Saturday, March 17, 2012

WEM VI: I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella and Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood

Time for the Week-End's Minis!! :) So, this week's winner was I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella :) I also decided to review Frostbound because this is the second time the book has come in 2nd place in the polls. Guess there are some people who really wants to know what I thought of the book, so I'm more than happy to oblige :)

It also turns out that I'm pretty much caught up on my reviews for my February reads. Probably a first, LOL. I'm really happy as it seems the WEM feature is really working out :) Plus, as I mentioned in yesterday's review, most of the books I've been reading lately are books I want to write full reviews for. So this week's poll is for books I've read a while back... and I decided to choose books from the same genre: YA. So let me know which one you'd like me to review!! :)

Also, this is the 6th edition of the Week-End's Minis... A lot of you told me you enjoyed the mini-reviews format when I started. Now that it's been running for a while, I'd like to get more feedback :) Do you still feel the same way? Are you enjoying the mini-reviews? Am I starting to be too lengthy?

Onto the reviews now! :)

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
published by Random House Publishing in February 2012
I've lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn't supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It's been in Magnus's family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I've lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate Poppy. Stay positive!!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry the ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her 'happy ever after' begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but in the panic that followed, she has now lost her phone. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except the phone's owner, businessman Sam Roxton doesn't agree. He wants his phone back and doesn't appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other's lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents... she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.
Genre: Chick-lit
Series: None

What do you need to know? The blurb is pretty accurate. Poppy and Magnus met 6 months ago and are about to marry. He and his parents as well as brothers all have academic careers and this leads to very intellectual conversations which often leaves Poppy out and feeling inferior. She believes that his parents don't approve of her and therefore, the last thing she wants is to let them know she's lost her engagement ring, which is a family heirloom.

So in the book, Poppy's cell phone is stolen... and then, finds another one in the trash. It's like faith! Except the cell phone she found used to belong to Sam Roxton's previous PA who just left him hanging. Not only he needs the cell phone back, but also a new PA. Since Poppy has given the number out for her cell phone, she's reluctant to give it back. She promises Sam that she will forward all his messages... and of course, she can't help herself and read them. Seeing how terse and strict Sam is, Poppy starts trying to help out...

Why this book? I didn't know what to read and was started a reading slump... so I asked for suggestions and Tabitha recommended this book. I thought I'd give it a try since I don't read many chick-lit.

My thoughts? I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed I've Got Your Number. It was a very cute read that made me smiled from one end to another :) I was also surprised at how much I liked Poppy's character :) Most of the time, when reading chick-lit books, I find either the characters or the situations they find themselves are superficial... but it wasn't the case in I've Got Your Number. Poppy's character actually felt quite real to me and one I could relate to. I think part of it is Ms Kinsella found the perfect job for Poppy - a physiotherapist. As a physiotherapist, Poppy has to know what she's doing. She was also self-sufficient and put together, it diminished the "airhead" factor to me... actually, it made her smart and normal in my book :) I also liked that she was like a white knight, standing up for her friends. And of course, she wouldn't have been any fun if she wasn't a bit noisy :) However, at times, I definitively thought she needed better friends ^_^;

Overall, I enjoyed her interactions with Sam :) I liked how she tried to help him out, but at times, it backfired LOL. I thought the two of them had good chemistry. Her confiding in Sam was easy because he was a stranger... and her, making Sam realizes that there is more than work was sweet. Although as a whole, I thought Sam being so dedicated to his work wasn't a bad thing :) Also, I thought Sam was quite yummy as a hero once you make him realize there's more to work. And oh, his grand gesture at the end? So sweet!

While I enjoyed the book, there were a few hiccups for me. I didn't like that the storyline took place so close to the wedding date ^_^; In the beginning of the book, you can feel that Poppy loves Magnus a lot and how it was "love at first sight" for them... And then, everything starts to unravel. Yes, finding out more about Magnus did precipitate things... but I guess I just didn't like the fact that Poppy fell out of love with Magnus so easily or quickly ^_^; Also, I think that at one point, the book lost some steam and started being a bit draggy. Not enough to get on your nerves, but enough to be noticed... Finally, I was a bit taken aback with how the whole "mystery" was resolved. I mean, would someone keep calling the wrong number for three weeks? Wouldn't that person realize at some point it was the wrong number? That to me seemed a bit far-fetched.

My Grade? B. Despite the few hiccups, I've Got Your Number was a very fun book :) I definitively recommend it if you're in the mood for chick-lit or something different.

Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood
published by New American Library (Signet) in June 2011

Every dog might have his day, but the hellhound guards the night...

As a snowstorm locks down the city, more than the roads are getting iced. Someone's beheaded the wrong girl, and vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. Now she's the prime suspect in her own botched murder—and the prisoner of her smoking-hot neighbor.

Lore is a hellhound, bred to serve and protect, so he's not freeing Talia until he's sure that she's the prey and not the hunter. You'd think a beautiful woman in his bedroom would be a good thing, but trouble-prone Talia has run afoul of someone more sinister than your average lunatic killer. An ancient Undead is wreaking vengeance on the city—and on her—and Lore will have to go far beyond a stake to put him back in his grave...
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: The Dark Forgotten, Book #4

What do you need to know? Lore is the Alpha of the hellhounds and they have just escaped from the Castle (either a part of Hell or another dimension). So the hellhounds are slowly adapting to the world we know and as such, are kind of starting at the bottom of the ladder. Lore is focused on making the transition easier and building a better life for all of them... and finding his mate is not part of his concerns at the moment.

Talia Rostova grew up a part of the Hunters, a clan whose members are all skilled enough to take down supernatural beings. It's because she was a Hunter that Talia was changed into a vampire against her will. At the first opportunity, Talia stole a large sum of money and escaped from her sire, becoming a rogue.

When Talia's cousin/roommate who bears an uncanny resemblance to Talia is found beheaded, Talia knows it was meant to be her. She tries to run away, but is captured by Lore who is replacing the town's sheriff. And he won't release Talia until he finds the culprit... because he can feel that something really bad is coming.

Why this book? I read the first book in this series, Ravenous. Thought it was okay, but not a series I particularly want to continue. Then, at RWA last year, I got a copy of Frostbound and Ms Ashwood actually won a RITA for Unchained... So picking up this series was on my list of things to do. When I saw that Samantha has read and enjoyed Frostbound, it was the kick I needed to give this series another chance :)

My thoughts? Not having read Books #2 and #3 of this series, it wasn't the best idea to simply just pick up Frostbound. It's not that I had a hard time following the storyline, but there were obviously stuff that I missed... like Lore and hellhounds escape from Castle. Plus, the whole politics scene at Fairview with a vampire presenting himself as a candidate - this seems to be an ongoing story. Then again, I'm not sure I want to go back and read the books I missed ^_^;

Overall, I really liked the paranormal aspect of the book. How all the supernatural beings co-exist, the rules and so on. I thought the world building was well done and interesting. As well as the intrigue and the whole "who did it." The two elements really caught my attention and had me keep reading. I do admit I'm a bit tired of "humans" being so afraid that it leads to group like the Hunters whose sole purpose is to kill "monsters." I know it's understandable for humans to fear, because they are considered "weak." At the same time, it speaks of such bigotry ^_^; And perhaps, it's just a bit too real to my comfort :(

Anyway, back to Frostbound. Another strength of the book was Talia as a character and also, her storyline. I liked that Talia was able to take care of herself. From the blurb, I got a feeling she was weak... but it definitively wasn't the case :) LOL, the part where she called Lore "Bad dog" was simply priceless. She definitively had guts, but at the same time, wasn't too kick-ass :) Ms Ashwood did a great job creating a balanced heroine. I also liked the fact Talia was on the run. It shows she was smart... and had integrity (not spending the money she stole). Also, her torn emotions between humans and monsters because of the way she was raise and what she had become was well done.

What else did I enjoy? The quatuor: Lore, Joe, Errata and Perry and I wished they'd been more of us :)  I simply liked the sense of camaraderie and all.

Unfortunately, I thought the let down of Frostbound was the romance ^_^; I didn't feel that connection between Lore and Talia. The whole thing happened quite fast... One moment, Lore was suspicious of Talia and the next, he was all caring towards her. Sure, he was attracted to her before the book started. Plus, she really impressed him with her guts... but it still felt a bit too quick. It seemed their romance stemmed more of the situations they found themselves in instead of their attraction to each other. Plus, the whole resolution for the mate thing was too easy. I think it would have helped if there had been more of Lore in the book. It's not as if his character was neglected, but I didn't really get a sense of who Lore was. Instead, it was more about the hellhounds and his duty to them. Sure, it's a part of him, but I don't think it's all there is to him. Perhaps that's what I missed by not reading Book #2 and #3 of the series.

My Grade? C+. I'm glad I read Frostbound... but as I said, I don't feel the urge of going back and read Book #2 and #3, hence the grade despite some very good intrigue and world building.