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 random.org.  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 random.org.

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! 

Thursday Update

So when I said in the last post that I would be back in a bit, I'm pretty sure I did not mean five days later.  :)  Things got a little crazy, so my blog suffered.  But I thought I would give a general update on the readathon and such, and then work on some reviews.  Since I did not get to do an IMM, I figured this would sort of suffice.

Firstly, Dewey's 24 hour readathon was fantastic.  I believe I read a total of 14 hours.  Sleep did end up beating me, but I still had fun the hours I was awake.  I also got to meet some awesome people and make some new blogger and book friends!  I'm definitely pro-twitter after that event.  I was also able to read several books, none of which I planned to read actually.  I have had some rough days at work, so I have been in a fluff reading stage.  Not always the most intellectual reading, but I do believe everyone needs a place for some fluff, fun, and romance.  So here's what I read during the readathon:
  • Something About You - Julie James
  • A Lot Like Love - Julie James
  • Just the Sexiest Man Alive - Julie James
  • Borrowed Stilettos - Rebecca Clark
Secondly, I have no forgotten about my month-long bday celebration.  Thanks to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday.  It was a wonderful birthday, and I'm happy to say that I still smile occasionally just from the idea that April is my month. 

That being said, my birthday giveaway week 2 is still going on.  Since I posted it late, I extended the time to Friday, April 15th (tomorrow) at 11:50 pm.  I will be posting the winner of the Week 1 giveaway soon.  Also, Birthday Giveaway Week 3 will be posted tomorrow morning and will run the following week until Thursday.  Hopefully, that made some sense.

In case it didn't, here's a summery:
  • Dewey's Readathon was awesome!
  • Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!
  • Birthday Giveaway Week 2 ends tomorrow night (April 15th) at 11:59 pm EST
  • Birthday Giveaway Week 1 winner will be posted shortly.
  • Birthday Giveaway Week 3 will be up tomorrow morning

Hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying lots of reading.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dewey's 24 hour Readathon

Good morning everyone!  It is that time.  Time for the 24 hour READATHON!  I am excited to begin.  20 minutes in, and I am still doing some housekeeping.  I will attempt to post throughout the day as I am reading.  I am also setting aside some time to work on some blog posts for next week.  Follow my progress here as well as on Twitter (@hannahmatkins).  You can find more info at the official site.  But, here is my Introductory Meme!

1)Where are you reading from today?
I am reading from the wonderful southern state of Tennessee.

2)Three random facts about me…
I am a nurse who works nights.  So a bit sluggish this morning.  :)
I absolutely love TV shows such as Bones and Criminal Minds.  A bit obsessive - I've seen all the episodes! 
I love to cook, especially baking bread!

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
As I have been whining to my sister, I slept all through yesterday (after three nights of work).  So I missed my planning day!  So I don't have a plan as of right now.  Working on some housekeeping stuff, then my plan, then reading.  :)  Don't you love it.  I'm planning on planning.  :)

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
I don't have any goals yet except to have fun.  A bit stressed right now, so I am focusing on the fun part before I goal it up.

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?
Breaks!  Have fun!  Take naps if needed!  Have fun!  Join me on Twitter.  It's an excellent medium for cheerleading and encouragement.   and have fun!

Anyone else doing the Readathon?  I will be back in a bit! 

Birthday Giveaway Week 2

And now it's week 2 in my celebration of my birthday!  My first giveaway is now closed.  And I am getting geared up for this next giveaway.  This week, I went with some awesome books that have topped my favorites for this year.  Everybody ready?

Drum roll.........

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (because it's so good that I have to give it away twice!)

Desires of the Dead
The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
These are some awesome books, and I am so excited to give away a copy to someone.  Like last week, this giveaway is open international (as long as The Book Depository ships to you), and there is one entry per person.  The contest is open now until Friday, April 15th at midnight EST.  Good luck everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What are you reading Monday? (10)

This week has been a bit of a crazy, exciting week.  I turned 23 (yah for birthdays!).  I also bought myself a HUGE birthday present in the form of my bedroom furniture.  I can't wait, but I'll show you pictures when it arrives.  I also went on a book buying spree, bought some awesome books.  Had a huge discussion with myself regarding whether or not I should be buying books-to-keep in hardback, paperback, or kindle. (Does anyone else feel like they don't actually "own" the book if they buy it on Kindle?  I just feel like I need a nice hard copy.)  I also hit sort of a reading funk where nothing sounded good, so I read a lot of fluff that looked cute.  Not the most memorable way of spending my reading hours, but it was fun nevertheless.  But because of my funk, I have no idea what I will be reading this week.  I know, I should be sticking to my schedule.  But I have so many options and nothing is standing out to me.  But anyway, here's the week's summery.   "It's Monday, What are you reading?" is hosted by One Person's Journey through a World of Books.  "In My Mailbox" is created by Kristi at The Story Siren.  I like to use a mix of the two.  (All links provided are to the book's Goodreads page.)

Books Finished This Week:

New Books:  (all bought at my local Barnes and Noble or Amazon on my Kindle)

Coming Up This Week:
Well, I can't really decide what to read next.  Here's some of my options, so tell me if there's anything wonderful I should pick up right now:
Any thoughts?  Anyone?  Ugh, what to read next is always my least favorite decision.  I get so excited about all these books when I buy them, then it's like I get home and can't decide.  I am grateful though to have so many good books to chose from.  How is everyone else's week looking?  I've visited some IMM since yesterday, and it looks like a great reading week coming up!

Don't forget to visit my Birthday Celebration Giveaway.  It ends on Thursday!  Oh and look at my awesome cake below.  My mom is incredible and tracked down a Baskin Robbins for my favorite kind of cake: ice cream cake!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: The Liar Society

The Liar Society
Lisa and Laura Roecker
361 pages
My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure.

To: KateLowry@pemberlybrown.edu
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
From: GraceLee@pemberlybrown.edu
Subject: (no subject)

I'm here…
sort of.
Find Cameron.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...

My Thoughts: 
Can I just say that Lisa and Laura Roecker are my new favorite people?  No seriously.  I stumbled upon them from The Story Siren and the Roecker's Blog Tour of Awesome.  From there I became a serious stalker and visited almost every stop on the tour.  They have an incredibly hilarious blog, and I had their book on the top of my list of books to buy when I went on a spree.  (I think their book was the reason I went on a spree.)  Basically, they are awesome and cool and hilarious, and I want to be just like them when I grow up!

And believe me when I say that their awesomeness is simply overflowing in their novel as well.  This is the debut novel for Lisa and Laura Roecker.  It's a young adult mystery that incorporates secrets, preppy high schools, Latin sayings, and emails from dead people.  It was intriguing, mysterious, and I couldn't put it down after the first page.

The main character is Kate (no spoiler there, read the summery above).  I loved Kate.  She was snarky and smart, but she had just enough confusion and "lostness" to make her loveable and relateable.  She is recovering from the death of her best friend, and she is struggling so much more because she does not understand what is going on at her school.  And the person she would always turn to in the past was gone.  What do you do when those who help guide you aren't there?  How do you travel without your compass?  Those were all questions that Kate struggled with, and I was right there with her in the novel.  The Roecker sisters wrote this character exceptionally well, and I certainly imagined myself saying those exact things in high school when I was figuring out who I was.

Probably the only thing I found wrong with the book:  the stupid parents.  Now, I know that the parents had a purpose in the plot of the novel, and I know that they had to be there and be just as stupid.  But I wanted to kick some serious adult parental butt.  (warning: rant forthcoming)  But seriously!  At one point Kate's dad is like: "We want our old Kate back.  You have to make this better.  Fix this."  Ok, really?  Her BEST FRIEND DIED.  Things will never go back to the way they were.  And how insensitive is it put all the work on a teenager who can't deal with everything that has happened?!  And they go on and on about how she's obsessed with Grace's death.  I mean, really??  Of course she's obsessed.  Again, I repeat her best friend died!  You don't just get over that.  That's a major life changer that even in several years will be a hard topic.  Let's face it: her situation sucks.  How painful to have your best friend die, and you can't even go through all the details to process what happened.  Stupid parents did not make it better.  In fact, they only made it worse as they were NO help whatsoever.  (ok, rant over now)

And even though the parents were seriously annoying and totally pissed me off, I thought they were wonderfully well written and added a great element to the book.  I love the way that the Roecker sisters write about them from Kate's point of view.  They do this funny thing where they have Kate's actual response and then her thought response.  It made it super humorous, and I laughed out loud many times.  I stayed up all night reading this book, and believe me, my dog was not happy to be woken up by my giggling.

Overall, I loved this book!  It was incredible.  Very well written, the mystery was mysterious and full of twists that I didn't see, and the characters were loveable, hateable, and jumped out from the pages.  Lisa and Laura Roecker took a hard topic (the death of a friend) and wrote an excellent commentary on dealing.  They added mystery, intrigue, humor, snark, and pink hair to it to push it beyond good to incredibly awesome.  Their debut novel blew me away, and I can't wait for them to hurry up and write some more.  I would recommend it this most definitely to all young adult fiction fans.  Head to Barnes and Noble, Borders, (or Amazon for a loser town like mine that does not stock it) and buy a copy because this will be one you will want to keep.  I know I will be rereading it at least once in anticipation of the next installment. 

Book Happenings: Cornicopia of Dystopia

Hey everyone.  As I was woke up obsenely early by my dog (who thinks he's my 0630 am alarm clock, every morning), I spent some time browsing through some great blog posts.  I wanted to remind you guys about this awesome event and share some of my favorite posts so far.

The Cornicopia of Dystopia is hosted by A Tapestry of Words and The Bookish Type and features several upcoming dystopias that are being released.  The event runs from March 21st to April 18th.  There are like 17 blogs participating, and everything I've read so far looks incredible!  They have author interviews, giveaways, reviews, etc.  I have greatly been enjoying getting to know these authors as they share about their upcoming books.

Some of my favorite posts so far:
Author interview Megan McCafferty (Bumped) - Books are a Girl's Best Friend
Author interview: Kate Kacvinsky (Awaken) - Musings of a YA Reader

The entire schedule can be viewed here.  And now that I've shared with you, I'm going to get lost in the world of dystopia again.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Monthly Summery: March 2011

March was a bit of a crazy month for me.  It snowed and reached 75 degrees.  I had my first non-spring break, as I'm now out of school.  I worked lots of overtime.  And I got re-excited about reading.  It was a good month.

Books Read:
  • Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet, 2) - Mary Balogh
  • Wish - Alexandra Bullen
  • Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia, 1) - Joy Preble
  • Prom and Prejudice - Elizabeth Eulberg
  • How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire (Love at Stake, 1) - Kerrelyn Sparks
  • Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, 1) - Melissa Marr
  • The Body Finder (Body Finder, 1) - Kimberly Derting
  • Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, 1) - Laura Lippman
  • The Liar Society (Liar Society, 1) - Laura and Lisa Roecker
  • Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
  • Delirious - Daniel Palmer
  • Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
  • Simply Irresistible (Chinooks Hockey Team, 1) - Rachel Gibson
March Books:13

Total Books Read in 2011:26
100+ Book Reading Challenge: 26/100
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge: 26/62
Support Your Local Library Challenge: 7/50
Ebook Reading Challenge: 13/20
2011 Debut Author Challenge: 1/12
Three Rs Challenge: 7/13
(Personal) 1001 Books Reading Challenge: 2/17

How was everyone else's March?  Looking forward to April?  I'm planning on an awesome month.  
probably chewing on something he's not supposed to.  But isn't he cute?  :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, everyone.  It's my big day!  My birthday!  And, as a celebration of my wonderful day, I am hosting a couple of giveaways, one of which is starting today.  I am giving away, drum roll please......

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
One of the best books I've read in a long time!
 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Because everybody needs a copy of this classic, my all time favorite novel

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
My favorite read of this year!
So as my present to you, three of my favorite books.  Simply fill out the form below to enter.  It is open internationally (to all countries shipped to by The Book Depository).  One entry per person.  The winner will have three days to reply by email with his/her address so I can send the books out.  The contest will run from today (Friday, April 1st) to Thursday, April 7th at midnight.  Good luck everyone!