Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

Image via Goodreads
Title: Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1)
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Source: Borrowed
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Purchase Link: Book Depository


In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been exploring different genres for the past few months. I gotta say, after enjoying most of the historical romance novels that I'd picked up, I am now officially a fan of this genre. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare is by far my favourite, followed by An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn.

I enjoyed Romancing the Duke tremendously. It was hilarious, steamy and just plain awesome!

The main character- Isolde "Izzy" Ophelia Goodnight is the daughter of a famed author whose series of children's stories starred Izzy as one of its character. It was because of the stories that Izzy was loved by all the readers and she even had her very own fan club. However, the world still treated Izzy as a child instead of a 26-year-old spinster. When her father died, Izzy was broke and homeless as her father had left her with nothing in his will. When she learns that her godfather had bequeathed her a castle, she used all the shillings left on her to get to Gostley Castle. She arrived at the castle and met Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury, A.K.A the owner of Gostley Castle who insisted that the castle was still in his ownership as he would never sell it. He was certain that the castle might have been sold due to a misunderstanding. Both Izzy and Ransom agreed to share the property (live under the same roof) until the matter is resolved. 

I have no complaints about this book. I might be biased though since Ransom reminds me of Jericho Barrons and you know how I'm crushing hard on Barrons.

I love how the Izzy Goodnight Fan Club was woven into the story, creating more funny moments. I love Ransom and Izzy. I love how much depth there is to both of our main characters. I love the setting of the story. I mean, a bat-infested castle for a story setting, what's not to love?

There are lots of steamy scenes between Izzy and Ransom. I'm glad that I read this book in the comforts of my home, where no one could see me blushing and fanning myself with my hand. So, yeah... like I said, steamy. I had fun reading it though.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jericho Barrons

Lately, I've been crushing hard on yet another fictional character but it's different this time around. You see, I usually infatuate over a character for a couple of days at the most after finishing the book. This time, I'd finished reading the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning for more than a week now and yet, I still feel a strong urge to fangirl over Jericho Barrons. 

Most of my friends hadn't even heard of the series and the only friend who has read the first few books in the series doesn't seem to want to discuss about Barrons. I, however, still attempted to introduce them to Barrons through my fangirling... It didn't go so well since they were kinda freaked out when I started blushing just talking about a freaking book character. Anyway, I've never thought that I would ever dedicate a blog post to a fictional character. Needless to say, Jericho Barrons is currently placed first on my list of book boyfriends. I guess Evan Walker from The Fifth Wave, Jackson Castello from Gravity and Four from Divergent just have to make some room in the number two spot. 

If you've never heard of the Fever series before, you should definitely check it out. It's an adult paranormal fiction so just know that there are a lot more steamy scenes than in YA fiction. The story is set in Dublin, Ireland. There's mystery, suspense, romance and of course, there's Jericho Barrons. It has a very interesting premise involving fae and sidhe-seers. The main character, Mac, has just discovered that she is a sidhe-seer herself. She could see through the glamour and could also sense the Sinsar Dubh, which is actually a book created by the Unseelie King but was lost in the human world. Most of everyone- fae and human alike- wants to get their hands on the book and Mac is the only person who could lead them to it. 

I shall now talk about the star of this post- Jericho Barrons. I'll keep the spoilers down to a minimum just in case you haven't read the series yet.

Okay, let's begin! Barrons and I go way back. I actually only started liking him in Dreamfever (book 4). In fact, I kinda hated him in Darkfever (that's book 1). He was so condescending to Mac and had actually bruised and threatened Mac. I didn't expect myself to fall for him and wasn't too fond of him being a potential love interest of Mac then.

Jericho Barrons, like this book series itself, somehow just grew on me. He's an alpha male and is pretty much...beastly but still, he cares about Mac and protects her in his own ways. He's mysterious and secretive and dangerous. He's probably the kind of man that a girl wouldn't want to fall for in real life. Oh, have I mentioned that he's totally hot? 

What he did in Dreamfever to bring Mac back from her Pri-ya state of mind was um... somewhat disturbing but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading about it. I'm a horrible person, I know. It was only then that I start to find out more about who Barrons is and that he actually cares for Mac.

What happened in the end of Dreamfever was a plot twist I did not see coming! That was quite a cliffhanger and I couldn't get my hands on Shadowfever fast enough to find out what happened to Barrons. He had officially won me over in Shadowfever and now I can't help but compare every guy I meet to Barrons.

I loved the relationship between Barrons and Mac. And I loved this series. And I should probably stop now before I blurt out any more embarrassing thoughts I had about Barrons.

“He pulls me around and kisses me. "You're Mac," he says. "And I'm Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me. Do you understand that?"
I do.
Jericho Barrons just told me he loves me.” 
― Karen Marie MoningShadowfever

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Image via Goodreads
Title: Bittersweet
Author: Sarah Ockler
Release Date: December 4th, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA, contemporary romance
Purchase link: Book Depository


From the author of Twenty Boy Summer, a teen pushes the limits to follow her dreams—and learns there’s a fine line between bitter and sweet....

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
     So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life—and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
     It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last....

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book took me down memory lane- back to the days I spent watching Disney's Go Figure and was crushing hard on Jake Abel (the lead male actor in the movie). I was totally fascinated with the sport and the music and Jake.

I've never read any books in which its main character figure skates before. I guess that's probably the only reason why I thought of Go Figure during my read. Well, that and how hockey played into the story.

Hudson Avery walked out of the world of figure skating years ago but remained passionate about the sport. When an opportunity presents itself, giving her a second chance to get back into the game, she felt that that could be her golden ticket out of her town and to get back what she had lost. However, she would need to decide between baking cupcakes at her mother's diner or skating professionally.

It's a story about family, friendship, love and how a girl finds her passion and discovers what she wants in life. I enjoyed every minute of my read. It was a fun ride.

Can I just say that I LOVED Sarah Ockler's writing. Throughout my read, I felt as if Hudson is speaking directly to me, like a friend would over some cupcakes and tea. Just that she's the one with all the cupcakes she'd baked and I... well, I didn't have any cupcakes with me while reading Bittersweet. So, I had to settle for some waffles which isn't even close to the cupcakes described in the book.

I smiled. I laughed. I got mad.... at Hudson's parents, who sucks at being parents and Hudson had to take up the responsibility of caring for her little brother most of the time. Where's her Mom? She's working at the diner. What about her Dad? He's off somewhere spending time with his latest lover- Shelvis, female impersonator of Elvis Presley.

Anyway, let's talk a little about Josh. I loved the relationship between Josh and Hudson. If I have any complaint about the book, it would be not getting enough of Josh and Hudson in the last third of the book. But still, I really do enjoy the ending. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guardian of The Books

I don't know if any one of you have ever felt tempted to talk to a stranger you meet at a bookstore. Especially when a book that you've enjoyed reading is sitting on the shelf under the stranger's nose and yet they didn't even notice it!

Well, I have. I'd like to see myself as a book... angel? Okay, 'angel' is so not me. I'm like a book guardian. The guardian of the books, making sure that books that I like are not ignored by strangers in a bookshop. I like the sound of that. Anyway, I digress.

Unfortunately, this book guardian here doesn't seem to be doing her job well. For starters, it usually took me ages to rid all nagging thoughts that I might come across as an annoying creep or that he/she might not like the book I'm about to recommend to them.  By the time I finally decide to walk up to the stranger, he/she would've walked off to the next book aisle.

The one time I do get to recommend a book and spend a couple of minutes trying to convince that stranger to read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, I made a mistake of comparing Eleanor & Park to Fangirl, which I loved more... I guess the stranger wasn't impressed by my persuasion skills since she pretty much put the book back on the shelf and moved few steps away from me. When I saw her at another book aisle, she quickly moved away. I was quite bothered. I mean, are you trying to avoid me lest I recommend you another book??? I'm sorry, Rainbow Rowell. I tried.

Last Sunday, during another trip to a local bookstore, a little boy approached me, holding a book brochure in his hands, and asked if a certain book- a children's book on Batman, is available. I can't even begin to describe how pleasantly surprised I was. There's a small part of me that has always hoped that somebody would ask for my help in a bookstore or even recommend me a book. And so, there I was, the guardian of the books, with a sole purpose in her mind: I need to find this boy his book. I asked around the staff and finally found his book.

He gave it a look and remarked that it's just filled with stickers. SO, it turns out that the book is just a sticker book, I think. When he decided against buying it, I returned his brochure and left the scene towards the YA book aisle. Awkward!

It was only when I returned to the YA book aisle that I realised I was wearing red- the colour of the staff's uniform. The little boy might have mistook me for a staff member instead of a young adult who looks like she knows a thing or two about Batman, which by the way, I don't....  Oh well, I suppose this guardian of the books needs to take a short break from all the action for a while.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

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Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 11th, 2004
Publisher: Speak
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Purchase Link: Book Depository


Wake up, Caitlin

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreamland tells the story of 16-year-old Caitlin who was trying to move  on with her life after her older sister, Cass, ran away from home. She was determined not to follow Cass' footsteps while trying to fill the void Cass left in her life. Caitlin then met Rogerson and found herself in an abusive relationship that she couldn't leave behind.

Dreamland is the first Sarah Dessen novel that I've read. To tell the truth, after reading the blurb, I probably would never have picked this up. I usually avoid reading anything with a heavy subject lest I get really upset. I mean it took me about a week or so to finally accept the ending to My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Since a friend of mine highly recommended this book to me on several occasions, I decided to give it a try. I actually enjoyed it and didn't get too upset over it.

Halfway into the book, I'm already loving Dessen's writing style. The plot develops at the right pace and before I even realised it, I'm totally caught up in the story.

Now, let's discuss some details, namely, Rogerson. He was so nice to Caitlin in the beginning. He was a drug dealer and took Caitlin around while he did his illegal business. Even so, he had always treated her respectfully. That is, until he beat her. As Caitlin narrated what happened and how she felt later, I thought of myself being in her shoes and I could understand why she felt that way. Without realising it, she'd slowly let this whole ordeal swallow her up and felt that it was too late to ask for help. 

I am satisfied with the ending. It wasn't rushed and I get to find out how Caitlin was coping.