Saturday, March 31, 2012

~REVIEW of Catherine Mckenzie's SPIN~

5 of 5 stars
“Imagine if Bridget Jones fell into A million little pieces, flew over the cuckoo’s nest and befriended Lindsey Lohan along the way.” Okay I might have stolen that quote from the back of the book but it does describe Spin perfectly, so I couldn’t help myself.

This was a fantastic read and from a new Canadian author no less. Totally relatable, addictive and hilarious, I had trouble putting this one down. It's written along the lines of Sophia Kinsley’s Confessions of a Shopaholic series or as I mentioned Bridget Jones's Diary, I also had flashes of Girl, Interrupted (if the loony bin were rehab) And yet despite all the comparisons Spin still manages to have a unique feel to it.

Peppered with pop culture references from movies, TV and music there's even a chapter by chapter playlist included at the end. I also just love books that are written the way we girls actually think, you know with random disjointed thoughts and crazy insecurities. And how much fun is it to follow a heroine who isn’t perfect? Kate, well she’s a mess so it was an absolute blast stumbling along with her while she finds herself.

Kate,(Katie, whatever) Sanford has just landed the job interview she’s been dreaming about her entire adult life, (other than writing for Rolling Stone that is.) It’s an interview with her favourite music magazine The Line. It’s also Katie’s 30th birthday which is all the more reason to celebrate, right? I mean what harm can meeting her friend Greer and having one little drink do? She’ll still get home early enough to be clear headed and fresh for the big interview tomorrow. Well as most of us know there’s no such thing as one drink (especially with friends like Greer.)

Katie’s botched interview is hilarious, she’s late arriving, still a bit drunk and concludes the meeting by excusing herself to throw up and lie on the restroom floor. Needless to say she doesn’t get the job. She is however just perfect for another assignment they have in mind; entering a 30 day stint in rehab to spy on the new “it” girl of the moment and writing a 5,000 word expose for their subsidiary gossip magazine. (Should she succeed the job she actually wants will also be waiting for her.) It’s a no brainer really, at this point Katie has burned almost every bridge she can and has nothing left to loose, besides its only for 30 days.

Kate’s observations from rehab while somewhat heartbreaking still retain the comedy. Her experiments with jogging had me laughing out loud as did the descriptions of her dog obsessed counsellor. Of course there’s a romance in bloom and hey what do you know she might just have a drinking issue after all. At the very least Katie needs to grow up and stop telling people she’s still in college or at least partying with college kids. The rehab section of the story is predictable but that doesn’t make it any less fun to watch the train wreck and cheer from the sidelines. The ending reads like a Hugh Grant movie and I loved it. Cheers

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

~REVIEW of Cindy Gerard's TO THE EDGE~

To the Edge (Bodyguard, #1)
4 of 5 stars

Opening Line: "Even among the masses populating West Palm Beach, Florida, Nolan Garrett found hundreds of places to be alone."

Jillian Kincaid is a TV anchor and the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Because of her father she grew up in the continual presence of bodyguards and hated it. Now when she begins to receive death threats Jillian is more then a little hesitant to except the bodyguard/hired thug that her father has secured for her.

Recently retired special Ops soldier Nolan Garrett has only been out for three months when his brothers and sister (of E.D.E.N security Inc) grow tired of his continuous drinking and depression and force him to take on one of their clients. He doesn't want the case and Jillian sure as hell doesn't want him in her apartment and shadowing her every move.

However Jillian soon proves not to be the spoiled princess Nolan was expecting and despite himself he starts to care even if she is super frustrating. Why won't she just leave him alone, why do they have to talk about...stuff? And how is it that she's not repelled by his back off, tough guy (I am an island) image? As Jillian's stalker gets closer and events turn deadly Nolan is willing to lay his life on the line and now possibly his heart too. Gah I just love these tortured heroes.

After 5-star-ing every book in Cindy Gerard's Black Ops series I was very excited to go back and read her Bodyguard series which I'd somehow missed before. However in saying that I think my love for her BOI's may have caused me to go into this with (unrealistically) high expectations because while this was good it never quite hit the great mark that I'd been expecting.

TO THE EDGE is definitely a slow burning romance And while I appreciated tough guy, bodyguard Nolan's "don't get involved with a client" ethics and especially his "you don't want to get involved with someone as damaged as me" (love those tortured heroes) I reached the point with them where I was like, enough, get it on already. Stop with the meaningful looks and double talk and just get it out of your systems.

That said once the sex (finally) got thrown in the mix and the stalker upped their game things really took off. Gerard managed to keep me guessing about the stalkers identity with several well placed suspects and Nolan and Jillian's chemistry was smoking hot. I also loved the fact that Jillian wasn't your typical spoiled damsel in distress and let's face it she had potential to go that way. Instead she fought for her man and managed to keep her head above, TSTL. Then we have Nathan's adorable (I don't need anyone but really I do) guilt complex, PTSD issues and that fantabulous ending on the boat, sigh. I really don't have anything to complain about here and I'll definitely be returning for the rest of this series and a croquet game or two from the looks of things.

Friday, March 23, 2012

~REVIEW of Marie Sexton's PROMISES~

Promises (Coda Books, #1)
5 of 5 stars

Opening Line: " The whole thing started because of Lizzy's Jeep."

This was a quick, easy and very enjoyable read that I had trouble putting down. I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to the gay-for-you romances anyway but this one was just perfect.

PROMISES is a slow burning romance but that just made it all the better because we get tons of sexual tension and character development. Watching these guys going from friends to lovers over an extended period of time felt realistic. The love scenes also seemed accurately portrayed, nothing gratuitous just for the sake of a sex scene and initially with lots of fumbling and uncertainty before they got down and went for it. I liked both Matt and Jared and really felt as if I’d gotten to know them both despite the fact that this is written exclusively form Jared’s POV, Matt is equally accessible here due to some great writing. Marie Sexton was a new author for me but I will definitely be looking for others in this series.

As I said this is told from Jared’s POV, he’s lived his whole life in a small Colorado town and while openly gay he doesn’t flaunt his status either. In fact one might say he’s even closeted refusing to become a teacher for fear of bigoted parents and jeering teens. Nope, Jared is content to while away his days in his family’s hardware store, meeting up a couple times a year with his fancy man to scratch the itch and never expecting anything to change. Well it does the day Matt Richards struts into the store. He’s just been hired by the local police department and the two strike an immediate friendship. Spending their weekend’s mountain biking, camping and watching football. Matt is straight and doesn’t care what the townsfolk are saying about them spending so much time together, he does however make a point of dating one of the towns flooziest women just to set things right.

Jared is of course in love with Matt from just about day one and wishes there could be more. On the other hand he doesn’t want to risk losing Matt’s friendship either, so he just puts all horny thoughts out of his mind (for the most part) And that’s when the sexual tension comes in; the meaningful looks, the light touches, the massages, the hand in the hair, the fact that he never wants to go home. Hmmm maybe Matt is willing to take this friendship to a whole other level?

Yeah this was super good, lots of complicated situations and interesting secondary characters and a just a great story. I was really rooting for these two because the odds were stacked against them. Funny in the end it was Jared who had the most issues with being in a committed gay relationship not his hetero partner. Bah, labels who needs them. Cheers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

~Review of A.C. Crispin's YESTERDAY'S SON~

Yesterday's Son (Star Trek: The Original Series #11)
4 of 5 stars

Opening Line: "Captain's Personal Log Stardate 6324.09"

A while ago I caught the classic Star Trek episode All Our Yesterdays on late night TV and got sucked right into the story. As well as just how awesomely cheesy the original series is (I really have to watch it more often) Anyways, I happened to mention the episode to my long time Trekkie Mum who found this tie-in book tucked away on a dust covered shelf (amongst hundreds of others)
YESTERDAY’S SON is a continuation of sorts to that original TV episode All Our Yesterdays, playing on the what-if scenario that Spock and Zarabeth’s little indiscretion 5,000 years ago (due to Gateway Time travel) resulted in a child. (It seems Starfleet doesn’t issue condoms)

Now Spock goes back to the planet Sarpedion and using the mysterious time portal meets his 5,000 year old son. Time travel is so much fun, anything is possible. And while this is way out of the realm of what I usually read, I have to say that I enjoyed it. It’s a well written, clever story, capturing the essence of the original series perfectly while giving us a peek into the minds of our favourite characters.

The author obviously knows her Star Trek, managing to include mention of several other episodes along the way which will have Trekkies smiling. There’s a good amount of action involved here including a strategic space battle with the Enterprise outnumbered by the Romulan fleet Go Scottie! and some good old fashioned hand to hand combat too. We also get a ton of Vulcan history - is there like a bible of this stuff somewhere?

All the characters are represented in one way or another, remaining true to form. Kirk in all his Captainly awesomeness, Bones who is less grouchy then I remember, taking on a more father like role here and Spock who I honestly didn’t like very much. His character is cold, heartless condescending and frustrating. Yeah I know he’s Vulcan and emotionless but he’s also an a-hole. We also get a glimpse of some doomed red-shirts and spend just enough time with Scotty, Uhura, Chechov and Sulu to make it feel like a real episode.

Speaking of Sulu, he has one of my favourite lines from the whole book which is only ironic now 20 years later. He and Uhura are discussing how much Zar and Spock look alike

"Have you ever looked into Zar’s eyes?” Uhura leaned forward a little, lowering her voice.

“No--other men’s eyes don’t do anything for me, I’m afraid” Sulu grinned.

Ah yes, the science of Star Trek. Cheers.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

~REVIEW of Rhiannon Frater's THE FIRST DAYS~

The First Days (As The World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy #1)
 4 of 5 stars
On the heels of my Walking Dead obsession, THE FIRST DAYS fit the bill perfectly and I would recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of the zombie genre. From the very first page I was hooked, I mean how could you not be both intrigued and freaked out by passages like this …

“Tiny fingers. So small. So very, very small. The fingers pressed under the front door of her home were so very small. She couldn’t stop staring at those baby fingers straining frantically to reach her as she stood shivering on the porch.”

Jeez, and it only gets better too. Fast paced, scary and gore filled, Rhiannon Frater has created an imaginative and haunting new world here and I wasn't ever entirely sure where she was going to go with it. She never lets the pace up either; every chapter has some form of chaos, action or horror involved. Probably because this was first written as an online serial (later self published and now released by Tor books) There’s also hints of humour (mostly in the absurd) romance, and a multitude of new and interesting Zombie personalities. Old granny zombie comes to mind, still clutching her very much alive cat as it tries to claw its way free from her arms.

Both the main characters are unique and interesting. Jenni is pretty screwed up and had a tendency to be all over the place (huh?) but I still found it refreshing to read about a zombie apocalypse from the female perspective. (Think Thelma and Louise meet George A Romero) All the secondary characters they contact along the way (living and dead) leave lasting impressions too and I can’t wait to continue on with this trilogy.

The story begins with those tiny fingers; they belong to Jennie’s baby who, along with her young son has just been eaten by her abusive husband. All three have risen, transformed forever into ravenous zombies. Just as her husband manages to break through the living room window a truck pulls up, the female driver yelling at her to get in. The driver is Katie, a former prosecutor who has just lost her wife but somehow in the mayhem managed to secure a truck, a weapon and a dog. The two form an instant bond and hit the road, trying to get out of the infested city.

With no real plan Jenni suddenly remembers that she has a stepson away at camp so they head out to rescue him. Throughout this read our characters kept having revelations; like sexual orientation or how many members are in the family. This was somewhat annoying but at least it kept me guessing. Before long Katie and Jenni discover the joys of watching zombie heads explode, how the rules (established in the movies) don’t necessarily apply and to what means their world has changed forever.

They eventually meet other survivors; a husband and wife team holed up in a gun store and a large group of refugees building a walled fort in a small Texas town -where the girls decide to settle. Here we meet Travis and Juan, the love interests and leaders who set about establishing a new safe community while the dead scratch endlessly at the outside walls and the survivors slowly begin to turn on each other. Cheers