Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review: Julie and Julia

Thursday, September 24, 2009 with
Image from Warwick's

This memoir was stemmed from Julie Powell's blog where she wrote about the year she cooked all of 524 recipes in the first volume of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I picked this book up because I wanted to read it first before seeing the movie. I really loved the movie trailer because I felt a sort of affinity to it being a down and out girl myself trying to find a way to make my life have meaning. I did my research before purchasing this book and it seemed like people either love it or really hate it. However, I really wanted to read the book before seeing the movie, so I bought it. I began reading this book about a month ago, but I stopped about a third in, read two different books, then I finally picked it up again.

I really wanted to like this book, and I do somewhat because I think the writing was okay and there were a couple laugh-out-loud moments. However, the book was very "busy" and I think Powell tried to cram too much: family, friends, cooking, her blogging experience, her imagining Paul and Julia Childs' relationship, living in New York, and her job. She often used flashbacks or would be talking about cooking lobsters when suddenly she would recall an experience that happened at work, and maybe it's just me, but I was often confused and had to go a few paragraphs back to read again how this transition came to be. The author/narrator spent a lot of time complaining about her job, her apartment, and the whole world in general and was also a little narcissistic-- but hey it's a memoir so I guess I can forgive her for that. There was also a lot of profanity in the book, which I didn't mind, but some readers might.

Also, while researching this book I found out that she had written another memoir called Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession. I read that Cleaving's released date was held back because this book talks about Powell's infidelity, and the movie people were worried that viewers would lose sympathy for the main character (Julie Powell). This was true for me reading the book. I couldn't help but think how she'll eventually cheat on her nice, supportive, patient husband.

I give this book 2.5 stars.

**I feel like I'm missing something from my review but I can't figure it out. I'm sorry, but it's late and I have an early start tomorrow. If there are questions, please just comment and I will answer it ASAP.**

**Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. My review was based on MY own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BBAW: Day 5

Saturday, September 19, 2009 with
NO! It is now 12:31 and officially Saturday. I missed the deadline for the last BBAW post, but heck I'll do it anyway.

The last post, is supposed to be all about your blog (in 50 words or less) and what you want it to be by next year's BBAW (in 50 words or less). So here it is, short and quick:

When my blog was just an idea in my head, I meant for it to be 50% books and 50% beauty products. Now, after exploring many blogs (thanks to BBAW), I realized that doing that would be too broad. I've decided that my blog is mostly dedicated to all things books with the occasional beauty product reviews whenever I have nothing book-related to talk about.

All I have on my baby of a blog right now are reviews. By the next BBAW, I hope to have more friends/readers/followers, have hosted a contest, do an author spotlight/interview and participate in a few challenges--all of which I've seen in other BBAW bloggers' pages.

In other BBAW news, I entered a bunch of giveaways and won Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey from Anna's Book Blog! I've been eyeing this book whenever I go to Borders for quite a while now but I was intimidated by the tiny print and by the number of pages and its plot (I was afraid it was going to be another Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell--a book I thought I could handle but after reading a few chapters it just sat on my shelf for years until finally I donated it to the library), but I am so very excited! I've been researching the book since finding out I was a winner and I can't wait to get it. Thank you Anna!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Image from MacMillan Publishing

The blurb for this book can be found here, which will take you to the author's website.

First of all, I would like to say that Kat Martin is a great writer in my opinion. I may not like all her books, but I always read through all her books I come across from start to finish because I love her style of writing. For me, even if I dislike the characters, the plot, the setting or anything else for some reason or other, but if the author writes well and the book is an easy read, I usually will read it through, as well as the author's other books I come across.

This was what happened with Bold Angel. I have read many Kat Martin regency romance before and liked them well enough. But this one, I had to force myself to pick the book up a few times and I was counting pages I still had to read before I reached the last page. My main complaint were the hero and heroine. They were just not very likeable, especially the heroine. She had way too many "too stupid to live" moments from the beginning of the story until pass the halfway point. I found myself frustrated with her and I just wanted to yell and shake her for all her stupid decisions. She does grow as a character and I guess I could've forgiven her because she was young and she was living at a different time, but she had absolutely no tact for a medieval chick and was way too stubborn... I just can't like her. As for the hero, his main faults were that he beat the heroine twice (I thought she deserved it the first time so I forgave him for that one, but the second time he did it wasn't right) and he slept with someone else. His reason for cheating was he couldn't allow himself to get too close to the heroine and fall in love with her. Puh-lease!

The story was set during the medieval times (not my favorite time period) and the plot themes were "marriage of convenience" and there were a couple "big misunderstandings" throughout. There was a lot going on in the book including incest, traitors, unsavory villains and a whole lot of external and internal conflicts. Like I said, Kat Martin is a great writer but you may want to skip this one.

I give this book 2 stars.

**Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. My review was based on MY own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

BBAW: Day 4

Maybe I'm cheating a little bit by posting Day 4 now because it's not yet Thursday where I am, but since it's Thursday already in other places on earth and some bloggers have already posted a response on the BBAW site, I hope I'll be forgiven. It's just that I'm going off island tomorrow (going to another island) and won't be coming home until late. Knowing myself I'll be too lazy to think and/or post anything then, so it's safer to do so now.

Day 4's topic is the that book... the one you discovered only because you read about it on a book blog and then you realized you couldn’t live without it! And then you read it and you loved it so hard! Tell us about it and about the blogger (or bloggers!) that introduced the book to you!

My answer is I can't answer this question. I am very much new to the book blogging world and I haven't found that book yet. As I've mentioned on a previous BBAW post, I have been exploring many different blogs (thanks to BBAW) and reading reviews. Already I am making a list of books I want to get my hands on as soon as I can read through the books I just bought last month or when I can afford to buy books again or whenever I make that trip to the library I keep putting off for some reason or another (which ever comes first).

BBAW: Day 3

I didn't do Day 2 of BBAW because I missed the sign up post for the book bloggers' interview exchange but I was reading other bloggers' post and they sure looked fun. I'm sad I missed it, but the meme for day three is fun as well so I'm glad to be able to participate on this one. Day 3 is all about creativity and bloggers are supposed to pick one question or answer all in as few words as possible. Of course, I had to answer all the questions because I'm a sucker for questionaires like these, which reminds me of those tag questions friends send you on Facebook or Myspace that I did back in college when I wanted to procrastinate. Anyway, I digress so here are the questions:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack? spicy cheetos
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you? mark books?! i can't bring myself to mark a book... it just feels wrong
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
Laying the book flat open? bookmarks or dog-ears
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? both
Hard copy or audiobooks? hard-copies all the way!
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point? down at any point, even mid-paragraphs :)
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? no, i use clues within the sentence
What are you currently reading? Julie and Julia
What is the last book you bought? a melody thomas book. i'm in a romance kick again
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time? i can read two at once but not more than that
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? before work in the car if i have a few minutes to kill and before bed
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? both
Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? harry potter series to those who haven't read it yet
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) author's last name and by genre

Monday, September 14, 2009

BBAW: Day 1

Monday, September 14, 2009 with
The questions for day 1 of BBAW is:

What book blogs mean something to you? Who are your most trusted sources for recommendations, your greatest help, the blogger you turn to for a laugh or to vent? Whose writing do you admire or who introduced you to a whole new genre you didn’t know about?

These questions are really hard for me to answer because I've just recently dipped my toes in the book blogging world. I don't really know anyone yet, but I discovered some favorite blogs I go to for ideas and inspiration. I really like visiting Royal Reviews (which I mentioned on my first BBAW post just below this one), Froggaritaville's Bookcase, My Overstuffed Bookshelf, and I've recently discovered Chick with Books.

As for recommendations, I am trying to read the books I have right now because, as a recent college graduate, I really can't afford to be tempted to buy more books. However, I did read one of Chick with Books' recent review on Gregory Maguire's Missing Sisters and that is one book I am going to buy as soon as I finish my pile of unread books. She wrote a great summary that told you enough of what to expect yet you want to read more... I want to read that book! I really admire someone who can write a great book summary that makes a reader excited about a book because it's a skill I want to have. I really suck at writing book summaries as I tend to write too much or too little. I hope that my blog will be as successful as the blogs I mentioned above.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Meme: Promo Questions

Saturday, September 12, 2009 with
I ran across the Book Blogger Appreciation Week a few days ago and quickly jumped into the idea. It looked really fun and exciting and of course I had hope to bring more readers into my "newborn" blog. But you see, 70% of the time I skim instead of read, so I missed some very important information and was just adding my blog on those Mister Linky things.

I went back today to check out what is happening because BBAW is in two days! I am going to be participating on my first ever book meme! I am so excited! Anyway, one thing I realized while I was at the site was that I did not do the three initial participation questions (and hopefully that's the only thing I did neglect to do) but I added a link to my blog on the list anyway. I am really sorry about that and here I am to right the wrong.

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?
The biggest highlight of blogging for me is that I now think about the book's characters, plot, the author's writing style, setting, etc. in a deeper level. Before, I am more of a passive reader. I just read for the sake of reading, not really thinking about how the author presented the story. After I finished a book, it was just a casual "i liked it" or "i didn't like it" without really knowing why. Now, I have to think about the whys and reading is more fulfilling because I am more involved.

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?
The blog that opened up the whole book blogging community to me was Royal Reviews. I was a long-time follower through my other blogger account. This blog has inspired me to make my own blog all about books (and I've decided on my own to also do beauty product reviews in between reading).

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?
More info on how it works and what to expect?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Review: Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney

Image from here

I bought this book because I wanted something to read during the two-plus hour drive from Pennsylvania to New York. I was quite excited because I LOVED the author's older books, especially Silk and Secrets from her Silk Trilogy (which I read a few times a year).

I don't know what happened to Ms. Putney's writing. This is the kind of work I would expect from a writer just starting out and this was his/her first novel, not a veteran author who had written some of the best romances I have ever read. I tried really hard to finish the book because it reminded of Teresa Medeiros' A Kiss to Remember
(a book I absolutely loved) but I couldn't. I stopped about halfway and left the book in my hotel room. Maybe the housekeeper will pick it up and like it.

This looks like a series, but I don't think I will be picking up the next book.

I give it 0 stars. (DNF)

Review: The Book of Scandal by Julia London

Image from here

I picked up this book because it had my favorite plot theme: an already married but estranged hero and heroine (Nathan and Evie) get a second chance at love. However, I had to do a bit of homework before actually buying it because I don't like reading about a certain issue that was evident in this book unless I deemed it "forgivable" by my own reading standards. I won't reveal what it was because it might be a spoiler for some.

This book was like the story after the "happily ever after" (most romance novels stop after the hero and heroine get married and often I am more interested in what occurred after the wedding than anything that happened before it). This book might be a heavy read for some (and a box of tissues might come in handy) because it does address many issues like the death of a child, grief, betrayal, adultery, friendship, marriage, among other things. However, the two main characters were very likeable and I found myself caring and rooting for the hero and heroine to work things out. My only complaint was the mystery aspect of the book, which I felt took away from Nathan and Evie's story. The mystery seemed like it was more an afterthought on the author's part and the story would've worked even without it.

I give it 5 stars.

***I posted these reviews on (this link will bring you to my Amazon profile) about a month ago before I started this blog. I thought I'd post them here to add more content because I hardly have any.***

**Disclaimer: I bought these books with my own money. My reviews were based on MY own experiences with the books and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

Image from here

Let the Night Begin is the fourth book in Ms. Smith's Brotherhood of the Blood series which was set in Victorian England and tells the stories of five knights who drank from the unholy Blood Grail over 600 years before, turning them into vampires. This book is Reign's story.

This was my first Kathryn Smith book and I bought it because it's a reunion/second-chance-at-love story (my all-time favorite romantic plot line). However, I avoided reading it for a long time because I was afraid it was going to be a Sherrilyn Kenyon-like book. I had a Dark-Hunter phase a few years ago, but I found that after a while all her books were really similar in plot lines and the writing wasn't that great. To me, she was trying too hard to be witty and "urban" in her writing and all her heroes and heroines acted too immature for their age, like they were in high school almost (this also goes for her non-paranormal books). Please hold the rotten tomato throwing Sherrilyn Kenyon fans, this is just my opinion.

Anyway, the two main characters were married 30 years before the story began but were estranged. Olivia's nephew was abducted and the kidnappers' "ransom" was her husband, Reign (who is now one of my favorite heroes). He is crude and sarcastic (there was quite a sprinkling of cuss words in this book), but Reign is very sexy just the same. He wasn't perfect and he had his faults (which I loved... I hate too perfect heroes), but he was very patient with Olivia and very devoted to her. At the start of the book, Olivia was very stubborn and biting towards Reign, but completely devoted to her nephew (who I thought was a complete rat and my least favorite of the secondary characters... I disliked him more than the villain). However, despite her faults, she does mature throughout the story in a believable way and was heroine worthy of Reign.

The book was not Kenyon-quese in any way and I wish I had read it sooner. The writing was very good and the book was easy to read even though I didn't really care for the "suspense" part of the story. The story flowed well and the hero and heroine stayed true to their characters. I enjoyed the verbal sparring between the two and both have a lot of trust issues to work out, but the romance between them was really steamy (but not too graphic). This book is very much a stand alone and there is no need to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one (I didn't). I give it 4 stars as it was a good read and I would gladly read another book by the author.

**Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. My review was based on MY own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Image from here

Her One Desire by Kimberly Killion

The thing is, I haven't been really in the mood to read lately (ever since I've been getting into makeup). I'm still buying A LOT of books but I haven't been reading them. I just ordered six new romance books last week but luckily they haven't arrived in the mail yet, and I bought a bunch (non-romance) in the last few months but I haven't read any of them yet. I've just been getting around to reading the books I bought last year. I'm the kind of reader that if I have to drag myself to read a book, it's not going to get finished because I will avoid it like a plague. Then, I won't read anything until I read through said book. I feel guilty for not reading a book I paid $7.99 because that's wasting money.

The good news is that Her One Desire by Kimberly Killion broke my romance reading slump.

For a debut book, this is a very good one. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would but I thought it went on longer than needed and dragged a bit a times. It kept my interest, although I didn't particularly cared for the heroine or the hero. I think the author broke the "show not tell" rule of excellent story telling a little because the hero and heroine fell for each other pretty quickly in the beginning and I felt like she told rather than show the progression of of why they fell in love.

Also, I think the heroine changed in personality and way of thinking too quickly for it to be believable. She was abused pretty much all her life, but as soon as she met the hero she pretty much did a complete 180 in the few days they were together. The hero was just a little too perfect for me and wasn't exactly that unforgettable alpha hero. However, I love the author's lyrical voice in the she writes and shows a lot of promise of writing great love stories. I might be picking up her other books if I run across one at a bookstore.

I'd give it 3 stars.

**Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. All my reviews are based on MY own experiences with the book and only share honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**
I started a site called "Romance Junkie" about a week ago and it was going to be all about books. However, books are not my only love any more. I have recently been getting into makeup as well and this was brought on by my discovery of the huge makeup community on YouTube. I can't go on posting reviews just on books when I also want to talk about makeup as well.

Hence, this blog will feature makeup and book reviews, book and makeup hauls, and anything that is interesting concerning books and beauty products (to me that is... and hopefully to you as well). I will also be posting giveaway links from other blogs that I come across. I want to eventually host giveaways myself because they are really fun, but I have to build my readership first.

Thank you for visiting and please visit often!

(11/29/09) See Blog Update post for Blog Changes for the year 2010.