Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Re-Read: His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

Things never go as planned... doesn't that suck? Work is totally kicking my butt. My experiments aren't working ideally, having two new co-workers really put a cramp in my routine... and the pain is still there :( Seems like I'm having a sinusitis (well, according to deduction power + internet). The good news is that it's moved from the whole face to the right side of my face only. Still have pain in the cheek and teeth ache... the bad news is that Advil doesn't seem to have an effect. Good news is that the pain is intermittent. Ughhhhh!! I hate being sick, it's official!

I had plans to write this review while at work, but as I said, plans never go as planned :( This probably means all the posts I wanted to write will be delayed, sigh. Oh well, too bad for me, right? Still, I have time to write my review for my re-read, so it's not a total loss :)

My re-read this month is His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. You can read my previous review here. I chose to re-read this book because of Renee's post about the Non-romance Romance here and it made me want to re-read His Majesty's Dragon. So thank you very much Renee :D

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
published by Del Rey in March 2006

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain's defense by taking to the skies... not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future-and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France's own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte's boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.
Genre: fantasy
Series: Temeraire, book #1

The Story: His Majesty's Dragon takes place during the Napoleonic era, in a world where dragons exist and are valued as great warriors.

Basically, England and France are at war and Captain Will Laurence has accomplished quite a feat by finding himself in possession of a dragon egg. However, his life changes when Temeraire, the newly hatched dragon, chooses Will as his aviator. Now responsible for Temeraire, Will finds himself putting away his navy life and starting a new life as an aviator, which includes lots of training and a different mindset. However, in time of wars, Will will adapt for his Majesty... and his love of Temeraire.

My Opinion: There are five books in the series so far and His Majesty's Dragon is by far my favorite. I just love, love Will and Temeraire's relationship. Like Renee said, it's not romance, but a non-romance romance. There's just this connection between Will and Temeraire and yes, love. I love the way Will comes to care for Temeraire even though the beast changed his life completely. All these little things Will do for Temeraire, buying him jewelries, defending him, being proud of Temeraire's uniqueness. It's a blend of parent-child/older-younger brother/friend love.

As for Temeraire, he is simply just too cute LOL :) He's like a bright kid growing up, needing security, reassurance and love. He'll do anything to please Will. I love how Will comes first, no matter what where Temeraire is concerned. Also, like I said, Temeraire is just too cute and smart. I love Temeraire most in His Majesty's Dragon because there's this innocence to him. Strangely, I don't really like Temeraire's political stand and free-thinking in the subsequent books... and while their relationship is still as loving, the focus has shifted more to the plot... which is probably why His Majesty's Dragon is my favorite book in the series :D

Aside from Will and Temeraire, His Majesty's Dragon is wonderful for its world building. Seriously, dragons serving in the army? The whole logistic is mind-boggling, but Ms Novik is able to make it believable. The words flow and I, as a reader, is able to imagine it which is quite a remarkable feat. The plot is also quite interesting and the story keeps on moving, never remaining static or dragging. I find myself loving this book and going "awwww."

It might not have any "romance" as I know it, but the relationship between Will and Temeraire will make hearts melt. In addition, Temeraire's friendship with other dragons is also lovely. His Majesty's Dragon is simply a great, great book and if you enjoy fantasy and want something different, but I mean completely different, then this is for you :D

My Grade: A.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review: Madhouse by Rob Thurman

How is everyone doing? I hope you're having a great week-end :)

I'm still recovering... I don't know, sometimes I feel better... Other times, I feel tired and hot. Of course, it didn't help I did something stupid - read instead of sleeping. Usually, I wouldn't mind, but yeah, when you need rest, that might not be the best idea, right? I stayed up Friday night till... hmmm, 3 or 4 o'clock to finish Tempt Me At Twilight by Lisa Kleypas ^_^;

Reading-wise, my week-end has been quite good. Finished Tempt Me At Twilight and Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong. Frostbitten was great :D and you know what? I might have the chance to meet Ms Armstrong next week-end at a convention!! Woohoo, I'm going to try my hardest to make it!

I got On the Edge by Ilona Andrews on Friday. Really lucky! It was fun this week, going after the books. I got Frostbitten on Thursday. The online showed that few bookstores got it on Wednesday, but I knew those bookstores wouldn't have it out on the shelves yet. Then, on Thursday, I saw that Coles had it. I immediately called... it was 3pm. The guy told me it was probably still in some boxes and that he'd be unpacking them, so he asked that I call back 1 or 1.5 hours later. That's what I did and he had it aside for me :D Easy peacy! :) Then, On the Edge... well that one showed up at Indigo... and let say I was determined to at least try, even though Indigo takes usually a few days to unpack their boxes. I got to the bookstore, didn't find the book on the shelf (duh) and no carts around... I finally asked one of the sale clerks and she was really nice. She looked at it on the computer and saw that the release date was September 29. She asked if I had a minute so she'd go check in the backroom. She came back 5 minutes later with it :D Wooohoo, so total score :D

So yeah, I basically spent my week-end sleeping and reading :) I cleaned up a little, but not enough... Will have to try to have my room cleaned up this week though. Otherwise, I won't have time...

Oh and I have a review up at Breezing Through. Hilcia and I buddy reviewed Madhouse by Rob Thurman. I'm actually very proud of myself for two reasons. It's quite rare that I review a whole series. I don't know why, but there's always a book that slip through my review mojo no matter how hard I try. The second reason? With Madhouse review up, that means I've reviewed all the books I've read in a month (August)!! Wooohooo!!! That is like unheard of me! Of course, it took me like 2 months to review them all and my reviews for books read in September have been scarce, but LOL :) I don't mind :)

So I hope you enjoy our review!! You can find it here.

Madhouse by Rob Thurman
published by ROC Fantasy in March 2008

My brother has spent a lifetime – mine, at least-telling me that I was normal, that I wasn’t a monster. With his help, I’d finally realized that as long as I could remain who I was, I could survive what I was. It was only bad genes...

Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren’t exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business would dry up in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place?

But now there’s a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers, dead set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder, is picking off humans like sheep. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they’re going to have to earn... if they live long enough to collect it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Re-Read Challenge Reminder

How is everyone doing? I hope well :) It's been quiet on blogland... I know, I know. I say this often, but I can't help it when it's the truth, right? I hope everyone is busy with RL and not sick like me ^_^;

For those who are wondering, I did get Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong! Yay!! It wasn't too hard either... Just two phone calls, although I have to admit, I did feel a little bit bad ^_^; But that's another story. Here are the two covers, Canadian on the right and US on the left. Which one do you prefer?

I still haven't made up my mind... In a way, I find the Canadian one a bit weird... took me a while to figure out the image. I like the black and white look with a little color. Ms Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series are being re-printed in Canada with new covers, so this one fits right in... but me, I had most of the US covers... and so the US cover would fit better... but while I like the image, I don't like the yellow background. Ah well. Can't complain too much right?

Next on my hunting list is On the Edge by Ilona Andrews...

LOL and before I forget (which would be sad, because after all, this is the topic of this post), the Re-Read Challenge is for next week! :) End of the month is Wednesday, September 30 - so that will be the official date. However, feel free to post your review anytime between September 29 and October 1st to be eligible for the 10$ gift certificate :D I'll have the draw done on Firday, October 2nd :)

So have you done your re-read? I did mine (which is why this reminder is a bit late LOL)

Have a nice week-end all!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review: Burn by Linda Howard

I'm still sick, but getting much better. The fever is gone and now, all I have is a stuffy nose and sore throat. The stuffy nose is annoying me. I hate having a stuffy nose, cos well it's stuffy ^_^; The skin around gets irritated and you can't breathe normally. Ugh.

Of course, being sick hasn't stopped me from buying books LOL :) Went to the bookstore and got a couple of interesting ones... such as Drawn in Blood by Andrea Kane, Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle, Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen, etc. But guess what showed up in-store today? Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong. Now, I have to find a bookstore that'll put it in the shelves soon... or snoop around to look at carts and boxes. I'm hoping On the Edge by Ilona Andrews will show up soon too.

LOL, I'll let you know if there is any booking adventure :P

Burn by Linda Howard
published by Ballantine Books in July 2009

Money changes everything.

Money certainly changes Jenner Redwine's life when she wins a lottery jackpot. But it also costs her plenty: Her father rips her off and disappears, her fortune-hunting boyfriend soon becomes her ex, and friends-turned-freeloaders give her the cold shoulder when she stops paying for everything.

Flush with new money, Jenner can't imagine ever finding a place in the world of the wealthy. Seven years later, though, she's rubbing elbows with the rich, despite the fact she still feels like a party crasher. Luckily she finds an ally-and a guide to the rarefied realm of privilege-in shy, kind-hearted heiress Sydney Hazlett, who quickly becomes Jenner's confidante and surrogate sister.

When Sydney invites Jenner on a charity cruise aboard a luxury liner, Jenner reluctantly agrees. But while she's expecting-and dreading-two weeks of masquerade balls, art auctions, and preening glitterati, what she gets is more like a Hitchcock movie than a Love Boat episode. Taken hostage by a menacing stranger, Jenner must cooperate in a mysterious cloak-and-dagger scheme-or else. With nowhere to run, and with Sydney's life as well as her own at risk, Jenner is drawn into a game of dizzying intrigue and harrowing danger. But as her panic gives way to exhilaration, and fear of her captor turns to fascination, Jenner rediscovers feelings she hasn't had in years-and realizes she's found a life worth living. If she survives.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: none

The Story: Jenner Redwine has never felt like she belongs. Then, the unexpected happens and the 23 years old meat packer wins the lottery... Sever years later, a socialite in Palm Spring, Jenner still doesn't feel like she belongs. She probably would leave and discover the world if it wasn't for her best friend, Sydney Hazlett.

Sydney and Jenner are scheduled to participate to a charity cruise and are given the stateroom next to the host, Frank Larkin. He is actually suspected of treason and has planned a meeting with the North Koreans during the cruise in order to exchange information. Cael Taylor is hired by the US government to do some surveillance and find out as much information he can. He and his team embark on the cruise, but they need Jenner's cooperation... which will not come easy.

My Opinion: So, I admit to be pleasantly surprised with Burn. The last new Howard I've read is Cover of Night which was really disappointing... I haven't read the last two releases, because... well I don't know, just didn't feel like it. Burn though intrigued me, especially the winning the lottery plot. Still, I was a little wary and that's why I borrowed the book at the library. Now, I'm thinking I'm going to buy the paperback when it'll be released... :)

So the blurb of the book was made to be quite intriguing... What attracted me to this book was the winning the lottery plot, but at the same time, I was quite worried about the H/H having a case of Stockholm Syndrome ^_^; It can pass in historical, but in contemporary romances, it's harder to make it work in my opinion ^_^; Okay, so what I was worried the most about was whether Cael was really a bad guy or a good guy in disguise... He turned out to be the latter, yay! The great thing is that was disclosed early in the book and readers weren't left to guess. I'm also very glad that the subject of Stolckholm Syndrome was addressed by the H/H.

What did I like about Burn? I quite enjoyed Jenner's character. She was strong, tough, level-head and prickly. On many levels, she reminded me of Sweeney of Now You See Her. She's also very clever and I liked the fact that she was able to figure out things. She was afraid, but didn't panic... she approached things calmly and once she was sure Sydney and her were safe, she started pushing the buttons LOL :) Cael was also an interesting character, but a little bit too unidimensional. He fit the profile of a military, alpha male, but I'd have liked to know a bit more about his background and past. I love their interactions, how both of them were attracted to each other and fighting it. Their dialogues were also very funny... I loved seeing Cael frustrated and annoyed, but still couldn't help liking Jenner :) There's something about a man being exasperated by a woman, but still loving her that I like... I guess I just find it cute LOL :)

I actually quite like the plot; I thought it was interesting and clever. Some parts could have been stronger, but overall it was good. There are some parts Ms Howard did good also not to please the reader... For example, I wished Cael would have told Jenner he was a good guy or has stopped handcuffing her earlier, trust her earlier... but that's my wish. Realistically, it wasn't in Cael's character and seriously, it would not be believable if such a man trust so easily. So that was well done by the author, although I still wished the part would have been shorter LOL :)

There's a lot of parts where I find myself wanting Ms Howard to expand: the secondary characters (there was a whole slew of them!), Cael's past, Jenner's past (for the part where Jenner wins the lottery to be longer, her arrival at Palm Spring), etc. It would have been nice and I think would have made the book a little more complete. Still, Burn was enjoyable, more than I expected. Looking forward to her next release now, though I'll still be a little cautious before getting it :)

My Grade: B.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Review: Moonshine by Rob Thurman

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a nice week-end. The weather is being very nice lately, but the temperatures have definitively cooled down :(

I'm sick :( Stuffy nose and sore throat and perhaps a little bit of fever. The good news is that I don't have a cough, so it should not be the swine flu ^_^; I'm totally blaming my supervisor for this: stress and lack of sleep has weakened me. I loaded up on orange juice yesterday and I've been drinking a lot of water... Hopefully with a good night of sleep, I should feel better tomorrow.

Depressing no?

Onto better news though, here is my review of Moonshine by Rob Thurman. It is over at Breezing Through and my buddy this time is the lovely Hilcia :) You can find the review here. One more book and I'll have reviewed all the books read in a month! Wow, a first for me LOL :)


Moonshine by Rob Thurman
published by ROC Fantasy in March 2007

I was born a monster. Although truthfully, I was only half monster. My mother was human; my father was something... else. Half monster or whole, in the end it didn’t matter. I had my weaknesses, same as anyone else.

And I was facing one of them now.

After saving the world from his fiendish father’s side of the family, Cal Leandros and his stalwart half brother, Niko, have settled down with a new apartment and a new gig – bodyguard and detective work. And in New York City, where preternatural beings talk the streets just like normal folk, business is good.

Their latest case has them going undercover for the Kin, the werewolf Mafia. A low-level Kin boss thinks a rival is setting him for a fall, and wants proof. The place to start is the back room of Moonshine, a gambling club for nonhumans. Cal thinks it’s a simple in-and-out job. But Cal is very, very wrong.

Cal and Niko are being set up themselves - and the people behind it have bites much worse than their barks...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More canoe pictures...

Sigh, long day today. I've been at the Fathers' place since 8.30am... my friend who usually does the morning shift has classes today. Ugh.

It's not bad though... I had time to work on two buddy reviews and I cleaned out my Gmail inbox. 577 emails labeled and archives. Go me!! LOL :) Yep, pretty proud of myself.

I said I'd post more pictures of my canoe adventures last week when my aunt would send them to me. So here are a few more...

Fist pic: that my uncle and me in the background of the pic... About 2 minutes after we left shore. Yep, somehow we ended up in the wrong direction ^_^;

Second pic: My uncle and I paddling.

Third pic: There were some waterfalls, so that's my sis and I. Pretty nice pic :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Belated TBR Day: Duchess by Night by Eloisa James

Ugh, I didn't make it in time for the TBR challenge :( But I refuse to miss it twice in a row!! So I'm still going to review the book and put it under TBR challenge LOL :)

So the book is Duchess by Night by Eloisa James. It is not very old and hasn't been in my TBR pile for long, but it's okay, right? :) I'm not a die-hard fan of Ms James... I bought a couple of books of hers because other bloggers enjoy her. Then, she had this new series, the Desperate Duchesses, and I bought the first book... and the second... without reading any of them. Then, I wasn't sure whether I would buy the rest or not, but I found myself through different circumstances buying them LOL. So I own Duchess by Night thanks to Ames who loved it :D

Duchess by Night by Eloisa James
published by Avon in July 2008
A Mischievous Charade...

Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with it. Enough with proper tea parties and elegant balls; what Harriet really wants is to attend an outrageous soiree where she can unleash her wildest whims and desires. But to attend such an event—especially if the event in question is Lord Justinian Strange's rollicking fete, filled with noble rogues and rotters, risqué ladies and illicit lovers—would be certain scandal. That's why she must disguise herself...

Looking forward to a night of uninhibited pleasure, Lord Strange is shocked to discover that beneath the clothes of a no-good rake is the most beautiful woman in the room. Why is a woman like her risking her reputation at his notorious affair? And can he possibly entice her to stay... forever?
Genre: historical romance
Series: Desperate Duchesses, book #3

The Story: Harriet is the Duchess of of Berrow and also a widow, her husband having committed suicide after losing a game of chess. She is still the Duchess though because the heir, her husband's nephew, is still too young to assume the responsibilities. The problem is that Harriet is bored and finds herself boring. She's tired of people avoiding her, pitying her because of her husband's suicide... At the same time, Isidore, the Duchess of Cosway, is tired of waiting for her Duke to return from wherever he is and planned to force his hand: attend to one of the most scandalous house party hosted by Lord Justinian Strange, aka Jem. Harriet jumps on the occasion to accompany Isidore as her chaperon, disguised as a man to experience some adventures...

My Opinion: LOL, there's just something about cross-dressing stories LOL :) I've read many in kung fu novels and manga and enjoyed them a lot... I understand that in reality, it's much harder to do - especially in contemporary novels, but it was done quite well in Duchess by Night and I really loved it :)

I really liked Harriet's character. She's a simple woman and all she wants is to love and be loved. Her marriage was never passionate, she's tired of being pitied and ignored by the ton. What she wants is an adventure and she jumps on the first opportunity that presents to herself, i.e. attending Lord Stranger's party. She's a smart woman and I liked that she enjoyed herself, the freedom and anonymity that the men's clothes provided.

I also loved Jem's character. I liked his love for his daughter. Sure, he's not raising her in a conventional way, but at least, he's paying attention to her, spending time with her and he loves her, which is the most important. I think it made him stand out a lot for me. He's an eccentric and did not care about what people thought of him. He doesn't care about titles and aristocrats and the ton... He has money, but does not seek power. I felt that he assumed the responsibilities that money brought to him, in his own way. Definitively an interesting character. Like Ames, what I loved the most is that he even acknowledged his feelings when he thought that Harriet was Harry :)

I thought the first half of Duchess by Night was great. I loved the chase between Harriet and Jem, their interactions, the attraction between them... In With Seduction in Mind, I complained that there was no chemistry between the H/H... Well it definitively was not the case in Duchess by Night. It was even better when Jem and Harriet became lovers. You could see the tenderness between them and the playfulness. They seem so carefree and in love.

Villiers, Harriet and Isidore's dynamics were also very interesting, especially between Villiers and Harriet. The friendship between them is unlikely after the death of Harriet's husband, but it does occur and it was touching to see.

Oh and the whole thing was just sooo funny. I mean, can you imagine the situations that can happen when a woman dressed as a man? LOL, especially when other women hit on her. I think the funniest was when Kitty was seducing Harriet and she admitted: "I'm not a man" and Kitty thought Harriet meant she was an eunuch. LMAO.

I have to say, it's unfortunate that the second half lost momentum. I thought the storyline in the second half of the book was a bit forced, first with Jem's daughter's sickness and then the conflict. I understand the use of the child's sickness, bring all the characters closer and emphasized the love between Jem and his daughter... but at the same time, I felt it didn't fit the mood of this story. It was drawn out and too passive. As for the conflict, I also felt it was forced. Jem doesn't care about titles and nobles, so why would he cares that Harriet was a duchess? Did he really value the Games? I find it hard to understand why Jem rejected her exactly. Also, when he finally realized that Harriet was more important and came to apologize, I don't know, he could have grovel a bit more. I thought the whole situation - discovering she's a duchess and finding a way to be together, could have been more poignant. It takes two to fall in love, so why can't it take two to work to get their HEA ending?

So I definitively liked the first half of the book, the idea was great and interesting. I loved the characters, especially Harriet and Jem. They were a great couple and I had many laughs. Unfortunately, I thought the second half of the book was weak. It definitively could have been more and better, it had potential.

My Grade: B+.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New blogger... Tabitha!

I know today is the TBR challenge and hopefully, I'll have time tonight to write my review... in the meantime, I'll like to welcome a new blogger. She's been around blogland for quite a while and been visiting different blogs and leaving messages... but now, we get to know more about her because she has her own blog!!! Youppi!!

Welcome to blogland

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review: With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke

Let me say something... work sucks. I was talking to Lori yesterday and wondered why we had to work. I mean, seriously... Yesterday was an awful day, so stressful I really wanted to cry at the end of it. Today is better for me, but I think my co-worker is the one who is in need of a good crying jag. Of course, he's a guy so it won't happen. Basically, I predict that the next couple of weeks will be shitty :(

Another thing: I need to stop playing games on the computer!! It's sucking away my time and I don't have time to spare... I've been able to cut down Bejeweled Blitz a bit - although I've just realized today is new tournament day... instead, I've been addicted to Letter Box which is the same as Word Twister.

Finally, I'm reading Burn by Linda Howard! It's a library book... and I have the bad habit of borrowing them, but not reading them ^_^;

Now, onto my review :) When I posted my August monthly reads list, many asked what I thought of the Laura Lee Guhrke or that they were looking forward to the review. Well, here it is... a bit later than I planned, but still :)

With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke
published by Avon in August 2009

A thoroughly modern woman…

Daisy Merrick has to earn her living, but she keeps getting the sack. When her rash tongue costs her yet another job, the feisty, outspoken girl-bachelor is undaunted, and she comes up with a plan that could give her a future beyond her wildest dreams. There’s only one problem. Her success depends on a man, the most infuriating, impossible, immovable man she’s ever met.

A most notorious man…

Sebastian Grant, Earl of Avermore, is England’s most famous author, but when writer’s block steals his creativity, Sebastian becomes more well-known for his notorious reputation than his work. When Daisy arrives on his doorstep, hired by his publisher to help him write his next book, Sebastian has no intention of cooperating. The provoking, fire-haired beauty stirs his senses beyond belief, and when collaboration forces them together at his country home, Sebastian knows he has only one way out. Seduction.
Genre: historical romance
Series: The Bachelorettes, book #4

The Story: Daisy Merrick just lost another job... really, that's the story of her life. This time though, instead of looking for a new position, Daisy has decided to focus on her passion and dream: become an author. Unfortunately for her, while Viscount Marlowe thinks she has a lot of potential, her writing is to raw to be published. Still, he offers her a job...

Sebastian Grant, the Earl of Avermore, is England's most famous author... but he hasn't written anything decent in years. Short on funds, he produced his last written work into a play... even though he knows it's no good. He never expected the most scalding review to come from his own publisher though! Even worst, Marlowe wants Sebastian's new book... the one he paid for years ago. Marlowe just doesn't understand that he cannot write anymore, that his career is over... and then, he throws Daisy at Sebastian, so they could work and learn together while working on their respective book...

My Opinion: I love Ms Guhrke's writing... there's something about it that I find unique and really enjoy. I think it's the flow of her writing, it's so easy, and I like the fact that her books really focus on the main characters. I also love the period setting of the book - the 1890s. I'm not great with history, but from what I got out of the books, that's when women started having more freedom. The same applies to aristocrats as well... So I love the basis of this series, the Bachelorettes, but so far, there's been lots of ups and downs... and I'm sorry to say, With Seduction in Mind is a miss for me :(

Let see, the best element of this book were the characters. I think that Ms Guhrke has written two very interesting characters. I admit not liking Daisy as much as the previous heroines, Maria and Emmaline. However, I think most of it comes from prejudices - I didn't like her in her few appearitions in previous books ^_^; I like how outspoken and honest with her emotions she is. What I find annoying with her is her optimism or actually, her naiveness. I have nothing against optimism, hell most of the time, I consider myself pretty optimistic LOL. However, there's a difference between optimism and naiveness. For example, when she said that she'd be glad to have someone read her work and give her some feedbacks and that any criticism is constructive... I felt like she didn't know what she was talking about. Or perhaps I think she's perhaps a tad too idealist. It was great though to see her not be so sure of herself when the tables were turned. As for Sebastian, I really like his character. I thought he was quite complex and I liked his torment :P I like that without wanting to, he assumed the role of mentor to Daisy. I liked his past as well, he doesn't apologize for it... and I don't think he regrets it either. I like his pride... I do think that Ms Gurhke could have elaborated a bit more on his past. It would have been quite interesting.

I also really enjoyed the subject of the story: writing. It was quite interesting to see the contrasts between Daisy and Sebastian, two very different and opposite writers. Daisy is a fast writer, writing everything that goes through her mind... Sebastian is one who agonized through each word, each has to be perfect. I liked the scene where Sebastian called out Daisy for not killing the dog in the storyline. I relate to that problem (killing off characters) when I wrote fanfics... So that was very interesting and enjoyable...

So what was the problem with this book? Well, I thought Daisy and Sebastian had no chemistry. Yes, they do have common interests, but that's just not enough. Did I buy their love at the end? No. Although the timeline of the books span several weeks, even months... I didn't feel their relationship grow. I don't even buy kissing as an incentive to work. I mean, perhaps for a couple of hours, yes, but weeks? Nope. To edit pages and pages, work days and days and your reward is a kiss... Okay, a very good kiss, still. It was just hard to buy, especially when you think that he's had a writer's block for years. Perhaps it would have helped if the characters were a bit more developed... I did like the fact that Sebastian didn't run after Daisy right away after she left... Of course, that doesn't make it for the lack of chemistry.

Another problem I have and this is more with the series than this book... all these heroines are bachelorettes, working women... and they all land a titled man. I mean, of course, it could be possible... but for them to all know each other and come from the same housing?!? No, that's a bit pushing coincidence... Four women living under the same roof, being friends, met and married a viscount, duke, marquess and earl. It would have work better in my opinion if not all were good friends or living under the same roof. Some variations would be nice as well (like the heroes not necessarily being an aristocrat). However, I do like the fact that all four heroes know each other and I enjoyed seeing the interactions in this book... but then, this makes more sense, since they are part of the ton and must run in the same circle, especially given their age.

My Grade: At first, I was debating between a B and B-... leaning more towards B-, but that's my love of the author speaking... However, With Seduction in Mind is more a C+ for me. Two strong characters, a strong idea, great writing. Still, chemistry can make or unmake a book and the latter happened in With Seduction in Mind.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's up with me...

Sorry I've been MIA in the last few days. Real life has definitively intruded ^_^; If you've left any comments on my posts, I will get back to you... and I will try my best to blog-hop tomorrow.

So what's up with me? Well my parents are really enjoying my dad's retirement and as a result, my sister and I have been cooking in the past few days... For those who knows me, they also know that I don't cook. LOL. It's not that I don't enjoy cooking, it's just that I never had the opportunity to learn... The kitchen is really my mother's domain and she guards it well :) And when I was younger, my grandmother used to live with us... so she was the one in charge. The most difficult I find is that me and my sis, we're not familiar with what we have and what we don't have... so we end up almost everyday at the grocery store ^_^; We also buy in very small quantity so the food don't spoil... Figuring what to eat, buying everything, cooking, etc... it's a lot of work LOL... which reinforce what I've been saying when people are impressed with the amount of books I read - reading is all I do. I don't have a family to take care - so no cleaning, no cooking, etc. Have to say, cooking as really cut in my reading time ^_^; As a result, I've been re-reading a lot for the past week - takes less concentration.

Here are some pictures of what we've been cooking... and yes, I did take pictures. Proof! LOL :)

For those who are wondering, yes we've been eating lots of chicken... the reason is, we bought a pack of chicken breast at Costco... Let me tell you, it's A LOT of chicken ^_^;

Another thing that has cut in my reading time is tennis with the US Open. I have to say, I haven't been into tennis much this year... especially after my favorite player retired last year... but I ended up really watching the US Open... and it was a great tournament this year!! I'm so happy about the winners, Kim Clijsters and Juan Martin Del Potro! I love Kim and am so happy that she's back. As for Del Potro, he's quickly becoming one of my favorite players... and also, finally, some new contenders!! You have to mix it up to keep it interesting!! Anyway, great tournament this year...

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to catch up with things this week-end, since my sister and I drove to Quebec City. We went to visit my uncle and his family. Basically, just spend time together. I always felt sad that me and my cousins (on either side) aren't very tight. Sure, it's fun when we see each other, but we don't go out of our way to e-mail or call each other :( Sad... and while Quebec City is only 2.5 hours away, it's all about scheduling... My cousin works part-time on the week-end, so she's always busy. My parents are busy at the temple on Sunday and I work Saturday nights :( Anyway, I did make some time so we could see them... This was the first time my sister and I went on our own. It wasn't too bad.

The weather was gorgeous, and lucky for us! Because my aunt had a surprise for us on Saturday: a canoe outing! Basically, it was a 17.3km long canoe trip... We went bright and early - she booked us at 9.30am... My aunt and sis shared a canoe while I was with my uncle... the only problem is this was my first time driving a canoe... It's not that easy. Something else my aunt didn't predict... the river water level...

Let just say it hasn't rained much in the past few weeks... so it was low... the lowest it's been in a very long while!! People stopped on the side and told us how brave we were LOL! Oh, it was fun, don't get me wrong... but let just say my uncle got out of the canoe a couple of times to pull us through the rocks LOL. After 5.5 grueling hours though, we had enough and we were quite pleased to get there :) (I don't have any pics of me, because I was the one with the camera... but hopefully, my aunt will send her pics soon...)

Overall, I had a great week-end... which kind of makes up for today... Shitty, sucky day at work :( Ugh!!! So frustrating and stressing - my boss is back from vacation and it shows. Also, I hate cell phone companies. There there simply to steal our money!!! Ugh.

But let's not think of that... let's think of the good times I had... and what I'm going to eat tomorrow! LOL :) I'll also try my best to work on some reviews :D So how have you all been lately?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: Hunting Ground

Is anyone watching the US Open? I can't wait for today's match between Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams... and I'll be cheering loud and clear for Kim! Actually, what would be fun is an all-Belgian finale :)

I'm up again today over at Breezing Through. I'm on a roll with my reviews!! It could be a first, but I might review all the books I've read in a month! :) That'd be great and a new personal best for me LOL. So today's review is with Renee from Renee's Book Addiction . It was easy to choose a book, since we were both eagerly waiting for Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs. It was great fun to discuss and you can find the review on Renee's blog here (love her formatting, she has some nice pics!!) or here, on Breezing Through.

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
published by ROC Fantasy in August 2009

Anne Latham didn't know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son--and enforcer--of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn't know how dangerous it could be either...

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran's controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan--and it seems like someone else might be, too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all--or risk losing everything...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Review: Deathwish by Rob Thurman

Nothing much going on with me lately except that I'm really on top of my reading commitments this month LOL :) First, I've already finished by TBR book... and I'm now doing my re-read :D Of course, none of it was planned... I just happened to pick up those books... Although I'm not sure I'm going to keep that re-read. Might do another one before the challenge deadline. Ah well.

All right, for those who are interested, I have a buddy review up over at Breezing Through. The book is Deathwish by Rob Thurman and it's the lastest in the Cal Leandros series. This time, my partner in crime is Leslie from Leslie's Psyche. You can find the review here.

For those who remembers, I did review the first book in this series, Nightlife, over at Breezing Through with Hilcia. There are two books between Nightlife and Deathwish and they will be reviewed... as soon as I put the review together ^_^; So I hope that you don't mind reading reviews out of order, LOL :)

Deathwish by Rob Thurman
published by ROC Fantasy in March 2009
How I felt the mental stirrings of a bloodthirsty heritage when I passed through the gray light wasn’t my favorite topic… The Auphe nature wasn’t mine. I wouldn’t let it be. And if I said that to myself over and over and sprinkled around enough frigging fairy dust, maybe it would be true.

Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, are barely getting by with their preternatural detective agency when the vampire Seamus hires them. He’s being followed, and he wants to know by whom. But the Leandros brothers have to do more than they had planned when Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead).

Worse still is the return of Cal’s nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, the Auphe were almost wiped out. Now they want revenge. Cal knows that before the Auphe get to him, they will try to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear. Because for the Auphe, Cal’s pain is a pleasure.

And they’re feeling good.

EDIT: Just updated the review archive for anyone who's interested... Wow, I am impressed at myself, I did review a lot!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Review: Must Love Hellhounds - anthology

Awwww, long week-end is almost over and tomorrow is back to work... which wouldn't be so bad, but it's also my boss' return to work from vacation. That means we're going to get really busy :( I just don't feel ready for it ^_^;

I hope it was a great week-end for everyone. It was for me, it seems I had time to do everything I wanted: caught up on blogging, spent time with my friends, read some books, cleaned my room (just a little, still not done ^_^;) and watched a lot of tennis. The US Open is really interesting this year, especially on the women's side... LOL. I'm definitively rooting for Kim Clijsters, such a great return!! I'll also be rooting for Flavia Pennetta tomorrow. Although I don't really like her, I acknowledged that Serena Williams is a great player... but we need someone else to win the US Open. Come on. On the man side, I hope Andy Murray makes it. Lleyton Hewitt was playing well, just too bad he had to meet Federer so soon :( I hope he's going to rest and come back strong next year.

Anyway, let's get to to the review :) I know many wanted to know what I thought of it...

Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews and Meljean Brook
published by Berkley in September 2009

In these hound-eat-hound worlds, anything goes. and everything bites.

Follow paranormal bodyguards Clovache and Batanya into Lucifer's realm, where they encounter his fearsome four-legged pets, in Charlaine Harris's The Britlingens Go to Hell. Seek out a traitor in the midst of a guild of non- lethal vampire trackers, one that intends to eradicate the entire species of bloodsuckers, in Nalini Singh's Angels' Judgment. Find out why the giant three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades has left the underworld for the real world - and whose scent he's following - in Ilona Andrews's Magic Mourns. Embark on a perilous search for the kidnapped niece of a powerful vampire alongside her blind - and damn sexy - companion and a hellhound in Meljean Brook's Blind Spot.

These four novellas by today's hottest paranormal authors will have hellhound lovers everywhere howling.
Genre: paranormal romance/urban fantasy

I don't read Ms Charlaine Harris work, therefore I won't be commenting on her story.

Angel's Judgment by Nalini Singh

Series: Guild Hunter, book #-1(?)

The Story: Angel's Judgment takes place before Angel's Blood and is basically Sara Haziz, Elena best friend, story - how Sara met her husband and how she became the director of the Guild Hunter. Basically, Sara is ideal candidate to be the next director and Simon - the previous director, and the Cadre of Ten (the Archangels) are waiting for her to accept the position.

In the meantime, Sara's next mission is a bit unusual. Instead of retrieving a vampire, she's supposed to investigate on a Hunter who has gone rogue. Joining her is Deacon the Slayer, aka the Guild Hunter's enforcer. However, he has another mission - protect the next director from any test the Cadre of Ten would like to give her...

My Opinion: Surprisingly, I enjoyed Angel's Judgment much more than I did Angel's Blood. I don't know if it was the characters or the storyline... Perhaps I felt that there was less world building, as a result the focus was more on the storyline and it made it simpler. Anyway, I liked it, I thought it was a solid novella. The characters were well developed and the story was interesting.

I really liked Sara and Deacon, they very interesting characters and they had a lot of chemistry together. They also work well together and have good chemistry. I'm glad that Sara didn't take offense at Deacon's presence - protecting her. There wasn't any fight about who is more Alpha or in charge. I also really liked the ending, I think it worked out very well and both took some good decisions. They didn't let obstacles cripple their relationship, made them more than they are.

The storyline was also very good in my opinion. Basically, they had three suspects as the rogue and there was some twists. I really liked it. The only complaint I might have is that the "hellhound" wasn't very present in this one.

My Grade: B+. After this short story, I'm ready to give Ms Singh Guild Hunter series another try.

Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews

Series: Kate Daniels, book #4

The Story: The novella is told from Andrea's POV, which is a nice change. Magic Mourns takes place after the events of Magic Strikes and Kate is still recovering from her injuries. As a result, Andrea is covering for her. She gets a phone call reporting a huuuuge dog chasing after a shapeshifter. Andrea is all happy to have an assignment, till she discovers the shapeshifter is actually Rafael, a werehyena that is courting her, and that the dog... is much more than a dog.

My Opinion: To sum it up, Magic Mourns was great character-wise, but a bit meh story-wise. Basically, I enjoyed reading more about Andrea and Rafael and seeing them take the next step in their relationship. They are both very interesting characters, Andrea being a bit more complex due to her situation. I loved the courting LOL. Especially when Rafael realized that Andrea kept the tree with the thong ornaments LOL. Andrea has a bite to her, an edge... My only complaint would be that Kate and Andrea are very similar to each other... I also liked reading about Rafael. He is definitively more than just a playboy.

So I really enjoyed the characters but they definitively overshadowed the plot. I thought that overall, the plot was okay, but it was missing some punch... and I'm not sure how I feel about the Greek mythology touch. Anyway, it's not that the plot was bad, just not as interesting as the characters. The ending though made me chuckled. Seems like Curran will get an apple pie :)

The definite plus though, is that we got to learn a bit more about the world building... and how they are dealing with the magic waves that make the technology go down. Still no word about "how" magic works though...

My Grade: B.

Blind Spot by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians, book #8

The Story: Maggie Wren is an ex-CIA agent now working as a butler for Colin Ames-Beaumont. She is sent by her new employer to New York, along with Sir Pup, in search for Colin's great, great, great-nephew and niece who are in trouble.

My Opinion: Blind Spot was my favorite novella in this anthology. Two reasons: first, Sir Pup played a big role. Seriously, Sir Pup is such a character, given he is a "pet." He's just so fun to read about LOL :) Playful, but at the same time, very protective :) I always like it when he appears with his three heads and his transformation. Lilith is sooo lucky LOL :) Secondly, I love seeing Colin's many facets. In this case, it's his love for his family... I find it rare that a vampire who's live for hundred of years still have contact with his family/descendants. Most of the time, vampires have to hide and look upon them from afar. In Colin's case, he's totally involved with his family, they know him and he protects them. I find that awesome. I mean, they call him "uncle Colin"!! How cute is that?!? Also, Colin calling Maggie "Winters," I thought that was endearing as well. Colin still remembers his past, he hasn't become jaded or lost his humanity. He still feels quite human and I think that distinguishes him from many other vampires.

Okay, so what about the actual story and characters? Basically, a demon has kidnapped Colin's niece, Katherine, and her brother, Geoffrey Blake, is trying to rescue her and Maggie is sent in to help Geoffrey. Because Colin family's blood has been tainted by dragon's blood, it has had its effect in his descendants... i.e. it has given birth to some very unique "gifts." Katherine is able to locate things and Geoffrey is technically blind, but is able to see through other's eyes. I really like Geoffrey's gift. Quite unique and he knows how to use it. LOL, funniest is when he tried to see through Sir Pup's eyes... but the hellhounds have 6 eyes! LOL :) Anyway, just to say that I really liked Geoff's gift. I also liked his character. He was quite interesting, quite confident and assured. His outward image is one of a fool, one that uses his connections to keep his job in the Ramsdell Pharmaceuticals... but in fact, he's the problems solver - kind of the enforcer of the company.

I liked Maggie's character. Very competent and cool. You know the new kind of butler. Given her past as an ex-CIA agent, she's a survivor... and speaking of past, hers is linked to this case.

I think that Ms Brook did a good job balancing the story and the characters. The story and relationship were interesting. There was a definite connection between Maggie and Geoff and I wouldn't mind reading about them again :)

My Grade: A-. I really liked this novella. I think Ms Brook definitively has a knack writing them :)

Overall, I think this was a great anthology if you're fans of these authors. Definitively no regrets getting it :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: August Winner :)

It's Wednesday already. My "vacation" at work is about to be over... Once the boss is back next week, it's definitively going to be very busy... That's why I'm considering making this week-end extra long and take Friday off. Hmmm, sounds extremely good. My plan is to spend the week-end cleaning my room (meh, not very exciting)... I need to weed out clothes that don't fit anymore T_T Also, I want to finish my excel spreadsheet - I'm almost there. Almost, so that would be fun.

Sigh, I need to shop for a dress. Unfortunately, the dress I bought for Holly's wedding doesn't fit anymore T_T Sad, I know. I tried losing weight this summer, but yeah, I don't have much will power :( Haven't been to the gym for the past two months... Although lately, I have a good reason: my ankle. It's better, but it still hurts a little and tires very fast. Also, the past two days, I haven't been feeling great :( Meh... my back hurts... It seems I'm not holding myself straight or something... Hopefully, it's just because I slept the wrong way or something.

Okay, I'll stop whining... This is supposed to be more cheerful, because I'm announcing the winner of this month!! :) It is...


Woohoo, congrats Ames :) Let me know from which bookstore you want your 10$ gift certificate :)

Just to recap a little bit the challenge this month... LOL, so 10 persons made it this month :) Is it me or there's less and less people each month? :) Although blogland is really quiet lately and it's the end of the summer, so this might be a factor. I guess I'll find out next month, right?

No same book or author re-read this month... but I did carry out the trend this month by re-reading Linda Howard :) I think that so far, she's the author who's been re-read the most :) We'll see if the trend will continue next month; maybe I'll have inspire some people :D

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Monthly Reads - August 2009

How is everyone? More important, where is everyone?! Yes, I know, I often complain that blogland is quiet, but seriously, it's true!!! It has been quiet :( Is it summer, back to school, blues? It doesn't help that two well-known and well-liked bloggers have decided to take a break... and perhaps a permanent one T_T I do hope that Amy C and Zeek will be back when they feel it.

Okay, onto my monthly reading list :) The month was a bit slow for me... I wasn't exactly in a reading slump, just sloooow.

1) Nightlife by Rob Thurman: B+

2) I Can See You by Karen Rose: A-

3) Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon: C

4) How To Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist: B-

5) Moonshine by Rob Thurman: B+
Review coming at Breezing Through

6) Edge of Dawn by Patti O'Shea: B+

7) Madhouse by Rob Thurman: B
Review coming at Breezing Through

8) Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs: A-
Review coming

9) Deathwish by Rob Thurman: A
Review coming at Breezing Through

10) With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke: B/B-
Review coming

11) Open Season by Linda Howard: A-

12) Must Love Hellhounds - anthology: very good LOL :)
Review coming

13) Alpha & Omega/Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs: B+

I've also re-read part of The Thief, Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia. But since I didn't re-read them cover to cover, only half of them, I didn't include them in the list.

So as you can see, a bit less than usual. Not bad at all, because there were a lot of good books. I have to admit that although I love the Cal Leandros series... they take more time to read ^_^; I don't know why, but that's how it is. Great thing though is that with less books, more are reviewed! :) So look forward to it, many reviews coming!

Re-Read Challenge: August!

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OMG, I can't believe it's the end of August already... it means the end of the summer!! Nooooo!! Time goes by so fast, especially summer for some reasons... and the summer we had this year? Very, very short :( Already, the temperature has dropped down...

Ah well. The good news is that there's always some interesting new releases in the fall, especially when we get closer to Halloween... and then, Christmas and I bet those two holidays will come very fast. Also, back to school sales are always interesting. Hey, gotta look on the bright side, right? :P

End of the month also means Re-Read Challenge for me :D I hope many had time to do theirs and enjoyed it :D I'll let you guess which one was mine :) In any case, please leave a link to your review if you want to be eligible for the 10$ gift certificate draw :) You have till September 1st, midnight eastern time to enter the draw :) Of course, you can always post your review later on if you don't manage it :)


Kristie: The Way Home by Megan Chance & Heart of the Hawk by Justine Dare
Taja: Beyond Sunrise by Candice Proctor
Isabel: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Nath: Open Season by Linda Howard
Ames: Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
Tracy: Alpha and Omega & Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Jill: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Leslie: Come Spring by Jill Marie Landis
Lori: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
Renee: Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart