Sunday, May 31, 2009

Re-Read: Night Whispers by Judith McNaught

Phew, I'm really at the last minute this month ^_^; Bad no for the organizer? LOL, I finished reading my re-read book last week, but then I'm not a real believer of writing posts in advance... or more like I'm just not good at it LOL.

I started actively reading romance and buying books about 10 years ago. While my collection is probably not comparable to Kristie, it's quite substantial. I don't know how you shelve your books, but me, I've never been able to be objective ^_^; What I mean is from the very beginning, I've always set apart or put in evidence my favorite authors. When I triple-stacked my books, the first row would show-cased my favorite authors while the books in the two rows behind would be shelved alphabetically. When I bought new shelves last year, one was reserved for my favorite authors... That when I realized that it's been a while since I last read many of the authors. Among those authors were Jennifer Crusie and Judith McNaught. I can't tell you how many times I re-read these authors, they were some of the very first ones I fell in love with... and unfortunately, they have only released a few books in the last couple of years. Those books are the reasons I've started this whole Re-Read Challenge...

So this month, I finally re-read one of my favorites Judith McNaught, Night Whispers. Judith McNaught is most well-known for her historicals (which I have read and enjoyed), but you all know me :P I prefer contemporaries. Lucky for me, she wrote a handful of those :P Paradise and Perfect would be her most-well known contemps and while I liked them, Night Whispers is the one which stands out for me.

So here is my review :P

Night Whispers by Judith McNaught
first published by Simon Schuster in November 1998

A policewoman in a small Florida community, Sloan Reynolds knows that her modest upbringing was a long way from the social whirl of Palm Beach, the world inhabited by her father and her sister, Paris. Total strangers to Slan, they have never tried to contact her - until a sudden invitations arrives, to meet htem and indulge in the Palm Beach social season.

A woman who values her investigative work more than a Dior dress, Sloan is unmoved by the long-overdue parental gesture. But when FBI agent Paul Richardson informs her that her father and his associates are suspected of fraud, conspiracy, and murder, Sloan agrees to enter into her father's life - while hiding her true profession.

Sloan's on top of her game until she meets Noah Maitland, a multinational corporate player and one of the FBI's prime suspects - and finds herself powerfully attracted to him, against her deepest instincts. When a shocking murder shatters the seductive facade of the wealth and glamour surrounding her, Sloan must maneuver through a maze of deceit and passion, to find someone to trust - and to decipher the truth behind those terrifying whispers in the dark.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Second Opportunities, book #3 (very loosely connected to Perfect)

The Story: I think the back blurb does a good job summarizing the story, so I won't go too much in details. Sloan is a 30 years old cop in a small town in Florida where she was raised by her loving mother. Sloan longs for a family of her own, but still haven't found a man she loves. Out of the blues, she gets a phone call from her father, asking for a visit, but she flatly refuses. Where her father is concerned, Sloan considers him 30 years too late. However, she changes her mind when FBI agent Paul Richardson approaches her and ask her to help the FBI gathering evidences about her father's criminal activities. In addition, Sloan wants to get to know her older sister, Paris. However, she never expected to meet a man like Noah Maitland...

My Opinion: When I first read this book, I thought it was awesome and really enjoyed it :)

I love Sloan's character. She might come off as goody two-shoes with a good dose of innocence an naivety and I think that first impression is very deep. However, when you look deeper, I think that she's also very tough. She's not a kick-ass heroine which wouldn't suit in this kind of storyline anyway, but she's definitively tough and has a lot of integrity. The word Paul Richardson used in this book to describe her was an idealist and I have to agree that it fits her perfectly. She doesn't lecture/preach to the others, but they are influenced by her. She also cares deeply for others, always think the best of them and always taking everyone into consideration - and that is side of her that I related a lot with.

Noah is a rich businessman with jaded views of women and love :P You know, our favorite kind of heroes :) One that is sadly fading away... He can be ruthless and commanding, but tender as well. He gives off a very powerful vibe and that's why it's so great to see him become more gentle because of Sloan.

I admit the reason I love about this book so much is the relationship between Noah and Sloan. I've always been a sucker for happy-go-lucky heroines thawing up stuffy heroes storylines. While this is not exactly this type of storyline, it's close enough. Noah is cynic and has a very jaded view on love and women ^_^; As a result, it's great to see him being influenced by Sloan's genuineness. Seriously, there's nothing better than seeing a tough man be tender with the woman he loves. That's why my favorite parts in Night Whispers are the scenes with Sloan and Noah together. I guess deep down, I hope that one day, I'll have that effect on a man :P

While I still love Sloan and Noah, I have to admit that I have some issues with this book. While this book is over 400 pages, I wanted more of Sloan and Noah ^_^; The first 100 pages focused on Sloan, introducing her which is fine because it gives the readers a better grasp on Sloan character, the H/H don't meet until page 137! As a result, I felt that Sloan and Noah's relationship developed quite fast. I don't know if there would have been a better way, perhaps through flashbacks? The murder and conflict between the H/H also occur quite abruptly and the ending is a bit rushed.

A large part of the book is dedicated to developing Sloan's character... as a result, Noah got a bit short-changed. I would have liked to know a bit more about his past, for his character to be a bit more developed. While he's one of my favorite kind of heroes, the successful businessman, he's also a bit of a stereotype. He could have used a bit more attention :)

The secondary characters are quite interesting, but I thought that Ms Mcnaught set things in motion and never concluded them. For example, there was something going on between Sarah, Sloan's best friend, and Jess, Sloan's co-worker... I think that Ms McNaught was setting up for a sequel or something, but there was never any follow-up. Paris and Paul's hook-up seem like an afterthought even though the attraction between them was palpable. I would have liked to be a witness to their relationship as well, not just being told things that had happened.

What else? The ending was definitively rushed, even the epilogue where we get to see the HEA. What happened to Carter? Paul and Paris? It would have been nice to see Sloan and Noah interact. The way it ended, it wasn't closure enough... it felt a bit incomplete :(

Finally, the most unbelievable thing is an FBI agent asking Sloan to spy on her father. That Sloan would think it's her job to do so, I don't have a problem to believe. After all, she doesn't consider Carter as her father and she has very high moral/justice standards... I did think there should have been a bit more personal debate throughout the book perhaps, but it was okay. The only thing though is I'm not sure if it was very ethical from the FBI - even though it was Paul's initiative. I mean, in this time and age, could whatever evidence Sloan find actually be used in court?!?

So yes, it seems that many things bothered me ^_^; Still, like I said, love Sloan and Noah. I think that's what Ms McNaught excels at, the interaction between the H/H, their relationship. If you think about it, all of her storylines do seem to be a bit over the top, but she is able to salvage them and make them believable through her characters. They are always the focus of her books :)

My Grade: Originally, it would have been an A+. I really fell in love with Night Whispers the first time I read it and it was one of my comfort reads for years. Now, I think it deserves a B+. I wish we'll get to read a bit more of Sloan and Noah in the future. Matt, Meredith, Zach and Julie had many guest appearances in books in the past, but never Sloan and Noah. I want to find out what they have become!!

By the way, I was searching the net for information about Night Whispers and came across this website McNaughtized. It gives a bit of information on the elusive book Can't Take My Eyes Off You... Did you know that the hero is named Clay Westmoreland and he is a descendant of Royce and Clayton?!?!?! Seriously, I've been looking forward for this book for years, but there has always been so little information on it. This is set to be the first book in a new trilogy, because the new Clay has 2 brothers (seriously, let's hope it's not Royce and Stephen - that would just be too weird! LOL). Ah well, it'd be nice if this book was released someday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review: True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson

Another day, another review :) That's how I like it LOL.

So today, Ames and I are bringing you True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson. This is her latest release and Ms Gibson goes back to the world of hockey. Find out what Ames and I thought of the book over at Breezing Through or here.

Enjoy :)
Disaster Number One: Men

Hard knocks and hunger taught Faith Duffy not to believe in love. Still, when she married her very wealthy—and very old—husband, she became the perfect wife. And then he went to that big bank in the sky, leaving Faith with lonely nights, a pile of money, and a total mess of a pro hockey team. Heck, Faith doesn't even watch hockey!

Disaster Number Two: Passion

But most of America and half of Canada is watching Ty Savage. His lethal sex appeal and deadly right hook make him the favorite of fans. For most of Ty's life, he's dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. The last thing he needs is a bimbo messing up his plans.

Disaster Number Three: Love

Faith loathes Ty on sight, but she can't stop thinking about him all day... and night. Then a moment of temptation ends with Faith in Ty's bed, and she begins to see there's more to him than sex appeal. Ty discovers there's far more to Faith than beauty and billions. But a relationship with Faith is impossible, and falling in love—that would be a disaster.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Review: Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery

Sigh, it's so hard to get back into some sort of routine, once it's been disturbed ^_^; Hopefully, I'll find my rhythm pretty soon :)

So, how was everyone's week-end? I know it was a long week-end for many of you. Lucky :) (Ok, so I got my long week-end last week... so? It's already been too long!)

This is going to be my entry for Brie's Contemporary Romance Challenge :) Surprisingly, lately, I've been reading a lot more historicals than contemporary, so I'm happy I made it this month :)

Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery
published by Mira in May 2009

Lexi Titan can just see the headlines. All of Titanville will be buzzing. Not that she has any other choice. Faced with exactly thirty days to come up with two million dollars, she is out of options. Marry Cruz Rodriguez or lose everything—the successful day spa she built herself, her tyrant of a father's respect. And the long-standing competition with her sisters for the family business.

Cruz has money, success, smoldering good looks — everything but the blue blood needed to become a true member of Texas society. If Lexi agrees to be his fiancée for six months, lending him her famous father's influence and connections, he'll hand her a check on the spot. And in six months they'll go their separate ways.

But neither one is prepared for their long-ago shared passion to throw a wrench into what would seem to be the perfect deal...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Lone Star Sisters series, Book #1

The Story: I thought the back blurb was a little bit misleading... From it, I imagined that the three sisters - Lexi, Skye and Izzy - had a bad relationship, but it wasn't really the case. The competition is kind of recent, about two to three years and although their relationship isn't as carefree as it used to be, it's not as if they were mortal enemies either. Basically, their father, Jed Titan, told them that he would leave everything to only one of them. Izzy was not interested in inheriting while Lexi wanted the business and Skye, the house, but since only one can inherited, Lexi and Skye are left to battle it out. Lexi used to work for her father, but she realized that she would never prove herself to him if she stayed and as a result, opened her own spa business... because she wanted to expand her business as quickly as possible, Lexi accepted a loan from a secret investor... who turns out to be a half-brother she never knew existed and who is bent on destroying all of the Titans. He has called in the debt and Lexi has only 30 days to come up with 2 millions dollars.

Lexi is in a pinch and does not really know what to do. If she goes to her father, she will lose the competition for sure. At that moment, Cruz Rodriguez, her first lover, shows up and offers her a deal: if they fake an engagement for 6 months, he'll give her 2 millions dollars. Basically, Cruz is a self-made man... Unfortunately, in a world where good breeding is still regarded highly, Cruz is still on the outs and needs someone with connections... nobody has better connections than the Titans... and since Cruz and Lexi share a past...

My Opinion: Under Her Skin is the first book in the new series of 4 books (although there is a prequel available only on Kindle, but I'm not too interested in it) and was definitively a better start to a series than Sweet Talk. Unfortunately, it also reminded me a lot of the Marcelli series as well... the whole three sisters with a brother they never knew about (okay, the Marcellis were actually composed of 4 girls, but Mia didn't really come into play till much later). In the end, I thought the book was okay.

So the whole plot is nothing new, basically two persons making a deal to fake an engagement... and in the end, falling in love. I thought the fact that Lexi and Cruz knew each other prior this encounter didn't have much of an impact. Basically, they had a one-night stand - Cruz being Lexi's first lover... The sex was great, Lexi was planning a relationship and Cruz crushed her feelings.

For the engagement, Lexi demands him to be faithful while they are engaged and Cruz, well he demands sex from her. I have to say, Lexi going off the pill to have her period to avoid sex with Cruz?!? That's probably the stupidiest idea she had for a smart and savvy woman. I mean, seriously?!? And you can easily guess what happens right?

The characters were okay, a bit one-dimensional and stereotypical. I don't know, I think I expected Lexi to be tougher, but she was quite vulnerable ^_^; Not that it's bad, but it just didn't fit her image. As for Cruz, well hmmmm, he was okay. See, the thing is, I really didn't connect with Lexi nor Cruz and I didn't find them very interesting. They're both giving some "circumstances" to explain their action and that's getting very typical and reptitive. Why can't they just be normal people. In the end, I really wasn't impressed by Lexi or Cruz, especially Cruz. The fact that he almost abandonned his daughter, that really didn't reflect well on him. If at least, he had some excuses - they live in a different city/state, but the truth is he just doesn't want to be involved with her. It's not someone you want to root for, really.

So typical plot, un-interesting character... What saved the book? Ms Mallery solid writing. If you've enjoyed her writing previously, I don't see any problems in this one. The interactions between the three sisters and their best friend, Dana. I really liked Dana and Izzy's characters :) and I'm looking forward to their books (I bet that Dana is going to be paired up with the evil half-brother, Garth).

Have to say, Izzy storyline sounds interesting, so I'll definitively pick up that one... but Skye, not really interested. She comes across as weak to me, letting her father chooses her husband for her. What really bothered me is that these women are all adults now and they still let their father, who is really a tyrant, shape their lives. I understand that they want his unconditional love, but at their age, it's time that they open their eyes. They have loyal friends, good sisters... draw love and strength from those relationship instead. So yes, definitively picking up Izzy's book that's coming out in July and I'm crossing my fingers for Dana to be with Garth.

My Grade: C. An okay read, good to pass time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Re-Read Challenge Reminder

Hi everyone! :)

Okay, so this is this month's re-read challenge reminder :D Last day of the month is next Sunday, so you can start posting your review from Friday (May 29) to Monday (June 1st) till NOON Eastern time :)

Ain't I nice? So you have a week to do your re-read :) Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: White Star by Elizabeth Vaughan

Hi everyone!

How is it going? I'm so tired ^_^; Been to the gym twice in a row! Woohoo... Kind of. I've been trying to eat less junk (not all that successful), eat less (I'm more hungry which leads me to eat junk, ugh) and work out... and work is killing me, or more exactly, stressing me to death. Can't wait till the Canadian blogger meeting 2! So time off!

Onto blogging affairs now, I've updated the reviews archive :) Yay me! I have to say, I'm quite proud of myself for how much I've been reviewing. Of course, it doesn't cover all the books I'm reading, but it's decent :)

Ames and I are in week 3 of our (stupid) bet... Well it's a good bet, considering that we didn't have any new releases that we wanted. That way, it decreases our impulsive books bingings. I mean, my bank account is very happy at the moment :) and I did need to save a bit of money for the trip... but I'm bored ^_^; Come on June 5, come faster!!

Finally, the purpose of this post :) If you don't know yet, well I reviewed White Star by Elizabeth Vaughan over at Book Binge :) Love Elizabeth Vaughan!! So yes, you can head here to read my review :)

Have a nice day all :)

There is one more adored... Everyone knows that the Lady High Priestess Evelyn is virtuous and noble, one of the leaders of the rebellion against the unjust usurper, as well as a gentle healer who channels the powers of the gods to help the sick and injured.

There is no one more despised... Orrin Blackhart, the Scourge of Palins, is renowned as an evil man. As the war leader of one of the usurper's supporters, he has killed many and stood by while the sorceress he serves created an army of the undead.

And there is nothing more unexpected than passion... When Orrin takes Evelyn prisoner during the war, each will discover there is more to the other than they expected. And souls that should have clashed will be forged together in desire, redemption, and glory...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TBR Day: He Said Yes by Patricia Waddell

Another month, another TBR challenge... I have a question about TBR pile. I mean, all the books we buy "technically" go into the TBR pile, right? No matter its release dates. For this challenge, the books we read must have a release date prior to 2008 or 2009... So does it matter how long the books stay in the pile? Say I bought a book yesterday with a release date of 2003 and that I read it... Does it qualify for the TBR challenge? I sure hope so :) Although I always though, books in my TBR pile had to be in my TBR pile for a while to qualify as TBR books... Hmmm.

Anyway. Once again, my entry doesn't correspond to this month's theme "friends to lovers" or "unrequited love"... but then, you all know that I'm pretty bad under pressure ^_^; In addition, I'm kind of an impulse reader, so...

He Said Yes by Patricia Waddell
published by Zebra/Kensington in September 2003


Evelyn Dennsworth may not be entitled to use the word "Lady" in front of her name, but that doesn't stop her from behaving like one. Even a vicar's daughter turned Bond Street shop girl can rise above her meager beginnings if she tries hard enough--unless her temperamental employer decides that she has stolen a noblewoman's brooch...

Marshall Bedford, Marquis of Waltham, is a man surrounded by women. Namely, his stepmother and his two sisters, one of whom is about to be launched into society. Yet adding another female to his life is appealing--especially if she is lovely, charming, and kissable. A shop girl may not be quite what he had in mind, but he can't allow the prison wagon to haul away the frightened young woman he saw in the couturier's boutique. Especially when he suspects that her only act of thievery will be stealing his heart...
Genre: historical romance
Series: Gentlemen Club/He Said, Full-length book #1 (there is an anthology somewhere)

The Story: Marshall Bedford, Marquis of Waltham, has just decided that he needed a mistress when he comes across of Evelyn Dennsworth, a Bond Street shop girl. He is immediately taken with her and is trying to find a way to ask her to become his mistress when she is accused of theft. Marshall takes her under his wing, offering protection and taking care of legalities.

After getting to know Marshall, Evelyn agrees to become his lover, but not his mistress. As his lover, she will be able to impose her conditions - that their liaison will only last the summer. Marshall agrees and brings her back to his country estate where Evelyn becomes his lover and his stepmother's companion.

My Opinion: I bought this book after reading Lori's review for the Re-Read Challenge. Lori seemed to enjoy it a lot and I was intrigued by the storyline :) I'm glad that I picked it up because it was a very enjoyable read :)

In a way, the story is quite simple and that's the joy of it. No murder, no mystery, He Said Yes focuses on relationships and mainly on Evelyn and Marshall. There are some secondary characters and storylines and they get their own development, but they never overshadow the Evelyn and Marshall and I'm glad for it. For once, it didn't scream "sequel!" :)

I really liked Evelyn's character. I thought she was very strong, yet showed some vulnerability. It made her real. I liked the fact that she didn't jump at the opportunity to become a Marquis' mistress, even though she was attracted to Marshall. I liked that Marshall wasn't able to convince her right away, that he needed to persuade her and in a way, woo her :P Even better, when she finally accepted, she put her foot down and imposed conditions :) Go Evelyn! At the same time, I'm glad that Marshall didn't take advantage of Evelyn. Yes, he saved her... but it wasn't conditional on the fact that she becomes his mistress (I know some characters that would have seized the opportunity...). I think he was looking for someone who would care for him, even though he would not marry her.

I thought that Evelyn and Marshall's relationship progressed well and the story was well developed around it. I'm so happy that it wasn't rushed, that they had time to know each other. I liked the fact that Marshall and his stepmother got along well... I think that the dislike between stepmothers and stepchildren has often become a cliche. So for once that everyone in a family got along well, yay! I liked how both characters fell in love with each other and the conflict at the end was appropriate :) The resolution as well ;)

This was my first book by Ms Waddell and it won't be my last. Right now, I'm waiting for the second book of the series to be shipped. I hope it'll be as good.

My Grade: B+.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Canadian & Neighbour Blogger Meet 2

Hello everyone :)

Well you've read last week or earlier this week in one of my posts that there was going to be a second Canadian blogger Meet :) This time, we're inviting any neighbours from the South who might make it! :)

Date: Saturday, June 13 2009

Place: Ancaster, ON (Very close from Hamilton and apparently, approx. 1 hour away from Toronto)

Time: TBA

So far, here are the bloggers who have confirmed their presence...

CindyS of Nocturnal Wonderings
Kristie J of Ramblings on Romance (announcement post here)
Ames of Thrifty Reader ,Breezing Through and TheBoob Tube (announcement post here)
Lea of Closetwriter
Me :) (announcement post is this post here :P)

If you think you can make it, please leave a comment in any of the announcement posts. If you have any questions, you can e-mail any of us (natuschan @ gmail . com - without space).

Can't wait, we're going to have so much fun! :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Review: Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy

Boy, I'm impressed with myself... today is like the day from hell ^_^; I'm just being extremely busy at work. See, Monday is a holiday, so technically, this week-end is a long week-end... and my supervisor scheduled an experiment on Tuesday. Thing is, I have to prepare all the samples for Tuesday... and well, let just say if I had an extra day or half-day, it would be sooooo much better! I hate it that everytime we do a big/important experiment, I have to rush like crazy to get all the samples prepared... It takes freaking 1.5 days to prepare the samples and I can only do 3 at the times... But wait, I don't only have to make the samples, I have to concentrate them and label them with dye! So yeah, rushing here so I don't have to come in during my LONG week-end.

Anyway, I still managed to write a buddy review with Ames for Breezing Through:) We've read Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy earlier this week and started discussing it right away :) We learned our lessons with Flat-Out Sexy (if wait too long, it's not going to happen ^_^; )... and I'm currently discussing The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie with Leslie... so expect that one next week! So yeah, that's why I'm impressed at myself... multi-tasking :)

Focus, Nath, focus. So yes, Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy! This book takes place in the world of stock car racing and is the second book in the Fast-Track series :) Enjoy the review here!

Grad student Imogen Wilson realizes she's hit on the perfect thesis for her sociology degree. If she follows the so-called "rules" on how to get a man, can she steer her way into the world and hearts of stock race car drivers, and establish their dating— and mating—patterns?

Although sexy and reckless racer Ty McCordle is the ideal test subject, Imogen knows that for the sake of science, she can't give in to her growing attraction for him. Yet he's the one who's chasing after her, and Imogen realizes that she actually wants to be caught. A southern gentleman like Ty will satisfy all her curiosity—and make all the risks worthwhile...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review: Glass Storm by Maria V. Snyder

Don't you get annoyed when all your careful planning gets disrupted? I was planning to finish this review and have it posted on Tuesday... and I don't know what happened... Sigh. Well, better later than never, right? :)

Guess what? Last week, I binged on sushi... this week, on movies! :) Went to see 17 again on Tuesday, Star Trek yesterday... and Wolverine on Friday. Weird how things turn out, no? Maybe I'll do a movie review post for the week-end... Hmmm.

Okay, moving on to the topic of this post :) One book that I have been expecting for a while is Glass Storm by Maria V. Snyder. I've already told you my little adventure to get this book :) I have to admit, I was expecting a buzz for this book, but so far, I've only seen one or two reviews. Granted, blogland is being quiet... and yes, Rosie, it is quiet... no matter what number you get in your Google Reader :)

So here we go, my second review of the week :)

Glass Storm by Maria V. Snyder
published by Mira in April 2009
As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it's time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers — particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade — require Opal's unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she hadn't known she possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she's ever known.

Genre: fantasy
Series: Glass trilogy, Book #1 - related with Study trilogy

The Story: Five years has gone by since the events in Fire Study and Opal Cowen is now a student at the Citadel. In previous books, we discovered that Opal has a unique talent - she can infuse her glass creations with magic and these can serve as "walkie-talkie" for magicians... Unfortunately, that seems to be the only magical talent that she possesses, making her a one-trick wonder and the target of other students mockery.

Abruptly, Opal is summoned by the Master Magicians for a mission. She is to accompany Zitora Cowen - the Third Magician - to the Stormdancer clan, because something is wrong with their glass orbs. Opal quickly discovers that something is wrong with the sands mix used to make the glass orbs and since she is the most knowledgeable person about glass there, she is put in charge to find out what is wrong... and that makes her a target for those who wants to appropriate the energy from these storm orbs for themselves...

My Opinion: So a lot more happens in the story than what I put in my summary, but it's hard to summarize and not give out too much spoilers. Also, I noticed how I didn't mention Kade and Ulrick, Opal's two love interests... I guess that Storm Glass is indeed more fantasy than romance :)

Now, where to start? I really enjoyed Storm Glass :) I thought it was a good book and I'm really happy, because I have to say I was a bit worried after Fire Study ^_^; I thought the story was engaging and interesting... I like the whole conspiracy plot going on, that one element is part of a greater scheme which is part of an even grander one. Makes the story very interesting :) In that sense, Storm Glass is very similar to the Study trilogy (although with the Study trilogy, it took a bit more time to find out...) So yes, the whole intrigue about the glass orbs and what was wrong with them was very interesting :) It also shows that Ms Snyder has done a lot of research and I liked that she gave details about how glass is worked and the sands mix and so on. Kudos to her for not just glossing over those details. In my opinion, it added authenticity to the whole book and at moments, I could see Opal working with the glass, could feel the heat and imagine the whole workshop.

The writing style is also very similar to the Study trilogy which I'm glad for, because I enjoyed it :) Here and there :) It gives us a feel of continuity between the two trilogies... I think there's nothing worse than two connected series having different feel, because the writing style has changed...

So yes, I enjoyed the plot and the writing style, but there is a weakness to Storm Glass... and unfortunately, the weakness is the heroine, Opal. My problem with Opal is that I find her weak ^_^; Not physically weak, but mentally. I don't know how to put it into words. Oh, of course, Opal would fight, investigate and she's smart, but in most case, she's being pushed. I felt that she lacked some initiative... She scares easily, doubts herself and well, lots of self-pity going on as well. "Oh, I'm just a one-trick wonder, boohoohoo." Sure, magic is important in her world, but she can still be someone if she wants to. I understand that she went through difficult events in her life - the death of her sister, being captured and most likely tortured and so on... but she's using them as excuses instead of taking this events and shaping her life, she uses them to fall back on whenever something doesn't go well. I understand that Ms Snyder wanted Opal's character to be different from Yelena, a very wise decision, but at the same time, we - as readers - can't help but compare the two heroines and then, you can't help but find Opal lacking... I think that if she had been more confident in herself, Opal's character would have more likeable. I mean, this after all is a fantasy story... A weak heroine that doubts herself and plays martyr is not very fitting and it becomes annoying.

Also, Opal's personality is reflected in her love relationships. Clearly, she was attracted by Kade; however, he did not seem to be attracted to her at first, actually treated her coldly, so she stayed away from him. It didn't seem to me that she tried very hard establishing contact with him, let alone friendship... Then, you had Ulrick, who clearly showed interest in her... and while she didn't seem attracted to him, she let him "woo" her... sure, she dragged her feet, but ultimately, they became a couple... and then, at the end, she discovered that Ulrick wasn't really Ulrick and also, that Kade was attracted to her, she told him she was in love with him... I won't complain too much, because I liked Kade better, but it would have been nice in my opinion if Opal fought a bit more for this relationship. I also don't understand in the end, what she is planning to explore with the real Ulrick, when she has already chosen Kade.

Speaking of Kade and Ulrick, they reminded me of Valek and Cahil respectively. Kind of funny :P Although Kade is younger and more rash than Valek. I really like his character though, he had depth and he's intriguing. I liked his stubborness and his loneliness. He definitively needs someone. As for Ulrick, well, not my favorite character, but I get where he comes from. He wants to be known, to be recognized - for anything. However, I didn't like that he got in the way, that he had to have his say... I found him pushy.

One thing that I really enjoyed and I thought was well-done was bringing back charcters from the Study series - Yelena, of course, Leif, Fisk(!), Ari and Janco, etc. In my opinion, it was really well-done... They weren't just there to satisfy the readers - they had an active role :) Seeing Yelena and Leif argue was heart-warming :) and do you guys think that Fisk will have a book of his own? That would be interesting :)

As a whole, I found Storm Glass enjoyable and interesting :) I really like the plot and well, there is time for Opal to grow and assert herself :) I'm looking forward to Sea Glass now and I'm glad I don't have too long to wait :)

My Grade: B+. A good opening to a new trilogy :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Review: Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro

Hello everyone :)

A quick post to let you know that I have a review up at Book Binge :) This time, I'm reviewing Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro. Follow the link to find out what I thought of the last installment of the Mayhem in Mayfair series...

Lady Emily Stapleford never dreamed that the burden of saving her family from financial ruin would rest on her lovely, resourceful shoulders. Since she’s only willing to marry for love, and not money, Emily pens a story she hopes will bring her fortune — only to have it rejected by every major publisher. After all, what respectable reader would dare embrace a vampire heroine?

Not to be dissuaded, Emily generates publicity by attracting attention with a vampire masquerade. Overnight London is abuzz with the sightings. With renewed interest in Emily’s book, she’s guaranteed success — if it wasn’t for the mysterious American, Logan Jennsen. He’s on to Emily’s duplicity and he has every intention of using it to his advantage. If only he wasn’t falling in love with this unabashedly creative hothouse flower. And if only he didn’t have a scandalous secret of his own — one that’s putting both their lives in danger...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Review: Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Hello everyone :)

How was your week-end? I hope that you all enjoyed Mother's Day :) Me, I spent my week-end reading :) Been a while since I did that... I've also re-addicted myself to Minesweeper ^_^; I love that game... I know, it's simple... but I think it's a great game :) Thing is, I get super competitive and try to lower my best times... Few years ago, I was able to complete the 99 mines under 100 seconds.

Anyway, enough about Minesweeper... Let's talk book :) Today, I chose to go with Summer on Blossom Street, one of my highly anticipated books of April/May.

Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
published by Mira in April 2009 (Hardcover format)
Knitting and life. They’re both about beginnings—and endings. That’s why it makes sense for Lydia Goetz, owner of A Good Yarn on Seattle’s Blossom Street, to offer a class called Knit to Quit. It’s for people who want to quit something—or someone!—and start a new phase of their lives.

First to join is Phoebe Rylander. She recently ended her engagement to a man who doesn’t know the meaning of faithful, and she’s trying to get over him. Then there’s Alix Turner. She and her husband, Jordan, want a baby, which means she has to quit smoking. And Bryan Hutchinson joins the class because he needs a way to deal with the stress of running his family’s business—not to mention the lawsuit brought against him by an unscrupulous lawyer.

Life can be as complicated as a knitting pattern. Just ask Anne Marie Roche. She and her adopted daughter, Ellen, finally have the happiness they wished for. And then a stranger comes to her bookstore asking questions.

Or ask Lydia herself. Not only is she coping with her increasingly frail mother, but she and Brad have unexpectedly become foster parents to an angry, defiant twelve-year-old.

But as Lydia already knows, when life gets difficult and your stitches are snarled, your friends can always help!

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Blossom Street, book #5

The Story: As usual, there are many storylines going on in this book. I think that the book description does a good job summarizing everything up, so I won't go in the details.

My Opinion: I've really enjoyed the previous books in this series. My favorite character so far has been Alix, the angry girl from the "wrong" side of the track falling in love with the minister's son... which is one of the reasons why I was anticipating this book so much, because Alix was going to have a storyline in this book :) I've also enjoyed the series because it depicts the life of normal people overcoming obstacles in their lives. The writing style is engaging and these books are fun to read... However, I have to admit, Summer on Blossom Street was quite a disappointment.

I have nothing to say about the writing style. If you've enjoyed the writing style in previous books, there's no reason for you to not enjoy it this time around. Ms Macomber has a very gentle writing style. It's very unique to her, in my opinion. It's funny how the series takes place in Seattle, but I have the feeling of a small community - which in a sense, it is since we're focusing on a street. Anyway, the best words to describe Ms Macomber's writing style is gentle and calm in my opinion.

So why did I find this book disappointing? Basically, because there were too many storylines and not enough development. First of all, Alix storyline was way too short! I understood why she was worried about becoming a mother... however, that's it. Even the resolution at the end was too fast! It would have been fun to see her and Jordan discuss it a little bit or something. Lydia's storyline about wanting to adopt was a tad too predictable... especially given that it was very similar to the last book storyline (Twenty Wishes). Speaking of the last book, there was a storyline involving Anne-Marie and her new adopted daugther, Emily... with Emily's biological father showing up unexpected. I just wasn't interested in that storyline, so I skimmed it ^_^; Finally, the last storyline was Phoebe and Hutch, which in a way, was the most interesting... Phoebe is engaged to this super charming guy... only, he's already cheated once on her... but with peer pressure and because she loves him, she took him back. Only this time, he was arrested for solicitation... and Phoebe put her foot down and broke up with him. The thing is that he doesn't understand the word "no" and kept pursuing Phoebe. So to remind herself not to give in, Phoebe signed up for the "Knit to Quit" class. In the class, she meets Hutch who's really a nice guy. I liked the romance between the two. I liked how Phoebe put her foot down... and I was as outraged as her when people around her told her she should forgive her ex-fiance... Especially her mother. Seriously?!? The guy thought that hiring a prostitute wasn't cheating and therefore, was excusable. Ugh, hello!! So good for Phoebe, she was way better off without that guy! I'm sorry for her that her entourage wasn't more supporting of her... and I'm glad she realized what kind of man he was. So yes, I enjoyed seeing the budding relationship between Phoebe and Hutch. I thought it was sweet and very believable. I liked Hutch as well :) A normal and nice man... and very sweet! :) That book about dating that he was reading... very cute LOL :) Although I enjoyed their relationship, I wanted more. I felt like sometimes, I was missing pieces and bits :( Also, the conflict at the end could have been expandable or at least, dealt a different way.

Overall, it wasn't that Summer on Blossom Street was a bad book. It just wasn't enough to be satisfying. Perhaps reducing the number of storylines would have been better.

My Grade: C-. Personally, I felt like I would have been more forgiving if this book hasn't been published in hardcover format. Like I said, this book wasn't a bad book, I would have liked it to focus more on certain storylines than others. However, did I feel like it was worth hardcover price? Unfortunately no. I like Ms Macomber style and her storylines - they really focus on relationships and their evolutions... However, I don't think this one was as good as the first three books. I'd like to see her mix it up a little more in the next one - which I intend to read... My best advice is to wait for this one to be released in paperback format or go to the library.

Friday, May 08, 2009


First of all:

Happy Mother's Day

to all the blogger mothers... the mother bloggers... Hmmmm, well you know who you are LOL :) Hope you have an excellent week-end and hope you get pampered by your hubby and kiddos...

So, how has everyone been doing? My week has been quite busy - first, going out with my friends on Monday and then, going out for lunch on Wednesday... Have to say, I'd have my fill of sushi :) In addition, well, I signed up for the gym again :( My dad made me - he needed someone else to sign up for the gym so we could get the familial package... so there you go, back to the gym. This time though, I paid for the year... so I better go. So far, I've been 2 times... My goal is 2 or 3 times a week + one swimming session. That's my goal... will I be able to make it? No idea...

In the previous post, I promised some pictures of the sushi I ate on Sunday. So here there are:

Looks pretty right? Taste is okay. The yellow paper is actually algae that they colored yellow. It's fun once in a while to eat something different - but it relied at lot on the sauces... Japanese mayo and sweet sauce... So it hid the taste a bit. The presentation is very nice though, so it makes it worth once in a while. I still prefer the sushi place near my house that I went with my friends on Monday night.

Few months ago, after the So Cal bloggers had their get-together, Kristie wrote a post about a send Canadian get-together... More details to come about it, but I've been planning my trip to Toronto LOL :) The date we've come up with is June 13... and that is only a month and a few days away. Me, being anal, I wanted to start to plan the trip... So that's what I did :)

Also, Ames and I have a crazy bet/challenge going on. We were complaining about how there were not many releases for the month of May. I only had 2 books actually... Sad no? Ames didn't have many releases either... and so we came up with this challenge: no more buying books for a month. A month!! LOL, you guys know me. A month is like eternity!!! Anyway, challenge started May 6 to June 5... Let see who caves first - my sis believes I won't make it LOL :) She's right... if you look at the odds, Ames has a greater chance to make it... but we never know :)

So that's pretty much it with my life. Nothing much going on. I had the reading blues... but I finished two books in two days, so I think it's coming back :) My goal this week-end? Read and write posts :) What about you? Any special plans?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Review: Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

Ugh, I don't know how it happened, but my routine is all off!! :( Somehow, I ended up not having time to blog or read... I have a couple of reviews that should go up pretty soon and I hope that I'll be able to start a book tonight... Please, please, please.

Otherwise, I've been a bit busy at work and I'm also planning a trip, so it's taken a bit of my time. Ames and I have a crazy bet going on. My friends posted up some pics she's taken at my b-day on FB, so I'm going to steal them and post here again. Oh, did I tell you I signed up to the gym again? Yep, my dad was bugging me and he needed someone living at the same address to sign up as well so he could take advantage of the family price ^_^; So I went yesterday... Bleh... LOL. So everything combined had made me fall off my blogging and reading wagon, sigh. Hope I'll be back in business soon!!

In the meantime, I have a review up at Breezing Through. Thanks to Renee who agreed to buddy review Turn Coat by Jim Butcher. We've been working on it for a couple of weeks already and it is now finally up here.

Enjoy it all :)

The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council--and there's only one, final punishment for that crime. He's on the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden.

Now, Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less-than-agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head--someone like Harry.

Monday, May 04, 2009


As some of you know, yesterday was my b-day! :) I am now 26 years old and LOL, that's all I am going to say about my age :)

So a big, huge


to all the wishes I've received by emails, comments, Facebook! I LOVE you all!!!! You guys are so awesome! :) I really feel the love and you don't know how much I appreciate it :) So again,


I had a great day yesterday. Did some shopping with my sister, played bowling and pool with friends and went to eat sushi :) The weather was gorgeous and it was a beautiful day :)

As soon as my friend sends me the pics she took, I'm going to make a post. The sushi were very pretty - it was more about style and decoration and new taste.

Oh and guess what? My sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday, but she told me: "Don't say books, because the parents told me not to buy you any. I won't buy you any gift cards either. The only thing that might work is if you ask for an e-book reader, because maybe Dad will consider it as technology."

LMAO :) So yeah, didn't get any books, but it's okay :) Actually, the only sad part in my day yesterday is I almost didn't see my parents. They did wish me a happy birthday, but they had to go to the temple really early. My sister and I went too, but we left early to go shopping... when we got home, my parents were still at the temple - they had a meeting for next week, very big celebration. I left to meet my friends and when I came home, they were already in bed :(

Today, well I'm at work... and tradition is that the birthday person brings in a cake to celebrate :) My mom made one - it's been age since she didn't do one for my birthday LOL :) I'll take some pics later and post them along with the sushi :) Then tonight, going out again with another group of friends... for more sushi :)

Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to say:


Turns out Tracy and I share a birthday! How awesome is it? LOL :) I wish you all the best and a lot of books :)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: April Winner :)

Let see, this month, we had 14 entries :) It is lower than the previous months, but I guess that's to be expected :) These kind of challenges lose participants as we go along... Also, blogland has been really quiet. Hopefully, next month, there'll be more entries :)

So this month's winner is...


Congrats Isabel! E-mail me (well you have my email address already :P) to let me know which store you want the 10$ gift certificate from :)

I hope you guys are still having fun with the challenge :) I know that my list of TBB books is growing each month, which is fun :)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: April!

*This is a sticky post, please scroll down for new entry!*

Another month has gone by... which means, Re-Read Challenge entries!! Yay!!

Seriously, I'm really glad that I've started this challenge. It's been a lot of fun :) Blogland has been quiet lately, so I wonder how many will make it this month :P

As I said earlier this week, people will have till Friday night, May 1st, at 12am (Eastern time) to post your review and link it in this post :) I will be doing the draw on Saturday morning :)

Nath: Twisted Creek by Jodi Thomas
Lori: He Said Yes by Patricia Waddell
Taja: Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair
Tracy: Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston
Jenn: Fall Into Me by Linda Winfree
Seneca: Secret Submission and Submission Revealed by Diana Hunter
Rowena: Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts
Isabel: Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Zeek: Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh
Renee: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Jill: Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
Kristie: Knock Me Off My Feet by Susan Donovan
Ames: Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Leslie: Touched by Fire by Catherine Sprangler

Monthly Reads - April 2009

Hi everyone :)

I wanted to have this up earlier today, but I got the blues :( However, I bounced back and here is my reading list for the month of April :) I'm pretty happy with it, I have to admit :)

1) The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner: B+

2) Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews: C

3) Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas: B

4) Love in Bloom by Sheila Roberts: B

I became a fan of Sheila Roberts thanks to Dev :) Her books are more women fiction. They are about women of different ages linked by a common theme. In this one, the theme is gardening. Love in Bloom is a solid and enjoyable read - although I have to admit, I was expecting a bit more.

5) Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews: B

6) Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews: B++

7) White Star by Elizabeth Vaughan: B

Review to come to Book Binge.

8) Rebel Waltz by Kay Hooper: B

I love that Ms Hooper's backlist is being re-printed!! Because otherwise, I would never be able to read these :) Rebel Waltz was a very sweet romance in my opinion. Very Kay Hooper style as well :) There's just the right touch of humor, romance and paranormal element to make it interesting :)

9) Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro: D

Review to come to Book Binge.

10) Turn Coat by Jim Butcher: B++

Buddy review to come to Breezing Through.

11) Hot Stuff by Carly Phillips: B

Hmmm, I picked these up after reading Ames TBR entry this month. If I'm not wrong, I already read Hot Stuff, but didn't remember much of it. I liked this well enough and actually didn't remember much from the first read. I like the hero, he was very yummy :) Heroine was okay. Overall, a nice romance with sports as background.

12) Hot Number by Carly Phillips: B

This one is the sequel and it was a bit more interesting than Hot Stuff because the hero is still a professional athlete. Out of the three sisters, I like Micki the most, although I was surprised at how "fragile" and "unsure" she felt. What I didn't work for me is that their "affair" was really way too short. I don't understand men that are not able to deal with their career and love. I mean, women do it all the time right? So very weak excuse in my opinion... that coupled with the pregnancy accusation made the grade the same as Hot Stuff although I liked the characters better in Hot Number.

13) Hot Item by Carly Phillips: DNF

Blah. Was really not interested in the H/H in this one. I don't mind kids in my romance, but I have to say the spoiled girl from a professional athlete who doesn't want her father to date is the worst. I just found them very, very annoying. Seriously, it's not an interesting plot... This one had potential though, given the build up from Hot Stuff and Hot Number, but I just wasn't into it.

14) The Warrior by Sharon Sala: B

15) Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James: B+

Most probably, I'll review this book. I don't know where yet, but I mean, the grade says it all right? Oh and if you're wondering, I'm siding with J.D. :P

16) Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber: C

I was really looking forward to this book... I like the Blossom Street series and one of my favorite character was coming back: Alix :) I ended up being quite disappointed. Let see, Lydia had the main storyline and it was okay - not very original. She and her husband want to adopt a baby, but they end up fostering a young teenager girl. You can guess the rest right? I liked Phoebe and Hutch's storylines and romance, but I wished there'd been more. I skipped over Anne Marie's storyling - I really wasn't interested in. Basically, in Twenty Wishes, Anne Marie adopted an 8 years old girl... and her biological father shows up now. The worst is that this storyline is probably going to continue in the next Blossom Street book. Sigh. As for Alix, I really liked her character and her romance with Jordan. In this one, Alix and Jordan want to start their family, but Alix is nervous because she doesn't know if she'll be a good mother or not. Again, very typical and the worst is that we barely saw Alix and Jordan compared to all the other relationships in the book :( So let just say I'm disappointed with this one. Although the storylines are all very typical, Ms Macomber does save the book with her writing style... Hence the C.

17) Twisted Creek by Jodi Thomas: A

18) Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder: B+

Review to come.

19) Visions in White by Nora Roberts: B+

20) Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: A

So after reading Storm Glass, I wanted to re-visit Yelena and her books. So I re-read Poison Study. Awesome book!! I put the link of my previous review, but seriously, I really like Yelena, Valek, Janco and Ari :) and I thought this book was great ;)

21) Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder: A

LOL, just normal that after reading Poison Study, I would follow up with Magic Study :) Another great book, very enjoyable :) Again, really love Yelena's character and she grows :) Yes, she gets into trouble, but she gets out of them :) and she has a very good entourage. I liked re-reading about Yelena and Valek, re-visiting her friendship with Janco and Ari and get to know her brother Leif. I have to say, Kiki is great! :)

So that's it for this month :) I really had an awesome month and I ended up reviewing more than I thought I did! So overall, very happy with myself :) I'm crossing my fingers so that May is as good - although less new releases...

You guys have any plans for this week-end?