Category Archives: Luv/Hate Reviews

Reviews you love to hate

Must Love Vampires – 2 out of 5

Must Love Vampires

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Nightclub dancer Chloe Lamoureaux just met the man of her dreams: Aidan Raines is charming, considerate, rich, and hot. Of course, he’s a little mysterious about his age. And his favourite drink. And he’s not much for sunlight. But he’s asked her to marry him, and she’s ready to do it. Her identical twin sister, Chuck, isn’t so sure. Maybe being a tabloid reporter has skewed her judgment, but to Chuck, Aidan and his brother Sebastian look like honest-to-Dracula vampires. Especially Sebastian: beguiling, seductive, and just a hint of dangerous. Maybe she wouldn’t mind him taking a little taste. But with Chloe’s life in the balance, she has to know – do they want hot love or hot blood? Or maybe…a little of both?

Review Must Love Vampires – 2 out of 5

If you are looking for a light, easy read then Must Love Vampires is perfect for you. I could not get through the book.  The characters just did not fit my personality. Add a weak plot, and I could not make it to the last page.  On the other hand, Heidi Betts has a huge sense of humor and it showed in her tone, making it a possible selection for those avid romance readers.

For the rest of us fellow plot fiends, here is why I am such a downer on Must Love Vampires.  Within the covers are two short stories that equal one book. Both short stories are tied together by the protagonists, Chloe and Chuck, two twin sisters running around a Las Vegas casino. Even though the stories are separate, the plots amount to the same thing.  A financially distressed, beautiful woman having embarked on a quest for financial stability, meets a wealthy stud in the process. After discovering her mate is a vampire, she freaks out only enough that sex is still an option.  Happy ever after with the possibility of marriage.

So the plot has some potential. However, although I will date a guy solely for looks and material reasons, if he turns out to be a blood sucker I would probably hold off on my wedding plans. At least until I made sure the guy was the next Edward Cullen. Not the next Dracula 2000, a terrible movie by the way.

To make matters worst, Chloe has a child. Does this give me the conflict I crave? No. Chloe just happens to not be the most responsible parent on earth.  It makes sense for her character, but does little to intensify the conflict.

This book is not for those who enjoy true-to-life characters and strong plot. Still, heavy readers of romance should find this to be cute read.

Left amazed and wanting more: The Tears of Elios – 4.5 out of 5

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Shape-shifters’ Rule #1: Don’t let the humans know you still exist.

Rule #2: If a human finds out about you, silence them.

Some rules were meant to be broken…

Ranealya ruthlessly plays by the rules and has outlived most of her race because of it. If she wants to survive, she’ll have to stick to them, especially with a genocidal tyrant hell-bent on destroying all the non-humans in the realm. But everything falls apart when a human saves her life. Gregor knows he’s inviting trouble when he helps a wounded shape-shifter, but he can’t pass up the opportunity to study one before they become extinct. She disturbs the quiet order of his scholarly existence, vexes him in more ways than he can count, and encourages him to break enough of the kingdom’s laws so that not even being the king’s cousin will save his head. The problem is, he’s already lost his heart.

Left amazed and wanting more – 4.5 out of 5

The ending was blah, there were a few grammar problems, but did I care? No way. The Tears of Elios by Crista McHugh was honestly one of the best books I read in a long time. The nonhumans of the world are being hunted to extinction by the King. In retaliation, the nonhumans have formed a resistance. All have chosen a side, but Renealya, a shape-shifter. Being that shape-shifters are the most hated creatures in the realm, she has learned if she wants to survive she can trust no one.

When she is attacked, something happens to make her change her values. Left alone to die in the woods she finds herself saved by the most vile creature she can think of, a human. A handsome, but socially awkward magician named Gregor, his encounter with Renealya sets him on a most unlikely path to saving the magical races from being overpowered by the King.

Honestly, you cannot help, but laugh out loud as you watch Gregor and Renealya’s relationship unfold. The two might be extremely attracted to each other, yet they get on each other’s nerves.

McHugh has this wonderful ability to create engaging characters, and that is what keeps her story going. Somewhere in the middle of the book she forgets her overall plot. If one really thinks about what their reading, they realize the King is a lot of angry emotion and very little action. Few things actually occur in the story to push the resistance into war, but they feel they must fight. And by the end of the book they do. Plot fiends might notice this (yes, I am a plot fiend). Everyone else will simply leave this book amazed and wanting more.

Dinner with Muhammad – 3 out of 5

Dinner with Muhammad

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Marilyn Hickey has traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world for over thirty years. She details how God has allowed her to uniquely conduct public ministry in these countries with amazing results; how she has made friends with Islamic leaders and benefited from their assistance, and how the people of the streets in the Islamic world have responded to preaching and prayer. Islamic leaders who share the author’s desire to bridge the cultural divide speak in their own voice as they share perspectives and opinions.

Review Dinner With Muhammad – 3 out of 5

Reading Dinner With Muhammad was a lot like reading someone’s personal diary. Was it thoroughly engaging? At times.  Miss. Hickey’s personal experiences with Islamic nations are what kept me reading when parts fell. By the end of the book, you feel inspired to go across the street to invite your Muslim neighbors to dinner, apologizing for never having done so before. Having built strong friendships with people of Islamic culture way before reading the book, what Miss. Hickey spoke about, I already knew. Sometimes I felt like her descriptions of Muslim people could not really pertain to Muslim Americans. For example, while in college, I found most Muslim Americans were not impoverished, illiterate, starving or that out of touch with Western culture. After forming a friendship with them, I found religion rarely, if ever, entered the conversation. First or second generation Americans did not want to talk about being a Muslim, they wanted to party and be regular college students.  Even the ones wearing a Hijab. They gave me enough information to ensure I never gave them alcohol or fed them pork on accident. One is left wondering, how do you relate to them? Miss. Hickey also did not talk much about the middle and upper classes in Muslim nations. After reading this book you would almost think they virtually did not exist. However, I feel Miss. Hickey’s overall aim is to motivate Christians to serve Muslim nations’ underprivileged, not go over there and network with the upper classes. Just like reading any other diary, I encountered grammatical mistakes and shifty transitions between past and present tense. When the author used dialogue to enhance past experiences, I read it thinking, “Did they really say it like that?” But hey! You don’t waltz a diary to a professional editor. Besides, because I believe in what Miss. Hickey is doing, I looked past the not-so perfect writing. Miss. Hickey is very good at sharing her passion with others. She has been traveling to Muslim countries to host healing meetings based on Christian principles for 20 years. Her work has changed over thousands of peoples’ lives, and created places where Christians and Muslims can worship together. Miss. Hickey’s Christian nonfiction, Dinner With Muhammad, is unique. It inspires us to see every person as a friend and not an enemy. I recommend this book for those Christians passionate about unity.

3 stars: Never Say Never by Kailin Gow

A lot of hot guys, and only one girl. See the problem?

Never say Never tells the story of Never, one lucky young lady who is the only chick in a rock band. She has established a code that has kept the band together: do not date a guy in the band. Then her sexy college TA, Danny Blue, decides to join the band. Knowing Danny wants to use his mouth for much more than just singing, Never is left hot and wanting. She has to make a choice, stay true for the band’s sake or miss the passion of a life time.

Because Gow’s writing was simple and not bogged with unnecessary description, this was a very quick, and dirty read. One I found myself not able to put down very much.

I liked all the characters because Gow did a very good job making all of them distinguishable. Even though the dialogue was so melodramatic at times, I believed these people were in college. A lot of writers I have read lately seem to forget the difference in mindset between someone attending high school and college. Having the ability to do things on your own without a parent’s watchful eye makes a huge difference in how one perceives things. Our mistakes suddenly become our burdens. All the characters reacted accordingly.

I thought it was a little weird for all of Never’s boy band dudes to be gorgeous, in love with her, and she be totally not interested at all. Not even a minor crush. But soon as Danny walks in the room, she’s hot with fever and ready to go against the code.  Although Danny seemed interesting enough, he would not have made my list of top ten to date. He had to grow on me, but I’m team Kyle. And why not? He’s gorgeous, in love with Never, has known her forever, he can make connections with her mentally Danny can only hope to do because he barely knows her.

Truth be told there are questions I still had by the end of the book. The abrupt ending left me thinking, “Well that was mean. Where’s the rest?” It could have been done smoother. It did not feel like a close, even though I knew another book was going to be written.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed the book. College students and young adult readers will enjoy this story most.  Get it Miss. Gow, you’re on your way to defining a generation.

Kailin Gow is the bestselling author of over 80 books. She has traveled all over the world, conducting research, and collecting stories. Some of the more interesting places she’s been to are: Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania where she was presented with a sketch of Dracula, The Stanley Hotel in Colorado where she saw something quite odd, the lost city of Pompeii where both her cameras were drained of battery, St. Petersburg where she held an hour-long conversation with a Russian soldier who didn’t speak English and she didn’t speak Russian, and the orphanages of Thailand where she distributed toys, books, and hugs to hundreds of disabled orphans.

As a teenager, she was a voracious reader, who always had one or two books with her at all times. She was on her newspaper staff, participated in drama productions, was on the yearbook staff, played sports, competed in kung fu, played violin, and yes, was even on the pep squad at one point.

Her books include the bestselling Gifted Girls Series, The Frost Series, The Phantom Diaries Series, The Stoker Sisters Series, PULSE Vampire Series, Queen B Superheroine, The Wordwick Games Series, The Alchemists Academy, Harold the Kung Fu Kid, and Shy Girls Social Club. Her books have been recommended by PBS Kids, the PTA, US Mental Health Association, homeschooling organizations, and mother-daughter book clubs.

She is also a filmmaker and radio host.  Her short short of The Stoker Sisters recently screened at the prestigious 14th Annual LA Shorts Film Festival, officially accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  She has written for and produced television series with Emmy-award-winning producers and directors.  As a radio host, she was recognized and featured by The Los Angeles Times as a young Asian American Journalist.

She holds a Master’s Degree Communications Management from USC’s Annenberg School of Communication, and Bachelors Degrees in Drama and Social Ecology from UC Irvine. Kailin loves reading, writing, watching old and new movies, filming, playing video games, playing board games, traveling, and location scouting for settings in her books and films.  In her past life, she was a news journalist, talk show host, tour director, and corporate executive.  She is a mother, a mentor for young women, and the founder of the social group for teen and young adult girls called Shy Girls Social Club at where girls can develop positive friendships and skills in the creative field.  Members of Shy Girls Social Club can get a chance to win prizes, scholarships, and internships.

She is an authority on women, youth issues, self-esteem, and leadership and has appeared on over 100 radio shows, television, and top U.S. network affiliates.

You can find her here:



Book club and Group Discussion Questions for All YA titles here:

YA Books from Kailin Gow

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Soul Sisters by Janiera Eldridge

Soul Sisters is an urban fantasy novel about African-American twin sisters Ani and Dana who have a rather unique secret: one sister is human while the other is a vampire. While the sisters have lived peacefully with each other for many years one fateful night will change both their lives forever. When a drunken man tries to attack Dana (the human sister) Ani (the vampire sister) protects her sister with all of her ferocious power.

However, when the vampire’s leader Donovan finds out about the public display he calls for the sisters to be assassinated for disobedience. Ani and Dana now are in for the fight of their lives to protect each other as well as the lives of their dedicated friends who have joined them on their mission for survival. If Dana and Ani can make it through this time of uncertainty, Ani can take her new place as vampire queen. Soul Sisters is expected to be a trilogy; The book also features a multicultural cast of characters that brings a new edge of chic to the vampire world.

Urban Fantasy
Published by Mystic Press
Release Date: August 18th, 2012

Buy Links:
(You can also read an excerpt of the book on Amazon)

About the Author

Janiera enjoys feeding her book addiction when she not writing. She is also a book blogger at Beauty and Books where she mixes being a book nerd with keeping things chic. When not reading or writing she is freelance writing in the entertainment industry. Soul Sisters is her debut novel.


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Wings of Hope by Hilary Peak – 3/5

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The bond of a father and daughter is special. When Jules father asks her to come be stay with him because he’s terminally ill, she goes for the remarkable opportunity to really know her father. She never dreamed he had liberated a concentration camp, dealt cards to Bugsy Siegel or saved the life of a Black Panther. Wings of Hope takes you on a road trip through the memories of a man making peace with his life through his conversations with his daughter. Teaching her that death is sometimes the most heartbreakingly beautiful part of life. Hope is the last gift of a father to his daughter–the power to reach for her dreams.

         Review Wings of Hope – 3 out of 5

Wings of Hope focuses on the main character, Julia, and her growing relationship with her father as he finally reveals his life secrets to her.

A very loving and endearing story, it reads like literary short fiction. If you are not looking for high, intense conflict, but something to touch your heart while keeping you entertained then this is the story for you.

The story starts out strong. We learn Julia is a 27-year-old woman who’s managed to find a nice job even though it is not the one she wants, a good apartment, and even though she is in a relationship with a Mr. Right, he’s the wrong Mr. Right for her.

Even though I do think Julia can be mean and snooty, I find her relatable. She could be your boss, your next door neighbor, the popular girl in high school.  Julia keeps me reading long into the novel. Then I find myself 76 pages into the story. I start to hear less about Julia’s issues and more about her father’s experience with World War II.

At first these anecdotes are quite amusing, but I want conflict. I want to know will Julia break up with Mr. Right Now? Will she pursue her real life career? How are these stories her father tells connected and furthering the story? Are they just stories?  And will Coco the 3 year old English Toy Spaniel be swept back to the shelter because Julia and her father refused to follow policy when first adopting her?

Thankfully these questions all get answered in the story, leaving me content and quite happy. A story that starts strong, becoming slow in the middle picks up enough momentum to keep me engaged till the very end. Good job Miss.  Peak. You are on your way to defining a generation.

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Contemporary Romance Denyse Cohen’s One Hit Wonder – 2.5/5

One Hit Wonder by Denyse Cohen is a lovely story about Audrey (love the name by the way) who ends up out of a job and hating life. That is until she is invited to become the photographer to a sexy man band.

I really liked the main character. She’s funny, sometimes wondering “what the heck am I doing”, and quite engaging.  She was a person I could imagine being friends with. I like reading novels about people I believe could actually exist.

The only flaw is, the male characters of the rock band did not have much depth. I constantly confused them for each other, easily forgetting what they even looked like.

I did not completely finish the novel, stopping near the end due to the male characters’ lack of development. I needed them to be as well rounded as the main character, Audrey. To me, One Hit Wonder is a hit for lovers of contemporary romance. They will find the story endearing, and yearn to take to the dusty roads of Great America after reading this short and endearing tale.

Because I can 2.5 on a blog and not on Goodreads, or B&N, my 2.5 rounds up! At least that is what my teacher taught me.

Go ahead Miss. Denyse Cohen You’re almost there. You just need more time.

Alicia Brewster’s Don’t Call Me Angel 3 out of 5

For all manga and comic book lovers, you will enjoy the beautiful images and the quirky style of writing Don’t Call Me Angel by Alicia Brewster provides.

A story which puts a lens on two fallen angels’ friendship after they escape from Hell, the main character Six quickly learns who her true friends are as the story progresses.

I thought Brewster did a very good job creating strong, likeable characters in the story. Even though Six and Alden’s friendship evolves as the story progresses, I was rooting for the two fallen angels to have a happy ending the whole time. They were both so engaging. Not only this, but it was also nice  to flip a page every once in a while and find a nice surprise for the eyes. I found myself flipping back through the story to look at all the pictures.

Even though I ended up liking the story, it still left me wanting.

Because I did not get a good enough reason for Six and Alden escaping from Hell early on, I wanted to know why should I care? I was searching for the heart. This I found more than halfway through the read. This story became more about learning how to tell your true enemies from your friends. After such a discovery, I wanted a stronger, more intense friendship between Alden and Six.

Once I got to the end, I wanted the information provided in the end to have been provided in the beginning. Everything finally made sense after reading the end. The very last scene was so spectacular, creating the intense rush I have gotten when reading some of my favorite books. After reading it, I looked up to the ceiling and said, “It ends now?”

All in all this was a very good read from an indie writer. Go, Miss. Brewster. You are well on your way to defining a generation.

Reflection by Jessica Roberts: a 3/5 star read any preteen would love

“I still had forty long minutes with Miss Ice and Mister Fire Hands . . . Between the two of them I felt like fried ice cream.”

You want to learn how to write a good metaphor? Read Reflections by Jessica Roberts.

It tells the story of Heather, a methodical and untrusting young woman who is heading off to college.

When a jarring event puts her in a very vulnerable position, she has to learn how to break down her walls and trust.

The writing was poetry.

When Heather is heading to her first class of the day, the college hallway is described as a “fishbowl.” In my mind Heather is instantly morphed into a startled gold fish, unnerved by “the multitude on the outside of the glass.”

Not only did Roberts make good use of literary devices (this author used patterns ladies and gents), she also created strong tension between the character and her environment.

Goodness! Roberts knows how to use words to heighten the mood. Such actions as Heather having her arm touched becomes just as intense as a damsel being chased by thieves.

One of the problems I had with this novel is I disliked the third person to first person POV switches. Because Heather’s voice was not so different from the narrator’s,  I saw no need for them. The writing was strong enough for me to overlook the switches.

Problems I struggled to ignore were the slow pacing and the length of the chapters. A lot of the repetitive descriptions in the chapters could be cut out, making the novel perfect.

Even though Roberts did a very good job painting a realistic hospital environment, I could not get over Heather’s college experience. It seemed so high school to me.

To give Roberts some credit, I went to a university that took up a fourth of an entire town, making my college experience very different from Heather’s.

I give Reflections 3 stars. Readers ages 9 to 13 will thoroughly enjoy this book.  Go ahead Miss. Roberts! You’re on your way to defining a generation.

 “His voice pressed into my ear like a meteor trenching into the earth’s floor, sheathing my ear-way with deep, heat, hotter than his touch.”

Catherine Kean’s A Knight’s Temptation 3/5 stars

If you are an avid reader of historical romance, you will enjoy Catherine Kean’s A Knight’s Temptation.

Our two main characters, Aldwin Treynarde and Lady Leona Ramsey, begin the novel as childhood acquaintances.

A friendly game of pretend between Aldwin and Leona almost costs Lady Leona her life, resulting in Aldwin’s banishment from his family.

The prologue ends with Aldwin being punished for his wrongs, leaving a feeling of angst in my chest.

Such angst is soon wiped away when I flip the page.

Chapter one quickly starts off with Aldwin on a quest to recover a prized possession.

I love when novels just get straight to the point instead of leading the reader off into an endless back story.

One of the things I most enjoyed about this novel is the attention to setting.

Being able to envision the setting so vividly in my head kept me reading.

The characters were not stick-figures either.

I found both Aldwin and Leona to be enjoyable enough, both strong and well rounded characters, their conflict was engaging.

I must admit that historical romances are not my favorite kinds of books, but I found this read to be good enough for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

This is not Catherine Kean’s first novel.

Kean is a National Readers’ Choice Award Finalist with several other titles under her belt.

Her novel, Dance of Desire, was the launch title of Medallion Press’s Sapphire Jewel Imprint and won two Reviewer’s Choice Awards, as is written on her website.

Learn more about Kean at

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