December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Image found at
Hey Guys! I hope y'all are having a great time on this the last day of the year - which also happens to be my birthday! - I'm writing this a little ahead so I don't really know what I'll be up to, only that I'm actually quite happy to see this year fade into 2013 because 2012 was a long, difficult year and I'm ready for it to be over!

Anyway, Thanks to everyone who has tagged along with the blog! you guys are awesome.

And to thank you all and because it's my birthday I leave you with a little celebratory Giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Prizes: 1 book up to 15 dollars from The Book Depository*  **.
Open Internationally (so long as Book Depository delivers to you).
Giveaway starts on December 31st, 2012 and ends January 15, 2013.
Must be 13 or Older to Enter.
No need to follow to enter.
No personal information will be kept.
Winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter. 
Winner has 48 hours to answer once she/he has been notified of the win.

The Fine Print:
*You can opt for an Amazon Gift card if it suits your purposes better.
** If the book you want is less than 15 dollars, you can add a second book as long as to combined total is 15 dollars.

December 30, 2012

Book Review: Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

At First Sight: Lady Aline Marsden always knew what was expected of her: to marry into her own class and have a bunch of well breed children but, at eighteen, all Aline wanted was to be with McKenna former stable boy turned footman that grew up with her (mostly) under the care of the Marsden's housekeeper Mrs. Faircloth.

Even with the difference in their stations, Aline always knew McKenna was the man she loved and that he loved her right back, but it was a rather impossible situation that was further complicated when Aline's father found out about their relationship and sent McKenna away.

Over 10 years later, McKenna returns to Stony Cross Park as a wealthy entrepreneur to discover Aline is still there, still unmarried and that much as he would like to say otherwise, he still loves her.

The years haven't been particularly kind to Aline, who suffered through a bad accident that left her legs scarred, but she has now settled into a comfortable life with her sister Olivia and older brother Marcus (now the earl of Westcliff) at Stony Cross. She never expected to see McKenna again, due to some things she was forced to tell him to ensure his safety all those years ago. 

Second Glance: I've often found that not a lot of people like Again the Magic or that, if they do, they feel more drawn to the story of Aline's sister and McKenna's business partner Gideon Shaw. But I'm not one of those people.

I genuinely like this book and I like it because of McKenna - I like Aline just fine too, but she does let her fears dominate her actions for a lot of the book. He's a bit ruthless, and he does and says some pretty questionable things because he thinks he wants to ge revenge on Aline for the things she had to say to get him to leave (her father had threatened to kill him if he ever came back to Stony Cross and Aline knew that if McKenna believed that she still loved him, he would have come back), yet underneath it all, he's a pretty decent guy, and I love his relationship with Mrs. Faircloth whom he never forgot and now wants to take care of like she took care of him when he was a kid.

As you can probably tell, Again the Magic is a story about second chances - a trope that I do love - and I appreciated the difficulties Aline and McKenna had to go through to get to their happy ending. Aline was very traumatized by her accident and feels no one will ever 'want' her because of the state of her legs, and McKenna has to get over his bitterness over events neither of them could really control.

The secondary story with Oliva and Gideon - both of whom have their on tragedies - was a nice B story that perhaps ended up taking a good chunk of the page time, but I don't mind it. It is pretty interesting even if the approach to Gideon's alcoholism is a bit too modern.  

Bottom Line: A lot of people like to think of Again the Magic as a sort of prequel to the Wallflower Series but I've always enjoyed the story on its own - though it is fun to see Marcus before meeting Lilian - I really like McKenna and Aline, and I enjoy re-reading this book every once in a while. I don't believe this is The Best of Lisa Kleypas, but it's one of those books I go to when I'm in a bit of a slump.

Oh, and the book has one of my favorite reveal scenes ever because of McKenna's initial reaction. I'll put it on the Favorite Quote bit, but it happens near the end of the book and as such it can be spoilery. 

Favorite Quote:
“What did you think I meant when I said that I loved you? Did you think I would give a damn about your scars?”

Stunned by his reaction, Aline responded with a single nod.

“My God.” The blood rose higher in his face. “What if the situation were reversed, and I was the one who had been hurt? Would you have left me?”


“Then why did you expect anything less of me?”
starstarstar3/3Personal Favorite

December 29, 2012

Book Review: Waking Up Married by Miranda Lyn Kelly

At First Sight: What happens in Vegas not always stays in Vegas, as Megan Scott is finding out once she wakes up on the day of her cousin's wedding to find out that she got married sometime after leaving the bachelorette party the previous night and throwing up that morning.

Now she got a very expensive ring on her finger and a stranger telling her he does not want a divorce.

Connor Reed went to Vegas with his friend Jeff to relax and have some fun after his engagement went caput a few days earlier. It wasn't that he loved his fiancé because he didn't, but he's a bit annoyed that he just sunk a year into a relationship that ended up going nowhere.

He isn't looking for romance, but does want a partner in life, a family and companionship. And when Megan stumbles into his table at the bar in Vegas, he's pleasantly surprised by her artless conversation, her seemingly lack of interest in casting him as Prince Charming in her life, and by the good time he's having of it all.

The more Connor finds out about Megan, the more convinced he is that their goals aline perfectly - they both want to have a family and would rather do it without the emotional messiness of romantic love - and that being together just makes more sense.

He even manages to convince her too! Only that she can't remember any of it the morning after. 

Second Glance: Let me start by saying that Waking Up Married it's not a bad book, but there are parts of it that are more successful than others. The set up is a bit unbelievable but plausible in the big scheme of things and the beginning of the story is actually quite fun.

I liked the way we are slowly introduced to the things that happened the night before that lead Megan and Connor to getting married, even if it kind of went on for a bit long and it felt a little manic at times (though I'm perfectly willing to chalk it all up to the "we are in Vegas" factor and let it go). Connor was fairly easy to like and his perspective does carry most of the beginning of the story.

Things get a little more complicated once they leave Vegas and start to try to make a life together. The story starts to lose momentum, and Megan kind of drove me nuts a little with her reluctance to give her marriage a fair share even though that was what she was supposed to be doing, Connor is vastly frustrated by this but willing to give her time... until she gives in and then, suddenly, he is the one with doubts.

This kind of thing annoys me in general, but it really annoyed me here because of the length of the story (about 220 pages). The set up takes so long and then this "conflict" also takes so much of the page time (and it kind of gets repetitive after a little while), that in the end you don't really get to see the Megan and Connor happy or see them really develop their relationship and it feels a bit superficial.

Bottom Line: I don't want to sound all negative because, really, the book is not bad. It's fun, the writing is pretty good and there are parts of it that really work in that "romantic comedy" sort of way. It even has a small vibe of Laws of Attraction (one of my fave romantic comedies that is sadly underrated) that I really enjoyed. But, it also has some problems with the pacing and I would have liked to see a little more character depth.

Oh, and FWY, you can get this book for free right now at amazon.

December 26, 2012

Happy Day After Christmas!!

Hello my peeps!!

I hope you all had a great Christmas with lots of Pressies or at least los of Fun!

Day late, I know but may Xmas live in
your heart all year long!
So, I was supposed to Spend Christmas Eve and Day reading and working on the blog but instead I ate like a pig, spent time with the family, watched a baby terrorize my doggie by chasing him trying to give him a hug (and my dog Rocco ain't into baby hugs, let me tell you).

Rocco No Likey Tiny Humans
And playing Super Mario Bros.Wii with the Doctor Cousin (not to be confused with the Firefighter Cousin or the Lawyer Cousin whom, really are the only 3 male cousins I'm likely to mention... ever) who apparently is a master at it because I finally made it past that point The Sister and I have been stuck at for 18 months. 

So... yeah, not lots of time to read. But hey, Christmas is time to spend with the family, right? and there was cake! 

Anyway, I'm just 3 books away from my 200 books a year goal, so I'm going to devote myself to that for the next couple of days and might not be around much. 

But, I wanted to let you know that this book I'm reading, Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly is free for Kindle (and you don't need to have a kindle to read it, just one of their reading apps for PC, Apple or Android) at Amazon. It's by a new Harlequin Imprint called Kiss and 20% into the book it has turned out to be fun. 

Anyway! See you around, hopefully I can finish reading and start reviewing soon!. 

December 24, 2012

Book Review: Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

At First Sight: Emily March hates being the middle sister, and she particularly hates that her crush went from liking her older sister Charlotte to liking her younger sister Anne in the blink of an eye without ever turning to look at her.

Then, an english assignment gets her thinking about what would she change in a book - any book - and Emily turns to Little Women, and before she knows it she finds herself inside the book as the previously-unheard-of fifth March sister.

Suddenly, she's seeing the March's sisters lives up close and finally has the chance to change things.  

Second Glance: I wanted to read Little Women and Me because I love Little Women and because I liked The Education of Bet by the same author, sadly, this one wasn't as much of a winner. The writing is quite similar - mostly light-hearted and fun - but my problem was that I didn't like Emily very much.

She has jealousy issues and though I get that situations aren't often fair to her, she comes off as annoying and petty more often than not (at least to me), and I don't think she fully learned her lesson by the end (but more on that later).

I did like going through Little Women, there are parts of that book that I can recite from memory, and I admit that re-writing Little Women is one of those ideas I pet in my head when I can't sleep at night. So I understand the appeal of the story, I just don't think it had the best execution possible, mostly because Emily wasn't very sympathetic.

Then, the ending was so abrupt that I felt like the author ran out of page time, and I barely liked Emily a little better by then. She does do the right thing in the end, but it wasn't enough for me somehow because it kind of felt like it came out of nowhere. And more explanation about why things happened would have been nice too. 

Bottom Line: How you feel about Little Women and Me will have a lot to do with how you feel about Alcott's Little Women in general. If you manage to like Emily more than I did, you'll probably enjoy this book a lot because the idea and writing are fun. 

December 23, 2012

List Maniac: Best of 2012

Hello, everybody!! So another year comes to an end and here is the list of the books I loved the most in 2012. Please not that it's not only about books first published in 2012, but about the books I first read in 2012 regardless of year of publication. 

As always these are just my personal opinions, let me know about your favorite reads in comments. 

Let's start with the Runner Ups - I loved these books but for some reason or another, they didn't crack the top ten.

Courtney Milan's The Governess Affair was a great historical novella and probably the best historical read I encountered all year. Persuade Me by Juliet Archer is a modern take on Persuasion, the characters aren't perfect and they make bad choices but their love prevails! 

The Princess of Iowa was a surprise of a book, that sucked me in for almost 400 pages, also found one of the best quotes ever about sisters. The Goddess Girls Series keeps on being adorable, fun and awesome. 

Welcome Caller, This is Chloe is a fun book touching on some not so fun subjects and a winner all around. Lisa T. Bergen's Waterfall was the launch of a pretty good series about time travel and it had some hunky Italian guys.

Now, For the Top 9 - I loved all of these books basically in equal measure so here they come in no particular order!

Her Best Worst Mistake was my introduction to Sarah Mayberry's writing and I'm really glad for it because I have found her to be an awesome author, but honestly I loved Violet and Martin, two people who on the surface couldn't be more different but deep down they have a lot of common ground and have to work a bit for their happy-ending (you know, because he was engaged to her best friend, and up until that engagement went caput, they didn't much like each other). 

Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie had such an interesting premise: a woman named Emma goes on a trip and isn't heard of for months, so when she finally returns home is to find that everyone thinks she's dead, most of them have moved on, and she now needs to make a new life for herself. There is a hunky photographer and Emma has such a good best friend. I would have loved a bit more romance but I enjoyed the story so much and I kept thinking about it for weeks after I finished reading the book. 

Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi was a bit unusual for me, it takes place int he Ozark Mountains and the hero suffered oxygen deprivation when he was born so as a result he's "simple minded". When I first got this book recommendation  I wasn't sure how the author was going to pull it off but she totally did and I loved Jesse Best. The heroine, Althea, was harder to like at times but she won me over because she realized how wonderful Jesse was on her own.

Anne of Green Gables was that book that I always meant to read but never got around doing it, so one day I just picked up the Audiobook and went for it. I fell in love with it. From the very start Anne's imagination caught me and didn't let me go until the end, and now I can't believe it took me so long to get to it. Anne is such a wonderful character, I loved getting lost in her world and I can't wait to go back again. 

Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer was another huge surprise for me. It tells the story of a girl in the eighties who has a lot of stuff to deal with - the recent death of her mother and her father's marriage to a woman who hates her - and ends up becoming friends and working for this gay couple at their flower shop. It was so well done, even the miss-information Apron had at the beginning rang true, and I loved how she learned to see beyond that. I'm still not sure whats up with the nautical theme of the cover and title, though.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald has the perfect title because that's what the book is all about. Sadie has been in love with her friend Garrett Delaney for years, to the point she dropped all other friends and interests that didn't align with Garrett's, but when he goes away for the summer and she's forced to re-evaluate her life, she starts to see how asymmetric their relationship is and decides to do something about it. And I loved Sadie for it. 

The Gorgon in the Gully by the incomparable Melina Marchetta tells the story of Danny Griggs - Jonah Griggs' little brother - as he struggles to face his fears. It's a short book, aimed toward younger readers but I loved Danny and his friends so much. At first I only got it because I wanted to see a different side to Jonah, but seriously, Danny is awesome. 

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John was another book I had for a long time but I didn't get to read it until earlier this year, and it turned out to be wonderful. The story about a Piper, a deaf girl who manages a rock band was awesome and I slowly fell in love with almost everyone in the band. I loved the bond that forms between Piper, Kallie and Tash (the girls of the band). And Piper's finally coming to terms to her family and them learning to comunicate with each other was lovely. 

Getting Caught by Mandy Hubbard and Cyn Balog was such a fun book to read, about two former best friends who keep trying to out-prank each other. A lot of their animosity comes from misunderstandings, but they are well handled and I liked seeing them go for the practical jokes in their war. Plus the ultimate realization that there is something between being best friends and hating each-other's guts. 

Now!! For the Top Spot! the book I loved the most this year... I made a little video for it :
So, check it out: 

Sorry for the crappy quality, I don't know what happened this time. My pick was The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Well, that's me! Let me know what books you loved this year in the comments!

Also, check out Small's Blog for more Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom awesomeness. 

December 22, 2012

Book Review: Romancing the Holiday (anthology)

The Deal: Romancing the Holiday is a 3 story-anthology, so I'll summarize each of them separately.

In We'll be Home for Christmas by HalenKay Dimon, we meet Lila and Spence, two people who had a 3-day hook up a few months ago and then unexpectedly run into each other again when Lila moves into Spencer's town to manage a lodge a relative has left her. Spence and Lila haven't forgotten about each other, or their explosive chemistry... too bad Spence gave her his brother's name when they first met and now Lila is none too pleased.

Ask Her at Christmas by Christi Barth is about Kyle and Caitlin, who have been best friends forever. Caitlin has also been in love with Kyle for years but not willing to risk the friendship, not even when Kylie announces the sudden plans to marry a woman his father has selected for him, and asks Caitlin help planning the perfect proposal, unaware that her heart is breaking.

Finally, The Best Thing by Jaci Burton is about Tori who works for the Kent Brothers in their construction company (apparently there are other novellas about the other two brothers) while struggling with her crush on one of them: Brody. Last Christmas, Brody kissed her and that sent the office dynamics into a bit of a tail-spin, until it got so bad that the other two Kents  demanded Brody make things right with Tori, prompting them both to act on their latent feelings for each other.

My Thoughts: Romancing the Holiday was a mixed bag of nuts. I flat out didn't much care for the first story - We'll be Home for Christmas - I didn't particularly like the characters or care for what happened to them, and the whole thing was a little childish.

I enjoyed reading Ask Her at Christmas a lot more, I found the story fluffy and sweet even if the conflict was a bit silly and it got solved way too easily, and both Caitlin and Kyle were kind of wimpy. I liked the core of who they were. I think that if that had been more developed it would have been a sweet story, as it was it had a lot of potential and it was fun to read but far from perfect.

As for The Best Thing, it was certainly fun to read - probably the better story out of the three - and I actually got very intrigued about the other two Kent brothers and I look forward to reading their novellas (apparently I already own them in two different anthologies I got last year and that I haven't read). I liked Tori and Brody, and I could even understand what drove Brody to do certain things - his family could be fairly annoying sometimes - but I didn't like how the conflict was resolved so that kept the story from being a total winner.

As an Anthology, is not bad, I think it averages three stars all in all.

December 21, 2012

Book Review: A Flower in the Snow by Tracey Corderoy and Sophie Allsopp

The Deal: Luna and her best friend in the world Bear (who, yes, happens to be a polar bear) enjoy spending their days together playing in the snow. One day they discover a beautiful golden flower that brings even more happiness to their lives... until the flower dies and makes Luna sad. 

In order to see her smile again, Bear goes on a quest to find another flower for his best friend. 

My Thoughts: A Flower in the Snow is a very short but sweet picture book aimed toward the younger kids.

It's a lovely story about friendship and companionship, and the illustrations were adorable. I loved that Bear was Luna's best friend.

If you want to share with your young ones a story that's seasonal but not religiously oriented, then A Flower in the Snow is a very good option. 

December 20, 2012

Speed Date: Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

The Deal: Every day, 18 year olds Sophie and Carter deal with things that most other high school seniors never even have to think about. Sophie is in charge of her three younger siblings (The Littles, as she calls them) and is trying to keep them afloat while their mother - who is a hooker - disappears for weeks and weeks on end. 

The abuse that his father dealt for years left Carter with scars all over his body, and left his mother a little out to of reality, so now he has to take care of her and help her fight the aliens and bunnies and bugs that haunt her every waking moment.

Sophie and Carter live right next to each other and are best friends - even if they pretend not to know each other at school - and, over the years, they have formed their own family unit. They are also deeply in love with each other, even if they haven't realized yet.

My Thoughts: I remember seeing Sophie and Carter around a while ago, and I bought it once that it was, like 99 cents, but it kind of fell off my radar, until now. I liked Sophie and Carter as a characters and the story was okay - even if it was a trauma porn - they have to deal with really stressful stuff but find comfort in each other and they don't shrink their responsibilities.

The thing was that, well, it read like a fanfic: from the length to the character development and the language, everything added to the feel of "this is a fanfic, a very good one but just that."

So, if you ever see it on sale at 99 cents, feel free to check it out, but at it's current price of 2.99 for the ebook or 7.95 for the paperback, it's just too much. It's not even that long. Honest. 100 pages tops. 

What's a Book Speed Date, you ask? It's a quickie review--about 150 words or so--of any genre book (variety is the spice of life, after all).

If you want to join in or just read other speed date reviews, check out The Book Swarm

December 19, 2012

Book Review: The Twelve Nights of Christmas by Sarah Morgan

At First Sight: Evie Anderson thought it was a little weird when her creep of a boss told her she could stay at the penthouse of the hotel where she worked for one night, since she had to be on-site so early in the morning. She usually wouldn't have agreed, but she had just been kicked out of her apartment and had no other place to go.

Rio Zacarelli - a successful, ruthless and super rich billionaire - has a very important deal on the making and, at the advice of his lawyer, decides to spend a really quiet Christmas away from women and other distractions, as he needs people to believe he has a clean reputation.

He wasn't counting on finding a naked woman on his bed at the penthouse suite of his hotel in London,  or to have a photographer ready to pounce and capture the moment in film. Now Rio is forced to do damage control, and figures that maybe finding Evie wasn't so bad as she could help him to project a more wholesome image.

So they are spending the days leading to Christmas together, trying to portray a happy couple for the media and for Evie's elderly grandfather. And Rio finds himself enjoying her company and everything, he just wishes she would forget it's Christmas all together. 

Second Glance: Well, I'm a little torn about The Twelve Nights of Christmas... and not only because each time I read Rio's name I kept thinking about that blue parakeet from the movie.

It's a very "Harlequin-esque" novel - you got the billionaire and the poor ingenue virgin and a rather unbelievable situation - and it works well in that format, but there were a bunch of little things that kept me from getting into the story: we aren't told why Rio hates Christmas until the last quarter of the book, same with what the mysterious "deal" he's working on. And the whole thing with Evie. What smart woman thinks "Oh, creep-o manager who tried to feel me up says it's okay if I stay in this crazy, expensive suite tonight! Good! I guess I'll sleep naked!"?

Other than that, it was a fun book and Rio did have pretty good reasons to hate Christmas, but everything to solved way too easily. 

Bottom Line: I like Sarah Morgan's style, but this one wasn't my favorite by her, I think I like her medical romance books more. But if you can suspend belief a little better than me, then this is a easy to read, quick Christmas story.

December 17, 2012

Book Review: A Tangle of Magicks by Stephanie Burgis

Warning, this review contains mild spoilers about Kat, Incorrigible (US)/A Most Improper Magick (UK)
UK Edition
Also, A Tangle of Magicks is the UK version of Renegade Magic

At First Sight: For a moment there, it seemed like things would finally take a turn for the better for Kat Stephenson and her family, as her oldest sister Elissa is about to marry her love, Mr. Collingwood; and her middle sister Angeline, has her Mr. Frederick Carlyle.

But everything goes wrong on the day of Elissa and Mr. C's wedding, when the ceremony is interrupted by an irate Mrs. Carlyle, Frederick's mother, who isn't so keen on her son's showing interest in Angeline, and drags him away leaving scandal and a heart-broken Angeline behind.

To top it all off, Kat has finally met the head of the Order of the Guardians, and he's none too impressed with with Kat, and that has put her admittance to the order in serious jeopardy. And that's before her stepmother drags them all to Bath, so Angeline can find a new suitor.

Second Glance: I was so looking forward to reading A Tangle of Magicks/Renegade Magic since I loved Kat during her previous story. And for the most part I really did like book 2 but I also struggled a lot to make my way through.

US Edition
I liked it while I was reading it but it was too easy for me to put it down; and I found some things that really irritated me, namely, Kat's family. They were nice for the most part but Angeline comes of as mean more often than not, and Charles as a bit useless and clueless, same with Mr. Stephenson who really seemed to be completely disconnected from what went on in his family.

Mrs. Stephenson was awful as usual, but at least she was trying, in a misguided way, to do something for her family. It's with her relatives - Mrs. Wingate and her daughters - that the Stephensons stay with at Bath, and some of them were just as horrid as her, though I did like Lucy, the youngest daughter of Mrs. Wingate for the most part.

Bottom Line: In the end I liked A Tangle of Magicks/Renegade Magic, but it didn't have the same spark that Kat, Incorrigible had. Maybe I just missed the balance that Elissa brought in the circle of sisters. I don't know. But it still was a lovely middle grade book with a magic bent; and I'm looking forward to the next book. 

Full Cover Image! Isn't it cute?