February 28, 2010

Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

Shelter MountainShelter Mountain is the second book of the Virgin River Series

For the last few years, John "Preacher" Middleton has helped his friend Jack to run a grill & bar in the little Californian town of Virgin River. One rainy night, John was closing up the bar when a woman came in carrying her son and looking like she could use a break. Usually, John is the type who keeps out of everyone's business but when he realizes that the woman, Paige, is probably running from an abusive relationship, he makes it his personal business to help her.

Paige is indeed running from an abusive husband, her original plan was to run off and assume a different identity, hoping her husband wouldn't find her ever again. But, once in Virgin River and with John's help, she decides to stay and fight, get a divorce and make a home for herself and her son in this out of the way town that has welcomed them both.

So, I really liked John and Paige's story. Paige has her issues and is understandably jumpy and insecure at the beginning but when her feelings toward John begin to emerge, she has gained enough confidence in herself to follow her heart. Chris, her son, was nice without being overwhelming as sometimes kids-in-books can get. And John was such a nice, good guy.

My problem with these books is that it's not only the main story, it's the whole town's saga and you spend only about half the time with the main couple. I'm pro secondary story lines, but they have to be that, secondary, with this book I felt like I wasn't sure whose story was it, John and Paige's or the whole town's (I'm not spoiling secondary plots). And there are just so many characters! It gets confusing after a while because your attention is so divided.


February 24, 2010

Cover Love #2 - Forgive My Fins

Forgive my fins
I bet that by now lots of you have seen the cover for Tera Lynn Childs' upcoming book Forgive My Fins but I just wanted to post it too, I think it's adorable, it has all my favorite colors and I actually want to read this book, too.

Here is the summary:

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Book comes out in June 2010.

Oh, and btw, Tera Lynn Childs has been hosting a Contest of Olympic Proportions - in honor of the Olympic Games - in her site.



Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Virgin RiverNurse Practitioner and midwife Melinda Monroe left L.A. almost a year after the murder of her husband, and E.R. doctor, thinking that she needed a change, to slow down and start anew; and she thought Virgin River, up in the Californian mountains, was just the place to go. But she was not prepared for how different Virgin River would be to L.A.

There is no cell phone, the town is tiny and the house she had been promised is way up in the mountains and resembles a hovel more than the charming cabin she was lead to believe she would get. After just one night she's ready to get out of Virgin River and never come back again, but when a baby is found outside the Doctor's office that same morning, she decides to stay for a little while and help out.

This makes Jack Sheridan, ex-marine and local bar owner, very happy, he just met Mel but he knows she's something special. He came to Virgin River a few years ago and loves the town and it's people and is dead set on making Mel fall in love with the town and with him.

Okay, first off, I did like Virgin River: the story is sweet, the town's people were darling and Jack makes for an amazing hero. But I felt that the book went on for a bit too long, going around in circles and there were a couple of plot points that felt like they were thrown in just for the sake of it and then left dangling.

And I also couldn't help to get a little bit annoyed at Mel because - and if my friends from Prep school ever stumble into this I'll be one dead little blogger - she sort of remind me of a friend from Prep school, she was dating this guy and if you ever asked her how they were doing she would shrug and say "I'm dumping him next week," and that was eight years ago, last I head they were still together. Mel, had that attitude toward the town in general she was always "I'm not sure how long I'll be here" "I'm not staying", and in the back of my head I kept thinking, "You already stayed! Get over it!"

Still, it was a nice enough read, good to pass the time.


February 20, 2010

The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson

Miles BetweenIt's October 19th and Destiny Faraday already knows it's a day that will not turn right for her, one way or another, it never does. It is, after all, the day when her parents sent her away to boarding school when she was seven years old, and she hasn't been home in nine years.

Des, who is generally unenthusiastic about everything, is not surprised when her Aunt Edie calls and cancels her programmed visit on said fateful day. But on this particular October 19, Des has reached her tipping point so, when a visiting teacher, finds her in the garden and asks her what is it that she wants, Des has only one answer to give: One Fair Day, a day where everything adds up, the good guy wins and there is justice for all.

When, right after this, she finds a gorgeous champagne-pink car idling by, it seems like a sign, so Des finds Seth - a fellow classmate at Hedgebrook, who had been assigned to trash duty - and makes him drive, and soon they are joined by two other classmates, Mira and Aidan, and together they embark on a road trip and a quest to find their Fair Day.

In The Miles Between, Mary E. Pearson waves a very tangled web where things might no always be what they seem, at times whimsical, confusing, funny and heartbreaking the story moves at a good pace in what seems to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime days, the kind that never end.

I have to give the author props for creating this protagonist that seems so full of apathy but who manages to get hold of you and drag you into her story. Des, Mira, Seth and Aidan are well drawn characters, with a lot more to them than what you see first. Oh, and there is one adorable Lucky lamb thrown in.



February 18, 2010

Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs

WARNING! Possible Spoilers of Oh. My. Goods. 

In Goddess Boot Camp, Phoebe Castro is finally adapting to her new life in the tiny Greek Island that houses The Academy after surviving her first year there, getting into the track team, winning the heart of Griffin Blake and... discovering she's a descendant of the Goddess of Victory, Nike. 

Things are not all sugar and honey, though, not when her powers get out of control most often than not and when, as the summer starts, she gets send to Goddess Boot Camp, to help her get them under control, only that no one told her that her stepsister Stella and archenemy Adara were going to be the Camp's counselors, or that the other campers were all about 10 years old. 

There is more to Goddess Boot Camp, but I'm refraining for spoilers sake, but let me tell you that a lot of things happen to Phoebe and not all of them are so nice but, as she faces her fears and insecurities, she does start to become a goddess in her own right. 
I enjoyed the book but I also felt it was a little... unfinished, like it left me hanging on some points that I would have liked to hear more about - I don't think there is another book in the series - and that was a little let down. I also had a bit of a problem with Stella's behavior, 'cause at times it felt like it came out of the blue.

But, like I said, I liked the book, the characters are lovable and the story fun. 


February 12, 2010

Follow the Stars Home by Luanne Rice

For the last decade, Dianne Robbins has taken care of her daughter Julia, who was born with severe medical problems, with the help of her mother Lucinda and of Julia's uncle Alan McIntosh (who also happens to be Julia's pediatrician). Of Julia's father, Alan's brother Tim, Dianne doesn't like  to talk or think about, for he left Dianne when Julia was born, unable to accept a less-than-perfect baby. 
Now, Alan is another sore subject for Dianne, Alan reminds her of his brother (though they are nothing alike beyond some physical resemblance), and she feels awkward around him for they dated once before Dianne eventually chose Tim over Alan. But when Alan introduces a troubled young girl named Amy to Julia and Dianne, things begin to change slowly. Julia gains a best friend and Dianne starts to open herself to love again.

Follow the Stars Home, is one of those books that make perfect Hallmark tearjerker movies; in fact, that's how I first became acquainted with the story many years ago, by watching the movie of it. Now, the book isn't exactly the same and I quite enjoyed the differences. Dianne, Tim and Alan are good, complex characters and Lucinda, Amy and Julia complement them beautifully.

The friendship between Amy and Julia, and between a cat named Stella and a puppy named Orion are two of the best things about the book, which, all in all, is a tribute to the healing power of love, of second chances. 


February 10, 2010

Just My Favorite Kind

I don't know about you but I'm the type of girl who loves the Olympic Games, I cry during the opening ceremonies, I wake up at all hours to see events - during Beijing 2008 I was having a really hard time because it so happens that my heart problems were at their worst and I felt super ill every time I got excited about something, not the best frame of mind to watch sporting events, let me tell you - I go for two weeks with little sleep and I love every minute of it.

The first games I remember of my own volition are Barcelona 92, I was eight and what I remember the most was watching lots of gymnastics with my grandma and also the amazing venue where they held the diving competitions. 

However, and much as I love the Summer Games, my heart truly belongs to the Winter Olympics. The first ones I truly remember were the ones of Lillehammer, Norway, when that whole thing between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan went down, I was still pretty young, but I remember all the drama.

I guess that's when I fell in love with figure skating, it was very different sport back then - kind of like gymnastics, actually - but it was still beautiful. Now I'm a faithful follower of skating, dancing mostly, I love watching the couples dancing on the ice, which is funny because when I was little no one cared about ice dancing. 

Like I said, times change, but my love remains the same. Here is to the Winter Games, my favorite kind of Olympics.

Vancouver, don't disappoint me!

Calling International Book Bloggers

Reggie from The Undercover Book Lover (Not Really) along with The Bookologist from The Bookologist, have launched the International Book Tours website! 

They explain it better, but basically they want to promote Book Tours internationally, to put books in the hands of international book blogggers. 

AnimeGirlCheck out their site!

Fangtastic by Sienna Mercer

Fangtastic is the second book of the My Sister the Vampire Series by Sienna Mercer.

When we last saw Ivy Vega and Olivia Abbot, they had just found out that they were long lost twin sisters! But that's not the weird part, that would be the fact that while Olivia is a typical girl, Ivy is a vampire. 
That doesn't matter, though, because Ivy and Olivia love each other instantly, even though they do want to find out more about their biological parents, so they can figure out how come one is a Vamp and the other a Bunny. 

However, that takes a slightly back seat when a newscaster decides that there is something dark lurking in Franklin Grove -where the girls live -and is dead set on exposing it all out. Soon Ivy and Olivia are scrambling to keep the Vamp's secret under wraps.

Sorry to say that this book did feel a bit like a filler and nothing much happens, but it's still a fun read. Plus is not a huge commitment of time, so it's a good way to spend a few hours. Ivy and Olivia are fun, very different girls but surprisingly normal. 


starstarstar 1/2

February 9, 2010

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is the second book in the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, so some spoilers might come up about Book One.

After a winter break spent trying to get over her first boyfriend, Josh, and being debriefed by the CIA, Spy-in-Training, Cammie Morgan is back in school and ready for some normal. Well, as much as life at the Gallagher Academy is ever normal when you don't know what language you're going to be speaking at dinner. 

But then, something comes to shake things up at the Academy, and that something is... Boys! Not even regular ones but Spy Boys. Among them Zach Goode, who always seems like he knows something Cam doesn't.  

As the semester progresses, Cam realizes that there is a lot to boys she doesn't know, and that Blackthorne Spy Boys might be the hardest to figure out. With many questions swirling about, Cam and her friends Liz, Macy and Bex navigate through a semester full of secrets as they begin to realize what the rest of their lives might be about. 

I'm so glad I gave this book a second chance - I think I was having a bad week when I first tried, but I decided to come back to it after I loved Book 3: Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover - because I had so much fun with it. I love how Cam and her friends are still girls even though they wouldn't fit any definition of normal thanks to all the skills they have, they still have crushes and wonder about boys and make mistakes but you can also feel how they learn from them. 

And, having read all three books now, I can see Cam's growth. Also, I'm more intrigued than ever about Mr. Solomon and want to know what's up with Blackthorne Institute and Cam's Dad. 

But, good for me, the 4th book of the series, Only the Good Spy Young, will be out this June.


February 7, 2010

Once was Lost by Sara Zarr

Once Was Lost  is the story of Samara Taylor, who's having quite a rough time lately: being the daughter of the most popular pastor in her little desert town she feels like she's constantly under the microscope, her mother was just arrested for DUI and sent to rehab, her family's finances can be described as broke and there is a heat wave over the town that seems like it will never break. 

Then, on a day like any other, a girl from Sam's small town is kidnapped throwing the town into turmoil and putting more strain on Sam's already shaken faith. 

For me is hard to talk about Sara Zarr's books, they always make me uncomfortable and unsettled, and I don't mean it in a bad way, more like they make me think about things I rather not think about sometimes.

That being said, I do believe Once was Lost is the book by her that I've enjoyed the most so far, as a person who has gone through a couple of crisis of faith in the past, I could identify with Sam much more than I could with the girls from Zarr's other two books. And I found easier to get into the story thanks to the brisk pace of it. 


February 5, 2010

Book Gossip #22

Fresh news!

Ally Carter just announced via her Twitter that her upcoming book Heist Society will be turned into a movie by Warner Bros! I'm happy though I have not read the book yet, I did read BookChic's review of it and he made it sound awesome.

Plus, I do lover her Gallagher Girls books. 

You can see more info about it in these articles by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Plus in Ally Carter's blog.