If Wishing Made it So by Lucy Finn

Just Finished:
Synopsis: Once voted the girl most-likely-to-succeed, Hildy Caldwell is now the one in the biggest rut. She has let her world get very small: a tiny cottage in rural Pennsylvania, two cats, and a ho-hum job. As for love? Nobody has ever measured up to her football hero high school sweetheart. If only she could meet him again . . .

Knowing that’s wishful thinking, Hildy splurges on a summer rental on Long Beach Island, one of the Jersey shore’s prettiest spots. There, she hopes the wind might blow a handsome man her way. Instead, she finds an abandoned bottle-with a two-thousand-year-old, meddlesome genie inside! Magic and mayhem follow, along with what Hildy’s been wishing for: a meeting with the man she has never stopped loving.

With the genie’s help, Hildy’s dreams might come true. But spells and enchantment have a dark and dangerous side. And Hildy could lose everything-unless she finds out that true love is the best kind of magic.

My Thoughts: Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for two kinds of stories: The unrequited love story, or the reacquainted love story. In this one, two high school sweethearts are reacquainted after ten years time.

Hildy’s character was likeable. She had remained in the small town where she grew up in order to take care of her dying mother. Even after her mother passed away, she remained in that small town teaching English to high school kids. For the most part, I thought she was well-written and I enjoyed her exploits.

It was rather convenient the way Mike entered the picture. Mike was the high school boyfriend that Hildy never got over and she hadn’t seen him in the ten years since they graduated. Then while vacationing on the Jersey shore, who should she meet up with again but Mike? Mike’s character, I didn’t really invest in. Not really. I guess he was likeable enough, there was just something missing. That being said, I still enjoyed Hildy and Mike’s relationship. The whole past relationship thing probably just made me more forgiving.

***Spoilers***
A few things bugged me about this story, which really took away from the likeability of it. First, Mike was already engaged to somebody else. His whole “I love you ~~ wait, no I don’t” wishy-washiness with Hildy and his fiancé really bugged me. The other thing? Hildy was a virgin who always wanted her first time to be with Mike. So, conveniently, it was. But then Mike’s whole wishy-washiness came back again. Let me summarize: “I never stopped loving you ~ wait, maybe I did. Okay, I might still love you, but I might still marry my fiancé instead. Wait, I might want to marry you now.” Blah, blah, blah.
***End Spoilers***

The gist of story was Mike and Hildy, but there were some great side characters as well:
1) Tony G is the genie that Hildy inherits by accident. For a two-thousand-year-old warrior, he’s pretty savvy to current fashions. Hildy soon has a closet full of top designer fashions, hair that grows longer within mere seconds, and a genie that can change her appearance with a flick of his gold genie dust.

2) Corrine is the stereotypical protective older sister, but that just made her character more likeable to me. I really enjoyed reading the interactions between the two sisters and really enjoyed their relationship.

Verdict: All in all, the story was Good. I finished it and it kept me entertained, which is really all I care about. Not a keeper, but still worth the time it took to read.

The Forever Summer by Suzanne MacPherson

Just Finished:
Synopsis: The Awful Truth about Emily Ruth

Lucas Griffin has come to Port Gamble for one purpose: to get the Griffin family summer home out of the clutches of his evil ex-wife, Emily Ruth Griffin.

But before he can blink twice, she drops dead in the local grocery market. Now he’s stuck with her ghost, and her little dog, too.

Not-So-Dearly Departed Lila Abbott has had her fill of rich summer people who crowd Port Gamble every year. Townie girls and summer boys just don’t mix, and she’s learned that the hard way.

But Lucas Griffin has a ghost problem that only Lila can solve, and she finds herself knee-deep in Cheez Whiz while Lucas and the deceased Emily Ruth duke it out.

Working together to clear his name and get rid of their pesky poltergeist, Lucas and Lila find themselves falling in love. Maybe this will finally be the forever summer for Lila Abbott.

My Thoughts:Hmm. Well, I honestly don’t know what to say about this book. I really wanted to like it ~ and I guess I must have on some level because I finished it. But, I expected more of a story. Especially since there were so many facets that should have been appealing ~ paranormal, murder mystery, opposites attracting, working class girl falling for the rich summer guy, etc, etc.

I liked Lila, and I liked Lucas. I’m just not sure I liked them together. I just didn’t feel it. Well, technically I guess I maybe felt it in the very beginning. And then again when they first do “the deed”. That was fun. And Chapter 16. I liked the end of Chapter 16. But any other time? No. Not really. And the ILY seemed to come out of right field. I don’t feel like I ever really get to know the characters, so maybe that’s why. I don’t know.

The story seemed to have a lot of holes in it for me. The storyline seemed choppy. And then there were a few misspelled words that the editor should have caught, but didn’t. That threw me a bit.

The side characters didn’t really add much to the story either. Except maybe Bonnie, Lila’s best friend. I liked her, or at least I would have if she’d been around more. But I wasn’t invested in the rest of them.

The whole whodunit part of the story was easy to figure out. I had that one pegged from the get-go. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m usually pretty good at figuring that out. And I’m not big on mysteries anyway (says the girl who starts a book by reading the final chapter).

Verdict: I guess I’d rate it Okay. Again, I did finish it and normally if I completely dislike a book I don’t bother. So I must have liked something about it on some level. I just don’t know what it is.

Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Just Finished:

Synopsis: Sin, an ancient Sumerian god, was one of the most powerful among his pantheon—until the night Artemis robbed him of his godhood and left him one step from death…

For millennia, the ex-god turned Dark-Hunter Sin has sought to regain his powers and take revenge on Artemis. But now he has bigger fish—or in this case, demons—to fry. The lethal gallu that were buried by his pantheon are stirring, and they are hungry for human flesh. Their goal: To destroy mankind. Sin is the only one who can stop them…if a certain woman doesn’t kill him first.

Enemies have always made strange bedfellows, but never more so than when the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Now a man who only knows betrayal must trust the one person most likely to hand him to the demons. Artemis may have stolen his godhood, but this one has stolen his heart. The only question is: Will she keep it…or feed it to those who want him dead?

My Thoughts: Finally. Sherrilyn Kenyon has finally written another great Dark-Hunter novel. I say finally because I was sorely disappointed in the last two and thought maybe I was just over the whole paranormal, Dark-Hunter phase. I bought Devil May Cry out of habit because I own all of the dark-hunter novels, so decided to give it a try and just see what happens. I’m glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised.

I enjoyed the instant spark between Katra and Sin (SK really does have a gift at this, when she does it right). And there’s conflict right away. Katra is the daughter of his enemy, Artemis, the woman who stripped him of his powers. Or did she?

I’ve loved Katra since Kiss of the Night (Wulf and Cassie’s story) and was hoping she’d get her own story at some point. What troubled me were Kat’s flashbacks to her childhood and showing Artemis in an almost loving, maternal light. No, no, no, no, no. Artemis is the bitch-goddess. I really hope SK wasn’t trying to soften my viewpoint as the reader and then lambaste me by making Artemis Ash’s heroine!!! She wouldn’t be that cruel.

Back to Sin and Katra. Hot, yes. But, quite frankly it seems like SK uses the same sex scenes over and over and over again. They all do the same thing. They all get hot over the same thing, or something remotely similar. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Still, I like this one. Very much. Lots of Simi is always a good thing. I hope the next one is just as good.

Verdict: This was Very Good. I cannot wait until Acheron is released later this year. And since it’s Ash’s story, I have hopes that it will be excellent. Stay tuned.

Magic and Mayhem by Sylvia Day & Cathryn Fox

Just Finished:

Why I Read It: Because I’ve wanted to read something by Sylvia Day for awhile now and thought this short story would be a great introduction. It sounded cute.

Synopsis (from HarperCollins.com): An innovative ebook featuring two intertwined stories:

Magic: When good witch Brianna James uses her magic and writes a sexy, forbidden love spell on her thirty-first birthday, on the thirty-first day of October during a full moon, and conjures up on roguish, bad boy warlock, she has no idea that she’ll experience a passion so deep and so intense it would forever turn her good girl days into bad girl nights. But, when that spell lands in the wrong hands, be prepared for a little mayhem…

Mayhem: When Abigail Garvey steps into Conjure, the local magic shop, all she’s looking for are a few props to round out her fortune teller Halloween costume. Abby isn’t looking for a love spell that turns her drop-dead gorgeous, but long-oblivious neighbor into an aggressive alpha sex machine.. Sure his single-minded pursuit (and follow-through!) is the stuff her wickedest fantasies are made of, but how much of it is the real deal? And how much of it is just a little magical mayhem?

My Thoughts:

Magic by Cathryn Fox
This one just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was because it was only 32 pages. Maybe it’s because of who Brianna’s true love turned out to be. I’m not sure. This one was Disappointing, but won’t stop me from trying another Cathryn Fox book in the future.

Mayhem by Sylvia Day
Loved it! Abby and Shane had sparks right from the beginning and the story just kept getting better and better. Again, this one was under 40 pages, but for a short story, it was Very Good.

Verdict: This was Okay. It had one Disappointing story and one Very Good one. I definitely will be reading more of Sylvia Day in the future.

New Moon

Just Finished:

Why I Read It: I read Twilight last week and immediately became hooked by the series.

My Thoughts: This book continues from where Twilight left off. In New Moon, we’re reintroduced to Bella and her relationship with the Cullen family, vampires who are determined not to kill humans. Unfortunately, the Cullens did not appear in this sequel too much, due to an incident towards the beginning of the book that causes them to break ties with Bella.

This story is more of the growth of the friendship between Jacob and Bella ~ and of Bella having to learn to live her life without the Cullens around. This book does seem a lot darker to me ~ Bella’s depression is deep and she’s seemed to have lost her willingness to live. It’s almost as if she has an uncaring attitude whether she lives or dies. Maybe she doesn’t want to die, but she sure doesn’t want to get up in the morning, either.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Jacob and Bella. They have fun together, including quite a few mischievous adventures that are probably best left unknown to Bella’s father, Charlie. That being said, I still missed Edward and longed for him to reappear every time I turned the page. Unfortunately (or fortunately??), he reappeared towards the end of the book, along with the rest of the Cullen family.

I’d say this is a Very Good read. Usually follow-up books are disappointing to their predecessors, and this is no exception ~ but it’s still good. I think the character development is excellent and I cannot wait for this story to continue. I’m looking forward to reading Eclipse and seeing what happens next.

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes

Just Finished:

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Why I Read It: The story sounded like something I’d enjoy ~ I’d first heard of it from Rosie, but a good friend just finished it and had also really liked it. Plus, well, I just love Jennie Crusie.

From the Back Cover: You’re invited to spend the weekend with three extraordinary sisters…

When she was sixteen, Dee Fortune kidnapped her two younger sisters and ran from danger. Now twenty-nine, she’s still trying to control her shape-shifting power—no easy task when Danny James shows up one Friday morning with his deadly smile and dangerous questions about the past.

Lizzie is determined to save her family from financial ruin by turning straw into gold; now if she could only stop turning forks into bunnies. Then Elric, a sorcerer, appears one Friday—annoyed with the chaos Lizzie is creating in the universe and in his heart. . . .

The youngest Miss Fortune, Mare, towers above her sisters but her telekinetic power is dwarfed by their gifts. She spends her days at Value Video!! and her nights contemplating the futility of her existence. But then a gorgeous Value Video!! VP and Mare’s long lost love turn up. . .and they all turn up the heat on a weekend that no Fortune will soon forget!

My Thoughts: Well, I did like it ~ I really did. But….the song “Hello, I Love You Won’t You Tell Me Your Name?” kept going through my head while I was reading it. It felt rushed. The book was over 400 pages so it shouldn’t have, but it did. I felt the ILY came too soon and that there was more of a story to tell. There didn’t seem to be any angst or conflict ~ just a resolution. A good story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Well, with this one there was a beginning and an end. It seemed the sisters barely met their true loves, and suddenly there was ILY and marriage proposals all over the place. And I’m wondering to myself, “Okay, what did I miss?”

That being said, it did keep my interest. Those of you who still visit know of the problems I’ve had connecting to any book this year ~ so that in and of itself is a good enough reason to hold on to this one. I’d say this is a Good Read. The characters were likeable and I enjoyed my time in their world. It’s kind of like eating dessert without coffee ~ it’s still good, it’s just missing something.

The Pleasure Slave

Just Finished:

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Why I Read It: The story sounded like something I’d enjoy ~ a little reminiscent of SK’s Fantasy Lover. Plus I hadn’t read a Gena Showalter before and always like to try new-to-me authors.

From the Back Cover: When Santa Fe antique dealer Julie Anderson was curiously drawn to purchase a battered jewelry box, she never expected it to contain her own personal love slave. Especially not tall, dark and sinfully handsome Tristan-a man hard to resist, and determined to fulfill her every desire.

Though Tristan was a rogue of the battlefield and the boudoir, making love with Julia was like nothing he’d ever known. Yet revealing his true heart would break the centuries-old spell and separate them forever. And Tristan would do anything to go on loving Julia. . .even remain a slave through all eternity. . .

My Thoughts: The minute I started reading this story, I got sucked in. Tristan, proud warrior from another planet, was the unfortunate object of affection for Zirra, a Druin. Because Tristan did not return her affections, she did the worst possible thing she could do to warrior ~ turn him into a slave. But her intention was to keep him as her personal sex slave, which did not happen. Once it was discovered what Zirra did, the box that now contained Tristan was thrown into space and he became a slave for thousands of years.

In present day Santa Fe, NM, Julia Anderson is at an antique show when she is drawn to a small box. The box is old and the jewels have all come off of it ~ so for an antique dealer like Julia, the flaws should have been enough for her to stay away from it. But, instead, she buys it at an inflated price due to a bidding war with her competitor. Once she gets the box home and opens it, the fun starts.

Tristan seems to push all of Julia’s buttons from the minute he appears from the box. He teases her ~ which was fun and a lot of times humorous, but on the flip side I found it a little odd since he was supposed to be her slave.

Julia has issues ~ namely self-esteem issues that date back to one unfortunate incident in high school (which, when I read about it ~ I almost felt like I was reading about “Never Been Kissed”). This incident has scarred her enough to where she doesn’t date, and doesn’t know how to act with men. She decides to ask Tristan to help her ~ to teach her how to date men, namely her neighbor Peter. Of course, while Tristan is teaching her about seduction he is secretly (or not so secretly) trying to seduce her.

I liked this story. I thought it was fun and had a lot of great moments. I’d say this is a Good read and I definitely want to read more Gena Showalter in the future.