February 28, 2015

Book Review: What A Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara

Summary (GoodReads)
Henrietta Upperton is about to marry Alexander Sanford when he rushes off to India to salvage his family’s fortune. Then comes the devastating news that he has wed another. Eight agonizing years later, a storm washes Alexander ashore—injured, widowed, and hunted—and one glimpse of his ruggedly handsome face reawakens the desire Henrietta thought she had buried deep inside. Her body still yearns for his touch, but she’s determined not let him wound her again . . . not this time.

For Alexander, honor always comes first. But only now does he realize that when given the choice between two virtuous deeds, he picked the wrong one. On the run with his life in tatters and a pair of daughters in tow, Alexander burns for Henrietta. He knows he does not deserve forgiveness. And yet he longs to wrap his arms around her warm body once again. What’s more, he is sure the lady craves the same

My Thoughts:
I had been looking forward to What a Lady Craves for a while now, I just loved the idea of this second-chance romance but I have to say that the book turned into a bit of a dud.

I liked Henrietta well enough, she was nice and kind and wanted to move on with her life, but also didn't fool herself into thinking she had no feelings left for Alexander. She was nice to his daughters and sought to treat them equally.

But Alexander, well, he just wasn't nice. He favored a daughter over the other (for a reason that becomes clear very quickly but doesn't makes me what he does any good), and his whole reasoning is so flimsy and silly. I mean, the thing that made him break off with Henrietta? I get why he felt compelled to do it, but I thought he choose foolishly what to do and let everyone pay the price, starting with Henrietta herself.

It just seemed like there was not much to the story. And the hero was unlikable, and didn't actually redeem himself in my book.

February 23, 2015

John Green and the Non Apology

I've been pondering what to write about this whole ordeal with the John Green misattributing a quote to himself - for years, mind you - that was actually written by a 14 year old fan.

I wanted to talk about how much plagiarism hurts, how big of a violation it feels like, but when I tried to write that post I was just ranting for about three pages. Hardly conductive to a good exercise in writing. So instead I decided to put my scientific training to use and focus on the facts.

And after reading the multiple accounts and varied opinions on the subject (I recommend reading Bibliodaze's and Cuddlebugery's posts about it), well... there are three things that don't ring quite true. 

Found at reactiongifs.com
1. John Green didn't know he hadn't written the line until recently. 
I don't buy this. How can an author not know what he has written or not? See, I might not be a big, published author but I am a writer and you can bet your ass I remember the stuff I have written.

Particularly the really good stuff that just seems to fit perfectly? yup, those kind of linger with you. I can remember my favorite line or scene of all the stories I've written - about 40 between fanfiction and original stuff - so yeah, I just can't buy that he didn't know.

2. No one noticed before now.
Found at reactiongifs.org
See I'm a fangirl of many fandoms and if fandoms are good at something that is NOTICING STUFF, I can't remember how many times Sarah Dessen has published a book and within hours of publications we had Master Lists of all the easter eggs she dropped for long time fans. 

Libba Bay has commented that continuity errors that escaped her, her copy writer and her editor, have been discovered by fans in a similar fashion. 

So, I don't buy that no one noticed before, I just don't... which ties in with my third point:

3. No one spoke up before, save for the real author and her friend. 
This is really fishy, as I said, fans speak out. In the age of Internet, I can't believe that this went on for close to six years without someone other than the original author of the quote and her close friend speaking out or just looking into it.

Reports said that the author got negative emails about her claiming the quote, so WTF? why no one commented it on a large venue before? Also, she tried to contact DFTBA and John Green several times to no avail!

It seems like John Green's fans were just sweeping it under the rug. 

And, to top it all off, there was never a concrete apology, not a public one which is the type this kind of thing deserves. His video amounts to an Oopsie! like this was something that just happened, not like something that he was actively doing for years. It's not an error of omission, it's negligent. 

And so, my disenchantment with the Nerdfighter community and John Green (of whom I can't say I ever liked 100%) continues.

But that's just me, let me know what you guys think.

Also, thanks to Sandy @ Pirate Penguin Reads for helping me find gifs. All gifs were found with google /bing image search and do not belong to me.

Note: Yup, I'm not liking to John Green's video because I don't think he deserves to get more views out of it, but Cuddlebuggery posted it on their entry, if anyone is interested. 

February 22, 2015

Book Review: Dashing Through the Snow by Paige Rion

Summary (GoodReads):
Wynn Murphy has been in love with Zane Anders since the day she laid eyes on him. But just when she begins to hope their casual relationship might turn into something more, a misunderstanding pushes her away.

At first sight, charming and handsome, ad executive, Zane Anders has been secretly infatuated with bake shop cutie, Wynn Murphy. This Christmas, he's determined to tell her.

Join Wynn and Zane in this delightful holiday novelette as Zane goes dashing through the snow in an effort to capture Wynn's heart.

My Thoughts:
Well, this was delightful short story about two people who were perfect for each other but had to work a bit at getting together - mostly against themselves, because they were being too cautious and too shy. 

Zane was such a decent guy, who so wanted to have a real relationship with Wynn and loved going to visit her bakery (he even ate his least favorite dessert everyday because it was what he had ordered by mistake the first time). 

And Wynn was a nice person, who just wanted to make her cookies and pies and be happy. I loved how close she was to her family and that she loved Christmas.

Like I said, Dashing Through the Snow was a happy little novella, perfect for an hour or two of fun. Fluffy and sweet like the treats Wynn made in her bakery. 

February 7, 2015

The Misselthwaite Archives is Awesome

Confession time: I love The Secret Garden!!!!

I just do, it's one of my favorite stories and I'm kind of sad I don't re-read the book more often. I love the movie, in fact, it's currently playing on my TV. I just love the story - and in my head, Mary and Dickon end up together, you can't tell me they don't!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!- and, so, I was super happy when I discovered The Misselthwaite Archives a few weeks ago. 

And after the painful disappointments I have suffered at the hands of Frankenstein M.D. - Victoria gives us women of science such a bad rep! - and The March Family Letters - Urgh, no, just NO - I'm so happy to say that, in my book, Misselthwaite Archives is getting it right. 

We meet Mary Lennox as a 17 year old who is forced to move to her absentee's uncle Art's place after her mom and dad die in a car crash (her Mom was a beautiful model, by the way), and we get to see her in all of her snarky glory as she sends video-letters to her former therapist Dr. Burnett. 

But that's only part of the story, the self-aware part per se, where Mary talks straight to the camera; but we also get the other part, where we are looking into her life without her knowing (like you would do with a movie) and I LOVE those parts, they add so much dimension to the story, giving it a sense of time and place.

Another thing I love? Even though this is also a trans-media story (with tumblr posts and twitter involved), we are not asked to interact with the characters the way we did with Emma or Lizzie, like they are Real People. 

Mary talks straight to the camera sometimes, but she's not 'posting the videos to youtube', they are personal letters to the only adult she trusts. She is not catering to a fan base and we are not expected to act like we don't know what's coming next. I LOVE this. Seriously. 

With other trans-media stories I often feel like I'm faking it each time I have to pretend I don't know exactly who the characters are and what's going to happen. But maybe that's just me. 

Anyway, don't miss The Misselthwaite Archives (by Pencil Ink Productions) which updates Wednesdays and Fridays.  And yes, this is a Personal Favorite already Personal Favorite  (because I know y'all had missed Kissy Bear)

February 6, 2015

Book Review: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

Summary (GoodReads)

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can't be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family's infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She's the type of girl you don't notice until the second—or third—look, but there's something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she's the one.

Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can't quite believe it's all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can't help thinking that he's hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes

My Thoughts: 

On one hand... Julia Quinn can do no wrong. She's just that type of author who can write a grocery list and I would read it and it would be worth my while. Even the books that aren't GREAT are good and way better than the average. 

That's the case with Sir Richard Kenworthy: the plot is convoluted, the hero not entirely likable, but I loved Iris - her fortitude, the fact that she might crumble for a bit but then put herself together again and go on with her life - and for her I finished this book. She was the best part about it and I almost felt like Richard didn't deserve her. 

See, I get Richard, he's overprotective of his family to the point of foolishness, but he means well so there is that. His sisters were mostly insufferable though, so I couldn't see why he was trying so hard, though eventually I came to respect the older sister, the little sister was a big NO in my head. 

Still, I don't know how much of my lack of enjoyment on the plot came partially from the fact that I'm a reader and a writer and that I could see the 2 big reveals of the plot from miles away. There were very specific tales written in, which I could easily identity because I have both written and read them many times before. 

But, regardless, I neglected work and stayed up all night to read, because... well, its Julia Quinn and that's what I do when she publishes a new book. 

Also, that scene with Frances in "The shepherdess, the unicorn and Henry VII" was the best, most funniest scene I have read EVER. I was rolling on my bed laughing so hard. That's another thing, so far the books have relayed a lot in the connection between the girls in the quartet, and they just weren't around all that much this time around... and the book suffered from it, I think. Specially after two Frances heavy books as A Night Like This and The Sum of All Kisses because, believe me, there can never be enough Frances in a book.

She's like a puppy: makes everything better just by being there.

Anyway, did The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy usurp Just Like Heaven's place as my favorite book of the Smythe-Smith Quartet? Not even close, but it was a good read. 

February 4, 2015

Book Review: More to Give by Terri Osburn

Summary (GoodReads)
Callie Henderson had to fight to put her tragic past behind her, but now the up-and-coming player in the hospitality industry is well on her way to happiness. She has her sights set on the lead renovation position at the Sunset Harbor Inn - an inn that just happens to be owned by Sam Edwards, the man who comforted her in her grief and gave her one night of passion before walking away.

Sam is searching for someone who can turn his quaint inn into a premier boutique hotel. He just never expected that someone to be the one woman who knows his deepest secrets. But he needs Callie, and Callie needs the job. Throw in a talking parrot with a cracker addiction, some uncooperative islanders, and enough sexual sparks to light a beach side bonfire, and they've got their work cut out for them.

"More to Give" is a story of heartbreak and healing, of facing the past and having the courage to believe in a future.

My Thoughts:
I love Anchor Island and I love visiting it over and over again, and I'm sad to see that More To Give is the last book of the series, but I think it ended well. 

Callie and Sam were a little different from previous couples of the series in that they were both kind of outsiders. Sam used to visit when he was a kid but never lived there full time, and Callie was entirely a new arrival. I loved how that bound them together a little because they kind of were the only person the other really knew as they had a shared past. 

I liked the way said past was explored but that it wasn't allowed to overpower the present. They both felt like they had a lot to prove and they were ambitious in that way, which was fun. I liked seeing Callie actually go to work with the tearing down and refurbishing of the inn.

It was a nice visit, and I liked how their relationship grew. Yes, they had a shared past but they were pretty much hitting the reset button while on Anchor and that was nice.

A sweet, sweet read and a good way to finish the series. 

February 3, 2015

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick and Benie Su

Summary (GoodReads)
Twenty four year old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters, beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.

When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets and for Lizzie's viewers. But not everything happens on screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie's world and well beyond the confines of her camera, from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter's bar, and much more. Lizzie's private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents unstable financial situation, her sister's budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future, and whom she wants to share it with.

Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and re-imagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before. 

My Thoughts:
Okay, so I admit I was a big fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and I love Pride and Prejudice and I was so excited to read this book, I really was - particularly because I had heard it was really good. 

Sadly, I had issues with The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, I think Lizzie's personality didn't always translate well to the book format, she often came off a little wooden and, dare I say it, not quite likable. And I also felt like a lot of her 'personal' diary feel like a research log: informative notes rather than a private, intimate narrative - and let me tell you, I've written both research logs and private diaries, so the difference jumped at me.

As I said, the writing was wooden, like she had sat down and done draft after draft before settling on what was on the page, rather than a more immediate "I'm just pouring my heart out here" style.

That could just be my personal taste though.

Also, I didn't feel like it added to the Vlog's experience because, well, I already knew the source material, I already knew whom Jane, Lizzie and Lydia were supposed to be, so... well, there you go.

On the other hand, I did like Charlotte Wu here, felt like I got to know her a little better. The rest? well, I'm looking forward to the Lydia book coming out this year and all, but for this book in particular...it kind of confirmed that Lizzie doesn't particularly get more interesting the more you get to know her.

I guess I mean to say she didn't surprise me.

February 2, 2015

Losing the Ice Cover Reveal

Hello everyone!!! As some of you might know, I'm a huge fan of Jennifer's skating books and I'm really excited for the next one in her current series and very happy to take part in the cover reveal!

So, without further a do....

Losing the Ice (Ice #2)
Release Date: 02/23/15

Summary from Goodreads:
Courtney and Josh are in love and excited to finally compete as skating partners. When they take the ice for their first competition, they want to show everyone, especially Josh's family, they are the perfect pair. But ice is slippery, and one misstep puts all their dreams in jeopardy. Now they must show each other both their love and their partnership are strong enough to survive.

Pre-order for only $.99:
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Book One:
(linked to Goodreads below)

Crossing the Ice (Ice #1)
Release Date: 08/03/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Falling hard never felt so good.

Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team.

The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though...

The more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross?

Buy Links:
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About the Author
Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is travelling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. Jennifer loves to hear from readers! Visit jennifercomeaux.blogspot.com for contact information and to learn more about her books.

Author Links:
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Cover Reveal Organized by:

Book Review: Until He Met Meg by Sami Lee

Summary (GoodReads)
Meg Lacy came to Sydney to chase her dream, but the dream is somewhat elusive, so she finds herself unemployed, uninspired and on the verge of giving up. A chance encounter with wealthy single father Bryce Carlton gives her a temporary reprieve: a job as a nanny to his headstrong eight-year-old daughter.

The arrangement is supposed to be short-term, an easy way for her to save money while she pursues her dream. But her heart doesn’t understand, and before long she is growing attached to her charge and falling in love with a man determined not to risk his heart a second time.

When his first marriage ended Bryce vowed to never become seriously involved with another woman, but Meg turns his house, his life and his heart upside down.

She is his daughter’s nanny, he’s not the right man for her, and there are a million reasons why their relationship shouldn’t be. Everything was going according to plan…until he meets Meg

My Thoughts:

I found this Until He Met Meg quite delightful, it was like a sweet little morsel of fluff and just what I've come to expect from Escape Publishing (an Aussie imprint I quite love). 

The book was set in Sydney and moved a quite the fast pace but it was all in good fun even if a little surreal - like they meet and a day later she is his nanny and living in his house without so much as a background check - so I didn't mind. 

They were sweet to each other for the most part, and I liked that. Plus, Meg was really good for his daughter and didn't neglect the kid to run after the dad, she was responsible in that sense. 

I also liked Meg had dreams for herself - she wanted to be an interior designer because she and her mom loved making their home pretty when she was a little girl - and fought for them, even if she took a couple of steps back a couple of times. 

Like I said, as sweet story, perfect for a quick read to take your mind of things. Though, granted, not all the characters were very fleshed out. 

February 1, 2015

Book Review: For Real by Alison Cherry

Summary (GoodReads)
No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. While Miranda's life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life... or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what's for real?

My Thoughts:
Gosh, I was so excited about this book. I really, really was. My favorite reality show - bar none - is The Amazing Race (or as my sister and I call it "The Best Show in F*****g Television!") and is one of the very few things my sister and I watch together.

So, For Real seemed to be like the perfect book for me... and it had so much potential!!!!! But then we got hit with the twists... and I think those twists were in detriment to the story, because what I thought would be a book about two sisters traveling around the world, turned out to be about a dating show.

Claire and Miranda spend very little time together and Miranda wasn't very likable for the little time she was with Claire - and she treated Claire like she was a helpless two year old in the most annoying and patronizing way - and Claire was so hung up on a guy that she never really even enjoyed the experience.

All in all, this book could have been so much better, as it is, it was nice but forgettable.