Archives for January 2012

Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell

Millie’s Fling
written by Jill Mansell          
published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated


Why did I pick this book: I read Perfect Timing by the same author and enjoyed it. I had this book in my Nook…so…I read it. 



Did I enjoy this book: I did. It was your classic British chick lit. Easy, fun, light, made me like the characters and care what happened to them. 


This was a sweet story and I really liked the instant rapport between Millie and Hugh. The whole crossword puzzle clue schtick was great! I wanted them to get together and stay together.


Lucas was a surprising character. Not at all what I expected him to be. I loved how his story played out! 


Hester really annoyed me. She was the “the grass has to be greener over there” girl. She was willing to risk a great boyfriend for a dream…an infatuation that wasn’t reciprocated.


Orla Hart was wonderful and I loved her ending and who she ended up with! That was great!!! I wanted to kick her a few times for staying with Giles.


Would I recommend it: I would…especially if you like chick lit including British chick lit.


Will I read it again: Maybe…we’ll have to see. 


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: The heroine, Millie Brady, is beautiful but thinks she isn’t. She has a boyfriend that does not sound like her type. When her boyfriend asks Millie to live with him, she thought (and dreaded) that he was going to propose to her. However, her attention was drawn to the redheaded woman pacing by the cliff where many suicides occur. Millie, ignoring her boyfriend, rushes to the woman and prevents the suicide. Who was this woman? Best-selling author, Orla Hart. 


To thank Millie for literally saving her life, Orla offers Millie a job of sorts. Orla wants to write a novel based on an ordinary girl’s life – Millie’s life. Millie agrees and off she goees on this adventure…some of which is orchestrated by Orla. 


During all of this, Millie meets – by chance, of course – a nice, sexy, funny, good-natured, newly widowed man who turns out to be “The One.” However, Hugh cannot commit to his feelings for Millie. He still has guilt that he is cheating on his deceased wife. How can he reconcile his growing feelings for Millie and his love for his late wife?


Millie’s roommate, Hester, is the typical sidekick – not quite as pretty or built, but she is self-employed and has a wonderful boyfriend who is, sadly away for a job in a great restaurant. Sadly, Hester thinks she is missing out. She is still infatuated with Lucas Kemp – a guy who could care less about her except as a friend. What transpires between them is great and helps Hester see what a great guy she has in her boyfriend, Nat.



If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Overbite by Meg Cabot

Overbite
written by Meg Cabot          
published by HarperCollins Publishers


Why did I pick this book: I finished the first book in this series, Insatiable, and I wanted to know what happened next. This was also included in the bundle of books from chicklitisnotdead.com. Woo-hoo for the awesome win!!!



Did I enjoy this book: Eh. It certainly wasn’t a book that I had to read every free chance I had. I actually found myself having to force myself to read it. Also, I had less than 50 pages to go last night and I went to sleep instead of finishing this book. And, tonight, I had 2 pages – yes, 2 pages – and I put the book aside to fold laundry (it was a hardcover book, not conducive to reading while folding). 


I was lost with Father Henrique. He was referred to as Maurice and Padre Caliente…Why was he called Padre Caliente? Was that ever explained? And that name was thrown in every once in awhile making it rather confusing.


Lucien was there. But not really. He appeared, then was gone. But apparently he had a great role to play in this book. But his struggle – follow his father or his mother – should have been much more developed in my opinion. The author could have done so much more with this. 


Even the title of this book didn’t make much sense to me. The first book title, Insatiable, made sense. This, not so much.


I was rather disappointed with this one. And the end??? This story just seemed to wrap up too neatly…too quickly…to easily. 


Would I recommend it: No, I wouldn’t.


Will I read it again: I doubt it. Unless, maybe if she comes out with another book in this series that sounds much more promising. But I really doubt it.


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: We join Meena Harper now that she is working for the Palatine Guard employing her gift of seeing how people are going to die to help the other members of the guard perform their duties, namely hunting and killing demons and other creatures of the night.


Meena still lives with her brother, Jon, who desperately wants to be a member of the Palatine Guard. That’s all he talks about, thinks about, obsesses about. Jon does create a tool (weapon) with his friend that could be very helpful to the Palatine Guard. Jon is also pining over Yalena trying to make something of himself before he asks her out. 


Meena is still trying to convince the Palatine Guard and Alaric Wulf that her ex-boyfriend (was he really ever her boyfriend? They didn’t go out all that much!), Lucien Antonescu – the dark prince, son of Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) –  is not evil but actually good. However, Lucien hasn’t been around. In fact, he has been in a cave under New York City at the Minnetta Stream trying to gain strength from the Devil’s Water as it is also known. 


Lucien does save Meena’s life from her ex-boyfriend, David, but then he turns on her later because he only wants her – the love of his life supposedly. 


Meanwhile, Father Henrique – a priest from South America that is being transferred to St. George’s in New York City – has come to the Palatine Guard with an agenda of his own. To infiltrate the Guard with his own minions and find Lucien. Little do we know, Father Henrique (aka Padre Caliente – which I still do not know where that name came from!) is actually the vampire that helped Lucien’s father side with the devil. UGH! 


So….can everyone guess what has to happen to get rid of Father Henrique and his evil cronies? Who does Meena end up with – Lucien or Alaric? (Not that the story provided much hope for either!)


If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Insatiable
written by Meg Cabot          
published by HarperCollins Publishers


Why did I pick this book: I won a bundle of books from chicklitisnotdead.com. (Thanks again Lisa! I love the books!!!) This was one of the books in that ten book bundle. 



Did I enjoy this book: I did. At first, it was hard for me to adjust back to reading a hardcover book…I’m a Nook girl. But, after I got over that, I did enjoy it and I really wanted to see how it would end. I read every free chance I could while holding a hardcover book. 


It was a lot like a lot of other vampire books that are out there. I saw references to the Twilight series (how Lucien couldn’t stand the movie vampires) and the Sookie Stackhouse series (that vampires go to dust in the sun, they can survive on bottled blood and refrain from feeding on humans unless those humans are willing participants, three times bitten is significant). And from both of those series that someone can either read minds, or kind of read minds, or predict the future, etc and so forth. I didn’t mind this because I think most story lines have been used and will continue to be used. 


With that being said, it was a great story. I enjoyed that Meena was a soap opera writer and really disliked the whole vampire story arc and how reluctant she was to delve into that. Lucien was a great character – compassionate, good looking, not wanting to be a demon or evil. He truly loves Meena, that is obvious.


There are a lot of secondary story lines that are developed that could have been omitted or shortened a bit. I can see why she had these characters. They did help the story move and added another layer of people to care and/or worry about but they didn’t add that much to the story. I have to wonder if these stories will play a bigger role in the sequel.


Would I recommend it: Sure. Only if you like the vampire love story genre.


Will I read it again: It is not on the top of my “must read every year” list. But that doesn’t say that I will never read it again. We’ll have to see. 


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Meena Harper is a writer for the hit soap opera Insatiable. She should be in line for a promotion to head writer until her co-worker Shoshana talks the network and the show into going with the current trend – a vampire love interest for the leading teen aged girl character on the show. 


Meena lives with her older brother, Jon, in a cooperative apartment highrise in New York City. Her neighbors, Emil and Mary Lou Antonescu, are nice, rich, and Mary Lou is always trying to set Meena up and give her ideas for her soap opera. 


One would think that Meena leads an ordinary life but Meena has a secret of her own. She can see how people are going to die just by looking at them. Meena tries to the right thing by steering those people away from their impending death and changing their life expectancy but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes strangers just don’t want to hear that they are going to die if they walk down that street, or get in that car, or if they do not get their cholesterol checked. So, Meena does what she can. 


When Meena meets Lucien, she cannot see his death. She cannot understand how it is that her “vision” is blank when it comes to him. She falls for him immediately – he was her knight in shining armor, the mysterious prince that saved her. But why is Lucien Antonescu in New York City? There is a serious of deaths of young women going on at the hand of his own. Of course, once she gets together with Lucien, she meets Alaric Wulf. 


Oh, Alaric…a member of the Palantine Guard who happens to be in New York City hunting the demons, the creatures of the night. He is there because of the vampire war – a civil war of sorts, brother against brother. Of course, Alaric falls for Meena and cannot understand why. He thinks she should fall for him as well. He has a bit of an ego but seems nice enough, especially when he starts to question all of his beliefs and his purpose when he sees the prince of darkness try to save Meena.


If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell

Perfect Timing
written by Jill Mansell 
published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated


Why did I pick this book: I think it was a free Nook book at one point, so I downloaded it. Now I’m reading it. 



Did I enjoy this book: I did. It was classic chick lit…an easy read, light, funny, love problems. Some parts were laugh out loud funny.


I was impressed with how this author could weave together quite a few different story lines that all depend on each other in some way. I wasn’t confused either with the different story lines. There were only a few times when I couldn’t remember a character – namely Claudia’s mother. Other than that, I did not have a problem keeping everything straight.


I wanted Poppy to end up with who she did. I wanted her to find her biological father but I was upset that he didn’t get to connect with her before he died. I was glad that he figured it out but bummed that he didn’t let Poppy know that he knew before the bottles. 


Would I recommend it: If you like chick lit…especially British chick lit…then yes, I would definitely recommend it. 


Will I read it again: I’m not sure. Not right away…but maybe some time in the future. But I will read more of her books in the future.


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Poppy Dunbar’s life changes the instance she meets Tom, a dark handsome stranger that “saves” her from a fall. After that meeting, Poppy cancels her wedding, finds out that her father is not actually her father, and leaves her life and flees to London to find her father and the handsome stranger with whom she had an amazing connection right from the start. 


While working as a waitress for a catering company, Poppy meets Claudia and Caspar – her future flatmates. Well, not really a flat, more like a spacious house with art studio where Caspar paints and entertains his many women friends and portrait subjects. Claudia doesn’t like Poppy at first and thinks Caspar will not like her as well. She was wrong. The three of them live together for about a year.


Claudia wants a man but she tries too hard. Finally, after initially insulting him, she starts to fall for Poppy’s boss, Jake. Jake – painfully shy with women and loves antiques – really likes Claudia and can’t seem to get the courage to go after her. When he finally does, he isn’t sure if she likes him for him or for his new money. He bets it all in front of her to see how she really feels about him.


Tom ends up being a rather possessive man that wants to “train” Poppy on how to be a housewife. Not exactly her knight in shining armor that she thought he was. 


Does Poppy end up with a man of her dreams? Does Claudia accept Jake for who he is? Does Caspar ever grow up and settle down? Does Jake get over his shyness and awkwardness? Does Rita have a happy ending?


If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale
written by Diane Setterfield          
published by Atria Books


Why did I pick this book: This book has been on my to-read someday list. My book group picked this book for our February read…so, I read it!



Did I enjoy this book: Not at first. I thought it was too wordy. What could have been written in three words took fifteen. What could have been said with one simile/metaphor/analogy to six. It was too much. I was actually skimming paragraphs and skipping over parts that were just too much detail and description. 


With that being said, once I got into the story – hearing Ms. Winter’s life story – I could not put it down. I just had to keep reading and find out how this tale would end. It was disastrous when I was about forty Nook pages from the end and my Nook needed charged. I couldn’t believe it. All I wanted to do was finish this book but I could not stay tied to an outlet and feed my boys and get ready for a meeting and do all of the other things that needed to be done. Finally, I got to finish this book later in the night and I was glad when it was over. It was complete…it had – as Vida Winter said – a beginning, a middle, and an end. 


It had some twists and some unexpected turns as well. The story kept me interested. I have to wonder how this author came up with this story. Wow! Some of it is a bit twisted, some sad, some funny but all-in-all, it was a great tale. (I just wish it wasn’t so wordy.) 


Would I recommend it: I would if you like mysteries and if you are a reader who can see past the wordiness — or at least skip through it.


Will I read it again: I doubt it. The first third of the book was quite wordy and took a while to get through before getting to the heart of the story…before getting to the point it got really interesting.


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Margaret Lea is the daughter of a book shop owner and antique books dealer. She grew up in the shop learning her alphabet by organizing the books on the shelves. She learned to read in the shop. She learned language in the shop. She began writing in the shop. She wrote a rather obscure piece on siblings that was published in a collection of work by other authors. This piece was found by renowned author, Vida Winter. 


Vida Winter is at the end of her life and wants to tell her true story. Not the hundreds of fantastical stories that she has told journalists through the years about her life. She wants to tell the truth – even if it is tragic and heart-wrenching and hard to tell. She chose Margaret Lea based on that one piece about siblings because she figured that Margaret had her own secrets, her own story. Who would be better to tell her story than someone who may be in a similar boat? Someone who has her own secrets?


Ms. Winter reaches out to Margaret and Margaret accepts the charge of writing Ms. Winter’s biography as told by Ms. Winter. Vida Winter calls it a ghost story, a love story. She says that her story is a mere subplot to the entire story. A subplot indeed…but a necessary subplot for most involved. 


Along the telling of this tale, we get to visit the Angelfield Estate. We meet Aurelius Love.  We hear the story of the Angelfield twins – Emmeline and Adeline – as well as their mother, Isabelle, and their strange uncle, Charlie. We learn how Hester, the Missus, and John-the-dig all have their place in this tale, sometimes a tragic place. We are saddened by the destroyed garden, by the fire that destroys the estate, by the needless early deaths of those who were loved. 


Through all of this, Margaret Lea finds the end to her story. She finds the answers to what she had been missing and looking for since her birth. 


If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped
written by Megan McCafferty
published by HarperCollins Publishers


Why did I pick this book: It was reviewed on another blog that I follow, chicklitisnotdead.com. It looked interesting, so I thought I would give it a try.



Did I enjoy this book: Not at first, but then I got into towards the end. I had to see how it ended, which means that I read it every free chance I could. I stayed up late, I put off doing household stuff, I just wanted to see how it ended. Of course, it was a cliffhanger of sorts and now I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel. (Thankfully I don’t have to wait too long…only until the end of April. UGH! April 24th needs to get here fast!!!)


The one thing I wasn’t expecting was the religious aspect. (The first few reviews were brief and did not mention this. I didn’t mind it in the least…I just wasn’t expecting it.) Harmony reminded me of an Amish girl on her rumspringa. She explores the “Englisch” world – Otherside – and finds her long-lost twin sister. The difference is that she isn’t Amish and she witnesses to her sister and anyone else she comes across. That is until she meets the infamous Jondoe. 


Melody is living in a world where they idolize pregnant teens a la MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. She and a lot of her high school classmates are being paid to “bump” and get pregnant. She was one of the first to sign a lucrative deal and is awaiting her match. She gets matched with the infamous Jondoe.


The one thing I did not like about this book was that some of the technology that they use in 2036 was not explained in the beginning of the book. We were introduced to blink wink wink double blink wink left right … blah blah blah. We do not get the explanation of this until much later in the book and this really kind of bugged me. What the heck is MiNet? What is Face Space? Why couldn’t the author explain this to me in the beginning??? And some of the teen vocabulary was ridiculous!!! “Fertilicious,” “pregging,” “neggy,” “terminated,” etc??? Who talks like that? But once you get past – or used to – that “teen” language, the story has some promise. 


It was a quick read and I want to see how it ends.


Would I recommend it: I would. It was surprisingly good and, as I said, I can’t wait for the sequel.


Will I read it again: I’m not sure. Not anytime soon, that is for sure. 


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Melody is a sixteen year old in high school and she has signed a fairly lucrative deal to bump and deliver a baby for the Jaydens.


Harmony is a sixteen year old girl from Goodside who desperately wants to connect with her twin sister – Melody – from whom she was separated at birth. She wants to explain to Melody why bumping for money is a sin and that she should join Harmony in Goodside.


When Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep, a whole new world is opened — to both of them. Melody fights her own feelings about bumping, about her twin sister, and about her best friend, Zen. Harmony fights her feelings about her upbringing, her husband Ram, and her feelings for Jondoe. 


This is world where pregging is the key to popularity and money but is it the right thing for everyone?


If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

I’ll Have Who She’s Having by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke


I’ll Have Who She’s Having

written by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke          
published by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke


Why did I pick this book: I enjoy these author’s website/blog, chicklitisnotdead.com. I saw they had written a book together, so I decided to read it.



Did I enjoy this book: I did. It was a quick read that was entertaining and light. There were a few moments that I laughed out loud and some that made me cringe (the “oh, I’ve been there” moments). It was a good story.


I enjoyed reading the story from the different perspectives of the main characters and a few secondary and tertiary characters. This helped the story move along and you didn’t get too caught up in one person…you saw how everyone can have an impact on other people. 


Would I recommend it: If you are a fan of chick lit, then yes, read this book. 


Will I read it again: I may. We’ll have to see.


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: We meet two sisters – Kate and Kelly – one who has the seemingly perfect life and the other who has always been in her older sister’s shadow. They each have their own issues and they each need to make decisions to follow the right path for their life. 


Kelly is a stay-at-home mom who’s life has become rather boring. She is craving attention and she doesn’t appear to get it from her husband. She meets the local volleyball coach and talks her into joining his class. He gives her the attention that she craves. But will she follow the lead of the other “Hot Ta-Mommies” and stray from her loving husband?


Kate sees her sister as having the perfect life…husband, child, home. Kate is a thirty-three year old television producer who is recently single and looking for the man she wants to marry…even if that man isn’t right for her. She stalks her ex-boyfriend thinking he is the one. Then she gets hooked on the volleyball coach. Kate fails to see Mr. Right right in front of her. Will she find what she’s looking for?


If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Virtue by Amanda Hocking


Virtue

written by Amanda Hocking      
published by 


Why did I pick this book: I’ve read the Trylle Trilogy by this author and thought I would try this book. 



Did I enjoy this book: I did and it was a quick read. I read it in just over a day. However, it was not as good as the Trylle Trilogy.


It was a good idea for a story but it just didn’t seem developed enough. Not enough follow-through, explaining, and finishing. 


Everything ended too quick. It left me wanting more by way of explanation and development. 


This could have a been a really good book…the idea is there. But, in my opinion, she could have done so much more with it. 


Would I recommend it: If you are a hardcore Amanda Hocking fan, then yes, I would recommend it. I would not recommend it as your first Amanda Hocking novel. Her Trylle Trilogy is much much better.


Will I read it again: I’m not sure. Only time will tell. 


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: In a world where good and evil are competing, Lux is tasked with retrieving Lily for his master, Valefor. He is to bring Lily to Valefor but Lux does not know the reason why. However, after meeting Lily for the first time, Lux knows he has to protect her at all costs. Lux defies his master and fights for his true love, much to his own surprise. 


There is action in the form of battles and fights between Lux and goblins, witches, demon dogs, and a dragon of sorts. There is a love story between Lux and Lily. There is the ultimate battle between good and evil. 


All the makings of a good story but it just falls short.


If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

Chrissy’s Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus
written by Erin Morgenstern
published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I read a few reviews and thought it looked interesting.

Did I enjoy this book: I loved it. It was fantastic, fascinating,  enchanting, enthralling, attention getting . . . I read every free chance I possibly had and I didn’t want it to end.

I really enjoyed that as I was reading the book, it wasn’t as if I was just reading it . . . it was as if I were observing it firsthand. Like I was there watching everything unfold . . . not just reading about it later. I felt like I was a part of the story itself. Maybe it was because the author had descriptions of “you” walking through various parts of the circus, “you” were seeing the attractions and smelling the smells. Even though these parts were here and there, that feeling of “you” being there carried throughout the entire story.

The details were so vivid . . . even though the circus was black and white . . . the colors were described so wonderfully. The circus acts and various tents were described with such detail that I felt like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book.

Even the cover art reeled me in. I am not one to judge a book by its cover but the cover is sometimes a deciding factor. That’s just the way it is. And this cover means so much more once you’ve read the entire book.

And the end . . . OH MY GOODNESS. I wanted to go back to the beginning and start it all over again. If you’ve read it, you’ll know which line I mean that made me want to read the story again.

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: ABSOLUTELY!!! I may have to suggest it to my book group.

Will I read it again: ABSOLUTELY!!! I would love to read it again right away but I’m going to give myself some time and reread it in a few months or so. (I have a lot of books on my to-read and to-reread list.)

chrissysig

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: “The circus arrives without warning” begins this novel about a circus that only operates at night. The Night Circus is actually known as Le Cirque de Reves, or the Circus of Dreams. And that is what it is…a dream world in reality.

The tents are all connected by various paths, mazes, corridors, and courtyards. All of the performers and circus workers are dressed in black, white, and shades of gray. The clock at the entrance of the circus is enough to mesmerize any and all who enter. This is a masterpiece by Herr Friedrick Thiessen who becomes a reveur…someone who follows the circus around wherever it goes just to keep experiencing it. The reveurs are devoted followers who have adopted the color scheme as their wardrobe except for a scarf or flower, or some accessory that they wear in a vivid red color. This is how they know one another in the crowd and apart from the circus itself.

However, little do the patrons know that this circus is actually the scene — the arena — for a competition between two “magicians.” Celia Bowen, the daughter of Prospero the Enchanter (aka Hector Bowen), is the circus illusionist. Marco, the student and adopted son of the man in the grey suit (aka Mr. A. H—), is the assistant to the circus founder, Chandresh Lefevre. Actually, the founders of the circus do not know the extent of this undertaking and what it means for everyone involved.

As the circus grows, the love story unfolds. Different tents and exhibits appear as love notes to and from each of the competitors. The Ice Garden, the Pool of Tears, the carousel, the Wishing Tree, the Cloud Maze. All part of the competition, all part of the love being expressed to each competitor.

When is enough enough? When is the winner decided? Does the circus cease to exist?

If you have read it, let me know what you think!!!

efchappy