October 31, 2011

Book Review: All About Seduction

All About Seduction
Katy Madison
Historical Romance
Rating: 3

Caroline Broadhurst is a loyal wife and has been since the day she married her MUCH older husband at 14. Now that she is 28 and he is nearing his end, Mr. Broadhurst desperately wants and heir. After years of being unable to conceive not only with Caroline, but also with his two previous wives, he has a proposal for his dutiful wife. Become impregnated by a well standing gentleman or lose everything that should be rightfully hers once he dies.

This isn't a new concept to period romances, however Katy Madison writes her interpretation with great style and emotion. I enjoyed the characters and the overall read of the book, but I just couldn't get past all the unconsensual fooling around Caroline is forced to do. I understand that it is part of the plot and that she has to endure a certain amount of it to be convincing to her husband, but Caroline spends more time being fondled by these disgusting brutes than she does romancing with our hero Jack Applegate. Honestly, the romance doesn't even really get going until the last third of the book! For this reason, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

There is a lot to like about All About Seduction. It was a fast paced read, with great detail of the time period and well thought out characters. Caroline is not your average wealthy lady, she actually cares about the people who work the cotton mill that makes her and her husband rich. She advocates for the workers and even does her best to keep young children from participating in the difficult and dangerous labor. I really enjoyed this about her character.

I believe most readers will enjoy this book, but may be caught off guard by the indecency that Caroline is forced to endure. There really wasn't enough romantic development between the Jack and Caroline for my taste, but there you have it. This book is an enjoyable read with a sweet ending, but leaves something to be desired in the way of romance.

October 30, 2011

Book Review: The Demon Lover

The Demon Lover
Juliet Dark
Fairwick Chronicles #1
Urban Fantasy
Expected Publication Date: December 27th, 2011
Rating 5

 In honor of all things magical and creepy, enchanting and frightening this Halloween, I bring to you a book that has it all. I first read this book in July thanks to the wonderful people at Random House Publishing and Netgalley providing me with an arc. My feelings towards this book have remained the same since reading it months ago; amazing!

Callie McFay has taken a job teaching at Fairwick College that she wasn’t sure she wanted in the first place, and has bought an old Victorian house that her instincts are screaming for her to stay away from. Something has drawn her to become a part of the community that is not what it appears to be at first glance. Just when she feels she is settling in, Callie is visited by a demon lover that is determined to suck the life out of her. Night after night, the insatiable demon brings her to new heights of pleasure and ever closer to death. As time goes on, Callie becomes less and less sure she minds. 

There is really only one word that describes The Demon Lover accurately and that is lush. This book is filled with deliciously ripe detail that echoes my fondest memories of classic gothic literature while utilizing the trend of today’s popular adult paranormal fiction. The academic atmosphere of Fairwick College and Callie’s scholarly analysis of her situation are engrossing and give this novel the intelligent edge that a great deal of today’s paranormal fiction is missing. Juliet Dark’s attention to detail is truly what makes this story so breathtakingly beautiful and heart wrenchingly real. 

The writing style and Callie’s character can be a bit frustrating, at times. She is constantly changing her opinion on her present situation and for the first half of the book she is in denial, coming up with a logical explanation for everything that happens to her. This frustrated me to no end until I hit a moment of clarity the same moment Callie did in the story. The writing style and content are meant to be confusing and frustrating at points to reflect Callie’s state of mind as it has been altered through her interactions with the incubus. Once I realized this I was completely enthralled.  It was like a slap in the face and I had to admit to myself that the demon lover had hypnotized not just Callie, but me as well.

It is difficult to describe the romance of this book. Callie falls in love with many things through the course of its pages. She begins to feel at home in Fairwick and finds a mish mashed sort of family in the people that she interacts with on a daily basis. The magic and mystery of the town beckon to her deeply buried roots until she finds a piece of herself she didn’t know she had to begin with. Finally there is the incubus. I easily felt the same indecision towards him as Callie did. At first she thinks him a dream, but as he becomes more and more real to her, she can no longer deny his appeal. I will not spoil any of this story for you all, but eventually you will have to ask yourself, just as Callie does, “Is it possible that he could truly love her and become flesh?” 

It was pointed out to me about half-way through this book that it was the same book as Incubus by Carol Goodman published by Ebury Press on July 21st, 2011. The only real reason I could come up with in my research for why two different publishers would publish the same book, under different titles, and authors six months apart from each other would be to maximize marketing. Incubus was published in the UK and therefore the publishers probably felt that particular title and its cover art would appeal to the European audience whereas the U.S. requires a bit more of a sexualized title and mysterious author pseudonym. Whatever the reason, it was a bit confusing, but did not divert from the overall appeal of the book itself. These days, it has become excruciatingly popular for authors to end their books on a huge cliff-hanger, forcing you to read the next just to find out what happened, even if you didn’t really like it that much. The Demon Lover wraps up its loose ends nicely and all major plot points are developed so that the reader is satisfied. This book doesn’t need any cliffhangers to get its hooks in you; it’s just that good.  I look forward to a sequel, which is all but promised by the subtext of the Incubus version declaring it as Fairwick Chronicles #1. Juliet Dark, and by extension Carol Goodman, has a new loyal fan in this Wickedly Bookish reader.

October 27, 2011

Thursday's Dirty Little Secret

 It's time again for us bloggers to reveal or dirty little secrets! DLS is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies of Under the Covers This week's question is:

"If you could shape shift into anything, what would it be?"

This is a hard one, because I don't want to be cliche and say wolf, but they are so awesome! I think what I would really want though is to be able to shift into other people like Mystique or Georgina Kincaid. I think this stems mostly from my not being comfortable with my own body, but also because I wouldn't have to dye my hair all the freaking time!I could easily have pink hair if I wanted to without all the hassle and that would be awesome. Oh yeah and I could be a crazy cool assassin/infiltrator

October 24, 2011

Book Review: Sundial

C.F. Fruzzetti and M.I. Pearsall
Sundial #1
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural
Rating: 4

Whitney Forbes is your average 15 year old girl about to turn 16. She goes to high school, has awesome friends, and is being pursued by IT boy Reid Wallace. While she enjoys her adolescence to the fullest, there is one thing that lingers at the edge of her happiness giving it a bittersweet taste. When Whitney turns 21, the CIA will own her and force her to work for them as a remote viewer, a psychic who uncovers the secrets of hostile nations.

There are just so many wonderful things about Sundial I hardly know where to begin. First off, it is very well written making it a smooth enjoyable read. The authors obviously put a lot of thought into how Whitney and the other psychic's abilities would work and how the American government would be able to put them to use. The Clarion program fits seamlessly into what the average American perceives the CIA to be and doesn't feel made up or forced. On top of being totally awesome, the psychics of this book also have food allergies as part of their genetic makeup. In Sundial, people who have a food allergy are more evolved and develop psychic abilities. The science is actually pretty well developed and explained throughout the book. What a neat way to highlight a condition that has become more pronounced throughout the years!

I think my favorite part of the world the authors have placed their heroine in is the unique use of Kung Fu in Whitney and Reid's training. I haven't seen this in any of the YA books I have read recently and felt it was both appropriate and really neat to learn about. It was a treat to see such clashing cultures twine together to make such capable people.

The characters in Sundial are strongly constructed and very likable. Whitney is really like no other YA heroine you will read about. She knows exactly what she wants from life before the CIA gets their hands on her and she is determined to have no less. She is confident, capable, and far from the often self-destructive example we see in today's YA books. If you are a parent, and want a good read for your teen where the heroine isn't completely self-centered, whiny, and out-of-control, I would highly recommend Sundial. Don't get me wrong, I love YA fiction so much, and enjoy the racier books immensely,, but I am also an adult and understand how to separate fiction from fact. Let's be honest here, a good majority of YA fiction features teen girls ready to give up their lives, futures, and even families to be with some hot, sparkly, Emo vamp. While this is all fine well and good in a fictional world, it sends a bad message to impressionable teens who have yet to figure out what a real, healthy relationship entails. Sure, we all have to make sacrifices for the ones we love at one point or another, and it is pretty romantic to think someone loves you so much they would sacrifice everything for little old you. However, when you love someone, you don't expect them to give up everything they love and value just so they can be yours. This is where Sundial gets it right. Whitney and Reid's relationship revolves around their mutual attraction for each other of course, but also contains a respect and intelligence that teen relationships often lack. The authors offer a healthy and realistic example of what teens should expect out dating. 

As for pacing, the book begins out slow and doesn't quite get to the action until the last third,, however once I got to the action, I understood exactly why. The authors are setting up Whitney's world and getting the reader familiar with the characters, how they think, and the way the interact with each other. This is the first book in a series, and like any other first, needs to take the time to set up the world and its characters.My only real complaint about this book was that things seem almost too easy and what I mean by this is that Whitney and Reid seem to always have the answers. Things almost always go without a hitch and that irked me a bit. I understand these people are psychics and can see what is going to happen and all, but everything can't go perfectly all the time. At some point, something has to go wrong. Obviously this wasn't a big enough problem to keep me from enjoying Sundial, but I do look forward to things not always falling perfectly together in book two.

I was approached by the authors to read and review Sundial. I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to be a reviewer for such a neat book. The authors had this to say about their debut novel, "We have tried to show girls in a positive and capable light and to give a boost to kids who feel socially isolated because of a food allergy through an exciting mainstream adventure." Well, with that being said, Fruzzetti and Pearsall succeed in this endeavor brilliantly. I recommend Sundial to all of you YA lovers and to teens looking for something that has both supernatural excitement and substance.

Don't miss the new book trailer here!
For more information please visit The Official Sundial Website

October 23, 2011

WW Read-a-Thon Final Wrap Up

WWRATThis Read-a-Thon has been seriously amazing and I am pretty happy with the progress I made. I got to meet some amazing bloggers and wonderfully wicked readers! Here is how I did!
  • Total Pages Read: 856
  • Books completed: 2.25
  • Tweets: 100+
  • Challenges entered: 4
  • Partial Completes: 30% of A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
I think I did pretty well for my first Read-a-Thon! My goal was 3 books, and I came fairly close so I am happy. Hopefully I can find some other great RATs to participate in soon. 

    October 22, 2011

    WW Read-a-Thon Saturday Wrap Up

    Today was a great day for reading and I actually finished one of my challenge books! 1 Down 2 to go! here are my accomplishments for the day:
    • Completed Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh 352 pages
    • Participated in the Guess the Character Challenge
    • Participated in the Let's Talk Horror Challenge
    • Read 40% of Dreaming of Beauty by Kristen White 138 pages
    • Pages: 540
    • 1.25 books completed
    • 3 challenges entered
    • Countless tweets lol
    Books Completed So Far:


    October 21, 2011

    WW Read-a-Thon Friday Wrap Up

    I think it's about time for me to wrap it up for the day. I have to work early tomorrow morning so I need to get my booty into bed! I still plan to read, but I figured I would post about what I have accomplished today as of 10:00p.m. PST.
    • Finished reading Sundial by C.F. Fruzzetti (begun before RAT) 50 pages
    • Began Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh
    • Reached page 140 of 352 of Archangel's Consort
    • Entered Title Sentence Challenge
    • 190 pages
    • .25 books completed
    • 1 challenge entered
    I did ok today, but I also had a busy day on the side. my hubby and I went to the pumpkin patch, got lost in the corn maze, and got us some sweet pumpkins! I also had to go get my group's tickets for Thunder From Down Under today! Woot woot! It's going to be amazing! Anyways, hope all my wicked readers had a great day! Don't forget you can find my twitter updates here @WickedlyBookish and if you are participating please use the hashtag #WWReadathon while tweeting! 

    WW Read-a-Thon: Title Challenge!

    The Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon also has some cool challenges to participate in. This one in particular is a neat idea! You need to put together a sentence only using the titles of books. You cannot add or subtract words from a title to fit, they all just need to fit together to form a complete sentence. This challenge is hosted over at Lovely Lit Here's my entry:

     A clash of kings claimed the darkest pleasure one grave at a time.

    Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon!

    Today is the day! The first day of the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon! If you would like to join in, sign ups will still be open until midnight on Saturday. There will be challenges and prizes to win so come join us! I'm going to be starting out this event by finishing up Sundial by C.F. Fruzzetti. My reading list for after that looks like this, but could change depending on my mood. Click on the links to see the book's Goodreads page!\\

    Wonderfully Wicked Reading List
    Dreaming of Beauty by Kristen White
    Voyager (Outlander #3)  by Diana Gabaldon
    Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter #3) by Nalini Singh
    Shadowfever (Fever #5) by Karen Marie Monning
    A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

    And there you have it! I don't think I will get through them all, but I would like to complete 3 at least. I'll be doing a wrap up post at the end of each day and posting my progress on twitter using the hash tag #WWReadathon

    October 17, 2011

    I'm Baaaack!

    For those of you who have noticed my absence lately, I apologize.Things have been a little crazy around Chez Wicked and I've had a difficult time getting things together to continue posting. I will spare you all the details as I'm sure you've heard it all, but, let me assure you, I have something fun planned for this weekend.

    I will be participating in the normal memes this week and offering up a couple of new reviews, however the 21st - 23rd are really what I'm excited about!. 

    Yes that's right! Wickedly Bookish will be participating in the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon! Being this blog's first Read-a-Thon, it may not be quite as fancy as people are used to, but it will be fun and that's what is important! This Read-a-Thon is being hosted over at My Shelf Confessions so if you are interested in participating, whether you have a blog or not, head on over and sign up!  

    What is a read-a-thon you ask? Well my wicked readers it is a space of time, in this case 3 days, in which we put aside all other distractions and read as much as possible to achieve our reading goals and/or challenges. The year is coming to a close and it's time to really push to achieve those goals we set at the beginning of the year. Of course we can't just sit and read for 72 hours straight, all of us have responsibilities to take care of. The point here is to minimize distractions where we can to optimize our reading potential! The guilty parties in my house tend to be video games, school, and my hubby. 

    My goal this year was to read 100 books and I am at 82! Only 18 more books to go! I'm hoping to get a couple of those completed for the read-a-thon. I will be updating frequently throughout each day on my progress and hope that you will all cheer me on and share your own progress as well!

    October 1, 2011

    Book Review; Highland Hero

    Highland Hero
    Amanda Scott
    Scottish Knights #2
    Historical Romance, Highlander Romance
    Rating 4

    Sir Ivor Mackintosh, known as Hawk, is summoned by His Grace the King of Scotts to secretly escort his son Jamie  to safety from the greedy Duke of Albany. Little does he know that Jamie's nursemaid is actually the young prince's cousin Marsi, a ward of the crown fleeing from the prospect of a forced marriage.

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I have been looking for a long time for a series that gave me a similar feeling to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and Highland Hero fit the bill. Now I'm not saying this is anywhere near as epic as Outlander however, it was very fun and had a similar adventurous feel to it. The author really did her homework when she put this book together. The settings and cultural feel authentic; readers who appreciate history will be sucked right in. It does drag on a bit towards the middle while they are making their way to Saint Andrews, but picks up again right in time for the closing chapters. The only real complaint I have is that the constant use of Scottish Colloquialism is very distracting and slows down the pace at times giving the speech an unnatural feel for American readers. I can't imagine what it must have been like to write "I ken fine!" and "In troth!" a few hundred times while putting this book together.

    I would recommend this for Highlander Romance fans, history lovers, and anyone who wants a romantic adventure. The characters are very lovable especially young Jamie and scrappy Marsi. Ivor kind of fell flat for me as a hero, but then again I also like my love scenes a bit juicier than the ones provided in this book.