Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quote of the Week #3

So, I'm aware of the fact that I'm quite a bit behind scedule with this post, but in the last few days I've been in some kind of a no-reading-phase. Instead I've been watching some great anime series. But now I'm feeling like doing this, so here it is, this week's quote:

"I'm not sure what you are, Tavia. Or how you can be what you seem to be. I've never seen anything like you. No one has. What you are is... impossible."
"Great." She made a strangled sound in the back of her throat. "So, I'm a monster. Even by your standards."
 from "Darker After Midnight" by Lara Adrian

I love Lara Adrian's "Midnight Breed" series. It's one of my favorite paranormal romance series and this book was one of my personal highlights.
I recently reread the books #10, #9, #8, #7 and #4 (in this order, I just tend to reread series in reverse) and it somehow feels like these books are getting better every time I revisit Lara Adrian's captivating world.
The quote I chose was part of an incredibly powerful scene in the last installment of the series. I love the intensity of it and how Lara Adrian made me feel the heroines desperation and anger. If you don't know the series or haven't read this book yet, you should definitely check it out. Like I said, it's fabulous!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake" by Sarah MacLean (originally written January 5, 2012)

5+ stars

After ten unsuccessful London seasons Lady Callie (short for Calpurnia) is definitely considered a spinster, but lately she is tired of her boring live and pristine reputation. This is the delightful story of her finding a way to finally start living her own life. Delightful, but not exactly unproblematic because for some reason she stumbles over the infuriating and rakish Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston, every step she takes. 

The story of the sweet spinster and the notorious rake might not be the most original, but that is widely beside the point here. The truly remarkable thing about this book was the affectionate way of the author. You just know that she loves her characters and there's no way for you to resist this lovely tale.

I simply adored Callie, as well as her older brother and younger sister, who just happily announced her betrothal to a duke. Even her slightly eccentric mother was oddly likable.
This book has a crowd of lovable secondary characters, like Nick - Gabriel's brother, or their lively halfsister Juliana.

But what definitely stole the show, was the budding relationship between Callie and the sympathetic rake Gabriel. Once I started reading their story I just couldn't put the book down anymore.
The way they interacted, and the way Gabriel reacted to Callie's imfamous list was just hilarious and heart-warming.
Everytime Gabriel called her "Empress" (in reverence to Calpurnia, Caesar's wife) I was amused and ridiculously touched at the same time.
His transition and development in this book was an believable, if not always easy one. You just had to respect him for his former "decision" to never fall in love. Even if you sometimes wanted to shake him and tell him to get over it.

Thankfully the amount of drama was blessedly moderate, without costing the book in suspense and power. There wasn't a big, awful climax, completely blown out of proportion, but a little twist that gave the story the necessary punch.

You can definitely say that I truly loved this book. It was funny, sweet, written in a flowing and enjoyable style and had just enough great love scenes to keep things interesting. I would recommend it to everyone who... well, just EVERYONE! :]

Monday, August 20, 2012

To go on or not to go on (with the series), that is the question!

I'm currently rereading "Outlander" the first book in Diana Gabaldon's series (of the same title). I loved it the first time I read it and I'm still loving it now. It's not an easy book to read, but it's powerful and emotional at the same time and I just adore Jamie and Claire and the Happy End they got in "Outlander". This was also the reason why I didn't go on with the series. I decided to treat the first book like a standalone and avoid all the following drama.

But now my mom - who loves the series, but refuses to reveal too much, hmph >:/ - is telling me to at least read the next three books "Dragonfly In Amber", "Voyager" and "Drums Of Autumn". I'm just not sure if I should. I'm afraid that at some point I will stumble over something that will ruin the love story for me. The one thing that I can't forgive a character for is cheating. I insist on fidelity and some of the rumours I heard worried me quite a bit.
If you haven't read the series - spoilers ahead! 

I'm aware of the fact that Claire and Jamie  are apart for twenty years and I don't hold their relationships/affairs during that time against them - they aren't saints and twenty years is an awfully long time to spend alone. But if Claire and Jamie cheated on each other once they found each other again, it would ruin the whole series for me. I don't care if this series takes place in another time, with different customs and morals.

As you can see I'm in a bit of a bind. On the one hand I'm curious about Jamie and Claire's journey, seeing how so many people love this series. But at the other hand I'm worried about ruining a great book like "Outlander" by going on with a series that's just not for me.

So did you read the series? Would you advise me to go on with the series or just let it be and treat "Outlander" as a standalone novel? What were your general thoughts on this series? Feel free to include as many spoilers as you want. I'd be very grateful for your help. All this wondering is starting to drive me crazy!
Recpectively, have you ever had a hard time deciding if you want to go on with a series? What were your decisive factors?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Book Nook - it's finished!

Almost. But as you can see I can sit and read an be veeeeery comfortable, so I don't really care that it isn't all the way done yet. I love it. The only problem is that I don't want to get up once I'm sitting, but I should have expected that, right? ;)
If you haven't read my first post on this project, here's the link: Building my Book Nook - Day 1 & 2
The best thing? I didn't have to sew. At all! Not one single stich! :D
My dad bought me all the cushions and covers and said it was a late easter present. Right. He's the best. <3

The wooden platform beneath the matress is about 40 cm (~ 1 foot and 4 inches) high, so I'm planning to put some drawers underneath, which will come in handy and look good (I hope).
I'm also thinking of putting in another bookshelf (or rather, of letting my dad put in another bookshelf xD). My dad has already built me two, so it might be a good idea to bring up the idea now. That way he'll have enough time to finish it until Christmas. The gap between the wall and the matress is a bit bigger than 5 inches, so it would be just right for paperbacks.

But apart from that it's really finished! I had a lot of fun building it and choosing all the fabrics for the cushions. Looking back now, I have to say that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be in the beginning. And who knows, next time I come up with an idea for a project like this it might not take me years to finally start working on it. ;]

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quote of the Week #2

For this week's "Quote of the Week" I chose an a bit more humorous conversation than last week. I just finished "Match Me If You Can" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (book #6 in the "Chicago Stars" series) and I have to say, I enjoyed it.
If you don't know the book, it's about Annabelle, who is new to the business of matchmaking so she figures landing a client like Heath Champion, one of the most successful sports agents, would be a good opportunity to create some much-needed publicity for her business. Only problem(s), Heath is a bit scary and all kinds of demanding. To top it all off she's competing with a renowned matchmaking-business, owned by glamorous Portia Powers.
What I liked most about this book were the conversations between Heath and Annabelle BEFORE they became lovers. This is one of those entertaining "conversations":

"Portia Powers can baby sit her own introductions. I'm not doing it."
"Yet only six days ago, you were in my office on your knees telling me you'd do anything to land me as a client."
"I was young and stupid."
 from "Match Me If You Can" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's kind of scary...

I never planned to do a post about covers on this blog, but I stumbled over something and I just have to share. Btw, if you're interested in cover-themed post, Sabrina from "About Happy Books" is doing a lot of great posts in German, comparing and discussing original and German covers on her second blog "Bücher - lost in translation". You might want to check them out!

On to my discovery. I guess most of you know the great, historical Hathaway series by Lisa Kleypas (if you don't, go and check it out, right now!) so I won't go into more detail. But let me just tell you, it's a wonderful and humorous series about an unconventional and loveable family. "Married by Morning" is the fourth book and my personal highlight of the series. I like both versions of the cover, the US, as well as the UK version.

I think the US version (left) might not be special, but it's charming and the light and cheerful colors suit the storyline of the book. I simply love the UK version. It's beautiful and fits the time of the story. In my opinion the publishers did a decent job and created appealing covers for a lovely book.

Then there's the disastrous German cover. I think it's best if you just take a look yourself.

Seriously? I was truly speechless when I first saw this. I don't know what the German publisher has been thinking. Covers like that are the reason people are still making fun of romance books. Even if I ignore the lacking design, there's still the fact that it doesn't fit to the story in the least. The cover is gloomy, dark and the couple looks like it's in pain (especially the woman).
I would never EVER think of buying a book like that. And that would have been a shame because "Married By Morning" is one of my all time favorite historical romances. I'm happy that I decided long ago to only read the original versions or I would have missed out on a great reading experience.

So what do you think of the covers? Especially the German version?

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Pushing the Limits" by Katie McGarry

4 - 4.5 stars

Story (synopsis from Goodreads):
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

This was an amazing, at times heartbreaking story about two lost souls finding each other. Echo and Noah (love their names, btw) were just incredible. As a pair and as individuals.
They're both in extremely hard situations, one is orphaned and fighting for the rest of his family, while the other is trying to cope with the betrayal of a loved one and loss of her brother and part of her memory. They're both miles away from being perfect, but when they are together it just doesn't matter. Following their seperate and shared paths was a beautiful experience.

I could go into more detail, but I just don't think it would give you more helpful insight into this great book. My words wouldn't be able to convey how deeply this story and its characters touched me. It's something you have to experience for yourself. But let me tell you this - "Pushing the Limits" is heartbreakingly emotional, wildly romantic and somehow manages to stay positive throughout all the turmoil the protagonist have to go through. So maybe you're wondering why I didn't give the book five stars. It's because I had one major issue with the story:

The only thing that bothered me was that the drama between Echo and Noah reminded me a bit too much of "New Moon", but thankfully without the love-triangle (-> "I'm leaving you for your own good. You'll be better off without me.") Unlike the rest of this book their reasoning just wasn't believable for me.

Apart from that I couldn't have been more delighted by this book. It isn't an easy read. It's actually emotionally exhausting at times, but ultimately rewarding. So if you think you could enjoy a story like that I would strongly recommend to order it right this second. You won't regret it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What makes "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts so special

I recently reread "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts for what feels like the tenth time and although I always loved this book, this time it felt even more special. I can't really say what it was, but it got me thinking. What makes this book so special? Why does it stand out from all the other great Nora Roberts books for me?
I think I found the answer. There are a few factors playing in:
The perfect balance between the suspense and the charming and sexy love story. It's the way Roberts portrays the little Town of "Angel's Fist" with all its eccentric, but likable characters. But, for me it are the great conversations between two of the most compelling main characters I've ever read about.
Brody, a bit of a loner, sarcastic, but with a truly good heart and Reece, neurotic and plaqued by a horrible event from her past, but willing to fight on and find the beauty in life again. It were their "discussions" and conversations that made me grin or even laugh out loud while reading a story that was propelled forward by the suspense part surrounding a perfidious murder. Those moments of humor balanced the scale and made this a wonderful reading experience.
Here are some of those amazing and funny scenes (if you haven't read the book and don't like spoilers you might want to skip the rest of this post):
"I don't sleep with every man I'm attracted to."
Now he leaned on the open car door. "According to you, you haven't slept with anybody in two years."
"That's right. If you think you're going to take advantage of my... dry spell-"
"Bet your skinny ass I am." And he grinned as he slid into the car.
She marched her skinny ass to the passenger door and huffed her way inside. "This is a ridiculous conversation."

"So shut up."
from "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts, p. 138
"Being a little crazy is just human," Brody commented as he helped himself to a cookie.
"I'd be human then. And look," Reece began, "I appreciate you trying to put me at ease. I do, and you have. But I know I'm a simmering stew of neuroses with chunky bits of phobia, seasoned heavily with paranoia."
"It's good to know yourself." Brody bit into the cookie. "Most people don't know they're nuts, which is annoying to the rest of us."
from "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts, p. 187
"I've gained three pounds."
"Three whole pounds. Where'd I put that confetti?"
"It's because I'm doing more cooking. Not just at Joanie's, but here. Like this."
"Whatever I can do."
"I'm having sex on a regular basis."
"I repeat, whatever I can do."
"I had my hair cut and styled."
"So noted."
She cocked her head. If she had to pull teeth, she'd get out the pliers. "Well, do you like it or not?"
"It's okay."
"Oh, please stop." She waved a hand. "Must you be so effusive with your compliments?"
"I'm an effusive kind of guy."
from "Angels Fall" by Nora Roberts, p. 250

Just rereading those scenes and writing them down makes me grin again. I just love those two, especially the effusive Brody ;)

So, what do you think? Did you read "Angels Fall"? Did you like it? If you did, what made it so speacial for you? Or do you know any other books that have a great deal of entertaining and awesome conversations?

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Forever And A Day" by Jill Shalvis

4.5 - 5 stars

Dr. Josh Scott isn't desperate. Well, not exactly. He's just in desperate need of... something. He's working crazy hours in the ER and his own practice, his son that he is raising on his own, stopped talking and took up barking instead and then there's his paralyzed, angry sister living with him. And to top it all off his house is now harboring the most ill-behaved pug on the planet, also known as the Antichrist.
What he really needs is help, so hiring Grace to babysit and walk the satanic canine seemed like a good idea at the time.
Grace is still trying to figure out what to do with her life because pleasing her parents just might not be good enough anymore. She figures that walking a little dog can't be too hard, but by accepting the dog she's taking on way more than she bargained for. Because risking her heart was never part of the plan... 

"[...] And I love them all." Grace heard the words, then clapped a hand over her mouth. "What is that? Why does that word keep slipping out?"
"It's because love is one of those really bossy bitches," Amy said. "There's no telling it what to do."

Well, they do say that three's the charm, but due to the fact that the main character was a doctor I never thought that this would come true for me with Jill Shalvis's third book in her "Lucky Harbor/Chocoholics" series. I was wrong. "Forever And A Day" was simply irresistable. ;) I loved "Lucky In Love" and enjoyed "At Last", but it was the last installment of the series that took the (cup)cake for me.
This was a lovely, sexy story with an enjoyably relaxed pace, despite all the entertaining chaos that happens in the small town of Lucky Harbor. What made this book so special were the two main characters and the incredible chemistry between them.

Grace was such a likeable character. Her interactions with Toby, Josh's son were truly touching, but it was the way Grace handled Josh's rebellious, paralyzed sister that made her my favorite Shalvis heroine so far.
Then there's Josh. Sexy, wonderful, adorably stressed Josh. Talk about favorite characters. He and Sawyer are fighting for the number one spot in my heart and although Sawyer is a badass cop with a gun, it actually might be the hunky doctor that will come out on top. And that's quite a feat because I don't think I've ever actually liked a doctor as a hero. And I didn't just like Josh - I completely adored him.
He was a compelling main character. He genuinely wanted to help people, but despite his crazy work hours you never doubted that his family came first, even if it took him some time to figure it out himself. But the best (or at least most amusing) thing about him was how clueless he was about what to do about the energetic bundle called Grace. Oh, he thought he had her all figured out, but he could do nothing to stop her from charming her way into his slightly cynic heart. Watching those two stumble along was priceless.

Hands down, this was my favorite Shalvis love story. I enjoyed myself from the get-go. And a very big plus (for me) was the slower build up. At least it was slow for Jill Shalvis. It was still sexy as hell because the attraction and heat was coming off every page, but the way she strung those two along was a delicious reading experience in itself!

I'm delighted that this isn't the end of the "Lucky Harbor" series and I'm really looking forward to the next installments. I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a quick, sexy and sweet story about finding your place in life and discovering love in unexpected places. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Building my Book Nook - Day 1 & 2

I did it! I finally started working on my Book/Reading Nook. I have a hidden and unused corner in my room and I always planned to put in a cushioned platform where I can sit/lie down to relax and read my books. I planned to do it for years now, but I never actually did it. But after reading some books in which the protagonists are fixing up houses I got into the mood to do something. So, thank you Nora Roberts for finally getting me to do it ;)

Yesterday I sketched a very rough "blueprint", took the relevant measurements and convinced my dad to get me materials, for which I am endlessly grateful.
So today I woke up and was motivated to get to work. Which is probably the reason why spent the entire day sawing, drilling, sanding and then screwing all the parts together. I did take a lunch break and read a few pages of "Pushing The Limits" by Katie McGarry which started very promising, but I just couldn't concentrate because I actually wanted to get back to work. Suprise suprise!
I have to say I'm very proud of myself and today's work. I made some serious progress and finished the complete framework for my platform and cleared out the corner in my room. I'm happy to announce: It fits! :D No need to take it apart again, thank you very much! ^.^

So, now my whole body hurts (especially my right arm), but I'm really happy and, sure enough, I had a lot of fun.
But now comes the hard part. Sewing. Just the word makes me shudder. Let me just tell you I'm really bad with needles and threads, but it's so much more economical to do it on my own. So now I'll have to go fabric shopping, which actually might be fun and then it's time to sew A LOT of covers for cushions because I want to be comfortable and I want it to be really colorful.

But that's for another day. Now I'll just enjoy my free evening and be proud of today's accomplishments. I'll keep you up to date on any further progress!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quote of the Week #1

I love quotes. I love how a single sentence can be enough to give you an instant feeling for the entire book or make a lasting impression. So I thought that I would do a weekly post about my favorite quotes of the week.
I'll start this "feature" off with a quote by the one and only Nora Roberts. Enjoy!

"Rebecca." Patient, he cupped her face in his hands. "Your brain is only one of the very appealing things about you. I like watching you think almost as much as I like watching you when you can't think. Whatever it took to get you to this point doesn't matter. Because you're here."
She let out a sigh. "It's hard to stop wishing you could be normal."
"Baby, you are normal. It doesn't mean you can't be special."
from "The Fall of Shane MacKade" by Nora Roberts

Sigh. Now if this isn't the most romantic thing I ever heard.
I love it when a romance hero accepts the heroine for what she truly is, even if he's not all that happy about it in the beginning. ;]

Did you recently read a quote that left an impression on you? Came across a sequence in a book you especially loved? What are your thoughts on this quote? Share! :]