Sunday, November 30, 2008

More booking adventures...

Most of you probably remember that 2 weeks ago, I bought an insanely big amount of books because it was the Customer Appreciation Day... well the evil, evil bookstores were distributing Twice as Nice cards... they still are actually.

So what's a Twice as Nice cards? Basically those are mystery cards that usually give you 5$ off... You could win more (10, 20, 100...) up to 2,500$ apparently... but of course, you have to be extremely lucky in order to win that much. If you look at the details on the back of the card, it's in fact almost impossible. Anyway, what's special about the Twice as Nice card is that you get to use it twice and the second time around, you get to save minimum 10$ instead of 5$. The catch, because there's always a catch? You have to purchase for a minimum of 50$.

So guess what? I got 2 of these cards... and I know it's stupid, because what are the chances that I win more than 5 or 10$ right? but there's always the what if chance. Long story short, I've been visiting the bookstores lately ^_^;

Quite frankly, I've been buying so much books lately that there's not many more books that I want. Worse is, December has very little releases that I'm looking forward to. However, I had a plan :) I've already used my Twice as Nice card once... so only 3 more times to go right? I was going to buy the new releases for December (as well as some others) and then, order books at a kiosk. See, although I can't use the card online, if I buy from a kiosk, it's okay... and there's been a couple of books that I was going to order online... So goodie :D

Thursday morning, I went to work late. Primary reason was my sister, she had to finish a paper. Then, that day, I was planning to go to the bookstore and figured it'd be better in the morning since I had the lab Christmas party in the evening (yes, weird... it was sooo early!). Here are the five books I was looking for more or less:

1) The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts
2) Under the Mistletoe - anthology (it has the Bluebird Winter short story by Linda Howard)
3) Dead After Dark - anthology
4) Behind the Shadows by Patricia Potter
5) Simply the Best by Shirley Jump

There were two bookstores in downtown that was supposed to have them all (or almost). So I went to Coles first, because I figured it'd be easier to find the newest releases (no. 3, 4 and 5 are not supposed to be out yet)... So guess what? I found 1, 2 and 3... but not the two last ones. Ugh yeah, that's unfortunately not 50$... So I head to Indigo and crossed my fingers. I should have known better ^_^; Basically, it was chaos at Indigo! There were so many carts on which the books seemed to have been thrown on carelessly. Then, there were boxes in EVERY CORNER of the store!! I found 2 and 4 and that was it. You're read that right. I couldn't even find The Pagan Stone by the Queen of Romance!!! How wrong is that? When I asked for The Pagan Stone to the clerks - one said that she saw it in a box... but couldn't remember where the box was and was already busy with another customer. The other checked on the computer (there was >150+ copies of The Pagon Stone in the store, >800+ copies in Montreal. The clerk - an older man - was like: I didn't know there was that much people who read in Montreal... which would have been funny, if I wasn't so pissed), then on the shelves - as if I don't know how to do that. Basically, I was so annoyed and frustrated that I left. What pissed me off so much is that if I was able to combine what I've found in one store and the other, I would have reached the 50$ goal (well, I was still missing no. 5, but I could have easily replaced it with something else... Plus, Indigo has these very cute little book journal "What I read" which I think I'm going to stock up on)... and I didn't have the patience to order my books at the kiosk :(

Seriously, you know something is wrong with a bookstore when they don't put NR up as soon as they get it... and it was Thursday. The book officially came out Tuesday!!! I just couldn't believe. I really, really love the Indigo store. I like how big it is and the color schemes and the atmosphere... but please, oh please, hire more people!!! It's really sad when there's always boxes and carts full of books laying around :(

So what did I do in the end? I went to work, fumed a bit and re-designed a game plan. I went to Chapters, the third and last bookstore in downtown Montreal. I didn't go there in the first place, because I knew that didn't have Dead After Dark in-store yet. However, I was able to find 1, 2, 4 and 5!! Wowzer!!! That's the closest I came to 50$ in the whole day! Still, it wasn't enough... still had to find one or two books... and I thought, why not the new Eloisa James? I mean, I haven't read her books yet, but I have a couple at home and apparently, her newest is really, really good... Take a guess... Of course, Chapters didn't have When the Duke Returns in store! Seriously, I'm really starting to think that I'm cursed... and again, it was so frustrating, because I've seen When the Duke Returns both at Coles and Indigo! In the end, I found a book and add a book journal to my purchase to make it... then, I rushed to Coles before the Christmas party to get Dead After Dark, because I just couldn't wait to read Fury's story.

And that, my friends, is another of my booking adventures :P

My friend S thinks that I'm obsessed... and at this point, I think I agree with him ^_^;

Friday, November 28, 2008

Review: Shadows of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Quite frankly, I think I've given up on Sherrilyn Kenyon's dark-hunters and dream-hunters series. I mean, when I hear of her upcoming books, I just can't sum up any excitement. Sadly, Acheron is still sitting on the shelf and it seems less likely that I'll ever read it... However, it's an entirely different story when it comes to the were-hunters. Especially, the ones that she has already introduced. Ever since the release of Night Play 4 years ago, I've been waiting for Fury and Fang's stories... separately if possible :P

Well I got my wish, because Fury's story came out or actually, will come out this week in the anthology Dead After Dark. Booooo because it's only a short story :( And apparently, Fang and Aimée's story will be her next full-length were-hunter book... I think. So yesterday, got my hand on the anthology and quickly devoured Fury's story. Here's what I thought...


Shadows of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon
published by St. Martin's Press in December 2008
Angelia has fought her entire life to make herself strong. Now, with her patria under fire, she has to protect her people from Fury and his werewolf clan. Vowing to bring him to justice, Angelia sets out alone…until the hunter becomes the hunted, and the only way for her to survive is to trust the very wolf she’s sworn to kill.

Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Dark-Hunters/Were-Hunters, book #?

The Story: Ugh!! I've just read the back blurb now and that is bull!!! This is probably the worst synopsis I've ever-read... So misleading and untrue!!! Seriously, did the person writing the blurb even read the story? So here is the actual story...

Fury is at the Sanctuary doing a favor to Fang (helping to smuggle a note to Aimée - awww) when he learns of a Katagari were-lion who was attacked and shot by a tessera of Arcadian were-hunters. The problem is that the Arcadian were-hunters are using a new weapon and once shot, the Katagari were is stuck into his based form (animal) and no longer able to use its magick.
Fury offers his help to track down the attackers and is sniffing the lion for scents when he catches one that is very familiar to him... a wolfswan that he's been trying to forget for centuries. At the same moment, Dare (Fury's brother) and Angelia - the wolfswan - appear at the Sanctuary. Fight ensues and long story short, Fury is "kidnapped" and tortured for information. Angelia is unable to withstand the view of Fury being tortured and "saves" him. Fury then turns on her and brings her back to Vane's house.

My Opinion: I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, I totally loved it for Fury. He's such a great character :D Still as sarcastic as usual and tough... he mouth is quick to deliver insults and his attitude... just priceless. He was a great hero. He is still getting used to having a family and people that will stand by him no matter what. Loved the interactions between the three brothers: Vane, Fang and Fury. His interaction with Bride and his nephew Trace were as cute LOL :) Uncle Furry!! That was definitively priceless!!

What I liked less? Angelia. She's an okay heroine, but I'm not sure she deserves Fury. She made some very bad decisions in her life... and I thought she was a bit selfish. She put herself first - in the past and even in this story... However, what annoyed me most is that she found excuses... well to excuse herself. To justify why she did what she did and seriously, I thought she was stupid. Worst is that a lot of it was due to ignorance and it was kind of appalling. She tried to be this tough chick, but in the end, Bride was tougher and smarter. Also, I don't like how she got out free from the whole tessera thingie. She was part of the tessera, she should have been punished. No discussion. Personally, I don't care if she didn't shoot. She was part of them, helping them do whatever they were doing. Of course, in the end, it's Fury that saved her derriere... my problem is that I don't think she felt much remorse... and not being punished for her actions, well it feels like there was no regret on her part.

Another thing that annoyed me is when Ms Kenyon writes about the Katagaria and Arcadian's behaviors. I think that she got it right when she describes what's animal behavior and what's human... The problem is that she will say that animals don't do this because they're animals and it's actually a human trait. Then, two lines later, the animals will be doing exactly what she said they didn't do and rationalize it a different way. Example is that it is said that Katagria don't attack or kill for revenge... Then, you had the whole situation between Fury and Dare where Dare told everyone that Fury was a wolf as soon as he found out and then, they brutalized Fury and almost killed him. Fury is still very bitter about that and he'd like to give it back to Dare ten-fold. Ugh, sorry, but that sounds like revenge to me? Or the lions are out for blood and are tracking down the Arcadians that killed one of theirs and injured another... I'm sorry, but even if you say it's in order to protect their families, well it still sounds like revenge for me. So Ms Kenyon walks a very fine line and again, tries to rationalize some actions... but it just ring false.

What about the love story between Fury and Angelia? I think it was kind of sweet... Fury and Angelia grew up together and you can tell that Fury was smitten by Angelia... but then, she turned on him when she discovered he was a wolf and although she has psychological reasons, Fury definitively has all the rights to be bitter. So they meet centuries later and it's pretty much tug and war between them, with Fury doing a lot of sweet things for Angelia... She keeps rejecting him till she falls in bed with him. Conclusion? I didn't buy it. I know that deep down, Angelia probably loved Fury as well, but I didn't buy that she could throw away all her beliefs after half a day, sleep with Fury and discover that they're supposed to be mates and not go bonkers... At least, feel something like denial or refusal for it.

Personally, I feel that if the book has been a full novel instead of a novella, there's no doubt that Ms Kenyon would have pulled it off. However, as a short story, the love story happened way too fast to be believable and satisfying. I think that Ms Kenyon had a great original idea and kudos for being able to develop the story as much as she did... however, it was just not enough. What definitively saves the story are all the scenes with Bride, Vane, their son Trace and Fang as well as Fury's personality.

For those who want to know who appear in the book... well we have the whole Peltiers family, Carson and his nurse, Sasha (Astrid's wolf companion), Zarek, Savitar, Paris Sebastien as well as almost the whole Kattalakis family. My question is when did Zarek becomes so close with Vane and his family? I am really happy that Fang and Aimee will finally have their story (hopefully, full-length novel)... and I'm very intrigued by Sasha. I would like to learn more about him as well :D

My Grade: This is a tough one to grade... For enjoyment, this is definitively a B. Love Fury after all :) Objectively though, the grade should be much lower... but who cares about objectively, right? In the end, it's how much did you enjoy it :P

PS. For those who wonder, no I'm not planning to read the rest of the anthology.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Re-read challenge for 2009?

Hmmm, perhaps I should wait for asking fellow bloggers opinions since half of you are going to disappear this week-end to eat turkey, but LOL :) I had this idea this morning and well, am too impatient to wait anyway.

Okay, so I've been buying lots of books lately... however, surprisingly, instead of reaching for these new releases... I've been grabbing oldies that I've already read... and as a result, yesterday, I've re-read Love Songs by Katherine Stone... Actually, I've realized that it's been a while since I've re-read any of my keepers... and it made me realized that I missed them ^_^;

So long story short, I've been wondering if anyone would be interested in a Re-read Challenge starting probably in January 2009. I mean, there is a lot of challenges out there where the goal is to purge the TBR pile... but most of us have a huge collection of keepers. How long has it been since you've picked up one of your dear keepers? Wouldn't it be interesting to see what you think of them now? Don't you want to share them with your fellow bloggers?

I was thinking of a format similar to Keishon's TBR Day... what do you think? Would you join?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: What a Lady Wants by Victoria Alexander

Sorry for not updating! I was really exhausted last Friday. Again, work is kicking my butt :( Seriously, week-ends are way too short... and almost T_T this morning... didn't want to come to work. The good news though is this week will definitively be a bit more relaxing! Yay!

So I was a bit in a reading slump last week... however, my reading picked up again :) Last week, I read Let it be Love by Victoria Alexander... and I realized that for some reasons, I'm attracted to Victoria Alexander's historicals. 1) I don't like historicals all that much and 2) Victoria Alexander's are not the best... but I'm still attracted to them. Weird. Anyway, Let it be Love is like the prequel to the Last Man Standing series that she has... and it made me want to pick up What a Lady Wants which is my favorite of the series. Since I haven't reviewed that one, I thought it'd be nice to do it today :)


What a Lady Wants by Victoria Alexander
published by Avon in January 2007

One bachelor down... three more to go. Four most desirable gentlemen have wagered one shilling apiece and a bottle of cognac that will go to the last unmarried man standing...

Nigel Cavendish knows he'll marry one day, but hopefully that day is many years — and many women — in the future! Until then, the handsome, unrepentant rake intends to enjoy life's pleasures to the fullest!

From the moment Lady Felicity Melville spies the adventurous scoundrel climbing from a neighbor's window — with his comely conquest's husband in hot pursuit — she knows Nigel is the answer to her prayers... with a little reformation, of course! Felicity craves excitement and who in all of London is more exciting than the infamous Mr. Cavendish? So what's a girl to do but hatch a scheme to win what she so fervently desires. But her plan works too well when a game of chance and an errant pistol shot abruptly make them husband and wife—but in a way neither wanted.

Now Felicity has to prove to her wayward husband that she's the only woman he could ever want... or need!

Genre: historical romance
Series: Last Man Standing, book #1

The Story: It is the start of a new season and having spent the last season abroad, Lady Felicity Melville, 23 years old, is determined to find a husband this year. While wishing to the stars, she hears dogs barking, a pistol shot and sees a man climbing down the window from the neighbor's house and climbing over to her house. Not knowing whether he's a scoundrel or a thief, Felicity is intrigued... Later, when she discovers that the man is the Honorable Sir Nigel Cavendish, she believes that the stars were answering her request and decides that it's fate.

Nigel Cavendish is definitively intrigued with Felicity Melville. Especially after discovering she is not a girl like he thought, but a young woman. Still, Nigel is not interested in virgins and marriage. He prefers married women and widows; however, he can't get Felicity out of his mind. It doesn't help that wherever he goes... she turns up.

With the help of Nigel's twin sister, Felicity comes up with a plan to make Nigel falls in love with her... however, all goes wrong when they are caught in a compromising situation and Nigel is forced to marry her.

My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book, mainly due to the characters. I really enjoyed Felicity and Nigel. They were not very original or outstanding, but they had chemistry and were well-matched.

I love Felicity. She's smart, clever, witty and she knows what she wants and is not afraid to fight for it. She wants to marry Nigel, but does not want to force him. She wants him to take notice of her and to fall in love with her. I also like that she was not weak or shy. I liked her honesty and how bold she was. First, going to see Nigel's sister to get her help and then, even admitting to Nigel that she wanted to marry him. Although determined, she didn't exaggerate or go overboard. She's able to take decision and move on... Overall, a very interesting heroine :) As for Nigel, he's not bad. Actually, he's quite a nice hero... Quite charming and a bit stubborn. I definitively can believe that he was afraid of growing up, of assuming responsibilities. I really liked how Ms Alexander wrote his character. She didn't exaggerate, made him bad or better than he really is. It made him really humane. I mean, how many men out there are afraid to grow up? To commit? Tons! I also think that he came around quite nicely and not too fast.

What I like about Ms Alexander's books is that the stories are usually centered on the H/H. It was even more so in What the Lady Wants. There was no big secrets, no dark pasts, no killers to find out. It was just the story of two persons in the process of falling in love, but getting married prematurely. I could understand Nigel's reaction to the marriage; however, at the same time, he should have realized that Felicity did not trap him. However, I agree with everyone that Felicity was the perfect wife for Nigel. LOL :) One of the funniest scene is when Nigel announces to his parents that he was caught in a compromising situation with Felicity and thus, has to marry her. Then, he's surprised that his parents are not angry and his mother goes on telling that Nigel is lucky and she thinks that Felicity could actually have done better, LOL :) That was very funny.

The whole storyline seems to happen at a normal pace. It wasn't hurried or slowed. I really could believe what was happening. I liked the interaction with the others characters. Sinclair and Norcroft were quite entertaining and there wasn't baiting for their own books. It was nice to see the camaraderie between the men. The wager between Nigel and Felicity was very well done and it was really funny and quite clever from Felicity. I liked how Felicity's parents were more than what they appeared to be... and seriously, I'm quite curious about them. I wonder if they have their own book... it'd probably be really interesting :D

Overall, I really enjoyed this book :)

My Grade: A-. Sometimes, you just connect with the characters and that's how it was for me with this book. I originally gave it a B+... but upon re-reading it, it's definitively a keeper for me :D

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twilight movie...


As some of you know already, I went to see the Twilight movie yesterday night. First, I've never read this series before. I know many bloggers that love the series and raved about it... but I was never attracted to it. I wasn't even considering going to see the movie, but then my friend won some free tickets to the avant-premiere... So I went to spend time with her and she went, because it was free. (She hasn't read the book either)

To tell the truth, I didn't know much about it before going... All I knew were:

- Bella is a bit TSTL heroine
- Bella kissed Jacob, which Rowena thought was soooo wrong ( I tend to agree with her)
- Breaking Dawn was a disappointment to many.

So yes, I did read all the spoilers concerning Breaking Dawn though... but I had no idea what was happening in Twilight.

My thoughts? Twilight was an okay movie. It didn't suck, but it didn't wow me either. I'd have preferred to go without the 95% teenage girls who were screaming at the top of their lungs. I can't remember ever being such a fan girl of something ^_^;

Overall, I think the cast was well chosen and everyone did a good acting job. I didn't find Bella annoying at all... I think it helps not being privvy to all her thoughts as she narrates the books. Yes, she voiced out some of her thoughts, but not all of them. I thought Kristen Stewart did a good job at Bella and I think she seems to fit the role.

Hmmm, Robert Pattinson as Edward. My issue with Robert Pattinson is that he looks awkward sometimes. I don't know if it's the thick brows or the eyes... but he just doesn't look right in some shots. Others, he looks really good... So I really can't decide if he's good-looking or not LOL. Otherwise, sure, I bought his interpretation of Edward... and I get why he has so many fan girls ;)

I do admit I find Bella and Edward's relationship developped really fast. I'm not sure I'm buying the whole devotion thing. From Edward, perhaps, since he lived a long time and probably wasn't sure he'd ever find someone to share his forever... but Bella? Nope. I can see how she was intrigued by Edward and how she was attracted... but something was missing for me to believe.

I really love the Cullens :) They are not what I was expecting. I probably would read the books just for Edward and his family... There's an air of mystery surrounding them and you just want to know more. In addition, I think they did a great job casting the family members... Especially Esme. Enjoyed their interactions and my favorite scenes are probably the baseball game and when they were in the kitchen preparing a meal for Bella. However, the whole vampire attack mode - the in your face position, hissing with the nails out. Hmmmm... Not how I imagined them :P

I liked that Bella made friends and it wasn't the typical loser or miscast group. Instead, they were just normal kids... not the super popular, but not the weird ppl either. That was nice :) The only person I thought was miscast in this movie was Jacob. Please, the poor kid actor... Taylor Lautner... He looks horrible with long hair!! and he looks very, very young. *Shudders* at the thought that in the next movie, he's going to kiss Bella. His acting was so-so, for those who wonders... Didn't have a big role in this movie, so it's hard to say how good he is.

The scenery was gorgeous and I liked the blue hue feeling that you get when watching the movie. The special effects were okay. Some of it looked really cool, others looked off.



By the way, I know we read romance and all :) and I love it... but don't you think that sometimes, it can get corny? and I don't know about you, but reading something corny isn't as bad as hearing it out loud. I mean, it's really embarrassing sometimes... For example, when Edward shows Bella his true nature - that he glows in the sunlight - and he's all like: I'm a monster... and Bella is: No, you're beautiful. Well, it was kind of corny... and instead of inspiring awwwws and ahhhs, people actually chuckled and laughed out loud. Some stuff can just not be transitioned very well.

Finally, one thing that bothered me was the flow... It was very choppy. Especially at the beginning, when Bella and Edward meet. I don't know if it was the same in the book... but it was in their dialogues... There'd be awkward silence and then, when they talked... I thought it transpired the teenage angst really well to the audience... but it was annoying. It's like my heart was beating at the same pace and it was all irregular.

I can totally see how the book has enthralled the teenage girls and I can see the appeal. After warching it, I was really curious about Edward and the Cullens. Didn't care much about Bella and Edward really though.

Overall, I'd give this a B.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TBR Day: Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose

We've almost completed Keishon's TBR challenge!! After today, one more month to go!! Fellow challengers, don't give up :) and fellow readers, well, enjoy :P


It's no secret that one of my favorite author is Karen Rose. I've always enjoyed her romantic suspense books... they are thrilling, scary, a bit gory and the romance is always satisfying. I had most of her backlist already, having enjoyed Don't Tell, I've been keeping my eye out :) So Have You Seen Her? has been sitting on my shelves for a couple of years... and to tell the truth, I've completely forgot about it... till the other day when I was talking with Kris.


Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in February 2004


DO YOU LOVE HER?

One by one, the girls disappear from their beds at night. Each one is pretty, with long, dark hair. And each one is found brutally murdered.

DO YOU MISS HER?

Special Agent Steven Thatcher has sworn to find the serial killer preying on this small town. As the investigation pulls him one way, his family pulls him in another. A widower haunted by loss, he now worries about his son Brad slipping away. But there's a bright light in his life; his son's teacher, Jenna Marshall, has reached out to help. She's beautiful, kind, and considerate— and slowly, tentatively, she and Steven are starting to fall in love. But both have been hurt before— badly. And as the two try to find the courage to bare their souls, a murderer who has slain many looks for the real treasure he craves. He sets his traps. And waits. For Jenna . . .

HAVE YOU SEEN HER?
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Loosely connected to Don't Tell

The Story: The back blurb does a good job at summarizing the book. Basically, Special Agent Steven Thatcher is assigned a case of missing girls that are found murdered and mutilated. Steven has a lot on his plate lately and being a widower is not easy. His youngest son still suffers from being kidnapped a few months ago and therefore, doesn't sleep through the night and surely not in a bed. His oldest son, Brad, is now rebelling against him and his aunt is trying to match him with eligible women... only his middle son seems normal. The last thing Steven wants nor expects is to find a woman whom he is attracted to... which is exactly what happens once he meets Brad's teacher, Jenna Marshall.

Jenna Marshall's life is no piece of pie either. Her fiancé died two years ago of testicular cancer and moving on proves to be hard, especially since his family holds commemoration supper in his honor. She's just suspended the star quarterback from playing because he's failing her class and thus, is being harassed by students and parents... and her ace student is now failing. The last thing she needs is a man in her life... however, that's exactly what she gets.

However, a relationship with Steven isn't easy. What with his job, her ghost, his shadows and the current investigation... and then, it's a race to the finish when Steven realizes that Jenna is the ultimate target.

My Opinion: I enjoyed this book. It's not my favorite of her books, but it's not the worst either. I thought the case was really interesting and quite frankly, I didn't see it coming.

Personally, I enjoyed Steven and Jenna's relationship and chemistry. I think they went well together. I can understand how some readers would be annoyed at Steven. Yes, he was very suspicious, jealous and protective... However, I can understand wher he comes from. His wife really did a number on him. What I liked is that Jenna stood up to him. She called his BS every time and made him explain his behavior and his actions. She did not just continue their relationship because Steven apologized prettily. I also really loved how at the end, she decided to slow down their relationship and have a proper courting. Going out on dates and so on.

Ms Rose did a great job, developing Jenna and Steven's characters. I enjoyed seeing them with their family and friends. Seeing how they interact with others. I think that in many books, the H/H are often restricted to each other only... however, Ms Rose really did have a big cast in this book, but she balanced it well. I'd have like to know a bit more about Steven's past though, I think... LOL, the fact that he wanted to become a priest :P

As usual, the case was great. I don't think that Ms Rose ever had a boring case in all of her books. They are always complex and intriguing. I'm not super fond of the Seattle cop, but it worked. Personally, I really enjoyed Steven's team... the forensic guy and Steven's partner and I hope Ms Rose decides to re-visit them.

I have to admit though, what I really liked in this book was Steven's three sons :) Authors have a tendency to write very cute children or too-old-for-their-age children or complete brats... However, very often, they don't feel real... However, in Have You Seen Her? I thought Steven's three sons were very realistic and great fun as well. Brad's anger, Nicky's solemness and Matt's hungriness :)

So yes, I enjoyed the book and its characters a lot; however, I didn't really connect with the case and Steven. Although I understood why Steven reacted the way he did, at certain times, I thought he should move on... As for the case, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next or guessing who it was. However, I was more interested in the relationships and the romance.

My Grade: As a result, I'm giving this book a B for the reason stated above. Like I said, not my favorite book, but not the worst either :) If you're in the mood for a good romantic suspense, this is it :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This and that...

Hmmm, I haven't been posting much lately :( Sad. Basically, work is sucking away all my energy ^_^; I've been running to do this and that... My supervisor keeps changing his mind and coming up with weird ideas... well not weird, but different and unexpected. Good news is that I haven't had to come in on the week-end for the past two weeks. Dunno about this week, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

My friend S had me hooked to this UK show: Top Gear. It's about cars... I don't really care about the cars and their testings, but I enjoy seeing the challenges and the chemistry between the three hosts. They are simply just hilarious :)

The two above combined together have pushed me into a reading slump. I'm reading, but not really focusing... and I feel meh about whatever I'm reading. That sucks too. Hopefully, I'll be able to climb my way out of slumpville... but let just say, this morning I looked at all those new books and I couldn't decide what to read... that's usually not a good sign.

I've been looking at upcoming releases for December... is it me, or it's quite pitiful? I think I have 3 or 4 books on my list and one, I put because, euh, there was nothing on my list... How am I suppose to use the coupons that I got from the bookstores?!?!

I've been surfing on Chapters/Indigo online like crazy, looking for future releases... 2009 looks good so far for me... Although some of the books I'm really looking forward to are still MIA in their list... However, guess what? I was able to find information and covers for them!!!


Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she never knew she possessed...powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.

Was able to find a date on Ms. Snyder's website... and Storm Glass is coming out on... April 28, 2009!!


White Star by Elizabeth Vaughan

The Lady High Priestess Evelyn, known as Evie to her friends, is a healer, dedicated to using her magic in the service of the goddess to aid others and give strength where it is needed. Orrin Blackheart couldn't be more different. With his black armour, a black name and a blacker reputation, he's been feared and hated in equal parts. So on his defeat and capture in battle, the Goddesses insistence that Evie saves him from a death sentence astonishes them both - as does the growing attraction between them. But in saving Orrin Evie condemns herself to a prohibition on her magic and a penance posting on the edges of the land, while to retain his salvation Orrin must battle a spreading plague across the land. Fate clearly has plans for them both - but to fulfill them, both must survive the perils ahead.

This book is supposed to come out on April 7, 2009. Definitively can't wait.

Both books sound really good :D I can't wait to get them, seriously!!


By the way, we, romance readers, have been complaining about the number of series out there. It seems that all books now are part of a series and there's barely any stand-alone book. However, did you ever notice that it's actually worst in the mystery section? It's all series as well... and worst, it takes forever for the heroine or hero to get with someone. Ugh.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My most recent book binging...

So today was Chapters/Indigo's Customer Appreciation Day where holders of the I-rewards card got to save 25% off books :) Unable to turn my back on such a deal, I went to the bookstores with my sister and here is what I got...

1 - Let it be Love by Victoria Alexander
2 - Dear Prince Charming by Donna Kauffman
3 - Deadly Appraisal by Jane K. Cleland
4 - Consigned to Death by Jane K. Cleland
5 - Really Something by Shirley Jump
6 - The Man Must Marry by Janet Chapman
7 - The Seduction of his Wife by Janet Chapman
8 - Dog Days by John Levitt (my previous copy was ruined ^_^; )
9 - Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy
10 - Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
11 - Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
12 - Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier
13 - Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
14 - Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
15 - Thread of Fear by Laura Griffin
16 - Letters to a Secret Lover by Toni Blake
17 - Fallen by Claire Delacroix
18 - The Penalty Box by Deirdre Martin
19 - The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham
20 - Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisburger

So yeah, I kind of went all out ^_^; I only had a few on my buying list... the ones in italic. The two last books were for my sister... which surprised me.

Also, do you know what they gave if you bought books? They give a giftcard... only problem is that you have to buy for at least 50$ worth of things... These giftcards can be used twice... and I got two. Oups. Well, we'll see...

Anyway, a nice trip to the bookstore :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jane Goodger's contest winner...

Sorry it took so much time to choose a winner. Work has been killing me. The good news however is that I don't have to come this week-end! Yay! :)

Anyway, that's not what you want to hear... so the winner is...


MELISSA!!

Congrats Melissa!! Email me your snail addy at natuschan @ gmail . com (no space).


Contest alert: Marry Christmas by Jane Goodger!!

***This is a sticky post. Scroll down for new posts!!



Contest alert!! Ms Goodger has generously offered a signed copy of Marry Christmas for a give-away! You can read my review here.

All you have to do is comment on this post :) Easy no? The deadline is this Friday, November 14 at noon (eastern time). The winner will be announced later in the afternoon :)

Good luck!!

Book Recommendations...

So I just received this email about Customer Appreciation Day from Indigo/Chapters this morning... So if you're from Canada and have the I-rewards card, you get 25% off this Sunday (and Sunday only!) on lots of stuff in-store... i.e. mainly books LOL :) Otherwise, you get 15% off only. The coupon is on their website, so if you haven't received an email, you can just print it out there... and I bet they're going to give out coupons in-store as well.

Is it me or they increase the % off? I think usually, it's only 20%... I think it's great :) But I have a problem: I don't know what to buy. Most of the books I was looking forward to in November, I already got... So do you have any recommendations?

Happy Birthday to Kris!!

I just want to take a moment and say:


to Kris!!!

Hope you have a nice week-end and enjoy your birthday :) Wish you a lot and lot of books :P

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Author interview: Jane Goodger!

So today, I have something special... My very first author interview!! Okay, not my first author interview ever, but at this blog :)

When Jane Goodger commented on my blog and said she was going to send me a copy of Marry Christmas, I immediately asked her for an interview :) So here it is... Don't be surprised if the questions sound familiar ^_^;


Questions about the writing…

Q: First, what is your real name? :P Is it Goodger, Blackwood or …

They’re both my “real” name! Jane Goodger is my married name and Jane Blackwood is my maiden name. I go by Goodger for historicals and Blackwood for contemporaries.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your first sale? How did you celebrate it?

I was one of those lucky authors who sold their first book. I wrote it because I was bored at work. I was a journalist and was used to writing two to three stories a day. Then I got a job at a magazine where I was responsible for writing two to three articles every two weeks. Needless to say, I had a lot of down time because I write very quickly. At first, When There Was Hope was just something to pass the time, but when I was half way through, I realized I was writing something that was pretty good. Although I was thrilled to get “the call” I didn’t get to really celebrate because that was the very same day my sister was hospitalized for emergency open heart surgery (she’s ok now).

Q: Why and how did you start writing? Did you always dream to become an author?

When it came time to pick a major for college, I picked communications because it meant I could be a reporter. I had one talent as a kid and that was writing. I never thought I could actually make a living at it and never thought that one day I’d be an author. But one day, as a journalist, I interviewed a local romance author for an article and thought out loud, ‘I could do that.’ My co-worker said, ‘yeah, but are you?’ And so I did.

Q: Over the years, who or/and what have been some of your influences?

Judith McNaught and Kathleen Woodwiss were by far my biggest influences early on. They were the ONLY romance writers I’d read before I wrote my first book. I didn’t know the Romance Writers Association existed and had no idea at all that romance books were such a huge part of the mass market pie. I was clueless, which I think may be why my first book was published. I wrote it only for me. Since then, no one has read a word of my books until I send it to my editor. I know a lot of authors love their critique groups, but now it’s become a “thing” with me that no one can read it except my editor.
Q: What is a typical day like for Jane? Example, Nora Roberts considers writing her "job" so she writes from 8am-5pm. What about you?

I would certainly treat it like a job if I got paid like it’s a job. I can write two to three hours a day. But in my defense, I need to do very little editing. I can write ten to twenty good pages (pages that need little or no rewrite) a day. I wrote Marry Christmas in three months, in addition to substitute teaching two to three times a week.

Q: Do you use an outline or do you free write?

I free write. I do give my editor a basic (three paragraph) synopsis, but other than that, I just sit and write. When I get into my “zone” I’m not even aware what I’m writing, then I go back and edit, and think, “wow, that’s pretty good.”
Q: What do you do when you are faced with writer's block? How do you work through it?

I’d written seven historicals and my publisher dropped me. Just a few months earlier, they’d brought me to New York, bought me lunch at a posh restaurant, introduced me to all the big-wigs and called me the next “hottest” romance author. I was expecting to finally make some real money. Then, they dropped me. I was crushed. I can only say it was like being dumped by a guy you really liked. For a year, the stories that had always been buzzing around my head were gone. It was the scariest time of my life, because I’d always had characters and stories moving around my brain. When other people watched Oprah while they were folding clothes, I was thinking about scenes. Then it was gone. I tried to write during that time, but it was wasted effort. Nothing worked. And then, one day, I got over my little pity party and an idea began nagging at me. Funny thing was, it was a contemporary! That’s when I wrote Sexiest Dead Man Alive. My new agent had to sell me as if I were a new author (once someone gets dumped, it’s difficult to get published). Getting published again was a huge ego boost and my muse was back in force. I cannot stop the ideas tumbling about my head. Right now, I have two terrific historicals I simply cannot wait to write. It’s a great feeling!

Q: You started off as an historical romance writer. How did you branch out to contemporary romance and was the adaptation difficult?

My sales were terrible. I’ve had agents and editors blame covers, blurbs, timing, etc. But the truth is, even though my books got great reviews (I never got a bad review from Publishers Weekly---and they’re tough!), I was not connecting to readers. I firmly believe it was because I was writing books set in New England, which for some reason is a turn-off to readers. It was publish or perish for me, so I switched to contemporaries.

Q: Why did you change your pen name? Was it your decision or the editor/publishing house’s request?

Goodger’s sales were in the tank, so Kate Duffy at Kensington suggested another name. Goodger is no longer in the bookstores’ computer bank, so Goodger is back, baby!

Q: In the last few years, you’ve been focusing on contemporary romance. Why make a come back in historical romance?

Kate Duffy is one of the most respected editors in romance publishing and she happens to be my editor. She had faith in me and wants me to succeed. It was important to get my books out to as many readers as possible, and that meant getting me in WalMart. And WalMart wanted historicals. I was half way done writing my next contemporary, when Kate called and asked me if I could possibly write a historical. I nearly cried, I was so happy. I feel like I’ve come home and from the response I’ve been getting from Marry Christmas, I’m glad I did.

Q: What is your favorite thing about writing?

It’s the thought that someone is out there reading something I wrote and loving it. It’s such hoot.

Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The day Kate Duffy bought my first contemporary. This time I fully appreciated how difficult it is to get published and I was so proud of myself for getting published in a different genre.

Q: If someone told you "the skies were falling" and you could only take three of your books along, which ones would you take and why?

When There Is Hope, Into the Wild Wind, Marry Christmas. When There Is Hope, because it was my first , Into the Wild Wind, because I absolutely adore my hero, and Marry Christmas, because I think it is my best-written and most sensual book.

Q: Do you believe the blogging community has affected your fan base at all?

I think it must have! I have received more fan e-mails for Marry Christmas than all of my 11 other books combined! I confess I sometimes Google myself to see what people are saying, and it’s very gratifying to see anyone reading one of my books.

Q: Do you read the blogs of people who have read your books? How do you react to favorable/unfavorable reviews?

I’ve read negative reviews and said, “Ok, you make some good points.” And it makes me try to be a better writer if they have legitimate complaints. I really do try to be objective about them. However, some of the nastier reviews do make me a bit, um, miffed. I know it’s subjective and not everyone likes the same thing, but if a book is well-written I see no reason to be nasty about it. I’ve read books where I appreciated the fine writing, but didn’t connect with the characters. We all have. I do think that some people relish writing negative reviews and don’t realize that their words can affect a person’s livelihood.

Q: Does interacting with your fan base via internet connection affect your creative process at all?

No, but I do like to hear from them. I can honestly say I’ve never had a nasty fan letter (although I do know other authors have). Since it’s all a love fest, it simply makes me think I must be doing something right.


Questions about the books…

Q: What was your inspiration for Marry Christmas?


Consuelo Vanderbilt. I live near Newport where her family used to summer and one day toured their summer “cottage.” I found her such an intriguing person. When she was 18, her mother forced her to marry the Duke of Marlborough. They disliked each other from the start and ended up getting divorced after producing the heir and spare. I guess I wanted to give Consuelo a happy ending, so I made up my own American girl and a much nicer duke.
Q: What are you planning on working on next?

I just finished the sequel to Marry Christmas and will start on Book 3 of this three-book series this month.

Q: Is Maggie going to get her own story?

Of course!

Q: What are the plans for the future? Are you going to write contemporary and historical romance alternatively or publish two books a year or…
For now, I’m going to concentrate on historicals. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they continue to do well. However, I do have a proposal floating around out there that, if it sells, will have me doing a series of paranormal contemporaries.


Questions about stuff other than writing…

Q: What are some of your hobbies? What do you do to relax?

I have two jobs and three kids. That’s your answer.

Q: Do you get much time to read?If yes, what genre do you find yourself reading the most?

I read romances almost exclusively and mostly historicals, unless a favorite contemporary author has a book out. I used to take a day to read a book, now it takes a week or more. Yes, cry for me.

Q: What are you reading right now?

I’m reading an historical by Jodi Thomas.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Connie Brockway (her historicals), Lisa Kleypas, Laura Lee Guhrke, Susan Elizabeth Philips, Rachel Gibson, Eloise James, Julia Quinn. I also love LaVyrle Spencer and Judith McNaught, of course. There are others, but I just can’t remember them at the moment.

Q: If someone told you "the skies were falling" and you could only take three books (any authors) along, which ones would you take and why?

Gosh, I don’t know if I’d take the time to read if “the skies were falling!” The Outsider by Penelope Williamson, Whitney, My Love (I adored this book), and Shanna, by Kathleen Woodiwiss, because it was the first romance I’ve ever read.
Q: What is your favorite color?

Yellow.

Q: What is your biggest weakness?

I cry way too easily. I cry when I see other people cry. I cry when I see someone happy. I cry when one of my kids does something particularly sweet. I also have a weakness for high quality dark chocolate.
Q: If you could be anywhere, where would you be?

Sorrento, Italy. I lived in Italy for two years and Sorrento was one of my favorite places.
Q: If there was one thing that you could do over again, what would it be?

I’m tempted to say “nothing,” but there really is something I’d do differently. My husband and I bought a sweet little (740 square foot) cottage on a cove for almost nothing about fifteen years ago. We couldn’t squeeze our growing family into it anymore, so we sold it and got a bigger house not on the water. I wish we had stuck it out and maybe expanded it. I miss that little place

__________________________________________________________________

Wow, I knew the publishing business was hard... but to actually hear it from an author... Well I'm glad Jane Goodger is back in business :)

If you want more information on Jane Goodger/Jane Blackwood, you can go to her website here.

*Don't forget the contest for an opportunity to win a signed copy of Marry Christmas!! It ends tomorrow at noon (Eastern time).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Review: Marry Christmas by Jane Goodger

I first heard of Jane Goodger from Dev when she reviewed When There is Hope. The story sounded good or perhaps Dev made it sounded good... either way, I was determined to give it a try. It took me a while, but thanks to Dev, I got my hands on When There is Hope and simply loved it :D

Unfortunately, When There is Hope is the only book by Jane Goodger I was able to enjoy because most of her backlist is out of print... and as I mentioned in some previous posts, I really have difficulty finding older books. Then, the good news came a few months ago when I was looking at upcoming books... Jane Goodger was having a new book coming out: Marry Christmas!

Getting my hands on Marry Christmas was a whole story by itself :) All I can say is thank you to Jane Goodger for sending it to me!! It was incredibly generous :)


Marry Christmas by Jane Goodger
published by Zebra Kensington in October 2008

A Christmas wedding to the Duke of Bellingham. Any other socialite in Newport, Rhode Island, would be overjoyed at the prospect, but Elizabeth Cummings finds her mother’s announcement as appealing as a prison sentence. Elizabeth has not the slightest desire to meet Randall Blackmore, let alone be bartered for an English title. Her heart belongs to another, and the duke’s prestige, arrogance, and rugged charm will make no difference to her plans of elopement.

Against his expectations and desires, Randall Blackmore has inherited a dukedom and a vast estate that only marriage to an heiress can save. Selling his title to the highest bidder is a wretched obligation, but to Randall’s surprise his intended bride is pretty, courageous, delightfully impertinent—and completely uninterested in becoming a Duchess. Yet suddenly, no other woman will do, and a marriage in name only will never be enough for a husband determined to win his wife in body, heart, and soul…

Genre: historical romance
Series: Book #1

The Story: Elizabeth Cummings is 19 years old and is the richest heiress in Newport, Rhode Island. The young lady is crushed when her mother announces that she is to marry the Duke of Bellingham... because she's in love with another man.

Randall Blackmore never expected to be Duke of Bellingham. Unfortunately for him, he has inherited the title along with a huge debt... As a result, he has not choice than to marry an heiress, although he is reluctant to marry an American. However, he'll have to get over it since Elizabeth's father has offered him 1,000,000 pounds as a dowry.

Then, surprisingly to both, Rand falls in love with Elizabeth... but when faced with Elizabeth's betrayal, Rand cannot close his eyes on it and becomes a changed man... When Elizabeth realizes how foolish she's been, believing a fortune-hunter instead of her kind husband, it is up to her to win his heart once again.

My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book. So the story is not new... young, foolish girl is in love with a man, but has to marry another one. Although usually, the hero is the man she is in love with, not the other one :P Then, I happen to love marriage of convenience books, so this was really perfect for me.

I loved Randall. He was such a great hero. I think what sets him apart from most is his integrity and his honesty. Yes, he was desperate for money, but it bothered him that she was in love with someone else and gave her a chance to bail out of the wedding... However, what I loved most is how honest with his feelings he was. Admitting to himself that he was in love with Elizabeth and then, telling her. Then, when he felt betrayed, the 180 degrees he did... He was very humane and that's quite a nice change from all the aristocrats out there. He wasn't overly charming, he wasn't a rake, he wasn't tortured or stuffy. He was just a simple, normal man that happened to become a duke... and he didn't let the power go up to his head. I guess that when it's not accompanied by big pouches of money, it's easier :P

Unfortunately, I can't say I loved Elizabeth. She was strong-minded and I guess she was really in love or believed herself in love... and in any other situation, it would have been admirable that she stood her ground and so on... however, on this one, I agreed with Randall... it's not possible to be in love with someone after only spending 2 hours with him. Perhaps because as a reader, I could see the whole situation... but seriously, her pseudo-relationship with Henry didn't warrant that degree of loyalty. That's why I found it her annoying at times. Also, how could she forget about the necklace? Seriously!! I totally understand why Randall hit the roof... At least, Elizabeth knew that she was in the wrong. So that's in the plus column for her.

Overall, I thought Ms Goodger did a real good job with this story. The basic idea wasn't original; however, Ms Goodger was able to make it original. For example, I like how it was the hero that went to America to meet his bride instead of the American heiress hunting for a husband in London. I enjoyed seeing the American scene and how the American socialites could be snobbier than than the ton in London. I also liked the set up for the next book in the series, especially since I enjoyed Maggie's character more than Elizabeth.

My Grade: B. I would have given a higher grade if I've liked Elizabeth's character more... however, it did not stop me from enjoying Marry Christmas :) I'm definitively looking forward to the next book in the series. Fans of historical romance that are looking for something different, Marry Christmas is what you're looking for :P

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Review: Cut Throat and Bad Penny by Sharon Sala

I got Bad Penny at the end of October and just devoured it. Then, when I was preparing to write a review for it, I realized that I didn't review the second book in the trilogy, Cut Throat... So I decided to include it in this review as well :)

If people remember, I wasn't a big fan of the first book in the series, Nine Lives. I believe that if I was to review it again, having read the whole trilogy, my review of Nine Lives wouldn't be as harsh... However at the time, I had no idea that it was going to be a trilogy... As a single book, Nine Lives was meh, but as a trilogy, it was much much better :)

When Cut Throat came out, I really hesitated to buy and read it. Then, the fan girl in me won... I mean, it's a book by Sharon Sala? How couldn't I read it? Also, I guess Cat deserved another chance... I have to say, I'm happy I continued on :)

So here are my thoughts of Cut Throat and Bad Penny :)


Cut Throat by Sharon Sala
published by Mira in November 2007

He killed her once…

Throat slashed and left for dead next to her murdered father, a thirteen-year-old girl vows to hunt down the man who did this to them—Solomon Tutuola. Now grown, bounty hunter Cat Dupree lets nothing— or no one—stand in the way of that deadly promise.

Not even her lover, Wilson McKay.

Their sexually charged encounters leave McKay wanting more, but Cat is determined to keep her distance. She doesn't need a man making emotional demands, not now, when revenge is near.

Suspecting that Tutuola is still alive, despite witnessing the horrific explosion that should have killed him, Cat follows a dangerous money trail to Mexico, swearing not to return until she''s certain Tutuola is dead—even if it means destroying her very soul…

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Cat Dupree, book #2

The Story: Cut Throat picks up where Nine Lives left off. Through a tracking device, Cat realized that Solomon Tutuola - her father's murderer and the man that slashed her throat and left her to die, wasn't dead as they believe. Instead, the man is escaping the law by going deep into Mexico. Determined to get revenge, Cat decides to go after Tutuola... knowing full well that bounty-hunters aren't allowed in Mexico.

As it is, Cat's relationship with Wilson is on the rocks. Basically, they don't know what they are to each other... Is it lust or love between them? Wilson is also very annoyed because he knows something is going on with Cat, but she doesn't share with him... Instead, she keeps him at arm's length. Knowing the relationship is going no where and he's only going to get hurt, Wilson decides to break things off with Cat... just before she leaves for Mexico.

What ensues is Cat's journey for revenge and the consequences of her actions...

My Opinion: First, I'll say that I enjoyed this book much more than Nine Lives. I think part of it is that we saw a different Cat. Yes, she was still the tough chick, but we got to see her vulnerable side. I think that Cat was haunted by the past, that without getting justice and revenge, she couldn't move on. Once Tutuola was dead, her burden disappeared and she started to live... and accept Wilson and his feelings for her. I really enjoyed reading the changes in Cat. I think that at the brink of death, she realized that Wilson was very important to her and so she no longer pushed him away (which is part of why I thought she was sooo annoying in Nine Lives).

As for Wilson, good of him to have stuck by his feelings. He's really the kind of man I can't resist in my books :) He's strong, considerate, not afraid to admit his feelings, kind, protective and ruthless when he needs to be. He perfectly balances out Cat and I think that after saving Cat, he has a better understanding of the woman he loves. I think that both characters were perfectly suited and I really enjoyed them in this book.

I have to admit that Cut Throat was quite particular. The book could be splitted into 2 parts... the first one where Cat is chasing Tutuola and the second part where she's recovering. What's particular about this book is it's actually not action-based as you've expected. Ms Sala is able to write books without the actions being the focus. A few things happen to Cat before she's able to find Tutuola that actually have nothing to do with her revenge. I think that if it was any other authors, it would be distracting... but for Ms Sala, it's just part of her writing style. For me, I found it interesting because it really allowed us to see more of Cat's layers; however, I'm not sure that everyone would enjoy it. I think this is why people either love Ms Sala or not. Instead of writing straightforwardly, she takes detours that sometimes have nothing to do with the main story arc. I find that those tidbits add to the story :)

My favorite part of the book is when Cat is on the verge of dying and she calls Wilson. Then, the whole recovery was very sweet in my opinion :) The ending was kind of abrupt, but given there was another book and this time, Mira advertised it at the end of the book, I was okay with it :)

My Grade: B+. A very good book and different than what's out there at the moment :)


Bad Penny by Sharon Sala
published by Mira in November 2008

Cat Dupree would love nothing more than to settle down and build a life with fellow bounty hunter Wilson McKay. But Soloman Tutuola — the man who murdered her father and slashed her throat when she was thirteen — haunts her even from the grave.

An investigator from Mexico is tracking down the person who is responsible for Tutuola's death—and the trail leads directly to Cat. To add to her bad luck, a junkie with a vendetta is stalking Wilson and is willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of his revenge.

Desperate to start their future together, Cat and Wilson turn the manhunt around — vowing to do whatever it takes to find freedom from the past and the scars that have damaged them both.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Cat Dupree, book #3

The Story: I think that the back blurb does a good job summarizing the book, so I won't try... also, it's hard to do it, without spoilers :P

My Opinion: Bad Penny was interesting and definitively completed the series. It's the kind of books that looks like a big, nice bow on a wrapped gift. The final touch :)

Basically, everything I said about Cut Throat applies to Bad Penny. Ms Sala continues exploring Cat and Wilson's relationship. In this book, the love between the two main characters is evident. I like seeing how far Cat has gone from Nine Lives to Bad Penny. I think both have realized what's really important in life and it's each other as well as family. I really liked seeing Cat interact with other people such as Wilson's parents. In Nine Lives, I thought Cat was socially inept... but that's not true. Of course, Cat and Wilson's relationship is not perfect... Cat still has some difficulty opening herself up, but she's getting there :D

In addition to following Cat and Wilson in the book, we're introduced to Luis Montoya, a Mexican cop who had the bad luck to investigate the death of Tutuola. I liked the way Ms Sala handled the investigation and the denouement. It shows that not only one thing happen at one time, but life has a way to get things messy.

The pace of the book was quite relaxed... I felt like lots of events in this book were fillers, such as the tornado... but without them, there wouldn't be a complete story. They added feelings and thoughts to the book... If you're looking for a romantic suspense, this is not it. Basically, Ms Sala is wrapping up loose ends in this book and she did it well :)

Last thing I want to say... I know Catherine Dupree is called Cat and she escaped death twice at a young age and a few more times in her adulthood... but perhaps Ms Sala emphasized on her nine lives a bit too much? Personally, I didn't mind... but some of the things that happen to Cat seems exaggerated and improbable.

My Grade: B. I really enjoyed reading more about Cat and Wilson, but emotionally, to me, it couldn't compare to Cut Throat.

Guest author and review!


Hello everyone!!

I want to let you know that tomorrow, I'll be reviewing Marry Christmas by Jane Goodger!! There will be a signed copy of Marry Christmas up for grab as well!! In addition, I will have an interview with Ms Goodger up on Thursday!!

So stay tuned and don't forget to drop by tomorrow and Thursday!






For those looking for more reviews of Demon Bound by Meljean Brook, head to Book Binge to read my take on it :) Holly has a major girl crush on Ms Brook and I have to admit, I'm not far behind :P

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Booooooo!!!

Hi everyone,

sorry I haven't blogged in the past three days I think... I should be back full throttle tomorrow. Everything is fine... except my boss is back and he's ruining my mood :(

Long story short, he wants results before Christmas... and it sucks, because I'm alone working on this project. So he asked me if I could come in one day per week-end in the next coming weeks to work on Step 2 of the project. For those wondering, no, I'm not paid overtime... So I'm kind of annoyed at it, but there's not real way I can refuse :( The worst is I don't think I would mind that much if what he wanted me to do didn't require 4 hours of incubation!!! Ugh.

Plus, one of the doctors didn't follow the correct procedure when collecting urine samples... (The patients didn't get DRE) As a result, those samples have become questionable and the boss isn't sure he wants to use them for analysis. Only problem is those samples represent 50% of all what we've collected... and if we don't use them, then we need more samples... and that means I'll have even less time to work on Step 2 of the project...


So that's why I'm unhappy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Review: A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr

One of my favorite read in 2007 was Virgin River by Robyn Carr, which introduced me to the Virgin River and Grace Valley communities. I love both trilogies and so, I was very, very happy to hear that Ms Carr was going to write more books in the Virgin River series.

Ms Carr's next trilogy is coming out next year, in 2009, and it'll be three back-to-back releases starting in February!! Can't wait for it. In the meantime, Mira - did I tell you I love that branch of Harlequin, has asked Ms Carr to write a Virgin River Christmas story :)

Since I loved the series, I was determined to get this book and so, here is my review of it :)


A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
published by Mira in November 2008

Last Christmas, Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband Bobby. This Christmas she's come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.

Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby's shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived Stateside. Since then, Marcie's letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn't know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what's worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it's time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Virgin River series, book #4

The Story: It's almost been a year since Marcie Sullivan lost her beloved husband, Bobby; however, there's one more thing she needs to do in order to move on... and that is, to find her husband's Sergeant, best friend and savior, Ian Buchanan. She needs to know what happened to the man who saved her husband and then disappeared without a word.

Although Ian was able to save Bobby in Iraq, Bobby was severely injured and thus, lived the rest of his life without his mind and completely paralyzed. This greatly impacted Ian who didn't believe he did the right thing and blamed himself for Bobby's new life. As a result, he left the Marines and found refuge in the mountain, shutting himself from the world... and after a few years, the last thing he expected was to see Marcie Sullivan, Bobby's wife on his doorstep.

My Opinion: I think this was a great addition to the series. Ms Carr was able to keep the same spirit and atmosphere as in the previous books. I have to say, what I particularly like about this series is the different feel... because Virgin River is such a small town, it's very minimalistic... I think it puts the emphasis on the relationships and that's great.

Story-wise, A Virgin River Christmas is very interesting and very touching. I really enjoyed Marcie's character. She was a strong person that had gone through a lot, but it didn't make her bitter or overly thankful to still be alive. Yes, her experience has put things into perspective, but otherwise, she's still a normal, regular person... not scarred, not damaged, not traumatized. I enjoyed the normalcy. She was also very determined and stubborn, which could be funny at times ;) As for Ian Buchanan, he was an interesting hero and a typical man. I understood why he reacted that way and I think it says a lot about him. How he valued this friendship with Bobby... and I'm happy that Marcie was able to bring him around.

I enjoyed Marcie and Ian's interactions. How they grew closer to each other and came to understand one another. The book was spanned on maybe one or two weeks; however, the relationship didn't seem rush. I guess one thing I enjoyed most in Ms Carr's books is the pacing. It also

Ms Carr was also able to incorporate many old faces without having them steal the show. As part of the community, I think it's easier for her to do so. It was fun to see everyone and their interaction and how they welcomed Marcie. It is really different in a small town, especially a small town like Virgin River, than in big city.

My Grade: B+. A good addition to the series :) I'm sure fans of the series will enjoy it :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Authors' Backlists

I was going to post a review today, but changed my mind and decided to start a discussion. I don't often hold a book discussion, but I have to admit, I've been curious.

So on my last trip to the States, you all know I went book shopping, as usual LOL :) What I like when I go to the States (or even in Ontario) is that bookstores over there have older books (say, with a print date before 2002 ^_^;) and so it's easier to find authors' backlists. I guess the problem in Quebec is since this is a French province, bookstores have to carry a French section and it takes up place and blablabla.

So last time, I was able to get my hands on two oldies from Sharon Sala, two from Susan Andersen and 1 from Rachel Gibson... Plus, at McGill's bookfair, I got Truly, Madly Yours, another oldie from Ms Gibson. I've enjoyed all three authors' books and they are on my auto-buy list.

In the past month, I read Deep in the Heart by Sharon Sala - not the best, but okay. Enjoyed the best friends love theme... I finished Head Over Heels by Susan Andersen and thought it was meh. As for Truly, Madly Yours, it was a DNF. So let's just say, I've been a bit disappointed :(

So my question is: What do you do? What do you do when you go to great lengths, invest your time, effort and money to get authors' backlists... and you don't enjoy all the books. Do you keep it all, because hey, it's one of your favorite author and you must have all of her backlist... or do you only keep the ones you enjoyed?

I'm the type of person who'll try to get my hand on all the books the author has written and keep them all... however, I'm wondering if it's the best thing I can do...

November 2008 Releases

As I said in my monthly reads post, I'm running a bit late on my post at the moment :) Everyone's list is already up, but I can still join in the fun.

Lucky me, although my post is late, I already got my hands on a few books I was looking forward to :)

So where to start?


A Virgin River Christmas
by Robyn Carr (Nov. 1)

I'm an unconditional fan of the Virgin River series and Ms Carr's writing. Enjoyed almost all of the books I've read from her. What I like is her style and her storyline. I think they're quite a bit different than what's out there. Also, it's a Christmas story. I'm not very big on holiday-themed books, but once in a while, it's very fun to read one.

(Review coming soon)



Bad Penny by Sharon Sala (Nov. 1)

This is the third and last (I think) installment in the Cat Dupree series. Ms Sala is an auto-buy for me. Thus for that only reason, I would have gone out and bought this book... So it's a bonus that I've been enjoying her Cat Dupree series a lot. I find that this series is very different from Ms Sala other works. I've been wondering what was going to happen to Cat and Wilson and simply have to get this book.

(Review coming soon)



Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye (Nov. 4)

There's been a bit of a buzz for this book. Holly enjoyed it a lot which put this book on my radar. Although Kristie's opinion was more reserved, it's still worth a shot :) By the way, how can't you love a self-made millionaire who enjoys vacuuming?!?!?

(Review coming soon)




Demon Bound by Meljean Brook (Nov. 4)

Do I need to justify my reasons for this book? LOL :) Newest installment in the Guardian series Meljean Brook. Another auto-buy for me, LOL. It's Jake's story which I have to say, I've been looking forward to ever since he appeared in the series. Plus, I'm curious to see where the story is going. Although Meljean's books are a bit confusing and hard to read, they are always enjoyable and full of surprises :)

(Review coming soon)




Salvation in Death
by J.D. Robb (Nov. 4)

Another auto-buy ^_^; Seriously, this month is just full of them :) To think that I've almost given up on this series at one point. Anyway, I've already received, read and reviewed this book, but it's still worth mentioning it :)





Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk (Nov. 4)

Jan from Reading, etc. brought this one to my attention. I've been on an urban fantasy kick lately, so this seems to fit :) I've been looking for something a bit different, for example wizards or witch or sorcerer. There's a lot of vampires and werewolves out there, but less books about magic users.




Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins (Nov. 18)

Ms Hawkins is better known for her historical novels. This is actually going to be her first contemporary book (Yay!! Let's keep having authors make the switch!!). I think it will be interesting :) It's another small town story + young lovers + good girl/bad boy book. Definitively worth a try :)





Special mention:

Mischief Becomes Her by Kasey Michaels (Nov. 1) : This is the second book in the series. I've read the first book and wasn't that impressed and that's why I have my doubts about this one. Still bought it, but one I can wait to read.

Unravel Me by Christie Ridgway (Nov. 4): Second book in the series... I thought the first book was meh, mainly due to the heroine. Hopefully, this one will be better :)

New Tricks by John Levitt (Nov. 25) : Another book brought to my attention by Jan. This one will basically depend on whether I enjoy the first book, Dog Days, or not.

Blood Bargain by Maria Lima (Nov. 29) : Courtesy from Jan again. Basically, same thing as New Tricks. This is the second book in the series, so it will depend whether or not I enjoyed the first one. Ain't I starting to be a good girl? Actually waiting to read the first book and not jumping right away to the 2nd?

So this is it for the month of November. I actually got my hands on half of the books already... So lots to read this month... I guess I should start looking at the December's releases :P