Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review - Easy by Tammara Webber

I picked up this book because I think my critique partner mentioned the author and because the author of the Moreno Brothers series - Elizabeth Reyes mentions that Tammara Webber is her critique partner. 
I picked it up despite the title. The title "Easy" has a whole set of connotations in my mind.  Even when reading, I kept trying to figure out what the title has to do with the story.  Anyway,  I'm glad I picked it up.  I very much enjoyed this book too!

Here is the description from Amazon:

A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

(Mature Young Adult/ New Adult)

What I liked:
  • The romance.  Oh so cute!  I figured it out way before the main character but still, loved it.
  • The heroes.  Mysterious Lucas is inked all over and sports a ring in his lip. At first glance, not the kind of guy you take home to meet the parents.  The tutor you only meet through e-mail but you fall in love with anyway.  You fall in love with them both despite their appearance or without even knowing what they look like.
  • Strong heroine.  Jacqueline doesn't become a victim, she fights back.
  • Doesn't follow the formulaic YA romance plot. 
  • I really love, love, loved the ending.   
What I didn't like
  • I know it probably isn't PC but I found the chapters on self-defense classes to be a little long.  Good, good, excellent info.  But sort of started to sound textbook-y. 
  • The title.  "Easy" makes it sound like Jacqueline is easy; as in she's a loose woman.  Not at all what she is and not what the title refers to.  You don't get what the title means until the very end.  Don't be put off by the title.
I'm giving this one five stars - Go read it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Moreno Brothers Series

These are another of my book binge reads.  I got the first one "Forever Mine" because it was free on kindle.  Which turned out to be a very smart move on the part of the author, Elizabeth Reyes.  Because I finished it in one reading and then immediately got the next and the next and the next.  There are five books in the series and I read them in succession.  Good job!  One free turned into four paid books!  And then she's got a new series which I think I'll check out next book binge.

Description of "Forever Mine" from Amazon
Seventeen-year old Sarah's life is turned upside down when her single mom is sent to jail. She's forced to move, leaving behind everything she's ever known, including her best friend Sydney. Lost and bitter in a new school, her one goal is to save money and move back home. Then she meets Angel Moreno.
Enigmatic but gorgeous, Angel is almost too good to be true. Except for one thing, his archaic belief that guys and girls can never be "just friends". The problem? Sarah's best friend Sydney is not a girl.
With their unexpected romance intensifying to places neither ever experienced, how long can Sarah keep Angel in the dark about the guy waiting for her back home?
YA Mature/New Adult/Contemporary Romance   Books in the series:
  1. Forever Mine (Angel's story)
  2. Always Been Mine (Alex's story)
  3. Sweet Sofie (the youngest sister Sofie's story)
  4. Romero (Angel's best friend's story)
  5. Making You Mine (Sal's story)
What I liked
  • These guys (the brothers and friends) are the guys I grew up with.  As I read them, I felt like the author and I went to the same high school, they felt so 'real'!  These guys swear, have booty calls, act tough and sometimes do stupid things.  They also are romantic, loyal, and have good hearts.
  • Multiple Generation Ethnicity.  I'm so glad to see these stories feature ethnic character but the author doesn't beat you over the head with it.  Just like most second-third-fourth generation Hispanics, they're English-Speaking dominant.  To the point where one of the brothers is failing Spanish because he only knows the curse words! I loved this!
  • That the author didn't try to do a trilogy.  I LOVE that each of the books is a complete story.  The stories intertwine and I got a kick out of reading a scene from Character A's POV and then reading the same scene from Character Bs POV in a different book.
  • That the author didn't try to force the stories into YA or New Adult categories.  The stories cross the lines/borders.  Be warned - there is swearing - a lot of it.  And there is sex - I wouldn't say a lot, but it is probably more graphic and detailed than you're used to in YA. And the themes, especially in the later books are mature, adult themes.  I didn't have a problem mainly because I'm well past the YA age. 
What I didn't like
  • Typos - there were a lot.  Especially towards the end of each book.  Like whomever was checking for the typos got tired in the end.  I usually am cool with a few - I get that at these prices, not too many can afford a proofreader.  But this was noticeable.
  • Some of the later books could have done with more editing.  The first few were tight and fine.  The later ones, I found myself editing as I read.
Overall, though, the series was addicting, easy to read, and an enjoyable way to spend 5 days.  I'm giving the series 4 stars - I liked it but you might not.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Yeah, some people go on drinking binges, food binges.  Me? I go on reading binges.  I was MIA all weekend, reading!  So I have about a week's worth of reviews

First I had to get the third installment of the Firelight Trilogy by Sophie Jordan.  Stayed up to the wee hours of the night reading it as soon as it came over on the Kindle.  Oh Kindle, how I love thee!

Reasons to read:
It was exciting reading and no chore to finish it all in one sitting. 
Twists I never saw coming. 
Satisfying conclusion to the trilogy

There were some things I didn't like but they are spoilerish:

Will displays some powers that came out of nowhere.  I was scratching my head at it - 'huh?'
Tamra's story also felt like it ended with a 'huh?'  Like the author was trying to wrap it up. 
Cassian's story ended appropriately but it felt a bit rushed also.
Heat level went down,  instead of up.  That was a little disappointing.


All in all, it was entertaining and I'm not sorry I read it.  I'm giving it 4 of 5 stars - which is "I liked it but not sure you will."

Sunday, September 9, 2012


This is Charlie-cat telling me to get back to work

And this is Charlie-cat telling me he's watching me.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Norton Simon Museum

I've lived less than five miles away from the Norton Simon Museum for over twenty years but never been inside.  For those who watch the Rose Parade on New Years, this is where they put some of the network cameras.  For film buffs, Jennifer Jones (Song of Bernadette) was married to Mr. Norton Simon for many years and was trustee of the museum.

Anyway, I finally decided to go take a look around.

Recognize this guy?

Yeah, guess Mr. Simon was big on Rodin.

Inside there were a ton of famous paintings I recognized.  But the highlight was the sculpture garden. I need to come back when the flowers are in bloom.