July 29, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand

At First Sight: Dominique Richard has made a name for himself in the competitive world of Parisian Chocolatiers, and now he's regarded as one of the best chocolatiers in the world.

He has fame, a great reputation and all the women he could want, even if his staff walks all over him most of the time, and his social skills are a bit lacking - something that is put in evidence when he becomes fascinated by a woman who keeps coming to his salon -a.k.a. shop - every day, somedays even twice.

Said woman is Jamie Corey, who is in Paris recuperating from a traumatic event and hanging out with her older sister Cade, doing nothing all day but wandering Paris and visiting Dominique's shop.

At first, she's very put off by Dominique, and quite unsure of why he keeps paying her attention when he visits the shop - she even withholds her last name, since her family is rich and in the chocolate business - but soon they start to enter a relationship neither of them is sure they can handle. 

Second Glance: All right, I'm going to say all the good stuff first: The Chocolate Touch was a fun read over all, and I didn't feel as lost in the whimsy as I did with The Chocolate Kiss (Which I sometimes felt was whimsical just to be contrary and annoy me, but I digress). The characters and motivations were a lot easier to understand and navigate.

And the descriptions of Paris and awesome chocolate stuff were great.

But the book still didn't work with me. Part of it is the style, I think I'm ready to say that Laura Florand's style isn't for me. It's too wordy and whimsical in a way that just sets my teeth on edge (and I love whimsy, you can ask anybody, but this type doesn't work for me).

The other part was particular to this story and is that I didn't like Jamie all that much, her particular hang ups really rub me the wrong way - she has an hero complex and acts like she can push people away because she was hurt before, and has kind of a low self-esteem. Dominique sells himself a little short too but I found him way easier to like.

Dom had to overcome lots of things to become who he is, and he's afraid he'll turn into someone like his father, but he's actually a pretty decent guy, and you can tell that right from the start - which is why I was annoyed he couldn't see it for the longest time, and that he sold himself so short on that regard.

Still, over all I liked him. I even liked the other characters from previous books, though I don't understand why some of them were mentioned, since they didn't really bring much to the story. I understand Cade and Sylvain, since they are related to Jamie, but Magalie and Philippe? not so much.

Bottom Line: If you like Ms. Florand's style, go for it, Chocolate Touch will be fun for you. If you like a more for straightforward style of storytelling, then maybe this one won't be for you. I do think that if you're a chocolate lover, you owe to yourself to give this series a chance, at least once. 

July 28, 2013

Book Review: The Love Deception by Jennifer St George

The Deal: Felicity Carter didn't plan on waking up in a strange bed a few days before her big job interview, let alone realizing that the mysterious owner of said bed was his would be boss Damon Fulbright. 

But so it happens, and now one is more surprised than Felicity when Damon and his partners actually hire her, sure, she graduated from a top law program with honors, but Damon doesn't seem to like her all that much - you know, for someone who had her basically naked in his bed just a few days before. 

Felicity doesn't care about Damon's animosity, though, she's at the firm on a mission: to help her wrongly convicted father in his last appeal trial before it's too late, even if she does have to keep her true identity a secret. 

The appeal is being lead by Damon, so Felicity soon finds herself working close to him while they both battle the attraction they feel for each other.  

My Thoughts:
The Love Deception wasn't my favorite Destiny Romance that I've read, I'm sad to say. The story is simple enough, the writing isn't bad but it lacks a bit of spark.

Separately, Damon and Felicity are nice, I could even believe they would make a good couple, but they got caught up in so many hang ups and half secrets. Damon has a pretty big reason to dislike Felicity on first impression (he finds her falling out drunk outside a club), but he carries that against all evidence for far too long; and then suddenly everything gets fixed in one spectacular stroke of coincidence that was too much.

Felicity was easier to like though she too gets caught in her secret, and at times they seemed pointless.

The Love Deception is not a bad story, but I've seen better from Destiny. 

July 26, 2013

Book Review: Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

At First Sight: It was a really bad day for Susanna Truitt when she first met Nate. She had just broken it off with her marine boyfriend whom she had dated for 12 years while they both went to school and he was deployed.

So, Susanna wasn't at her best, but meeting Nate felt like a good thing, as she tried to process what she really felt about the break up. 

And then Nate just kept showing up, almost like a knight in shining armor, each time she needed rescuing, help or just a friend.

But Nate was more than just a tourist on St. Simon's island who liked to help out at Susanna's parents' restaurant. He's actually Prince Nathaniel, heir to the throne of a small european country and he has plenty on his plate.

But he likes Susanna, and he likes being with her and feeling useful, so he stays around, supporting her and helping her... until the facts of his life start to come to light, complicating all sorts of things.

Second Glance: Once Upon a Prince was sweet. I liked the characters and I liked the story. For a lot of it, it felt like there were real complications and impossibilities for Susanna and Nate to get together, no matter how perfect they sounded for each other - and they did, from the start but I'll get back to that - and that was good for tension.

The problem was that it went on for too long for how things ended, I don't wanna say more on it because I don't wanna spoil, but yeah, the book felt kind of long after a while. Like I kept hoping the pace would pick up but it's a slow-burn kind of book and it's not rushing for nobody.

Also, Nate and Susanna are kind of too perfect together, too in sync from the start, and I would have liked to see more spark between them. A bit more tension that was internal rather than external. I know not everyone might feel this way but I did.

Finally, the book is Christian Romance, I wasn't aware of it and it wasn't annoying-annoying in the way some Christian Romance books can be, but you could never forget it was CR and just enjoy the story. 

Bottom Line: Once Upon A Prince was a really enjoyable read, all in all, sweet and cute, but it wasn't a home-run for me. Still, it was cute and fun. 

July 24, 2013

At the Movies: Pacific Rim (Finally!!)

Okay, first off, I'm still alive, just very very busy with work. But work = money for books, and movie tickets and tennis balls for my 9 yo puppy (and food and other non-essentials like that). So, work it is!

Anyway, onto: PACIFIC RIM!!!!!!

I'm going to do this review a little different and just gush about it and fangirl like crazy, OK?OK!

Pacific Rim was awesome. I went to see it with four different people (3 the first time, one the second) and we all found stuff to like, even my dad and he so does not do summer movies, he hasn't liked one since Independence Day (before that it was Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope).

The story is fairly simple. One day these big-ass monsters called Kaijus started coming out from the Pacific Ocean, and the first couple of times they thought it was just a one-off, but then everyone realized that wasn't the case, and the whole world came together to build this big-ass robots called Jaegers, and suddenly humanity started winning the war on the Kaijus... but a few years later the tables turn and humanity started to loose (all of this happens in the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, btw).

And then the movie starts in earnest, now we are at the end of the war, and Marshall is putting together the last few robots and crews together to run a last ditch effort to close the Kaiju source for good. Enters Raleigh, former pilot (sidelined by a personal tragedy), whom the Marshall contacts to get him back into a Jaeger, problem is... they got to find him a co-pilot, since running a Jaeger is too much for one single nervous system. The more in sync you are with you co-pilot, the better you fight.

And that's it, that's the story. There are no big twists or game changers. 


The movie doesn't over explain, it shows what's going on and trust that the audience will be smart enough to pick up the subtexts and who is who and what they stand for, mainly thanks to characters that are drawn broadly and archetypal enough that you can identify them easily, but with enough unique characteristics to keep them from being cliches and token characters. Yet, they remain cartooney. It's odd to explain but it works. 

Also, the robots and kaijus were awesome. You can see this is a Guillermo del Toro movie in the monsters, definitely, but also in the Jaegers, oddly enough. And let me tell you, the robots were AWESOME!! I grew up watching stuff like Mazinger Z, Voltron, G force and even Astro Boy. I know my Mechas. And Pacific Rim was the Mecha Movie of My Dreams.

They look solid and like, yeah, you can fight a big-ass monster with that, and each is unique and works differently... *happy sigh*, and the design!! It's probably the most awesome design I've seen since Magic Knight Rayearth or Escaflowne, though stylistically it looks closer to the EVAS from Evangelion.

And speaking of Evangelion! Yes, the movie is going to remind you a little of Evangelion but not in a way that's going to piss you off, more like you're in the same stream of consciousness as the people behind the movie. I was skeptic about this at first - the first time I saw the movie I was all "That's a mecha!! That's freaking Evangelion! The hell?!!!!!"; but once the movie starts, you forget all about that.

If anything, I think Pacific Rim has the most in common with Independence Day than with any other movie of recent memory. And it holds up well in a second viewing, I'm even considering going back tomorrow and giving it a bit more of my money :)

Anyway, go see it. It's probably my favorite thing I've seen so far this year, bar none (including Despicable me 2 and Monsters U ).

And yes, it's getting a Kissy Bear: 

Grade: A (Because it was just so much fun)

PS!! I leave you two reviews that I really liked!!  ComicbookGirl19's and MovieBob's , fair warning though, if you start clicking around on their sites, you'll get totes addicted! 

July 15, 2013

Hey Guys!!

Just a quick note to let you know that it's going to be really quiet for the next couple of days here, because I'm in the middle of midterms at my school, and I got, like, a ton of papers to grade. 

So, in between wondering how my seniors got to be seniors since apparently they can't read the simplest questions, and chasing after my juniors for overdue assignments, I haven't been able to read much. 

But I hope I can catch up soon :D

I might do a Pacific Rim review though, mostly because I feel like fangirling about it since I LOVED IT TO PIECES. 

July 12, 2013

Book Review: Rush Me by Allison Parr

At First Sight: Rachel Hamilton is living the post-grad dream in New York City, or at least attempting to as she tries to land a paid position in publishing and have fun with her friends. 

One night while out at a party with a friend, she ends up crashing a different party by mistake, and walks into the world of the New York Leopards - a famous American football team she's completely clueless about, since she doesn't follow sports at all.

At the party she meets Ryan Carter, one of the league's most beloved quarterbacks, and they don't get off to the most auspicious start. But then, Rachel ends up becoming a pet of sorts to the rest of the team, and is basically adopted by Abe - a rookie player who misses his family in California, and who attaches himself to Rachel since she's the only jewish person he knows in NYC. 

Little by little, Ryan and Rachel start to spend time together and change their impressions of each other, but things are never easy when you thrown fame and indecision into the mix. 

Second Glance: Rush Me was a fun little contemporary (it's not very long at all, clocking about 240 pages in all), but it has quite a nice pace that allow the story to move on without feeling very rushed. However, sometimes it seemed like there were scenes missing - like, where did everyone got Rachel's phone number? and Ryan and Rachel go from not really talking much at all, to him letting her spend the night at his house - and that was perhaps one of my biggest problems with the book.  

The other problem I had is that Ryan and Rachel fight over the silliest things, to the point where I did face-palm a few times, and kept thinking they both had a lot of growing up to do - on one hand it made sense because Rachel is like 23 and Ryan about 26 or so, but on the other hand it really annoyed me sometimes. 

But, other than that, the book was actually lots of fun to read, the writing was good and the characters engaging. I liked Ryan and Rachel, and Abe and the other people of their world and I do look forward to the next book by the author, since she does a great job of portraying the chemistry between the characters. 

Bottom Line: I really hope my review doesn't sound negative, because I don't really have negative feelings toward Rush Me, it was fun and easy to read and had likable characters all around. Sometimes it was a little surreal but that was about it. 

July 8, 2013

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

At First Sight: The year is 1986 and Park Sheridan was riding the bus to school when a new girl came on. She's big, redheaded and awkward... and no one wants to let her sit; so Park does.

He isn't happy about it, and he isn't gracious - he was quite happy flying under the bullies radar, somewhat protected by the fact he has been next-door-neighbor to Chief Bully since they were kids and that they are sort of friends but not really - but he does what's right.

Eleanor doesn't know what to think, and she isn't exactly gracious about Park's offer. But from then on they share their bus rides, mostly in awkward silence, until Park realizes that Eleanor is reading his comics over his shoulder, and that they both love music.

And they start to fall in love, regardless of how much as their Real Lives try to make it stop. 

Second Glance: I loved Rainbow Rowell's previous offering; Attachements, and Eleanor and Park just blew me out of the park. From the moment I started there was no stoping for me. Both of them felt so young and so alive and I loved the 80's references - and props to Ms. Rowell for making the book full of 86' references without making it dated.

Anyway, Eleanor and Park are really the stars of the book in equal measures. Both of them have family issues though in very different ways: Eleanor has trouble with her mom's new husband who's crazy and sometimes violent; Park is the product of a Great Love Affair between his parents (his dad is a war vet, his mom from South Korea) and often feels like he doesn't measure up to the ideas his father has of manhood.

It was awesome to see the contrast between both their families, Eleanor's is harsh and everyone is kind of out to get their own. Park's, whoever imperfect, was full of love. Even his parents were still totally in love and it was sweet to read about it. I loved Park's parents. They were decent people and they wanted their kids to be happy.

Also, the author totally played with my emotions near the end, I was all "what? this is how its it going to end? there aren't that many pages left" but she totes managed to turn it around and I was like "OMG!! I'm so happy!!! SQUEEEEEE!!!"* 

Bottom Line: Other than I loved Eleanor and Park, go read it, the hype is totally granted and everyone should read Rainbow Rowell's books? I got nothing. Totally recommend. 

Favorite Quote: There are so many!
"Lame and fantastic?"
"Those are your middle names."

"Eleanor wouldn't try to stop her, no matter what; she was a guest in this garage. She'd eaten this woman's food and manhandled her son - she was in no position to argue."

"I want to break that song into pieces, and love them all to death."
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite
*Actual reaction.

Meg-A-Reders 2013

Hello everyone!!

Just writing this post as my official sign up for the Meg-A-Readers Blog Hop hosted - for the second year in a row - by Mandy @ The Romance and and Diana @ Little Miss Drama Queen!

I'm really excited! I participated last year but this one I wasn't sure because of my work load, but I said, what the heck! It's Meg Cabot!!

I hope to do a couple of reviews (on of the PD series 10 years later, and another of the second book in the Abandon trilogy, which I have yet to read!!!!)

If anyone else is interested in participating or following the event, check out Mandy's post

July 5, 2013

Speed Date: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

The Plot: If it weren't because he was desperate to get back home, Logan Montgomery wouldn't have found himself seating in Coach next to Holly Brennan. Never a skinny girl - and having gained a lot of weight in the last couple of years - Holly isn't happy to be seating next to a man who would give Adonis a run for his money.

But they get talking a little on the flight from Toronto to New Jersey and Logan decides he's going to help her lose the extra weight; since he is a really famous personal trainer to various pro athletes, after all. Holly isn't sure at first, but soon decides that it's time she started moving on and gaining her life back, starting with losing all the extra weight she put on while taking care of her late husband Bruce.

Soon enough, Logan and Holly strike an easy friendship, as they throw themselves into Holly's fitness quest. And, as time passes, their friendship deepens and they become something of a fixture in each other's lives. But neither of them is quite prepared for the attraction that grows beween them as Holly's weight begins to drop bit by bit, and they spend more and more time together. 

First Date: Oh, Logan! You're a bit of a jerk but at least you're honest. I like that. Holly you're determined, I like that too. And I kind of like the stuff Logan says about fitness and wellness, he's very professional about his work as a personal trainer. 

Second Date: Finally! It took you forever to get it together, Holly and Logan!!! *Sigh* Also, I like Chase and Amanda, but I don't see the point of going so in detail about their sex lives, and relationship they got absolutely no conflict between them, it's distracting. 

Third Date: And now, y'all start acting silly. Still I enjoyed getting to know you guys. 

Relationship Status: On Probation.

I really liked the book over all, but the third date was a bit of a bust. It felt like the author wasn't sure how or where to end the story, so the ending felt both a little abrupt and a little long-winded, if that's possible.

But, as I said, I did like the book a lot, it was so much fun to read. 

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 -Sorry, I'm a day late.
PSS - Thanks to the publisher for the review copy via Edelweiss

July 4, 2013

Book Review: Taking the Cake (Confectionately Yours #2)

At First Sight: Hayley is still trying to adjust to all the changes in her life, like moving in with her grandma and having to share a room with her little sister Chloe, like the fact her dad has a girlfriend and it's getting pretty serious; and her two longest friendships seem to be at a weird place.

But there are also some good things in Hayley's life: Devon, her crush, seems to be acting flirty, she found a good friend in classmate Meghan, and sometimes it seems like Marco (one of those long-standing friendships) is coming around.

Yet, things start going a little crazy in her life as Thanksgiving approaches, and her Dad announces they are going to meet his girlfriend's parents, tilting her world again. 

Second Glance: I wasn't sure what to write as the summary for Taking the Cake because in some ways nothing much happens and if I tell you I kind of tell you the whole plot of the book. Basically, it continues where Save the Cupcake! left off as Hayley keeps narrating her life as she navigates middle school.

I loved every bit of it.

I really like Hayley, she worries and she's a good friend but she's not above some jealousy now and then or wanting things to stay the same. It takes her a while to appreciate good changes but she usually gets there.

In Taking the Cake, she grows up a little more, does things that she isn't sure of - with mixed results - and bakes a lot of cupcakes. 

Bottom Line: Confectionately Yours is an adorable series and Taking the Cake a really nice adition to it! It works like just the best brain candy you could ever imagine and it's fun to boot, plus I love reading about Hayley's recipes for cupcakes. 

Favorite Quote: "It might be a bad idea... but what good is a friend if she won't get behind your bad ideas?"