Sunday, March 30, 2008

Las Vegas to Los Angeles via Laughlin

Hmmm, Ames went ahead and did a post on the trip... ah well. Not to be outdone, here are some videos of the trip. Since Ames did such a good job summarizing the trip, I'll spare you with my ramblings :)

I have to say I really enjoyed the trip and I was really lucky I made it :) Remember the pre-jitters before the trip? Well it wasn't for nothiing. The night prior my departure, we had ice pellets and snow. As a result, my flight was delayed about 3 hours. I was supposed to fly at 10.15, but I don't think we left before 1pm ^_^; I kept stressing, because I thought "delayed" would just become "cancelled"... and I was really worried for Ames, who got there before me... cos I had everything: car rental reservation, room reservation, tickets for "O"... but in the end I did make it.

Originally, we were supposed to have enough time between our arrival and the show to walk around and relax... and catch a nap. However, because it was delayed, I didn't get a chance to nap... result? I was ultra- tired at the end of the day and I nodded off during the Cirque du Soleil show. Arghh!!!! At least, I tried to limit my nodding off at the clowns and not the acrobats.

Here is the fountain show in front of Bellagio:

The next day, we visited a bit of Vegas. Here are the frolicking dolphins at the Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat of the Mirage.

By the way, the google directions weren't all that bad. I think that out of 5 maps that I had printed prior the trips, 4 were correct. It just turned out that the one to go from Las Vegas to Laughlin made us do a detour. Luckily, we caught it and went straight on the highway... As for the sign, well it was quite small and not well-lit. that's why I missed it. Luckily, we didn't have to drive too long in order to make a U-turn.

As Ames said, Holly and MM's families are very welcoming and friendly. They really didn't make us feel like outsiders and it was great spending time with them :D what was also fun is that we got to spend more time with Holly than I thought, you know, her being the bride and having so many guests. Also, I had a great time with Daphne and P! :) Those two girls are awesome! Too bad we live so far away from each other and can't get together on a more regular basis! I miss you girls!

Oh, just an aside... you know from Isabel and Holly's story about MM and Joey at Outback.. well I always thought that the Bloomin' Onion was a drink... which I mean, ewww! LOL... turns out it wasn't ^_^;

This is the best video I got from the trip :D The groom kissing the bride!!!

See how it's sunny? It was quite warm as well :D Perfect temperature for a wedding :D Meanwhile, in Montreal... they had a snowstorm!!! and the airport closed down. Luckily, I wasn't coming home on that day.

Another great moment of the trip was meeting Rosie, Lori and Wendy at Victoria Gardens Mall! I had a great time, but I wish I had more pictures :) Also wish I could have done some shopping... it's really a nice place. It was also our first opportunity to go bookshopping!!! LOL and I did quickly raid Rosie's favorite Borders :D

Finally, we made it to Los Angeles. It's unfortunate that we didn't get to stay longer :( Since I have family in LA, I had to visit... so I didn't get to hang out as much with Rowena as Ames. Not fair! But hey, YogourtLand was awesome LOL :)

Can you see Rowena behind my cup of yogourt? And the next pic is me eating crawfish... like the bib? Apparently, it's very popular right now... crawfish, not the bib. and LOL, we did indeed spent most of the trip eating... very well :) (except for the first day)...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Guess what I got?

Just a quick post :) Guess what I got?...

Dagger-Star by Elizabeth Vaughan!!!

Okay, so it's not the copy that I pre-ordered... Yep, you guessed it right, I went out to buy another copy :P But I'm already predicting that I'll need a keepsafe copy :) I've just started it and I'm at the beginning of chapter 3, so just a bit after the excerpt that was posted on her website... but I have to say, I'm happy this trilogy is not written at 1st person narrator :P This will allow more points of view.
Anyway, all in all, I'm pretty happy and this pretty much makes my week-end. Now if only I could get my hands on Strike Zone by Kate Angell, I'd be in heaven.
So what are your plans for the week-end everyone?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Review: No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong

Ugh, I can’t believe this book has been out for 11 months already. I remember how excited I was when this came out. I devoured it and just never got around to review it. Well at least, it’s not too late… since the paperback version just came out about 2 weeks ago. Maybe this review will convince others to pick it up… :P

No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
published by Random House in April 2007 (HC) and March 2008 (paperback)

Jaime, who knows a thing or two about showbiz, is on a television shoot in Los Angeles when weird things start to happen. As a woman whose special talent is raising the dead, her threshold for weirdness is pretty high: she’s used to not only seeing dead people but hearing them speak to her in very emphatic terms. But for the first time in her life – as invisible hands brush her skin, unintelligible fragments of words are whispered into her ears, and beings move just at the corner of her eye – she knows what humans mean when they talk about being haunted.

She is determined to get to the bottom of these manifestations, but as she sets out to solve the mystery she has no idea how scary her investigation will get. As she digs into the dark underside of Los Angeles, she’ll need as much Otherworld help as she can get in order to survive, calling on her personal angel, Eve, and Hope, the well-meaning chaos demon. Jeremy, the alpha werewolf, is also by her side offering protection. And, Jaime hopes, maybe a little more than that.

Genre: fantasy/paranormal, horror
Series: Women of the Otherworld, book #7

The Story: I was going to write a synopsis, but then I’m re-reading the back blurb and it’s quite good, so I won’t bother :P

My Opinion: I’ve been waiting for this book forever. Ever since Jaime was introduced and seeing her crush on Jeremy being re-informed in the subsequent installment, I wanted this book. I wanted to know how Ms Armstrong was going to resolve Jaime and Jeremy’s relationship :P and oh my, I wasn’t disappointed.

First, Jaime. I like her :D She’s always been an entertaining character in my opinion… and although I rarely enjoy heroine of 40+ y.o. Jaime is different. She’s very confident as a woman, but not so as a necromancer. Mainly because she’s afraid of her powers… and seriously, I don’t blame her. She has little control over it and it’s not as if she can stop ghosts from talking to her and asking her help… and knowing that most necromancers become mad with old age… I don’t see many advantages for her. It’s been really interesting to see her struggling with her abilities and helping others, as she tries so hard. In the end of No Humans Involved, you see her fully accepting her necromantic abilities and that has been a very long journey for Jaime… What helped her out are her friends. She now have friends that will back her up, support her… and she now has Jeremy too.

I love Jeremy, he’s such an awesome character. I like his quiet side, his sense of responsibility and his kindness. He’s very different than most males in the series… maybe because he’s so wise. After this book, I love him even more! We get to see a totally different side of Jeremy. Not the leader, not the alpha, but the man. The balcony scenes? OMG, so awesome! We also get to see the backstage of being an alpha and that was really interesting.

I wanted to read how Jaime and Jeremy would get together, but at the same time, I was kind of dreading it. In the end, I think that Ms Armstrong came up with the right solution and right balance for Jaime and Jeremy’s relationship. I was really satisfied with it.

As for the plot, I enjoyed it a lot. It was interesting, intriguing and gripping. I like how it was resolved and the amount of work and energy they had to put in it. The whole book was well-balanced in my opinion between the case and the relationship. My only complaint, and this is surprising, is that the whole part where Jaime went to Portland to see Paige and cie and ask them for information was superfluous. Although I enjoy seeing past characters, Eve, Kristof, Hope, Karl and Jeremy were enough. Also, why go all the way when a simple phone call would have given the same result?

My Grade: A-. Simply a great addition to the series, a fantabulous read.

Ps - I have buddy reviewed Personal Demon, the next installment in the Women of the Otherworld series, over at Breezing Through with Li from Book Daze. Check it out here. Plus, polls concerning this series are up :D

Still here...

hello everyone :D

How was your Easter week-end? Just wanted to let you know that I'm still here :P Not MIA. Well, you probably know, since I've been commenting and blog-hopping... just not blogging ^_^; I've just been doing so much stuff I haven't had much time to blog, but hopefully, that will change.

I'm in a bit of a slump... maybe not a reading slump, but I look at my TBR pile and I don't feel like reading anything in it. Luckily for me, I got 2 books by mail yesterday... So maybe that will get me reading again :P

My obsession with The Seventh Day is over.... but guess what? It's the Women World Championship of Curling this week... so that's what I've been watching :P You might think I'm crazy, but I think curling is a great sport. You can be competitive for a long time, you need good strategy, good teamwork, good skills. I'd like to try to play once... but my friends aren't really into it. Sigh :(

So that's pretty much it for me :P What about you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

TBR Day: Rumble on the Bayou by Jana DeLeon

Quick words before starting the review. Keishon has issued a TBR challenge for those who wanted to read from their TBR pile and decreased it. Here are the specifics of the challenge. I used not to have any TBR pile when I was still a student. The reason? Less budget to buy books, more time to read and also, I wasn't actively reading reviews on internet. Now? Hmmm, I'd say my TBR pile is somewhere around 300-400... LOL, how did that happen? ^_^;

Anyway, my first book for the TBR Day is Rumble on the Bayou by Jana DeLeon.

Rumble on the Bayou by Jana DeLeon
publishe by Dorchester in October 2006

Meet Deputy Dorie Berenger - her days of lingerie sunbathing are over...

Deputy Dorie Berenger knew it was going to be a rough day when the alligator she found in the town drunk's swimming pool turned out to be stoned. On heroin. Now she has some big shot city slicker from the DEA trying to take over her turf. And Agent Richard Starke is everything she'd feared-brash, demanding and way too handsome for his own good. Or hers.

The folks of Gator Bait, Louisiana may know everything about each other, but they're sure not going to share it with an outsider. Richard wouldn't be able to catch a catfish, much less a drug smuggler, without Dorie's help. But some secrets – and some desires – are buried so deep that bringing them to the surface will take a major Rumble on the Bayou.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: --

The Story: I'm going to skip on a summary, because I think that the back blurb did a good job :) All I'll add is that along with the stoned alligator, Dorie finds several bags of heroin in a backpack and a finger. A single finger. She gets a print... and DEA agent Richard Starke shows up at her doorstep. The print belongs to a long-time drug trafficker named Shawn Roland that the DEA has been trying to catch for decades with no success. However, Richard is determined not to fail this time and he'll do anything for his investigation... even playing nice with Dorie.

My Opinion: I thought this book was very good :) I enjoyed it a lot. I like small town settings, because there's always a lot of hilarious situations possible and this book has tons. The opening scene, Dorie and Joe Miller, her friend and co-worker, finding the alligator? Awesome!... it was just a great way to start a book.

I also really liked the characters. Every one of them. Dorie makes a great heroine. She's smart and tough with a soft side. It was fun to see her interact with others. She kind of run the whole show. She also has a lot of layers, as in what you see isn't what you get :P Most important of all is that she's competent :P Richard Starke was also interesting, unfortunately, Dorie stole all the spotlight. He's a good man: determined, stubborn, smart and handsome... but not the kind to make me swoon... To the H/H, you add in a mix of secondary characters, all looking after Dorie's best interest and you get a great comedy. The biggest plus of this book however was the plot. It was well thought out and all the things connected well. In addition, good writing doesn't hurt.

I do have complaints though. I have to admit that some parts were a bit boring. Those parts are very short and basically have to do with Dorie and Richard's confrontation over the investigation. It's just been done over and over already... it's not the writing or the plot, just something that had to happen, but isn't very interesting. Also, I thought Richard and Dorie fell for each other a bit too abruptly. One minute Richard is annoyed with Dorie and the next one, he's in love. Sure they were attracted to each other, but there's attracted and then there's Love. Finally, I read Unlucky not too long ago and I felt like both were based on the same templates. I mean, both books are great and the storyline and action is quite different... but the main action, the feeling and the flow were identical... as a result, I didn't enjoy Rumble on the Bayou at full capacity, because I felt I knew the story already... and that was unfortunate :(

My Grade: Overall, a good book - B from me. It would have been a great book if I haven't read Unlucky and this one in such a short period.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Four Things meme

Four Things Meme...

Yes, I'm alive. I'm trying to get some things done so I can blog. Sigh.

I've been tagged for this meme by Jill and Brie and it just slipped out of my mind ^_^; Major oups... but here it is.

4 Jobs I've Had
volunteer librarian
sale clerk

4 Movies I've Watched Over and Over
Lord of the Ring
Back to the Future
Pirates of the Carrabeans

4 Places I've Lived
Montreal island
*only lived in 3

4 Shows I Watch
House M.D.
Grey's Anatomy
Amazing Race

4 Places I've Been
Hong Kong
Las Vegas
Los Angeles

4 Things I Love To Eat
Ice cream
Libanese potatoes with garlic sauce

4 Places I'd Rather Be
In bed
On a trip
At the bookstore
Anywhere else other than work

4 Things I Look Forward To
Easter (it means 4 days week-end)
Getting my book order
My next trip

So whoever is up for the meme is being tagged :P

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Seventh Day

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry for neglecting the blogs these past few days. I just started feeling better... i.e. no dizziness. I've been trying to catch up on my sleep, but two things came up: 1) curling - the Brier, ie. Men's Canadian Championship and 2) The Seventh Day, a TVB series.

Also, it seems that Ames has been extremely busy with work- we've barely exchanged emails. At least, we've been able to exchange each other's pictures. So we'll try to have a recap of the trip soon.

On the reading front, I haven't read much. Again, two things came up :P The Brier and The Seventh Day. I was able to finish one book though :P I'll review it soon, but all I have to say for the moment is that I love Chapters online :) Pre-ordering is great!!!

Finally, I need to gush :) My obsession of the moment, The Seventh Day!! Gosh, it's been a long time since a tv series has this effect on me :P Basically, what makes this series great for me is the two leads, Kevin Cheng and Niki Chow :) (they're on the right side of the poster, with the snow background).

Kevin and Niki just have incredible chemistry together and all their scenes are soooooo sweet and cute! Awwww. It's the kind of on-screen couple that you just wish were a couple in real life too :) and aren't they cute together? Kevin's so handsome :P I think he's my ideal looking man LOL :) and Niki is just sooo cute :) They're quite solemn in the poster, but they're usually so smiley and happy... Rumors have it that they're dating... I wish it's true :P This is their third collaboration together and it's basically because they're such a great couple that this tv series was made.

So what have I been doing? Watching this tv series in cantonese although I don't understand much. Luckily, there are summaries and spoilers :P Well I didn't need to understand what they said to cry :) Basically, The Seventh Day has a tragic storyline... I just can't wait for the viet version to come out. Luckily, someone has finally subbed the series in English. Thanks God!

I'll be back soon in full swing :P

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Review: The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander

The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander
published by Avon Romance in March 2008

The perfect wife should be beautiful, trusting, and absolutely agreeable—or so the Earl of Wyldewood thought. But in New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander’s intriguing tale, he finds that marriage is about more than mere appearances . . .

When the Earl of Wyldewood meets Sabrina Winfield, he thinks he’s found the ideal match. Graceful and genteel, the elegant blonde will look simply exquisite displayed on his arm. And a lady like Sabrina will undoubtedly occupy her time with proper matters, leaving him free to pursue his own pleasures . . .

But beneath Sabrina’s delicate beauty lies the most infuriatingly stubborn, wildly adventurous woman the earl has ever met. She’s nothing like the perfect wife he had imagined. And before long, all he can think of is quieting her biting wit (with his kisses), putting an end to her outlandish schemes (with his own carefully planned seduction), and doing everything inhis power to become the perfect husband.

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: --

Why I got this book? I thought this book was the 4th and final book in the author's Wager series... turns out I was wrong.

The Story: Lady Sabrina is in a financial pinch as her new financial advisor has screwed it up and she's lost a substancial amount of money. After all the money spent for her daughter's first season, she now must find money for the dowry. It wouldn't be the first time that Lady Sabrina has financial difficulties, but the only solution she can come up is finding some buried gold coins in Egypt based on a letter her late husband won in a wager.

Nicholas Harrington has just inherited his title. Widowed with a son who just got engaged, Nicholas finds himself in a pinch too. He needs a wife, someone who can socialize and take care of all the household. He's attracted to his son's future mother-in-law, Lady Sabrina, and believes that she'd be perfect... however, he quickly discovers that she is not who she seems to be.

My Opinion: That back blurb? Totally misleading!! It might have been worth to mention Sabrina and Nicholas' grown up children!!! Ugh. I felt a bit cheated. In a contemporary, I wouldn't mind Sabrina's age too much, 36 y.o., but in a historical? Well I have to admit I was a bit put off. I really didn't expect it. Throw in the children and I was really put off.

Basically, after coming back in London's society, Sabrina has repressed herself and lived a model life, so her daughter wouldn't suffer from a bad reputation. However, Sabrina yearns for adventure and going to Egypt is just what she needs. However, Nicholas follows her. That wasn't in her plans. Then, he proposes and she accepts - a marriage of convenience. As for the kids, Sabrina's daughter is convinced that Nicholas' a rake and so she can't leave her mother alone with him. Thus, along with her fiance and his aunt, she goes after them... however, the trip doesn't turn out as she expected.

Ugh, unless you're a die-hard fan of Ms Alexander, this book is skippable. I read the whole thing, but seriously... Sabrina and Nicholas and their relationship were okay. I liked their individual personality... of course, I'd have liked them better if they were younger and had no kids. I thought they came together a bit quick, but okay, it wasn't so bad. However, did she have to leave at the end? I mean, what about talking about it? Ugh. Stupid. As for the secondary characters, all annoying. Especially Sabrina's daughter and Nicholas' son. Talk about spoiled and naive kids. Sigh. I just felt the story went nowhere and plotline was a bit too weak. There were a lot of characters and each person was going their own way instead of working together. All in all, a very disappointed read :(

My Grade: C-

ps - guess what? I just discovered that this book was a reprint. Well no wonder then...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

Hi everyone :D

Just a quick post to let you know that we both made it safely home :D I got to Montreal at 7am yesterday. Lucky for me, I wasn't travelling during the week-end, cos apparently, the airport closed down because of a snowstorm. As for Ames, she made it home a bit late yesterday, but still got in at around 9pm.

We are going to blog about the trip, no worries. I'm waiting for Ames to settle down a bit so we can do a joint post about the trip, completed with pictures. However, it might take a while :D

Meanwhile, I'll be blogging as usual. I have a review that I want to post up and also, I've been tagged by both Brie and Jill for a meme :)

anyway, I'm happy to be home. The trip was great, but tiring. I think I didn't sleep enough because I keep feeling dizzy... like the world around me is moving... Hate the feeling. ah well, later :D

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hello from Laughlin :)

Hello everyone!

Holly and MM got married earlier this afternoon, so Holly is officially Mrs. MM... Congratulations to both of them :)!!! Yay!

Quick update from me... the weather was ugly on Wednesday when I left... ice pellets (about 15cm); however, my flight was not cancelled. Phew. It was however, delayed, so poor Ames, she had to wait for me.

We had fun in Vegas, although I have to admit, I didn't like the city that much... or perhaps, the hotels. "O" the show was excellent.

We drove down to Laughlin a bit late, so it was pitch black on the road. Ewww. Definitively scary. But we made it, albeit some little detours ^_^; We got to hang out a lot with Holly and her family, who are really awesome. Then Daphne joined us yesterday with a friend :) Daphne is really a cool girl. For some reasons, I was imagining someone a bit more reserved, LOL, but that girl has energy for 4 :)

Right now, the girls are all taking a nap. We'll be going out to eat soon and then, head to the reception. Tomorrow, Ames and I are hitting the road early so we can meet Rosie, Wendy and Lori in Victoria Gardens for lunch before heading to Los Angeles. Can't wait.

Reading-wise: haven't read much. A shame since I brought so many books ^_^; We wanted to go to a UBS in Las Vegas, but it closed down I guess. We saw a bookstore in the Oulet Mall map near our hotel, but it also closed down. so no luck so far book-wise. However, we're going to make it up once we meet the girls in Victoria Gardens.

Gotta go... I just want to say I miss everyone on blogland and I'll be back soon! :)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Travelling pre-jitters....

Ha. I bet everyone was expecting to see the word "jitters" appear in one of Holly's posts, considering that she's the bride. However, the future Mrs. MM is not nervous, because she knows they are right for each other. Instead, I'm the one who has a bad case of travelling pre-jitters. Sigh.

It's always been that way. Ever since I can remember travelling, i.e. leaving home for a few days, I get travelling pre-jitters. Which is sad. I spend months planning, getting my spirits up, getting excited... and then boom. Few days before the trip, I don't feel like going anymore. I'm asking myself, "Why did I want to go?" I think it has nothing to do with the trip, but everything to do with leaving home. I get anxious... and I'm a worrier... so I'm worried about all kind of things... I mean, I know that I'll have fun once I get there and all... but I can't help worrying.

My biggest worry right now (aside from never seeing my parents and sister and the house) is the weather. They are forecasting ice pellets... like 15-20cm of snow and 15mm of rain. Ugh. However, it's been snowing and raining so much and this is Montreal, in Quebec. So they should be used to it...right? right?

anyway, on a lighter note... SoCal bloggers. Any books you'd like for me to bring?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Monthly Reads February 2008

So everyone, how was your reading this month? I was really looking forward for February, especially the beginning of the month :) Seriously, I don't think that the new releases in February went unnoticed... Mine to Possess and Demon Night... There was also another In Death book. However, I didn't expect February to be such a good month. I have to admit though, I had pre-ordered a lot of books this month and many of them arrived early - that contributed to my month a lot :D

So here are the books I read :)

1) Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh: B+
2) Demon Night by Meljean Brook: A-
3) Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb: B+
4) Wife for a Week by Kelly Hunter: B
5) Rumble on the Bayou by Jana DeLeon: B
6) Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs: C-
7) All or Nothing by Claire Cross: B
8) Freefall by JoAnn Ross: C
9) Riding Wild by Jaci Burton: C
10) Season for Miracles by Marilyn Pappano: B-
11) Guns Will Keep Us Together by Leslie Langtry: C
12) Earthy Pleasures by Karen Neches: B-
13)Once in Every Life by Kristin Hannah: C
14) Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop: B
15)Bedded for Diamonds by Kelly Hunter: B+
16) Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder: A-/B+
17) Satisfaction Guaranteed by Lucy Monroe: C
18) True Confessions by Rachel Gibson: B
19) Beautiful Girl by Shiloh Walker: B

So yep, a very good reading month, with no DNF :) and I've reviewed many of them!! I'm so proud of it :) anyway, hopefully, I'll be able to keep it up :) Also, lots of buddy reviews coming up for Breezing Through.

PS - The archives will be updated soon :)