Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bookworm Award

Beth tagged me tagged me with this lovely award, my very first award. So here it goes:

Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there.

Okay so the book closest to me, the one I'm reading is Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsay.

And with my height and slimness, timbre of voice and"-she looked down at her chest-"some tight binding, I can easily pass for a boy of nine or ten."

She got a disgusted look for that assumption. "Yer intelligence will give ye away."

Now I'll tag 5 people to do this. ^_^

1. Phoebe Jordan
2. Annie
3. Naval Langa
4. Smoke.ndecaf
5. Charisse

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Rating: B-
Genre: Young Adult
Series or Stand-Alone: Twilight Saga
Publish Year: 2005
Number of Pages: 464
Sensuality Rating: Kiss
Part of a Challenge: No


Bella Swan’s move to Forks could have been the most boring move she ever made. But when she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella.



Twilight is the first book in the much talked about Twilight Saga from author Stephenie Meyer. Twilight is the story of Edward and Bella’s romance. The book is marketed at Young Adult readers but it has the ability to cross age barriers and will satisfy both teenagers and adults alike.

The story is told in first person from the perspective of Bella, so the reader will only ever know what she knows, making Edward and his family a mystery that is slowly unraveled throughout the book.

I was unsure if I really wanted to read this book at first especially after reading a fair amount of mixed reviews about its story. But I did and I’m glad that I read this book. I rarely read vampire novels but I found myself enjoying the story albeit its flaws.

The first part was a bit slow because it takes a while to set up the story but after that, the story became more exciting and action filled. The second half of the book, after Bella saw Edward’s true form, made me excited and craving for more. I wanted to know what will happen next and the story went smoothly and action-filled from there on.

But then again, although the book was entertaining, I think that it was overly done.

Twilight is an okay book but I wouldn’t consider it a personal keeper. One problem I had was the character of Bella. For the most part, I felt that she was too whiny, selfish, and her character seemed flat. I was also distracted by how she would always describe Edward as ‘Too beautiful’ in almost every page. It was too much and making her character shallow. I think her descriptions were a bit redundant and over the top. And while I was reading, I had to remind myself that the story was told from Bella’s point of view and that she was obsessed with him. But then Meyer could have given her character more depth. And really, there are other things that Bella could have been doing, but did she have to cook all the time?

Now I think I understand where the mixed reception for Twilight is coming from. All in all, I will give Twilight 3.5 stars. It’s a good book but it fell short from what I was expecting especially since a lot of people had been raving about it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading Challenge: Book Awards Reading Challenge

Book Awards Reading Challenge Rules:

Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009.
You must have at least FIVE different awards in your ten titles.
Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
You don't have to post your choices right away, and your list can change at any time.
'Award winners' is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs, keeping in mind Rule #2.

Book Awards Reading List

The Giver by Lois Lowry (Newberry Medal)
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenneger (Alex Award)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Pulitzer Prize)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Governor General's Award)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Man Booker Prize for Fiction)
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Alex Award)
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Giller Prize)
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Nebula Award)
Atonement by Ewan McEwan ((National Book Critics Circle Award)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

Rating: A
Genre: Historical Romance (Medieval England)
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Publish Year: 1991
Number of Pages: 438
Sensuality Rating: Warm
Part of a Challenge: No


Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf," his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will...until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web...a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.


A Kingdom of Dreams holds a very special place in my heart. Once again, author Judith McNaught didn't fail to deliver and spellbound me with this very wonderful love story.

It's one of the best medieval historical romance stories I've read in a long time. A Kingdom of Dreams brought out a whirlwind of emotions from me. Sometimes, it made me laugh, it made me cry, squirm, and even jump out at some twists along the story.Once you start reading it, the characters become so real that by the end, you'll find yourself saying, I want more!

Royce Westmoreland is a breathtakingly wonderful hero. In most romance novels,the heroes don't realize the meaningfulness and the importance of the 'love' that the heroines willingly offer to them until the very end of the novel. But Royce was able to realized how much he loved Jenny and he hold onto it and cherished Jenny's uniqueness, her wit, subtle naivete without being worried about how love can make a man vulnerable.

Jennifer Merrick is a heroine that we could all relate to. She's humble, stands-up for what she she believes in, loyal, albeit with a quick temper. She also had her own insecurities and throughout her life, she had been struggling to appease her father and gain his approval. Even though the clan had been vocal against her being the head in the even that her father dies, Jenny was still determined to prove her clansmen wrong. Even with everyone against her, Jenny loved her family and she was faithful to her clan.

I think that one of the most remarkable aspects of this book was that I was able to see how Royce and Jenny's relationship developed. It was a long journey but with it came very important revelations and twists that strengthen the plot line and the characters of the hero and the heroine. I saw how they were able to slowly reveal their true self to one another and upon that discovery, made them trust and fall in love with each other. I believe that they know each other more than they know themselves. It became apparent throughout the story that Jenny and Royce understood one another because of the similarities in their situation. With Jenny, Royce need not be the arrogant, stubborn, and gruff Duke of Claymore and be his true self and Jenny could be herself and be vulnerable without being ridiculed by him.

If I had to choose my most memorable part in the story, it was the scene after Royce and Jenny made love the first time. It was then that Jenny and Royce bared out their soul to one another. It made me cry while reading the dialogue that transpired between the two and as you imagine that scene in your head, you can definitely say that 'This is true love!'. The imagery and the dialogue that transpired between Jenny and Royce took me by surprise and left me breathless. This book is definitely worth every penny that you'll pay for it. A Kingdom of Dreams will always be a personal keeper.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Review: This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Rating: A
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series or Stand-Alone: Chicago Star Series
Publish Year: 2002
Number of Pages: 320
Sensuality Rating: Warm
Part of a Challenge: 2008 Fall Reading Challenge (#11 Read a Series Book)


Molly Somerville loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children’s book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. She has a reputation for trouble even before she gave away her fifteen-million dollar inheritance. Then there’s her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns-that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can’t even remember Molly’s name.

One night, Kevin barges into Molly’s not-quite so perfect life and turns in upside down. Unfortunately, the Ferrari-driving, poodle hating jock isn’t as shallow as she wishes he were, and she soon finds herself at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paint box cottages and a charming old bed-and-breakfast, Molly and Kevin battle each other as they face one of life’s most important lessons. Sometimes, love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes-if you’re lucky- it can heal in a most unexpected way.


So my foray into contemporary romance started with Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s This Heart of Mine. The synopsis at the back was what intrigued me most. In truth, I tried to stay away from ‘the heroine has a crush on the hero for the longest time’ type of plot. In some of the books I’ve read, the heroine ended up being a push-over where the guy was concern(except for Julia Quinn’s Romancing Bridgerton in which JQ handled Penelope’s crush for Colin very well). Since JQ managed to successfully pull off a wonderful story with this type of plot, I wondered how a contemporary author will handle that kind of situation without making Molly look like head over heels in love with Kevin.

And boy did SEP deliver.

Molly was such a wonderful character. After reading the first line of the novel (The day Kevin Tucker nearly killed her, Molly Somerville swore off unrequited love forever.) I already knew I’m going to fall in love with her. Even though she had a long time crush on Kevin, it’s not something Molly was proud of and she always stood her ground. She’s smart (summa cum laude and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa), strong willed, independent, and caring especially towards her niece and nephews. Even though she has quirks (like her reputation for starting trouble when she was younger), it made Molly a real character to me and it seemed like in one way or another the reader can identify with the kind of person that she is. For me, her insecurities only seemed to liven up her character and I felt sympathy towards her especially when her experiences when she was a child were revealed which exposed how vulnerable Molly could be.

Kevin Tucker, on the other hand, may seem like your usual sexy jock. He has an ego that is the size of the earth, he dates attractive foreign bimbos with a tenuous grasp of the English language, and the worst part of all, he never seems to remember Molly’s name. He’s a happy go lucky guy and self-centered but later on, Molly discovered that there was more to Kevin Tucker than met the eyes.

In the beginning, it may look as if they were the complete opposite but as the plot progressed, they discovered they were more similar than they could hope for. Kevin had proven he was a gentleman (when he didn’t spill the details on what truly happened between him and Molly to Dan and Phoebe) and that he cared for Molly especially when they had that tragedy (giving away more of the plot would really spoil the magic) and he took it upon himself to cheer her up and to ease her pain because of the loss. In their journey together, Molly discovered the issues that Kevin had with his past and she wanted him to face those problems and ease away the burden that Kevin was carrying. And in the process of healing one another, Molly and Kevin discovered how much they valued each other’s presence in their lives. Kevin was even willing sacrifice his place in the Stars Football team if it means he could have Molly. When he did that, I knew how much Kevin wanted Molly in his life not only because they were having great sex or what, but because he loves Molly and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

Aside from the main characters, the humor in this book was simply wonderful. Although you might catch a glimpse of SEP’s familiar plots (sudden pregnancy, secondary couple romance, and football players dating stupid women), she worked her magic and made sure everything old was new again. I also enjoyed Molly’s fictional bunny character Daphne and her nemesis named Benny the badger who was obviously Kevin. The fact that Molly’s Daphne Book Series had received censorship from a group called SKIFSA (Straight Kids for a Straight America) forced her to make a difficult decision which defined her character even more. The return of old characters from previous SEP novels (like Dan and Phoebe with the kids, and Cal and Jane) and the addition of new ones like Lilly and Troy and Amy (who were young newlyweds who had taken on the responsibility of giving Molly and Kevin marital advice) added spice and humor to the story. It was like you’re following not only Kevin and Molly’s story but the others as well and it entertained me throughout the time I was reading it.

At the end of every romance novel I’ve read, I always ask myself, did the hero and the heroine found true love? In the case of Molly and Kevin, I felt that they did. And I knew they were what each other needed.

In my opinion, what makes This Heart of Mine different from all the other romance novels I’ve read is the fact that the novel wasn’t only telling us one story. It’s a culmination of stories not only about finding true love, but also about family, friendship, loss, healing, forgiveness and finding what happiness truly means for someone. This Heart of Mine was truly a wonderful read and I recommend it to fellow romance readers!