Thursday, March 29, 2007

Review: And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke

I've been meaning to try Laura Lee Guhrke's books since last December... I first saw her name on someone's blog, but didn't pay too much attention to it. Then, came across The Marriage Bed and She is no Princess... skimmed through She is no Princess and thought it was so-so... Still willing to try another book, because she's got some good reviews in blogland. However, I've been putting off The Marriage Bed because it's the last book of a trilogy and still haven't found the two first books... I guess I'll have to order them. Anyway, hmmm, I was going to wait a bit before buying And Then He Kissed Her, but then the book got such a good review over at Dear Author that I had to buy and read it :)

And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke: 4.5/5
published by Avon in February 2007
Emmaline Dove has been working as Lord Marlowe's secretary for the past few years, running his office, but also buying presents for his family and mistresses. Emma's dream is to write and publish an etiquette book and what better place to realise her dream than working for Lord Marlowe, a big publisher. However, when Emma realises that Lord Marlowe has been rejecting manuscript after manuscript without reading them, and at the same time, reached her 30th anniversary always being sensible and "correct," wasting away her youth, Emma blows up and resigns from her comfortable position. She goes to the competitor, obtains a weekly column under her pen name and to Lord Marlowe's greatest surprise, she's a smashing success.

Lord Marlowe - Harry - has had a difficult marriage which resulted in divorce, a long and hard battle which results in Harry and his family being snobbed by their peers. However, it doesn't matter to Harry, because he'd rather make business and money which he is good at. Still, his marriage has scarred him and he has swore never to repeat the experience again. For the past years, Harry and his workers have come to depend on ever efficient and pristine Emma, therefore when she leaves, everything is upside down... At the same time, Harry discovers a new and attractive side of Emma... which he sets out to discover fully once he buys out his competitor.
Genre: historical romance
Series: none

Review: Wow! This book was indeed very good. It was also very different than most of the historicals I've read recently. I much prefer contemporary... but have read popular historical authors such as StepAndhanie Laurens, Lisa Kleypas, Judith McNaught and etc. However, And Then He Kissed Her is set in the 1890's where things have started to change I guess. Women have more rights/liberties, the ton isn't as attractive as they used to be, etc. So all in all, it was quite a refreshing historical romance for me :)

The Characters - I liked both main characters very much. Emma is an interesting female, not a TSTL heroine... Although she is a virgin and a bit innocent, she isn't totally naive. She has a very strong sense of what's proper and what's not, also a strong opinion. I liked that she was so perseverent in pursuing her dreams... She's also smart - knows when to step down and end things. So quite mature... I also really liked Harry :P I usually like absent-minded guys, I think it's cute :P At the start, Harry is quite an arrogant man, but no matter what he thinks, he is actually open-minded... and I liked how he accepts the fact that perhaps he was wrong and tries to make it right. His past also adds character to him... Emma was also given some "past" but I thought it wasn't that much developed and so, it didn't impact the story as it should... but that's a minor detail.

The Story & Writing - Ms Guhrke's style is pretty good- the story flows well and the pace was perfect - but more importantly, it agrees with me and so, I don't have complaints about it :) As for the story, I like it a lot. As I said, the time period was new to me, so it was very refreshing. I liked the interaction between Emma and Harry and it wasn't too much cliché. I also liked that they didn't have sex right away, which gave more time for the characters to know each other. There wasn't any huge misunderstanding between them, no huge obstacles standing in the way... I thought the ending came quite naturally... All in all, a good storyline, backed up with solid writing.

The Cover - I like the cover, but not too sure about both characters embracing each other... LOL

Am I keeping this book? Yep :D

Anything else? Here is Ms Guhrke's website for anyone who's interested. I'm waiting to see what is going to be her next book :D

Little update

Hey everyone!

It seems I keep saying the same thing, but once again... it's been very quiet on blogland! Where are you all? Busy with life? I can understand :)

I've been a bit tired both physically and emotionally. Very stressed lately... For those who still remembers, I applied for pharmacy schools... Well, I'm going to do some psychiometric tests in mid-April - to see whether I'm suited to be a pharmacist or not. After the tests, they will re-evaluate every students again. So not a positive answer, but not negative either. However, to tell the truth, I'm not getting my hopes very high. It is very competitive and apparently, this year, it's really hard to get in... harder than dentistry school... which is a bit depressing. Also, that test is for both universities... and I had to pay 40$ for each.. Seriously, me think it's a rip-off and the universities are definitively making money on that... guess that's the cynic in me. So yeah, lots of paperwork and that's been stressing me... In addition, still don't know if my contract will be renewed for the summer. I asked my supervisor... He said he would asked (who, I don't know) and he forgot about it. Sigh... the bad news is that I haven't been able to save much money this month ^^; gotta start cutting somewhere... Nope, not food... but junkfood :P

What else? See so tired, can't remember ^^; Oh yeah!!! Elections! We had provincial elections this Monday... well Quebec is still liberal, with a minority government. Seriously, politics in Quebec sucks... it's so complicated, such a headache... so yeah, that was stressing as well... good news is that there won't be a referendum asking for Quebec independance for the next four years. I guess that's something...

Ah well, I hope next week will be quiet. At least, it will be only a 4-days week :P In the meantime, I've been reading a lot :D about the only good thing that's been happening :)

Hope everyone has a nice week-end!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Review: The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs

Hey guys :)

I've been reading like crazy since last Friday/Thursday... I think I was able to read 6 books ^^; and so obviously, I'm again, behind on my reviews... Not that I was able to catch up, but now, I have a TBR list (To Be Reviewed) and not to be confound with a TBR pile (To Be Read) LOL. The worst is that most of the books I've just read were great! so it's quite difficult to choose which one to review first. But here we go...

The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs: 4.25/5
published by Mira in February 2007

Jenny Majesky's life has been busy lately. During the summer, she finally discovered who was her father and has gained a half-sister. In addition, her grandmother who've raised her has passed away and for the first time, Jenny is "alone." When she was younger, Jenny had dreams of leaving the small town to go to college and become an author. Nowadays, she is trying to write a cooking book with her grandmother's baking recipes which has made the bakery they own together so successful. However, Jenny's life takes another sudden turn when her house is destroyed by a fire. Having no where to go, she ends up living temporarily with the local police chief, Rourke McKnight with whom she has a past.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book #2

Review: Last summer, when I read Summer at the Willow Lake, the first book of this series, I was disappointed. It didn't stop me from buying The Winter Lodge as soon as it came out in store; however, I did put off this book for almost two months... and I shouldn't have. The Winter Lodge is a very good book and Ms Wiggs entirely redeemed herself with this one. Now, I can't wait to read the next one.

The Characters - We met Jenny briefly in the previous book, as she was reunited with her father and half-sister. Personally, I liked Jenny better than Olivia. I thought that she was more real, down-to-earth and likable. I understand that Olivia's parents divorce was hard on her, but it's really nothing compared to Jenny. Jenny's mother had an habit of leaving Jenny with her grandparents while she would come and leave, but when Jenny was 4 y.o., her mother left and never came back and there hasn't been news of her whereabouts ever since. Olivia has both her parents, all her grandparents, cousins, uncles and all... She had a family around her and she knew where they were, which wasn't the case with Jenny. Anyway, I'll stop comparing the two sisters. Jenny's life wasn't easy, but she was raised with love from her grandparents. When she was a teenager, her grandfather died and when she was about to leave for college, her grandmother collapsed because of a stroke. Jenny had to choose and she decided to put aside her dreams and stay at home to take care of her grandmother as well as their successful bakery. Now that her grandmother is gone, she's lonely which is understandable... What I liked about Jenny is her inner strength which made her quite an admirable person. Rourke was quite the male character, although if I ask myself, I don't really understand him. He's the quiet, intense, overprotective and over-responsible type of man... It seems to me that somehow, he thinks he doesn't deserve to be happy, but I don't know why. Also, I would have liked more insight of him... See, Rourke is the son of a senator... so why did he decide to break all link with his father and become a local police chief? So Rourke is a bit under-developed in my opinion, but still a great guy and I really liked him a lot.

There's also a panoply of secondary characters in this book, some that we've met in the previous book. One who stands out is Daisy Bellamy, Jenny and Olivia's cousin, who gets a storyline of her own. Do I understand that teenage girl, nope, but then I haven't gone through what a parents' divorce, so I can't really judge. However, it'll be quite interesting when she gets her book.

The Story & Writing- This book mainly focus on relationships, but this time, the main characters have a decent amount of screentime and their relationship actually grows and get resolves. I don't want to spoil too much, but here's the jest of it: basically, Jenny met Rourke and Joey, Rourke's best friend, when they were young and there was basically a love triangle between the three of them... However, almost from the beginning, Rourke decided to step down, because he thought Jenny and Joey deserved to be happy. Since Jenny and Joey's engagement, Jenny and Rourke have been avoiding each and it's still going on after Joey's death... till the day Jenny's house becomes ash. She needs someone and Rourke is there for her. Obviously, both love each other and I like how Ms Wiggs wrote their relationship. I also thought that the flashbacks in this book were easier to follow and made readers understand Rourke and Jenny's past better. Oh, another thing I like is how Ms Wiggs connected all the characters. It was pretty impressive to see how most of the characters knew each other, have talked to each other, had an impact in their life... it gave a book something more.

The Cover - Cover is nice, but a bit unexceptional. I think I like spring/summer scenes better tho.

Am I keeping this book? Yes :D

Anything else? Book #3 is titled Dockside and is supposed to come out in August 2007. The main characters will be Nina Romano and Greg Bellamy... Ms Wiggs is also currently working on Book #4, which will be Greg's ex-wife, Sophie Bellamy's story... hmmm, not my favorite character, but we'll see.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Review: The Fortune Hunter series by Christina Dodd

I'm trying to remember how many Christina Dodd's books have I read prior to these two books... The answer, only one and it was Just the way you are and I remember not really liking it. Seriously, I wasn't going to buy Trouble in High Heels... really. Only, I really liked the cover of Tongue in Chic and the black burb and since it's supposed to be a series, well I broke down. Sigh. Big mistake... it wasn't that the books were really bad or the throw-against-the-wall type... just that they were bleh... both of them ^^;

Trouble in High Heels by Christina Dodd: 2.5/5
published by Signet Novel in September 2006

Brandi Micheals has just moved to Chicago to join a big law-firm as well as joining her fiancé who's doing his residency. However, when her fiancé calls her from Vegas announcing his wedding to his other girlfriend and asking the ring back, Brandi pawns her engagement ring to pamper herself and buy a killer red dress to attend a charity/exposition evening hosted by her mentor. Her intention is to find the perfect man and have a one night-stand... Her choice: Italian Count Roberto Bartolini. Unfortunately, it's only after a week-end of bliss that she realizes that Roberto Bartolini is the client of the case she's been assigned to as well as a suspected international jewel thief. Meanwhile, Roberto is here to get revenge...

Genre: romantic suspense, contemporary
Series: Fortune Hunter series, Book #1

Review: Seriously, at the middle of the book, I didn't care about Brandi or the story anymore and that's why the book got such a bad great. It's not only the characterization, but also the writing that didn't agree with me.

The Characters - Brandi is a lawyer and had an unhappy childhood. Her mother was her father's first trophy wife and he yearned for a son. Unfortunately, Brandi wasn't a son and in addition, did ballet and gymnastic - skills that her father didn't find really useful. In fact, he thought Brandi was simply stupid and ditched both Brandi and her mother for trophy wife no. 2. However, Brandi's mother was a bit clueless - didn't know how to take care of herself or Brandi, didn't even know how to write a check... not that they had much money, cos there was no prenuptial contract. Basically, Brandi's father was a bastard and Brandi was left to pick up the pieces... Then she grows up into a beautiful and a bit imposing woman - as she's quite tall and curvacious. Personally, I've read about worst childhood. Yes, I agree, it was bad and sad, but not very endearing in Brandi Micheals. Personally, I don't know what I was supposed to feel about her. Personally, I think it was a problem in characterization... I don't think that Ms Dodd knew what her character was supposed to be like either and that's the result you get, a confuse reader. As for Roberto, well a bit of the typical supposedly sexy and irresistable man with too much pride... but those are starting to be typical and I think I need a bit more.

The Story & Writing - I thought the story was confusing and it lost me ^^; Seriously, nothing much stands out of this book to me except two scenes. One is the scene where Brandi sees her ex-fiancé with his wife for the first time at a charity event which she attends with Roberto. Of course, the was-couple starts to have an argument and to my shock: the weasel, cheating ex-fiancé gets the LAST WORDS!!! Do someone else think this was wrong? Especially since he calls her a whore. Brandi is supposedly very bright and she lets him gets away calling her a whore? Euh, no, that really doesn't sit well with me... unless she agreed with what he said and that's even worse to me. I think that's the scene where I stopped paying too much attention to the storyline... The second scene is where Roberto throws away his pride and dresses up as a dragon to beg for forgiveness. It was a cute scene, but again - how did Roberto know about the dragon? anyway, many inconsistencies and in addition, Ms Dodd's writing style doesn't suit me well. I think it isn't as smooth as it should be and it lacks a little bit of depth.

The Cover - I think the cover is actually nice and fitting.

Am I keeping this book? Hasn't decided yet. Probably yes, but I don't think I'd mind parting with it.

Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd: 3.25/5
published by Signet Novel in February 2007

Devlin Fitzwilliam comes from one of the most prestigious family in South Carolina. Unfortunately, he's a bastard and that means he and his mother have been snobbed and many are against Devlin new business - renovating the Waldemar mansion into a hotel. Devlin bought the mansion from Bradley Benjamin III, one of the most arrogant man and one that has looked down on Devlin since his childhood, which for Devlin is a sweet revenge.

Natalie Meadow Szarvas is Benjamin's granddaughter, although the man does not know. Natalie's mother is ill with cancer and Meadow needs money to pay medical bill. Her only option is to find the lost Rembranlt that her grandmother Isabelle - Bradley III's wife whom he divorced because he thought she cheated on him with her artist mentor and therefore, he kicked her and their daughter (although at this point, he doubted she really was his flesh and blood) out of his life, has hidden. However, Meadow is caught inside Waldemar and after hitting her head in an attempt of sneaking away, she fakes amnesia. Not a bad idea until Devlin claims that Meadow is his wife. So really, what is going on?

Genre: contemporary, romantic suspense
Series: Fortune Hunter, Book #2

Review: This book was better than Trouble in High Heels, but still not an impressive one. There are two types of plot that I usually like: a) the happy-go-lucky woman and stuffy man falling in love. It's always a pleasure to see the stuffy man getting less stuffy and thawing a bit. b) I like jewel thief plot :) Tongue in Chic combines both plots into one; however, neither was done that well.

The Characters - Natalie Meadow Szarvas is an artist and so are her parents. So she has this nonchalent aura surrounding her and she takes everything easily and happily. She's pretty, nice and amiable and I liked her much better than Brandi. Devlin is the perfect stuffy, business-oriented man. They are both attracted to one another; however, I didn't feel the chemistry between them, which was quite unfortunate. However, I liked the characters well enough.

The Story & Writing - well, same complaints for the writing. Still lacking the smoothness and depth, but I won't go there again. I thought the story work better, but it wasn't perfect. First, the amnesia aspect - it would have been quite entertaining if there weren't so many flaws. I mean, Meadow is not a great actress and she couldn't fake having amnesia ^^; Secondly, Devlin didn't thaw very much throughout the book... and that's why I think that they didn't have much chemistry. Highlight for spoiler: the pregnancy at the end seemed a bit superflus for the plot. I didn't think it was quite necessary and it just created more troubles to the couple. The "suspense" aspect wasn't very interesting ^^; It did tie things up, but perhaps that was the only purpose.

The Cover - Liked this one better with the blue and all :D

Am I keeping this book? I guess so for now.

Anything else? First, the reason why these two are together as a serie is because both main male characters, i.e. Roberto and Devlin are half-brothers. Their father is Nathan Manly, a fraud man who has sired many illegitimate sons is presently on the run somewhere in South America. His only legitimate son is Carrick and he does make an appearance in both books. I wonder if he will get his own books as there are no news about this series for the future. In addition, why on Earth is this series call Fortune Hunter? The name makes me think of gold-diggers which Brandi and Meadow are not. They do find some very valuable object, but it's not as if they were looking for it. On Ms Dodd's website, there is no further info about this series, so I don't know if she's going to continue writing it... Instead, she has an announcement for a new paranormal series... that I want to remind myself not to buy... unless I really see good reviews.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hello and reviews!

Hey everyone!!!

So wassup? Sorry I've been neglecting my own blog a little ^^; it's been a long week. The robot at work is out of service and so I've been assuming his place, therefore, less time to bloghop at work ^^; Also, yesterday marks Twisted Kingdom v.2 first week and so, I've been quite busy with it... cos I am not the genre to have reviews written up and all prepared for posting. No, I am the genre of writing it up at the last minute :P Anyway, for those who weren't aware of it, here's my reviews up at Twisted Kingdom:

Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward (buddy review with Ames!)

There's also been a guest review (American Gods by Neil Gaiman) by Stephanie, Kailana's review of Valiant by Holly Black and I'm going to review Warrior Angel by Margaret and Lizzie Weis tonight.

I've had a very slow reading week... didn't feel like reading, but I'm back in the mood so hopefully, many books to come :D I've also going to review Christina Dodd's Fortune-Hunter series so stay tune!

All right, have to start my work day now... T_T

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ten Books I couldn't live without

This is a really tough topic... Seriously. Perhaps I could live without reading the following books, but if I got to choose, I would rather not :P They are in no particular order and mostly are from my favorite authors. They're also, almost all exclusively romances :P Hey, can't help it since that's almost exclusively what I read :P So here we go!

1. Pearl Moon by Katherine Stone - this book is by far my favorite book by Ms. Stone. I don't know, perhaps it's the setting, I'm in love with Hong Kong, but even more, I love the characters... Especially Maylene. I guess I've always had a weakness for those tough characters on the outside, but all soft and vulnerable on the inside. In addition, I love the parents' love story. This is the book that made me discover Ms. Stone and seriously, I love it :)

2. The FBI SCU series by Kay Hooper - this series come in trilogies. So far, there are 3 trilogies: Shadows, Evil and Fear. The first book of the fourth trilogy is coming out this summer, in July, and I'm really excited about it :) What I like about this series is hmm, the mystery aspect. This was the first series that got me into all that FBI stuff. Also, I like how Ms. Hooper incorporated the psychic elements - not magic, but science. I think that all the theories are very interesting. Another thing I like is the fact that although these are a series and trilogies, each book focuses on one agent and a case. Thus, although there are connections between books and characters, it can still be read as stand-alone. Some series are better if they're continuous, others if they're completely separated. If I had to choose one book of the whole series, I would probably go with either Out of the Shadows, Touching Evil or Hunting Fear.

3. Getting rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie - seriously, what would be life without Ms. Crusie? A lot more boring and not as much laughs! I love her books, ,they are simply just so funny! I'm anxiously awaiting her next solo book. Anyway, I love, love, love Getting rid of Bradley... probably because the main character grows a backbone... I don't think she was a TSTL, but she started out as a shy, intimidated, undecided person and became someone I'd like to be. Also loves the hero :D He's just so cute and sexy. Love the dogs as well :P

4. The Chesapeake Quartet by Nora Roberts - I love, love this series :D I guess these are the books that sealed my undying love for Ms. Roberts. The focus of these books are relationships and it's wonderful to see how it unfolds. I like the brotherhood feeling, but also the trust that develops between Seth and his older brothers.

5. Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong - Wonderful paranormal series in my opinion. Not only the characters are interesting, but the world building. Ms. Armstrong was able to create a world, although not unique, different enough from the rest. I really like her characters and how the story has gone so far. If I had to choose one book, it'd be Industrial Magic because that's the book where most characters come together.

6. Through a Crimson Veil by Patti O'Shea - seriously, this book comes as a surprise. What I like about this book is Ms. O'Shea's writing style. I guess it's because if I could write, I'd want to write like her. Kick-butt, but passionate heroine with scuffy, protective, possessive male. To protect each other, both characters never hesitate... My only regret is that Ms. O'Shea doesn't have an extensive backlist and actually, few stand-alone books.

7. The Perfect Lie by Dinah McCall - what can I say, I've talked and raved about this author a lot... it's just that her style fits my taste :D I like how she tells her story and I love the characters in this one. A father who would do anything to save his son - although he didn't knowhe had one, a woman who's been in love with the same man for years and years and who has stand on his side no matter what and a son who meets his father for the first time. Seriously, this book was great :D

8. Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard - Don't ask me why... a lot of ppl are put off by the incestuous relationships in this book, but surprisingly, I don't mind. I'm even rooting for Roanna and Webb. I guess I have something for emotional damaged heroines... they just go straight to my heart. The special thing about this book is while I was reading it, my heart actually ached for Roanna...

9. Study trilogy by Maria V. Snyder - Yeah, I know, the trilogy is not even over ^^; What can I say, it's soooo good! This is the kind of adventure/fantasy story I like :D Love Yelena, love Valek... love everything. Need I say more? There's also a very interesting intrigue in this... not just your typical love story.

10. Night Whispers by Judith McNaught - one of the first book I've read when I started reading in English and just fell in love with it :D I also read Until You, both in French and English, and it was also excellent. These two books are what made me fall in love with Ms. McNaught and why, no matter what she writes or which direction Ms. McNaught takes, she'll forever be on my autobuy list.

*** This is the author that I couldn't live without: Jin Yong, also known as Louis Cha. Mr. Cha is a Hong Kong author who has written 14 kung fu novels which have almost all been adapted on TV several times. His best known works are probably his Condor Heroes saga, as well as Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils and The Proud, Smiling Wanderer. If I would have never watched the TV series and read his novels, I wouldn't be the same person. That's how big an impact his books had on my life.

Of course, there's a lot more books I'd like to add to the list, but if I had to choose 10... that would be it :D I guess that after seeing my list, many think I have peculiar tastes :D They would agree with me for the authors, but perhaps not the book :P What can I say? I never used to think too much when I was reading and analyze things till I started reviewing. What I like about these books is how they make me feel - very good :D

*** ETA: this is like so forgetful of me! This meme was started by Kailana! If you want to know what are the ten books others can't live without, see here! Also, what are the 10 books you can't live without?

Review: Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

**This review was originally posted on Twisted Kingdom.

I first heard of Nalini Singh when Slave to Sensation, her first book in the series, was released and getting good reviews in blogland. Both Cindy and Kristie as well as others were screaming "KEEPER, KEEPER, KEEPER" and seriously, I had to search for it for two entire weeks before getting my hands on it! And I just absolutely loved it :D So this time, I didn't take any chances and pre-ordered it :D Lucky me, it even arrived to my house before the release date, unfortunately, this and that have prevented me from reviewing it T_T I guess better late than never!

Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh: 4.25/5
published by Berkley in March 2007
Faith Nightstar is a F-Psy, i.e. a foreseer, who has had predictions since she was 3 years old and has been on the dot 99% of the time. As a result, her abilities are highly sought by business enterprises to predict the market trends and so, she is very precious to her clan. However, F-Psy are known to be the most fragile of the Psy and have a tendency to plunge into madness in their forth of fifth decades. Thus, most live in reclusion without physical contacts, because they trigger visions, and Faith is no exception - although she has more control than most. However, Faith has been troubled lately by dark visions and is afraid that her descent to madness has started. She knows that if her body breaks, it won't stop the Psy community to use her brain - for visions or for research to understand the mind of F-Psy. Thus, her only chance of a "normal" life would be to run away and drop from the Psy-net... However, no Psy can live without the feedback provided by the Psy-net... Except for Sascha Duncan, the mate of Lucas Hunter, alpha of the Dark River, the leopard changelings clan. Faith will do anything to stay alive and so, decides to go look for Sascha for help or at least, explanations... while slipping out of her compound, she runs into Vaughn D'Angelo, a jaguar changeling and Sentinel of the Dark River clan.
Genre: paranormal romance, shapeshifters, psychics
Series: Psy-Changeling world, Book #2

Review: I liked and enjoyed this book, but not as much as Slave to Sensation (StS). However, I still think that as a sequel, Visions of Heat is very good and does not disappoint. The story is good and enjoyable, but it's just I didn't connect with Faith and Vaughn as much as I connected with Sascha and Lucas. As a couple, Sascha and Lucas were more interesting in my opinion.

The Characters - Faith is an interesting heroine and certainly not TSTL. She has a head on her shoulders and knows how to use it. She's got a personality and can stand on her own. She's a bit ignorant of the outside world, but why go outside when it's dangerous for you? I guess you could say she's as much a loner as Vaughn and so, they fit well. The only thing I thought annoying a little was she kept warning Vaughn to not touch her - and that, I understand... but the repetition of the warning got tedious near the end, esp. when it was obvious Vaughn would not back up. As for Vaughn, I found he played with fire as he kept touching - I don't know, when someone tells you they might die because of something you're doing, if you really care for them, maybe you should consider stop doing it? I understand Vaughn's side, as he believes if Faith is to live outside of her compound, she must get accustomed to touch... but seriously, he didn't have to push her that fast. Otherwise, I liked Vaughn and thought of his story really interesting and actually, quite sad. No wonder he's such a loner and doesn't want to get that close to others. By the way, if you've been wondering, Vaughn is as yummy and alpha as Lucas, but I thought there was more chemistry between Lucas and Sascha than Vaughn and Faith.

We also get to revisit many, many characters, which to me is always a pleasure. I have to say however, that I'd like to see more of the other Sentinels and learn about them. I also love Roman and Julian, Tammy and Nate's cubs, they're just so, so, so cute! Talking about Tammy and Nate, I hope Ms. Singh doesn't do like  J.R. Ward and kill off one person of the couple - it's a very bad idea, Ms. Singh! We like balance and we don't need all the males to be single! Two other interesting characters, Kit - the possible next alpha. To know that there's already a next heir/successor apparent makes me a bit nervous, because I don't want Lucas to die :P but then, I guess Lucas could step down and that's an interesting idea/plot. The other interesting character is Judd Laurens, a Psy and something else. I wasn't expecting to see him in this book, but it was good to see him. Especially since he is the main character of the next book, but kudos to Ms. Singh, because his presence is very subtle. It doesn't scream: I have to start advertising for my next book! I have to make people wonder about Judd for my next book! Most importantly is that Judd does not steal the spotlight.

Story & Writing - The world Ms. Singh created is fascinating and quite complex and she did a good job in StS, setting it. So you don't have that much new information in this book. The only aspect of the world that is still quite unknown to the readers are the humans, but I'm sure that's coming up. What I really liked in StS and Visions of Heat is the flow between them. Not every author is capable of using what was written in the previous book to its full potential, but Ms. Singh was able to and the transition smooth. I guess what I mean is that the two books are continuous, as opposed as two separated stories within the same world and that is great.

The Cover - Hmmm, I don't dislike it, but I don't like it either...

Am I keeping this book? Yep :D

Anything else? Not really... Oh well, perhaps yet. If you go to Ms. Singh's website/blog, you'll see that she got her new cover. Her next book is called Caressed by Ice, coming out in September if I'm not wrong... and she has a story in Wild Thing, an anthology, for October :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Review: The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith

All right, here is my review of The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith. I've first heard of this book over at Dear Author, where both Jane and Jayne has reviewed it. It got a really good review and seriously, I was intrigued. However, I'm really glad I ordered it as this was an excellent book.

The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith: 4.25/5

The Crossroads Cafe is the story of how tragedies have changed the lives of Cathryn Deen and Thomas Mitternich and how they were able to start over, together. Cathryn Deen is a famous actress, better known for her flawlesss and beautiful face than her talents or personality. Her father's side was rich and sophisticated, the complete opposite of her mother's which she had no contact with since the death of her mother when she was a child. However, she has people who cares for her back in North Carolina and her grandmother's house. It is towards these people she turns to when in a car accident, her right side (face and body) was injured and scarred by third degrees burns. Her new husband has divorced her, she has no friends in Hollywood, her career is over and she becomes a total recluse, not allowing anyone to see her new face. However, she's been able to go on so far with the help of Delta, her grandmother's friend, and Thomas, a stranger who is friend with Delta and has been writing her letters. When her attempt at suicide is stopped by Thomas, Cathryn is angry at him and goes down to North Carolina, where she decides to renovate her grandmother's house and live and so starts her new life.

Thomas Mitternich was an architect in New York. The day of the 9/11 tragedy, he was on a tight schedule for a project and so, argued with his wife on who would keep their son for the day. As a result, his wife went with their son to the World Trade Center and they did not survive. After spending months researching the ruins and helping the firefighters, he finally has the confirmation about his wife and son's deaths. Overcome with guilt, Thomas leaves everything behind and embarks on a journey. He ends up in North Carolina, staying in a cabin next to Cathryn's grandmother's house, half-living his life. Sometimes, he'll get through a good period while other times, his life is black and he drinks a lot. In simple words, his life and future is uncertain as he still entertains some dark thoughts about committing suicide...

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

: All right, as I said, this book is really good and there is much more than what I wrote in the synopsis. Perhaps, even too much. All in all however, if you're interested in something different than most of the romances on the market, this is it for you. It is very old style, touching and poignant.

The Characters - I thought at first that Cathryn was a bit superficial at first, just before the accident and also, not very realistic - as in she was deluding herself a bit. However, she's much stronger than she appears to be, but that's to be expected. Also, I would say that her behavior, post-accident is quite understandable. Not much was written about her past, but I like the person she became. As for Thomas, wow, what a complex character. Losing a wife and a son is never easy, but when you feel guilt over it and when you have people who plays on your guilt... Anyway, I thought that Thomas was a far more interesting character than Cathryn, but both characters are haunted, complex and intriguing.

Story & Writing - I like the story, it was emotional and touching, with great characters. However, I thought that the timeline was perhaps a bit unrealisitic and that it wasn't possible to have all the events happen in one year. Some complained that it seems unlikely that all the people around Cathryn and Thomas all went through difficult events in their life, but I think that Ms. Smith actually pulled it out really well. It didn't look obvious for me, just that life was not easy. As for Ms. Smith writing style, I'd say traditional and old style... a bit like Nora Roberts. Very smooth, no explicit sex scenes and very invested. It isn't that the book wasn't witty, but sometimes you read a book and it's very funny and enjoyable, but it seems the content is empty... but it is really not the case with Crossroads Cafe. It's full, with a lot of depth.

The Cover - The cover is quite simple and I like the color... however, I thought they could have put something else and still fits.

Am I keeping this book? Yes, it's totally worth it.

Anything else? I've been looking out for Ms. Smith's backlist with a lot of success :D Also, I've read Charming Grace and Sweet Hush, you can find my reviews here over at Ames' Thrifty Reader.


Hey everyone :D

Sorry for the lack of updates this week-end... Going to try to review Crossroads Café by Deborah Smith and a couple of other ones, but seriously, been feeling like crap this week-end T_T It's my week of the month, accompanied with some cramps and backache... and then, we had another 30cm of snow yesterday, so I went to shovel the snow and my arms hurt T_T... Seriously, I'm tired of snow. Why does it have to fall 30cm at a time this year?

Anyway, I hope everyone's still doing very well :D
Thanks for all who have participated to the contests over at Twisted Kingdom v.2 :D As for those who haven't, what are you waiting to head over there? :P

All right... reviews now...

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Hello everyone!!!

I've just realized that it's been almost a week since my last update - shock! Again, where did my time pass by? However, don't worry, I'll be back in business starting tomorrow ;)
If you're wondering why I've been a bit M.I.A. on my own blog, that's because I was working on Twisted Kingdom! Indeed, today is Twisted Kingdom's rebirth!!! For more information, head over there! :) There's a lot of cool things coming up!
Also, in case you weren't aware of it, Ames is doing a Widow Week and I'm the guest reviewer for today :D The two books that I've read for her Widow Week were Charming Grace and Sweet Hush, both by Deborah Smith. You can find my review here.
What else, what else, what else... Hmm, I think that's about sums up my week so far :D Unless you want to know what are my new books? LOL :) Yeah, I've been book buying, what can I say, can't help it ;) I got Beau Crusoe by Carla Kelly. Jennie has been praising Ms. Kelly so much over the past few months, I just had to try her :) I've also bought Blood Secrets by Vivi Anna which had gotten good reviews in blogland and finally, Rebel Angels by Libba Bray.
Well, that's it for me right now :D Don't forget to go to Twisted Kingdom today and in the next few days to know about the changes and new features, the TWO contests and the new layout that Mailyn is working on :D

Friday, March 09, 2007

Review: The Survivors by Dinah McCall

All right, so most of you know how much I was anticipating this book, The Survivors by Dinah McCall. I've been a fan of Dinah McCall, aka Sharon Sala. I've first became a fan of Ms Sala after reading Out of the Dark, a very touching story of a woman who was kidnapped by her own mother as a child and brought to a cult where the leader pimped the children to pedophile. Luckily for that woman, she was able to run away with a friend and escape that hell. Meanwhile, her father has been looking for mother and daughter for more than 15 years. Seriously, that book was really good. So I've hunted for Ms Sala's backlist and discovered that she also wrote books under the name of Dinah McCall (why do authors have several pen names?). I really like her style and she has become an auto-buy for me. The Survivors was supposed to come out last year, but for some unknown reason, the release date was pushed back a year... so I really have been waiting for this book for a long time and finally, have bought it and read :D

The Survivors by Dinah McCall (aka Sharon Sala): 3.75/5
published by Mira in March 2007

Ethan O'Ryan has come back from Iraq with a missing eye and a whole lot of scars. After months of recovery, he has come home and the only thing he wants is to see his son of five years old, Johnny, who has been living with his maternal grandparents. A few nights before Christmas, Ethan is woken up by a phone call from his great-grandfather, Thorn, who is asking about Johnny's wellfare because he has a feeling. After a few phone calls, Ethan learns that his in-laws wanted to surprise him and arrive a few days early; however, their plane has crashed in the Appalachians and no survivor is known yet. Unwilling to sit by their phones and wait for news, 4 generations of O'Ryan men (great-grandfather Thornton, grandfather James, father Mike - also the hero, and Ethan) show up at the crash site.

Deborah Sanborn is a psychic. Her gift first presents in a preominition where she saw her father, along with 11 other men, die in a mine collapse, when she was about 6-7 years old. Now 40 years old, she lives away from the others, but not in isolation/reclusion, in the mountain in the familial home and help whenever she can after a premonition. As a result, she heads down to the crash site after "seeing" a woman and a young boy walking away from the plane crash, because she knows she can help locating them. In addition, she feels that they are in danger as a third survivor wants to harm them.

Molly C. survived the plane crash and woke up only to witness the murder of the passenger sitting in front of her, at the hands of his friend. Molly is not the only survivor or witness, as Johnny O'Ryan also saw what happened. Panicked and afraid for their safety, Molly grabs the boy, some blankets and some food and walk away from the plane crash... Upon seeing the tracks of footsteps in the snow, Darren Wilson knows that they are survivors and witnesses and isn't about to let them go so easily... Thus starts his pursuit to eliminate them.

Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, romantic suspense, psychic

Review: I enjoy the book, but I think that deep down inside me, there was some disbelief which is why the book didn't get a better grade. I mean, everything looks so easy that it became a bit unrealistic... or perhaps it's me who's a bit ignorant about life and I believe it's not possible to do, but it is. However, it was still very enjoyable and Ms Sala's narrative voice is smooth as ever.

The Characters - I bet everyone's wondering about the characters, especially the 5 generations of O'Ryan men. I was a bit puzzled at first, cos it's rare you see a great-grandfather alive, but it works. Thornton is in his eighties, James in his sixties, Mike is 45 y.o., Ethan is 20-something and Johnny is 5. By the way, if you're also wondering, Thornton's wife died a decade ago, James' wife has Alzheimer and he had to put her in a care center, Mike divorced twice and Ethan's a widower. So not only do O'Ryan men have children at a young age, they all quite lonely and in addition, all of them went to wars - want me to name them? LOL :P I have to say it was quite interesting to see so many men of a same family, but different generations interact. It also showed how family is important and how they were all there for each other. So yeah, this was a definite plus.

Deborah was also a very interesting character. She's older than most heroine I read and well, it showed by her poise and maturity, but at the same time, she's not a mom or career woman and so, I was able to relate to her and almost forgot she was 40. She's very independant and self-sufficient and strong and I liked that about her. The only thing that bothered me a little was the fact that her psychic abilities weren't really explained - does she see only the future or there something more, does she have some control over them or etc.

Also, sidenote for those who don't like children in their books - give this a try. Johnny does not baby-talk, is not a teenager with a sullen attitude, isn't too cute and isn't perfect. He's a little boy who's lost his mother at a young age, hasn't seen his father for more than a year, just lost his grandparents and witness a murder.

The Story & Writing - As I said before, I thought everything went too smoothly and so, I'm a bit well skeptical that a rescue or search would happen like this. However, the characters and story made up for it - well almost. There was also a lot of expectations and anticipation for this book and although it didn't disappoint me, it didn't surpass my expectations either which is why it didn't get a higher grade. All in all, not the best book by Ms Sala, but not a bad book. As for the writing, well you know I'm biased, so I'm not going to bother :P

The Cover - it's nice and it fits, what else can I ask?

Am I keeping this book? Yes :D

Anything else? I wonder when her next book will come out... and I wonder when she's going to update her website so I get an answer...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Review: Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb

I know, I know, there's plenty of reviews for Innocent in Death on blogland, but well, if there's plenty, then it doesn't matter if mine does not make much sense right? Also, it's Thursday... Thursday already! Where has my week gone? Seriously, when it's Monday, I wish it was the week-end and when it's Thursday or Friday, I'm like: ALREADY?!?! Also, this is the first time in my life I can remember that I'm not in school anymore (summer vacations do not count), so it's really weird for me. It's March already, can you believe it? Before I know it, it'll be summer and then Christmas ^^;

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Topic being my review, so here it is:

Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts): 4.5/5
published by Putnam in February 2007

Innocent in Death picks up almost where it left off in Born in Death and it's now close to Valentine Day. Eve gets a new case: a young teacher is found poisoned in a private academy and was found by two 10 years old girls. The man was well-liked, young and righteous and Eve cannot figure out who would want him dead.

On the personal front, it doesn't get better for Eve, as an old flame of Roarke re-appears: Magdelana Percell. She knows that Roarke loves her, but she can't help herself but fear and worry as she also knows that Magdelana, or "Maggie," is different than the others. Magdelana is such a threat that even Summerset had to warn her, so you can imagine...

Series: In Death series, book 28
Genre: Romantic suspense, futuristic

Review: Hmmm, I was thinking about what to write while I was driving to work and this is what I thought. I don't think there's been any bad books in this series. After 28 books, readers still rush to read it. You know that when you read an "In Death" book, that it will be good and that you'll be entertained. The only question is how good will the book really be: good, very good or a wowzer? Well this one was a wowzer. My only complaint is that I didn't enjoy it as much as I should because I read some spoilers, but that's my own fault... kind of - I guess if I wanted it, I could blame the person who posted the spoilers and every fans who couldn't wait and asked for the spoilers...

The Characters - Let's face it, one of the reasons why this series is so popular is the characters, Eve and Roarke, as well as the multitude of secondary characters. But back to Eve and Roarke, we just can't get enough of them. Both have strong personalities and there's this "opposite attracts each other" thing going on and it's also fun to see how they interact with each other. In addition, Eve is no TSTL heroine... when you're talking about tough, you're talking about Eve. Even more interesting for us, the readers, is the changes, evolution and growth that these characters undergo CONTINUALLY. This is another reason why the series is still going so strong. If you want a series to work, sure you need good characters. However, good is not enough... evolution of the characters is needed, which is why another series that I won't name is losing a lot of readers. Anyway, another thing that work for this book was going back to the basis, i.e. Eve and Roarke. It's impossible to have written a 25+ books series without having a strong cast to back-up the leads (well, perhaps it's possible, but it's boring). I'm actually the kind of readers that love sidestories and secondary romance, but it seemed that in the last few books, the supporting cast was stealing the spotlight from the lead. So it's nice that this book focuses on Eve and Roarke. For fans of the supporting cast, don't worry, some of them do make an appearance, but that's about it. This book is about Eve and Roarke.

Sidenote: about what happens in the book. Was Eve's reaction justified? Absolutely. It's already a miracle that Eve doesn't care about Roarke's past conquests, but this woman was indeed different, because she did mean something to Roarke. Was it Roarke's fault? Euh, I don't think so. For once, Roarke was a real man and didn't understand women :P Was it fun to see Roarke confused? You bet. However, I like how they solve their problems.

The Story & Writing- Well I don't have much to say without spoiling it. Also, i think I've already alluded to Eve and Roarke's marital problems, which was a good idea to put in. I mean, after 28 books, this is really the first time you see Eve and Roarke have real problems concerning their marriage. Sure, they fight and sometimes have issues that affect their relationship (eg: Roarke's discovery of his biological mother), but we haven't seen the relationship being at the core of the issue. I also think this was the next natural step, cos after all, their relationship has been too good to be true. As for the murder case, it was really interesting and quite freaky... we really live in a bad world... *shudder*

As for the writing, do I need to say anything? I know some people don't like Nora Roberts, and I mostly think it's the genre that bothers them, more than the writing. Her style is very fluid, easy to read and it complements her plots very well.

The Cover - I like it :D It's a nice green :)

Am I keeping this book? Euh, yeah! I like this series enough to buy it in hardcovers, so yeah, I'm keeping it.

Anything else? I wonder till when NR will be writing this series... the longer the better right?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fans of Poison Study

Hey everyone!!!

Just a very quick post for those of you who are fans of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, but are not subscribed to her newsletter :D Since Fire Study's release date has been pushed back, way back, Ms. Snyder was kind enough to provide us with something that'll make the wait a bit easier: Assassin Study.

Assassin Study is an online short story about Valek trying to save Yelena by going after the assassin who has taken the execution order. This short story takes place between Poison Study and Magic Study. There'll be an installment every 15 days, till May 1st (if I'm not wrong) and the cool thing is that the readers can choose what happens next!

If you're interested, follow the link to Assassin Study :)


Review: Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler

Ugh... I ate too much. I always eat too much when my mom cooks spaghetti... but really, my stomach is really full. On other news, I bought more books today... but that's not new... however, I was lucky. Well, I think I was lucky. Went to the bank and found a 10$ bill on the floor... no one was there, so I kept it. However, my mom says it's not lucky to find money... Went to a bakery, was planning to buy a croissant or something and they were on the house :) So yeah, a pretty good afternoon :D

Anyway, I wrote my first review of the week this morning:

Hell's Bellesby Jackie Kessler: 3.75/5
published by Zebra Kensington in December 2006
Once Jezebel was a powerful succubus, capable of seducing men and sucking out their souls. Then Hell put a bounty on her head, and now Jezebel's hiding in New York City. Working as an exotic dancer is a piece of cake, but she hadn't counted on meeting Paul Hamilton, a man haunted by his past. Good-bye, succubus; hello, lovestruck. Learning all about how complicated--and pleasurable--love can be, Jezebel thinks she's turned her back on Hell. But Hell hasn't stopped looking for her. Jezebel holds dangerous secrets, the kind every Underworld creature would do their worst to protect. Demons are closing in...but it's her love for Paul that could have deadly consequences.
Series: Hell on Earth, Book #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Succubus

Review: I like the book and I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I read the back blurb and wanted to read it for awhile, but that didn't guarantee that I would like the book right? Also, succubus are a bit out of my comfort zone. Another pleasant surprise was the beginning of the book. From reading the black blurb, I thought she was already settled and everything. Instead, we accompany Jezebel on her run and learns about the reasons through flashbacks. All in all, I thought the series had good potential, enjoyed the book which made me want to read more. However, the writing style takes a bit of getting use to and Paul is not developed enough ^^;

The Characters - I like Jezebel and I like how she stood up and decided to take her life in her hands when she was unhappy, even if it put her in danger. She definitively has more depth than you'd think a demon has and she's something :D I'm also happy that she's not entire clueless as how to behave like a human, since as a succubus, she did have to appear human.

Now Paul is yummy :D No wonder Jezebel falls for him so quickly :D He's a cop who has lost his fiancee to a hit-and-run a few years ago. Because he couldn't handle the pressure his soon-to-be-in-laws were putting on him, he moved to New York. There's an instant connection between Jezebel and him and he's determined to pursue it. I have to say, although he's yummy, there was something that bothered me: he was hanging out in a strip-club ^^; Not usually an attractive trait in a hero, but then, at the end it made sense. Also, I liked how he tried to understand and help Jezebel. I know that I did say that he was not developed enough, but I guess that given the fact that Jezebel is the main character, it is understandable that the focus is on her and so, the author did a good job.

Other characters we get to meet are Jezebel's best friend - a fury, Daun - an incubus and also, Jezebel's friend and Lilith - queen of Hell. There's also a few of Jezebel's co-workers, but really, the book mainly focused on Jezebel, which is good :D

The Style & Writing - This is where it started getting tricker. Basically, I didn't have any problem with her writing style, as in how she formulates her sentences, dialogue and so on. What took a bit more of getting used was how Ms Kessler broke down the book. Basically, Hell's Belles is divided into many parts (I think 6) and each part is given the name of a character. First was Jezebel, than the fury friend, Paul and etc. So the story is told, but in each part, there'll be a flashback of Jezebel and whoever is the character of this part. This wasn't a bad idea, but the problem was the transition between the parts. The transition wasn't always smooth, which results in breaking the flow, and it was a bit confusing at first. So it took a little bit getting used to, but still, I was able to enjoy the book.

The Cover - I think the cover is nice :D I guess there's a leg fetish going on in the cover industry, but I don't mind. I think it's better than a man's torso ^^;

Am I keeping this book? Yep, I am. I'm also going to buy the next one when it comes out :D

Anything else? Well, I wasn't sure I would like to read about a succubus, because of all the sex... I'm the kind of person who likes faithfulness and usually one man-one woman relationship. However, the characterization, setting and story won me over, but I'm still ticked at Jezebel for having sex with Daun, even if he was in the disguise of Paul...


Remember last week, when I said I would be writing reviews like crazy? well obviously, it didn't happen :P I don't know where the week went... oh, actually, I know... I've been morphing into Cindy and sleeping a lot, although not as much as her :P So yeah, sorry, not much review last week, but I'll catch up!!!

Otherwise, my life has been very quiet... the only fun thing I've done was read and go celebrate a friend's birthday. The weather is killing me. Last week, it was all warm and shiny... You'd had thought it was spring. The sun was out and very nice... the snow was melting. I even went outside a couple of times real quick without a jacket and I was okay, cos the sun was so warm. Then, bang, we had 30cm of snow on Friday. The only good news was that I decided to stay home that day, cos way too much snow. Anyway, the snow was HEAVY!!! No fun. Then, it snowed yesterday also, but we only got about 5cm... and today, it's freaking -30 degrees because of the wind. It's cold! I went outside with my hair not completely dried and yeah, they froze. However, don't worry, I still have all my hair :P It didn't freeze and break off, so I guess I'm lucky :P The weather's supposed to be still cold tomorrow, but hopefully, it'll warm up soon.

So yeah, I had a three days week-end and had lots of things planned - scrapbooking, reading, reviewing. However, I got nothing done. Instead, I slept and watched Grey's Anatomy - which I have to say, is not an amazing show, but got me hooked nonetheless. I've also been watching curling - don't laugh! it's really an interesting sport and much more complex than you'd think!!

Anyway, I'll stop here and start writing reviews :D Here are the reviews I want to write before the end of the week (well, not Friday, but let's say the week-end)

Hell's Belle
The Survivors
Visions of Heat
Innocent in Death
Andrea Kane features (I have three books I have to review)
Christina Dodd's Fortune Hunters series (I have no idea why it's named that)
Arousing Suspicions

and I think that's it :D but I can't remember ^^; Oh, there's also a couple of DNF/skimmed books: Deadly Game by Christine Feehan, Summer Lovin' by Carly Phillips and Kissing Blades by Jessica Hall.

Oh, and please, let me know what you've been up to :D