Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Death's Mistress by Karen Chance

Hi everyone :) How are you doing? I hope you've been enjoying the reviews. As you can see, I'm steadily catching up on my back-log of reviews. There are some books released in 2012 that I've read and really wanted to review and it'd be a shame if I didn't. So I'll continue on that track. In the meantime, my reading is finally picking up a bit!! Yay! Seriously, January has been so pathetic reading-wise. Sigh. I could say that I was away the first two weeks, but even then... Anyway, eventually, I'll be mixing up the reviews - books read in 2013 and 2012; hopefully, it'll work out since I just thought of it LOL.

Now, I gotta run to curling. That's been eating my reading time as well, but next week, there's a special activity at the club, so I hope that means I'll have more time to read and blog :) I'll try to write a post about curling soon though, I think I'm due :)


Death's Mistress by Karen Chance
published by New American Library (Signet)
Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.

Back home in Brooklyn after the demise of her insane uncle Dracula, Dory’s hoping her life is about to calm down. But then she gets some visitors. A friend wants Dory’s help in finding a magical Fey relic, and the gorgeous vampire, Louis-Cesare, is desperate to find his former mistress Christine.

Dory and Louis-Cesare quickly discover that the same master vampire Christine is bound to is also rumored to be in possession of the relic. But when the master vampire turns up dead, they realize that there’s more at stake than a missing mistress. Someone is killing vampire Senate members, and if Dory and Louis-Cesare can’t stop the murderer, they may be next…
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Dorina Basarab, Book #2

The Story: At the end of Death's Mistress, Dorina received a written request from her father Mircea to work for the Senate. As a result, for over a month, she's been freelancing on the smuggling task force which mostly consists of bringing Mircea the head - dead or alive - of the vampires he asks for. This suits Dorina's abilities and it pays well, so it's a win-win situation so far for her. That is until she's asked to bring in Raymond, a fifth-level master, alive. It turns out that Raymond was in charge of setting up an auction for a magical Fey relic which protects whoever wears it from death... and let just say that with the war, political instability and the challenges for a North America Senate seat going, the relic has become the hottest item in town! Not to mention that the relic was stolen from the Fey and they want it back to protect the new heir! And so Dory is tasked by her best friend - the new Fey princess - to retrieve it. It would have been easy too if it hadn't been stolen a second time from Ray's auction and if she didn't have to work against Louis-Cesare, her latest colleague and potential lover, who needs the relic to rescue his former mistress Christine...

My Opinion: As you know, I was looking for something to read back in October and decided to give this series a chance because I've read a lot of good about Ms Chance's writing. So I started with Midnight's Daughter and while the storyline didn't blow me away - it actually confused me a lot at times ^_^; - I enjoyed it enough to pick up the next installment, Death's Mistress... and I'm so glad I did because I ended up loving Death's Mistress!!

There were a lot of elements that worked for me in Death's Mistress but what stood out the most was the humor :) There were just so many LOL moments because of the characters or certain situations they found themselves in that I probably grinned throughout the book. Oh and the combination of Dory and Ray, just priceless LOL. It also made me overlook some of the flaws that Death's Mistress had, but more on that later. Aside from the humor, I have to say that I enjoyed the characters a lot and the way they interacted with each other. If I had to be objective, I'd say Dory is not very different from all the UF heroines out there. After all, she's smart, kick-ass, mentally strong and has some unique abilities... but there's just something about her that works. Perhaps it's the fact that she's very straightforward and simple. Dory is smart, but if she doesn't get something, she'll ask you - probably with a punch - for an answer instead of spending too much time figuring it all out :) And I guess that straightforwardness is part of her charm. Where the depth in character appears is not so much in her personality, but instead in her dynamics with the other characters. She's herself, but it seems each person in her entourage brings out a different part of her personality. For example, with Radu she is more relaxed, casual; with Louis-Cesare, it's Dory the woman; with Marlowe, she's very rebellious, trying to antagonize him; and with Mircea, it's a more confused, insecure Dory. It's really an interesting way to discover Dory and I like it :)

Speaking of interactions, I'm really enjoyed Dory's relationship with Mircea and I think this is a big part of the series. They are father and daughter, but there is so much misunderstandings between them. However, I'm really liking how their relationship is developing. As much as Dory doubts it, it's evident that Mircea cares about her and loves her - not because she's an asset, but because she is his blood and flesh. And no matter what Dory says, she loves him and there is loyalty between them. In any case, I'm really looking forward to see where this is heading. I also can't help but wonder how Mircea is in the Cassie Palmer series and how it's been possible for him to keep these two women, who are so important for him, apart. Another relationship that's interesting is the one Dory shares with Louis-Cesare. This is the romance aspect of the book and I like that Ms Chance is taking her time, developing it. It's very light - in the sense that the amount in the story is limited - but it has great impact on the characters and the story. As for the story, I thought it was very interesting. I liked that there were some good twists, lots of action and how everything came together, how it all connected together. Suspense-wise, I think Ms Chance did a great job, especially with the ending. I loved what happened and wow about Anthony, it was just all exciting :)

Now, the not so great. I mentioned that I was confused at times in Midnight's Daughter and unfortunately, so was I in Death's Mistress. Sometimes, it was simply the action sequences that was hard to follow. Other times though, it was whole chunks of the story that seem to have no connection whatsoever with the storyline. For example, the part where Dory was going to the races. Big "huh" here. I understood that she needed to get to the race, but the whole meeting with those young adults didn't add anything to the storyline and it just seemed like it came out of nowhere. So those parts of the story were superfluous in my opinion, but worst, they disrupted the pacing of book... and that was unfortunate, because otherwise, Death's Mistress would have been the perfect UF book. There were also some parts of the story where I was really confused as to what was happening and I guess it's says a lot about Ms Chance's writing that I could overlook those part. Finally, I have to say that I'm not super fond of Dory's best friend, Claire. She was okay in the first book, but she's slowly getting on my nerve. Yes, she is a good friend to Dory, but the problem is she doesn't completely understand Dory and not making an effort to. It's as if what she says and thinks is it.

My Grade: B+. Death's Mistress is the kind of book that the more I re-read, the more I love and I don't think I'll ever get tired of it :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand

The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand
published by Kensington in December 2012
The Heart of Paris

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.

But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste... a kiss.

Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: The Parisian Chocolatiers, Book #2

The Story: Magalie Chaudron works for her two aunts who own La Maison des Sorcieres, an eccentric and charming shop on Ile Saint-Louis that serves chocolate sweets. For Magalie who is half-French and half-American and who shuttled between the two countries throughout her childhood and adolescence, La Maison des Sorcieres is the first real home she ever had, the first place where she really belongs. However, with the  arrival of world famous pastry chef Philippe Lyonnais and his shop on the island, Magalie sees her home threatened as she fears the customers will desert them. One thing for sure though, she won't go down without a fight and thus, Magalie confronts Philippe, trying to warn him off her island. Unfortunately for Magalie, the effect is completely opposite to what she hoped to accomplish because she refused the macaron Philippe offered, one personally made by him. Philippe who was already charmed by La Maison des Sorcieres is now intrigued by Magalie... He's also determine to make her succumb to temptation and thus, a battle of will starts between Magalie and Philippe. Who will surrender first?

My Opinion: It's no secret that I'm a fan of Ms Florand's writing and books. From her debut novel - actually a memoir - Blame it on Paris, Ms Florand has conquered me with her humor, her unique style and her passions: France and food, most specifically sweets :) And Ms Florand has continued on this path with her newest series, The Parisian Chocolatiers :) Needless to say, I was really looking forward to The Chocolate Kiss, especially since Ms Florand thought I'd enjoy it more given that she felt like she hit with it... and she was absolutely right!

I really enjoyed The Chocolate Kiss and a lot of it had to do with Magalie and Philippe's chemistry and the sexual tension that emanated from them :) It was simply explosive and it really set the tone for the book. Combined with the whimsical setting and what you get is something quite unique and refreshing. I also really enjoyed their battle of will, to see them top each other :P And while it all started off due to a misunderstanding - she thinks he will run them out of business so she confronts him and he doesn't understand her fear because he finds their shop charming - I liked that it quickly evolved into something more and that both were so involved in it, that it wasn't just one-sided. My absolute favorite part though was when Magalie finally yielded and she and Philippe became a couple. I wished there would have more scenes of the two together and as such, I do feel like Ms Florand had dragged the battle on a bit too long. Oh and I loved the ending, that was very sweet :)

Another reason why I enjoyed The Chocolate Kiss more than The Chocolate Thief is that I think the characters were better developed, especially Magalie. Ms Florand gave her an interesting background, one that really explained her insecurities and the reason why she is so worried about La Maison des Sorcieres and why she would go confront Philippe the way she did. It was good to understand Magalie and know why La Maison des Sorcieres was so important to her, because that was the source of the conflict. That's what was missing in The Chocolate Thief in my opinion. As for Philippe, his character was more straightforward... A lot was about his pride and his confidence as a world renown pastry chef and as I result, I feet like we got to know his professional side more. I understand that it's a big part of who Philippe is and perhaps it's inseparable from his more personal side, but to me, pride and confidence are a given to world famous chefs, so we didn't really get to know Philippe more. I have to say though, Ms Florand has really done a great job at writing the professional personas of her heroes. She nailed the pride and the confidence without rubbing the readers the wrong way and overall, it just lends a sexy edge to her heroes :) In this case, Ms Florand was also lucky that once Philippe and Magalie become a couple, she did include some scenes where the readers get a few glimpses of Philippe as a man and not a chef. Those did satisfy me, but I'm hoping for more balance for her next heroes, especially if they are to be distinguishable from Philippe, Simon and Sylvain.

As for the rest of the book, it was good and worked out well. There was an interesting cast of secondary characters and what I liked best about them is that they were there to support our H/H :) Paris continues to be a gorgeous back-drop for the series and the descriptions of the sweets, oh my... In a way, these two elements are like secondary characters and Ms Florand worked them in a way that they don't steal the spotlights from our H/H, as it should. In that sense, I'm also happy with her decision not to add any sequel bait for her next book :) The Chocolate Kiss is really about Magalie and Philippe and it was nice.

My Grade: B+.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Week-End's Minis XXXVI: Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale

Since it worked so well for me last year, I've decided to continue the Week-End's Minis feature :) This will perhaps allow me to catch up on my back-log of reviews. Of course, looking at today's review, it isn't really short, but who really cares right?

Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon) in October 2012
He’s the only man she’s ever loved...

For ages it seems advice columnist Annabelle Swift has loved Derek Knightly, editor-owner of The London Weekly from a distance. Determined to finally attract her employer’s attention, she seeks advice from her loyal readers—who offer Annabelle myriad suggestions…from lower-cut bodices (success!) and sultry gazes (disaster!) to a surprise midnight rendezvous (wicked!).

She’s the only woman he never noticed...

Derek never really took note of his shy, wallflower lady writer. But suddenly she’s exquisite... and he can’t get Annabelle out of his mind! She must be pursuing someone, but who? For some inexplicable reason, the thought of her with another man makes Knightly insanely jealous.

Will Dear Annabelle find her happy ending?

But Knightly’s scandalous periodical has been targeted for destruction by a vengeful Lord Marsden, and the beleaguered editor now faces a devastating choice: either marry Marsden’s sister to save his beloved newspaper…or follow his heart and wed his Writing Girl.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Writing Girls, Book #4

What do you need to know? Annabelle Swift is one of the scandalous Writing Girls working for The London Weekly and is in charge of the advice column. One day, while she is sick and is fed up with sister-in-law who's treating her like a poor relation and a servant, Annabelle decides to turn the table on her faithful readers. Instead of giving them advises, she's asking them for help on how to attract the attention of the man she's been in love with for the past few years, but who never has taken notice of her.

Everyone at The London Weekly knows the identity of the man Annabelle's been in love with - their editor/boss Derek Knightly- except the man himself. That is because for almost two decades, all Derek has cared about is his newspapers, The London Weekly. The son of an earl and his mistress, Derek will never forget the day he was kicked out of his father's funerals by his half-brother, the New Earl, and his vow that one day, he would belong in their world. With his fortune and influence, all Derek is missing to belong is an aristocratic wife. Then, when The London Weekly finds itself in jeopardy because of an inquiry on journalistic ethics because of a reporter from a rival newspapers, Derek strikes a deal with Lord Marsden, killing two birds with one stone. Derek will marry Lord Marsden's sister, Lady Lydia, acquiring his aristocratic wife while the marquis will protect The London Weekly from the inquiry.

It thus seems ironic that Mr. Knightly finally takes notice of Annabelle when he has to woo and marry another woman... And what will he choose? The future of his newspapers or his own?

Why this book? I read the first two books of this series and liked them enough to pick up the rest of the series. I haven't read The Tattooed Duke (Book #3) yet, but picked up Seducing Mr. Knightly because I've been curious about Mr. Knightly and wanted to know if Annabelle would finally be able to attract his attention LOL.

What did I like? Overall, I really enjoyed Seducing Mr. Knightly; it was a fun and light book :) I think it always starts well when the heroine becomes more pro-active in her life and decide to reach for her happiness which is what happened here. I liked that Annabelle finally came out of her daze and wanted to make Derek notice her. I think the advices that she got from her audience were what you'd expect... but the funniest part of the book in my opinion is when Derek turned the table on her and tried to seduce her using the same advices, LOL. The male version of lowered bodices? Not wearing a cravat! LOL. It was also interesting to see everyone side with Annabelle and help her out and how outraged they were that the man in question, the "Nodcock" still wouldn't take notice of her! So yes, I really enjoyed the whole situation :)

In Derek's defense though, I thought it made sense that it took him so long to take notice of Annabelle and realize he was her target. In previous books, Derek came off as cold, unfeeling and ambitious. All that mattered to him was his newspapers and I'm glad to find out why in Seducing Mr. Knightly. I don't think it's simply Annabelle that he didn't notice, but everyone.

Another element that I enjoyed in this book was the interactions between all the characters. From Derek and Annabelle to Annabelle and her friends and Derek and his friends. I thought their dynamics added to the banter - the ribbing Derek got from his friends when they found out he was the Nodcock LOL - and contributed to the humor of this book :)

What didn't work for me? I think the biggest flaw of this book was the lack of depth in the characters. It kind of feels like our H/H were a bit one-dimensional. For example, Annabelle has been in love with Derek for several years... Why? What attracted her to him? To her credit, she does ask herself that question, but she doesn't have an answer. Sometimes, it feels like she's so used to being in love with him and therefore, just stays on that track. It'd have been awesome if in the middle of seducing him, she got to know him better... But I don't think it happened and not because she didn't try, but I don't think there was much more to know about Derek. Sure he had a complex, but I don't remember how much he shared with Annabelle and besides that, well there wasn't much more than a businessman who only cared about his business.

The other part that didn't work so well for me was the whole deal Derek made with Lord Marsden. I actually liked the part about the journalistic inquiry. It's kind of a modern element that Ms Rodale fit in a historical context and she did it well. As a result, Derek was worried about The London Weekly and it created conflict... However, the whole part about Derek having to woo and marry Lady Lydia and so on. That felt more forced and it dragged the story down a little bit in my opinion.

My Grade? B. A fun and entertaining book despite the flaws :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Fourth Grave Beneath my Feet by Darynda Jones

Finally a review!! My first review of the year and my first review in a long while!! LOL. Now that I've managed to write it, I hope it means I'll be getting back into a routine and the next one will be easier to write. It's awful when you fall of the bandwagon and try to get back on it ^_^;


Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones
published by St. Martin's Press in October 2012
Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.

In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller with paranormal elements
Series: Charley Davidson, Book #4

The Story: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet picks up two months after the events of Third Grave Dead Ahead in which Charley was used as bait by her love interest, Reyes, and ended up being tortured, almost killed. Thanks to her powers, Charley has recovered physically from her injuries, but mentally, it's another story. She hasn't stepped out of her apartment building in the two months and had no contact with Reyes or her father. However, her best friend and receptionist, Cookie, puts an end to Charley's seclusion as Charley is the heart of their PI business and they need to earn a living. Immediately, Charley is thrown back into action. First, she catches a case about a woman who swears she's being stalked and that someone wants to kill her, but nobody believes her. Then, there's been a series of bank robberies by a four-man team nicknamed the Gentlemen Thieves by the media and Charley can't help but feel there's something familiar about them. Finally, there's Reyes who's been dealing with the demons that are after Charley and him both...

My Opinion: I've enjoyed this series a lot so far - I like Charley, the goofy cast of secondary characters, her sexual tension with Reyes and the premises of the series. However, there's always a lot going on mystery-wise and it sometimes feels too much. On the other hand, the development of the overall story has been slow and I've been wondering in which direction the series was going... And as a result, the honeymoon phase of the series is over ^_^;  Still, while I wasn't anxiously looking forward to Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet as I did for the previous installments, there was no doubt in my mind that I would pick up the book. And I'm glad I did because Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet turned out to be a good, solid installment and a nice follow-up to Third Grave Dead Ahead :)

What I enjoyed most about Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet was the focus on Charley. In previous installments, we got to know Charley through the investigations and action, but it was mostly glimpses, especially since Charley has a tendency to hide her depth behind her big and eccentric personality :P In this book though, I feel we saw more of her true personality as readers were shown how Charley was coping with the aftermath of the events of Third Grave Dead Ahead. It was more focused on Charley's feelings and therefore it seemed like there was more development. This also meant the different cases weren't as convoluted and that wasn't a bad thing in my opinion. As a result, the story-telling in Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet was smoother, easier to follow and less rushed in my opinion :)

After reading Third Grave Dead Ahead, I admit I was a bit concerned about where the romance was going in the series ^_^; With the introduction of the biker, Donovan, I was worried we were heading into the dreaded love triangle. One of the things I love the most about this series is Charley's relationship with Reyes. It's really not clear-cut given Reyes' character, actions and background, but there's such a connection between Charley and Reyes... and after everything that Reyes has gone through, well I just can't help but root for them to be together. So I'm happy that in Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Charley and Reyes finally had real sex instead of dream sex LOL. It just seems to cement their relationship more. By the way, just putting it out there, but Reyes continues to be sexy as hell! LOL. Anyway, what I didn't like as much though is how Ms Jones dealt with Donovan's character. It kind of makes his character superfluous and I can't help but wonder why he was introduced in the first place. In addition, I wonder if this was Ms Jones' intentions all along or something pushed her to change her plans for the character. I guess I'll find out as the series continues on. And speaking of relationship, I wonder if Garrett and Gemma will hook up. I think that would be an interesting pairing :)

Story-wise, I have to say the mystery in Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet wasn't as strong as in previous installments. The case about the woman who is being stalked had a very good twist to it, but that was pretty much it. I didn't feel like Charley did a lot of investigation, but then again, she knew something we - the reader - didn't know :) The case about the bank robberies had a purpose, but otherwise, I really could have done without it. What worked for me though was I felt there was development to the overall story of the series. First, Reyes and Charley were moving forward and we also got more glimpses at Reyes which were interesting. Then, you had Charley actually dealing with demons and that's what made the story advanced in my opinion. The whole demon possession of clairvoyants was also very interesting and so was the new secondary character, Quentin :) The only thing I found unfortunate is that Quentin was relegated to the background after being introduced, but I'm guessing Ms Jones is setting it up for the next books. While there was development to the series, I admit that I'm still wondering where the whole series is heading to and I think it's time that Ms Jones starts dealing with that and gives her readers bigger clues.

My Grade: B. As I mentioned above, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet was another solid installment in the series and I enjoyed it more than Third Grave Dead Ahead. However, it gets the same grade because while I was happy the book focused more on Charley and the overall story, the mystery was on the weaker side and I can't help but question some of the characters and elements pertinence ^_^; Still, I recommend this series to everyone who wants LOL moments :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Best and Favorite of 2012

Brrrr, I don't know the weather where you live, but here in Canada, we are being hit with a cold wave. and it's really, really cold ^_^; We've been having -25C (-13F) consistently this week, but today is going to be the worst of it. Sigh, -30C (-22F) and overnight, -45C (-49F) when you factor in the winds. I'm starting to be a bit concerned for my car ^_^; The battery is not as good as it could be, but hopefully, it holds up!

Work is going okay. What I'm doing now is new to me, so I'm training. It's going to be harder than I thought because there's a lot of adjustments each time to do and well, it'll only come with practice. What also sucks is that I'm going to be sitting at the machine the whole day, so less time to check my emails and blog :( Going to have to find a way to adjust.

This whole week, I've been busy watching the TV show Hawaii Five-0 with my sister. Between work and that, it means I haven't had much time to read :( Hopefully, that changes once we're all caught up :) In the meantime, I still haven't written a review ^_^; That has to change soon!! But in the meantime, to go along with my "2012 in numbers..." post, here is the list of my best and favorite books read in 2012 :) Much quicker to write LOL.

Contemporary romance

Category romance

Historical romance

RS/Mystery/Cosy Mystery

Paranormal romance



Young Adult


Best Book of 2012


And there you go :) My list of best and favorite books in 2012! I've tried to stick with 2012 releases, which was quite easy considering how many I read LOL. Also, most have been reviewed (yay!) except for the books read near the end of the year which I'm planning to get to... eventually :) A lot of books are part of my favorite series or have been written by favorite authors. What can I say, they delivered LOL. Now, I hope 2013 will be as good!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hauling Sunday CIII

Whew, it's been a while since I wrote one of these posts :) However, it's time to get back into the routine :) Here are the books I got in the last month. It's not much and you know who I'm blaming...

Forbidden by Kelley Armstrong - Apparently, Ms Armstrong is going on a hiatus with her Women of the Otherworld series, but she is still writing some novellas and as long as she writes them, I will pick them up :) I was very excited about Forbidden because it's a Pack story and I love the Pack. And guess what? This one arrived exactly on December 24. Merry Christmas to me! The only thing that was a bit of bummer in this case was the art. Not really to my taste ^_^;

Amityville Horrible by Kelley Armstrong - Well this one really took me by surprise because I wasn't aware of its release. And then, it started popping up on Goodreads, blogs and well, Kobo. This novella features Jaime and Jeremy and therefore, it was a must. I love Pack and I love Jaime and Jeremy :P This novella is also interesting because the art was changed... Instead of illustrations, it was like pictures? Not sure how I feel about them, but still makes it interesting :)

A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex - I read Almost a Scandal and really enjoyed it, so picking up A Breath of Scandal was a no-brainer. Especially since the hero was a character in Almost a Scandal and I was curious to see the man he had become :)

Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas - I love Ms Thomas' contemporary romance and this series. As I said numerous times in my reviews, there's just something about her writing style that reaches me. It's gentle and a nice blend of slice of life story-telling and romance.

Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson - This is the debut novel of Ms Robson and the start of a new UF series. The blurb sounded interesting and I'm always on the look-out for new UF series, which is why I decided to pre-order it. Also nice cover and published by New American Library, so I thought it was worth a try :)

And these are the new precious in my collection :) Except for Chance of a Lifetime, they were all purchased in 2012. So now, I'm starting to keep track fresh for 2013.

What about you? What did you get in the past few weeks? Anything I should rush to the bookstore and buy?

2012 in numbers...

I wasn't sure if I was going to write any end-of-the-year or recapping posts when I came back from Europe. Mostly because it's two weeks late, but also because I wasn't really in the mood. To be honest, I just don't feel like we're in 2013. Given the circumstances, we didn't really celebrate New Year and there wasn't the whole transition time during which you wish everyone you meet a happy new year... So yeah, not in the mood. However, after blog-hopping and reading everyone's posts and numbers, well my mood changed :) It's just so interesting! Also, I admit to being curious about what my numbers are this year :) So I spent yesterday's afternoon computing them and here there are!

Number of books read


This is not a bad number, but honestly, I'm a bit disappointed. My goal was 205 books and I'm quite far from it. Of course, there were some extenuating circumstances such as hectic traveling, the concussion and of course, the dreaded reading slumps, Sigh. As usual though, this number does not include mangas and the re-reads, so I did read more.... but still.

So this year's goal is still 205 books and hopefully, I'll be able to make it :)

Number of books bought


Wooohooo!! Okay, this number, I'm very happy about LOL. This is a -31 books in comparison to 2011!! I feel the past year, my book-buying habits have started to change a lot, especially when you look at the following break-down.

In-store = 70
Online = 33
E-Books = 23

The key this year has been to be patient and wait for promotions to buy the print books. Hardcovers and trade-size books were almost all bought online. Even the paperbacks I could wait for were purchased online :) However, mostly, I attribute my change in habits to starting to read more e-books.

And one of the most interesting numbers as always is to find out how much I've saved: 461.28$ Isn't it a great number? LOL. And that number is actually very similar to last year, but for less books, so that means per book, I've saved more :)

Goal for this year is to continue this trend. Perhaps I'll buy more books, but as long as I keep saving as much money and also, a positive ratio of books read and books bought, well, I'm happy :)

Oh and another number I'm really, really proud about is that out of those 126 books, I read 100 books! That's 79% of the books I bought that I read... See, when I say that I run after new releases and that I don't know what to read when I don't have any books to buy, I'm not kidding LOL.

What did I read?

Contemporary = 41
Historical = 33 (Regency = 29, Western = 2, Americana = 1, Medieval/Highlands = 1)
Urban Fantasy = 20
Category romance = 17 (Contemporary = 16, Historical = 1)
YA = 17 (Contemporary = 11, Fantasy = 3, UF = 3)
Romantic Suspense = 11

Mystery/Thriller/Cosy Mystery = 10
Paranormal romance = 9
Steampunk = 3

Chick-lit/Women's Fiction = 3
Erotica = 2
Fiction = 1

The winner genre this year was contemporary romance! Woohoo! I just love contemporary romance, although I have to say, I was surprised I was able to find as much LOL. Then again, small-town romances are all the rage right now. I was too lazy to put last year's numbers, but my reading has been pretty consistent number-wise. For example, for contemporary romance, urban fantasy, romantic suspense, paranoral , fiction and erotica, the numbers are off by only 1 or 2 books in comparison to last year. The genres that have taken the biggest hits were historical romance and YA and they pretty much account for the -31 books differential. I have to say, last year, I overdose a bit on historical romance as well ^_^; I really started reading historical romance a few years ago because it's the most popular genre in the romance market... However, I feel like last year, I was more discriminating - reading favorite authors and books with blurbs that really appealed to me instead of reading everything regency. Same thing for YA.

The genre that saw the biggest increase in number was category romance and that's mostly because I wanted to read more books with contemporary settings and also because I glommed Ms Mayberry a bit :)

What will happen this year? Well I guess it depends on what will be coming out :)

Who published them?

1. Penguin (Berkley, NAL, ROC, Putnam, etc.) = 47
2. Harlequin (HQN Books, Mira, SuperRomance, Carina Press, etc.) = 28
3. Kensington = 15
4. Macmillan (St. Martin's Press, etc.), Harpercollins Publisher and Simon & Schuster = 13
7. Random House Publishing = 11
8. Hyperion/Scholastic = 7
9. Self-published = 5
10. Grand Central Publishing, Subterranean Press = 4
12. Headline = 2
13. Sourcebooks = 1

Top 2 publishers are still the same as the past years, Penguin - mostly Berkley - and Harlequin. What can I say, they are indeed my favorite publishers, I like the authors they have and the stories. I have to say though, I've read a lot less Mira than in the past... I guess this Harlequin line is going through some changes. Also, the authors they have don't appeal as much :(

The new player for me the past year was Kensington. In 2011, I read 8 of their books. so in 2012, it's almost double. The main reason is because they now have under their wings some of my favorite authors such as Victoria Alexander, Kate Angell and Laura Florand :) I also think they are publishing more straight contemporary romance :)

The publishing house that is most puzzling to me is Grand Central Publishing. For some reasons, I love Grand Central Publishing - I think it's because they used to house Karen Rose - however, when I look at the number of books I've read from them in 2012 and even 2011, well it's really not a lot. I like them as a whole, but it feels they are not releasing a lot of books.

It's also funny that some publishing houses I read exclusively because of certain authors such as Subterranean Press = Kelley Armstrong, Headline = Karen Rose...

When were they published?

2013 = 2
2012 = 125 (76.7%)
2011 = 13
2010 = 12
2009 = 2
2008 = 3
2007 = 3
2005 = 1
before 2000 = 2

Does that number surprise you? To me, not really. I mean, it makes sense. I buy mostly new releases and read about 79% of them, so it makes sense that most of them were released in 2012 :) I start reading romance in about 2000 and I'm very attached to this style of romance. The previous styles from the 80s and 90s don't suit me much, so that explains why I don't read a lot of books published prior to 2000 unless I'm glomming an author. However, I think I need to start clearing my TBR pile, so I'm going to try to do better and read older books in 2013.

How did I enjoy the books I read?

A = 9 (A+ = 0, A = 2, A- = 7)
B = 93 (B+ = 19, B = 45, B- = 29)
C = 54 (C+ = 23, C = 24, C- = 7)
D = 6
E = 1

More As than last year, yay! :) You guys keep saying that I'm a tough grader, but really... although I agree that I don't easily give out As, but still, most of the books I do enjoy.

Last year, I also changed the way I graded books and I do like my  new system... So I'm going to continue that way this year :)

Did I share my thoughts with you?

Full reviews = 70
Week-End's Minis = 36
Mini-reviews from Monthly Reads posts = 25

This gives a grand total of 131 reviews. That means I have 32 books left to review. Most of them are from the last three months of the 2012. I don't really know if I'll get to review them all, but I'll try :) Otherwise, I have to say I'm pretty happy with the number because I know I wasn't the most consistent blogger in 2012. And I think that the Week-End's Minis was my best idea in 2012 for the blog and that's what allowed me to stay on top of things. Now I just need to get back in the routine :)

Random Numbers

New Authors to me = 26

It seems I was a lot less adventurous in 2012. I stuck a lot with authors that I knew and also, as I mentioned earlier, I was more discriminating. Also, most authors that were new to me in 2012 weren't debut authors.

Books part of a series = 121

Okay, this number remains astonishing. Seriously!! Where are the stand-alones? :) I should try to break down this number and see how many series it makes :P


And there it is, 2012 in numbers for me :) What do you think? Overall, I'm happy with the numbers, but as I said, I do wish I've read more. Then again, there's always this year and the next and the next... Books aren't going anywhere right?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Life According to the Books I Read in 2012

So, I'm slowly getting back into a routine :) Yesterday was my first game of curling since Christmas. I was afraid to be a bit rusty, but it turned out good. I'm sparing tonight and playing again tomorrow night... which means that my blogging and my reading are taking a bit of a hit ^_^; However, there's the week-end. I'm really planning to sit down this week-end and make a plan for posts :) Luckily, work has been quiet this week, so that has given me the chance to catch up on blog-hopping. I've read all your posts and have tried to make the rounds for comments. Phew.

After reading everyone's "Best of 2012" and "2012 in numbers" posts, I have to say I'm itching a little bit to write mine... so perhaps that will be the plan this week-end. I also have to figure which books I'll review... I fell behind last year and so it means a lot of good books that I wanted to review, I haven't yet :(

However, in the meantime, I'm still taking it easy :) So I decided to participate to this meme, because it's just so much fun. I did it last year, you can check it out here. The meme is courtesy from Christine from The Happily Ever After... So here we go!

Describe yourself:
Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta

How do you feel:
I Want Candy by Susan Donovan

Describe where you currently live:
Haven by Kay Hooper

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Island Heat by Sarah Mayberry

Your favorite form of transportation:
Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox

Your best friend is:
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

You and your friends are:
Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber

What's the weather like:
Cold Days by Jim Butcher

What is life to you:
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Favorite time of day:
Starlight by Carrie Lofty

Your fear:
Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks

What is the best advice you have to give:
Playing to Win by Jaci Burton

Thought for the day:
Believe in Me by Laura Moore

How I would like to die:
The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand

My soul's present condition:
Riveted by Meljean Brook


What do you think of my answers? Once again, the easiest question was "What's the Weather like" LOL. And it is indeed cold today, brrr. Of course, not as cold as where Ames lives... The hardest questions were the mode of transportation and thought of the day. I'm just not deep enough to have thoughts everyday LOL.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hiatus is over :)

Hello everyone! I'm back :)

First, I'd like to thank everyone who commented or sent me emails to share their sympathy with me regarding my aunt's death or just to inquire how I was doing. I was really touched and it once again shows why I love blogland so much, because we care and support each others :) I also want to apologize if I have not replied to you individually to thank you. See, the reason I put my blog on hiatus is because we traveled to Germany for the funerals and I knew I wouldn't have internet access over there or very limited access. We left on December 29 and just came back last Sunday. We decided to stay two weeks for the funerals, but also to help my uncle go through this tough time. My uncle was very dependent on my aunt in his day to day life, not in the sense that he needed assistance in his daily life, but more like my aunt did everyone: laundry, ironing, cooking, etc. She took care of all the domestic chores in the house. Furthermore, my uncle has some weird, specific eating habits, so that complicates things. So we are quite concerned about him for his future and hope he'll be able to adapt and adjust. In addition, well, my aunt was a bit of a hoarder... nothing as bad as what you see in the TLC shows - thank God! - but she kept a lot of stuff and it made the house cramped... So my parents and uncle from Quebec City spent a lot of time sorting things out. Just an example, my cousin found a tofu powder box dating from... 1981 ^_^; Like older than him and me! Also, the first day, I opened the utensils drawer to set the table and for the life of me, could not find more than 3 forks... The next day, after cleaning out the drawer, it turns out it had at least 10!

My aunt's death was very sudden and unexpected. We think she died of a heart attack, but we'll never really know as we declined to do an autopsy. We got the news the night between December 26 and 27 and it was quite a shock. It's my cousin who contacted us and I really thought he got the wrong words as English is not his first language. Afterwards, we had to move pretty fast to make it to Germany. It did not help we had a major snowstorm on the 27 ^_^; In addition, we were 5 traveling and elected to take the plane to Paris and then, the train to Germany. The problem is that we had to split into two flights and therefore, weren't sure we would all make it on the same train... but it worked out okay :) After that, well there was the issue that my aunt passed away during the holidays, so a lot of establishments were closed. Also, in Germany, everything - really everything - is closed on Sundays. So even when we arrived, we didn't have an exact date for the funeral, just a vague plan for January 3rd. Once that was confirmed, we had to contact my aunt's friends to let them know, as my uncle was too in shock and hadn't done it. Calling people on New Year's Eve and New Year to share the news was not exactly ideal, but the only option we had.

However, despite the short notice time, a lot of people came and that was very heart-warming. We think there was more than 200 persons who came to the ceremony. In Germany, the funerals are a bit different than in North America. There are no real exposition period. It's basically a ceremony, so people can come a bit early and say they goodbyes and after the ceremony, my aunt was buried right away. The whole thing lasted perhaps two to three hours... So to have everyone being able to come - and a lot of them drove two or three hours - it was great.

And now, I'm home :) I missed home a lot during the past two weeks. The trip overall was good... I mean, you never want to travel under such circumstances, but most everything went without a hitch, so that's good. And there were some really good moments... furthermore, I think it was great that we spent so much time as a family. Still, on the other hand, there was some periods where time seemed to go by excruciatingly slowly ^_^; But now it's all over and I think it's really hitting me... that my aunt passed away and that we traveled for her funerals. Sigh.

So all to say that the hiatus on this blog is over, yay! :) I think it might take me a few days to get back into a routine. There are so many good books that I read back in November and that I wanted to review and didn't get the chance. I'm not sure if I'll be able to go back to them all though :( Also, I'm not sure I'll be making 2012 recaps... Have to tell you, it hasn't compute in my mind that we're in 2013 yet, just because of the strange way we spent New Year... but you never know. Perhaps I will :)

All in all, it's good to be home :)