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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Come Join The Fun....

....over at our new blog, Book Binge where right this very moment, we're celebrating books, the romance community and all kinds of goodness.

We've teamed up with The Good, The Bad and The Unread and we've got a lot of fun stuff going on. There's a round robin you can take part of that was starting by the very famous, Nora Roberts. We've got a ton of games planned and a scavenger hunt that's underway. Lots of ways to win some fabulous books to read over this holiday season, so what are you waiting for?

Get on over there and join in the fun!

Book Binge
Blog: http://thebookbinge.com|Email: rowena[at]thebookbinge.com


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob -- knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

This is the much anticipated continuing first person story of Bella Swan, a 17-year-old girl who moved to Forks, Washington and fell in love with vampire Edward Cullen.

Graduation is fast approaching for Bella, and with it, her deadline for becoming a vampire. She's still on the outs with Jacob Black and she's starting to have second thoughts about being changed. Not to mention there are a spree of murders taking place in Seattle and Victoria, the crazed vampire who's been after Bella since Twilight, is still haunting Bella's dreams.

I've never been one for self-denial. I mean, I figure, you can lie to your friends, you can lie to your family, but ultimately, you cannot lie to yourself. Bella Swan takes "lying to yourself" to a whole new level in this book. So much that I was seriously tempted to stop reading.

Side Note: There will be spoilers included in my review. There's no way around it for me. If you are the type of person who doesn't want to know before you read it yourself, please don't read any further. :End Side Note

Once again we follow Bella's thoughts as she tries to deal with becoming a vampire, her overwhelming love for Edward, her constant worry for her family, and her despair at the gulf between her and Jacob.

I think my biggest problem with this novel is the way Bella constantly deludes herself. It started almost in the beginning. Alice has a vision at lunch while sitting with Bella and Edward. Bella is curious and wants to know what the vision was, but neither Edward or Alice will tell her. Edward then railroads her into going to visit her mom for the weekend in AZ, and then lies to Bella about the vision, telling her it was something much different than what it really is.

Prior to Edward telling her, Bella is sure she knows what the vision was about - Victoria - and has worked herself up into a nice fit of semi-panic. But when Edward tells her it was something inconsequential, she goes, "Oh. Good" and for the next 300 or so pages, she thinks to herself, "I'm just blowing this out of proportion again, just like I did with Alice's vision". She even does this after she finds out the truth of the vision and why Edward insisted she leave town for the weekend.

And that was the continuing trend throughout the book. She was in constant self-denial and always wanting to play the martyr. She finally makes amends with Jacob - who we know is totally in love with her - and she spends as much time with him as she can. But while she constantly thinks to herself, "I'm hurting him" she doesn't back away, and she doesn't make an effort to ease the pain he feels over her relationship with Edward.

I also had a very, very hard time with her developing relationship with Jacob. She finally agrees to marry Edward and then shortly after realizes she's IN love with Jacob. Yes, I said IN LOVE with him. Although she loves Edward more, she could envision a life with Jacob. A comfortable, human life. She tells Jacob all of this and then says, "but I'm going to stay with Edward". She even kisses him at one point (Jacob, I mean). Who does that? Naturally Edward found out right away because he can read Jacob's mind, but rather than being upset with Bella he tells her he understood her reasons, that Jacob doesn't fight fair, and that he loves her no matter what. Which, of course, just made Bella feel even worse.

At one point, I thought this was going to turn into another Love Triangle series, and I was sorely disappointed. I'm still not entirely sure that won't happen.

Eventually they (Bella, Edward and Alice) figure out that Victoria is creating her own little army of "Newborns" - vampires who have just been created and don't have any control over themselves but have tremendous power - with the intention of bringing them to Forks to wipe out the Cullens and kill Bella. They begin preparing to fight them, but Jasper, who has experience fighting Newborns, doesn't think they'll be able to win the fight, as they're all sadly outnumbered.

Until the werewolves get involved. Jacob and the rest of the gang from La Push agree to fight with the Cullens to save Bella. I have to say, despite how annoyed I was with the book in general and Bella in particular, that was pretty cool. Seeing the Vamps and Weres working together was great. Although I still say Bella isn't worth it.

Perhaps I'm not making much sense, or my frustration with the book is overshadowing the actual review of this book, but this is how I felt whilst reading..frustrated. And angry. And annoyed.

There were some good things. We find out more about Esme and Jasper and how they became Vampires. Learning about their pasts was very interesting. We found out more about the werewolves, too, and how they came to be and the legends they pass down. Of course, it was from these legends that Bella gets the idea into her head to sacrifice herself so everyone else can live, but at least it doesn't happen that way.

The fight scenes were cool, even though we saw them all from Bella's POV. And there's an extremely unguarded moment when Jacob and Edward are talking about Bella with each other - when they think she's asleep - that really touched me. Seeing where they both come from in regards to her..well, it was very sweet and touching. I could really feel the love they both have for her, although I am truly baffled by it. I'd just want to smack her myself, but that's just me.

I think, overall, I expected Bella to get stronger and more independent. To find herself, I suppose. And instead she seemed to get more co-dependent and more self-serving. She was just plain selfish, assuming the world revolves around her and only thinking of herself, never of the other people in her life.

The Epilogue was very well done, however. It's written from Jacob's POV and I found it to be very insightful. If SM writes Midnight Sun -Twilight from Edward's POV - or anything from Jacob's POV, I'd scoop them up in a heartbeat.

Anyway, despite my issues - and there were many - with the overall story and Bella, SM's writing still drew me in. She obviously has the talent and drive it takes to produce a constant page turner, and for that alone I cannot rate this in the "terrible" range.

3.0 out of 5

I honestly don't know how I feel about continuing on with the series. Prior to reading this one, I was excited to read more about Bella and the Cullens and Jacob. Now? I'm not sure I want to see where this train wreck leads us. Although, I will probably buy the next installment. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment.

*I was going to include links in this post to SM's site and etc, but it appears to be down. If I remember, I'll update it later.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

What is the price of love?
Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished — but that was before he met the lady in question.
For instead of a willful female, he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who would destroy her very soul. So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition — one he has never offered before.
He asks her to be his bride.
And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know — that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London's most notorious lover might claim Charlotte's body, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.

This is the third book in the Bow Street Runner Series.

So Nick and Lottie marry. Lottie because she wants Nick's protection. Nick because he desires Lottie. Nick here is a very skilled lover. He learned all his moves from a famous madam. So we have a few steamy love scenes. We also have a shower scene. Seems showers were just being introduced. What amazed me is that after Lottie has her first shower, the servent says she can have another in a few hours. Because that's how long it takes for the water to heat!

Anyway~ We have Nick is also fighting his personal demons. When he was 14, he was sentenced 10 months to a prison hulk. During his sentence, he saw things that no one should have to. He keeps his distance from Lottie afraid once she learns the truth, she'll leave him.

All in all a good read. I liked Lady Sophia's Lover more, but enjoyed this one more than Someone to Watch Over Me. I give it a B.

Again the order for the Bow Street Runners Series are:

Someone To Watch Over Me
Lady's Sophia's Lover
Worth Any Price

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Talk Nerdy To Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Fashion model Eve Dupree is fed up with being labeled “the pretty one” while her sister’s called a genius. Eve’s got loads of brilliant ideas, not the least of which is the invention she’s building in her garage. But when she turns to the nerd next door to help get it off the ground, she finds herself on dangerous ground.

Charlie Shepherd has discovered that there’s more to Eve than meets the eye. But it’s not just her body he likes—it’s those sexy brains of hers. Romance is a complication he doesn’t need right now. The problem is, she has something he needs and he can’t seem to resist her.

Keeping her creation under wraps is harder than Eve expected—as is denying her attraction to Charlie. But when a saboteur starts sniffing around her project, she questions everyone around her, even her nerd in shining armor. Can opposites attract or will they ignite a fire they can’t control?

Ever since I read The Nerd Who Loved Me, I've been obsessed with VLT's nerds. I honestly never realized a nerd could be hot.

Boy was I wrong.

In her latest installment of Nerd Books, VLT again shows me just how hot a nerd can be. Charlie was hot, sweet and definitely a nerd.

Though I will say, the nerd-speak didn't do much for me. Still, it was a sweet, light read.

3.5 out of 5

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Other Twin by Katherine Stone

On a rainy day in Northern California over 30 years ago a tragic accident occurs. Young Claire Forrester goes into labor as she watches her husband succumb to his injuries. For the next five days, she divides her time between her husband's hospital room and the neonatal unit where her daughter clings to life. Now her daughter, Paige, is a caring doctor who is slowly succumbing to her own medical problems. Gwen St. James, a makeup artist, is called in by Paige to hide the ravages cancer has wrought on a terminally ill patient before she goes home. Gwen and Paige become fast friends. Each feels as if she has found a part of herself that was missing, which is understandable under the circumstances. Claire Forrester also feels something is missing. Although her memory can't quite grasp what she's trying to recall, it does hold the key to unlock the emptiness each woman is experiencing in this moving story of family love.

This is a beautiful and touching story. I really like KS. She's different than a lot of the other romance authors I read, but good none-the-less.

The story is split between 2 woman. Paige, a sweet and caring doctor who's hiding a secret from everyone and Gwen, a very sweet makeup artist who has a horrible birth mark that covers half of her face.

Paige's relationship with her mother is very strained, even though everyone else seems to love her.

Gwen really struggles to deal with her scarred face.

It's a sweet and poingant story. Not a quick, light read, but still really good.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Willing by Lucy Monroe

They’re the good guys fighting the bad guys. They’ll get the job done—if the price is right and so is the cause. Meet three sexy men who individually are READY, WILLING, and ABLE to go the distance—and together, are unstoppable…

Josie McCall has been raised to be a soldier, and she could be the best—if she wanted it. Instead, she left her dad’s mercenary school behind for a normal job in computers. But now that someone has torched the school and her dad is MIA from the hospital, Josie’s going to use every bit of her merc training to find him and hunt down the culprits who took him. Josie knows a lot about explosives, hand-to-hand combat, and tracking. What she doesn’t know about is sex. She has no idea what to do with the volcanic attraction she feels for her dad’s new partner, Daniel Black Eagle. And that feels more dangerous than any bomb…

Daniel knows exactly what he’d like to do about that attraction. The brooding explosives expert can’t get within five feet of Josie without wanting to touch, taste, and protect her—even if he’s sure she would happily drop-kick him if she knew one sizzling moment of his fantasies. But he’ll save it for later. Right now, he’s got his hands full figuring out who set that bomb and took Josie’s dad. Daniel’s sure of one thing, though—he’s not letting Josie McCall out of his sight for a single second. Convincing the cutest, most desirable trained soldier he’s ever met that she needs a bodyguard isn’t going to be easy. But if she’ll let him, he’ll show her he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep her safe, and along the way, he’ll make her feel every inch a woman…

This is the second book in her Mercenary series and I loved it. Willing was hot, steamy, romantic and action packed. LM is really good at getting into the technical side of things without boring her readers.

Josie is tough, but still very vulnerable. I loved that she was one of the best trained mercs in the business but still very feminine. My heart went out to her when she was talking about how hard it was to grow up with a father that demanded she be a better soldier than all the rest.

It also broke my heart to hear about Daniel's past. His upbringing was sad and violent and I just wanted to wrap him up in cotton and keep him safe!

Very good read. I highly recommend this series.

The books that come before this one are:

Merry Christmas Baby: Silver Bella (anthology)
Three Brides for Three Bad Boys

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Monday, April 30, 2007

After the Fire by Kathryn Shay

Detective Megan Hale comes to Hidden Cove, leaving behind painful memories of her policeman husband killed in the line of duty. But when she meets fireman Mitch Malvaso, Megan's heart is set ablaze-even if it knows the risks.

Near New York City, the Hidden Cove Fire Department responds to the dangerous Sinco fire. Three Malvaso siblings, who work at the same fire station, become trapped inside, but ultimately are rescued. Jenny insists that she, Mitch, the oldest, and Zach, the youngest, pledge to change their messed up personal lives as each one realizes how close to death they came.

Six months later, they're still on the job and have not yet made the changes they said they were going to.

Zach, who has been divorced from his wife for 2 years, vowed to win her back and prove that he's a reformed rake (apparently he cheated on her quite a bit while they were married) and try to be a better father, but not having much success with the former. Though he had made quite a bit of progress with the latter.

Jenny had vowed to have a child, via artificial insemination, so she finally works up the courage to ask her best friend since childhood, Grady O'Connor, if he'd be the donor. They've been friends since kindergarten and up to that point had no physical attraction between them. Jenny is afraid that she'll ruin their friendship with her request (they've both been scarred by previous relationships, though Grady seems more wounded than she), but Grady agrees. He suggests they do it the right way, though. At first, Jenny seems hesitant, not wanting to ruin their friendship, but eventually agrees.

Mitch had vowed to work things out with his shrew of a wife and become a better father to his two teenage children. Though he seemed to be making a genuine effort with his children, he hadn't been able to make any effort with his wife. When he meets Detective Megan Hale, and she proposes they start a camp for children of firefighters and police officers who were killed in the line of duty, he immediately agrees to help.

Megan is dealing with some losses of her own. Her husband had been killed in the line of duty several years before and her father had died in the line only a few months before she moved to Hidden Cove from the city.

Basically, the book was alright. I didn't like the fact that throughout the entire book Mitch was married while his feelings developed for the detective. The book is approximately 360 pages and until page 299 he was still sharing a bedroom with his wife. Though he didn't physically cheat on her, he definitely had an emotionaly affair with Megan. I couldn't seem to get past that.

Besides that, the story was kind of muddled, with too many POV's throughout the book. A lot of characters were introduced and there were several subplots with the Malvoso family (there are two other siblings not in the firefighter line of work), including issues with both Zach and Mitch's children. Apparently this is the first book of a trilogy, with Zach getting his story at a later date, so, in my opinion, a lot of the parts about him could have been shortened or cut out completely.

There was also a lot of technical information included, about the process of firefighting and the terminology they use. While I like to be informed, at times I felt like I was reading an instruction manual.

If my summary seems a bit muddle and confusing, it's because that's how I found the book to be. I have the other 2 on my shelf to be read, and I'm not sure I'll be able to read them.

Overall, I enjoyed the story of Jenny and Grady, but didn't really care for the book.

I give it a 1.25 out of 5.

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