November 29, 2010

Jane by April Lindner

JaneFollowing the death of her parents, nineteen year old Jane Moore is forced to drop out of college and find a job, preferably one that offers a place to stay since she'll be homeless once school lets out for the summer.

When she does find such work, she's surprised that it comes in the form of working for rock star Nico Rathburn as a nanny for his 5 year old daughter Maddy. Not one to care much for pop culture, Jane isn't quite sure how working for Nico will be like, but she's glad to have Thornfield Park (Nico's expansive Connecticut estate) to call home.

For weeks, she cares for Maddy and they form a bond, and Jane starts to believe she has gotten the hang of life at Tornfield Park, but nothing prepares her for Nico's arrival.

Nico is on the final stages of planning his big comeback - concert and tour - and the last thing he expects upon returning to his home, is almost running over the new nanny. Yet, he can't help being captivated by Jane and the fact that she's almost unimpressed by him.

Okay, Jane is a modern twist on Jane Eyre and it follows it quite closely, so you can pretty much guess what happens, yet I'm not going to give you details and spell it out. For a story I sort of knew, I still found myself trying to guess what would happen next, how would the author translate such and such event into a modern setting.

I'm not really comparing it to the original Jane Eyre because, well, I just don't roll that way. But I'll say that Jane is engaging, fun and approachable. Believable. My only trouble with it was that I sort of wished a bit more of it! I wanted to spend more time with these characters.

Favorite Quote: "You don't like my music. I'm a soccer dad. And I'm good-looking...for a rock star."
starstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

November 28, 2010

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

Lipstick LawsApril Bowers doesn't think sophomore year at Penford High is going to be any good. Particularly because her best -and only - friend is now living in Kansas. So when fate makes her pair up with Queen Bee Britney Taylor for gym class, April isn't sure if that's good or bad luck.

Soon, she's a 'friend in training', hanging out with Brit and her pose - all popular girls - and twisting herself seven ways to Sunday to fit in. And things only get worse when she's asked to sign The Lipstick Laws, a set of rules all Friends of Britney must live by. April might just find out how hard is to be in the in crowd.

From the summary I wasn't sure what I would find in this book, but it sounded interesting enough. What I found was a sort of Mean Girls type story. April and her friends (the one she eventually makes) were nice, April's narration was engaging but the book has it's ups and downs. Sometimes it went into cartoon territory, sometimes I didn't like April very much.

But there were parts that did ring true: the way April slides into Brit's clique, the way she goes a bit off the bender sometimes.

In the end, the story flows as one would expect. There are no big surprises plot-wise, but it's enjoyable, if you're in the mood for some Mean Girls action. It's not as charming as the movie, but not bad. Part of the book is even quite good.

The Lipstick Laws comes out April 2011


PS - Is it me or the cover is a bit... porn-happy?

November 27, 2010

Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

GG1Athena never knew who her parents were, and she was relatively happy living with her best friend Pallas on Earth, but she never quite felt like she fit in. Great was her surprise when a scroll arrived, summoning her to Mount Olympus Academy, to take her place with the other goddessgirls and godboys, as she is the daughter of Zeus.

Athena isn't sure if she wants to leave Pallas, but it's not as if Zeus is giving her much choice. Plus she hopes that, maybe, at MOA she'll finally fit in.

But MOA is and isn't what she expected. In many ways, it's a school like any other: there are nice girls - goddessgirls - like Aphrodite, Artemis and Persephone; and there are mean girls like Medusa and her sisters... and there is a cute, slightly conceited guy. On the other hand, they take classes like Hero-logy which is taught by a cyclops...

I had heard sweet things about this series and I do love all things Greek Myths, so I was happy when I got Athena the Brain. And I found it to be a sweet, short book. I like the idea of seeing these Goddesses as girls, with all their usual traits but with a sweet treatment. And Athena's story was good to kick off the series, as we get to known MOA and the other characters through her eyes as she meets them. I loved all the little references to well-known myths.

Now I wanna read the next one in the series.

November 24, 2010

A Wife for Big John by Lauri Robinson

A Wife For Big JohnAfter seeing to her sisters' happiness for ten years, Dani Jones decides it's time to strike out on her own and finally make her way to California, to be reunited with the man she promise to marry all those years ago.

However, the first stop in her route to California is the house of Big John Thompson. John runs a wood mill and hired 'Daniel Jones' to cook for his lumberjack camp. Great was his surprise when - upon returning from a river drive - he found Daniel was really Danielle and that she was currently in his home taking ownership of his kitchen, quite enamored of his stove.

At first, John doesn't want her to stay, but her delicious cooking and sunny disposition soon have him wishing she would never leave.

I found A Wife for Big John a quick, funny read. It's a sweet story and I loved both Dani and John. Dani is sweet and caring, and she spends most of her time cooking and you can tell that she loves it and loves that other people like her food. John is a big man with an even bigger heart, who reluctantly falls in love.

The book is set in Minnesota in 1893, and I liked seeing little glimpses at what life was in those days. And I loved each time Dani spoke of how much she loved the 'modern' kitchen, she was just adorable. The story, over all, it's a lovely read and very nice for Christmas time.

November 23, 2010

List Maniac #10 Favorite Men of Fiction

I have talked about my Favorite Guys of Fiction before, and this time I bring you my favorite Men of fiction. These are not ideal boys but all-grown up men who have won my heart.
Here they are, in no particular order:

eternalRhage - Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward
In the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Rhage is the too-handsome ladies man. But he's cursed with a beast that comes out whenever he loses his temper. What I've always loved about Rhage is how he loves his mate Mary. Mary isn't nearly as pretty as he is, she's human (while he's a vampire warrior) but to him the sun rises and sets on her. He loved her enough to give her up if it saved her life and would totally die for her. Plus, he's super funny in the books (save for the Outie-thing, sorry to say but only Cher Horowitz can pull off the Outie, 6 and a half foot tall fanged warriors can't!).

ViscountAnthony Bridgerton - The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Anthony is this guy who was forced to become the head of his family at 18, following the sudden death of his father (who was only 38 at the time), and he took that job seriously. Sure, he has the reputation for being a rake, but no one doubts he's an honorable man. That's one of the things I love about him, this man to whom his family is everything even if he does enjoy being a single, rich, titled man about town.

DreamingDerek Craven - Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Derek is in many ways the epitome of the self-made romantic hero. Hell, leave it as epitome of a romantic hero. He's tall, dark and handsome, and he's dangerous. He owns his own gambling club and has both power, money and secrets on his side. Yet, he falls in love with a pretty and smart novelist, someone who's pure and innocent and completely different from him. Derek is not a man to show his emotions easily, growing up in the worst slums of London, he had to learn to ward his feelings, but Sara -slowly, and steadily - unlocks such feelings and proves the old saying that reformed rakes make the best husbands.

KissedHarry Marlowe - And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke
Having gone through a disastrous marriage and a scandalous divorce, Harry has no wish to fall in love, ever. He's happy having his mistresses and running his publishing house (which allows him to support his threw sisters, mother and grandmother). He's devilish and rake-ish, and probably many other 'ish". He's more surprised than anyone when he finds himself craving the sensible Emma Dove. But Harry is not one to deny himself something that he wants, so he goes and gets her.

SweetColin Byrne - Ain't She Sweet? by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Colin was one wronged terribly by Sugar Beth Carey, the woman he eventually marries. But he is in no way ever douche bag-ey, even though the stunt Sugar Beth pulled was pretty damn bad. Sure, he's out for revenge but he knows where to draw the line, he realizes she changed and acknowledges the attraction between them. He's not only older, but more mature and he really does help Sugar Beth to become a better person. Oh, yeah, and he wrote a romance novel in her honor! Gotta love a guy who does that.

Those are my men. What about yours?

November 18, 2010

At the Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry HermioneThe magical world is under attack, and nowhere is safe for Harry Potter and his friends, which forces them to run from everything familiar. There is no Hogwarts for them this time, and while they are away from everything that used to be safe, they have to find the horocruxes to destroy Voldemort.

With no one but each other to turn for help, Harry, Ron and Hermione have to push themselves to their limits: of their skills, of their friendship and of their patience.

Obviously, I'm not going to say more about the movie - or even tell you where it splits - I respect y'all too much for that, but last night I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1.
And it was a great experience. This is definitely the type of movie that you have to see in the theater, because there is just such a heightened level of awesome that comes from seeing it with a lot of people who are loving the whole experience.

The movie itself was quite amazing, scary and dark, but it was also surprisingly funny at times. And I think it cut it pretty close to the books - though I'm sad two of my favorite scenes of the books weren't in the movie (nothing crucial, just sentimental value).

I'm not sure if it's completely understandable for the people who haven't read the books, and that's a doubt I've been carrying since movie 5. But for me, as a fan, it was lovely. And I was really amazed at the level of scary, I can't say that enough. There was one scene that had us all jumping in our seats. Plus, the the technical level of it has come so far since the first movies.
Don't miss it!Personal Favorite
PS - I admit to nearly crying a bunch of times, one of them fairly early on, but I am a sap.

November 14, 2010

Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

WARNING: Misguided Angel is the 5th book of the Blue Bloods series, as as such, this review might include some spoilers of previous book.

The Blue Bloods are under attack and no one is sure who is the one responsible for it.

In Europe, what once felt like protection is now feeling like confinement, and Schuyler and Jack find themselves watched by the European Coven and by the bounty hunters Mimi set on Jack. They have to find the Gates, but they might find something more.

In New York, Mimi is dealing with crisis after crisis, as the newly appointed Regent of the NY Coven. When a young blue blood girl goes missing, Mimi must find help in unexpected places to find answers, and in doing so starts to dealing with her own grief and rage.

New comer Deming, has come to New York from China, where she and her sister are Venators. In NY she's helping Mimi find whoever is targeting young blue bloods, and trying to uncover the reason why.

Their three stories mix in Misguided Angel. And I have to say it felt a bit like three novellas strung together, because the book focused on each girl at a time. It was different from the other books, and it did make the story go by faster, but I'm not sure how much I liked it.

Over the course of the books I've grown to like Mimi so much, I think she's my new favorite character, and I even like Oliver when she's with him (when he was all hung up on Schuyler, he was a bit pathetic), I like the way he makes Mimi see certain things. Schuyler, I'm starting to feel more and more like she should grow a spine, hers was the story line that got nowhere, in my opinion. And I liked Deming a lot. She's a good addition to the narrative voices.

Also, the epigraphs from Gabrielle point of view were awesome and so, so, so intriguing. I can't wait to find out more.

So, now I'm really looking forward to Blue Bloods 6, and to Bloody Valentine novella coming December 28th.

Favorite Quote: "Vampires don’t die,” Oliver pointed out. “They get recycled to suck for another day. Pun definitely intended. Or don’t you know your own history?”
starstarstarstar(for Deming, the Lennox Bros, Mimi and Oliver!)

November 13, 2010

Belle by Cameron Dokey

BelleEven with two extraordinarily beautiful sisters - Celeste and April - Annabelle finds little to be extraordinary about her self, and her nickname, Belle, sometimes feels like a mockery. As she herself points out, there is nothing wrong with her exactly, and she was even born in a perfectly fine day and ordinary day, but next to the dramatic beauty of her older sister, she feels quite... un-Beautiful.

Still, she grows in the shadow cast by her two sisters, leading a quiet, comfortable life in a seaside town where her father owns a shipping business. Her only talent, so she claims, is in wood-carving. With her tools and a nice piece of wood, she can find the secrets hidden within.

When her father's fortune turns sour, Belle and her family move from the mansion to a cottage in the country side, which eventually leads her father into finding a Heartwood tree, whose wood is rumored to be able to reveal the face of true love. But guarding the tree there is a Beast, and one very interested in Belle's talent, and on whatever the Heartwood wood will reveal.

Belle is part of the "Once Upon a Time" series, and it's a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I think it was very aptly named, for in this case it's mostly Belle's story (*MINI SPOILER* the Beast is absent for most of the book *MINI SPOILER*), as she struggles to find her own beauty and her own worth.

I have to say that I didn't love the book - and that's rare because I usually love anything Beauty and the Beast. I felt it was too short, some things happened too quickly and others were left hanging. And, at times, I felt Belle was a bit whiny. But it was a likable enough read, and it didn't take me much time at all to finish it.

November 12, 2010

Book Blogger Hop #11

Book Blogger Hop

Haven't done this one in a while, but I liked this week's question.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer@Crazy-for-Books

"If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?"

Yeah, I need to read in order. I don't like it, but I do it anyway because I think you just enjoy more of the background and the running jokes. I can only recall once reading out of order, when I started reading the Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn. I started with An Offer From a Gentleman because someone had told me it was a re-telling of Cinderella (it is, in a way), but then I realized it was a whole family saga, so I went back and read from the start all the way till the end.

Sometimes I wish I could read out of order, but if there is something that irritates me as a reader is when a reviewer picks up a book mid-series and complains about not fully understanding certain jokes, or the fact that characters kept popping up and they weren't sure why. Hence, I go in order.

What about you?

November 11, 2010

At the Movies: The Holiday

Holiday Amanda (a successful movie-trailer producer who just broke up with her boyfriend) and Iris (a London journalist who just found out the guy she has been sighing after has just gotten engaged to someone else), meet on the internet and decide to swap houses for 2 weeks around the Christmas holidays.

Once in England, Amanda meets Iris' brother Graham, who at first glance seems like a worry-free bachelor/womanizer about town but who turns out to be a lot more than that. And she starts to regain contact with some of her emotions (She hasn't cried in years).

Meanwhile, in L.A. Iris is enjoying Amanda's huge mansion and strikes friendships with both Miles, a movie-music composer friend of Amanda's ex; and an elderly screenwriter who, most of all, needs someone to listen to him.

Maybe is the season, but I've been seeing this movie a lot on TV and I really loved it, so I decided to write about it. Usually, I don't like watching Cameron Diaz's movies, or Jack Black's (find them both vaguely annoying) and there are only 3 movies with Jude Law that I've ever liked (this one, Sherlock Holmes and Enemy at the Gates), but I liked them all three in The Holiday. And I loved Kate Winslet (I actually think she looked prettier than Cameron Diaz in this movie)

The Holiday is a fairly simple story, and it neatly falls into the chick-flick category, but it's good at it. And it's funny and entertaining, it gets your mind off things for a couple of hours. I loved Iris' character, she felt quite real to me, and the other people were quite nice (though I still think Jack Black's face is slightly odd and funny looking and he honestly reminds me of Kung Fu Panda all the time!).

A nice little movie, perfect to watch on a cold night, cozy at home eating popcorn.