Wednesday, February 29

Book Review: Beyond the Highland Mist

Author:  Karen Marie Moning
Title: Beyond the Highland Mist (Highlander #1)
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance,  

Pages: 375

First Published: 1999
Where I Got It: Borrowed from Library

"He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . . 
An alluring laird... 
He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart--until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length--but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve. 
A prisoner in time... 
She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side. . . ."

This is the first of the Highlander series by Ms. Moning. 

I just happened to stumble upon this while looking for another book. Not only did the cover draw me in, but the summary did too! I waited and waited for the another library to ship this to my library. The moment in came in I dived into reading it. I wasn't 100% sure what I was getting into, but once I started reading I could hardly put it down.

To be blunt....I simply LOVED it! It was everything I hoped it would be! The love between to the two characters took a while, because Adrienne (the heroine) refused to let herself love Hawk, even though Hawk is very handsome and a great guy. Why? Well, the poor girl had a bad, BAD relationship beforehand. Not only was the man a bad guy, but the relationship ended on a...well...dead note. I could see why she was so anti-hot men. She was made a fool in her last failed relationship and she didn't want a repeat. However, Hawk was nothing like the other man. You could tell he honestly in love with her. 

Not only was Adrienne a stubborn mule, but so was Hawk. He understood that Adrienne was still healing from her past (future...past...OH you know what I mean) and his love for her never faltered. He fought for her and tried to win her love. It was really romantic and made me love Hawk even more because he loved her so. Ms. Moning did a wonderful job with the development with the character (side-character's stories as well) and with the underlying plot. I loved how she incorporated Adam and the Fae beings. It didn't seem too cheesy or out of place. Everything worked well together. 

The only thing that bugged me was how stubborn Adrienne was sometimes and how dense Hawk could be. Hawk was over-emotional at times and I just wanted to struggle him and yell "stop being an emotional woman and open your eyes!" I still loved him in his dumb and dense moments though ^.^

Overall, this was a wonderful read and I can't wait to read the next one in the series. It's Grimm's tale (Hawk's guy friend who wished Adrienne the Stubborn to come and wreck havoc in Hawk's heart). I loved Grimm even when he was being an idiot. Men, eh? Anyways, I would recommend this to Historical Romance lovers who love a little fantasy mixed in. Be warned, there are a lot of smutty parts too. haha. Out of five stars I grant this one 5 stars. Woot woot!

Favorite Character(s): I have a lot! Hawk, Grimm, Adrienne, Lydia, and Moonie the cat.
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Adam Black (gah! The Fairy Queen should have banished him to the moon. Stupid man)

Tuesday, February 28

Book Review: Being Human

Author:  Patricia Lynne
Title: Being Human
Genre: YA Fiction, fantasy, and a touch dystopia 

Pages: e-book, 284

First Published: August 25th, 2011
Where I Got It:Given to me to read and review for Ever After Pr

"For Tommy, there is only one thing he needs to do: survive. 

Only surviving isn't that easy. The hunt for blood can be tricky when humans know to fear the night. Desire sits on the edge of his mind, urging him to become the monster humans think he is. Vampire Forces, a special branch of police, is determined to turn every vampire to ash. Tommy included. 

The only human Tommy can trust is his twin brother. A bond connects them, and with Danny's help, Tommy starts to understand the human world he struggles to survive in. He'll learn what friendships means and feel the sting of betrayal, find that sometimes the worst monsters are very human, and come to understand that family means more than blood. 

Tommy just wants to survive and he knows what he needs to do. But with the number of humans that mean more to him than a meal growing, he'll learn there's more to life than simple survival. He'll discover being human doesn't mean being a human."

This is the first Patricia Lynne book I've read and the first YA vampire tale I've read since Breaking Dawn. I can finally say I'm back on the train of vampire novels (as you can tell, because I've read two of them in a row). I'm still team Werewolf, but hey...I love me some vampires. Being Human not only sated my need for a good vampire story, but a nice YA book also. 

The first thing I would like to point out is that Patricia Lynne wrote vampires on how I see them: survival-orientated. Blood is the first thing they care about and are more beast than human. I was excited to read how I perceive the vampire-kind. Thank you Ms. Lynne. Thank you!

Being Human was an interesting book and kept my attention for the most part. My attention did tend to drift off at certain points, because I found Tommy (the main dude) a little boring. I don't know, but I'm not a big Tommy fan. Well, I felt mostly neutral towards him. I didn't loath him and I didn't adore him...he was just there. Perhaps it was because he was just there. Throughout the story he would just get blood once a week and visit his twin. For the majority of the book I was...well...bored. 

The first and third part of the book was very, very boring (in my opinion). The story was stagnant and nothing would happen for pages and pages at a time. However, I did find some of Tommy's musings rather interesting and his questions funny. For example...he didn't get the point on couples going out for dates. He didn't understand how that helped people's "survival" or make the relationship "better". I found it very interesting and very realistic for if vampires were real.

I also loved how Ms. Lynne had Tommy find some of his humanity back. He did find out some main points on being human (note...TITLE OF BOOK, haha). He may have been a "monster", but deep inside he did retain some of his past human traits. He had the ability to be self-conscious, have will-power, have some sort of compassion, and most of love. It made me made that the people of this book were more heartless than the vampires themselves. If you sympathized with the "monsters" then you were now the out-group and beaten. If you happened to become a vampire, then you were shunned and if caught they would do experiments on you and then kill you publicly. At times the humans were more monsterly than the monsters themselves. Horrible. However, if vampires were uncovered in our time, I bet their fates wouldn't be much different.

ANYWAYS, this was an interesting book and I liked it. The only thing that really makes me not LOVE this book was how slow the tempo was. Yes, yes, I know not every story should be fast-paced and whatnot, but I couldn't help but skim some areas. Other than the slow bits, I really liked the story and I'm so happy someone else envisions vampires the way I do! They are NOT human and NOT Edward Cullen. Yes, vampires still retain some human qualities, but the first thought for them is survival. 

ANYWAYS, sorry...I keep regressing and getting off topic.

Overall, I did like this book and I wish I could love it like everyone else...but the slow parts made me not a happy reader. I loved the world that was presented. It felt like a possible world that would exist if vampires were uncovered. I would recommend this to YA lovers and vampire book lovers. I would caution twilighters to stay away, because this is nothing like the Twilight books. I do like the Twilight books, but this is left field. Out of five stars I grant this one 3 stars. In all reality it would be 3.4, but I don't give decimals, so I rounded.

Favorite Character(s): Danny (such a great guy) and Mackenize (Tommy's niece, she was funny and the happy-go-lucky character)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): VF (buttcheeks. They are NO better than the vamps)


84th Academy Awards

Happy late Monday. How was everyone's weekend? Mine was rather slow and filled with work.

As everyone knows, I simply LOVE movies and that means I can't WAIT for the Oscars (Academy Awards). I love seeing all the dresses, tuxedos, different snip-bits from movies, and all the glamour. It's my secret dream to one day be up on that stage with a little golden man in my hands and thanking everyone for my victory. Wouldn't you love to be up on that stage?

Here are the winners:

~Achievement in Cinematography
Hugo, Robert Richardson

~Achievement in Art Direction
Hugo, Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiamo

~Costume Design
The Artist, Mark Bridges

~Achievement in Makeup
The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

~Best Foreign Film
A Seperation from Iran

~Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer, The Help

~Film Editing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

~Sound Editing
Hugo, Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty

~Achievement in Sound Mixing
Hugo, Fleischman and John Midgley

~Best Documentary
Undefeated; Martin, Lindsay, and Middlemas

~Best Animated Film
Rango (LOVE, LOVE that movie! So cute! I rooted for them to win), Gore Verbinski

~Visual Effects
Hugo; Legato, Williams, Grossmann, and Henning

~Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer (who is still looking good at 82), Beginners

~Original Score
The Artist, Ludovic Bouric

~Best Original Song
'Man or Muppet' from The Muppets by Bret McKenzie

~Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants; Payn, Faxon, and Rash

~Original Screenplay
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (who wasn't there, poo on him)

~LiveAction Short
The Shore, Oorlagh and Terry George

~Documentary Feature
Saving Face; Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

~Animated Short Film
The Fantastic Flying Books, Joyce and Oldenburg
~Best Directing
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

~Best Actress in Leading Role
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

~Best Actor in Leading Role
Jean Dujardin, The Artist

~Best Picture
The Artist

Billy Crystal was the host and he was...okay. Not his funniest performance. However, the most memorable thing said belongs to him, " So tonight, enjoy yourselves because nothing can take the sting out of the world's economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues." I was laughing like a loon!

Obviously Hugo and The Artist were big winners. I haven't seen many of these movies this year...but I plan too one day. haha.

Overall, it was an enjoyable celebration of movies and I can't wait for next year at the 85th! Woot woot!


Monday, February 27

Stumble Upon Monday (1) + Karma Media

 Instead of doing Music Monday this week, I'm going to be posting this meme. Why? Well, I have nothing really to share this week, music-wise. Sorry. :( Good news though! A few days ago I was asked to join Karma Media.

Karma Media is a group of women who love books and are trying to give new books and new authors some airtime. We are still in the beginning phases, but once the group takes shape I bet it'll be an AMAZING! I'm already having so much fun, playing with ideas and helping this group form. Anyways, Stumble Upon Monday is a weekly meme created by a fellow Karma Media chicka. ^.^

 [  <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”” border=”0″ alt=”Stumbling Silly Blog Hop”></a><br /> ]

When I get home from work, I'll post a post for the Oscars! You know, announce the winners and share some highlights and pictures. ^.^


Sunday, February 26

Lovers Forget Your Love ~ Robert Frost

Instead of posting my usual 'Sunday Ketchup' post, I've decided to share a poem instead. Even though Thomas Wyatt is my favorite poet, I have a high love for Robert Frost. I especially love 'Wind and Window Flower'. Not only is it a poem full of symbols and metaphors, but it's a heartbreakingly beautiful poem. I even posted a copy of this poem on my wall in my room. Haha. I'm cheesy sometimes

Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the caged yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by
To come again at dark.

He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.

But he sighed upon the sill, 
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.

Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the fire-lit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.

But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.

Lately, I've been extremely into poetry and music. I mean...I've always loved the two, but my obsession has intensified! I wonder why. 


Saturday, February 25

Weekly Book Blog Hop (2) & Today in History

This is a weekly book blog hop. It runs throughout the week. I haven't posted one of these in a little while, so here I am! Since I'm rather bored at the moment and my mind is too frayed to read or etc, I'll share a nice little random list of events that happened today on Feb. 24th. ^.^ Enjoy:

"Welcome to our Weekly Book Blog Hop!!
This runs every Wednesday - Saturday
including a Book Giveaway linky, Goodreads linky
and Authors Who Welcome UK Reviewers linky
Beck Valley Books Weekly Book Blog Hop
Our Book Blog Hop is here to unite all booklovers worldwide,
readers, book reviewers, authors, publishers, book bloggers, book sellers,
putting you all in touch with each other
and keeping real books alive x

We would love it if you could share our hop with all your booky friends
and display are book hop badge (optional obviously x)
First  follow our blog using Google Friend Connect,
leave a comment and I will always follow back,
then add your blogs and giveaways below.....
(please follow instructions for each linky)

Remember to leave a comment on each blog for a follow back!!
**  Authors Who Welcome UK Reviewers Linky  **
Authors will be added to our authors page
(Spread the word to help more authors and UK book reviewers)"

TODAY IN HISTORY SEGMENT (in thanks to History Channel):

~American Revolution: Marbury v. Madison creates judicial review, 1803

~French Formula One champ born, 1955

~American Civil War: Yankees attack Rebels near Dalton, Georgia, 1864

~ Avalanche buries homes in Austria, 1999

~President Andrew Johnson impeached, 1868

~Peron elected in Argentina, 1946

~Gulf War ground offensive begins, 1991 (the year of my birth)

~The Wizard of Oz announced, 1938

~Wilhelm Grimm is born, 1786

~The Old West: Travis sends for help at the Alamo, 1836

~ The Great One scores 77th goal, 1982

~ Vietnam War: Hue recaptured, 1968

~Vietnam War: Airman receives Medal of Honor for action on this day, 1969

~World War I: British troops recapture Kut in Mesopotamia, 1917

~World War II: 'Merrill's Marauders' hit Burma, 1944


Friday, February 24

Book Review: Dracula

Author:  Bram Stoker
Title: Dracula
Genre: Gothic, Fiction, Classic, Horror, Fantasy 
Pages: e-book & regular book, 492

First Published: 1897
Where I Got It: Borrowed it from library and bought my own ebook from Amazon

"The aristocratic vampire that haunts the Transylvanian countryside has captivated readers' imaginations since it was first published in 1897. Hindle asserts that Dracula depicts an embattled man's struggle to recover his 'deepest sense of himself as a man', making it the 'ultimate terror myth'."

The summary I just shared is a horrible summary of the book. It doesn't capture the whole picture of the novel. 

Anyways, this novel took me FOREVER to read! I started last year when I checked it out of the library. I got about halfway through when it was due back. There were about ten people in line to borrow that book, so I couldn't re-check it out. I waited and waited and then gave up for a while. I finally decided to just get my own copy when I got my kindle fire. A year late, but better late then never, eh?

I'm glad I decided to finish this. I really wanted to know how it would end and how everything tied up in the end. The ending was everything I hoped it would be. Bram Stoker did a wonderful job giving a satisfying and complete ending. If he ended it with a 'open-ending' and leaving it up to the readers imagination, I would have freaked out. However, he didn't and I'm happy.

It's a slow read, at least for me it was. There were a lot of slow spots and it seemed to drag on and on. I wasn't a huge fan on how Bram Stoker wrote the novel. He wanted it to look like Van Helsing and the group took clippings from everyone's diaries and put them in one big book. I feel like it took away from the story...I don't mind the different POV points, but the diary entries didn't do for me. Perhaps I'm spoiled because I seen the movie a while back and that was pretty good. I don't know; all I do know is that I'm not a fan on how this written. 

Besides for the slowness of the book and the way Bram Stoker wrote it, I liked it. I loved all the symbolisms, the characters, the characters' developments, and just the general story itself. This was a pretty creepy book and I adored the creepiness! I think I needed a good creepy book to get me out of my reading funk. Okay. I will say it...DON'T READ THIS RIGHT BEFORE BED! When your sleeping, your brain likes to process information and if Dracula was the last thing you were thinking about you WILL have odd and slightly creepy dreams. Just saying.

All-in-all, I liked this creepy novel. It may have been slow and style of which it was put together annoyed me, I found it a refreshing read. It was creepy, but in a good way. I would recommend this to the readers who love classic and/or gothic novels. This was most defiantly better than Frankenstein; story-wise and creep-level-wise (not overall creepy, but creepy enough to be interesting). I would also love for Twilight over-fans to read this. ^.^ Out of fives, I have no choice but to give this 3 stars. I'm sorry Bram Stoker! I just hated the slowness and the diary entries!

Favorite Character(s): Mina and Mr. Seward 
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Van Helsing (I mostly skimmed his overly long monologues. GAH) and the three vampire women (gag me with a spoon)

Wednesday, February 22

Tuesday, February 21

Top Ten Tuesday (15): Books I Would Save

~The Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.~

This is later than I originally planned, but blogger was giving me a hard time. They wouldn't let me edit or even post anything for a couple days. That's why Music Monday wasn't posted. Ugh. It's finally working, so now I can share my two cents to everyone. haha! 

This week's topic for TTT is: top ten books to save if my house was abducted by aliens (or such horrible catastrophes occured)

Yes, this is just for "fun" as some may say. Yes, family, clothes, pets, food, and whatnot come first, but if I DID have an extra couple minutes to grab other things I would grab some books and my kindle fire. There is no real order to my list...

1) The Complete Shakespeare with The Temple Notes and The Life of Shakespeare. This would be the very first thing I grabbed. Not only do I LOVE Billy S, but the book means a lot to me. It was my Grandpa Carol's book from 1948. It's very old, but its in GREAT condition. Grandpa Carol helped my love of books blossom! He loved the fact that I have a very creative mind. Miss you Grandpa Carol!

It's hard to see, but right above BOOKS INC it says 1948

Me. :3

Me pretending that an alien is trying to take my book! BACK UP ALIEN! I'M A PRETEND NINJA!

2) My Pink Carnation books. I own all the published novels from the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. I love them all! I couldn't bare to leave them behind.

3) Lord of Ice by Gaelen Foley. That is my ultimate favorite book by her! I'm in love with Damien. *daydreams*

4) Princess by Gaelen Foley. This is my second favorite novel. I just LOVE the story and both of the main characters. 

5) Persuasion by Jane Austen. I couldn't live without this book!

6) The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I'm really attached to not only this story, but to the book itself. It was given to me as a gift and I have all my favorite spots marked (I like to bend the corner of the page with my favorite spots so I can re-read it later)

7) Queen of Fashion by Caroline Weber. A very dear and old friend bought this for me on my 16th birthday.  It's really special to me.

8) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Even though I haven't even come close to finishing this huge novel, I can't bare to leave it behind. I simply adore Mr Dumas and I love this story! PLUS it's a pretty huge book, so I would have lots of paper to burn if I needed heat. Haha

9) All my Dear America, My Royal Diary, and My Name is America books/diaries. These series are what got me addicted to reading and to history. They are still entertaining to read from time to time. 

10) The Lord of the Rings trilogy (including The Hobbit). If my inner-nerd can't come out once in a while, then I would probable implode. I would need this beloved trilogy to keep me from going insane and/or imploding.

What would you save if you could save 10 books?