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31 December 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

image courtesy of a mocha & a latte
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It gives book bloggers the chance to share what they’ve bought/borrowed/received!

Happy New Years Eve! By the time you read this it'll probably be 2012. I can't believe that this year is over already. It really did fly by. I didn't receive too many books as gifts this year for Christmas. Most people don't know what to get me so I am left to buy my own books. But I did get a few fun things and gifted myself some books as well.



The Bastard by Brenda Novak (kindle) - This became available for free on kindle and it's gotten some decent reviews so I thought I'd give it a try.

True North by Marie Force (kindle) - Another free one. I've seen Marie's name around and thought this would be a good chance to try her.

Naked City (Anthology) by Various - I seem to be on an anthology kick lately. They're a good way to sample authors I haven't read before. Found this one at the local thrift store for $2 and it has awesomeness by Patricia Briggs, Melissa Marr, Holly Black and more.

Discovery of Witches by by Deborah Harkness - Another great thrift store find for a book I've been meaning to read. It's HUGE.

Under Her Skin (Anthology) by Ilona Andrews, Jeaniene Frost, Meljean Brook (kindle) - Ebook compilation of stories by three awesome authors. Previously published in some giant anthology. This inexpensive bundle only has the contributions from the three authors listed.

The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz - History of chocolate including some delicious recipes by one of my fave food people. How could I say no?

For Review
(all from Netgalley this week)

Melt by Natalie Anderson - Fun little short story about a romance in Antarctica. I really enjoyed this one. Review coming soon.

Exclusively Yours & Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey - I just read a short story by Stacey that I really liked and can't wait to read a full length.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling - I've been dying to read this book and was super excited when I opened it on Christmas Day.

Teeny Tiny MiniMochi by Anna Hrachavec - I've been wanting this book for awhile. Instructions to knit tiny gnomes, snowmen and other things that I have no use for but that are adorable. 

That's it for me. Hope you all have a safe and fun New Year's!

say "twee!"

 Follow Thuy on Twitter @fishgirl182 

27 December 2011

A Wallflower Christmas - Review

Publication date: 14 October 2008 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN 10/13: 0312533780 | 9780312533786)

Category: Adult Historical Romance
Keywords: Historical, romance, rakes
Format: Hardcover, mass market paperback, eBook

From goodreads:

The Wallflowers are four young ladies in London who banded together in their wild and wickedly wonderful searches for true love. Now happily married, they join together once again to help one of the world’s most notorious rogues realize that happiness might be right under the mistletoe.…
It’s Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.  

A Wallflower Christmas takes a trip to Victorian London, under the mistletoe, and on a journey of the heart. With her trademark charm, sensuality, and unforgettable characters, there’s no one like Lisa Kleypas to make you believe in the magic of Christmas.

Thuy's review: 

I am not usually one for holiday themed books (they always seemed a bit cheesy) but I couldn't resist this Christmas story by Lisa Kleypas. A Wallflower Christmas is a deliciously fun and sweet with that I didn't want to end.

Rafe Bowman has a well earned reputation as a rake. But this Christmas, he's heading to Stony Cross Park with his sister and her friends to meet his would-be future bride, Natalie Blandford. Though reluctant to give up his single ways, Rafe understands that he must settle down at some point and Natalie is as good a candidate as anyone else. What he doesn't count on is his attraction to her  companion Hannah Appleton. Hannah isn't elegant and practiced in the ways of society like Natalie is, but she's smart, lively and genuine. She also highly disapproves of Rafe as a suitor for Natalie and does all she can to dissuade the union.

This was such a wonderful story that I truly enjoyed. Rafe is a rake of the highest order - flirty and unapologetic in his actions. He even kisses Hannah the first time he meets her! He's not one to shy away his feelings and he's definitely attracted to Hannah. What first starts off as a bit of mischief soon turns into something deeper as Rafe begins to realize that his feelings for Hannah are unlike any he's had for a woman before. He takes every opportunity to tease her and bring her out of her Natalie's shadow. Under Hannah's proper and polite  English facade is a strong, opinionated woman who isn't afraid to tell Rafe just why he's an unsuitable choice for Natalie or anyone else. I found Hannah to be kind an earnest but with a fiery nature, especially when Rafe riles her up. Though a rake, Rafe isn't callous and he treats Hannah with respect and surprising tenderness, making an effort to know her mind and not just make out with her. Their romance is sweet and passionate and I really wanted them to get their happily ever after.

The story is also not as overtly Christmas-y as I had feared. It takes place during the holidays and there are holiday activities like trimming the Christmas tree and sledding. There are several scenes where Hannah is reading A Christmas Carol aloud which were tedious only because passages of A Christmas Carol were written out in the book. I don’t know if it was necessary but it took me out of the book at times. Other than that I enjoyed the subtle Christmas theme.

This is the only book I've read from the Wallflowers series. Even though I had no prior knowledge of the series or characters I was able to follow along just fine. There is some recapping and the other Wallflowers and their husbands do make appearances. I probably would have gotten more out of their bits if I had read the other books first but, as it was, they were fun little side stories that I enjoyed and made me want to read the entire series.

Lisa Kleypas manages to pull my heartstrings yet again in this romantic Christmas tale filled with misunderstandings, love, desire and holiday spirit. A Wallflower Christmas is a great book to snuggle up with for the holidays or any other day.

Visit the author online at www.lisakleypas.com and follow @LisaKleypas on Twitter

25 December 2011

In My Mailbox (13) - Christmas Edition

image courtesy of a mocha & a latte
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It gives book bloggers the chance to share what they’ve bought/borrowed/received!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. This post will be going up Christmas morning which mean that it won't include any books I received on Christmas Day. I don't usually get too many books as gifts but we'll see. I have a feeling there might be a couple this year. And if no one gifts me books, I will be making a trip to the bookstore to gift some to myself.  :) There were also major eBook sales going on this week and I needed up with lots of new pretties on my Kindle.


Entwined by Heather Dixon (kindle) - Another book I've been wanting to read that was on sale.

Graceling by Kristen Cashore (kindle) - I've heard amazing things about this book and it was the Daily Deal on Kindle this week for $0.99 and I had to get it.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (kindle) - Pretty sure you all know about the big $0.99 Epic Reads sale. This was one of the titles included and since I haven't read it yet, it was the perfect time to get a copy.

The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey - I am a bit ashamed to say that I've never read a book by Anne. With her recent passing her books have risen in my TBR pile. I saw this lovely new pb copy at B&N while shopping for gifts and it somehow ended up coming home with me. :) 

Bumped by Megan McCafferty (kindle) - I know almost nothing about this book but it was so cheap I thought I'd give it a try.

For Review
(all from Netgalley this week)

Kiss of the Vampire by Cynthia Garner - Another one I don't know much about but whose premise caught my eye.

Next of Kin by Sharon Sala - I've seen Sharon's name around and figured I would give this a try. It's part of a series but I think I can jump in with this one.

Small Town Christmas Anthology - Just wracking up the Christmas reads over here.

Christmas in Lucky Harbor & Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis - Christmas is books 1 and 2 of the Lucky Harbor series and Head Over Heels is #3. Have heard good things about Jill and was super excited to see these show up on NG.

Slide by Jill Hathaway - Loving the premise of this one and was so happy when NG approved me.

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves - I am a fan of the dark and macabre so a tale involving Jack the Ripper is right up my alley.

Firelight by Kristen Callihan - I don't know much about this one but the synopsis looked interesting.

Spotty, Stripy, Swirly by Jane Brocket - I am a fan of Jane's blog, Yarnstorm, and have already reviewed one of her picture books for RNSL. This looks like another fun, colorful book.

That's all I have for time. Off to open gifts now (yes, we do it pretty late at my huose). Hope everyone is having a fantastic day!\

say "twee!"

 Follow Thuy on Twitter @fishgirl182 

23 December 2011

Author Signing - CakeSpy at Yummy Cupcakes

Last week I attended the book signing for CakeSpy: Sweet Treats for a Sugar Filled Life. Those of you not familiar with CakeSpy, get there to her website now! I'll wait. Did you go? Good. Isn't her stuff super cute? I especially love the Team Pie and Team Cake pins as well as the zombies chasing cupcakes print.  I've been following Jessie for a little while now. We here at Nite Lite are big sweets eaters and big bakers. When I heard that Jessie was releasing a book and that she'd be touring for it (at bakeries!), I was ecstatic. Luckily one of her Los Angeles stops was just a few minutes from my office and I popped over last week to Yummy Cupcakes for the signing.

Jessie was super nice and we have a lovely chat about how she got her start, cupcakes, and cool socks. Take a look at my pics from the event below. Review to come.

lovely stack of cakespy books
yummy cupcakes provided some delish mini cupcakes
I totally took a pic of these lovely cupcakes and promptly forgot to eat one. :( But my friend had one and said they were delish.

i love jessie's art. so cute!
i have a thing for fun socks. these are pretty awesome.
me and jessie with her ice cream friends
If you love cute, delicious things then you must get this book. Yum!

Find CakeSpy online at www.cakespy.com and @cakespy on Twitter

22 December 2011

NetGalley January

Yes, I've signed up for another challenge. Netgalley is a wonderful resource for bloggers and I take advantage of it often. Unfortunately I've gotten way behind in my Netgalley book reading. They offer to many great titles and I am constantly trying to balance my NG books with books I buy and the library. So motivate myself to read some of the awesome titles I've received from NG, I am declaring myself and am joining Netgalley January. Red House Books is hosting and if you'd like more info, check our her post here.  I am not going to list all of the titles I plan to read because I have no real plan, but I am going to make a real effort to read as many NG books as I can in January. I'll post reviews here and will update periodically. Wish me luck!

say "twee!"

21 December 2011

Desert Warrior - Review

Desert Warrior by Nalini Singh
Publication date: 01 August 2003 by Silhouette
ISBN 10/13: 0373765290 | 9780373765294

Category: Adult Romance
Keywords: Romance, sheikhs, royalty
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook (e-ARC received from Netgalley)

From goodreads:

The fabled desert kingdom of Zulheina was Tariq's birthright, and he was a man who held tightly what belonged to him. And that meant he had to reclaim a very special woman--the woman who had broken his heart years before in New Zealand. And once he had lured her to this distant land, he meant to keep his new bride here forever....

But Jasmine Coleridge was not as easily tamed as he had imagined. Her beguiling blend of untouched innocence and dazzling sensuality threatened, once again, to bring the haughty sheikh to his knees--and made him wonder who was the true prisoner.

Thuy's review:

I hate to give a low score to a Nalini Singh book but I really wasn’t a huge fan of either the hero or the heroine in this one. Jasmine is only 18 when she meets and falls in love with Tariq, son of the sheikh of a desert kingdom. Young and insecure, her family convinces her to leave Tariq and end the relationship. Four years go by when Jasmine hears of Tariq’s father, the sheikh passing. Having matured in the last four years and come into her own, Jasmine has realized the mistake she made in leaving the man she loved. She hops a plane back to Tariq, intent on making it work this time. Tariq knows that Jasmine has made plans to come back and he intends to make her stay. Picking her up from the airport he takes her to his palace and basically tricks her into marrying him. Sure, she knows what’s going on but it doesn’t change the fact that he thought he was doing it without her knowledge.

Tariq is angry at her for leaving him all those years ago, which is understandable. However, what I don’t understand is his why he ties her to him when he is so intent on remaining angry with her and not trusting her. I feel like part of him does it so that he can punish her. He withholds his love from her and his words and actions border on cruelty. I know he’s afraid to show Jasmine how he feels because he doesn’t want to be hurt again but at a certain point I just stopped liking him.

I liked Jasmine a little more but not much more. I didn’t understand why she put up with Tariq’s behavior for as long as she did. Actually I think I do. Since she was the one who left him originally, I think believes his behavior is fitting punishment for her lack of faith and that this time around, she has to prove to him that her love will not be swayed - by him or anyone else. Unfortunately he didn’t want to believe it for a very long time. When the Big Conflict finally occurs I was mad at both of them - Tariq for his lack of trust and Jasmine for putting up with it for so long. He also says something incredibly cruel to her during a big fight which made me want to punch him.

Though I did feel an emotional connection between the two characters, in the end, there was little romance in this romance novel. I am glad I read it because Nalini Singh is one of my favorite authors and I liked taking a look at her early work. But I would not recommend this to someone if I wanted to turn them on to her books. My copy of Desert Warrior was bundled with the new release, Lord of the Abyss. Lord of the Abyss is freakin’ AWESOME (see review here) so, if you’re interested in Desert Warrior, pick up the bundled version with Lord of the Abyss.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.nalinisingh.com and follow @NaliniSingh on Twitter

20 December 2011

Winter Wishlist: Week 3 - Giving

It's Winter Wishlist Week 3 where we spotlight charities and orgs that promote literacy. For more info or to sign up, visit the Winter Wishlist page.

This week I have a couple of charities that are near and dear to my heart. Check them out below. And if you're feeling generous this season, we encourage you to donate to your favorite bookish organization.

I've only been involved with Everybody Wins! for a couple of years but it's a fantastic program that my office participates in. Every week I go to a local elementary school and read to a young student. This is my second year with the same student and he is just the most adorable kid. I love the time I spend reading with him and I can actually tell that his reading has improved since I first started. It's really amazing and I know that the other people in my office love it and the kids love it, too. We have book drives every year as well, helping out the library which no longer has a librarian.

I first learned about this organization from my friend Alethea over at Read Now Sleep Later. I love the mission statement of getting kids excited about books and reading. They also organize a lot of author events where readers get to interact first hand with authors. I've been to several events now and the enthusiasm of the volunteers and attendees is so inspiring. Bridge to Books also collects booster boxes for middle grade and high school libraries and they are always amazing.  Definitely check them out.

say "twee!"

thuy's eaten way too many candy canes this year. you can follow her on twitter @fishgirl182

18 December 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

image courtesy of a mocha & a latte
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It gives book bloggers the chance to share what they’ve bought/borrowed/received!

This is a light week for me. I am going on vacation next week and want to stick to books I already own or have borrowed from my friends that have been in my To Be Read pile. (edited because I went to the library last night and got more books so not the lightest week) I've barely had a chance to read all week so I am hoping to have a lot of down time over Christmas to catch up. Let's see what I got this week.


Tangled by Carolyn Mackler (kindle) - Alethea alerted me that this was $1.99 for kindle. Another one I could not resist.

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (kindle) - I've been meaning to read this one for awhile and it went on sale for $3.99 for the kindle and I had to grab it.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (audiobook) - I always pick up audiobooks before driving home to see my parents. I've never actually read any John Green or David Levithan and figured this one was a good one to try.

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben (audiobook) - Mysteries can usually keep my attention for long periods of time and I've been meaning to give Coben a try. I kind of picked on at random.

Someone To Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas - The Lisa Kleypas train continues. I can't get enough.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen - I've been meaning to read more Dessen. So far I've only read Lock & Key, which I remember liking a lot. This one is supposed to be one of her best.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey - Heard good things about this and it looks scary!

That's it! Anyone else expecting any goodies in the mail before Christmas?

say "twee!"

 Follow Thuy on Twitter @fishgirl182