Monday, November 30, 2009

Monthly Book Roundup: November

Monday, November 30, 2009 with
Books Bought In November (hopefully I'll read at least half in December)

Michelle:
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Bound By Your Touch by Meredith Duran
Written On Your Skin by Meredith Duran
To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt
Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh
Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling #2) by Nalini Singh
Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3) by Nalini Singh

Duke of ShadowsBound by Your TouchWritten in your skinSeduce a sinnerScandal in SpringSlave to SensationVisions of HeatCaressed by Ice
(Images from FantasticFiction: here, here, here, here)

Leslie:
None

Books Read in November

Michelle:
The Seduction of a Duke by Donna MacMeans (3.5/5 stars)
Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (5/5 stars)
In My Heart by Melody Thomas (2.75/5 stars)
Lucan by Susan Kearney (still reading)

(Click on book cover for image link)

seduction of a duke
Devil in winter
in my heart
Lucan







Leslie:
Blue Bloods by Melisa De La Cruz (2.5/5 stars)
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (4/5 stars)
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (4.5/5 stars)

(Click on cover for image link)
blue bloodsugliespretties


Clearly, I buy more books that I read in a month. The next few months I have to stop myself from buying and focus on reading the books I already have. This is going to be hard to resist buying because there are so many good books coming out and as well as older ones that I am just discovering and with coupons and discounts to tempt me as well as my discovery of the Book Depository--I am in trouble. Must resist...


**Disclaimer: All of the books mentioned above were all either both with my own money, borrowed from the library or won from a giveaway. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing these books--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Books I Covet: YA Edition

Sunday, November 29, 2009 with
During the past few days, I've been exploring the book community blogosphere and GoodReads. I came across many with a YA emphasis and these are the three YA books I am dying to get my hands on and read:

Graceling
Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight--she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po's friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

(Blurb & Image from GoodReads)


Vampire Academy
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

(Blurb & Image from GoodReads)


The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

(Blurb & Image from GoodReads)



I've read reviews of these books and they seem to be highly recommended. Anyone already read these? What's your take?


"Books I Covet" is a new weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. The books may already be published or still in pre-order and I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date. As with everything else in my blog, I will also include my little book spiel about why I want to read it, how I found out about it, etc.


**Disclaimer: No book endorsement intended. As stated above in read, I just genuinely want to read these books and am sharing my excitement with the world. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing these books--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

Friday, November 27, 2009

Book Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Friday, November 27, 2009 with
Image from FantasticFiction

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Tally’s dream of being a pretty finally comes true. Her life is perfect now—she’s popular, has a cute boyfriend, invited to awesome parties, and was pretty much living the life that she’d only dreamed of when she was an ugly. But one night, an old friend from the Smoke comes and gives Tally a letter she had written to herself that reminded her what’s wrong with pretty life. Tally’s biggest obstacle then became fending off Special Circumstances (the police in Tally’s world) after her pretty friends had betrayed her and destroying the lesions in her brain that brainwashed her into forgetting what happened in Smoke (a place where Uglies go to rebel against becoming a pretty).

This book’s pacing went faster than Uglies but maybe too fast? My one complaint about this book was that it felt a bit rushed. Other than that, I liked this book more than the first one because it had a lot more action going on. I love the twists the author throws in Tally’s plans. It made the story more interesting and had me kept reading to see what the character was going to do next. This book also had a cliffhanger ending that left me very eager for the next book so expect my review of the third book in the series (Specials) soon!

I'm giving this book 4.5 stars.

**Reviewed by Leslie**

FYI: Pretties is the sequel to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies and is the second book in a four-part series. Here are the others:










Images from FantasticFiction




**Disclaimer: This book was borrowed from our local public library. 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.**

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 with


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson





Image from Feminist Law Professors

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
And stay safe if you're going out on Black Friday from some holiday (book) shopping! :-D

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review: In My Heart by Melody Thomas

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 with

Image from FantasticFiction

The blurb for this book really intrigued me because I love second-chance-at-love romantic plots. In My Heart features a commoner, Irish Catholic hero and a rich, titled heroine who married young but were forced to annul their marriage by the heroine's father. The book was set ten years later: Christopher Donally, now an very successful architect and businessman, just became a trustee member in the museum where Alexandra Marshall was working as an archeologist. They met again accidentally at the museum and the attraction between the two were as strong as ever. There was a mystery involving missing priceless artifacts from the museum that Alex was determined to recover but in exchange for Christopher's help in finding them, she was to sponsor his younger sister in society. Soon, feelings both thought to be long buried start to surface and both have to deal with the past if they want to have a future.

Alexandra was different from other historical heroines not only that she was a educated and a career woman but also because she went after the hero. She was the first to approach Christopher with their bargain. She invites him to the carriage house she had converted into her working space for a tryst. The reader knows exactly how she felt about Christopher throughout the whole book but sometimes it felt like she was doing all the chasing and sort of lets Christopher walk all over her. Christopher himself was not a favorite. He was distant and kind of a jerk in some parts of the book. A few times, I even questioned his feelings for Alex. The secondary characters weren't likable either with the exception of Christopher's sister Brianna. There were some okay scenes towards the end of the book, but nothing to fully redeem the flaws.

I'm really on the fence about this book. It very much reminded me to of Judith McNaught's Paradise except this one is the historical version of it. I like IMH enough because the story had potential, but I feel like it could have been better at a different author's hand. It's really hard to explain. The author's style of writing is a bit overblown in a pompous, big-words-thrown-in-to-show-off-my-vocabulary kind of way so the telling of the story wasn't smooth. There were also a lot of grammatical errors in this book that were very distracting--I usually miss this kind of stuff so my noticing it is saying something.

I'm giving this book 2.75 stars.

FYI: In My Heart is book one in the Donally Family series. Here are the others:










Images from FantasticFiction

FYI: I bought this book second-hand from Better World Books, an online bookstore that use part of their profit to fund literacy projects worldwide.



**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.**

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blog Update: Blog Changes for the Year 2010

Monday, November 23, 2009 with
Labels:

With a new year coming up, it's time for a few changes on my blog the first being I changed its name from Michelle's Bookshelf and Makeup Drawer to Michelle's Book Picks. The former name just doesn't fit the blog anymore now that I've decided I'm going to be doing beauty product reviews only once or twice a month. I've decided to forgo all beauty product reviews (as well as delete all previous product reviews) and just focus on books.

In the coming year, I'm also going to do weekly or bi-weekly posts of "Midnight Confession" (diary-type posts about my thoughts, rants and observations on all things book-related) and "Books I Covet" (which features books I am interested in buying and reading with their blurbs).

For now, the only monthly post I know for sure I'm doing are the "Monthly Book Roundup" and maybe a monthly giveaway (please enter if you haven't already my first giveaway happening right now) if I have extra book money to spare. I'm playing around the idea of doing a monthly author spotlight which will feature authors whose books I have read and enjoyed, but I worry I won't be able to do it justice because I have a full-time job and only post whenever I have free time.

I will continue to do book reviews at least three times a month and Leslie will also be doing reviews on books she's read, so there will be one or two book reviews a week. I'm also going to be a guest blogger for Royal Reviews in the coming year and I'm really looking forward to doing that because their blog is one of the first I ever followed. I also want to do scheduled memes for specific days of the week but I'm still on the search for one I can commit to. I already found a few challenges I want to participate in, so I'm very excited about taking part in those.

My greatest wish is that sometime in the year 2010 I'll have enough followers and readers that I can host authors here on MBP. Due to the new FTC laws on blogging, I've decided not to ever host blog tours and such as in the foreseeable future, but I want to do some kind of author spotlight kind of thing with an author of my choosing (i.e., authors whose books I've read and enjoyed in the past) with NO endorsements of any kind. But I do want to gain more readers to do it any kind of justice. And I still have to figure out how to go about doing that--getting more readers and hosting authors--but I have high hopes.

I can't wait for the new year to begin! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

(Image from Barnes and Noble)

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies was the first science fiction book I’ve read in a long time and I didn’t realize it was one until I started to get into it, so I was a little confused in the beginning.

This book takes place in a world that evolved after the “Rusties-time” (which is the present time we are living in right now). In this world, people are born ugly, really ugly. At first they live with their parents as littlies for twelve years. Then, when they turn twelve, they start living in Uglyville dorms for four years. Once they’re sixteen years old, they go through this operation that turns physically pretty like everyone else as well as other characteristics like being stronger. After the operation, they live in New Pretty Town until they turn into middle pretties and then a crumblie (an old pretty person).

That’s exactly what Tally Youngblood is waiting for--to turn sixteen and become a new pretty and live in New Pretty Town where it’s parties all night and having fun. Tally is just weeks away from having that to happen. However, once she meets her new friend, Shay, she just might have to wait a little longer for that day to come. Shay doesn’t want to turn pretty but instead runs away. The authorities found out about Shay and give Tally a choice: either find her friend or never turn pretty.

I liked this book--it had great imagery because the author explained Tally’s world well. The book was really interesting and I love the conflict in the book: Tally’s choice between turning into a pretty (something she had wanted her entire life) or betraying a friend. I am reading Pretties right now, which is the next book in the series. It’s not as good as the first one but I’m only halfway in the book. I give Uglies 4 stars.

**Reviewed by Leslie**



**Disclaimer: This book was borrowed from my local public library. 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.**

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Books I Covet: Paranormal Edition

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 with

Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione (Release Date: 1/26/2010)

DEMON ENSLAVED
Lore is a Seminus half-breed demon who has been forced to act as his dark master's assassin. Now to earn his freedom and save his sister's life, he must complete one last kill. Powerful and ruthless, he'll stop at nothing to carry out this deadly mission.

AN ANGEL TEMPTED
Idess is an earthbound angel with a wild side, sworn to protect the human Lore is targeting. She's determined to thwart her wickedly handsome adversary by any means necessary-even if that means risking her vow of eternal chastity. But what begins as a simple seduction soon turns into a passion that leaves both angel and demon craving complete surrender.
Torn between duty and desire, Lore and Idess must join forces as they battle their attraction for each other. Because an enemy from the past is rising again-one hellbent on vengeance and unthinkable destruction.

**After I finally gave up on Sherrilyn Kenyon (I wasn't that fond of her writing and her characters were too immature for my taste) and I stopped reading J.R. Ward (her books got too "busy" and confusing with too many side plots and became too urban with not enough romance), I needed a new paranormal series to get into. I found Larissa Ione's Demonica series just in time... I read the first three books in quick succession and I've been eagerly anticipating this one since then. The Demonica series is a must read for all paranormal romance lovers IMHO.

Rion by Susan Kearney (Release Date: 11/24/2009)

POWER IN THEIR PASSION

Marisa Rourke is a beautiful, fearless telepath who tames dragonshapers on Earth. Rion is a tall, dark, and sexy space explorer whose home planet is a galaxy away. The attraction between them is undeniable, but Rion is hiding a desperate secret that will change Marisa's life forever.

DANGER IN THEIR TOUCH
Marisa's gift is the only way Rion can communicate with his people, enslaved by a powerful enemy. He knows that kidnapping her is wrong, but saving his planet is worth sparking the fiery clairvoyant's fury. Yet hotter-and more explosive-is the psychic bond growing between Marisa and Rion. Could their passion be the key to freeing Rion's people? Only if he and Marisa can discover how to channel their desire . . . before a vicious enemy destroys them all.

**This might be a little premature as I haven't read the first book yet, but I've read a ton of reviews about Lucan (the first book in the Pendragon series; Rion is the second book) after I found out I won this book in a giveaway. I've never really read anything futuristic before and the whole dragon thing is different from all the other paranormal books I've read, so I can't wait to see what this series is all about.

Skin Tight by Ava Gray (Release Date: 6/1/2010)

Uncovering the truth is her specialty
As a forensic accountant, Mia Sauter could usually tell when people had something to hide. She made her living exposing secrets while concealing her own. Then, in Vegas, she met a clever, ruthless man who called himself Addison Foster. One year later, she’s still haunted by his betrayal.

He’s a natural born liar
The truth of him had long ago been buried. Foster was only one name of many; he’d been so many men, he’d lost count. Reinvented as Thomas Strong and hell-bent on revenge, his mission is about to be compromised by the one woman capable of exposing him…

Reunited, they confront the explosive chemistry still crackling between them. But their chance meeting will have consequences, for a ruthless madman has his own deadly agenda. The question is—if they survive the fallout, will he choose love over vengeance?

**Like with Rion, this might be a little premature as I haven't read Skin Game yet (according to the author all the "skin" books are stand alone but I'm thinking Skin Tight is a sort of sequel to SG), but it's gotten great reviews on Amazon. I was just over the author's website and it's said that her books are a cross between Linda Howard (one of my favorite romantic suspense authors) and Anne Stuart, so I know I'm going to love it (cross fingers). I also love the plot line of ST and I would buy it anyway if I haven't heard about SG first.

**********

"Books I Covet" is a new weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. The books may already be published or still in pre-order and I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date. As with everything else in my blog, I will also include my little book spiel about why I want to read it, how I found out about it, etc.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 with

Image from FantasticFiction
Synopsis (from amazon.com)

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts -- which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions...or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

My interest in reading this book was renewed after one of my favorite blogs, Book Binge, did their author spotlight on Lisa Kleypas. Along with their author spotlight, they also have their readers vote on the author's all-time best heroes. In the end it came down to Derek Craven of Dreaming of You and Sebastian St. Vincent of Devil in Winter and there was a huge debate with posts dedicated to each of the heroes of reasons why one was better than the other.

Two summers ago I read the Secrets of a Summer Night and It Happened One Autumn, books one and two of the Wallflower series. Devil in Winter is book number three and I actually bought this book new back then but after reading the first two books in succession I lost interest in reading DiW. The whole series centers around four women "are sick of being snubbed and overlooked by London's bachelors and who have banded together to find themselves husbands."

I wasn't really that impressed with the heroines of SoaSN and IHOA. One was pretty much a female fortune hunter and a snob and the other was too brash and was a brat most of the time. I felt sorry for the two heroes they were saddled with at first. Eventually, they did become more likable, but I still wasn't expecting much of DiW. I bought this book secondhand online so I wouldn't feel too bad if I happen to not finish it. Boy, was I wrong.

Review:
The book began where IHOA ended with Evie going to see Sebastian at his town house to propose marriage. Sebastian (who was the villain in IHOA) just came home from his failed attempt to kidnap Lillian and was surprised to find shy Evie offering a marriage of convenience, in which they would both benefit: she will finally be free from her abusive relative and can take care of her dying father in his last days and Sebastian needed to marry an heiress to refill the family coffers. Both quickly leave for Gretna Green and were married ASAP. However, Evie (who knew all about Sebastian's rakish way) wanted to protect her heart and Sebastian in turn didn't believe in love--both were determined to keep each other at a distance.

But of course they couldn't.

Sebastian was crude, blunt, and very verbally abrasive rake--very much an anti-hero. He started out being very much jerk you'd love to hate but as the story unfolds the reader sees that underneath all that mean and arrogant exterior lies a passionate and caring man. Evie herself was a great heroine--she started out a shy, stuttering wallflower but comes out her shell a confident woman. You get the sense that the character growth that occurred between the hero and heroine couldn't have happened without each other love, patience, and understanding. The two were perfectly matched and there was great chemistry between them. There were many memorable scenes in the book between the couple that I know I'm going to keep revisiting over and over again whenever the mood strikes.

The secondary characters were great as well, most notably the first two wallflowers again (who were not as annoying as they were in their own book), Lord Westcliff (the hero from IHOA), and half-Gypsy Cam Rohan (the hero of the first book in Kleypas' new Hathaway series). The book was very well written and this my favorite Kleypas book to date. I actually felt a little sad when I finished the book because I wanted to read more about Evie and Sebastian--the book was that good! I can't wait to read Scandal in Spring, the last book in the series and Daisy's story. I hope it's just as good as this one.

I'm rating this book 5 stars.


**Disclaimer: I bought this book second-hand online 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, November 14, 2009

Book Review: Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz

Saturday, November 14, 2009 with


**This post is written by a guest blogger... my sister Leslie. She is 12 years old and another voracious reader in the family.**

I borrowed Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz from the library. I didn't want to read it at first because it was one of those books that everyone at my school was reading and I didn't feel like reading something everyone else was reading. At first, I couldn't even stand reading the first couple of pages but I want to give it a fair chance anyway and to make sure I don't give up on it or avoid it, I made it as my English class book report book.

But I continue to read on, it wasn't that bad. I mean, when I finally got to the part where Schuylar, the main character, finds out what she really is, the book got more interesting... that was when the conflicts started. Before that, it was really boring because nothing was really happening.

When Schuylar finds out she's a vampire, she begins to solve the mystery of a classmate's death that involves her kind. And with her friends' help they come to find out what the elders of the Blue Bloods are hiding. Now, Schuylar is determined to stop whatever this predator is up to and try to warn everyone the dangers these things can do to their kind. But, how will she survive when she's one of the prey?

Also, maybe it's just me but I didn't really like how the book jumps from one character's point of view in one chapter and then a few pages later it goes to another character's POV. Like, the author would focus on Schuylar and then all of a sudden the focus would be on Bliss, then Mimi... it was really confusing. It takes some getting used to (and I did eventually) but I still don't like how it does that.

This book is actually part of a four-book series. This book was okay but it didn't get me that motivated in reading the next one. Then, again maybe I will because I saw the other books in the series at WalMart and I read the synopsis on all of them and they sound semi-interesting. I wouldn't buy the books but maybe I'll borrow them from the library.

I think this book should be rated 2.5 stars because it was okay but just too... simple? There wasn't a whole lot of conflict and I had a hard time getting the first part of the book (the boring part) but the other half of it is decent.

**Disclaimer: This book was borrowed from our local public library. 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.**

Friday, November 13, 2009

Not exactly midnight here, but I'm here to confess my latest book sin.

Last week, I promised myself no more buying books for this year. I have a lot of books on my TBR pile and I don't need to be wasting money and buying more. Then, I came home from work today and as I'm wont to do, I checked my email. Guess what waiting for me there? ...A Borders email and not just any email, it's one that said they are giving their best customers (which apparently I am) $5 in bonus Borders Bucks. The catch was that it's for two days only: today and tomorrow. My rationalization for this order is that the $5 thing does not happen often and I also had a 30% coupon as well as their buy 5 books get 1 free promotion. I felt that I had to take advantage of it.

I broke my promise. I bought more books. Six books to be exact. I don't need six more books. What I should be doing is saving money for grad school. I ended up spending $33 and I know this is not going to make a difference in the larger scheme of things, but if I add that amount to the rest of the expenses I have to pay for it does. What the hell is wrong with me?!

Here's what I bought:


Images from Borders (click on pictures for exact link)

I ordered all three of Meredith Duran's published books because all three have gotten so many rave reviews on Amazon and I was very curious. The smart thing to do would have been to order one book to see if I like her writing, but I'm rarely smart when it comes to buying books.

I ordered To Seduce a Sinner because I've been hearing Elizabeth Hoyt's name for a while but I never did look into any of her books. Right now there's a promotional blog tour going on in blog land to promote To Desire a Devil and I want to read that too, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'm going to win a free copy from a giveaway I entered (hehehe). Anyway, I really like the plotline of TSaS (a shy heroine gets finally gets her chance with the hero whom she had admired for years) so I thought I'd give it a try. I believe TSaS is the second book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series and I haven't read the first so I'm crossing my fingers I won't be completely lost and it can be read as a stand alone.
(Image from Borders)


Right now I am having second thoughts about ordering Scandal in Spring. The only reason why I ended up buying it was that I am reading Devil in Winter right now (totally loving it!) and I wanted to read the next book in the series. However, I don't own the first or the second book in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower Series and when a book is part of a series I don't like owning just a random one or two without the others (another reason why I was hesitant to buy TSaS as well). I'm just weird that way.

(Image from Borders)

You might be wondering what the heck a classic like To Kill a Mockingbird is doing in a romance-filled order. This one is for my sister Leslie as her birthday is on the 27th of this month and this is the other half of my gift for her. I also got her a Glee CD (we're both complete Glee fanatics and watch the show religiously every Wednesday night... we were very sad the two weeks it wasn't on but it came back this week and everything is all right in the world again... happy sigh). All she had been reading lately are books filled with vampires, aliens, and more vampires and I figured she could use a change of genres. What better book than TKaM?
(Image from Borders)

So, there it is. I was feeling very guilty for breaking my promise and I had get it off my chest. I feel slightly better now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MBP's First Ever Giveaway (End 12/5/09)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 with
Labels:
**CLOSED**

If you read my last post, you saw that I had been very lucky in the month of October and won six books. I feel it's time to host one of my own just to keep things even. It wouldn't be right if I just keep entering giveaways on other blogs (which I LOVE to do!) and not host one back. Also, November is Thanksgiving month and this is my way of saying thank you to the book blogging community for introducing me to many wonderful books. For my first giveaway I am starting very small and if it is successful I'll host another one next month. So, here we go...

You DO NOT have to be a follower to enter, but I would really love it if you do! I have three USED books for you to choose from:

Dear Prince Charming by Donna Kauffman

Too short to be a model, too unartistically inclined to be a designer, Valerie Wagner has finally found her niche in the fashion world she loves as the publicist for Glass Slipper, Inc., and the mastermind behind the launch of their brand-new glossy magazine. She's signed up the perfect cover model - Prince Charming, an advice columnist who's won the hearts of millions of women with his acerbic wit and his on-target romantic insight. Best of all, he's never revealed his real name or shown his face. Until now. And it's Valerie who's about to bring him into the limelight. There's just one problem. America's sweetheart, the sexy and sensitive man who's helped millions of women get their man, is coming out of the closet with a vengeance.

Valerie's new-found career is teetering on the brink of ruin. She can't crush the hopes of all the buyers of the magazine. She can't get Eric out of his seven-figure contract. And Prince Charming himself is tired of living a lie, and wants to find his own Mr. Right. Looks like there's no way out. Until Eric offers up his childhood best friend Jack, a sportswriter with a devilish smile and a chain of ruined relationships behind him. With Eric as the brains of the operation and Jack as the heartthrob that the media can sink its teeth into, they're an unbeatable team, and no one ever has to know... until Jack notices that behind Valerie's overachiever businesswoman personality is a woman with her very own kind of charm, and he decides to take matters into his own hands...



The Cinderella Rules by Donna Kauffman

THERE’S A LITTLE BIT OF CINDERELLA IN EVERY WOMAN . . .

except Darby Landon, or so she thinks before meeting the three fairy godmothers of Glass Slipper, Inc. They guarantee they can bring out the princess in any woman. But they?ll have their work cut out for them with Darby, who?s more comfortable in jeans and cowboy boots than designer gowns. But when she?s called from her Montana ranch to squire her impossible-to-please father?s star client around the D.C. social scene, Darby has to turn into the queen of chic . . . and fast.

Between torture-chamber sessions of tweezing and teasing, and horrifying lessons on place settings, Darby finds herself drawn into a fairy-tale romance of the very adult variety with Shane Morgan, the devastatingly sexy (and reluctant) heir to one of the city?s largest companies. But when another Prince Charming arrives on the scene, Darby?s caught between the woman she is and the woman she?s supposed to be, between two very different irresistible bad boys. Now Darby has to choose her own happy ending . . . and with the help of three very unusual fairy godmothers, this modern-day Cinderella is determined to stay dancing way past midnight?no pumpkins required.


The Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes



With invitations to high-profile baby showers and benefits, more Marc Jacobs clothes than is decent, and a department store heiress for a best friend, our heroine known only as Moi is living at the peak of New York society. But what is Moi to do when her engagement falls apart? Can she ever find happiness in a city filled with the distractions of Front Row Girls, dermatologists, premieres, and eyebrow waxes? Is it possible to find love in a town where her friends think that the secret to happiness is getting invited to the Van Cleef and Arpels ├╝ber-private sample sale? And how is she going to deal with the endless phone calls from her mother in England demanding that she get married to the Earl next door?





Be aware that the book prizes shown above are USED books.




But if you don't mind that, please choose one (1) of the books you would like to win and leave a comment below with the book's title. There will be one (1) winner (and the winner will win the book they have chosen). Please read the rules and disclaimers for entering below. The giveaway ends on December 5, 2009, 11:59 PM Hawaii-Time and the winner will be announced shortly after that here on Michelle's Book Picks (MBP for short).

Rules and Disclaimers for Entering

1. Giveaway is only open to USA and Canada only. (sorry I'm a little broke right now)

2. Leave a comment on this post saying you're entering the giveaway and include the title of the book you want to win. If you don't include the title and you are selected as the winner, you'll receive The Cinderella Rules (my favorite of the bunch).

3. The name (or names for multiple entries) will be put in a hat and I will randomly pick a winner.

4. Winner will have 48 hours from the time their name is posted to email me and give me their shipping address. If I do not receive an email from the winner within that 48-hour period, a different winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS.

5. There will be no substitutions allowed and MBP is not responsible for the prize being lost, stolen or damaged during transit.

For Additional Entries:
+2 if you became or already a follower before this giveaway was posted (please tell me in your comment)
+2 if you post a link of this giveaway on your blog's sidebar or on Twitter (please give me the blog link or the exact link of the tweet)
+3 if you blog about this giveaway on your blog (please give me the link)

Maximum number of entries is 8 (1 intial entry + 7 additional entries).

Also, since MBP is part beauty blog, I'll also be including these L' Occitane samples for the winner to enjoy:



Thank you for entering and good luck!

**Disclaimer: All the book prizes were bought with my own money and the L'Occitane samples were part of a sample gift pack given to me as a gift from a friend who bought it with her own money.**

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fangs, Fur, & Fey 3 Year Anniversary Contest

Sunday, November 8, 2009 with
I was browsing in blog land just now and one of the blogs just posted about a contest that is happening now on this other blog. Of I can never resist a giveaway so I clicked on the link and it took me to Fangs, Fur & Fey. They are having this BIG giveaway.

In celebration of their three-year anniversary they are giving away a Kindle to one lucky winner and 22 lucky winners will each get a $20 gift card from one of these five book retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, or Powell's - winner's choice which.

I am so happy I found out just in time because the giveaway ends on Nov. 13. It's definitely worth checking out if you're a giveaway freak like me. Here's the link.

Good Luck!

Image from FantasticFiction

Synopsis (from amazon.com and author's website):

William Chambers, Duke of Bedford, ascended to the title upon his father’s death, but he also inherited his father’s extensive debts. Desperate to avoid scandal and ruin, he is willing to go to any lengths – including marrying, sight unseen, a reclusive American heiress known as Frosty Franny.

Francesca wanted to marry for love, but her social-climbing mother arranged a betrothal to an English duke who is likewise not eager to marry. But a chance encounter and a dash of intrigue make the unwilling couple rethink what they really desire.

I am giving this book 3.5 stars and here's why: I absolutely loved the heroine but I wasn't really that fond of the hero. First of all, I won this book from a giveaway on Romance Bandits (an awesome blog that everyone should check out; they are really friendly over there) and I was really interested in reading it because I loved the whole penniless duke marrying an American heiress story line.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story in the beginning as reader learns more about Francesca. Her nouveau riche family desperately wanted to marry her to someone with a title and her mother found the perfect candidate in the Duke of Bedford. Fran doesn't want to get married to the duke because she loved someone else (Randolph) and she did all she can to escape the marriage. Fran was smart, resourceful, bold, and she wasn't afraid to speak out. She her hobbies were translating children's stories into English and bee keeping. In the beginning she shied away from society parties and such, but she grew out her fear. Throughout the book she shined and she was one of the best heroines I've read in a while.

William the duke of Bedford didn't shine as much. To me he was a stiff character who mostly cared about social standing and appearances. The reader also does not learn much about his past as much as we do Fran's. All we pretty much know about him was that he had a crappy childhood and his was married before to a cheating wife.

The story revolved around the big misunderstanding: William got it in his head that Fran was pregnant by another man (his reasons for coming to this conclusion were feeble at best) but even when she told him that she wasn't pregnant he didn't believe her! And he kept on believing 3/4 of the book (even after she denied it more than once)! That made me dislike William. There was another scene where he overhears a conversation Fran was having with Randolph and he misunderstood what he heard, so he tells the family (which made turned them against Fran) and goes and gets drunk. After that I gave up on him. I thought Fran deserved a better hero.

My favorite scene in the book was when Fran and the villainous Lady Mandrake were having a silent battle using their fans. The whole fan "language" fascinated me and I would love to know what all the fan motions meant. This was my first book by Miss MacMeans and I don't think it'll my last. I think she writes well and I am very much interested in reading The Education of Mrs. Brimley (a prequel to this book and tells the story of William's brother Nicholas). Nicholas and his wife Emma were delightful in this book. Miss MacMeans hinted some of what occurred in Nicholas' book that I very much wanted to read in full.

I recommend this book if you want to read about a great heroine. I think this book would be a good lazy weekend read.


**Disclaimer: I won this book from a giveaway. 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.**

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monthly Book Roundup: October

Monday, November 2, 2009 with
This is a version of "Mailbox Monday," a meme hosted by The Printed Page, but since I don't always have books coming in to my mailbox every week, I thought I'd do a monthly roundup instead.

For October:

Books Bought
The Earl Claims His Wife by Cathy Maxwell
In My Heart by Melody Thomas
The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
His Dark Kiss by Eve Silver
His Wicked Sins by Eve Silver

Books Won From Blog Giveaways
Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey from Anna's Book Blog
Dream a Litte Dream by Susan Elizabeth Philips from Book Binge
Renegade by Sarah Parr from Romance Bandits
The Seduction of a Duke by Donna MacMeans from Romance Bandits
Lucan by Susan Kearney from Libby's Library News
Kept For Her Baby by Kate Walker from Romance Bandits



It was like Christmas for me to have kept receiving books in the mail. I have never won so many books before so thank you so much ladies!