Saturday, February 28, 2009

Guest blogging and re-read review

All right, seems like I mismanaged or miscalculated my time once again. Lucky me, I gave an extension for the re-read challenge! LOL :) My books are read and the review will go up tomorrow :)

In the meantime, I have been asked by Tracy to guest blog at the DIK blog :) You can find my post here.

I'm going out today ^_^; So I won't be able to update the list of reviews for the Re-Read Challenge till tonight! However, keep them coming in the comment section!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review: Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr

Did I ever tell you that I love Harlequin's Mira line of books? Well I do! Really! I enjoy most of their authors and the books are relatively cheaper than other publishing houses... and the big bonus? I can usually get my hands on the books early LOL :)

One question before we get onto the review... Do you find it harder to grade books in a series? I had this problem earlier this week when I reviewed Promises in Death and again with this one. I like to grade books in a series in respect with the previous ones, but I'm not sure if the grade would really match the grade I would give it if it wasn't part of the series... Hmmm, dilemma, dilemma.

Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr
published by Mira in March 2009

At twenty-five, after five years as her mother's caregiver, it's time for Shelby to experience freedom and adventure. Time for travel, college and romance. But when she visits Virgin River, she runs into Luke Riordan, decidedly not whom she has in mind.

A handsome Blackhawk pilot, Luke exited the army after twenty years, four wars and having been shot out of the sky three times. At thirty-eight he's tough and jaded. His major was in one-night stands, with a minor in commitment avoidance.

Technically, these two are all wrong for one another. But sometimes what you want and what you need are two different things…two very good things.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Virgin River, Book #6

The Story: After the death of her mother, it's time for 25 y.o. Shelby McIntyre to live her own life. Her plan is to move in with her uncle, General Booth, in Virgin River before traveling a bit and then enrolling into nursing school. At her arrival, she meets Luke Riordan, a newly retired Blackhawk pilot who's come to Virgin River to work on the cabins on the land he owns and make a quick sale. Both are extremely attracted to each other; however, Luke believes that Shelby is too young and should be looking for someone else.

Then, there's Dr Cameron Michaels who is looking for something more in his life. He was halfway in love with Vanessa Booth when she chose Paul in Second Chance Pass... then, he had a one night-stand with a woman he thought might be the one... and she disappeared on him. With a battered heart, Cameron is looking for a change of scenery...

My Opinion: Another winner for Ms Carr. In my opinion, Temptation Ridge was better than Second Chance Pass and in some way, better even than Shelter Mountain and Whispering Rock. Definitively one of my favorite in the series. I think one of the reasons is that Shelby and Luke are both new characters that we haven't met previously.Okay, so Shelby was introduced in Second Chance Pass, but barely mentioned. I have to admit, I prefer it when Ms Carr is not picking up storylines from previous books as a focus.

So the main storyline was between Shelby and Luke and I enjoyed it immensely. One of my concerns going into the book was Shelby and Luke's age difference - 13 years old... I'm not a fan of big age difference between the H/H and although 13 years is not too much, the striking fact here is that Shelby and Luke are at two different stages of their life. On one hand, you have Shelby who is starting her life - going back to school for a career, and on the other hand, Luke who is retiring from the Army. I think that Ms Carr did an incredible job handling this relationship. I could feel Luke's reluctance towards Shelby, not only because he doesn't do commitment, but because Shelby was so young. My heart really went to Shelby though, because she was strong, determined and level-head. She didn't rush into this relationship, taking Luke in a tornado or being taken up by Luke. She was the one in control, but not in a manipulative way. In addition, I really related to Shelby - same age, never really date and so on. I especially like her honesty. It was kind of cute to see her falling for Luke even though he wasn't what she imagined for her first boyfriend.

Although I think Ms Carr handled it really well, I have to admit that Luke did annoy me from time to time. I understand what he was thinking when he thought he wasn't the best for Shelby, that she deserved more. That she could get more... It's not like I wanted him to ask Shelby to put a stop to her dream in order to continue their relationship. However, once she chose him, he should have stopped the chivalrous and made a grab for her... As a result, it would have been nice to see him grovel a lot more at the end. Luckily for him, he has a family that loves him and who is not afraid to meddle in his affairs. Otherwise, I liked Luke. I thought he was a nice guy and really hard-working. I like how he welcomed Art - a 30 y.o. man with Down Syndrome. He had no obligations, but like I said, he's a nice guy.

There were two other 'main' storylines in Temptation Ridge. One was General Booth and his neighbor, Muriel - the actress. I wasn't very interested in it, although I like General Booth. His protectiveness towards his children and niece is very cute :) I also like how all those big bad guys kind of squirmed in front of him LOL :) The other storyline is Dr Cameron Michaels. Cameron was introduced in Second Chance Pass and honestly, I didn't like his character... Oh sure, he was a nice man, but I didn't like him because he came in between Vanessa and Paul. I didn't expect him to have a bigger role in the series... but there it is - great planning Ms Carr. Have to say, I like him much better in this book. In some ways, he reminds me of John Stone - the doctor from Grace Valley. It was kind of sad to see Cameron wonder what went wrong with his life... How come he wasn't married with a family yet. I am looking forward for more of his story in Paradise Valley... but so far, although I like him... not sure I like Abby, the woman he is being paired up with.

As expected also, we continue following the evolution of Virgin River. We get glimpses of Jack, Mel, Preacher, Mike and Brie. This time, they were well incorporated into the story and I didn't feel like they were stealing the show. I have to say, I like that little snippet where we see Mel not being comfortable in her body because it isn't what it used to be. I think it helps making Mel more human and a little less a saint. I mean, I love her character, but she just seems so perfect. I also liked how Ms Carr did the timeline. A few months have passed from the beginning of Temptation Ridge to the end. Ms Carr did a good job, doing it seamlessly and spaced the events well. See, I don't like it when the stories span a few days only; however, it seems hard for authors to write stories covering long periods of time... So kudos for Ms Carr.

One complaint though is that Ms Carr should stop having events that disrupt the everyday life routine and make life more dramatic... for example, the fire at the end of Second Chance Pass... I mean, sure once in a while is all right... but not too much because then, it's not believable anymore.

So, looking forward to Paradise Valley next month. The last book in the second trilogy seems to be very emotional from what I read in the synopsis. Rick is coming home - a changed man... The grower that we've seen who seems to be a DEA agent is also doing a come back. Add in Cameron's storyline... One thing I hope though is that a particular character doesn't get a bigger role. So in this book, Cheryl - the town drunk who was in love with Jack in Virgin River - is back... and with the help of Mel and Doc, she went into rehab and is back sober... I really hope she's not going to be the DEA agent's love interest... I don't know, I don't like her very much... However, why would you bring back a character that has disappeared and transformed her into a better person if it isn't to give her a bigger role?

In conclusion, Temptation Ridge was a great book that I enjoyed immensely. I laughed and I cried while reading this book. Why I cried? Well something happened and it was really sad. However, I did laugh more in this book. There are a lot of LOL moments. One of my favorite scene is when Luke's younger brother comes for a visit and Luke warns him to stay away from Shelby because she is taken. It was so funny... especially when Luke got a bit depressed because his younger brother is younger, and he makes Shelby laugh... Just too cute :) Anyway, lots of good things in this book :)

My Grade: A-

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bone Crossed Contest!!

Wow, it's really quiet on blogland... where is everyone?!?!

I just want to let you know that we're holding another contest over at Breezing Through. Once again, I was too impatient and ended up with two copies of Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs :) Thought I'd make someone happy :)

All the details are here. You have till Friday February 27, noon - eastern time, to participate!

Good luck :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review: Promises in Death by J.D. Robb

Review, review, review... as I said in my last post, my long week-end wasn't as relaxing or productive as I wished... don't you hate it when it happens?

Have to say, I'm not looking forward to going back to work :( Did an experiment last week and the results weren't the same as what we got previously... Not a good sign, which is why I kept checking my emails this week-end. My horoscope says that I'm going to have tough week at work - why am I not surprised?

I got lucky and caught curling this week-end. Turns out it's the Women Canada Championship :) Yay! I know many don't get, but I just love that sport - even if I've never tried. It's much harder than it looks like and it involves a lot of strategy. So at least, I'll have this to cheer me up this week :D

Onto the review now :) One of the longest series I've ever read and quite frankly, one of the best is the In Death series by J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts. I really enjoy it and I have to say, I like the schedule for it. Last book, Salvation in Death, was okay. Curious to see if she would pick it up again with Promises in Death and how she would do it.

Promises in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam in February 2009

Amaryllis Coltraine may have recently transferred to the New York City police force from Atlanta, but she's been a cop long enough to know how to defend herself against an assaillant. When she's taken down just steps away from her apartment, killed with her own weapon, for Eve the victim isn't just "one of us."

Dallas's friend Chief Medical Examiner Morris had started a serious relationship with Coltraine, and from all accounts the two were headed for a happy future together. But someone has put an end to all that. After breaking the news to Morris, Eve starts questioning everyone, including Coltrain's squad, informants, and neighbors, while Eve's husband, Roarke, digs into computer data on the dead woman's life back in Atlanta. To their shock, they discover a connection between this case and their own painful, shadowy pasts.

The truth will need to be uncovered one layer at a time, starting with the box that arrives at Cop Central addressed to Eve, containing Coltraine's guns, badge, and a note from her killer: " You can have them back. Maybe someday soon, I'll be sending yours to somebody else." But Eve Dallas doesn't take too kindly to personal threats, and she is going to break this case, whatever it takes. And that's a promise.

Genre: Romantic Suspense, futuristic
Series: In Death series, Book #29

The Story: Back blurb does a great job summarizing the story. Amaryllis Coltraine is murdered with her own weapon right in her building and Eve catches the case. Coltraine isn't just a cop, she's also Morris's lady friend and that makes the case even more personal... especially since Eve never took the opportunity to get to know Coltraine because she resented her a bit for her involvement with Morris. The case turns even more difficult when Eve and Roarke discover who Coltraine was involved with in Atlanta and when Eve has to call in Webster from IAB.

Of course, Eve prefers to work on the case and catch Coltraine's murderer... then to play hostess to Louise's bachelorette party :D

My Opinion: Great addition to the series, Ms Roberts was able to step up from Salvation in Death, no question. One of the reasons why Promises in Death was so great was its focus on relationships among Eve and her entourage... What Salvation in Death lacked, Promises in Death had it in spare. Amaryllis Coltraine's murder was a very personal case and as I mentioned, not only because Coltraine was a cop, but also Morris's girlfriend... that combined with Louise's bachelorette party, there was a lot of interactions between characters and we got to know Morris better - which was great :) No issue between Eve and Roarke, which I'm happy... I think they had had enough in the beginning of their relationship, now they should just enjoy. I wouldn't mind reading about one in the future, but not in this book which is already so emotionally packed. By the way, hard to believe that Eve and Roarke have been married for just almost two years!

Again, this was a very interesting case. Not as intricated as it could be, I think Ms Roberts did sacrifice a bit to focus on all the emotional stuff. Still, it was a good one. Also, I always enjoy cases that involved cops - as victims or culprits - because there are always emotionally charged and because Eve has to thread carefully. I have to admit that after I read the back blurb and the
excerpt , I immediately thought that Coltraine was a dirty cop - I don't know, something to do with "To their shock, they discover a connection between this case and their own painful, shadowy pasts." I mean, not many option right? For those who are curious, I'll say that this book is closely connected to Judgement in Death (which turns out to be the only book I haven't read - couldn't handle it ^_^;) Have to say, it's nice from Ms Roberts to link stuff up together.

Surprisingly, there were a lot of LOL moments as well, which lighten up the mood :) LOL, Eve definitively cracks me up. However, she's starting to show more sensibility and know to deal better with her friends. I guess she's evoluing :) Although the case was good, I think that it's all those LOL moments and interactions between the characters that made the book. I mean, can you imagine Eve shopping for Louise's gift? Also imagine all the guys packing up and going to Las Vegas for Charles's bachelor party :)

If there was anything that was unfortunate, that would be Coltraine's death. Have to say, I never saw it coming. Eve had a few interactions with her in the past books, but nothing that gave this away. Eve and Peabody's guilty feelings towards Coltraine were also very interesting and realistic.

Overall, once again, a great installment to the series. Very well balanced with lots of emotions and interactions between the characters.

My Grade: A-. I'm stinky with As and usually give it to very memorable books. I don't think that Promises in Death is going to be as memorable as those books; however, I think that is because it's part of such a long series. Like I said, very solid book with interesting case and good balance with the characters interactions. Totally deserving of the grade and I think that when compared with the previous installments, it's the right call.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Re-Read Challenge Reminder

Hello everyone!

How was your week-end? As you know, I have off today, yay :P However, the week-end wasn't as relaxing or productive as I wished. I kept checking my emails for a message from my supervisor telling me I had to come in today. Luckily, I didn't get one... but still, not relaxing :(

Anyway, this is a reminder that the end of the month is this coming week-end and that means, Re-Read Challenge day :) So have you read your book? Or are you like me and still haven't chosen one?

Reviews are supposed to be for Saturday, but once again, since it's the week-end and that usually means less blogging... I'm giving an extension :) I'll put up the Re-Read Challenge post for February on Friday and you have till Monday to submit the link of your review to be eligible for the draw :)

Have a nice week :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Review: Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

It's Friday, it's Friday!! And my boss is leaving early today (like noon!!), and the experiment worked - so no need to repeat, and I have a long week-end!!

LOL, yeah, I'm really in a good mood :)

To add to my great mood, we three girls at Breezing Through have reviewed an awesome book, Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. Follow the link here to read what we thought :)

Also, stay tuned to Breezing Through in the next few days for a chance to win a copy of Bone Crossed :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TBR Day: White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz

Phew, I finished work at 9pm last night... and I was lucky, since I got off and went to pick up my sister. My friend and co-worker S. had to drive the boss around and find a messenger courier place that was still open to mail out the grant application. LOL, warms my heart though that I'm not the only one that does thing at the last minute.

As a reward for staying so late, my boss gave me the morning... but since I had to drive my sister, I still got at the lab early. Well, who cares, I'm going to blog. The hospital has a holiday on Monday (don't ask me what holiday it is ^_^; it just says February holiday) so I'm crossing my fingers that I won't have to come in this week-end and enjoy a LONG week-end.

**Okay, my boss just walked in and said I had the whole week-end to myself!! Wooohooo!!!

All right, enough of my life :) Onto the review now. The new twist in Keishon's TBR challenge is that for each month, there's a theme. This month's theme was DIK books from the AAR site... Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of the DIK in my TBR pile and was too lazy to get the complete list. So I chose to read White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz instead.

White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Putnam in January 2007

Petite, thirtysomething Clare Lancaster is a Level Ten para-sensitive-and a "human lie detector." Over the years, she's come to accept that someone with her extraordinary talents is likely to have trouble in the relationship department. And she's even resigned herself to the fact that everyone, to one degree or another, hides behind a façade. . . .

And now it seems that meeting the half sister and family whom she never knew until seven months ago was a mistake. Her father summons her from California to play a role in his business empire, and Clare doesn't intend on making the same mistake twice. But after meeting Jake Salter, Archer Lancaster's "financial consultant," Clare is convinced that things aren't what they seem. Salter's careful conversation seems to walk a delicate line between truth and deception, revealing and resisting. Something sparks and sizzles between them-something more than the usual electricity between a man and a woman.

Caught in a dizzying storm of secrets, lies, and half-truths, Jake and Clare will plunge into an investigation that demands every bit of their special gifts-together they must overcome their mutual distrust in order to unravel a web of conspiracy and murder.

Genre: paranormal romance - psychic
Series: Arcane Society, Book #2

The Story: Ugh, I started writing a summary and it turned out to be as generic as the back blurb. Meh. So let's give it another try.

Clare is the product of a one-night stand between the parents. She has just reunited with her father and his family a few months ago when her half-sister needed help. That event basically changed her life, especially when she found the body of her half-sister soon-to-be-ex-husband. Although she was not arrested by the police, she can't stop the gossips and as a result, loses her job and her fiance. Then, she is summoned by her father to Arizona where he offers her a job.

Jake Salter is a J&J agent sent down to Arizona for an undercover investigation. He is looking for a new organization who is looking to improve the Jones formula which would increase their psychic abilities and the presence of a 'human lie detector' could jeopardize the whole mission. However, he can't help being attracted to Clare and the attraction is mutual... After a series of incidents and another dead body, Jake decides to keep an eye on Clare for both professional and personal reasons and realizes that perhaps, he's been on the wrong track for his investigation.

My Opinion: So I've been going through Ms Krentz's backlist, basically focusing on her 90's books... but I decided to give her newer books a try. The reason I've been staying away from them is because of the paranormal touch... However, I admit being curious about how she would incorporate psychic abilities into her stories.

As a whole, I think the story was okay. I liked Clare and Jake and enjoyed their interactions and relationship. I think they match well together, both strong personalities and understand each other because of their very strong psychic abilities. I admire Clare's tenacity - how she wouldn't give up on finding a job and her applications at J&J.

Clare and Jake's personalities are very similar to Ms Krentz's previous H/H. Although I have to say, Jake is more mercenary than others :) If you enjoyed Ms Krentz's H/H in the past, I don't see why you would have a problem with Clare and Jake. As for the overall plot, it was interesting
and kept me turning the pages. The only thing I thought that was unclear was Myra (Clare's father's wife)'s feelings toward Clare.

What did I think about Ms Krentz' s incorportation of psychic abilities? I'm not too sure. While reading White Lies, I kept thinking of Ms Hooper's FBI SCU series. I have to admit, I like Ms Hooper's take better. In White Lies, the characters take psychic abilities for granted in my opinion. They don't really try to look into their abilities... Sure, they work to get control over it, but that's about it. The fact that everyone had psychic abilities to a certain degrees and that they were all registered with the Arcane Society... it was just weird. I mean, they all just went on the Arcane website and look up each other to find their abilities and levels. Also, the psychic abilities are not the usual ones we encounter... I mean, nothing wrong with that... but it was a bit unusual. Everyone seems so well adjusted with their abilities and so on, I guess they were secondary to the storylines.

Overall, a good book and different than most books with psychic main characters... however, I do prefer her straight contemporary romances though :)

My Grade: B

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Hi everyone!!

I really want to blog and review, but I'm a bit busy today. Today is the deadline for grant applications, so I have to rush a few things. I had the role of mail woman yesterday, going to pick up various collaboration letters. Hopefully, I'll be able to stay in the lab today LOL :)

I've been reading some very good books :) Just got my online order and had a few nice finds at the UBS over the week-end. I found Winterbourne by Susan Carroll and Family Man by Jayne Ann Krentz :) What good books have you been reading lately?

Anyway, I spent the whole week-end thinking and came up with some ideas to save money and limit my books buying ^_^;

1. Stop buying snacks and soft drinks - you're laughing, but I bet I can save about 10$/week ^_^; (and it's better to cut in food than books LOL)

2. Do no buy books in a series till I'm all caught up or have read the series.
You know how this is... Eveyone glom about the first book so you buy it... Then the second book comes out and everyone gloms about it, but you still haven't read the first one... but who cares, you still buy the second one and so on.

3. Stick to my TBB list and auto-buy authors list, i.e. try to be less impulsive, stay away from authors I already know don't work for me :P

What do you think? Sure, they are simple rules, but like I said in the comment section... the goal is to limit the number of books I buy, not completely stop. The unknown factor is going to be new authors and which books get a buzz in blogland ^_^; I'm trying to set a number, like perhaps 2 new authors a month? Or is 4 a better number - 1 book/week? Thing is, this is hard to predict...

Anyway, I have to get back to work :(

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Budget Cuts :(

All right, this is going to be a bit of a rant, so bear with me...

As many of you know, I buy a lot of books. A lot. Part of it is because I don't have much of a choice if I want to read romance novels in English. Another reason is that's just part of my personality. I like to own things that I like, collect them.

Quite frankly, yes, the amount of money I spend on books is quite considerable, but it's my choice. Books are pretty much my only expense. Beside books, the only thing I can think of is food - I eat out a lot and have difficulty resisting buying snacks to complement my lunch. I go out with my friends perhaps once every two weeks... but it's not like we're doing anything special... Again, just more eating and hanging out... So yeah, besides books, my life is pretty boring.

Thing is, yes books are my only expense, but my initial salary is not very high either. Oh I can manage just fine and it helps that I don't have much bills to pay or a family to support. However, with the economy being what it is... Well, let just say I got a complaint from my mom yesterday when she found two packages from Indigo in the mailbox ^_^;

My parents would like for me to buy less books and save a bit more money... and I totally understand what they're saying... I have to admit I'm not saving much money from each paycheck (I give my parents half my salary for living expenses)... but buying less books? I've tried to limit myself in the past, either with a budget or a list, and it just doesn't work. I have no will power... Add to that I'm an impulsive buyer, especially when I need cheering up ^_^; If it's not new books, then there's always UBS ^_^; Then, there's manga also - although, that's going well because I have completed many series...

So what to do? LOL - eat less comes to mind! That might help me lose some weight :P

Probably doesn't help that I have a few trips to the bookstore planned for the afternoon right? I have to go to the UBS to pick up a book that they put aside for me. Plus, I have a few 25%-off coupons on ONE item only valid today. I guess if I'm still going to buy books, it's good that I'm able to save more than usual on them, right? Right?

Also, I was trying to gauge what were the new releases in the upcoming years and how many were going on my TBB list. Of course, the list is probably incomplete, because you're never sure of what is coming out till it comes out... anyway, while making that list, I realized that the CDN prices for books had increased :( Booooo. Seems like publishing houses have re-adjust the CDN prices of books based on the de-valuation of the $CDN and let me say, it sucks! Seems like the changes of prices are going to start in April. Sigh, I understand why they're doing it... but still T_T Guess I can only hope that the $CDN will go up again in the next few months and that the prices will drop down again.

Oh! By the way, Happy Valentine's Day!
Sorry to troubling you my troubles...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Review: Tangled Up in Love by Heidi Betts

Finally, Friday!! I have to admit, this week went by quite fast :D Also, it's been very quiet on blogland... so wassup? Everyone's been very busy? Or are you planning Valentine's? Speaking of Valentine's Day... anyone has interesting plans? (yeah, I'm living precariously through others LOL)

Tangled Up in Love by Heidi Betts
published by St. Martin's Press in February 2009

Ever since Dylan Stone beat Veronica Chasen out of a prime position at the Cleveland Courier, they've been bitter rivals, engaging in a very public war of words in their competing newspaper columns. They routinely challenge each other to go bungee jumping, white water rafting, or into tattoo parlors to see who will wimp out first. But Veronica's latest taunt may be Dylan's toughest assignment yet: She dares him to learn to knit. Dylan is not going to let something his grandmother can do scare him off. He's man enough to make a scarf-and attend Veronica's weekly knitting circle. But when the infuriatingly handsome Dylan shows up at the craft shop and charms all the ladies, Veronica starts to get all knotted up in something that feels a lot like love...
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Knit and Stick, book #1

The Story: I'm not going to summarize the book as the the back blurb does a good job for once :)

My Opinion: I got this book because the back blurb was cute :) Thought it would be interesting...

After reading it, sure, Tangled Up in Love was cute, but a bit bland. Not much happened... The beginning was quite interesting and promising. Ronnie and Dylan are rivals, one of the main reasons is because Dylan stole the columnist position at the Courier from Ronnie. Ronnie's new challenge is to ask Dylan to knit a scarf within a month. I thought the challenge was quite cute... and very challenging. My only issue is, I don't see how this challenge proves that one or the other has more guts - which was the whole point.

Then, the next thing you know, Ronnie and Dylan fall into bed... and while the sex is great, Ronnie wishes her partner was someone else. That was my biggest problem with this book... I understand that some people sleep together and regret it and they probably have good reasons for it... but in this case? I didn't get it. Ronnie was attracted to Dylan and he's basically a good guy... the only thing that stood between them is their so-called rivalry... but it's nothing major (not like a family feud or enemy). In a few words, I thought it was stupid, because Dylan was really good to her. If you think it's a mistake to sleep with this guy, fine... don't do it again. So I found her uncertainty annoying and thought it took her really long to figure it out :( Kind of ruined things...

Aside from that, both Ronnie and Dylan had struggles in their lives - Ronnie was afraid of poverty and Dylan dreamed of being a sport reporter, but was stuck being a columnist. I thought these obstacles were weak and easily resolved and basically served as filler. I don't know, Dylan and Ronnie spent quite a lot of time together and resolved their issues together, but something was missing... chemistry I think.

I liked the ending though. I thought it was very cute and liked that the next step in Ronnie and Dylan's relationship was moving in together and dating instead of a proposal and a promise of happy ever after. It made it much more realist.

Finally, I have to say, the little addition of magic was a little superfluous. Yes, paranormal romances are in style, but it doesn't mean touch of magic has to be added everywhere. This book would have been better without. Instead, those pages could have been used to focus more on Ronnie and Dylan. Also, knitting seems to be very "in" at the moment and it's kind of nice... but I think it's very hard to build a series or even a book completely around it ^_^; So far, the only series that really worked for me with this theme is the Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber.

By the way, I wonder if anyone can answer this question... I thought Tangled Up in Love was the first in a series, but I had the feeling I was missing something between Grace and Zach, two of the secondary characters.

My Grade: C-. Good effort, but something was missing between Ronnie and Dylan. Although the book focused on them and they spent almost all the time together, I didn't feel it :(

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The 1990s - nostalgia anyone?

Hi everyone!

How are you doing all? Been quiet on blogland? I'm trying to blog, but I've been busy at work :( Even if I sit at the computer the whole day, I only managed to blog hop... Well I guess it's better than nothing. I hope everyone is doing well :)

This post is related to the reviews I just posted here. Basically, I read three Jayne Ann Krentz in the past few weeks and really enjoyed them a lot :) You can read how much by following the link or scrolling down. I started a separated post, because I wasn't sure if everyone would get to the bottom of the three reviews LOL :)

Anyway... so I read three Jayne Ann Krentz and liked I said, enjoyed them a lot... and I went to the library yesterday and basically picked up all of her books, but I particularly chose the one from her 1990s. Some bloggers had warned me about her books being formulaic and I know what they mean; however, it didn't bother me at all (which is strange a bit) and I've been really having a great time... and I wondered why.

It made me think of Nora Roberts - I've enjoyed almost all of her stand-alone books in the past... but I have to say, it seems there's been a shift in the past few years. Then, Judith McNaught... what did her contemporary romance had that made them stand out?... and then, when I figured it out... Most of the heroes in contemporary romances in the 1990s were... businessmen!

Isn't that weird? How the hero's job changes thing? But when you think about it, it makes sense... at least to me. Most of the businessmen heroes are described as cool, ruthless, smart, manipulative, going after what they want, etc. They follow a certain mold and it's the same for the storyline. It'll focus a bit more on merger and family feuds than murders... You get different characteristics with different types of jobs. I went back and looked briefly over my monthly reads list for the past few months... and I realized that none of the heroes were businessmen or if they were, that it wasn't the focus of the storyline (you know... because some of them sucks blood or change into furry animals :)... There seems to have been a shift in the professions of the heroes... there's a lot more heroes who are with the military or are cops, firefighters, lawyers, actors, retired jocks... or if not, they own a small business in construction but nothing big.

So why is that? How come our heroes aren't CEO or businessman anymore? Was it overdone? Is it because it's not attractive anymore? It's like we abandon a whole possibility of storylines... and so I guess the reason I'm enjoying the Jayne Ann Krentz so much at the moment... it's not just because of the stories and how well they are written... but it's a bit of nostalgia as well.

What do you think?

Review: Deep Waters, The Golden Chance and Grand Passion

Sigh, I've been trying to get this review done for a week already ^_^; Hope tonight, I'll be able to finish it!! No time to really blog when at work... blog-hop, yes... but not post :(

A very, very long time ago, I used to read romance in French... That was before I start going to school in downtown Montreal... When I read in French, I used to borrow books at the library. Sigh, seems like another life... which I guess it was. So one day, I stumbled over this book, read and enjoyed it :) Good! Then, I returned the book... without really paying attention to the author or title ^_^; Not so good... I tried to look for the book again, with no luck. For some reasons, I thought it was the author was Elizabeth Adler... but I was wrong. I even asked the librarians if they knew the book, the answer was no... buggers ^_^;

However, thanks to blogland and Kris, I finally figured out the title and author of the book! Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz!

Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in January 1997

Charity Truitt and Elias Winter, two of the Pacific Northwest's most powerful corporate figures, are both facing crises of career and the heart. Fate has brought them together in Washington's tiny Whispering Waters Cove, each eager to downsize and simplify. They're both determined to avoid mergers of any kind - but when they meet, the attraction is nothing short of blue-chip. And they definitively have at least one thing in common.

A martial arts master, Elias is a novice at relationships; a formidable former CEO, Charity is starting in the mail room when it comes to love. But when the town is rocked by two shocking murders, Charity and Elias realize that they must join forces to catch a killer. Because behind the town's sleepy facade run currents fed by treacherous secrets and deep waters.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: Just to recap the story a bit better than the synopsis, LOL. Charity took over the CEO position of the company after the death of her mother and stepfather, holding things together till her step (or half) siblings could take over. At a time when she was negotiating a merger with Loftus - not just a corporate merger, but marriage as well, she realized that she couldn't do it and that at the young age of 29, she's burned out. As a result, Charity decided to move to a little town in the outskirt of Seattle, Whispering Waters Cove and open a bookstore.

Since the age of 16, Elias Winter had had only one goal in life: avenge his father's life. He's worked hard, building his own empire and studying his enemy... However, at the moment he was going to make his move, Elias' mentor died... and Elias started questioning his life. Elias's mentor left him his curiosity shop as well as some properties in Whispering Waters Cove and Elias figures that would be the perfect place to think and figure things out.

Charity and Elias are attracted to each other from the start... and begin a relationship. However, they are kept busy by the events happening in quiet Whispering Waters Cove, which include a cult awaiting for aliens to land as well as two murders...

My Opinion: I really enjoyed Deep Waters, probably more than the first read :) Of course, my memory is a bit fuzzy and I believe that no matter how good the translation is, reading in the original language is always better. In addition, I think that I'm more mature and understand some things better LOL :)

What stood out for me in Deep Waters are the main characters, Charity and Elias, as well as their new lifestyles. I really enjoyed both Charity and Elias characters. They are strong, smart and stubborn :) What I liked and admired most of them however is the fact that they chose to slow down and enjoy life. I liked that it was their decision to switch from the fast-track to the slower one and not circumstances (bankruptcy, divorce, injury, etc.). Yes, Charity did burn out; however, she didn't move to Whispering Waters Cove to hide and lick her wounds while they healed. She moved because she wanted to. I like the fact that they wanted to succeed even in their quieter life and got involved in the community :) It was also a very interesting community :) I also liked that Charity and Elias found where they belonged. I liked the chemistry between Charity and Elias. I think that they fit well together, complement each other very well :) I also enjoyed how their relationship develop - slowly :)

I thought that this book was very well-written and well-balanced between the romance and intrigue. I enjoyed the fact that the H/H were unrelated to the murder and intrigue (i.e. it wasn't revenge or they weren't enemy or best friend with the deceased). Sometimes, it's nice when everything is well connected... sometimes, it's nice when it isn't. The intrigue was quite interesting and unusual :) It was not very complicated, but very well-written :)

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If I have one complaint, then it would be the fact that nobody believed that Elias wanted to settle down and relax. Many thought he had a hidden agenda and I thought that was annoying. Sure, I might be naive, but sometimes, what you see is the reality...

Oh, I almost forgot, Elias' philosophy. It focus on water and some might find it boring or confusing. Because of his philosophy, Elias was considered weird by many. I thought it made a lot of sense. They are a lot of metaphors about life using water to describe it. I actually thought it was quite clever :)

My Grade: B+. Definitively enjoyed Deep Waters and I was glad to finally figure out which book it was :) As a result, I've been on a Jayne Ann Krentz's kick :)

The Golden Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in December 1997

When she gains control of his family fortune, it's love at first fight.

Stunning, stubborn, and independent, Philadelphia Fox lost her best friend because of the fabulously rich and powerful Lightfoot family of Washington state. Now she's got her friend's controlling shares in Lightfoot Industries - an inheritance that brings Nick, the family's prodigal and supremely attractive son, knocking at her door.

An unexpected and irrepressible spark between them blazes into extraordinary passion, and Phila - historically unlucky in love - finds the deepest satisfaction she has ever known. But behind Nick's gray eyes lurks a disturbing enigma? and Phila must make the choice of her life. Trusting Nick may come with quite a price - but giving in to his strong, sensual seduction is a golden chance that may never come again.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: I don't think the story is as dramatic as the synopsis intended it to be, but it was a good one :) Basically, the Castletons and Lightfoots own a company that produces technology for the military. Only family members hold shares of this company... till Philadelphia inherits the shares of her best friend's, Crissie - who was the daughter no one knew about until she showed up a year ago and created havoc in the Castletons and Lightfoots' lives.

Let just say that the Castletons are determined to regain what is theirs by right and so after unsuccessful attempts, the matriarch turns to Nick Lightfoot... Nick used to be the CEO of the company till he walked away three years ago because of professional and familial problems... However, he has his owns plans for Phila's shares... Meanwhile, Phila - a burn-out social worker - is undecided what to do... but one thing is sure, she's not giving back the shares till she figures out whether or not the Lightfoots and Castletons have moral responsibilities concerning Crissie's death. As a result, Nick invites her to spend time with the family...

My Opinion: Okay, so maybe that wasn't such a good summary, but LOL :) It gives you a better idea I think. Anyway, I picked up this book because Li recommended it when I asked for JAK recs. All I have to say is Thanks Li because I enjoyed this book a lot :)

The best thing about this book I think is Phila. She's a crusader, someone with a lot of conviction and confidence and determined to follow her own path. She won't be bought or bullied... She's strong, smart and seek to make a better world. Personally, I think we need more of those kind of people. I really enjoyed her characters and her wits ;) I think she opened Nick's eyes to a different world :) Yeah, I'm a sucker for these kind of plots LOL.

As for Nick, I'd say he's pretty much a typical JAK heroes. Businessman, smart, confident, ruthless and manipulative when needed, wary of relationship, cool... till they meet the heroines :) The difference between Nick and other JAK heroes I've read so far is that Nick knew how strong family bonds and connections were. He's still an enjoyable hero, just didn't stand out much from the ones JAK writes.

What else did I like about this book? Pretty much everything. I liked the struggle of powers and everyone trying to predict what Phila would do and what would happen to the shares and what they could do to get whoever voted for those share on their side. It was a small mind game and I think it was interesting. There was also the whole relationship fiasco between Nick, his father and Hillary - Nick's ex-wife and his father's current wife. I like the fact that Nick and his father got re-acquainted. The incident that happened on Phila last case as a social worker worked... It was easy to figure out; however, it fit well with Phila and explained lots of thing.

The only complaint I have is that Nick kept saying: "I'm working on this problem." I think he said that line 4 or 5 times in the book... that's a bit redundant... and sometimes, I don't think he could change anything... I know, I'm being picky here. LOL :)

My Grade: Another B+. I really enjoyed it and am now looking for my own copy :)

Grand Passion by Jayne Anne Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in October 1997

What happens when Mr. Right is all wrong?

Cleopatra Robbins has imagined the moment when she'll meet the man of her dreams. But when Max Fortune strides into the Robbins' Nest Inn, a devastating sensation sweeps through her. She knows it's him. And he's all wrong!

Head of the giant Curzon Hotel chain, a cynical man with a passion for rare works of art, Max is looking for five priceless paintings left to him by his mentor, Jason Curzon. With one long look at Cleo Robbins, Max knows he's gazing on a masterpiece and for the first time in his life, the solitary and powerful executive is overcome with the strangest desire for that wonderful institution called home. But despite their mutual attraction, Max suspects Cleo of hiding something - and by the time he realizes her secrets have nothing to do with the lost treasures, it may be too late to save her from the danger rising out of her past.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: Max became an orphan at the age of 6 and had lived his childhood in a number of foster home. At a young age, he started collecting things - because things couldn't leave you. It started with books and developed into a passion for arts. After a stint in the army, Max became the right-handed man of Jason Curzon, the CEO of Curzon Hotel Chain.

In his deathbed, Jason told Max that his inheritance were 5 paintings that he left with a woman named Cleo Robbins. Max is determined to collect his inheritance, but Cleo is not who and what he expected. At a crossroad in his life, Max gets engulfed in Cleo's life and surrogate family and has finally found what he's been looking for so many years... However, someone from Cleo's dark past is about to threaten Max and Cleo's future and happiness.

My Opinion: Hmmm, either Ms Krentz was very prolific in 1997 or I have the wrong year LOL... but who cares? Another good and enjoyable book by Ms Krentz...

Again, the plot is mainly about the heroine showing the hero how to care and the hero finding where he belongs. It's a bit of a variation of the "cheerful/happy-go-lucky heroine that thaw the cool and stuffy hero" plot that I like so much and one that's quickly becoming a favorite of mine :) Cleo is not as cheerful as Phila... she's more like Charity with a dark and sad past. One that she's been able to overcome... by starting Robbins' Nest Inn. In the inn, she surrounded herself with a bunch of eccentric/eclectic characters and together, they form a family. I really enjoyed the scene where Cleo realized that Max was a friend of Jason and immediately asked him to go unplug the toilet in room 210 LOL :) Basically, I enjoyed Cleo and the family and no wonder they made Max feel something ;)

Max was also a very interesting character. His need to belong somewhere was very poignant. There's just something about a grown man of 35 y.o. still looking for something so vital, something that many takes for granted... something that even money and power cannot replace. I also laughed at how Max was able to take whatever they dished at him (small little tasks that seemed so foreign to him).

One of my favorite parts of the book was Sammy, a 5 y.o. boy with his plastic yellow duck, Lucky Ducky :) LOL. It was great to read Max and Sammy interactions together and see Max thaw a bit. The book that Cleo wrote was a nice addition to the whole book. It allowed Ms Krentz to bring Max and Cleo together better and there was continuation/ a parallel between their relationship and Cleo's fantasy... it was really well-handled.

I admit, I could have done without Cleo being threatened by her past... However, it wasn't such a big portion of the book, so it was okay ;) It focused much more on relationship and that was great. I could have also done without the Curzons coming after Max, taking him for granted and demanding him to come back. Glad that it was never in Max intention. I did have one issue though... and that's how Max proposed to Cleo. Actually, it's not even the proposal or the fact that they were getting married that annoyed me. What annoyed me is the fact that even when Cleo accepted his proposal and figured out that she loved him... she didn't think Max loved her or was able to. She thought that Max only knew how to collect or possess, but it didn't matter if she loved him enough. This is one thing that they never discussed and resolved and I think they should have. Perhaps if the book had been 50 pages longer and they had time to talk it out, it would have been better.

My Grade: B. I still enjoyed it, but I thought it wasn't as good as The Golden Chance or Deep Waters, specifically because of that last issue I mentionned.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Review: Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich

One of my all-time favorite author is Jennifer Crusie. I love her characters and the wacky situations they get into :) As a result, I pick up everything that has her names on it... even collaborations.

Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich
published by St. Martin's Press in February 2009

Abby has just arrived in Summerville, Ohio, with her placid Newfoundland, Bowser. She's reluctantly inherited her grandmother's coffee shop, but it's not long before she's brewing up trouble in the form of magical baked goods and steaming up her life with an exasperating college professor.

And then there's Daisy, a web code writer, and her hyperactive Jack Russell, Bailey. Her tightly-wound world spins out of control when she discovers the chaos within and meets a mysterious dog trainer whose teaching style is definitely hands-on.

Finally there's Shar, professor of ancient history at Summerville College, who wakes up one morning to find her neurotic dachshund, Wolfie, snarling at an implacable god sitting at her kitchen table, the first thing in her life she hasn't been able to footnote. What on earth is going on in this unearthly little town? It's up to Abby, Daisy, and Shar to find out before an ancient goddess takes over Southern Ohio, and they all end up in the apocalyptic doghouse...
Genre: paranormal romance, mythology
Series: none

The Story: Hmmm, the backgrounds in the synopsis are correct, but I find the summary a tiny bit misleading. Let see if I can do a better job.

Basically, Abby, Daisy and Shar are brought together along with 3 other girls to the "Kammani Gula Dog Obedience Course" under different circumstances. Turns out that Kammani Gula is a goddess from the Mesopotanian era who has been 'revived.' She plans to reunite her seven prietess and take over the world.

Abby, Daisy and Shar are descendents of the priestess who used to serve Kammani Gula and actually discover that they are demi-goddesses. After drinking Kammani Gula's tonic, they seem to come into their powers which include being able to understand what their dogs are saying. Thing is, Abby, Daisy and Shar have no intention of aiding Kammani Gula to rule the world or to serve her... as a result, they have to find a way to send her back...

My Opinion: To tell the truth, the only reason I bought this book is because of Ms Crusie. I really enjoy her writing and I think it's unfortunate that she's been writing collaborations instead of coming up with solo books. Holly told me it's because Ms Crusie does not think she could surpass Bet Me... however, to be frank, none of her collaborations have come close to her older books, let alone Bet Me.

Anyway, Anne Stuart wrote Abby's storyline, Lani Diane Rich - Daisy's and Jennifer Crusie, Shar's. None of the storylines were perfect, I had issues with all of them ^_^; Then, when put together into the greater story... well let say the result is a bit confusing.

So let see... Out of the three, I enjoyed Abby's storyline and dog the most. Abby is new to town and seems to never have fit anywhere. She's looking for a place of her own and she finds it in Summerville. I think it would have been better if we were given a bit more of a background on Abby. I dislike how her mother said negative things about Abby and to stranger no less! Don't know though if what her mother said was true or not, since we were not given much on her background. Abby's hero was Christopher, a math college teacher who's a genius and socially impaired. He follows Ms Stuart's hero mold; however, didn't have time to be a complete jerk. My issue with this storyline was the relationship between Abby and Christopher. See, Abby was a virgin when she had sex with Christopher... and well, he reacted dumbly and as a result, Abby didn't want to have a relationship with Christopher and he had to try to win her back. Bleh...

Daisy's story was a bit meh... Basically, her mother skips town as soon as she hears about Kammani so Daisy will be chosen as the priestess instead of her. Talk about a selfish mother!! Thing is, it was never explained how Daisy's mother knew that Kammani was revived. There was no specific dates for Kammani's revival... so how did she know? I liked Daisy's relationship with Noah though... however, dislike how Daisy didn't trust Noah. In addition, I think Daisy's story was the one that had the most holes... like why did Mina (another prietess - the only one willing to serve Kammani and aware of the whole story) hate Daisy so much? In addition, I have to agree with Noah that Daisy was a bit self-centered :(

Finally, Shar... I think her storyline would have worked better if she wasn't 48 y.o. ^_^; All right, all right, I admit it, I've never been fond of older heroines. I like it when the heroines are between 25 and 35 y.o. I find I can relate with them better... At least, Shar wasn't a divorcee with kids, small blessings. Anyway, Shar is the lucky heroine and gets the god as her hero, Sam. Basically, Kammani needs to sacrifice a king (who also turns out to be a god) to start taking over the world. So when Kammani is revived, Sam is as well. Sam was yummy, but a bit superficial... I'm not sure how I feel about Shar and Sam together... I'm not sure they fit well. See, my problem is in the beginning, it was a big deal for Shar to be older... then as the story went, it seems like it was forgotten. I didn't feel like Shar was older by the end... and if you go through all the trouble to write about an older character, it shouldn't be forgotten right? Then, there's the fact that Shar thought that Sam was sleeping around, but she still went to him... because she loved him. Ugh. Woman, stand up for yourself and ask! Make it clear you don't want him to look at other women... So a bit frustrating.

Finally, I have to say that the overall plot was a bit confusing and felt like it was rushed. Actually, the pacing didn't feel right, probably because there are three authors trying to work on their own storyline. It didn't take too much time for the women to figure out what was happening... then, it seems the book went on pause in order to develop the characters and their individual storyline. Once it was "settled," the ending was rushed to wrap everything.

Personally, I could have overlooked a lot of things if at least, it's been funny... but it wasn't really. In the end, Dogs and Goddesses was a meh book, not as funny as I expected and with a few plot holes that left me wondering.

Grade: C-. If you didn't care for The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, then you'll be disappointed with Dogs and Goddesses, because it's not really better :(

It seems like these collaborations aren't really working. Lucky for us though, it seems that Ms Crusie is working on a solo book. That, I'm looking forward to... but I think that I'll skip any other of her collaborations.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Review: Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl

One of the book that's been getting a buzz in blogland from the beginning of the year is Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl.

Ames and I have both read it and posted a buddy review over at Breezing Through. Follow the link (here) to see what we thought of it :)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Anti-Valentine Contest!

We're holding our first contest over at Breezing Through :) Click here for the details. It's very simple and the prize? Three new releases from February!!

Kill For Me by Karen Rose

A few weeks ago, I got really lucky and was able to buy a lot of books(Score, Score, Score!), many of them before their release dates. Among those books, Kill For Me by Karen Rose.

I've been a fan of Ms Rose for a few years already, but the book that really made a difference was Count to Ten. With that book, Ms Rose became an auto-buy author for me and I've been stalking her book releases ever since.

Kill For Me is the last book of the Varthanian family trilogy. The first two books are Die For Me and Scream For Me and HAVE to be read, especially Scream For Me, in order to be able to follow the storyline.

Kill For Me by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in February 2009 (Hardcover format)

Five teenage girls have been murdered. A sixth girl survived, and only she can reveal the secrets of a ring that kidnaps and sells teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain the girl's silence.

Susannah and Luke have sworn to stop the murderers for their own reasons. Susannah, the sister of the hero in Scream for Me, suffers from a mysterious past that is connected to the sinister black market. Luke is an investigative agent and a computer expert who refuses to let another child predator get away.

Susannah and Luke are instantly attracted to each other, but their troubled pasts prevent them from immediately acting upon their feelings. The case will lead them to the realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask their identity. As Susannah and Luke draw closer to the criminals, they discover a chain of deception so intricate they don't know who to trust.Susannah and Luke find comfort in one another's arms, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and will take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact.

Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Varthanian family trilogy, Book #3

The Story: Kill For Me's beginnings actually overlap with the end of Scream For Me where Susannah and Luke were able to rescue Bailey and a Jane Doe. While the case Susannah's brother, Daniel, was working on is closed, another has opened as the GBI discovers the bodies of 5 teenage girls where Bailey and other victims were held captive. When Luke recognized one of the girls, they soon come to the realization that they are facing a human-trafficking organization and some members are linked to the rapes cases that Daniel was working on.

Now, it's a race against time as the human-trafficking organization stays one step ahead of them. All they have to go on for this case is the Jane Doe that is unable to speak, the clues they gathered at the crime scene and... the Varthanians and especially Susannah's past.

My Opinion: Wow. This is definitively the wowzer I have been looking for :) I started that book last Thursday night at around 8pm and just couldn't put it down. As a result, I went to bed at 1.30am (very bad for my productivity LOL). While I didn't really like the theme of the book (human-trafficking/prostitution), Kill For Me was definitively a great book: great, amazing storyline and very fast-paced... and also a bit scary.

The best part of this book was definitively the storyline. It's amazing how Ms Rose connected the three books together. We started off with the case in Die for Me which seemed "simple" and all thought it was closed at the end... but it wasn't, it was connected to something bigger - the rapes cases in Scream For Me which in turn led to something even bigger in Kill For Me. Most surprisingly, this was done very subtlely by Ms Rose and I absolutely did not see it coming. It's not simply connecting these three books, but all the clues and foreshadowings that Ms Rose did, how she linked and tied up everything... Wow, it was just true genius from Ms Rose!

The story is very fast-paced and one thing keeps happening after another. It's so compelling that you don't want to put this book down. I can't go into details about the case, because that would give it away. All I can say is this book is very compelling and to a certain extent, scary. After reading Kill For Me, I'll make sure to never do anything wrong or have bad habits or closet secrets that can be used against me. It's scary how you can be blackmailed or manipulated... You read, or at least I did, about a dark world that you're not aware is out there and never want to face it. Seriously, sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

All right, so now, let's talk about romance. Kill For Me was very light on romance compared to the previous two books or Count to Ten. One reason perhaps is that Ms Rose focused on the case and wrapping up everything. The second reason is the characters themselves. Both are haunted - Luke by his job with the internet sex crimes, and Susannah being a victim of sexual assaults. In that way, I'm glad that Ms Rose did not rush and force the romance aspect of this book, because with the time length of this book, it would not have been believable.

Speaking of the characters, I think they were the weakness in this book. I liked Luke. I think he was a good guy, very patient and considerate, very brave also. His job is definitively not easy and he cares and that makes him a very good guy. He was also sweet, kind... and sinfully sexy (LOL, you'll get that when you read the book). The problem is Susannah. I had a hard time connecting to her or even just warming up to her. She's a smart woman and was very brave despite her tragic past... however, she always seemed remote which is understandable... The fact is though, nobody likes "martyr" characters, no matter what their past is ^_^; In addition, I didn't really like the way she blamed Daniel for not being there to protect her. Perhaps she was right to blame him, but it just didn't work for me.

As a result, readers might be a bit disappointed because of the little amount of romance and characterization. Given the time frame of the book (3 days), it makes sense though and makes the book more believable. Also, a warning - this book is definitively not for the faint- hearteds. First, there's the subject - human-trafficking. There are talks about rapes as well. There's torture and the death count is very high.

All in all, Kill For Me is definitively not an easy, breezy book, but a great, compelling read nonetheless. It still comes a bit short when compared to Count to Ten in my opinion, just because Count to Ten was more balance and the characters, better developed and more likable. However, it gets bonus points for the plot and the whole trilogy storyline.

My Grade: A. Ms Rose definitively does not disappoint with Kill For Me. It was great and now, I have to wait till August for I Can See You, her next release. So far away...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: January Winner :)

So how was everyone's week-end?

This week-end was the deadline for the first Re-Read Challenge month :) I think it went very well :D 25 bloggers completed the challenge... Which, quite frankly... WOW!! LOL!! That's very good and exciting :D

I'm very happy on how it went... even though it was a week-end. However, the response was great - bloggers posted their reviews and actually commented on others. Everyone seems to enjoy re-reading their book, either for fun or for an upcoming releases :)

Surprisingly, two bloggers re-read the same book: The Bride Finder by Susan Carroll... and someone else re-read another book by this author, Winterbourne. LOL, nice coincidence :) You can find the list of all reviews here.

Anyway, I'm definitively looking forward to February's entry :D This was very fun and I'm happy about hosting the challenge...

As for the 10$ gift certificate, the winner is...


Congratulations!! Let me know which bookstore you want me to buy the gift certificate from :) to everyone else, good luck next month :)

PS. The first month of the challenge has gone by. The idea of the re-read challenge has been on blogland for 1.5 month already and so everyone had the opportunity to sign up. To keep this simple, I've decided not to accept anymore participants... unless you are a new blogger. The last two participants that I've accepted are Angela and Bookwormom.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Monthly Reads - January 2009

Phew, here's my reading list for January :) For some reasons, this week-end, I'm very sleepy... probably because I didn't sleep enough this week.

Anyway, did anyone feel like January was an extremely long month? Maybe it's because I was very busy with work, but January just seems to go on and on and on. Have to say, I'm quite happy that we're now in February LOL.

So here's my list:

1) Broken Wing by Judith James: B-
2) Married in Seattle by Debbie Macomber: B-/C-
3) Seduced at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro: C
4) Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan : B
5) For the Love of Pete by Julia Harper: B+
6) Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: C
7) Too Far Gone by Marliss Melton: C
8) Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl: B
9) Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole: B+
10) Secrets of the Heart by Jannifer Hoffman: B
11) Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz: B+
12) Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong: A+
13) Homeport by Nora Roberts: A
14) Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr: B+
15) Too Good To Be True by Kristan Higgins: B+
16) Kill For Me by Karen Rose: A

16 books read this month :) I'm happy with the number and even happier that there were some excellent reads :) I mean, half of the books I read were graded B+ and higher. That's 8 books folks!!

Unfortunately, I had to choose between reading and reviewing... and I guess reading won LOL. Lots of books I wanted to review and didn't have time, but I'll try my best to do them in the next few days... so stay tuned and look forward to February, because lots of good books are on their way :)

Review: Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr

Busy, busy week! So little time and so many books to read and review! I'm doing really good on the reading front, but have to admit... once again, I'm behind on my reviews ^_^; I try, I try... but alas... LOL :)

Anyway, here is my review for Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr :) I don't know how many of you read the excerpt of Second Chance Pass at the end of A Virgin River Christmas, but I have to say, Ms Carr had me worried for a moment... Once again though, I should not have worried...

Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr
published by Mira in February 2009

In the space of a few months Vanessa buried her husband, Matt, and gave birth to their son--breaking her heart while filling it with a whole new kind of love. But the one man she longs to share this love with now acts as if she doesn't exist.

Paul Haggerty lives by the marine motto: Semper Fi. Ever faithful to his best friend, he's done right by Matt's widow as best he can... considering he's been secretly in love with her for years. Now, just as he's about to make his move, another woman has staked her claim on him--a claim that will be tough to escape.

With courage, humility and not a little meddling from the good folks of Virgin River, Vanni and Paul might just get a second chance to have the love they both desire and deserve.

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Virgin River, book #5

The Story: Of course, if you've read the first trilogy of Virgin River, you'll know that Second Chance Pass is much more than the synopsis. The first half of the book focuses on Vanni and Paul. Although a recent widow, the reality in Vanni's life is that her husband has been away from her for more than a year since he was on a mission. In addition, Paul has been by her side through the recent emotional events - the death of her husband and the birth of her son - supporting her and basically being a rock. That has allowed Vanni to realize that she has feelings for Paul and is now ready to do something about them. Meanwhile Paul has had feelings for Vanni ever since he first saw her... However, it is his best friend who swept her off her feet and she's been off-limit ever since... Now, Paul is worried that she'll never get over Matt... and he has complications of his own.

The second half of the book is spent catching up with previous characters, the town and setting up for the next books. There are some important events happening, but I don't really want to give it away.

My Opinion: All in all, Second Chance Pass is an enjoyable read and has a feel very similar to Shelter Mountain and Whispering Rocks. Readers that were hoping that the story will focus solely on Paul and Vanni might be disappointed. However, I was okay with it, because after all, Paul and Vanni's storyline really started in Whispering Rocks... so I felt like I knew them well enough :)

I have to say that Ms Carr was quite audacious with this book. While the storyline was well-written and the actions, well-explained... I do think it might stir up some opinions. I mean, I do think that Vanni moved on quite fast... then, there's also Paul's complication:

*** MAJOR SPOILERS: read at your own risk***

Basically, what happens is that Paul got another woman pregnant. While wanting to be part of his child's life, he refuses to marry the woman, because he is in love with Vanni after all. I was actually quite happy about his decision... because one should marry for love and not obligation and the marriage would probably not have lasted and not be a happy one. Thing is, in our society today, people seems to believe strongly about doing the right thing... So anyway, I thought it was great from Ms Carr to have Paul really stand by his feelings.


So kudos to Ms Carr for taking some risks. I think that Vanni and Paul's relationship was very sweet and I'm really happy they got together :)

Apart from Vanni and Paul, we also follow Tom and Brenda's growing relationship. First love, sweet love - very well handled. Then comes Nikki and Joe, Vanni and Paul's best friends respectively. I really hope we're going to read more about them in the future.

Finally, we re-visit Mel and Jack... which I think are the pillars of the Virgin River series. I love how Ms Carr is able to incorporate Mel and Jack in all of the books. I like reading about them, reading what happens to them after their HEA ending... and some big events happen to Mel and Jack in Second Chance Pass... events that will change their future.

I think what is special about this series is that we're not just reading about one relationship between the hero and heroine, but we're reading about a whole community... which keeps growing. Along with Mel and Jack, I think that is the selling point of this series. Some don't enjoy it, but for me it works because I think it is refreshing. I think it is different than most contemporary romances out there. Most of the time when you're reading a book in a series, the story tends to focus only on the H/H. Once they have their HEA ending, they're shelved and only make small appearances, usually to announce that a baby is on the way. The Virgin River series is different... things are happening simultaneously, it's almost like watching TV series. I don't know if I'm explaining my feeling well... but yeah, it sets the Virgin River series apart from the rest. In addition, Ms Carr has a knack at keeping things interesting. Stuff that can be sad and life-changing to happen... there's no status quo for anybody in this series.

While I really enjoyed Second Chance Pass and think this is a good addition to the series, there a few things that are bothering me. For example, the fact that Virgin River is growing quite a lot and all the new residents are part of the marines or army. I mean, Jack, Preacher... then Mike and now Paul. Let's not forget Vanni's father who used to be a general, Tom who is leaving for West Point, Rick who enrolled in the marines... oh and Ian from A Virgin River Christmas and the next hero, Luke who is also a retired army guy. Does it stretch a bit reality? I mean, what are the chances?

The second thing that is bothering me is that problems seem to get resolved a bit too smoothly. I feel that Ms Carr spends a lot of pages on catching up, introducing new characters, basically creating Virgin River... that sometimes, the resolution to big issues of the H/H or between them are just too easy. For example, Paul's complication in Second Chance Pass. I mean, if Paul was committed to take responsibilities, then why make the problem become a non-problem anymore?

My Grade: So despite my issues with the series, Second Chance Pass was a great read and I enjoyed it a lot :) So I'm giving a B+. I'm definitively looking forward to the next book, Temptation Ridge. I'm really curious about that one because both the hero and heroine will be new characters... We'll see how Ms Carr will handle it :)

By the way, I was wondering... Ms Carr has two youngster relationships in the series so far. One is Ricky and Liz and the other is Tom and Brenda... I know that Ricky has a lot of fans... but I can't help but liking Tom better :) What abot you?