Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 13, 2010
Wanda Schwartz is human. Quite terribly so. So mortal and ordinary that in any other novel her character may have been the one that readers would likely forget. However, in Dakota Cassidy’s laugh-out-loud paranormal romance,The Accidental Human, Wanda adds an interesting dynamic to a very unique circle of Vixen-like friends.
For starters, Wanda is a successful consultant for Bobbie-Sue cosmetics. She lives and breathes color wheels and is making the world a better place by pinpointing her clients’ exact color auras. She has the kind of girlfriends that every woman dreams of; Nina and Marty, who are always there for her even despite their vast differences. Wanda is trying to get her life on track after her divorce from her D-bag of a husband; however, a recent doctors visit reveals that our fair Wanda is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Like any good human, she isn’t welcoming of the news at first, but quickly discovers that she is given the chance to right some wrongs and live the rest of her days the way SHE wants to – courtesy of her spectacular F*ck-It List! Yet, it is not in her plan to tell anyone about her deteriorating condition.
Heath Jefferson wasn’t exactly part of the plan either! Ahh, dreamy-hunk-o’-white-meat-stick-a-fork-in-him-and-take-a-bite, scrumptious Heath. Yes, that same Heath walks right into Wanda’s life when he answers a classified ad for a job with Bobbie Sue. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “A man selling cosmetics?! Uh, no!” or “He MUST be gay!” Well, just you wait. Heath and Wanda’s chemistry is undeniable; and the hilarity that ensues is quite entertaining. I loved their strange but steamy relationship and how it worked quite nicely with the irony that is Wanda’s world.
It is worth mentioning that Wanda’s best friends are of the paranormal kind. Nina is a hot-headed mouthy vampire and Marty is the semi-sweet and emotional werewolf; and they are both on a journey to live forever with their life-mates. Still, they desperately need their reliable friend Wanda to referee their fights, make lists, and plan group shopping trips. She is the human glue keeping everything paranormal tied together with a pretty pink bow. And back to our man, Heath? Well, he isn’t exactly what he claims to be as Wanda discovers all too soon.
The Accidental Human is the third out of four novels in Cassidy’s series. I picked it up on a whim and can honestly say I don’t feel as though I missed much by not reading the first two books. It is chalk full of Vixen-esque vocabulary that will surely bring out your inner hussy. Cassidy’s humor and saucy language are appropriate, the world she creates for Wanda is very real, the characters are charming, and the sex scenes do not disappoint. Overall, Cassidy earns 4 out of 5 pumps from me. I’m only taking one away for the ending that seemed rather silly and far-fetched in comparison to the tone of the rest of the book.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on April 13, 2010
I think someone copied off of Stephenie Meyer’s paper! Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Stolarz should’ve been called Twilight: The Lame Edition. Wanna know why? The storyline is almost exactly the same as Meyer’s Twilight except Stolarz created the most boring and ludicrous characters to star in her book. Come along with me as we journey to Déjà vu town…
To begin, the main character, 16-year old Camelia almost gets hit by a car. And where does she almost get hit by a car? In the parking lot at her school! Some random hottie on a motorcycle comes to Camelia’s rescue by pushing her out of the way. So, after “Evel Knievel” saves Camelia from getting hit by yet another horrible teen driver, he speeds away on his bike without even telling her his name. All she remembers is a scar on his arm that is cool to the touch. Ooh… yawn.
So, who was the mysterious hero? He’s the new boy in town named Ben and he’s supposedly gorgeous. I could see that if you like uninteresting characters with freakish scars. He also has a secretive past that everyone at the school questions. The students hear rumors that suggest he killed his girlfriend and had to move to get away from all the drama surrounding her death. Even so, when Camelia recognizes him at school, she is eager to thank him for saving her life. But he claims that he wasn’t her hero. Really?? That’s unusual. Maybe he fell off his motorcycle and hit his head the day before and forgot! Oh, but it gets better…. Ben and Camelia are lab partners in CHEMISTRY! Ha-Ha! Are you reading this Stephenie?? Surely there are other classes in high school where students pair up and work together, right?!
Anyway, as time goes on, Camelia learns that she has a secret admirer of sorts. This character plays an active role in the book because there are chapters specifically devoted to his side of the story. This is a unique aspect for Stolarz’s book – and it at least breaks up the dull interactions between Camelia and her annoying friends, Kimmie and Wes. So, not only does Camelia have a very strange and seemingly dangerous boy toy to contend with, but she has a stalker who is frustrated by all of the attention she’s giving to Ben. However, Ben is hiding an even bigger secret from Camelia. Readers will likely consider this revelation unoriginal and quite similar to something Edward explains to Bella in Twilight.
Deadly Little Secret is a young adult book full of another author’s ideas. It has an unexciting storyline with underdeveloped and childish characters. Moreover, seasoned readers will immediately recognize who Camelia’s stalker is. This book gets 1 1/2 pumps from me. I’m taking away 1 pump for each of the three Twilight déjà vu moments mentioned above, and another half away for Ben only being somewhat attractive. Trust me Vixens, this book is not worthy of your precious time.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on April 9, 2010
What girl needs an excuse to read about a tough, sexy, and romantic Army man? I sure as hell don’t!! Bring it on, baby! In Dear John, Nicholas Sparks delivers a love story to readers (like me) who can’t seem to get enough of his epic fictitious relationships. However, in this particular novel, readers receive a unique glance into the life of John Tyree: the Army grunt and surprisingly tender man after my own heart!
The book begins in present time, as John is observing the one true love of his life, Savannah, from afar. Readers quickly begin to wonder why he is not scooping her up into his arms and whisking her away on horseback into the sunset. So what went wrong with John and Savannah? Why does John continue to love this woman even though he is not with her? Will he come marry me instead?! Oops… er, that last question may have just been something I was wondering! LOL But Sparks answers these questions and many more; and readers soon understand love is not as easy as it appears on the surface.
You see, their love story begins pre-9/11 while John is on leave visiting his reclusive coin-collecting father back home in North Carolina. John meets Savannah on the beach and is immediately captivated by her. So much so, he finds himself doing everything he can to impress her. One thing I truly enjoyed was how thoroughly Sparks described the male psyche. Every glance, every touch, every word was carefully calculated by John ensuring he wouldn’t offend Savannah. He was a perfect gentleman, AND THAT WAS THE PROBLEM!! Arg! I can appreciate the innocence of a new romance, but John was returning overseas and a guy needs a little lovin’ to keep him comin’ back to his woman. Am I right, ladies?!
Well needless to say, John goes back overseas (without getting any action!), but he and Savannah agree to write to each other all the time. This portion of the story began to drag for me because I was longing for more romance. However, after 9/11 occurs I found myself invested in the story, worrying over the impact that this huge event would have on John and Savannah’s relationship. With letters and occasional phone calls keeping their relationship together, I wondered if their love would overcome the hefty challenges of time and distance.
Dear John invites readers into the life of a young soldier who wants nothing more than to be with the woman he loves. Sparks won me over by giving me rare insight into the mind of a son, a boyfriend, a soldier, and a man. The raw emotions John has in the story permeated the pages and touched my heart. For these reasons, I give Dear John 4.5 out of 5 pumps. I am taking a half pump away from Sparks for failing to wow me with his abrupt ending that left me wanting nothing more than a John to call my own.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on January 19, 2010
Welcome to adolescence, boys and girls. Your hormones will go berserk, your body will change in ways you never thought possible and you will hate your parents. One silver lining in all of this is that these years are very short and will be forever cherished. For Connor, Risa, and Lev, being a teenager means something entirely different than what you and I experienced growing up. They are unwinds who are about to be chopped into little pieces and used for spare parts.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman takes place in a time not too distant from ours. The country experienced the Second Civil War called the “Heartland War”; this battle fought both sides of the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice argument. Many lives were lost as a result of this war, yet a consensus was reached in the form of the Bill of Life being added to the Constitution. This bill states that life begins at conception and is protected by law until the child reaches the age of thirteen. At that point, parents can send their teens to Harvest Camp where they technically remain alive, but are preserved in a divided state. Later, their body parts will be used to supplement other individuals who may need heart surgery, be an amputee, or just want a new pair of shiny blue eyes. The only problem is the original owner doesn’t completely disappear….
The main characters of Unwind are quite captivating and dynamic. Connor is the hot-headed, sexy, bad boy who runs away before his parents can have him taken to Harvest Camp to be destroyed. Risa is a ward of the state that is caught in a cross-fire of budget cuts, and unfortunately doesn’t have enough talent or skill worth salvaging. And then there’s innocent Lev, who just happened to be the 10th child in a very religious family who is unwinding him as a tithe to God. These three characters cross paths in a way I never would’ve predicted, and they form a bond that cannot be unwound.
Shusterman’s novel is extremely action packed and filled with possibilities that will completely shock readers. I was drawn into the plot within the first couple of pages and was challenged by some of the events that occurred throughout the story. Personally, I struggled quite a bit with the disposable attitudes and perspectives the adult characters offered. Yet, I found myself rooting for Connor, Risa, and Lev, and didn’t give up hope on a happy ending.
For being a young adult book, Unwind surprised me because it explored areas of our world that are rather adult-oriented. I appreciated this aspect immensely; however, some of the imagery became very emotionally overwhelming for me. I’m giving Unwind 3 ½ out of 5 pumps. I’m taking one away for the author’s choppy writing style that I had difficulty connecting with at times, and I’m taking a half of a pump away for the subject matter that will haunt me for many months, and maybe years, to come.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on November 6, 2009
I’ve never considered myself a thriller junky. As a matter of fact, I absolutely loathe television murder mysteries and good-guy/bad-guy dramas. Yet, my mind has been opened to a new world of novels after reading The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner. A friend loaned me the book and told me, “this is not your average kidnapping mystery, you will love it” and HOLY EDWARD, was she right?! The Neighbor is a fast-paced ride that throws readers for several loops while they attempt to find out what happened to the blonde bombshell named Sandra Jones.
I know what you’re thinking: BO-RING! But I’m telling you, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth! This book has everything avid readers crave; drama, suspense, romance, mystery, and interesting characters. It begins from Sandra’s perspective; she’s at home with her four-year old daughter named Ree, going through their normal nightly routine. You know; make dinner, play around, bath time, read books, and go to bed… except that when Sandra turns out the light there is a male figure in her bedroom doorway ready to attack! Dun, dun, DUUUN!!
So who was it? Could it have been her devastatingly attractive husband, Jason? He is clearly hiding something from police. Could it have been a convicted sex offender who lives down the street? He has taken quite an interest in the case, and Sandra had her car serviced at his shop recently. Or was it a particular student who has been spending entirely too much time with Mrs. Jones one-on-one? He obviously fell in love with Sandra. Oh, but let’s not forget that little Ree was home the whole time. What did she see and hear? Where did mommy go? Only time will tell….
I loved this book because it challenged me to figure out what pieces of information would lead to finding Sandra dead or alive. The story became a menacing web of lies and deceit that were masterfully woven between misinformation and disturbing pasts. However, Gardner struggled in her attempts to interest me with one of her main characters, Sergeant D.D. Warren; she had the personality of a wet mop who desperately needed to get laid. Other than that, not much can be said for her. Still, I can hardly complain because Gardner’s male characters compensated with their hot and mysterious nature.
The Neighbor, is a crime thriller that will completely knock your socks off! I still can’t wrap my mind around everything that happened from beginning to end, because it was so baffling and obscure. I enjoyed the viewpoints of multiple characters, loved the thrill of uncovering disturbing hidden secrets, and was in constant fear and wonderment of “who dun it.” I’m giving The Neighbor 4 ½ pumps out of 5. I’m taking a half of a pump away for the ending that didn’t quite come together due to its hurriedness. Even so, this book is worthy of your time, especially if you’re looking for an entirely different, very real, and gripping journey!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on September 23, 2009
Are you on the Team Jacob side of the fence? If so, you were on my mind when I picked up this book! But unless you are completely obsessed with wolves and enjoy uninteresting characters, I doubt you will become fascinated by this storyline. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is based on your average boy-meets-girl scenario. Except the boy, Sam, is a beautiful yellow-eyed werewolf, and the girl, Grace, is the most boring character to enter the world of text!
This young adult book begins when Grace is attacked by a pack of wolves as a child. She is taken into the woods where the pack proceeds with what appears to be an attempt to kill her. To my disappointment, they are stopped when teen-wolf Sam carries her to safety. Grace eventually recovers from the attack and comes to know Sam as “her yellow-eyed wolf” who protectively watches her from the woods behind her house. The mundane back and forth stares between these two continue for what feels like forever with an occasional touch of fur sprinkled in for good measure. Yawn… exciting stuff, huh?
However, one day it is rumored that Grace’s classmate has been killed by the wolves, so a hunting party gathers to take down the wolf pack and, of course, Sam is caught in the cross-fire. Sam shifts into human form and finds himself naked and injured on Grace’s back porch. And I’ll just warn you, it took 60 pages to get to this part! Chinese water torture is more appealing than struggling through pages and pages of lackluster plot! C’mon Mags where’s your creative bone, girl??
Anyway, after Sam shifts into a human, naturally he and Grace fall in love. What’s not to love? He’s smart, creative, and oh-so-sexy! And this Vixen has to give it to Grace for snagging some sweet lovins from her wolf boy when the situation popped up! Get it? Popped up?? As a side note, I am very proud to reveal that I read this part of the book twice! Oww! And because Grace has parents that barely notice her, she does everything she can to keep Sam in human form. You see, when the cold temperatures arrive, the werewolves “shed” their human form by shivering and remain in the woods until the warmer season returns. Yet, readers learn that Sam won’t be turning back into a human again. So Grace and Sam do everything they can to hold onto each other and their love.
Unfortunately, even in the good parts, I believe that Stiefvater failed to capture the audience with her narrative. She could’ve had a great novel under her belt, but she missed out on so much, which made the storyline just slightly okay. I give Shiver 2 ½ pumps. I’m taking one away for Grace and her lame-ass-ness; another away for the mind-numbing supporting characters I didn’t care about; and half of a pump away for the plot that barely maintained enough spark to keep me reading.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on August 19, 2009
How do I begin to describe the whirlwind that is Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife? This book knocked me off my feet and filled my heart with powerful emotions. Henry DeTamble is the time traveler in this book, however, his adventures are not by choice. Henry has a genetic disorder that instantly forces him to abandon the present and thrusts him into the unknown. During his travels, he cannot take anything material with him. Therefore, he is often naked which is quite the treat for us Vixens! Regardless of Henry’s unique existence, he remains very normal. And yet, what he wants more than anything is the one person he is always leaving; his wife, Clare.
Clare Abshire chronologically saunters through life like everyone else; everyone but Henry that is. She meets Henry when she is 6 years old while playing in the Meadow on her parent’s property. Henry is in his thirties and instantly finds himself conversing with this inquisitive child. No, he’s not some sick pedophile! Believe it or not, he’s actually only 8 years older than Clare! Using a journal filled with dates populated by Henry, Clare prepares herself for a life filled with Henry’s comings and goings. In an excerpt Clare says, “It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.”
The reader will quickly become engrossed in this book’s storyline. Each chapter outlines the dates and ages of the characters making it easy to catch on to the recurring theme. A detail that readers learn to appreciate is that Henry cannot alter the future with his presence. There is also a lot of foreshadowing in this book, so pay special attention to the particulars! Still, what I enjoyed most was the abiding love that radiated from the text. Henry and Clare’s relationship can only be described in one word: epic. Epic amidst all of the typical lifetime experiences such as: friendship, discovery, passion, and unrivaled intimacy. Although, I must say I am quite disappointed in Niffenegger’s uncanny ability to end a chapter just as the clothes were flying off! I’ve got two words for you: Twilight Sex. C’mon Audrey, that was not very Vixen-like of you!
Nevertheless, TTTW nurtures the soul of the hardcore romantic. Niffenegger introduces a unique element to relationships and eradicates the barriers of time. Even with this challenge, she stunningly untangles the often confusing journey with ease. Personally, I know I’ve enjoyed a book when I turn the last page, examine myself, and discover that I look like something out of a Rambo film! Can someone please remind me to invest in waterproof mascara?!
Because I am such a sucker for love stories, and since I can’t stop thinking about Henry and Clare, I give this incredible book 4 ½ outta 5 pumps! I’m only taking a half pump away for the pseudo-Twilight bedroom scenes that left me biting pillows of my very own!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 27, 2009
In Twilight, did you enjoy the fact that Edward could read minds and Alice could predict the future? Well, you’re in luck! Shiloh Walker’s The Missing introduces Taige Branch, a teenage psychic who has a precious skill for visions involving children. Early in the book, she becomes known throughout her area as a heroine who has rescued children from drowning, has discovered missing bodies, and even aided in solving murder cases. However, Taige is not your typical cheery, bubbly teenager. While very beautiful, she is known as a freak that purposefully closes herself off from the rest of the world.
Enter Cullen. No, I’m not talking about Edward Cullen, ladies! I know he is our every reason for living, but stay with me! Cullen Morgan is a new breed of Cullen HOTNESS! Picture this: he’s tall, has chocolate brown hair, a nice build, and eyes that make the cool shades of the ocean look ordinary. Hello? Can we say eye candy?! Well, he gets even MORE desirable when he saves Taige from a nightmare that almost comes true; and from that moment on they are forever bonded.
What I liked most about this book is that the plot is especially captivating. It is a monster of a page turner that left me feeling as though I was cheating on my book by going to bed instead of reading! Taige’s unique visions are woven throughout the storyline. However, because she doesn’t quite have a grasp on her gift, she isn’t sure if what she sees occurs in the past, present, or future. This allowed me to creatively explore the possibilities, and when I was able to predict a few outcomes, I was left feeling slightly unsatisfied.
Still, Taige and Cullen’s relationship made this book worthy of my time. The reader can easily see why they belong together; but life crapped on their plans for a happy ending, sending them on separate paths. Several years later, Cullen finds Taige to help him with a situation involving his daughter. I was so excited for his return even though their reunion is less than ideal, and their actions were awkward and clumsy. Even so, there is no denying their past and unexplainable connection. Their romance left me sexually stimulated and needing some action of my own – A girl’s gotta ‘eat’, right?!
The Missing is a dark love story about two incredible characters. Their relationship gave me whiplash, to quote our girl Bella, but I never gave up on their potential. Yet, it is the plot that I enjoyed the most! The atmosphere is murky and depressing, and their circumstances overwhelm the reader. If you are sensitive about situations involving children, you should know that I’m a big baby, and I managed to get through this story unscathed. This book gets 3 ½ out of 5 pumps. I’m taking 1 away for the fact that I had predicted what would happen early on, and another ½ away for the author’s average writing style.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 9, 2009
Do you close your eyes or change the channel when a scary movie crosses your television screen? Well, you are in good company with me! I am the last person that should be reading anything related to the supernatural because I get so freaked out that I can’t sleep for weeks! However, A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb, is anything but your typical spooky ghost story.
In the beginning, the reader is introduced to Helen, a young woman who refers to herself as a spirit of the Light; a soul floating in the midst of the Quick, or living humans. She died nearly 130 years ago and has been clinging to human hosts to “haunt” ever since. Helen is not a scary ghost; instead, she acts as a shadow or a proud guardian to her host. The man she is currently following is a high school English Teacher named Mr. Brown. The reader is captivated by Helen within the first two pages of the book when a student actually sees her standing in the classroom! Yet, this student is unique because he is being claimed by another spirit of the Light who goes by the name of James.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly due to James and Helen’s relationship and the world that separates them from each other. Helen desires nothing more than to be with James every second of every day. Their emotions and interactions with one another made me feel as though I was re-living my days with my first love again. The high-charged emotions I felt and the love that I will forever cherish, were reignited by this odd couple. Furthermore, the underlying story of why Helen has not made her journey to heaven kept me intrigued and demanding answers. Throughout the book, Helen begins to see glimpses into her life before she was Light. What she remembers chilled my bones and left me feeling anxious for her.
Laura Whitcomb creates a world that invites the reader in. She made me reconsider what is important in life, and will likely do the same for you. Even if just briefly, take a moment to appreciate your lover’s scent, the taste and crunch of a juicy apple, or the sensation that you feel in your heart when it is filled with love or sadness. Whitcomb reminds us that these are the precious moments in life we should never forget. Also, the last 20 pages provides readers with all the answers that they need. Whitcomb shatters our hearts into a million pieces, but somehow manages to put them back together again like a beautiful mosaic. This book gets my full stamp of approval with 5 out of 5 pumps! A word to the wise: toward the end of the book be sure to keep a full box of tissues at arm’s reach, because you will need them!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on June 30, 2009
Tall, dark, and handsome. These are the typical criteria for most women looking for the real-life men who star in their dreams. In the Midnight Breed Series, by Lara Adrian this wish is granted and even magnified over and over again with each turn of the page. This series offers up another perspective on vampires; they don’t sparkle, they don’t drink the blood of animals, and they certainly aren’t teenagers! Instead, Adrian’s vampires are gorgeous, dangerous, erotic, and statuesque warriors referred to as the Order. These men are the ultimate protectors who take the law, and their women, into their own hands.
With the Breed collection, I enjoyed how each book followed a different member of the Order, and introduced a new female love interest. Every volume delivers several no holds barred, juicy, and scintillating love scenes that left me aching with pleasure and yearning for more. If you’re needing to release some pent up sexual frustration, Adrian certainly delivers the goods! On more occasions than I am willing to admit, I actually released several “mmm hmm’s” while reading these steamy sex scenes. I kept imagining how very different our world would be if these bad boys were the real deal. Oh, and if you have a thing for men with tattoos, just wait until you envision these handsome vampires in the buff; their body markings are beautifully described and incredibly spectacular!
While the love stories and the interactions between the vampires and their mates are quite prominent in this series, it is not done in a cheesy or degrading manner. Adrian’s female characters are very strong-willed, and gifted women in their own distinct ways. Each would be welcomed in with the Vixen crowd any day! With each book, I found myself relating to these women and agonizing over their mistakes and celebrating their bravery. In addition, the love scenes are well-balanced out by adding some hearty conflict between “good and evil” along with the Order’s desire for justice to be met.
Now, let this serve as your warning: The Midnight Breed Series is not intended for young adults! If you’re looking for sparkling, self-loathing vegetarians, don’t come here! Adrian’s warriors are wild, unashamed animals in the sack and trained, blood thirsty assassins on the streets. She gives her mature readers what they want: vampires, sex, action, and details! Now, I’m by no means a prude, but the language does become quite vulgar due to the testosterone charged characters. Also, only 6 of the 8 books are currently out, so there is definitely more of our Breed Boys to follow! Because of these little annoyances and minor inconveniences, I have to take one pump away giving this great series 4 out of 5 pumps!