Never Cry Werewolf

Title: Never Cry Werewolf
Author: Heather Davis
Genre: YA, paranormal, romance

What happens when a bunch of rich gets get sent to camp? Well, apparently they whine, complain, break the rules and basically live up to the nickname, "brat camp". This, a brat camp, is the setting for the cute and a bit heart-warming teen romance.

Things I liked:
1. I got that oh-cute-boy-is-crushing-on-me feeling in the pit of my stomach while I was reading. This is good. It reminds me of the YA novels (particularly Judy Blume) I was reading that eventually led to my obsession with adult romances. It's that same feeling I'm sure a lot of readers experienced when reading Twilight. The budding romance between Shelby and Austin hits just the right way. It's sweet and fast, like all good teen crushes, but still manages to step into that obsessive, stalker trap.

2. I'm a big fan of covers matching something in the novel. This one does not disappoint. Shelby does indeed wear a red night even. The image invokes memories of Little Red Riding Hood stories...which is played up in one very exciting scene. Plus, the girl featured matches the description of Shelby so there is no big stretch of the imagination needed there.

3. I adore her main camp counselor. He's trusting, a little bit naive, and not as jaded or as completely out of touch the other counselors seem to be. He even uses gardening as a way to work through mental problems. Who doesn't love it when a new-age hippy is responsible for your mental health?

4. While the situations are not actually every day for most teens (more on this later), the feelings Shelby experiences while dealing with her family, the campers, the counselors, Austin, and even herself are ones that everyone can identify with. Ms. Davis did very well making this story be first person from Shelby's point of view.

5. I love that the paranormal is not readily accepted in this world. Vampires, werewolves, and the like aren't just accepted into society like they are in many other novels. Being a werewolf is still something to keep as a family secret. No public appearances a la TeenWolf.

Things I didn't like:
1. I'm still confused by the title. Never Cry Werewolf is an obvious play on the phrase "never cry wolf". Which, as far as I know, is a story about not lying. Nope not the case here. Yes, one of the characters does have a secret, but there is never a false werewolf accusation. The other way I can read that title was as if maybe one character was accused of being a werewolf and then in a twist that character (the accusing one) ended up being the real werewolf. But maybe I'm stretching it there. Neither situation fits as far as I know. So, clue about that title.

2. Most of the story revolves around characters and a way of life that I couldn't identify with...and certainly most teens wouldn't be able to. All teens in this novel are being sent to camp because they are rich brats from rich families who don't want to deal with them. Your daddy makes money, here go to camp. Your family has built the American paparazzi? Sure, stalk your camp buddies to get juicy stories for daddies paper. Blink. Luckily, the main characters' personality are full enough that this little glitch easily gets lost in the story.

3. The names. What in the world is up with these names? Shelby, Austin Bridges, Price, Randi...for some reason I keep thinking I'm in a John Hughes' film.

4. The counselors / adults are portrayed as either out-of-touch or idiotic. I have it on great authority that not all adults are that way. Not all parents actually are clueless and not all camp counselors are tree-huggers who obsessively play the guitar.

In the end, I was hoping for more from this story. Maybe a Red Riding Hood story, maybe something intriguing that would hearken back to the title. But, that warm fuzzy cute-boy-crush feeling goes a long way towards helping quell the disappointment.

A Lady of Hidden Intent

Title: A Lady of Hidden Intent
Author: Traci Peterson
Genre: Historical Romance

I know, I know. I seem to be deviating from my usual brain candy of paranormals and urban fantasies. After the fabulous time I had reading Tessa Dare's book I just couldn't make myself go back into the worlds of monsters (and the women who love them) easily. I picked this lovely novel up because I liked the cover. That's it. Something about her expression and the strange almost contrasting colors of her gown and mask intrigued me.

This novel is not a regency romance. Actually, most of it takes place in America's early 1900's (or very close there abouts) and while I'm usually not one for stories where the rich girl suddenly finds herself a working class girl, I did really enjoy this one. Also, this novel holds a first for me....well a sort of first. This is a Christian romance. I can honestly say I haven't read very many of them. Even being Christian, the few I have read seem overly preachy or judgemental while giving me a story I wasn't really interested in. That is not the case here. The behaviors of the main characters are (for the most part) recognizable as Christian behaviors only if you are looking for it. Though, both main characters do make mention of going to church, praying, and following Biblical rules. It seems completely appropriate for the story, the characters, and the time period. It was a pleasant surprise to discover this was a Christian novel after I had read it.

Things I liked:
1. The heroine never had any oh-look-at-me-poor-little-rich-girl-has-to-work moments. Sure there were a couple times she did feel sorry for herself, but never in that particular way.

2. She seemed to actually enjoy the work she had chosen to take on - clothing designer and seamstress. So much so it is easy to imagine that she would never settle quietly back into the upper-class women don't work paradigm matter how many times the hero hints at it (and by hint I mean blatantly state it).

3. She keeps her true self hidden. I've whined about this becoming a pet peeve with other books I've read, and I still generally believe it. However, it works for this book. I think that is primarily because the female lead character is set up to have to keep her identity secret. Plus, she doesn't push for honesty and just not disclose. No, when confronted by the idea of having to tell her love who she actually is she runs away. Perfect for anyone who has to keep their identity secret!

4. The hero is great! He just loves her. He would do anything for her including completely ignore silly social taboos of upper class / working class. He willingly and often argues with his own brother and father about the philandering, adulterous ways. A perfect gentleman.

5. This one is completely silly, but I love the fact that the image on the cover is directly from a scene in the book. Usually, there is only a vague resemblance between the characters/ action of the novel and its cover. This one is right on. I actually found myself doing one of those silly double takes where you flip from the pages to the cover and back again several times just to be sure.

Things I didn't like:
1. The hero meddles. First to learn her secrets he sneaks around investigating her. Then when he thinks he may be able to help her father, he does that in secret too. That just rubs me the wrong way. Plus, it smacks of societal privilege...he is able to get things he wants because he has power, fame, and money. Yeah, yeah, that's how the world works....blah blah blah.

2. The driving plot behind our girl's secrecy and new life is solved way too easily. If it was this easy to resolve, it probably was that easy or even easier to clear up when it initially happened.

3. Even though the hero fell in love with her while she was a seamstress, by the end of the novel he is set against her ever working again. He had no care for societal boundaries earlier, but by then end he was willing to throw his power around anywhere. He seem to change a bit for the worse.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel and think you would too....if you like historical romances.

Author Interview - My First Time

Awesome! Stacey Voss is going on a virtual book tour with her novel, Thunder and Blood. She has agreed to do an interview with me. Of note, this is a bit nerve wracking and exciting at the same time...being my first time 'n all. I'll be diving into the novel very soon to prep for the interview. On the 15th I'll post my review and our interview. Fun!

Fall into Reading 2009

As I mentioned earlier, Callipidder Days is hosting the reading challenge "Fall Into Reading 2009". The challenge is scheduled to run from Sept. 22 - December 22. I'm a few days early, but I thought I'd go ahead and post the reading list I hope to make it through. I'm also adding a progress bar to track my progress at a glance. Carolyn from BookChickCity was nice enough to help me out with the code for it. Can you tell I'm excited?

From the library:
1. Blood From Stone ~ Laura Anne Gilman
2. Dead If I Do ~ Tate Hallaway
3. Fragile ~ Shiloh Walker
4. Lords of Desire ~ Virgina Henley, Sally MacKenzie, Victoria Dahl, Kristi Astor
5. Would-Be Witch ~ Kimberly Frost
6. A Drop of Red ~ Chris Marie Green
7. Over My Dead Body ~ Michelle Bardsley

From my shelves:
8. Prom Nights From Hell ~ Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephanie Meyer, Lauren Myracle
9. My Soul To Take ~ Rachel Vincent
10. Intertwined ~ Gena Showalter

For book clubs:
11. Never Cry Werewolf ~ Heather Davis (Blogs With Bite)
12. The Postmistress ~ Sarah Blake (Barnes and Noble First Look Club) DNF

Surrender of a Siren

Title: Surrender of a Siren
Author: Tessa Dare
Genre: Historical Romance

I love this book. There. That's it. I'm kidding that's not it. I have a lot to say about this book. First, this novel is a significant change from the paranormal romances I've been addicted to of late. No ghosts, goblins, fairies, or vampires. There are goats though, if that means anything to you. :) Surrender of a Siren is a Regency romance, but unlike most the regencies I'd read prior to now the characters were believable and had actual human reactions. The female lead isn't a stand-offish, superficial twit only concerned with gaining a husband and making the best appearances at the appropriate "Ton" parties. No, in fact, she's running from the "Ton". She's created a scandal and is doing the thing her family would never expect...hopping the next boat out. Similarly, the male lead is anything but the expected. He's not a complete alpha male equipped with cave man brains. He's also not one of society's fops who is surprised by the concept of love. These two things alone were enough to keep me interested.

Other things I love:
1. Our girl reads dirty books and masturbates. I was trying to come up with a nicer, more polite way of saying that, but then realized that not talking about it or using polite euphemisms is exactly what I dislike about most regency novels. I have this memory of the heroines all being virgins and swept away by lust, love, romance. Perhaps, they had a friend who was scandalous and sexified, but never them. Ms. Dare gave us a girl who is sexually awakened enough to be aware of her wants and her body's responses, but proper enough to not give it up to just anyone.

2. The hero is also given an interesting story. He's actually doing the exact opposite of the heroine by running towards society. He's been on the fringes of society (i.e. pirate) but now wants to become a respectable business man.

3. There are goats. There are lots of goats on the boat. This is hilarious for many reasons, but primarily because my family raised goats for a bit, while I was growing up. They are unruly beasts. I can only guess the chaos that would occur when forcing goats onto a boat.

4. This is number four, but is actually the most important thing to me....bodice ripping. There is an actual, honest to god bodice ripping! I don't think I've ever actually read a novel where her dress was ripped in two. I've jokingly called romance novels - bodice rippers, but primarily because the cover images had a look that suggested that those dresses were just going to be torn off.

Thing(s) I disliked:
1. This is quickly evolving into a pet peeve of mine. I really hate when people don't talk to each other, but seem to expect their partner to know what's going on. I know. I know this is something that happens often in real relationships. It bothers me there, too....extremely. There is a bit of this phenomena in the novel, but it is pretty one-sided. The hero fully discloses. The heroine doesn't give him a single thing..........until the very end. Frustrating!

I'm very glad I was given a chance to read this book. Like I said on Twitter (shortly after I started reading), it's official I adore Tessa Dare. Thank you for signing my book!

Now, I just have to get my hands on the other two books!

Show a little love?

My itty bitty blog is feeling a bit lonely. You should show it (and me) some love by becoming a follower.

Fall Reading

It's that time of year. That time of year when the temperatures drop (unless you're in Arizona -we are nowhere near cool yet), leaves change color, pumpkins get ready to be made into delicious treats (mmmm...pumpkin pie, pumpkin butter....anything pumpkin), and I start slowing down on my reading. It's not intentional. I just do. Reading drops off when I go back to teaching. I just don't have as much time to curl up and enjoy the stories. I can't sit for hours every weekend when I only have two days to get everything done I want done. I'm going to fight it this year. I have two things working for me here: 1. This blog. I started it and plan to keep going with it. Maybe it will even get better as it goes. 2. Katrina over on Callapidder Days is offering a Challenge: Fall Into Reading 09. I've put the link on my side bar.

I'm so doing this! I challenge you to do this.

I'll be making up and posting my list here shortly, but I thought the pile of books already waiting for me would be a good place to start.

This is the stack of books I currently have checked out of the library. Technically, I originally checked them out in August, but thanks to the handy-dandy renewal system I can read them in September for the challenge....especially since I only got to two of them in August....and had to stop both as soon as I realized I'd grabbed books that weren't stand alone and were in the middle of a series. And yes, I realize that is a very long run-on sentence. I abuse ellipsis. Get over it.

These are the two from that stack above that I am most excited for. On the left is Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost. I'm excited about this one for a silly reason, which I'm sure I'll mention again. I love the fact that we've had Southern Vampires -i.e. Sookie Stackhouse and now we have Southern Witches. I find this highly entertaining. I can't really explain it. The other, Lords of Desire,is a collection of stories. I grabbed it because one of the author's is someone I've talked to (and I follow) on Twitter - Victoria Dahl. She's entertaining there, so I can only bet / hope that her story will be great.

Plus, I have these four books. Three of which came in the prize pack I won from Charolette. (They also came with a great bag from Harlequin, but I'm a dork and didn't get a picture of it.)

The top three are Young Adult novels. I have a soft spot for YA novels...probably due to my being a high school English teacher. The bottom is a historical romance...which I'm learning to love.

In other words, this should be a busy reading season.

Giving a book a good home

Chedderfish has kindly volunteered to take The Impostor's Daughter onto her book shelf. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!
I read books they way other people eat, sleep, or watch movies....voraciously, obsessively, and as often as possible. The reviews, random commentary, and snark in this blog are mine alone. Don't take my the book.
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