Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review: Danger in a Red Dress by Christina Dodd (and a rant)

I told you I was on a roll LOL :) Guess what? Yes, I have another review up at Breezing Through! Joining me this time is Jill from Romance Rookie. This is a book we've both read a few months ago ^_^; but thought it'd be fun to review, since we did the book before it... So click here for it.

Danger in a Red Dress by Christina Dodd
published by New American Library (Signet) in March 2000

Home care nurse Hannah Grey is dedicated to her patient, an aging widow still tainted by the financial scandal her late husband perpetrated. She makes Hannah promise that upon her death, she'll right the family's wrongs, and gives Hannah her offshore account's access codes.

But Carrick Manly will do anything to discover where his family's fortunes lie- including kill his own mother. Fearing for her life, and desperate not to betray the widow, Hannah flees. And when Carrick's half-brother, Gabriel, tracks her down in Houston, Hannah must trust her own instincts-and her heart-to survive.

I probably won't have time to blog again today, so I'll use this post... First, the biggest news: everyone who gets Susan Andersen's newsletter is aware of it now, but let me share it... So apparently, there won't be a third book in the Sisterhood Diaries trilogy - no Ava story!! What a bummer. Seriously :( If you want the book, you can explain why in an e-mail to this address:

Then, a little bit of a rant... I went to the bookstore yesterday. Ugh. See, I'm looking for Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Apparently, all the bookstores have gotten their copies already. I was debating between getting it online or in-store... Even though it's 40% off online, the book doesn't officially come out till next week. So I would have to wait till next week to order it to avoid the pre-order shipping fee (6-7$). I do plan to make an online order, but my deadline is tomorrow to make it (I have some Aeroplan points promotion I want to use)... and I cannot do two orders, because I have no idea what to buy else (no pre-orders) so I can reach 39$ and have the books shipped free. In-store, I would only get 10% discount, but I have a coupon: Get 5$ off of any purchase of 35$ and more. So I called bookstore A - they have copies. The only problem is the first time, I was transferred to the wrong department and the second time, the girl told me it only came out on August4. I know that, but sometimes you put the books out early! I guess it was too much trouble to check. Then, I called bookstore B and she said they had it in stock and they'd put a copy aside for me. The only problem? She didn't look for the actual book, she just told me... I was debating between going to bookstore A or B. Personally, bookstore A are better at putting their books out so I might be more lucky there. However, there was another book I want: Homicide by Hardcover by Kate Calisle and that one was only available at bookstore B. Remember, I need to make a purchase of 35$... So the idea was if I found parking space, I'd go to bookstore A and if not, I'd go to bookstore B. Well I ended up in bookstore B and guess what? Yes, I came out empty-handed... Put aside for me was a little piece of paper telling me the book was only coming out on August 4!! OMG, it really pisses me off! The worst is that I knew that would happen. I knew it and I still went! and you'd think that since it has its own parking lot, it'd be easier to find parking... But no!!! They built that Indigo too small. Proof? When I went to the romance section, I couldn't find a single trade paperback or hardcover... so I asked for them and you know what they told me?!? That they had in in-store, but because they were not selling as well, they kept it in the back. That means everytime I'll be looking for a trade-size or hardcover, I'll have to ask one of the clerk. Seriously?!? But hey, now they have place for all the mass paperback. Hmmm. Yeah, brilliant. Did you consider building the bookstore bigger? UGH. Like Ames told me in an e-mail:

Fack - the stupid bookstore. I HATE IT

Only applies sometimes, but seriously. Ugh. And please, please, please - whoever it was, this is a rant. Do not forward to the bookstore chain. It was really nice of you last time, but I'm just ranting.

And before, the bookstores used to open at 9am, so I could go just before I started work. Now, 10am! So I can't... and I'm going out for dinner tonight... so I'll have to try sneaking out during lunch break :( Ugh. Wish me good luck, especially since it seems like some copies of Karen Rose's new book have arrived!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: Don't Tempt Me by Loretta Chase

Loretta Chase, Loretta Chase, Loretta Chase.

It's always such a dilemma when she has a new release, because I never know if I should get it or not ^_^; It's not exactly a love-hate relationship that I have with her... More like hit and miss. The first book I picked up by Ms Chase was Lord of Scoundrels because everyone raved about it. While it was enjoyable, I didn't think it lived up to its hype and buzz... probably for two reasons: 1) this was published in the 1980s and at that time, I do think the plot was refreshing. Hell, the heroine shoots the hero! LOL :) But many books with similar plots have come out in the meantime and having read them before Lord of Scoundrels, the newness and freshness that made this book wasn't there for me. 2) I don't do well with hyped books. I don't know if it's my subconscious, but many books that people have raved about hadn't work for me ^_^; I guess I'm just that way.

But back to the subject at hand... Loretta Chase. I almost didn't buy Don't Tempt Me. Almost... I was waddling, but the back blurb was the deciding factor. It sounded fun :) So the big question is: Was it really?

Don't Tempt Me by Loretta Chase
published by Avon in June 2009

Spunky English girl overcomes impossible odds and outsmarts heathen villains.

That’s the headline when Zoe Lexham returns to England. After twelve years in the exotic east, she’s shockingly adept in the sensual arts. She knows everything a young lady shouldn’t and nothing she ought to know. She’s a walking scandal, with no hope of a future...unless someone can civilize her.

Lucien de Grey, the Duke of Marchmont, is no knight in shining armor. He’s sarcastic, cynical, easily bored, and dangerous to women. He charms, seduces, and leaves them--with parting gifts of expensive jewelry to dry their tears. But good looks and charm, combined with money and rank, make him welcome everywhere. The most popular bachelor in the Beau Monde can easily save Zoe’s risqué reputation . . . if the wayward beauty doesn’t lead him into temptation, and a passion that could ruin them both.
Genre: historical romance
Series: none

The Story: At the age of 12, while visiting Egypt with her parents, Zoe Octavia Lexham was kidnapped and then sold into a harem. Twelve years longer, she successfully escapes and finds a way home. However, having spent the most important years of her life in a harem, there is no way that she'll ever be respected and accepted by the ton. Her only hope is to marry extremely well.

Lucien de Grey lost his parents at the age of 10 and was taken in by Lord Lexham. Then, a few years later, his older brother died, leaving Lucien alone... finally, Zoe was kidnapped. With each loss, Lucien's heart died a little... to the point where he didn't care about anything anymore... He simply was. When he hears about Zoe's return, he is sure that she's a scam artist and he is determined to run her off to protect his guardian from heartache... That is, until he sets eyes on her... because the Bolter is indeed back. Then the most surprising happens... while he helps her achieves respectability... Lucien starts to feel again...

My Opinion: I have to say thank you to Hilcia for reviewing Don't Tempt Me and making me pick up this book! Although I bought this book, didn't mean I picked it up to read it... It would probably have languished in my TBR pile for a long time if it wasn't for Hilcia's review... and I have to say, I agree with her. Don't Tempt Me was a fun and enjoyable read. I liked the H/H very much and I thought they made the book.

I really enjoyed Zoe and Lucien's characters. I like their attitude and personality. I thought Zoe was a fun character. She was a great mix of knowledge and innocence. She has no idea what is proper and not and she doesn't much care... however, she'll go along in order to integrate and be able to stay in her homeland. She's persistant, know how to bide her time and resourceful. She also had a lot of mental strength. Personally, to be treated the way she was by her sisters, I would probably have broken down... but I guess she was simply happy to be home. As for Lucien, well there's nothing better than to see a man not care about anything... suddenly care for something. I really liked his backstory, I thought it made sense and explained his attitude very well. Losing people you love to death affects you. To deny it is stupid. In Lucien's case, he just stopped caring - he didn't live, he simply was. Going through the motion, day to day. Doing what is expected of him simply because. The only person he cares about is Lord Lexham who was his guardian and savior. Then, suddenly, Zoe is back... he doesn't change in an instant... he slowly re-awakens, but he does. He starts feeling and caring and I really liked that part.

What I liked most about these two characters is that they were smart and were reasonable. Of course, readers don't like weak characters. However, there are instances where characters are too stubborn... to the point where they argue too much, become irrational, unreasonable... and they are not more likeable than weak characters. As a result, I really liked Zoe and Lucien because they were reasonable and they also communicate. The scene where Lucien forbids Zoe to go out of the house and she's about to argue... but finally chooses to obey, I thought that was great of Zoe. When she realizes how much her disappearance has impacted everyone - her parents, her siblings and Lucien... That was also a good scene.

I found Don't Tempt Me highly enjoyable. It was a great mix of fun and touching scenes. I went awwww many times in the second half of the book. I'd say my favorite scene is when Lucien admits to Zoe that she is all he has left. That all his loved ones have died and he thought he lost her as well, but she came back... and she was all he had left. That scene was very touching. The scene where he gives her the engagement scene was also very cute and the meaning behind - awww. I think that Zoe and Lucien had this complicity and understanding since they were kids... and it just took time for them to find each other again, under the grown-up layers. They had great chemistry and were just fun to read.

Another point that I enjoyed about this book is the villain - the house steward. I thought it was refreshing to see bad servants and one that was mentally deranged. Too often, the villain is a poor relation or another aristocrat or nobility. People who think they are above the law because of their status... and quite frankly, it's getting old. Too often, you read about loyal servants and they provide some comedic relief... So it was fun to read about a servant being a villain. I feel that servants have been very invisible in books, that they are taken for grant - and according to Zoe, they should be. That's their job... but really, if you had loyal servants, you're bound to have bad ones as well and reading about it is fun. Sometime :P

While Don't Tempt Me was good, I do have a few complaints. First, I'd have liked to read a little bit more about Zoe's experience. We're given the basic story and there are many references of her life in the harem... but how was it really? Is there anything that was good? I thought it was glossed over and since it was such an important element... I'd have liked it to be expanded upon. Also, I would have liked to see a lot more interactions between Zoe and her family, especially her father (okay, so aside her sisters). She's been gone for 12 years and suddenly re-appears... and all the sisters worry about is how her reappearance affects their social status? That is just wrong. Her father never gave up hope of finding her, but when he finally gets her back, they barely spend time together. That doesn't make sense either. I don't feel like she got reacquainted with her family and although her relationship with her sisters seem to get better, I'd have liked to see her interact with her brothers and parents.

My Grade: While not perfect, Don't Tempt Me was definitively a good book. My favorite Loretta Chase so far :) Totally deserves B+! :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Re-Read Challenge Reminder!

Hello everyone!

I'm back from Quebec City :) Surprise party was a success and my uncle had no idea of anything LOL :) Of course, it did help that his actual birthday is in January LOL :P Ah well, had a nice family time, but as usual, not long enough :(

Anyway, just want to remind everyone of this month's Read-Read Challenge!! End of the month is this Friday, July 31st! I'll be putting up the link for links on Thursday... so you'll have from Thursday to Saturday to post your review and I'll pick a winner on Sunday!!

Have fun with your re-read!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Review: Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

Eeeeh, I'm late for work, so I'll try to do this quick!! I have to say though, I don't care. It's finally Friday!! Yay!! No seriously, this week was bad. I was in a wicked mood and work was abysmal :( All I wished since Wednesday was for the week to be over and it went by soo, oh sooo, slowly T_T Hopefully, today will go better.

Tomorrow, I'm heading out to Quebec City for the week-end. My cousin and aunt organized a surprise party for my uncle - 50 years old ;) Seriously can't wait!!

Otherwise, I have another buddy review up at Breezing Through. I know, shocking!! LOL :P Two in one week!! I wanted to space it out, but since they were ready... :P This time, my buddy reviewer is Cindy and we had lots of fun!! Click here to read our review of Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh!

Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh
ed by Berkley Sensation in July 2009

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man—before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by fire…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review: How To Score by Robin Wells

Ugh, computers annoy me so much lately!! So last Friday evening, I realized I had a problem with my computer - Firefox kept crashing. I tried Google Chrome and while it didn't crash, it kept being interrupted as well... and then, I realized it was probably the new adobe flash player that I installed, because it kept popping up and saying there was a new version. UGH. And my computer in general was crashing as well... so I restored the computer to a restore point and that screw up MacAffey. Hours later, I finally restored to another restore point and it seems to do the work... but it's soooo annoying... and Firefox has already crashed twice this morning. Sigh.

Then, yesterday, woke up and there was no internet connection. Hmmm. Usually, I wouldn't bother much, because it'll probably come back sometime during the day... but little problem now... my parents switch for the phone provider, so now, no internet no phone - and that's a big no no for my mom. In the end, they called the provider... and turns out both the modem and the router were kaput. Seriously?!? The stupid thing is that we just got a new cable box and modem from the provider when we switch plans - the cable box had to be replaced about 3 weeks ago. Now the modem too?!? Then, after work, I had to go buy a router... Guess what? Of course, I had to pick a lemon. I connected everything right and it wouldn't find the internet connection... but I knew we had signal. Then, of course, my dad had to doubt me and check all over again. Had to rush to another FutureShop to buy another router - ended up with the same one Kristie bought... Alleluia, it worked!! and that one is fairly easy to install. Now though, I'm wondering if I need to do something to the configuration... Because I used the setup wizard... Ugh.

Technology is cool, but sometimes, it can be such a PITA.

Okay, my rant is over ^_^; This post is to announce that I have a buddy review with Ames up at Breezing Through. Yay!! It's been weeks ^_^; The review is How To Score by Robin Wells which I enjoyed a lot :) Click here for the review.

Her life coach...

Museum curator Sammi Matthews isn't just in a dating slump, she's putting men on the injured list. After giving one date a black eye and cracking another's rib, Sammi decides she needs professional help. Enter life coach Luke Jones, who advises Sammi on how to overcome her klutziness. And their phone sessions work! Sammi soon meets a sexy FBI agent who seems to know just what she needs. changing her life

When his brother Luke goes into federal protection, FBI Special Agent Chase Jones agrees to cover for him. Then Sammi's hot voice sizzles down the line, and the usual "phone only" rule is out. With "Luke" coaching her by day, and Chase dating her by night, Sammi's confidence soars, along with her appeal. Chase falls hard, but how will Sammi feel if and when he comes clean? Chase would rather she break all his bones than risk breaking her heart.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A little bit of this and that...

The week-end is coming to an end, but I hope everyone is having a great time :) RWA attendees should be on their way home as well :) Can't wait for their closure posts and pictures!! :)

My week-end was okay. Didn't do much :( I have been feeling a bit under the weather the entire past week :( I'm fine during the day, but once I get home... either have a stomachache, headache or something... Feeling a little dizzy as well :( Bleh. Today, I'm feeling okay... well I feel a bit full :( but anyway, I don't know... my vision seems wrong, as if my right eye is misaligned... but I guess that's only an impression, a feeling :(

There are some good news at the lab. First, we're having a summer student come in for the rest of the summer. This is going to be fun, an extra person... plus, I get to train someone... so practice for the future. What I like is that he just finished high school, so his knowledge is very limited... So it's okay if we limit him to database work mostly (without feeling too much guilt, LOL :) Then, my supervisor is going to take a few weeks in August to go to China. Yay!!! :) That means lots of freedom for me LOL. Then, lastly... we got the preliminary results from the grant applications... Apparently, we ranked 7th on 81 applications with a score of 4.33... So very good and most probably will get the funding - hopefully, that means an increase in salary for me :P

Last, but not least... Friday was my dad's 60th birthday :) LOL, I think he's taking it well. I bought him a portable radio that plays mp3 CDs as a gift (that's what he wanted). To celebrate, we went out to eat dinner at the new Chinese restaurant that just opened. It's really very pretty inside and just opened last Sunday... LOL, my dad chose the pigeon dinner for 4 : shark fin soup, BBQ pigeons, lobster, king mushrooms and fish. The only problem is that this menu is supposed to be ordered/reserved 4 hours in advance... They said it was okay though, we'd just have to wait for an hour... LOL, by the time they started serving the food, we were very, very hungry ^_^; While waiting, my parents start reading the newspapers... and my sister even had a book in a bag... What about me?!?!? Of course, I forgot mine at home!! Argh!! That always happens!! It's sooo annoying. In the end, the food was pretty good :) and we got some nice family pictures (we're not very big of pics)... Today, my parents are celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary. They're not doing anything special... but still, 29 years :)

So here are some pics...

Psst, I'm having a great reading month!! Keeping my fingers crossed that it'll keep up :P

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TBR Day: After The Kiss by Suzanne Enoch

Ugh, I have a confession... I've been extremely lazy lately ^_^; Yes, I know, it's not a big surprise... still, I'm hoping that by confessing, it'll change. (Not that it helped with admitting I was addicted to Bejeweled... seriously, it sucks all my time away!! Like a black hole!) So yep, I'm lazy... I'm just not getting things done. It's not as if I don't know what I have to do... I knew TBR Day was coming up, but I didn't get ready for it - lucky, I did read some oldies this month... Of course, none of them fit this month theme, but when do my reads ever?

My dad is turning 60 y.o. this Friday!! Wooohooo... Only problem - need to go buy a gift!! Any suggestion? It's usually so hard, but this year, it's even harder now that he stays home ^_^; Then, my aunt and cousin are organizing my uncle 50th birthday surprise party - another milestone, another gift!! I keep telling myself I have time, I have time... well now, I'm running out of time!! I know, I'm a bad girl, sigh.

Then, I have a couple of buddy reviews waiting to be put together for Breezing Through! Ugh, I love discussing books, but when it comes to put the reviews together ^_^; So sorry Ames, Jill and Cindy!! I will get to them!! Eventually... at least one this week! Hopefully ^_^;

So let's get TBR Day out of the way first :D Let's get un-lazy!!

After The Kiss by Suzanne Enoch
published by Avon in July 2008
A Notorious Gentleman...

Sullivan Waring wants only two things: his rightful inheritance, and revenge against the man who stole it from him. By day, Sullivan is the most respected horse breeder in England; by night, he plunders the ton's most opulent homes to reclaim his late mother's beautiful paintings. His quest is going swimmingly... until the night he's discovered by Lady Isabel Chalsey. Clad only in a revealing nightdress, she's an entrancingly different kind of plunder, and how can a thief resist stealing a kiss?

A Curious Lady...

Surprised by a masked man in her own home, Isabel should be quaking with fear. Instead the sight of the sinfully handsome Sullivan makes her tremble with excitement. Who is this man, and why is he so set on this reckless pursuit? Lady Isabel loves a challenge, and she'll dare anything to uncover Sullivan's secret-but she may instead convince him that she is the greatest prize of all.

Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Notorious Gentlemen, Book #1

The Story: Sullivan James Waring was fighting against the French in Spain when he got wound in the shoulder. When it happened a second time, his good friend, Lord Bramwell Johns, decided it was time to go home. However, a very bad surprise awaited Sullivan at home: all the paintings from his mother - his rightful inheritance - has been taken away... by none other than Sullivan's father, Lord Dunston - the man who won't acknowledge Sullivan as his son.

Determined to get back his legacy, Sullivan has been robbing the homes to whom Lord Dunston has given the paintings. Dubbed as the Mayfair Marauder, Sullivan takes great pleasure at secretly shaming his father... that is, until he gets caught by Lady Isabel Chalsey. To escape with as little fuss as possible, Sullivan distracts her with a kiss... but she is not the only one distracted and as a result, Sully loses his mask, exposing his face. It wouldn't be too bad if he never saw her again... but of course, Sullivan and Lady Isabel cross path when she accompanies her brother to buy a hourse from Sullivan... She then blackmails him into working for her...

All Isabel wants is to keep an eye on the Mayfair Marauder till she decides what to do. Hand him over to Bow Street? The only problem is that Isabel is curious and wants to solve the mystery... Clearly, Sullivan Waring has a great reputation as being the best horse breeder, he doesn't lack funds... So why is her burglarizing Mayfair homes? Then, there is the kiss...

... and things only get more complicated when she realizes that the man courting her this Season is none other than Sullivan's half-brother - the rightful heir.

My Opinion: Two reasons why I picked up this book... well actually, three. The first is that Rowena enjoyed it and I didn't know what to read... So when I found it at the UBS, I picked it up. Then, for the Re-Read Challenge, Lori reviewed Ms Enoch's England's Perfect Hero and it sounds really good. Now, I've read Ms Enoch before and thought her books were okay to good. So I wanted to read After The Kiss before ordering England's Perfect Hero...

What really caught my attention was the opening scene where we see Sullivan along with his two friends, Phinneas and Bramwell (heroes of book #2 and #3 in the serise) fight the French. That scene was great! It was exciting and everything I expected from a battle. It showed the great friendship between the three men and I simply loved it. Too bad there wasn't more of it ^_^;

I thought that Sullivan Waring was a great hero. I'm actually surprised that there wasn't much emphasis on his career as a soldier.... but I guess when you're the finest horse breeder in London... people tend to forget about his career as a soldier. Anyway, I really like Sullivan. He was quite an ambiguous character. First, people don't know how to treat him because he's in limbo. He's not a commoner, because his father is after all a marquis... but at the same time, he's not nobility, because he hasn't been acknowledged. I don't think that is a fun position to hold, but he deals with it. At the same time, he's the best horse breeder and men would kill for the opportuniy of buying a mount from him... but then, he has a choice... He can decide not to do business with you. He's smart, determined, courageous and loyal... he can hold a grudge and he's also very stubborn. A very interesting man in my opinion ;)

Unfortunately, I didn't like the heroine as much. In my opinion, Lady Isabel is spoiled... Many times, I disliked the way she spoke to Sullivan, especially in the beginning where she keeps reminding him their positions, as in she's nobility and he's nothing, the fact that he works for her and she's the one who gives the order. I know it's a fact, but to keep harping the point was unpleasant... it just rubbed me the wrong way. I thought she could have been nicer... Of course, she's young and she's led a pretty sheltered life... However, she does redeem herself at the end. I liked the fact that she realized she didn't know much about real life... When she discovers that Sullivan is Lord Dunston's by-blow. That the life she knows, the things she knows from others are mostly a facade and superficial. I also admire her at the end, because of her loyalty. Helping Sullivan by sending for his best friend, hiding evidences... and willing to follow him wherever, not caring about circumstances and other people's view. It's a little bit naive, but at the same time... She's very passionnate and loyal and those are good quality. I also enjoyed her interactions with her family very much. Actually, her family was very well developed... I liked seeing the different relationships, the camaraderie and sibling affection between Isabel and her two brothers. How her father likes to indulge her... How her parents worried about the growing affection between Isabel and Sullivan. They were a real loving and caring family... It was well-done, not the stereotypicial families that most see in historicals (either too loving or too uncaring). I especially liked the scene where they realized that some bad gossips about Isabel were being spread during a soiree. My only question is, how come her older brother is the earl and not her father? Can the father pass down the title before his death?

The plot was quite interesting as well. Loved the scenes between Bramwell and Sullivan and I'm most definitively curious about Bramwell's character. I thought the first half of the book was stronger, especially with Sullivan and Isabel's banter. I kind of lost interest in the couple though once they became lovers. However, the Mayfair Marauder's storyline got really interesting at the end, so it saved the second half. I liked how that storyline ended, it was clever and interesting. I would rather Lord Dunston didn't acknowledge Sullivan at the end though, because seriously, I didn't believe it at all. After all that happened? He decides that he's proud of Sullivan? yeah, I think not. I felt like Ms Enoch wanted to wrap things a bit too nicely.

My Grade: B. Overall, I enjoyed After the Kiss. It was a good read with a solid storyline. If the heroine would have been more likable, the grade would have been higher... As it is, I'm definitively going to try to get my hand on England's Perfect Hero...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: What Happens in London by Julia Quinn

Hello everyone :) So how was your week-end? I hope you got some nice weather... Here in Montreal, we got some sunshine... along with some thunderstorms ^_^; and today is quite cold. Ugh, doesn't feel much like a summer, if you asked me :(

My week-end was rather relaxing... Went for breakfast with a friend and then, went to a restaurant opening... didn't stay long though. I only read one book and a harlequin at that, so quite short... On the plus side though, I did start working on my excel spreadsheet for books. When I went to Kristie's last month (1 month already!!!), I stole her excel spreadsheet where she keeps track of all her books :) I figured it'd be easier to delete the ones I didn't have and add the surplus then starting from scratch... which it is! :) However, so far, I've only deleted... Yesterday, I actually sat for a couple of hours and added some... I still have a long way to go though ^_^; Actually, I find it scary, LOL :) To know exactly how many books I own...

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
published by Avon in June 2009

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn't believe it for a second, but still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits... and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than a nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...

Genre: Historical
Series: connected to The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever
The Story: The blurb does a very good job at summing up the storyline, so I won't try it :P

My Opinion: What Happens in London was a very cute, enjoyable and quick read. I think what I appreciate the most was the simplicity of the plot. I liked it that Olivia and Harry had time to get acquainted with each other - actually, they didn't even like each other at the beginning. The banter was quite amusing between the two.

I have not read The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, so I don't know how Olivia was in that previous book, but in this one, she's a pleasant lady. She's firm in her opinion and doesn't seem to like frivolities too much. I like the fact that she's aware of how Society perceives her and how it affects her. She's clever, level-headed and curious LOL :) Harry was a nice man... LOL, a nerdy historical hero :) I liked the fact that he lived an ordered life and wasn't a rake at all, didn't engage in debauchery. It's unfortunate that he doesn't have a close relationship with his siblings, but you can see that Harry cares and is trying, especially towards his younger brother, Edward. All in all, I enjoyed the H/H. They were pleasant and well developed enough, although they perhaps lacked some depth. The secondary characters were interesting, but perhaps too uni-dimensional. It's clear that they were there to serve a purpose and that's what they did. Sebastian was my favorite, LOL :)

Overall, the plot is quite simple, but in a good way. Harry is asked to spy on the Russian prince to figure out whether or not he is a Napoleon supporter. At the same time, he is asked to keep an eye on Olivia, because if she was to fall for a Napoleon supporter, it would be embarrassing to the English aristocracy. Harry and Olivia had lots of scenes together and it was fun and cute. Their interactions with the other characters were funny as well. The best scene was probably when Sebastian was reading a passage of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron LOL :) then, when he dislocated his shoulder and it was re-set and he screamed like a girl LOL :P One of the thing I liked as well is that there was no big misunderstanding... I was glad that at the end, when it is revealed that the reason Harry first called on her was because of duty, she didn't get angry. She understood and didn't hold it against him.

My only complaint about this book is while it was fun and enjoyable, it was also a little bit bland ^_^; I don't know, but the storyline was quite passive with little action. Oh, it was cute... but I don't know, I felt something was missing... that it could have been more interesting (without putting a murder or mystery to solve). Also, I felt like there were a few loose ends: what about Harry and Edward's relationship? What about Harry's parents - I'm assuming they're dead...

My Grade: I'm really hesitating between a B and a B+, but I think I'm going to go with a B. What Happens in London was definitively fun and enjoyable... but it was also a bit too light and fluffy. It's good, but I personally don't think it's Ms Quinn's best book.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Review: Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen

Where is everyone?!? I know some are busy preparing for the RWA, but still... very, very quiet on blogland for the past few days... perhaps everyone is getting ready for their vacation?

Lately, I found myself being addicted to Bejeweled again on Facebook. I really don't know why, but I like it. I like that it's so short, one minute. It brings back memories too, since I used to play so much when I was in college. My only complaint is that the scores keep being erased after a week. So annoying!! I think it should be kept somewhere: all-time best score. Ah well. Only problem is that I'm really addicted to it ^_^; Spends way too much time playing... just ask Ames ^_^; It's cutting in my reading and blogging time, so I must stop... or at least reduced... on the hand, it's free LOL :P

*Okay, I just wasted 20 minutes again, playing... See what I mean?!?

I probably should get on with the review if I wished to have it done before tomorrow ^_^;

Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen
published by HQN Books in July 2009

He Could Be Her Fantasy Man
Tall, dark and intense, Detective Jason de Sanges excites all kinds of fantasies in Poppy Calloway. But when she discovers the hot cop has a cold heart for kids at-risk, all bets are off. Free-spirited Poppy suggests the three teens caught spray-painting a Seattle neighborhood be given art-related community service. By-the-book Jason thinks they should pay, not be rewarded!

If He’d Just Bend A Little

With the men in his family always in the slammer, Jase was raised in foster care. He knows what it takes to walk the line: following the rules. And his number one self-imposed rule? Avoiding his hunger for sexy, irresistible Poppy, who challenges him on everything. Especially that number one rule...

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: The Sisterhood Diaries trilogy, Book #2

The Story: Ava, Jane and Poppy are three childhood best friends who inherited an old mansion from their older lady friend. The previous year, they had to deal with a robbery and in the process, met Detective Jason de Sanges... Let just say their meeting didn't go too well, since de Sanges was given the case when Ava pulled some strings with the mayor and captain to get the best detective on the case. Still, it didn't stop the sparks flying between de Sanges and Poppy - especially since Jase looks exactly like Poppy's teenage fantasy, the Sheik :P
Poppy and Jason meet again in Bending the Rules when they are both present at the Merchant' Association meeting which has been called to decide the fate of 3 teenagers who were caught tagging the buildings and businesses in the neighborhood. Poppy suggests that the teenagers clean off their tags and paint a murale over it under her supervision as a way to teach them responsibilities and consequences as well as giving back to the community. Jason is dead set against it because he considers it reward to the teens, not punishment... and he knows that you need a strong grip to handle teens in order for them not to walk the wrong path.

In the end, Poppy gets what she wants, working with the three teens... with Jase. Heat and attraction flare, Poppy and Jase get to know each other. However, everything gets more complicated when one of the teens witnesses a robbery related to Jase's case... and the thief wants to eliminate the witness...

My Opinion: I like Susan Andersen books. Not all of them, but most of them and I'm glad to report that Bending the Rules was fun and enjoyable :) It wasn't a wowzer, but it was fun and I think better than the first installment in this series, Cutting Loose.

I have to admit that I didn't remember Poppy and Jason very well ^_^; When I started reading, I was actually wondering which one Poppy was - the rich girl (Ava) or the other (Poppy)... and I had a vague memory of Jason. However, once I could place them back, I had no problem enjoying the rest of the story :)

I like Poppy and Jason's characters. Basically, we're back to one of my favorite theme where Poppy is the happy-go-lucky heroine and Jason, the stuffy shirt. Poppy is an artist, designs greeting cards, draws boards (the ones that announce menus and specials) and teaches to unpriviledged kids. She's used to struggling and has only recently stopped struggling for money when she sold her greeting card design to Shoebox. I liked her character because she's a happy woman. She sees the good side of everything, willing to give people second chances. She has a heart of gold, but she's not someone one can use, take advantage of - she has a strong backbone. I liked the discipline she exhibited with the teenagers :) As for Jason, he's a little bit stuffy. Not rich/aloof stuffy, but more like he has a lot of self-control and discipline. This is mainly due to the fact that all the men of his family has been small-time criminals and law offenders and he's determined not to walk in their footsteps... As a result, I think it made Jason a little rigid in his convictions, but still, he's a good and yummy man :P

Poppy and Jason's relationship was an interesting one. It wasn't one where Poppy thawed out Jason... it was more like tug of war :) Both start out not really liking each other, but sparks and heat win out. I liked that they cleared out most of their misunderstandings and got to know each other before they fell into bed together. I liked their arguments and how one drove the other crazy :) In any case, I quite enjoyed the tug of war :)

The whole book was quite interesting. I enjoyed the Poppy's interactions with the teenagers. I also liked that the three teens that Poppy had to supervise were so different from each other - coming from different backgrounds. Ms Andersen did a good job not emphasizing too much on them. The added storyline of one of Poppy's protege was interesting... a bit superfluous perhaps, but it showed how much Poppy cared and how involved she is. One of my favorite elements in this book though was Jane, Ava and Poppy's interactions together. It's always fun to see best friends interact with each other - the memories, the past they share and how loyal they are. I really felt the connection between these 3 grown women.

Overall, I think that the book was well balanced and enjoyable. I especially liked Poppy and Jason and I think they stole the show as it should be. Readers are given a little bit of insight on Ava and probably her hero... very light sequel-baiting that works :) Can't wait to read her story :) If you're looking for something fun and quick, this might be it :)

My Grade: B

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Review: Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Review, review, review! I need to start reviewing again!! I have a few buddy reviews for Breezing Through that are waiting to be put together (sorry Jill, sorry Ames!!) and I swear, I'll get to them very soon... Ugh, I just don't know where my review muse went ^_^; At least, I'm still blogging...

All right, to start the ball rolling again, I've decided to review Black Hills by Nora Roberts. Surprisingly, I haven't seen that many reviews for this book and it's officially coming out today...

Black Hills by Nora Roberts
published by Putnam in July 2009

A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker's body.

As the seasons change and the years roll, Lil stays steadfast to her dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father's demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most.
An investigator in New York, Coop recently left his fastpaced life to care for his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something... or someone... has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil's beloved cougar, recollections of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe.

Lil and Coop both know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. But now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.
Genre: contemporary, romantic suspense
Series: --

The Story: We are introduced to a young, sully Cooper Sullivan who has been sent to his maternal grandparents (with whom he had very limited contact) while his parents are having a second honeymoon, trying to salvage their marriage. Cooper is not happy to be away from civilization as he knows it. However, things change once he start realizing how much his grandparents love him, when he meets Lil and her family - a loving, tight-knitted family - and once he gets on a horse. Cooper develops a strong and deep friendship with Lil, coming back as much as possible... Friendship becomes more and eventually, Cooper and Lil become a couple. Trying to handle their long-distance relationship, both have to deal with a new life: Coop who has decided to go to the police academy and whose funds have been cut off due to his father's unhappiness with the career choice, and Lil who has started college and is determined to create a safe haven for wild creatures back at home. Unfortunately, their relationship is not able to withstand the many trials and each goes their different ways.

Years later, Cooper is back in Black Hills to take over his grandparents' business. Lil is wary because she's still in love with him, which has ruined her for other men, and is unable to forget that Cooper has broken her heart. Her plan is to busy herself with the refuge, avoid Coop when possible and otherwise, be civil. However, things don't go according to plan when a serial killer has decided to target the Chance Wildlife Refuge and Lil. Coop is determined to protect Lil whether she wants his protection or not and win her back, whether she wants to or not.

My Opinion: To be honest, as usual, I've been impatiently waiting for the new Nora Roberts release. Seriously, I think she is a great author. I got Black Hills and basically inhaled it. It was quite a quick read. What did I think of it? Was it up to my expectations? Hmmm.

Once again, Ms Roberts delivers a strong and solid read, unfortunately, I didn't feel like it was a wowzer. I thought it was better than last year's stand-alone, Tribute, yeah, but something was missing. The chemistry between Cooper and Lil was there, but their relationship was a little bit awkward. I feel that the relationship was a little bit rushed, that their scenes together were too short and the ending, their HEA ending, too abrupt.

But let's take it from the top... I liked Cooper and Lil, although I liked Cooper better. They were both strong characters, determined and proud, perhaps too proud. I felt that the older Cooper was a little bit more taciturn and I think it reflects the impact of being a cop on his life. The fact that he came back to Black Hills to take over his grandparents' business, it proves how much of a good man he is. Did he take some bad decisions in the past? Sure, but those decisions were consistent with his personality and more importantly, they were consistent with the fact that he was a young man. As for Lil, hmmm. She is the type of person who has objectives and goals in life and she will thrive on the challenge and do her best to attain them. She's a bit of an idealist and kind of the perfect person. The fact that she hold grudges made her more human, but at the same time, I found her a little bit too stubborn for my tastes. I know that Coop broke her heart when she was 18 years old, but personally, I thought she would have moved on by now. Did Coop handle the situation very well 12 years ago? Absolutely not. At the same time though, I agree with everyone else, that Coop did the right thing... that Lil and Coop were too young and that their relationship would have changed both of them. They had to become adults and unfortunately, they couldn't do it together... I'm surprised that Lil couldn't get it... I guess that makes her human, her inability to see it and her anger that decisions were taken for her. Anyway, let just say I sympathized more with Coop than with Lil. Quite frankly, overall, when you look back, Cooper had it more difficult. I have to say though, despite everything, I love their scenes together, their interactions. It was great, Ms Roberts is really able to convey how well the characters know about each other because of their shared past and relationship. LOL, I have to say, I loved it how Cooper got his way with Lil, with a minimum of fuss and words :P

I love Lil's parents, Cooper's grandparents and all the other secondary characters. Although they are secondary characters, they are amazingly well developed and fleshed out. They aren't just wallpaper, they are involved in the storyline and that is great. The little romance between Farley and Tansy was cute, without overshadowing Cooper and Lil, but at the same time, I don't know... in the grand scheme, it did seem a little bit superfluous. I would have preferred it to focus a little bit more on Cooper and Lil.

One of the aspects I greatly appreciated in Black Hills was the world which Ms Roberts introduced to us. Not the Black Hills, but the world of a refuge where people like Lil has to get grants and donations to keep things running. Where a vetenarian is needed to take care of animals as well as PR person to advertise and a geek wizard and etc. The world was very interesting and detailed. I really felt Ms Roberts did her research well and she was able to share that aspect with the readers. Having Lil write articles for academic papers, running the refuge, having to come up with different ideas for donations. The fact that she has to spin stories, milk whatever to make people attracted... It does sound mercenary, but the goal makes it worthy... and it's very realistic as well. Kudos to Ms Roberts, she did this very well.

The weakest part of the book? I would say the intrigue, the mystery. I thought that Cooper discovered the identity of the murderer way too easily. His motive, the way he thought, his next action... they figured it out again, too fast. It would have been better in my opinion if it would have been more suspenseful. Also, the motive to me was weak and delusional. Why would he suddenly target Lil and her refuge? I just didn't buy the explanation :(

Again, Ms Roberts is very consistent and delivers another read. However, knowing the scope of Ms Roberts' talents, I thought it wasn't enough. It seems there is a pattern to her releases: she'll come out with a wowzer and then, some solid but a little dull books... and then, when you're almost ready to give up, she proves you wrong and wows you again. That happened to me with the In Death series, almost gave it up after Survivor In Death, but she came back strong with Memory in Death. Then, with the trilogies as well... From her Key trilogies, I have been feeling meh... but she has started the Bride Quartet... with her stand-alones, same story again... After Chesapeake Blue, she came out with Birthright, Northern Lights and Blue Smoke... and I thought they were meh... but then, she wowed me with Angels Fall. Since this is her MO, I'm going to stick around for the next few releases :P

My Grade: B. The best word to describe Black Hills? Solid.

Annual BBQ: 8th edition (yes, again)

If you've been wondering why I've been so quiet on blogland since last week... well I only have 3 letters for you:

B. B. Q.

Yes, it's that time of the year, my annual B.B.Q. with friends. See here for previous years' editions... So I thought this year was our 9th edition, but turns out I'm mistaken (as my sister gleefully pointed out :P). I'm one year ahead and this is truly only our 8th edition. Still, not bad, not bad for a bunch of kids that met during college :D

For me, the BBQ started last Friday with grocery shopping. Luckily for me, one of my friends was free so she helped me out. Only problem is that this year, we were going to be less... like only 6 ^_^; I had the grocery list from last year that I smartly put up on my blog... but that list was for 10. See the difference? Every year we do a BBQ and every year (okay, so I missed last year) I do the grocery shopping... and it's always the same thing: "How much should I buy? What did we do last year?... OMG, I don't remember!!" My motto?

More is better than not enough!

So I buy accordingly to it and it works... I always have more ^_^; Let just say, sometimes, too much more. All I know is that each year, I need to buy chicken wings, fish meat balls, corn and watermelon. That is the constant... that is what people love to eat... The rest, well I have to figure out...

After 5 different grocery stores/market, here is my BBQ grocery list for 6 persons + 2 little sisters:

- 24 chicken wings
- 1 pack of chicken thighs, no bones
- 3kg of fish meat balls
- 1 dozen of corn on cob
- 10 sausages (5 italian/5 honey and garlic)
- pasta salad (pesto and cherry tomatoes)
- 1 big bag of carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and 2 red peppers
- 500g of spinach dip
- 1 bag of tostitos, 1 bag of regular chips, 1 bag of sweet chili chips
- guacamole
- salsa
- watermelon
- 2L of coca cola, 2L of fresca lemonade, 2L of regular lemonade
- hot dog sausages + buns

**Note to Nath: Buy more chicken wings, less fish meat balls (although this year, it balanced out). Maybe more corn too and less hot dogs.

Funny story about the fish meat balls... We went on Friday evening to buy them at the Chinese grocery store; however, they were sold out. Seriously?!?! I kind of panic at that moment, because a BBQ with fish meat balls? Not going to work ^_^; So I decided I'd buy some on Sunday morning - I'd go early... anyway, I was heading in that direction since I had to pick up my friend who helped me with grocery shopping (see, I might do the grocery shopping and marinate the meat... Only problem is that there's never enough space in my fridge to put all the stuff!!! so I had to borrow her fridge... and unfortunately, her car was down). So I got to the grocery store at 10.15am on Sunday (they open at 10am)... went to the meat section and the butchers were preparing the stands. They sell different kind of meat balls: fish (not fried yet), shrimp, beef, etc. The butcher was opening the bags and putting them in container for display. I asked for the fried fish meat balls... and turns out that he hadn't open that bag yet, so he looked at me and showed the bag. I asked for half the bag... and he asked, why don't you take it all? Hmmm... I really wanted only half the bag, but I didn't know how to say NO. Yes, I know, I'm a real pushover ^_^; So I ended up with 3kg of fried fish meat balls... If you're wondering, yes it is a lot!! and it's freaking expensive too!! 1kg of fish meat balls is 13.99$ ^_^; Ah well.

Saturday, I spent the day cleaning my room. With all the books I've bought recently, let say that it's a bit dangerous to walk in my room ^_^; Books everywhere... which quite frankly, that's the way I like it LOL :) What I don't like is the dust ^_^; and my room, I have no idea why, gets dusty really fast... and then, well let say my room's been a mess ever since I came back from Kristie's. So it really needed a deep cleaning. Took me the whole day on Saturday to put books and stuff away!! I had to wake up really early on Sunday to vacuum ^_^;

Then, on Sunday, it was finally BBQ day :) We got really lucky because the weather was gorgeous!! Sunny with some clouds, not too hot and not too humid... and it didn't rain!! Yay!! After picking up my friend and her little sister and stopping at the market to buy corn, I got home at 11.15am... BBQ was supposed to start at 11am, but then, as usual, everyone was late. We started putting the stuff out (table, chairs on the patio, putting the food out, cut the vegetables for the dip) and preparing some food (pasta salad, guacamole, boiling the sausages...). Then at 12.30pm, we started the BBQ... since it's charcoal, it means it'll take about 20-30 minutes for it to be ready (and that's because we now have a cool techniques... The first few years? It took us an hour or more!!). So at 1pm, everyone was there and we were officially ready to start :D

It was fun, we all sat around the BBQ, chatted and ate. After eating, we lounged around, went to laze on the grass. Just a very, very relaxing day. We also played a little on the Wii. Then, we started the BBQ again for the second round of eating :)

The BBQ actually ended quite early this year. By 8pm, I poured water onto the charcoal... What I love about my friends (besides the fact that they're all awesome people, etc.) is that they always help me out with the cleaning at the end :) They do the dishes, sweep the floor, put away things, etc. I've seen my sister hosting events at our house... and she always ends up doing the dishes while the others are having so much fun... and at the end, it's a mess. However, my friends always help out, especially since most events are hosted at my house. Anyway, by 10pm, everyone was gone.

Kind of sad that the BBQ ended so early this year... but at the same time, I was glad, because I was really tired and my feet hurt sooo much!! It was painful to be standing up ^_^; I was also really, really tired. To tell the truth, this year, I was feeling like doing the BBQ... I don't know why... I guess it's because everyone is so busy with work and we're at a stage where we're kind of all going into different directions. I have a friend who just started a new job and it's a very good job... Another one just bought a condo and will be moving out later this year. Another is planning a second trip this year... So yeah, things are changing and I feel that it is changing our friendship... and I don't like changes. Still, I'm glad we had a BBQ and it was fun :D I'm actually planning to perhaps do a second one later this summer... but we'll see :)

Anyway, here are some more pictures. Enjoy! :D

**For those who are curious: I'm the one who wears a purple shirt in the first picture. In the second pic, the one with the orange shirt, that's my sister. The guy in the third picture is my friend/co-worker :) His girlfriend is the one who is sitting next to me in the first picture.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Monthly Reads - June 2009

So as many blogs have mentioned it, we've reached the half-year mark yesterday. Wow, 6 months gone already. Unbelievable. One morning, you wake up and it hits you in the face. Those releases that were for July and seemed oh so far away... they're coming out in a few days, LOL.

Yesterday was Canada's Day, so I had a day off. Instead of writing this post and cleaning my room, I read, slept and watched a little bit of tennis ^_^; I'm so lazy lately... and I definitively need to get started on cleaning my room since I'm hosting the annual BBQ this Sunday. Big question is: Where am I going to put all the new books?!?! LOL :P

June was so-so reading-wise. I didn't read as much as I'd like and it shows, since this is my worst month so far in the year. Seriously, looking at the first 3 weeks of the month, I didn't think I would make it past 10 books this month ^_^; However, as usual, I was lucky and able to salvage the month LOL :)

Here is my list for June:

1) Freudian Slip by Erica Orloff: D

Ugh, I bought this one mainly because it was a Mira release and I usually like them. The blurb didn't sound bad either. As you can see by the grade, well it didn't really work out for me ^_^; The story was a little boring and I've seen better with the premises (human + spirit). The most difficult to accept though was the hero - a cocky radio D.J. that did drugs and had lesbian porn stars doing it in the station and broadcasting it. I mean, seriously, how can you sympathize with someone like that? It's not a likeable character ^_^;

2) Legends Lake by JoAnn Ross: C

Okay story and okay characters. It would have been fun if the story had kept focusing on the training of the horse, but as soon as they discovered the problem, the book started focusing on the relationships. I enjoyed this one, but it's not really memorable... and there was a lot of plugs about previous books in the series.

3) When The Duke Returns by Eloisa James: B

Read this one because I was going to send it to Ames. Haven't read the previous books in the series. I thought it was pretty good, the premises pretty interesting and original. I liked the characters and the story, which I have to say, surprised me :) The conflict at the end though was a bit forced in my opinion.

4) Marriage by Design by Lynn Michaels: B

5) My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel: B+

Interesting setting and plot. I really liked the writing style as well. I thought this did push the limits a little of "regular" romances, even for a paranormal. Definitively going to read more of this series... I just wish that not all the witches are able to undo the binding between mage and fiend.... By the way, what is a fiend? Just another way to say demon?

6) My False Heart by Liz Carlyle: B-

Got this one from Kristie... I have a few of Ms Carlyle's books at home, but never got around to read them. As a first novel, this was quite good and I did enjoy it a lot. I liked the characters, but didn't quite understand that Elliot could undergo such a big change. At the same time, I liked that he didn't apologize for it. However, I did feel like the author was trying a little too hard

7) How To Score by Robin Wells: B+

Review coming up at Breezing Through

8) Guilty Little Secrets by Connie Lane: C-

Hmmm, I think I just wasn't in the mood whe I read this book... The premises sounded cute: an ATF agent undercover as a dancer, a FBI agent undercover as a stripper working on the same case without knowing about each other... in Vegas. I don't know, I didn't like the heroine too much and at the end, when they found out each other real identity... well of course, there would be a territorial fight for who's in charge. Oh, let's not forget all the half-sentences they eavedropped that made believed that the other was a criminal. I don't know, it could have been lots of fun, but it ended up falling flat for me.

9) Last Gasp by Carla Cassidy: B

There was a time, I confused Carla Cassidy and Karen Rose, (because of a cover) but not anymore... The only thing these two authors have in common is that they both write romantic suspense :) Last Gasp was pretty good, even better than the last two I read by this author, Broken Pieces and Every Move You Make. I really liked Allison, the heroine. Her strength and how she was able to move on with the tragedy in her life. I liked the fact that she evaded some things and she's not afraid to admit it. However, the character I liked the most was Seth. I liked the fact that he wasn't pushy, he gave Allison her space and didn't force information out of her... some would have.

10) Straight from the Hip by Susan Mallery: C+

After reading the first book in the series, Under Her Skin, this is the one I've been looking forward to. I liked Isabella's character, she was outgoing, imperilous, she was strong and had such a personality. I was looking forward to see how she would handle being blind. Sigh, she didn't handle it really well. I mean, with her strength and joie de vivre, I would have thought she'd do her best... but instead, she wallowed in self-pity :( Nick was an interesting character, but I felt we didn't get enough of him. He wasn't developed enough, we only saw one side of him... and I felt like his issues in the end weren't resolved. Glad that he was friend with Garrett.

Ah well, still looking for the last book in the series, because like I predicted, it's Dana and Garrett. That should be interesting :P

11) Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen: B

Review coming up. I can tell though, this was better than Cutting Loose :)

12) Black Hills by Nora Roberts: B

Review coming up.

13) Don't Tell by Karen Rose: B+

14) Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis: C+

Hmmmm, I really liked Stone's character. I liked his attitude, how he cares for others and make everyone get along with each other. Tries to solve all the problems, to do it all. At the same time though, I liked that he was laid-back. What didn't work for me was Emma. Their interaction was really fun, playful. LOL, the parts where they played doctor, LOL, and everytime Stone said she was mean :P So childish. However, as a heroine, I didn't like Emma. I thought she was selfish, even when she wasn't trying to be. She didn't want to commit to anyone: not her father and not Stone... even Spencer. I don't get why she came back in the end, well yes, I know, Stone... but I mean, she still didn't like Wishful and she was willing to leave her father. Ah well. I think that Ms Shalvis is just not for me. All the books I've tried have turned out to be meh and this one is no exception :(

So there you have it, June. All in all, an okay month. No wowzer, unfortunately :( One thing I do know though is that I need to get back into the review groove. Doing these mini-reviews, I don't feel really articulated ^_^; Ah well, hopefully, it'll come back :)

Now, I can't wait to see how July is going to turn out :) Branded by Fire has shown up in some of the bookstores... wish me luck! :D

Re-Read Challenge: June Winner :)

Okie dokie, this post is going to be short and sweet :)

13 persons have completed the challenge this month. Or at least, 13 whom I know about :) That's pretty good in my opinion, given that we're halfway through the year and RL seems to be a big factor once the sun starts to shine really hard :) As usual, it's quite varied this month and no author or book stand out.

LOL, I said short, so I'll cut the chase :) The winner this month is


Congrats Tracy! :) You have my email address, so just let me know from which bookstore you want your 10$ gift certificate from :)

Re-Read Challenge: June!

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

Yes, another month is almost over. I just can't get over how time goes by so fast!!! We're reached the half-year mark!! With a lot of new releases coming out in the next few months :) Will that affect the re-read challenge? I hope not, but it would be totally understandable... especially if real life get in the way as well :)

I hope as usual that you've enjoyed your re-read. I can't wait to see what people have been reading :) I was planning on a Jennifer Crusie... but then, plans - at least, reading plans - rarely work out for me :)

Feel free to post your review up anytime you want :) For the 10$ gift certificate draw, don't forget to post a comment with the link of your review!! Deadline is going to be July 2nd (Thursday), at noon - Eastern time :)


Ames: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Amy C: The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop
Kristie: Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare
Tracy: Simon Says by Lori Foster
Isabel: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
Renee: Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
Nath: Don't Tell by Karen Rose
Jill: Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz
Anna Richard: The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Kris: World of Celta series by Robin D. Owens
Lori: England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch
Leslie: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Taja: Blame it on Chocolate by Jennifer Greene
Jenn: Long Hard Ride by Lorelai James