Monthly Archives: December 2011

Review- Head Rush by Carolyn Crane

Title: Head Rush (book 3, The Disillusionists Trilogy)

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance

Author: Carolyn Crane

Publisher: Samhaim 2011

Source: purchase

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com: Justine Jones faces her ultimate enemy: herself.

The Disillusionists Trilogy, Book 3

In an attempt to put her unhappy past behind her, Justine Jones throws herself into nursing school and planning her wedding to Otto Sanchez, the man of her dreams. But something is off. Random details aren’t adding up…and is it her imagination, or are her friends and fiancé keeping secrets from her? And what’s with the strange sense of unease, and her odd new headaches?

Justine tries to stay upbeat as Midcity cowers under martial law, sleepwalking cannibals, and a mysterious rash of paranormal copycat violence, but her search for answers leads her into the most dangerous mind game yet.

With the help of unlikely allies, including her paranoid dad and best frenemy Simon, Justine fights her ultimate foe…and unravels the most startling mystery of all.

Warning: This book contains high-speed rollerblade chases, a mysterious green dashboard ornament, a father of the bride in full hazmat gear and a delicious kebab.

**

Do not read this book if you have not read the first two books in the series, MIND GAMES (BOOK 1), DOUBLE CROSS (BOOK 2).  If you have read the first two then I don’t know how you can possibly pass this one up.  Carolyn Crane has written herself a fabulous meal ticket in this trilogy.

I had, in the past, read some Urban Fantasy novels that left me scratching my head and thinking the genre was just not my cuppa tea.  Then I actually read a book that changed my opinion and I realized I had just had unfortunate encounters with previous UF’s.  That mind changing book was Carolyn Crane’s first offering in this trilogy, MIND GAMES.  As I finish up the trilogy with this offering, Head Rush, I’m looking forward to more from Ms Crane in 2012.

Carolyn Crane has a brilliant imagination.  She develops and portrays a world so like our own gone completely wrong.  She peoples this world with the outlandish and outcasts.  There are fantastical powers that some wield and there are those who are near paralyzed with mind tormenting fears.  All of this over-the-top becomes perfectly normal and understandable in her capable hands.

This final book in the trilogy offers plenty of, romance, action and adventure, and a satisfying ending. It had me in tears and cheers.

(You can find a review of book 2 of this trilogy, DOUBLE CROSS, on this blog on Dec. 14, 2011;  easily found by clicking on the December archives in the upper left.)

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Filed under Book review, Books, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Best Reads of 2011

I have read many good books in 2011, and it was impossible to narrow the list to just ten.  Here is my list of the ones that really stood out but there are more that were very good and they are listed on my “Favorite Reads” page (up in the header).  Some of these books were published earlier than 2011 but I only read them this year.  In no particular order here are the best of the best:

1. Pennyroyal Green Series by Julie Anne Long, Historical Romance- Regency

2. The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn, Historical Romance-Regency

3. 9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean, Historical Romance-Regency

4. Liberine’s Kiss by Judith James, Historical Romance- Restoration period

5. Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Urban Fantasy(bk 1, Iron Druid Series)

6. Duncan by D.B. Reynolds, Urban Fantasy Romance (Vampires In America Series, bk 5)

7. Double Cross and Head Rush by Carolyn Crane, Urban Fantasy Romance (bks 2 & 3, Disillusionists Trilogy)

8. Before Everafter by Samantha Soto, Fantasy/Romance

9. A Matter of Class by Mary Balough, Historical Romance-Regency

10. Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford, Paranormal (Vampires)

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Review- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Title: Bel Canto

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: HarperCollins, 2001

Source: Library

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 4

Description from amazon.com:

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxane Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds, and people from different continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion . . . and cannot be stopped.

**

This was a beautiful novel, so deserving of its win of the Pen Faulkner Award the year it was published.  There is a dreamlike lyricism throughout the story that juxtaposes with the horrific element of terrorist, hostage taking.  As the kidnappers and those kidnapped spend weeks together, they develop strong relationships, some loving and some deep friendships.  They become their own entity, tucked away from the world that at times seems to have forgotten them.  The tie that binds them is music.  The music is the main character of this story.  There is magic in the music that makes reality dissolve.  The ending is justifiable and fitting.  It could be no other way.

Patchett has taken a real headline story and fictionalized and infused it with elements that make the reader feel like she has first-hand knowledge.

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Sexy Man Tuesday- Justin Timberlake

I’ve been talking about bringing sexy back and you just can’t do that without the help of this week’s SEXY MAN TUESDAY, Justin Timberlake.  What is it about this guy?? He is a fabulous actor, can sing anything as the two vids will show, and just has that elusive “it” factor.

There is an ad on this video for Haiti relief.  This was performed on TV for a fundraiser.  Justin with Matt Morris on guitar and vocals.  Just beautiful harmony!

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Review- A Town Called Valentine by Emma Cane

Title: A Town Called Valentine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Emma Cane

Publisher: Avon, January 2012

Available for pre-order

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from back of book:  Welcome to Valentine Valley—where broken hearts come home to mend, and true love may lie just across the range . . .

Emily Murphy never thought she’d return to her mom’s rustic hometown in the Colorado Mountains. But after her marriage in San Francisco falls apart, leaving her penniless and heartsick, she returns to her old family home to find a new direction for her life. On her first night back, though, a steamy encounter with handsome rancher Nate Thalberg is not the fresh start she had in mind . . .

Nate has good reason not to trust the determined beauty who just waltzed into town—he’s no stranger to betrayal. Besides, she’s only there to sell her family’s old property and move back out. But as Nate and Emily begin working side-by-side to restore her time-worn building and old family secrets change Emily’s perception of herself, both are about to learn how difficult it is to hide from love in a place known far and wide for romance, family ties, and happily-ever-afters: a town called Valentine.

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**

I was on the fence between calling this book “disappointing” and “okay”.  This novel just didn’t do it for me.  I thought it was totally predictable.  It was so slow that I wanted to slap the heroine for being hot one minute and cold the next.  She was involved in trash removal for so long I was ready to jump a plane and help her out and she could have had the trash out in record time if she didn’t socialize with the woman next door forever and a day.  The hero walked around with blue balls through much of the book but that was his fault for always putting himself in a situation where that would happen.  The side plot of Emily’s real father was neither interesting nor surprising.  By the time I got to the end of the book I could care less about any of the characters.  I guess it was more “disappointing” than “okay”.

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Merry Christmas

From fellow blogger, Marta Acosta, author of the fab Casa Dracula Series and the YA, Dark Companion, to be published in 2012.  http://vampirewire.blogspot.com/  Marta hunts down the best in You Tube videos for her blog.  This one is chock-a-block full of kisses and hugs, so naturally I thought of you.

Merry Christmas

(Subscribers, please go to https://ladeetdareads.wordpress.com to see this fun video)

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Review- A Regency Holiday (Anthology)

Title: A Regency Holiday

Genre: Anthology of Four Historical  Romance Novellas

Author: Allison Lane, Alicia Rasley, Lynn Kerstan and Rebecca Hagan Lee

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books, Oct.2011

Source: Free from Kindle, can be purchased,

Kindle, available for $4.79 or

Paperback for $15.95

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from amazon.com:

FOUR Favorite Regency Authors
— THREE never-before-in-print Christmas novellas
— ONE beloved classic now back in print . . .
and a partridge in a pear tree . . .

In Coventry’s Christmas, Rebecca Hagan Lee offers a charming new story. With Christmas approaching, Amabel Thurston is ordered from the family home by her father’s widow and must seek the protection of her guardian, Deverel Brookfield, eighth Marquess of Coventry. Unfortunately, the Devil of Coventry has little use for Christmas and even less for proper young ladies. (Deet’s rating-3)

In the never-in-print Star of Wonder, Lynn Kerstan brings her special brand of magic to the page when an exotic and dangerous stranger arrives to disrupt the meager Christmas of Stella Bryar, who has struggled to support the family retainers in the wake of her father’s death. (Deet’s rating-4)

Allison Lane’s newest Christmas treat is A Christmas Homecoming. When prodigal son Alex Northcote returns from a six year absence to take control of the family estate, he must run a gauntlet of possible brides, who have all been installed for a holiday house party by his determined grandmother. Avoiding the trap would have been so much easier, if the guest list hadn’t included a quiet widow, who once jilted him for another. (Deet’s rating-4)

In the classic Home for Christmas, Alicia Rasley gives us a Christmas with a bit of intrigue. When Verity receives an unexpected invitation from her estranged father to spend the holidays at his Cornwall estate, she accepts with delight. But, ever mindful of her father’s attention to propriety, she must scramble to find a husband and “father” for her fatherless child. Could a handsome and enigmatic stranger solve all her problems? (Deet’s rating- 5)

**

All four of these stories were good with one, HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, being exceptionally well done.  If you are in the throes of holiday “busy and stress” this collection can give you some light easy reading to calm even the most frazzled among us.  I did get this book for my Kindle when it was free and I don’t think I would pay $15.95 for the paperback version but at $4.79 on Kindle it is worth the price. There is no explicit sex, actually no sex in any of the stories but that does not interfere with the enjoyment of each romance.  They are set in the Regency Era (early 1800’s) in England at Christmas Time. There are in each, mention of holiday customs of the era which add to the enjoyment of the novellas.

 

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Deet’s Bucket List- Item- College Librarys

Every now and then something grabs me at the gut level and I’m blown away by it.  Somtimes its a book  or maybe a painting….often art…but this time its college libraries.  I can’t see myself walking into any one of the following spaces and not being totally awed by the room.  How does one screen out the awesomeness in order to read or study?  One of these librarys is in my own backyard in NY.  I have never been there, but I shall remedy that as soon as I get back. Let me know how you feel about these buildings. A thank you to www.flavorwire.com for thses photos.

Bapst Library Boston College,  Boston,  MA

University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

La Sorbonne Reading Room, Paris, France

Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie NY

Fischer Fine Arts Library, U of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA

Beinecki Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale, New Haven CT

Philological Library of the Free University, Berlin, Germany

The Libray at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

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Sexy Man Tuesday- Deet’s Faves

As the year draws to a close I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of MY favorite Sexy Men from past Sexy Man Tuesdays.  I’m sure some of them are your favorites too.  As for the first two, I just love a man who reads, don’t you? As for the rest, those smoldering eyes, uh huh!

 

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Review- All I Want For Christmas by Lilianna Hart (Kindle)

Title: All I want for Christmas

Genre: Short Story/Contemporary Romance

Author: Lilianna Hart

Publisher: Bodysways , Oct 2011

Source: A Kindle Free Book

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5, explicit

Description from  Amazon.com:

Naughty or Nice

A blizzard leaves Kate Carson stranded in Chicago on Christmas Eve. When she finds she’s without a place to stay for the night, billionaire Derek Worth tempts her with an offer she can’t refuse, and she finds out it’s a lot easier to stay warm being naughty instead of nice.

A MacKenzie Christmas

Grant MacKenzie is ready to settle down and start a family. The only problem is the one woman he’s interested in doesn’t seem to be ready for the long haul. But fate lends Grant a helping hand in getting exactly what he wants under his Christmas tree.

**

This book is only available as an e-book.  It has two short stories that are quick reads.

Naughty or Nice was a bit confusing at times, I believe that was because of the background on the Hero and Heroine coming toward the end of the story. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the second story, A MacKenzie Christmas. The second had more background to the hero and heroine in the beginning so their attraction made more sense. Both were written well and really sizzled. Neither had much of a Christmasy feel except for the fact that they were set during the holiday. I will read more from this author and look forward to her book featuring Grant Mackenzie’s brother, Cade, in 2012.

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