Monday, August 31, 2009

Re-Read: Open Season by Linda Howard

Before I start my review... did I tell you I got some good news last week?

First, last Wednesday, I won a bookshelf and a 25$ gift certificate - which was great! Thank you very much to Anna and Cindy!! LOL, I was sooo happy and hyped up that day... But the cherry on the sundae? I got an e-mail from my supervisor telling me he was coming back till September 6! Woohoo, this means an additional week of freedom :D Hehehe... Yes, life is good. Strangely enough, I got all these news on August 26... which made it my 1st year anniversary at the lab. Hmmm...

So yes, last week, let say I was extremely happy at the news... Then, it was as if being soo hyper on Wednesday had sapped all my energy for Thursday and Friday. Felt a little down and lethargic... Of course, that didn't stop from a mini book adventure on Friday afternoon :) I had to rush here and there in order to avoid the traffic jam on the way home, but it paid off :) My most exciting new release was Must Love Hellhounds among others as well as 126$ worth of manga ^_^; Perhaps I'll do a post later about it... Now, let's get down to business :)

For this month's re-read, I chose Open Season by Linda Howard... mainly because I've noticed that many have re-read this book for the challenge. A few years back, I glommed on Ms Howard and highly enjoyed most of her backlist. Now, I'm stuck waiting for new releases... although I'm a few books behind. Anyway, I do re-read Ms Howard from time to time, but usually it will be Shades of Twilight, Now I See You, After the Night... or even Sarah's Child. I can't remember the last time I read Open Season (probably when I bought it) and as a result, thought this would be a nice re-read...

Open Season by Linda Howard
published by Simon & Schuster in July 2001
For Daisy Minor, it's open season on men. The small-town librarian is tired of being a good girl, living with her widowed mother and spinster aunt. She wants to experience life and love, to have some fun, to meet a man. Before she starts her personal manhunt, she sets out to reinvent, or at least redecorate, herself. She seeks out a new look to match her new attitude, moves into her own place, and sets out in search of all the fun and adventure she's been missing. Soon she's dancing her nights away, flirting with men, and thoroughly enjoying her new free-spirited lifestyle. Then, late one night, she sees something that no one was supposed to see and finds herself in deadly danger. Suddenly, a killer declares it's Open Season on Daisy Minor, and Daisy's one hope, for life and love, is to find the perfect man to save her life -- and share it.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: none

The Story: I think most people are familiar with the storyline, but let's give it another go :)

Daisy Minor wakes up on her 34th birthday and realizes how boring her life is. Without knowing, she has become the stereotypical small-town librarian: boring, mousy and spinster, with no prospect to change the situation. Daisy realizes that she wants a husband and children and to achieve her dream, she needs a major change in her life. With the help of family and friends, Daisy moves out and gets a make-over: clothes, make-up and hairstyle... She's all ready to hit the night scene and meet the man of her life, but everywhere she goes, everywhere she turns, she keeps bumping into Jack Russo, Chief of Police, who's definitively not her type and all wrong for her... or perhaps not.

Jack finds it extremely fun to quibble with the librarian. After witnessing her transformation, he knows she's in a market for a man - all the signs are there, and he's first to volunteer... and their relationship becomes even more intense when Daisy witnesses a murder... and some people wants to get rid of her.

My Opinion: I have to say, another reason why I like this Re-Read Challenge is that I get to review older books that I didn't... but I digress. Open Season is a classic Linda Howard in my opinion - the characters, relationship and suspense are all strong with top notch writing and there's always a few laughs. That condom scene? It's just priceless!! LOL, get me every single time. It definitively never gets old LMAO.

I really loved Jack in Open Season. He fits Ms Howard alpha male heroes, but who cares? LOL. A bit of a jerk, a lot determined, he's strong, confident and someone you can trust. He definitively goes after what he wants, but at the same time, there's a caring side to him... almost sweet :P As for Daisy, I liked her... but at the same time, I have to admit, she annoyed me a little. It was hard to believe she was 34 years old - she could really be naive sometimes which I guess is part of her charm... That was kind of okay, but what annoyed me was how quick she was to judge Jack and deduct points. I don't know, it just rubbed me the wrong way... Sigh. However, once Daisy and Jack got together, it was great. Also, I really liked how Daisy reacted when she realized she witnessed a murder. She was calm and collected, didn't panic and listened to Jack's order without arguing with him.

There was a great cast of secondary characters. I loved Daisy's family as well as Todd and Howard. They provided some laughs, but at the same time, it wasn't ridiculous or cliche. Each played their roles perfectly. I have to admit, I'd like for Todd to have his own book or story. I want to know what happens to him :) Even the villains were quite well fleshed without stealing the spotlight.

The story was great. I really enjoyed the relationship between Daisy and Jack. It was fun to see them quibbled and when Jack went after Daisy, mmm. I'd like to be sweep off my feet someday as well LOL. The suspense was good and believable and weaved in the storyline very well. It did take a while before the action picked up, but that was okay. I really enjoyed it, it was clever and there were a few interesting twists.

Overall, this is still a great read, very enjoyable. While reading it, I realized that it's been quite a while since I last read this one, more than I thought. It was great fun to re-visit a classic Linda Howard and I should do it more often :)

My Grade: A-. I never reviewed this book before and it's a been a long time since I first read it... I can't exactly remember what I thought at that time, but I don't think it could be very different from this time :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Re-Read Challenge Reminder!

First, I'd like to say...


You two have my best wishes!!

Seriously, isn't it amazing, the friends we make online? Through blogland! I'm bringing this up tonight because this week, I got a nice present through the mail from Kris. She sent me an autographed copy of Count to Ten by Karen Rose!! Woohoo!! and LOL, she told me that Karen Rose knew who I was!! Wowzer! LOL.

I'm starting to have a nice little collection of autographed novels, dedicated to me, by my favorite authors... and I've never gone to a signing!! LOL, almost all of them were gifts from bloggers... Yep, they actually went to authors signings and asked copies for me! Seriously, how nice and sweet is that?!?

When I first started blogging, it was mostly to share my reviews, my opinion on some books so it would help others to choose their books. I know that's why I started visiting blogs, to find reviews on books. I never expected this friendship... but looking back, I should have. All in all, it's just amazing!

LOL, but that's not what I wanted to remind people today. I actually wanted to point out that next week is the end of the month, so Re-Read Challenge deadline :) Last day of the month is Monday, so we still have the week-end to do our re-read :) I'll put up the post for links on Sunday. So everyone will have from Sunday, August 30, to Tuesday, September 1st, to post up their reviews :D The winner will be drawn on Wednesday morning :)

Have a nice evening!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Edge of Dawn by Patti O'Shea

How was everyone's week-end? Mine was quite relaxing, although I did a 12 hours shift at the priests' house on Saturday. Still, I only got a handful of phone calls, so I got off lucky LOL :P

Otherwise, I got to read 2 books, one of them Deathwish by Rob Thurman. Yesterday, my sister and I made tacos for lunch :) Good practice for when my parents are going to be gone on vacation :P There was also some good tennis happening and the top 20 for So You Think You Can Dance Canada was revealed. LOL, really nice week-end overall :)

Edge of Dawn by Patti O'Shea
published by Tor Books in June 2009

Glass artist Shona Blackwood has lost her ability to create, but instead of panic, all she feels is apathy. Her detachment is shaken when she narrowly avoids being mugged, thanks to a timely rescue by a man who makes all her senses come roaring to life.

Logan Andrews is a magical troubleshooter assigned to protect Shona from an unseen enemy. Shona is unaware that magic actually exists and Logan is under orders not to tell her, but it isn't long before he finds his loyalty torn between his people and the passionate woman he is guarding.

He thought this would be a straightforward job, but Logan quickly realizes that in an edgy contest between magic and passion, love is destined to win.
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Light Warriors, Book #3

The Story: Logan Andrews is the troubleshooter in charge of Seattle area. However, ever since the bouda attack, Logan has been having troubles with his magic - after every use, he gets seizures, flashbacks that do not belong to him... and each time, the amount of magic that triggers those seizures is less and less... Now, he's been assigned a mission by the council: protect Shona Blackwood, a dormant Gineal whose parents were stripped of their magic as a punishment and who has no idea of her real heritage and of having an older brother, Creed Blackwood - a rover, the elite of the elite. The Gineals believe that Shona is in danger from a taireil who is seeking revenge over Creed... but soon, it becomes apparent that it's something bigger than petty revenge... and Logan has his hands full with his magical problems, keeping the truth from Shona and their mutual attraction...

My Opinion: I love Patti O'Shea. She does not have an extensive backlist, but I've really, really enjoyed her books and as a result, she's one of my auto-buy author. However, I must say that so far, I haven't been wowed by the Light Warriors series... and as a result, I didn't move heaven and earth to get this book ASAP. For once though, I think that played in my favor. You know how sometime, you anticipated a new release so much, have high expectations and read the book as soon as it is released, basically inhaling it... and you're left with a void at the end, slightly disappointed. That's how I felt after reading In the Midnight Hour and In Twilight's Shadow... This time, my expectations weren't as high and it allowed me to really enjoy Edge of Dawn.

The best thing about this book was the H/H and their connection. I really like Logan and enjoyed his character. Put aside his magic and I felt like he was a "normal" guy which is what readers need from time to time :) He wasn't an alpha man, but at the same time, not beta either. He's just a guy who loves his job, loves his family and enjoy life. There's no complicated past, no tragedy, no tortured emotions. The simplicity makes him charming and very likable... and I love the fact that at the end, he chose her over everything. As for Shona, I like her as well. She was another normal and real character. I liked the fact that she was shy and a bit socially inept. She is definitively an introvert person with some self-confidence issues (somehow, she reminds me a little bit of myself :P) I wonder though if her self-confidence issues were linked to her artistic creativity being gone or not. She was also smart and level-head. One of the thing I like the most in Edge of Dawn is that Shona did not freak out once she discovered that Logan had been assigned to protect her. She didn't go bersek and angry because he lied or omitted telling the truth or that the fact that he appeared in her life was planned. She analyzed the situation and understood the circumstances. I really liked that of her and when Logan assured her there was something real and strong between them, that he didn't woo her because of his job, she didn't doubt his word. I gotta say though, I'd have liked to know a little bit more about her past. I think it was glossed over a little and I can't help but think that it would have helped readers understand her better. Then, there was Logan and Shona's chemistry. Wow, it was hot and intense... exactly what the book and readers needed. Love the fact that they went out on "dates" and got to know each other. Love that gallery scene, it was hot :) I liked the fact that they spent time with each other... There simply was a lot of chemistry between them, their characters fitting well together.

Edge of Dawn focused a lot on Logan and Shona, which was the right decision. I also liked the fact that it distanced itself from the first two books of the series. We see some recurring characters - the Council - and we know that Shona is linked to Creed, but otherwise, it was really Logan and Shona's book. Previous main characters do not appear, except for Creet at the end for an introduction. I think it was a smart choice to do... it also introduces some interesting future characters such as Logan's siblings.

There was also plenty of action in this book, as usual when it comes to Ms O'Shea book. Those were enjoyable and balanced out the relationship scenes. I liked the fact the whole plot, the villains trying to get the dracontias from Shona. Although I have to point out that once again, the weakest point of the book was the world building. I mean, I've come to expect this... if you don't establish the world building well in the first books of a series, it's not going to get better in the subsequent ones. I still find the Gineal world confusing and it doesn't help that Ms O'Shea keeps introducing weird creatures. I know they do not play an important role, but still. Also, in the last book, Maia turned out to be a special person... and in this one, Shona is the dragon mage... Hmmm, I know that Ms O'Shea is building up to something... I just hope the climax will be well done and it won't flop.

My Grade: B+. I think that so far, Edge of Dawn is the best of the series. I really loved Shona and Logan and their relationship. The world building could use some clarifications and if it was better executed, this book would definitively have gotten a higher grade. As it is though, I still enjoyed it a lot, so it's good :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Great Western Drive!!

First, I'd like to thank everyone for their encouragements about my ankle. It is much better and I can now walk with very little pain. Actually, it just feels a little stiff when I rotate it :) I was able to hobble on it and rush to the bookstore today under the rain :) Good sign, no? :P For those who are wondering, I did score at the bookstore!! Love it LOL.

Secondly, I missed the TBR challenge for the first time :( I wanted to review something, but it just didn't come. Also, I've been reading really slowly this month. I think it's the books, the Cal Leandros series. I'm really enjoying the series, but it takes me forever to read the books. Almost a week a book ^_^; That's just not normal!! Sigh, too bad. Maybe I'll try to do a two-fers next month. Anyway, I'll have to pick up my re-read very soon if I want to make it ^_^;

Finally, I'm a bit late to the party, but it doesn't matter because the posts will still be there right? Well, Kristie is at it again, and has started a new campaign. This time, it is not simply to recommend a new book, but to share and celebrate her love of Western romance books! She's enlisted the help of two other very popular bloggers, Wendy the Super Librarian and Sybil from The Good, The Bad and the Unread. Together, they have come up with...


It's been a week-long campaign with many interesting posts about the genre and why they like it so much. In addition, there's tons of recommendations and a contest. So be sure to drop by all three blogs to discover or re-discover this genre. I think it's a great idea, because western romances are rarer and rarer nowadays, eclipsed by paranormal romances and urban fantasy books. Newcomers to romance books (actually even me) might not know where to start when it comes to this genre so this has been very, very helpful :) Also, when have these three bloggers steer us wrong? LOL.

Have fun!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bruised ankle...

Hello everyone!!

How are you doing? Sorry I've been scarce in the last few days. I've been checking my Google Reader, but just didn't have time to do a proper blog-hop and leave comments. Last week was an extremely slow reading week for me. I think I've read 1.5 books ^_^; So I wanted to use the week-end to catch up... Of course, things never go as planned.

First, my uncle took a few days off last week and came to help my dad re-build the patio. They spent the whole time from Thursday to Saturday doing that... and I only have one word: Wow... because it was hot in the last few days... very hot and very humid. Then, my cousin came with her boyfriend as well... so we hung out a little bit, ate out. I have to say, I love having my uncle and cousin around. I don't have many relatives close, so it's nice to spend time with them. My uncle insists that we (my sister and me) go up to his house before the first snow. I think we will :) We had a nice ice cream outing where we ordered soft ice cream. After receiving his, my uncle kept saying, "I think they made a mistake, Nath. This must be a jumbo size, not medium!" LOL, he's just so cute and so nice.

On Saturday morning, I woke up around 7am and on my way to the bathroom, my mom intercepted me. She told me that the gas BBQ was broken, so could I start the charcoal BBQ so she could prepare some food - we were having guests in the evening. I was like: "Now?!?" and she said, "Well maybe a little later." Sigh. LOL. That's not how I planned to spend my morning!! In the past few years, we had a charcoal chimney starter to start the charcoal BBQ... but the starter belongs to my friend. I tried looking online to see if I could buy it anywhere closeby, but no... So I had to start it on my own ^_^; In the past, whenever we tried just starting the charcoal BBQ in a regular way... well it took forever. Perhaps it was lack of experience ^_^; Anyway, I got off easy this time, LOL, took me about 20-30 minutes. Yay! Though I was lucky there was a good wind, cos otherwise, I'd be sitting there fanning my little pyramid of charcoal. Anyway, spent about an hour to two BBQ-ing, under the sun. It was really humid, about 30C with a very bright sun. So can you imagine what it was near the BBQ?

On Sunday, I had an outing with some friends. We were going to go to the mountain and do a forest adventure - Acro-Nature. You know, where you climb into trees and go from one another with the help of bridges, cables and ziplines. There were a total of 58 stations divided in 4 zones. We were three... So we start the thing and it was fun :) A bit hard for some, but I was okay. Then, at the first zipline (station 10-11), one of my friends got stuck. She braked too early and then, didn't have any more strength in her arms to pull herself. Oups. We waited till she was "saved" and she decided that was it for her. She'd follow us on the ground. A couple of ziplines later (station 17), I put my feet down too early and hit my right ankle on some log... and that was it for me, out of commission ^_^; It didn't swell too much, it didn't even hurt that much, unless I put weight on it and that's on the heel. No problem at all with the upper half of my foot. I could still drive and hobble and we still went out to eat.

So yesterday, I spent a couple of hours at a clinic and then, at an x-ray clinic. Diagnostic: my ankle is only bruised. Yay!! Ah well, that gave me time to read Edge of Dawn by Patti O'Shea :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Review: Nightlife by Rob Thurman

Ahhhh, finally the week-end!! Yay!! We're having gorgeous weather, it's really nice... and I don't have much to do today at work, even better LOL :)

Any plans for the week-end anyone? Me, I'm going to try to catch up on my reading... and I have a friend who works in Seattle who came back for vacation. So I'll try to spend some time with her.

I have a buddy review up at Breezing Through: Nightlife by Rob Thurman. I have to thank two persons: first, Leslie for her review and then, Hilcia for buddy reviewing it with me. You can find the review here.

Nightlife by Rob Thurman
published by ROC Fantasy in March 2006

There are monsters among us. There always have been and there always will be. I’ve known that ever since I can remember, just like I’ve always known I was one…

… Well, half of one, anyway.

Welcome to the Big Apple. There’s a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side – and that’s only the beginning. Of course, most humans are oblivious to the preternatural nightlife around them, but Cal Leandros is only half-human.

His father’s dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares – and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal. Why? Cal hasn’t wanted to stick around long enough to find out.

He and his half-brother Niko have managed to stay a step ahead for three years, but now Cal’s dad has found them again. And Cal is about to learn why they want him, why they’ve always wanted him… for he is the key to unleashing their hell on earth. The fate of the human world will be decided in the fight of Cal’s life…

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review: How To Tame A Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist

First I'd like to thank everyone for the positive feedback yesterday on the new look :) I'm happy that everyone seems to like it! :)

Otherwise, there's not much to say LOL :) Supervisor is on vacation, the summer student is leaving next Monday, already. Going to be quiet in the lab. My uncle came to help my dad do some manly work involving wood and a hammer LOL :) My cousin might swing by with her boyfriend - I hope so.

Watched SYTYCD Canada yesterday. Unfortunately, I missed the first episode on Tuesday because I went to see G.I.Joe. The auditions yesterday were enjoyable :) But man, I think they'll be a lot of people for the Top 20 selection ^_^; And there's a lot of people from last year returning. I like the fact that the judges are so encouraging, but I'm thinking they might be a wee too nice? Ah well, we'll see :P

How To Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist
published by Grand Central Publishing in August 2009

Commitment-phobic Sam Carson has only dated model-gorgeous women. But one stolen kiss from a plain-Jane schoolteacher and he's hell-bent on stripping away her floral dresses and teaching her the art of being bad. If only her good-girl ways didn't make him want to be a better man...

Ally Giordano is at the end of her rope. Her beloved grandmother actually believes that she's living in her favorite romance novel in Regency England and Ally doesn't have the heart to set her straight. But now Granny Donny's last wish is for a retreat to the country and Ally can't refuse her...until she demands that Sam accompany them. And though his smiles turn her knees into jelly, Ally knows better than to trust a playboy...and she definitely knows better than to try to change one. Or does she?

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: None (so far)

The Story: Ally Giordano is turning 25 years old and she has plans: moving on. About 10 years ago, she was abandoned by her parents who ran away due to debts after Ally's grandmother, Granny Donny, cut them off. Ally gave them a deadline - they had 10 years to come back for her... The deadline is expiring the next day and so Ally is getting ready to move on - move to San Francisco where she got a teaching position in a prestigious high school.

However, Ally's careful planning goes down the drain when Granny Donny shows up on her doorstep, dressed in regency clothes with a handsome playboy, Sam Carson. Unfortunately for Ally, it seems that her grandmother suffered of a mild stroke and believes herself to be in the world of her favorite historical novel (1812), The Dulcet Duke, and is determined to see Ally married to the Duke Whatthehell, also known as Sam. Ally realizes that this could be her grandmother's last wish and wanting to please her, Ally agrees to retire to the country (to their beach house) by horse carriage where they will host a ball. Intrigued by Granny Donny as well as Ally, Sam Carson decides to join them for the ride.

My Opinion: I've read a few books by Ms Holquist in the past and I have to admit, they've mostly been misses for me ^_^; However, the back blurb of How To Tame A Modern Rogue sounded so fun and intriguing that I had to get it. Just had to get it... so I did and I'm glad :)

How To Tame a Modern Rogue was a very cute book :) The premise/idea is quite original and refreshing and is complemented by some very interesting characters. I loved Granny Donny, such a resourceful woman who won't take no for an answer. I fell for Sam and was rooting for him all the way. Mateo's storyline was quite interesting and I hope there'll be a follow-up on him and his budding romance with Ally's best friend. However, this book wasn't perfect and my biggest caveat was unfortunatly Ally, the heroine.

I found Ally extremely annoying ^_^; I don't enjoy Ally's type of heroine: controlling, pessimistic and suspicious. I hate how she kept jumping to conclusions and how she always thought the worst of Sam, simply because he enjoys life. The first time she saw Sam, she immediately thought he was a conman after her grandmother's money. Then, when she saw Sam's penthouse - she still didn't quite believe he was rich himself, must have gotten it from some old rich women (i.e. she thought he was a gigolo). During their journey, when Granny Donny and company ended up at the horse racetracks, of course, it must have been Sam. Or whether he was sleeping with the hired help. Ugh, it drove me nuts!! Yes, she has a sad past and I could understand some of her reactions, but she went too far, she was too much. I mean, after all, she was raised with Granny Donny - who enjoys life. Did her grandmother abandon her too? Nope. As a sidenote though, I think that Granny Donny should have told the truth to Ally much earlier. Yes, Ally might have suffered, but at least she would know and it would have allowed her to move on earlier.

I also didn't understand why Sam fell in love with her. Why her? Okay, so he was attracted to her after the kiss. Fine, but otherwise? I thought Sam was an interesting character, especially given his upbringing, a modern rogue who fit the duke's description to a T, LOL. I thought it was cute that he was all outraged after reading The Dulcet Duke :) At the same time, it also showed him how empty his life is... It's quite sad when you realize that you're all alone and that nobody would really miss you. However, that's how he chose to live his life and I admire him for standing by his decisions. He started from scratch and made a fortune. I mean, he did succeed in life... and is it really our business how he chooses to live his life? Whether he does join a firm or not and his strings of affairs. So it makes him commitment-phobic... but how many out there are this way? Does that make him a bad man? No. So that's why the way Ally treated him annoyed me a little. I didn't like that Ally couldn't accept Sam for who he was. She wanted a sad story to justify his choice, the way he lived his life... In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with Sam and the way he is. He's not a bad man and as long as he's willing to change his ways for the right woman, it's great! Of course, he did have a sad story in his closet ^_^; but at least, he didn't use it to excuse his choice. I liked the fact that he stood his ground, that he knew the choices he made were conscious and that they couldn't be excused by his past. All in all, I thought he deserved better than Ally. The only redeeming factor in this relationship between Ally and Sam to me is the fact that Sam is the one who walked away from Ally and she's the one who had to grovel. Although, Sam went easy on her, in my opinion.

It might sound like I didn't enjoy this book, but I did. The storyline overshadowed the characters in my opinion and it made up for the heroine. I mean, it was just fun imagining this party crossing New York in a horse carriage and making their way to the beach house. The soccer's tidbits were also fun :) LOL, the fact that Sam was so passionate about soccer... it fit him :) Mateo's storyline was also quite interesting and as I said earlier, I hope we'll see more of him in the future.

My Grade: B. A cute book, fun and enjoyable. The grade would have definitively been higher if I'd have liked Ally better.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Look

Hello everyone!!

How are you doing? I've been scarce the past 2 days, because I've been working on this :) Yes, another new look!! :)

I don't know, I really liked the previous one... when I did it. However, I think the colors were a little too bright and in your face, don't you think? Or perhaps I wanted summer to come very fast LOL :P Anyway, got tired of it pretty fast. It was just, hmmm, too much. Too much of everything - the colors, the header, the bottom. I needed something simpler, so here it is :)

Of course, I was also influenced by Ames and Breezing Through. I hope everyone likes it :) Let me know if there are stuff I forgot to change or some that don't work anymore. It shouldn't though since I didn't touch much of the body... Just the background and colors.

So what have everyone been up to?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Good morning everyone! How are you doing? It's a rainy day here, but nothing can dampen my mood LOL :) I had a nice relaxing week-end and am ready to start the week... Especially since my supervisor is away :) Yay! Like I said, freedom!!!

I did a little bit of everything this week-end: read, sleep, eat yummy stuff, clean my room, vacuum, shelve my books and add books to my excel spreadsheet. Productive week-end, of course, I'd have preferred to read a little bit more. LOL, but I feel there's going to be plenty of time for that this week :)

Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon
published by St.Martin's Press in August 2009
A stunning and suspenseful new landscape emerges in the thrilling Dark-Hunter world - a world where nothing will ever be the same again...

Fang Kattalakis isn't just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. And when the woman Fang loves is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.

Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Dark-Hunter series, Book #28 (according to Fantastic Fiction) but Book #17 according to Ms Kenyon's website.

The Story: Ugh, talk about a vague back blurb! Bad Moon Rising takes us back in time and begins in 2003 when Fang and Vane along with their pack arrived to New Orleans (Night Embrace - Talon's story) and basically catches up to the present. Of course, it only focuses on events relevant to Fang and Aimee - such as Fang and Vane coming to the Sanctuary for the first time and meeting Aimee. Then, Anya - Fang and Vane's sister - dying during a Daimons attack basically resulting to Fang and Vane getting kicked out of the Pack and left for death. Another Daimons attack which left Fang comatose... His recovery to his stay at the Sanctuary afterwards. Then, Fang getting banned from Sanctuary for "kidnapping" Aimee and saving Wren's life, etc. to now.

Of course, Ms Kenyon doesn't only re-write these scenes to present Aimee and Fang's point of view. She has to add a twist to it, if not, why go back, right? Well it turns out that Fang wasn't really in a catatonic state after his sister's death and the daimons' attack: his soul was stuck in another dimensions and was hunted and tortured by demons. The only way to save him was to kill those 9 Daimons that got a bite at him... Only, Vane didn't respond to Fang subliminal message in dreams, so Fang had to turn to Aimee who ends up saving him. Of course, Fang ended up paying a price in order to keep Aimee safe, he became a Hellchaser - another elite group of warriors (ugh) and during some of his work as a Hellchaser, he gets possessed by a demon... and let say it's not fun...

Aside from adding the demons tidbits, Ms Kenyon also shows us the unshown scenes between Fang and Aimee, i.e. how they met, their connection from the beginnging. Ever wondered what Fang and Aimee were doing before they bursted out of Aimee's room when Wren came to attack Nicolette in Unleash the Night? Yeah... Readers also make an interesting discovery about the the Peltiers: Nicolette Peltier is the Katagari Regis for the bears, but she is mated to an Arcadian bear! This is kept under wrap or else, it could jeopardize her seat. We also discover why Aimee is so important - aside from being the only daughter in the family, she's also Nicolette's heir since the werebears are a matriarchal clan. Of course, Aimee has an even bigger secret: she was born Katagari, but turned Arcadian at puberty... not only that, but she's an Aristos, i.e. the highest level of magic user among the Weres... Yes, uh oh. So she's been keeping this secret to herself, in fear that it would get her killed by her mother. Her hope is to find a mate, give birth to a couple of baby girls that will remain Katagari and who could inherit the Regis seat, passing over her generation. Of course, there's the danger that her Katagari mate, upon discovering her identity as an Arcadian would want to kill her, but details, details... Only problem, she has to find a mate, but she's not attracted to any of the bears that are introduced to her. Instead, the one who makes her blood hot is Fang - a wolf!! Totally unsuitable and impossible match! How can a wolf and bear mate? Despite logic, Fang and Aimee can't ignore their feelings and sneak around. However, everything starts crumbling when Aimee defies Savitar by saving Fang from his death warrant resulting in Savitar revoking the Sanctuary's limani license so the bar is no longer a sanctuary... and becomes the target of all of the Peltier's enemies...

My Opinion: I was really excited to get this book. I mean, we've all been waiting so long for Aimee and Fang story... but to me, it was a bit of a disappointment :( I haven't read any Sherrilyn Kenyon's book since Upon the Midnight Clear. Oh, I have Acheron, but didn't feel like reading it... and I did read Fury's story, but that doesn't count because it was a novella. Bad Moon Rising reminds me exactly why I've decided to stop reading this series.

As a whole, Fang and Aimee story wasn't so bad. I enjoyed having glimpses of their regular lives, when they were not doing anything dangerous or on the run. Seeing Aimee interact with her brothers was really a highlight for me. Talk about a dysfunctional family, seriously!! Everyone keeping secrets from each other... however, there's no doubt that they all love each other. It's weird because I was eager to read Bad Moon Rising to see Fang interact with his brothers, Fury and Vane... and there weren't that many scenes of them together :( It felt like Vane and Fury already got their stories, so no need to focus on them anymore. It felt wrong to me, because there were so much emphasis in their brother relationships... I was eager to see how Fang would adapt to the discovery that Fury was his brother... and it didn't really happen... which bring me to another problem I had... Fang and Aimee's characterizations.

Fang comes across at very angry - which I guess, I understand. He feels like his brother has let him down and he is jealous of the bond that was formed with Fury. Then, there's the fact that Fang should have become the leader of the Pack, not Fury. So angry, I can understand... but at the same time, I felt he was very whiny. It seems like he felt Vane and Fury owned him and so, he lashed out at them, had tantrums, ignored their feelings and sulk. As for Aimee, I felt her characterization wasn't very consistent with previous books... The confident bearswain was gone, instead, you had a heroine that was perpertually afraid, scared and strangely vulnerable. However, whenever Fang needed her, she'd stepped up to the plate. Use those powers that she was afraid to use. Then all the guilt about causing her brothers' deaths... I just wanted her to stand up for herself, assume responsibilities, take her own decisions... instead of cowering from her mother.

To me, Bad Moon Rising would have been much better if it focused on solving the issues. I mean, the story did focus on Fang and Aimee, but I felt nothing really got resolved. The big brouhaha in the first half of the book was how could a wolf and a bear mate? What would be the repercussions? What kind of children would that produce? Well the answers are not in this book. At the end, Fang and Aimee finally have sex and tada, the mating sign appears on their hands and they bond. Okay, so what was the big deal, aside from diluting the bloodline? I mean, there's a scene where Aimee goes to Carson, the vet, and asks him if it was normal to feel attracted to another species... and he answers he's never heard about it, never heard about such a mating... and suddenly, it happens just like that? Also, I could have done without all the demons business and going back in the timeline to explain why Fang was comatose. I mean, yes, it was fun to see some of the scenes from Fang and Aimee's point of view, but it didn't really help their story. Ms Kenyon has already spent so much time buidling Fang and Aimee's relationship, readers didn't really need a review of it. It would have been more productive to give readers new material.

Aside from that, I really didn't care about the rest of the story. Demons, Hellchasers? Bleh. Just another excuse to expand the series and introduce new characters - all more badass than the previous. Varyk, Zeke, Wynter? Also, Ms Kenyon is adding a lot of new thread and expanding the storylines of some of the recurring characters which we don't know if they'll ever have their own books and when - Sascha, Constantine. The sequel baiting is getting really old and tiring. Like I said previously, it'd be good if Ms Kenyon was tying up some loose ends before introducing new ones.

My Grade: C. Overall, Bad Moon Rising was okay... but somehow, I feel cheated out of Fang and Aimee's story. Also, I think this is going to be my last book by this author... the series just doesn't do it for me anymore :(

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Review: I Can See You by Karen Rose

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Karen Rose! Love her books, I think she's one of the best romantic suspense authors out there, if not THE best :) So it's no surprise that I've been running after her newest release - although to tell you the truth, hers wasn't so hard to find :)

I Can See You by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in August 2009

Eve Wilson was the victim of the villain in Don’t Tell, an assault which resulted in disfiguring injury. After the incident, Eve retreated into the virtual realm, seeking refuge from the public eye. Now, with the help of a surgeon, her face is mostly restored and she has returned to the real world. Now a graduate student, her goal is to research the use of the virtual world as therapy to improve self-esteem. But when a string of suspicious suicides connected to her Internet activities leads homicide detective Noah Webster to her door, Eve is forced back into an intoxicating world of Web sites, alternate identities, and secret passions. A world where her experience and expertise are key... and where she becomes a player in a deadly game, trapped in the fight of her life.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Karen Rose, book #10

The Story: It's been 6 years since the events of Don't Tell where Eve was brutally assaulted and left for dead. She has finally emotionally healed enough to move on, but in order to do so, she had to leave the nest... and ended up in Minneapolis where she's attending grad school in psychology and is a bar tender at Sal's, a cop bar. Her thesis project is a subject study about the use of the virtual world, Shadowland, as therapy to improve self-esteem. Everything goes well until Eve starts worrying about some of her subjects spending too much time in Shadowland and wrecking their real life. Concerned, Eve breaks the double-blind code of her study by 1) entering Shadowland herself to monitor her most at risk subjects and 2) finding out their real-life identity. However, things are worse than Eve could ever imagine when her subjects become the targets of a serial killer. Having no choice and putting her dream of becoming a therapist in jeopardy, Eve turns to Noah Webster, the dark, tall and lean lead investigator who has caught her eye by coming once a week at the bar, for help.

Noah Webster has been attracted to Eve at first sight which is the reason why the recovered alcoholic has been coming to Sal's bar once a week, every week of the past year. Her vulnerability elicits in him feelings that he's long forgotten and an urge to protect her... from him. Not wanting to burden her even more with his own baggage, Noah decides it's better to stay away from her... But fate has a different idea by throwing them together during this investigation, where someone is staging suicide by hanging the victims after dressing them up in a red dress and shoes and gluing their eyes open...

My Opinion: I've said it in the opening, I love Ms Rose books and I think she's a great author. What makes her stand out as one of the best romantic suspense authors is her consistency. I admit, I haven't adore all of her books; however that was due to the characters and my personal taste. When it comes to the storyline, the intrigue and the writing, Ms Rose excels every time. I Can See You is no exception - it's a great book: gripping and entertaining. I couldn't read fast enough, all I wanted to do was keep turning the pages and find out what happened next... which I did :) Not only I enjoyed the storyline, but the characters as well, so I'm a very happy camper with Ms Rose's newest release :)

First, I'm very glad that after the Vartanian siblings trilogly (Die For Me, Scream For Me and Kill For Me), Ms Rose comes back to a storyline/style closer to Count to Ten and her earlier books. It's hard to describe into words, but if you've read Count to Ten and Scream For Me/Kill For Me, you've probably notice a little difference. It's not in her writing style per se, but more the intensity, the urgency... and perhaps, in the balance between suspense and romance. I thought that there was a better balance between the suspense and romance in I Can See You and it was very reminescent of Count to Ten.

Secondly, I think that Ms Rose is awesome when it comes to connecting books together. That's what I like about her... She has 10 books so far and all of them are connected, but in a subtle way. You wouldn't be able to group them under a series name (except for the Varthanian trilogy) unless you do as I did and call the series Karen Rose LOL :P In most series, authors introduce the readers to a group of characters (either a team, an alliance, group of warriors, siblings, etc.) and then each of these characters gets their book, one after the other. However, it is not the case with Ms Rose. Instead, what she's done is varying things up by introducing readers to many different investigation teams via investigations and/or siblings relationship throughout her books: Chicago PD, Philadelphia PD, North Carolina State Bureau, Georgia State Bureau and now, the Hat Squad in Minneapolis PD. Then, she writes and writes and when she thinks a character is ready to have its own book or when it's been a while since we've seen this team, she goes back and writes it. It's like a big networking, giving her much more options to work with, and she does. Also, she doesn't have the need to have all of her previous H/H make cameo appearances in all of the books and when they do, they have the decency not to steal the show :P Again, Ms Rose only gives us subtle updates on them. Can you tell I really like how she's managing her books?

Anyway, I should get back to I Can See You right? :) Like I said, I really enjoyed this book :) I think that Ms Rose did a good job fleshing out Eve and Noah's characters. You can't help but admire Eve. She's been through 2 traumatic events in her life, but she's a fighter and is still out there, living a life. Perhaps not the life she imagined so many years ago, but a life. I liked the fact that it took her time to get where she is. We are seeing a different Eve, a more mature one. She's always been older than her age, she's seen more because of her background - coming from the bad part of town, running away from foster care, helping in abused women shelters... However, the rebellious teenager is gone and has been replaced by a calmer self, less rash... For sure, the events of Don't Tell have marked her - how could it not since it still impacts her so much physically... but it's something else, a quiet wisdom. I guess what I find amazing is that Eve still cares for people and not just her little support group. She's willing to form new friendships, new relationships. As for Noah, he's a good man and a good cop. He has his own baggage, is haunted by his own demons, but he's a survivor as well. He's work hard to continue living and he was smart enough to ask for help when he needed most. There's an inner strength in him that complements Eve so well... and I think he really needed Eve, otherwise, his life would be so empty. I enjoyed the relationship between Eve and Noah. I understand the reluctance from both for getting involved, but I definitively think they needed each other and are well suited. Their relationship is not an intense one like Mia and Reed in Count To Ten. Instead, it's something that has been building up over the year, although neither spoke of it and the yearning for each other makes it very poignant and precious.

One thing that I liked about Eve as well is that she needed a new city to start over, somewhere where she wouldn't be able to hide... but at the same time, it didn't mean she forgot about the people who cared for her and cut loose. As a result, while Ms Rose is introducing us to a new investigation team, there are a lot of familiar faces that play large roles in I Can See You: Tom Hunter, David Hunter and Olivia Sutherland (although Olivia comes with the Minneapolis PD :P). I enjoyed their presence in the book :) Olivia fits right in, David is still such a nice guy and he deserves his own book in the near future and Tom, forever the white knight :) Grew up into a fine young man :) I liked the Hat Squad from the Minneapolis PD :) I'm curious about Noah's partner, Jack Phelps, and why Noah tolerated him for so long. I liked seeing Olivia in her element, as a cop. I like the chemistry of the investigation team - ME, CSU, detectives, etc. Once again, Ms Rose has composed a good team and I liked the fact that the superiors/captains that we've met so far are good men, good cop. They're not after fame and not pressuring their teams to save their own behind and Abbott is no exception.

Okay, enough on characters, what about the story? It was a good one and of course, there's more than meet the eye. I never try to guess who did it because I usually read the end first, so yeah, I know ^_^; LOL :) However, I think Ms Rose did a good job maintaining the suspense... I'm not sure people can guess who did it before Ms Rose wants readers to know. There's also a vendetta against Noah and his partner and this muddles the ground even more for the cops. I think that Ms Rose definitively come up with interesting ideas and cases and this one was definitively interesting. Perhaps not as thrilling and out of breath as the Vartanian trilogy, but quite interesting. I have to admit, I feel relieved a little that the crimes this time were murders and not sexual crimes. Kill For Me dealt with human trafficking and it was a rough ride. The catalyst this time is a magazine article on the Hat Squad - homicide detectives wearing classic felt fedoras. I thought that the idea of Hat Squad was quite interesting and it being real made it even better.

Although I thought I Can See You was great, it wasn't perfect - but then, very few books are, right? :) One thing I wondered is, is it possible for Eve to be so well adjusted? At any other time, I wouldn't have questioned this, but I've recently re-read Angels Fall by Nora Roberts where the heroine was caught in a shooting and she became quite neurotic. It definitively affected her life and her habits... Eve has been involved in unbelievable stuff not once, but twice... Of course the background is different and stuff... but yeah, I can't help but wonder ^_^;

Then, there's the fact that although the cops were able to capture all the villains, ultimately, the serial killer succeeded in killing his 6 intended targets. Sure it didn't go completely as he planned, but, I don't know... The death toll in I Can See You was quite high, but then, there often are in romantic suspense, especially Ms Rose's... and while they did arrest the villains, I can't help but feel that it wasn't a complete victory since he planned to kill those 6 persons from Shadowland and he did. I guess it proves that cops, even those wearing classic felt fedoras, are not modern white knights or superheroes. They do what they can and it's not always enough... I guess I find it too close to reality ^_^;

My Grade: A-. Not a perfect book, but very close :) I really enjoyed the characters and the plot. I Can See You gets a lower grade than Scream For Me and Kill For Me, but it's as good! Only the feeling at the end is less intense, breath-taking. However, Ms Rose took more risks in I Can See You fleshing out the characters more and it paid off :D

psst - I hope that David gets his book soon and that his heroine is Olivia :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Want to hear more about my book adventures?

So yesterday, I was in a mood. I just woke up and felt blah... and then, the day proceeded to go oh so slowly!! I think that part of me just want to see my supervisor gone, LOL :) He's going on vacation and this mean, freedom for me. Yes I will have work, but at least, I don't have to linger around the lab afterwards. I can also come later... Shape my schedule more accordingly to the workload. However, for now, I have to suffer through: "You'll be very busy. We need to talk about this, do that, test this... and oh, check that. Do we have enough? Order this, let's wait for that." Simply ughhhh. Also, he had me do BLAST search. I don't know if anyone who reads my blog work in the molecular biology field... but I definitively hate doing BLAST search, unless we're looking for a specific intent. I was checking for the specificity of primers and since they are only 20bp long, no fun. Accession numbers, different name for same genes, location, etc. It's simply madness and a lot of this, I don't get - or don't bother to get.

So yes, the day went by slowly... and I was sooo looking forward to what came after work: buying books and going to the movies. I had a couple of 5$ off if you buy for 35$ and more coupons that I was planning to use... So I went through my list of wanted books and started making a new one: in which bookstore the book was available and the price. So I could plan where I was going to buy the book and make it for 35$.

The plan was simple... Leave work at around 5.30pm and get to Stanley street where I could park for free starting from 6pm. I love free parking since parkingmeters cost 3$/hour and you can only pay for 2 hours at a time... Especially when you go see a movie like Transformers which is 2.5 hours long. So even if it means I have to wait in the car to be sure not to get a ticket, I don't mind. Since it was Tuesday, I only had to get there about 15minutes early... and I got lucky, because turns out that the other street where I could have gotten free parking? Not yesterday, since there's doing construction, so you can't park. So youppi me.

So yes, the plan:

Go to Chapters --> Stop at the bank --> Buy movie tickets --> Go to Indigo --> Transformers 2

All that in one hour, since I could only leave the car at 6pm and the movie started at 7.05pm. Quick, quick, to Chapters. While there, my sister calls me, she just got out of the bus. Where do we meet up? Hmmm, she needs to walk up the hill, so it'll take her at least, 15 minutes. Tell her to call me back when she's closer.

So I found How To Tame A Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist. I haven't enjoyed many of her books, but this one sounded cute. Located The Stranger I married by Sylvia Day and Stolen Heat by Elisabeth Naughton, but I'll keep those for Indigo... Then, I looked into my bag... and guess what? Well yes, of course, I FORGOT MY FREAKING LIST AT WORK!!! ^_^; I mean, it was bound to happen right? Spent the whole day making it, and I forgot it. Shoot. Luckily, I have a good memory. Got to the fantasy section and picked up Greywalker, Poltergeist and Underground by Kat Richardson. I've been on an Urban Fantasy kick lately and lucky for me, I'm getting recommendations from great sources :) So looked down in my hands and made a quick calculation: 8.50$ + 3 x 9.99$ = 38.47$ - 10% = 34.63$ Yep, I'm about 0.40$ short of 35$... so my coupon won't work ^_^; Trudge back to the romance section and pick up The Stranger I married by Sylvia Day. Now, I'm over for sure so rush to the cash.

After getting money at the bank, my sister calls me. I give her two choices: either she buys the movie ticket or wait for me at Indigo. Of course, she elected to wait for me. So I went to the movie counter... Luckily, there weren't that many people yet. Bought the tickets, the guy at the cash told me: "Sold a lot of tickets already, theater most probably will be full. You'll have to sit in the front." Yay - not... but since Transformers is not playing in many theaters anymore, don't have a choice. So got the tickets and rushed to Indigo. Met up quickly with my sister and gave her the ticket. Told her that we might get bad seats - she told me: "Buy your books, I'll go wait." Sometimes, I love my sister :) Sometimes :P

So there I am, rushing through the bookstore... I couldn't find Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon on display on the main floor - bad sigh. Look around on the hardcovers display - not there either. Shit, are you kidding me? Don't tell me they haven't put it out yet... Look into the romance section under "K"... Ahhhhh, three copies. Grabbed one... then of course, I couldn't find Stolen Heat - ugh. That's what I hate about Indigo. I love the bookstore, the atmosphere, but htey are sooo slow to put the books out. It doesn't matter though because I know they have Homicide by Hardcover by Kate Calisle since I checked last week. So grab that one and went to pay.

Now, I had three coupons and I knew in my head - I could have used them all. But for the life of me, I coudn't remember what other books were on my list. Stolen Heat by Elisabeth Naughton... Dark Time by Dakota Banks (although I'm not sure about that one)... What else, what else? Anyway, I didn't have time to look around once more, so I left it at that. I mean, not bad right?

Went to the movies, my sister was lining up and not many people in front of us, that's great :) Went to the bathroom - hey, the movie is 2.5 hours long! Then, got out - my sister was still lining up. Okay, went to buy food: popcorn and bretzels... Bretzels are not as popular here than in the States... I know that when I go to California, I love eating Bretzels with the different topings. Miam miam... and drink lemonade. We used to have a Bretzels place, but it didn't survive... so now, the only Bretzels place remaining was in the movie theater and it was so so only ^_^; Anyway, of course, their machine for jalapenos cheese is broken, so I had to go to another concession stand. Got my cheese and then, went to sit... My sister got some good place, so we were not in the front, youppi :)

And guess what time it was? 6.45 only :) Time to spare!

So to sum it up, here are my new beautifuls:

Once I got home, I went blog-hopping and ended up on Kristie's blog... and damn, I know which I'm missing: Fire King by Marjorie Liu! Shoot! Do you think I'll have time to sneak to the bookstore at some point?

Yes, I know, I'm obssessed... but that's me LOL :P

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Review: Double Play by Jill Shalvis

Sigh. It's 9.35am, I just got to work about 15minutes ago and I'm already tired. Can someone explain this to me? Weather looks bleak, day looks bleak and I feel off. Luckily, I'm going to the bookstores this evening after work and to the movies - Transformers 2.

We had an announcement yesterday over at Breezing Through: we have a new blogger joining the team - Monroe :) As a result, to mark her debut as the BT team member, we bring you a buddy review of Double Play by Jill Shalvis. Click here for the review and I hope you're having a better day than I do :)

Double Play by Jill Shalvis
published by Berkley Sensation in July 2009

Getting to first base is a cinch... but getting home will take a grand slam...
Pace Martin is the ace pitcher for the Pacific Heat. He's got the arm, the experience, and the wins. He's also got the pain, the pressure, and the possible end of his career looming over him. The last thing he needs now is a distraction, even if it comes in the form of a tough, beautiful, tell-it-like-it-is writer who sees past his defenses.

Holly Hutchins knows a good story when she sees one, and the tall, dark, and slightly attitude-challenged Pace Martin fits the bill. But when she realizes there's more at stake than just a win, she starts to see the handsome, broad-shouldered jock in a different light.

Pace and Holly begin a seductive game, but in the face of unexpected betrayal and challenges, they'll have the courage to swing for the fences...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monthly Reads July 2009

Hey everyone!! How are you doing? I hope everyone is well and enjoying the summer/vacation. My boss is leaving next week-end for three weeks!! Yay!! and we got the grant!! :) So we're all very happy at the lab. Today is supposed to be a holiday (but just at the hospital), but I'm still going in because we have a lot of work since my boss is leaving next week-end. It's all right though, I'll save that day for another day LOL :)

So aside from that, not much is new with me. I finished the new Karen Rose in one day - can't wait to review it LOL :) Tomorrow, I'm going to get Bad Moon Rising. There's just so many books coming out... LOL, you think you're done for a while, but there's always one more tempting you... Oh, we have some news over at Breezing Through, so if you have time, stop by :)

Now, let's move on to the meat of this post, my list of reads for July :)

1) Lady's Choice by Jayne Ann Krentz: B

Pretty typical JAK's storyline, although shorter since I think this was originally for one of Harlequin's line. Hero is all about getting back what is his due, but he didn't expect the heroine. I thought this was cute and I really liked the heroine. She was different... when she learned that her lover was once engaged with her cousin, she didn't get angry... Well yes, she was angry, but simply because it was clear they didn't match. All in all, cute.

2) When She's Bad by Leanne Banks: C

Hmmm, I've been searching for this book for a couple of years and am very glad I found it. Although have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed. The story is okay, my biggest problem though is that the heroine was once a "trophy" girlfriend, an arm-candy. I'm kind of tired of all those "trophy" heroines who never had sex with their sugar daddies because the man was impotent. It's really getting old, seriously. I have no idea that the heroine has been arm-candy in the past and I'm not usually fond of this type of storyline... so you can imagine how much I enjoyed this one ^_^; Also, the heroine comes from the wrong side, she considers herself
"white trash"... and our hero is rich. Yep, another reason why they shouldn't be together. What saved this for me was mainly the hero. I liked him, cute and yummy. Their interaction wasn't bad either...

3) Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh: A-

4) Wildest Hearts by Jayne Ann Krentz: B-

Another JAK... This is one of her older books. Theme is marriage of convenience. Heroine's brother has disappeared... She's determined that he's still alive and intend to support his company till he comes back. However, she doesn't have the necessary experience and the investors are worried. She decides to offer a marriage of convenience to her brother's friend and investor. Hero wanted heroine since the beginning so this is just perfect for him. Now, if he only could convince her that this is a real marriage. Overall, I enjoyed it. Again, very typical of JAK...

5) Mother of the Bride by Lynn Michaels: C

I was looking forward to read another book by Ms Michaels since I enjoyed Marriage by Design so much. Unfortunately, this one didn't work for me too much. Heroine comes from a family of over-achievers who's had a lot of success. She's the invisible one. In addition, she lets herself be pushed around which is how she ended up raising her niece. Niece is 19 years old and in love. Has decided to marry with her boyfriend. Boyfriend's uncle shows up, determined not to allow this marriage... in the end, he invites them to his home where they can hold the wedding and where he plans to wreck their plans. My problem with this one was mainly the niece. Ugh, her character was so spoiled and so hurtful!! Lots of drama as well coming from the family members. I didn't feel it for the hero and heroine either. There are some good parts of course, but meh. Still not going to give up on this author though...

6) What Happens in London by Julia Quinn: B

7) The Wedding Night by Jayne Ann Krentz: C

Another JAK. Yes, I've been in a glomming mood, although this one I read because it was pretty short. Basically, heroine marries hero because she's in love with him. Then, she learns that her family company and the hero's are going to merge and she's suddenly wondering what is the hero's motive for marrying her. She decides to put off the wedding night till they know each other better. Hero is not thrilled, but has no choice. To avoid her making a scene in the public eye, he brings her to his family home... where his relatives are less than excited to welcome her due to an old feud. Again, very typical of JAK. Liked the heroine and hero, liked their chemistry. Would have been better if it focused on them a little bit more. Though the family members were annoying.

8) After the Kiss by Suzanne Enoch: B

9) Larger Than Life by Kay Hooper: B

This is a re-print. Heroine is a singer who has suddenly become a star. A great contrast between who she is now and who she was two years ago. So much that people are wondering if she is the same person and if she is, what changed her. Hero is a writer who's planning to write a biography about the heroine. He's also very attracted to her, so struck a bargain so he is allowed to spend time with her and get to know each other. It was an okay book, not bad at all actually. But I'm sure I would have enjoyed it better if I've read it another time. I was feeling pretty blah that day :( One thing that I liked about this book is how the hero and heroine get to know each other. These parts are always written so seamlessly by Ms Hooper. Readers don't witness all the steps and you know that time has passed, but you know that something has happened between the characters. That their connection is becoming stronger, etc.

10) Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland: B-

Bought this book because I recently read Till There Was You and I was curious about one of the character whose book this is. Anyway, I thought this book was about time travel, but turns out it's a ghost story. Oups. This wasn't bad, but there was a lot to take in ^_^; You also have to supsend disbelief a little ^_^; My main problem was the H/H relationship. I just couldn't believe it... the rest was good though. Ah well.

11) Sweet Baby by Sharon Sala: B

12) Angel Falls by Nora Roberts: A

Re-read this book after reading Jill's review. Definitively a great book and a winner. I love Reece and Brody's characters. Well developed with their quirks, very far from being stereotypical. I love how Brody is rude, LOL :) I love the scenes where Reece is cooking. Seeing Reece and Brody start a relationship, even though it's a casual one. It was great... really great. I mainly re-read this one for the characters. Love the interactions between the H/H and with other characters. It also gives hope in my opinion. Anyway, a winner and I'm glad I re-read it :) Mystery was okay, better than in Black Hills and Tribute, but still a little bit weak.

13) Strange Brew

This is an anthology with many urban fantasy novellas. I bought this book for 2 stories:

Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs: B

I thought the story was a little bit too short, but I liked it a lot... from the beginning to the end. In this story, Ms Briggs introduces us to new characters, Tom and Moira. Tom is a werewolf from Seattle, second in his Pack, and is looking for his brother who has the sight. He's been told that Moira can help him, so he goes to find her. Moira is a witch and has had dreams about this happening. She also knows how it's going to end... Anyway, great story. The end was a little abrupt and I'd like a better wrap-up. What I'm glad though is that I think this is setting up Hunting Ground very well, since that book will take place in Seattle. As a result, I'm looking forward to see Tom and Moira again :)

Last Call
by Jim Butcher: B

A Dresden Files entry. I love Harry! I read this book and I had a smile from beginning to end LOL :) Very cute short story. I think it's a great interlude for the series and I don't think it has a big impact on the series... so if you've missed this one, it's okay :) Anyway, highly enjoyable :P

14) Double Play by Jill Shalvis: B

Buddy review coming at Breezing Through tomorrow.

15) Don't Tempt Me by Loretta Chase: B+

16) Amber by Night by Sharon Sala: B

This one, I've been looking for for years!! Thanks Ames for finding it!! I love you!! LOL :)

I rarely hunt down for category romances, even if they've been written by my favorite authors (eg. Nalini Singh). If I remember correctly, I read a review for this one or read a comment and it just made me want it LOL :) Was it worth it? Kind of. I thought the beginning was very slow, but it did pick up. I felt that this was quite an old-fashioned story, a bit dated ^_^; Basically, heroine is a librarian who needs money to buy a car and so, starts working in a bar. Of course, she has to look the part. She lives with two old maid aunts and doesn't want them to know the truth. Hero comes in the bar and is smitten by heroine. Then, later, he recognizes her as the town librarian and is determined to pursue and win her. I liked the fact that the heroine didn't live that double life for too long and liked that she came clean to the hero - eventually. Hero was a great guy, he has a bad boy reputation, but I don't really get why. He's a good man, very patient and very loving, very considerate. Seriously, the heroine is very lucky :)

So that's it for the month. 16 books, it's not bad, but I have to admit, I'm a little bit disappointed. I know 16 is a great number, but it could have been more. Basically, all of these books have been read in the first 3 weeks of July. The past week? I didn't finish anything :( Hoping to be able to make it up this month :)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: July Winner :)

Good morning everyone!! :)

So this month, only 9 persons made it for the Re-Read Challenge :) Guess that real life, summer time and vacation had kept everyone busy :) Or at least, interfere with the usual activities :P As I told many participants, this challenge is just for fun :) No pressure, so don't feel bad if you didn't make it.

Although we have a small number of entries, it's fun to note that two persons re-read books by Loretta Chase. Hmmm, I wonder if my review of Don't Tempt Me influenced them :P Although, I think it's more of a coincidence, since my review only went up on Wednesday ^_^; Another name that jumps out of the list is Linda Howard. It seems that many participants have chosen her books are entries for the challenge. So far, she's been featured in 4 out of 7 months. Good numbers no? I also know that Re-read Challenge entries have prompted some to try her out :) I'm glad :)

And now, time to announce this month's winner....


Congrats Lori :D Email me when you have time... or I'll email you!! LOL :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: July!

**This is a sticky post, please scroll down for new entries!!

The end of another month, woohooo!! LOL :) Personally, I can't wait for August and September because there are some awesome releases coming out :)

So what did people re-read this month? Are you curious? LOL, I am wondering... Did the nice weather (well someone is bound to have some nice weather), heat and vacation cramped your reading time? :P

Well, let's find out :) For those who want to be eligible for the 10$ gift certificate contest, you have to leave a comment in this post with the link of your review. You have till August 1st to do so (the whole day). I'll draw a winner on Sunday, August 2nd.

By the way, even if you don't make the deadline for the contest, feel free to post your re-read review and a link here :P

Kris: Psy-Changelings series (1 to 5) by Nalini Singh
Lori: Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase
Taja: Courting Trouble by Nonnie St. George
Isabel: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Ames: Open Season by Linda Howard
Tracy: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
Kat: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Nath: Sweet Baby by Sharon Sala
Leslie: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey

Re-Read: Sweet Baby by Sharon Sala

I had a great reading month for July... or should I say, great 3 weeks :P Then, it dwindled down, but that's another story :P Anyway, I was able to re-read 3 books... First was Sweet Baby by Sharon Sala, which was my intended entry for the Re-Read Challenge. Then, Angels Fall by Nora Roberts, prompted by Jill's TBR review. Finally, last week-end, I brought some manga with me on my way to Quebec City. I like bringing manga on a trip because it requires less focus (which is a good thing in a car), but highly enjoyable :P So I brought with me Eyeshield21... Eyeshield21 is one of my favorite manga and has recently ended :( So I felt nostalgic...

So yes, I've been debating whether to review Sweet Baby or Angels Fall. Of course, I could do both... but I'm in a lazy mood. I enjoyed my re-read of Angels Fall better, but I've already reviewed a Nora Roberts for the challenge... Hmmm, LOL, I guess maybe another time, I'll review it again since it deserves a proper review...

Sweet Baby by Sharon Sala
published by Mira in January 1998

Little Girl Lost...

It all happened a long time ago, so long ago that Tory Lancaster no longer remembers being a little girl who came home to an empty house. Tory is a woman now, trying to leave behind a legacy of abandonment and sorrow, desperate to love but forever afraid to trust. Only in Brett Hooker's arms does she find peace, but there's something Brett doesn't know, something even she doesn't know.

A Woman Found...

Tory is about to come face-to-face with her past, a past haunted by a mysterious tattooed man and the doll that was her only friend. With Brett's help she can meet the past head-on - if it doesn't drive them apart. So many secrets, so little time, and all for the love of ... Sweet Baby.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: I think that the blurb tried to sound too mysterious. It's also a bit misleading, although the basis is correct. When she was 6 years old, Tory came back home to an abandoned house. No trace of her mother or the man they lived with. The little girl waited and waited and waited...

Fast-forward to the present, Tory is now a woman and a photograph. She has repressed those long ago memories. Although she doesn't remember, those events still have repercussions on her life. Tory is involved with Brett Hooker, a wonderful man... but she can't help testing him, leaving for long stretches of time and see if he will be there when she returns. In the meantime, Brett feels insecure. If Tory loved him, she wouldn't keep leaving him behind... A tragic incident will bring Tory and Brett together, making their relationship stronger than ever... Till Tory ups and leaves again... and this time, Brett won't be there when she returns. Having decided Tory needed time to figure things out, Brett moves out to give her some space... Returning to an empty apartment and the picture of a tattooed man will make Tory remember and want to find out what happened all those years ago.

My Opinion: Okay, not the best summary, but you get the gist of the storyline... What made me loved this book years ago was the poignancy of the storyline. Can you imagine coming home to nothing? The abandonment feeling that Tory must have felt? Then to discover what happened... it was just so sad...

I still love the characters in this book. Tory and Brett are good together and good for each other. And Tory definitively loves Brett, there's no doubt about it. There's an incident that happens in the book that I don't want to give away, but Brett gets injured from it. Tory's determination to stay with him. The lady is strong. I also love Brett. I liked the fact that he was so considerate. That's a trait I find appealing in Ms Sala's heroes. They know when to push and when to retreat. I also liked the fact that neither are perfect.

Sweet Baby was an enjoyable book with a poignant storyline. There is a slow build-up to the climax which allows the readers to get to know the characters better and their relationship. I thought all the events were quite interesting and I liked the ending, when Tory returns to her hometown to find out the truth. The epilogue was also very cute :P

What I like about Ms Sala is the book is almost more than what the back blurb is about. In many of her books, there are events that are not linked to the main storyline... but it puts things into prospective and gives better insight on the characters. I guess it's part of her writing style and something I like about her :) Sweet Baby is no exception.

My only complaint about this re-read is that knowing the events and what was happened, it didn't impact me the way it the first did.

My Grade: B.