Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature.

This week we all have lists of the ten books we're most looking forward to in 2013. I have to admit that this required some research since I wasn't sure which of my favourite authors have books coming out this year! Also, I could only come up with 8. I'm not sure what that says about me, my reading tastes, and my favourite authors :) Before finishing this post up, I poked around some of the other posts for this week and even that didn't help me since I'm not a YA reader and the majority of the other bloggers are. So, long story short, you only get my top 8 this week.

Don't forget to check out their blog for a full list of everyone participating in this week's 2013 list!

1. The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen (June 2013)
I AM SO EXCITED! Dessen is my favourite author and the only YA author you'll see on this list.

2. Hidden - Catherine McKenzie (June 2013)
McKenzie only just announced this info last week. Her fourth novel will be published in June in Canada (yay!) but there isn't a release date for the US yet.  

3. Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella (May 2013)
Ah, Sophie. Always has entertaining and ridiculous main characters and I love reading her fun novels.

4. Marriage to Measure - Talli Roland (2013)
This is the third book in the Serenity Holland series, which I LOVE. Really excited to see what happens next with her!

5. Revenge Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger (April 2013)
I must admit that I haven't actually read The Devil Wears Prada yet but I will. Probably right before the sequel's released!

Heather put out a couple of novels a year and they're always fabulous. Right now, the two for 2013 are codenamed Igloo and Jasper. Can't wait!

7. All Souls Trilogy #3 - Deborah Harkness (2013)
I freaking love this series.

8. The Week Before the Wedding - Beth Kendrick (May 2013)
Another admission: I still haven't read her last two but every other book of hers that I have read, I've loved so that is why she's on this list.

Final thoughts: My birthday is at the end of May so it looks like I'll be requesting a lot of Chapters gift cards... :) What books are you looking forward to? Are there any that I missed that you think I'd enjoy?

Happy reading :) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just Finished: Something Borrowed, Something Blue

I tend to enjoy a good wedding story. I feel like they provide all the necessary tension for good chick lit/romance without needing to add ridiculous plot twists. Besides, reading about weddings is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than attending them! When I found out I was one of the winners from the Still Moments Publishing Halloween blog hop, I decided to choose one of their wedding anthologies for my prize. Something Borrowed, Something Blue stood out for me and it ended up being a very enjoyable read.

Here's what the four stories are about:
Always a Bride by Darlene Henderson
Alex has walked down the aisle a hundred times in as many wedding dresses, she is “Always a Bride” but somehow she's still single. When her high school sweetheart, Harvey shows up will Alex’s walk down the aisle finally end at an altar?
Sleepless in St. Lucia by Denise Moncrief
Elise Cameron thinks the hardest thing she’ll ever have to do is watch her best friend, Trish, marry the man of Elise’s dreams. When her high school crush, Ryan Morgan, shows up at Trish’s wedding to be the best man, Elise and Ryan have to confront some old misunderstandings to find their own happily ever after.
The Ring Toss by Liv Rancourt
A last minute switch lands Mack in a long white dress, but can she commit?
An Island Wedding by Tudor Robins
When Jessa’s best friend calls off her wedding at the last moment will it be a case of “nearly a bridesmaid, never a bride?” Or will Jessa manage to stop worrying about other people’s weddings long enough to land her own true love?
Each of the four stories had something that I really liked. I think my favourite was Always a Bride and the second chance that Alex and Harvey got. It was fun to read about Elise in Sleepless in St. Lucia as her idea about Ryan completely flipped around. The Ring Toss had an adorable twist in an unlikely situation. I loved reading about Jessa as she finally realized that what was in front of her was the best thing for her in An Island Wedding.

I do have to say that The Ring Toss was a wee bit confusing because it was hard to keep track of all the characters. They were being referred to as their actual names as well as the names of the characters they were playing in the play. See, I can't even explain the confusion without confusing you! :) It wasn't a huge deal but I do wish that story had been written just a little bit differently. It does win for the best twist of the four stories, though!

Short story anthologies are always tough to review since there's not a lot of content to review on and I don't want to inadvertently give something away. So. I'm not going to say too much more. I think Something Borrowed, Something Blue was a really sweet and entertaining read. Was it my favourite anthology? No, but I still enjoyed reading all of the stories. If you're looking for some cute wedding themed stories, pick this one up!

Happy reading :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mini Review: Chasing Harry Winston

Raise your hand if you belong to a book club! Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger was my club's pick for November. The group of ladies meets every other month because other people have lives and don't read nearly as much as I do. Hm. Perhaps I need more of a life since I finished this one in a weekend... :) Anywho, this one got picked because we wanted something light. I was happy since I already owned a copy! It ended up being a really fun and enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing what the other ladies thought of it when we meet on Tuesday.

Here's the synopsis:
The bestselling author of "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Everyone Worth Knowing" returns with the story of three best friends who vow to change their entire lives...and change them fast. Emmy is newly single, and not by choice. She was this close to the ring and the baby she's wanted her whole life when her boyfriend left her for his twenty-three-year-old personal trainer -- whose fees are paid by Emmy. With her plans for the perfect white wedding in the trash, Emmy is now ordering takeout for one. Her friends insist an around-the-world sex-fueled adventure will solve all her problems -- could they be right? 
Leigh, a young star in the publishing business, is within striking distance of landing her dream job as senior editor and marrying her dream guy. And to top it all off, she has just purchased her dream apartment. Only when Leigh begins to edit the enfant terrible of the literary world, the brilliant and brooding Jesse Chapman, does she start to notice some cracks in her perfect life... 
Adriana is the drop-dead-gorgeous daughter of a famous supermodel. She possesses the kind of feminine wiles made only in Brazil, and she never hesitates to use them. But she's about to turn thirty and -- as her mother keeps reminding her -- she won't have her pick of the men forever. Everyone knows beauty is ephemeral and there's always someone younger and prettier right around the corner. Suddenly she's wondering...does Mother know best? 
One Saturday night at the Waverly Inn, Adriana and Emmy make a pact: within a single year, each will drastically change her life. Leigh watches from the sidelines, not making any promises, but she'll soon discover she has the most to lose. Their friendship is forever, but everything else is on the table. Three best friends. Two resolutions. One year to pull it off.
OK, that was an insanely long synopsis - and I cut a bit out!

This novel had a very Sex and the City type feel to it, which I loved. The women all had different personalities so every reader should be able to relate to one of the characters. They also felt very real to me, with very real issues. None of the women were perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Emmy gets way too focused on marriage and the future, Leigh couldn't own up that her relationship really wasn't working, and Adriana hadn't realized that maybe she should change her attitude towards life and men and "grow up" just a bit.

Once I got to thinking about this book (and honestly, I've been thinking about it for awhile since I actually read this last month...eep) I couldn't quite pinpoint what it was about this novel that I liked so much. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent reading this book and I will definitely make a point of reading more of her books (haven't actually read The Devil Wears Prada but I have read - and reviewed - Everyone Worth Knowing and I enjoyed that one, too). I definitely cared about the characters. I wanted to see how they grew over the course of the novel. I think there could have been a bit more...well, just a bit more. It could be that I wanted the ending to be expanded a little bit more or that I wanted a more personal connection with the characters. I know that kind of contradicts what I said earlier but I did care about what happened with the women and I wanted everything to work out for them...but...I couldn't personally understand why they were doing some of the things they were doing. I think it was the same sort of thing that keeps me from looooooving the Shopaholic series. Those books are a lot of fun and I always enjoy reading them but Becky is a twit. I've probably just confused you now, haven't I? :)

Overall, I really liked Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger and would recommend it to anyone who likes SATC, chick lit, and Weisberger's other novels. I'll try to update this post after book club next week if anyone else had some interesting thoughts about the book.

Happy reading :)

I had book club this week and it seemed like a lot of the ladies felt the same way I did about this book. One person actually couldn't even finish it and another read the first 100 pages and then the last twenty. It seemed like the general feeling was that we liked it, we did want to find out what happened to the characters, but we didn't really care about them. And what was with that parrot anyway? :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I'm Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature.

This week we're to list the authors or books we're thankful for. Even though I celebrated Thanksgiving over a month ago up here in Canada, I still thought this was a really nice idea and I wanted to take part in this week. Reading has always been such a huge thing for me so I really am thankful for certain authors and books. I decided just to go with authors for this week. Are any of your favourites on this list?

Don't forget to check out their blog for a full list of everyone participating in this week's thankful list!

1. J.K. Rowling
I know she's going to be on lots of people's lists but I couldn't not include her. The Harry Potter series contains some of the best books I've ever read and that's enough to get her on my list. If you also think about all of the kids she got reading because of this series then you've really got an author to be thankful for.

2. Jane Austen
I'm not huge on classics but Jane is one author who I will willingly read. Not only do I enjoy her novels but I love the huge following she has all over the world. She's sort of a cultural icon and I love that.

3. Sarah Dessen
As I've said on here before, she is one of my favourite authors. I discovered her books way back in high school when I was working at my public library. This was a few years after she had published her first two books and I've been lucky enough to sort of grow up reading her novels. I may be almost a decade older than some of her teenage characters but I still love reading her books. When I was still working at the bookstore, I was also always glad to have her books to recommend to those teenagers (or mothers of teenagers) who weren't into the whole vampire thing!

4. Emily Giffin
My favourite chick lit author. Her books are a great mixture of light and dark and I love when she has a new book coming out. For me, her novels have given me hours of fun and thought provoking reading - a great combination.

5. C.S. Lewis
Personally, I can't imagine a world without Narnia. I also have to admit that I haven't finished the entire series (bad Kaley). I remember reading the first few books when I was in elementary school and just being captivated by the story.

6. Suzanne Collins
I was late on the whole Hunger Games phenomenon because I didn't think I'd enjoy the books. Boy, was I wrong. I am so glad she created this series. It was awesome to see a strong female character who didn't care about sparkling creatures romance. Ahem. :)

7. Laura Ingalls Wilder
I was obsessed with her books when I was younger. Just obsessed. My best friend at the time loved them as well and we used to have sleepovers where we'd pretend to be Laura and play by candlelight. Yep, I was a pretty awesome kid :) Her novels opened up a whole new world for me - one that was actually real. I read everything I could about her and her family. Boy, am I glad my mom got the box set for me when I was super young and held onto it for me.

8. Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables was huge for me when I was younger. I have all the books (though it'd be nice to have an actual pretty box set instead of the hodgepodge of books I have at the moment) and loved them. I got through the entire series in one summer years ago. I should really give them a reread. I had read a few of her others and enjoyed them just as much. I had Anne dolls, bookmarks, pictures, and all sorts of other things. Someday I'll get myself out to PEI so I can see the actual Green Gables!

9. Rick Riordan
Seems like an odd choice, I know. I loved his Percy Jackson series and that's why he's on this list. Not just because I loved it but because I saw first hand how much young boys loved the series too. One particular little boy sticks out for me: I was working at cash and a mom and her son (about 7 or 8) come up to purchase some books. The little guy was already reading the Percy book they had picked up and would not relinquish it for me to scan. Instead, he held it up so I could take the scanner, scan it, and not interrupt his reading. It was pretty awesome. Also - the fact that he created the story for his son who loved Greek mythology and was being tested for learning disabilities is just so awesome. Check out the interview on his site for all the background on that :)

10. Helen Fielding
I find it almost odd to have her on this list because I couldn't tell you much about the Bridget Jones books. I read them and I enjoyed them - but I didn't love them. Why, do you ask, is she on this list? Because she was essentially the start of chick lit. As I chick lit lover, I can't imagine a world without this genre and I'm so glad Fielding wrote Bridget's story - and that she's writing another book in the series!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Out of the Blue

Welcome to a stop on the blog tour for Lisa Maliga's novel Out of the Blue. The tour is hosted by Collette over at ABG Reads. OK, sooo...I'm just going to get this out of the way right at the start - I didn't like this book. I know you can't like everything but it's always a disappointment when I don't enjoy a novel.

Here's the synopsis:
Sylvia Gardner is a na├»ve cashier who lives with her mother in Richport, Illinois. Upset with being dumped by her first boyfriend; she later falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a TV show. For two years she researches Alexander Thorpe's life and career, saving her money to travel to his Cotswolds village, intent on meeting him. Staying in the village's only hotel, she gets room and board in exchange for working at the Windrush Arms Hotel. Complications ensue when the drunken proprietor, Harry Livingstone, takes a fancy to Sylvia. As in her fantasies, Sylvia and Alexander get together—but with unexpected results.
The first thing that got me was Sylvia's obsession with Alexander. It wasn't creepy or anything...just...odd. The biggest issue, for me, was the age gap between the two. Why was a young, attractive, and, yes, naive, twenty-ish year old so obsessed with an man who lives in another country and seems to be twice her age? (he's not really...but I'm not quite sure because the ages never seemed clear to me and I'm not very good with numbers anyway!) Also, once we get to meet him, he seems like an alcoholic pig who just wants to sleep with anyone who crosses his path. I mean, I can understand being attracted to older actors (hello, George Clooney...who actually is twice my age, plus a year) but Sylvia kind of takes it a little further.

The other thing was just the way the novel was written. It jumped around in time with flashbacks that weren't set up clearly enough. At one point I'm reading along in "present" day (I'll get to that in a second) and then all of a sudden it's back to before Sylvia went to England. There were lots of unnecessary subplots and explanations. For example, at the end of the book, I got updates on what every other character was up to at that time. That did not add a single thing to the story and I was confused and expecting something huge to happen. It didn't.

I mentioned "present" day. I use the quotations because the book starts off in the late seventies and ends in the early nineties. I'm all for books taking place in different time periods but this one seemed odd to me. I mean, the eighties? It wasn't set around any historical event or anything. The only explanation I could come up with was that the author needed to set the book in a time when a random girl could get that close to a famous actor.

So. There we have it. Unfortunately, Out of the Blue by Lisa Maliga was just not my cup of tea. I think she could probably do well if her novels get a bit more polished. But, as it is now, I can't recommend this novel to anyone. Ah well. You win some, you lose some.

Happy reading :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

If you follow the Facebook page for Books Etc. you'll know that last week marked two years since I started writing this blog (and if you're not following the page, what are you waiting for? :) Click here to be led to it!). You'll also know that I almost completely forgot about it!

I can't believe it's been two years. It seems like just yesterday that I decided to start a blog to talk about my favourite thing - books. I thought it was such an original idea as I had only come across a few book review blogs. Needless to say, I now know that there are so many fellow book lovers and bloggers out there. Not only that, but I've had the pleasure of becoming friends with many of them and have even been able to meet some of them in person!

I had grand plans of doing a giveaway for all of you lovely readers but things have been a little nutty in my world for the past few months. Well, really the last year. It's crazy to think of what's happened just since November 2011. I'll give you a quick rundown, which will help you see why things have or had been sporadic throughout the year...and also give you a little more insight into me as a person! I hope. Either that or it'll be TMI and/or I'll bore you :)

November - I became an associate reviewer for Novel Escapes AND got to meet the lovely ladies behind the blog when I was in Toronto for a conference.

December - Discovered (after many tests and doctor appointments) that the pains I had been having since the end of August were due to a defective gall bladder.

January - Three days into the new year I was in the hospital to have my gallbladder removed. Cue two weeks off of work, one of which I couldn't do anything but watch TV because looking at a computer screen or a book gave me the world's worst headache, and a painful first few weeks back at work...well, painful to do just about anything!

February - This was a doozy month, especially considering I was still recovering. I had a job interview in another city, got hired three days later, worked four days, went on a cruise to the Bahamas and spent three days at Universal with my sister (thanks to my awesome grandma!) and then came...

March - Went back to work for four more days, packed up my apartment on a Friday and Saturday, moved  on Sunday, started a new job on Tuesday. Phew! (Side note: I do not recommend travelling or moving less than two months after surgery...ouch)

April - It appears April was pretty boring. Definitely a relief after the previous months.

May - I celebrated my quarter of a century birthday! Woot woot!

June - It was a busy month as I participated in Armchair BEA. So much fun and I hope to actually attend BEA next May!

July - Another busy month. According to Goodreads I read 12 novels and 2 short stories.

August - Emily Giffin came to Toronto and I ventured to the big city by myself to go to the talk and signing. So glad I did!

September - I started taking two online courses in publishing. They're interesting and I'm really hoping it leads to a job in publishing. But - it's seriously cutting into my reading and blogging time. This is why things have been a little slow lately! I also went to the Random House/Chatelaine Bookstravaganza event and got to meet fellow blogger Lindsay from Turning the Pages and Lindsey from Random House. So much fun!

October - Finally feeling like my old self, which is such a relief. More school work, more reading, more balancing. I truly had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving (PS I'm Canadian, in case you didn't know!)

Which leads us to this past month when I went to the 2nd annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet-Up in Toronto and got to meet so many amazing fellow bloggers and a couple of people in the publishing industry.

I'm getting a lot more emails from authors asking me to review their books, as well as a couple of publishing houses. It's so weird to think that I'm just sitting here blogging about books because I love it and people are taking notice.

Finally, I want to say thank you to you guys. All of you who keep coming back to Books Etc. to see what craziness I have to say. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you reading my reviews, leaving comments, and liking my Facebook page (created that this year, too!). It means a lot more than you know. So thank you. And as always...

Happy reading :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Just Finished: Haole Wood

If I were to pick one word to describe Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio, it would be whirlwind. And not just because main character Jaswinder was a weathercaster. There's so much amusement and craziness happening in this novel that it kept me turning the pages to find out what on earth was going to happen.

Here's the synopsis:
When San Diego weathercaster, Jaswinder Park, is mysteriously summoned to the island of Maui in Hawaii to help her grandmother, she ends up losing her job. This fair-haired, light-skinned foreigner, called haole by the natives, decides to stay in Maui for a couple of days until she can figure out what to do with her life. She realizes that her quick trip to Maui may not be all she’s hoping for when:
  • She has to bail her Hawaiian/Korean grandmother out of jail for possession of pakalolo.
  • The only thing she can understand her grandmother say is: “Not that.”
  • She can’t decide which hurts worse, her sunburn, hangover, or memories of the night before.
  • She’s labeled the “Liquor Licker” on the front page of the Maui News in a photo that shows her doing a shot of tequila with a hunky Hawaiian who’s been found dead.
  • It seems she’s had orgasms that have lasted longer than her career.
  • She scrapes the bottom of the barrel to find her guardian angel.
Beautiful fabric found in her grandmother’s closet unfolds a future for Jaswinder as she designs sensuous silky wraps called sunshminas that provide sun protection. She tries for a Hollywood connection, but her company, Haole Wood, has some growing pains. From trying to find a killer, to selling her sunshminas, to lusting after Dr. Jac, the island dermatologist, to trying to ignore her so-called guardian angel, can Jaswinder learn to embrace the island way of life? Aloha!
Oh man, was there ever a lot going on in this book. That didn't always translate into a bad thing but I think that is the reason I didn't love it as much as I thought I might. The part that really kind of confused me was the whole guardian angel thing. I couldn't see how it connected to anything else and made me wonder if 1. Jaswinder had completely lost it and 2. her grandmother was putting some sort of hallucinogen in her tea. It was funny and provided some insightful moments for Jaswinder but having a guardian angel in this novel just didn't work for me.

The murder mystery part of this story is what I liked the most. Everything that could go wrong with Jaswinder's (completely unofficial) investigation, did. She seemed to stick her foot in her mouth at every turn and it was incredibly amusing. What made this part better was that she was doing all this craziness to clear her grandmother's name. She has such a strong and wonderful connection with her grandmother (even though Jaswinder only understands "Not that") and that made me like her so much more.

Overall, I had fun reading Haole Wood. Dee DeTarsio created amusing characters and an engaging story. I think some things could have been trimmed and/or cut out but, to me, the writing and flow of the story worked and that made it an enjoyable read for me. Did I love this one? No. Will I check out more of her novels in the future? Yes, I do believe I will. Even if they're not set in Hawaii! ;)

Happy reading :)

* I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Recap: 2nd Annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet-Up

Guys, I can't begin to tell you how much fun this meet-up was. Imagine your favourite thing, ok? (I bet it's probably books if you're reading this blog) Then imagine getting together with over 70 people who have the same favourite thing. Pure awesomeness, I tell you.

The lovely ladies in the Ontario Blog Squad hosted this fabulous event last Saturday for all of the book bloggers in Ontario. I signed up almost as soon as I heard about the event because I wanted the chance to meet some of my fellow book bloggers in person. It turns out a ton of other folks felt the same way because there were SO many people there! So many, in fact, that I wasn't able to talk to nearly as many people as I would have liked!

Let's back up a bit...the morning of the event I posted on my blog's Facebook page that I was off to the event.and the fabulous Natalie from Browsing Bookshelves commented that she was going as well. I knew that we lived in the same city so we ended up agreeing to meet at the GO station and we headed into the big city together. Once we got to Union we met up with Andrea from Cozy Up With A Good Read and Anum from Paper Wings and Ink and walked down to the pub. Thank goodness the rain had stopped by Saturday!

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the ladies of the blog squad. Michele from Just a Lil' Lost checked us in, Angel from Mermaid Visions gave us our nametags (with our names, blog names, and Twitter handles on them), and Wendy handed out the largest and heaviest swag bags ever. I think most of us resisted the urge to peek until we got home or on the train which resulted in not getting a book signed by one of the authors who was there! Ah well, such is life.

Speaking of authors, there were quite a few of them there! In full disclosure, I'm just going to go right ahead and copy and paste the list from the blog squad site :) The authors were Lesley Livingston (author of Starling), Allison Baggio (author of In The Body), Brian Francis (author of Natural Order), Grace O'Connell (author of Magnified World), Susin Nielsen (author of The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen), Elizabeth Miles (author of Envy), Maureen McGowen (author of Deviants), Joanne Levy (author of Small Medium at Large), and Cinda Williams Chima (author of The Crimson Crown). I got to meet a few of them which was really neat. I admit that I hadn't heard of many of the authors since they mostly write YA and that's not really my thing, but it's always cool to meet authors in person.

Since we were meeting in a restaurant the group I was with picked a table and then just ended up staying there. We wanted to mingle but at the same time our table was having a great conversation! I was sitting with Natalie, Anum, Dee from Editorial Eyes, and Farah from Broken Penguins. As part of the event we were served a tasty lunch and our table was the last one to be served for every course. This wasn't an issue at all since it gave us more time to chat without food in our mouths! We even had time to come up with a table joke - we said that we were District 13 since it seemed like we were forgotten about! :)

District 13
From left: Me, Anum, Dee, author Elizabeth Miles, Farah, and Natalie
Not only do I wish that I had had more of a chance to talk to some of the other bloggers but also the ladies from the publishing houses. It was great to see Lindsey again from Random House and it was fabulous to meet Shannon from HarperCollins (she's been helping me out with a publishing course project).

There were some trivia questions (one of which yours truly got right, thank you Sarah Dessen!) and a raffle (I won two more books from that, too!). We all also got a copy of Envy by Elizabeth Miles and she signed each and every one of them. She was such a sweetie!

Natalie and I had to sneak out early so we could catch our train to get back to Burlington so we missed out on a bit more mingling and chatting time. We were barely seated on the train before we started digging into our bags of goodies!

My favourite thing about the event? Being able to talk to fellow booklovers for hours. I was on a high for the rest of the night! So, a huge thank you to the organizers for putting on this fabulous event. I'm so glad I decided to attend. It was so much fun to spend some time with people who have the same passion I do. 

TL: books in the swag bag TR: the non-book goodies
BL: my signed copy of Envy BR: books I won/got at our table

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Just Finished: Bunny Hills and Bikinis

Bunny Hills and Bikinis by Heather Thurmeier was a fun and steamy romantic story. I really enjoyed reading this novel!

Here's the synopsis:
Sunny California? Not so much. Amelia's stuck at the office retreat in frickin' Lake Tahoe with a grabby colleague who thinks he's God's gift to women. At least the workshop presenter is super hot... if only she can get him to take her from the bunny hill to the bedroom.
Amelia Brooks agrees to a weekend retreat in California, thinking it will be held in sunny Malibu only to find out she's stuck in chilly Lake Tahoe for four long days--just what a girl from Minnesota wants to hear in the middle of winter. Now instead of wiggling her toes in the sand, her feet are squeezed into her new manufactured-by-Satan-himself-uncomfortable boots. If that's not enough, Amelia's obnoxious colleague William has decided this is the weekend they'll finally be together and he won't keep his thoughts--or his hands--to himself.
Amelia's ready to kick off those boots and peel off her wooly sweater once she meets Nate Miller--the workshop's hunky presenter. But Nate's not ready to settle down. He's seen his workshop buddies fall in love then fall out of the running for being promoted to the big city workshop circuit and he's not about to let that happen to his life's dream--until he gets involved with Amelia. Now he's not so sure he can walk away at the end of the weekend with his heart intact and his promotion in hand.
Now Amelia's got four days to stave off William's persistent advances long enough to fall in love with Nate and possibly...learn to ski the bunny hill.
As fun as this story was, I found myself annoyed with Amelia at times. I know conflict makes a story more interesting but in this case the conflict with the aforementioned grabby colleague sort of made me...well, almost dislike Amelia. Her colleague, William, is so persistent that it's bordering on harassment. Amelia doesn't want to do anything because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings or subject everyone in the office to sexual harassment safety videos. So instead, she just laughs it off and figures that he'll eventually get the hint. Guess what? He doesn't. He's all over her at this conference and she doesn't stop it. It gets to the point where other attendees believe they're actually together! It was also frustrating because she considers herself a strong woman who doesn't let herself get pushed around except that was exactly what was happening.

While the above issue was a bit difficult to get over, I still found myself enjoying Amelia and Nate's romance. It took them some time to finally get together and it was fun to read about the confusion and doubts each of them had. The book sort of switched perspectives between Nate and Amelia so I got to read about what Amelia thought, her first impression of Nate, and the absolutely hilarious incident that occurs when they first meet. She's mortified, but I could then read that Nate loved it and was incredibly intrigued by her. Their romance was sweet and steamy and I was rooting for a happily ever after for the two of them.

After reading Bunny Hills and Bikinis I will definitely be on the lookout for Heather Thurmeier's other novels. I loved this quick read (devoured it in a single day!) and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun romance.

Happy reading! :)

*I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.