Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31: Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

I'm at the beach this week, so I thought I'd re-post this pic, since it's of one of those beach dudes with the camera (the ones that take your family's photo and then turn them into keychain picture viewers or coffe mugs).  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous The Broke and the Bookish, so stop by the site and join in on the fun!  The topic this week is:

 Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

1.  Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice- so I could make out with Mr. Darcy.
2.  Tris from Divergent- so I could make out with Four.
3.  Heather Wells from the Big Boned- so I could make out with Cooper.
4.  Darcy from Something Blue- so I could make out with Ethan.
5.  Celia from The Night Circus- so I could be all magical... and make out with Marco. (or I'd be Poppet, since then I'd get Bailey...)
6.  Anna from Anna and the French Kiss- so I could make out with Etienne.
7.  Tonks from Harry Potter series- so I could make out with Remus.
8.  Lizbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- so I could be all kick ass... and make out with Mikael Blomkvist.
9.  Mara from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer- so I could make out with Noah.
10.  Sookie Stackhouse from Dead to the World- so I could make out with Eric Northman.

Seriously, I could list characters for days!  I have no doubt that I will be smacking myself as I read all of your lists.  And yes, I realize that my list is based on fairly shallow criteria, but I'm being honest, and I guess me being honest just reveals that I'm really shallow.  That must be why I read, so that I can read about other people's deep thoughts.  Speaking of Deep Thoughts, for all of you midnighters old enough to remember the Jack Handy skits from SNL, here's some Deep Thoughts:
  • I think somebody should come up with a way to breed a very large shrimp. That way, you could ride him, then after you camped at night, you could eat him. How about it, science? 
  •  I wish I had a dollar for every time I spent a dollar, because then, yahoo!, I'd have all my money back.
  •  Here's a good trick: Get a job as a judge at the Olympics. Then, if some guy sets a world record, pretend that you didn't see it and go, "Okay, is everybody ready to start now?" 
  •  I think a good novel would be where a bunch of men on a ship are looking for a whale. They look and look, but you know what? They never find him. And you know why they never find him? It doesn't say. The book leaves it up to you, the reader, to decide. Then, at the very end, there's a page you can lick and it tastes like Kool-Aid. 
  • If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins most? I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong though. It's Hambone.
  •  I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex.
  •  f trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
  •  Laurie got offended that I used the word "puke." But to me, that's what her dinner tasted like.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Ten About Ten: One

From Goodreads.com
by Gretchen McNeil
Expected Publication: 09.18.2012
From Goodreads:
 And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
I first read Ten right after I got back from BEA.  It was a book I was very excited about, even more so after meeting the adorable author and getting my book signed.  I thought instead of just doing a review I'd list ten things I loved about Ten by Gretchen McNeil in the next month and a half before it's September 18th release.
From my photo library

#1 of 10 Things I Loved About Ten by Gretchen McNeil:

It's based on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None*.  But don't expect a complete re-telling.  McNeil has taken it into the world of YA, and brings her own murderous flavor to the story.  Never read a Christie novel? No problem, you'll still enjoy Ten!  Love Agatha Christie and have already read And Then There Were None a dozen times?  No problem, you'll still enjoy Ten!

* Little known fact about And Then There Were None-- not the original title.  The original title is actually very racist, and I'm glad that it was changed.  I'm not going to post the original title of Agatha Christie's novel, because I'm sure ya'll are pretty well versed in Google searches.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ODD APOCALYPSE by Dean Koontz (trailer)

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Mr. Darcy's Diary Review

Mr. Darcy's Diary
by Amanda Grange
From Goodreads:
Monday 9th September
""I left London today and met Bingley at Netherfield Park. I had forgotten what good company he is; always ready to be pleased and always cheerful. After my difficult summer, it is good to be with him again. ...""

The only place Darcy could share his innermost feelings was in the private pages of his diary...

Torn between his sense of duty to his family name and his growing passion for Elizabeth Bennet, all he can do is struggle not to fall in love.

Mr. Darcy's Diary presents the story of the unlikely courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Darcy's point of view. This graceful imagining and sequel to Pride and Prejudice explains Darcy's moodiness and the difficulties of his reluctant relationship as he struggles to avoid falling in love with Miss Bennet. Though seemingly stiff and stubborn at times, Darcy's words prove him also to be quite devoted and endearing - qualities that eventually win over Miss Bennet's heart. This continuation of a classic romantic novel is charming and elegant, much like Darcy himself.

Pride and Prejudice has inspired a large number of modern day sequels, the most successful of which focus on the rich, proud Mr. Darcy.
My Thoughts: So sometimes at work I like to read aloud to my clients, who are elderly and usually suffering from cognitive impairment.  At a certain point, tv isn't really something they can enjoy, but music and talking is almost always good.  Of course this means that I can't really read any books that deal with violence, sex or death. Which is pretty much how I like my books.

Last year I got a bunch of Jane Austen inspired books on my Kindle- some huge sale they were having, and so I chose Mr. Darcy's Diary out of all the books I had downloaded simply because it sounded the closest to Pride and Prejudice.

I was immediately sucked into the book, and I continued to read it even after I got off work.  I pretty much only put it down when I absolutely had to!

Is there a reading woman out there who doesn't love Mr. Darcy?  Anyone?


So in Mr. Darcy's Diary we get: Mr Darcy!  Before the Bennets enter his life, before Elizabeth steals his heart and ruins my hope of literary time travel in order to get to him first.  The book opens right before Darcy rescues his sister from the slimy clutches of Mr. Wickham. Darcy spends his time with business affairs and helping his friend Bingley find a country home to let.  We are given a glimpse into much of the events that have shaped Darcy's character before his well-ordered life is upturned by Lizzie Bennet.

What I love most about Darcy and Elizabeth's romance is that it is not a love at first sight.  They both come to love each other despite and, in truth, because of each other's faults and differences.  Reading Darcy's diary of how Lizzie pretty much burrows into his heart, and experiencing his feelings over their encounters had me swooning.  His jealousy of his arch-enemy Wickham, the pompous little Mr. Collins, and even his own cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam, and his inability to recognize just how deeply he has already sunk into love with Elizabeth was amusing. 

I really think the author did  a wonderful job of capturing Darcy.  It was a fast, fun read, mostly due to the diary format.  My only complaint, and it's a tiny, pretty one, was the overuse of the word "satirical".  It appears easily a dozen times... but then don't we all have words we overuse?  Like "like" or "random" or "amazeballs"?  Regardless, I will definitely be checking out Amanda Grange's other books!

Mr. Darcy's Diary gets a Midnight Book Rating of:

The cover gets a Midnight Book Cover Rating of:
I love this cover mostly because it looks a bit like Matthew MacFayden's face, and he's my favorite Darcy.
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sundays In Bed With... Odd Apocalypse!

It's Sunday morning!  What are you curled up in bed with today?  Share what book you're reading today (or wish you were reading if you only had the day to yourself to stay in bed reading).  Just add to the linky below or comment.  Better yet, take a picture of the book in your bed and post on your blog!

It's a rainy day here, which is my favorite for laying in bed reading.  Sadly, I have to work all day today, although I get a fair share of reading done at work usually.  I need to finish up the last few pages of Pure by Julianna Baggott and I need to finish the last 27 percent of A Feast For Crows (A Song Of Ice and Fire #4)  by George R.R. Martin... but I'm hoping to start this today:

Odd Apocalypse!!!  I'd really like to be able to at least start it before it's released to the general public at the end of this month.  I'm not crazy about the new covers of the Odd books, I think I prefer the old style, but as long as the pages contain my beloved Odd one, I won't complain... much.

So participate in my meme and let me know what book you're reading today!

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Odd Interlude Review

Odd Interlude
by Dean Koontz
From Goodreads:
Nestled on a lonely stretch along the Pacific coast, quaint roadside outpost Harmony Corner offers everything a weary traveler needs—a cozy diner, a handy service station, a cluster of motel rooms . . . and the Harmony family homestead presiding over it all. But when Odd Thomas and company stop to spend the night, they discover that there’s more to this secluded haven than meets the eye—and that between life and death, there is something more frightening than either.
My Thoughts:  Odd Interlude is a novella in three parts that includes more ties to the Moonlight Bay books. As I may have mentioned, possibly in every blog post I've ever written, I love Odd Thomas.  I also possibly have a crush on David Aaron Baker, who narrates the Odd Thomas books, and soon I will no doubt be obsessing over Anton Yelchin, who will be playing Odd in the upcoming movie.
From IMDb: Anton Yelchin (aka Odd)
Odd has become a slight obsession of mine, or may in fact be a full fledged obsession, I'll let you be the judge of that.  And yes, I am aware that some of you reading this are the same bloggers that I begged at BEA to help me get my grubby fan-girl hands on a copy of Odd Apocalypse. My crazy worked though, Kim helped me accost a Power Reader to get a copy.

So even though I got a copy of the ARC for Odd Apocalypse, I couldn't read it right away. No doubt you think I'm insane, but in my defense I wanted to read the novella Odd Interlude that was releasing in 3 parts over the last month or so.  I may have loosened up some in regards to reading series out of order, but I couldn't do that to my Odd one.

In Odd Interlude, Odd and Annamarie are still fleeing frome the events of Magic Beach, so the story picks up immediately after Odd Hours.  Odd and his strange abilities are drawn to Harmony Corner- a family owned motor-court and restaurant.  Things in Harmony Corner are not very harmonious though.  There aren't any ghosts or bodachs here, but there is some crazy evil that Odd must battle with, which he does in true Odd fashion.  He's still a reluctant hero, but as always he is compelled to help those in need.

We also meet twelve year old Jolie, who is a typical preternaturally smart Koontz kid.  Unlike the other Odd books, some of the chapters in the novella are told from Jolie's POV, which I loved.  I think Jolie and I are going to start the Odd Thomas fan club.  She sees Odd through the same rose-colored glasses that I do.

Odd Interlude has plenty of action and mayhem- mutant creatures, super computers, families held hostage, secrets, car jacking and other hijinks are perpetuated on and by Odd.  Fortunately Annamarie plays a small role in the story, because her mysteriousness has begun to wear thin on me.  I don't remember disliking her in Odd Hours, but she was definitely annoying me with her Yoda like answers in this novella.  She'd better start giving some answers in Odd Apocalypse!  She's like and enigma wrapped up in a pregnant riddle.  I do like her dog though, so that's something, right?

So is Odd Interlude worth it?  For Odd fans it's a must!  I don't think you have to read it before Odd Apocalypse, but it's just another chance to be looped in with the Odd one. ;)

Odd Interlude gets a Midnight Book Rating of:

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cursed Review

From Goodreads
by Jennifer Armentrout
Expected Publication: 09.18.2012
From Goodreads:
Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.
My Thoughts:  It didn't take me too long to get into Cursed, and once the book really had me, it kept me until the end.  Partly because it reminded me of the Dark Vision series by L.J. Smith that I read back in the day when I was an actual teenager (any of you Midnighters old enough to have read that series?). 

Ember is cursed with a deadly touch, which she believes she received when her little sister brought her back from the dead.  It's been two years since the accident that killed her dad (and technically Ember too), and her mom has mentally checked out.  The sisters are yin and yang- Em kills with her touch, Olivia brings things back to life, like hamsters and kitty cats and sisters...  Em is the one taking care of the family, and she's not dealing well with her "gift".  She has to wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid killing her classmates- although why she bothers to keep her tormentors safe boggles my mind, I personally would have been wearing tank tops and shaking hands like a campaigning politician.  Of course, Ember thinks she's evil and I happen to know that I am.  There's a lot of freedom in removing doubt from your life.

So quickly a few things happen.  Ember notices a cute boy who looks familiar and he's suddenly everywhere she goes.  Her douche bag jock ex-boyfriend who likes to bully her turns his verbal attack into a physical one, which can only end badly.  For him. 

And then for some reason Ember gets pissed off when someone comes in and Takes Care of All Her Problems. New, free place to live?  Taken care of!  Dead body left in a parking lot? Taken care of! Little sis being looked after? Taken care of!  Crazy mom being treated? Taken care of!  Living with Hottie McGifted who turns out to be that cute boy who can also touch her for a few seconds without dying? Yup, Ember's teen hormones are Taken Care of too!

Okay, so maybe all of this happens a bit too fast and creepy for Ember.  She is practically abducted from her old life, and its clear that other than Hottie McGifted (whom the author chose to name Hayden instead), everyone is the house either hates her or fears that Ember's going to go on a killing spree.  Hayden's dad is mayor of a town and he collects children like Em and Olivia.  All the kids have different gifts, but even amongst her own kind, Ember is still the freaky one.  A few of these kids would do well with a prescription of Xanex, because they all need to chill just a bit.

Ember starts a new school, gets mysterious "presents" in her locker, a few attempts on her life, and has to deal with all the new changes.   Em gets a bit whiny in the book, not without reason, but her character really shows some growth in this book, which I love to see.  I did figure out a major part of the mystery early on, but it was still compelling to read further to get the answers behind the reasons why.  Since this book is part of a series, not every question raised will be explained in this book, but enough was done to make the ending feel complete enough and still make me want to read the next book. 

Cursed isn't the most original idea out there in YA today (lots of heroines can't touch without killing these days), but I liked what Armentrout did with story and the characters. 

Cursed gets a Midnight Book Rating of:

The cover gets a Midnight Cover Rating of:

Love the red hair!  

**I received a copy of Cursed through Around The World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest review**
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sundays In Bed With... A Feast of Crows

I know, it's way past Sunday morning, but I've been busy.  So welcome to the late edition of my Sundays In Bed With... Meme!  Share what book you're curled up in bed with today (or which book you'd love to spend all day in bed reading if only you had the time)! 

Normally this is where I show a picture of the book I'm reading actually posed on my bed with my cat Riley, but since I'm reading it on my kindle I'll just post the cover:

From Goodreads

I'm now over half way done with A Feast of Crows by George R.R. Martin.  I've been reading it for over a month now, but because it's such a long book and because I have other books I need to read, I've put it on the back burner.  I really love this series, so it's been moved to the front of the line this weekend. 

So share what you're reading today, either link up or share in the comments!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday- My pick!

Today's Top Ten Tuesday is Freebie: pick your own topic, so I'm going to feature some books I plan on taking on vacation with me at the end of this month.  The dude above?  He was one of those college kids that roam the beach wanting to take your family's pictures so that you could spend tons of money on stupid little mementos.  He was gracious enough to let me and my sister in law takes pictures of him instead. Thought ya'll might like a little eye candy that isn't a book cover today.

So here's the Top Ten Books I Plan on Taking (and Reading) on Vacation:

1. The Next Accident by Lisa Gardner
From Goodreads

2. Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington
From Goodreads

3. Bookmarked For Death (A Booktown Mystery #2) by Lorna Barrett

From Goodreads
4. Size 12 and Ready To Rock (Heather Wells #4) by Meg Cabot

From Goodreads
5. Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

From Goodreads
6. The Prophet by Michael Koryta
From Goodreads
 7. Origins by Jessica Khoury
From Goodreads
8. Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
From Goodreads
9.  The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

From Goodreads
10. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
From Goodreads
Okay, so this entire list is subject to change at anytime.  I'm only going for 7 days so I don't think I can hit 10 books, especially with my family around.  But I am going the last weekend too, so we'll see.  I really like reading thrillers at the beach too, so I might pick up books in Ocean City too because I love going to the used bookstores there.  And as much as I love my Kindle and Nook, they won't leave our vacation home, so paperback/hardbacks are a necessity!

So what topic did you pick for today's Top Ten?

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sundays In Bed With... 07.08.12

Welcome to my Sundays In Bed With... Meme!  Come share what book you're spending the morning reading in bed, or which book you wish you could curl up with if only you had the time!  Feel free to link up below, and even better, take a picture of your current read in your bed!

Here's what I'm spending the morning reading:

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I've already read about 50 pages so far this morning and so far I'm intrigued by where it's going.  It reminds me a bit of old school L.J. Smith (you know, back when they allowed her to write her own books!). 

So what are you reading this morning?

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles Book 1) Review

From Goodreads
Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles Book 1)
by Gena Showalter
Expected Release Date: 9.25.12
From Goodreads:
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.
My Thoughts:  As intriguing as the title of this book and the cover were, I was a little apprehensive.  I thought it would be more of a retelling of the Wonderland story but with zombies.  Fortunately, Showalter kept the action above ground and really tweaked zombie lore.  I'm still not sure I understand the zombie rules the author has set up, but the characters and action are enough to keep me reading.  Plus the book managed to surprise me now and again, which I give major points too.

Alice, or Ali as she's called through most of the book, makes for a good heroine.  Yes, she feels guilty over the deaths of her family, and yes this makes her a bit reckless and impulsive... but at least she's got a reason.  I can't stand when characters do stupid, dangerous things for no reason.  Plus, Ali has some skills, she's not just a girl, she's all Gwen Stefani on the zombie's butts.

In the beginning of the book, in just a few short pages, Showalter establishes a wonderful bond between Alice and her younger sister Emma, who is impossible not to love.  Her parents are a little less fleshed out, but you can see that her mother struggles to keep the family together and that Alice thinks her father drinks too much and doesn't really see monsters.  Despite all the tension, the family does seem remarkably close, which you just don't see much in YA... which is why they have to be killed off.

Ali goes off to live with her grandparents who are hilarious and sweet, especially her grandmother.  She meets Kat, who helps her make through the ordeal of switching schools and warns her off the bad boy hottie that catches Ali's eye.  And when I say "catches her eye" know that I mean this in a BIG way.  Cole Holland is all hot, steamy and dangerous.  But, he was such a jerk in the beginning that it took awhile for me to warm up to him.  He did that "you should stay away from me" routine, even while he pursued Ali.  I know girls have the reputation of being contrary, but when it comes to YA boys, they take that title away, especially the tortured heroes.

So after the accident that stole her family away from her, Ali starts seeing things and thinking that maybe her Pops wasn't crazy after all, and Cole and his gang of misfits seem to be connected.  Ali doesn't just sit and cry over her loss, she's determined to do something with her life to make amends.  It's survivor guilt, but Ali soon proves to be up for the new role life has handed her.

Other than the heat between Ali and Cole, my favorite part of the book was Kat.  She was so lively and fun, plus with her on again/off again relationship with Frosty, that she added a much needed lightness to the Ali's dark moodiness.

Some things I didn't like: almost all of the kids Ali meets at her new school have super trendy names or nick names.  Sometimes I just long for some Marys, Toms, Mikes, or Susies.  When you make every name unique it just makes it hard to remember who's who.  For instance, I couldn't keep Kat's friends straight.   I also thought so much more could have been done with the character of Justin, who I liked in the beginning, I kind of felt like his story was dropped until the end.  Maybe the next book?  The zombie lore in this book, while really fresh, was also confusing.  But that could just be me.  Okay, it probably is just me.

Overall I really liked this book.  It was a fast read, I cared about Ali and Cole.  Bad stuff happens in this book, because bad things happen in life.  Ali, while sporting some serious anti-zombie skills, isn't throwing Bella-like shields over her loved ones, so people die.  Showalter proves that Ali isn't just in a little danger, but serious, real, not coming back from the dead danger.  There is enough light to balance the dark though, and I'd recommend it.  It's not really connected too much to Alice in Wonderland, but in my opinion that's okay.

Alice in Zombieland gets a Midnight Book Rating of:

The cover gets a Midnight Book Cover Rating of: 
Love it even though the dress really isn't Ali's style, it's at least evocative of Alice in Wonderland.

**I received a copy of this book through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest opinion**

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sundays In Bed With... Shadow of Night

It's time once more for my Sundays In Bed With... Meme!  Share what you're curled up with this morning, or what book you'd like to spend the day in bed reading.

This morning I'm spending some time between the sheets with...

I got this copy of Shadow of Night, the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, at BEA.  It was the very first book I got signed that first day, and I waited in line for an hour to get to meet Deborah Harkness.  She was wonderful!  I can't even remember what I said to her, but I'm sure there was a lot of gushing.  I would love to have a Girls Night Out with Harkness, I bet she knows some really great wine bars... Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) comes out soon, on July 10th.  If you haven't read this series yet, you should.  It's got witches, vampires, mystery, lots of wine, and time travel, and did I mention one particularly sexy vampire? ;)

Leave your link below or tell me in the comments what you're reading!

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