May 30, 2010

Books Read in May

Here is an update of the 100+ Reading Challenge and the 2010 YA Reading Challenge. The books read for the YA challenge are in cursive and have their corresponding number next to the review link.

43. To Be A Mother (Anthology) by Cheryl St. John and Ruth Axtell Morren
44. Devil of the Highlands by Lynsay Sands
45. Redneck Cinderella by LuAnn McLane (review)
46. Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier *YA22*(review)
47. Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas (review)

This was not a good month for reading. Too many family stuff going on. But I hope to get back on the grove in June!

See you then!

May 27, 2010

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

Married by MorningLeo Hathaway became Lord Ramsay by chance - and the work of the Ramsay curse that killed the last few lords less than 5 years after they got the title - but after almost four years he has settled into his new position and with the help of his family made a success of the estate.

But, while his mind is preoccupied wondering just how many secrets Miss Marks - the governess and companion of Leo's younger sisters - keeps hidden and wondering why he's so obsessed with the woman; news come that unless he marries and produces an heir within the year, the Hathaways will lose their new home.

Catherine Marks loves working and living with the Hathaways, having gotten used to their eccentricities and all of Beatrix's pets, she's just happy to be around a family like the one she never had. Her years with them have brought her peace even though her past still haunts her.

Leo's interest makes it hard for Cat to keep all of her secrets and so, some of them begin to spill slowly, turning what it started as mutual dislike into a something Leo never expected to feel again and that Cat never hoped to feel at all.

Married by Morning
is the long awaited Leo/Marks book for those who have been following the Hathaways the last few years, And I do recommend to read the books in order, that way you appreciate the family interactions more. Personally, I found the story very satisfying, I was surprised I read the book so fast but their arguments were just so funny.

I have to give it to Lisa Kleypas, she's a master at writing those small-moments that really make you fall in love with a story and this book has many of them. And Dodger the ferret makes one very stellar performance!

All in all I loved to see how Leo and Cat changed through out the books, and I can totally buy that they are madly in love.

starstarstarstar3/4Personal Favorite


May 19, 2010

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

Hearts BloodThe death of her father and the abuse suffered at the hands of relatives that were supposed to take care of her, sent eighteen year old Caitrin on the run. After traveling for days and with little money, she finds Whistling Tor -a small, out of the way Irish town near the west coast. When she overhears a man from the chieftain's fortress asking about a scribe, Caitrin jumps at the opportunity to get a job and a safe place to stay.

Caitrin's father was a scribe and taught Caitlin's his craft - an oddity in the Ireland of the twelfth century - so, against the advice of the town's people, Caitrin sets on the road uphill to meet the mysterious chieftain of Whistling Tor and his strange household.

Lord Anluan lives but with five people up in the fortress, victim of a palsy at the age of 13, he has never left his home and is still haunted by the deaths of his parents, and by the strange beings that inhabit the forest around his home. He's uneasy about hiring Caitrin, so full of life and 'normal', but he has a job that needs to be done so a hundred year old curse can finally be laid to rest.

Slowly, Caitrin makes a place for herself in Anluan's home and things begin to change, for Caitrin brings something with her that was all but lost at the Tor: hope. But not all residents of the Tor are open to change, and with a Normand invasion looming close, thought choices lay ahead for everyone.

Juliet Marillier is one of those authors who write so beautifully that they transport you to another place and you fall deeper into their stories with each turn of the page. Heart's Blood is a good example of that. The pace is a little slow at times but the mystery keeps you going. And I was glad to see some lose ends tied before the conclusion and I have to say I was quite happy with the ending of the story.

I found myself loving each of the characters almost as soon as I met them - Anluan, Caitrin and their close companions - including the dog, (awesome dog, always a plus!) and I was cheering for them as each found their own courage.

Perhaps it's not a book for everyone but it's worth giving it a try.

May 13, 2010

Cover Love #6 - Happy Ever After

Happy Ever After
Isn't it gorgeous? Happy Ever After is the fourth book in the Bride Quartet, and seriously, all covers have been lovely but this one is my favorite.

Happy Ever After comes out November 2 of 2010

Ps - Here are the other covers for your enjoyment

May 10, 2010

Book Gossip #23

Sarah Dessen just updated her blog with news of her next book.
According to Publishers Weekly Sarah's next book is called "Cut and Run" and should be May 2011.

From PW:
Hayes Buys ‘Cut and Run’
Agent Leigh Feldman, of Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman, sold a new YA novel by Sarah Dessen to Viking Children’s Books. Regina Hayes bought world rights to Cut and Run, about a high school senior who, after her parents’ divorce, has taken up the practice of assuming a new identity in each of the four towns she’s lived in. Dessen, according to Penguin, has sold more than four million copies of her nine previous titles, which include the New York Times bestsellers Along for the Ride and Lock & Key. Cut and Run is scheduled for May 2011.

I'm a big fan of Sarah's books so I'm quite excited.

May 9, 2010

List Maniac # 5 - Favorite TV couples

So, I realized that I've been neglecting ListManiac as of late, so I decided to do a series of Top Fives. And, since is season finale time on TV, I decided to kick it off with my TOP 5 FAVORITE TV COUPLES!!

X files5. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully (The X-Files)
I didn't know what sexual tension was until I saw the X files, granted I had no business knowing what sexual tension was since I was, like, thirteen but even back then I knew that there was something between Mulder and Scully and that kept me glued to the TV for quite a few years watching them go all over the U.S. trying to find aliens and the like. And, trust me, it wasn't the aliens.

Barney and Robin4. Robin and Barney (How I Met Your Mother)
Their romance didn't last long but it was good while it did. And even before and after they dated, they were awesome as friends and still are. One of my favorite episodes of HIMYM was when Robin was Barney's wind men and she did 'suit up' and everything. I think that's when he began to fall in love with her. I still hold hope in my TV-loving heart that they will get back together some day.

3. Penny and Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory).
Okay, these aren't a 'couple' couple, but they are a couple of people whose chemistry sizzles. Together they make for some of the funniest TV I've seen in recent years - I'm a geek at heart, I even got a degree on Biology with focus on water, so I love all the science jokes - and I truly believe they are the heart of The Big Bang Theory. Penny has common sense and street smarts which Sheldon completely lacks; and I think being around her has made Sheldon a little more human and a bit less cyborg. Love whenever they have scenes together and when the song "Soft Kitty" comes up.

Bones2. Booth and Brennan (Bones)
In every episode, Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan work together to solve all type of crimes involving human remains, but that's only half the show, the other half is definitely the relationship between these two. The times I have liked Dr. Brennan the most have been when she lets her guard down and shows how much she cares for Booth. And Booth, well, he's awesome.

1. Buffy and Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Okay, sure, I liked Angel was much as the next person and I do think that the "Passion" episode (when Angel goes all evil and kills Giles' girlfriend) is one of the best of the series as a whole but Buffy and Spike thing was way more awesome. I guess that, as a teenager I would have found Angel more appealing, but as a twenty-something girl, Spike is the one that makes my heart beat faster. Spike is sarcastic and sexy and should be bad, but he's actually quite honest and was there when Buffy needed him. So, go Spike! And yeah, I really like Buffy when she's with Spike, she has never been a damsel in distress but the kick-butt factor goes up a notch when she's with Spike.


Special Mentions go to: Daniel Mead and Betty Suarez // Amanda Tanen-Sommers and Mark St. James (Ugly Betty). Why? Because these two couples show that friendship is love too, and that it takes just as much work as any other relationship to make it last. Love Amanda and Mark, who are best friends, know everything good and bad about each other and love one another to death. And Daniel and Betty, well, let me just say that in my mind they did ride into the (London) sunset together.

Mark and AmandaBetty and Daniel

See ya soon, for more lists!

May 7, 2010

Redneck Cinderella by LuAnn McLane

Jolie Russell and her widowed father were having a bit of money troubles when land developer Cody Dean showed up on their doorstep with a multimillion dollar offer for their land. They accept with the condition that they get to keep their house -at least the location - and Cody agrees.

And, just like that, Jolie goes from rags to riches, but almost a year later Jolie still feels lost and unaccepted by the community where she landed - Cody uses the Russell's land to build an upscale gated community, and now Jolie and her father live there - and she's still nursing her hopeless crush on Cody (whom she has liked since high school).

Enter Cody's brother Brett. Brett isn't into the whole high society thing -even though his family has money - and he genuinely likes Jolie, so he comes up with an idea to help Jolie fit a little bit better... and to make his brother just a little bit jealous.

Will Jolie ever fit in? Will Cody be her prince charming?

You'll have to read to find out but my take on Redneck Cinderella is that it was funny and sweet. It lost me a bit around the middle when I wanted things to speed up a little, but over all it was a nice little read.

Jolie was so funny and I liked how she was very aware that money doesn't buy happiness. Cody was a bit harder to like at the beginning, but he did grow on me, as did most other characters in the book, and it ended up being a quite satisfying read.

Oh! And Jolie's dog was adorable.


May 5, 2010

Series Review: The Prince Trilogy

Raven NewLeopard NewSerpent New

Three friends, three loves stories, three fairy tales.

I admit I was quite late in join the ranks of Elizabeth Hoyt's fans. I had heard lots of praise for her debut, The Raven Prince, but since I famously dislike most buzzed-about books I was a bit reluctant to read it. Eventually I did take the plunge and never regretted it.

The Raven Prince is the story of Edward de Raaf, Earl of Swartingham, whom -after surviving a small pox epidemic that killed his entire family, and the death of his first wife (who died in childbirth some ten years prior) - is ready to move on and start a new family, he wants his family's home, the Abbey, to be full of children and happiness once more. As such, the last woman he should be interested in is Anna Wren, a young widow who works as his secretary (Edward is an Agricultural scholar, and often writes papers about such matters, needing someone to transcribe them in a clear hand). Anna has no connections or money, and she's quite sure she can't have children, still some attractions are undeniable and this is one of them.

After The Raven Prince, comes the Leopard Prince, about one of Edward's friends, Harry Pye; he's introduced in the first story, along with Viscount Simon Iddesleigh, the three gentlemen are friends and agrarians. Harry works as an estate manager for Lady Georgina Maitland, a relationship that turns quite complicated when they begin to feel attraction for each other. Georgina is a bit eccentric and never really thought about getting married, she knows engaging in a liaison with Harry isn't the smartest move but she can't help herself, and neither can Harry. But where will that take them?

Finally, The Serpent Prince kicks off when Lucy Craddock-Hayes finds Viscount Simon Iddesleigh half-dead on her doorstep. After finding out some finer points regarding the death of his beloved brother Ethan a few years before, Simon is bent on revenge and the people he wants to take revenge from are beginning to take notice, which lead to his half-death estate. Lucy is for the most part quite happy living with her father in their small town, but meeting Simon changes everything...

Well, of course I'm not going to spoil or anything, but all these three books were wonderful and in some way unusual. Plus, Mrs. Hoyt wove these funny little tales into her books (the titles of the books come from said 'tales') and it's a trait that has carried on to her other works, and I often find myself re-reading them.

Recently, all three books were given a cover make over (the ones posted above) which was why I decided to do this series review.

Personal Favorite
Original Covers:

May 3, 2010

At the Movies: How to Train Your Dragon

DragonHiccup is a teenage boy growing up in a viking village, and he happens to be the one that doesn't quite fit in, even though he's the chief's son. Everyone - even his own father - sees him as a clumsy boy that often does more harm than good when he tries to help.

Now, Hiccup's village has a pesky, pesky problem: Dragons. Everyone has a pretty much anti-Dragon mentality in the village, but when Hiccup actually manages to knock down an elusive kind of dragon, his mentality changes.

Keeping his dragon secret, Hiccup finally makes a friend, and realizes what wonderful creatures they are, and he finally finds the courage to give everything of himself when his Dragon-friend and other loved ones are put at risk.

How to Train Your Dragon, is a lovely story about the desire to belong and the need to stay true to yourself. Further more is full of humor and the best kind of movie magic. Smart, snappy and sweet, this movie is delightful and my favorite movie of the year, so far.
Personal Favorite


May 2, 2010

Cover Love #5 - Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Here's the cover for Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (according to Amazon), it's the latest collaboration between Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and comes out October 26th of this year (again, according to Amazon).

And here's the summary:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
I personally loved Nick and Norah's Infinite Play List, so I might check it out.

May 1, 2010

Books Read in April

Here is an update of the 100+ Reading Challenge and the 2010 YA Reading Challenge. The books read for the YA challenge are in cursive and have their corresponding number next to the review link.

33. Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (review)
34. The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins (review)
35. Jessica's Guide to Dating the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (review) *YA19*
36. Something About You by Julie James (review)
37. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong (review) *YA20*
38. The Comeback by Marlene Perez (review) *YA21*
39. The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (Re-read)
40. A Match Made in Court by Janice Kay Johnson
41. In for a Penny by Rose Lerner (review)
42. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts (review)

So, that's it for the month, I have to admit I didn't read as much as I wanted, mostly because of my teaching course. But I hope to do better next month!

See you in May!!!