Monday, May 31, 2010


Yes!! Just a quick post to let everyone know that I successfully re-format my computer!! Woohoo!! It's like new now and I'm really happy :D It actually feels new LOL. Re-formatting wasn't that hard because I have a Dell computer, so it came with the necessary CDs. Just for that, I might continue buying all my computers from Dell ^_^; I was able to find some tutorials online and even a video... while it wasn't exactly the same, it was similar enough not to confuse me :)

LOL, can you feel my happiness?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review: In the Darkest Night by Patti O'Shea

Sigh, it's been a long week. Been very busy at work... You know, I think that me and my co-workers have accustomed our boss to miracles... Or we've been doing things too much to please him, bending ourselves and our time. We're planning an experiment and it's like, there's no way I'm going to be ready to do it next week. I have to prepare 40 freaking samples... I usually do 4 samples/day... that's 10 days. So seriously, you're giving me 5 days?!?!? Ugh. I mean, he even knows that we'll probably not be ready, but he thinks giving us a deadline will push us more... but to what purpose?!? He's afraid it's not going to get done... well sorry, we were busy doing something else! Seriously.

Being without computer in the last week hasn't been as bad as I thought it'd be. Part of it is thanks to blogland being so quiet :) That helped. I tried to blog-hop at work... the only thing that didn't get done was me blogging sigh. In any ways, I'm going to try to re-format my computer tomorrow. Wish me luck!! In th meantime, I've been watching The Mentalist which is pretty good :)

In the Darkest Night by Patti O'Shea
published by Tor Romance in March 2010

Kel Andrews has spent the last year living with nightmares and flashbacks. Unwilling to share what happened, he's withdrawn from his family and the Gineal council has removed him from his position as a troubleshooter. But when a woman shows up asking for protection from a demon, Kel reluctantly agrees to help--and finds himself facing an unexpected adversary, one he doesn't know how to fight.
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Light Warriors, Book #4

The Story: While the blurb is accurate, it's also not very detailed, so I'll try to add more. The heroine of In the Darkest Night is Farran, a character we've encountered in Edge of Dawn. She's a Tàireil who's technically the dark version of a Gineal. She was sent to this dimension by her evil father to steal the dracona despite her weak magic. However, Farran befriended Shona instead and betrayed her father. As a result, Farran is stuck in this dimension with little resources dodging both the Tàireils and Gineals... That is until she becomes the target of a demon and shadow walkers. Pushed to the limit, Farran goes to find Shona and her fiancé, Logan, for protection, but come across Kel instead.

A year ago, Kel was captured and tortured by people unknown. He might be well physically now, but mentally, he's still pretty screwed and as a result, has been removed from his position as a troubleshooter and has withdrawn from his family. When Farran shows up on his doorstep, he's willing to protect her because she's Shona friend... but when he finds out that she brings him peace of mind, he becomes determined. Unfortunately, Kel and Farran have no idea how to deal with shadow walkers and that might prove to be a problem...

My Opinion: It's no secret that Ms O'Shea is one of my favorite authors. I've discovered her a few years ago after reading Through a Crimson Veil and have been a loyal fan ever since. I was kind of disappointed with the first two books of this series, In the Midnight Hour and In Twilight's Shadow; however, Ms O'Shea seems to be hitting her stride :) Edge of Dawn was definitively a stronger book and I'm glad that it continues with In the Darkest Night.

I both enjoyed the characters and storyline of In the Darkest Night. I admit that at first, I wasn't too fond of Farran. There was a bit too much of self-pity and she seems weak. However, Ms O'Shea did a great job at developing Farran's character. I liked that Farran disliked her weakness and cowardice. That she wanted to do something to change it. However, change is hard, especially when your self-confidence is in the gutter. But she persevered and it paid off :) As for Kel, I liked him from the first. He's very smart, careful and very capable. That's always nice. Plus, he's been tortured and while he has recovered physically, mentally, it's another story. He still had nightmares and is now afraid of the dark... Even with problems, he tried his best and never gave up. He also has twin issues - tired of being considered the evil one :P Kel was simply a very complex and interesting character. I like that he dealt with his issues and problems and tried to overcome them, but that at the end of the book, there were still there, they haven't miraculously disappeared.

Together, Farran and Kel made a good couple. They had good chemistry and I enjoyed really enjoyed their interactions. Especially towards Kel's neatness LOL. The relationship really showcased how Kel is sensible. I liked how supportive he was of Farran and how he helped her re-building her self-confidence. He also never pushed her and was never impatient. Definitively the man Farran needed :)

As for the story, it was engaging and enjoyable. There was some action and it was enough to make it exciting.  What I liked though is that the characters acted smartly and were careful, especially when facing two different enemies. They put all the chances on their side, went into hiding and researched the enemies. Overall, I liked how it enfolded :)

I think that the last two books have been better because Ms O'Shea has had better plots with more interesting and better developed characters. The writing has also been stronger: tighter and less tentative in my opinion. Unfortunately, the weakness remains the world building, although we're finding out more and more about this world with every book. While Ms O'Shea keeps introducing new elements with each book; the problem is   these elements don't seem to mesh and connect. Instead of making the world building more understandable to the readers, it just add more question marks. I'm sure Ms O'Shea is going somewhere with it all, but I'm really not seeing it. So far, there is no story-arc encompassing the series. Instead, it feels like a number of stories simply taking place in the same world. This is not a bad thing; however, I'm not sure that is what going on ^_^;

My Grade: I'm debating a bit between a B and a B+. I enjoyed In the Darkest Night and I thought it was a solid addition to the series. It was definitively better than the first two books and I definitively think that she's found what was missing to make this series better. However, while I liked In the Darkest Night, it just wasn't as intense as Edge of Dawn... and it kind of make the flaw about her world building a bit more evident... so I'm going to go with a strong B :) Definitively looking forward to the next book and hoping it'll make things even tighter :) In the meantime, I'm lucky that Ms O'Shea has a release with Harlequin Nocturne - Demon Kissed that'll give me my fix :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Computers... can't live without them, but they suck!!!

Remember the computer problems I mentioned yesterday? Well they're even worst now ^_^; I tried to fix it and obviously, it didn't work, sigh. As a result, I need to re-format my computer. Yes, re-format it. I've never done it, so I'm not really looking forward to do it. Apparently, it takes time, so I'm only going to tackle it this week-end. Luckily, we have a lot of computers at home and I spent most of my days at work... so it's not as if I won't have access to internet (now I wouldn't survive that LOL). However, it's been soooo hoooot these past couple of days (we haven't turned on the AC. I have no idea why...), that the idea of sitting close to a heat-emanating/generating machine is makes me sweat even more ^_^;

Anyway, I just wanted to warn everyone not to worry if you don't see/hear from me :P I'm still alive and not dead in a ditch :P

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review: Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean


How was everyone's week-end? In Canada, it was a long week-end and we had gorgeous weather in Montreal. Sunny and warm... perhaps too warm ^_^; I should have gone outside and enjoy the sun, but I didn't ^_^; Perhaps this week as it's supposed to be as nice.

My computer at home has been driving me crazy. Ugh. Can't live without a computer, but sometimes, sometimes... they suck big time. Basically, Firefox and Google Chrome both keep crashing and the anti-virus is giving me a hard time too. I don't know whether it's because I've installed a few new program last week (Adobe Digital Editions, Kobo, Calibre...) or because my anti-virus was updated and got a new look. I'm going to try a few things tonight - wish me luck!!

Speaking of the Kobo, for those who are wondering (like Ames :P), no I didn't have time to play with it more or read on it. There's been a lot of new releases out lately plus the 50-something books I brought back from RT. And there's still a tons of books I want to get at the bookstore in the next few days. So I haven't really had the opportunity to use it... but I will. Soon. Just not now ^_^;

I'm hoping to have a few reviews up this week... but they're not written yet LOL. Only one is ready and you can head over to Breezing Through to find out what I thought of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean. Buddy reviewing with me was Ames :D You can find the review here.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
published by Avon in April 2010

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried-and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss-to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston-charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all-the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Acknowledgments and extra epilogues...

Happy week-end!! I hope everyone is having a great time for the long week-end :D The weather is gorgeous in Montreal!

I haven't posted in a few days - feeling lazy. Also, I picked up a couple of new books at the bookstores on Wednesday and Thursday (I know, I know. As if I needed more!), so I've been reading instead of blogging ^_^; Although, I did work on a few buddy reviews for Breezing Through; I guess it balances it out :) 

Anyway, I've just, just, just start reading a book and peeked at the ending... and then, came across the Dear Reader message from the author. In it, I found out that the author has written an extra epilogue to the book which will be posted on her website and publisher website!! Squeeeee!!! I immediately jumped out of bed to take a look, but realized that it's probably not up yet... since technically, the book is not out ^_^; However, that got me to think... and tada, I have a post! LOL.

 Q1: Do you read ever read the additional pages there are in a book such as the acknowledgments at the beginning, author's bio and message at the end?

I usually don't. Most of the time, I jump right into the story and pay very, very little attention to those pages. I find that I'm more likely to read those pages if I like the author's work, but it's still pretty rare. So I'm pretty happy I did this time around LOL!

Q2: What do you think of extra epilogues? Do you like them? Do you read them?

Obviously, I think they're nice because we get to re-visit some of the characters and it usually wraps everything up more nicely :) Although in this case, I don't know why it was not included in the book itself :( However, there aren't many. I remember Nora Roberts wrote 1 for her Irish Gallagher's Pub trilogy and she wrote a little snippet in-between books story for the Chesapeake trilogy. I know Julia Quinn is writing a 2nd epilogue for each book of the Bridgerton series, although those I haven't read because you actually have to buy them ^_^;

Anyway, all I want to say is I do like the idea of extra epilogues :)

What about you?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Finally, a review!! LOL, you don't know how much I've been itching to write a review, but I thought it'd be better to write the recaps of the RT convention before I forgot. Then, my monthly reads list, because hey - I was already late! Hopefully, now that I'm starting to review again, I hope my muse won't take a vacation...

Today is TBR Day, part of Keishon's TBR challenge... Unfortunately, I haven't completed the challenge this month ^_^; Been too busy to and also, I have all these new, shiny books. Let just say I've been working hard at keeping my TBR pile at bay by reading the new precious! And if I might add, I've been doing a good job so far :D Although I just thought of something... TBR can also stand for "To Be Reviewed" no? I have plenty of books in that pile as well LOL - not as much, but still... Something to think about :)

***Warning: The review most probably contains spoilers as this is the last book of a trilogy***

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
published by Harpercollins Publisher  in April 2010
Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I'm on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We're hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We'll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we'd left behind and take out the Edison Group... or so we hope.

Genre: YA, urban fantasy
Series: The Darkest Power, Book #3

The Story: This is the last book in the Darkest Power trilogy where Chloe finds out that she's a necromancer. Not only is she a supernatural, but she was part of a genetic experiment done by the Edison Group whose goal was to diminish her powers... Let just say it didn't work. Now, Chloe and her new friends Tori (a witch), Simon (a sorcerer) and Derek (a werewolf) are on the run from the Edison Group and have hopes to reunite with the boys' father. For now though, they have found refuge with another group of supernaturals who have banded together in order to dismantle the Edison Group. Thus, the teenagers are given a reprieve and also the chances to learn about their powers. Too bad the reprieve is not long as Chloe and company quickly find out that all the adults have their own agendas, which does not bode well for any of them....

My Opinion:  Wow! I was really looking forward to The Reckoning. In fact, I was planning to wait till RT to get it, but it turned out that I needed some cheering up (first half of April was very rough reading-wise...) and so I caved... and it was a great decision! I really enjoyed The Reckoning and thought it was a great way to end the trilogy. The book is everything you expect from Kelley Armstrong: plenty of action and twists and
 a strong romantic element :)

I was very pleasantly surprised with the plot of The Reckoning. There were not many hints from The Awakening or the back blurb to know where Ms Armstrong was going with the storyline and characters and so, pretty much everything was possible. I really enjoyed the events in The Reckoning. Yes, the characters were given a reprieve, but it doesn't mean it was boring. Oh no, there was plenty of action! And let's not forget about all the twists :D Like I said, so many things I did not expect! It was really exciting and I couldn't help from wanting to find out more. Also, I think that Ms Armstrong did a good job wrapping up all the loose ends.

I love seeing the relationship between Chloe and Derek getting stronger. For me, there was no doubts from the beginning that Chloe and Derek were a pairing... However, while it's obvious for the readers, it's not always obvious for the people involved. I was really dreading the love triangle between Chloe, Derek and Simon and I was wondering how Ms Armstrong would resolve it. I was really satisfied with the outcome and how the characters handled it :) Poor Derek - so clueless... but even more, poor Chloe!! LOL, it was really cute when she was wondering why she had to fall for the rude guy! LOL. Even though the characters are young, I'm happy :D

One of my favorite scene is when Derek undergoes his first complete change. I didn't like Chloe's behavior when Derek asked her to accompany him - granted, she was pissed at Derek for his attitude before that, which is understandable... However, Derek asked for her help for one of the biggest event in his life. I thought she could have put aside their difference for a while... It just felt like Chloe was being a bit childish and stubborn... I mean, Derek deserved the attitude, he should have to grovel, but perhaps better at another moment. Anyway, still, I like the fact that Chloe was there for Derek's first change and how she wasn't afraid of him in his wolf form. It was cute to see them enjoy each other company and play :)

One thing that did surprise me though is everyone's reaction to Derek, because he is a werewolf. I think because the Women of the Otherworld series started off with Elena and the werewolves, readers are used to them and don't see how isolated and separated they are from the other supernatural races. They are definitively quite feared and little is known. I guess it makes sense given the number of them... Anyway, I liked this little insight... It definitively adding more to the world building. I hope we get to see about vampires in the future :P

Okay, I realize that my review isn't very helpful, but it's because I'm trying not to give too much away ^_^; Also, it's hard to review The Reckoning only, given that the story is a continuous one that spans the three books: The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning. I think that Ms Armstrong did a great job with the storyline, but also with the characters. She introduced a group of characters that complement each other well. I liked that they used their brains LOL, and didn't simply rely on their powers. I'm happy to see where the trilogy ended and I'm looking forward to see Chloe, Derek and the others in the future. I definitively wish that one day, the YA series will cross-over into the Women of the Otherworld series. That would be great, not only seeing Chloe being properly mentored, Derek accepted by Pack... but also because I think this is something the Council should be aware of and get involved in.

My Grade: A-. Seriously, if you enjoy the Women of the Otherworld series and Kelley Armstrong's writing, you gotta read this trilogy. The writing is excellent, it's full of action and the plot is as complex. The only real difference between the two series is that the characters are younger... I'm definitively looking forward to her next trilogy - once again set in the same world, but new cast of characters. If only there weren't a year apart!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monthly Reads: April 2010

All right, vacation is definitively over and it's time for me to come back with my usual programming :D

I'm going to start with my monthly reads list for April :) Now April was an extremely busy month for me, think insanely crazy ^_^; On one hand, there was work and on the other, preparing for the trip (well okay, fretting and worrying)... and let's not underestimate the amount of will required for me not to buy books. As a result, my recording of April's reads and books bought is a little bit sketchy ^_^; But we all try our best, right? :)

Here we go...

1) Wicked Games by Jeri Smith-Ready: C+

I've heard a lot of good of Jeri Smith-Ready, especially for her Aspect of Crow trilogy. Since I've been on on an urban fantasy kick, I thought I'd try out Ms Smith-Ready with Wicked Games. Plus, it got good reviews from Leslie and Brie. Unfortunately, it didn't work out so well for me ^_^;

I've just taken a look at my bookshelves and realized that while I really enjoy urban fantasy, most of my favorite series are predominantly werewolves or wizard/witch characters. I'm not such a big fan of vampires...

In any case, the main problem for me with this book was I just couldn't get into it. The characters and storyline felt a bit bleh for me. I liked the idea of  vampires being stuck in the time period they were changed and how the author carried out this idea with the world building. The main intrigue was also quite interesting. However, I felt something was missing... perhaps it was the characters... none of them really tug at any of my heartstrings. I do have the second book in my TBR pile, but not sure when I'll get to it.

2) Don't Kill the Messenger by Eileen Rendahl: DNF

I was really looking forward to this book; however, it turned out to be quite disappointing. Perhaps it has to do with the vampires, sigh. Basically, the story is about Melina who is a messenger. She got her powers after being electrocuted at the age of 3 and it developed over the years. As a messenger, Melina brings messages from one supernatural being to another... During one of her job, Melina makes the discovery of kiang shi - Chinese vampires, but they're really zombies. These kiang shi are being controlled by the Chinese triad which has plans to take over the underground world in Santa Fe.

The premises sounded good and I liked the idea of Melina being a messenger. I thought that would be a cool and necessary job... and the kiang shi part was cool, because I knew about it from watching Chinese tv series. So why didn't it work for me? Well first, I didn't really like Melina too much. I felt she was a bit too whiny about her job as a messenger, especially considering how long she's been at it. She should have adapted and worked it out. Also, as someone that wasn't very too fond of the supernatural world, she kept getting deeper into it, being noisy and choosing to help out. I mean, yes, her desire to sort things out is what kept the story going on, but a bit out of character. I wished the messenger portion would be a bit more developed - the powers, the actual job, etc. Also, while Melina get with the human at the end, there are way too many guys that suddenly start paying her attention, i.e. the hot vampire and hot werewolf. Big warning bells about upcoming love triangles :(

In the end, I just wasn't getting into it and didn't really feel like finishing it... But I still like the original idea and I like Ted - the human :)

3) Mad, Bad and Blonde by Cathie Linz: D

Hmmm, I think I've learn my lesson. Ms Linz is just not for me, sigh. Faith West gets jilted on her wedding day and decides that the best way to get over it is to still enjoy her honeymoon. She goes to Italy where she meets hunky, tall guy and proceeds to have sex with him. Only problem, hunky, tall guy - Caine, is not there coincidentally... he's actually there keeping an eye on Faith. He's a P.I. who works for Faith's father's rival firm and he believes that Faith's father mis-investigated his father's case which led to his father's suicide... so he wants revenge. Long story short, they both get onto the case to find out the truth while fighting like cat and mouse.

Another book that didn't work for me. I just didn't find this book enjoyable. I don't really like how Faith and Caine met and had sex. I mean, no wonder Faith was pissed at Caine! I thought there was no chemistry between Faith and Caine and I don't understand why Caine kept pursuing Faith. Or at least, if he really wanted to court/woo, I'd have found another way. I know the banter was supposed to be funny, but it got on my nerve. This was supposed to be a fun and enjoyable read... and it just wasn't :(

4) Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean: B-

Buddy review coming for Breezing Through.

5) Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf: C

I saw a good review for this one and thought I'd give it a try because of the marriage of convenience plot. I like those :) Creed is one of the oldest vampire and Blu is the princess of the werewolves. They get hitched in order to bring peace between the two factions. However, as it turns out, each faction has their own plans...

The story wasn't bad, but the marriage of convenience plot was blah. I would have liked the plot to focus a bit more on them getting to know each other. There wasn't many sweet or tender moments between the two. It was more about lust... There is a difference, sigh. I liked Creed, but I thought Blu didn't make enough efforts. Each had too many prejudices against each other and I don't feel like they worked it out :( 

6) The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong: A-

Upcoming review.

7) Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis: B

8) Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry: B+

I wish I could write a complete review, but I don't think that will happen. Better write a mini then :P

Amy has been in love with her best friend, Quinn, forever. Unfortunately for her, Quinn chose the third musketeer in their band, Lisa. Amy has finally thrown the towel and decided that she deserved happiness and started to move on... and therefore, tried to put some distance between her and Quinn and Lisa. Turns out though, there are troubles in paradise and Quinn and Lisa got divorced. Now is Amy's chance to grab onto Quinn... will she?

This is my favorite Sarah Mayberry so far :D She really did a good job at writing the best friends to lovers storyline. I liked Amy and Quinn's characters and I liked how realistic they were portrayed. I liked the tension and how their relationship changed throughout the book... Poor Amy, it's hard to be in love with your best friend and not being able to claim it out loud. However, there were some flaws in the book... I didn't like the evil developer storyline - a bit too typical and predictable. I also though Amy could have moved on earlier... Don't know how the storyline would have turned out, but seriously... That was the only way she would really move on. What would have happened if Quinn didn't come back, divorced? Two small quibbles, not enough to mar my enjoyment of this book :D

9) Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas: B

10) Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted: B-

Another book I picked up after reading Leslie's review. Borrowed it from the library this time :D  This is a YA rendition of Beauty and the Beast. You have Lucius Wolfe who "accidentally" blew off his house and lost his 2 hands in the process which are now replaced by hooks. He's starting school in a new town and it's hard to be the new kid under any circumstances... but his? Aurora Belle is also starting school in a new town... Her mother has recently lost her battle against cancer and Aurora's father decided it'd be better to move to another house in order to move on. Unlike Lucius though, Aurora quickly befriends the cool kid... However, she can't help but being curious of Lucius...

This was quite a good book. I thought Ms Baratz-Logsted did a good job at fleshing the characters while keeping it for an YA audience. My only problem though is that the book was a 100 pages too short. The end was rushed and as a result, it felt incomplete... especially Lucius character. We finally find out that the explosion wasn't that much of an accident, but I would have liked to find out more about his thoughts, the why... Or perhaps I just suck at reading between the lines, LOL. As for the ending, like I said, it was rushed. I think the author should have added an epilogue just to wrap up things a little more cleanly.

11) In the Darkest Night by Patti O'Shea: B+

Upcoming review.

12) Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts: B++

Upcoming review.

There you have it, 12 books. 13 if you count my re-read which was Through a Crimson Veil by Patti O'Shea. Considering how busy the month was, I'll take it :D Now, I really need to start working on some of the upcoming reviews!! I really haven't been doing good on reviews lately :( We'll see how it goes.

Now, let see how good a girl I was when it comes to buying books:

Books bought: + 8 (actually 7, since I bought a book twice - don't ask LOL)
Books read: -12
TBR pile: -4

Woohoo!! Negative number! Okay, I shouldn't be so happy considering these numbers don't take into account the books I brought back from the RT convention... and seriously, they shouldn't, because I always go crazy on trips! They're such good opportunities to find and buy books LOL. But LOL, I like the illusion... and I was a good girl :D I'm surprised at my will to resist!

All right, time to go to bed now... but LOL, I'm happy I have this post finally up :D

Sunday, May 16, 2010

RT 2010: The experience

So, this is likely my last post about my experience at RT 2010. I will still try to recap 3 of the panels I went to in the near future; however, I was going through my notes on Friday (yes, I took notes...) and realized it might me too late ^_^; For the YA panels, my notes weren't very complete, especially the first one, and I don't remember everything that was said. Still, I'll try to do it. In the meantime,I'm going to try to sum up my experience :)

I've been wanting to go to a convention for a few years already. I've seen other bloggers go and enjoy themselves so much that it just confirmed my wishes to go :) I have to admit that at first, I was leaning towards RWA. Next year, RWA is held in New York City and I'm definitively planning to go. However, I thought that since RWA would be in NY City, it would be like huge... so it'd be nice to attend RWA in a "smaller" city and experience the usual atmosphere :P

Then, Jill and I started talking and Jill was determined to go to RT 2010... I was a bit wary of the RT convention, because of all the brouhaha that occurred about 2 years ago in Pittsburgh. So while I was hesitating, we got an email from Kristie who has just found out that she had enough money to go to both RT and RWA this year... So it just seems like a sign for me to attend RT 2010 :)

Overall, I'm really glad I went to the RT convention. I think it was a good experience and if you are a book lover and have the chance to, try to attend it at least once. It's wonderful because you're surrounded with people who loves reading books just like you and everyone is so open and friendly. This is also a great opportunity to meet authors and talk to them or listen to what they have to say :) Like I mentioned many times, I really enjoyed the workshops and panels and I like that readers can attend to the writer track as well. There is not real segregation between readers and aspiring authors or published authors.

While I had a good time and enjoyed the experience, I'm simply not sure whether the RT convention really suits me or not. Basically, it has to do with the party atmosphere at the convention. I'm not a party girl. Going to a convention, attending workshops, meeting authors and getting free books, that's my fun. That's how I relax and basically, it  makes me happy and that's all I need. I understand that for other attendees however, this is their escape from reality, from their every day life and they want to enjoy it... and that's great for them, but it's just not me. The Mr. Romance competition, the Fairy Ball, Ellora Cave party, etc. those are activities that I didn't care for. As for the Mr Romance, I have nothing against it... but sometimes, I thought that the behaviors that it brought out from certain persons really didn't reflect well on romance readers...

Otherwise, the rest was fine and I had a great time :D I loved having Jill and Kristie as roommates :) And I think we were extremely lucky that RT took place in Columbus this year and we got to meet Mollie :D  Meeting Mary, Linda, Delilah Marville, CJ and Lisabea was another plus :D The bookfair signing was great and like a dream, LOL, and most of the activities organized for the readers were a lot of fun :D

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And the day has come...

... I have taken the plunge. I blame it on Ames and Kristie LOL.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about my latest purchase...

Yes, I caved and finally bought an e-Reader. Yay me! LOL. I say I blame it on Ames and Kristie... On Ames because she's been trying to convince me to buy one for a while... and on Kristie, because I said that when she'd get one, I would too. I didn't realize the day would come so soon!! LOL.

During the RT convention, Kristie attended the workshops about the e-Readers and said that she came out even more confused :P However, she did choose one. Her choice? The Kobo e-Reader which has just come out earlier this month.

I have to admit, I do have some reservations towards the Kobo... but then, I have reservations towards all e-Readers :P Anyway, I've been trying to gather information for a week now. At first, I was leaning toward the Sony e-Reader (PRS600SC)... but when you think about it, it all comes down to pricing. The Kobo is 149$ and the Sony e-Reader, 300$. For 150$ less, I don't mind the library system and perhaps the slowness of it and etc. My only concern really is long-term, since this is a first generation...

The main reason I've finally gotten an e-Reader is not to save space... but rather, get books that are OOP or not in print more easily. That's why I figured I could get simply an e-Reader... I personally don't think that I need all the bells and whistles. In any case, the decision is made, the e-Reader is bought :) Can't back up anymore!

So I'll probably be doing some posts about the Kobo e-Reader in the near future :) For now though, I haven't taken it out of the box yet... I'm going to be out of town tomorrow for work (booo!) and decided to wait for the week-end to start playing with it :) and Kristie, I've been thinking, I could do some video of how it works and etc... Perhaps it'll help you out :D

Here are some more pictures of the packaging... I find it funny all the stickers with the French covering the English... Lucky, the books and buttons are still in English!! Otherwise, it would be another trip back to the store...

By the way, I'm proud to announce that I've finally caught up to all the blogs and the comments! Yay me! I'm going to try to wrap up all the posts about RT this week-end and next week... Hope that I'll finally get back to reviews soon!! I miss reviewing and I've been reading quite a lot too! Plus, the books I've read before the trip... Hopefully, I'll be able to do all what I set out to do :D

In the meantime, have a nice week-end all! (Yes, it's early... but I won't have internet access till Saturday afternoon :( Booo.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

RT 2010: Day 5 and 6

I'm almost done with the recaps :D Yay!! Since Sunday was quite uneventful, I've decided to combine both Day 5 and 6.

Day 5 started out fairly early because it was Jill's last day. So we went to eat breakfast at the hotel restaurant along with a friend of Jill and some acquaintances. It's kind of funny how after a couple of days, especially after the bookfair, you now recognize authors and can spot them more easily. So on the way to the restaurant, I saw Jim and Shannon K. Butcher with their suitcases, preparing to leave. Inside the restaurant, while I was cruising the buffet, I ran into Karen Rose and we even chatted a little. I saw Elizabeth Vaughan leaving the restaurant and I ran after her to ask when she was leaving (in case I could have gotten Destiny's Star and have it signed)... Also saw Kelley Armstrong :) It's kind of fun to be able to put faces to their names now :D

After breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to Jill... awww :( It's amazing how fast time can go by!! However, the most important is that we got to meet each other and spend time together! :D Afterward, Kristie and I went back to the hotel room and played on internet a little bit. I think that's when I finally caught Ames at home and so we video-chatted a little bit :) At the same time, I started packing LOL. Although it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. For some reasons, I had a lot less books than I expected... well not less books, but the weight was less than I expected. I had 2 suitcases, so a maximum of 100 pounds... and my 2 suitcases combined were 65 pounds. Not bad right? After I was done packing, I blogged. Meanwhile, Kristie has gone down to the bar to read... and I should have joined her! It's only when I went down later that I realized that instead of reading, she's been hanging out with Richelle Mead, Gennita Low and Mark Henry!!! The fun I've been missing!!! Oh and guess what? Ms Low told me she had gone to my blog! :D (Google alert sure is great LOL)

We were all heading to one of the last events of the convention: Title Search. This was hosted by Tori Carrington aka Tony & Lori Karayianni with several authors participating such as Richelle Mead, Gennita Low, Mark Henry, Carolyn Crane, Mario Acevedo, etc. courtesy of Avon publisher. Basically, each participant was handed a word puzzle/mystery word with a list of titles they had to find and those who finished rapidly won a bundle of 4 books from Avon. I have to say, I was quite excited because I knew my chances of winning were high - I'm pretty good at word puzzle :) For the first round, Gennita Low was sitting with us - did I tell you how funny she is? She cracks me up :D I was not the first one to finish in the first round, but I did win a bundle of books :) I have to say, Avon is pretty generous. For the second round, Richelle Mead was sitting with us :) This time around, I completed my word puzzle, but instead of claiming a prize, I offered it to anyone at the table... but no one took the offer. So I ended up helping Kristie to finish hers and she got a bundle of books as well :D Woohoo! For the third round, Mark Henry sat with us :) Overall, I thought this was a fun game and a good thing it was held on Sunday since there were less people remaining :) I also got the opportunity to say goodbye to CJ who was leaving in a few hours :) 

After the Title Search, Kristie and I made our way to the next room that held the Mix 'N' Match: A Booklovers' Memory Game, courtesy of Dorchester Publishing :) Basically, think of the game Concentration where we had to match the book cover card and author card, but also remember where the cards were. There were several different sets and it was really fun! :D Participants were divided into groups of 10 and were sit at different tables where an author was stationed by to play referee. Our author was Bobbi Smith :) There was going to be four rounds and the table that finished first won the round, i.e. all the participants at that table got a bundle of books :D The winners of the first round were really fast!! So we devised a strategy for the 2nd round - help each other (duh) and flip the cards in order instead of randomly... and it worked!! We were the 2nd round winners :D The third and fourth round weren't as fun because it was a set of cards we've already played, but still. Again, I thought this game was really fun - it was a good idea and very feasible with the amount of people who stayed over on Sunday... and free books! Who's going to complain? :P Some of the participants stayed back to play a couple of more rounds, even though there were no more prizes. I would have stayed; however, Kristie and I had a date with Mollie, so it was time to go get ready :)

The day before, after the signing, Kristie and I had arranged to go out for dinner with Mollie and then, to the bookstore of course :D So guess where we went to eat? Cheesecake Factory! :) We don't have Cheesecake Factory in Canada and Kristie had never had the opportunity to go during her previous visits to the States. Having heard Ames raved about it, as soon as she heard Cheesecake Factory in the options of where to go eat, the choice was made :D  So Mollie graciously indulged us :D And if you're wondering which cheesecake I had, well my answer will probably shock you: none. I just didn't feel that great that evening and so skipped dessert ^_^; However, Mollie and Kristie obviously didn't :P

 Next to the Cheesecake Factory was this huge and brand new Barnes & Nobles :) I had a few books that I wanted to buy in the States either because of the price or availability issues; however, I was really out of luck and didn't find any that I was really looking for (Beyond the Night by Joss Ware, Stroke of Magic by Tracy Madison, etc.) :( Seems like it was someone's way to tell me I've already gotten enough books LOL. Of course, that doesn't mean I walked out empty-handed. Of course not. So I walked out with The Day I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Destiny's Star by Elizabeth Vaughan and Jaye Wells newest, Mage in Black. It was a good mini-haul, but not as good as Kristie - she was the real winner on that trip :)

Mollie then tried to tempt me with a trip to Half Price Books - apparently, an awesome UBS. However, I declined - I know, I know, shocker, but at this point, I was quite worried about the customs ^_^; So instead, Kristie and I were good girls and asked Mollie to drive us back to the hotel... where once again, I worked on my packing and made sure that I didn't leave anything behind. Then, it was an early night for the pair of us as my flight was at 10.30am and I wanted to be there a couple of hours early (just in case).

So we woke up at 6am and got ready. Then, we called a bellhop to come and help us carry our luggage :) Yep, that is all our bags in the picture :P We checked out and then, Kristie asked the valet to bring up her car. When her car arrived, I asked for a cab... and that is the official end of the RT convention :(

For those who are wondering, my traveling back to Montreal was quite uneventful. I did have a moment of panic when the kiosk couldn't retrieve my reservation!!! However, it was then taken care by a human - see, robots and machines will never replace humans. The greatest news is that he didn't charge me for my 2nd suitcase - score!! :) I got at the airport quite early, so I waited for about 2-3 hours. I thought I saw Charlaine Harris at one of the gates, but I'm not quite sure... The plane was once again the tiny kind, but the flight was much smoother this time! (Really good for me)

Once I got to Toronto, I had to go through the customs which had been one of my biggest worries even before leaving Montreal ^_^; It went as followed:

Custom Agent (CA): Where are coming from?

Me: Columbus.

CA: What are you bringing back?

Me: Books.

CA: Good day, m'am.

Big sigh of relief from me LOL. After that, I could finally relax and got some food. There was this nice couple sitting next to me in the restaurant and we chatted a little. Then, I still had a few hours to kill before my flight home, so I read Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong.

The flight to Montreal was quite uneventful. I got my luggage (yay!!!) and then waited for my mother to pick me up :) Once I got home, I opened my emails and saw all the messages and it really  made my day :)

So that's pretty much it for the recap :D I'll probably do a post about the overall experience and there's a few panels I'd like to share with you all :) After that, I will revert to my usual posts :)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

RT 2010: Day 4

Sorry for the long delay - coming back to work is really not something fun. Plus the dizziness is still here :( The good news though is that it seems to get better. It was really bad on Thursday and Friday; this week-end though, it's not so bad. However, now, I don't think it's due lack of sleep - so if it doesn't go away very soon, a visit to the doctor seems to be in the pictures soon. Sigh.

In some way, Saturday was more relaxed than the other days - the schedule was less busy; but it was also most exciting day because of the Book Fair and its hundreds of authors present!!! Although the schedule was less busy, there were some interesting activities going on at the same time and that was unfortunate. Around 8.45am, Kristi, Jill and I all went down to stand in line for the Street Party which was another morning mixer. I have to admit, the only reason I showed up to the Street Party was for the books ^_^; I mean, I would have stayed for the whole thing if a panel with Karen Rose, Heroes vs. Villains, hadn't been scheduled... but alas, it was. So my plan was to stay for about 30 minutes and then, make my way to the Heroes vs. Villains panel. However, the Street Party started late ^_^; and so I got my bag of books and made my way to Heroes vs. Villains. It was bad of me, but I really wanted to see Karen Rose... and well free books, it's hard to say no to that no? By the way, that's the event during which Kristie got the ARC for Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong... and as soon as I saw it, I begged for it LOL. Would have done pretty  much anything for Waking the Witch, but luckily, I didn't have to... since Kristie doesn't read that series *gasp*... but that just mean total score for me!!!! LOL.

So I went to Heroes vs. Villains with Jill, Linda and Mary and we got to see Karen Rose!! Squuuuueeee!! :P It was a very fun session as it was very intimate. There were probably no more than 20 people when we started off. It wasn't really a panel or a workshop, but instead, a game session. Ms Rose had prepared all those little cards with either a hero, heroine or villain as the topic and filled the card with character info such as occupation, hobby, etc. Then, we had to make the others at our table guess which hero, heroine or villain we had either by drawing, miming or by words... think Pictionary, charade and Taboo :P It was very fun :) We also each received a chocolate rose and a mug... but the coolest prize was a bracelet with charms. Ms Rose is celebrating her 11th release, Silent Scream, and it's David Hunter book!! Yay!! Finally LOL. So she had 11 bracelets up for grab, unfortunately, I didn't win one :(  Still, it was really, really cool to meet Ms Rose... and she knows my blog! LOL. It's always special when an author (or actually, anyone :P) knows your blog :)

The session finished early, because Ms Rose had to be at the bookfair. I remember going back to the room to leave some stuff and to pick up some of the books I wanted signed (Something About You by Julie James, Warprize and Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan, etc.). Then, I made my way down to the ballroom and woah... there was a lot, a lot, a lot of people!!! I have to admit that I was surprised at the number of people coming from the general public. I mean, it was pretty much a given that the convention attendees would all be there... but the general public, I had not idea what to expect. I also wasn't sure if the ballroom would be big enough, LOL... but it was, so that was a good thing :)

The Bookfair Signing was a lot of fun, despite the number of persons attending. I have to say, while waiting in line, I was getting giddy. Some people don't really get the concept of autographs... For me, getting a book signed, well it just makes it that much more special. Meeting someone you admire and having a memento of it, it's just awesome :D So I was all ready, I've made my list of authors I wanted to meet and that was my game plan :D

Here are some of the authors I've met...

From top to bottom, left to right: Laura Bickle aka Alayna Williams, Carolyn Crane, Julie James, Jennifer Estep, Delilah Marville, Samantha Kane, Lucy Monroe & husband, Susan Donovan, Sally MacKenzie & Ann Macela, Karen Rose, Elizabeth Vaughan and Dianne Castell. Of course, I met other authors as well and got other books signed... I got to meet Victoria Alexander, Ally Carter, Barry Eisler, Linda Robertson, Diana Rowland, Rachel Vincent, Joss Ware aka Colleen Gleason and Lisa Watson :)

Funniest story at the signing was while meeting Elizabeth Vaughan. I really love Ms Vaughan's Chronicles of Warlands. I mean, really love them... so I was so happy that Ms Vaughan was going to be at the signing and she was definitively one stop I was going to make :) It's too bad she didn't have her latest release, Destiny's Star :( Lucky for me though, I had brought Warprize and Warlord!! Anyway, I talked with her a little bit and then, asked if I could take a picture of her. Ms Vaughan then told me that if I didn't mind, I could crawl under the table and get on the same side as her to take a picture together! LOL. Of course I didn't mind!! And quickly made my way under the table :) I later found out that Jill was the initiator... she had reached Ms Vaughan before me and had asked if she could crawl under the table LOL.

All in all, going to the Bookfair was really an experience that I wish to repeat in the future LOL. The adrenaline you feel. Like I said, meeting these authors was wonderful, being able to talk to them... Everyone is just so nice! And the waiting time wasn't very long! I don't know, I imagined those long queues for each author, but it wasn't the case... The very popular authors were situated in strategic places in the ballroom and tickets were handed out. It was a very organized system and I thought it worked well. However, it must be very hard for authors - the waiting around, but I guess it's part of the job. Another thing that's pretty unfortunate is that the authors don't have a say of what books they're going to have at the signing or how many :( I know some who were bummed out not having their latest book available...

It didn't really take me that long to get all the books I wanted. I think about 90 minutes. I ran into Mollie as well - which was a good thing considering my cellphone was dead ^_^; Mollie opted to hang out with me and come back later to get her J.R. Ward book signed - considering how it was going, she had at least 90 minutes of waiting. We ran into Kristie and Jill in the lobby who have just come back from the post office and decided to go grab lunch. After that, we went back up to our room to hang out... and start packing. Well okay, Jill did the most packing, since she was leaving the next day. Me? I was tidying up my corner of the room... because let's face it, I'm messy LOL. I mean, don't you think it looks like my suitcase is spewing clothes? ^_^;

Afterwards, we went to Regency Bingo with Jane Austen and Sabrina Jeffries. Obviously, this was hosted by Sabrina Jeffries, but she was joined by Leanne Renee Hieber dressed as Jane Austen. They did this really fun skit where Ms Jeffries was informing Jane Austen of all the spin-offs, sequels, etc. of Pride and Prejudice. Very fun stuff and Ms Hieber was awesome - she has a background in acting and it shows! :D Then, we played bingo :) Ms Jeffries' version of bingo was very cool :D Instead of numbers, she had words and instead of calling numbers, she read an excerpt of her latest book, The Truth about Lord Stoneville. The game was fun, but the excerpt was awesome as well :D Really made me want to read it once I got home :)

After the Bingo session, I have to admit I was pretty tired - adrenaline rush of the morning being gone. Instead of doing anything, I just relaxed and napped. Then, I got ready for the Dorchester Dance Party with a prom theme. Obviously, I wasn't the only one who was tired because not many attended in comparison to the other balls and parties. The funniest thing was that there was really a prom at the hotel!! LOL. However, the kids were all leaving and it was only 9pm - guess they had other plans... The Dorchester Dance Party was okay - basically, it was pretty much an opportunity to dance and free books :) I totally scored and got Breath of Magic by Tracy Madison! :) Yay! The only unfortunate thing is that no food was served beside snack... so I was really, really hungry! Kristie and I ended up joining Lisabea and her friend, Kate Davies, at the bar for a last night of drinks :) I don't drink alcohol, but I got some food LOL.

And that's pretty much the end of Day 4. We all called it an early  night and went back to our room :)

Only one more day to recap!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Review: Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis

First, I'd like to say that I'm sorry I haven't replied to any of the comments left on my posts. I will try to do so very soon and also, start blog-hoping again! So please, don't take it personally!

Also, I'm not feeling very good lately. I've been feeling quite dizzy lately - I think it's due to lack of sleep. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch on it soon. However, if you don't hear from me, you know why...

Finally, most interestingly is that I have a review up at Breezing Through with Monroe, Ames and Chantal :D We've all read Jill Marie Landis' newest release, Heart of Stone. Click here to find out what we thought of it. I'm really happy that I've finally read my first book by Ms Landis, as I've heard a lot of good things about her writing :) Also, there is a giveaway!! Actually, several copies are going to be given away!! So don't forget to leave a comment!! :D

Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis
published by Zondervan in March 2010

Laura Foster (aka Lovie Lane), wealthy widowed owner of a refined boardinghouse in Glory, Tex., is running from her tainted past and ruined childhood in a tale set in the 1870s. Laura does everything in her power to overcome the odds and create a life free of shame and abuse. Partly succeeding, she is thrown off-kilter when handsome Rev. Brand McCormick, a widower, takes a romantic interest in her. Laura knows with dead certainty that Brand would never come calling if he knew the truth of her past, so she rebuffs his attention at every turn. But the good reverend just won't be put off. Both characters have much to reveal that will test their love, faith, and loyalty to one another.
Genre: Western/American colonial romance, inspirational romance
Series: Irish Angels series, Book #1

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

RT 2010: Haul... Spoils... Loot...

I'm not done with the recaps of RT and I'm going to continue writing them in the next few days... However, many have asked what I brought back home from this trip :) I figure you don't want to wait till the end to know, so I'm going to write a separate post :D

Not surprisingly, most of my suitcases was filled with books :) What is surprising though is that I didn't have much difficulty to pack them... it fit really well in 2 suitcases and I still had space to spare :) Okay, so here we go :P

Remember, the first night, I went to Borders? Well I went back to the bookstore on Sunday night with Kristie and Mollie. The second time around though, I was a better girl... Or more like, the books I wanted weren't there ^_^;

Here are the books I got from both signings :D Not bad right? I mean, I did go crazy, but not too crazy... if that makes sense.

Free books...

There were a few more books that I got, but exchanged or gave away, either because I already had them or I wouldn't read them... So the count was higher, but it didn't make sense to me to bring them home.

My absolute score though is the following...

I mean, seriously, getting this book just made me so happy and giddy!!  It was actually in Kristie's bag at the Street Party, but I immediately beg for it, LOL, knowing that Kristie didn't read this author. Then, I kept it in my purse the whole time till I got home. I haven't started reading it though because I need to decompress and relax so I can enjoy it to the max :P

Oh, as books go, I have a couple more that I got from Jill such as the new Julie James - Something About You, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles and Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter. I got the chance to get Something About You signed as well :D  In addition, I brought my tattered copies of Warprize and Warlord to be signed by Elizabeth Vaughan... and it's lucky for me too, since she only had Dagger Star and White Star at the signing.

In addition of books, well there was a lot of swag as well :P Authors can be very imaginative when it comes to promoting their books ;)

I mean, whatever you can think of, you name it :D My favorite though is this...

I got it from Laura Bickle when I got Embers at the signing :)

And voila...