June 20, 2015

Okay so...it's time to say Goodbye

This is not a decision I took lightly, I have been thinking about it for about a year, torn between wanting to continue and the realization that I just don't enjoy blogging anymore. 

So I decided to stop. 

I've blogged for the better part of my twenties (now I'm 31), and I'm really glad I did. I'm thankful for all my wonderful bloggy friends like Sandy, Aylee and Daisy, and the people who have been kind enough to comment over the years.
Thank you so much. 

Honestly, this is the thing I've stuck to for the longest time. 

But it's time to move on. 

I want to get back to writing - which got every harder the longer I blogged - and just enjoy being a fangirl and ship all the ships without having to worry about churning out content and feeling guilty because I'm not reading my review books (sorry for the books I didn't get a chance to get to, by the way).

I'll still be around at @DarthClavie and in my Tumblr (which is my new obsession) where you can find me being a Girl Meets World fangirl (Lucaya Forevahhhh!!! ) and re-blogging everything the amazing Sandy-belle posts. 

So... see you around, and once more THANK YOU for being awesome all this time

June 19, 2015

Book Review: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

Summary (GoodReads)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding—but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone— =especially herself—that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?

My Thoughts:
It's no secret that I love Meg Cabot's books, I've read them pretty much all, even the older historicals she wrote under other names. And I actually really enjoyed where Forever Princess (Princess Diaries 10) ended - it was, I think, one of the best endings to a series I've seen.

So it wasn't without trepidation that I approached Royal Wedding, and I have to confess that it took me a couple of tries before I could really get into it and read it through - though that might be in part because I was stressed at work - in any case, I did finish it the other day and it was a lot of fun.

First, there was something both familiar and strange in Mia's voice, she's a lot calmer than she used to be as a teen but she still has a tendency to freak out (though her freak outs don't last as long and she's a lot more assertive). Michael was adorable, and I like that they are still together and going strong even though they both acknowledge that they don't get to see each other as much as they'd like (and then they take steps to remedy that).

Lily as a lawyer and Tina as a doctor totally made sense to me, I liked seeing where Mia's old pals were and that at least these two (Tina will forever be my favorite) were a big part of the story. I didn't enjoy the subplot with Boris, though, that needed resolution.

Another thing, I liked seeing Mia's perspective about her sister, Olivia. I really loved that relationship - and I really recommend the companion book "From the Notebooks of a middle-school princess" because Olivia is adorable, though it is a bit of a set-up book - and how she embraced her. That's 100% Mia.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, it was like meeting an old friend I hadn't spoken to in ages, it was fun to see what had changed and what hadn't.

I do recommend it, specially for long time fans.

June 7, 2015

Book Review: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Summary (author's website)
YOU’VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancĂ©…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book, I'll start by saying that. It was such a comforting read even though Lou was going through some stressful things, the Coincidence of Coconut Cake was full of warmth and sweetness and just positive things.

I loved how much Lou loved her job and that she was good at it. And how she loved food in all it's many expressions - I loved all the festivals she went to with Al. This is definitely not a book to read when you are hungry or have no access to food immediately because the food it describes is amazing.

I liked Al once I got to know him, he was very stand offish and a bit of a snob at the beginning, but being around Lou definitely chilled him out - while he remained essentially the same, just enjoying himself more. His friendship with the style editor - whose name just flew out of my head -was awesome. He was one of my favorite secondary characters. 

There is a lot of hart in the story, and I think that falls mostly in the Lou side of the equation, but she pulled it off. She is an optimist and real at the same time, and in the end she just wanted to do her own thing with her food, which I respected. 

I would have liked a longer conclusion - I'm big about seeing the characters happy once I stuck to them for n-number of pages - but it was a lovely conclusion anyway. 

I highly recommend this book, is one of the sweetest offerings of the year so far. 

starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite 

May 11, 2015

Book Review: The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

Summary (courtneymilan.com)
An idealistic suffragette...
Miss Frederica "Free" Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women's rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope...but she needs more rope, and she needs it now.

...a jaded scoundrel...
Edward Clark's aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She's only a pawn to use in his revenge.

...and a scandal seven years in the making.
But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it's too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past...and once the woman he loves realizes how much he's lied to her, he'll lose her forever.

My Thoughts:
I have been up and down with the Brothers Sinister series, I have to admit. I loved the prequel novella, but didn't enjoy the Duchess Wars, Heiress grew on me, and I really did love The Countess Conspiracy. 

So I knew I had to read The Suffragette Scandal, if only to finish the series, sadly this one falls into the "I didn't like it/meh!" category for me. It's nothing specific really, other that I just didn't connect with Free, I wanted to, she sounded great but I just didn't have a bond with her (the way I did have a bond with Violet, and perhaps that's why I'm judging this book a little harsh). 

I did like the hero, Edward Clark, and I could empathize  with him a lot, but he was only one half of the story and not enough to carry it all way way through in the end. But really, I think it just comes to personality types this time around, I really don't enjoy people and characters with Free's personality so this book wasn't for me, still it was well written and well researched and it has its moments of being as good as any other Courtney Milan book (which is very good!). 

And it was nice to catch up with older characters from previous books. 

May 9, 2015

Book Review: Batgirl Vol. Burnside 1 by Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr

Summary (GoodReads):

Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes, so when a fire destroys everything she owns, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! 

Following the rest of Gotham City’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers new threats preying on her peers! As the new hero of Burnside, Batgirl gets started by facing twin sister assassins on motorcycles! Collects BATGIRL #35-40.

My Thoughts:

I'm a little conflicted about Batgirl of Burnside, which compiles 7 chapters of the Batgirl comic. I know it's supposed to be a bit of a reboot as part of the New 52 event and all, but I felt like I was missing something, like there was stuff I was supposed to know and I didn't. 

That said, I still could understand pretty well what was going on int he story, and what Barbara Gordon was doing, and how she was moving on with her life after an accident, but I felt like I had almost no clue on what people's relationships to each other were. 

Still the book was interesting, the artwork was cute -  even if there were a few too many shots of Barbara in her underwear for me - and there were lots of things that I really liked, like her new Batgirl costume - I WANT her letter jacket - and my favorite panels were actually the ones where she was hanging out with her friends, though I admit they got a bit crowded sometimes. 

All in all, though, I kind of want to keep reading this story, make sense of it more as it were, because, like I said, very cute  artwork and a really modern approach to the character. 

May 4, 2015

Book Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

Summary (sarinabowen.com)

She's hiding something big. He's hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror. 

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

My Thoughts:
I officially LOVE the Ivy Years Series and this book!!

First let me paint you a picture: I was busy! I had a ton of work, papers to grade and a tight deadline but I was suffering from a bit of burnout so I decided to pick up this book... and it worked like a charm soothing my fried brain. 

I love the style of writing that Sarina Bowen has, she just pulls me right into her stories. 

Other than that? Well, I already knew and liked Bridger from The Year We Fell Down and I was happy to get to know him better this time around, get inside to see what his deal was. He was an excellent brother for his sister Lucy and worked so hard to keep things looking like normal. 

It even made sense, the secrets he kept and why - I'm usually frustrated when people don't ask for help when they need it, but in his case, it made sense and it was for a rather unselfish reason, even if it complicated things a lot.

As for Scarlet, her story was heavy and scary and I thought she was pretty brave, even when she didn't react the way I wanted her to. She was pretty clear on rights and wrongs, but wasn't above stepping on grey areas.

Plus, I really liked Bridger and Scarlet together and how they interact and build a relationship even with the little time they have to spend together due to the secrets each keeps.

All in all, I think I liked The Year We Hid Away even more than The Year We Fell Down and I liked that one a lot.
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite 

May 2, 2015

Book Review: His First and Last by Terri Osburn

Summary (GoodReads)

At eighteen, Lorelei Pratchett couldn’t wait to get out of her hometown. Twelve years later, her Hollywood dreams have fizzled and she’s back—temporarily, she thinks. Though she throws herself into saving the old theater and starting a baking business, small towns have long memories, and Lorelei’s wild past still haunts her. It doesn’t help that her ex-boyfriend, Spencer Boyd, is even hotter, smarter, and more distracting than before.

The fiery Lorelei that Spencer knew years ago may have become closed off and cautious, but their chemistry hasn’t faded one bit. Losing her a second time is unthinkable to him, yet Lorelei is convinced she doesn’t belong in Ardent Springs. Somehow, Spencer needs to show her that everything she needs is right here: family, friendship, new beginnings…and a man who’s never stopped loving her.

Warm, sexy, and laugh-out-loud funny, His First and Last is an irresistible story of first love and second chances

My Thoughts:
All in all, I liked His First and Last, even though it was a bit of a shift to move from Anchor Island to Ardent Springs and start over with this series. But by now I trust Terri Osburn enough to just run with it.

The story does start a little slow as we establish whom Lorelei and Spencer are and whats their story, and then it starts to build in layers. But the author keeps Lorelei and Spencer in the center and actually takes the time to explain why Lorelei hates the town so much and kind of why Spencer loves it. That was very interesting.

I got distracted with the setting up of the town, though, it didn't always feel organic, but all in all I'm growing to like Ardent Springs and I was REALLY intrigued by the next book up! I think I'm going to really like that one.

As for His First and Last, it was a nice read, if a bit slow in places.

May 1, 2015

Book Review: Sinful by Joan Johnston

Summary (GoodReads):

After a tragic accident takes Delta sergeant Connor Flynn's wife, he faces the toughest fight of his life-battling his in-laws for custody of his two young children. He needs a make-believe wife to take care of the kids while he runs his Wyoming ranch. 
Who better than a woman he already knows and likes-his late wife's best friend? 

Forced to live under the same roof, Eve must hide a love that has never died, while Connor fights his growing need for a woman who was forbidden fruit during his marriage. Can two lonely people set adrift by fate and haunted by guilt find redemption in the healing embrace of love?

My Thoughts:

Well, I have mixed feelings about Sinful. I was very intrigued by the premise of the book - I'm a sucker for the 'I've been secretly in love with you my whole life!' thing, though I admit it's rarely done to my satisfaction.- but the execution wasn't what I hoped for.

To start with, apparently this book, while it's the first in the King's Brats series, it also belongs to a bigger universe called Bitter Creek; and from the start I felt like I was missing something. Like there was info I needed but didn't have.

The prologue felt more like a cold open... only that it didn't have much to do with the actual story, it reeked of set up, but I wasn't sure for what. We were constantly teased with family secrets and feuds, but there was absolutely no pay off, just more set up.

Also, there were a lot of things that were made to be a big deal but weren't really, like King kicking his daughters out of the house (with a year of head notice and when they are all grown ups that allegedly already make their own money?) and they act like it's the end of the world because they don't get to live in a ranch where they don't seem to spend a lot of time to begin with... sounds a bit much. 

The actual story about Connor and Eve seemed to take a backseat to the many feuds going around, they had some chemistry and seemed to like each other well enough, but I never really felt like Connor wanted more than a mother to his kids. And they both came off as a little cowardly *SPOILER* they had really been pinning for each other for 20 years, and the whole diary thing? yeah that was Convenient! *END OF SPOILER*

I'm a little curious about all the secrets, sure, but I'm not sure a) the reveals are going to be satisfactory, and b) that they author isn't going to keep setting up for a few more books, so I think I'm going to cut this series loose. 

April 29, 2015

Book Review: The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

Summary (GoodReads)

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

My Thoughts:
All of last year I was hearing pretty amazing things about Sarina Bowwen's books, and I was surprised to find that I had actually been collecting them without noticing - like I snagged a few of them when they went on sale, because apparently that's what I do - but after reading about from Holly and Rowena @Book Binge, I was ready to take the plunge. 

And I was very happy to fall down this rabbit hole, I have to say. 

I like the world of the Ivy Years, and I thought The Year We Fell Down was an excellent way to be introduced to the Harkness College. 

Corey was such a good protagonist, how she mourned her all life yet never came across as wimpy or whiny. She was fully aware of what she had lost though, and felt bad and was embarrassed about some of the exercises she had to do in Physical Therapy, and was so very human. It was easy to root for her and want her to do well. 

Hartley and I had a few ups and downs though, he is dating someone else for most of the story and that complicated things - though I thought Ms Bowen handled that whole situation really well - but he was also very likable, he was there for Corey when she needed him and tried to do the decent thing as often as he could. 

I also loved that both of them had a life apart from hanging together. Corey had her roommate - who was great! - and slowly gets involved in campus life. Hartley had his friends from the hockey team, particularly Bridger and he was so sweet to his mom. Also, Corey and him got a chance to become very good friends: they shared interests and talked about all sorts of things. 

I read The Year We Fell Down all in one sitting and I absolutely loved it. 
starstarstarstar1/2Personal Favorite 

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 No Normal by Wilson and Alphona

Summary (GoodReads)
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! 

When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, New York! 

It's history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (RUNAWAYS)! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5 and material from ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1.

My Thoughts:
I've said often enough that I don't particularly enjoy reading comics, and I'm far more inclined to reading Manga.  And a lot of it had to do with the style, so I was happily surprised to see a change in the art direction of Marvel's with Ms Marvel. And that it was something that I could get behind.

In this newest incarnation, Kamala Khan, a high school student obsessed with superheroes, gets to become her own idol, Ms Marvel, due to some strange happenings hitting her town. She quickly gets in over her head as she learns to navigate her new powers (which are a form of shape-shifting as far as I understand from the first volume No Normal - which compiles the first 5 issues of the series).

I really like Kamala, who struggles to be a good friend and a good daughter, and also live her superhero dreams. I loved the person she confessed her secret identity to, it made so much sense that she would go to that person for help. I really liked her relationship with her friends, it felt very real.

All in all, I'm really excited to keep reading Ms Marvel.

April 22, 2015

Book Review: Magical Animal Adoption Agency - Clover's Luck by Kallie George (Illustrated by Alexandra Bolger)

Summary (Amazon)

The first in a chapter book series starring an unlucky girl named Clover who accepts a volunteer position at a magical animal adoption agency.

My Thoughts:

Clover's Luck was super adorable. Right from the start you feel for her and how much she loves pets even though she can't seem to keep one. 

Actually, the scene at the beginning when she loses her pet-bird is a little heartbreaking because she was taking every precaution not to lose it and then her bad luck struck and she did. 

It was a very interesting balance, actually, between Clover's bad luck, her low expectations for what would happen in her life and the fact that, all in all, she wasn't a pessimist. 

She put her all into the things she did even if she suspected a little that things would go wrong at some point. 

The animals were another big plus for this book, because I loved seeing all the fantastical animals and the troubles they could get Clover into. 

Now this book is definitely for young kids, about elementary I would think, but very adorable and sweet.

April 20, 2015

Excerpt: His First and Last by Terri Osburn

Hello everyone!! It is no secret that I really enjoyed Terri Osburn's Anchor Island Series -which finished last year - and now I'm really excited to get to know the people of Anchor Springs in her new series. 

The first book is called His First and Last and today I bring you an excerpt of it!! :D 


Exclusive Excerpt from His First and Last

“Do you want something to drink?”
“Not unless it’s hot chocolate.” Lorelei shivered again. “This blanket isn’t helping.” Spencer knew one way to warm her up, but he didn’t think she’d be open to his idea. “Get over here,” she said, holding the blanket open for him to crawl in with her. Spencer hesitated, trying to determine if she was setting him up for something. “Come on. I know you’re a damn heater over there. Help a girl out.”
He could help her out all right. Obeying the order, he scooted down the couch and put his arm around her shoulders as Lorelei settled the blanket around them both. “That’s better,” she sighed, cuddling in tight against his side and laying her head on his shoulder. When she dropped a kiss on his neck, Spencer pulled her in tighter. “Lorelei?” “Mm-hmm?” she purred.
Spencer gave the question real thought. There was still a lot of fragile ground between them. She wasn’t offering a lifetime or, for all he knew, anything beyond one night. But when she threw a leg over his lap, his brain function faltered, and the feel of her warm body wrapped around him squelched any ability to protect himself from harm. This had been what he wanted from the moment he’d spotted Lorelei sitting on that airport bench. What he’d dreamed about for years before that.
“Did you come down here to seduce me?” Another kiss, this time on his collarbone. “Would that be a bad thing?” “Should I take your lack of argument as encouragement?” she asked, lifting off the couch and sliding across his lap until she was straddling him between her thighs.
“Yes,” he said, the word coming out as a croak. Spencer cleared his throat. “I highly encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing.”

Book Information

Title: His First and Last
Author: Terri Osburn
Release Date: April 21st! April 21, 2015
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance


At eighteen, Lorelei Pratchett couldn’t wait to get out of her hometown. Twelve years later, her Hollywood dreams have fizzled and she’s back—temporarily, she thinks. Though she throws herself into saving the old theater and starting a baking business, small towns have long memories, and Lorelei’s wild past still haunts her. It doesn’t help that her ex-boyfriend, Spencer Boyd, is even hotter, smarter, and more distracting than before.

The fiery Lorelei that Spencer knew years ago may have become closed off and cautious, but their chemistry hasn’t faded one bit. Losing her a second time is unthinkable to him, yet Lorelei is convinced she doesn’t belong in Ardent Springs. Somehow, Spencer needs to show her that everything she needs is right here: family, friendship, new beginnings…and a man who’s never stopped loving her.

Warm, sexy, and laugh-out-loud funny, His First and Last is an irresistible story of first love and second chances.

Author Biography

Although born in the Ohio Valley, Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Terri Osburn found her true home between the covers of her favorite books. Classics like The Wizard of Oz and Little Women filled her childhood, and the genre of romance beckoned during her teen years. While Osburn went on to gain a degree in business administration, she couldn’t shelve her love of love stories. In 2007, she put pen to paper to write her own. Just five years later, she was named a 2012 finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. The author of the Anchor Island contemporary romance series, Osburn resides in Virginia with her daughter, an assortment of pets, and her bookshelves full of keepers.


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March 30, 2015

Book Review: Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey

Summary (GoodReads)
Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she's left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she's learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she'd be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail's son comes home, Christina's vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.

Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being "that poor man" who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it's time to go home. Only his mother's not alone. She's taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.

As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.

My Thoughts: 
It was a lot of fun to jump into this holiday novella - which I should have read way before now but since the weather is keeping pretty chill, I think I'm still in time... sort of - and to met Christina and her son and the new home they made for themselves in this new town. 

I loved that, while this was a small-town novella, the town never overpowered the story, it stays small, focused mostly on Will and Christina and how their relationship progresses once he returns to town to keep an eye on his mom, who has befriended Christina and her son. 

Both Will and his mother Gail were excellent friends first, before their relationship got complicated. I liked how encouraging was Gail of this new relationship, even when Will was reluctant because of his past and the people he had lost. He wasn't closed up to love though, which was nice. 

All in all, it was a sweet novella for any time of the year!!!

Book Review: The Courage of Cat Campbell by Natasha Lowe

Summary (GoodReads)

Cat Campbell is a late-blooming witch whose magical abilities are bursting to be mastered in this charming coming-of-age story set in the world of The Power of Poppy Pendle.

Cat Campbell has had magical powers since the day she was born, but she didn’t always know that. Cat’s mother believes magic ruins lives, and even as Cat’s passion for magic grows over the years, no one suspects she has the gift. But she has indeed inherited the coveted magic gene of her famed great-great-grandmother Mabel, a discovery she makes in a most surprising way. Cat is a witch! 

And when she comes across a book called The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic, she finds the encouragement she needs and spells that work. Then the town of Potts Bottom is threatened by a notoriously feared witch, and Cat has the chance to help her family and town—and to prove herself in the process. Because, as The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic proclaims, “believing in your magic and yourself is half the battle.”

My Thoughts:

The Courage of Cat Campbell was adorable. Cat herself was such an endearing heroine, she loves magic and loves being a witch, even if her own mother is kind of against it, since she, Poppy, believes magic runs life and she much rather Cat became a baker like herself. 

Like I said, sweet story. Cat was so very likable, and for me she was the thing that worked the best in the story. The rest, well... I didn't know this was sequel until I had started and I felt like the author often fell back on explaining things that happened in the previous book (Cat's Mom story) and spoiled things a bit. 

And at times the writing was a little unfocused, and at such time the book was easy to put down. 

But I was glad to have read the book and make it to the end. I liked the style over all and I enjoyed the town a lot, it seemed like another character. 

March 10, 2015

Book Review: Losing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux (Book Tour)

Courtney and Josh are in love and excited to finally compete as skating partners. When they take the ice for their first competition, they want to show everyone, especially Josh's family, they are the perfect pair. 

But ice is slippery, and one misstep puts all their dreams in jeopardy. Now they must show each other both their love and their partnership are strong enough to survive.

My Thoughts
I always have so much fun when I revisit this world Jennifer has created. In Losing the Ice, Courtney and Josh are getting ready for their first competition and I thought she did such a good job of capturing how nervous and excited they were and how big a step was for them to start skating together after having had different partners most of their lives. 

I liked that and that the author didn't gloss over how hard it for Court and Josh to adapt to each other, and how their love and trust was shaken with the accident - not because it wasn't there but because it was a difficult time and their relationship (on and off the ice) new in many ways. 

Also liked seeing Josh's sister again and see her develop as a character a bit more. She might not be happy with all of Josh choices, but she wants him to be happy and she proves that. 

All in all I thought it was a good transition between the previous book and what comes next. And it was also fun to catch up with Sergei, Em and their family. I really love that Liza and Courtney are friends and that they support each other, even if Liza wasn't in this book all that much. The twins were super adorbs as usual. 

Favorite Quotes (our of order to avoid spoilers):
He smiled and wrapped one arm around me. “This day is my favorite everything.”

“If you weren’t strong, you wouldn’t be here right now, about to compete two months after a terrifying injury. A lot of people wouldn’t come back from that.” I turned his face toward me. “I believe in you, and I believe in us.”
He gazed at me a long minute. “I just want to be the partner you deserve. The man you deserve.”

“This don’t look like Mommy’s mac and cheese,” she said. That’s because Mommy is a gourmet cook who makes the pasta from scratch and grates the cheese herself. 
“It’s different, but it’s still yummy,” I said. 
She wrinkled her nose and peered closer at the bowl. “Why it orange?”

This review is part of the Losing the Ice Tour

About the Author
Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a die-hard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. 

One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. Jennifer loves to hear from readers!

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March 8, 2015

Book Review: Wicked My Love by Susanna Ives

Summary (GoodReads)
A smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius...

Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn't get along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant but hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she was his childhood nemesis, he's tried—and failed—to get the better of her.

Make a perfectly wicked combination...

When both Randall's political career and their mutual bank interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he needs Isabella's help. They set off on a madcap scheme to set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what could possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction that's catching them completely off guard... 

My Thoughts: 
I really liked the idea of Wicked, My Love. The fact that Isabella was a math genius and basically ran the bank herself while Randall was off doing his political stuff, it sounded like a lot of fun. And I appreciated that she actually wanted to talk about stocks and financial stuff all the time. But... the rest of the story fell a little flat. 

I never liked Randall all that much, plus it didn't make much sense to me that he was always slipping into this other persona of "Randy" whenever he and Isabella had to be 'undercover'. Randy was very, very crass, not the kind of person a proper and snobbish politician would assume. Or at least, it didn't fell organic to me. 

Isabella was starry eyed to the point of being foolish, but she was likable most of the time otherwise; and I did feel for her and how insecure she felt because she never managed to please her father. But I didn't believe her with Randall, didn't believe they were meant to be and that's kind of essential as this was a romance. 

Also, the names the author gave the different places Randall and Isabella visited? I think she was trying to be clever with her world play but it sounded kind of ridiculous. 

March 1, 2015

Book Review: What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara

Summary (GoodReads)
Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. 

Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one. 

Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. 

Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.

My Thoughts:
Similarly than with What a Lady Craves, What a Lady Demands left me a little cold because once again we are dealing with flimsy reasoning and an unlikable hero. Cecelia is not prepared, at all, to be a governess, but she run off from her brother to do just that - all because of a scandal they take forever to explain and that doesn't make much sense - and though she's nice to the kid and the kid likes her, she still is very unorthodox and it makes no sense that Lind would have hired her. 

Lind is full of resentments and guilt and he takes them out on the kid, that he is out for vengeance is understandable, but he never stops to see that he has gone so far that he's hurting his son who really just wants his father's approval. 

So, again, not someone that was easy to like. And his actions didn't make much sense, he was very hot and cold with everyone around him and I don't like that in a romance hero. I did find it a little more interesting than the previous book, which is something.

But, still, not something I would like to revisit soon. 

February 28, 2015

Book Review: What A Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara

Summary (GoodReads)
Henrietta Upperton is about to marry Alexander Sanford when he rushes off to India to salvage his family’s fortune. Then comes the devastating news that he has wed another. Eight agonizing years later, a storm washes Alexander ashore—injured, widowed, and hunted—and one glimpse of his ruggedly handsome face reawakens the desire Henrietta thought she had buried deep inside. Her body still yearns for his touch, but she’s determined not let him wound her again . . . not this time.

For Alexander, honor always comes first. But only now does he realize that when given the choice between two virtuous deeds, he picked the wrong one. On the run with his life in tatters and a pair of daughters in tow, Alexander burns for Henrietta. He knows he does not deserve forgiveness. And yet he longs to wrap his arms around her warm body once again. What’s more, he is sure the lady craves the same

My Thoughts:
I had been looking forward to What a Lady Craves for a while now, I just loved the idea of this second-chance romance but I have to say that the book turned into a bit of a dud.

I liked Henrietta well enough, she was nice and kind and wanted to move on with her life, but also didn't fool herself into thinking she had no feelings left for Alexander. She was nice to his daughters and sought to treat them equally.

But Alexander, well, he just wasn't nice. He favored a daughter over the other (for a reason that becomes clear very quickly but doesn't makes me what he does any good), and his whole reasoning is so flimsy and silly. I mean, the thing that made him break off with Henrietta? I get why he felt compelled to do it, but I thought he choose foolishly what to do and let everyone pay the price, starting with Henrietta herself.

It just seemed like there was not much to the story. And the hero was unlikable, and didn't actually redeem himself in my book.

February 23, 2015

John Green and the Non Apology

I've been pondering what to write about this whole ordeal with the John Green misattributing a quote to himself - for years, mind you - that was actually written by a 14 year old fan.

I wanted to talk about how much plagiarism hurts, how big of a violation it feels like, but when I tried to write that post I was just ranting for about three pages. Hardly conductive to a good exercise in writing. So instead I decided to put my scientific training to use and focus on the facts.

And after reading the multiple accounts and varied opinions on the subject (I recommend reading Bibliodaze's and Cuddlebugery's posts about it), well... there are three things that don't ring quite true. 

Found at reactiongifs.com
1. John Green didn't know he hadn't written the line until recently. 
I don't buy this. How can an author not know what he has written or not? See, I might not be a big, published author but I am a writer and you can bet your ass I remember the stuff I have written.

Particularly the really good stuff that just seems to fit perfectly? yup, those kind of linger with you. I can remember my favorite line or scene of all the stories I've written - about 40 between fanfiction and original stuff - so yeah, I just can't buy that he didn't know.

2. No one noticed before now.
Found at reactiongifs.org
See I'm a fangirl of many fandoms and if fandoms are good at something that is NOTICING STUFF, I can't remember how many times Sarah Dessen has published a book and within hours of publications we had Master Lists of all the easter eggs she dropped for long time fans. 

Libba Bay has commented that continuity errors that escaped her, her copy writer and her editor, have been discovered by fans in a similar fashion. 

So, I don't buy that no one noticed before, I just don't... which ties in with my third point:

3. No one spoke up before, save for the real author and her friend. 
This is really fishy, as I said, fans speak out. In the age of Internet, I can't believe that this went on for close to six years without someone other than the original author of the quote and her close friend speaking out or just looking into it.

Reports said that the author got negative emails about her claiming the quote, so WTF? why no one commented it on a large venue before? Also, she tried to contact DFTBA and John Green several times to no avail!

It seems like John Green's fans were just sweeping it under the rug. 

And, to top it all off, there was never a concrete apology, not a public one which is the type this kind of thing deserves. His video amounts to an Oopsie! like this was something that just happened, not like something that he was actively doing for years. It's not an error of omission, it's negligent. 

And so, my disenchantment with the Nerdfighter community and John Green (of whom I can't say I ever liked 100%) continues.

But that's just me, let me know what you guys think.

Also, thanks to Sandy @ Pirate Penguin Reads for helping me find gifs. All gifs were found with google /bing image search and do not belong to me.

Note: Yup, I'm not liking to John Green's video because I don't think he deserves to get more views out of it, but Cuddlebuggery posted it on their entry, if anyone is interested. 

February 22, 2015

Book Review: Dashing Through the Snow by Paige Rion

Summary (GoodReads):
Wynn Murphy has been in love with Zane Anders since the day she laid eyes on him. But just when she begins to hope their casual relationship might turn into something more, a misunderstanding pushes her away.

At first sight, charming and handsome, ad executive, Zane Anders has been secretly infatuated with bake shop cutie, Wynn Murphy. This Christmas, he's determined to tell her.

Join Wynn and Zane in this delightful holiday novelette as Zane goes dashing through the snow in an effort to capture Wynn's heart.

My Thoughts:
Well, this was delightful short story about two people who were perfect for each other but had to work a bit at getting together - mostly against themselves, because they were being too cautious and too shy. 

Zane was such a decent guy, who so wanted to have a real relationship with Wynn and loved going to visit her bakery (he even ate his least favorite dessert everyday because it was what he had ordered by mistake the first time). 

And Wynn was a nice person, who just wanted to make her cookies and pies and be happy. I loved how close she was to her family and that she loved Christmas.

Like I said, Dashing Through the Snow was a happy little novella, perfect for an hour or two of fun. Fluffy and sweet like the treats Wynn made in her bakery.