January 30, 2013

Model Spy by Shannon Greenland

Okay! So I'm at work in the land of the lack of spell check or witting on a different language so...sorry if there are a few typos, this kb hates my ever loving guts!!!

On the other hand... free internet at work YAY!!


Also, I'm going to try this new format, one because I'm bored, and two, I don't have access to my template just now. Ooops! Guess that's the kind of thing I should carry in my flashdrive, huh?

Anyway, so today's review is about Model Spy by Shannon Greenland, book one of The Specialists, which I got from NetGalley a couple of months ago and was apparently first published in 2007.

The story goes like this: Genius super hacker Kelly James (a sixteen year old college student) gets in trouble after hacking into a secure goverment site to help her R. A. David (who also happens to be super hot) after David told her a sob story about him wanting to find his family. 

A few hours later, Kelly gets arrested and hauled in for questioning. And then she's given a choice: she can go to juvie or she can change her name and become a spy. Once enrolled, she discovers that David works for the Agency too, and that she now has to pair up with him for her first mission, which imples pretending to be a model. 

So, the story sounded sweet enough, and kinda cute, and once I started to read I kind of remmebered having heard of this book before - probably when it was first published in my pre-blogging days - which was good. 

The story itself is cute and harmeless. It took me a while to fall into the groove of the story but it wasn't too bad. 

The thing, though, is that it wasn't particularly memorable, and sometimes it did feel a little dated. Characters were nice, writing was decent and the story was okay. 

As I said, pretty harmeless. One of those books you can take or leave and it's all good. It's kind of the definition of a 3 Star book! (will add cute little stars later!). 

Love, Alex!!

Ps - Sorry if I'm a little chatty/rambly, I'm sleep deprived. 

January 29, 2013

Book Review: Where Nerves Ends by L.A. Witt

Who comes up
 with these covers?
I mean, really?!
At First Sight: Jason Davis was near the end of his rope: his recent breakup left him with a mortgage he couldn't afford, his business partner died leaving him with a struggling night club that bleeds out almost as much money as it makes, and for the last five years he has had to deal with chronic pain on his shoulder as result of a biking accident.

Each one of these things is bad enough, but all together they are making his life hell, he's on first name terms with the pawn shop owner and about having to decide between putting gas on his car or food in his fridge.

In a last ditch effort to manage the pain, Jase follows his friend Seth's advice and goes to see Dr. Michael Whitman to be treated with acupuncture, not expecting it'll work but secretly hoping it will. He's didn't expect to be attracted to Michael, or to propose a roommate agreement with the man.

Michael moved to Tucker Springs (where the air is pretty clean) with his now ex-wife so their son Dylan wouldn't have to struggle so much with his asthma, but life in Tucker Springs is very expensive, and he's struggling a bit to make ends meet. Since Jase is also friends with Michael's best friend Seth, Michael finds himself considering and later accepting the roommate agreement with Jason.

But living together might be more difficult than either of them imagined, particularly after they realize they are very attracted to each other. 

Second Glance: So, a few weeks ago I read and reviewed Second Hand, the first book of the Tucker Springs series - connecting books written by different authors but loosely linked by the setting and the fact that most of the characters know each other - and I really liked it, so I went back and picked up Where Nerves End by L.A. Witt.

At first I thought the set up was pretty similar to Second Hand - openly gay man attracted to 'straight' if a little confused man - but the stories turned out to be very different. You can really feel Jason's mental anguish about everything that's going on in his life with the pain and the debts and the money trouble, and Michael's struggle with his own sexuality and with doing what's right for his son.

Neither of them makes good decisions all the time and the book indulged on one of my personal pet peeves - when the members of the romantic pairing get involved with other people even though they already know and are attracted to the person they are going to end up with - but I liked it.

I liked that their ending wasn't all happy and the situations weren't black and white. I did feel like I got to know Jason a lot more than Michael, maybe because the story is told from his perspective, maybe because he was just more fleshed out. 

Bottom Line: Where Nerves End was a good read and I really enjoy visiting the Tucker Springs universe. I like these people and I want to keep on reading their stories. Jason and Michael weren't my favorite so far but it was pretty good read anyway. The writing was quite addictive and I wanted to keep on reading until I finished, which was nice. 

January 26, 2013

Cover Love: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

So, after a few years of books that were just OK but not super awesome (at least to me) I'm finally LOVING Julia Quinn again and her Smythe-Smith Quartet!! My favorite so far is Just Like Heaven though A Night Like This was very enjoyable as well.

So, when I found the cover for the third book: The Sum of All Kisses, I had to share it!!! 

US Cover

Summary (per GoodReads):
Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't care that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless 

Now, I LOVED Hugh in the last book, but I haven't particularly liked Sarah - she's a bit whiny in my opinion, but maybe seeing things from her perspective will change my mind. 

In any case, I can't wait to read this book!!! 

UK Cover

January 24, 2013

Speed Date: A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan

The Deal: Despite her secret heartbreak - or perhaps because of it - Lydia Charingford is always cheerful and positive. Only the people closest to her - like her parents and best friend Minnie - know what happened to her when she was 15 and she intends to keep it that way. And so far she has succeeded... except for where Dr. Jonas Grantham is concerned. He knows. 

What happened to Lydia is something Jonas hasn't been able to forget even though, at first, he hadn't connected her (as an adult) to that event that haunted him through most of his Medical training. When he returned to town to take over the local doctor's practice he only tried to get acquainted with Lydia because he thought her pretty, but in the months since he has fallen in love with her, even if she rarely ever has a civil word to him and avoids him as much as she can.

But with Christmas coming - and in between the worries about his father's failing health - Jonas has decided it's time to finally tell Lydia know how he feels and move on, one way or another.

My Thoughts: A Kiss for Midwinter is a novella that packs a punch. If you read The Duchess War already you might already know what happened to Lydia but for those who don't wanna know, I'm going into spoiler zone!

So, when Lydia was 15 she was seduced by a guy 10 years older and left pregnant, she didn't know he was already married and she believed him when he said they were engaged and that she wouldn't get pregnant by what they were doing (yes, he specifically tells her this). 

When she finds out about his duplicity, and the doctor is called to confirm the pregnancy, Jonas goes too (he was shadowing the old doctor in preparation for his leaving for school). The old doctor isn't very sympathetic and goes on about how corrupted Lydia is, and basically tells her parents they best hope she and the baby die, and then he leaves a prescription for Lydia for the symptoms. Jonas hears what the prescription is and he doesn't agree but since he hasn't even started medical school yet, he  doubts and doesn't say anything, something he deeply regrets because his suspicion was right and the old doctor basically poisoned Lydia and the baby. 

So, Lydia and Jonas don't meet again in the most auspicious circumstances later on. She tried to tell herself she's over the whole situation and pushes her pain down, but whenever she sees Jonas she takes it out on him, and the scene when he acknowledges this and tells her why it doesn't make him angry was so touching.

Jonas was such a wonderful character, he's straight forward, he doesn't judge the people he helps (weather they can pay or not) and tries to do his best. And he loves his father even if he's very hard to deal with lately due to illness that has left his body frail and his mind confused.

Lydia, harsh as she was on Jonas, my heart went out to her. And to her family, really her parents get the Best Parents award, particularly her dad. They totally have her backs and they never make her feel less-than because of what happened to her.

I wish I had gotten the chance to spend more time with Jonas and Lydia but I loved reading their story in A Kiss for Midwinter. It was a touching, tearful yet hopeful story. And yes, it did make me cry. 
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

What's a Book Speed Date, you ask? It's a quickie review--about 150 words or so--of any genre book (variety is the spice of life, after all).

If you want to join in or just read other speed date reviews, check out The Book Swarm

Ps - This story is part of the Brothers Sinister series. 

January 23, 2013

Book Review: In the Bag by Kate Klise

At First Sight: Spring Break finds two single parents taking the same plane to Paris with their respective teenagers. Famous chef Daisy Sprinkle is taking 18-year old Coco to Paris, hoping they will both have time to relax, shop and eat good food. Andrew Nelson - exhibit designer extraordinaire - is taking 17-year-old Webb with him to Madrid while he works at a new exhibit, hoping to spend some time together.

Then Andrew spots - and spills wine all over - Daisy and is smitten. Daisy is not quite so impressed and even less so when, once in Paris,  she finds a note Andrew put in her purse basically asking for a date.

Meanwhile, Coco and Webb find themselves with luggage not their own. Luckily, Coco's bag had a tag with her email, which Webb uses to contact her. Soon they are exchanging emails back and forth, each utterly charmed with the other, sharing secrets and funny conversations. 

Second Glance: I don't want to give away a lot of the plot because it's very cute and adorable to see it develop. and yeah, granted it's not that very surprising once you get going but still!

I first requested In The Bag because I found the cover adorable and I'm happy to report that the contents are equally so. Web and Coco are both very smart and their conversation topics might be a little adult, but they are also very teenage-ry in other ways (like they totally sulk and disagree with their parents and have weird mood swings). And their emails back and forth were a highlight of this book.

Andrew was easy to like - and I liked him more the more I learned about his situation - and it was adorable how smitten he was with Daisy - both before and after they actually meet. Daisy was a tough cookie to like, I understood a lot of where she came from, but at the same time she was WAY neurotic sometimes.

The writing is charming and fun, and light. This book is very brain candy friendly.

My one complaint is that the second part of the book felt rushed in comparison to the first part. In the end I liked it, the pace was mostly even but it did feel rushed after a while.

Bottom Line: Kate Klise wrote a very cute book, and I mean that in the best possible way. It was fun to read, easy to read and just relaxing. I liked Web and Coco's adventure just as I liked Andrew and Daisy's. Also, it's very PG, an adult can read it and have fun and a teenager can read it and have fun. 
PS - Review copy provided by the publisher.

January 21, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand

At First Sight: At La Maison des Sorcieres, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts work magic into chocolate. There, in their contained little world, the three women create beautiful-chocolate based confections, they weave spells into their chocolate and tea so the drinker might get their heart's desire (or whatever they happen to be needing the most at that time).

Magalie's world was perfect - she loved working at the shop, and living above it - until the day that Philippe Lyonnais walked in, rattling things.

Philippe is a world class chef, and came to Magalie's street to open one of her famous pastry stores, which worries Magalie, thinking he'll steal way all her costumers and force her out of business. And, even though that's not Philippe's intention at all, a war begins between the two of them.

Second Glance: Oh God, I so wanted to like The Chocolate Kiss because, hello! Chocolate and Paris!! What more can a girl ask for?! Also, I had heard some really awesome things about Laura Florand so I was, like, super pumped for this book.

Let me start by saying that there is a lot of good in it! The descriptions of chocolate and food alone were worth the read. I liked Philippe and the contentious relationship between him and Magalie that later blossoms into so much more. There were parts that were really romantic.

The story was cute and quirky and whimsical, and that was my main problem with the it: the writing was too whimsical at times, and this affected my reading experience in two ways: first, sometimes it was just hard to read, I got tired following the prose because it was just so quirky and whimsical (both the situations described and the way they were described). Second: this style kept me from fully connecting with Magalie.

I was reading her story, but I didn't care very much for her as a person, if that makes sense. I get where she's coming from and why she loves the shop and wants to drive Philippe away (it's her home and she feels it's in danger), but I always felt a distance from her (and from the other characters as well).

Bottom Line: The Chocolate Kiss is a sweet story, there is no mistake about it, and it's quite worth the read but I feel like, personally, the writing style is not my favorite. I can see why a lot of people like it though, so if you're in the mood for something quirky and sweet and whimsical, then this is for you. 

January 18, 2013

Book Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

At First Sight: Minerva Lane has spent the last 12 years hiding everything she once was and living under the name Wilhelmina Pursling, a shy wallflower, almost-spinster who lives with her Great Aunts. She doesn't want her past to come out to the light, so she carefully blends into the background and deflects all and any attention that comes her way.

That is until she happens to met Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont while they were both hiding behind some curtains at a gathering; and for the first time in years, someone sees Minnie for all the things she is, and not just what she appears to be. 

Robert didn't expect to be mesmerized by Miss Pursling, but he is, she makes him smile, she makes him think and she challenges him, without caring that he's a duke - most men wouldn't like this, but Robert isn't most men.

He was born to great privilege, but had a rather lonely childhood, constantly being used as a bargaining chip in the war between his parents. His relationship with his mother is cold on good days and non-existent on the bad ones, and he has made it his life's work Not To Be Like His Father, who hurt so many people, including the mother of his (half)brother Oliver.

Robert is on a quest to right the evil deeds his father committed, but his path might put the people close to him in danger, including Minnie.

Second Glance: The Duchess War is the first full book of the Brothers Sinister series - there was an introductory novel called The Governess Affair which was awesome - and I was very excited to read it, and I'm happy to say that, over all, the book didn't disappoint.

Robert is such a darling character, he has such a strong moral center and takes his responsibilities to other people very seriously, and tries to be fair in all things. He's no a rake, he's a little embarrassed of his own power as a Duke, but he's not afraid to use his rank and station to protect the people he cares about like his cousin Sebastian, his brother Oliver and their friend Violet. And Minnie too.

Minnie, now she was a little harder to like, she has a lot of fears and has been hiding her true self for a long time, and sometimes that manifests itself in ways that aren't all that attractive, but once you learn what happened to her it makes sense. She still freaks out too much for my taste, and the big reveal of her past was a little underplayed, but it makes sense for her situation.

I loved her relationship with her best friend Lydia, I think that's where it's shown how a like she  and Robert are: they are both fierce about the people they care about, but they actually expect very little from them in a way that they are a lot harder on themselves than what they are on everyone else.

Still for me, Robert was the star of the book, he was the one I liked best and whom I felt for the most. 

Bottom Line: The Duchess Wars was a very good read. It wasn't perfect - there were some things I didn't like - but I LOVED the hero so much and I'm so excited to see where this series goes - the next book is about Oliver and it's called The Heiress Effect.

Favorite Quote: "Wars are won by careful attendance to boring detail. If you wait to see the cavalry charge, Your Grace, you'll have already lost." - Minnie
PS - Gotta say that each time Minnie's name was mentioned I kept adding the "Mouse" in my head. 

January 16, 2013

Giveaway Winner! and a little announcement

Hello guys!!

So the It's My Birthday! Giveaway has come to an end and the winner (picked by Rafflecopter) was Daisy!

I've already contacted Daisy and, as always she has 48 hrs to answer.

Thanks everyone who participated!! I loved reading all your answers to the "We are gonna party like..."

Now for the little announcement it comes in two parts.

Part One: I got a Job!!!
Part Two: The blog will be slowing down.

I don't want to call a hiatus because I don't think it will be the case, just that its taking me a little while longer to finish a book in between prepping for classes. I'll still be around, I'll still try to comment and post something a couple of times a week.

I hope once I get more sorted out things will get back to normal!

See ya soon around,


January 15, 2013

Book Review: Edge of the Past by Jennifer Comeaux (Blog Tour)

Warning: This review will contain spoilers regarding the previous book in the series Life on the Edge

At First Sight: Pairs figure skater Emily is happily planning her wedding to her coach Sergei while training for the Grand Prix Finals and World Championships. She knows the timing is a little less than ideal but she and her partner Chris have won ever competition they have entered so far; and it has taken her and Sergei a lot of work to get people - like Em's mom - to accept their relationship. 

When the Grand Prix Final takes them all to Russia, Emily is excited about finally meeting Sergei's parents and seeing the place where he grew up, even if going to Russia makes her wonder and worry about Elena, the woman Sergei once loved and with whom he skated for many years before her father  ended their career.

Em tries to tell herself that it's all going to be okay, that the ghosts will stay in the past and her future with Sergei will be golden. But there is nothing to prepare her for the shock of actually meeting Elena and realizing what happened to the baby she and Sergei were forced to give away as teenagers.

Suddenly, Em's relationship with Sergei - which used to be a source of comfort and strength - is more shaky than ever.

Second Glance: So, last year I read Life on the Edge and I loved it, even though I had a few issues with it as well. And something very similar happened with Edge of the Past.

I enjoy the writing, I like Emily and Sergei and Chris and a number of other characters populating this book - even if Emily was a bit too dramatic this time around, and Sergei often acted without considering all the repercussions of his actions - and I certainly love the world of figure skating. But there were little things that kept jumping at me now and then.

It took me a little while to get into the story because the beginning is a little slow - at least it felt that way compared to the previous book - and then this big thing happened and for a great chunk that followed the story kept going round and round about this thing.

While I was reading it didn't bother me (at least at first), but when I think about it, it was kind of the same situation repeating itself: Sergei did something rashly (but with good intentions), Emily was shaken and unsure about it, Sergei was largely unaware of the effect of his actions on Em.

And that was probably my biggest issue with the book: I didn't like Sergei very much for most of this book, he came off as thoughtless (though well meaning), and having loved him on Life on the Edge, it was kind of hard.

I did like that I could see Em growing up a bit more, and that she didn't treat lightly the situations she was going through. 

Bottom Line: Maybe there was a lot of drama in this book and I wasn't expecting it, but I didn't enjoy this Edge of the Past as much as I thought I would. I still enjoy the series very much, and I'm happy to hear there might be a third book because I like the characters, the world and the writing. It's just that maybe I was expecting too much of this one. 

This review is part of a blog tour hosted by I'm a Reader Not a Writer, and there is a Tour Giveaway, just scroll down to see it.

Tour Schedule

Life on the Edge

Nineteen-year-old Emily is new to pairs skating, but she and her partner Chris have a big dream–to be the first American team to win Olympic gold. Their young coach Sergei, who left Russia after a mysterious end to his skating career, believes they can break through and make history.

Emily and Chris are on track to be top contenders at the 2002 Winter Games. But when forbidden feelings spark between Emily and Sergei, broken trust and an unexpected enemy threaten to derail Emily’s dreams of gold.


Edge of the Past

Emily's skating career and personal life have never been more golden. She and her partner Chris have won every competition they've entered this season, and she's found the man of her dreams in her coach Sergei. But when one of the biggest competitions of the year takes Emily and Sergei to Russia, Sergei's past explodes into the present and makes Emily doubt everything in their future.


Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/24/13

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

January 11, 2013

Book Review: Pandora the Curious by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

At First Sight: Pandora is without a doubt the most curious girl of Mount Olympus Academy - and one of the few mortals that go there. She's always asking questions and that doesn't make her very popular, but she can't help herself.

So, when she sees Titan boy Epimetheus walking around the academy with a mysterious box and later said box falls unexpectedly into her hands, Pandora opens the box, releasing nine mysterious bubbles into the campus and is left feeling a little disappointed that a) that was all there was inside the box Epimetheus guarded so much, and b) that no one believes her when she said it was really just full of bubbles. 

But soon, Pandora has other things on her mind, like the Science Fair that Zeus is organizing - and which she really wants to win to prove Poseidon that girls are good at science, even if it means working with Epimethus and his brother (who are even less popular than her) - and the fact that Athena is acting like a total Ditz lately... in fact, a lot of people are acting very weird ever since those bubbles were released.

And it might be up to Pandora to fix the whole thing.

Second Glance: Pandora the Curious is my new favorite entry of the Goddess Girls series, y'all! Pandora was so adorable and cute, and I loved how curious she was and how she learned it wasn't a bad thing.

I also liked the story, with the bubbles and their effects and how Pandora had to see if Epimetheus was worth her trust - and those two were so cute working together - and I enjoyed seeing a different side to the original goddess girls, I think the authors are doing a wonderful job at broadening the scope of the books and introducing the point of view of other characters. It worked really well with Medusa the Mean and I LOVED it with Pandora the Curious.

Honestly, the way that Pandora learns to being curious is awesome but that she needs to think before asking the questions was awesome, and that Epimetheus told her "I like that about you" was a huge vote of confidence for her because he got her in ways her friends didn't. 

Bottom Line: Pandora the Curious was such a cute, feel good book. I read it all in one day because I just couldn't stop. I love the world that Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams have created and I love their characters so much and, as I said before, Pandora is my new favorite. 
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite