Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Review: Chasing Stanley by Deirdre Martin

Yes, I know - I promised reviews - but haven't delivered yet. Well here is one :) I'm going to try to go in reading order :P So we'll start with Chasing Stanley by Deirde Martin.

Why did I pick up Chasing Stanley? Basically, because I wanted to read a sport romance :P I've seen Ms Martin's books on the shelves quite often, but haven't read any. See, the problems with sport romance is that plots are usually very similar to one another - playboy professionals have a problem, usually, injury and learn that there's life outside of his sport. However, I was craving for a sport romance - god knows why... and so I bought Ms Martin's newest release, Chasing Stanley.

Chasing Stanley by Deirdre Martin: 3.25/5
published by Berkley Sensation in January 2007

Jason Mitchell has just been acquired to play with his dream team, the New York Blades, and is thrilled. Determined to lead his team to the series and eventually win the Stanley Cup, Jason has moved to New York with his Newfoundland dog - Stanley. Many had advised Jason to leave Stanley behind, but Stanley is Jason's dog and his love for Stanley is beyond words. However, it was one thing for Stanley to roam free and undisciplined back at home, but now in New York... Luckily for Jason, the answer to his problem comes in a person - Delilah Gould - a dog trainer who comes to Jason's rescue during one of his walk with Stanley. Of course, Jason is attracted to Delilah, but she's a complex woman and actually prefers dogs to men... Will this hockeyman be able to win her heart?

Review: I have to say I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I liked how this book was different than other sport romance - as in, Jason is not your typical mature, playboy professional sportman. Also, it seems that the focus was more on Delilah's problems than Jason's. However, I have to say the romance was bleh and there was very little chemistry between Jason and Delilah... So even if the settings were refreshing, it couldn't save the book with the love story offered.

The Characters - Let's start with Jason. As I said, he's not the typical hockeyplayer you normally see in sport romance. Yes, he's good-looking and he's probably had his shares of women, but he is not portrayed as a playboy. He doesn't act as if all the women throw themselves at him and he knows it. Instead, he's pretty normal when it comes to women... So that was the refreshing part. Also, his love and devotion to Stanley was endearing... he's definitively not conceited and arrogant like many. I liked his relationship with his twin brother Eric, who is older by 3 minutes and has already won a Stanley Cup with his New Jersey team. You can see a definitive rivalry between the two brothers, which is understandable because not only they're twins, but they've gone into the same business. My problem with Jason was his lack of maturity. I guess he's still young and sometimes, it really shows... so much that I wouldn't consider him "manly" or "alpha." Actually, in some occasions, he reminds me of a boy... Also, he's too concern with what other thinks - and this had jeopardized his relationship with Delilah a couple of time. Lastly, he did a couple of things that were totally unacceptable...

What to say about Delilah... She's not a heroine many will bond with, in my opinion. She has her shares of problems, especially self-esteem, due to her parents always quarelling. During her childhood, she seeks refuge with her dogs, training them and had turned this into a business at which she's very successful. In addition to training dogs, she also boards them. She has a good sense of responsibilities; however, she's completely socially inept. The latter being a big problem when you go out with someone who's high profile. As a whole, she left me cold... I definitively didn't bond with her...

The biggest problem of this book was probably the fact that Jason and Delilah didn't have any chemistry between them. Yes, opposite attracts each other and of course, they have some sweet moments together, but it's not enough to build a lasting relationship. I mean, they both acknowledged the fact that they weren't good together, but when apart, they missed each other. In normal circumstances, i would be happy the main couple got back together... but I just can't imagine it working out...

Other characters includes Jason's brother, Eric, his teammates, Delilah's parents and some others... nobody was really important, save Eric. Eric is more the typical sport professional you read about in sport romance... My problem with him was that he went after Delilah's father's fiancé. Yeah, so Delilah's father and his fiancé weren't the perfect match and actually, shouldn't have ever hooked up... but it's not an excuse to develop a relationship with her... talk about an awkward situation for Delilah... Oh, of course, there was also Stanley :) Liked him :D

Story & Writing - The writing was all right... the problem was more with the story. This book was more about the characters than the story, which is okay if it's well-written... but in this case, it left a lot of blanks for the author to fill with subplot which weren't really relevant to the development of Jason and Delilah's relationship. Also, in the end, I couldn't see that much change in Delilah...

The Cover - it's a cute cover :D and it fits the book :D

Am I keeping this book? Not sure... probably because I keep almost everything. However, i'm pretty sure that in a couple of years, I'll be able to part with it to make place for new books.

Anything Else? Nope. I might give a chance to other of her books, probably when I'll have nothing to read.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Hey everyone ;)

just a little update about me before I bombard you with reviews :D As you can see, I finally updated my sidebar *cheer* So, you get all new covers :D I'm seriously going on a book binge ^^; All I've been doing is read and buy new books... the only problem with that is that I'm way behind in my reviews. So this week's goal is to try to review everything :P

As for my week-end, well it was very relax :) I ordered a couple of books last week and I'm so happy that they're on their way (Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead and Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh!) Also, remember how I complaint last week that the release dates for books were all mixed up at Chapters/Indigo online - well I won't complain anymore, because the books have arrived at some bookstores and I was able to get my hands on them early!!! *dancing around* So I bought Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Andrea Kane and Deadly Game by Christine Feehan. While looking for the two books (cos they weren't on the shelves yet), I came across other interesting books and bought them as well. Two are a series by Casey Daniels and the other is some psychic romance I think. Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading this week :)

Aside from that, nothing much has happened. I caught up with one of my friend, watched some anime. If anyone likes mecha anime and have enjoyed Gundam Seed, you'll probably want to watch Code GEASS. It's pretty good and I'm excited to see what's going to happen next.

Oh, for One Piece fans: I don't want Ace to die!!! Please, I beg you, no!


Okay, the post above was written while I was at work. Now, I just came back home after work and paying my speeding ticket... and guess what?!?

I was able to find The Survivors by Dinah McCall. Yes, The Survivors, book I've been waiting for over a year!!! cos the original release date was April 2006 and I was looking forward for it since January 2006.

Oh, and what did I find in the mailbox?!??!? YES!!!! Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh!!!! All right, I know I said that I would write reviews this week... but maybe not tonight :P


All right, well I hope everyone's doing well :) Let me know about your week-end :P

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wings of Love by Dayna Hart

Hello everyone!

I just want to let you know all that we, Kailana and I, have reviewed our first fantasy e-book - Wings of Love by Dayna Hart - over at Twisted Kingdom!

If you are interested, go read and comment! There are a lot of new things coming up at the Twisted Kingdom, so please stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Visions of Heat meme

Ha, I was going to write a review... but time flew I don't know where... so instead, here's something even more interesting!


1. Which psychic power would you most like to possess?
Hmm, tough question! I'd probably like to be a telepath or perhaps, clairvoyant.

2. If you could see the future, what would you like to see?
If I could see the future, I'd like to see only good, happy things!

3. Imagine you woke up one day and could shapeshift - what would you shift into?
Hmm, another tough question. I'm not all that picky. I'd probably say a wolf - I know, not very original - or a tiger... maybe a jaguar? As long as I get more appetite without gaining weight, superstrength and longevity, I'm fine ;P

4. What kind of a paranormal creature would you invite over for dinner if there were no limits on who you could ask?

Hmmm, another tough question :P I think I'd invited vampires - easy to feed. I mean, shapeshifters have a tendency to eat a lot! As for fairies and the like, I don't know what they eat. Any ideas?

5. Which future innovation do you wish would hurry up and get here already? i.e. flying cars, a transporter, computers with artificial intelligence, an auto chef?
An auto chef for sure! So it wouldn't matter whether or not I can cook!

This meme was begun by Nalini Singh to get the word out about her next book, Visions of Heat (releasing March 6). Want to play, too, and enter to win a $50 Amazon voucher plus an ARC? Click here for details.


Seriously, this is such a great idea to promote her book! and I can't wait to read it! I've just pre-ordered it! (Hoping that my luck is up and it's actually going to arrive early - well one can dream right!) Anyway, hope ppl have fun reading the answers! and I promise, reviews are coming soon!

Freaking out...

All right, I have the bad habit of over-worrying. I know this, but it's kind of in my nature. I always find something to worry about: did I lock the front door, did I lock my car, did I forget to turn off the lights, etc. Most of the time, it's tiny things that I really shouldn't be worrying about.

This week have been rough so far... sigh.

1) my windshield is broken. It's a round crack at the bottom - result of a flying rock. I had it estimated and it can't be repaired... it would cost 800$ to change it. The good news is that I don't think I need to change it, due to the location of the crack. At least, for the time being.

2) Needed to pay school fees in order to graduate. That was done, but see, I did it through online banking and it doesn't update immediately. So I always have the tendency to worry and wonder if I paid with the good accounts or not and yadayadayada. Luckily for me, I just checked (for the 10th time since I paid) and the balance is now 0.00$

3) I applied for pharmacy school, but I just got a letter from the university asking me to send in my transcrips. Euh, sorry, I already sent you my transcripts! I called them and they said they received it already - so WTH did you send me a letter? Ah well, luckily for me, I had an extra copy, so I sent it to them again. ( I wasn't going to, but then I start to worry that the transcript they had was an old copy, since I applied two years ago... and you know, just worried)

4) Had to renew my driving license and medicare card. Almost forgot about it... when I looked at the letter, I realized the deadline was next week!

5) Still need to pay that speeding ticket and some library fines.

Sigh. so yeah, pretty hectic... Hope the rest of the week will be more relaxed... cos my brain is completely dead. Eg: I wanted to do something, but I can't remember what now ^^;

By the way, anyone knows how to "cross" out words on blogger (like Ames and her 50 TBR challenge)?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year

Hey everyone!!

Happy Chinese New Year! If you didn't know, this year is the year of the Pig!!! and don't badmouth pigs, as I am one :)

Oh, I'd like to thank everyone who asked about my dad's eye surgery. It went well and was quite successful. I drove him for his checkup on Saturday morning and everything was fine; however, he'll need new glasses :) Right now, it's funny cos he doesn't wear his anymore, since he sees blurry with them Went to 1$ shop to buy him reading glasses with nerd frame LOL. You can't be chooser for a 2.50$ pair I guess :P He says that he can see a lot better from a distance, so that's a good news.

So I woke up Saturday morning and drove him to his check-up. Also went to buy flowers for the pagoda. Came home and scrubbed my room clean. It's quite freaky cos it doesn't look like my room anymore, it's so clean. Same thing for the bathroom :P Then I rushed to work (the receptionist work)... 4.5 hours and I got only 2 phone calls - talk about a relax job!! So I got to read one of my new book, Chasing Stanley by Deirde Martin (review coming up this week).
Came home, took a shower and head to the pagoda to celebrate the New Year :)

Then today, I read and napped and ate :P If you ask me, that's the perfect way to celebrate New Year :P

Just before getting back to my reading, here is the list of books I'm not keeping. If you're interested in a book just le me know. You have till, hmmm, Saturday in 2 weeks :)

Night everyone!

Karen Marie Moning
Beyond the Highland Mist
To Tame a Highland Warrior
The Dark Highlander
The Immortal Highlander

T.J. MacGregor
Black Water
Total Silence

Carrie Vaughn
Kitty and the Midnight Hour

L.A. Banks
The Hunted

Caitlin Brennan
The Mountain's Call

Kimberly Cates
The Gazebo

Georgette Heyer

Lynn Kurland
Much Ado in the Moonlight

Christie Golden
On Fire's Wings
In Stone's Clasp

Elizabeth Hoyt
The Raven Prince

Allison Brennan
Speak no Evil

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'm exhausted...

Hey everyone :)

this will be brief, because I'm really tired and my body aches from everywhere. We got snow yesterday, the whole day. Total amount: 30cm. Not too bad, except that it's really windy and the snow is the light kind so, visibility is greatly reduced. Also, the roads are kind of frozen, so very slippery.

For the past two days, to avoid the traffic on the bridge, I've been going to work really early, like one hour earlier. Yesterday, my dad slid off the road while coming home. He called home and my mom, my sis and I were all ready to go and pick him up. We were out of the driveway when he called again: his car got towed back on the road, both him and the car was okay and he was coming, no need to pick him up. So we drove around and came back home ^^; Since I'm already talking about car and traveling, man, I was stuck for more than an hour. The worst is that it wasn't even on my way back home, crossing the bridge as I expected. Instead, I got stuck after picking up my sister. See, when I got on the bridge, I saw the sign that said the road was closed at THAT exit - but I thought it was the EXIT that was closed, not the highway, starting from that exit. Anyway, sat there long.

So what else, oh yeah, my day at work sucked. So much drama among my colleagues, it's so tiring. In addition, I was already doing something when my supervisor barged in and asked me to do something else... so I've been doing a bit of running.

Hmmm, so I think this covers up most of thing. Except tomorrow, I have to drive my sister to school, cos my dad's having eye surgery - cataract. So that means I'm going to go in late... doesn't matter, I'm really not planning to stay long. Exhausted, really.

Book related - well, since I've had to go to work early, I had to go to bed early, so not much reading done. I've decided to re-read Poison Study, or at least my favorite parts. Not having time to read, doesn't mean I couldn't buy books. I've been itching to go to the bookstore since Monday... actually, last Friday. So I went today, since I had to wait for my sis anyway. I was looking for Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs, it caught my attention after reading Kailana's review over at Twisted Kingdom. However, I couldn't find it and there was 12 copies. I asked someone, that someone couldn't find it either: probably still in box. So I got a coupon: 15% off!!! Combined with my I-rewards card, that meant 25% off!!!! Ha, did I enjoy... I bought a couple of books, but my mind is a bit blank right now... all I can remember is Hell's Belle by Jackie Kessler - I was planning to order it only, cos it's 24% off... but now, it's in my hands!!!

Also, I've been re-arranging my shelves, so all my books fit in. (You know, everything have to be clean before midnight, Saturday). That means I have a pile of books to give away :) I'll post the titles during the week-end in case anyone wants them :)

Okay, that's it for me tonight... Going to bed :) Have nice dreams everyone :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Review: The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik

Wow! I just, just finished reading the third book of the series and that's pretty much all I can say, wow. Actually, no, I have plenty to say :P First, I'd like to thank Mailyn, for the recommendation, and also Ames, for her review which gave me the little push I needed to start the series. I have to admit I've seen the books many times at the bookstore and I've picked up one many times, but aviation has never truly been my forte and I've always put them back on the shelve. So when Mailyn gave me a list of rec, I didn't realize that do the link between the title and the book till I was at the bookstore :P Anyway, for all those that luv fantasy and still haven't read it, find and read it!!!

Temeraire series by Naomi Novik: 4.5/5

The series is set during the Napoleon Bonaparte war era between France and well, the rest of Europe. Although planes do not exist, these countries possess an air force composed of dragons and valiant aviators. However, in Britain, being an aviator is not very glorious as these soldiers are taken away from their family at 7 y.o. and trained. In addition, Britain's aviation force is quite small as the country is not big and the resources to feed these dragons, limited. Thus, the chances to become a captain, i.e. aviator, are slim and opportunities, rare, especially as some of the dragons are inherited (they outlived humans) and aviators for eggs are pre-selected.

Dragons existed all over the world, but the best breeders are the Chinese, as they were able to tame the dragons first, long before the Romans. Many different breeds exist; they can be small, big, fast, have particular offensive abilities (spit fire or acid), etc. The rarest breed are the Celestials, a Chinese breed usually reserved to royalty, with the unique abililty, the "divine wind."

Book One - His Majesty's Dragon: 4.75/5
published in March 2006 by Del Rey

Will Laurence is the captain of the Reliant and part of the Britain's Navy. During his journey, his crew was able to overtake a French ship with an egg aboard. All were very happy, figuring out the prize money it would bring them, till the ship doctor announced that the egg would hatch in less than a week. According to European's customs, dragons have to be harnessed as soon as they are hatched from the egg and before they eat or else, they will fly away and become feral (rogue). However, usually, the person who harnesses the hatchling becomes the aviator and thus, in this case, it would mean a change in career completely. Thus, one person was drawn from the crew. However, the dragonet had a mind of its own and chose Laurence as his aviator. Laurence then names him Temeraire and together, both, start their training in order to join force to Britain's Corps and defend against France. Along the way, Laurence and Temeraire will forge a very strong friendship as well as discover that Temeraire is one of the precious and very rare Chinese Celestial dragon.

Review: I really love this book and I have to admit this is my favorite among the three books so far. I love it because of Laurence and Temeraire's friendship; how it started and how it grew. In addition, I enjoyed the whole training and Temeraire's friendship and interaction with the other dragons as well. I like how Laurence had to adjust to his new position and how much he has come to care about Temeraire, very touching. Basically, a very good first book that set the bar very high.

Book Two - Throne of Jade: 4.25/5
published in April 2006 by Del Rey

By the end of His Majesty's Dragon, Laurence and Temeraire discover that Temeraire is a Celestial dragon (he was previously mistaken for an Imperial - a very rare Chinese breed, but not as precious as a Celestial), and his egg was intended to be a gift to Napoleon Bonaparte. Now, China has sent a delegation to demand Temeraire's return; however, the dragon is unwilling to be separated from his aviator, as Laurence is to be separated from him. Seeing no other solution, the delegation accepts that Laurence accompanies Temeraire to China, since it is only under this condition that Temeraire would go. However, the journey to China is going to be long and anything can happen...

Review: Basically, I like every scene between Temeraire and Laurence, as well as Temeraire and his crew and dragon friends and scene of Temeraire's growth. What made me enjoyed this book less than the previous one is that there is a lot of politics involved and in addition, many wanted to separate Temeraire and Laurence. In my head, I know that of course, both will remain together since there's more books in this series and so on... My problem is the doubts that both are having, their fear of being separated - it makes me uncomfortable. To see such a friendship in danger, just makes my heart aches. It helps that both were willing to do some sacrifices in the end for the other to be happy, but at the same time, I can't help it to wonder if both are content now.

Book Three - Black Powder War: 4.5/5
published in May 2006 by Del Rey

In order for Laurence to remain Temeraire's aviator, he had become the Emperor's adopted son. Now, both of them along with their crew are preparing to go back to Britain, their home. After seeing how dragons were treated in China compared to in Britain, Temeraire has great plans in his mind to improve dragons' living-style in Britain and cannot wait to get home. However, their departure is delayed by a fire which destroyed the dragon transporter and at the same time, Laurence receives order to fetch 3 eggs purchased by Britain from Istanbul, Turkey. Debating the situation, Laurence decides in the end that they must reach the eggs as soon as possible, as one of them will soon hatch and they cannot risk to lose the dragonet. Thus, Laurence, Temeraire and their crew engage on a long journey through land (as opposed as sea - the way they came)... However, very little goes as planned.

Review: This was a very interesting story, a bit more action-based I'd say, than the others. Lots of battles and you can feel that the situation is becoming very critical - Bonaparte is gaining a lot of territories, many are surrending, etc. There is a lot less of politics, which I thank the author and adding to the storyline is revenge - while in China, a prince tried to kill Laurence and instead was killed. His dragon, an albino Celestial named Lien, blames Laurence and Temeraire for the death of her aviator and thus, sets out to help Bonaparte to see Laurence and Temeraire lose everything - their country, their friends, etc. Really, I enjoyed it a lot, especially the new dragonet's birth and how Temeraire acts - jealous big brother. The only thing which I felt sad about is Temeraire's ideals for a new living style for the dragons. It is very noble and ideal of Temeraire, but practically, it will be very hard to implement. Of course, Laurence tries to warn Temeraire, but at the same time, he doesn't want to shatter all of the dragon's hope... so I think this part of the storyline puts a bit of strain in their relationship. Oh, and I miss Temeraire's dragon friends T_T


Characters - Laurence is issued from nobility; however, he is only the third son and not heir. His relationship with his father is quite strained, as his father would have preferred Laurence to become man of Church instead of a soldier, and now, becoming an aviator is like a demotion in his eyes. Laurence is, how to say, a very proper man - good manners, judicious choices, long thinking, very conscious of his position and his surroundings, etc. He is not a stuffy shirt, but a 30-something years old man with a very level head on his shoulders. I like his character a lot as he is quite new and refreshing. We're not talking about a rake or an alpha male, and so he is very different than most main characters. However, I have to say, it's bit hard to connect with him, as his thinking and his ways are from another era. Nonetheless, a very interesting and well-developed main character.

Our second main character, critical to this story, is Temeraire! My description of Temeraire would be a very intelligent/genius little boy - okay, with frightening weight and ability to fly :P By the end of the third book, he might be 2 -2.5 years old. He is so very innocent and with so much to learn. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the only one in Europe - he is very intelligent, able to learn stuff and languages, interested in everything, curious about everything. He's also very protective of the persons he loves... He's also very wise at times... Overall, a very complex character, but you can't help but love him and find him cute. He's also the comic relief in the series which you need, because after all, the stories take place during war time.

These two are really the main characters and they carry the story on their own :P There's a myriad of other characters tho: Granby- the first lieutnant, Keynes - the doctor, Maximus and Lily - Temeraire's dragon friends, etc. They all play a role in the series, but they're not the focus.

Story & Writing - Well, what can I say about the writing style? Can't complain for sure. What I'm impressed the most at is how Ms. Novik was able to bridge the action or more important scenes together. Time flows quite rapidly, the story is not dragging at all. This is tricky, especially on long journey like the ones on which Temeraire and Laurence embark on. So really... the only thing I'd had like is a bit more description of the different breeds of dragons - it's also very difficult to keep tracks of all of them, but luckily, there's now a wiki page to help.

As for the story, I really enjoyed them. All three stories are very different from each other and continuous. What I mean is that, they don't only just fight, fight, fight. They have a mission to achieve, a goal and it is not the same in each of the book and so it adds novelty to each book. However, don't be mistaken - this is war time, and Ms. Novik is not shy about killing characters - crewman, dragon, etc. which does cause me a lot of heartache T_T

The Covers - They're all very nice :) I like them a lot, especially the dragons the image inside the , I don't know, compass, watch?

Am I keeping this book? Hell yes! Need to ask?

Anything else? Lots :D 1. Here is Ms. Novik website, livejournal, as well as the wiki page.
2. Ms. Novik has signed another contract with Del Rey for 3 other books (Yay!). The 4th one is name Empire Ivory and is coming out sometimes this Fall (it's too far away!). The 5th book will come out in 2008 in hardcover. Still no news of the 6th book.
3. Apparently, Peter Jackson has optionned the Temeraire books :)
4. For those who have read the 3rd book and the excerpt that is at the end of the book, please read (Spoilers ahead): I'm going to die, if I have to wait till Fall arrives. I need to know which dragons are dead and which ones are alive. Please, please, please, Maximus and Lily must be alive! And Excidium too, please, please, please. T_T
5. Ames, Mailyn, if we beg Ms. Novik, do you think she'll send us an ARC?

Monday, February 12, 2007


Well I just thought I'd followed up a little on my week-end post :)

I did go out both days a little bit: it was cold, but I didn't stay out long. Actually, I ran to my car and jump in it :) Thanks god for the starter, so the car was relatively warm when I jumped in. On other stuff, I did read His Majesty's Dragon - thank you Mailyn and Ames so much! Mailyn for the rec and Ames, for the review that made me sit and start to read :) I luv His Majesty's Dragon and have re-read my favorites part at least twice already. I've also read The Throne of Jade - I didn't like it as much, but it was still a good book :) Reviews for the books are coming as soon as I finish the third book, Black Powder War. Also, apparently, the author, Ms. Naomi Novik has signed a contract with Delrey to continue the Temeraire series - 3 books, one per year - and I can't wait for book #4 (Empire Ivory if I'm not wrong) to come out. You'd understand if you've read the excerpt at the end of book 3!!!

What else did I do, very little. I went to work on Saturday night - the receptionist work - it was nice, because I know many of the Fathers there and they gave me a warm welcome. The evening was okay and relax, except for this phone call by a very mean lady. See, she saw on her ID caller the no, so she called back - not knowing where or whom she was calling - well let me tell you, I don't know who called you! I'm only the receptionist, i.e. I answer the phone and forward your call, I DO NOT call ppl! There is about 30 ppl in the building who could have called you - I DO NOT KNOW who called you! Anyway, she really was rude. Aside from that, it went fine :) I had time to finish His Majesty's Dragon :) Then, I stayed up till 3:30 am to read The Throne of Jade :P

Yesterday, I went to my friend's house to do some little scrapbooking - okay, I didn't think it'd take that much time to do one page. Basically, I did 3 pages and it took me about 5 hours. Then, I went home, helped my sister with her homework, read the first chapter of Black Powder War and fell asleep. I would have tried to tough it up a bit, but hey, I have to wake up at 6h in the morning and it was midnight when I turned off the light.

Anyway, I'm now at work. Beurk. My supervisor is coming back today. Double beurk. I hate Mondays... Why do week-end pass so fast?!? I really wish I was still in bed T_T

Otherwise, as you can see, I didn't have time to play with the layout. This week, this week. Although I'm going to be busy cleaning my room (how come I have the feeling I'm ALWAYS in the process of cleaning my room?!?). At least, this week, I have a deadline. My room, actually the whole house, must be pristine clean by Saturday midnight, cos it's Chinese New Year on Sunday and apparently, it's bad luck to clean, shower/bath and use the broom, cos you're washing away the luck. Go figure... :P

Friday, February 09, 2007


Hey everyone!

Finally/Already Friday! A couple more hours and it's the week-end! So, anyway, I was just wondering what was everyone's plans for the week-end.

First, for me, I'd like the temperature to warm up, cos it's been, on average, -35 degree Celcius the whole week, in other words, freaking cold. Aside from that, well there's reading and scrapbooking on the program and I hope to have time to play with the layout :)

well have a nice week-end everyone!

Review: Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan

I bought Speak No Evil at a grocery store while I was looking for Susan Wiggs 2nd installment of her Lakeside Chronicles. Seriously, it's pretty amazing how you can now buy books at the grocery store for cheap! Anyway, I saw this book and read the blurb and it sounded good...

Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan: 2.25/5
published by Ballantine Books in January 2007

Eighteen years old Angie Vance was repetitively raped and then murdered through suffocation in a garbage bag - her mouth sealed with glue and an obscenity scrawled across her skin. Detective Carina Kinkaid, a very dedicated cop, is primary on the case and suspects Steve Thomas, a 40 y.o. man who still attend college part-time and ex-boyfriend of the victim. To protect himself, Steve calls his younger brother, Sheriff Nick Thomas, who've just escaped a recent confrontation with a serial killer from which he is still scarred and unsteady.

Series: Book 1 of Evil trilogy
Genre: contemporary, romantic suspense

Review: Hmmm... There is a number of reasons why I didn't like this book, but mainly, it was Carina Kinkaid and how easy it was in the end to solve the case.

The Characters - I usually don't enjoy the characters who've become cops because murders have changed their life, because inevitably, it's going to impact the story. When Carina was still a teenager, she was baby-sitting her nephew. While she fell asleep, her nephew was kidnapped and then murdered. This event impacted the whole family - Carina became a cop, her brother who just finished medical school became a psychiatrist/profiler and Nelia, the mother, left San Diego and went to live away from her family. In addition, from that day, Carina was never left alone with her younger sister, Lucy, who was the same age as her nephew. Of course, Carina blames herself for what happened. What annoyed me was that everything always came back to Carina - it made her appears selfish and I couldn't sympathize with her at all. She's only been detective for over a year, but she acts as if she has tons of experience, she knows better. Also, everything went way too easy for her in this investigation: whatever she wants, she gets. It just isn't realist to me. However, what annoyed me the most is that at the beginning, she focused only on Steve Thomas as a suspect. Granted, he did look suspicious, but a good cop would have looked beyond the ex-bf a little bit.

Nick was okay and he had his own problems as well... maybe too much. Overall, I thought the characters were not developed enough and there was no chemistry between Nick and Carina - it was hard to believe that they fell in love, at least, enough that they would both be willing to abandon their life and career, esp. given the time they knew each other.

Story & Writing - The writing was all right, the story... The MO of the murders were interesting, but not enough to carry the whole book. As I said also, Carina had it way easy - autopsy would be done right away, when she wanted Nick on the team as consultant, she got immediately, her ex-bf would do the DNA tests and analysis, brother, the profile and other brother, the informatics stuff. There wasn't even that much suspense and really, how they figured out who was the killer - sheer luck.

The Cover - it was attractive enough for me to pick up the book and buy it.

Am I keeping it? Nope - anyone wants it? The cover is a bit teared up tho ^^;

Anything else? This is the first book of a trilogy. Book 2 will be about about one of Carina's brother, the PI who was mentionned, but not seen. Book 3 is about Dillon Kinkaid, the psychiatrist. I'll probably going to try another of Allison Brennan books in the future, but I'm not touching this series.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Review: You Can't Hide and Count to Ten by Karen Rose

So more reviews today :D I'm catching up I'm catching up (my reviews over the no. of books I have read). This week is awesome at work as my supervisor is not there :D (makes me very happy indeed) . So today's review are two of Karen Rose's books, You Can't Hide and Count to Ten. I've always enjoyed her books, but when I read You Can't Hide back blurb, it didn't attract me really because I don't like that kind of story. However, I decided to give it a go after reading Lori's reviews of Karen Rose's other books and remind me how much I enjoyed them. So I decided to get You Can't Hide before Count to Ten was released, which I got last Friday and read during the week-end.

You Can't Hide : 2.75/5
published in April 2006 by Warner

All right, basically the story starts with the death of a woman who committed suicide. However, this woman was seeing a psychiatrist, Tess Ciccotelli. The suicide turns out to be a murder (the victim was mentally pushed to commit suicide) and rapidly, Tess' patients and ppl of her entourage are killed. Of course, Tess is at the top of the suspects list. In addition, her relations to the police department are poor because she has previously declared a murderer unfit for trial since he was "insane."

Primary detective on this case is Aidan Reagan. At first, he does not like Tess all that much, but protecting ppl and finding the murderer are his job. Quickly, they find out that Tess is being framed. In addition, Aidan realizes that Tess is not as tough as she projects and develops feelings for her.

Series: It's not really a series, but all of her books are connected as in the characters know each other.
Genre: Contemporary, romantic suspense

Review: As I said earlier, I hesitated a long time before buying this book, because this is not my favorite type of plot - psychiatrist who cannot divulge information because confidentiality and etc. and become target of dislike of cops and afterwards, becomes the victim of a crazy stalker... I have to say, I didn't really enjoy this book and skim a lot of parts.

The Characters - Hmmm, let see. I don't know how to describe Tess, I actually don't know if I know her. I mean, she's estranged with her family because of a misunderstanding that is resolved later on, she pretty much lives for her job and she has emotions and is not as cold as others would believe. If I found that Tess was difficult to describe, then Aidan lacked even more depth ^^; His a cop from a family of cop and you know, the righteous kind of person. He had a very serious relationship in the past, but it ended when the woman complained he wasn't making enough money, basically she snobbed him. That's about it ^^; So no, not the best and most entertaining characters. In this case, it's the story that made the book.

Story & Writing - Karen Rose has a very strong voice which makes her able to carry a story, even if the characters are only so-so. I like her writing style very much... very intense and well-written. Unfortunately, this one was far from being her best in my opinion.

The Cover - It was okay. Nothing spectacular, but at least fitting for a romantic suspense.

Am I keeping this book? Yes, since I have all the others.

Count to Ten : 4.25/5
published in February 2006 by Warner

***EDIT on April 1, 2012: After re-reading this book a couple of time, I still love it to pieces! It's great and I think it deserves A+ :)

A fire completely ravaged a house and the firefighters find a complety charred body of a young woman. Lieutnant Reed Solliday investigates the fire, but has to bring in homicide when a bullet is found in the skull of the victim. Mia has just come back from disability after having been shot and is partnered temporarily with Reed to solve this crime. Very fast, Mia and Reed are attracted to each other and embarked in an affair with no strings. However, fire happens after fire, bodies and victims keep turning up, add in two insufferable reporters and the shooter who injured Mia and her partner and Mia's discovery of siblings she never knew of and it's almost too much for them to deal.

Series: As I said, no series although the books are connected it.
Genre: Contemporary, romantic suspense

Review: All right, I was going to wait a little bit before buying this book since You Can't Hide was kind of disappointing... Also, Dear Author's review ,although not bad, did not give me the urge to run and go buy the book. Although, this is what happened :P I bought it at the same time as the Dream-Hunter and read it immediately after and it was worth it :) I really liked this book and think this is one of the best so far :)

The Characters - Wow, this time, Ms Rose really did nail the characters :) Mia Mitchell is a cop, the good kind. She's tough and complex, the kind of person you'd like to have to watch your back. She's also had a difficult past, but she overcame it. Lots of ppl have complained about tough heroine being bitchy or annoying, but Mia isn't one of those. She's not indestructible and she finds out first hand. As for Reed, he was an interesting character :) I liked how Mia first thought he looked like Satan! However, he's not evil at all. He's a widower with a 14 y.o. daughter and is a bit the typical guy wanting no-string sex, but ends up caring too much. Which was quite predictable given that Reed is a very caring person. I also like his curiosity which makes him eaves-dropping a couple of time. All in all, both characters are very humane, but at the same time, not too stereotyped either.

Story & Writing - Well I won't comment on the writing, since I kind of alluded to it up there. I really enjoyed the story, I thought it was suspensful and intense, with a right balance of action and romance. I also like the realism of it, it's the kind of story I could see happening in real life as well. Jane at Dear Author has mentioned that there were many moral issues discussed in this book (eg: nature vs. nurture theory), but she found that it was given only superficial consideration and that the author already her opinion on the subject... I didn't think so, but perhaps it's because I share the same opinion as the author. Anyway, this book definitively deserves a thumb up and I'm happy to have read this book.

The Cover - Well, I think it's a bit plain, but again, suit the romantic suspense style of the book.

Am I keeping this book? Oh yeah!

Anything else? As I said, all of Ms Rose are connected because the characters know each other; however, they do stand alone very nicely. I actually think that Ms Rose was quite bright not to introduce all of her characters all at once in the first book. Instead, she creates circles of ppl and rotates among them. So you don't get an overdose :)

Anyway, here is Ms Rose's website and the next novel's main character is Vito Ciccotelli.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Dream-Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon

So where to start... The Dark-Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I have to say that I've followed this series for a bit more than 1.5 year now. I really devoured the books at first, but I've been disappointed with Dark Side of the Moon and even though Unleash the Night was good, it still left an empty feeling. Personally, I don't like the direction Nick Gauthier is taking, so I guess as long as he doesn't appear too much, I'll be fine.

The Dark-Hunters series is actually broken down into three categories: the Dark-Hunters, the Were-Hunters and the Dream-Hunters. This is the first installment of the Dream-Hunter series which is why the book was released as paperback instead of hardcover.

The Dream-Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon: 3.75/5
published in February 2007 by St.Martin's Paperbacks

Dr. Megeara Kafieri, aka Geary, has promised to her father, on his deathbed, to continue his research and prove Atlantis was real. At first, it was only an empty promise made to her estranged father whose quest for Atlantis has cost him his reputation as a scholar, but also almost all his family. However, when Geary hold proofs that Atlantis is real in her hands, she sets out to keep her promise.

Long ago, dream-hunters have been cursed by Zeus and are now devoided of all feelings except for pain. Arikos or Arik used to be an Oneroi - a dream-hunter whose function is to protect humans; however, because of Solin, a half-god with dream-hunter's power, also cousin of Arik, temptation, Arik turned into a Skotos, a dream-hunter who craves feelings and thus, "parasites" humans' dreams. After Arik stumbled onto Geary's dreams, he did not want to leave and so struck a bargain with Hades : Arik would become 100% human for 2 weeks, able to feel and have emotions, and when he returned, he'd had to bring back Geary's soul for Hades.

Once human, Arik - with the help of Solin- obtained the permits necessary for Geary for the excavation of Atlantis, as she has found its location. However, many gods are worried that Geary will release Apollymi and so, put obstacles in Geary's path. In addition, the 3 Oneroi leaders are worried that someone in the high places will find out that the curse on the dream-hunters is weakening through Arik and one of them takes matter in his hands by sending the Dolphoni/Furies to deal with Arik.

Series: The Dark-Hunters series (Book 11 - anthologies not included)
Genre: Paranormal romance

Review: Well as I mentionned already, I thought this book was a good read, better than Dark Side of the Moon. However, if someone wanted continuation of the series, you'll be disappointed. First, this book takes place in 1996, i.e. we're going back in the past, even before the series started. In addition, there is only 2 pages worth of Archeron. On the other hand, what is interesting is that it gives a lot of insight on the gods and the other "paranormal beings" besides the Dark-Hunters, such as the, well, dream-hunters, but also Chthonians (god killers) and Dolphoni and other Olympian gods. Also, we get to re-visit some other characters, such as Katra, who gets a rather big part, andM'Adoc, which appeared in Dance with the Devil as Zarek's dream-hunter.

The Characters - Let see, what do I have to say about these characters. Quite frankly, not much. Arik is like any other Dark-Hunter - tall, long hair, physically perfect, sexy, etc. - as for his personality, well not very different than the others either. The only thing is, never having been around humans, he's a bit clueless. Aside from that, I thought he lacked a bit of depth... Aside from the fact that he suffered a lot of pain, as like all the other dream-hunters, his only story is that he became a Skotos after fighting with Solin. Is that really sad? No. As for Geary, well she was a nice gal... What can I say... I did like her, but again nothing much to say. I think this book, although the characters played a big role, the story was more interesting. Or perhaps, what has to be said is that again, the secondary characters were more interesting and stole the spotlight. First, there was Katra... now that's a very complex character and everytimes she appears, we're given just pieces and bits of her past. Solin was another interesting character. He appeared as a jerk, but there's something behind him. Heck even ZT (Zebulon) was more intriguing. So, to sum it up... boring main characters, but intriguing secondary characters.

The Story & Writing - I really think something should be clear... no person is devoid of emotions and writing about those kind of chracters is really hard, especially if you want to make them realistic. In addition, when a character is devoid of feelings, then there's only one path for the author - to make this character have emotions and ultimately love. Ultimately, the premises are not bad, just very predictable. Again, it's not the main characters evolution that was interesting, but the whole story in general. The Dream-Hunter's curse, the bargain between Hades, Arik and when how Geary and Kat got Ares out of it. Also, the whole killing Arik scheme and Apollymi's presence. You also learn quite a bit about the gods story.

The Cover - I'd have preferred it if there wasn't a face taking half the space. However, I have to admit that at least, for once, the model fits the description.

Am I keeping the book? Yes. I'll decide what I'll do with the series after Ash's story, but I doubt that I'll throw them away... because there are some good stories in this series.

Anything else? Yes, what are the chances that Katra is Ash's soulmate? Seriously, she's a very complex character and she has the upper hand on Ash. I mean, she knows everything about Ash, but Ash doesn't even know she exists. Isn't that interesting? I don't understand why some ppl don't like Kat...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

how to ruin a perfect Saturday

How to ruin a perfect Saturday? I'll tell you how: get a fine for exceeding the speed limit. GRRRR! Actually, I don't mind that much to have been fined, because well, I was speeding, so I figure once in a while, it's okay. My problem is how to tell my mom... Also, 186$ well, it does hurt a little bit... but more to the point: how to tell my mom. Worst thing is that it's almost the end of the Chinese New Year. Although I guess it's better to end with a ticket than starting a year with one. Hopefully, I'll get lucky red pockets to compensate a bit. Sigh.

Onto other news, I have to say that the budget thingie isn't working. I've went on several trips of buying books and my list of books to buy just seem to get longer. Good news is I was able to find Dream Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon early and bought it yesterday. I'll write a review of it either tonight or tomorrow... It was a good read, far superior than Dark Side of the Moon.

Oh well, that's it for tonight. I'm going to sulk because of that speeding ticket.