castoffs, her own secrets become the least of her concerns.

He Knows Plotting A Diamond Heist May Be Considered Unusual Behavior...

But Alex isn't feeling very normal when his unscrupulous boss kicks him to the curb after twenty faithful years. Meeting Juli doesn't do much to restore normalcy to Alex's life either, but it sure is exhilarating!

As Alex and Juli bare each other's secrets – and a whole lot more – they find that while normal is nice, weird can be wonderful.

This book is pure wacky fun and definitely the kind of book you should pick up if you are looking for a light-hearted book that makes you laugh and feel good.

Juli was a much more interesting character than I expected from the back of the book blurb or even from the first chapter or so. She grows on you, with her over-the-top hijinks and unbelievable family members. Really, they are unbelievable – but you want to read about them and love them for the fact that they are so zany.

The same can be said about the band of corporate pirates – the personalities are out there. Sometimes really out there. But out there can be so fun! It's a motley crew you'll enjoy, but there are also times where you come out of the story questioning how in the world  to explain something. For instance, we have out of work pirates who can afford to bring and cook gourmet meals on board? I mean yes, at one point they fish, but what about all the expensive sounding ingrediants? Really? As much as I liked hearing about the food, it always made me think it was out of place.

I liked Alex, but I didn't love him. In fact, I was bothered by his being the mastermind behind the pirate adventure and not fully buying a man that reached such a high position in a huge company not knowing more about saving money or being invested in many different areas. He was acceptable hero material and fun to see with Juli but I didn't connect with him. He's the reason I didn't give this book a 4 Heart Rating.

Which kind of leads me to say that I would have enjoyed the book with any hero, as long as Juli had stayed the same and even if she'd been the sole star of the show. I could easily see her as a women's fiction character just as easily.

The best part of reading this book was that the author Tawna has such an original voice that I can't wait to read what she puts out next because I know it won't be a run-of-the-mill generic romance.

Have you read Making Waves? If so, what did you think? What's your favorite zany, off the wall character or book you've read? Do you like funny or darker contemparary romances better?

Friday, August 5, 2011

TGIF! Let's Party With Some Book & AudioBook Giveaways!

I haven't done a giveaway in way to long plus I need to clean out some of my guest room, so I thought I'd start putting some books up for lucky readers to win! Some of these are older titles, but the books are in new condition. Look for more giveaways soon.

What's up for grabs this time around? Take a look below and then leave me a comment with which book you'd love to win. I'll pick winners early next week and post.
Feeling The Vibe By Candice Dow
The Billionaire's Unexpected Heir by Kathie Denosky
Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti

Touch of Darkness by CT Adams & Cathy Clamp

AudioBook of The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander (Unopened)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Romance Book Review: Unlocked by Courtney Milan

Romance Book Review: Unlocked
By: Courtney Milan
Historical Romance Novella -  28,000 words/approx 111 pages
Self-Published (Buy Links Available Here)
5 Heart Review

Story Blurb:
A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormentor is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.

Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…

It's taken me a bit of time since reading this novella to do this review but this story has stayed with me. There's so much depth and emotion packed into just over 100 pages that you forget it's shorter in length. You won't miss anything from this novella. It's all in there and it's all good.

Having enjoyed Mrs. Milan's full length Proof By Seduction, I knew already I was a fan of her writing, but I was very happy with how well she does in the shorter novella length as well.

As many have said, this is the ultimate emotional look at a woman's insecurities and the man who causes her so much pain that she hides herself away from the entire world, including her own mother. You feel every bit of Lady Elaine Warren's pain and make it your own. It might not be your laugh, but everyone has something they are sensitive about and there's usually a person who is behind making you feel sensitive about it in the first place. Elaine is a character that all women can relate to and Mrs. Milan has described Elaine's feelings so exactly that you'll see yourself in them.

This little novella is also jam-packed with Evan's story and emotional journey as well and it's an interesting take to see inside the soul of a bully. It's even more interesting to see him redeemed in Elaine's eyes, but I love how this takes time and multiple levels of trust must be met first.

It's that layering of emotional depth and timeline of forgiveness and trust that Mrs. Milan creates that makes this novella such a stand out. It really does stand up to all the hype and it's made Mrs. Milan an auto-buy for me from now on. I hope she continues to write in the novella length because she excels at it! You also cannot beat the $.99 price on this one - it's a steal for an amazing story!

Do you like to read novellas or shorter length stories? Do you love that length or do you wish for more? Is there an author you think does novellas exceptionally well? Did you read Unlocked and if so what did you think of it?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reviewer Wanted: Love to Read & Want Free Books?

It's finally happened. I can no longer manage to read and review (with the amount of time and detail I'd LIKE to be giving to reviews) all the books that I'm contacted about. I've thought off and on about adding a reviewer or two to Cheeky Reads, but it's a hard decision.

When you start a blog, let's be honest, it's all about you. Your opinion on something. The kind of books you love, what you want to talk about and of course in the voice you want to use.

So adding a reviewer is a hard choice for someone who's always done it alone. But I feel like adding a reviewer would bring so much to Cheeky Reads that I feel it's been missing and I want to offer readers more reviews. The only way to get more reviews (and I don't mean lately since you can tell from my DIY post I haven't been on my regular schedule) is to bring in some fresh voices.

So, for now I'm looking for someone who would be interested in reviewing here at Cheeky Reads on a regular basis. The only compensation I can offer are free review books and the ability to have your reviews as clips of your writing. I wish it was more than that, but right now that's all I can offer.

I'm looking for an ebook reviewer for now, but this could turn into print books in the future. UPDATE: This will be for print books too!

If you're interested, please email me at cheekyreads @ gmail.com and let me know what genres you enjoy reading the most and how often you think you could write reviews. We'll take it from there. :)

Happy Reading!
Sabrina

A Sad Day: Author LA Banks Loses Battle With Cancer


When I opened twitter this morning I was incredibly sad to find out that author LA Banks (aka Leslie Banks & Leslie Esdaile) has passed away after battling late-stage adrenal cancer. My thoughts are with her family and with all those who knew and loved her.

A fund has been established to help raise funds to help Leslie's family cover the cost of the very expensive medical bills. Please find out more information here.

I had the pleasure of meeting Leslie at the very first RT conference I went to. She was an incredibly nice and welcoming woman who seemed to go out of her way to get the "newbies" talking to everyone. I remember she had a beautiful smile and you almost never saw her when she wasn't smiling or laughing.

Leslie was the author of two series that I enjoyed - The Vampire Huntress & Crimson Moon Series. If you haven't tried either of them please give them a try. I can't think of a more fitting thing than to share Leslie's work with new readers today.

Leslie's latest book released in March and was the set to be the start of an all-new paranormal series involving angles. Here's a look at the cover and a link to buy as another way to help out Leslie's family.

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