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Friday, July 5, 2013

From This Moment On (Blog Tour)

From This Moment On by Bella Andre
Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5
Published: 5-25-13 / Harlequin MIRA / paperback
Cover C
Source: ARC provided by Media Muscles for review purposes

Synopsis:
Marcus has always been the responsible older brother, taking care of the family when their father passed away. When Marcus sees Chase and Chloe together, he realizes that maybe what he has with Jill isn't what he dreamed of. He decides to cut loose and enjoy the night. He never expected to Nico, a woman that he wasn't supposed to see or even think about the next morning.

Nicola has been under the scrutiny being a world famous artist. But the image that the tabloids has created isn't the real her. Tonight, however, Nico decides that enough is enough and tires of hiding away in her hotel. She never expected to find a man like Marcus.
Review: I will admit that I enjoyed From This Moment On more The Look of Love. There were far less inconsistencies and characters that made me want to shake them. Bella Andre seems to prefer love-at-first-sight rather than a slow build-up. This might be preferred to some readers as this keeps the plot very fast with a happy ever after in a 200+ page book.

I prefer Marcus and Nico over Chase and Chloe mostly because I struggled with Chloe's immediate actions to Chase. Nico and Marcus, however, do try to behave as though they are uncomfortable with the idea of developing a strong connection and intimacy in a short time. The continuation of their romance was more believable, and I found myself rooting for the two of them.

The struggles that Marcus faced is a situation that many could find themselves in: a child forced to become an adult after a parent's death. Nico's situation on the other hand is a little less common for most people, a pop-star that is placed in a bad spotlight and hurt by someone she once trusted. The two have very little in common (even their age-gap is a decades width), but I found their relationship promising. I enjoyed their  banter and the intensity of their heat and sparks. Again, however, I thought it moved too quickly for my taste.

There isn't a villain to the story so it was a character driven plot that spins in circle at times. The plot is very simplistic, and I fail to see why Bella Andre sees the need to introduce all the Sullivans again in this short book. Since the plot was simple, I found myself bored at times and rushed towards the end. 

In the end, I'm on the edge of Bella Andre's works. I find them okay reads, but not something I will go back and reread.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blog Tour: The Look of Love

The Look of Love by Bella Andre
Grade: 1.5 stars out of 5
Published: June 2013; MMP / Harlequin
Cover C
FTC: unsolicited from publicity firm
For the first time, Bella Andre's The Sullivans' series is out in mass market paperback. First up, Chase Sullivan: world-renowned photographer with looks that even draws the models. He's tired of the one-night stands and looking for a true love. On the way back from his mother's birthday party, he rescues Chloe Peterson on the side of the road after her car gets trapped in a ditch. Running from a hard past and a soul-sucking relationship, the last thing she wants to deal with another man.
Strictly judging the book by its cover, The Look of Love is not something I would typically pick up.The blurbs and reviews, however, pushed me into trying as the majority are very positive. From the start, though, I realized that this book may not be my cup of tea.

Chase is gorgeous, Chloe is gorgeous. Chloe jumps out of a horrible abusive relationship and into the arms of a man she barely knows. And while there is a time gap between her old relationship and Chase, the speediness in which she claims to have fallen in love was alarming. Chase is, of course, the perfect prince in Chloe's eyes. He has had nights with models, but that only alludes to his handsomeness. But overall I found the characters flat, even the main villain was not as intense as I would have liked.

The ending was short. The build up and build up about Chloe's past relationship, and the confrontation is resolved in a measly 4 pages. The epilogue only sets up for the next story and offers some insight to the new couple.

Overall: The Look of Love is cliche, which may not be a bad thing if it fits the mood that the reader is currently looking for. I was not. Insta-love was very instant; lust, okay but love doesn't happen within less than a 24 hour span. The steamy sex scenes were again, cliche. I found the characters at times hypocritical or very unsure what they truly want. It wraps up quickly, like snap of the fingers quick. Again, this is all personal taste. If I was looking for something fast-paced, fun in the sheets action, with simple characters I wouldn't have rated The Look of Love as harshly.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Golem and the Jinni (TLC Blog Tour)

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Published: April 23, 2013; Harper / hardcover
FTC: ARC provided by publishers for tour
"In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale."
Helene Wecker built a fantastic world in The Golem and the Jinni. In the beginning of the novel, the onslaught of characters was overwhelming. The story does not truly revolve around the golem or the jinni, but rather the communities in which they dwell in. Imagine their tale to be a ball of yarn and slowly it unravels. At the end, all the characters that were introduced, that was originally thought to be irrelevant, were all tied together. Quite honestly, the first half of the novel barely caught my attention, but the last half was a whirlwind of emotions--grief, anger, and finally satisfaction.

Wecker did a wonderful job writing the different lives: Sophia (the wealthy heiress), Saleh (the blind doctor turned ice cream maker), Arbeely (the tinsman), Anna (the charismatic baker), Michael (an atheist and a Rabbi's nephew), Schaalman (an intelligent evil trapped wizard). Somehow or another, Wecker managed to combine this motley crew with the golem and the jinni to create this tale. The golem,named Chava by her guardian Rabbi, was given curiosity  intelligence, and properness, but her growth, given those few traits, was expotential. She is a strong heroine, literally and figuratively, but has weak moments of insecurity. The jinni, named Ahmad by Arbeely, was someone who was difficult to sympathized in the start. He was pompous with a full ego, a frivelous attitute towards women, but had moments like Chava of insecuity and homesickness, that was touching. I grew to empathize Ahmad. Chava and Ahmad's character grew to become someone with human qualities despite being made from earth and fire, respectively. In the end, I enjoyed reading all the characters for not one was truly evil. Wecker added depth to her characters and their tale.

I would recommend The Golem and the Jinni to those who enjoy reading character driven plots. It was slow build to the climax, and the climax was worth it.

Visit Helene: website / twitter / facebook

Helene Wecker grew up in Libertyville, Illinois, a small town north of Chicago, and received her Bachelor’s in English from Carleton College in Minnesota. After graduating, she worked a number of marketing and communications jobs in Minneapolis and Seattle before deciding to return to her first love, fiction writing. Accordingly, she moved to New York to pursue a Master’s in fiction at Columbia University.

She now lives near San Francisco with her husband and daughter. Her first novel, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, will be published in April 2013 by HarperCollins.