Saturday, November 10, 2012

"The Perfect Hope" by Nora Roberts

5+ stars

You all know how it can be with high expectations. If not met they can become the worst buzz kill imaginable. And let me tell you, my expectations for this final book in the Inn BoonsBoro triology were mile high. I've been waiting for this story since the first time Ryder made an appearance on page.
Especially this year my too high, maybe even unreasonable expectations have ruined quite a few promising books for me, so I was hopeful and anxious at the same time when I started reading.
So like I said, sometimes they can ruin everything for you, but there are rare times when those expectations simply get hit out of the ballpark because you get so much more than you could have ever imagined. "The Perfect Hope" was such an experience.
I'm not trying to build up your own expectations, but I don't think there was a chapter, scene or moment that I wasn't completely satisfied with. I simply devoured this book and loved every single second of it.
Nora Roberts included all the small and big details and events I was looking forward to, but at the same time she gave me so much more. Things I didn't even know I wanted to read about until she wrote about them.

Hope was a likable, straightforward and caring heroine who made reading this story so much more enjoyable (sometimes it's hard for me to like or relate to female characters). But it was Ryder who stole the spotlight. I don't know how Nora Roberts did it, but this surly, gruff and hardworking guy managed to come across as ridiculously sexy and adorable at the same time. His behavior towards his mother, brothers and Hope couldn't have been more different, but you could always see how much he cared for all of them. It were just his creative and often gruff ways of showing that affection that were the most entertaining and heart-warming.
Of course there were some similarities and parallels between this book and the last one in the Bride Quarte series once again, but they weren't as glaringly obvious as in "The Last Boyfriend". I still felt as if I was reading about two "new" characters, even though there was some overlapping when it came to their characterization.
Once again I fell in love with all the main and secondary characters in Roberts' series and I was especially satisfied with the way the Lizzy mystery was resolved.

But my personal highlight (apart from Ryder, of course) were the dialogues and conversations. They ranged from emotional and tense to heart-warming and hilarious. It didn't matter if they were talking (almost philosophically) about shoes, magical babies or overcoming your past and fears. This book and it's interactions just felt so refreshing and real to me, it's hard to describe. But just the fact that it got me out of a reading slump that lasted way over a month should tell you enough.
Basically all I want to say is that I adored this book and it's charming variety of characters. So if you're a fan of the series or looking for a cozy, funny, sexy and at times emotional book you HAVE to buy this.
If you are new to the series I would recommend you start at the beginning with "The Next Always", otherwise you will be missing out on some great Ryder/Hope interactions and wonderful love stories.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

About "reading slumps" and MAJOR distractions...

I realize I've been very VERY inactive these last weeks (I can't believe it's been weeks!), but that's because I'm kind of taking a break from reading. It definitely wasn't planned and I'm still not sure why, but for some reason I just don't feel like reading.
It's a new and very confusing situation for me. I never felt like this before. There were times when I didn't enjoy books as much as I did usually, but I can't remember a time where I haven't read a book in WEEKS! It's been more than two weeks that I finished a book. Yes, I started some and I also read a great "extra chapter", but that's it... 
On the other hand I'm also suprisingly relaxed about it. I don't want to force it and also don't feel the need to open a book (I'm not sure if that shouldn't worry me even more).
I'm sure that a big part of the problem is the fact that I'm in complete "Korean-mode" right now. I'm watching tons of Korean TV programms (even though I wouldn't even dream of watching those from my own country), dramas and all kinds of music videos. The trigger for all that? Here he is:

Lee Taemin, vocalist and lead dancer of the South Korean idol group SHINee.
I'm not sure how it even happened, but I clicked (almost randomly) on a Youtube video (always dangerous xD) and there he was. If you have an open mind and want to try something new you might want to check out some of their songs (I would recommend "Lucifer" and "Sherlock") and appearances on TV shows (you'll either hate it and think it's completely ridiculous or you'll get absolutely addicted - like me - so don't say I didn't warn you).
So if you're interested, I've put together some Youtube playlist about KPOP in general - "KPOP Madness" - as well as Shinee and Taemin - "Best Taemin/Shinee Moments". Queck it out, ignore it, do what you want. I know it's a bit... random (xD), but I just thought some of you might be interested. It takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you're not familiar with the language, but I'm very fascinated by the Korean culture and this part especially.

And since I'm already talking about private stuff I thought I'd tell you what I'm doing right now. University has started again and I also got a new job, working at a big cinema in Vienna. Apart from that I'm also learning Spanish. It's great and since I'm really into languages I'm having the time of my life. I'm also planning to learn Korean, but I decided not to overdo it and to tackle one language at a time.
That's the end of my very un-bookish post! ;]

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Hearts In Darkness" by Laura Kaye (originally written June 17, 2012)

4 - 4.5 stars

Suddenly caught in a broken elevator Makenna and Caden don't know what hit them, but from one second to another it's pitch black dark around them and nothing is moving. They don't know each other, they don't know what the other person looks like, but they definitely need each other to get sanely through this disturbing experience.

This was short, sexy and sweet, with two very likable characters and an appealing storyline. It's just the b
ook you need if you have a bit of free time in the afternoon because despite of the smaller amount of pages (112) there was a suprising depth to the story, the characters' pasts and the budding feelings between the protagonists.
I really enjoyed how the author used the short amount of time to build the relationship between those two. She took her time to let the two of them get to know each other (while they were talkig to distract themselves), but there was always this pleasurable and understated tension between them. Still, they didn't just jump each other, but instead thought about the possible consequences (but don't worry, there are still some very well written love scenes).
Something else I appretiated was the fact that they were both honest enough to admit that the looks of the other person had some importance, but at the same time they didn't let it stop them from "falling in like" with each other. They were honest to themselves and to each other, which made me like them even more!

The only thing that bothered me a bit was the abrupt ending. I didn't feel like their story was finished. It wasn't unsatisfying, but I still would have wished for a more detailed ending.

This story was romantic and to the point. I'll definitely have to check out other books by the author!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quote of the Week #5 (TAG)

So I thought maybe this week we could have a little fun with the "Quote of the Week" post. I'm not gonna pick an especially important quote. Instead of that I'm doing the TAG-version. Here's my quote:

"She put her knobby hands to her face and felt wrinkles. At that, she discovered she had been in a state of shock all yesterday."
from "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones
Chapter 4, Line 13

Really, I love this book! I've only known the movie, but this year I finally discoverd that it's actually a book. If you haven't seen the movie you should definitely do that. It's a Japanese animated film by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Their films are incredible and even if you're not a fan of animated films you should definitely give one of them a try. My favorites are "Spirited Away", "Princess Mononoke" and "Howl's Moving Castle".
The book is different from the movie, but still great. It's such a fun book to read. A whole lot of likable characters, a crazy plot and just enough love story to keep things interesting!

Now to the TAG part of this post. Here are the rules:

1. Pick a random book. It can be the book you're reading right now, your favorite book, the book lying closest to you or a random book from your shelves. You get the idea.

2. Open your book at Chapter 4 (if your book isn't divided into chapters open Page 40 instead), then go to Line 13.

3. Post the sentence in the comments section. Sometimes the sentence will start in line 11 or 12, but that doesn't matter, just write the whole sentence down. In case a sentence ends in line 13 and another one starts there, write down both sentences.

4. Don't forget to write down the title of the book, as well as the name of the author.

5. If the sentence has a special meaning to you, don't hesitate to tell us why!

6. Have fun! :]

After you posted the comment below you are welcome to do this on your own blog if you want. Just please don't forget to post a link to my page, thanks.
Let the quotations begin! :]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"The Many Sins Of Lord Cameron" by Jennifer Ashley (originally written March 9, 2012)

5+ stars

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I don't know how it's even possible, but I liked it even better than the first two books in the "Highland Pleasures" series. Especially "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" is one of my all-time-favorites, but "The Many Sins of Lord Cameron" was (and is) still in it's own league of great historical romances.
It's definitely one of the best books I read in 2012 and I've read quite a few already.

I'm a fan of Jennifer Ashley's heroines in this series. I wanted Beth as my older sister and would have been happy if Isabella had taken me under her wing, like she did with Ian's wife. But I simply adored Ainsley. She's honest, witty and has an open and warm heart. The gentle, but insistent way she helped and coaxed Cameron was heart-warming and emotional.

Then there's Cameron. In the first two books I wasn't too sure about him. I loved Ian and Mac from the beginning, but Cam just seemed too callous and brutish to me.
Now that I've read his story I can understand why. I won't say too much, but just know that he truly suffered in his former marriage.
I'm touched and amazed by the depth of his character Jennifer Ashley revealed to us in this installment. One minute I just wanted to take him into my arms and tell him that everything would be alright, while in the next second I found myself grinning at his funny and sexy antics. He's a fabulous hero - gorgeous, strong, but riddled with his own set of doubts and fears. But the thing is, he overcame them with the help of Ainsley and I loved reading about the whole progress.

Like a lot of other readers I enjoyed the lack of unnecessary drama. There were no overdone misunderstandings or any kind of deceptions. Yes, they had issues to overcome, but they did it together, while staying true to themselves.

Like I said, this book was fabulous and I truly enjoyed revisiting the characters from the previous books. Quite a few times I found myself laughing about something Daniel did or said and the whole setting with the horses fit perfectly to the romance.
And even though I'm not a big fan of Hart I'm still interested in his book. The glimpses we got of him made me really curious and the way Jennifer Ashley convinced me of Cameron's character doesn't leave a doubt in me that she will do the same with Hart's.