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Showing posts from August, 2013

The Chocolate Touch (Amour et Chocolat #4) by Laura Florand

In romantic Paris, we meet Dominique Richards, famous artisanal chocolatier whose creations carry within them a note of darkness and bitterness from the world he came from. Jaime Corey has been coming to this particular chocolate shop for the last few weeks.  In this place, she finds the warmth and sustenance her body has needed for the last 3 months.  Two people with pasts they would rather forget.  In chocolates, they communicate their wishes and wants and their desire to be able to keep one another despite feeling they are on borrowed time.   
Coming off from my first Laura Florand novel, The Chocolate Thief, I was expecting The Chocolate Touch to be of similar vein. Surprisingly it was not. The author's unique style of writing in vivid imagery was still very much present. The sensual touch of each word transports you to Paris and the delightful world of artisanal chocolates. Dominic and Jaime are both well written characters, broken but in their own way survivors despite  e…

Book to Film: North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

In North and South we are introduced to Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale, their story entwined with the turbulent social issues of their time set in the background of the industrial city of Milton.

Mr. Thornton rose up on the top spot of my most beloved classic book hero of all time (yes, I'm sorry but kindly move over Mr. Darcy). I admired a lot of his characteristics and even more his subtle change over the course of time since he became acquainted with Margaret Hale. But it sure does make me laugh out loud (and I can't pin down why) in a sort of giddy incredulous way every time Mr. Thornton appears. There's this disarming irony in his contained appearance in contrast to his passionate inner musings.

Margaret though is a bit of a slow warm to me. She flits from girl to woman in sporadic times. She's given over to trifling fears and doubts at certain points as if her sympathies and affectations appear half-formed. However, when she shows her calm and power, it appears …

All Dressed Up by Lucy Hepburn

All Dressed Up also known as the The Great Wedding Dress Caper, is an absolute thrill ride made up of quirky characters, madcap detours, laughter and family. Its about fulfilling your dreams and the road (or wrong turn) you take to get there. Molly Wright, is in the city of Paris, a dream come true for a fashion design graduate like her. Along with her long time boyfriend, they were on their way to attend her sister's celebrity wedding in Italy. Paris was supposed to be something special. Instead Molly has been dumped, is alone and oh yes, has found herself agreeing to bring her sister's wedding dress to Venice. No one can say "No" to Bridezilla. The dress, made by the famous designer Delametri Chevalier, was picked up and along with Pascal, Chevalier's assistant, they were on their way. Well it wasn't really that simple. There were several detours, mishaps, and overall hilarious events along the way. This book was highly entertaining and funny! I love…

After the Kiss by Lauren Lane (Sex, Love & Stiletto #1)

Meet Julie Greene, the dating diva columnist for the famous Stiletto Magazine and with friends Grace and Riley make up the triumvirate of Dating, Relationship and Sex.  For Julie, there is nothing more thrilling than dating, the first kiss, the flirting, the cusp of a beginning romance and then kaput she goes to the next one.  Anything more than that was well, simply boring.  Until she was assigned the article that might break her winning streak at Stiletto unless she succeeds.  
Then there is Mitchell Forbes, the straight guy, a Wall Street fellow, successful and just coming off from a two year relationship.  For Mitch, thats all he's ever had, relationships.  He's never engaged in the fun of a fling. And people around him thinks that he never could until a bet was proposed. These two people could never be anything more than polar opposites, they would never really get attracted to one another at all, or so they thought.
This was a funny and engaging read. At first it reminded …

Play Me by Diane Alberts

This was a sweet, romantic novella about second chances. Garrett and Kiersten had been best friends for a long time. Garrett has always been in love with Kiersten while Kiersten has issue's with trusting any man. Especially since the one she did give her heart to cheated on her. But one night together changed all that. Play Me is a well written romance with a hero that's been carrying the torch for the heroine, while our heroine seems to be dragging her feet to the inevitable conclusion that they are perfect for each other. Although most would be swooning over Garrett and his sweetness and the way he seems to be so in love with Kiersten, others would be trying to shake Kiersten and ask what her problem was. The plot was simple but cute however there was some difficulty relating to Kiersten's character. It seemed that she was distrustful of love and relationship cemented only by her recent failed relationship which was never fully expounded upon. So her push and p…

Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas (Hathaway Series #5)

Beatrix, the last remaining unmarried Hathaway sister, is a heroine I surprising loved most out of the family. This fifth book is the last of the Hathaway Series and by then you have become acquainted with the charming, intelligent and unique Hathaways. I must admit I didn't read the other books prior to this and if you read them, Beatrix wouldn't really catch your fancy because you will probably be bothered by her 'little problem'.

But Beatrix is a captivating heroine; full of spirit and compassion, with an independent mind heading for spinsterhood, a bit peculiar, and has a menagerie of wounded animals running around the mansion. It is perhaps the embodiment of Beatrix's character that drew her to me. She's not a stereotypical odd girl (for even unconventional book heroines have that sort of sameness in them) and her own eccentricities become her dynamic charm.

Phelan is a bit mean at first before he was sent to war. He is your typical egotistical, handsome,…

Fiance by Friday by Catherine Bybee (Weekday Brides Series #3)

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I was expecting a fluffy romance and I got one of the best romantic suspense novels I've read this year. Catherine Bybee's unique writing style kept me at the edge of my seat.  Part of the Weekday Brides Series, Fiance by Friday can be read as a standalone with no confusion as to what has gone before.  The plot was simple. However, the tension and suspense was kept tight that the reader's interest never waned. The resolution of the conflict was well done, with plausible explanations as to why certain events happened. The character of Gwen and Neil was well developed.  The dialogue swift, sassy and the chemistry between these two was about to blow when you start reading.  Although the book is part of a series, with some of the past characters coming into play there was never any doubt that this was all about Gwen and Neil and dealing with Neil's past. Their appearance simply enhanced the suspense aspect of the book, keeping it moving forw…

Unscrupulous by Avery Aster (The Manhattanites Book 2)

Unscrupulous is my first Avery Aster novel and it definitely delivers. The writing is deft, smart and witty. Each of the characters are well defined and fully fleshed out. Taddy is independent, brash, funny and so sexy not just in appearance but also in her outlook. Warner, Taddy's Big Daddy, is definitely your dominant billionaire type but surprisingly romantic, shy and wears his heart on his sleeves. Set in Manhattan, St. Barth, Cannes and even Vancouver, the author has definitely taken the reader into the world of the hardworking elite, self made billionaires who have attained their goals and is now in part living the dream but feels the definite lack of something. Taddy's character at first seems almost superficial in her actions and innermost thinking but as the story progresses she is definitely one complex woman. She radiates that aura of being all together on the outside but a little girl in the inside. She also has that inability to ask for what she really wa…

Run To You by Charlotte Stein

Run To You was not what I expected. Although the premise seems simple enough, an innocent woman dissatisfied with life who meets an eccentric billionaire for a sexual tryst in a hotel room, at the hands of Charlotte Stein, it becomes something else. The term psychological foreplay comes right to mind while reading this novel. Told in the first person point of view, Alissa does not only become a relatable character but as you continue reading there was a sense that you were her. Privy to her thoughts, her feelings, her lust and yearnings, how she views herself, how she feels ridiculous when faced with all her drama, you are given a character that is fully fleshed out with all her flaws and all her humanity. Janos, as well, is given depth to his character despite the fact that its just glimpses of what Alissa sees in him. This pulls you right into the story, you are not just engaged but fully invested in the events that are unfolding. Although considered erotica, its not as sexua…

Brida by Paulo Coelho

It is a story about a girl, about love, universe, magic and power. For the last several months, the bookhas been sitting on our book shelf unnoticed and despite my longtime desire to read it, the mood hasn't struck me. It's just as well, reading it now was probably the best time ever because it broke my heart into pieces.

In the beginning, I cannot help feeling like it's something I've read before (cue The Witch of Portobello) but as Brida's story unfolded it ventured into just the right amount of magic realism, weaving the spiritual aspects of mind to the mundane things we do everyday (go to work, study at school, have a date, enjoy a cup of coffee).

The book is mostly subtle in its transition, a bit contained and more reflective, and that is its appeal; not repelling doubtful readers at once and at the same time curbing those magic/witch enthusiasts. Just as how a Teacher relays the traditional lessons to Brida, so is the book, that the power and force manifests…

Just One Day by Sharla Lovelace

I really like this story, although very short I think it did work within the boundaries of the theme which is the title itself, Just One Day. Andie was given 24 hours by her significant other to think about his proposal. Of which she publicly threw up on, literally, the night before. You would think after 2 years of being in the relationship it would have been obvious what the answer would be. Instead she took the 24 hours and just drove destination unknown. Call it fate, she ends up in an out of the way diner and face to face with her unforgettable and hot one day romance that happened twenty years before. And so the next twenty four hours becomes something worth remembering as well. I like the tone of the story, I like the fact that Andie is in her forties and still so very much looking for that undefinable thing called love. I like the way the author was able to put together a tale that on paper looks really simple but ends up with a lot of other things as well. The main cha…

Cover Reveal: Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye
Avon is proud to announce the publication of  Laura Kaye’s second book in her hot Hard Ink series, HARD AS YOU CAN (On Sale: February 25, 2014).
Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.
Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can-and never let go.

Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull

Paris, whirlwind romance, cafes, and the everyday life of Parisiennes. It couldn't get any nicer than this. Then again, I must admit there are other far nicer books. That or I must have gotten tired of all these cliched memoirs of living in France (but that doesn't stop me from collecting books like this!). At some point, they would all sound a bit the same for me by now however Turnbull does still offer more it seems.

This is but another interesting glimpse about the little traits and subtle differences of being an Australian (or being a foreigner) in Paris and of the little French eccentricities; like how exclusive they are in parties, how the women friendships go, Parisienne fashion, how they view cover letters (this was interesting!) and decorative dogs among other things.

Of late though, I just cannot shake off that growing disquiet for certain tones in memoirs. Well, writing in first person has its own undoing, I guess, and this book is no exception. The fact that the m…

Claimed by Stacey Kennedy (Club Sin #1)

Claimed, the first book in the Club Sin series, is more romance than BDSM erotica although the heat level was definitely way up there. Stacey Kennedy was able to craft a story that still had the traditional relationship aspects without sacrificing any of the BDSM elements of which the whole series will revolve around. Both Presley and Dmitri's characters were well fleshed out, giving plausible explanations regarding their behavior and their hangups which in turn gave credence to the story. Readers who are new to BDSM incorporated in romance will find Claimed a great book to wet their toes in. Its not hardcore but not exactly sugarcoating what it truly entails either. Overall Stacey Kennedy wrote a unique story in Claimed.

***This book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***

The Bookstore by Deborah Myler

I enjoyed reading this book, the narrative prose really set the tone and the pace of the novel.  It was like watching those Woody Allen Films set in New York.  The Bookstore aka The Owl is like New York itself and all the unique personalities that passed thru its door seemed symbolic of what the city is all about.  This is about a young woman's self discovery, of what she can accomplish, of what her goals are and in the end the realization that dreams change.   The end game becomes something else but what remains is her own self worth and the people that truly support who she really is.
Overall the story is good, the writing is excellent and despite the many cliches and tropes you can truly feel Esme's struggle.  The only downside is the Mitchell character, there was too many pages devoted to him, his family his callousness and self centered personality. The way he manipulates Esme.  There was a lot about him but not really anything to make the reader understand what gained Esm…

True Vines by Diana Strinati Baur

True Vines, is a story about Meryl's journey of finding her place in life. Betrayed early on, she finds happiness in the arms of Francesco and the life they have built in Italy. After 13 years, she loses the most important thing in her world and so hurries back to her hometown in Pennsylvania trying to heal. She ends up blocking everything out, just going thru the motions of living. She slowly, successfully has a break down, destroying the barrier she has put up since she lost Francesco. The barrier that has always been with her, preventing her from forging bonds with other people. 
True Vines was a very engaging read although slow paced, this worked in keeping with the way the tale was unfolding. The story was more than dealing with loss and grief nor was it just about a strong and abiding love. True Vines is about a woman's journey of finding herself, of how much she has and how much she tries to blindly block out everthing. The characters were all flawed, even the lov…

Coming Soon: Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey Series Book 6)

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. 

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again. 

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.(

Just Add Spice by Carol E. Wyer

Enjoyed reading Just Add Spice by Carol E. Wyer. Presented in a humor filled often matter a fact way, Dawn Ellis' life reads like any other normal middle age woman does. Feeling the empty nest syndrome with a grumpy husband who lost his job and isn't any help to be around with has made Dawn reach for something she hasn't done before. She joined a writing class. Here she starts enjoying herself and she starts making friends outside of home and motherhood. Dawn also discovers her talent for writing of which she really excels. This book has no world ending surprises but the author has written it in such a way that you go through the story without getting bored. Readers would soon catch on long before the main character does. In fact as Dawn continues telling the tale of Cinnamon Knight, the heroine of her book, its obvious to readers that this is her alter ego. At the start she loves Cinnamon, who is everything she wants to be but feels that she can't ever be. …

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

"Kill or be killed."

Battle Royale is a dystopian novel set in Japan in the year 1997. Japan is part of an authoritarian state called Republic of the Greater East Asia. Shuya Nanahara and his classmates go on a class trip when suddenly, they were gassed while they were on the bus. They wake up to an isolated island, which they learn that the class were chosen to participate for this year's "program" - a research project designed to scare the citizens of Japan. The program was designed for the participants to kill each other, until only one remains. 
One by one, the students are released from the briefing room and start the battle for survival. Who will emerge as survivor?

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Sarcastic, witty and funny bordering on the wicked, The Nanny Diaries displays the brittle and subtle relationships between the employer, the child and the nanny with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure as well as a peek of the idiosyncrasies of the lifestyle of the rich in New York.

If it weren't for the snark banters with herself and all the ironic hilarity of her demeanor, you would have ditched reading the book right then and there purely out of the ridiculousness of her mad hours working for the Park Avenue bitch, I mean, wife. Nanny's grandma comes out as the most admirable character. She's quite cool and hip. Actually Nanny's family is adorable though I can't say the same for her room mate.

Styled as in a memoir, it gives us a first hand insight of her impressions and despite the lack of plot, its jaunty narratives might just be the saving grace of this book. A second book, Nanny Returns, came out in 2009 as a sequel to this best-seller. I haven…

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand

A sinful, delicious and sensual indulgence. The Chocolate Thief is a fun, charming and decadent read. Although a love story, Laura Florand has crafted a tale that fully imbibes Paris and chocolat in every page. Each word makes your mouth water and just throw caution to the wind (or forget about credit limit) and fly there to try every piece of Parisian chocolate you can get your hands on. Cade and Sylvain's story makes you weep with laughter and heartbreaking poignancy. The author truly has a unique way with words, wrapping around the reader and making you feel the magic in the story. A truly marvelous piece of work.