January Challenge Reviews
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Only signed up challengers are eligible to win
Prize for January: Two (2) winners will receive a paperback copy of Until the End of Forever by Shannon Hart. You must post the link to your review in the Mister Linky below. This can be to your blog, GoodReads page, or other sources such as Amazon.
The two winners this month are Kim from Photohappy 2011 and Wendi from A Bundle of Contradictions. Congrats ladies!
Marta Acosta wrote a terrific series that joins chick lit and vampires, the Casa Dracula series. The fourth and final installment, Haunted Honeymoon, gave a well deserved ending to heroine Milagro de los Santos. Readers first met Milagro when she was a simple human, but after meeting and falling for Oswald Grant, Milagro has blended seamlessly into the vampire world with vampiristic capabilities and being the only human to survive infection. After the engagement between Milagro and Oswald ends, Milagro begins dating the Dark Lord- Ian Ducharme- but catches him noshing on the blonde next door. Milagro finds vampire activist Wil and engages in a small affair with him, but Wil is murdered- and someone set up Milagro to take the blame. Wanted for possible murder and unable to solicit any help from Ian, Milagro must make some difficult decisions to keep herself- and the vampire clan- happy again.
Overall, I loved this Casa Dracula series. Milagro is the perfect heroine, feisty, funny, independent, but also a little misguided at times. The new romance between her and Ian was exciting to read about in Haunted Honeymoon¸ and there were just enough twists in the plot along the way to keep me guessing how the ending would work out. I think readers will appreciate how Acosta closes the series, and will make them a bit sad that we might not hear from our friend Milagro anymore. I would love to know what happens to her in the future!
See my review for other books in this series:
Now that 2010 is almost officially over, I decided I just had to make a list of my favorite books of the year. As I looked at my Excel spreadsheet that listed the 121 titles that I read during the past year, I got a little overwhelmed at picking my Favorites. Luckily, I realized that I had made this task a bit easier on myself by adding a Favorites section on my blog. That helped narrow down my choices, but it was still difficult coming up with my Favorite 10 of 2010. Here are the books I chose (in no particular order).
Go Small or Go Home by Heather Wardell- 4.5 stars
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff- 4 stars
Waxed by Robert Rave- 5 stars
Hook Line and Sink Him by Jackie Pilossoph- 4.5 stars
Good Things by Mia King- 4.5 stars
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella- 4.5 stars
Reunion by JL Penn- 5 stars
On Folly Beach by Karen White- 5 stars
Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson- 5 stars
Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley Rowley – 5 stars
Reese Witherspoon is making it official. People.com confirmed that the actress is engaged to boyfriend of one year, Jim Toth. Witherspoon, 34, and Toth, 40, began dating last January and grew serious fast. Toth has met and bonded with Witherspoon’s children, Ava, 11, and Deacon, 7. This will be the second marriage for Witherspoon, who divorced from actor Ryan Phillippe in 2006 after seven years of marriage. Toth works as an agent for the Creative Arts Agency in Los Angeles, and Witherspoon can currently be seen in the romantic comedy How Do You Know.
Photo Credit: White/Splash News Online
Sir Elton John is now a father! The music icon, 62, and husband David Furnish, 48, welcomed a son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John via a surrogate on December 25th. The baby was born in California and weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Usmagazine.com was the first to break the news, and released this statement from the couple: “We are overwhelmed with happiness and joy at this very special moment. Zachary is healthy and doing really well, and we are very proud and happy parents.”
This is the first child for the couple, who married in 2005 after 12 years together.
Photo Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Sounds like Natalie Portman had a good holiday season! People.com has confirmed that the Black Swan actress is not only engaged to choreographer Benjamin Millepied, but it also with child. This will be the first child for the couple, who first met on the set of Black Swan. Portman, 29, is due in 2011. No other details were given.
Photo Credit: INF
Milagro de los Santos is in for challenge. Now engaged to the undead Oswald Grant, Milagro has the task of planning the vampire nuptials. She hits a wall when she wants to stand firm on some of her American traditions, and the vampire counsel doesn’t take kindly to her requests. They also want her to move out from the house she shares with Oswald, and she has to deal with her smarmy wedding planner from hell on top of that. Milagro starts to think someone is sabotaging her wedding after she is involved in a suspicious car accident, her wedding rings goes missing, and more wedding details go awry. Could it be her deceptive wedding planner? The vampire counsel? Or could someone else- or thing- be behind all the mayhem?
Marta Acosta keeps the funny going in the third novel from the Casa Dracula series. The ending through me for a surprise, but an enjoyable one, and I think chick lit fans will keep loving the world Acosta has built. The Grant family now seems like my own family, and I enjoy watching their lives grow alongside Milagro’s and Oswald’s. If you haven’t picked up the first Casa Dracula novel yet, I would highly recommend buying the whole series- you won’t regret it!
See my review for other books in this series:
In My Mailbox: Week of December 26th
Title: These Things Hidden
Received: From Judy Zuklie with BookTrib.com
Synopsis: Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night…and failed. The consequence? Five years in prison. Now she’s free. But secrets have a way of keeping you caged…When Allison is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces the whispered rumours every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn – shy, quiet Brynn – who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her. But then Allison is released, and is more determined than ever to speak with her sister. Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.
Author: Sylvia Massara
Received: From Sylvia Massara
Synopsis: Sarah Jamison is on a mission to find a boyfriend for her lover’s partner; and Sarah’s best friend comes to the rescue with an idea so crazy that it just might work. Enter the enigmatic Mike Connor. Sarah hates the man on sight, but her body tells her otherwise. Mike Connor is smug and full of himself; even so, Sarah thinks that with his help she can finally be with the love of her life.
Author: Nancy Volkers
Received: From Nancy Volkers
Synopsis: Cassie Wrentham goes to Scotland and has her heart broken. She is cynical enough to close the door on true love, but hopeful enough not to lock it. Instead she escapes, to an island off the west coast, where she meets someone who could change her life… if she’d only allow it. Does she? And who is this life-changing person, anyway? Are there dragons? Fairy godmothers? Chocolate cake? What about happily ever after?
Who saw this coming? At age 84, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is engaged. The ladies man, known to have multiple girlfriends, proposed to just one lucky lady, Playmate girlfriend Crystal Harris, 24, on Christmas Eve. Hef announced the news on Twitter: “After the movie tonight, Crystal & I exchanged gifts. I gave Crystal a ring. A truly memorable Christmas Eve. When I gave Crystal the ring, she burst into tears. This is the happiest Christmas weekend in memory.” He later clarified: “Yes, the ring I gave Crystal is an engagement ring. I didn’t mean to make a mystery out of it. A very merry Christmas to all.”
This will be the third marriage for Hef, the first for Harris. No wedding date was announced.
Photo Credit: David Gebber/PR Photos
Bio: Marta is from the San Francisco Bay Area and has degrees in English & American Lit and Creative Writing. Before becoming a published author, Marta worked for non-profits and a theater company, and loved to read books and talk about them. She then became a frequent contributor of home, gardening, and style columns and features for newspapers and magazines. Marta now has published novels under her own name, and also under the name of Grace Coopersmith. She also runs the successful blog Vampire Wire.
Titles: Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, Midnight Brunch, The Bride of Casa Dracula, and Haunted Honeymoon.
I have reviewed: Happy Hour at Casa Dracula- 4 stars
Bio Retrieved from martaacosta.com