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December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! + Favorite Reads 2010

Update: Maybe you want to check out my complete book's read in 2010 list. I'm pretty proud of myself! I read 113 books.

Hi guys! I was planning to write about my favorite books read this year, but I noticed that I read most of them before starting this blog and I haven't translated my reviews.

So instead of linking a bunch of books to goodreads, maybe you want to go and look at them at my Spanish blog HISTORIAS IMAGINARIAS. I know some of you don't read Spanish, but maybe you can look at the covers. I promise someday, maybe next year, I will translate all of my reviews. ;)

Also, I wanted to wish you a Feliz Año Nuevo! (Happy New Year! in Spanish) Hope you all have a great time :D

"We will open the book. It's pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

happy new year 1

December 30, 2010

Book Review: The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

Author: Cecelia Ahern
Release Date: November 3rd, 2009
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 320
New York Times bestselling author Cecelia Ahern spins a witty, warm, and wise modern-day fable of love, regret, hope, and second chances.
Extremely successful executive, Lou Suffern is always overstretched, immune to the holiday spirit that delights everyone around him. The classic workaholic who never has a moment to spare, he is always multitasking while shortchanging his devoted wife and their adorable children. And ever since he started competing for a big promotion, he has barely seen his family at all.
One frigid morning in an uncharacteristic burst of generosity, he buys a cup of coffee for Gabe, a homeless man huddled outside his office building. Inspired by his own unexpected act of kindness, Lou decides to prolong his charitable streak and contrives to get Gabe a job in his company's mailroom. But when Gabe begins to meddle in Lou's life, the helping hand appears to be a serious mistake. Gabe seems to know more about Lou than Lou does about himself, and, perhaps more disturbingly, Gabe always seems to be in two places at once.
With Lou's personal and professional fates at important crossroads and Christmas looming, Gabe resorts to some unorthodox methods to show his stubborn patron what truly matters and how precious the gift of time is. But can he help him fix what's broken before it's too late?
This is the second of Cecelia Ahern's books I've read, and again she has impressed me, making me feel tons of different feelings while reading her book.

The Gift is a Christmas story with the intention of making us think about life. It all began with a police officer telling us a weird story...

Lou is a business man, always busy. Anything bothers him, specially if it isn't about work. But when he met Gabe, and started to listen to every one of his comments about his decisions, he began to feel, for the first time in years, guilty.

At first, I didn't like Lou at all (but I guess that's the idea). He doesn't want to be with his family. The less time he spend with them, the better. When they call, it's the secretary who talks to them. He even stays at work until late to not find his family awake. And he has even cheated his wife several times without feeling guilty.

But very slowly, things start to change. He always wanted to be the best, always forward, excellent at work...but his personal life is suffering because of that. Not only him, but everyone around him.

Gabe is a homeless man, that seems to do everything perfect (and to have a supernatural power). He can be at two places at the same time, and when the time comes, he can help Lou to do the same, with the condition that his family is first. With a little bit of magic, every one of Lou's problems (specially with his family) are going to resolve.

It's a story where Lou (and maybe yourself) is going to discover himself, realizing many mistakes that will disappoint you but make the story more real. It's not one of those story where everything is easy, but it gives you hope. For every problem there is a always a solution.

It seems impossible to think that you could forget what is really important in life, but it's actually very easy to confuse yourself. Life is never easy, but you have to enjoy every day you have. After all, you never know when it's going to be your time.

The ending was very unexpected, and believe me, you will cry. The message goes directly to your heart.

Overall, The Gift is a beautiful Christmas story written to make you reconsider your decisions about life.

More about this book at www.ceceliaahern.ieGoodreads, Amazon, The Book Depository.

December 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday # 31 - The Big Crunch

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick:

Summary from Goodreads
A funny, clear-eyed view of the realities of teenage love from National Book Award winner Pete Hautman.
Jen and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.
This is not that kind of love story.
Instead, they just hang around in each other's orbits...until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when Jen starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets.
From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman, this is a love story for people not particularly biased toward romance. But it is romantic, in the same way that truth can be romantic and uncertainty can be the biggest certainty of all.
Pete Hautman
January 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
Hardcover, 288 pages

I like how it sounds, like real relationships instead of those 'love at first sight' couples we are used to read at YA. And it's going to be release in just a couple of days!

December 28, 2010

Out with a Bang Read-A-Thon!

Hello! Yep, another read-a-thon. This time is hosted by Book-Savvy and The Bookish Type.

2010 is almost ending, and probably some of you have several books in yours 2010 to be read piles (specially Debut Author Challenge books). So the Book Savvy and The Bookish Type created this read-a-thon, than will run from December 29 - 31 and that way all the participants could read as many books as they can during that time. You don't have to focus only on debuts book if you have other books that you would like to read.

They will be giving away tons of swag and books and some of the participants would be hosting mini-challenges:

December 29: Pure Imagination, Kat Duncan, The Nerd's Wife
December 30: The Book Worms, Loud Words and Sounds, A Writer's Review
December 31: Books, Sweets and Other Treats, The Novel Affair, Reading Teen

What do you think? Would you like to JOIN? I wasn't participating at the Debut Author Challenge this year, but I would still like to read some books before 2010 ends :D

MY GOAL: (updated)

December 26, 2010

Review: Guardians of Eternity series by Alexandra Ivy

Guardians of Eternity is one of my favorite paranormal romance series. It combines action, alpha males, hot  and sweet romance, and every kind mythical creature!

Alexandra Ivy's writing is excellent. Fast paced, with enough details and a funny undertone that you can miss. When I begin to read one of her books, I can't stop. The plot is very interesting, and every book add something else to a plot that has been growing up. The characters are original and realistic, strong but not invincible, and I end loving each one of them.

This is one of the series that every new book is better than the last one. When I started reading it I liked it, but now I can't get enough of it.

Overall, I love it and I recommend it, specially if you're a fan of series as Lords of the Underworld.

  • When Darkness Comes (Book 1)
  • Embrace The Darkness (Book 2)
  • Darkness Everlasting (Book 3)

  • Darkness Revealed (Book 4)
  • Darkness Unleashed (Book 5)
  • Beyond the Darkness (Book 6)

  • Devoured by Darkness (Book 7)

  • My favorite: Beyond the Darkness #6 (werewolf!)....and maybe Devoured by Darkness #7 too.

    The next book is called Bound by Darkness and still doesn't have a release date D:

    More information about this series at www.alexandraivy.comGoodreads.

    December 24, 2010

    Happy Holidays!

    "May the holidays bring you pleasant memories and much happiness."

    At this moment I'm still preparing for Christmas! I'm helping my mom with the salads, and we are expecting the family (and my boyfriend) at 9pm. Eating takes a lot of time, since we are like 10 people...but after that we stay awake waiting for the 25! Jesus is born, Santa leaves presents and we give each other more presents! And then, we all go to play with fireworks!. After that, we try to visit our friends and other family.

    What are you doing this holidays? Do you celebrate Christmas? What do you celebrate?

    December 23, 2010

    Book Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

    Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway
    Author: Christie Ridgway
    Series: Holidays #1
    Release Date: November 28th, 2006
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Age: Adult
    Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under—it's up to Bailey to save the shop.She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson—legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent and Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart—is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's all grown up, and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever! Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .
    Bailey is a 20 something lawyer who hates Christmas. Which is funny, because her family runs a Christmas store. But when her parents fight, it's her who has to take care of the store. She can deal with it, until Finn, her ex-boyfriend, is staying with his family in the house next door.

    It's not like she isn't still in love with him, right? After all, she was the one who left him, ten years ago. But the spark is definitely alive, because when she sees him, he isn't just her ex bad boyfriend but a super sexy secret agent.

    Finn isn't the bad boy he used to be. He's grown up, working and taking care of his grandmother. He wasn't expecting to meet Bailey at her house....and he definitely doesn't want anything to do with her. She broke his heart ten years ago.

    But their reunion is unavoidable. They still like each other, and they are like magnets. Bailey doesn't want to hurt him (and her) again, but she can't stop being curious about this new Finn, and Finn can't stop wanting her.

    Must Love Mistletoe is a great romance. At first I thought is was going to be light and easy, but I was surprised to find realistic characters dealing with their drama. Bailey is afraid of caring about someone, including her family. And Finn, still with a broken heart, is dealing with his almost dying trauma and taking care of his sick grandmother.

    But not because of these details it's a sad story. It's just realistic. And the author manages to combine this issues with funny jokes and jovial personalities that makes you laugh and wanting to read more.

    I loved the feeling of this book. It was definitely Christmas, but not exasperated. The romance was cute and a little naughty, and I felt as if the characters were not just falling in love but also growing up.

    The end was sweet but not so "oh, we are the perfect family because it's Christmas!", which I liked. Bailey's and Finn's story not just romance, but is including family and personal issues.

    Overall, I loved Must Love Mistletoe. It's cute, funny, naughty and heartwarming...perfect for this season!

    December 22, 2010

    Waiting on Wednesday # 30 - Wildefire

    "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    My pick:

    Summary from
    Ashline Wilde never received an instruction manual on how to be a 16-year-old Polynesian volcano goddess. If she had, it might have contained helpful warnings such as:
    • Dreaming about your (thankfully) mortal boyfriend may cause your bed to spontaneously combust.
    • Oven mitts should be worn at all times during heavy make-out sessions.
    Instead, Ash has to learn these life lessons the hard way as her dormant powers erupt at the most awkward times. In the wake of a hometown tragedy, Ash transfers to Blackwood Academy, a boarding school nestled in California’s redwoods, where a group of fellow gods-on-earth have mysteriously convened. As if sophomore year couldn’t get any worse, her storm goddess older sister, the wild and unpredictable Eve, resurfaces to haunt Ashline. With a war between the gods looming over Blackwood, Ash must master the fire smoldering within her before she clashes with her sister one final time, which leads us to life-lesson #3:
    • When warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
    Karsten Knight
    July 26th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

    I like anything about gods/goddess, and this book sounds good!!

    December 20, 2010

    Review: A Homemade Christmas by Tina Barseghian

    Title: A Homemade Christmas
    Author: Tina Barseghian
    Release Date: September 1st, 2010
    Publisher: Harlequin
    Pages: 128
    Making something with your own hands—whether it's a plate of just-baked cookies, a handcrafted stocking, a homemade wreath, or a hand-folded origami ornament—is a great way to connect with the true meaning of Christmas.
    From holiday decorating to gift giving, A Homemade Christmas is chock-full of projects, recipes, tips, and helpful hints that are guaranteed to add a homemade touch to your holiday season. Open this charming volume to any page and discover a wealth of practical and easy-to-accomplish ideas for a homemade holiday:
    • create personal, distinctive holiday greetings
    • deck the halls with festive, handmade trimmings
    • cook simple but memorable homemade dishes
    • make unique, handcrafted gifts
    • share the joy of the season with friends and family
    Packed with inspiration and how-tos for ideas that are family-friendly and eco-conscious, festive and meaningful, A Homemade Christmas will put homemade back into your holidays!
    I'm not the most creative person and it's extremely difficult for me to do something with my hands. But I like to do homemade cards and stuff like that. Actually, my other hobby besides reading is scrapbooking.

    I was thinking to do some homemade cards for this Christmas but didn't know how to do them easily and cute. But then I found this book and thought it would be good to read it. Since the beginning I love it. The homemade cards were so easy to do that I wanted to buy supplies right away!

    You will find more than how to make cards....for example, you will find cute decorations for your house (origami),  how to grow a holiday plant (maybe it's stupid, but all of my plants die), and cooking. Not all of them are extremely original or impressive, but they are easy to do and a bunch of them are kid friendly.

    Overall, if you want to try doing hand made cards or else, but you aren't very creative, you should check out this book. The ideas are original, and most important, easy!

    More about this book at Goodreads and Amazon.

    December 19, 2010

    Review: The Christmas Brides by Linda Lael Miller

    Title: The Christmas Brides
    Author: Linda Lael Miller
    Release Date: October 26th, 2010
    Publisher: Harlequin
    Pages: 384
    Celebrate the holidays with these heartwarming family classics in one keepsake collection from New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller.
    A McKettrick Christmas Lizzie McKettrick is on a homebound train with a Christmas Eve surprise for her family—a special young man, Whitley Carson. He might seem a little too interested in the McKettrick money, but Lizzie's certain Whitley cares for her deep down. But fate has a surprise for Lizzie—Dr. Morgan Shane. When their train is stranded by a massive avalanche on Christmas Eve the handsome doctor takes charge—with Lizzie by his side. Time's running out for the passengers. But with faith, hard work and some unexpected help, it just might be a joyous McKettrick family Christmas after all…. 
    A Creed Country Christmas In the Montana wilderness of 1910, Lincoln Creed is up against more than rustlers, wolves and winter storms. His young daughter, Gracie, has needs beyond the beans and bacon he can barely cook. The widowed rancher must find Gracie a suitable governess who won't set her sights on him. Disowned for her refusal to marry, the young schoolteacher Juliana Mitchell seems like a perfect fit in the Creed home. As she gets to know Lincoln and Gracie, Juliana suddenly doesn't feel so strongly against marriage after all. In the season of miracles, Providence just might find a way to bring these souls together in a wonderful Christmas blessing.
    The Christmas Brides contains two different sweet and romantic historical stories set in the US and around Christmas time.

    A McKettrick Christmas is the story of Lizzie. She's traveling to meet her family for Christmas when an avalanche strand her train. She's not scared and not alone, since she's traveling with Whitley Carson, her probably future husband. But when they and a couple of more passengers are in real danger, it is the handsome Dr. Morgan Shane who takes charge. Lizzie is a McKettrick, and she's going to help Dr. Shane and the rest of the passengers to survive, even if Morgan doesn't want her.

    Most of the story is about Lizzie and Dr. Shane dealing with the passengers of the train. Lizzie is young and sweet, but I liked her attitude. Morgan is strong and responsible, and liked Lizzie from the beginning.  Their story is sweet and extremely romantic. It was obvious they were made to each other, but Lizzie have dreams and Morgan is afraid he isn't going to give her what she deserves.

    A Creed Country Christmas is the story of Lincoln Creed and Juliana. Juliana just lost her teaching job and she's taking care of a couple of native kids. She loves them very much, but she's having bad times. They don't have anywhere to live, until Lincoln Creed met them and invited them to his home.

    He has been alone since his beloved wife died, and his daughter Gracie need a teacher and a mother. Could Juliana be that person? He doesn't want a wife, but Juliana seems pretty and perfect for the role.

    Their story is sweet but was more intensive than the first one. Lincoln can't accept to love another women, and Juliana is poor and needs a place to stay. But they begin to fall in love, without really wanting to. Juliana is strong and her heart is big enough to love every kid she meets. Lincoln also has a big heart, and underneath his problems, he's a good man.

    I loved both stories. Both were heart-warming and perfect to get into the Christmas feeling. I specially liked that their families where included, because I fell in love with the McKettricks and the Creeds. Looking for more books from this author, I discovered her McKettrick and Creed families' series and I'm assuming The Christmas Brides are part of this families.

    Overall, The Christmas Brides is a very well written enjoyable read, and if you like sweet romantic stories (and a little bit naughty) you should read them.

    More about this book at www.lindalaelmiller.comGoodreads, Amazon.

    December 17, 2010

    Review: A Spirited Heart by Dalba Y. Castrillon (and giveaway!)

    Title: A Spirited Heart
    Author: Dalba Y. Castrillon
    Release Date: June 11th, 2010
    Publisher: Kryptics Publishing
    Age: Adult.
    A Spirited love and spirited passion...
    Izobelle Montgomery was the only daughter of a very rich rancher. A vision of perfection, poise, and untarnished beauty in a rustic landscape, she was wanted by all the men within a thirty mile radius. Well guarded by her greedy father; Izzy as she was called was destined to marry a man she had never met. But her spirit and fight for what was right didn’t let her accept the path her father had so callously planned for her. She was determined to find a way out of the upcoming marriage. She would not be used as a business strategy. Izzy decides that the best course of action is to leave the ranch at the first opportunity. But how would she do it and who would help her …?
    Mark Horton had never laid eyes on such a beautiful woman and knew nothing about her. All he knew was that he must help her escape what she was trying to run from, even if it meant making an enemy out of a powerful and influential man. A desperate need takes over the level headed man and the young damsel in distress, creating a whirlwind love.
    Izobelle is the young, naive and beautiful daughter of a rich farmer. Her father is possessive and overprotects her, and her spirited heart can't accept that. She haven't met any men because of him; but one day she sees Mark Horton, new in town, and suddenly he's everything she can think of.

    Izzy is stubborn and determined, yet naive. She's exactly as most women at 21 years old would be. She falls in love very quickly with Mark (who wouldn't) and completely trust him. But when Mark's intentions doesn't seem to be what she thought, she can forgive him that easily.

    Mark Horton is new in town. He isn't looking for a woman, but when he sees Izobelle for the first time, it isn't easy to forget about her beauty. But she's a protected gem, daughter of a strong and sometimes cruel man, that happens to be his neighbor.

    I was totally in love with Mark. He's such a gentleman. I ain't a big fan of ranchers/cowboys, but Mark is very hot and as some of the characters said "He has balls". It was sweet to see how in love he was with Izobelle, and how much he wanted to protect her.

    A Spirited Heart is a very sweet romantic story. It's fast paced and with some turns in the plot that makes it interesting enough and different from the typical romance. I couldn't stop reading it, and I finished the book in a couple of hours.

    Izzy was my favorite character (besides Mark, of course) because I could relate to her. She wants to be free, but sometimes she's too stubborn and ends hurting people around her. But I also like the rest of the characters, because each of them seems to have a personality and a plot on their own.

    Overall, it's a light and sweet story, and I recommend it if you are looking for intense characters and a happily ever after ending.

    More about this book at, Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter.

    Giveaway CLOSED

    WINNER: PinkStuff28

    One person is going to win an ebook of A Spirited Heart by Dalba Y. Castrillon. To be available, you just have to read the review and leave a comment with your email address. If you read Dalba's guest post, you have an extra entry.

    What are you waiting? It's international and it ends Dec 24. The winner will be chosen by and the book will be send via Kindle. You don't need a Kindle device to read it, just install one of the Kindle free applications to your computer, iPod or cell phone.

    December 16, 2010

    Guest Post: Dalba Y. Castrillon, author of A Spirited Heart

    Hi everyone! :D Today I'm supper happy to welcome Dalba Castrillon, author of A Spirited Heart. I just read her book a couple of days ago, and loved it. It's a sweet romantic story with a strong heroine.

    Anyway, she came today to talk a little bit about her book. Please welcome her and remember tomorrow to come and read my review. Oh, and also entering a giveaway ;).

    Why Izobelle Montgomery?

    A strong heroine.  As soon as I typed that first chapter I knew who Izobelle was.  Not from self experience, but from admiration of those strong young women that I had only dreamt about being. 

    I remember being twenty one, and having so many strong opinionated emotions.   I remember my view on love and honesty.  Of course at that age I never got to feel that strong intense love that was born in Izobelle but that didn’t stop me from wanting it.

    Who doesn’t want love to sweep them off their feet? No matter your age, I believe woman still want that.  So that’s the first side of her that I wanted to show. Then came the side of deep seeded hurt. That hurt that you think might kill you and tear your soul inside out.  The kind of pain that doesn’t let you see straight and sometimes drives you to make small mistake into big mistakes.  

    But somehow, love concurs all. Even the most stubborn strong heroine concedes to love. She gives in to those emotions pulling the strings of her heart.  Izobelle begins to accept the love that the man of her dreams, her savior, her protector her everything, wants to give her. 

    Izobelle represents what many women dream of being (or have dreamt of at one point in their lives including myself), strong, with an unbendable will, but the willingness to give into a hard fought love.  And just like those telenovelas that I use to watch as a young teen (Spanish novelas such as ‘La Duena” which also greatly inspired the character of Izobelle) there is a happily ever after, how else would a romance novel end?

    I have heard from readers that they could not put this story down, and I know it has a lot to do with Izobelle and of course Mark. I just want my readers to know that as I wrote the story I couldn’t stop writing either it was as if I was reading a book straight off my mind, I lived every moment and every emotion with Izobelle Montgomery.

    Thank you so much for your support.

    With love,

    @DalbaC - DYC Romance on Facebook - A Spirited Heart on Goodreads - A Spirited Heart on Amazon

    Thank you Dalba! Izobelle definitely is a strong character and she was main reason why I loved A Spirited Heart.

    December 15, 2010

    Waiting on Wednesday # 29 - The Hunt of the Unicorn

    "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    My pick:

    Summary from
    Elayne thinks the old family story that one of her ancestors stepped through a tapestry into a world of mythical beasts makes a great fireside tale. But she lives in the real world. In New York City. And she's outgrown that kind of fantasy.
    Until she finds herself in front of a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters museum and sees her initials woven into the fabric. And hears a unicorn calling to her. And slips and falls—into that other world.
    Suddenly the line between fantasy and reality isn't so clear. But the danger is real enough. Almost before she can think, Elayne is attacked by a ferocious beast, rescued by a unicorn, and taken prisoner by a tyrant king. Each of them seems to have an idea about her—that she's a hero, a villain, dinner!
    But Elayne has a few ideas of her own. She wants to overthrow the king; she wants to tame the unicorn. She wants to go home! And she's willing to become both hero and villain to do it.
    C.C. Humphreys
    March 8th, 2011 by Random House
    Amazon (pre-order)

    Sounds good, with a strong female protagonist and unicorns! And the cover is gorgeous :)