Wednesday, April 30, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas

Title:  The Texan's Wager

Author:  Jodi Thomas

Genre: Historical Romance

Year Published: 2002

Number of Pages: 309 pages

Date Read: 1/22/2011

Series: Wife Lottery #1


Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Some Sex Scenes)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

I have read many romance novels by Teresa Medeiros and Lisa Kleypas, but this is the first time that I have read a romance novel by Jodi Thomas!  “The Texan’s Wager” is the first book in Jodi Thomas’s “Wife Lottery” series and it is full of hot romance, drama, adventure and excitement that will make this book one of a million!

Bailee Moore was thrown out of a wagon train along with two other women named Lacy and Sarah after Bailee had supposedly committed a murder in her hometown and was thrown out of town.  After the three women got to the city called Cedar Point, they meet up with a vicious man named Zeb Whitaker who starts assaulting them and that led the three women into beating him up to defend themselves.  The three women are then thrown into jail and the sheriff proposes that the only way for the three women to get out of jail is if they are selected in the “Wife Lottery,” which is where men come all over Cedar Point and pick one of the three women to be their wives.  Bailee Moore is then chosen to be a wife to Carter McKoy, a silent man who has not spoken a word since his parents’ brutal deaths.  However, Bailee will soon realize that there is more to Carter than meets the eye!

Wow.  All I can really say is…wow.  I have never in all my life read such an exciting and romantic western romance novel that is full of drama and pure romance!  Jodi Thomas has definitely done an awesome job at writing this story as the characters were righteously perfect and the action paced plot of the story is never truly over the top!  I can name out so many things about this book that I simply loved, but that is too many to list, so I will just mention the characters themselves.  The heroine of the story, Bailee Moore, is such a lovable character!  I loved the way that Bailee has such a caring and courageous nature, especially when she tries to do everything in her power to protect Carter from any kind of danger that comes their way, even if it means putting her own life on the line.  I will admit that sometimes I get a little irritated whenever Bailee does not seem to trust Carter completely, but her heroic actions throughout the novel truly makes up for that.  Another character I really loved in this book was Carter McKoy himself as he was the first silent hero I have ever read about in any romance novel I have read!  The aspect of Carter’s personality that truly stood out for me was his slightly silent nature because he sometimes uses sign language to communicate what he wants to say with everyone and I have always wanted to know how to sign language myself, so this aspect of Carter’s personality is so interesting to me since it shows another level of communication that I rarely seen in most romance novels.  I also loved how courageous Carter is as he will put his life on the line to save Bailee from any misfortunate that befalls her and it’s that aspect that I truly love in a hero!  The best part of the entire book was the romance between Bailee and Carter as it was genuine and caring enough to put other romance novels’ romance to shame!  Sure, at first Bailee and Carter did not really trust each other because they did not know each other at first, but as the book goes on, Bailee and Carter’s romantic relationship was truly astounding as I loved the way that Bailee did not judge Carter because he did not speak at first, but once she starts realizing what a wonderful person Carter is, she starts falling madly in love with him and does everything in her power to protect him.  I also loved the way that Carter treated Bailee because even though at first, he was really shy to be near her, I admit that the moment that Carter first began to talk clearly with Bailee, I was totally surprised yet felt cuddly inside that Carter felt comfortable talking about anything with Bailee and that proved how solid and real their relationship with each other is.

There are some brief sex scenes in this book, although it is not as explicit as most romance novels I have read.  So, anyone who does not like reading about certain sex scenes, might want to skip over these scenes.

All in all, if you are looking for drama, sizzling romance and adventure in the Wild West, then “The Texan’s Wager” is definitely the right romance novel for you!

[BOOK REVIEW] Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

Title:  Practice Makes Perfect

Author:  Julie James

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Year Published: 2009

Number of Pages: 291 pages

Date Read: 4/24/2011

Berkley Sensation

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 18+  (Strong Language)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

After reading Julie James’ “Something About You,” I was definitely looking forward to reading another one of Julie James’ fantastic novels!  That is when I stumbled upon this charming little book called “Practice Makes Perfect” and I definitely fell in love with this book!! “Practice Makes Perfect” is one novel that makes lawyers look good and sexy to all romance fans!

The two best lawyers in their firm, Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson have been at each other’s throats for the past eight years.  But one day, Payton and J.D. soon discovered that they are chosen to participate on a huge case with a well-known company together and whoever makes a good impression on the company will be made partner of the firm!  But there are a few problems with this opportunity: one, only one of them can be made partner of the firm and two, Payton and J.D. are slowly starting to develop feelings for each other.  Can Payton and J.D. still be together even after one of them is made partner of the firm?

You know, I never would have thought that I would have read such an amazing contemporary romance novel since Julie James’ “Something About You.”  Well, Julie James has certainly written a romance novel that truly defined what a contemporary romance is all about!  Alright, so let me talk about the characters Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson!  Payton Kendall was an awesome heroine as she is shown as one of the top lawyers at her firm which truly represents her intelligent and independent nature!  I also loved the way that Payton was able to stand up for what she believes in, which is trying to be the best lawyer in a firm that mainly caters to male lawyers and it truly made her into a truly independent character that I have enjoyed reading about her doing her job so well!  Out of all the contemporary heroes I have read so far, J.D. Jameson is one of the best heroes I have ever read about!  J.D. Jameson is the perfect hero of the story as he is sassy yet incredibly sexy in his moves towards Payton and when I realized that he is actually a really nice guy, I just instantly fell in love with this hero!  What was the best part of this novel was the love/hate relationship between Payton and J.D. throughout the book as it was really interesting seeing how Payton and J.D. hated each other at first, but the moment that they started having feelings for each other, whew, things started to get really hot between them and I was enjoying every minute of seeing them give each other sweet kisses!  One of the things about their relationship that slightly bothered me a bit was when J.D. gave the reason why he and Payton were fighting in the first place (I will not tell you because I do not want to spoil this book for you!) and I was wondering to myself about why Payton and J.D. would actually fight over something so insignificant.  Also, let us not forget the sex and kissing scenes between Payton and J.D.! Even though there were not a lot of sex scenes in this book, the sexy relationship between Payton and J.D. was enough to make up for the lack of sex scenes in this book, but trust me, the sex scenes were definitely hot and steamy that they make up for most of the romantic scenes between J.D. and Payton.

For those of you who are not fond of strong language, there is a large amount of strong language in this novel and probably the best solution to avoiding the strong language in this book might involve just skimming over the strong words used in this book.

All in all, “Practice Makes Perfect” is truly one of the most interesting contemporary romance books ever written that every romance fan will love for many years to come!

[BOOK REVIEW] Something About You by Julie James

Title:  Something About You

Author:  Julie James

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense

Year Published: 2010

Number of Pages: 307 pages

Date Read: 4/6/2011

Series: FBI / US Attorney #1

Berkley Sensation

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 18+ (Strong Language and Sex Scenes)

Alright, this book has a number of firsts for me.  For instance, this was the first romantic suspense novel I have read and this is the first novel I have read from romance novel author, Julie James and it was definitely worth experiencing with!  “Something About You” is a romantic suspense novel by Julie James and this book is definitely on the top of my favorite romance novels list as it is full of drama, action and hot, smoking romance that will send any romance fans' hearts aflutter!

U.S. Attorney, Cameron Lynde, was spending the night at a luxurious hotel to relax when she notices that a crime scene had happened in room 1308, the room that Cameron was right next to and Cameron realizes that a prostitute named Mandy Lobard was murdered in room 1308 after she was making love to Senator Hodges!  Since Cameron was the only person who saw the mysterious person running away from the scene of the crime, she is a witness to this crime and to add on to her troubles, she finds out that Special Agent Jack Pallas has come back to Chicago to get to the bottom of this high-profiled homicide.  The problem with this arrangement is that Jack and Cameron have been enemies ever since three years ago when Jack made an unflattering statement about Cameron's involvement with the case of Roberto Martino being mysteriously dismissed all over national television!  Now, Jack and Cameron are finally reunited with each other, but can they rekindled the flame between them that was distinguished three years ago?

Recently, I have been reading many historical and paranormal romance novels and I have enjoyed reading each one!  Now, I have stumbled upon a romantic suspense novel that I have literally stayed up most of the night trying to finish because this was such a fantastic and exciting book!  There were many things about this novel that really interested me, but what really interested me the most was the history about the author, Julie James and how she was able to incorporate the inner workings of law firms into this novel.  Julie James had once clerked for the United States Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, Florida and has practiced law for many years before she become a writer.  I thought it was awesome seeing how Julie James was able to add in her experiences in the law firm through this book because not only did it made this novel up for some good reading, but it also made this novel so authentic that I was immensely into learning about the system of the law firm.  Julie James did an awesome job at balancing the romance and the mystery plots of this novel without making it favor towards one of the plots and it just created an exciting drama that I really cannot get over! 

What I really loved about this novel were the main characters, Jack Pallas and Cameron Lynde.  I thought that the relationship between Jack and Cameron was extremely interesting since this was the first romance novel I have read where the plot involves a couple trying to rekindle a flame that was distinguished between them years ago and I loved the pace of how these two try to get back together as a couple without going through it too fast.  What was so awesome about Cameron and Jack's relationship was that Jack was willing to put his life on the line to protect Cameron and that is one aspect of a romance hero that really tops my heroes list and a guy I would not mind protecting me! Also, to top that, who would have thought that Jack would look so sexy in his casual jeans and t-shirt wearing outfit that exposes the ripples of his muscles? That is pure romantic hero heaven right there!  I also loved the heroine Cameron as she is intelligent and is extremely loyal to Jack, as she truly trusts him with her life.  If there is anything in this novel that made this novel a hot and sizzling read, it was the sex scenes between Jack and Cameron and man were they sizzling!

For anyone who does not approve of sex scenes, this book is littered with it and also there is some pretty strong language in this novel. So anyone who do not approve of sex scenes and languages could skip over these.

Overall, “Something About You” is a truly brilliant crime romance novel that anyone who is looking for action as well as hot romance can easily enjoy!

* 2011 DABWAHA Romance Tournament for Best Romance of the Year & Best Contemporary


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship Throughout the Years

"The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship" was a Russian folktale that originated from "Old Peter's Russian Tales" and it has been translated into several versions of the beloved tale. Here are some of the different translations being done to the original folktale:

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: written by Arthur Ransome along with illustrations by Uri Shulevitz (1968)

These illustrations have Uri Shulevitz's signature simplistic style as while there are no background colorings for the skies, the characters and the buildings are drawn realistically and the flying ship is a brilliant old-fashioned styled contraption that fits well with this type of tale.

The Fool and the Flying Ship: written by Eric Metaxas along with illustrations by Henrik Drescher (1991)

These illustrations are probably the most bizarre and creative out of all versions of this Russian folktale.  Henrik Drescher's signature style shows strongly here as the characters all have noodle-like appearances and bizarre contraptions attached to their bodies.  The titular fool also resembles a deranged version of Pinocchio!

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: by Christopher Denise (1994)


These illustrations are probably the most beautiful and realistic out of all versions of this classic Russian folktale!  Christopher Denise's illustrations greatly capture the beauty and serenity of the wilderness and using various animals as the main characters was a nice treat!

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Favorite Book Quotes #3

Seriously! I don't care what the cover looks like, as long as there's a good story inside the book!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] One Was Johnny by Maurice Sendak

Title:  One Was Johnny

Author:  Maurice Sendak

Genre: Animals / Counting / Poetry

Year Published: 1962

Year Read:  2010


Series: The Nutshell Kids Library 

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+ (Some Rude Behavior)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

“One Was Johnny” is another classic book from Maurice Sendak’s popular Nutshell Library and it is about how a young boy named Johnny wanted to be alone, but he gets some uninvited guests while the book counts down on how many guests come into his house.  “One Was Johnny” is the perfect counting book for children who want to learn how to count in a creative and fun way.

Maurice Sendak’s illustrations are simply simplistic yet hilarious and creative at the same time.  Maurice Sendak used mainly black, yellow, white, blue and green colors to emphasize the simplicity of the book’s counting theme and Maurice Sendak uses the same little boy that he uses for his other Nutshell Library book “Pierre” as the boy also has a blue jacket and blue pants on.  Maurice Sendak’s verses are simply creative as he describes the various kinds of guests in his house by using numbers one through ten to explain the numbering system and the way that he makes each verse with each number rhyme with each other is extremely creative.  Another great thing about this book is that it was transformed into a TV special that was sung by Carole King, which is extremely catchy to listen to and children will definitely take a true liking to this book if they watch the Carole King version of this book.

Parents should know that there are some images that show the characters biting each other such as the turtle biting the dog’s tail and a blackbird pecking Johnny’s nose.  Parents should tell their children that it is not nice to bite other people and if parents are worried about the images being too graphic for small children, they do not have to worry much since the images are not graphic as it just shows the characters bite each other but there is no blood.

“One Was Johnny” is a brilliant book for children who want to learn how to count in a hilarious and unique way and also for children who are true fans of Maurice Sendak’s brilliant works.  I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since smaller children might be a bit unsettled by the images of the characters biting each other.

[BOOK REVIEW] Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Title:  Stellaluna

Author:  Janell Cannon

Genre: Animals / Family / Separation

Year Published: 1993

Year Read:  2010

HMH Books for Young Readers

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Child Separation)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

I first saw this book on an episode of “Reading Rainbow” (my favorite TV series when I was little!) and I instantly fell in love with this book!  “Stellaluna” is a gorgeous picture book by Janell Cannon and it is about how a baby bat named Stellaluna learns how to live with the birds after she is separated by her mother during an owl attack.  “Stellaluna” is truly one of the best books for bat lovers everywhere!

Once there lived a mother fruit bat that gave birth to a baby bat named Stellaluna and one night, Mother Bat was carrying Stellaluna while searching for some ripe fruit to eat.  Suddenly, an owl spots the bats and tries to catch them and Stellaluna ended up falling out of her mother’s pouch and ended up falling on a tree branch and then eventually falls into a bird’s nest.  For awhile, Stellaluna had been living with the birds and learning their ways and started acting like a true bird, even learning how to fly!

Excellent!  This book is simply truly excellent!  Janell Cannon has certainly done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this book.  Janell Cannon makes the story extremely exciting and heartwarming as it details the adventures that Stellaluna embarks on after she is separated from her mother and lives with the birds.  I loved the way that Stellaluna maintains a strong relationship with the birds even though she is a bat, which proves that no matter how different you are, you are still a special person on the inside.  I also thought that it was really cute to see Stellaluna acting like a bird as she provides so much humor for the book by trying to act like a bird in a bat body.  Janell Cannon also did a great job at providing tension in this book, especially when Stellaluna is separated from her mother and many children will definitely feel afraid for Stellaluna as the idea of losing one’s parent is frightening to a child.  Janell Cannon’s illustrations are simply gorgeous and realistic, especially of the images of Stellaluna herself as she has huge brown eyes and has golden fur all over her body which makes her look beautiful and cute at the same time!  I also loved the images of Stellaluna flying through the sky as she is the one character who stands out during the night sky as she seems to glow in the blue night sky while she is flying in the air.

All in all, “Stellaluna” is an instant treat of a baby bat’s amazing tale that you just cannot resist to read to your children!  For anyone who love reading books about bats and the importance of a true family, this is definitely a book that I would highly recommend to children ages four and up.

1994 American Booksellers Book of the Year Award for Children