Thursday, June 25, 2009

REVIEW: Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

COPYRIGHT: 2009
PAGES: 291
SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Straight Romance
SENSUALITY: Warm
REASON FOR READING: KristieJ gave this one a 4.5 out of 5 and Jane at DA gave it a B

SUMMARY:
When it comes to the laws of attraction, there are no rules The battle between the sexes is about to make these two lawyers hot under the collar. Opposites collide when two lawyers try to make partner at the same firm. Payton Kendall is a feminist to the bone. Cocky J.D. Jameson was born privileged. But when they’re asked to join forces on a major case, they gain a newfound awareness of each other’s personal assets. The partnership spot will be offered to only one of them, though. The competition heats up. Sparks fly. Let the games begin.
THOUGHTS / OPINION:
When I first heard about this book about two lawyers I was not at all tempted to give it a try. Books about lawyers tend to bore me and all the technical legal talk is a real yawn. But Jane's and KristieJ's reviews convinced me that I should at least give it a try. Within the first couple of pages I got right into it but somewhere around page 40 I was ready to strangle the "hero" who infuriated me. What a male chauvinist PIG, sexist cocky bastard! Yeah, I know, that's kinda harsh but it's true and I was steaming at that point and ready to throw the book up against the nearest wall. But I hung on and I'm glad I did because it was a great ride and I enjoyed the book.

J. D. Jameson & Payton Kendall are two hot shot lawyers who have worked for the same prestigious law firm for the past 8 years and both are up for a partnership. But unfortunately the firm has decided that only one will make it and the other will have to leave the firm. So the competition heats up between J.D. and Payton and neither one is afraid to play dirty.

J.D. and Payton have been rivals since day one. They have treated each other with cool reserve but underneath they detest each other and are constantly trying to outdo the other. Payton hates J.D.'s privileged rich boy attitude, his expensive clothes and his fancy car. She feels she has to work twice as hard to get any respect from her boss. J.D. hates Payton's feminist attitude and feels he will be discriminated against because the firm sent out email to the employees stating their intention to grow the female partnership and Payton is the only female up for partner (*rolling eyes* oh, those poooooor white rich males who for centuries held all the cards in jobs and promotions and now feel threatened when a female might just get a job they want ... boo. hoo.). Kinda hard to like J.D. at this point. But J.D really grew on me and slowly I came to realize that I really liked him which surprised me.

You know the old romance cliche about love and hate being closely connected? So true in this case. The intense competition between JD and Payton ratchets up a notch and so does their attraction. They like to play pranks on each other and some of them were pretty funny and there were some laugh out loud moments. PMP is a romantic comedy, very light and fun. However, there were some underlying themes pertaining to class, gender, and workplace discrimination that the author chose to ignore that I found a bit unsettling and rather irritating. I found a review by Jessica over at Racy Romance Reviews that perfectly described my problems with these issues and how they were portrayed in the book.

In the end I chose to ignore those issues since I liked both the H/H and loved their relationship and how realistically the author portrayed the legal profession yet made it fascinating to read. As a feminist I couldn't resist cheering for Payton to make partner all through the book but the ending surprised me and I rather liked it. I haven't read Ms. James' debut novel, Just the Sexiest Man Alive, but it's sitting on my nightstand now and I look forward to reading it soon.

GRADE: B+

Saturday, June 20, 2009

REVIEW: Vision in White by Nora Roberts

COPYRIGHT: 2009
PAGES: 325
TYPE/SETTING: Contemporary - Connecticut
SERIES: 1st book in Bride Quartet
SENSUALITY: Warm
REASON FOR READING: It's a new non-paranormal series from Nora - had to have it.

SUMMARY:
Childhood friends Mackensie, Parker, Laurel and Emmeline have formed a very successful wedding planning business together but, despite helping thousands of happy couples to organize the biggest day of their lives, all four women are unlucky in love. Photographer Mackensie Elliott has suffered a tough childhood and has a bad relationship with her mother, which makes her wary of commitment. But when she meets Carter Macguire, she can't stop herself falling for him, although his ex girlfriend is prepared to play dirty to keep him. Mackensie soon realizes she has to put her past demons to rest in order to find lasting love...
THOUGHTS / OPINION:

My daughter got married last July and the whole wedding planning experience is still fresh in my mind. So when I found out that the newest straight contemporary series (with NO paranormal elements) from Nora Roberts was about a group of friends who own a wedding planning business I just had to have it. Imagine my surprise when I hit Target on a mission to find it shortly after it was released to find that it was a trade sized paperback! I have to admit I was a bit dismayed because the price was more that I was expecting but I was blown away by it. The pages are rough cut with gold tipped edges on the cover making it look like an old wedding memory scrap book. And it has these lovely little flaps (front and back) that can be used as bookmarks. And to top it off the cover image is stunning as you can see. "Totally worth the price," I thought as I grabbed it up and headed for the cashier (the 20% discount softened the blow of course). And what was inside the pages was a treat too so I'm a happy camper.

Mackensie "Mac" Elliot and her best friends since childhood, Parker, Emma, and Laurel own and operate a wedding planning company in Connecticut called Vows. La Nora absolutely excels at developing relationships between brothers/sisters/friends and I think she has written probably about a dozen series with these types of relationships (Chesapeake Bay is my favorite series of hers) and ViW is well done in the friends relationship department. In fact I think the best part of the book was Mackensie's relationships with her three friends. The romance almost took a back seat to that... I say almost because the romance was very good.

Carter is a sweet and yummy kinda bookish, nerdy guy who absolutely floors Mackensie. Mac is a tall, willowy redhead and rather flamboyant. This was definitely an opposites attract story. Carter has had a crush on Mac since high school but Mac barely remembers him. Their first meeting since high school was charmingly funny (he runs into a wall and almost knocks himself out when he accidentally finds her in her studio with just a bra and slacks). Mac is the photographer at Vows and a real pro at what she does. But Mac has lots of personal issues due to a selfish spoiled mother who thinks the world revolves around her and a non-existent father. Parker, Emma and Laurel are her "family" and she has learned to deal with her mother but not in a good way. She gives into her constant incessant demands. But with the help of her friends and Carter she eventually grows a spine and stands up to her. Carter is sweet and funny and I loved being inside his head. His insecure self-talk when he tries to get up the courage to ask her on a date was very cute. Carter is a teacher who wears tweed suits but is a hunk underneath it all and was perfect for Mac but it took her awhile to figure that out.

Mac and Carter's relationship builds in a realistic way and it was an engaging story although not very steamy. If you, like me, have been missing Nora's straight romance series without all that woo-woo paranormal stuff she has been doing lately, you will probably enjoy this book as I did. And I look forward to the whole quartet with stories for Parker, Emma, and Laurel.

GRADE: B+

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TBR Challenge: She' Got It Bad by Sarah Mayberry

COPYRIGHT: 2009
PAGES: 213
SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Series Romance (Harlequin Blaze)
SENSUALITY: Hot
REASON FOR READING: I read some good things about this book from various bloggers and AAR gave it an A-

SUMMARY:
Twelve years ago Zoe Ford let Liam Masters break her heart. But now? There's not a chance. Zoe is as tough and wild as they come. So when Liam shows up at her tattoo parlor, she's more than ready to take him on again. That's not going to be a hardship, since he's hotter than he ever was.

This time she's staying in charge. And she's not going to consider their score settled until he's hot, bothered and begging for more! Then she'll move on as callously as he left her. Unless all that deliciously bad sex is just too good to give up….

THOUGHTS / OPINION:
This month' TBR Challenge is tortured hero and I think this book fits the bill pretty well, actually both H/H were tortured. Most of the time I don't find much 'blaze' in the Harlequin Blaze line but SGIB is definitely blazing and the characters and plot were great.

Liam Masters had a troubled childhood with an abusive father. After his mother died when he was 17, he was taken in by the Ford family and loved by them. He became very close to the Fords two children, Tom and Zoe. Tom was his best friend and Zoe, two year younger, fell head over heels in love with him as 15 yo girls do. She pursues him and offers herself to him. But Liam feels that would be a betrayal to the family he loves and took him in when he needed a home. And he doesn't think he's good enough for Zoe. So he rejects Zoe's advances and leaves town the next day which devastates her. She is incredibly hurt and goes out and does something stupid.

It is now 12 years later and Zoe is a tattoo artist and sings in a thrash band at night. Liam has got his act together now and is the owner of a custom bike shop (kinda like Orange County Choppers) and he is very successful. Right here I am completely enthralled with these two characters with their very unusual occupations. Loved them. Zoe appears to have a hard "bad girl" shell but on the inside she is still pretty vulnerable and sweet. Liam comes across a nude painting at an art gallery and is appalled to recognize Zoe as the face in the painting. He tracks down Zoe and discovers her working in a tattoo parlor and the sparks start to fly. Liam is shocked to find how she has changed from such a sweet girl into an angry bad girl with her heavy drinking, tattoos, and unapologetically sexual act during her nightly band performances. And of course he is determined to "save" her. He offers her a job in his bike shop as an artist.

Liam and Zoe are two wounded people. Liam was beaten by his abusive father and forced to watch his mother's abuse as well. He's afraid he will become his father and feels he'll never be good enough for any woman. Zoe feels worthless because she allowed herself to be used sexually by a sleazebag in high school and (spoiler: he got her pregnant which turned ectopic and the complications left her sterile) now she feels no man could possibly want her.

This book was hard to put down and very well written. It was pretty predictable sometimes in the way that Harlequins can be but I enjoyed it very much anyway. I loved the storyline with Zoe's artistic contributions in the bike shop. But Liam's stubborn attitude with his low self esteem made me want to slap him at one point. However, I love stories about the healing power of love and greatly enjoyed how Liam and Zoe work out their problems together. This is a short fast sexy read that I think most will enjoy.

GRADE: B+

Birthdays


I feel so old today. *sigh* Yeah, it's my birthday! I went to lunch with some girlfriends and that always makes me happy. Bob will probably take me to dinner.

Sometimes I feel like I would rather ignore the whole thing but my friends and family are so sweet. I like getting funny cards and flowers so I guess it's all good.

Anyway, go look at Google.com and you will see that today (June 17) is Igor Stravinsky's birthday. I had no idea who he was so I did some googling. Ahhh, a famous Russian composer, pianist and conductor. Also it's Barry Manilow's birthday. Hah! hilarious.

Do any of you share your birthday with someone famous? Here's a link that will help.

I need to go buy some books to get over the pain of being year older. Any good books you want to recommend?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New toys

Haven't heard back about the job I interviewed for but I'm assuming I didn't get it. I'm signed up for Summer quarter at Bellevue College for the training program I wanted but I had to apply for CAT to get approval since I am currently receiving unemployment compensation. They will make the decision soon (I hope) whether I can take the classes and continue to receive my current UC. If they don't approve then I have to cancel my registration.

Meanwhile I went shopping... no, not books although I have a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble burning a hole in my pocket. No, what I really needed was some new toys. My PDA (an HP ipaq 2215) died taking with it all of my contacts (not backed up) and appointments and my ebooks. I do have the backups for the ebooks on my desktop so that's OK. But I really miss my contacts. So I ordered a new one, an HP ipaq 111, and it just came yesterday. This one has a wireless driver so I can connect to the internet and read email and stuff (which my old one didn't have). I think it has GPS (but I haven't played around with that yet). It's thinner too and lightweight, easy to carry in my purse.

Last month Bob and I bought new cell phones. If I had known my PDA was about to die, I probably would have bought a fancier model, a SmartPhone or a Blackberry or something that would do the same stuff but I love this PDA.








Last but not least, I bought a new laptop computer at Costco last Thursday... an HP G60. It had a great price and it's a 16" screen. It has Windows Vista which I have never used before so it taking some adjusting. Oh, and it has a webcam. How do you use that thing? I'm pretty geeky but I'm too lazy to figure it out yet. But I LOVE having my own laptop. Bob and I were sharing his and it was a constant battle.

Reading Now: Silver Falls by Anne Stuart... and it has a pretty creepy beginning. I really have this urge to peek at the ending for some reason but I trying hard to resist. I'm only on page 16.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

May Reads

I had a great reading month.... 16 books.... with 3 books in the A range.



Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Job Interview

I have a job interview today and I'm so nervous I can hardly sit still and I have massive stomach butterflies. To tell the truth I don't really want the job. I have enjoyed my time off and it wouldn't make me feel bad to stay home a few more months. Am I lazy or what?

I got into this training program but I have to keep looking for work until I get state approval. If I get the job then I'm out of the program. So it's a dilemma but I will do my best in the interview - the job sounds exactly like what I was doing in my previous job. But I don't do well in interviews.

Wish me luck!

UPDATE: It went pretty well, but I know there are of ton of other candidates so the chances are low that I got it. But that's OK. I'll survive and the training program will be good.