April 23, 2009

The Bride Price by Anne Mallory

Bride Price
A bunch of self important titled old men, decide to get together and create a 'tournament' of manly skills (with the contestants being third and fourth sons of titled men and bastard sons as well), and the winner gets lots of money, sponsorship to access the highest levels of society, a estate, a newly created viscountcy and a well-born bride Lady Sarah -and, since Lady Sarah is rather shy and no one really thinks of her as a prize, the rest of the prizes are the before mentioned "Bride Price".

Sebastien Deville one of the me who is competing - he's the bastard son of one of the before mentioned self-important titled old men - doesn't much care for most of the prizes except for the property they are offering: it once belonged to his mother's family and is the only home he has ever known.

On the other hand there is Caroline Martin, a poor relation of Lady Sarah, who loves the younger girl and is determined to protect her from a disastrous marriage (just like the one she had). So, even though she was ordered by Sarah's father to facilitate the contest, Caroline secretly sabotages as much as she can.

However, when Caroline meets Sebastien they are drawn together and, well, sparks fly.

Last year I heard a lot about The Bride Price and everyone seemed to love it, and I'm kind of iffy about books everyone likes because sometimes I don't and I feel weird about it, so it usually takes me a while to read the books everyone is talking about - like with the Prince Trilogy by Elizabeth Hoyt or The Black Dagger Brotherhood books by J.R. War (both of which I LOVED) or Delicious by Sherry Thomas (which I didn't like) - but I got to say that this book I did like.

Both Caroline and Sebastien have been hurt in their lives, and have made mistakes but by the time the meet they are both mature and act their own age. And Sebastien does the most romantic little things, which I adored.



April 20, 2009

Blueberry Hill by Marcia Evanick

Jocelyn Fletcher is beautiful, blond and has a job as an assistant district attorney, now, she loves being a lawyer but she has seen one criminal too many walk free because of silly technicalities and suddenly she doesn't like being and ADA anymore. So, in an effort to find some new direction to her life, she asks her older sisters Gwen and Sydney to help her find a job -preferably away from the law - and moves temporarily to their town: Misty Harbor, Maine.

Quinn Larson is the law in Misty Harbor - literally, he's the sheriff - even though at home his three children seem to be the ones running the show. Ever since his ex-wife died a few weeks back, Quinn has been looking for a live-in nanny/housekeeper to help him with his kids (a boy and twin girls) without much success; so, when Jocelyn shows up for an interview, he gives her the job, even though he isn't sure inviting such an attractive woman (who also has no experience taking care of kids but seems otherwise responsible and sane) to live with him.

So begins this Blueberry Hill, which, being my first Marcia Evanick book surprised me with how much I liked it - I have no idea how it fares in comparison to her other books but I intend to find out.

Quinn is a good guy, a caretaker who puts everyone he cares about and their needs before himself and his own needs, who loves his job - save for the tons of paperwork and the fact that he's on call 24/7 - and his family, and he eventually falls in love with Jocelyn. Jocelyn also falls in love with Quinn, with his goodness and, why not mention it, his hot bod, but the falling in love is slow and gradual. They sure are attracted to each other from the start but know that with kids running around, attraction isn't enough. They act like two mature people their own age and that was greatly appreciated.

Another high note of the book is the children, especially the girls, Issy and Tory, who act their own age too and each has his/her own definite personality. Oh, and there is a dog (books are always better when dogs are around in my opinion).

There is also a secondary plot revolving around Quinn's sister Phoebe and her high school sweetheart which was also a nice addition to the plot without overpowering the main storyline.

Over all, Blueberry Hill left me wanting to read more about Misty Harbor, lucky for me I found out that Jocelyn's two sisters have their own books so it won't be the last time I visit the harbor.




April 17, 2009

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

UnvelievableUnbelievable is the fourth book of the Pretty Little Liars Series and it picks up right after the end of Perfect (book 3). Since PLL is not really something one can read out of order, I'm going to assume y'all already know what's going on.

As the book opens, Hanna is in the hospital after being hit by an SUV once she discovers who the mysterious 'A' is. Emily has been shipped off to Iowa to her super strict and conservative aunt and uncle - and devious cousins - to separate her from Maya, her sort of girlfriend. Spencer's memories of the night Ali went missing keep torturing her because she doesn't fully remember what exactly happened that night other than she and Ali got into an argument. And, finally, Aria's life is turning more and more complicated now that her boyfriend and teacher Ezra dumps her after they are caught by the police (her being a minor and he her teacher and all), she has to move in with her father Byron and his girlfriend Meredith and because she's begining to suspect someone in her former inner circle might be Ali's murderer.

A is getting closer to the girls, close enough to do some real damage instead of just spilling out their secrets. Obviously, I can't say how things develope but, by the end of Unbelievable, you know who 'A' was and there is a bunch of other things you're still wondering about.

In this book in particular, there are no new secrets and that was a bit of a let down, because it felt a bit like same old, same old to me though you do find out some new stuff but, at the same time it's not enough to give Unbelievable a sense of 'uniqueness' so to speak.

Characters and plot are still strong enough, though, so I'm going to go ahead and read Wicked (book 5) soon.


April 15, 2009

Book Gossip (#7)

Book Gossip #7

Cover time again. Found the cover for The Van Alen Legacy at Melissa de la Cruz's site and by the looks of it I think Schuyler, Jack, Mimi & Co. will be heading off to Paris.

Van Alen

I have to say that I like the cover job they are doing with these books, all the covers are different but they all fit together nicely.

Blue BloodsMasqueradeRevelationsVan Alen lil

Still no official Pub date for The Van Alen Legacy thought Amazon is dating it for October 6, 2009


April 13, 2009

Book Gossip (#6)

Book Gossip # 6

Okay, so it might not be entirely gossipy, but I just found out today and I'm so happy I can't help myself. I gotta blog.

As you well know, I'm a HUGE fan of Willa Havisham a.k.a. The Wedding Planner's Daughter and I just found out that there is anew Willa book coming out this summer, in little less than a month: Forget me Not: From the Life of Willa Havisham. I believe this is targeted to an audience slightly older than the first three Willa Books, but I'm sure it's going to be awesome just the same.

Forget me not

From Amazon:
Willa returns in this new adventure for the tween set! It is summer on Cape Cod, where Willa Havisham and Joey Kennelly are enjoying their status as most compatible couple. What does the summer hold? New friends, more books, lazy afternoons, and of course Willa will be busy planning more weddings with her mother, Stella Havisham, the Cape's most famous wedding planner to date!

Can't wait! I will be released on May 1st.

Ps. Loving the Cover! I hope there is an actual dog in the book :) most books are better with dogs - or pets in general - in them. At least in my humble opinion.


April 9, 2009

Book Gossip (#5)

Book Gossip #5

Cover time again!!


A friend told me the cover had been revealed and I went looking for it, found it at the Harper & Collins Catalog page.

Have to admit I do love these Luxe Series covers! And I can't wait for Splendor - which will be released late October


April 5, 2009

This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Molly Somerville - a mildly successful children book author, creator of Daphne the Bunny and her friends, particularly Benny the Badger) had a long time and fruitless crush on Kevin Tucker, the star quarterback of her sister Phoebe's football team the Chicago Stars, but on a day when she was feeling restless, had just died her hair fire-engine red and Kevin nearly ran her over with his shinny red Ferrari, Molly swore out of her silly crush; only to have her restlessness carry her out to her sister's vacation home where Kevin happens to be, cooling off after Dan Calebow (Phoebe's husband and the team's president) slapped him with a ten-thousand dollar fine for reckless behavior.

After an ill-fated one night stand, Molly finds herself pregnant with Kevin's baby and so happy, feeling she finally has what she always wished for: a family of her own. Only that Kevin doesn't fit in anyway in the little family Molly's imagining, she even deliberately tells him she's not pregnant. But then, Dan and Phoebe - who in many ways are the only parents Molly has ever known - find not only that Molly's pregnant but also that Kevin is the father and they are none too happy about it.

Kevin sees Molly as an spoiled, slightly reckless football heiress - she's not -and has many commitment issues but he's also a PK (preacher's kid) and has a deep rooted set of conservative values that make him marry Molly even though that's the last thing he wants to do.

Only that, after their marriage, Molly miscarriages and slowly slides into depression - she lost her baby, her family, and her work is being questioned by an extremist anti-gay group - which eventually forces Kevin to do something about it -they are still married, after all.

Their journey, physically to a campground and B&B in northern Michigan - which Kevin inherited recently and where he spend many a summer as a kid - and emotionally - for Molly to come to terms with what she lost, her work and the family she does have; and for Kevin to take a look at his past as a PK and confront his only living blood-relative with whom he isn't close at all and his commitment issues - makes for my favorite Chicago Stars book so far.

I even give it Personal Favorite statues because of the best Epilogue I've read in years.

starstarstarstar1/2Personal Favorite

April 3, 2009

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Ella Varner thinks she has the perfect life: she has a job she's good at as an advice columnist for a magazine, a nice vegetarian boyfriend and she's far away from her troublesome mother and kind of screwed up sister Tara - both of them live in Houston while Ella lives in Austin - however, on a random night Ella gets a call from her mother, telling her to come to Houston right away to take Luke, her sister Tara's newborn baby boy whom Tara left at their mother's house before disappearing (she ends up going to rehab).

Since her boyfriend Dane doesn't want anything to do with kids, not even on a temporary basis, Ella sets off by herself to Houston where, upon meeting Luke and having her heart stolen by him, Ella decides to stay for a while and find Luke's father so she can get some security for her nephew. The prime suspect in the "Who's the Daddy?" game is Jack Travis, a wealthy man who dated Tara around the time Luke was conceived.

The Travis family is quite powerful in Houston, but Ella still manages to meet with him and demand a paternity test, to which Jack agrees even though he's 100% sure Luke isn't his. Still, he's drawn to Ella and helps her find a place to say - first at a hotel and then at a Travis' owned apartment in the same building where he lives - and helps her take care of Luke (SPOILER, If this is a deal breaker for you, no the he isn't Luke's father SPOILER).

The book is good, Ella is likable and smart and has plenty of reasons why she is the way she is; yet her relationship with Luke is adorable and sweet. Jack has many traits of a macho-man but he's also a very caring individual, and he likes to fix things - sometimes he can be a bit overbearing but he means well and he's smart enough to recognize Ella can take care of herself even if he wants to take care of her.

I felt Ella and Jack's relationship was nicely developed. And I was also very glad to see characters like Liberty and Gage, and Hardy and Heaven, they are there but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they didn't over power the book with their presence, instead it just felt like visiting with old friends - in a frame that worked for the story.

In the end, I think that people would like or dislike this book according to how they feel about certain plot points (like the secret baby plot and Jack's alphaness and Ella's problems), personally, I liked it.


April 1, 2009

Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

DreamAfter losing his wife and son two years ago, Gabriel Bonner isn't quite ready to re-join the living, but he keeps trying to pretend he is mostly to sooth his parents and brothers; so he takes up the project of re-opening The Pride of Carolina, a drive-in cinema in his hometown of Salvation, North Carolina, even though he really is a vet and he doesn't even care that much about the drive in.

Rachel Stone is tied to a painful scandal in Salvation's recent history, namely that of the T.V. evangelist G. Dwayne Snopes who died trying to escape the police after he had stolen several million dollars from the people who believed in him. Rachel was his wife, and the person G. Dwayne Snopes tried to blame for all the wrong he did (before he died he made several declarations saying his greedy wife had lead him to steal and stuff like that). So, naturally, everyone in Salvation hates Rachel, yet she's forced to return there after her life hits a dead end - as in she has no job, no place to live and she has a son she adores and whom she has to take care of -and she thinks there might be some answers for her in Salvation.

Luckily - or perhaps not so - the first person she runs into upon arriving to town is Gabriel, who doesn't even recognize her but who also doesn't want anything to do with her or her kid (like I said before, he's still pretty deep into his grief). But, eventually, he does offer her a job and finds her a place to stay because, even if he's bitter and has a dead wish a mile long, he's a good man deep down.

There were many things I liked about this book, I liked how it went slow, exploring both Rachel and Gabriel and why they came to be the way they are. I liked how Gabriel's return from the dead was slow and gradual, how he didn't magically fall in love with Rachel's son, Edward, in fact, for a good part of the book, Gabriel doesn't even like him - and he doesn't try to replace his son with Edward - and the feeling was pretty mutual. But, for me, the character I liked the most was Rachel, life was tough on her but she didn't became a bitter person, and there is no false pride about her; she does what she must to survive and keep her son with her the best she can.

There is also a nice secondary romance involving Gabriel's youngest brother Ethan and another character (whom I really liked too) as well as a visit from Grabriel's older brother Cal and his wife Jane (from Nobody's Baby But Mine).