Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Book Porn

Last Friday, I went to buy more books. Yes, more books... but then, as many have told me - UBS shopping doesn't count and 26 books is okay to celebrate my 3rd blogniversary :D So all is good :)

So as Jill so nicely requested, here is some book porn - pictures of my new goodies :D I love this particular UBS because it's selection is quite wide, being in the English part of Montreal... and they've been having this Buy 3, get the 4th free sale forever :P Anyway, enjoy the pics :D

So yep, 26 books. It was supposed to be 24, but when I walked out the bookstore, there was a table with some books on it (duh, LOL). The sign said: "Become a serial reader" and there were series together... Innocent Mage and Awakened Mage caught my eyes - I've been looking for some fantasy reads, so I picked them up and went back to the cashier.

I really got lucky this time at the bookstore... Let see, hmmm, I found a couple of very "new/recent" releases such as the new Eloisa James, This Duchess of Mine, and Dirty, Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgway. Those are two books I wasn't sure if I wanted, mainly because I felt meh about the prior books, but since I'm not paying full price, why not? :P Daring Time by Beth Kery for 10$, Tempted and Broken by Megan Hart - each for 5$ were some good deals. Especially the Megan Hart, since I've been debating forever whether to get them or not. I know many bloggers that love Ms Hart: Rosie and Isabel come to mind. I'm just not sure if she is my style... but again, for 5$? Why not? I mean, getting those 2 were cheaper than ordering one online.

One of my greatest find was When She's Bad by Leanne Banks, especially since I've just mentioned her the other day. I think I screamed a little when I found it LOL :) Found two Lynn Michaels - Mother of the Bride and Honeymoon Suite, two books I'm looking forward to read. I also found Golden Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz. I read this book earlier this year, but it was a library copy and I wanted one for my personal collection. Also found Lady's Choice, which I think Dear Author just happened to mention the other day. Also got Wildest Heart and Midnight Jewels by JAK... these are two full novels by her that I've never heard or come across, so I thought it was worth a try.

Among rare authors, I found two more books from Jane Goodger list - go me! LOL, I'm on a roll... Surprisingly, there were also two copies of When There is Hope. I also found two books by Kathleen Kane, which I promptly swept up :P

Seriously, I think I've been doing really well lately at UBS :) Since I had time, I went through all their Harlequin Desires, but unfortunately, did not find Amber By Night by Sharon Sala. Maybe next time :)

So what do you think? I did good, right? :P Spent almost 2 hours there , LOL :P

Re-Read: Don't Tell by Karen Rose

For this month's Re-Read Challenge, I chose Don't Tell by Karen Rose, mainly because Jill has recently read and reviewed this book... If I remember correctly, this was my first book Karen Rose. Seriously though, I was a bit fuzzy on the details - I remembered the main storyline, but details? Nope. Another reason why I picked it up is that the heroine in Ms Rose next release, I Can See You coming out in August, was a character in Don't Tell... so I thought it would refresh my memory and I'm glad I picked it up :)

Don't Tell by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing (Warner at the time) in July 2003


It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake . . .


Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. She is even taking a chance on love with Max Hunter, a man with wounds of his own. But her past is about to collide with the present when her husband uncovers her trail and threatens her hard-won peace. Step by step, he's closing in on her— and everything and everyone she loves.

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: stand alone, but loosely connected to Ms Rose other books

The Story: Okay, so this blurb summarizes the book very well, but I'll try to give you a little bit more details. The book opens with Mary Grace Winters being at the hospital with a broken back after falling down the stairs and her abusive cop husband warning her not to tell anyone that he pushed her if not, the next time, he would finish the job.

Fast-forward to the present, 9 years later, and we are introduced to Caroline Stewart and her son, Thomas. It took her two years, but Caroline was finally able to run away from her abusive husband with her son and as a result, Mary Grace and Robbie Winters no longer existed... just the way they want. Both are now content with their new life. Caroline has been working as a secretary in the history department of Carrington College while finishing her undergrad and soon, she'll be head to law school. Her friend and supervisor has passed away and Caroline is welcoming the new head of department, Maximillian Alexander Hunter.

Attraction flares between Caroline and Max. For the first time ever, Caroline's heart goes pitty-patty. However, Caroline is not the only one with a past... and Max is not about to forget his, especially since it resulted in a permanent limp and him walking with a cane.

What Caroline and Max don't know yet is that they might not have time to work through their issues, because Caroline and Thomas are in danger. Indeed, the car that Caroline has ditched into a lake 7 years ago to stage their disappearance has been found. This has re-opened the investigation... but worst, Rob - Mary Grace's husband - has realized he's been duped all those years and he is now on the hunt, determined to get his son back and finish what he's started years ago.

My Opinion: I love Karen Rose and it's not a secret. I read all of her books, have all of her backlist... From the first book, I recognized her talents and started to pay attention to her releases. However, the turning point was Count to Ten. That book was a wowzer and turned me into a die-hard fan of Ms Rose. Thing though is that I love Count to Ten so much that it seems to have wiped out my memory of all her other books :( So I'm really glad that I picked up Don't Tell.

It's quite amazing how consistently good Ms Rose is as a writer. I mean, reading Don't Tell, I would never have been able to tell that it was her first book. I find it as well written as Count To Ten and I'm pretty sure if I re-read all of the other books, it'd be the same as well. When authors released their first books, it's usually flawed - oh, the book can be good, but it's not perfect. It can be the characters, the storylines or the writing style... Then, they keep writing and you find their books improving as the authors find their footing. This is absolutely not the case with Don't Tell. First, it's incredibly well-balanced between the romance and the suspense. The characters are well developed and the plot is just exciting :D

Let's talk about the characters first... I really enjoyed Caroline and Max's characters as well as Tom. I liked the fact that they were strong, determined, but at the same time, flawed... and I'm not just talking about their baggage. Each have issues to deal with, secrets and fears... they felt very real to me and I felt for their characters. Ms Rose did a good job balancing their personalities and their issues, because despite everything, these characters went on with their life. They weren't going through the motion like robots, and that showed their strength.

I liked how Caroline and Max's romance developed. Yes, it was very fast, but at the same time, it worked. I thought they had a lot of chemistry... what I liked the most was Tom's presence in this relationship. It made the relationship even more real. Tom is Caroline's protector, not able to readily trust Max as his mother did, but at the same time, having to bow to Caroline's choice. I liked the fact that Tom was not charmed right away by Max and that Max and Tom's interactions throughout the book were difficult. Not difficult as in Tom was a sully, spoiled teenager... but more because Tom wanted to protect his mother and Max was an intruder. Under these circumstances, it's totally understandable why Tom has difficulty to trust men and as a result, I liked that Max wasn't able to charm him... not that Max tried very hard. I felt like Max knew that it would take time to built trust between him and Tom and it's not that he wasn't willing, simply he wasn't rushing it. He did rush Caroline though with his proposal :P

The actual plot was quite clever. When you think about it, the reason why there is such a balance between the romance and suspense is that although Caroline was involved in the suspense, she did not play an active role. She was not a cop, so not part of the investigation, and she was unaware that her husband was looking for her. As a result, she was able to focus on her relationship with Max. The suspense came from a different angle, from the villain point of view, Rob Winters, as well as the investigator, Special Agent Steven Thatcher, who was trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Seriously, this was a great idea and it was well executed. It was exciting and thrilling. What I love is that these characters, Thatcher, the villain, other characters involved in the investigation were well developed as well. I liked seeing slices of Steven's life - his interaction with his sons and aunt, etc.

Overall, a very enjoyable book. Pretty much liked everything about it. The timeline was short, but it worked. Like I said, the clever part was how the plot was executed, having the investigation and the romance as two separate threads. Good and solid characters... I have to say, it was great as well to get re-acquainted with some of the characters: I did not remember David at all!! I remember him in Count to Ten, but didn't remember that he had such a big role in Don't Tell! I didn't remember Evie Wilson's character either... and this is one other thing that I like about Ms Rose's books: no sequel-baiting. All of her books are stand-alone, but in truth, they are actually connected and it's done in a subtle way. She doesn't put all the eggs in the same basket either - what I mean is that she varies up the setting and the characters. When she writes a book, she puts only the relevant information on secondary characters... she doesn't give a glimpse of their history or what's to come in the future... She doesn't seem to have an order to follow and all this works to her advantage. I really like it that way.

My Grade: Don't Tell gets a B+. It was a great re-read and in some ways, very new to me :) If you're looking for good romantic suspense, she is the author to go to :) However, a warning - this is not for the faint heart... the dead count is quite high and it can be descriptive/gory a little.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Confessions of a Book Slut

I'm stealing Tracy's post title... but I thought it was appropriate...

Remember the 58 books I brought home from my trip to Toronto?

Did I tell you that I bought 10 books this week?

Guess what I did this evening? Guess who brought home 26 books from the UBS and 6 shiny new books from Chapters?

Yeah, me ^_^;

Will I be excused if I say I'm celebrating my 3rd blogversary?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Books and Blogs

Ugh, I'm soooo out of the loop T_T

I've been writing this post for a few days already!!! I keep starting it and then, I end up doing something else ^_^; Sigh, things have just been... not hectic, but how to say... out of order. My routine is all messed up by lack of sleep, watching Bones and stuff. I hate it when my routine is disrupted, grrr. If at least, it was because I was reading... sigh.

Let see if we can get it done today...

So last week, I posted pictures of the trip and more specifically, of the books I got LOL :) I'm pretty happy with what I got, especially with my UBS finds. I love going to new UBS. Personally, I think there is more chance for you to find treasures in UBS that you've never been to or that you don't frequently go to. The logic behind it is once you've visited a UBS, you need to wait till someone brings something new/interesting. That's okay if you're looking for newest releases, but old ones - well you need to wait till someone does a purge and that's rare. When you go to a new UBS, then you don't know what they have and that makes it exciting and more likely that you find treasures :)

Let see... I mentioned two of my finds in a previous post: Calder's Rose by Kate Angell and Deadline by Metsy Hingle. I've been looking for Kate Angell's backlist for a while and the only one still missing was Calder's Rose. So I'm really glad I found it :)

Other good finds were the Suzann Ledbetter's books. It's a series and the first 4 books are based on the directions: West, East, South and North. I had South in my TBR pile and was considering giving it away, just because I couldn't find the other 3 books and make sense of it. Now I have them :D

The Jane Goodger were also good finds! I really enjoyed When There is Hope and her most recent book, Marry Christmas. I really wanted to read more of her, but most of her backlist is out of print... so to find 3 books?!? Major score!! It was actually funny. I found one at the first UBS near Kristie's place... and then, at the second UBS, the books were shelved by genres... I was in the contemporary section and I reminded myself to look up for Jane Goodger's books. Then, when I was in the historical section, I was like: "Kristie!! Who am I supposed to look up for in the historical section!!" LOL :P

I was glad to find Years by Lavyrle Spencer because I remembered Jill liked it :) Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland was a good find also, especially since I've recently read Till There Was You and the characters of Stardust of Yesterday are mentioned in that book... Before my trip to Toronto, I've decided to finally cave and give a try to Suzanne Enoch's new historical series. I blame Rowena for that! LOL :) She kept saying in her reviews how she loved them... I almost bought them at the bookstore, but then, decided to be a good girl and wait till I hit the UBS... because perhaps, just perhaps I would find them... and I did!! During my trip, I discovered Carolyn Jewel and Rosie kept praising the author... I was actually looking for The Spare which Rosie has recently reviewed... but found Lord Ruin instead. Oh well, beggers can't be choosers, right? So Lord Ruin it is :) One of the books I was on the look-out for was Night in Eden by Candice Proctor because my dear host, Kristie, had just made an author spotlight and said that was her favorite.

Oh and one of the best find was... Down by the River by Robyn Carr. See, two years ago when we had our first Canadian Blogger Meet, Down by the River is one of the book I was looking for... In all the bookstores we went to, I would look for that book... and I didn't find it. And sure, the whole trilogy was re-printed back in October 2008... but to find an original copy! Yeah, I wasn't going to pass over that book! and it just brought memories... so I bought it :)

LOL, do you see how blogland has influenced me? :P See, most of my purchases were all justified!! I have to say, there's only one or two books I actually picked up because of the cover and blurb... Otherwise, most of them were all books that I've heard through blogland, authors that I've read and enjoyed and wanted to read more... or recommendations from Kristie (Jill Marie Landis, Lucky's Lady by Tami Hoag, etc.) :D And of course, there are the books I got from Kristie and Cindy or the books I bought new :) Lots of good stuff among them as well :) I mean, Yay for duplicate!! That's how I got Connor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke from Kristie... Again, this book is really hard to find and is Kristie's favorite by Ms Guhrke, so I wanted to give it a try. I was going to borrow it only, but Kristie had a duplicate... so Yay!! :) I also bought another copy of The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner... I was looking for the mass market copy so it would fit with my copies of The Thief and The Queen of Attolia... but the hardcover was on sale... 2$!!! Forget the mass market copy then!

So how is it that after coming back home with 58 books... I want to buy more? My TBB list has actually grown, especially jotting down the books I have to be on the look-out next time I go to a UBS... The Lynn Michaels, When She's Bad by Leanne Banks, Kathleen Kane - a new author I've discovered through Cindy, etc. The list is just growing... Then add in the specials that the bookstores are having: Buy 3, get the 4th free, 5$ off on a purchase over 35$, 20% off a book on a purchase over 35$... I mean, these are just too tempting!! Want to hear some of my recent adventures? On Monday, I went to two bookstores to buy Hot in Here by Sophie Renwick and couldn't find it... Two!! So what did I do? I went to another bookstore at 9am the next day LOL :) Bought 4 trade-size - Buy 3, get the 4th free, gotta love this special :P In the afternoon, I went to another bookstore and got my hand on the new Julia Quinn, Susan Mallery, Susan Andersen and Larger than Life by Kay Hooper. I almost went to the bookstore again today... but decided against it. The Buy 3, get the 4th free promotion is still going on... so I think I'll be doing a nice booking adventure this week-end... There's the bookstore that is on the opposite side of Montreal and it has a good UBS close-by. Do it around 10am on Sunday when there's no traffic and only Chapters is open :)

Am I crazy buying so many books?!? Tracy had a post yesterday about TBR pile. After reading her post... I started wondering, does it matter how many books there is in the pile? :P I mean, that hasn't stopped me from buying books in the past... As long as I have the room and the money, right?

Ouf, so I think I've talked enough about books :D Onto blogs now :) If you look on my sidebar, I've added a couple of new links :) I've decided to de-lurk... or is it un-lurk? In the past few months, I've seen a lot of names I wasn't familiar with... and they kept showing up in other blogs that I visited... Barbara from Happily Ever After, Leontine, VampFanGirl to name a few. It just seemed like a good time to open my horizon, start making new friends, update my sidebar :)

It's strange how I resisted branching out ^_^; Again, I don't know how this will reflect my personality... but for a while, I resisted because... I felt a sense of proprietary. You know how you have these friends and they are YOUR friends... you want them to only be yours... and when newcomers come and befriended them, you feel left out a little :( You feel like you're losing them... or that they like the newcomers more than you... I guess that deep down, even on the net, I feel a little bit unsecured ^_^; Anyway, the best way in that case is not to cling and close down, but to befriend the new ones and be part of the group... So there, I'm making the big step. I realized that many are not newcomers... that they've been blogging for a while, but I've just never visited their blogs routinely... I'd dropped by every couple of weeks or months. Well not anymore... Of course, that means my blog-hopping will take more time, but hey, that's okay :P

Okie dokie... that's it for tonight :) I'll try to have a review up for tomorrow :D Slowly getting back in my routine... Yay :P

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Re-Read Challenge Reminder

Sigh, I've been a lousy blogger lately ^_^; The thing is, I have stuff that I want to say and write about, but I just don't. Ugh.

Anyway, this is to remind everyone that you still have one week to read your re-read! :) End of the month is next Tuesday :) You can start posting your review from Monday to Wednesday :) How does that sound?

LOL, off to pick which book I should re-read :P

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TBR Day: Marriage by Design by Lynn Michaels

So what do you want? The good news or the bad news first? The good news is I did read a book from my TBR pile... I actually read more than one book! Youppi! and this time, real TBR books, i.e. that I've purchased them a while ago and they've been languishing somewhere in my bedroom. The bad news? Well none of them fit the monthly theme. Ah well ^_^; One can only do so much, right? LOL.

It's been a while since my last review, so bear with me ^_^;

Marriage by Design by Lynn Michaels
published by Ballantine Books (Random House) in July 2006
There’s only so much taffeta and toile a girl can take.

Passionate, talented, and noticeably stunning, Mia Savard is the top designer at her father’s thriving bridal design company. But her life has hit a bit of a snag. Thirty, recently dumped, and suddenly single, Mia has grown weary of white lace and craves couture. But when Mia’s most spectacular creation is leaked to the competition, the silk hits the fan. Someone inside Savard Creations is trading with the enemy. In the world of fashion, that means war.

Enter private investigator Joe Kerr, the exceedingly handsome ex-cop hired to nab the clever mole. Stalking dangerous territory–where jittery brides, hysterical mothers, and deadline-challenged designers clash in clouds of gossamer and gossip–Joe is torn between suspecting Mia and seducing her. Amid the treachery, hijinks, and flirtations galore, it seems that for Mia, romance just might be tailor-made.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: It is pretty much as described in the blurb, so I won't go over it again :)

My Opinion: This was really an entertaining read and I enjoyed it very much :) It wasn't so much the story or the characters, but the style. I thought it was different from most contemporary romance on the market at the moment and found it refreshing. Marriage by Design is really a melange of chick-lit, contemporary romance with a dash of romantic suspense well done :)

The setting of the book is quite interesting. Basically, Mia is a designer in Savard Creations which specialized in bridal gown. The president of the company is her father, very prone to drama and with a volatile temper, and everyone in Mia's family except her mother work in Savard Creations in different positions. I enjoyed the family dynamics and antics - it was funny and made me laugh out loud a couple of times... and it wasn't too much. Sometimes, this type of families just high-jacked the storyline, but not in this case.

I liked Mia and Joe's characters. They felt real to me. Mia is 30 years old and the youngest sibling in her family. There are many over-powering characters in her family and I think that she's starting to fly. It was interesting to see her starting to stand up to her father... I don't want readers to think that she is weak, because she is not. However, I think that in the past, she agreed with her father or it was easier to follow his lead... However, now, Mia is really growing into her own woman and I have fun accompanying her. As for Joe, he's a great guy. He was engaged several years ago, but unfortunately, she died from cancer... leaving a 15 years old daughter behind whom Joe adopted. Seriously, how many man would have done so? He was also a cop, but a bad encounter with a gun made him decided to change his line of work and he now owns a successful detective office. Joe is a good guy with quiet strength. He isn't alpha or beta... LOL, perhaps I should describe him as omega? I enjoyed Mia and Joe's relationship and connection. I thought they had a lot of chemistry, although I would not have minded if the story focused on their relationship a little bit more. Although they didn't fall in bed on the first night, I do think their relationship develop a little too quickly.

There are some very interesting secondary characters; however, there were too many ^_^; Also, at times, I felt that there were some unnecessary scenes - especially the ones involving Joe's detective office. Few things could have been weeded out without affecting the storyline. Also, one of my biggest complaint is about the intrigue - who did it. I would have liked a little more justification/explanation about the motive. Who did it didn't really surprised me, but when that person said that Mia owned her. That didn't really make much sense to me. I thought that was a weakness.

Overall, I think Ms Michaels did a good job balancing the romance, the intrigue and the characters' story. It could have focused a little more on Joe and Mia, but still, it was a fun book :) I really did like Ms Michaels writing style and so, I'm going to try to get her backlist :) It seems that lately, I like what is different. I like the books to be a little more passive in the narration than having a bold voice with one event happening after one another. In the end, Marriage by Design is just a fun and relax book :)

My Grade: B

Wallpaper meme

Huh, it just down on me that last week, at the same time... I was on a train towards Kristie... Today? I'm stuck at work. Time really does fly!!! Unfortunately, it keeps flying in the wrong direction! ^_^;

Today is the TBR Day. Luckily, I have my book read at the beginning of the month, so all I have to do is write a review :) Only problem is I just have so many things to talk about!! and well, I'm trying to space it out, so I don't inundate everyone's Google Reader. So while I'm writing my review and mulling over what I want to say for tomorrow, enjoy an image of my wallpaper :)

Kristie has revived this old Wallpaper meme. I only have a desktop, so only one wallpaper... and nothing as hot as what Kristie has LOL :) By the way, I do not take responsibility for Kristie's laptop wallpaper. She said she wanted Nico Archambault (the winner of Canada's SYTYCD) as her wallpaper and while I was looking for something more sensible, she chose that pic :P

Anyway, my wallpaper is a from Eyeshield21 - a Japanese manga about American football which has just ended last week T_T While I would have preferred to have more characters from ES21 in the wallpaper, this one just grabbed me. It's sooo pretty - look at the colors! Ahhh, I so love manga wallpapers :D

Monday, June 15, 2009

Canadian Blogger Meet 2 pictures!!

All right, so here is what everyone has been waiting for... Pictures!!

Admittedly, I didn't take as many pictures as I should... and I realized that I don't have a picture of me with only Kristie :( However, I still have some and they'll be nice memories :)

So first, Kritie's books room... or, as I like to call it, every romance reader's dream room :) Kristie has posted pictures of her books room in the past, but here are some updated ones :) Also, as a bonus, here you get a little video :)

Gorgeous, isn't it? I like to compare it with a wine cellar, except for books :) It's even better than a wine cellar when you think about it, because it's more colorful. Check out the miniature boat models in the first pic!

Here is part of Kristie's TBR pile that I helped her re-organized...

It's just too bad that I forgot to take the final result! Kristie, maybe you can take a pic of it! :) Also, what was fun in Kristie's books room is to find the duplicates! :) It was like playing "Memory"... you know the game where you'd have cards and have to remember where the pairs are? Well here, you would spot a book and be like, "Hmmm, where have I seen you before?" and there were quite a few duplicates :) The funniest was when we went to the UBS and Kristie bought To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney... When she showed me, I was like, "Kristie, I think I just saw it yesterday..." LOL, she still bought it, just to be on the safe side :)

So when I went on the trip, I had a few pictures request by Ames and Cindy. First was the books room, so that's done. Second was the kitchen and I did take some, but then, Kristie went and did a post about it... so I won't post them again. I really like her kitchen (especially the blue) and quite frankly, anything is better than what she had before :) Cindy and Kristie had a discussion when viewing the pictures and I have to say, I was completely lost LOL :) Finally, the last request was Kristie's new kitten, Cali the Calico Cat or as Kristie likes to call her, the Destructo-Cat :)

I'm not really a pet lover and I'm allergic to cats... but Cali was a very cute kitten. Very playful and energetic :) I tried taking a pic of the two cats playing together, but didn't work very well ^_^;

So for the official Canadian Blogger Meet #2, I don't really have pictures. Cindy and Lea have a few and Lea did a post here. Still, I was able to snap one or two or four :) These were taken when we got back to Cindy's place...

So here we are, at the end of a great and memorable day...

LOL, these are nice pictures... but they aren't the ones you want, right? What you really want... is to know which books we bought, right? :) Well here it is...

Doesn't Cindy look like an author in that pic? :) So those are the books that Cindy got at the UBS, Chapters and through the book exchange. Here is Kristie's haul in Ancaster. She did score a few books in the London UBS, but LOL, of course, she didn't bring them to Cindy's. Overall though, Kristie was a very good girl :) Since she's going to the RWA, she limited herself...

LOL, quite frankly, I was very impressed at everyone's restraint - especially Lea and Mary. Everywhere I went, I just kept piling the books. Ames says I don't have much restraint... and that's true ^_^; Thing is, many books I found in Ontario were rare books to me, real gems! So I couldn't pass right? In addition, I think not buying books the month just before the trip just added to the impulse/binging. All right, all right... here they are:

The books in the first pictures are the ones I bought in Chapters. The second pic are the ones I got from Kristie, the 3rd pic - from Cindy. The 4th and 5th pics are books I got from the UBS, the first one in London and the second one, in Burlington. In total, I brought back 58 books... LOL, total score!!

So yeah, imagine fitting all those books in the suitcase ^_^; It wasn't easy!! And the last picture has all the books in it :)

A very fruitful trip :)

And there you have it, all the pics...

Day 4 and 5

The trip is over, the vacation is over and now I'm sitting at work :( Time flies - especially great time!

So let me quickly recap Day 4 and 5.

Day 4 started off quite early, but it was very relax. I read a little, then sneaked down to the living room to use Kristie's laptop. Quickly blogged and blog-hopped. I saw Cindy's post and wondered which option it was going to be :P For those who are wondering, it was option 1 :) Cindy was in a really good mood and definitively ready to take on the world.

Bob was our designated driver and took us to Kelsey's, the restaurant where we were going to meet Lea and Mary. There was a little bit of traffic because it was Heritage Day in Ancaster, but not that bad. We were pulling in the parking lot when Kristie's cell phone started ringing and LOL, Kristie and I just dove into her purse. See, although Kristie's cellphone is functional, she has difficulties with it... and LOL, guessing that it was probably Lea calling, we didn't want to miss the phone call. Well we didn't... it was indeed Lea, telling us that she'd be there with Mary, her online date, in about 10 minutes. So Kristie, Cindy, Bob and I went into the restaurant and sat... waiting impatiently... and a little bit anxiously.

So we were all staring out the window, trying to be the first to catch a glimpse of Lea and Mary... and then, you have Bob pointing out and saying: "I bet that's them!" Kristie, Cindy and I looked at the 2 women he was pointing at... and we all had the same reaction... a mixture of "God no!" and "I don't think so... maybe?" Having no clue what Lea and Mary looked like, it was hard to tell... but the two ladies Bob pointed out looked, well, dried-out. Older ladies (probably in their 60's) with salt and pepper hair, severe expression on their face... and one of them had a Chapters bag... Then, they came into the restaurant and LOL, Cindy, Kristie and I were staring at them... they approached our table and we held back our breath... and they sat in the booth behind us. LOL, sigh of relief. Hey, I'm not saying that women in their 60s-70s cannot enjoy romance... however, they just looked so severe and stern. Not people I imagine would drive one to two hours away to meet strangers to discuss romance! So after these two ladies, 2 younger ones came in... but this time, one of them had a baby, so we figured quickly it wasn't them either... and then, Lea and Mary surprised us (they parked on the other side, so we didn't see them from our window). We saw two women looking around, unsure... so we decided to wave and yep, indeed, it was Lea and Mary!!

As it is usually with romance lovers, we quickly found things to discuss and there were no awkward moments. Time really went by quickly... and by the time we got out of the restaurant, it was around 2.30pm if I remember correctly. So the reason why Cindy chose Kelsey's as the meeting point was because there's a huge Chapters just behind! So guess what we did? Of course, we went and did a quick tour :) LOL, I felt like we hogged the romance section, standing in our little group and discussing this book and that book... and asking each other "Did you read this book?" "What did you think of this one" "Oh, I love this author!" LOL :) Nobody went out empty-handed :)

After Chapters, we decided to go to the UBS in Burlington. Only problem was that we were 6 (including Bob) and so we had to use two vehicles: Lea, Mary and Kristie and Bob, Cindy and me. So Lea would follow Bob... and LOL, we lost Lea in the parking lot!! LMAO!! Bob assumed that Lea knew where the gas station was, so he took a head-start... but Lea, Mary and Kristie were only getting the car. Cindy made Bob stopped, but we were already in a different section of the parking lot... So we could see that Lea went back to where Bob was parked and she circled, looking for us ^_^; So a quick phone call, more hand waving and we were all ready to go :) Cindy decided she would be driving instead of Bob :)

The ride to the UBS wasn't very long. We got to this small mall and went into it, all excited... and the UBS wasn't there anymore!! For a moment, I thought it was the UBS curse. See, last year, when Ames and I went to Holly's wedding - all the UBS we planned to go have closed down... so I was like: Here we go again... Only, this time, Cindy knew that the UBS was still open, because she had called them earlier in the week. So we stood in the mall and called 411... and turned out the UBS had moved just the month before to another mall... just in front of another Chapters! So we piled back into the cars and went to the UBS and we made it :)

The UBS was a good one :) And it was well classified because it had just opened! I found some very precious gems! Can't wait to show it to you (in the next post)!! LOL, one cute thing is that a little birdie came into the shop. He was tiny, but so cute!! Bob was a dear and picked the bird up and showed him the door. However, the birdie came back and Bob had to do it a second time :P (We figured he liked the shades)... As for the actual shopping, well... I don't know how these ladies went through all the books so fast, but they were all done before me!! I was half-way through the Contemporary section (still had the Historical one to go through!) and already, Lea, Kristie and Mary had paid. Huh LOL :) Of course, I'm the one who came out with the most books :) Then, we crossed the street to go to Chapters where I only bought 1 other book. Actually, at this point, I think only I and Cindy bought books... and Cindy was able to find a purple book bag, so she was all happy :)

After that, we all went back to Cindy's home. The day was gorgeous and hot, so as soon as we came back to Cindy's, she and I took a quick dip into the pool :) It was great! Then, we had a BBQ :) After eating, it was starting to get a little dark... so we went to Cindy's living room for the book exchange. In the meantime, I connected onto internet and Ames was online!! So she was able to meet Lea and Mary via webcam! Seriously, I love that little new toy... After the book exchange, dessert and some pictures, it was time for Lea and Mary to go :( The Canadian Bloggers Meet was ending :( Kristie, Cindy and I stayed up to talk a little bit more and then, we went to bed.

You can go to Kristie (and here), Cindy (and here) and Lea's respective blogs for other accounts of the blast we had! :)

Day 5 was another relaxing day. Again, I woke up early and did a quick tour on blogland. Then, we went to a shoe store - my sister wanted Converse shoes and I was able to buy them, so score! :) Then, we went for brunch. We made it back to Cindy's home and had about 2 hours before I had to go to the train station. I had to pack all over again to fit the shoes (I bought a pair for myself too ^_^;), but everything fit... but my suitcase was a little bit bulging LOL :) Then, we chatted a little more by the side of Cindy's pool... and it was time to go :( Kristie left to go home while Bob and Cindy drove me to the train station...

Overall, I had an amazing trip to Ontario and am really glad I went! Sure, I scored with the books... but more than that, I was glad to be able to hang out with Kristie and Cindy! I thought that was really the best... because last time, I only saw Cindy a couple of hours... This time, I really got time to know Kristie and Cindy better :) I loved those relax moments we had where we just chatted and gabbed! It was also great to meet Lea and Mary (we're trying to convince Mary to become a blogger :P) and discuss books with them :) One of the thing that stands out to me is when Mary said: "There are people like me outside! I'm normal!!" and seriously, that's the beauty of meeting bloggers and romance lovers! This feeling of companionship and understanding. LOL, the first question Kristie asked Lea and Mary when they sat down at our table in the restaurant was: "How many books do you have in your bag?" LOL :)

So yes, I can't wait to do this again!! and thank you from the bottom of my heart to Cindy and Kristie for having me over and Lea and Mary for making it to the meet!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Alrighty... aka Day 2 and Day 3

All right, I haven't been online blogging as much as I think I would be, but Kristie and Cindy have been LOL :) So you can always go to their blogs and find out what we have been up to :) Otherwise, keep reading :)

Day 2 of my trip was a very gray and rainy day... First thing I did when I woke up was to sneak to the basement and shelve books LOL :) Kristie was still sleeping and I thought I'd at least finish what we started the day before. Then I went up and saw Kristie reading on the couch :D LOL, that is the great thing with Kristie. There's no awkward moments and when she can, she'll just whip out her book and start reading. Some people, you always have to be there and "entertain" them... but Kristie is fine if I do my own stuff for a little while.

So the plan for Day 2 was to go to the UBS, then grocery, then FutureShop to pick up Kristie's new toy (her laptop) and get back home to eat. Which we did :) I love going to the bookstores with other readers, because you can discuss books and suggest authors and so on. Kristie asked me a couple of times "Nath, do you read this author?" Yeah, I know... what you want to know is how many books I got... well 18 books for 80$ :) Not bad... and 1 of them is a book that I've been looking for A LONG TIME. Like everytime I go to a UBS in the past 2 years, I'll have to look for it - Calder's Rose by Kate Angell. I also got a Metsy Hingle book that I couldn't find anywhere else. Overall, I did good I think :) I'll compile the list of books I got though once I'm home... so you all will have to be a bit patient :)

Once we got home, we ate lunch - it was a very quick lunch, what with Kristie's new laptop taunting us!! Earlier that morning, I have set up the router and created a network and needed to find out if it worked. Then, there was also the wireless mouse...and guess what? It was all easy peachy!! (well, I thought the mouse was the trickiest thing! ^_^;;;)

We read a little, played with the laptop a little and after that we were off... to go see Star Trek again! :) I say again because it was the 2nd time for Kritie and the 3rd time for me. It's still a great movie, I really enjoyed it :) and since it was a matinee (3.40pm) presentation, it was cheap. Popcorn and drink was double the price of the ticket. Anyway, still love the movie! I really can't wait till the DVD comes out to watch the special features!!!

Once we were back home, we - well Kristie - prepared supper (steaks and baked potatoes, miam miam) and after that, it was time the result show of So You Think You Can Dance. We watched the show with Ames via webcam :) I know, we're dorks, but that way, it feels like she is with us :) Both Ames and Kristie were very disappointed to see Tony go, because they liked him. Ames called out Paris being kicked out. I still think the coverage of the top 20 this year has been unfair. They are many faces that are unknown to the public still because they were under the radar during the auditions. I wonder how that is going to work out.

I also showed Kristie how to upload pictures on her computer - hence the long overdue post on her kitchen :) and I played around a little with Kristie's blog template. I noticed that Kristie would often change the font and color of her post font and wondered why... Turns out she didn't like the default font and she wanted a different color than black. Well Kristie, let me help you out :) Then, Kristie called it a night because the evening before, she stayed up to watch the movie Let It Rain on TV and had gone to bed at 1am :)

I was so relieved that Day 3 turned out to be a gorgeous day! :) We didn't really have a plan yesterday... except getting to Cindy's house. So we laze a little bit in the morning, watching Kristie's cats play and read. Then, we head to the post office to send some books :) Yeah, I know, weird that I would send some books when I'm on vacation... but otherwise, I don't have time when I have to work. Afterwards we went to the mall next to Kristie's house. Did I say I love where Kristie lives? It's like 2 minutes away from the a main street and there's a huge mall as well as a Chapter, FutureShop and all those big stores. It's just great!! Anyway, we went to the mall so I could buy some stuff for my sister. See, in Quebec province, we don't have Bath and Body Works - so my sister wanted me to get her some shampoo (but no conditioner) if it was cheap. Before going to the mall, I noticed that Kristie got a coupon via email (20% off) so we spent 15-20 minutes trying to print it out! For some reason, Kristie's printer won't "feel" the paper and the ink might be dry ^_^; Luckily, Kristie bought a new printer when she got the laptop (it was only 30$) and it was already set up on the laptop... Anyway, long story short, I got the coupon and was really happy... then I got to the store and realized that the coupon was only valid in US stores. Right, it's useless for me then. So the lesson? Read the fine print, it will save you time! Anyway, it didn't matter really because it was the semi-annual sale so they had some great deals (well I guess, cos I don't really know the price of these stuff, so I'm assuming here). Problem is that I was overwhelm and had absolutely no idea what to get... so we had to find a pay phone so I could call my sister and ask her. We grabbed lunch and then, went back to Bath and Body Works. Seriously, even knowing was she wants, it was hard - which scent smelled the best, where was the stuff, what is the difference with these 2 soaps. Ugh. But at least, I got her some stuff, so she can't complain once I get home.

We quickly stopped by Future Shop to get a protective case for Kristie's new laptop. Ugh, couldn't find a 16'' though, so had to buy a 17". It's not too bad though, since the mouse fits in. Then, home again... Kristie packed and we had to get all the books that she was planning to get for the book exchange... and off we were to Cindy's.

The ride took one hour... but I only remember half of it ^_^; Yes, I'm really bad. If I'm not the one driving, then I can't keep my eyes open. Kristie made reallly good time and she remembered how to get to Cindy's house without any directions. Once we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by Cindy and Bob :) You know all of Cindy's pics of her house? All the work that Bob has done? Well it's even better when you see it with your own eyes :)

We chatted, caught up with each other. Went to a nice pub for supper. Quick dip into the pool - it's really a nice pool :) But the bugs were starting to show up :( Then, once we were back, Kristie showed off her new laptop and Ames was actually online so we had a video call and talked... for 3 HOURS! LOL, when we stopped, it was 1am! Definitively time for bed :P By the way, does anyone know how to have video calls with more than one person?

So there you have it :) Detailed summary of what we've been up to. What I need to do now is take more pictures :) I didn't take any of me and Kristie's so far... because, well who's going to take the picture? So now that our number has doubled (Bob), it's going to be picture time!! :)

So now, we're lazing around Cindy's house... waiting patiently for noon time when we'll meet up with Lea and Mary for the official Canadian Blogger Meet :) Can't wait!! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Review: Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy

Quick update before Kristie and I head out for the UBS, I have a review up over at Book Binge: Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy. You can find the review here.

Oh by the way, I know most of you will figure this out, but I'm not going to be around as much, LOL, so I'll catch up with everything about blogland as soon as I can :)

She's never seen a sexier ghost.

Delaney Markham doesn't just see dead people, she hears them too. And FYI-communicating with tortured souls all day can really wreak havoc on your love life. After all, no one wants to date the crazy chick that talks to herself. Sans boyfriend, Delaney makes the best of her gift by holding séances and earns a pretty penny for them too, that is until one incredibly annoying ghost just won't go away.

Now, if she could only get her hands on him.

When he materializes wearing nothing, Delaney knows something's up. Besides being sinfully hot-in a college professor sort of way-all signs point to Clyde Atwell being much more than the ordinary spirit. In fact, he's a newbie demon whose first assignment is to take Delaney back down to hell with him. Yeah, like that's gonna happen on the first date. If Delaney's old nemesis Lucifer thinks she's going down without one hell of a fight, he's got another thing coming...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Made it to London!

No, I'm not lost :) London, Ontario... not UK :P

Woke up at 4.30am this morning and realized it was a tad too early, so I went back to sleep :) Then, at 5.15am, I got out of bed and got myself ready. Actually, I didn't have much to do since everything was packed. All I had to do was shower and check my emails.

Left home at 5.45am. My parents drove me, yes both my dad and mom... awww :) It was perfect timing, no traffic, and by the time I got to the station, they had started boarding, so I didn't have to wait around. The only thing that annoyed me is that it says clearly on my ticket and the receipts they sent to me by email that I was allowed a carry-on up to a certain size and while my suitcase was within limits, they still made me checked it. Which seriously, I don't mind, because it fast and it didn't require the hour they request and it didn't make me late for my connection train... but hey, I'm within limits!! Re-write your rules then if you won't accept carry-on that are too big to be stored under the seat!

The whole journey was pretty uneventful. Nothing special on the ride. I tried to sleep as much as possible, because time goes by more quickly. The whole ride took over 7 hours, from 6.30am to 2.20pm. I'm very grateful that it was on time, because seriously... it wasn't that comfy. For my ride from Toronto to London, the girl who sat next to me actually sneaked in a kitten. I don't mind, but I'm allergic to cats... and well, it smelled a bit ^_^;

Got to London on time and was quickly greeted by Kristie :) She hasn't changed since the last time I saw her, about 2 years ago. Her hair are just a tad longer :) We went back to her house so I could rest... I really like where she lives - it's close to a big mall and Chapters. My dream! LOL :)

Turns out I didn't rest at all. Kristie introduced me to her two cats and then showed me her books room. Awwww, I'm in love and green with jealousy!! I want one!! Maybe I can convince my parents to give me the formal salon at home... Hmmm, should be worth asking right? LOL :) I knew Kristie needed help classifying her books and so we jumped right in. So far, we're classifying her TBR pile ;)

We took a break to grab dinner at Swiss Chalet - it's a chicken rotisserie type of place... Which doesn't exist anymore in Quebec province, so it was fun ;) Then, we made a quick stop at Chapters... Did I mention I was able to finish My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel during my ride? I picked it up because Rosie liked it...and it was really good! So I needed to go get the sequel LOL :) I also picked up a few more books... (duh) We made another stop at Future Shop where Kristie acquired her new toy...

So now, we're back to Kristie's place and waiting for So You Think You Can Dance to start. I've already taken pictures of Kristie's new kitten, her kitchen and book room... but I forget my ubs cable, so I'll need to ask Kristie if she has one :) If she does, expect pictures in the morning!!

So there you have it, everything - almost LIVE :P

Monday, June 08, 2009

Getting ready...

So let me recap a little what is happening for those who have been out of the loop and absent from blogland.

This Saturday - June 13 - is the Canadian Blogger Meeting #2 in Ontario!! :) Woohoo!!!

This all really started 2 years ago in 2007. Basically, Ames and I were chatting and we wanted to meet and go somewhere together. Actually, I wanted to go the RWA which was held in Texas if I remember correctly, but yeah, I was lazy... didn't plan/think it out... and in the end, it was too late. So instead, I thought why not go to Toronto! Toronto is the big city in between Montreal where I live and Winnipeg where Ames lives. Also, I knew that Kristie, Cindy and Seneca were living in that area... So that was the first Canadian Bloggers Meeting: Ames, Kristie, Cindy and me :) We had great fun and seriously, it was AWESOME!!! Seneca wasn't able to join us in Toronto, but Ames and I rented a car and went to visit her :) Yep, quite adventurous we are :)

We had plans to repeat the event last year, in 2008, especially with Cindy's invitation to her pool :P Unfortunately, some things came up (read: lack of funds on my part ^_^;) and we decided to cancel...

Earlier this year (actually, I think it was around Thanksgiving... Nope, it was back in February, I think I'm confusing with another So Cal Meet Up. Ugh, these ladies are lucky, they do it a couple of times per year...) , the So Cal bloggers held a meeting, a really successful one, and they all blogged about it :P So Kristie wrote a post wanting to hold a second Canadian Bloggers Meeting, this time also open to any neighbours from the South who would be able to make it. We finally settled on a date, issue formal invitations and voilà. I am heading for London, Ontario, Wenesday morning :) Going to hang out with Kristie, then we'll make our way together to Cindy :) On Saturday, we will have the official meeting on Saturday where we will be joined by Lea and her friend. Initially, both Ames and Seneca were supposed to join us, but stuff happened and they are not anymore :( Next time though! There will be a next time!!

So there it is, the story!

So here are stuff I need(ed) to do to get ready...

- Pick up train ticket
- Buy a webcam
- Pack
- Make a list of books for the book exchange
- Clean my room (almost done... at least, it's better!)
- Buy snacks
- Buy some allergy medicine
- Charge batteries

I'm sure there is more stuff that's supposed to be on that list, but I just can't remember at the moment... Hope I'll be able to remember by tomorrow!! One more day!!

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Monday! LOL :) Why am I so excited? Cos I only have 2 more days before I head to London, Ontario where Kristie leaves. 5 days of vacation, woohoo! I have so many things to do though, but more on that later :)

My buddy review with Li from Me and My Books of The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong is finally up at Breezing Through. Big thanks to Li who joined me :) Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite author and if you remember, I reviewed The Summoning, the first book in this trilogy, here :) I'm glad to say that The Awakening lived up to my expectations. You'll find the review here.

Gotta get to work now :)

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl – someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment – not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a group of people who call themselves The Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us gain our freedom back before The Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Me and awards! :)

To start this post, a little confession from me...

I'm bad with awards and memes, to continue them and nominate/tag people ^_^; I drag my feet and eventually, forget them. Oh, I try, but sometimes... just not happening :( At the same time though, when I see a meme or an award around blogland, I get jealous when I don't get chosen - why them and not me? Or actually, more like, "Am I not their friend too?" Not my most endearing trait, I'm afraid :(

There's been some new awards being passed around in blogland recently... and surprise, surprise: I got not 1, not 2, but 3 awards last week! Wowzer!!! So I want to thank all the people who gave me an award and this time, you can be sure I'll pass it around!! :)

Little CJ blog award

“You have to award it to two people or I will make a voodoo doll of you and stick pins in it. Was that not clear? And if those two people do not award it to two other people, I will make voodoo dolls of them, and stick pins in them.”

Thanks the sky, Little CJ was tolerant of me and so far, I haven't felt any pains... yet. LOL, but I should hurry and pass it along, no?

Thanks to Lori and Renee for awarding me this award :) I would like to give it to

Literary Blogger award

“The Literary Blogger Award acknowledges bloggers who energize & inspire reading by going the extra mile. These amazing bloggers make reading fun & enhance the delight of reading!”

Diane from The Book Resort created this new & very charming award.

Here are the rules:

1) Put the logo on your blog/post.
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs.
3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

Renee also give me this award (here). It was really nice of her :)

So here are my nominations...

One Lovely Blog Award

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

This one, I got from Isabel and if I could, I would give it back to you... Not because I don't want it, but because I love your blog, Izzy!! Love hearing your stories :)

Here are the people I'm going to award this prize to :) Some are relatively new to me, others are my favorites :)


Monroe - I would give you this award as well, but since you're the one who gave it to Izzy... Next time! :)

So there you go :) Now, I'm off leaving comments to everyone, LOL :)

PS - Less than a week before I get to Kristie's!! :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Review: The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley

I feel that the past three days, I've been playing catch up with blogging ^_^;

Little CJ - I know about the awards, please do not make any voodoo doll and stick needles in it! LOL :) I am going to make a post about them very soon (today if I can manage it).

In the meantime, I have a review up over at Breezing Through. This time it's The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley and the reason I bought this book, well it's none other than Kristie :) Big thank you to her for always pimping out great books :) Also, thanks to Leslie from Leslie's Psyche for accepting to be my buddy reviewer. You can find the review here.

The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family--rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn't be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them--of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He's also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama--an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Monthly Reads - May 2009

Ouf, I'm definitively paying for an extremely lazy week-end ^_^; But seriously, I think that I got bitten by a bug, the lazyus bug :P So yes, I'm behind on everything: blogging, blog-hopping, replying emails, etc. Lucky for me, today was a pretty relaxed day at work and I was able to catch up on my blog-hopping. If you sent me an email before the week-end, chances are I replied this morning. If I haven't, please let me know ^_^; (I'm really sorry!)

Let see, tomorrow is the end of my no-buying-books-for-a-month bet with Ames!! :) Seems like we both made it :) Hah to everyone who thought I wouldn't make it! LOL :) So we purposely chose a month where there were little releases - those are the most dangerous for impulse binging! I have to admit, I was really tempted last week though. The third week was the most difficult ^_^; I also saved a bit of money which won't hurt for next week's trip.

What trip are you asking? Well I know that we talked about it a little in the previous weeks, but it's official!! I'm going to see Kristie's library and Cindy's pool! LOL :) Yep, I'm heading West next week (Wednesday to Sunday) for the Canadian blogger meeting #2 (LOL, I dropped the ' and Neighboring, because unfortunately, nobody from the South could make it - next time!). This time, I'm going to have the chance to meet a new blogger, Lea! :) Anyway, getting very excited for the trip! Only 9 days away!!

All right, onto the main subject of this post, my reads for this month...

1) The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong: B+

Buddy review with Li coming to Breezing Through (end of this week or early next week).

2) Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery: C

3) The Dragon Earl by Jade Lee: C

The fact that the hero is a 'Chinese' monk was intriguing. In the end though, it didn't quite work out for me. Basically, hero's family went to China when he was about 10 years old and got slaughtered, only he survived and was raised in a temple. Years later, he comes back to London for his wedding with his intended - although nobody really believes him. He yearns to go back to China and officially become a monk, but at the same time, he's attracted to his fiancee... The story itself wasn't bad, but the plot is quite unbelievable and few things were handled wrong in my opinion.

4) The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley: B+

Buddy review with Leslie coming to Breezing Through (tomorrow).

5) The Virgin's Secret by Victoria Alexander: B-

Not much buzz on this new release of Victoria Alexander. Interesting fact is that the hero and his brothers are the descendants of the couple in The Perfect Wife that was re-released not long ago. Overall, it was okay. Story was actually interesting, but no omph.

6) Confessions of a Little Black Gown by Elizabeth Boyle: DNF

I tried really hard to get into it, but it didn't work. The main couple wasn't so bad, but all the secondary characters got on my nerves. The whole storyline about the two ladies rescuing the American Captain - please! Seriously!?! Might give this another try in the future, but I wouldn't bet on it...

7) Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy: C+

8) He Said Yes by Patricia Waddell: B+

9) Edge of Hunger by Rhyannon Byrd: D

Saw the sequel at the bookstore and thought it might be interesting, but wanted to read the first on before... Rosie also seemed interesting in the world building. Couldn't really get into it. We're talking of Maverick - some kind of vampires (but not exactly vampires). I don't know, it just didn't grab me. I ended up skimming a lot of the book. Maybe I'm burned out on paranormals? I wouldn't be surprised. Sigh.

10) Ravenous by Sharon Ashwood: B-

Kmont reviewed this a couple month ago and it sounded interesting. Witch with limited powers has a clean-up service to pay for her college tuition. Boyfriend turns out not to be who she believed he was. Meanwhile, partner is a very yummy piece of vampire. Demon running around loose in the town and creating havoc that Witch and Partner have to stop.

Storyline was quite interesting and clever, liked the characters. World building is not bad, but few things that are unclear and confusing. Main problem though, again, not feeling the omph factor. It's a pleasant read, but not memorable.

11) With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland: C

I bought this one because Tracy reviewed Till There Was You for Book Binge and clearly, these are a series... so want to try a few books of it. This is a time-traveling series and there are many books in this series, so be warned. Basically, all the couples that this series features has one person from the past, medieval time. So in this one, what happens is that in present time, Sunshine has become the "witch" of the McLoed keep. Suddenly, Cameron McKinnon from another past centuries show up at her door and brings her back to save his brother. Cam is not very well-liked although he's the leader... and Sunshine and Cam ended up fighting for their lives. Both go back to the time portal, but ended up in different times. Sunshine is back to her own time, but Cam went to the future, but 10 years before Sunshine (or something like that), with a very severe concussion resulting in memory loss... so when Cam and Sunshine meet again, Cam doesn't recognize her. There is something very familiar, but he doesn't remember.

Overall, not bad. Very sweet, liked how Ms Kurland avoided sex scenes :P Only problem is that it's a bit too convenient - that the characters know the manners of medieval times, how to speak the language and so on ^_^; The intrigue plot was a bit over-the-top and well, lots of allusion to previous books and lots of secondary characters.

12) Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: B-

Got this from the library because of Rowena and Seneca's buddy review. Not a fan of SEP, but this one is the first that I really appreciate. Liked Kenny's character - although everyone said he was lazy. He's his own man, he doesn't care what other people think or say. That's great. Emma, well that's where the problem starts. Ugh, she's a bit too naive and simple-minded to me. To avoid marriage, she decides that the best way is to ruin herself... Sure, but why the States? Couldn't you do it in England? Sometimes, it was just eye-rolling. Also, the whole misunderstanding about Pete being Kenny's son - that was just trying too hard. Like all the hint and wording used by the characters, come on. It was obvious that Ms Phillips wanted Emma and the readers to make the mistake. Not subtle at all. I liked Emma POV in the beginning though, I could swear I heard the British accent. So beginning of the book was strong, but it slipped at the end and I lost interest.

13) Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy: C-

Review coming for Book Binge.

14) Till There Was You by Lynn Kurland: B

So as I mentioned before, got this because of Tracy's review. I think that the plot was tighter in this one and the story was overall more interesting. Lots of sequel baiting though and also, all the references to previous characters - it was a bit confusing.

15) True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson: C-

16) Night Whispers by Judith McNaught: B+

17) Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: B

Got this from the library, because it's Ames favorite SEP. My favorite now too. Will most probably review it soon.

18) Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas: B-

Review to come.

So 18 books, not bad overall :) That's about the average number of books I'm reading per month. I did a tiny dent in my TBR pile and that's good news, although most of these books I bought this year or were released this year. Anyway, quite satisfied with the number read and the number reviewed. Although it seems that lately, all the books I read are missing the omph factor or are falling flat. Sigh, maybe I'm overdosing?

Re-Read Challenge: May Winner :)

LOL, I gotta say that yesterday morning, I was a bit worried because they were about 5 bloggers who seemed to have completed the challenge ^_^; but in the end, we had a very decent turn-out: 15 reviews are up! :) I'll take it, I think it's a very good number :)

Contemporary and historical romances seem to dominate the list this month, actually I think that half of the reviews were historicals and the other genres were left to pick up the crumbs :P The author of this month is Judith McNaught who got three reviews, mine included. Funny coincidence, no?

All right, so enough babbling :)

The winner this month is:


Congratulation Kristie!! I'll give you your prize next week when we meet :P (This was absolutely not set-up! Total coincidence, but a happy one :P)