Thursday, December 28, 2006

My 100th post!!!

How apt that my 100th post is writing during the holiday season! Something else to celebrate about! :D

So how is everyone? Recovering from Christmas? Pace yourself, New Year is coming :D I actually don't have any plans for New Year... perhaps just go out and eat with my parents. For Christmas, my parents dragged me to their friends' house - their friends were having a family reunion and we were invited. Go figure. It's quite boring, because they all see each other more than once a year and after all, they're cousins... so my sister and I were quite out of the loop. I ended up falling asleep cos I was dizzy from lack of it.

I also hope no one was crazy as me to go shopping on Boxing Day! I just wanted to go to the bookstores - although I knew there weren't any sales - and everything should have been fine... I mean, the bookstores opened at 9am... but then, my sis decided she wanted to look at other stuff... I was there till 3pm and it was absolutely hell. I'm really sorry for my sister tho, cos she enjoys shopping and didn't really find anything. Actually, she was quite disappointed by the sales... but then, Boxing Day isn't what it used to be. Except perhaps in electronics... for the clothing, I think it's really not all that worth to brave the crowd. As for books, don't even mention it. There was only 30% off on hardcovers.... and the I-rewards card didn't even work. So hello, it's 34% off + 5% off online on hardcovers. Oh well. Didn't stop me from buying books of course.

I'm again in the mood - I want to read and have been reading, but no books really appeal to me and I WANT to go BUY books. Although once I'm there, again, nothing appeals to me. I'm sorry for those who sent me books, no I haven't read them yet. I know they are extremely good books, but I want to wait till I'm in a better mood :P by the way, I need some suggestions/recommendations! Esp. fantasy books - Mailyn, can you help me out? Also, I've decided to keep track of the books I want, buy and read :P I'm in a list-mode.

But still, I have a couple of reviews:

The Shop on Blossom Street and A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber: 3.5/5

I won't write a detailed synopsis, because it's two books. However, here is what you need to know: Lydia Hoffman is 30 years old, but has had two bouts of brain cancers, one at 16 and the other at 24. Both events have been very difficult on her, but she was able to overcame them because of her father who was her rock. As a result, her relationship with her older sister is a bit strained... Unfortunately, her father has passed away recently. She is at a turning point in her life and has decided to open a yarn store, because she loves knitting and had learnt while she was at the hospital. So in The Shop on Blossom Street, she offered her first knitting class, a baby blanket and in A Good Yarn, socks. So in both books, we follow Lydia's story as well as the ones of her students. Both books are really characters-orientated books and each characters are quite different.

The Shop on Blossom Street: Jacqueline, a socialite that isn't happy with her daughter-in-law and is having a difficult marriage. Caroline who is 37 y.o. and quitted her job to finally start a family with her husband, but it is not going well. Alix who is a rebel and taking the knitting class so she can deduct the hours from her community hours.

A Good Yarn: Elise, a recently retired librarian who has lost all her savings to a dishonest contractor and is now living with her daughter and her family. Bethanne who just went through a divorce with two teenagers. Courtney who has to live with her grandmother in a new city during her last year of high school while her father works in Brazil.

Personally, I thought that The Shop on Blossom Street was better than A Good Yarn and I bought A Good Yarn mostly to have updates on the characters. Also, the thing with both books is that they are both very passive. I mean stuff happens, but it's no action, it's because they happen. Also, there are the happy endings, I mean, you know that everything will work out perfectly.

In the end, both books are decent reads and entertaining if you're looking for something relaxing. What's interesting is that you follow the stories of different women, of different ages and experience who are looking for different things in life. However, I'm actually debating whether or not to get more books by Debbie Macomber, because I have the feeling that once you've read it, you've read them all.

Home Before Dark by Susan Wiggs: 3.75/5

Jessie Ryder is coming back home to her sister, Luz, and her family after 16 years. The thing is that 16-17 years ago, Jessie got pregnant and gave her baby girl, Lila, for Luz and her newly-wedded husband, Ian, to adopt. Then, Jessie went abroad to live an work as a photograph while Luz and Ian started their own family.

Now Jessie is coming back to meet Lila, as well as her three other nephews. Of course, in her mind, Jessie wants to tell Lila her origin, not to reclaim Lila, but so at least, she knows and understands where she comes from. See, Lila is going through adolescence, rebellion. One night, after sneaking out to join her friends, they all get into a huge accident.

Anyway, lots of things happening and Jessie also meets the neighbor accross the lake, Dusty, who has a sad past too, and falls in love with him. The ick to all this is that Jessie is going blind...

I know, my synopsis isn't really good. but I hope that giving my opinion will help. It was a really, really touching story. I cried from beginning to end, although I wonder if it's the book or my mood :P Anyhow, the book was well-written as always and Jessie's condition was revealed to the readers early on. So it was an enjoyable story, again more character-orientated. I do think it's a bit selfish tho that ppl with diseases and conditions always come back home at that moment. I know it's not so others can take care of them, but to make up and stuff like that... but I mean, they wouldn't be there if it wasn't because of their condition right? So there are a lot of issues and problems that Jessie, Luz, Ian and Lila have to deal with in this book and this take precedence over the love story between Jessie and Dusty. Personally, I didn't see the chemistry between them all that much. They fell in love very quickly, too fast to my taste. So a decent read, but not the best Susan Wigg's I've read...

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas: 3/5

Growing up, Aline Westfield, daughter of a Marquiss, and John MacKenna, stable boy, fell in love. Of course, their relationship was discovered and Aline didn't have a choice then to send MacKenna away with harsh words and lies so he would never want her again. Few months after MacKenna's departure, Aline was involved in a fire in the kitchen and her legs are now scarred forever. Because of both events, Aline never married...

Now, John MacKenna has returned from America a very, very wealthy man. He wants revenge, but both still love each other... and you know the rest, they both dance this difficult dance around lies and secret. At the same time, there's also Olivia, Aline's younger sister who was also involved in a scandal and is now a recluse... She is attracted to MacKenna's business partner, Gideon Shaw, the never-sober-for-long wealthy American.

I did quite enjoy this book :D I liked how Aline and Olivia weren't innocent and inhibited like most historical heroines. They were not naive, they knew what they were getting involved in and you know, they were actually quite wise. I also liked how Marcus, their older brother, protected them. The three siblings had quite a nice relationship and that is rare I think in the historicals. Yeah, you do get to see over-protective older brother, but Marcus was different. He talked to his sisters and asked their opinions and so on. Then, I remembered... Marcus Westfield is the hero in It happened one Automn... I'm quite sad tho that he ended up with Lillian Bowan, the reason why i still haven't read that book.

Anyway, back to Again the Magic, it was quite entertaining, but then I thought it got dragged a bit because of the secrets and lies. I mean, yeah, Aline's legs are ugly and scarred and it's understandable why she wants to keep it a secret... but for the readers, it's too typical... you know easily what's going to happen. How the whole issue was resolved was a bit, dunno, not enough passionate ^^; See, the thing is that Aline and MacKenna's story wasn't enough to hold the attention of the readers and that's why in Again the Magic, there's also Olivia and Gideon's story and it was quite prominent. So that tells you something... Anyway, not a bad book, but not the best either ^^;

Goddess of the Rose by P.C. Cast: 3/5

Hmm, how to summarize this book. Mikaido Empousai, aka Mikki, has a gift with roses. Basically, from generations to generations, the women in her family perform a ritual which consists of mixing water and their blood to water the roses on the new moon. This results in sumptuous roses :) Then, through a series of accidental events, Mikki wakes up Hecates' Guardian, Asterius the Beast, and he transported her to the Realm of Rose where Mikki turns out to be Hecates' High Priestess. There, she learns the way and eventually falls in love with Asterius.

Not a bad book, but I guess not really my style. I don't really enjoy those stories where an independant modern woman ends up in another time period and you know, stands out and all. Also, anyone who has seen Beauty and the Beast know that a woman can fall in love with a Beast. Of course, the ending revelation reveals that Asterius was worried about more than the fact that he was a beast, but again... So the story wasn't bad, just a bit too passive to my taste which is due to the narration. The situation in which Mikki found herself is just a bit strange, because she really knows nothing about the rituals and everything, except for the roses... so I found it a bit boring all what she had to learn and I thought it impeded the storyline.

Okay, I'm not sure my reviews were helpful ^^; but hopefully yes and I hope you enjoyed the read :P Talk to you girls soon, probably with more reviews :)