Sunday, October 31, 2010

Re-Read Challenge 2010: September and October!!!

Okay, so I've been quite lax with the Re-Read Challenge post, mainly because the rate of participation is way down LOL. I'm not too surprised, as I myself have difficulty doing my re-reads... Anyway, to catch up what I missed last month, I'm combining September and October together :)


Nath: The Golden Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz
Hilcia: Lady Sophia's Lover, A Separate Peace, Almost Like Being in Love, Cullen's Bride and Mr. Perfect


Miss Moonlight: The Viking's Woman by Heather Graham
Hilcia: Rising Moon by Lori Handeland
Nath: Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie
Ames: Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie and Seducing Stephen by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon

If I've missed any review, please let me know!! Enjoy everyone!

Re-Read: Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie

Happy Halloween everyone!!

While I don't particularly like Halloween, I think it's great that we do end the month with a bang :) Makes it more exciting, I guess. In any case, I'm just happy the month is over. It's been a really tough month and I want it behind me :P

For this month's Re-Read challenge, I'm cheating a little bit, because Trust Me on This is not a re-read per se. See, I bought this book by Jennifer Crusie eons ago. At that time, I've just discovered Ms Crusie and tried to get my hand on all her backlist, but especially this one since apparently, it was hilarious. I remember reading somewhere that Trust Me on This was so good that the person thought she should buy a second copy and put it in a safe in a hermetic seal, open it 20 years later and make a fortune out of it, LOL. So after much efforts and money (I think I paid about 25$ on ebay ^_^;) I got the book, skimmed through it and put it on the shelves ^_^; I think that at the time, I was afraid to be disappointed because of too high expectations... and seriously, the cover wasn't that appealing as it turns out ^_^;

This month, Trust Me on This was re-released; I bought it and finally read it :) While I never truly read it previously, I have skimmed through it... and I have had years for my expectations to cool down. With such a history, I think Trust Me on This could be considered a re-read :P Well no matter, that's what I'm going to do...

Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie
published by Bantam Books in June 1997

Dennie Banks is an investigative reporter chasing down the biggest story of her career. Alec Prentice is a government agent working undercover to catch an elusive grifter. When they meet by accident, it's a case of mistaken identities at first sight. What they don't mistake is the instant attraction they have for each other, an attraction they'll do everything in their power to resist-because Dennie thinks that Alec is running interference for her interview subject, and Alec suspects that Dennie is linked to his swindler. As the confusion grows, so do their feelings for each other, and what begins as a romantic comedy of errors may just end in the love affair of a lifetime.
Genre: contemporary romance, category romance
Series: none

The Story: The book starts off with Victoria Prentice, a college professor who has dedicated her last 40 years to her career, feeling old. At 62 years old, Victoria feels the need to rejuvenate herself and decide to spend time with her favorite nephew, Alec Prentice, at a literature conference.

Alec is delighted to spend time with his aunt and might as well combine pleasure with work. Alec works for the Bureau of Fraud and with a pair of glasses, has practiced to be the perfect mark. While his field agent days are over and he sits behind a desk... Alec misses being in charge. Alec and his boss, Harry, are currently after Brian Bond, a conman who sells real estate to college professor, and his brunette accomplice. Alec figures there is a chance he'll find Bond at the literature conference and that'll put some excitement back into his job.

Dennie Banks is a brunette whose life has been stagnant. An investigative reporter, she's been covering the socialite events, dating men she could wrap around her finger and stayed at the same job because she knew how to handle her boss. Realizing she's been taking the safe path for too long, Dennie decides it's time to take some risks... To land a job at a better newspapers, Dennie has a plan: interview Janice Meredith - the expert on relationships and marriage - about her upcoming divorce. Luckily, Dennie knows just where to find Mrs Meredith... at a certain literature conference.

However, things don't work out as planned for Dennie. Instead of getting the interview she's hoping for, she is warned away for stalking. However, she quickly figures out that she can get to the Janice woman through Victoria through Alec...

My Opinion: Put together a lot of colorful characters and a few misunderstandings and in true Crusie-style, you get mayhem... and the best kind LOL.

Frankly, I felt like Trust Me on This was a wee superficial. Superficial in the sense that we never went deep into the characters as the storyline was very focused on what was happening during the literature conference (Four Fabulous Days! Three Glorious Nights!). All I know was that all these characters were dissatisfied with their current lives. I don't feel like I got to know Alec or Dennie very well and as a result, didn't connect with them very much. It doesn't help that the timeline of the book was very short, so the relationship was developing very quickly and sometimes, too quickly to be believable.

Still, Trust Me on This was a fun book. It's really a book that you take at face-value, the kind that you read to have fun. It'd actually be the perfect book to adapt into a romantic comedy movie :P What with the colorful characters, their hidden agendas and the misunderstandings. Throughout the read, I had a huge grin on my face because after all, this is a Crusie book. However, there were never really LOL moments, never a passage that I had to re-read again because it was so funny or read out loud to someone because I just had to share it.

In the end, I think it was a good thing I let years go by before really reading this book. I think that I enjoyed it more now than I would have in the past, when I've just binged on Ms Crusie's backlist. Still, what I want to remind everyone is what Ms Crusie writes is comedy romances and humor is very subjective. I might not find this one as funny as others, but you might find it more funny :P The writing is there, the characters and the situations and surprisingly, I thought that Trust Me on This withstood the test of time very well, it doesn't feel date at all. I mean, there are a few 80 and 90s reference... but the characters, their clothes and the settings are quite timeless :)

My Grade: B. Not my favorite Crusie book, but I am still glad I read it :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hauling Sunday XVII

Well it's not Sunday yet, but since tomorrow is the last day of the month and I have something else scheduled (LOL, if I get to it in time of course), I thought it'd be nice if I bumped this post a day :) In any case, I'm going to try hard not to go to the bookstore tomorrow... the operative word here being hard :P

I had an awesome haul this week :D Part of it was due to all the new releases coming out, part was due to the coupons I had and wanted to use, LOL. Seriously, all I wanted was the day to end so I could rush to the bookstores :) And for the first time in a long while, I got some books in the mail... so put everything together and it gives a huge haul.

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher - This is a collection of many of the Dresden Files novellas and short stories that have been published online and in different anthologies. I'm really happy the publishers are starting to release these collection books because some of the short stories/novellas are harder to get your hands on such as the one with Thomas as a narrator, Backup. Plus, it contains a new story, Aftermath, that takes place just hours after Changes' cliffhanger. Now, if they could only do the same with Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series!

Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie - Woohoo, I'm really happy that Random House/Bantam are re-printing The Cinderella Deal and Trust Me on This, because they are books that are a hard to come by :) Now, I think I have all of Ms Crusie's backlist!! :)

Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath - Read some of Ms Heath's books and enjoyed them... but her last series was so-so. Wasn't planning to buy this actually, but changed my mind after I read Leslie's review :) I actually skimmed through it and I think I'm going to really enjoy it!

Rules of Engagements by Suzanne Enoch - Ms Enoch is an author that I've consistently enjoyed. This release actually took me by surprise, because I wasn't expecting it! In addition, it's related to previous characters! Thanks Lori!!

Somewhere Along The Way by Jodi Thomas - Love, love, love Ms Thomas contemporary romances :) This is the second book in the Harmony series and reviews for it have been really good so far. Can't wait to read it.

Ten Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean - Enjoyed the first book, so got the second one :)

His Sinful Secret by Emma Wildes - This is actually the one I really want to read from the trilogy :) It sounds pretty good and I'm sure the hero is in for a surprise.

Deadly Intent by Kylie Brant - The blurb sounded interesting :)

Play of Passion by Nalini Singh - Wooohooo! Wooohooo!! LOL. Need I say more?

A Christmas Waltz by Jane Goodger - I really enjoy Ms Goodger's historicals. I should so read more of her books (I have so many of her books in my TBR pile) :P

Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher - I actually read this book already, but it was a library copy. Since I had a coupon and need a certain amount for my purchase, it was a good opportunity to get it :)

Christmas Wishes by Debbie Macomber - This book contains two stories, Christmas Letters and Rainy Day Kisses. I bought this book because Christmas Letters is part of the Blossom Street series :)

There it is :) This week's haul :) I really did good, right? There's a few more books this coming week that I'm expecting: Happy Ever After and Indulgence in Death and even if I already have so many books, more than I can read, I'll still be rushing to the bookstore on Tuesday night LOL.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My computer woes continue...

Hey peeps!

Sorry, but I just need to rant ^_^; My computer is again causing me trouble... and seriously, I'm about to just trash it and buy a new one T_T It's been giving me problems ever since I've bought it and that's been 3 years ago only!!

My internet browser keeps crashing - both Firefox and Chrome. It freezes or crashes down on a regular basis. I've restored it to its original setting and just this past summer, re-format the whole computer.

I just don't know what to do with it :(

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: Venom by Jennifer Estep

How was everyone's week-end? Mine was very relaxed :) Exactly what I needed LOL. We're really getting fall weather this year and the temperature has dropped down a lot... all I really want to do is snuggle in my blanket and read :P

I'm so excited for this week, because there's so many new releases :P Good thing because I don't know what to read ^_^; I know, I know, it's ridiculous! I probably should bring back up my boxes of books from the basement. I think that will help.

Trying to write more reviews. I'm really behind, there's just so many books I want to review!! Today is going to be Venom by Jennifer Estep. It's hard to review the third book in a series without spoilers, so I tried to keep them at a minimum, but I didn't avoid them completely. And LOL, I thought I'd have nothing to say in my review... but I turned out to be quite chatty :P Hope you enjoy it :P

***Warning: There are spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk!***

Venom by Jennifer Estep
published by Simon & Schuster in September 2010
What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker — Mab’s right - hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer... who is about to save her life.

Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin, Book #3

The Story: Venom picks up not too long after the events of Web of Lies. In Web of Lies, Gin infiltrated Mab's party and killed two persons. Now, Mab is out for blood and trying to identify the killer. Under these circumstances, Gin should simply lie low... except her venture has brought Roslyn Phillips under the spotlight. Roslyn is a vampire, a madam and the owner of Northern Aggression, Ashland's most renowned nightclub. She is the one who helped Gin infiltrated Mab's party and has now become the fixation of Elliot Slater, a twisted giant and one of Mab's top goons. It is just a matter of time before Roslyn is raped and probably disposed. Feeling responsible, Gin decides to take matter into her own hands.

Of course, things get more complicated when Gin's long lost sister Bria shows up in Ashland as the new detective in charge. Before Gin can decide whether she'd want to reconnect with her sister, Bria is attacked by Mab's goons... Luckily, Gin is there to save the day, but also finds out that her little sister's real purpose for returning to Ashland is to bring their family's murderer to justice.

As if Gin's plate wasn't full enough, there's also Owen Grayson. It seems that Gin and Owen's paths keep crossing; however, Gin is uncertain. After her debacle with Detective Donovan Caine, she's hesitant to start a new relationship.

My Opinion: It's really no secret that I've been enjoying this series a lot - Spider's Bite and Web of Lies - and once again, Ms Estep has delivered another fast, action-packed and enjoyable installment :P

I really enjoyed Venom :P As previously, the book is fast-paced with lots of action... I won't go into Gin's character much, because, well, she's still the same Gin - smart, practical, loyal and a foodie :P What impresses me with Gin and it shows even more in Venom is that she chooses her battles. She knows when to act and when not to, like the opening scene when she's being beaten up by Mab's goons. She has her pride as an assassin, but she doesn't let it blind her. She thinks and acts carefully and I guess that is the key to her success :)

So what did I like about Venom? The overall storyline was interesting. We know that Gin is not a cold-blood assassin, we've seen it throughout the series and again in Venom. She feels responsible for getting Roslyn into the mess she is in and therefore is going to help her out of it. In fact, I feel she's quite honorable. I thought that Ms Estep did a good job with the balance of the two storylines: saving Roslyn and Bria's appearance. So far, I like Bria and she seems to be a good cop. I can't wait to see her character more developed. I did like the fact that Gin did not "reunite" with Bria right away, that she has doubts and hesitations. Obviously, it's not as if they can pick up where they left of ^_^; and there's Gin and Bria's professions to consider. An assassin and a cop. So far, my feel is that Bria is more open-minded and flexible than Donovan. Given the circumstances, I feel that she would understand Gin's choices. I think that Gin's hesitation is realistic, especially since Bria has really just shown up. The idea that perhaps the two of them could simply be friends is interesting and would be feasible, if they weren't both investigating the deaths of their older sister and mother. Although ultimately, it might be a bit unfair towards Bria.

My favorite part of the book was the budding relationship between Gin and Owen. I think Owen is so much better than Donovan :P I've liked him since he was introduced and again, liked finding more about him. He's all kind of shades of grey and gets Gin. There's no question that he suits her better and I'm glad that Gin is giving him a chance. I think that with time and trust, he'll become an asset for Gin :P I do think that Gin helping him out when they were both kids was a bit of an overkill... but it does explain why he took to Gin so rapidly.

While I really enjoyed Venom, I think there were a few hiccups. My biggest complaint is at the end, the way some information was imparted to the readers. Slater got his hands on Finn and instead of finishing him up, the two start talking and Finn asks why the Snow family was killed... and then, Slater spills it all. I was happy to find out more about Gin's family and the reasons behind their murders and what happened... but it really wasn't subtle ^_^; Just a bit too, "There are the answers." Aside from that, I think that the series is a little bit too predictable and that's something I mentioned in my review of Web of Lies. So far, there hasn't been any big surprises or twists. Either Ms Estep is too good at foreshadowing or the story is going through the motion. The problem though is I don't know what Ms Estep could do differently ^_^;

Overall, I think that the events of Venom really up the stakes and changed the game for Gin. By the end, she really had to make a decision - whether she would go after Mab or not. I think that Gin always had the notion that she would, but she didn't have any precise plans. Perhaps it wouldn't take place in a near future. I mean, she is the Spider and prides herself as being patient, so she could bide her time and wait for a better time... However, like I said, by the end of Venom, she really had to make her stand and she chose declaring war on Mab :) I think there were two reasons that made her reached that decision: 1) she'd be protecting Bria and 2) she had her friends behind her. It's definitively great to see that even as an assassin, Gin has a close-knit family and they are there, no matter what her decisions and choices are, to support her. It's really heart-warming ;)

Speaking of her close-knit family, I really like that we're getting to know them better. I love the relationship between Gin and Finn, it's really one of a sister and brother... and they definitively are there for each other. I also wonder why Jo-Jo is so willing to help Gin. Oh she seems very nice and all, but as a powerful Air elemental, it seems that she's been hiding her true potential to the world... and there must be something to make her take such risk... and I have a feeling it must have to do with her younger sister, Sophia. LOL, it was cool to find out how Sophia was disposing of all the bodies! In any case, I'm hoping that we'll find out more about the two dwarf sisters :P I also liked that we're getting a clearer picture of Gin's family and perhaps why someone would want them dead. It's clear that Gin is very powerful and from what we've seen, Bria is not bad either. It seems that there are a lot of things that as a teenager, Gin might not be aware about her family...

To me, what makes this series stands out so much is that Ms Estep has a clear idea where she is going with the storylines and the characters. Often, when it comes to series, especially with the same protagonist, it seems to me that authors are fumbling around a little bit, searching for their niches and what they want the series to be about in the beginning. Especially when they don't know how many books they'll be able to write, In the case of the Elemental Assassin series, the books - while having their own sequences of events - really read like one continuous book. Gin's story arc is 5 books and thus, Ms Estep knows exactly what she wants to happen in each book and what and when the end is going to be. I think this has help the pacing of the story tremendously and the building of momentum :) Also as a reader, I appreciate it. It seems like I'm able to connect with Gin a bit more. Also, I like knowing that I won't be blind-sided, that the author will be able to wrap up everything to her liking... not suddenly get the news that her contract is now renewed ^_^;

My Grade: A-. Venom is my favorite book so far in the series :P I really enjoyed it for the relationships and interactions between the characters and of course, finding out more answers. I think the series itself is gaining momentum and I just can't wait for the two final books :P

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hauling Sunday XVI

One more week to October!! Woohoo! You can't believe how much I'm looking forward to it ^_^; October has been a tough month. I've been plagued with health issues... nothing really, but annoying still the same. Also, my boss is going away for the whole month of November! You know what that means?!? Freedom and time off!!! LOL. Yep, yep, going to take a whole week off and do nothing :P I think I need it really bad ^_^;

I was a really good girl this week. Didn't go to the bookstore, only to the McGill Book Fair. However, I think my resolve this week is going to weaken as a lot of new releases will be, well, released :P Seriously, I just can't wait ^_^;

Also, I did pretty good at the Book Fair. I only stuck to books I wanted or thought I would read. In the end, I got only 6 books - a lot less than previous years :P Of course, I think the selection this year was much less... but it's okay.

Her Highness, My Wife and The Husband List by Victoria Alexander - Ms Alexander is one of my comfort reads author. I find that I really enjoy her books, so when I saw those two, I bought them :P It's always good to have comfort reads author books in your TBR pile :P

The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas - We all know that KristieJ is a big fan of western romance and I remember her mentioning one of Ms Thomas' book as her favorite... Unfortunately, I can't remember which one exactly... but I didn't want to miss it if it was indeed The Texan's Wager :P

An Accidental Greek Wedding by Carol Grace - This was one of the few contemporary romances, but not category romances available. It sounds cute.

Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair - Okay, so I'm not much into sci-fi romance, but everyone and I mean everyone raves about Finders Keepers... or is it Gabriel's Ghost? In any case, now I have it if I ever want to read it LOL.

Much Ado About You by Eloisa James - Ames read this one not too long ago and liked it :P

So 6 books for 16$. Not bad :P

Hopefully, this coming week, I'll get my hands on some very good books :P

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TBR Day: Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

So I completely forgot about TBR Day and only realized that it was today when I visited Wendy's blog ^_^; Sigh, I've been such a bad blogger lately. The good news though is that I had plenty of books that qualified :P Therefore, it's just a matter of writing the review... Let see if I can do it :)

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
published by Berkley (Ace Fantasy) in September 2004

In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal - fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Codex Alera, Book #1

The Story: Hmmm, okay, this is going to be hard to summarize. You have the realm of Alera which resembles the Rome Empire. It is led by the First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who is aging and weakening and is without a heir, as his son, Princeps Gaius Septimus, died 15 years ago during a battle between the Alerans and the Marat - kind of a group of nomadic barbarians. Thus, some of his High Lords (barons) have started plotting to establish themselves as the next First Lord. That is kind of the series story arc.

As for Furies of Calderon, it starts with the betrayal of Fidelias, Alera's master cursor (spy). Fidelias deems that it is time for Sextus to step down or at least choose an heir and by not doing it, he has doomed Alera. Fidelias tries to convince his most promising student, Amara, to follow him, but she refuses... and then manage to escape to Calderon - the region where the battle between the Marat and Alerans took place years ago. There, she meets Tavi, a strange young man.

Tavi is a 15 years old orphan raised by his aunt, Isana, and his uncle, Bernard (siblings, not married) who is considered special because he does not possess any furies, i.e. elemental spirits. Everyone is able to do some furycraft, but Tavi has no talent at all and is thus considered a freak, beneath everyone. Tavi's goal is to establish his own herd of sheep and make enough money out of it to attend the Academy where perhaps he could find a trade where furycraft is not necessary. While retrieving some errant sheep with his uncle, Bernard, they run into a Marat beast... and both realized that Calderon is once again threatened by the presence of the Marat and that a battle is preparing... Unfortunately, nobody believes them... and thus, it is up to Tavi, Amara, Bernard and company to save the day.

My Opinion: I bought the Codex Alera books (#1-4) a few years ago, after I started reading the Dresden Files. I figured since I enjoyed the Dresden Files so much, I would like the Codex Alera series as well. However, the transition was harder than I thought it would be. I remember actually skimming through Furies of Calderon and then, just putting the book aside, because it didn't really interested me ^_^; Then not long ago, Taja picked up the series (other post) and seemed to really enjoy the books... so I decided to give it another try. I'm glad I did.

Furies of Calderon is written in the third person POV and follows multiple storylines at the same time. Actually throughout the series, there are usually three threads occuring: Tavi, Isana and Bernard/Amara. I think this is the major difference between the Codex Alera and Dresden Files series when it comes to writing style. Me, I actually prefer third person POV, so I didn't really mind... however, the multiple storylines - well there's always one or two that are more interesting and therefore, I tend to skim through the one I like less ^_^; I don't think it's a bad thing, but it can make the book feel quite lengthy and the pacing a bit off. In this case, I really preferred Tavi and Bernard/Amara's storylines over Isana's. Sorry, but slavery and brutality are definitively not my forte and I always find it hard to read and stomach it :(

Where to start? Hmmm. I enjoyed the characters, especially Tavi. He's a determined boy, not necessarily strong, but very clever and witty. It's clear that not being able to do any furycraft has been hard on him, how people treat and view him. Not everyone is mean to him, but he definitively has something to prove - to himself and to everyone else. Because of his lack of furycraft, he had to be more resourceful... While I liked Tavi, I thought his character was a bit hesitant at time and he read younger than his 15 years of age. Perhaps it's the way Isana and Bernard treated him and the fact that he's always had their support in the past and he was a bit lost without them.

Aside from Tavi, my favorite characters are definitively Kitai, a Marat girl Tavi kind of befriends, and her father, Doroga, leader of the Marat and headman of the Gargant tribe (are gargants elephants?!?).  LOL, it was hilarious when Tavi realized that Kitai was a girl. She's smart and clever and knows what she wants. As for Doroga, he is very honest and a good leader. There is a slew of other characters... But I'll just comment on a few. Bernard, I liked him. He is upstanding and responsible. Amara, I thought she was a bit too straight an arrow. It felt she was a bit too blind to things... but she can be flexible and very adaptable. Isana, I don't know. I didn't like her storyline much, so it's hard to comment. All I can say is that the way she was introduced, she felt old and tired... and finally, Fade which is a slave that keeps an eye on Tavi. He pretends to be slow-minded, so no comment until we find out more about him.

The storylines in Furies of Calderon were okay. I liked Bernard and Amara, seeing how they prepared to counter a possible attack from the Marats. It's always frustrating when important people don't believe the characters and ignore warnings... However, Bernard and Amara did a good job, doing their best. Tavi's storyline was okay. I felt it lacked a bit of excitement and the pacing seemed to be off in comparison to Bernard and Amara's stroryline. The resolution also seemed to be a little bit too simple, but I guess it's the Marats' customs. As for Isana's storyline, well, hmmm, didn't like at all for the reasons I mentioned above.

Overall, I thought Furies of Calderon was a so-so book. In the series, it is my least favorite of all... however, I think the principle reason is that Furies of Calderon is a set-up book. It introduces the characters, the world building, the politics/alliances while trying to convey a storyline at the same time. I felt the story was a bit weak and seriously, have I not known that Taja enjoyed the series so much, I would have done as before and just stop reading it.

My Grade: B-. On its own, I would have given Furies of Calderon a C+; however, given it's the first book in the series and therefore is there to set-up things, I'm going to be lenient.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monthly Reads: September 2010

Once again, I'm really late putting up my monthly reads list. I don't know what happened. I started this post on October 3 - which would have been in a timely fashion - but never got back to it ^_^; Ah well, there's always October... and it should be fine, since so far, I'm having a pathetic month ^_^;

My health woes continue. I had an ultrasound last week for my urinary frequency problem. They checked the whole lower abdomen (kidneys, spleen, liver, pancreas, bladder, etc.) and apparently, everything's fine. While my urge to urinate frequently is not gone, it's been better and more manageable. Yay! My latest health woes though is that I poke my finger with something on Saturday (I don't know what) and now, my finger is a bit swollen. It's not bad, but it's bothering me psychologically ^_^; Sigh, I just want to be healthy again and not to worry about anything :( I always took my health for granted, but now, never again!

Anyway, let's talk about something more cheerful :P Books!! So let see what I read last month...

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: B

Welcome to Panem, what used to be the United States. Panem is divided into 13 districts; however, long ago, the districts rebelled against the Capitol. Annihilating District 13 wasn't punishment enough, the government decided to organize the Hunger Games - a reality show in which 12 boys and 12 girls, one from each district, ranging from the ages of  12 to 18, have to kill each other in order to survive. The lone survivor is sacred winner and gets fame and fortune...

To spare her little sister's life, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to be the female representative for this year's Hunger Games. She is paired up with Peeta, the baker's son and probably the only boy she wished never to face again. Despite having a drunken mentor, Katniss is determined to do everything to survive and hopes that her skills as a poacher will help her greatly.

There was a lot of buzz when this book came out and with each subsequent sequel release, the buzz grew. With the third book coming out, I finally decided to check it out :P You know, in case it was so good that I needed to get the 2nd and 3rd book right away... It turns out that it won't be necessary for me ^_^;

I think Ms Collins did a great job at the world building and I thought it was very interesting. The concept Hunger Games was quite clever, and while the idea is horrifying, I didn't feel it was that far-fetched. I mean, looking at it, it's like a huge TV reality show ^_^; I could see why the whole nation would be fascinated by it. Kind of reminded me of Survivors. Especially when Katniss and Peeta thought of the previous years' challenges and strategies, etc.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and the writing style. However, I had a major problem with it and that was Katniss. I didn't think she was very likable ^_^; In fact, I think that her mentor Haymitch describes her well: hostile. I understand that Katniss has lived a hard life and get where she's coming from. Still, understanding doesn't make her likable in my eyes. She's strong and smart and you need that kind of heroine to survive The Hunger Games, and yet... Personally, so far, I feel she doesn't deserve Peeta's love and devotion and Peeta is right to be angry at her.

While I did enjoy The Hunger Games, it wasn't a very cheerful book ^_^; And from what I heard, the next two books are only more bleak... which is why I've decided not to go buy them. I've reserved Catching Fire at the library but whether I'll read it or not, I'm not sure yet.

2) Last One to Die by Kate Brady: B-

3) The Golden Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz: B+

4) The Grimrose Path by Rob Thurman: B/B+
 Upcoming review.

5) My Lord Scandal by Emma Wildes: B/B+
Upcoming review.

6) Graceling by Kristin Cashore: B-

Throughout the seven kingdoms, Gracelings - those who have been blessed with a particular talent and whom are easily recognizable by their two different colored eyes - are pariah. When your Grace is killing, it's even more difficult to be accepted. Katsa's life was spared by her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns, only so she could be trained and become his thug. Trying to find meaning in her life, Katsa founded The Council, a group of people who assist the less fortunate. Her latest mission is to save the King Ror of Lienid's father who has been abducted for unknown reasons. This lead to the meeting with Prince Po, King Ror's seventh son, who is looking for his grandfather. After spending time together, it becomes more and more difficult for Katsa to do her uncle's biddings... and in the end, there is only one solution: to leave his court. Thus, she embarks on an adventure with Po who is Graced as well.

Okay, sorry, very bad synopsis ^_^; Again, this is a YA novel that got a lot of buzz when it came out and in many reviews said that Graceling reminded them of Poison Study. After reading Graceling, I can see why :P Although myself, I prefer Poison Study.

Once again, the author did a great job at the world building. I liked reading about the different kingdoms, their sovereigns and how these kingdoms interacted with each other. It was all very interesting. The author did a good job with the characters as well. My favorite character was Po, he was just so nice and friendly LOL. Katsa was an interesting and complex heroine. They do start to come from the same mold though, all strong, clever, etc. However, she was much more likable than Katniss. The thing with Katsa is that she's been considered a pariah ever since she accidentally killed a distant cousin. People fear her and therefore, don't treat her well. I don't think Katsa completely understood this, but it was nice to see that it didn't stop her from living and having "friends." I especially liked her relationship with her cousin, Prince Raffin. I think that in the end, action speaks louder and thus, Katsa has people who are loyal to her.

I enjoyed the intrigue and the overall story concerning Po's grandfather abduction. Unfortunately, what didn't work for me in Graceling was the pacing of the book. The pacing was uneven, the beginning a bit slow. It seems to me the author focused too much on developing Katsa, having the readers sympathize with her, building her relationship with Po. If I remember correctly, Katsa leaves Middluns at about half-way through the book. Also, there was a build-up to the confrontation to King Leck, but that part was quite disappointing. Ditto for the final confrontation between Katsa and Leck. My reaction was "that's it?!?" I was expecting much more, but it seemed to me Ms Cashore ran out of gas and just wrote those scenes and they were quite anti-climatic. So that was definitively a let-down for me.

Also, I get that this is YA and that there is going to be a sequel, but the ending was a bit too open for me ^_^;

7) Fire by Kristin Cashore: D

I'm not going to recap Fire. Fire is the prequel to Graceling and takes place approximately 30 years before, outside of the seven kingdoms. The main character is named Fire and she's the last human-shaped monster with the ability to manipulate people's mind. Although quite frankly, her beauty is such that most males are subjugated in her presence... Her father, Cansrel, was also a human-shaped monster and manipulated the previous king, sending the kingdom into despair and a precarious situation with its barons. As such, Fire is mistrusted and hated by most because people believe she is like her father. Therefore when she finds herself in the presence of King Nash and his younger brother, Brigan, everyone is wary of what will happen next.

 This book was a big meh for me ^_^; My biggest problem with Fire was that it was so unconnected to Graceling. Yes, we get to see ONE character from Graceling and it gives us a bit of background story, but still. Whatever we learned of the world building in Graceling is of no use in Fire and the whole monster thing?!? I still don't get it ^_^; I thought that as world building goes, Ms Cashore didn't do such a good job. Perhaps it's because she focused all her energy on the characters ties... I mean, that part of the book was mind-boggling @_@ The romance and the whole plot felt so-so for me. There were too many love triangles and it did seem characters were so casual in their relationship. Yes, I can be very prudish ^_^;

I guess this book was simply not for me :(

8) Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher: B-
9) Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher: B
10) Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher: A-
11) Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher: A-
12) Princep's Fury by Jim Butcher: B+
13) First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher: B/B+

Upcoming review. I haven't decided yet whether I'll review each book or the whole series together; however, I'm definitively going to share some of my thoughts :P

14) Venom by Jennifer Estep: A-
Upcoming review.

15) Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews: B/B+
Upcoming review.

Books bought: +11
Books read: -14
TBR pile: -3

Woooohooo!! Negative number from the TBR pile! I'm pretty happy with the number of books I've read and bought in September, but even more pleased by the fact that many of the books came from my TBR pile. Now, I only need to catch up on my reviews :P There are a lot of slash grades (eg. B/B+)... those grades will become clearer once I write the reviews.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hauling Sunday XV

Ugh, another week-end that went by without me realizing :( I do feel ultra-lazy lately. I think it's because I got a taste of "days off" and I need more of them LOL. Luckily for me, my boss is going away some time in November... and I'll be able to take a vacation. Woohoo :P

After the haul I had last week in the States, it's not surprise that I've only picked up one book this week. Okay, technically, if it was anybody else, there'd probably be no Hauling Sunday this week, but hey, it's me, Nath LOL. So here it is...

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan - The Lost Hero is Mr Riordan's new spin-off series, Heroes of Olympus. I was really looking forward to this book and just couldn't wait to get it ^_^; And it's a good thing since I've already finished it :P

I'm not expecting any new releases this week; however, it is the annual McGill Book Fair on Wednesday and Thursday. I'm probably going to go, but I'm debating whether I should show up at 9am like last year. Last year, I don't know, it was a bit disappointing... I mean, the books are indeed cheap, but the selection is up to donation and there wasn't much last year... I guess I'll have to go to find out :P

Friday, October 15, 2010

Review: One Scream Away and Last To Die by Kate Brady

Yes, a review!! LOL, it's been such a long time, I don't even know if I can write them ^_^; Kidding. I hope :P But yeah, it's been a while and it just kind of happened...

So today is a double feature. I've had One Scream Away in my TBR pile for a couple of months and finally decided to read it in preparation of Last To Die, whose blurb really appealed to me.

One Scream Away by Kate Brady
published by Grand Central Publishing in July 2009
One Step Away

Seven years ago Beth Denison was attacked by a killer named Chevy Bankes. Since then, she's created a new life for herself and her daughter, one far removed from the night that ended in an awful tragedy. But now Bankes is out of prison, and his chilling phone calls tell Beth he's coming for her.

One Breath Away

Ex-FBI agent Neil Sheridan is driven to investigate a chain of murders eerily similar to a disturbing case from his past. When the killer's trail dead-ends at Beth's doorstep, Neil finds a beautiful woman with a secret she'll do anything to keep. Yet even as Beth surrenders to Neil's protection - and then his embrace - she still refuses to tell him why Bankes hungers to hear her scream, and why she'll soon consider doing the unthinkiable: face Bankes alone.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Sheridan, Book #1

The Story: The blurb is pretty accurate. Seven years ago, Beth was kidnapped by Bankes and witnessed a murder and her testimony put him behind the bars. However, for some reasons, he is now out of prison and after her. He has started another killing spree and uses the cell phones his victims to contact Beth.

Neil Sheridan is an ex-FBI agent who spent the last few years doing bodyguard work overseas. However, his last job went wrong, landing his brother in the hospital. Neil is pulled into this new investigation because of the similarities to the case that ended his career. Following the trail leads to Beth... and her daughter.

My Opinion: Lately, all romantic suspense books I read, I tend to compare them to Karen Rose's books and she's set the standards pretty high ^_^; Not that it's a bad thing though. Truthfully, the reason why I bought One Scream Away was because it was published by Grand Central Publishing, same publisher as Karen Rose :P

Okay, review time. I thought that Ms Brady showed a lot of potential in this debut novel. I think the best part of the book was the suspense. The case and villain were chilling, gory and twisted and Ms Brady did a good job at fleshing the villain, so he would appear more than one-dimensional. At the end, I couldn't help but sympathize with the villain a little, for what he went through and what made him deranged. It doesn't excuse what he's done, but it's good to know what was behind it. In that aspect, Ms Brady's style is quite similar to Ms Rose's.

Unfortunately, Ms Brady has a major weakness: her characters. It's not that they are TSTL or boring. Truth be, they are actually quite interesting. Beth and Neil have both gone through difficult period in their lives and the strength necessary to come on top was unbelievable. However, that's not enough... The real problem to me was that Ms Brady didn't develop Beth and Neil's backgrounds and personalities enough. They are given characteristics, but it was never really flesh out - unlike the villain. For example, Neil just came back to the States, after leaving the Sentry. What really happened? How is his relationship with his brother now? Is Mitch really angry? What is he going to do then? How did he lose his job/quit at the FBI. Readers are given the information, but Ms Brady never delves deeper into the details. As a result, Beth and Neil didn't seem real enough and so, I never really connect with them... or any other characters. There is a scene where Neil's best friend dies... and that should have been heart-breaking, but I didn't feel the impact of his loss emotionally. It was "Oh, he died."

As for the romance, I thought it was so-so. Personally, it felt abrupt to me. I didn't feel the chemistry between Beth and Neil. In the beginning, it seemed very improbable that anything would develop between them. Neil is after Beth because she's concealing information and she's concerned for her daughter's safety... and the next minute, Neil is lusting for Beth and suddenly, Beth is ready to accept Neil. Also, I felt that Neil was accepting Beth's daughter a bit too easily, given his past. I'm not saying the romance wasn't nice, but quite frankly, it just felt improbable with everything going on and the short timeline. I think it would have worked better for me if the relationship had been a bit more platonic and Beth and Neil work at getting to know each other better after the events of One Scream Away.

My Grade: C+. Ms Brady is definitively writing books in the genre that suits her and as I mentioned earlier, has shown a lot of potential in this debut novel. Of course, there are elements to improve, but I believe that when she will, she'll be a force to reckon, an author not to miss :P

Last to Die by Kate Brady
published by Grand Central Publishing in September 2010

No Warning

A ruthless killer hides in plain sight, portraying the ideal citizen while hatching a horrific plan. Sins of the past have come to light and now the time is right for revenge. Six desperate women will be brutally murdered as punishment for the secrets they've kept hidden...

No Escape

Detective Dani Cole is devastated to discover that a young woman viciously killed in a local park was someone whose life she'd helped redeem. Her investigation becomes even more personal when it leads her to Mitch Sheridan, a renowned photo-journalist. The two share a painful past... and an attraction that sparks as they race to find the killer. But danger is much closer than anyone imagines. For in the shadows, this calculating has a new target: Dani Cole.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Sheridan, Book #2

The Story: Mitch Sheridan is a renowned photo-journalist who's traveled the world in an effort to expose other countries' suffering. However, things have gone wrong during his stay at Ar Rutbah where Mitch was gravely injured... and since then, he's lost his passion for photography. Only the death of his mentor brings Mitch back home - to find out the circumstances of the death and to do one final exhibition. The last person he expects to cross path again is his first love, Dani Cole.

To say Dani Cole is going through a rough patch is an understatement. It's always been hard to be a cop when your father is a cop who was known to accept bribes from the mob, it's even harder after he's blown his head in your guest room. So her job is on the line, then she loses one of her protégées - a young troubled woman who used to be a prostitute - and her only suspect is her first love's mentor ^_^; On top of it all, she has to face her old flame again - the perfect guy she had to dump because she couldn't trust her heart... Of course, if things can get worst, they will... and that's how Dani finds herself the next target of a serial killer...

My Opinion: Last To Die is Ms Brady's second novel and I picked it up because the blurb sounded really good. Already, it feels like Last To Die is tighter and better than One Scream Away.

What Ms Brady did well in One Scream Away, she does well again in Last To Die. I definitively have no complaint about the suspense. In fact, mixing everything together, it felt like the plot was more complex. The villain might have been revealed a bit early, but I don't think it took away from the suspense at all. Also, there was a twist in the book and I have to say, wow :P

I think where we can see improvement is the romance. I thought that Dani and Mitch had much more chemistry than Beth and Neil. Perhaps it's due to the fact that Dani and Mitch already knew each other and have been in love in the past. I felt that they knew and understood each other well and that made the romance more believable.

While I think the characters were better developed in Last To Die, the characterization is still lacking. Mitch's personality was better fleshed out this time around; however, I would have liked to see his past and family background expanded more. In One Scream Away, we were introduced to Neil, Mitch's older brother... and yet, I still can't describe the brotherhood between the two. They don't seem to get along well, despite a good childhood. And both have a younger sister that's barely been mentioned. Same thing with Dani. I also feel that the author doesn't need to make the characters background too complicated. More complex doesn't mean more interesting or easy to connect and it doesn't necessarily develop them.

So writing-wise, I think that Last To Die was better. The deal breaker unfortunately for my enjoyment was Dani's character. She wasn't very likable ^_^; I cannot pinpoint exactly what it was, but she just rubbed me the wrong way. I have to say, I didn't really like the way she treated people, although as a cop, it sometime made sense. I think overall it was the way she looked at life - I just didn't like her perception of it and how strong she had to be. That's why she broke up with Mitch the first time around, because she didn't want to rely or trust him, even though things were going badly. Sometimes, it's something to admire, but other times, it just feel like being stubborn for nothing. Especially when the guy is so great.

My Grade: B-. I enjoyed the suspense part and Mitch. I wanted more from the characters, but I do feel it's something that Ms Brady can achieve. This would definitively have been a B if I'd have liked Dani better ^_^;

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My whirlwind week-end to New Jersey

Okay, so let me recap my trip to New Jersey :P LOL, I'll try to be short and to the point, but you know me :P No guarantee!

We left on Friday morning at 6.30am... which was only 30 minutes after the time I wanted to leave. Not bad for girls who stayed up till midnight and 1am to finish cleaning their rooms and the bathroom LOL. The drive to New Jersey was very nice and uneventful. We made good time and arrived at Hilcia's place at noon, right on time and without getting too lost! :P Seriously, it was awesome to meet Hilcia and her husband. They are such nice people, very welcoming and very friendly! LOL, it's always funny to see the husbands' reactions to meeting bloggers... I mean, bloggers communicate with each other all the time via their blogs or emails or chat or whatever other mean... so it's a lot of fun for us to meet each other, but I wonder what the significant others think. Do they think we're crazy? Do they find it weird? :P Well Hils' husband just took it in stride and welcomed us as if we were long time friends :)

After we settled and had some lunch, Hilcia, my sister and I made our foray to New York City via ferry. I have to say, we were extremely lucky that the week-end was soooo nice. The weather was gorgeous and we had plenty of sun which was definitively a plus :) We didn't do anything very touristic for two reasons, actually three: 1) lack of time, 2) my sister has just been to NYC with her friends three weeks ago and 3) I'm planning to come back for RWA this summer. So we just walked around and took in the view :P Time Square, Broadway, the outside of Rockefeller Center... We did hit the NBC store which was priority number 1 on this trip. My sister is a TV buff and she's been wanting some memorabilia :P She wanted to go to the CBS store as well, but apparently it closed down which was unfortunate :( Still, she got her Nerd Herd strap from the show Chuck, so she was very happy :)

We then made our way back to New Jersey where we met up with Hilcia's daughter and went out for dinner together. Hilcia's daughter is another awesome person! She is so fun to hang out with and her relationship with Hilcia is adorable!! It's just too bad she had to work during the week-end... but there'll be a next time! LOL. So we elected to go to a diner which apparently is staple of New Jersey :P We went to the Coach House Diner and OMG, the food was so good!! It really surprised me, because you know how in books, you often read that you should stick to the special menu :P In this case, there was so much choice and the portions were huge! I wished I've had been more hungry :P and that was pretty much it for the first day :)

Saturday started bright and early :) The plan was to go shopping and we chose the Jersey Gardens Mall for it :) We got there pretty early, I think just after it opened at 10am. From then on, it was non-stop till 2pm. LOL, I think I exhausted Hils :P But then, you know how it is when you can get great discount and save lots of money! and guess what? There's no sale tax on clothes in New Jersey!! Hey, for a girl who is used to 12-13% sale tax... No tax is like heaven! My sister and I had an informal list of what we wanted to buy during the week-end and we pretty much completed it :P I came back with new running shoes, a sweater, a yoga mat... but best of all, a new purse! LOL. The purse was pretty much chosen by Hils and pushed on me by my sister... but I have to say, the more I look at it, the more I really like it :P It's really a nice bag... I just need to push myself to use it :P (I tend to keep nice things for special occasions...) The best though is that my sister spent some money as well. I mean, the whole trip was pretty much for her, so I wanted her to enjoy it and make the most out of it... which means buying stuff that she likes.

So at 2pm, we finally stopped for lunch LOL. I think Hilcia was very happy about it LOL. And happy me, I was hungry enough to get my pretzels from Auntie Annes. I love pretzels, especially with the cheese dip, but it's not very popular in Montreal. Actually, it's not popular at all. So every time I go to the States, I try to have some :P Then, we headed back to Hilcia's place to meet up with Christine for some book shopping and dinner again :P

Christine is another awesome person :) Very friendly, nice and genuine :) It was awesome of her to take time to meet up with us :) She was also our driver on this book shopping expedition. We went to Barnes and Nobles first, but I didn't buy anything. Mostly because I had 40% coupons off from Borders and also, the selection at the Barnes and Nobles was so-so. It didn't even have The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook yet... so I decided to wait for Borders. Once we got to Borders, I went wild as usual. Proof? My Hauling Sunday post LOL. It's always fun to book-shop with other books lovers and this was no exception. Christine was very controlled and didn't buy any books since she just got an iPad. As for Hilcia, she stuck to her list. LOL, two bloggers with a lot of willpower :P We talked books and also whether to switch to ebooks or not for series that you've already started collecting in print. After book-shopping, we went to Houligans. Another place with good food and a great view of NYC at night :) Again, once we got back to Hils' place, I was beat and that was it for me LOL. The whole day has finally caught up to me.

Sunday was very relaxed. We woke up at a decent hour, had breakfast and hung out. At 11am, my sister and I took our leave from Hilcia so we would get home early and Hils would still have time to go hang out with her family. We did a little bit more shopping before hitting the road, but nothing drastic. At 1pm, we finally left for home. The drive home was not as enjoyable as the drive to NJ... mainly because I got a speeding ticket T_T and because we got stuck at the customs for 2 hours! Yes, I had to choose the booth where two lanes were merging together. So not the perfect way to end the week-end, but I've decided to not let it ruin the great week-end we had. Since we got home on Sunday, my sister and I got to hang out a little bit with our relatives from Boston :)

Basically, my sister and I had a great time this week-end :) It was a bit short, but it was very productive and surprising, not so rushed. We met wonderful people, got to hang out with them for a great time, had a good shopping haul and time to relax. Seriously, what more can you ask for?

So a big thank you to Hilcia and Christine for such a great time :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hauling Sunday XIV

Hi everyone!! Did you miss me? :P Sorry for the lack of posts in the past week. Life has been busy, chaotic and stressful lately ^_^;

Sigh, where to start? I guess from the beginning. I've been experiencing some health issues in the past two weeks. It all started when I suddenly got urinary frequency. At first, I thought it was an urinary tract infection and so, went to see the doctor who prescribed me antibiotics. However, after a week, I was still experiencing urinary frequency. Seriously, peeing every 30 to 60 minutes really does alter a life... and it's not fun :( Since the bacteria culture came back negative, the urologist is suspecting the kidneys. However, my blood test came back normal... So go figure. In any case, I have an ultrasound scheduled this Friday, so we'll see. However, right now, I think everything was due to stress ^_^; Seriously, seems like stress is going to kill me one day.

A lot has been going on at work also. We're in the process of publishing an article, my co-worker's work schedule has been erratic due to family emergency, the experiments are going so-so... and of course, it just had to happen all at the same time.

The only good thing that has happened is that I went to New Jersey/New York City the past week-end! Woohoo! My sister has been saying that she wanted to go somewhere for her birthday. She specifically wanted to go to New York City and initially, none of her friends could... so I told her we should go :) That way, I would get the chance to meet Hilcia and Christine :P And so, that's what we did! :) Because of my health issue and work, the trip was almost canceled, which added additional pressure. In the end though, my sister and I left early Friday morning and spent the week-end with Hilcia and we got to meet Christine :) I had an awesome, awesome time and a full post coming up very soon :P I was planning to share the good news with everyone, but yeah, it was very busy ^_^; Add in that I had relatives coming over during the week-end and staying in my room... that meant extreme deep cleaning ^_^;

So yes, life has been quite busy... however, I'm back :D Or at least, I'm planning on it :P and to start it all, here is my haul from the States :)

Here above are my new books from Borders. I have to say, I prefer Borders over Barnes and Nobles for some reasons.

Quickly, here's the breakdown of the haul.

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook - That was priority number 1 of the trip. Something's been going on with book delivery and some books have been showing up really late at the bookstores. Trade-size paperbacks have been most affected so far.

Healer's Choice by Jory Strong - This is book 3 in the series and I haven't read the first 2, but I'm intrigued with this one thanks to Tori's review.

The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks and Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt are two books I've gotten because of the great reviews they've received in blogland. Other books I bought because they caught my attention at one point and I was like, why not since they are cheaper in the States :P

Here are books I've got from Hilcia mostly :) She's a ruthless purger and I took advantage of it LOL. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin is a loan from Christine :P

All in all, I think that once again, I did great in the States LOL.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Conditions of books

Ugh, I'm not feeling great today. I don't know if it's related to my first condition or something totally unrelated or if it's all in my head ^_^; All I know is that I want it to go away, as abruptly as it came, leave me alone!! Especially since I have plans this week-end! I'm thinking a good night of sleep is what I need :P Anyway, there are more interesting thing to discuss :P

Last week, the discussion topic was how do you review... and the responses gave me inspiration for this week's topic :P Some of you mention that you dog-ear pages. Personally, I have nothing against dog-earing pages LOL, but it made me think of books condition and how some people really care about it. So...

Is book condition important for you? And how do you treat your book?

Me? I don't really care about book condition. Of course, when I go to the bookstore, I try to choose the nicest copy available. I think that's a normal reaction. However, I'm not too picky about it, because I'm not one who keep my books in the most pristine of condition ^_^; I mean, I throw my books into my purse, I fall asleep on them... so as a result, I often get kinks and cracks on covers and some damaged pages ^_^; You've seen some of the damage my carelessness has done ^_^;

When it comes to used books, I'm even more lenient. Hey, I'm getting them at discount price, right? I'll rather go with cheaper than better condition. If I can get both though, that's the ideal situation :) All in all though, I'm just happy to get the books, so I don't fuss too much.

What about you?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Hauling Sunday XIII

The week-end is almost over and I basically did nothing ^_^; It's not real news as it happens quite often, but it's still cause to sigh. Sigh. LOL.

The past week has been okay. Hmmm, it's been quite stressful and depressing at work. Stressful, because I was expecting reagents to be delivered and they were, but I didn't receive them. So I had to track them down and it was a real headache :( Depressing because my co-worker has family issues. His grandmother is very sick and she's refusing treatment. Obviously, he's been kind of depressed, sad and quiet... and it made the atmosphere in the lab very heavy. We're only two in the lab and I didn't know how to act around him. So I've been keeping quiet and it made for a long week. Finally, I have some minor health issues. Nothing serious, especially since it was caught early. It's more of an annoyance than anything... and all I can do now is wait for the meds to work their magic.

Luckily, I seem to have found my reading mojo again :) Plus, I bought some books so that always cheers me up! Let see, what are the goodies I got :P

Our Wicked Mistake by Emma Wildes - Quite frankly, the blurb of Our Wicked Mistake sounds so-so; however, I really enjoy Ms Wildes' writing and her stories. They are simple and focused on what is most important, the couple :) So we'll see how this turns out :P

A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jeffries - This is the second book in The Hellions of Halstead Hall series :P I read an excerpt a while ago and was really looking forward to reading A Hellion in Her Bed :P

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis - I was a bit hesitant at getting this book as Ms Shalvis is pretty much hit and miss for me. However, it does sound good and the price was right :P

Mad About the Duke by Elizabeth Boyle - Ms Boyle is another hit and miss author that I enjoy. The relationship between the hero and heroine of Mad About the Duke started in How I Met my Countess and I've been very curious to see how it would develop. I was going to wait to get this book; however, my 25% off coupon was expiring on September 30, so I thought I should take advantage of it :P

And lucky me, Tabitha has been purging her books to make more space in her new home... and she kindly sent me the following books:

By now, you probably know why I asked for the Jayne Ann Krentz books, given my recent review of The Golden Chance :P I've also been in the mood for romantic suspense and so  Laura Griffin was on my list of authors to try out :) Finally, Tabitha has reviewed Island Heat and seemed to enjoy it a lot :P 

And that is my week :P