Saturday, November 10, 2012

"The Perfect Hope" by Nora Roberts

5+ stars

You all know how it can be with high expectations. If not met they can become the worst buzz kill imaginable. And let me tell you, my expectations for this final book in the Inn BoonsBoro triology were mile high. I've been waiting for this story since the first time Ryder made an appearance on page.
Especially this year my too high, maybe even unreasonable expectations have ruined quite a few promising books for me, so I was hopeful and anxious at the same time when I started reading.
So like I said, sometimes they can ruin everything for you, but there are rare times when those expectations simply get hit out of the ballpark because you get so much more than you could have ever imagined. "The Perfect Hope" was such an experience.
I'm not trying to build up your own expectations, but I don't think there was a chapter, scene or moment that I wasn't completely satisfied with. I simply devoured this book and loved every single second of it.
Nora Roberts included all the small and big details and events I was looking forward to, but at the same time she gave me so much more. Things I didn't even know I wanted to read about until she wrote about them.

Hope was a likable, straightforward and caring heroine who made reading this story so much more enjoyable (sometimes it's hard for me to like or relate to female characters). But it was Ryder who stole the spotlight. I don't know how Nora Roberts did it, but this surly, gruff and hardworking guy managed to come across as ridiculously sexy and adorable at the same time. His behavior towards his mother, brothers and Hope couldn't have been more different, but you could always see how much he cared for all of them. It were just his creative and often gruff ways of showing that affection that were the most entertaining and heart-warming.
Of course there were some similarities and parallels between this book and the last one in the Bride Quarte series once again, but they weren't as glaringly obvious as in "The Last Boyfriend". I still felt as if I was reading about two "new" characters, even though there was some overlapping when it came to their characterization.
Once again I fell in love with all the main and secondary characters in Roberts' series and I was especially satisfied with the way the Lizzy mystery was resolved.

But my personal highlight (apart from Ryder, of course) were the dialogues and conversations. They ranged from emotional and tense to heart-warming and hilarious. It didn't matter if they were talking (almost philosophically) about shoes, magical babies or overcoming your past and fears. This book and it's interactions just felt so refreshing and real to me, it's hard to describe. But just the fact that it got me out of a reading slump that lasted way over a month should tell you enough.
Basically all I want to say is that I adored this book and it's charming variety of characters. So if you're a fan of the series or looking for a cozy, funny, sexy and at times emotional book you HAVE to buy this.
If you are new to the series I would recommend you start at the beginning with "The Next Always", otherwise you will be missing out on some great Ryder/Hope interactions and wonderful love stories.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

About "reading slumps" and MAJOR distractions...

I realize I've been very VERY inactive these last weeks (I can't believe it's been weeks!), but that's because I'm kind of taking a break from reading. It definitely wasn't planned and I'm still not sure why, but for some reason I just don't feel like reading.
It's a new and very confusing situation for me. I never felt like this before. There were times when I didn't enjoy books as much as I did usually, but I can't remember a time where I haven't read a book in WEEKS! It's been more than two weeks that I finished a book. Yes, I started some and I also read a great "extra chapter", but that's it... 
On the other hand I'm also suprisingly relaxed about it. I don't want to force it and also don't feel the need to open a book (I'm not sure if that shouldn't worry me even more).
I'm sure that a big part of the problem is the fact that I'm in complete "Korean-mode" right now. I'm watching tons of Korean TV programms (even though I wouldn't even dream of watching those from my own country), dramas and all kinds of music videos. The trigger for all that? Here he is:

Lee Taemin, vocalist and lead dancer of the South Korean idol group SHINee.
I'm not sure how it even happened, but I clicked (almost randomly) on a Youtube video (always dangerous xD) and there he was. If you have an open mind and want to try something new you might want to check out some of their songs (I would recommend "Lucifer" and "Sherlock") and appearances on TV shows (you'll either hate it and think it's completely ridiculous or you'll get absolutely addicted - like me - so don't say I didn't warn you).
So if you're interested, I've put together some Youtube playlist about KPOP in general - "KPOP Madness" - as well as Shinee and Taemin - "Best Taemin/Shinee Moments". Queck it out, ignore it, do what you want. I know it's a bit... random (xD), but I just thought some of you might be interested. It takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you're not familiar with the language, but I'm very fascinated by the Korean culture and this part especially.

                                                            SHINee
And since I'm already talking about private stuff I thought I'd tell you what I'm doing right now. University has started again and I also got a new job, working at a big cinema in Vienna. Apart from that I'm also learning Spanish. It's great and since I'm really into languages I'm having the time of my life. I'm also planning to learn Korean, but I decided not to overdo it and to tackle one language at a time.
That's the end of my very un-bookish post! ;]

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Hearts In Darkness" by Laura Kaye (originally written June 17, 2012)

4 - 4.5 stars

Story:
Suddenly caught in a broken elevator Makenna and Caden don't know what hit them, but from one second to another it's pitch black dark around them and nothing is moving. They don't know each other, they don't know what the other person looks like, but they definitely need each other to get sanely through this disturbing experience.

This was short, sexy and sweet, with two very likable characters and an appealing storyline. It's just the b
ook you need if you have a bit of free time in the afternoon because despite of the smaller amount of pages (112) there was a suprising depth to the story, the characters' pasts and the budding feelings between the protagonists.
I really enjoyed how the author used the short amount of time to build the relationship between those two. She took her time to let the two of them get to know each other (while they were talkig to distract themselves), but there was always this pleasurable and understated tension between them. Still, they didn't just jump each other, but instead thought about the possible consequences (but don't worry, there are still some very well written love scenes).
Something else I appretiated was the fact that they were both honest enough to admit that the looks of the other person had some importance, but at the same time they didn't let it stop them from "falling in like" with each other. They were honest to themselves and to each other, which made me like them even more!

The only thing that bothered me a bit was the abrupt ending. I didn't feel like their story was finished. It wasn't unsatisfying, but I still would have wished for a more detailed ending.

This story was romantic and to the point. I'll definitely have to check out other books by the author!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quote of the Week #5 (TAG)

So I thought maybe this week we could have a little fun with the "Quote of the Week" post. I'm not gonna pick an especially important quote. Instead of that I'm doing the TAG-version. Here's my quote:

"She put her knobby hands to her face and felt wrinkles. At that, she discovered she had been in a state of shock all yesterday."
from "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones
Chapter 4, Line 13

Really, I love this book! I've only known the movie, but this year I finally discoverd that it's actually a book. If you haven't seen the movie you should definitely do that. It's a Japanese animated film by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Their films are incredible and even if you're not a fan of animated films you should definitely give one of them a try. My favorites are "Spirited Away", "Princess Mononoke" and "Howl's Moving Castle".
The book is different from the movie, but still great. It's such a fun book to read. A whole lot of likable characters, a crazy plot and just enough love story to keep things interesting!

Now to the TAG part of this post. Here are the rules:

1. Pick a random book. It can be the book you're reading right now, your favorite book, the book lying closest to you or a random book from your shelves. You get the idea.

2. Open your book at Chapter 4 (if your book isn't divided into chapters open Page 40 instead), then go to Line 13.

3. Post the sentence in the comments section. Sometimes the sentence will start in line 11 or 12, but that doesn't matter, just write the whole sentence down. In case a sentence ends in line 13 and another one starts there, write down both sentences.

4. Don't forget to write down the title of the book, as well as the name of the author.

5. If the sentence has a special meaning to you, don't hesitate to tell us why!

6. Have fun! :]

After you posted the comment below you are welcome to do this on your own blog if you want. Just please don't forget to post a link to my page, thanks.
Let the quotations begin! :]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"The Many Sins Of Lord Cameron" by Jennifer Ashley (originally written March 9, 2012)

5+ stars

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I don't know how it's even possible, but I liked it even better than the first two books in the "Highland Pleasures" series. Especially "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" is one of my all-time-favorites, but "The Many Sins of Lord Cameron" was (and is) still in it's own league of great historical romances.
It's definitely one of the best books I read in 2012 and I've read quite a few already.

I'm a fan of Jennifer Ashley's heroines in this series. I wanted Beth as my older sister and would have been happy if Isabella had taken me under her wing, like she did with Ian's wife. But I simply adored Ainsley. She's honest, witty and has an open and warm heart. The gentle, but insistent way she helped and coaxed Cameron was heart-warming and emotional.

Then there's Cameron. In the first two books I wasn't too sure about him. I loved Ian and Mac from the beginning, but Cam just seemed too callous and brutish to me.
Now that I've read his story I can understand why. I won't say too much, but just know that he truly suffered in his former marriage.
I'm touched and amazed by the depth of his character Jennifer Ashley revealed to us in this installment. One minute I just wanted to take him into my arms and tell him that everything would be alright, while in the next second I found myself grinning at his funny and sexy antics. He's a fabulous hero - gorgeous, strong, but riddled with his own set of doubts and fears. But the thing is, he overcame them with the help of Ainsley and I loved reading about the whole progress.

Like a lot of other readers I enjoyed the lack of unnecessary drama. There were no overdone misunderstandings or any kind of deceptions. Yes, they had issues to overcome, but they did it together, while staying true to themselves.

Like I said, this book was fabulous and I truly enjoyed revisiting the characters from the previous books. Quite a few times I found myself laughing about something Daniel did or said and the whole setting with the horses fit perfectly to the romance.
And even though I'm not a big fan of Hart I'm still interested in his book. The glimpses we got of him made me really curious and the way Jennifer Ashley convinced me of Cameron's character doesn't leave a doubt in me that she will do the same with Hart's.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Delusion In Death" by J.D. Robb

4 - 4.5 stars

Let me start by saying that the only reason I didn’t give „Delusion In Death“, book #35 in the „In Death“ series, five stars was because this was such a hard book for me to read. Reason for that was the murder investigation.
It’s happy hour in a popular after work bar, owned, of course, by Roarke. A fight breaks out and twelve minutes later almost everyone in that bar, more than 80 people, are dead. It’s obvious they killed each other, with bare hands, teeth, forks, broken glass or pieces of the furniture. Eve Dallas has to find out how something like that could happen and who is responsible for such a gruesome deed.

I’m bad with violence and gory scenes so this plotline was a bit hard for me to stomach. Just imagining and thinking about this horrible crime was hard enough, but on top of that J.D. Robb actually went into great detail to describe the crime scene, recovery of the bodies and examination of the corpses. So if you are a bit sensitive about things like that you should prepare yourself before you start reading this book.
While it was even darker than most of the other books in the series, it somehow felt more personal at the same time. Maybe personal isn’t the right word, but what I’m trying to say is that I can only remember a few other books where I was as invested in the hunt of the murder.

But do you want to know the most amazing thing? Throughout this entire horrible investigation J.D. Robb still managed to create scenes that made me smile. They didn’t feel inappropriate or tasteless, but were welcome and exquisitely done breathers in the middle of all those tragic events.
Then there were Roarke and Eve, of course. You can just count on them to provide heartwarming, sexy and amusing scenes. I know some readers actually think they are getting “boring” and want more drama (I simply can’t understand that!) but I like the way their relationship progressed. It feels natural and right. I just love them united, strong and secure in their love of each other.
Of course there was some friction in this book, but that’s completely understandable considering the emotional stress they were under due to this nerve-wracking case. But then their arguments and little discussions just felt like natural parts of a healthy relationship. I don’t need some overdone drama, blown completely out of proportion, just reading about the nuances and ups and downs of their “everyday life” is exciting and rewarding enough. There will be more noticeable changes and developments in their relationship when it’s time. For me there’s no need to rush.

Another of my highlights of this series that got a lot of attention in this installment of the series, are the character and relationship developments. This time we got a bit more insight into Mira and Eve’s complex relationship and it was incredibly touching. There were also some surprising, but strangely appealing scenes between Eve, Summerset and Roarke. I really like the almost fatherly connection he has to Roarke and I adore his and Eve’s bickering. This time we got to see them from a different perspective and it was still fascinating.
As the cherry on top, Robb presents us with the most adorable Bella/Eve scene. It’s so cute how Eve is slowly getting used to the little kid.
One of the things I enjoyed most about “Delusion In Death” was the fact that there were so many plot strings, personal and professional. They were connected, but at the same time they never crowded each other or took the spotlight from the investigation. J.D. Robb is especially good at that, but it somehow stood out more to me this time.

This was another great book in a formidable series, with subtle, but rewarding personal developments and a hard, brutal, but nevertheless engaging murder investigation. A must-read for fans of the series. Newcomers should start at the beginning with “Naked In Death”.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quote of the Week #4

To celebrate tomorrow's release of "Delusion in Death", book #35 in the "In Death" series, I'll give you a J.D. Robb quote as this week's "Quote of the Week". Enjoy! :]



"What kind of cop shop is this", she asked, "with fancy art on the walls and uni- forms who give you a big smile instead of the beady eye?"
"You're the New York in Dallas."
"What?"

"Buck up, darling. I'm sure somewhere in this facility someone's getting the beady eye."
"The security officer smiled and said 'Good afternoon, ma'am,' to me before I gave him ID."
"It's a sick world, Eve."
from "New York To Dallas" by J.D.Robb
 
God, I love those two! :D What about you, are you a fan of the series? Do you love Roarke and Eve as much as I do? What was your favorite Eve/Roarke conversation?

Btw, Sabrina from "About Happy Books" is doing something really great at her blog. Seven days that are all about the "In Death" series. It started today, so take a look and join some great discussions.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Archangel's Storm" by Nalini Singh

5+ stars

Story:
Mahiya lives only half a live in Neha’s court. Niece of the Indian archangel and the living reminder of her consort’s betrayal. Because Mahiya’s parents are none other than Neha’s sister and Erin, consort to the archangel. Now, centuries later, Erin is dead and Neha, half-insane with grief and anger, threatens to release her power and destroy entire cities.
Jason, sent to her court to avert disaster, must find the murderer, but by doing so he has to prove his loyalty and bind himself to Mahiya, the archangel’s only remaining blood relative.

What amazes me the most about Nalini Singh, her books and especially „Archangel’s Storm“, the fifth installment in her “Guild Hunter” series, are her complex and original character constructions/developments. With a lot of authors you get the feeling that they have one male or female hero type, which they then recycle for all their books. They might give them a different hair or eye color, make them taller or smaller, but in the end it’s basically the same character. I’ve never felt like that with Nalini Singh before and I definitely haven’t felt like that while reading “Archangel’s Storm”.

Jason and Mahiya are such appealingly flawed, complex and unique characters it was a pleasure to get to know them a little bit more with every read page. Especially Jason is such an intriguing protagonist. We didn’t find out a lot about him in the previous books of the series, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I even had some worries that it might be too early for his own book (even though I promised never to doubt Nalini Singh again), but once again she proved to be a master of her craft. Jason stays a mystery until the end of the book, but at the same time you feel so much compassion and affection towards him. Nalini Singh did an awesome job of walking the fine line while creating his character. She manages to make him guarded, without making him appear cold, as well as give him a core of immense strength, while also showing a certain vulnerability. By the time I finished the last page of the book he was one of my favorite Singh protagonists.
Then there’s Mahiya. In the beginning of the book Neha described her as a “fragile trinket” and let me just tell you: She was wrong. Due to her heritage and the circumstances of her upbringing she has honed her talent of blending into the background, so a lot of people underestimated her, even I didn’t fully comprehend the extent of her courage, intelligence and determination. This heroine came as a bit of a surprise to me. A very pleasant one. She has a mature kind of innocence to her and although Neha has treated her with nothing but distaste, even cruelty, she managed to keep her core of compassion and… goodness. She didn’t turn bitter, actually, she refused to turn bitter and was determined to stay true to herself. Considering what was done to her it’s nothing but a miracle (at least in my opinion).

Together Jason and Mahiya were just amazing. If you’ve read (and enjoyed) this series up to this point then you know that Nalini Singh’s romantic (and other) relationships are almost a thing of art. Her gift of translating feelings and emotions into words is incredible and she used it perfectly for Jason and Mahiya.
Jason became her protector. In a world where everybody looked down on her, while Neha did everything to crush her spirit, this black winged angel respected and acknowledged her for who she truly was. He listened to her, he cared about her opinions and step by step he started to care even more for her. Mahiya might have been extremely dependent on him, but at the same time she stood her ground and refused to accept the fact that Jason seemed to stay somehow detached from the world around him. Those two characters were so right for each other, despite or maybe because of all their differences. There were so many things standing between them, their individual pasts, obstacles thrown at them from the outside, as well as Jason’s loyalty to Raphael. But still, together they became so much stronger and reading about it was simply beautiful. For me this following quote describes their relationship and interaction perfectly (this scene takes place earlier in the book, so don’t worry about spoilers):

“He was beyond fascinating. Dangerous and unpredictable and frighteningly intelligent. A threat. And yet she wanted to run her finger over the blade of him even if it made her bleed, wanted to dance too close to the flame, wanted to take a risk that could destroy her.”

The mystery part of the story was fascinating, to say the least. The hunt for Eris’ murderer, as well as a wave of additional murders, all connected to Neha, kept things interesting, even on the non-romantic level. There were so many unexpected twists and sudden plot changes and once more, as always when it comes to Singh’s plotting, I was unable to predict the outcome.

This is a haunting story, a compelling mystery plot and a love story so heartbreaking, but incredibly beautiful at the same time. The fact that I finished this book in less than a day should already tell you something. If you’re a fan of the series you simply HAVE to read it. If you’re new to Nalini Singh’s universe, start at the beginning with “Angel’s Blood”, you won’t regret it.
The fact that I have to wait a year for the next book in the series is heartbreaking as well. Quite some of the revelations and things that happened in this book made me hungry (ravenous!) for more and I’m ecstatic that Elena and Raphael will be the protagonists of the next book once more.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September's additions to my book family

These are the books that will be published in September and will join the rest of my books on my shelves. I'll list them according to my excitement level, so my highlights will come first. And here they are (click on the covers to get to their Goodreads pages):


"Archangel's Storm" by Nalini Singh (publication date - September 4, 2012; book #5 in the "Guild Hunter" series)
"Delusion In Death" by J.D. Robb (publication date - September 11, 2012; book #35 in the "In Death" series)
"Alice In Zombieland" by Gena Showalter (publication date - September 25, 2012; book #1 in the "White Rabbit Chronicles" series) 

I'm really REALLY looking forward to all of them, especially since they all have amazing covers. They will look great on my bookshelves! ;] 

What are your September must-haves?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quote of the Week #3

So, I'm aware of the fact that I'm quite a bit behind scedule with this post, but in the last few days I've been in some kind of a no-reading-phase. Instead I've been watching some great anime series. But now I'm feeling like doing this, so here it is, this week's quote:

"I'm not sure what you are, Tavia. Or how you can be what you seem to be. I've never seen anything like you. No one has. What you are is... impossible."
"Great." She made a strangled sound in the back of her throat. "So, I'm a monster. Even by your standards."
 from "Darker After Midnight" by Lara Adrian


I love Lara Adrian's "Midnight Breed" series. It's one of my favorite paranormal romance series and this book was one of my personal highlights.
I recently reread the books #10, #9, #8, #7 and #4 (in this order, I just tend to reread series in reverse) and it somehow feels like these books are getting better every time I revisit Lara Adrian's captivating world.
The quote I chose was part of an incredibly powerful scene in the last installment of the series. I love the intensity of it and how Lara Adrian made me feel the heroines desperation and anger. If you don't know the series or haven't read this book yet, you should definitely check it out. Like I said, it's fabulous!
 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake" by Sarah MacLean (originally written January 5, 2012)

5+ stars

Story:
After ten unsuccessful London seasons Lady Callie (short for Calpurnia) is definitely considered a spinster, but lately she is tired of her boring live and pristine reputation. This is the delightful story of her finding a way to finally start living her own life. Delightful, but not exactly unproblematic because for some reason she stumbles over the infuriating and rakish Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston, every step she takes. 

The story of the sweet spinster and the notorious rake might not be the most original, but that is widely beside the point here. The truly remarkable thing about this book was the affectionate way of the author. You just know that she loves her characters and there's no way for you to resist this lovely tale.

I simply adored Callie, as well as her older brother and younger sister, who just happily announced her betrothal to a duke. Even her slightly eccentric mother was oddly likable.
This book has a crowd of lovable secondary characters, like Nick - Gabriel's brother, or their lively halfsister Juliana.

But what definitely stole the show, was the budding relationship between Callie and the sympathetic rake Gabriel. Once I started reading their story I just couldn't put the book down anymore.
The way they interacted, and the way Gabriel reacted to Callie's imfamous list was just hilarious and heart-warming.
Everytime Gabriel called her "Empress" (in reverence to Calpurnia, Caesar's wife) I was amused and ridiculously touched at the same time.
His transition and development in this book was an believable, if not always easy one. You just had to respect him for his former "decision" to never fall in love. Even if you sometimes wanted to shake him and tell him to get over it.

Thankfully the amount of drama was blessedly moderate, without costing the book in suspense and power. There wasn't a big, awful climax, completely blown out of proportion, but a little twist that gave the story the necessary punch.

You can definitely say that I truly loved this book. It was funny, sweet, written in a flowing and enjoyable style and had just enough great love scenes to keep things interesting. I would recommend it to everyone who... well, just EVERYONE! :]

Monday, August 20, 2012

To go on or not to go on (with the series), that is the question!

I'm currently rereading "Outlander" the first book in Diana Gabaldon's series (of the same title). I loved it the first time I read it and I'm still loving it now. It's not an easy book to read, but it's powerful and emotional at the same time and I just adore Jamie and Claire and the Happy End they got in "Outlander". This was also the reason why I didn't go on with the series. I decided to treat the first book like a standalone and avoid all the following drama.

But now my mom - who loves the series, but refuses to reveal too much, hmph >:/ - is telling me to at least read the next three books "Dragonfly In Amber", "Voyager" and "Drums Of Autumn". I'm just not sure if I should. I'm afraid that at some point I will stumble over something that will ruin the love story for me. The one thing that I can't forgive a character for is cheating. I insist on fidelity and some of the rumours I heard worried me quite a bit.
If you haven't read the series - spoilers ahead! 

I'm aware of the fact that Claire and Jamie  are apart for twenty years and I don't hold their relationships/affairs during that time against them - they aren't saints and twenty years is an awfully long time to spend alone. But if Claire and Jamie cheated on each other once they found each other again, it would ruin the whole series for me. I don't care if this series takes place in another time, with different customs and morals.

As you can see I'm in a bit of a bind. On the one hand I'm curious about Jamie and Claire's journey, seeing how so many people love this series. But at the other hand I'm worried about ruining a great book like "Outlander" by going on with a series that's just not for me.

So did you read the series? Would you advise me to go on with the series or just let it be and treat "Outlander" as a standalone novel? What were your general thoughts on this series? Feel free to include as many spoilers as you want. I'd be very grateful for your help. All this wondering is starting to drive me crazy!
Recpectively, have you ever had a hard time deciding if you want to go on with a series? What were your decisive factors?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Book Nook - it's finished!

Almost. But as you can see I can sit and read an be veeeeery comfortable, so I don't really care that it isn't all the way done yet. I love it. The only problem is that I don't want to get up once I'm sitting, but I should have expected that, right? ;)
If you haven't read my first post on this project, here's the link: Building my Book Nook - Day 1 & 2
The best thing? I didn't have to sew. At all! Not one single stich! :D
My dad bought me all the cushions and covers and said it was a late easter present. Right. He's the best. <3

The wooden platform beneath the matress is about 40 cm (~ 1 foot and 4 inches) high, so I'm planning to put some drawers underneath, which will come in handy and look good (I hope).
I'm also thinking of putting in another bookshelf (or rather, of letting my dad put in another bookshelf xD). My dad has already built me two, so it might be a good idea to bring up the idea now. That way he'll have enough time to finish it until Christmas. The gap between the wall and the matress is a bit bigger than 5 inches, so it would be just right for paperbacks.

But apart from that it's really finished! I had a lot of fun building it and choosing all the fabrics for the cushions. Looking back now, I have to say that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be in the beginning. And who knows, next time I come up with an idea for a project like this it might not take me years to finally start working on it. ;]

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quote of the Week #2

For this week's "Quote of the Week" I chose an a bit more humorous conversation than last week. I just finished "Match Me If You Can" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (book #6 in the "Chicago Stars" series) and I have to say, I enjoyed it.
If you don't know the book, it's about Annabelle, who is new to the business of matchmaking so she figures landing a client like Heath Champion, one of the most successful sports agents, would be a good opportunity to create some much-needed publicity for her business. Only problem(s), Heath is a bit scary and all kinds of demanding. To top it all off she's competing with a renowned matchmaking-business, owned by glamorous Portia Powers.
What I liked most about this book were the conversations between Heath and Annabelle BEFORE they became lovers. This is one of those entertaining "conversations":

"Portia Powers can baby sit her own introductions. I'm not doing it."
"Yet only six days ago, you were in my office on your knees telling me you'd do anything to land me as a client."
"I was young and stupid."
 from "Match Me If You Can" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's kind of scary...

I never planned to do a post about covers on this blog, but I stumbled over something and I just have to share. Btw, if you're interested in cover-themed post, Sabrina from "About Happy Books" is doing a lot of great posts in German, comparing and discussing original and German covers on her second blog "Bücher - lost in translation". You might want to check them out!

On to my discovery. I guess most of you know the great, historical Hathaway series by Lisa Kleypas (if you don't, go and check it out, right now!) so I won't go into more detail. But let me just tell you, it's a wonderful and humorous series about an unconventional and loveable family. "Married by Morning" is the fourth book and my personal highlight of the series. I like both versions of the cover, the US, as well as the UK version.


I think the US version (left) might not be special, but it's charming and the light and cheerful colors suit the storyline of the book. I simply love the UK version. It's beautiful and fits the time of the story. In my opinion the publishers did a decent job and created appealing covers for a lovely book.

Then there's the disastrous German cover. I think it's best if you just take a look yourself.


Seriously? I was truly speechless when I first saw this. I don't know what the German publisher has been thinking. Covers like that are the reason people are still making fun of romance books. Even if I ignore the lacking design, there's still the fact that it doesn't fit to the story in the least. The cover is gloomy, dark and the couple looks like it's in pain (especially the woman).
I would never EVER think of buying a book like that. And that would have been a shame because "Married By Morning" is one of my all time favorite historical romances. I'm happy that I decided long ago to only read the original versions or I would have missed out on a great reading experience.

So what do you think of the covers? Especially the German version?

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Pushing the Limits" by Katie McGarry

4 - 4.5 stars

Story (synopsis from Goodreads):
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

This was an amazing, at times heartbreaking story about two lost souls finding each other. Echo and Noah (love their names, btw) were just incredible. As a pair and as individuals.
They're both in extremely hard situations, one is orphaned and fighting for the rest of his family, while the other is trying to cope with the betrayal of a loved one and loss of her brother and part of her memory. They're both miles away from being perfect, but when they are together it just doesn't matter. Following their seperate and shared paths was a beautiful experience.

I could go into more detail, but I just don't think it would give you more helpful insight into this great book. My words wouldn't be able to convey how deeply this story and its characters touched me. It's something you have to experience for yourself. But let me tell you this - "Pushing the Limits" is heartbreakingly emotional, wildly romantic and somehow manages to stay positive throughout all the turmoil the protagonist have to go through. So maybe you're wondering why I didn't give the book five stars. It's because I had one major issue with the story:

The only thing that bothered me was that the drama between Echo and Noah reminded me a bit too much of "New Moon", but thankfully without the love-triangle (-> "I'm leaving you for your own good. You'll be better off without me.") Unlike the rest of this book their reasoning just wasn't believable for me.

Apart from that I couldn't have been more delighted by this book. It isn't an easy read. It's actually emotionally exhausting at times, but ultimately rewarding. So if you think you could enjoy a story like that I would strongly recommend to order it right this second. You won't regret it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What makes "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts so special

I recently reread "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts for what feels like the tenth time and although I always loved this book, this time it felt even more special. I can't really say what it was, but it got me thinking. What makes this book so special? Why does it stand out from all the other great Nora Roberts books for me?
I think I found the answer. There are a few factors playing in:
The perfect balance between the suspense and the charming and sexy love story. It's the way Roberts portrays the little Town of "Angel's Fist" with all its eccentric, but likable characters. But, for me it are the great conversations between two of the most compelling main characters I've ever read about.
Brody, a bit of a loner, sarcastic, but with a truly good heart and Reece, neurotic and plaqued by a horrible event from her past, but willing to fight on and find the beauty in life again. It were their "discussions" and conversations that made me grin or even laugh out loud while reading a story that was propelled forward by the suspense part surrounding a perfidious murder. Those moments of humor balanced the scale and made this a wonderful reading experience.
Here are some of those amazing and funny scenes (if you haven't read the book and don't like spoilers you might want to skip the rest of this post):
"I don't sleep with every man I'm attracted to."
Now he leaned on the open car door. "According to you, you haven't slept with anybody in two years."
"That's right. If you think you're going to take advantage of my... dry spell-"
"Bet your skinny ass I am." And he grinned as he slid into the car.
She marched her skinny ass to the passenger door and huffed her way inside. "This is a ridiculous conversation."

"So shut up."
from "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts, p. 138
"Being a little crazy is just human," Brody commented as he helped himself to a cookie.
"I'd be human then. And look," Reece began, "I appreciate you trying to put me at ease. I do, and you have. But I know I'm a simmering stew of neuroses with chunky bits of phobia, seasoned heavily with paranoia."
"It's good to know yourself." Brody bit into the cookie. "Most people don't know they're nuts, which is annoying to the rest of us."
from "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts, p. 187
"I've gained three pounds."
"Three whole pounds. Where'd I put that confetti?"
"It's because I'm doing more cooking. Not just at Joanie's, but here. Like this."
"Whatever I can do."
"I'm having sex on a regular basis."
"I repeat, whatever I can do."
"I had my hair cut and styled."
"So noted."
She cocked her head. If she had to pull teeth, she'd get out the pliers. "Well, do you like it or not?"
"It's okay."
"Oh, please stop." She waved a hand. "Must you be so effusive with your compliments?"
"I'm an effusive kind of guy."
from "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts, p. 250

Just rereading those scenes and writing them down makes me grin again. I just love those two, especially the effusive Brody ;)

So, what do you think? Did you read "Angels Fall"? Did you like it? If you did, what made it so speacial for you? Or do you know any other books that have a great deal of entertaining and awesome conversations?

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Forever And A Day" by Jill Shalvis

4.5 - 5 stars

Story:
Dr. Josh Scott isn't desperate. Well, not exactly. He's just in desperate need of... something. He's working crazy hours in the ER and his own practice, his son that he is raising on his own, stopped talking and took up barking instead and then there's his paralyzed, angry sister living with him. And to top it all off his house is now harboring the most ill-behaved pug on the planet, also known as the Antichrist.
What he really needs is help, so hiring Grace to babysit and walk the satanic canine seemed like a good idea at the time.
Grace is still trying to figure out what to do with her life because pleasing her parents just might not be good enough anymore. She figures that walking a little dog can't be too hard, but by accepting the dog she's taking on way more than she bargained for. Because risking her heart was never part of the plan... 

"[...] And I love them all." Grace heard the words, then clapped a hand over her mouth. "What is that? Why does that word keep slipping out?"
"It's because love is one of those really bossy bitches," Amy said. "There's no telling it what to do."

Well, they do say that three's the charm, but due to the fact that the main character was a doctor I never thought that this would come true for me with Jill Shalvis's third book in her "Lucky Harbor/Chocoholics" series. I was wrong. "Forever And A Day" was simply irresistable. ;) I loved "Lucky In Love" and enjoyed "At Last", but it was the last installment of the series that took the (cup)cake for me.
This was a lovely, sexy story with an enjoyably relaxed pace, despite all the entertaining chaos that happens in the small town of Lucky Harbor. What made this book so special were the two main characters and the incredible chemistry between them.

Grace was such a likeable character. Her interactions with Toby, Josh's son were truly touching, but it was the way Grace handled Josh's rebellious, paralyzed sister that made her my favorite Shalvis heroine so far.
Then there's Josh. Sexy, wonderful, adorably stressed Josh. Talk about favorite characters. He and Sawyer are fighting for the number one spot in my heart and although Sawyer is a badass cop with a gun, it actually might be the hunky doctor that will come out on top. And that's quite a feat because I don't think I've ever actually liked a doctor as a hero. And I didn't just like Josh - I completely adored him.
He was a compelling main character. He genuinely wanted to help people, but despite his crazy work hours you never doubted that his family came first, even if it took him some time to figure it out himself. But the best (or at least most amusing) thing about him was how clueless he was about what to do about the energetic bundle called Grace. Oh, he thought he had her all figured out, but he could do nothing to stop her from charming her way into his slightly cynic heart. Watching those two stumble along was priceless.

Hands down, this was my favorite Shalvis love story. I enjoyed myself from the get-go. And a very big plus (for me) was the slower build up. At least it was slow for Jill Shalvis. It was still sexy as hell because the attraction and heat was coming off every page, but the way she strung those two along was a delicious reading experience in itself!

I'm delighted that this isn't the end of the "Lucky Harbor" series and I'm really looking forward to the next installments. I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a quick, sexy and sweet story about finding your place in life and discovering love in unexpected places. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Building my Book Nook - Day 1 & 2

I did it! I finally started working on my Book/Reading Nook. I have a hidden and unused corner in my room and I always planned to put in a cushioned platform where I can sit/lie down to relax and read my books. I planned to do it for years now, but I never actually did it. But after reading some books in which the protagonists are fixing up houses I got into the mood to do something. So, thank you Nora Roberts for finally getting me to do it ;)


Yesterday I sketched a very rough "blueprint", took the relevant measurements and convinced my dad to get me materials, for which I am endlessly grateful.
So today I woke up and was motivated to get to work. Which is probably the reason why spent the entire day sawing, drilling, sanding and then screwing all the parts together. I did take a lunch break and read a few pages of "Pushing The Limits" by Katie McGarry which started very promising, but I just couldn't concentrate because I actually wanted to get back to work. Suprise suprise!
I have to say I'm very proud of myself and today's work. I made some serious progress and finished the complete framework for my platform and cleared out the corner in my room. I'm happy to announce: It fits! :D No need to take it apart again, thank you very much! ^.^

So, now my whole body hurts (especially my right arm), but I'm really happy and, sure enough, I had a lot of fun.
But now comes the hard part. Sewing. Just the word makes me shudder. Let me just tell you I'm really bad with needles and threads, but it's so much more economical to do it on my own. So now I'll have to go fabric shopping, which actually might be fun and then it's time to sew A LOT of covers for cushions because I want to be comfortable and I want it to be really colorful.

But that's for another day. Now I'll just enjoy my free evening and be proud of today's accomplishments. I'll keep you up to date on any further progress!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quote of the Week #1

I love quotes. I love how a single sentence can be enough to give you an instant feeling for the entire book or make a lasting impression. So I thought that I would do a weekly post about my favorite quotes of the week.
I'll start this "feature" off with a quote by the one and only Nora Roberts. Enjoy!

"Rebecca." Patient, he cupped her face in his hands. "Your brain is only one of the very appealing things about you. I like watching you think almost as much as I like watching you when you can't think. Whatever it took to get you to this point doesn't matter. Because you're here."
She let out a sigh. "It's hard to stop wishing you could be normal."
"Baby, you are normal. It doesn't mean you can't be special."
from "The Fall of Shane MacKade" by Nora Roberts

Sigh. Now if this isn't the most romantic thing I ever heard.
I love it when a romance hero accepts the heroine for what she truly is, even if he's not all that happy about it in the beginning. ;]

Did you recently read a quote that left an impression on you? Came across a sequence in a book you especially loved? What are your thoughts on this quote? Share! :]

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Good For You" by Tammara Webber (originally written June 15, 2012)

4.5 stars

I didn’t read the first two books in the series (“Between the Lines” and “Where You Are”) because I hate, hate, HATE love triangles and I wasn’t interested in the whole Reid-Emma-Graham drama. But I thought that a story about Reid after he “lost” to Graham sounded like a potentially good story. Apart from that I have a weakness for the popular-guy-good-girl-storylines.

And Reid is extremely popular. He’s a Hollywood star, legendary womanizer and known to find trouble wherever he goes. That’s the reason he and Dori meet in the first place. He has drunkenly driven his car into a house front and the following court order was for him to help with the rebuilding of the house – a project that Dori is in charge of.

I didn’t like Reid in the beginning, mainly because he was acting like an arrogant jerk. Even though I gave him some slack for at least being honest about it and for the fact that he is a Hollywood star and a bit of his arrogance might be founded. When people are constantly telling you how great you are it’s only logical. But still, it doesn’t change the fact that his behavior left a lot to wish for.
He’s well aware that Dori is a “good girl”, she takes love seriously and stays true to her values. But still he’s going after her because he likes the challenge, while still hooking up with other girls. Call me stuck-up, but that’s one of the meanest things a guy can do in a situation like that.
But for me as well as Reid there was a big turning point in this story. I’m not even sure when it happened, but suddenly I felt like he showed some genuine interest in her, like it suddenly became more than just the thrill of the chase.
After that the book turned more beautiful with every page. The way Reid tried (and succeeded) to become a better and more deserving person for Dori’s and – what’s even more important – his own sake, was touching and so wildly romantic that at times I had problems to control my inner fangirl. I felt like squealing happily more than once and I don’t do that, ever!

I had some problems with the writing style at first. The story is told from ever changing POVs (Reid’s and Dori’s), there were parts of the book where every third page was told from a different person’s POV. It made it hard for me to really get into the story and made me feel a bit restless, but once I got used it I wouldn’t have wanted to change it for the world. They were both ruthlessly honest with themselves, so the insights we got into both of their feelings were extremely valuable for the development of the story.

The only thing I REALLY didn’t like was the whole story arc with her older sister.
***Mild SPOILER***
Maybe the author thought that making Dori’s sister and best friend fall into a coma that left her as an unresponsive invalid for the rest of her life was important for the development of the story and Dori’s and Reid’s relationship, but if you use a character like that to generate some drama (which I hate in the first place), why do you have to make her find the love of her life just before the accident? The whole thing was so heartbreaking I actually had tears in my eyes and more than a few of them were out of anger. That part of the story was completely unnecessary!
***SPOILER END***

Apart from that I couldn’t have been more delighted with the story. Dori’s and Reid’s relationship developed with a natural pace and I could understand all of their actions and decisions. They didn’t mindlessly rush into anything, but at the same time there was a pull between them that made it almost impossible for them to stay apart.
This was a beautiful and touching book about growing up, showing strength in the face of disaster and staying true to yourself through all of it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Love Triangle Thing (Rant Alert!)

Love Triangles. Where to start? Well, I guess the best thing would be to start by saying that I really, really don't like them. But a lot of readers do or I guess the whole love triangle theme wouldn't be so prominent in romance novels. And that's totally okay. Everyone should be able to read what he/she wants to read.
But that's just the thing - I don't want to read about them and lately I get the feeling that they are getting to be the norm, especially in the Young Adult section. Every other book I pick up seems to involve a love triangle and it's really starting to get on my nerves. But the thing that really bothers me is that in a lot of cases there's not even a warning in the synopsis of the book. If authors and publishers (I guess this is mostly the publishers fault, since authors don't really have a say in it) want to release books with love triangles they should at least have the courtesy to warn readers like me so I can avoid those particular books. Being taken by suprise by a love triangle (although that happens less and less, since I'm starting to expect them everywhere) is a terrible feeling that, for the most part, ruins the whole book for me.

Here's my problem with love triangles. I like to read positive and happy love stories. I like to read about a woman and a man (a boy and a girl) getting to know, TRUST and love each other. Call me naive, but I want to read about true love and Happily-Ever-Afters. What I absolutely don't want to read about is cheating, deception and heartbreak. And for me love triangles are a form of cheating (and there's always lying and heartbreak). Sometimes it's actual cheating, sometimes it's just in the head or the pre-phase of it. But a person that is in love with/considers both love interest at the same time is a person I can't trust as a reader and that's an awful feeling.
I like to feel a connection to the characters I read about and I just can't understand "fickleness" like that. It makes me angry and wary. Maybe it's because I know that I would feel absolutely horrible if I were on the receiving end of an unsure relationship like that, but whatever origin my aversion has, it's there.

So the thing I want to know from you is, do you like to read about love triangles? If you do, could you name a few reasons for it and try to explain their appeal? If you don't, what are the things that bother you about love triangles?
I would really like to try to understand the pro side as well, so if you have some input, please, share!

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Tangle Of Need" by Nalini Singh (originally written May 29, 2012)

This is the first of my older reviews that I'll post on this blog, so I thought starting with a book from my favorite author would be a good idea. I edited the review a bit, so this isn't the original, but the updated version of it.

5+ stars

Story (part of the synopsis from Goodreads):

Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past--one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.
For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.

Before I start with my actual review let me just tell you about my thoughts and expectations BEFORE I started reading "Tangle of Need":
  • I really didn't like Adria. She seemed overbearing, cold and bitter and even though I tried to tell myself that being in a BAD relationship could do that to you I just couldn't shake my feelings of dislike towards her.
  • I was completely convinced that the fact that Riaz had already found his mate, but couldn't be with her would ruin the love story in "Tangle of Need". There are just some things that absolutely don't work for me in romance books and a man who wants another woman while having a relationship (or even just sex) with someone else is one of them.
  • There was just no way any story could measure up to the standard Nalini Singh set for herself after writing a book as perfect as "Kiss of Snow". It's just not possible.
But since Nalini Singh is one of my favorite authors and I just had to know what happened next in the Psy/Changeling-series I bought a copy as soon as it came out. Of course.

These were my thoughts AFTER I finished "Tangle of Need":
  • Nalini Singh is a genius and I'll never ever doubt her again!
I can't even describe how much I loved this book. It did definitely measure up to "Kiss of Snow". I was so convinced that the mass of issues and prior bad experienced that Riaz and Adria dragged into their relationship would make it impossible for me to fully enjoy their love story. But while there were some painful moments, their individual and shared developments were utterly satisfying and heart-warming. Unbelievable but true, this was a truly happy story. I found myself smiling throughout this whole book and at the end I almost cried some happy tears. But since I'm made of harder stuff than that I didn't. Of course. I just had something in my eye.
Riaz is just as adorable (in a very feral way) as all her other heroes and even though I had my reservations about Adria I couldn't hold on to them for more than 20 pages. She's such a strong and affectionate person despite the things she has gone through. I respected her for her courage and was amazed by the way she handled Riaz's dominant and instinctive antics.

What made me almost as happy was the fact that we got to read a lot about the Arrows (especially Aden and Vasic), as well as Kaleb. For the first time I had a feeling that I actually got a glimpse at the person behind the icy exterior of the teleporter, while Kaleb is still as big a mystery as he was before, but let me just say, after reading the last chapter of the book I simply can't wait for his book. The fact that I have to wait at least until next year is driving me crazy!

Other than that I was delighted that Nalini Singh gave all of the Snow Dancers, as well as some of the Dark River cats some page time in "Tangle of Need". Especially Hawke and Sienna have been featured generously and I'm happy to announce that they are just as great as the were in "Kiss of Snow". Prepare yourself for some delicious scenes.
So logically the focus of the book wasn't entirely on Adria and Riaz, it was more like a book about the whole Snow Dancer pack. I didn't have a problem with that, since I love to read about characters from previous books, as well as get to know the rest of the pack a little bit better. In my opinion Nalini Singh still did a fabulous job of highlighting Adria and Riaz's relationship.

If you haven't already ordered the book you should do it now. I mean it, do it right this second because this is a story that you just don't want to miss! :D 

So, have you read the book or something else by Nalini Singh? Did you love it as much as I did? If you haven't yet read something by the author, what's keeping you from it? ;]

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My 5 star reviews

Since I haven't read too many new great books in the last few weeks and I realized that the reviews on this blog are mostly of just okay books, I decided that I will post some of my older reviews of books I loved. I want you to be able to read about the awesome books I've read and although I hope that some books like that will come my way soon, I still don't want to make you wait too long.
Which is why I will regularly update this page with the reviews I've written in the past. I'll post the first one tomorrow, so look forward to it! :]

I hope some great books will come your way.

Best wishes,
Schenni