Before I begin with my post let me say CONGRATS to Chirstina Collins. Miss Beautiful drew your name and you’ve won your choice of TWO Kristan Higgins books. Please e-mail me at novelreads at gmail dot com with your choice of books and the address to send them!
Mary Alice Brannigan doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Nor does she expect to find that Dreamland, the decaying amusement park she’s been hired to restore, is a prison for the five Untouchables, the most powerful demons in the history of the world. Plus, there’s a guy she’s falling hard for, and there’s something about him that’s not quite right.
But rocky romances and demented demons aren’t the only problems in Dreamland: Mab’s also coping with a crooked politician, a supernatural raven, a secret government agency, an inexperienced sorceress, an unsettling inheritance, and some mind-boggling revelations from her past. As her personal demons wreck her newfound relationship and real demons wreck the park, Mab faces down immortal evil and discovers what everybody who’s ever been to an amusement park knows: The end of the ride is always the wildest.
This isn’t going to be a typical review (in fact, it’s not going to really be a review at all), and if you’ve read this blog you’ll know it’s because that’s not how I roll (if I ever get my FAQ’s up and running I’ll explain that). So let me start by saying I’m a HUGE Crusie fan. BET ME brought me back to reading after a long hiatus and I’ll always, always love her for that. Yep, she’s just one of the authors that I totally crush on. So, when Crusie joined forces with Mayer it was a no brainer that their books would be first on a TBB list. I loved their first release Don’t Look Down and I fell even harder for Agnes and the Hitman. I think I’ve read AATH almost as many times as I’ve read Bet Me and I’ve loaned it out just as many. Hell, my father-in-law is now hooked on not only Mayer but Crusie because of me. At first, he was a bit embarrassed to check out Crusie books from the library, and figured he could he would just say it’s for me, but at 75 years of age, he decided he could read anything he damn well pleased and the librarians could judge all they wanted. So, again, you get it right? Fan Girl alert coming right up.
I knew going into the book that this was not going to be the typical Crusie/Mayer, just like going into DLD I knew it would not be a typical Crusie, and that was just fine with me. Seriously, my favorite tag team doing Paranormal? SQUEE! And I was right, this wasn’t the type of book we normally see from the two partners–it was better.
Dreamland Amusement Park is actually a holding place for the five Untouchables- demons that cannot be killed only contained. The Untouchables are kept in chalices, locked away in certain rides or attractions throughout the park. The Untouchables are kept in these chalices by the Guardia. Five people chosen and given special gifts to capture and hold the Untouchables as they escape.
Mab has been brought back to her home town by her uncle to restore the park and get it ready for the big Halloween event. Mab hated living near Dreamland as a child. Never allowed to go, she was part of the Batty Brannigan family, her mother always picketing the park and trying to get it shut down. Mab loses herself in her work. Never fitting in as a child has left her with no desire to connect with people. Two weeks left on the job and she’s out of there.
Ethan has returned to his home at Dreamland after a bullet lodges itself near his heart and cannot be removed without killing him. It’s only a matter of time, of course, before the bullet does move and penetrate his heart, but until then he has come home to drink away his sorrows and wait for death.
But when the demons start to escape and the old Guardia begin to die, new Guardia must be chosen and it’s suddenly up to Ethan and Mab to bring them together and defeat the Untouchables before they break free of their chalices and destroy the human race. But, it’s not just the demons Ethan and Mab have to deal with, a secret government agency has been staking out the park and Ethan and Mab will either find a way to bring them to their side or get rid of them.
When the Guardia are betrayed all hell breaks loose, not only are the demons going to get out, but Mab and Ethan find themselves fighting personal demons that will either bring them all together or tear them all apart.
WILD RIDE delivers exactly what the title promises, a fast paced page turner. And while this book is not the typical book readers of Crusie and Mayer have come to expect, it still has all the traits that this reader has come to love–family, wit, action, and an ending that left me smiling and hungry for more from two of my favorite authors. You can read the prequel to Wild Ride – Wild Night by clicking here.
And so, since I was a bad, bad reader and bought WILD RIDE before the actual release date of today, and I still want to do my part in the whole first week or two of sales I am going to give away a copy of the book. That’s right, one lucky reader will have the chance to win a copy of WILD RIDE. Winners choice of Hardcover or eBook. Already own it? That’s okay, you can give it as a gift and share the love.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. You can earn extra entries by spreading the word. FaceBook, Yahoo! Groups, your own blog, MySpace, Twitter, you name it, just let me know where you’ve posted and for each place you do, you name will be thrown in the hat. You can also friend me Novel Reads on FaceBook and let me know it’s because you wanted an extra entry and I’ll make sure that is counted as well.
Now, go forth and enter, you have until Saturday, March 20 to enter.
Don’t forget to also enter for a chance to win a Hardcover Copy of Angelology by Danielle Trussoni while you’re here. Click on the Current Contest link at the top for the details.
Whew! Spring Break starts tomorrow for the kiddos and between Parent/Teacher Conferences, finishing up the Spring Fundraiser, and all the other things I’ve had on my plate, I’m flat wore out! Both kiddos did great this semester. Bear started State Assessment testing and the Reading part is complete. He scored Exceeds Expectations, but this was not enough for him! NO! The boy wanted Exemplary. We’ve explained that getting the Exceeds is awesome, not only for a dyslexic kid reading on a computer screen and then answering questions but for anyone! Plus, he was only 4 points from Exemplary, but still not good enough for him. Miss Beautiful was all “A’s” and a top reading level. I’m so proud of those two. Now, if we could just get the bullies to leave Bear alone, I think we’d be completely happy with their school experience this year! In fact, the bullying is starting to get out of hand. His markers have been stolen, along will all of his pencils and a kid took his ruler and bent it until it was no longer usable. Sigh. We’ll be stocking him up with new school supplies for this last 9 weeks. Anyone have tips to help us help him deal with bullies? Anyway, you didn’t come here to read all about my kiddos, did ya?
The winner of the Kristan Higgins books will be drawn by Miss Beautiful tomorrow morning and I will post as soon as we get that done. Thanks to all of you for entering! But today, I have a new contest to run. Thanks to Viking/Penguin, one lucky winner will receive a free copy of Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. This book is excellent, and a review will be posted tomorrow. In the meantime, check out my Author Promotion page and read and excerpt.
Ways to Enter:
Leave me a comment here telling me you want to win.
Read the Excerpt and tell why you’d like to continue reading.
Spread the word. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, your personal blog, GoodReads, or Shelfari. Get the word out and for everyone that stops by to enter and says you sent them, you’ll get extra entries.
Every one of the above will get you an entry to the contest. The more you do, the more chances you have to win. The winner will receive the book direct from the publisher. Many thanks to Viking/Penguin and Danielle Trussoni for this great contest!
Take Care and Good Luck!
Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss
Annie and Eve are life-long friends who have absolutely nothing in common-except a lack of skill in the kitchen. So when they sign up for a cooking class at the local gourmet shop, they figure the only things at risk are a few innocent fruits and vegetables. But when murder spices up the stew, they find out just how dangerous good food can be…
Cooking and love. Too bad Annie Capshaw stinks at both. Once she almost burnt the house down–boiling a pot of water. And a year ago, her husband ran off with the dry cleaner. Since then, Annie’s put love on the back burner and leftover Chinese takeout on the front. Until her bubbly best friend Eve signs them both up for cooking lessons.
On the first night, Annie and Eve see their fellow student Beyla arguing with a man–a man who later turns up dead in the parking lot. Now, with the police bungling the investigation and Beyla acting more suspicious every day, the friends feel bound to uncover whatever secrets she’s hiding before someone else’s goose, perhaps one of their own, gets cooked.
Sorry there is no clickable link on the author’s name. I couldn’t find where Bliss has a website, and that almost stopped me from typing up this post. I wonder, why, in this day and age does an author not have a website? It kinda makes me nervous that I’ve started a new to me series, and maybe, just maybe the author isn’t writing anymore? Anyone have any idea? Anyway…
Annie Capshaw has been divorced for a year now, but it’s the little things that keep popping up, such as the fact she has no potholders, that keep reminding her of the hurt and betrayal all over again. An organized and logical bank teller, Annie just can’t quite figure out how her ex-husband Peter could have been so cruel in leaving her. When her best friend Eve comes over one night and smells something metallic in the air only to discover that Annie has once again burned boiling water, Eve announces that she has enrolled them in a ten day cooking class. Eve figures it’s time for Annie to get back out there and try new things and this class seems just the way to do it.
Although Annie has no desire to take the class, she nevertheless shops for the supplies and heads to class with Eve. But when they get there and are almost ran over by a rather large and angry man and the owner of the store the class is being held at is nervous Annie’s nerves aren’t so much about cooking as they are so much about the weird behavior of those involved. When Eve forgets her watch, a gift from a current boyfriend who she has a lunch date with the next day, the women head back to the school to retrieve it. In the parking lot, they overhear Beyla, an exotic beauty from class arguing and threatening the same large man that had rushed out the door nearly knocking them over before class. When they come back form retrieving the watch and find the man dying in the parking lot.
At first, the death seems to be nothing more than a heart attack. Unfortunately, the police woman that shows up is now the significant other of Tyler, the only man that ever broke Eve’s heart, the ladies fudge the truth of the encounter and the few words spoken with the now dead man. When Tyler shows up at cooking class the next day, and informs the class that the man did not simply die of a heart attack but was murdered, then proceeds to tell Eve and Annie they are now lying to him just so Eve can make Tyler look like a fool, the ladies set out to prove, once and for all that they are not liars and they are every bit, if no so much more, smarter than the man that broke Eve’s heart.
But being an amateur detective isn’t nearly as easy as they first thought, and soon the women find themselves in way over their heads. Exploding stoves, poisoned tomato sauce, and threatening letters soon have the women rushing against the clock to find the killer and save their own hides.
With an extremely good looking cooking instructor making Annie feel something she hasn’t felt in a long time and an ever growing list of questions, Annie and Eve have their work cut out for them, in this wonderful first book of the Cooking Class Mystery series.
In my search for more cozy mysteries to read, I came across this series during a B&N search. I loved the cover, it’s something about these cartoon covers that I just can’t resist, and decided I must give it a go. I am ever so glad I did, and the next book, Murder on the Menu is already in my shopping cart waiting for the next order to go in. Bliss has a way of writing quirky and lovable characters, fast paced dialogue and a mystery with twists and turns that has the reader guessing from start to finish. Cooking is a great addition to any cozy mystery fans library and may even cause a few new readers to the cozy mystery to be hooked as well.
Don’t forget to enter this weeks contest, ending March 10. Just click the Current contest link at the top of the page.
Her story spans the ages, across centuries and continents. Her powers are immortal, her struggles eternal, her battles legendary. She is the vampire warrior Cin Craven, and this is her story–a breathtaking saga of blood, magic, and desire that is bound to live forever…
As the Civil War rages among mortal men, Cin Craven is locked in an epic battle of her own—fighting the renegade vampires whose unquenchable appetites she knows all too well. At her side are the immortal warriors of The Righteous- among them her husband, her lover, her soul-mate Michael. With a passion bordering on possession, Cin’s love for Michael knows no bounds. But when a ruthless plantation owner kidnaps Cin’s cousin the most terrifying battle of all awaits. Cin is drawn to the irresistible lure of dark magic to stop their enemies, while Michael staunchly opposes it- putting their love and loyalty to the ultimate test.
I know I complain a lot about not having a book store in town but it’s just so infuriating, not just because I can’t get some of the books I want faster, but also because I find that when I actually make it to a book store and am browsing around I find some really great reads. The first book in this series, Wages of Sin was one such book I found by browsing a book store. The cover drew my attention and so did the fact that it was a new author. I didn’t read the BCC, I just grabbed and am so very glad I did.
Cin Craven is a witch turned vampire. But Cin isn’t just any witch, she is one of the Macgregor witches, a long and proud line of very gifted witches. In order to save herself and the ones left in her life she loves, Cin must give up her mortal life and become vampire. However, Cin doesn’t just become any vampire, she becomes the Red Witch of the Righteous. The Righteous are a small group of vampires, before Cin joined them there were only three. Devlin and his wife Justine and Michael. They are the boogeymen of the boogeymen. Whenever vampires get out of hand The Righteous deal out justice and keep them in line.
Fifty years has passed since Cin became a vampire. After a summoning spell returns Cin to her old home Ravenworth, Cin finds that the last ties she had to her mortal life are gone. All but the children of her dearest friends remain. Cin had been expecting this day to come she just had no idea it would hurt so bad. But she was summoned to Ravenworth for a reason. Her cousin, the current Macgregor witch needs her. It seems that Claire, Cin’s cousin has been abducted. The mother does not know exactly why only the who and the fact that he seemed mighty interested in an urn that had been given to Claire.
Claire has been taken to America, somewhere in Savannah, Georgia where the Civil War is in full force. What Cin and Michael find when they arrive is that the man, Adrien Boucher, who has taken Claire is an evil man. He knows what is in that urn and he wants it so that he can win the war for the South. So out to Devil’s Island Cin and Michael head. The island has on it a large plantation. One that Boucher married to procure and one that he cannot maintain. The island is also heavily dosed in Black Magic. Cin is no stranger to Black Magic, ever since drinking from a user of those arts she has had it in herself. She fights constantly to keep it at bay, but this island, and one slave Pandora, in particular, calls to that magic hidden deep within her and she fears she may never survive the struggle to keep it hidden.
When Boucher refuses to let them take Claire, Michael and Cin buy the island, which has been heavily mortgaged and kick Boucher out. But Pandora, heavily into the dark arts, is loyal to Boucher, and though she does not leave with him, can they trust that she will not harm Claire in his absence? Also, to Cin’s great horror, she realizes she is now the not so proud owner of slaves, and simply setting them free will not be an option that helps anyone.
Bound is a fast paced story, filled with struggles, both internal and external that threaten to tear Cin and the life she has come to love apart at the seams. Maclaine has built a world so incredibly rich and real with people a reader can route for. The struggles they face are common in the most pleasantly uncommon of ways and the way they face them will have readers on the edge of their seats with bated breath.
Vampires, witches, and gods, Oh My! Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookseller and pick up a copy today!
Bound by Sin is the third novel in the Cin Craven series, and while it stands alone just fine, trust me, if you haven’t yet read the other two you are missing out and once you read Bound, you’ll be rushing to get your hands on them.
Lucy Lang isn’t looking for fireworks…
She’s looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who’ll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbeque, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important… someone who won’t inspire the slightest stirring in her heart…or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can’t risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn’t enough either. So it’s goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate “friend with privileges” and hello to a man she can marry.
Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn’t going anywhere. As far as he’s concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?
I have, numerous times over, confessed my complete and utter fan girl status as far as Higgins is concerned. I LOVE her books. I mean, if I ever, ever get caught some place where I can only take one book (oh the horror!), you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be a Higgins. It was Millie in Fools Rush In that started my love of the newfound author and that sort of love is lasting. So, today as I stared at my already read when the hell are you going to talk about me books and became overwhelmed, I went to Facebook (talk about procrastinator Heaven!) and saw that Higgins posted this little bit – “Oh, happy day! Too Good To Be True is #2 on the Barnes & Noble best-selling e-books, and Just One of the Guys is #10!” and I realized I never did talk about tnbt and that is just wrong. I don’t even have my copy here at the house, I’ve loaned it out to my sister, but I could not believe I was lax in posting about this wonderful book! My sister got a nook for Valentine’s Day as did a few friends (and no, that’s not a little jealousy you read here, that’s a LOT of jealousy!) and then when asked for recommendations, this book was my first one quickly followed by Just One of the Guys. So you get it, right? That I’m total fan girl and that this post is nothing more than a great big gush of gooey fan girl love for Higgins?
The BCC does, as most of Higgins do, a great job at describing the book inside the pages. What we miss here though is that Ethan is not just a “friend with benefits” he is also Lucy’s brother in law. There is what would seem a curse on Lucy’s family and every woman, her mother included seems to lose her husband, the love of their lives, very early on. Lucy was no exception, and when she lost her Jimmy, her life was shattered (I can so totally see that, too, I mean if anything ever happened to The Hubs, I would be a complete mess, for all of eternity).
As a trained pastry chef, Lucy now works in her families bakery, only she’s not the head of pastry, she’s the head of bread. While it’s still work baking, she feels stifled that she’s not making the decadent desserts she was trained for. It’s not like she can actually do anything about it either, considering she works with her mother and aunts, The Black Widows and they have far more stock in the Bakery than she. Her late husband was also in the business of cooking, he was a chef at his family restaurant a place Lucy still supplies with bread.
When Lucy’s younger sister has a baby though, Lucy decides it’s time to move on. She wants to get married again. Have kids of her own. She just doesn’t want to love the guy too much. She doesn’t want him to do anything dangerous, like jump off cliffs or ride a motorcycle. She doesn’t want him to be too funny, too kind, or too charming. She just wants him to be a normal if not a tad dull man that can give her a decent life. In other words, she wants him to be the exact opposite of Ethan, her former brother-in-law turned friend with benefits. In an effort to find said man, she tells Ethan they need to stop sleeping together. Only when things start to change with the friendship and Ethan starts hanging around a woman Lucy cannot stand Lucy starts missing Ethan more than she ever realized possible.
But Lucy can’t be with Ethan. Loving him and losing him, like was bound to happen, would be the final nail in her coffin. She would never overcome that loss, and she’s not entirely sure she’d ever be able to put Jimmy in the past enough to give Ethan everything he deserves.
the next best thing was so much more than I could have hoped for. I never thought it possible that Chastity and Trevor’s story could be matched, but Higgins has once again outdone herself. Filled with heart, heart break, family, loss and love, Higgins shows women of all ages yet again, that life, love and happiness have to be gained from within before we can truly appreciate them.
To truly smile with your whole heart and fall in love all over again, grab a book by Higgins, you will not be disappointed. And, since I’ve been in a giving kind of mood lately, I’m going to run yet another contest. This one for two of Higgins books. If you already have them all then, if you’re the winner, just choose two books by Kristan’s fellow Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills pals, and I’ll send those to you.
Ways to Enter:
* Comment here or on my blogger post letting me know you’d like to enter and why you’d love to read one of Higgins books.
* “Friend” me on Facebook and make sure I know you want to have an entry in the contest.
* “Friend” Kristan Higgins on Facebook and then let me know you’ve done it.
* Spread the word so that I can spread the word about Higgins and the wonderfulness that is her work and let me know where you posted. Each different place will earn you an entry.
It’s as simple as that. The contest will run through March 10, one week from today.
I’m the type of reader that reads across the board, I love YA, Paranormal, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Historical, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, you name it, and I’ll read it. I may not read it fast, and I may be known to set it aside and read something else, especially if I find it hard to get into, but I’m a Reader, as almost everyone that visits this blog is, and I’ll always, almost always find my way back to the book and finish it.
My love of reading proclamation out of the way though, let me make it clear that I am a Reader of the genre fiction variety. I’ll read the occasional memoir, self-help book, or literary masterpiece (aka, whatever Oprah thinks is good), but my reading tends to be all genre fiction. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. BUT, I hate the genre labels. There are far too many out there and it’s tough to keep up.
When a book has a genre label attached, I find my expectations are different for the book and I tend to compare that author’s work with that of other authors, but not just any authors, my crème de la crème authors. The ones that write books I can’t put down and read a million times over simply because I love them. This is a habit that I cannot—for the life of me—overcome. It can be stifling to the TBR pile and it can—and I’m sure, has—leave me out in the cold when it comes to finding new authors. It’s also left me with the question of whether or not I’m the only one who does this, so I thought that I’d do a series of posts, using different genres, and pose a few questions and share some of my expectations and comparisons.
Paranormal: I use this term loosely, because as far as I’m concerned, if the book has anything to do with “other”, regardless of how it is portrayed, I call it Paranormal. It may, in fact, be Urban Fantasy or Sci-Fi, I still stick it with the label Paranormal. My first (well, since I started reading again, I used to read a lot Stephen King and Anne Rice) foray into the Para genre was Laurell K. Hamilton. What an introduction huh? Since I soon became bored with her work, I went on to discover, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kim Harrison, Richelle Mead, Gerry Bartlett, Jenna Maclaine the list goes on and on.
Expectations: There will be vampires, witches, weres, mediums, psychics, mythology, angels, demons, something, that is not within societal norms. The protagonist will be strong, both mentally and physically by the end. They don’t necessarily have to start out strong, but they must find a hidden strength or talent that pushes them to do or become something they would never have dreamed of before.
What I Love: I think the thing that keeps me coming back to the Paranormal genre is that other-worldly fantasy. The thought that these different creatures not only exist but co-exist with us and could possibly live in our very neighborhood. The ultimate fight of good versus evil. The idea that an average, every day person finds within themselves or their bloodlines, something that they never knew existed and that struggle to make it all work.
I also very much so, enjoy the erotic feel to many of the books. The sexual connection that is made between the two characters. This is just a side perk to what is normally a very, very well crafted story, but I love it nonetheless. It isn’t a necessity, and I certainly don’t like it when it’s there simply to fill pages (I’ll get to that bit in a second).
What I Hate: I absolutely cannot stand some of the sex for the sake of sex in these books. It’s not just the Paranormal genre this is a problem in, but it sure seems to be a big issue with this genre. I don’t want your forced seduction scenes because your hero is big alpha male that’s had sex with millions of girls and knows what the woman wants better than she does. I don’t want your sex acts that cannot, under any circumstances happen with your average every day human gal, no matter how experienced and limber her partner may be. You cheapen your writing and the genre with these types of scenes and it just absolutely infuriates me.
I don’t want long drawn out self dialogue about some internal conflict your protagonist is having because she may or may not be moral in being or being with one of these “others.” Show me but, for the love of all that is holy, STOP telling me. Fancy prose is okay, but you darn well better move it along. I’m tired of reading twelve pages about the sparkly essence that is your characters sex floating around their head as they perform a magical act. That isn’t to say excessive sex turns me off (hehehe) a book either, there are quite a few books that the sex is a major plot device and when used in that manner and one that makes sense, I don’t mind at all.
In the same way I don’t need sex to make the book enjoyable, I don’t need your blood, gore and violence explicitly laid before me unless it relates to the story and makes a difference. The violence needs to have meaning, it needs to move the story forward—either by taking your protag back a few steps to ultimately move them forward—and not in there simply for the shock factor. You can show me violence but if you’re going to go into graphic detail, there damn well better be a reason.
Where Expectations Bite Me On The Ass: Or the author, take your pick. I’ve named a few favorite authors up there and the problem I find anymore in the Paranormal/UF genres is the comparison factor. Let’s face it, this is a booming genre, and has been for some time. This is a good and bad thing for readers. Good because it guarantees we’ll continue to get new books bad because there are too many books out there and not all of them good. It seems that for a while and possibly still, publishers were in such a hurry to capitalize on the booming genre that they’ve put out an overload of books, and quite frankly, a lot of them are crap.
Now, what I may consider crap, though, is some one elses gold and that’s where I screw myself with comparisons. For instance, if I would pick up a book that is about witches, from page one I would be comparing it to Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan, another series I’ve been with since book one and absolutely adore. In the first couple of chapters this comparison is either going to dissolve away and I’ll be in a new world or the book will fall miserably short. But, every so often, a book will sneak past my preconceived notions and find it’s way to my keeper shelf, such as Jenna Maclaine’s Cin Craven novels and Linda Robertson’s Circle books.
The books that ultimately do make it past my preconceived notions do so because one of a few things happens: Great cover. Great BCC. Fabulous on-line promotion where the book is highly recommended from bloggers I trust. Or even a book gets sent to me to be reviewed and more than once, this has happened and the author gained further sales form me because I bought up their back list.
I’m curious though. Do you have preconceived notions about the Paranormal Genre. Does it hold you back or enable you to more freely explore? If you’re an author what sort of thought do you give some of the things I’ve discussed when writing?
I’ll continue my discussion on genre in a few days with Cozy Mysteries as my target.
WINNER ANNOUNCED: Beverly G
Please e-mail me at novelreads at gmail dot com so that I can get the books sent to you ASAP.
Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But, when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it’s Lucy’s turn to stop up and help out — in the name of love. Plus, her rent is due.
Here’s the problem: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing wedding ring–on a dead body–she asks the sexy private eye who lives upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…
* This post may include what some would consider spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Sorry for the spoiler alert, and in truth, there may be no true “spoilers” in this post, but just in case, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Lucy Valentine comes from a long line of matchmakers. Like the BCC says, her family believes that they have been given a gift by none other than Cupid himself, and they can see the auras of others and this allows them to match people with their true love. However, it seems that Cupid didn’t give the gift free of charge, no not at all, it was accompanied by a curse as well, and for generations, no Valentine has been able to sustain a loving relationship with those of the opposite sex. When her father, the current head of Valentine, Inc. is caught, quite literally, with his pants down with a mistress on the beach when he has a heart attack, her parents decide that it would be best for him to step down for a while and for them both to get out of town while the media circus dies down.
Lucy is a bit reluctant to take charge though, but since she long ago decided not to use her trust fund or accept any financial help from her family, she really has no choice. She’s between jobs and she’s behind on her rent (she rents from her grandmother, who would never throw her out, but it still bothers her that she’s behind). So it is with crazy nerves that she steps in and begins her first day on the job at Valentine, Inc. Thank goodness Suzannah, her father’s secretary and all around office manager, is there to help get her going, because Lucy is sure if it weren’t for the other woman’s help that the business would surly go up in flames.
But matchmaking isn’t the only thing happening on Lucy’s first day. A little boy has gone missing and with the cold winter temps it is very critical he be found before too long. Lucy’s upset that her “gift” at finding lost objects can’t help the boy – or can it?
When Lucy meets with a client that her dad has not yet seen, therefore has no aura color swatch to help guide her, she listens to his story of why he hasn’t found anyone since losing his long ago girlfriend and first love, Jennifer, the story tugs at her heart and she decides that she will try and find Jennifer and maybe, just maybe once she finds out the true story of long ago events, she will be willing to meet back with Lucy’s client. But when saying goodbye to her new client Lucy shakes his hand, she immediately sees the engagement ring that he had given her – it’s on the ring of a skeleton, buried in a shallow grave. Lucy immediately knows that this is going to be way over her head, and decides to enlist the help of the P.I. that rents the office space above Valentine, Inc. Only when she arrives, she finds out he’s gone and his brother, ex-fire fighter Sean is helping out. What’s worse, is that when Lucy shakes his hand, she doesn’t get an image of what he’s lost, but an image of the two of them – in bed together. Is Lucy seeing the future or simply going crazy? Will she and Sean be able to figure out why the engagement ring is on that of a dead girl and will Lucy be able to keep her secret safe from Sean and the world at large?
truly, madly was a mixed bag for me. I loved the author’s voice. I loved how the book was filled with humor and quirky dialogue. The characters were real for me and the mystery was great. I enjoyed getting to know Lucy and her eccentric family – those related and those not.
That said, I really didn’t enjoy the way Sean and Lucy come together. The attraction seemed forced to me. Yes, I understand that she had this totally erotic vision of the two of them together but – they had just met and BAM they are talking trust. Trust to me is something earned and not to be given lightly. I also didn’t enjoy the sexual nature and relationship-esque manner in which Sean and Lucy spoke to one another. I simply didn’t buy any of it. Maybe I’m just a cynic but I simply did not like the relationship between the two. I also couldn’t seem to get over wanting to throw the book against the wall whenever Lucy cites the family “curse” as a reason not to get involved with some one. We get it, your family thinks they are cursed.
Aside from that, I enjoyed the book. It’s a fast read with tons of humor, a great cast of characters, and a mystery that had me guessing to the end. And WHOA, what an ending, I was blindsided with it and that is one of the best things about the book. I can only hope that the next book answers a few questions for me, such as why the hell did Lucy “see” the future when shaking Sean’s hand, but never with anyone else. I will definitely continue to follow this series, as Webber left me wanting more of the quirky Valentine’s.
Heather Webber is also a Cozy Chick, so don’t forget my contest and this could be one of the books you choose! Since Miss Beautiful was very sick this week and I haven’t had a chance to blog very much, I’m extending the contest until Monday.