Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Cutting Loose

Cutting Loose
Susan Andersen
379 pages
My Rating: 4/5

Jane thinks nothing can make her lose her coolBut the princess of propriety blows a gasket the night she meets the contractor restoring the Wolcott mansion. Devlin Kavanagh's rugged sex appeal may buckle her knees, but the man is out of control! Jane had to deal with theatrics growing up—she won't tolerate them in someone hired to work on the house she and her two best friends have just inherited.
Dev could renovate the mansion in his sleep. But ever since the prissy owner spotted him jet-lagged, exhausted and hit hard by a couple of welcome-home drinks, she's been on his case. Yet there's something about her. Jane hides behind conservative clothes and a frosty manner, but her seductive blue eyes and leopard-print heels hint at a woman just dying to cut loose!

My Thoughts:
As many of you well know, I have been reading romance/fluff books of late.  Though I think my romance kick may be coming to an end, I still have numerous books to review so gear up for some romantic book days.

I branched out a little bit with this book.  It was the first time I had read Susan Andersen, and I am pleased to say that I was impressed with her work.  She wrote a fun, romantic, not-too-sexual novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Cutting Loose is the first in the Sisterhood Diaries series.  It encompasses three best friends who inherit a grand estate from an eccentric elderly lady they befriended when they were children.  Each book focuses on one of the women and how they find love (typical considering it's a romance).   But what I was impressed with was the was Andersen wrote each character.  She reminded me of Nora Roberts and her Bride Quartet series in which she created a "family" and each book followed the family deeper as major changes occurred.  Andersen did the same here (and I expect her to continue on in the next two books in the trilogy).   She creates a home-like/family setting with each member being the friends.  The novel included more than just boy-meets-girl, they-fall-in-love story.  It encompassed a background and setting in which you got to know the characters and were rooting for them in the end.  Having read many romance novels in a row, I've found that not all authors capture the story beyond the meet-cute and the loving.  Andersen did a wonderful job, and she has earned a place on my romance author shelf. 

As to the story of Cutting Loose, I truly enjoyed getting to know Jane.  She reminded me of myself in some ways, always seeking to have control.  She was completely relateable, and I found myself thinking that we could have been friends were she present in real life.  I enjoyed watching her begin to recognize her coping mechanisms and learn from her mistakes. 

Dev was definitely a great match for Jane, and I loved the family that Andersen placed him in.  Big families always fascinate me, and any character that is well-places in one keeps my attention.  I would have enjoyed getting to know Dev a little more, as his protests for living in another country away from his family didn't completely fit with his loyalty.   I just felt that that particular plot could have been expanded a little more with a positive influence on the character. 

All in all, I truly enjoyed this novel.  I read it in an afternoon and I was not constantly looking at the percentage on the bottom of my kindle to see where I was.  I escaped into the novel and enjoyed the time I was there.  I gave the novel a 4/5 because its not a book that gave lasting impressions but it was fun, and I can definitely see myself reading it again when I'm looking for a pleasant afternoon distraction.   

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: See Jane Score

See Jane Score
Rachel Gibson
384 pages
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is Jane
A little subdued. A little stubborn. A little tired of going out on blind dates with men who drive vans with sofas in the back, Jane Alcott is living the Single Girl existence in the big city. She is also leading a double life. By day, she's a reporter covering the raucous Seattle Chinooks hockey team -- especially their notorious goalie Luc Martineau. By night, she's a writer, secretly creating the scandalous adventures of "Honey Pie" ... the magazine series that has all the men talking.
See Jane Spar
Luc has made his feelings about parasite reporters -- and Jane -- perfectly clear. But if he thinks he's going to make her life miserable, he'd better think again.
See Jane Attract
For as long as he can remember, Luc has been single-minded about his career. The last thing he needs is a smart-mouthed, pain-in-the-backside reporter digging into his past and getting in his way. But once the little reporter sheds her black and gray clothes in favor of a sexy red dress, Luc sees that there is more to Jane than originally meets the eye.
Maybe it's time to take a risk. Maybe it's time to live out fantasies. Maybe it's time to ... see Jane score.

My Review:
First of all, let me say that I could not really find a cover that I really liked to post with this review.  So I went with the best I could find.  Just don't judge this book by it's cover.

Perhaps it takes reading some bad romance to truly appreciate a talented romance author, but I can definitely say that I have lots of appreciation for Ms. Gibson and her ability to write a fun romance.  I definitely enjoyed this novel.  It was fun, with enough depth to add a realistic touch to it.  
This book is the second in the Chinooks Hockey Team series.  I like the way that Ms. Gibson constructed the series so far, in that she did not write about each player on the team in a certain year.  She spaced out the novels so that though the former characters were seen, each novel was different enough that it could stand alone.

So far, this book is my favorite of Ms. Gibson's work.  Perhaps it is that I related most to the main character, Jane, but I truly enjoyed reading about both main characters.  I liked that Jane was not the perfect heroine.  I related to her perfectly, being a fellow short female that is intimidated by tall people in general.  But I also liked that she was not the cookie cutter idea of the perfect woman.  And Ms. Gibson perfectly highlighted her insecurities.  It made me related well to her, and I cheered her on as the not-so-perfect-looking woman found love.

Luc.  Ok, definitely super swoon worthy.  Though he was the perfect, beautiful sounding hero, I loved that Gibson added depth to his character.  She includes parts of his personal life that made him more than something to drool at.  She did an excellent job creating a lovable, sigh-able, and cheer-worthy character.

I think the thing I enjoy most about Rachel Gibson's books is her incredible ability to make me laugh.  She takes a typical romance plot and adds some depth and many laughs to make it very enjoyable.  I laughed out loud several times, and I can't even count the number of times I smiled to myself.  It made for the perfect combination for a Sunday afternoon read.

As most of you can probably tell, my reading tendencies have leaned toward fluff reading lately.  But I can say that Ms. Gibson definitely delivers on the fun romance front.  I read her entire novel in an afternoon, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  For someone who has been battling migraines of late, her book took me out of my room into a world full of fun and romance.  And I forgot that I had a headache for a couple of hours.  It was exactly what I needed, and I would recommend this novel to any fan of chick lit.  It's wonderful in that it delivers on laughs and romance, but it does not simply focus on the boy-meets-girl plot in a way that would make it boring.  Ms. Gibson takes an age-old concept of romance and made it completely worth reading.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birthday Giveaway Winners!

And I realized that I have been remiss in announcing my winners.  So here it goes.

The Winner of Birthday Giveaway Week 2 is .............


The Winner of Birthday Giveaway Week 3 is...............

Justine H.

Congrats to both of you.  I've emailed both of the winners.  Don't forget that I will have two more giveaways this month (one of which is up now).  

Review: Simply Irresistible

Simply Irresistible
Rachel Gibson
384 pages
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Georgeanne Howard can't marry the wealthy older man who's waiting for her at the altar. But her only route to freedom is with John Kawalsky, one of the bad-boy hockey players from the team her wealthy fiance owns. The two spend one night together, but John is at the height of his career and isn't looking to settle down. When their paths collide again years later, John discovers there is a reminder of the time they spent together: a daughter!

My Thoughts:
If you have been following my Twitter (which everyone should do :) ), you will know that I have been in a bit of serious reading funk.  It also explains my lack of posting.  I realized yesterday that I have become one of those bloggers who only posts giveaways and memes.  However, I am determined to have that only be a phase.  My reading funk mostly derives from the fact that work has been super stressful, and I've brought home worries.  So, I have spent my time reading some serious fluff.  Though there have been those who have looked down on chick lit, I have to say that I disagree with those who say that it is worthless nonsense.   There are times when we need fun, romance, and comedy.  I have needed nothing more than to laugh and escape for a while.  My chick lit has provided that.  I simply cannot handle any more stress right now.  So the reason I am saying this is that the next couple of reviews I will write are all about the romance, fun, and romantic comedy books.  And since this is my outlet to share and discuss what I am reading, I'm doing to do that.  And sharing my chick lit with you.  
That being said, Rachel Gibson is a new author that I have found in my search for fun books.  I have been impressed with her ability to write sweet romance and funny one-liners.  She writes characters that I could connect with and picture perfectly in my mind.  I really enjoyed this novel.

Simply Irresistible is the first book in the Chinooks Hockey Team series.  For those of you who are not into hockey, the Chinooks are from Seattle.   It's a professional hockey team, but this novel does not include a whole lot of hockey references.  It's more of a background to the story instead of the major setting.

The novel follows the story of Georgeanne and John.  At first, I thought I would not like Georgeanne because she seemed (from the description of the novel) to be an airhead gold-digger.  However, Ms. Gibson takes what was Georgeanne's former life to show how much she grows.  She's not a gold-digger, so don't be put off by that impression.  And watching Georgeanne struggle and grow into something she wants to be proud of truly helped me connect with the character.  Ms. Gibson did not write a perfect character.  She wrote one with flaws, like all of us.  And it made Georgeanne more loveable.

The main story of this novel is that after a one-night stand, Georgeanne and John have a daughter - Lexie.  Can I just say that I loved the six-year-old characterization?  Lexie was hilarious.  She just jumped out of the novel at me.  She reminded me a lot of the little girl in the movie No Reservations played by Abigail Breslin.  Abigail Breslin is exactly who I pictured as Lexie.  But the little six-year-old provides most of the comic relief.  She just cracked me up.  I love kids, and Lexie definitely made this book.

I rate chick lit a little differently, more harshly you could say.  Because chick lit, by it's nature, is made to have you escape and stop thinking.  And part of my rating system is books that make an impression, make you think days after you've read it.  So, just realize that a 3 or 3.5 star rating is not bad.  It means that I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I'll probably forget the plot by next year.  Which means I can enjoy it again next year.  

I gave this book a 3.5 rating because I really enjoyed it.  I laughed a lot, and I had fun getting to know the characters.  Each character was complete, and I could see who each one was.  It's a great, fun book.  I would definitely recommend it to any lover of chick lit.  And anyone who needs a good laugh.  It was a perfect escape for an afternoon.

Birthday Giveaway Week 4

This is the fourth week of April, thus the fourth giveaway in celebration of me and my birthday!   I've had a lot of fun putting these giveaways together for you guys.  This week I've put together a package of one of the best series in young adult fiction as well as my personal introduction to the genre of dystopia:  The Hunger Games.  Though I have not read all of them, I am giveaway the entire trilogy, because I can't stand things not being completed (which goes against me not finishing the trilogy yet, but that's another story - in that I don't want the story to end).  As before, the giveaway is open internationally to all countries that The Book Depository ships to.  One entry per person.  The giveaway will run from today to next Sunday (May 1st at midnight, EST).  Good luck everybody.

The package:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

Friday, April 15, 2011

Birthday Giveaway Week 3

It's time for week 3 of my birthday month celebration.  This week, I chose to giveaway two of my favorite adult novels.  These two are definitely on the top of my list of favorite adult books of all time, and I am excited to share them with you.  Like the previous birthday giveaways, this contest is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to you.  There is one entry per person, and the winner will be chosen by  Fill out the form below to enter.  Good luck everyone.

Now for the goods......  (links are to my reviews)
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
An awesome science fiction novel


Delirious by Daniel Palmer
The best psychological thriller I've read

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birthday Giveaway Week 1 Winner!

I am happy to announce that I've picked my Birthday Giveaway Week 1 winner.  The number was chosen through

And the winner is (drum roll....)


She won a copy of Prom and Prejudice, Pride and Prejudice, and The Body Finder.  Congrats Lexie!  

Thanks for the entries everyone.  Make sure to check out the other giveaways this month regarding my Birthday Celebration!