Sunday, April 29, 2007

My new pen holder

Hello everyone!

Well surprisingly enough, I don't really have much to say today... hmmm, actually, that might be a lie :P Cos if not, why would I write a post? For those who wonders, my interview went well :D I can't guarantee how good my answers were, but at least, I wasn't nervous. I think my body language was good and I was honest. The good thing was the interviewers were nice and look really sympathetic... and not intimidating at all, so that helped. So now, I'm really done with my applications :D All I have to do is wait for answers.... hopefully, it'll be positives ones :D

As for this week-end, well I have been reading, but nothing new. Mostly re-reads... that'll mean this week, I'll be able to catch up on my late reviews :D By the way, is there anything to look forward to, book-wise? I know there was a couple of books, but I've pre-ordered most of the one I really looked forward too. I'm still waiting for Wild Thing anthology though... So any suggestions?

What else? well I watch my first Korean drama this week-end :D The Princess Hours, which is the adaptation of the manwha Goong. (Note, manwha is the Korean version of manga, which is Japanese comic book). Korean dramas have become really, but really popular lately. I thought it was okay, and funny... but I still need to get used to it, I think... it's so different from HK drama. The best thing of the drama I think was all the teddy bears re-enacting scenes :D I'll show you some pics in another post :D it was just really cute :D Also, since I haven't read that much, I took some time to catch up on anime and manga... Still a long way to go though :D To anime fans, any new, good anime this season?

Finally, I promise some pictures of my new pen holder... you know, the one I painted LOL. I chose the pen holder, mainly because it had 3 flat surfaces, so I didn't have to do a continuous image.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Book Binge and Kelley Armstrong at Twisted Kingdom!

Hey everyone!

There is two things I'm so happy to announce to you!!!

1) Book Binge - Holly, Isabel and Rowena's new blog! Yes, the ladies at Sanctuary's Finest are making a fresh new start with a new blog! Isn't that exciting news?!?! Here's a look for their new blog:

It promises to be entertaining and active LOL :)

2) Kelley Armstrong, the author of the Women of the Otherworld series, is guest blogging over at Twisted Kingdom tomorrow/this week-end! Plus, there'll be an interview with her on May 1st!!! Don't miss it! It will be very interesting. If any of you aren't familiar with her book, you can see Kailana's review of her first book in the series, Bitten, and the Author of the Month feature over at TK!

Me and stress

Yeah, lot of posts this morning... what can I say... me bored, at work, plus nervous as hell and lacking sleep :(

I got No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong yesterday in the mail!!! *dances around* So of course, I stayed up late to read it... and let me tell you 1am, for someone who has to wake up at 6am, is very late ^^; But it was all worth it! I'll be reviewing the book soon... probably during the week-end.

I just got a haircut too... nothing drastic, just make got my hair shorter... that's because of the interview. I didn't tell my parents, but my sis let it slipped and now, they're as nervous as me... my mom has been going through her closet to find nice clothes for me to wear for the interview (I don't have anything)... she wants me to wear a suit, but I'm more into the casual, but professional look - black pants, a cami and over it, a nice top with sleeves... All of that belongs to my younger sister LOL... I don't want to go in suit, cos that's just not me, and I think that what I'm planning to wear is nice enough and dress up enough... However, my mom won for the haircut :P I still haven't had time to prepare for the interview tomorrow - hey, I've been reading :P However, I did practice some of my answers while driving to work... there is still tonight and tomorrow... and I'm nervous as hell. I did think for a moment not to go... Actually, that thought is becoming more and more appealing by the minute... I just wish it'll be over soon and fast and without it being too painful.

Finally, I went to Ceramic Cafe a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if there's anything like that outside of Quebec, but basically, that coffee shop sell ceramic pieces (mostly plates, mug, etc) that you can paint while eating or drinking a coffee. You paint whatever you want with the paint they provide and once you're done, they'll vernish it and bake it so it's all nice and shiny :) So I did a vase that I'm planning to use as a pencil holder LOL :) so I went to pick it up yesterday and was very pleased with the result! I'm at work now, so no pictures... but tonight, I promise!

that's it for me at the moment... It's been very quiet on the romance blogosphere - i know, I seem to say this in every ramblings I do, but it's the truth :D Just let me know what you've been up to and what you'll be up to in the next few days :D I like to keep in touch and I miss you all very much!

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Good morning everyone! Yes, another review! I've been on a roll :) Mostly, it's because I have nothing to do and am too bored. Anyway, here we go for this review... I truly didn't intend to buy this book, because it was released in hardcover and while I liked the first book of the series, the second one was just meh. Then, curious as I am, I opened the book to read the end (I know, I know...) and I saw four words: Alix, wedding and Lydia, marriage. That got me really, really curious! First, I love Alix, she was my favorite character in The Shop on Blossom Street and so, curiosity won...

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber: 3.75/5
published by Mira in April 2007

Lydia is a cancer-survivor who opened a yarn store on Blossom Street, not long after her father's death, to remind her that she was alive. Now few years later, many things have changed: she is now married to Brad Goerzt, is the stepmother of his son, has made a lot of friends, most of them befriended in her knitting classes, her relationship with her older sister Margaret has improved drastically and her mother is suffering from Alzheimer and had to be placed in a nursing home... Thus, good and bad things have happened and that is life.

This time, Lydia has decided to open a class for knitting a prayer-shawl and to her delight, her good friend Alix, who was one of her first student, enrolled. Alix is in the middle of organizing her wedding with youth minister and boyfriend, Jordan. Joining her are Susannah, the new flower shop owner, and Colette, Lydia's new tenant.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Blossom Street series, book 3

Review: I liked Alix storyline, was a bit disappointed that we didn't see Lydia's wedding and there's a touch of disbelief in me at Colette's storyline. However, all in all, I did enjoy the book, especially for Alix and Jordan.

The Characters - This is a book that contains three distinct storylines: Alix and Jordan and their wedding, Colette's and Lydia and the drama in her family. I won't go through all the characters, but here are my thoughts about them... I like Lydia, but it seems to me she's a bit one-dimensional. Cancers hit her when she was in her teens and so, her life only started once she opened this yarn shop. In a sense, I feel we don't know enough about Lydia, although she is the narrator of three books. She's wise and calm and that's about it. You see what happens to her, but she doesn't have much personality shown in the book. Sure she is strong, she must be to have survived 2 cancers, and that's my problem: her illness has shaped her life and personality...

I thought Alix was a more interesting character... She's rough around the edge, tough outside, vulnerable inside. She was a rebel till she met Jordan, the love of her life. We get a lot more sense of her person than Lydia... I like her growth from the first book, the changes in her life. The fears she has that her future mother-in-law doesn't approve of her.

Finally, Colette... She's been a widow for a year and pregnant with another's man baby. Again, lots of drama recently in her life and so, events take over the personality. She's honest and straight, but aside from that? What was she like before her husband died? I understand that when tragedy happens, our lives change and we, personality-wise, change... however, there's still something that remain... how did we change? and that what missing from the book... you have the tragedy and the final result, but how were the characters before?

The Story & Writing - I like Ms Macomber's writing style. Very elegant and passive. It's not a bad thing for a book to be passive. The pace is much slower, there isn't much action, the readers are not overwhelmed... This is the kind of books I've been wanting to read lately. So Ms Macomber's writing is still at her best. The problem is perhaps the unoriginality of the storylines: bride who's mother and mother-in-law organize the wedding without asking her what she wants and she doesn't want to hurt them, widow pregnant with another's man baby and doesn't know what else to do then run (I have to say that Colette's romance story was hard to believe too... and the big secret about her love interest, while very probable in a mystery book, it's just weird in this type of romanc book)... Perhaps Lydia's storyline is a bit original - her niece was car-jacked and injured severely, which makes the whole family angry and worried about her and so on... the problem is that it didn't happen to Lydia... and so, it's remote from her... it just seemed to be she never really got that involved into it. Thus, the lack of originality is the main reason for the grade.

The Cover - Very nice, very soothing :) My only question is why put the flower shop on the cover though?

Am I keeping this book? Yes, mainly for Alix' storyline :D

Anything else? Susannah is the new flower shop owner and while reading the book, it seems as if we should have known her... and that's because she's the main character in Susannah's Garden. So I went out and bought the book... I haven't read it yet, but just so you know, you don't need to. Susannah's Garden deals with Susannah's troubles before she opened the flower shop... I would have liked to see what happened between the two books.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Review: Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

Do you know what's great about Mira books? Aside the fact that they're good books, it's that they're usually released before their official release date LOL So me, knowing that this book would show up approx. a week before its release date, have not pre-ordered it. Instead, I've been check on Chapters online for, hummm, two weeks to see if they've arrived in the store LOL I won't tell you how obsessive I am or how serious my I-want-it-now/I-must-own-it-as-soon-as-it-is-released syndrome is. Instead, I'll go straight for the review :P

Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr: 3.75/5 --> B
published by Mira in May 2007
Picking almost where Virgin River left off, Shelter Mountain starts with the arrival of Paige and her little son, Christopher, during a rainy night at the bar that Jack and Preacher co-own. After seeing Paige's bruised cheek and split lip, Preacher figures that the woman is down on her luck and out of goodness, offers her to stay the night. Soon enough, Preacher learns that Paige is not simply out of luck, but she has an abusive spouse and is on the run before he kills her.

Preacher cannot understand what kind of man would pummel a woman such as Paige and decide to help and protect her and the kid... Thus, slowly, Paige and Christopher settle in a routine; however, trust is difficult to give. Meanwhile, Jack is worried for Preacher, as he's never seen his friend getting hooked on a woman. In addition, his newly-wedded wife will soon give birth to their first child... and his protégé, Rick, is in trouble.
Genre: contemporary romance, small-town
Series: Virgin River trilogy, Book 2

Review: Hmmm, I'm a bit torn about this book. I do have some issues with the book, but at the same time, I enjoyed them. Still, one thing I'm sure is that I enjoyed the first one better :P

The Characters - You could say that the main characters of this book are Preacher and Paige... at the same time, the book doesn't solely focus on them and so, Jack and Mel do play a significant part in the book. Anyway, Preacher is this huge man, that is a lot intimidating and and a bit frightening and he knows it... which makes him shy around women and children. And this makes him quite special from most romance heroes. He's not the lady's man, he's not even comfortable around them. He's very quiet, but strong when you need. As for Paige, well she's a bit stereotypical of an abused woman. Worried, scared, paranoid... but luckily, her character is saved by the storyline.

Jack disappointed me a little bit... at first, he didn't seem to be the same man as he was in Virgin River. I understand he's worried for Preacher, but his questioning of Preacher's judgement didn't seem like something he'd do in Virgin River. However, no worries, he does redeem himself.

Two other characters that are re-visisted are Mike and Brie. Mike is a LAPD cop and has served in the military along with Jack and Preacher. He's going to be the main character in the third book and it was interesting to see his build-up story. He's quite different from Jack and Preacher, which is something I appreciate a lot. Anyway, back onto the story, Mike gets shot by a gang member and almost doesn't make it. After surgery, he needs therapy to get back into shape... a bit overwhelmed in Los Angeles, he decides to go to Virgin River for his recovery. As for Brie, she's Jack little sister, a hot shot defense attorney, who's getting a divorce from her husband, who's been cheating on her with her best friend. She's strong, but vulnerable... Definitively, going to be interesting to see their story unfolds in Whispering Rocks.

The Story & Writing - The writing was good and very similar to Virgin River. I liked how time passes by and goes by smoothly. If I was an author, I'd be the kind who'd have to write about every single day of what's happening. However, my trouble with the timeline is that it does seem short.... I would have thought that 6 months have passed instead of 3. So although it was very well written, it seemed unrealistic. I usually like my book to be focus on my main characters, which wasn't the case in this book. At the same time, I didn't want to read a book based solely on an abused woman, re-discovering love and safety, so I guess this book was a great compromise. Finally, I have to admit that I don't usually enjoy the "abused woman" plotline because they're quite stereotypical: woman is abused, fears for her life and her children, runs away, meet hero, start to trust and love, but abusive husband inevitably shows up and mayhem happens. Although Paige's storyline did show some similarities with the plotline I've just described, the great thing is that Ms Carr did try to take a new direction and I've learnt some interesting stuff. So there was some bad stuff that were made good, and some good stuff that were made bad.

The Cover - I liked it, it does give me an image of the inside of the bar :)

Am I keeping this book? Yes, so far I am. Probably will, since I liked Virgin River so much.

Anything else? Yes, for those who usually dislike kids in their book, no worry... Christopher is not annoying. He barely talks, but his presence is known. Ms Carr is definitvely talented with her writing :D

Monday, April 23, 2007

Review: The Chronicles of Warldands trilogy by Elizabeth Vaughan

First, I have to thank Kris for making me read this series. I have seen Warsworn so many time at the bookstore, but I knew it was a series and I knew this time, I needed to read the first book, Warprize, first if I wanted to make sense of anything... However, I couldn't find Warprize in any bookstore in my region... so I put it off. It is only after reading Kris' reviews that I decided to order the book online :D and I'm really glad I did! So thanks Kris ;D

The Chronicles of Warlands by Elizabeth Vaughan

Warprize - Book 1 : 4.25/5
published by Tor Books in 2005
As a Warlord, Keir the Cat led his men to war against the city-dwellers of Water Fall's and defeat their king, Xymund. His goal was to blend both cultures together and change the ways of the Firelands. Never did he dream he would come across a Warprize.

Xylara is the half-sister of the current king, Xymund, and is a healer. Young, she defied most traditions in order to apprentice under Eln. When she became a master healer, she took an oath to treat everyone in need and that included the ennemies.

When the time of peace comes and the treaty is discussed, Keir demands fealty, taxes, surrender, and also Xylara whom he claims as Warprize. To maintain peace and protect her people, Xylara accepts... however, many would have preferred her to refuse...
Thoughts: I really enjoyed the book... Even before I started to read it, I glimpsed at the end and knew I would like it, so I rushed to the closest bookstore and bought book 2 and 3, so I wouldn't have to wait :P If I had to choose, I'd say this book was my favorite.

Warsworn - Book 2: 4.0/5
published by Tor Books in April 2006
Xylara has been claimed as Warprize by Keir of the Cat; however, her status needs to be confirmed by the council of elders. Xylara thus embarks on a journey, leaving her country and people for unfamiliar and faraway lands. On the way, they come across a town that has been wiped out by the plague, the "Sweat." As a healer, it is Xylara's duty to offer help... but at what risk?
Thoughts: I enjoy this book, because of the deepening of Xylara and Keir's relationship as well as the characterization of all characters. In addition, you learn more about both cultures and Keir's goals and motives... Some of the events are quite sad and so that's why I didn't enjoy it as much as Warprize; however, it makes the book very realistic.

Warlord - Book 3: 4.0/5
published by Tor Books in March 2007
Keir of the Cat and his army have been delayed by the plague to bring the Warprize back to Firelands to present her to the council. Angered and curious, the council sends an elder and some warrior-priests to fetch the Warprize. Because of the plague, many wonders if the changes that Xylara will bring to their lives will be good or bad; many questions Keir's goals and ways. Rebellion flares and the Firelanders are divided. At the most critical time, Xylara and Keir are separated... will Xylara be confirmed as Warprize? And who will she chose as her Warlord?
Thoughts: Again, another good book to the series. I enjoyed the book, but the fact that Keir and Xylara were separated did lessen my excitment a bit. Also, although a very good final book, it seems to me the ending is a bit unsatisfactory as many questions are left open and you don't know what's going to happen in the future. It seems to me, the Chronicals are not totally finished and perhaps, I hope, there will be another book.

Genre: fantasy, romance

Review: So, as you can see from the grades the books got, I did enjoy these trilogy a lot. I'm also very glad that I waited till the three books were all published to read it. I do hope Ms Vaughan will write more books, either to complete the Chronicles of Warlands or just other books.

The Characters - Obviously, the main characters are Xylara and Keir. Xylara is the princess of the country; however, she's very humble and earthy. I mean, she is a healer after all, so forget the whole spoiling thing... She's also not innocent - still a virgin, but not naive... She's quite strong and stubborn, in no-way a TSTL heroine. All in all, I like her and enjoyed discovering the new world through her eyes. As for her lover, Keir, what can I say? Yummy. I guess he's an alpha, very strong, very smart and very protective. His ideas and goals are all very realistic and feasable, but perhaps Keir is a bit too ruthless to carry them out smoothy. Keir is also very ambitious, as he aspires to become Warking, which is not impossible... All in all, a very sexy, yummy hero that I'd like to have as mine :P

There were also plenty other of characters as you can imagine. However, most of them weren't really fully developed. The focus of the books was really Xylara and Keir and their love. I'm not complaining though, cos you knew enough of the secondary characters to like them :) First, Marcus, the Token-bearer. He's like Keir's valet, but the grumpy kind that everyone is afraid to offend or else you'll be eating bad food for the rest of the month :P Marcus was serioulsy injured in a battle and lost one of his eye along the side of his face (burnt)... He's considered as a cripple, someone unworthy to live... and he's partly the reason why Keir wants to change the ways of the Firelanders. Simus is Keir's second-in-command, a very funny man ;) It's a pity you don't see much of him though, it would probably have been hilarious. Nevertheless, he's a very important character, and a bit the reason how Keir discovered and fell in love with Xylara. Joden is another important character, since he's the Singer. Basically, the Singer's role is to tell the past stories and history through his songs. As a result, he has a lot of influence. I liked the character, very honest and straightforward... I didn't like what he did in the books, but understood that it was his role. During the whole trilogy, Xylara had guards to protect her: Rafe, Prest, Epor, Isdra, Anders and Yveni. All contribute to the story, either through their funny side or more serious storylines. Quite interesting, really. Finally, you have Iften, Keir's third-in-command, who is against the changes, is wary of the city-dwellers and would like to see Xylara dead.

The Story & Writing - I hesitated a lot at first; where should I post this review - here or at Twisted Kingdom? And finally decided to post them here, because the romance outweighted the "fantasy" element of the story. Basically, if I had to describe the world in the Chronicles of Warlands, it would be Europe aristocracy meeting a nomadic, African tribes. There are a lot of difference in cultures between the two groups and Ms Vaughan did very well describing it, building it. To us, readers, we do recognize certain things... like kavage is probably coffee, and we already knows a lot of cultural aspects of both groups. However, it was very fun and enjoyable to discover the difference through the eyes of Xylara and other characters. MsVaughan certainly pulled that part off easily... Also, some things were also quite creative and I did laugh out loud a couple of times :)

I also really enjoyed the story and how it was cut into three books. It made a lot of sense and balance the story out very well. I have to admit that I liked the first book, Warprize, the most, because of the novelty I guess... also, it's in that book that Keir and Xylara get to know each other :)

The Covers - I'm not totally in love with them, but I like how you don't see naked torso or anything :P I also like the design, i.e. the silhouette of Xylara for the first book, of Keir for the second book and together for the third book. My only complain I would say is that book 1 and book 3's covers are very similar and it's easy to mistake them for each other.

Am I keeping them? Absolutely :) It's really worth it :)

Anything else? I have to admit that this series, especially the writing style, remind me a bit of the Study trilogy by Maria V. Snyder. So I believe that whoever enjoyed Yelena and the books by Maria V. Snyder will also enjoy the Chronicles of Warlands.

Sleep, sleep, oh sleep, why do I need you so much?

LOL, okay, I think you can guess by the title of the post :P Anyway, I was just wondering... I seem to be always tired and exhausted lately... no energy. Worst, when I don't want to wake up in the morning - but I guess that's a bit normal, since I don't really want to go to work :P But still, I seem to be sleeping a lot lately and I still want to sleep more :(

Onto other news, I had a very nice reading week and week-end. Finished the War trilogy by Elizabeth Vaughan which was very good. I have also hunted down Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr (book 2 of the Virgin River trilogy) and read it... and when I say hunt, I really mean hunt. I've been checking to see if the book was out (it's a Mira book, due on May 1st... but the cool thing with Mira is they are usually out a week earlier) on Chapters online. Been checking every day and probably two to three times/day. Then, on Friday, miracle, it was out! I immediately called the bookstore to see if they could put it aside for me, but the guy couldn't find it... Well duh, still in the backroom! So he asked me to call again later in the afternoon. The problem was I didn't catch his name, so when I called back, it wasn't the same person... and she said, they didn't have it. Anyway, I was late, so I decided to go home directly instead of stopping by... on my way home, I call another bookstore that was on the way and she told me that it wouldn't be on the floor before May 1st (I really hate those bookstores :P). Finally, I called back the first bookstore on Saturday and they had it... so I did a very big detour to get it ^^; While I was there, I also got the new Debbie Macomber, Back on the Blossom Street. I wasn't going to buy it, since it was hardcover, but it's the continuation of A Good Yarn series and when I opened it to read the ending, I read Alix and wedding... and that's what got me buying the book. Cos I really liked Alix and Jordan. So expect a lot of reviews coming this week :D

What else, what else... well my interview for optometry is this Friday... and I don't want to do it T_T My mock interview didn't go so well and I have a lot of things to read up to be ready... and I don't feel like it. Maybe I'm not motivated enough? A great news is that the company where I'm working has extended my contract for the summer :) So I don't have to stress and I'll have money this summer :D The bad news is that they're cheaters. Usually, contracts are renewed for 4 months and between each contract, you have a week off. See on a contract, you don't get vacation days or sick days, well you can, but then you don't get paid... even that week off is not paid, but at least, it's a little vacation... Well I don't get that week off! I guess it shouldn't really matter and it's just my own laziness, but I was kind of looking forward to it. And since I wasn't getting paid anyway, I'll just take it some time during the summer. I heard my supervisor is going away for like a 1.5 month... I'm really bad, always taking days off when he's gone, but hey, what can I do? I'm human and I need a break sometimes.

What else, what else? I guess that's about it for me this week-end. Oh, in case you didn't know! Kelley Armstrong, author of the Women of the Otherworld series, has accepted to guest blog on Twisted Kingdom and also agreed to an interview! If you have any questions for her, please email me!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Twisted Kingdom and my life

Hey everyone!

So how have you been doing? Me, okay... but I wish the week would be over and we're only half-way! T_T Anyway, life has been busy and a bit stressing for me... hopefully, it'll be over tomorrow!

Remember 2 posts ago, I mentionned optometry school... Well I wasn't really motivated, until I talked to the son of a friend of a friend of my mom. He's an optometrist and has answered some of my questions, really making it sounded interesting. So I wrote my letter of motivation on Monday... then, the guy offered to correct it for me (which was really nice) and go through a mock interview with me - euh, less fun! Mock interview is tonight and I'm supposed to prepare for it, but heck, I don't know how! So I'm stressing over it... it's one thing to look like a fool in front of strangers, it's another when this stranger can spread the word in your community. So yeah, stressing... sigh.

Aside from that, I've been doing a bit of reading. Just finished Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. Why the heck did I stay away from this series this long? Oh yeah, cos I couldn't find book 1. Well that's a good reason. Anyway, more reviews to come soon! I promise!

On other news, today at Twisted Kingdom, we have an interview with Colleen Gleason, author of The Rest Falls Away! Haven't read that book? Well head towards TK anyway, since Ames has reviewed it!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Review: The Trouble with Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson

I think I've read three books by Rachel Gibson so far and I like them okay. So when I saw The Trouble with Valentine by Rachel Gibson at the UBS, I picked it up.

The Trouble with Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson: 3.25/5
published by Avon in January 2005

Kate Hamilton was a PI in Vegas and is on her way to her grandfather's home in Gospel, Idaho. Due to snow, she stops at her a bar and starts thinking about her life: her last investigation has ended in tragedy, for which Kate feels partly responsible. Her last relationship has ended when she mentionned the word "marriage" to her boyfriend who broke up, because he wasn't ready for commitment... however, he got married 8 months later. Worst of all, it's Valentine's Day, everyone around Kate is in couple and in kissing mood while Kate hasn't had sex for months. Half drunk, Kate does something unusual and propositions to the hunk next to her, but she's cruelly rejected. Ashamed, Kate's only comfort is that at least, she'll never see the man again... till Rob Sutter walks in her grandfather's grocery where she has started working. Turns out that Rob, an ex-hockey player, has settled in Gospel and opened a sport equipment shop.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

Review: This book was enjoyable, but that's about it. Focused on relationships, I'd say it's a pretty generic romance novels with nothing to make it stands out.

The Characters - The characters were interesting enough, but I can't say that I felt any kinship to them or that I cared for them. Kate went to Gospel and decided to stay on after she saw that her grandfather hadn't moved on after the death of her grandmother, even if it's been two years. Thus, she's the new girl in town and of course, some funny little events occur. All in all, Kate is your typical heroine... As for Rob, he is a bit more interesting. The circumstances in which his hockey career ended is quite unique, although I have to say he brought it on himself. His reasons for not wanting to get married and why he rejected Kate's proposition does make sense. It's just sad that in the end, it was lust that was the answer to everything. Well of course, lust and love... As a character tho, Rob is also a typical hero - a yummy man who used to be a player.

The Story & Writing - The story was pretty much focused on relationships with a series of little and sometimes funny events happening. Nothing particular, no intrigue, but no day-to-day life either. As for Ms Gibson's writing, well it's good with nothing to complain about.

The Cover - cute and attractive. The kind of cover I would pick up out of curiosity.

Am I keeping it? For now...

Anything else? Not really :P

Friday, April 13, 2007


Hey everyone :D

it seems it's been awhile since I've updated on myself :P So here it is... April has been quite boring so far. I have managed to buy books, mostly at the UBS. There are no new releases that I'm looking forward, which makes it a slow and boring month. That is why, I've already pre-ordered the new releases that were coming out on May 1st (thanks god, there were a couple!) and hoping they'll arrive to my doorstep early. As for my reading, it's going steady :P Been able to read almost everyday and have managed to post a couple of reviews as well.

Aside from that, my life has been following its usual routine. It seems however, I've been running around a bit more and been a bit more busy. With what? I have no idea ^^; For those who wonder, I did the psychiometric test for pharmacy school last Wednesday (two days ago). I'm hoping to receive an answer in about 2 weeks, although it could be longer. Is it going to be a positive answer, I don't know :P Right now, I just feel very tired and the thought of going back to school for another 4 years is making me even more tired. I think I would enjoy it, once I start, but 4 years is a bit committment. Anyway, I thought that after the psychiometric test, I could relax for the rest of the month... Wrong. My second choice on my application was optometry... and I got a letter yesterday. They're asking for a motivation letter that has to be sent before the 18th and at the end of the month, there's an interview. Now, I can see the stress mounting in me :( This could be a very good alternative if I don't get in pharmacy... but then, it's also very hard to get in. Why did I put this as second choice? LOL So yeah, have to write his motivation letter... The interview doesn't thrill me either. Hey, did I say that my little sister is going to University next September... yeah, that would mean there is a possibility we go to school TOGETHER. Gosh, that never happened... she's 4.5 years younger than me and being born in October, she started school a year late. So we've always had 5 years difference in schooling and that makes a big difference... anyway, needless to say, she's very excited at the possibility LOL Me, I have to get used to the idea... LOL

By the way, guess what we had yesterday? Yep, more snow. The wet kind. It was nice when it fell, big snowflakes a bit like cotton candy, but it was really bad driving in it. It's also very heavy...

Well I'll stop here. No major plan this week-end... Read of course... Write that motiviation letter :( Also planning to catch up with some friends... What about your week-end? Any plans?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Review: Blue Willow by Deborah Smith

Well, well... I did some reading during the Easter week-end, not as much as I wanted, but still enough :D I'm quite happy also because I went through some books that were in my TBR pile... such as this one. I bought Blue Willow at a UBS, after reading The CrossRoads Cafe and seriously, I don't regret it!

Blue Willow by Deborah Smith: 5/5
published by Bantam Books in 1993

The Colebrooks and Mackenzies have been linked together for 6 generations and this bond is reinforced by Artemas Colebrook and Lily Mackenzie's friendship... however, their age difference (8 years) and class difference divided them and each lived their own life. Artemas, the oldest of 6, with useless and depraved parents, has always had many responsibilities such as raising his siblings and becoming the CEO of Colebrook China. As for Lily, her life changes dramatically when her parents die in a car accident when she's 18. Both marry and live their life, but fate inevitably brings them back together.

Now a widower, Artemas gives an important project to Lily's husband, a struggling architect. On the night of the reveal, the connecting bridge between two buildings crumbles, causing the death of several persons, including one of Artemas' sister and Lily's husband and son. In addition, Artemas' brother James' leg is maimed during the accident... Responsibility is pursued and attributed, accusations and blames are hurled, feelings are bruised and hurt, loss is enormous... and still, Artemas and Lily's love for each other still exist, but is buried... What will Artemas choose? His family... or will he again sacrifice Lily?
Genre: contemporary romance, family saga
Series: none

Review: All right, another not-so-great synopsis, but forget about it, the book was GREAT!! (As if you didn't figure it out by the grade :P anyway, I cried sooo much while reading this book, my eyes hurt!

The Characters - I really liked Lily and Artemas... although Lily seemed a bit too perfect... You know, too understanding, too forgiving, too good... but at the same time, she was a fascinating character. I mean, she's such a strong character and her strength is built on so many tragedies... and she's very down-to-earth... There was a lot of love in her and passion... and I was happy how Ms Smith portrayed her... she stood by her husband's name, fought for him, protected him... she didn't fall right back in Artemas as soon as he opened his arms... Poor Artemas actually, he really had to work hard! So yeah, she was a fascinating and very complex person with in-depth characterization. As for Artemas, man... I wish there was a man who loved me like he loves Lily. Sure, it's painful, but it must be something. Artemas is the definite leader of the family, the perfect brother you could have. He holds the siblings together and command with respect... It's definitively someone that you want to have on your side which made it the most impressive when Lily stood against him. Anyway, I liked his ruthless side as well... and I really liked the fact that he loved Lily so much... it did seem a bit obsessive, the way he insinuated his way back into Lily's life after his wife died... the only thing that bothers me a bit is the way he kept contact with Lily once he married through his right-hand man, Tamberlaine... it just seemed so arrogant, that he kept track of her, how she was living, if she was happy... but at the same time, it didn't allow Lily to forget him, because Tamberlaine would show up asking about her wellfare and updating her on Artemas' situation... but in the end, he's a great man...

Other characters include Artemas' siblings, Lily's aunts, Hopewell Este (the man who bought Lily's familial farm house) - most of them have some story and development, although main characters are really Lily and Artemas.

The Story & Writing - One thing that was very different from all the other books I've read by Ms Smith is that this one wasn't in the first-person pov... which I greatly appreciated. I think this book was more powerful at the third-person and it allowed the readers to have more scope on everyone's feelings. The pace was also excellent... we see glimpses of Artemas and Lily as they grow and exchange letters... Lily's parents accident really changed her life and we get to witness that... and time goes by, after the tragedy, before Lily and Artemas are brought back together by fate... which was needed it. I mean, the time, because I can't image Artemas and Lily being able to cleared everything in a few weeks and live happily ever after. Time heals... and time was necessary in their case. Hmmm, what else... I liked the fact that so many things happen, tragedies... and it didn't only happen to Artemas or Lily... Seriously though, I think that I've always loved this kind of story... two persons that love each other, but can't be together due to circumstances... and are then brought together by fate and the stars :P Anyway, a very engaging and emotional ride.

The Cover - well, it's kind of unremarkable... I mean, it does not stand out... but it does fit the title.

Am I keeping this book? Definitively.

Anything else? I'm currently trying to find her backlist... with some success :D I really like her style and so far, I've cried while reading all her books except for one :P

Colleen Gleason at Twisted Kingdom!

Hey everyone!

Just a quick post to announce that Colleen Gleason, author of The Rest Falls Away, is guest-blogging over at Twisted Kingdom! So head over to read what she has to say and what she has to ask!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Review: Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks

So there were very little books I were expecting for the month of April. I wasn't too sure whether I would get this book, but I ended up doing so... cos I was bored. To be honest, 50% was for Janet Evanovich (my level of fan-ness has dropped down dramatically in the past few years) and 50% for Leanne Banks, cos I liked her Feet series.

Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks: 3.5/5
published by St.Martin's Paperbacks in April 2007
Cate Madigan is a 26 years old woman, studying to get her teaching degree and working part-time in a bar at night. She's swore off of men, because they're a distraction and messy, but her family keeps matching her up with potential boyfriends. Her roomate is a drag-queen singer who attracts most of the bar's business, and is in need of a house-sitter for when he's out-of-town performing... the arrangement suits Cate fine, till the day Marty leaves town precipitedly, after receiving strange phone calls. Then, Kellen McBride appears in her bar and starts getting close with some purposes in mind. The next thing she knows, Marty sends her a very ugly dog named Beast to insure her safety...
Genre: contemporary romance, comedy
Series: none so far that I know of

Review: sorry for the crappy synopsis... didn't know what to come up at the end... So, this book was all right in my opinion. It had it funny moments where I did laugh out loud, but that's to be expected from Ms Evanovich and Ms Banks. I'd say the book sounds a lot more like most of Ms Evanovich's books though with a very similar style. All in all, you'll get a good laugh, but it's not the best book by either author.

The Character - Cate's character was okay, except for the fact where she swore off man. I mean, I understand why, but when someone's yummy as Kellen storms into your life, don't hesitate too much. I also thought either Cate was very ignorant or naive, and a bit stupid - maybe to fit the story better. Otherwise, she was okay... nothing that particular about her.

Kellen was yummy. He reminded me a bit of Morelli, but kinder and gentler. Something that I don't get tho... is that one moment, he said his family was dead (all of them, parents + 6 sisters), but it didn't state how... but I wonder if it wasn't an error. Anyway, his past wasn't discussed much, which made him a bit intriguing. What bothers me the most though was how he seemed to have fallen in love with Cate... but I think that's more concerning the story...

There's also a lot of other characters, such as Cate's 2 best friends, Pugg and Marty... All interesting characters, but that we don't get to know in depth.

The Story & Writing - The writing reminded me a lot of Stephanie Plum. It's not a bad thing, but the story just wasn't long enough. Some few stuff was also pretty obvious to the reader, but not the characters, which I found a bit unbelievable... and there were some inconsistencies that were annoying. For example, Julie's a Southerner and is supposed to have this very thick accent. This is portrayed writtenly in the first sentence of her dialogue, but once you start the second sentence, it'll be back to normal. For example, she says "dawg" in her first sentence, and then, it will revert to "dog" in the rest of her lines... which is just weird. Finally, the ending seemed a bit rushed, which is quite sad, considering the book was quite short and there was no reason to rush it.

The Cover - It's nice and it fits the book :D

Am I keeping this book? Undecided so far... probably, because I'm a book hogger...

Anything else? Well, this issue was brought up with Ms Evanovich previous release, Motor Mouth I think... the font is quite large in the book, much larger than usual... the book is already pretty thin, compared to most books out on the market. If you consider the font size, the story is really short and so, I do feel a bit cheated.

Scategory meme

Hey, I got tagged by Kris for this meme :D and it sounds like a lot of fun!

So here are the rules:

Use the 1st letter of your middle name to answer each of the following...They MUST be real places, names,things...NOTHING made up! If you can't think of anything, skip it. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

.....Your Middle Name: Nathalie

1. Famous singer: Nelly F-something
2. 4 letter word: neon
3. Street name: New Brunswick Blvd
4. Color: Navy blue
5. Gifts/presents: Nintendo games
6. Vehicle: Nissan
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: nutcracker (?)
8. Boy Name: Nathan
9. Girl Name: Natasha
10. Movie Title: Nemo
11. Drink: nutty flavored milk(?)
12. Occupation: NICU doctor
13. Flower: euh, this, I don't know...
14. Celebrity: Neil Gaiman
15. Magazine: New woman...
16. U.S. City: New York
17. Teams: Nicks (basketball I think)
18. Something Found in a Kitchen: napkins
19. Reason for Being Late for Work: napping
20. Something You Throw Away: napkins
21. Things You Shout: NO!
22. Cartoon Character: Naruto
23. Food: noodles

I'm tagging Ames and Jennie

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Review: Ice Blue by Anne Stuart

All right, so what to say about this book? Well I do have Black Ice and Cold Ice, but haven't read them yet ^^; I know, I know... I think it's Ms Stuart's heroes. They're very alpha, very male and very cold and the ending is always the same... but I won't spoiled it for you :P Anyway, I wasn't sure I was going to get this book, but two things pushed me two: 1) the Japanese theme and 2) Cindy :P Her excitement over getting the book was contagious; however, I have to admit, I didn't enjoy it as much as her.

Ice Blue by Anne Stuart: 3.5/5
published by Mira in April 2007
Museum curator, Summer Hawthorne, has in her possession a Japanese ceramic bowl of great value that was given to her by her Japanese nanny. Unfortunately for her, her eccentric and selfish mother has promised the bowl to The Shiro, a guru of a sect. In order to keep the bowl, Summer lend it to an exposition... however, this puts her life in dandger as The Shiro is ready to do anything to get the bowl.

Turns out the bowl is key for a ceremony that will bring the apocalypse to Earth. In order to stop war from happening, Takashi O'Brien, a half-Japanese/half-American and agent of the Committee, is sent after Summer. His mission is to get the bowl and eliminate her, because unknown to her, she has the coordinates to the temple containing a mass-destruction weapon. This should be an easy mission to Takashi... but nothing around Summer is easy.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Ice series, book #3

Review: Seriously, I think I was disappointed by the book. With all the praises about Ms Stuart and the Japanese theme, I got my expectations to high and this book simply didn't meet it. Perhaps, Ms Stuart's style just doesn't agree with me... and she wouldn't be the first author.

The Characters - Hmmm, both Summer and Takashi were complex characters... They're attractive, get a good development, have many issues, but in the end, I think the problem for me was that their issued didn't get resolved. Summer is the daughter from a first marriage of a famous actress. She had a traumatic event in the past, but it doesn't impact much the storyline­... and she's ultra-protective of her 16 years old sister, Jilly. Aside from that, her relationship with her mother or stepfather aren't so great. As for Takashi, he's a bastard and also half-American, which doesn't please his very traditional Japanese maternal grandfather. So he's been raised by his grand-uncle, a yakuza leader (i.e. mob). He's expected to quit the Committee soon and marry a woman his grandfather has chosen, and produce little Takashi to please and hope to gain his grandfather's approval. So both bring a lot of baggage with them. They're thrown together under some dire circumstances. They're attracted to each other, without wanting it. Have sex, travel to Japan, defeat a sect... get a happy ending of sort... but at the end, they still have lots of baggages and maybe even more. So what was the point? At least, are they happy together? Hard to tell. As for personality-wise, both are pretty okay. Summer can be a tiny bit annoying sometimes by her naivete, but that's about it. And I have to admit that I was a bit bothered by Takashi little talent, but what can I say?

The Story & Writing - Ms Stuart's writing style is okay... a bit rough, tough and hard tho. She's not shy about using swear words and is quite bold in her writing. She's not the flowery type at all, but that's okay. As for the story, well the story was okay... although the ending, very standard Ms Stuart ending. So far, I've read what, 5 books by Ms Stuart and it's all been the same ending. The only difference was what was said, if any words were uttured. One flaw about the storyline though, is that I can't believe that Summer didn't speak Japanese. No matter what you say, you would expect someone who had a Japanese nanny and who studied Asian arts, especially Japanese arts, to at least speak the language. I mean, how did you study then? With translated books?!? Don't think so. Summer knew simple words such as "Sorry" and "Hi" but seriously, who are you kidding? All the best and dedicated scholars know the language of their specialty... and that's almost a given. She didn't had to speak it well, but at least understand and be able to have simple conversation.

The Cover - I actually really like it. Very nice blue :P

Am I keeping this book? I don't know... going to depend how much I like the two previous books, given that I read them one day

Anything else? Nope.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Review: Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Too many books to read and review and so little time! March was an awesome reading month and I hope April will be as good! Although I doubt ^^; but still, let's hope.

Hmmm, lately, I've been looking for a change of pace... I got a bit tired of "sexy," fast-paced books and have been looking for something slower, kind of old-style... I guess I shouldn't say "old-style." However, when I say "old-style" I mean slower-pace and more focused on the characters and relationships than an action or intrigue... the books with time frame of a few weeks, even months instead of a couple of days, a week or maximum two. So I was looking for that kind of book, especially after reading The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs, and came across Virgin River by Robyn Carr. I bought it after reading the back blurb...

Virgin River by Robyn Carr: 4.25/5
published by Mira in April 2007

After the death of her husband in a convenient store robbery, Melinda Monroe needs a change of pace before she breaks down and burns out. An ER nurse and midwife in LA, she leaves everything behind to go to Virgin River, a small town near the Trinity and Shasta mountains with a total population of 600 and in need of a nurse and midwife. However, nothing goes as planned once she arrives: the town is not as she imagined (let say the lady glossed the truth a bit), her one-year-rent-free cabin is not liveable, the doctor doesn't want help and so on. Quickly, Mel realizes that her decision was wrong and rash and decides to go back to LA as quickly as possible... until a newborn is abandoned in front of Doc's door. Mel stays on to take care of the baby, help Doc and slowly, integrates the community.

Genre: contemporary romance, small-town
Series: Virgin River trilogy, Book #1

Review: I really enjoyed this book as it was exactly what I was looking for. It was well-written, with a believable story and real characters.

The Characters - Melinda was a good main character: she wasn't a TSTL heroine, nor career-driven person nor an airhead. She's strong and mature with a life experience - tragedies as well as happiness. The main male character is Jack Savannah... The book does focus on Melinda, but Jack plays an important role in it. He's an ex-Marine who've settled in Virgin River after he retired. He bought a cabin and converted it into a bar which he runs with his friend, nicknamed Preacher. From the start, he's attracted to Melinda and hopes that she stays... Jack is the quiet alpha male: strong and dependable, he has your back, is generous and nice and everything. He's quite the perfect man.

Other characters include Doc, an old and grouchy man - my favorite kind of old man in books :P, and a couple of other secondary characters that will probably be more developed in the following two books.

The Story & Writing - Ms. Carr writing style is very good, very smooth and gentle. That's the feeling you get when you read her book - gentleness. As I said, it's also kind of "old-style." In fact, I would say that her writing style reminds me a lot of Susan Wiggs... As for the story, I really enjoyed it. It wasn't about Melinda's growth or evolution, but how she found love again, unexpectedly. I liked how the small town life wasn't too cliche... and the turn of events made the book quite refreshing.

The Cover - I like it :D It fits the story very well.

Am I keeping the book? Yes.

Anything else? Book #2 (Shelter Mountain) and #3 (Whispering Rock) are coming out in May and June 2007 respectively. That's how I lke my trilogies :) Back to back releases instead of waiting a year or two. The main character of book #2 is Preacher and woman on the run from an abusive husband, while book #3's main characters are Jack's sister and one of his old buddies from the Marines. In addition, in this book, you'll find characters from Ms. Carr's other trilogy Grace Valley (Deep in the Valley, Just Over the Mountain and Down by the River)... If any of you have Just Over the Mountain and Down by the River and could lend it to me or sell it to me, it'd be really appreciated :P

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Hey everyone :D

Just to let you know, I've just made an archives for my reviews! I've put the archives as the first post ever on my blog, so you can find it in June 2006 or here. I will put a link in the sidebar soon, as soon as I have this layout revamped :P By the way, the books are alphabetized by authors!