Friday, October 28, 2011

Feature and Giveaway: Goddess of Vengeance by Jackie Collins

Title: Goddess of Vengeance

Author: Jackie Collins
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: St.Martin's Press

Earlier this year I was fortunate to read and review Jackie Collins' last book, Poor Little Bitch Girl. I was tinkled pink because I absolutely LOVED her when I was a young teen. I spent many a hour at my library, waiting for my mother to pick me up, nose deep in a torrid story by Ms. Collins. Did my mother know? I tried hard for her not to find out.

Though I am much older now and my tastes in reading have evolved, I still have a warm spot for anything Jackie Collins. She has a knack for dishing out the dirt of the rich and famous. I am still a fan of the trashy tabloid shows and the even trashier entertainment magazines. Can't help it. I get a kick out of it. (Although the Kardashians make my skin crawl! Do NOT care about what they are doing!) So reading a full length novel of the same kind of dirt is just fun.

I am thrilled to be able to give away a copy of Jackie's newest novel, another book featuring the sassy, beautiful, brilliant Lucky Santangelo. Lucky is one of her most popular characters, first featured in two of her very early novels, Chances and Lucky. A miniseries was also created around her as well in the late 1980s. Though this books centers a bit more on her two grown children, Max and Bobby, it still holds all the power and personality of Lucky.

Here is a description from the author's website:

LUCKY SANTANGELO IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCEin a novel full of power, passion, revenge, and the raging family dynamics of the Santangelo clan…

Lucky runs a high profile casino and hotel complex, The Keys in Vegas. Lennie, her ex-movie star husband, is still writing and directing successful independent movies, while Max, her stubborn and gorgeous teenage daughter is about to celebrate her 18th birthday, and her son, Bobby, owns a string of hot clubs. Lucky has everything. Family. Love. Life.

And everything is exactly what billionaire businessman Armand Jordan is determined to take from her one way or the other.

Born a Prince in the small but affluent Middle Eastern country of Akramshar, Armand comes to America with his American mother at an early age, and rises to become a real estate business titan. Armand regards women as nothing more than breeding mares or sexual playthings, so when his people inform him that the one property he covets more than anything, The Keys, is not for sale, he is shocked. That a mere woman would dare to turn down his offer to buy The Keys is unthinkable, and Armand vows to force Lucky’s hand whatever it takes. And so the battle for power begins…

Meanwhile Bobby is dealing with shady Russian investors, while his girlfriend – smart and independent Denver Jones, is becoming a Deputy D.A. in the L.A. drug unit.

And Max, Bobby’s seventeen-year-old sister, is busy embarking on a forbidden affair with a sexy young movie star. An affair they have to keep on the down-low lest Lucky finds out.

The word is that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and what happens in Goddess of Vengeance will blow your mind!

You don't have to read her other novels to get a kick out of this one. It might help to read Chances and Lucky to get a feel for where her character comes from but it's not the end of the world if you don't. If you want fun, fast, furious, hot, scandalous action, read this. It won't disppoint. It might not be for everyone. It can get raunchy. I probably wouldn't recommend a teenager read it like I did but we all all adults here, right? HAVE FUN! Kick back with a cold one and enjoy some good old saucy reading.

Contest Rules:
Runs from October 28-November 4
* Please be a follower of my blog.
* Please reside in the United States
* Please leave an email address.
* Please let me know if you have read Jackie Collins before.

Thanks to Ann-Marie Nieves from Get Red PR for sending me an extra copy of give away!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Help! I'm in a slump!


I have tried my darndest to get into a book these days but...darnit, i just can't do it. So I need your help out there. Here are the books that I have started for my mystery challenge and for the life of me, I can't seem to get passed 40 pages on any of them.

Have any of you read these?

Do I move along on any of them?

Or do they all just stink?

Or is it just me?


So Cold the River by Michael Kortya

Before I go to Sleep by S. J Watson

Half Past Dawn by Richard Doetsch

Trespasser by Paul Doiron

These are the letters of the alphabet I have NOT read yet for my challenge. Two books that are really starting to be good, Lethal by Sandra Brown and The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner. But guess what? I've already completed those letters.

Grr Arrgh. My challenge is haunting me!!!

What to do fellow bloggers? What to do....

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey (Guest Review)

Title: The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes

Author: Marcus Sakey

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Format: Review Copy

Michelle's Two Cents:

I am a big fan of Marcus Sakey so when the opportunity came up to take a peak at his latest thriller, I said yes. However, I had already read The Amateurs by him for my Mystery Challenge. Not that I didn't or don't want to read this one, I really wanted to focus on reading different authors for my challenge before the year was up. That is where my good friend and fellow mystery lover, Cheryl, came in. I knew she would like him a lot so I asked if she would be willing to give it a shot and review. Luckily she said yes!!! So here you have it folks, Cheryl is back ready to tell us what she thought of this new thriller.

Description from book jacket:

A Man wakes naked and cold, half-drowned on an abandoned beach.

The only sign of life for miles is an empty BMW. Inside the expensive car he finds clothes that fit perfectly, shoes for his tattered feet, a Rolex, and an auto registration in the name of Daniel Hayes, resident of Malibu, California.

None of it is familiar.

How did he get here? Who is he? Who was he? While he searches for answers, the world searches for him-beginning with the cops that kick in the door of his dingy motel with guns drawn. Lost and alone, the man who might be Daniel Hayes flees into the night.

All he remembers is a woman's face, so he sets off for the only place he might find her. The fantasy of her becomes his home, his world, his hope. And maybe, just maybe, the way back to himself.

But that raises the most chilling questions of all: What will he find when he gets there?

Cheryl's review:

When Michelle asked me to review this book, I had no idea it was about one of my favorite premises-

someone with amnesia on the run.

LIke See Jane Run by Joy Fielding and Masquerade by Gail Lynds, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes grips you from the beginning. I can't imagine what it would be like to awaken in a desperate situation without any idea of who you are.

After waking on the beach, the man who thinks himself to be Daniel Hayes goes on a desperate quest to find out who he really is and why he found himself not in Malibu but on a beach in Maine. He goes to a hotel room and somehow knows to turn on a television show where he is drawn to the main character, Emily Sweet. But how and why?

Without knowing who he is, he doesn't know who to trust. The police are after him, but so are others for reasons he does not know. Bit by bit, pieces of his memory return but as they do, more

questions are raised about who he is and what happened. Upon his return to California, he finds some things are in his memory-such as what route to take through Malibu - yet his complete life remains out of his grasp.

Is he really Daniel Hayes? Who is Emily Sweet and why does he obsess about her? And what happened to make him drive across the country? Most of all, what tragedy caused him to lose his memory in the first place?

Sakey weaves a good thriller. Though there were a few things I figured out before they happened, it mostly kept me guessing the whole time and the end had twists I did not see coming.

His writing style is similar to Harlan Coben and though he's not quite as refined as Coben, he will be.

He keeps the pace fast and when a question is answered, he continually adds unexpected layers to the story and characters to keep the story moving. I read the book in only a few days and it made me want to read his other books.

Thanks Cheryl!

Author Website:

Marcus Sakey

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, October 21, 2011

Featured Book (2 and 3): The Meaning of Matthew by Judy Shepard and Shine by Lauren Myracle

Publisher (Hudson Street Press) ISBN (978-1-59463-157-6) Price ($25.95)

About the Books:

While I had hoped to do full reviews of both of these books, I knew I would run out of time this month. I wanted them both featured in the month of October since it is National Bullying Prevention Month. Believe me when I say both of these books are extraordinary. I have started both of them and I rarely read two books at once. I could not decide between the two.

For those of you who do not know the story behind these books and how they are tied in, I will clue you in. Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy, wrote the above memoir about her son after he was killed after a brutal hate crime attack on October 12, 1998. She shares his story, her story and how his death brought to light the reality of hate crimes.

Shine by Lauren Myracle is a new novel with a very similar story to what had happened to Matthew. She was nominated for a National Book Award and it turned out to be a mistake on the Board's part. Her book was mixed up with another. Myracle kindly withdrew herself from the list with no drama but was pleased that the Book Award Board made a generous donation of $5000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Publisher (Abrams) ISBN (978-0-8109-8417-2) Price ($16.95) Genre (Young Adult)

Why I wanted to read these books:

It's no surprise to most in my life how strongly I feel against hateful feelings towards gay people. Hate crimes tick me off. I think it needs to be talked about more and more. I think people who bully and teach hate should face some justice. I feel we should teach our children compassion for others, no matter if they are different than us or not.
If I could donate a million dollars to Matthew Shepard's Foundation, I would.
If only it could erase hate. It will never go away but I believe awareness and education
are the beginning.
These stories, one true, one fiction, need to be told.

You can read more about the National Book Award story and
Matthew Shepard's Foundation here.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (review#139)

Title: Wonderstruck

Author: Brian Selznick
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Copy obtained at Midwest Booksellers Association Trade Show from the wonderful folks at Scholastic!

I am making another exception to my review rule by reviewing this wonderful Young Adult novel. No, it doesn't fall under my Top 3 Genres I love to read and have dedicated to reviewing on this blog but it is one of my favorite young adult authors. I was very fortunate to obtain an ARC of this at BEA this year. I was also fortunate again to receive a finished copy at MIBA just last month. I am sharing one of my copies with my good friend, Dawn and we are heading to seem Mr. Selznick speak at a local Barnes and Noble on Monday, October 17. I can not wait!

If you have not heard of him or his wonderful novels, check out his website. His novel The Invetion of Hugo Cabret has been made into a movie and looks amazing! The trailer is below if you are curious. I am sure someone will snap up Wonderstruck. If done well, I am sure it would make a marvelous movie. It is certainly a marvelous book!

Here is a description from the publisher's website:
Ben's story takes place in 1977. Rose's story takes place in 1927. Ever since his mother died, Ben feels lost. At home with her father, Rose feels alone. When Ben finds a mysterious clue hidden in his mother's room, and when a tempting opportunity presents itself to Rose, both children risk everything to find what's missing.

You really feel you are holding a literary gem when you hold one of his books. His illustrations are exquisite and so detailed. The illustrations alone tell such a powerful story. Ben's story is told in words. Rose's story is told in pictures. They eventually come together in the end. I am amazed at each page. The story is a simple one, with sweet characters, New York City, museums and a mystery to solve. I read the book in three days because I was racing to the end to discover the fate of young Ben. I smiled as I turned the last page and wandered back in my mind to being a child, curious and hopeful.

Rating: 6/6
I give this my top rating. Putting "genre labeling" aside, it is simply an exquisite piece of literary work. Selznick's gift of just pure, simple storytelling comes through, laced through with his extraordinary illustrations. You almost feel as if you are seated in a movie theater seeing a silent movie. Your attention is so focused to the little things, no noises to distract you, yet you are bounced back and forth between reading the words and capturing the power of a picture. Trust me. Read it. You'll understand. I'm just a bumbling idiot when it comes to his work. i just love it so! Hopefully I will be able to hold it in when I meet him tomorrow. :)

Publisher Website:

Movie Trailer:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fragile by Lisa Unger (review #138)

Title: Fragile

Author: Lisa Unger
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Crown
Format: Library Loan

I discovered Lisa Unger many years ago during my bookselling days. I received an ARC of Beautiful Lies, one of her first books. I could not put it down! I found her to be a fresh, exciting, sharp, thrilling new voice in the thriller genre. It had the perfect blend of psychological thriller and mystery that I like.

One of her latest novels, Fragile, was shelved in the Fiction section at my last bookstore instead of Mystery, like her others. Perhaps this was a marketing tactic to change up her audience or perhaps the publisher felt it was more of a novel than a thriller. I found it be similar to her others. It had the psychological thriller piece matched with the whodunnit of two missing girl cases.

Here is a brief description from Goodreads:

Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case—and also dangerous.

Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene’s disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community years ago when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.

“I know how a moment can spiral out of control,” Jones says to a shocked Maggie as he searches Rick’s room for incriminating evidence. “How the consequences of one careless action can cost you everything.”

As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret—one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community’s intricate yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, How well do I know the people I love? and How far would I go to protect them?

I really enjoyed the small town everyone- knows -everyone drama. It added to the tension of the book. All the characters seemed relatively believable to me, having come from a small town myself. The only flaw was that there was a bit too many story lines going on for me. Unger did a pretty good job weaving them together in the end. I still felt that some of the threads were too detailed and she could have wrapped it up a little bit better with some of the characters.

I was surprised with how it all turned out, which is a plus for me. I don't like figuring it all out before it ends. The ending gives you the sense that there is more story to be told, which is where the Darkness, my old Friend comes in. I wasn't aware there was a follow up until I investigated the author's website. Jones Cooper, the lead detective in Fragile, continues his story in Darkness...
Perhaps I will get to that next year in my challenge. :)

Rating: 5/6
Though I liked Beautiful Lies better than Fragile, I still think Lisa Unger is an author to read. I think she handles the twists of a psychological thriller quite well. Her characters get in your head and you want to figure them out. You want to uncover all of the secrets and get to the nitty gritty of the crime. If you are fans of Lisa Scottoline or Tana French, you may like Lisa Unger's books. I would say she may be a good middle ground between the two.

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Remembering Matthew Shepard

We all must live with compassion for others.

This is what we must teach our children.

Put your fears aside and be kind to one another.

Thank you.

red headed book child

The Ladies' Book club: October 2011

Book Read:

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Ladies in Attendance:
4 regular members
1 new member

Treats shared:
Pita Chips
French Bread
Spinach Dip
Pumpkin Scones
Sugar Cookies
Pumpkin Wine
White Wine
Apples with Caramel, Chocolate and Nuts to dip

To Read or Not to Read:
1 read it all, 2 read over 3/4 of it, 2 did not read it

My Reaction:
I had received this book as a potential review a few months ago and opted not to review it because I didn't think it would be something I'd like. I gave it to my friend Amanda who LOVES anything Zombie related and she really liked it. She likes to pick the book for the spooky month so it was her choice to read it for October. Overall, even though it was not really in the genre that I enjoy reading, I thought it was different enough to keep my interest. I wouldn't categorize it as horror or thriller. It was more of a straight forward novel that just happened to have a zombie as the main character.
It was fairly simple and easy to read. "R" was the zombie who was discovering he was not like the others. He was starting to feel things, and yearning to be different. He falls in love with one of the Living, a girl named Julie. He is a sweet, sometimes sad, hopeful and honest in his quest to figure himself out and essentially, get the girl. Aside from that storytline, you have the world surrounding them in shambles. The dead taking over the living, apocalypse everywhere. I just pictured the movie 28 Days Later, but fluffier! I'm glad I read it. I had about 30 pages left when I got to book club last night and I plan on finishing it today.

Description from Author's Website:

R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Ladies' Reaction:
The Lady that picked it really, really liked it. She thought it was a straight forward social commentary on the life of zombies. Though parts did not match up to the zombie lore that she knew, it was still a twist on seeing zombies in a different light. Those that read it felt that "R", the Zombie had a lot more going on than the Living characters, especially Julie, the girl he falls for. Her character did not seem to evolve much throughout the book. This was an interesting contrast. As a reader you expect the Zombies to be lacking and the Living to have more depth. In this twist, it was quite the opposite. I have not read many other Zombie books but those that have, say it is quite different and worth reading.

Good Book Club Pick?
Our group was a bit smaller this time around, which happens this time of year but overall, the group of us that read it found it to be a different, unique read. We all agreed we needed something a little different and this was a good choice to shake it up!

Next Book Up:
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child