June 30, 2010

Sheriff Needs A Nanny by Teresa Carpenter

Nikki Rhodes didn't know what to expect when the employment agency sent her to the home of the town's new sheriff. She knew little about her would-be employer, and she didn't expect to find such a sad, solemn baby to take care of.

But Mickey - as she nicknames the baby with the mouthful name of Carmichael - quickly steals a piece of her heart so she decides to take the job, even though she isn't sure she likes her new boss Trace Oliver, whom she pegs for a control freak much like her mother was.

Trace isn't sure he wants Nikki around either, he's not very comfortable around expressive people as his own father wasn't much for emotion, but he reckons she's what his son needs and hires her anyway.

Sheriff Needs a Nanny is a light-ish, fun, quick read. True, characters weren't as developed as they could have been but it is a very short book. Mickey is definitely an asset to the book, even though he's just a little baby. The scenes with him and Trace are cute. I recommend it if you're in the mood for a fast read.


June 27, 2010

Cover Love #7 - The Gathering

The Gathering

Woke up this morning o this lovely cover from Kelley Armstrong. Following Darkest Powers, The Gathering launches Darkness Rising, a new trilogy set in the same world of Chloe & Co.

Book coming out April 12, 2011 according to Kelley's site.

Can't wait for this series.

June 26, 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

hex hallAfter one too many spells go terribly wrong for bumbling witch Sophie Mercer, she gets sent to Hecate Hall, a reform school for Prodigium (witches, fae, shape shifters) so she can learn to control her powers (or else).

Having been raised by her human mother, Sophie is quite out the loop about all things magical, which quickly makes her stand out at Hecate (or Hex Hall, as her new roommate Vamp Jenna calls it) and not exactly in a good way.

Teachers are hard on her, her classmates ignore her, the three most popular witches of the school hate her, the cute guy she sort of likes is dating one of those witches who hate her, and Jenna, her only friend, is probably the most disliked person at the school. And when something very bad starts to go down at Hex Hall, Jenna is the number one suspect.

I found Hex Hall to be funny and interesting and with lots of twists! There is a bit of a Bard Academy vibe to it (at the beginning) and a bit of The Craft, too; but it has its own unique voice. Sophie was funny and kind, a loyal friend even when afraid and brave when needed to be. I just really liked her. Archer -the aforementioned Cute Guy - wasn't as developed a character as I would like, but I can sort of see why the mystery was kept up about him.

I definitely cannot wait for Demonglass (the sequel) coming up March 2011. (Warning, the summary of Demonglass contains spoilers about Hex Hall).

Favorite Quote: "Oh my God. Regret cake? Whatever was about to happen must be truly evil"

June 20, 2010

At the Movies: Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3Watching Toy Story 3 made me feel like a little girl again, I went to see it on opening day with my cousin Betty and it was as if I was 10 years old again (and Betty, 12). Granted, I was willing and ready to be swept away by these characters and the magic only Pixar delivers but my faith was well placed and I was witness to be best kind of movie magic.

Okay, so Andy is 17 years old now and hasn't played with his childhood toys in a very long while. Over the years, Woody and Buzz & Co. have survived prunes, garage sales and garbage bags but, as Andy gets ready to leave home for college, their future is quite uncertain.

I'm not going to spoil, I swore to myself I wouldn't! but I say that there is plenty to love in this movie as it took the story of these wonderful toys to its natural conclusion. With old favorites and new characters, there was awesome to go around.

Toy Story 3 broke my heart, picked up the pieces and glued them back together, all in less than 2 hrs. I laughed. I cried. I went home and hugged Osu - my very own teddy bear, who has been my source of courage and comfort for 23 years.

Next to How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3 is my favorite movie of the year, so far!
Personal Favorite Personal Favorite

June 19, 2010

Family Affairs (Secrets of My Hollywood Life) by Jen Calonita

Familly AffairsAfter a hectic summer, teen TV star Kaitlin Burke is happy to be back on the set of Family Affairs - the long running prime time soap she has worked on since she was four - even if that means that she has to be around her co-star Sky. But this year, things aren't as they used to be in the FA set.

There is a new girl in town, Alexis Holden, who's two faced as they come and likes to look good by making everyone else look bad, particularly Sky and Kaitlin. Soon enough, Kaitlin finds herself running around trying to juggle keeping her job, outing Alexis as the witch she is and dealing with all the changes that look in the horizon.

Ok, confession time, whenever I read a Secrets of my HollywoodLife book , I find myself thinking I'm going to drop this series, and wishing and hoping for Katlin to have/get/grow some backbone; and Family Affairs was no exception.

I like Kaitlin, she's a nice person, fun, and I even like her bouts of jealousy because they make her seem more human, but she always lets everyone walk all over her. And I DEEPLY dislike her parents - particularly her Mom - who seem more interested in the Business of Kaitlin Burke than in Kaitlin herself, often pushing her to do things she doesn't want to do, objecting her boyfriend (because he's not famous, really, that's the only thing Kate's Mom has against Austin), and not letting her do anything. And Kaitlin either takes it and misses on doing something, or does something rash that ends up landing her on more trouble.

She always does grow a little at the end of the book, but each book I feel like I've read this story before, and I have (by now, tree times from Calonita, already!). But again, I do find myself picking the next book, and reading it. Only that this time I sort of wished the next book was on Sky rather than on Kaitlin.

Other than non-stop name dropping (which gets annoying after a while), this is a fun read overall, though.

June 15, 2010

Book Gossip #24 - The Gathering/Darkest Powers

Welcome to another book gossip, I haven't done one in a while!!!

This time I bring you the summary of The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong, first book of the upcoming series Darkness Rising. It's like a follow up-intersecting book with the Darkest Powers series (set in the same world, but with different characters).
The Gathering

Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can’t find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred people, and her school has only sixty-eight students—for every grade from kindergarten to twelve.

Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya's determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya's home, and they won’t go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret—and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy: Her paw-print birthmark.
(source: Kelley Armstrong's Facebook)

Isn't it awesome? I can't wait!! The Gathering comes out next year.

Also, just today, Kelley launched her new Darkest Powers website, where you can find more info about both the Chloe Saunder's Trilogy and the upcoming Darkness Rising (first book of that is The Gathering), as well as excerpts, character profiles and the online stories she writes for us fans, and so much more.

Check it out!


June 14, 2010

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Out of the blue, all over the US, teenagers are raising from their graves and re-joining the living... sort of.

Goth girl Phoebe and her classmates at Oakville High experience this phenomenon first hand since the school has a reputation of being friendly toward the 'living-imparied'. And, though Phoebe can't help to be oddly attracted to one of the zombie kids, Tommy Williams, almost everyone else has big problem with the 'alternate biotic' population of Oakville.

Adam, Phoebe's best friend since childhood, has a crush on Phoebe a mile wide, and would do anything to make her happy, maybe even protecting Tommy, who's trying to join the football team.

Okay, I'm trying not to spoil and just give a basic summary, but I also have to say that Generation Dead was not my cup of tea. I thought that the premise sounded quite cool but I was unable to like most of the characters - I didn't dislike them, we just didn't connect. The one exception was Adam but even he sometimes lost my interest.

In the end I was just sort of trudging along in this strange world, not sure if I was liking it or not.

So no rating for this one.

June 13, 2010

Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez

Confetti GirlThings have been slightly off in the life of sock enthusiast Lina Flores since the death of her mother a couple of years before. Mostly, her father isn't coping well, he spends most of his time taking refuge in books - he's an English teacher - and in the process ignores everything and everyone around him, sometimes even Lina.

Across the street, her friend Vanessa isn't faring much better, with her mother still struggling to come to terms with her divorce and taking comfort in making cascarones - eggshells filled with confetti -Vanessa has a lot on her plate as well.

But the two girls find comfort and support in one an other, as they navigate the times and trials of middle school, where Lina can throw her energy into science, volleyball and her crush on Luis, a boy in her class. Then Vanessa starts blowing Lina off to spend time with her new boyfriend, and things go from bad to worse.

Confetti Girl
is a sweet book, Lina (who's the narrator) and Vanessa do sound like normal, everyday girls and I liked them both, and I liked their parents more or less. And I did enjoy the book, but I also had a few problems with it. I'm Mexican - born and raised - and I felt there was a little bit too much Spanish in the book, and I also felt that many of the dichos or sayings that Lina is fond of quoting (and that are showcased as chapter titles') - because they remind her of her mother - don't translate well into English, so it makes reading awkward, mostly because I knew what they meant truly and it was a bit distracting.

Other than that, it was a nice story.


June 7, 2010

List Maniac #6 - Favorite Romantic Moments in Historical Romance

Being a romance reader, I have come to realize that what makes a book special to me are those wonderful small moments between the hero and heroine that reveal their true feelings, perhaps even before they are fully aware of them, and so, in the spirit of love, I'm sharing my top five favorite romantic moments in historical romance (to start)!

Spoiler warning, though, in case you haven't read the books I'm about to mention

5. Kate Sheffield and Anthony Bridgerton (Viscount of) - The Thunderstorm (The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn).
One night, during a house-party his mother is giving, Anthony finds Kate huddled under a table, shaking terribly and all because of a thunderstorm - she happens to be afraid of them since she was small and with good reason. So far, Anthony had been trying to court Kate's sister Edwina, but with little success for he can't get Kate out of his mind. Under normal circumstances, Kate would have never allowed Anthony to see her so vulnerable, but in that moment when she's out of her head with fear, Anthony shows his caring side, crawling under the table with her to make her feel safe. Later in the story, Kate calls Anthony, the nicest man in England, and from that moment under the table, I can very well believe it.

secret desires4. Maria Martingale and Phillip Hawthrone, Marquess of Kane - The Hair Ribbon (Secret Desires of a Gentleman by Laura Lee Guhrke)
Phillip and Maria have known each other since children, and he has been in love with her for nearly as much, even after sending her away when she was 18 - because marquesses and daughters of Chefs shouldn't mix - but he never forgot her. When the see each other again, Maria very much believes him to be slightly heartless, until she finds out that he has been carrying a hair ribbon she had lost, for over 12 years.

3. Matthew Swift and Daisy Bowman - The Button (Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas)
Mathew has been in love with Daisy for years, since the day he met her. The only problem -besides the stuff in his past - was that Daisy never liked him. All that changes in Scandal in Spring, and one of the sweetest moments of the book is when Daisy realizes just for how long Mathew has had feelings for her. It turns out that almost since they met, Mathew has been carrying a button which contains a lock of her hair (long story, but it's a sweet one, trust me). That button with her hair is practically his most prized possession.

Forest2. Lord Hugh of Harrowfield (Red) and Sorcha of Sevenwaters (Jenny) - The Ring (Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier).
I've always said that, without it being a love story, Daughter of the Forest is one of the most romantic stories I've ever read. One of the parts of it I like the most is when Red asks Sorcha to marry him, and he gives her this little carved ring made from the heart of a tree, and she realizes that it was the 'thing' she had seen him work on for months and months. And even though he doesn't spell out his feelings, you can tell it was a gift of love and that he had made it just for her.

1. Derek and Sara - The Glasses (Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas).
As I've mentioned before, Lisa Kleypas writes these small moments like nobody's business. Dreaming of You was one of the first historical romances I ever read and it remains the standard by which I measure all others. It tells the story of Sara Fielding, a genteel, somewhat poor but kind of popular writer, and Derek Craven, a gamble club owner who climbed from the gutter to become a powerful, rich man. Sara is all the good, kind, honest things Derek never knew and he's fascinated by her even as he tries to scare her off (because she scares him!). One day Sara leaves her purse in his office and he can't resist the urge to investigate it's contents and ends up stealing her glasses and putting them in his pocket, just because he wanted to have a piece of her.


Now I feel like re-reading all of those books!

See ya soon for another list, and more reviews.


June 1, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist SocietyKatarina Bishop was trying to steal a life for herself when she entered Colgan School - one of the best boarding schools in the country - that's what Kat's family does for a living, after all: they are all thieves.

However, things didn't go as planned, and Kat found herself expelled from boarding school for a prank she didn't pull. And suddenly there was Hale - the one who had helped her walk out of her life - pulling her back in.

Some very skilled thief stole a prized art collection from a very bad man, and Kat's Dad is the prime and only suspect. So, to save her Dad, Kat must return to the life she thought she wanted to leave and, with the help of a motley crew of junior thieves like her self, right a few wrongs.

Heist Society
is a fine romp through Kat's world, full of con artists, priceless works of art and people who are larger than life. However, I found that in the end this book was all about family and these wonderful and maddening bonds we have with the people that we love the most and that love us back.

The story itself started a bit slow but it began to pick up speed once Kat decided what she was going to do and I ended up liking Kat and her family a lot and I want to read more about them (and about how exactly Kat met Hale) but that beginning was hard to overcome - because I kept putting the book down during the first five chapters or so - and I felt that Nick-bit was a bit random.