Thursday, May 29, 2008

This and that...

I'm tired... in a good way though, I guess. The last few days have been busy. Like I told everyone, I signed up to the gym on Monday... and I had my first session on Tuesday. Yay - not. I worked out for 40 minutes and it was painful - not just because I'm out of shape (which is really sad), but also because it's soooo boring! I had music with me (thanks heaven) and was watching tennis at the same time, but still... I had too much time to think with my brain and all I could do is wish that time would go faster. I'm definitively bringing a book today when I go... and oh, I spent most of my time biking... so but bottom hurts. Seriously, those bike seats are really uncomfortable!

One thing that annoys me is coming out of the parking lot, which is incline, I heard a huge scratching sound :( I scratched the whole bottom on the left side of the front of my car :( Yeah, definitively not happy :( I have to say though, Honda carrosserie sucks. It's soo easy to scratch the car... so it's been bugging me :(

I also got my annual letter from the I-Rewards membership - that's the membership of the bookstore Chapters/Indigo/Coles that allows me to save 10% of all the books I buy in-store and 5% online. It's time that I renew the membership and on the letter, it tells you how much you've saved for the year...


Yay!! I saved 10$ more than last year... which when you think about it is a bit frightening. Especially since the books price has gone down significantly ever since the Canadian dollar is doing so well. So I must have bought even more books ^_^; !

Oh and fellow Canadian book lovers, Chapters/Indigo/Coles are having double discount days on this week-end (May 31 & June 1st)! I guess it means that you save 20% instead of 10% if you're a member. By the way, English mangas are already on-sale at 20% off (+10% if you're a member... don't know if it's going to be 20% though this week-end... hmmm)... and finally, starting from June 13 for two weeks, it's the buy 3 books and get the 4th free sale!

Yesterday, I went out with friends. Two of them are graduating!! That's very good news :) I wore a skirt and a very nice top. Very feminine. Actually, my friend, KK, has been complaining, LOL :) See, I ask her to go shop with me and choose more feminine/grown-up clothes for me... and she has a good taste... but then, I never wear what she choose. For me, skirts and nice tops are for nice occasions, not simply going to work or going out. Plus, the temperature has been a bit chilly and it's been windy... so KK has been complaining that I never wear the clothes that I bought with her. So yesterday, I wore the skirt, the nice top and the sandals. It was quite funny, because she actually chose everything I was wearing yesterday - the top, the skirt, the sandals and she's the one who bought me the purse for my b-day, LOL :) I'll post a pic up when they'll send me the pictures... Though you guys have seen pictures of me at Holly's wedding, so it's not so special now :P

Ah... I think I forgot my cellphone at the restaurant yesterday. Ugh. I can't find it :( Or perhaps, it's in KK's jacket... I hope I haven't lost it yet, but it's too early at the moment to call either of them (KK or the restaurant)... but yeah, that's one problem I don't need at the moment :(

Oh by the way, anyone interested to do some buddy reviews with me? Lately, I've read The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn, The Waitress by Melissa Nathan, Finding Mary Blaine by Jodi Thomas and the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Review: Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings

Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings
published by Grand Central Publishing in April 2008

A shocking betrayal...her father's murder...and a life-threatening accusation...Heiress Charlotte Court has walked into a waking nightmare-one that sends her running from her wealthy home to anywhere she can hide.

Across the border in Mexico, Charlotte creates a new identity and finds refuge in the battle-torn arms of Navy SEAL Matt Sanders. Fleeing his past, Matt yearns to protect her and replace her pain with pleasure. But Charlotte can't trust anyone, not even someone she's starting to love. She knows she's a target-and out of sight, a soulless killer is zeroing in on his prey...

Genre: romantic suspense, contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: Charlotte Court's family, i.e. her father and herself, own Court Industry. However, business is the last thing on her mind as her father is dying of cancer and Charlotte is spending all her time at his bedside. Court Industry vice-president is infuriated that the Court family is going to pass over a deal of 8 billions dollars with the government, especially since he has spent all these years and energy putting back together Court Industry. Thus he comes up with this idea: eliminate the father and daughter. Things don't go according to plan when Charlotte walks in on her father's murder and disappears after discovering that she is wanted for the murder.

Injured, Charlotte flees to San Luis, a little down across Mexico's border. There, she tries to forget her past and surrounds herself with her arts. However, she is not out of danger... and luckily for her, she meets Matt Sanders, ex-SEAL on the road of recovery after having been injured in Afghanistan.

My Opinion: Hmmm, I'm a bit torn over this one. Unlike Jill from Romance Rookie, I thought that the first half of the book, especially those first few chapters, were the best. They might not have been realistic - for eg: Charlotte running away with a wounded shoulder - but they were a great set up and interesting. You definitively get to see how Charlotte's mind works and also, the guts and perseverence in Matt Sanders. Having recently finished SEALed with a Kiss and knowing more about Navy SEALs, I can absolutely see Matt pushing himself to exhaustion in order to put back his life together... Those were some great scenes of the books. I also enjoyed Charlotte and Matt's scenes when they finally met. It's not exactly love at first glance... after all, they've had weeks to develop their relationship, even though it was silent. So to see them come together so quickly once they finally spoke to each other, it felt natural. A bit cheesy, but natural and it was well-done by Ms Jennings.

Another thing that I like is that Ms Jennings took her time to set up the book. I think that most authors would have started the book with Charlotte already settled in Mexico and Matt, next door. Then, we would have gotten their stories as flashbacks. Instead, Ms Jennings shows us what happened for both characters and then, slowly brought them together. She didn't rush the meeting between the H/H and in doing so, it makes their connection stronger to the readers.

Like Holly said, the romance was great and it definitively saved the book. I really like Charlotte and Matt's chemistry... although I can't help but hope Ms Jennings would have develop Matt a bit more, since she focused a great deal on Charlotte... We know he's a SEAL and comes with all the quality that makes us, readers, swoon at SEALs: handsome, strong, autocratic, protective and etc. Ms Jennings drops many interesting facts such as he would have become a math teacher if he wasn't a SEAL and we know he's a strategist... but I find his character a bit contradictory. Someone so smart, but doesn't know about Botox? Gouache? There was one or two instances where I found his reaction a bit weird... ^_^; but I liked him as a hero, just like I did with Charlotte as a heroine. Charlotte might has been weak at certain times, but overall, she's a strong woman and a survivor. I also like how some of her views changed after interacting with Matt...

Unfortunately, everything starts going downhill in the second half of the book, when the villain hires a hitman and when Matt learns that Charlotte is in danger. First, there was the whole pacing being off... The book started off with its own pace and Ms Jennings' writing made it feel slow and calm in a good way. However, suddenly, it was rushed as if half the book wasn't enough to tell the rest of the story. Then, the villain POV switched from the vice-president to the hitman. From then on, we get anymore of the vice-president POV, only the hitman and that's weird... because although it's a job for him, he's not really involved emotionally in the storyline. Sure, he wants to find and kill Charlotte to get his money, but that's his only motivation right? He's not a serial killer or a maniac, he doesn't have deeper motives concerning Charlotte, so why does he get so much POV pages? Finally, the weakest element was the resolution of the whole storyline... it was definitively rushed and anti-climatic. Such a great build-up and the ending was meh or actually, more like "That's it?!?!?!?!"

My Grade: B. This book has good characters and a great romance, but as a romantic suspense, it does fail expectations a little bit.

To do list...

Hi everyone :D

so how was your week-end? Unlike US folks, I didn't have a long week-end. Nope, I had to go back to work yesterday :( but it was all right, I was able to sneak off to the bookstore. I bought the Bridgertons series as well as Melissa Nathan's backlist and a couple more. Then, after paying, the clerk tells me it's double discount days this week-end... So instead of saving 10%, I could have saved 20%. She asked if I wanted to return the books, but I said no... cos the bookstore I went was the farthest one (near my work) and there's no way I'm going to drive back on the week-end... but still, couldn't she have said something beforehand?

Rosie has been really busy with her son's coming graduation that she asked other what were their to do list. This is what I wrote in the comment section:

1.organize all my books and clean up my chaotic room
2.sign up at the gym
3.return one of the cell phone

I didn't touch my room at all since last week... however, I did give away my old computer and computer desk... so it's not too bad. Also, I finally signed up to the gym yesterday... for 3 months. That's a start. Now, I need to go train... sigh. I guess this isn't the right attitude, being depressed even before starting. I was going to wait till I finish shelving, but then, I figure I was only lying to myself and looking for excuse. So I went and signed up. I have no idea what I'm going to do... :( but yeah, I need to get back in shape and lose weight :( So first step taken.

Yesterday at supper, my dad talked about my future... more like, what am I going to do in the future. He says I should try out for pharmacy schools in the States... or law. I have no interest in law, so that takes care of it... as for pharmacy schools... My dad is right in a way. I'm still young and pharmacy schools will only take a few years and after that, I'm set right? The thing is, the idea of being so much in debts depresses me. Really. Never been in debt in my life and suddenly, at 30 y.o. I'll be more than 100k in debt? Hmmm, not appealing at all.

After he brought up pharmacy or law, I don't think it was a good time to tell him: you know what, Dad? I was thinking of becoming an office manager or whatever you call secretary nowadays. Sigh. There's another option: translation. I had a friend talked to me about one of his friends going into translation after a B.Sc. It sounds good, given the fact that we live in a bilingual country. I'm going to explore it a little more, see if there's a market for it... perhaps that what I'll do. Ugh. Future... if only I could find a rich husband and not worried anymore... but isn't that all our dream? LOL :P

anyway, time for me to got to work. I'll have a review up later today.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Manga Mania: Kare Kano

I've been wondering which series to spotlight first for this new feature. Should it be a shounen or shoujo series? One that is completed or still ongoing? In the end, I chose the one that I've been presently re-watching: Kare Kano aka Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō aka His and Her Circumstances.

Kare Kano is a shoujo manga by mangaka Tsuda Masami that was serialized in LaLa from 1995 to 2005 and compiled into 21 volumes. It has been licensed by Tokyopop in English and Tonkam in French and has been completely published in both language.

The Story: High school has started and very quickly, freshmen Yukino Miyazawa (heroine) and Soichiro Arima (hero) have stood out as the perfect model students. However, it is all a front. In fact, all Yukino wants is the praise and admiration when in reality, she's stubborn, greedy and manipulative as well as a slob. As for Soichiro, his motives are more noble: as a child, Soichiro was abandonned by his parents who were troublesome, never-do-well persons and was adopted by his uncle and aunt despite the protest of the family clan. Thus, Soichiro wants to prove his family clan wrong and does not want to attract trouble to his adoptive parents. However, both discover that there is more to life than perfection, such as love and friendship, and decide to show their true selves... but what if their true selves turn out to be dark?

My Opinion: This is a great series and everyone should give it a chance :P We follow Yukino and Soichiro as they make friends, but also get to see their relationship grow stronger and stronger. The manga is mainly focused on Yukino and Soichiro; however, the mangaka cleverly breaks up the story with episodes where we get to know more about Yukino and Soichiro's new friends and see them grow and find themselves.

I realized that in the synopsis, I make it sounds like Yukino is a bad person... but she is not. She's just a bit superficial and self-centered. However, she really makes a great heroine. She comes from a middle class family and is the oldest of three girls. Her family is very loving and loud... and her parents wonder how they produce such a smart and ambitious girl LOL :) Seriously, I would want her as a friend any day :D As for Soichiro, he's almost the perfect guy. Smart, comes from a rich family, very attentive, devoted and a bit on the reserve side... Sigh... As for the rest of the characters, they're quirky and fun and very friendly. It's really fun to read about them :P

As many shoujo series, the series is funny and quite light in the beginning, especially as characters are introduced, but it does become dark and serious about mid-way or 2/3 of the series. There was a lot of thoughts put in the characterization and storyline which results in complex and three-dimensional characters and profound story which puts it above many other shoujo series. I would say that many high school life shoujo series are fun and entertaining, but they lack interesting plotlines and the "conflicts" are often silly. This is definitively not the case with Kare Kano and I think that part of the reason is that the manga is character-orientated. In addition, the mangaka doesn't introduce any love triangle or third love party which makes it refreshing.

I have to admit though that when the series started to get darker, I didn't enjoy it as much, but it was interesting. That was possibly the only thing I didn't like. All the rest, I love and I was definitively hooked. I also love the fact that we got to know more about the other characters, that they didn't stay uni-dimensional, but were given meat and stories. I also enjoyed the fact that the series followed a normal school timeline such as entrance ceremonies, exams periods, field trips with school and vacation. In many series, I find that the timeline is forgotten or brought up only when it's convenient. For example, the mangaka wants to take a break from the main storyline, so he/she will bring up the sport festival to lighten the mood. It is not the case here. Clearly, Tsuda-sensei had plans and knew where she was going with the storyline. Another thing I love about this series is that it feels "real." Of course, some elements are not possible or has been over-exaggerated to be funny, but when it came to the characters, all what they went through was possible: falling in love with an older man, seeing your father re-marry and etc... and that is true especially for Yukino and Soichiro's relationship.

When a series has been running for years, one of the most important element is the end. It's great that the beginning is good, but after readers have invested time, money and themselves so much, it's good to have good endings too. I enjoyed the ending immensely... the best thing about the ending is that it felt right. The storyline ends when Yukino, Soichiro and cie graduate from high school, i.e. 3 years after the beginning of the storyline if I'm not wrong. Not only was it a great "time" to finish, but it was also realistic. It's hard to explain what I mean, but I'll try. Sometimes, so much happens in the series that you feel like it's impossible that all this only took place in this period of time, but it's not the case with Kare Kano. As I said, it feels right and the timeline of 3 years for the whole storyline makes sense. At the end of the story, you see how much all those characters have mature and it really makes you feel great :D

The Art: Seriously, you can't review a manga without talking about the art :P I think that the art of Kare Kano is very pleasant and it suits the feel of the manga. As always in a long series, you can see the evolution of the art as well. The art in the beginning was more old-style with pointy noise and sharp edge, but to my pleasure, it smooths out and becomes rounder. The style of Tsuda-sensei is also very clean with minimal background which makes it easier to read and focus on the characters. With Kare Kano, I believe that her style has become more distinctive as well, more her own and so it's much easier to recognize her works now. All in all, it's a very nice and enjoyable style to read :D And I love her chibis!! (chibis are deformed drawings of the characters like the pic there :P)

The Anime: The manga was adapted in a 26 episodes anime a couple of years back. I don't have the exact date... but it was the anime that hooked me first. Unfortunately, it doesn't cover the whole manga, but only a little than half the storyline (given the fact that the manga was actually not finished when it was adapted). The anime version is a very faithful adaptation of the manga, but the feel is completely different. It's crazy what you can do when you add voices and music :D I'd say the anime is busier and can sometimes be hard to follow, which is not the case with the manga. One of the particularity is that in the few last episodes, it uses some panels of the manga to tell the story. It was a very clever and nice, but at the same time, there was a lot that you had to "read." I haven't watched the dubbed version, but the japanese version with subtitles was excellent and I'm sure you can find some clips on youtube :D

My Grade: A-. I would have given it a A if I've enjoyed the darker phase a bit more :P So please, give it a try, either the manga or anime. You can read the manga here :P If you enjoy, please try to purchase the manga to support the artist :D

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Manga Mania

So last week, I asked if people would be interested if I did a manga feature... well I only got one response ^_^; The good news is that the response was positive. So according to the majority, LOL, I'll be doing a manga feature.

I'm not sure how this will work and what I'll be doing for the manga feature and the frequency of it. All I know is that lately, I've finished many series and want to share them with people on blogland. Some of you have asked me for suggestions, what series to start with. That's a hard question to answer. Hopefully, this feature will help you and give you suggestion.

However, here's a brief introduction about manga to start with. For more information, click here.

Manga are basically Japanese comics. In Japan, manga are read by a wide range of people of all age and there is an equally wide range of topics and subjects explored. Usually, manga are serialized in magazines, some as thick as phone books... when a series is popular enough, the chapters are collected into a tankobon or what we call here a graphic novel.

Me, I usually gravitate towards shonen (teenage boy) and shojo (teenage girl) manga and sometimes, yaoi (male/male love). I would say that those types of manga are the most popular in North America and Europe... therefore, most series licensed belong to these categories...

By the way, I have to mention scanslations. Scanslation is the cheap way to get manga. Basically, groups on the net scans manga and translated them into English and other languages. Obviously, the major advantages of reading scanslations is that it's cheap. Of course, it's better to buy the graphic novels and support the mangaka; however, scanslation is also a good way to discover new un-licensed series or read the newest chapters appearing in a magazine.

Thus, for those who wants to give it a try, here is a site Onemanga where scanslations are online.

I'll have the first spotlight tomorrow, so stay tuned :D

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TBR DAY: The Charade by Laura Lee Guhrke

I've been on a Laura Lee Guhrke kick lately :P I was lucky enough to get my hands on Not So Innocent and Breathless, two of her older works. I really enjoyed Breathless and loved the American setting (I haven't read Guhrke's westerns and all her other works I've read were set in England). I found out afterwards that The Charade was also set in America and remembered that I had the book in my TBR pile for quite some time already so I pulled it out.

The Charade by Laura Lee Guhrke
published by Sonnet Books in March 2000

Home, freedom, liberty . . . those were mere words to Katie Armstrong, a savvy thief and indentured servant on the run in colonial Boston. For the sake of survival, she agreed to a British lord's bribe: unmask the identity of the patriot known as John Smith, or be returned to her brutal master. But soon the cagey John Smith was making the same threat–unless she spied for him. Katie planned to play both men against each other . . . until, masquerading as Smith's mistress, she lost her heart to the seductive stranger she had set out to undo.

Ethan Harding's steely heart was ready to risk anything to end British tyranny–even if it meant taking on the false identity of John Smith, putting his own life in jeopardy, or blackmailing a beautiful and terrified young woman. And if that woman's angelic face made other men spill their secrets, so much the better. But now, Katie Armstrong's charms were about to betray his heart and his cause–and his desire for the elusive temptress would turn the tables on everyone and everything he had pledged to protect.

Genre: historical romance
Series: none

The Story: The blurb is a very good synopsis, but I'm still going to do a little synopsis. Katie Armstrong is an orphan who grew up in the street of London and became a thief. After being caught, she was sent to America to be an indentured servant instead of being hanged like her accomplice because she's pretty. Once in America, Katie runs away to Boston after her new master has demonstrated his sadistic preferences which led to the death of another servant. Unfortunately for Katie, she is caught in Boston by a nobleman recently arrived from England.

It is a time of turbulence in the New England colonies as "Americans" start to rebel against England power. The current governor is in over his head, but refuses to arrest anyone without proofs. Thus, the British Lord sets out to find proofs, arrest the rebels and perhaps become the new governor. However, he needs Katie to spy for him and find out the identity of the mysterious John Smith. Katie, not having much choice, accepts and quickly finds out that John Smith is no other than Ethan Harding, a supposed British supporter. Soon, she is stuck between the two parties, having to become a double agent... but where does her loyalty lie?

My Opinion: First of, I have to admit that I'm not knowledgeable about this time period Ms Guhrke decided to explore in this book. I'm aware that Quebec went through something very similar, but know absolutely nothing about the American history ^_^; So I was a bit confused at first, especially figuring out who were the Tory and the other side. I didn't know what an indentured servant was either... However, the more you read the more you catch on.

My main problem with this book I guess is that I wasn't absorbed by the characters or the storyline. Part of it was probably due to the mood/atmosphere of the book. It was darker and more serious than most Guhrke books I've read. Same thing for the characters... they were more detached, more serious and calculative... and to an extent, manipulative and ruthless. I understand why. I mean, they were working for a greater cause and gaining America's independance was their priority. Unfortunately, it seemed to put the romance between Katie and Ethan in the background.

The romance was nice, but a little too short. They hadn't spent that much time together and already, Ethan found out that Katie was spying. I know it's hard in those circumstances, especially since they've spent to little time together, but I would have like for Ethan to trust Katie. I think that's what was missing in the whole storyline. Trust between Ethan and Katie. I think that if Katie would have come clean to Ethan, it would have cast a softer glow on their relationship. In this case, the whole thing started off as an affair and it's hard to say when it became more.

What enjoyed how Katie got off the hooked at the end. I'm also glad that the governor wasn't a total buffon or totally naive. However, the ending was a ruined by well the ending ^_^; It would have been nice for Ms Guhrke to add an epilogue and something like "X years later." Instead, the book end with Katie and Ethan together, but with a future uncertain as they get ready to go to war. Sure, it's a happy ending... sort of, but not enough to satisfy me.

My Grade: C. As much as it hurts me to give such a low grade, this book just didn't do it for me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My room in chaos II - Shelving

The bookcases assembly went without a hitch :P I had a friend coming over to help, so it was fun :) Since the bookcases are 2m high, it is recommended to fix them to the wall. Somehow, I fix them skewed ^_^; I'm too lazy get the ladder and fix it... anyway, it's not that skewed...

I started shelving my books. The big questions was how to organize all the books. Ugh. My previous system was kind of all over the place. I had the books divided by genre and then, alphabetically by authors... but since they were triple-stacked (depth-wise), I put all my favorite authors in the front. Anyway, it ended up all messed up. In addition, I haven't re-organized them for over a year... In the past year, I've been buying boxes and baskets... so all the new additions and books I've read went either in the boxes, baskets or on the floor ^_^;

In the end, I decided to do it alphabetically by authors, no matter the genre. I did separate by sizes. Hardcovers and trade-size paperbacks are just shelved alphabetically by authors. I did cheat and put my favorite authors aside in the 40cm wide bookcase. The authors are: Nora Roberts, Jennifer Crusie, Katherine Stone, Judith McNaught, Patti O'Shea, Kay Hooper, Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall, Karen Rose, Naomi Novak and Linda Howard. I might add Kelley Armstrong...

I also made a special shelves for "series." I'm surprised by the small amount of series... I put the Grace Valley/Virgin River books by Robyn Carr, The Guardians by Meljean Brooks, Psy-Changelings World by Nalini Singh and the Warlands Chronicles + Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughan... Oh and the Immortals after Dark by Kresley Cole. I thought I'd run out of space very quickly, but nope. I might add the Nightwalkers by Jacquelyn Franks and the Dirke Steele series by Marjorie Liu, but those are two series that I'm thinking of stopping. I haven't added the Dark-Hunters because I plan to stop after the next book, Acheron. Or perhaps I'll buy some others, but it'll depend on the characters and reviews/recommendations. What I've realized is that many of my favorite series have become hardcovers... for examples, In Death series, Temeraire, Women of the Otherworld, FBI SCU... Since I'm getting those in hardcovers, I thought it shouldn't go in the series shelf... and well, it was already in "my favorites."

So far, I've gone through the books that were already in the bookcases and the ones in baskets. I still have 4 boxes ^_^; Lots of them contain TBR books though. What do you do with your TBR pile? Do you shelve them with the rest or separately?

What does it say about a book if you don't remember the storyline? Does it mean you should part with it or does it mean it's time to re-read? Do you have difficulty parting with books? I don't know, I feel bad ^_^; Not only for the money I spent buying the books, but also just for the book itself.

Hmmm, I can't seem to find my copy of Caress by Ice. I wonder where it is :( I'm also missing Slave to Sensation... Also, I've been buying a lot of second copies in the past year for keepsafe. Should I shelve them with the rest as well or keep it separated?

Ah well... I guess I'll take a decision tomorrow. I'm tired now. Enough shelving for now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My room in chaos

Well that's nothing new really, LOL :) It's been messy like forever, but as I said, I had big plans for my room and I've started them.

I got my computer last Tuesday, but it took time before I installed it. First, I had to empty my old hard drive and saved all the information, files, etc. So that's what I did on Wednesday. On Thursday, I moved the two desks and switch them. Then, I put up the computer. I'm happy with the computer... I don't really care about the speed and memory, because I knew it was better than my old computer... one thing I was worried though is whether it was noisy or not. My old computer was very very quiet. I'm glad to say that this one is equally quiet :D So yay me! I've started re-installing some of the programs, but not all. I'm trying to not clutter my computer as much as the old one. We'll see how it goes...

On Friday, I went to Ikea with my mom. I've decided to buy "cheaper" bookcases. The wood is not as nice, but 399$+tax+delivery for the bookcase I want was just a bit too much. Now, I've paid half and I got more space. Sure the wood is not as nice, but hey, it's all about compromise... and also the money in my wallet LOL :P Here are the 2 bookcases I bought:

So yesterday, I disassemble the desk I was getting rid of. I've realized that I get very attached to my things. Well it's not something new... but it made me feel a bit bad to get rid of my old computer and desk :( However, now I know that it's going to a good home (the monk at the temple) instead of the trash, so I'm relieved.

So today's plan is to assemble the bookcases. I hope I'll have enough space in my room... the bookcases are 2m high. I'm not afraid that it won't fit LOL :) We learn from others (thanks Kristie!!) and so I did measure the space that I had and even my car (see whether I had enough place to bring them back home or I had to have them delivered...) and they will fit. The only thing is I don't know if I have 2m on my floor to assemble them ^_^;

Unfortunately, I don't have my camera at home to take pics. My sister is on vacation (sniff, sniff... I do kind of miss her...) so no piccies until June 8 at least. The good thing about her gone though is that I can use her room as storage, LOL :) So right now, her room is as bad as mine... oups. That means I have two rooms to clean out... but it's all for a good cause no? I just can't wait to have the bookcases up so I can play around and finally SHELVE THE BOOKS! (Ames, after this, you won't hear about me complaining about shelving the books for a loooooong time :P) Luckily, this week-end is a long week-end here in Canada :P

So how's your week-end going?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Review: Dial M for Mischief by Kasey Michaels

Dial M for Mischief by Kasey Michaels
published by HQN in May 2008

Meet the Sunshine girls — three mischievous sisters out to clear their father's name ... and maybe get a little romance on the side.

Hollywood darling Jolie Sunshine is accustomed to trashy headlines. But the shocking gossip surrounding her father's sudden demise has sent her over the edge ... right into the arms of millionaire Sam Becket.

Jolie and Sam once shared much more than a bed, till fame ended their escalating relationship. Now that very limelight is bringing them back together. With a murder to solve and a white-hot passion to quench, they're really about to give the paparazzi a field day.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: The Sunshine Girls, book #1

The Story: Teddy Sunshine-father to Jade, Jolie and Jessica Sunshine-was a cop turned private investigator. The police and public believe that Teddy committed suicide after he killed the wife of a politician; however, the Sunshine girls know better and they are determined to clear his name. In order to do so, they re-visit some cold cases that their father has caught as a cop and kept investigating years after years after years.

My Opinion: Ms Michaels dabbles in a bit of everything: contemporary, mystery and historicals... I usually enjoy her contemporary romance books very, which is why I bought Dial M for Mischief... but not this one.

My main issue with Dial M for Mischief was the Sunshine girls. Ugh. They are all very strong women with strong personalities and somehow, it grated on my nerve, because they kept arguing between each other and against other people. They won't sit down, discuss things and listen to others' opinions. They just barged in, bulldozing whatever is in their way. All three of them. I don't mind one hard-headed heroine... but three is a bit too much to make a storyline enjoyable. Although their reasoning is correct, their attitude is just disagreable.

In this book, the romance is between Jolie Sunshine and Sam Becket. They were engaged 5 years ago, but suddenly, Jolie left to pursue her dreams in Hollywood and is now a superstar. Well good for her, but ugh for me. I don't like starlet characters... sometimes it works out, but most of the time, they just annoy me and Jolie is no exception. What frustrates me most with Jolie and Sam is that they were obviously in love, but they couldn't compromise. I mean, they could have work it out... but no, Sam was too proud and expected her coming home running and Jolie, well seriously... You don't just leave the way she did or else, don't accept the man's proposal. It was totally selfish on her part. Anyway, I usually enjoy past lovers relationship;however, in this case, it was meh.

Character-wise, well the focus was on Jolie and Sam. The sisters had some screen-time, but it was limited and their counterparts (future heroes) were introduced without too much dwellings. For some reason though, I liked the men better. I guess that I found the women too selfish and careless of the people around them. So, the main characters... I started out liking Sam a lot... He's a wealthy businessman, level-headed and a bit anal, LOL :P and I think he deserves better than Jolie. Towards the end though, I thought he was just too passive. It was like he didn't have any opinions at all and just followed and helped Jolie. Jolie, well she's a Sunshine girls and you know what I thought of them.

As for the mystery thread in this book, it was resolved a bit too easily and I'm not sure the sisters actually did any work. Sure, they interrogated a few people and look around, but for me, it's not enough to solve a case. It seems their father did most of the work and they simply had to follow his leads, but at the end, the resolution was way to easy and unrelated to Teddy's death... it almost felt like a filler.

Another issue I had was the book was too busy. There was too much going on... Teddy's death, the introduction of the characters, the setting-up for the trilogy, the romance between Sam & Jolie, the dynamics of the sisters, the cases and etc. Ms Michaels tried to put the romance as the focus, but it was just going back and forth with other elements. I guess that's why the mystery suffered so much. I think it have been better if less was going on.

My Grade: C-. Ms Michaels gives a good effort, but the characters are too irritating for this to be an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Hi everyone!

How it's going? LOL :) I feel cheerful today :) Why? Well, many reasons... but it's mostly because some good things happened to me yesterday :D

(i) I went out with a friend yesterday and we had a nice time. We didn't do anything special... book-shopping (I know, I know... LOL :) and eating and walking around. I was kind of anxious before meeting her, because we rarely hang out together, only us two and well, a few years back, I was really annoyed with her... but it was really fun and I have a nice time :P

(ii) Books! I got 4 books yesterday: 3 that she gave me as a b-day present and one that I bought on my own. Want to know what I got? Fire and Ice, the new Anne Stuart - I've decided to give her another chance, plus the story it sets in Japan and I actually enjoyed Reno and Jill's character in Ice Blue. The new Celeste Bradley, Duke Most Wanted. Casee reviewed it at Book Binge and it sounded good. Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings! That one was a tough one to find. There was only one copy at the bookstore and I didn't have time to look for it on Saturday when I went by... but I found it yesterday! So I'm happy... especially since I heard good things about it. Finally...

Yep! Dark Desires After Dusk! It was at the bookstore on the new releases table, so I grabbed it. I swear, I'll never understand bookstores. Sometimes, they'll tell you that the book is not supposed to be released yet and they won't give it to you although you have it in stock. Other times, the book is already released, but you can't find it because it's in the back room or on a cart or in a box and you have to look it up yourself... and sometimes, they just dump it all out at your feet. Well I'll take it LOL :)

(iii) I got one manga yesterday... Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 38! I've completed another series! Yay! Can you imagine? 38 volumes... 1 volume coming out every 2 months... so that's 6 volumes/year. So I've been collecting this series for more than 6 years! It feels great to have complete yet another series... only problem is lately, I haven't read as much manga and I don't know if there's any series out there worth to start. Well, actually I'm looking forward to some series... but there's just so much manga out there that I don't know them all. Anyway, I'm rambling. By the way, I was wondering... anyone would be interested reading if I started a weekly or bi-weekly features about manga? A bit like Keishon with her Manga Monday feature...

(iv) I got my new computer! Now, I did not open and install it yet, cos my room is still a mess and I was kind of tired yesterday. Still, I got it!

so yeah, I'm happy LOL :) Hopefully work, co-workers and supervisor won't ruin my mood. What about you, anything that made you happy lately?

PS. I forgot ^_^; I have a buddy review of Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich up over at Breezing Through. My buddy reviewier this time? Chantal :P

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Review: Scream For Me by Karen Rose

In 2007, one of my favorite book was Count to Ten by Karen Rose. I just loved it to pieces. Her next release, Die For Me, was very gory and the suspens, very good. However, I never got sucked in the romance side... For me, Vito and Sophie were meh. Still, I was looking forward for Scream For Me very much... After all, it's Ms Rose's first hardcover release... and the hero is Daniel Vartanian :D

Scream For Me by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in May 2008 (Hardcover)

Special Agent Daniel Vartanian has sworn to find the perpetrator of multiple killings that mimic a 13-year-old murder linked to a collection of photographs that belonged to his brother, Simon, the ruthless serial killer who met his demise in Die For Me. Daniel is certain that someone even more depraved than his brother committed these crimes, and he's determined to bring the current murderer to justice and solve the mysterious crime from years ago.

With only a handful of images as a lead, Daniel's search will lead him back through the dark past of his own family, and into the realm of a mind more sinister than he could ever imagine. But his quest will also draw him to Alex Fallon, a beautiful nurse whose troubled past reflects his own. As Daniel becomes attached to Alex, he discovers that she is also the object of the obsessed murderer. Soon, he will not only be racing to discover the identity of this macabre criminal, but also to save the life of the woman he has begun to love.

Genre: romantic suspense
Series: For Me trilogy, book #2

The Story: The blurb isn't bad, but maybe a bit confusing... So here is my version. We first meet Daniel Vartanian in Die For Me, where he's looking for his parents. However, his parents were already killed by Daniel's younger brother, Simon, who has faked his death a decade ago. At the end of the book, Simon was killed during the "arrest."

Scream For Me picks up the story one week after Daniel and his younger sister, Susannah, have buried their parents in their hometown, Dutton. Coming back on duty as a GBI agent, the first case Daniel catches is one where the victim as been raped, wrapped in a brown blanket, her face beaten beyond recognition and with a key tied around her toe... exactly like Alicia Tremaine was found 13 years ago. Since the murderer is behind bars, Daniel is faced with a copy-cat murder.

Alex Fallon is Alicia's twin. 13 years ago, after the death of Alicia, their mother committed suicide and Alex was found unconscious after swallowing a bottle of prescription pills. Luckily for Alex, her aunt and cousin took her away from this tragic place. However, Alex left behind her her stepsister, Bailey. With almost no contact for the past 13 years, it comes as a shock to Alex when she gets a phone call from the social worker stating that Bailey has disappears and Alex is the emergency contact for Hope, Bailey's daughter. Then, Alex hear about the body that is discovered in the same condition as her sister... Coincidences?...

My Opinion: Okay, from the synopsis/blurb, you can probably deduce that this storyline is quite complex and can be, at times, confusing. At the same time, it is excellent :D

I have to say, I love Daniel. He's the straightforward and honest kind of man with a heavy sense of justice. You can see that knowing what his brother did and not able to do anything for the victims has weighted a lot on him. He's also the type of man who will shoulder all the responsibilities and take in all the faults, even if it's not his. He's also quite protective, but without overdoing it. I also really enjoyed Alex. She has a past, but she overcame it and became her own person. Sure, her past still haunts her from time to time, but who can blame her? She's become a very strong woman and is still capable of emotions and attachment. What I mean is that her past hasn't crippled her, which takes even more courage and strength. I love the chemistry between Daniel and Alex. Both has been through a lot of pain and suffering: Alex from survivor's guilt and Daniel, because of his strong sense of justice; however, it did not break them. It made them wary, more susceptible but at the same time, stronger. Their romance happened quickly, but I think that they complement each other so well that you can't help but root for them.

Although I very much enjoyed Daniel and Alex, I have to admit that the strength of this novel was the plot. I thought it was strong with a lot of suspense. It wasn't easy to figure it out. I usually don't read the villains' POV, but in this case, you should. I don't have words to describe how intricate the plot is. Holly said in her review: "The plot kept twisting and turning, until an intricate and delicate web had been woven around the characters. Just when I thought I'd figured out what was going on, the scene would shift and I'd be back at square one." and she was totally right. It's an engrossing plot and I think that the motives and reasonings behind were realistic.

Other things I like? Riley, Daniel's dog. He's just so cute... in a sad way LOL :) Also, the camaraderie between Daniel and the other agents... Ms Rose really tried to make it realistic, adding some subtle touches like Dr. Berg seeming to have a crush on Daniel, but distancing herself once he's with Alex. I also liked how Daniel's superior, Chase, wasn't a jerk. For some reason, it's so rare. Instead, he was understanding and backed up his agents 100%.

There's little that I didn't enjoy. The only thing nagging me is the fact that there is some loose ends, but I guess those will be tied up in Kill For Me. Also, a warning, this book is gruesome and gory. Think Kay Hooper FBI SCU trilogy, especially Blood Dreams, gory.

My Grade: A. This is an excellent romantic suspense and Ms Rose doesn't disappoint for her first hardcover release. I'm definitively looking forward to the next release, Kill For Me, even if I'm not fond of Susannah who I believe is going to be the heroine.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Goals for summer 2008...

1. Re-decorate my room
- buy new computer
- buy new bookcase --> in process
- re-shelve books
- clean out the closet for more storage place

2. Lose weight
- Sign up at gym (*think I found one)
- Eat healthier
- Walk and run

3. Find a new job

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Review: The Hollow by Nora Roberts

I haven't seen a review for this book yet... although it just came out yesterday. Anyway, I thought I'd share my opinion of it...

The Hollow by Nora Roberts
published by Jove in May 2008

For Fox, Caleb, Gage and the other residents of Hawkins Hollow, the number seven portends doom—ever since, as boys, they freed a demon trapped for centuries when their blood spilled upon The Pagan Stone…

Their innocent bonding ritual led to seven days of madness, every seven years. And now, as the dreaded seventh month looms before them, the men can feel the storm brewing. Already they are plagued by visions of death and destruction. But this year, they are better prepared, joined in their battle by three women who have come to The Hollow. Layla, Quinn, and Cybil are somehow connected to the demon, just as the men are connected to the force that trapped it.

Since that day at The Pagan Stone, town lawyer Fox has been able to see into others’ minds, a talent he shares with Layla. He must earn her trust, because their link will help fight the darkness that threatens to engulf the town. But Layla is having trouble coming to terms with her newfound ability—and this intimate connection to Fox. She knows that once she opens her mind, she’ll have no defenses against the desire that threatens to consume them both…
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Sign of 7, book #2

The Story: The story basically picks up from where it left in Blood Brothers. Cal and Quinn are now a couple, Fox and Layla fall in love while Gage and Cybil are still at each other’s throat, although you can see attraction. They continue their normal life, some working and others researching the past, studying the new diaries they have found… and then, from time to time, they have to escape some attacks from the enemy.

My Opinion: I’m sorry if I don’t sound more enthusiastic about this trilogy, but I just can’t muster it. Perhaps I’ve read too many of Nora Roberts’ trilogies? Seriously, going back to the Garden trilogy, I kind of lost interest in them. It’s so obvious who is going to end up with whom and I think that the storylines are quite repetitive. All that is changed is the theme and the background.

Anyway, about The Hollow. It actually started out quite good. I really like Fox and he’s definitively my favorite one out of the three men. He’s charming and very kind. He knows where he stands and where he’s going, he’s addicted to Coke, LOL, and he’s just the really nice guy that I’d love to have as a boyfriend… and who does he get paired up with? Layla. Among the three women, I find Layla the weakest and the most annoying. Her uncertainty and doubts annoyed me, the lack of commitment as well. I understand why though… not everyone can just up and leave their whole life behind, especially to fight an evil being that you’re not even sure you believe. Still, it grated on my nerves. She’s the type of heroine that is weak and whenever the hero steps in front of her for protection, she gets on her high horse… simply annoying.

Personally, I didn’t get why Fox was attracted to her, besides the fact that she’s pretty. I didn’t see the connection or the chemistry… perhaps I didn’t want to see it. In Blood Brothers, Cal and Quinn clicked… but it’s not the case between Fox and Layla. Most of the time, she’s fighting the attraction, doesn’t want to admit it. The worst was that Fox was so nice to her, he really put her needs first and everything. Sigh.

As for the book itself, it was well-written, as always; however, it wasn’t enough. The whole storyline fell flat for me. I couldn’t muster interest. There was a definite sense of déjà-vu. Actually, when I think about it, this trilogy reminds me a lot of the Key trilogy: 1) the men are all childhood friends, 2) the women have just met (well not exactly, but close enough), 3) they have to fight something evil, 4) it involves a lot of research and they have a deadline and 5) paranormal elements. Also, I felt the balance between the romance and the storyline a bit awkward, as in, it didn’t flow. You’d have the 2 trios living a normal life and boo, an attack from evil. Then, the evil would stay low to recover its energy, so the trios are back to their routine, and boo again, attack. Smart thing was that the attacks were restricted to Layla and Fox, but everyone got a taste of it.

So what did I like besides Fox? Well the connection between Cal, Fox and Gage. That one, I could really feel. I like how well they know each other and that they need each other. I also enjoyed the O’Dell family dynamics as well as the O’Dells and Cal and Gage interactions. Those were enjoyable moments and luckily for me, there were many.

My Grade: B-. If you enjoyed Blood Brothers, then go ahead, you’ll probably enjoy this one too. I really enjoy Nora Roberts writing, but I think that I should take a break from the trilogy and stick to her stand-alone books for a while.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Review: Grimpspace from Ann Aguirre

Lots of buzz about this book, which is why I got it... I had a feeling though about that book and turns out I was right. Sometimes, I should just trust my feeling ^_^; There's also been a lot of mixed reviews, so here I am, adding my two cents :)

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
published by Berkley in March 2008

By all accounts, Sirantha Jax should have burned out years ago…

As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace—a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board. It’s hard for Jax to defend herself: she has no memory of the crash.

Now imprisoned and the subject of a ruthless interrogation, Jax is on the verge of madness. Then a mysterious man breaks into her cell, offering her freedom—for a price. March needs Jax to help his small band of rogue fighters break the Corp monopoly on interstellar travel—and establish a new breed of jumper.

Jax is only good at one thing—grimspace—and it will eventually kill her. So she may as well have some fun in the meantime…

Genre: romantic sci-fi
Series: The Jax Series, book #1

The Story: The book blurb is a good summary.

My Opinion: This book didn't work for me. I had two problems with it: the heroine and the world building.

Let's start with the lesser problem. The world building. I found that the readers were just propelled in the world and given information as we read; however, it wasn't enough. The world in this book is very complex... it's not just the spaceship/planets, but also lots of different races and the politics... and I felt lost. I was trying to figure it out, imagine it and I just couldn't. Same thing about background information. For example, the hero, March... what is he? Is there more like him? What's all his motives? I find we were given just the strict minimum. Perhaps it's because this story is a series and those issues will be addressed later...

Biggest problem for me? The heroine, Sirantha Jax. Sorry, but I didn't like her. My favorite kind of characters are the ones that are selfless, that will sacrifice themselves for others. It wasn't the case with Jax. I'm not saying that she's selfish... but she's not selfless either. Some thought it made her more human and real, but it just didn't work for me. I didn't like how she was sleeping with her pilots when she's still married. Okay, she's not in love with her husband anymore and it's been years she hasn't seen him. How hard is it then to just ask for a divorce or something? I didn't like that there was little camaraderie and loyalty between her and the rest of the crew. I understand why... it's not like they wanted her on board, but still... little efforts were made. I didn't like how she thought of abandoning March. Least you can do is check whether he really is dead or not. I know that she has her own demons and she just lost her pilot and etc. Still, the way she acted, I wouldn't want to have her own my team.

Aside from that, *sigh* the romance didn't work too well for me. I can't see when they'd feel attracted or could fall in love with each other. As for the story, it was okay... except for the last part. I thought the bounty hunter was unnecessary and the hostage situation, ridiculous. Especially the way it ended. I'm wondering whether or not there'll be repercussions on March. I sure hope so, because otherwise, it doesn't make any sense.

Any positive? Lots of action. The 1st POV didn't bother me, neither did the present tense. Writing style is okay. The whole storyline, it was okay, but a bit cliche...

My Grade: D. I originally graded it as a C+, but now that I'm writing the review... I see little that I liked ^_^; so I'm down-grading it.

What's on my mind...

Hello everyone!

How have you been doing? I'm sorry I've been MIA since last Thursday ^_^; Been quite busy and also, a bit lethargic LOL :) Anyway, couple of things on my mind...

I turned 25 on Saturday :D I actually don't really care about my age, because well, it doesn't change me much. I am who I am, LOL, and age won't change anything. I was actually quite giddy and happy. Great thing is that everytime I'm going to want to rent a car now, I won't have to pay the surcharge LOL :) I had lots of fun with my friends on Thursday as we went for all-you-can-eat sushi :) Pretty good place. My friends gave me a purse! Tell you the truth, I didn't really want a purse ^_^; but I couldn't think of anything else (besides books) that I wanted and that was "easy" to buy... so a purse it was. I have to say, I love it though!!! Love the design, the color and it's sooooo soft :) Only downside is that I can't put many books in it... actually, I'm only allowed of one book. If there's more than one book, they'll be confiscated by my friends, LOL :)

I ordered some books last week-end and for some reasons, they were shipped from Vancouver. Now, that's the first time I've had orders sent from the warehouse in Vancouver, considering how much closer Ontario is. Anyway, long story short, when checking my order status, books were supposed to be delivered on Friday... but when I asked my mom and sister, they said we didn't receive anything... which was like impossible. I started worrying that the mailman put the key in the wrong box (mailman doesn't come to door to door in my neighborhood... we have commun mailbox with individual case for each house and bigger cases for packages...). I was expecting whoever got the key, opened the case and saw the package would return it to my house... Turns out, on Saturday m0rning, when I came down, I saw this big package, the size of a VCR or DVD player box, wrapped in newspapers... and on it: "Nath's birthday surprise" I thanked my parents and sister - my parents had no idea what it was and my sis said, "Don't thank us, you bought it" LOL :) Yep, the box was left in front of my hosue and my sister just hid it from me. She's evil sometimes.

Speaking of sister, she's gone for tw0 weeks... Went to California to hang out with my cousins... I think I'm really going to miss her ^_^; We've grown really close in the past couple of years and it's just going to be weird not having her nagging me about her tv shows and nobody to sneak food with. Ah well, lucky for me, it's only 2 weeks. I have a friend, her sis is gone for the whole summer.

Something else on my mind... I have a project for the summer and it involves my room, bookcases and my books. I'm thinking of buying some shelving units... but as I said before, I don't have anymore room in my place for furniture... so my plan is to exchange the computer desk for my nice desk. I have one of those big screen though and I won't be able to put the computer tower on the floor anymore... So big computer screen + tower + printer on a desk... not enough place. So I'm thinking of buying a new computer with a flat screen. My current computer is about 5-6 years old... It's not bad, but it has some bugs. Like the screen going black for few seconds at a time for no reason. My anti-virus on it is also dead for a long time. I can't open Adobe Reader with Mozilla Firefox without freezing it... and I almost have more space on my harddrive. I did think of buying the screen only, but the one I'm eyeing is already 300$ Also, the day before I changed computer completely is not far... so might as well get a good deal... but it'll still cost me >1,000$... the other thing is the actual bookcase. My parents have always gone for quality... that means all my furniture in my room are in teak wood (except my computer deak which is why I'm getting rid of it)... and I'd like for my new bookcase to match and be of teak wood... however, I have a feeling it's going to be quite pricey *sigh*
So I gotta find ways to be thrifty, LOL :) So I'm going to take a page out of Ames' book and try not to buy any books for a couple of weeks. Shouldn't be too hard considering that there's nothing really interesting coming out soon and lucky me, I've already pre-ordered Scream for Me by Karen Rose. In addition, I still have about 30-something $ on my online account at Chapters + a co-worker gave me a gift card :D So that should help :) and if I'm lucky, mangas will be arriving from France slowly... esp. since it's the summer. So yeah, I guess it's feasible. Pluse, I'm hoping that eating out less, as in not at all, would help.

Part two of my project, I've alredy mentioned... is to clean out the closet and put some cheap, waist-level, shelving cases. Just so I have space to put my stuff and all... but between you and me, cleaning my closet? Ugh, it's going to be a nightmare... of course, not as bad as cleaning out under of Holly's daughter's bed LOL :) but let just says I have lots of stuff.

Other things that are on my mind... Gas price. Ugh, I gas at 1.29$/liter this morning. It was 1.37$/liter at the highest last week. What doesn't help is that I live far from work :( and also, there's construction on the way for the rest of the summer. Gotta find another way to get to work... and also, I don't know... go out less? Again, not stopping and making detours to the bookstores should help... right?

Last thing, I have a review up at Book Binge!! This time, it's The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie. Click here for the review :D

Oh, and last last thing... i'm glad the hockey season is over in Montreal. I think the people went a bit crazy this year. I know it's been a long time since the Canadians haven't done so good, but still :P

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Monthly reads April 2008

It's May! It's May!

The year is going by so quickly! It's already May! Can you believe it? Okay, I'm mostly excited about May because my birthday is on Saturday LOL :) It's definitively not because of the high numbers of romance releases this month :( Although the new Karen Rose is coming out in a few weeks (I've already pre-ordered it)... Casee's review of Taking The Heat by Kathryn Shay made me added another book to look forward to. Of course, there's the next Kresley Cole... but seriously, that's nothing comparing to June and July right? Right? Of course, to tide me over this month, there's always my TBR pile and tons of manga has just arrived to the bookstore from France. Also, strangest thing is although there's not many new releases, I find ways to still buy books. Go figure.

All right, so here are my reads for the month of April!

1) Strike Zone by Kate Angell: B+
2) Dear Santa by Karen Templeton: A-
3) Yours, Mine... Ours? by Karen Templeton: B+
4) Baby, I'm Yours by Karen Templeton: A-
5) Shaken Up & Stirred by Kathleen O'Reilley: C
6) Sex, Straight Up by Kathleen O'Reilley: B-
7) 50 ways to Hex Your Love by Linda Wisdom: C
8) Fast & Loose by Elizabeth Bevarly: C-
9) The Rules of Seduction by Madeline Hunter: B+
10) Grimspace by Ann Aguirre: C+ D *
11) Forecast by Jane Tara: B
12) The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie: B
13) The Dare by Elda Minger: B+
14) A Dangerous Beauty by Sophia Nash: B-
15) The Kiss by Sophia Nash: B-
16) One Night Stand by Cindi Kirk: B
17) Not So Innocent by Laura Lee Guhkre: B (3.5)
18) Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole: B-
19) Breathless by Laura Lee Guhrke: A- (4.25/5)
20) The Charade by Laura Lee Guhrke: B C *
21) Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich: B

LOL, definitively an awesome month reading-wise :D What I enjoyed is that it was very varied. I've read some really good books... and some not. Contemporary, historicals, paranormal... I've read them all this month LOL :) I've also read new books I've recently purchased, but also a lot of oldies, many from my TBR pile! Yay!!

Also got out of my comfort zone and read quite a few category romance :) They were pretty good. I wonder why I'm so prejudiced against them? After all, all those re-issues of Kay Hooper, Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie are Silhouette books which are the old category romances no? Maybe it has to do with the titles, as Kristie has mentioned recently. Lots of titles are just turn-off :(

By the way, anyone has review request from the list above? That would help me choosing which books to review LOL :) Me thinks I should try to review more on this blog as well :) Oh well I'm trying. By the way, for those interested, reviews for Naughty Neighbor and The Cinderella Deal should be coming up shortly :D

What about you, how has your month been?

*EDIT: Grades were revised after writing the reviews.