Saturday, November 30, 2013

Let the holiday season begin!

Let the Christmas season start!

Hello everybody!
It's been a while, almost a whole month since I have written anything for my blog. I am very happy that my co-blogger Liis entertains you with her awesome reviews! I have been doing lots of reading in the meanwhile and I am counting on posting few reviews during the upcoming days .

Thanksgiving is here and even though it's not celebrated here, I like the idea of Thanksgiving. I try to do my best appreciating people around me daily, but Thanksgiving is a very good time to put things into a different perspective and remind myself how lucky I am.


Thanksgiving pictures very often present a turkey, but I preferred this picture because it has a meaning for me. This decoration was a surprise which waited for me this morning at work. My colleague and a good friend knows, that I do love everything even remotely related to Christmas and she made this surprise for me. You have no idea how wonderful it is to come to work and finding this beautiful creation on my table. (One of the golden butterflies was on my keyboard!) She simply wanted to do something for me and that is exactly what is incredibly heart-warming. Besides making me smiling a lot, it made me happy and giddy inside. It was unexpected and sweet and that is one of the reasons I am considering myself being a very lucky person. These kind of small gestures do matter.

Having people around you who love you and appreciate you is a blessing. Now it's my turn to give. As said, I am doing my best to share the love and appreciate people I care about. I am well aware, that this blog post is only a tiny-tiny way of giving, but I still want to do it. It's just a blog post, but an important one for me. I also know, that half of the people I love, won't probably read it and it does not matter for me that they won't see it, because I can tell them all this in person. I also know, that this post will not cover all things and people I am grateful for in my life, but including you all will demand me writing a whole book (or series) about it. So this post is for me. And for those who take time reading it. :)

Here we go!

I am grateful that for 7 years and 14 days ago I became a mom. My son has given me the greatest pleasures in my life. I am thankful for his unconditional love, his smiles, his millions of questions about life, his joyful eyes, his jokes. He has taught me many things about life and love, and it has been the greatest journey in my life. When he looks at me, I see nothing but love and that is an amazing gift to have: the gift of motherhood.

I am thankful of my family: my parents, my sis and her family. They have ALWAYS been there (and here) for me, supportive and loving. For our family - the blood is always thicker than water. When happy, they cheer with me, when I'm down, they lift me up, when lost, they help me finding my path. I do appreciate the values I've received from them.

I am very grateful for being healthy. There have been ups and downs during the last two years with several surgeries, but as a result of it, my health is considerably better than it used to be. I am thankful, that I've lost 40 kg (88 pounds) which literally has made my life easier and also healthier. I am thankful, that I had stubbornness and willpower to go through with it and I am very happy about the results.

I am grateful for my friends. Far or close, I appreciate you, your love and I am thankful for your friendship!

I am grateful for all people who have taught me new things or who have forced me to learn new things about myself. Thank you for existing!

I am thankful for people who make me smile, even though I might not know you and never will! The fact that you bring smile on my lips is worth more than you know!

I am grateful for all the books that have ever been written and will be written! I am thankful for all the existing and future authors in the world! You have given me incredible pleasures and taking me to worlds and places I have never been! Thank you for your creativity! Thank you for all readers in the world making it possible for authors! I am thankful having people taking their time reading my blog! Love you!

I am thankful for being able to travel and see the world! Hence my gratitude goes to all my employers I have ever had and will have. You have made it possible for me to explore and given me adventures I never thought possible! I am blessed for being able to see and visit different parts of the world and experiencing so many different cultures and religions. It has made my life richer!

I am grateful for my life and all the eperiences I have had in my life. It doesn't matter if they have been good or bad, these experiences have made me to the person I am today. They have made me stronger and I sincerely hope also wiser. I have learned a lot and I am still thankful that I am able to learn and adjust according to what my life brings me. It has taught me to give, to forget and to forgive and last, but not least, to love and appreciate small things in the life.

Happy reading and happy upcoming holidays to all of you! I wish you happiness, love and peace in mind!


 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh - 5 Star Review!

Hi all!

A new week a new review :)




Author: Nalini Singh 
Title: Archangel’s Legion 
Series: Guild Hunter #6 
Release date: 31th of October 2013 
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal 
Published by: Gollancz 
Pages: 384 pages in Kindle e-book format 
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle 

Summary: 

Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.

Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same…

Review:

I was impressed by this book, the series has done the unimaginable and managed to only get better and better as we go along. There is always a book you like less than the rest in a favorite series, but this “curse” has managed to evade the Guild-Hunter series and please please don’t sway from that path!

The story was full of sub-plots and multitudes of storylines, but not for one second did it get messy or confusing, they were masterfully intertwined with another and all received center stage at one point or another. My favorite amongst them was the hesitation and fear from Elena and Raphael regarding his developing new mysterious powers. The emotional play between them with this issue was superbly described and handled. Also, there were many interesting revelations and developments with Elena’s family, which were quite enlightening.

The action was awesome, it was like watching a top class war/fight movie, especially during the latter half where everyone, man, angel and vampire gets down and dirty. I’m usually bored reading about such battles, but it was so engaging and vividly depicted that it simply ended too soon. There were also some nasty moments that just gave momentum to all the fighting and blood spilt.

Some itty bitty negative parts: I’m tired of Lijuan! Also, the end twist came out of nowhere without any warning. I liked how it turned out and how the balance was restored in favor of Raphael, but it felt slightly out of place with its abruptness and no hints beforehand.

The universe of the series has expanded and continues to do that at a fast and enjoyable rate. Characters become more fleshed out and complex, and I like that the books give that opportunity to them to just become more. This world really feels like something that could actually exist, it’s realistic in a nonrealistic sort of way. I have to admit that I don’t read a lot of such urban fantasy/paranormal books, but I have really struck the goldmine with discovering this series.

Characters:

Elena and Raphael are the ultimate power couple. They are just overwhelming together and even apart. Apart from Roarke and Eve from the In Death series, I’d never thought that a book about the same couple could remain intriguing, fresh and gripping after one or two books, but I can’t get enough of the sexy angel duo. Maybe because there is still heaps to explore and solve in the confines of their relationship that it can’t get boring with so many topics still untouched. In addition, having other plotlines as strong pillars for their romance gives the story more meat on the bones, excitement and meaning. Whatever the magic formula, it works and I can’t wait for another installment with them as main couple.

I cannot not mention the specific magnificent members of Raphael’s Seven who had significant roles in this book. Some were only mentioned in passing, unfortunately, but those who had opportunities to shine and were in on the action, really amazed me. The battles and their roles in them were awesomely showcased. I love those guys and my affections deepened because we again were provided snippets of new information from the backgrounds and mysteries of some of them. Also, I can’t wait to get my hands on Illium’s book!

Overall:

Another great addition to a great series! If you’re a fan then you will love it! Now, bring on the next one, I heard the hero is not going to be anyone from the Seven though, buuu, but oh well. I bet it will be fantastic anyway.

5 stars!

LIIS

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Elite by Rachel Van Dyken

Hi all!

A review for Friday :)




Author: Rachel Van Dyken 
Title: Elite 
Series: Eagle Elite #1 
Release date: 9th of July 2013 
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Romance, Contemporary, YA 
Published by: Forever
Pages: 222 pages in Kindle e-book format 
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle 

Summary:

For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .

The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.

Review:

I took up this book solely for the reason that it sounded so incredibly similar to one of my favorite manga Hana Yori Dango. And as big of a guilty pleasure with a soap opera-ish ridiculous plot it is (but it still all GOOD), the same can be said for the Elite series’ first book. And the similarities don’t end there. BUT, luckily, it this book ended up being more different that I feared.

Let’s count down some of the good and bad:

I enjoyed the beginning, maybe because it resembled HYD the most in that part, but I was gripped reading about this simple country girl butting heads with the rich, powerful and beautiful and even win several battles. Also, entering this new elite world, with crazy rules, regulations and being completely over the top, was exciting! I loved the first part. Unfortunately, I totally lost my grip on the book by the second half where all those revelations were being thrown at me. Not because I didn’t understand or follow anymore, but because it was just somehow “wrong” or unbelievable or out of place or … I don’t even know an appropriate word for this. I didn’t overly appreciate the turn the book took, but I was still on the edge of my seat, so the second part wasn’t all bad.

I thought Trace was potentially a great heroine once she gets a solid footing in the new and completely forging environment and starts kicking butts. Which she also did a couple of times (and, oh, how I cheered), but somehow her spark just faded and she became your typical complaining precious package to protect and hold dear.

The guys: I can’t really whine much, because while Nixon, a complete unredeemable douche one moment, managed to be so incredibly swoony, sweet and considerate in the next. I didn’t, however, like his too hot and eternal love for Trace, it was at times too overwhelming. Chase was an essentially good guy that will not get the girl of course. The other two guys in the quartet all had their roles to play and purpose, so as I said, the guys were enjoyable.

I didn’t like the love triangle in HYD and I naturally didn’t like it in this book. Enough said.

The story was simply gripping, fast-paced and addicting. I can see why so many people love it and I myself will come back for seconds, but I still can’t pretend like it doesn’t have the faults it does, and it has a lot honestly saying.

Characters:

Trace – I’m still hoping she fulfills my dreams and becomes a kickass, but with so much testosterone surrounding her, I’m afraid she will remain an opinionated delicate flower. If only she could become the magnificent “weed” that was Tsukushi from HYD. I’m not giving up hope! I believe in you Trace!  

Nixon – I found him very intriguing and a potentially brilliant hero. He’s full of contradictions, but in a good way.

Overall:

I think this book is a hit or miss, those that love it really adore it and those who find it ridiculous find it such as a whole. I liked it, it’s perfect guilty pleasure material, but then again I can’t overlook the aspects that make me iffy and I find lacking. So, find this out for yourself to which category you belong to.

P.S. Read Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers). It’s a one of the greatest Shoujo manga out there (not to mention one of the longest – 36 volumes!), with TV adaptions made by Japan, South Korea, etc (the Japanese version is my nr 1 though along with the Japanese full feature film).

3 stars!

LIIS

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Hi all!

It's been tooooo long since my last review :)





Author: Kara Taylor
Title: Prep School Confidential
Series: Prep School Confidential #1
Release date: 30th of July 2013
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: YA, Mystery, Contemporary
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 333 pages in Kindle e-book format

Summary: 

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne could care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate, Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school. When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

Review:

After accidentally burning down a part of her school, Anne is shipped off to a prestigious private boarding school where she stumbles on a murder of her own roommate and too many suspects, conspiracies and dangers to choose from. BUT, what does a self-respectable Upper East Side girl have to do? Of course, take it upon herself to find the culprit. And that exactly is Anne’s mission.

Overall, I liked the book, it had many aspects going for it, but others, at the same time, were left lacking, but I’m satisfied enough to take on the second book of the series.

I thought the murder aspect of the book was very well executed. The solution and mystery wasn’t as obvious, it wasn’t a plot device just for the sake of it and it wasn’t tedious or boring. I enjoyed following Anne getting to the bottom of everything: including creepy stalkers, dark/old tunnels, long past unsolved mysteries, suspicious teachers, conspiracy theories, people getting silenced, etc.

Other things I liked:
The boarding school setting, something I enjoy reading about, can be a hit or miss, depending if the author can draw out everything it has to offer, and it definitely worked in this story.

Such series’ books usually come across as quite stand-alone, with each book having a separate case or something similar, with no indication to anything upcoming, but this book gave clues and hints on what Anne is getting herself into in a future book and I really liked it introduced as such and it made me excited to read more. Not to mention that it seems there are a million secrets to uncover in that school with everyone seemingly having one or two skeletons in their closet.

BUT:
Spunky, sarcastic and not your typical lay-low goody-goody heroines are my favorite, and thus, Anne was a fresh breath of air. But, I have to admit that she didn’t reach her full potential in this story, I kind of expected more from her: more naughty, more sarcastic, more rebellious, … just more in all the categories she supposedly excelled in. This, however, doesn’t mean that she wasn’t an enjoyable heroine and a far cry from others I’ve become so bored of reading about. I will be expecting that she up her game in the next installment and make me proud.

I did, however, seriously dislike the so called love triangle in this. It was totally out of place, not needed and not well developed. And since I pretty much despise them to begin with, this became my biggest con in the story. This also made Anthony like a piece of the puzzle that just didn’t fit and I didn’t find him all that interesting and likable either. As far as I’m concerned Bent is the only romantic interest for Anne.

Characters:

As already mentioned, Anne was a good heroine with lots of potential. Her design was great, but the realization needs some work.

I thought Brent was adorable, nothing overly extraordinary, but that exactly was his charm. He wasn’t all over Anne and neither was he too shy, I liked their scenes together and how he always tried to help her out in his own way while not taking over her “investigation.”

Isabella remained a mystery to me till the end, when she was around I had one image of her and when she was murdered all this behind the scenes info started to come about regarding her that I felt didn’t coincide with what I knew about her and saw her as. While this is exactly the point, I was slightly bothered that I couldn’t really see the two sides as one and the same person.

Overall:

Try reading this for a decent YA mystery! It’s a good start with a solid base now established with the first book. The heroine is someone I just have to read more about and there definitely has to be more romance involved as well in future books. I recommend!

4 stars!

LIIS

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Movie Review: Ender's Game

Hi all!

A movie review this time :)




Title: Ender’s Game 
Director: Gavin Hood
Writers: Gavin Hood (screenplay), Orson Scott Card (based on the book Ender’s Game by) 
Stars: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld 
Release date: 8th of November 2013 
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure 

Summary:

Young Ender Wiggin is recruited by the International Military to lead the fight against the Formecs, a genocidal alien race which nearly annihilated the human race in a previous invasion.

Review:

I’m not really a huge Sci-Fi fan and as embarrassing it seems, I had no idea what the original book was about or that it had such epic status. Needless to say, I haven’t read it and went to see the movie adaption because the trailer seemed cool. And, if I’m totally honest then I really really really enjoyed this movie, enjoyed is the key word because, I didn’t like it as much. If this even makes sense.

This movie had so many faults even without me not having read the original material to figure that out. The main issue was that Ender was just too brilliant and successful in every way. Whatever he did, it was calculated and always managed to show his superiority compared to others. There were ugly incidents, but overall, it all played to his advantage. I like underdogs or heroes who come from nothing to gain a lot or at least face more obstacles in their path to greatness so that all achieved has a more deeper meaning. Ender just came, saw and conquered.

The beginning was also somewhat dull in the sense that I didn’t feel that there was enough character development and most of all, Ender’s journey was like going up steps you’ve already ascended a million times: this school, next level school, higher establishment, etc etc. BUT, I didn’t even notice when it occurred that I was highly anticipating the next level and was completely lost in enjoying the journey.

All the issues may be due to the fact that something always has to be sacrificed, because every scene and all information simply can’t fit into a 2h movie. And, as far as I’m concerned, I think they managed to make the best of it and the movie come out action-packed, gripping and, simply, super badas*. And despite the dense plot, I still understood what it was trying to tell me (at least I think I did) and have me think about and those weren’t simple questions.

The steady and at first totally unnoticeable rise of tension and excitement was a real treat. I became so engaged in the battle simulations, which were awesomely intense and you know that they were leading up to something, but I didn’t anticipate THAT at all. Not to mention, visually they were just cool and action-packed and fun to observe. This also leads me to my favorite part of the movie, the climax and twist at the end, it blew my mind and it succeeded because I couldn’t see it coming.

Characters:

I have to admit that Ender was difficult to like, because he was just so above everyone else, not to mention several steps ahead. There isn’t really much you can connect with in his character, but then again, he wasn’t supposed to be someone who you could simply relate to. Of course, there were softer spots to him and instances where he caused a lot of unintentional damage, but I still felt that he was out of reach in too many ways. That, however, doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good hero who fit into the role he was provided in this book and excel at it as he did with everything else.

Acting-wise I can’t really complain or even highlight any superb efforts. It was decently acted and worked well for what it was intended.

Overall:

If you’re a fan of the book, I can’t really say if it will meet your expectations even a little, but to someone who hasn’t read it, I encourage you to go and give it a shot, you may be surprised as I was. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.


4 stars!

LIIS

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2 Oldie Review: A Loving Scoundrel by Johanna Lindsey & Red Rosen Mean Love by Jacquie D'Alessandro

Hi all!

It's time again for another two historical oldies reviews :)




Author: Johanna Lindsey 
Title: A Loving Scoundrel 
Series: Malory-Anderson Family #7
Release date: 27th of April 2004 
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Historical, Romance 
Published by: Atria Books 
Pages: 368 pages in Kindle e-book format 
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle 

Summary:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey sweeps readers into the privileged world of English aristocrats as she presents a new novel of passion, intrigue, and romantic pleasures featuring the incomparable Malorys -- a family of dashing rogues, rakehell adventurers, and spirited ladies. Now Jeremy, the son of gentleman pirate James Malory, falls in love....

When Danny, a young woman who grew up on the streets of London with no memory of her real family, is banished from her gang because she helped handsome rakehell Jeremy Malory steal back the jewels his friend lost in a card game, Danny demands that Jeremy give her a job. She is determined to become respectable in order to fulfill her dream of marrying and starting a family. Intrigued by her beauty and spunk, Jeremy hires Danny as his upstairs maid, although he wants her as his mistress.

Under the tutelage of Jeremy and his cousin Regina, Danny blossoms into a lady. Although she is drawn to Jeremy by passionate feelings she has never experienced before, she refuses to be anything more than a servant to him because she knows he is not the marrying kind. When Danny undergoes a Cinderella-like transformation and poses as Jeremy's new love in an attempt to help him avert a scandal, a few highly placed members of the ton remark on how familiar Danny looks. Now tongues are wagging, raising the question of her true identity, which threatens not only Danny's chances of capturing Jeremy's heart but her very life.

With the humor, lovable characters, and romantic intensity that have placed Johanna Lindsey's six previous Malory novels in the ranks of the best-loved and most widely read romantic novels of our time, Johanna Lindsey delights readers with an emotionally powerful tale of an irresistible scoundrel who meets his match in a brave, strong-minded young woman and can't help but fall in love. 

Review:

Danny is a spunky and opinionated thief living with her merry band of wrongdoers disguised as a boy simply so not every man she meets will molest her or more. She crosses paths with Jeremy who needs her for his dastardly deeds aka her services as a pickpocket. He gets what he wants, but she is left with her little butt thrown out of the guild of troublemakers. And what does a feisty and determined woman do when someone else is at fault in her misfortune? She demands Jeremy for a job and a roof over her head. And that is exactly what she gets in the form of a maid job and a lot more in the form of the master of the house.

I’m especially drawn to rags to riches, Cinderella, underdog heroine, secret identity romances – so, this book was perfect for me in that aspect, because it included all those tropes. It is also a blessing if the heroine actually has a backbone and isn’t a meek wallflower, someone who knows what she wants and isn’t held back by proper etiquette to ask or do what is needed. In addition, a woman in historic fiction who is determined to steer clear of the hero and isn’t easily swayed is all good in my book. Needless to say, I thought Danny was awesome.

The relationship between the main couple was another pro to me. They was a constant power battle going on between them and with the balance shifting back and forth, it was interesting to observe these two on who would raise the white flag to the other first. Another positive aspect: Jeremy’s unwanted, but very determined suitor with her lies was handled brilliantly and the outcome was like watching a funny situation comedy.

I haven’t read any previous books of the Malory series this story is part of so I can’t really show the reoccurring characters the proper amount of excitement and love they probably deserve, instead, I read this book with an outsiders point of view. Despite lacking the recommended pre knowledge, I enjoyed this story heaps and didn’t have any issues with warming up to obvious old favorites.

I didn’t, however, entirely enjoy how the virginity issue was handled and what lead up to that and at times I had slightly issues with the believability of everything going on. Also, too much limelight given to the assassin was also not necessary and distracted from the romance. Nevertheless, these all are very minor issues that didn’t distract me from enjoying this book.

Characters:

Danny: Independent, tough and resilient. I admired her determination to still find and become a proper woman and lead a respectable life with a nice husband and children, despite her background and difficult situation. I simply liked her as a woman and character, she didn’t annoy me at all and that is quite rare.

Jeremy: Supposedly, he is also from similar background of gutter life as Danny, but I felt that he had left that life far far away in the past and he had also forgotten what it was like in regard to his treatment of Danny. I felt he wasn’t really as supportive of her issues and her goals as he should have been. Despite this, he manned up managed to be a decent hero. Has to be mentioned: his family was lovely. 

Overall:

I really liked this romance, luckily, I’ve never really hit and missed with an historical oldie and this is another win for me. There were many aspects to like, but the heroine Danny was my number one in this book. 


4 stars!





Title: Red Roses Mean Love 
Release date: 24th of June 2009 
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Historical, Romance 
Published by: Dell 
Pages: 372 pages in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle 

Summary:

Yellow for friendship.
Pink for passion.
But . . . Red Roses Mean Love.

She dreamed of roses....

Orphaned and abandoned by her fiancé, Hayley Albright is determined to care for her younger siblings even if it means having to give up her own dreams. She doesn't expect to ever find love or get married . . . until one moonlit night when she saves the life of a mysterious stranger. . . .

And he wants only to make her dreams come true....

Lord Stephen Barrett woke up gazing at the face of an angel. He was alive. And safe, for now, from the killer stalking his every move. Allowing Hayley to believe he is just a tutor of modest means, Stephen stays on for reasons of his own, never anticipating the passions Hayley would stir in his cold, wary heart. Her innocence is pure seduction. Her touch is sweet temptation. And suddenly the man who has everything is willing to risk it all--for a woman who has nothing to give . . . but all her heart. . . .

Review:

I love romances with hidden identity (preferably some successful/wealthy having to pretend and live the life of someone not so financially blessed), it’s one of my absolute guilty pleasures, so obviously, this book was just what the doctor ordered. Well, there is an over privileged aristocrat Stephen, who has someone after him with the clear motive to send him to the other world. After one nasty close call, he ends up at the dedicated care of Hayley, the sole caretaker of her three siblings and every other staff member, with the latter acting and needing more guidance then the actual children. Of course, the foreign environment brings about changes in various forms for everyone involved, including attraction and love between the cold hero and independent heroine, with the latter naturally not knowing who the hero is in reality. But with hidden identity comes confrontation, and as usual, it tends not to go smoothly when the one in disguise is unveiled.

The family oriented take on the romance, the focus not only being on the couple and the home-sweet-home like environment with all the quirky family and misfits was refreshing and heartwarming. The main couple was still in center stage, but no one was neglected, thus every single character had a distinct personality and traits that made them unusual and likable. All that was brought out by everyone’s interaction with the hero, who through the various people comes to know himself more, what he lacks and what he desires, and as a side effect comes to appreciate and care for all the people that have this influence on him. It was pleasing to see the change, but I was also glad it wasn’t abrupt, the changes were subtle and took time, he was still a jaded douche, but less so with every good deed.

I also liked the mystery in the book even though it wasn’t very prominent. It was fun to guess who was after Stephen and I admit that I was surprised by the revelations. Hayley’s occupation was also an intriguing surprise.

The biggest flaws in the book were at times the hero and heroine for two entirely different aspects: the heroine was too nice and forgiving, the hero too bitter and mean. It’s not to mean that I didn’t enjoy reading about them and didn’t find them ideal for one another, but it was sometimes frustrating due to the choices they made, how they acted and what they said.

Characters:

Hayley – She was very admirable, generous and kind, but I feel she should have shown a more tougher and demanding side of her more often, with her complete household and with Stephen. Overall, I liked her, but she was too saintly at times and more heroic than the hero with all the saves she managed.

Stephen – As with Hayley, I mostly liked him, but he absolutely knew how to act like a complete jerk on too many occasions. His specialty was to decide one thing and a second later act the opposite. Nevertheless, it wasn’t really his interactions with Hayley that made me like him, but all the scenes between him and various individuals of the Albright household – sweet, humorous and caring.

Overall:

While the main characters have to be top notch for me to enjoy a story, it wasn’t entirely the case her. I liked the main couple, but they weren’t by far the strongest point. Still, I thought this book was charming, heartwarming, cute, but a bit frustrating. In general, I liked it a lot!

4 stars!

LIIS

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review: Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Hi all!

Again, I haven't reviewed anything for a long time!




Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon 
Title: Invincible 
Series: Chronicles of Nick #2 
Release date: 22nd of March 2011 
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal 
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin 
Pages: 318 pages in Kindle e-book format 
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle 

Summary:

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them...

Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by the first book and the rollercoaster ride of supernatural fun, billions of diverse characters involved, whacky and smart mouth humor continued in this second installment.

The book takes off exactly where the first left off and with reading them quite close to one another it feels like one big story. This fact also left me feeling particularly sorry for Nick who didn’t have time to cool down before he is thrown into another madness and mayhem case with new supernatural mysteries to solve and powers he has to master, and all that in a ridiculously short timeframe.

This is an energetic book, and it shows in everything it does: jumps from one place/event/scene to another (smoothly and logically), no pointless descriptions or whining, dialogue is snappy, sharp and sarcastic to the last letter, there are multitudes of subplots/hidden agendas/ to keep the reader busy and guessing, the pace is relentless and there are no “pauses” so there is no opportunity to put the book down, the endless array of questions I want answers to and because of which I keep on diligently reading and reading, even at the end I just feel that this was just one chapter finishing not an actual book – there is just so much steam left, etc.

Some aspects that were lacking:

I’m sorry, but please don’t let Nekoda be Nick’s ultimate HEA, yes, she’s kickass and nice and pretty and brave, etc, but she’s so incredibly boring and she manages to make Nick dull as well when they are together. It’s just cringingly awkward and feels like trying to fit a square in a triangle. Unless something profound changes in their couple chemistry, I don’t want to read about them being yawn-worthy together.

It took a while for me to understand what the main plotline in this story was, there was at times so much going on and so many characters thrown at me that I didn’t know where I should place my attention the most. Also, when the main line made itself prominent, it was already well into the story so I wasn’t as invested in it as I hoped to be.

Despite my whining, I repeat that this book, as well the series, is just pure mindless excitement, fun and craziness. Honestly, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have and sincerely hope the goodness lasts (there are too many books still in this series to come out!).

Characters:

Nick – he’s colorful, wacky, reckless and I think he rocks. I’m not really that wild about his future self and the version of him in the later Dark-Hunter books, but the Nick in this universe I can’t get enough of. And if it isn’t too much to ask, I hope gets at least a small break soon, because he needs to relax with the pace everything is moving.

I have to rant a little about Nick’s mother: wow, I can’t understand how she is seen as this flawless angel, when she does everything in her power to make Nick feel even more self-conscious and pathetic, for example, are there really no decent looking clothes except for Hawaiian shirts in Goodwill, Nick receives absolutely no trust from her, she accepts almost nothing that others give even if it would be a huge help for them both, etc. Oh, she just tires my patience and I don’t know how Nick can tolerate everything she does.

Overall:

A more than worthy sequel to a great first book which has kept everything that was awesome and upped its game in this one.


4 stars!

LIIS


Friday, November 1, 2013

Review of Spirits of Christmas by Nicky Wells!

Happy Friday!

I am glad to post a review of Spirits of Christmas, written by an author friend Nicky Wells!

Here is the review.


Author: Nicky Wells
Title: Spirits of Christmas: A Rock'n'Roll Christmas Carol
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publishing date: 3rd of October
Genre: Adult: Novella, Christmas, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 90 pages
Source: From the author in exchange for an honest review.


Spirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol

At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction.

Unwitting at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.

Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas?

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.



 

My review:

I loved this novella!
It is adopted of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, a story which I adore and I think Nicky's adoption is very good. It is well-written, cute and positive - just like a good Christmas story should be.

Jude used to be a rock star loved by everyone. Now he has hit the bottom and lost everything: his girlfriend, his voice, his band and last, but not least, his self respect and self esteem. During the night of the worst day of his life he gets a second chance. He is visited by three Christmas spirits who show him the light. I think the three spirits of Christmas were interesting: Past, Present and Future. I could actually recognize which dead rock stars they were. It took me a while, but it was worth guessing who they are!

Jude gets a possibility to see himself sideways and the truth is scary and unpleasant to watch. But he does get a second chance and it is up to Jude either fix it or move on.

Spirits of Christmas is a quick, fast spaced novella which is very suitable reading for holidays!


5 Flowers!
5 stars.

Thanks goes to Nicky wells for providing me with the review copy!
 

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

 


Hi! I’m Nicky Wells, your ultimate rock chick author. My books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity ~ rock, pop, movie or other ~ you’ll connect with my heroes and my leading ladies!

 

Like my first leading lady, Sophie, I love listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When I’m not writing, I’m a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

 


 


 

 

EXCERPT

 

‘Hiya, Jude!’

The voice emerged from the door, and Jude’s head whipped round as if drawn by a string.

‘Hiya, Jude,’ the voice repeated cheerfully. Unexpectedly, it launched into the first line of one of Jude’s most favourite songs. Jude once again sank onto the bed, his legs refusing to carry him with the shock of this second apparition.

‘Is this really you?’

For a moment, Jude’s second otherworldly visitor abandoned his song and remained silent, motionless, allowing Jude to take a good, long look. The sideburns, the nose, the defined chin, the round glasses were clearly visible despite the spirit’s transparent appearance. Everything about this figure was familiar, yet nothing was quite as it should have been. It was as though Jude was looking at a hologram, a distorted, stretched vision where nothing quite fitted together.

Nonetheless, Jude found his voice. ‘Oh my God, it is you!’

Excitement made his exclamation strong and clear. The figure flinched at the sudden burst of noise, but Jude ploughed on. ‘This is…this is totally unreal. I mean, imagine this—here’s me in my bedroom, and there’s you, come to visit me.’

‘I’m not who you think you see,’ the apparition interrupted. ‘I’m the Ghost of Christmas Past.’

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Sales links:

Happy reading!

 
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