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Book Review: “Rush” by Maya Banks

One of the reasons I love reading romance novels is that I get to live vicariously through the female protagonist page after page. It also gives me an added bonus to daydream! 🙂

“Rush” is the first book in Maya Banks’s “Breathless” trilogy, which follows three 38-year-old handsome best friends and hotel billionaire business partners —Gabe Hamilton, Jace Crestwell and Ash McIntyre. The men dominate both in the bedroom. Each novel in the trilogy explores the relationship of one of the men as he discovers the woman he will love.

The story begins when Gabe sees 24-year-old Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening. He knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend Jace’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.16033902

Gabe has been Mia’s crush since she was a teenager. The fourteen year age difference doesn’t bother her. Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. Now an adult, Mia feels there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

Ever since the Fifty Shades phenomenon, there have been a lot of contemporary or erotic romance novels published. The romance genre is sizzling hot right now, but that’s another story for another time. Banks does a great job in providing details and fluidity to the plot. The chemistry between Gabe with Mia, Gabe with Jace and Ash, and Mia with Jace add substance to the story. In the beginning, Gabe is this dominant, stern alpha male who has no problem in getting what he wants, but on the flip side, we get to see a softer side of him that can melt your heart. I like gentle Gabe better than the domineering Gabe. I enjoyed the character development of Mia. She is a great heroine. She’s known Gabe all her life but is able to stand up for herself. She’s sweet and innocent yet spunky. She’s not afraid to tell Gabe what she wants and doesn’t want. Compared to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Rush” is a better read, and Banks is a better writer than E.L. James.

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Book Review: “Dwarf” by Tiffanie DiDonato & a Personal Reflection

Hate is a very strong word in the English language, and there are very few things that I hate in life. Peas are at the top of the list, but that’s another story for another time. But the one thing I hate the most is labeling.

I hate the word “midget.”

I hate the term “Little Person.”

And I hate the name “dwarf.”

As a girl born with achondroplasia, I refuse to define and segregate myself with that community and with those labels. I am merely a girl who is short.

Yet a couple of months ago, I browsed through the biography section at my local Barnes & Noble, and the word “Dwarf” caught my eye. I pulled it off the shelf, and after reading the back cover synopsis of Tiffanie DiDonato’s book Dwarf: A Memoir of How One Woman Fought for a Body and a Life She 13542771Was Never Supposed to Have, I knew I had to buy it, and I’m glad I did. I was meant to read this book not just because I could relate to her struggles growing up, but because people like Tiffanie serve as a positive role model for those who struggle to believe that life does get better in the long run with the concoctions of determination, patience, and tough love.

Tiffanie paints a very honest and detailed account of her life. She was born with a rare type of dwarfism called diastrophic displasia, which causes malformation of the joints and cartilage. As a young child, surgery became an integral part of Tiffanie’s life, beginning with her feet and joints in order to stand and then more bone-lengthening surgeries to extend her legs, thighs, and arms.

One can stupidly say the surgeries were all about looking good, but it wasn’t the case for Tiffanie. We are all guilty of taking the little things (no pun intended) for granted. There are some people that abuse some words in order to gain satisfaction for themselves. For instance, the word “independence.” Some people may interpret that word as a way to move out of their parents’ home. In Tiffanie’s case, the word “independence” meant having a normal life and doing things for herself. She didn’t want to rely on other people because she was just as strong and able as everyone else. She yearned for independence and always found ways to assist herself, even though sometimes they didn’t work to her advantage. The milk incident comes to mind. (Hint: read the book.)

Tiffanie’s mother, who was a military nurse, embraced her daughter’s lifelong goal of being independent. You can say at times, she acted like a drill sergeant when it came to pushing Tiffanie to reach her short-term and long-term goals. However, I fully understood her mother’s motives. Tiffanie’s mother was very supportive in her daughter’s decisions. Her tough love pushed her daughter to believe that she was no less than any normal sized person in the universe. Mrs. DiDonato always believed in her daughter’s full potential to be whoever she wanted to be. In my opinion, that’s how good mothers raise strong, empowered daughters. Mrs, DiDonato, I salute you. 🙂

Tiffanie’s bone-lengthening surgeries were indeed painful, and her recovery was difficult. But according to her, the fight with her doctors, the surgeries, and the struggles were worth it because she grew 14 inches, as a result. At 4’10”, she found the independence that she so craved. She’s also found her happily ever after with her normal-sized husband and adorable baby boy.

At times, the story becomes somewhat graphic when Tiffanie describes what she had to endure growing up. She underwent physical and emotional pain, but she used them to her advantage to belittle the negativity that surrounded her. Because of her decision to undergo the surgeries, she has been criticized as being “a disgrace to the dwarf community,” which I vehemently disagree.

This is a story about a woman who doesn’t like to be labeled. Like me, she doesn’t let her condition define who she is as a person. She is not a midget. She is not a little person. Contrary to the book title, she is not a dwarf. And for crying out loud, she wasn’t born with a disease. She is just Tiffanie, plain and simple. She is a source of inspiration that anything is possible as long as you believe in your dream.

Personal Reflection

This book really touched my heart. There were many moments where I had to stop reading because my eyes welled up with tears. I felt Tiffanie’s pain and anger. Fifteen years ago, I wrote an essay called “Someone Special.” In it I wrote about my own struggles as a short person. Though it was brought to my attention as a young child, I never opted to undergo multiple bone-lengthening surgeries. Like Tiffanie, there were a few ignorant people who told me that I was born with a “disease,” luckily they weren’t doctors. My parents taught me at a young age that my condition was nothing more than a gift from God, and that I am perfect in his eyes. It took me a long time to believe it, but I do. I didn’t choose to be short, but I am. I have my moments of sorrow, but I’m resilient. I wish we lived in a perfect world, but we don’t.

Through it all, I have fought to maintain a normal life and have learned to adapt. Do I still get stares from people whenever I’m out and about? Of course I do, though mostly from children. But I’ve learned to be like Victoria Beckham, put my oversized shades on and tune them out.

In addition to thinking about my own struggles growing up, I realized how far I’ve come. I can do many things on my own, and I’m amazed. I hope to follow in Tiffanie’s footsteps and find my happily ever after someday.

However in the meantime, I will continue to find my way by taking things one day at a time and being just Rosie. 😉

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Book Review: “Room For Love” by Andrea Meyer

Recently, I did something that I thought I would never do. I went on a blind date! 🙂

OK, I have to be honest it wasn’t with a guy. My date was with a book. I know you’re probably thinking, “Rosie, WTF! You had our hopes up!”  Before you go and revolt, let me explain. I participated in my public library’s Valentine’s Day event called “Blind Date with a Book.”  The staff gift-wrapped a1264885 small selection of romance novels and placed them on display at the front of the library. With the book’s title in disguise, those interested could pick one lucky member out of the group, check it out of the library, unwrap “the date”, and start reading.

Beneath the cleverly-wrapped red-hearted tissue paper, I read Andrea Meyer’s debut novel called “Room For Love.” The book is about a 32-year-old film writer and editor named Jacquie Stuart and her quest is to find the man of her dreams in the streets of New York City. She has looked for love in all the wrong places, and she wonders whether she’ll ever meet Mr. Right. Taking her sister’s advice, Jacquie scours through the “roommate wanted” ads to find her one true love. In doing that, she can find out more about a guy by studying his surroundings. It’s such an innovative idea that she writes a piece about it in the fictional Luscious magazine (think Cosmo, Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, etc).

After visiting several apartments and seeing (and dating) potential candidates, Jacquie finds in an almost perfect situation with Anthony, a reality show producer. Certain circumstances makes Jacquie questions her actions. Is Anthony Mr. Right? What will happen when he finds out the truth about her? Did she really have to look hard to find love?

This is a very light chick-lit read. It almost reminded me of Candace Bushnell and the show Sex and the City. The characters were appealing and Andrea Meyer did a great job in making them seem real and in building the suspense. While reading the book, I kept wondering when Jacquie was going to Mr. Right.

I was very surprised with how my “date” ended. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Valentine’s Day Book Review: “Love Unscripted” by Tina Reber

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“I don’t want anyone else – just you. And no matter where I am, wherever I go, you’re the only one who is holding my heart.” ~Ryan

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Normally, I don’t particularly care for this day because my philosophy is that if you really want to show that special someone how much you love them, you demonstrate that love 365 days a year!! Don’t just show your love on that one day in the middle of February. To be honest, your significant other isn’t the one getting the incentive of your love on Valentine’s Day. It’s Hallmark and other greeting card and chocolate candy companies that’s milking this “holiday” because they’re the ones sucking the life out of your wallet with every penny you have.  I’m not bitter. I’m just saying my peace. *Sigh* I just hopped off my soap box and move on to important things. 🙂

Now I love a good love story. One that’s well-written, brings drama and angst to the plot and ultimately melts my heart with a happy ending, and I found that in Tina Reber’s first novel in her Love series called Love Unscripted.

The story takes place in Seaport, Rhode Island, where Taryn Mitchell owns a pub that she has inherited from her family and lives above the establishment. She’s had a difficult, yet quiet life. She’s maturely independent, confident, self-sufficient, and a little standoffish when it comes to men. She’s not one to be googly-eyed when an adoring Adonis lurks around the corner. A-List heartthrob actor Ryan Christensen is in town filming the second movie from a book trilogy called “Seaside.” Being an A-List celebrity is tough, since one has to deal with those pesky paparazzis and stalking fans. Ryan knows all too well about that, especially when one day he is being chased by screaming fans. As Taryn steps out of her bar, she sees him running down the street. Their worlds begin to collide when she lets him into her closed bar. Ryan manages to escape from his fans, but once in the pub he accidentally opens the back door that leads up to Taryn’s apartment. They spend the whole day together, and a friendship is born, which then leads to love.

However, their love story is not an easy one as they try to overcome several obstacles such as right to privacy, trust issues, sensational tabloid stories, jealous fans, and the ever-present paparazzi. Can Taryn adjust herself to Ryan’s world?

I enjoyed this story immensely because for once it wasn’t a lust-at-first-sight plot. It starts out slow and builds up little by little to the point where you’re like “OK! Let’s hook up already!” Their chemistry is palpable, and their interactions and emotions towards one another can be felt as a reader. Their character developments, including Taryn’s insecurities, were real. Tina Reber does a great job in exploring the culture of super-stardom. As any celebrity may tell you, though it reaps many benefits, it’s not an easy thing to be. I love that fact that Taryn stays grounded throughout the entire plot. The ensemble characters (Ryan’s castmates and family and Taryn’s friends: Marie, Tammy, Pete, and Mike, to name a few) add humor, drama, and a little vibrance to the story.

The story actually reminded me of the way Matt Damon met his wife Luciana. He was an A-List, award-winning actor/screenwriter when he met his wife at a bar she worked at in Miami in 2003. She was a bartender, and Matt was filming the “Stuck On You” on location at the time.

So overall, great book! Kudos to Tina Reber. I am currently reading the second book in the series called Love Unrehearsed. Stay tuned for my upcoming review.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Book Review: “Point of Retreat” by Colleen Hoover

I was thinking of writing another poem as a way to review this book, but what it comes right down to it, I could only think of two words. Butterflying AWESOME!! 🙂

“Point of Retreat” is a smooth transition from “Slammed”, and this time, we are guided by Will’s point-of-view. Lake’s mother Julia becomes the inspirational element of the story.  After she dies, Will and Lake’s love for one another is tested as they continue13496084 to spiral down life’s hardships. Julia’s wisdom and unconditional love follow Lake and Will on their bumpy, yet loving journey. As her final gift, Julia (posthumously) gives the couple a vase filled with handmade folded stars containing advices and lyrics about life and love. Julia instructs them to take a star whenever they run into rough patches and boy do they!

For starters, Will’s ex-girlfriend Vaughn comes into the picture again. Will neglects to tell Lake that he and his ex, the girl who deserted him after his parents passed away, have a class together, shit hits the fan. Lake begins to question Will’s love for her. It’s no secret that they share a common bond of parental deaths and taking care of their brothers, but what would have happened to them if those similarities didn’t exist? Would Will still have loved Lake for her? Will takes matter into his own hands and decides to fight for what’s right for him.

We are introduced to some new characters like Sherry and her daughter Kiersten, who live on the same street as Lake and Will. Kiersten is the same age as Kel and Caulder and adds a comical, upbeat relief to the story, thanks her constant nosiness and various choice of words.

This book surpassed all of my expectations for this series, and the best part is that there’s another one coming out this year!! This is probably the most beautiful, tender love story I have ever read. However, the story is not just about love. It also centers on a lot of themes of responsibility and maturity. The unusual family unit built around the story tugs your heart. Colleen Hoover is a natural for making her characters come alive. Her writing style is simple yet powerful. She keeps you hooked every chapter. Page after page, I felt as if I was in the same room with them.

I guess that’s the joy of being an avid reader because you get to live vicariously through the characters. That’s something not to be ashamed of.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Book Review: “Slammed” by Colleen Hoover

I would like to preface that I have never written a book review as a poem before. I decided to give it a try after being inspired by this novel. So please be kind. *Sigh* Here goes nothing. 🙂

A friend told me about a book she read.13372690

She told me that I should read it,
She told me that I would like it,
She told me that she loved it.

A friend told me about a book she read.
I was immediately hooked,
I read the story in my bed,
After quickly downloading it to my Nook.

The novel is pure poetry,
It’s about young love, literally,
Two people paving their way through life’s winding paths,
Each immensely attracted to the other half.

18-year-old Layken Cohen trades Texas for winter hell,
Losing her father six months ago, a new chapter begins,
She moves to Michigan with her mother and brother Kel,
Because mom supposedly got a new job offer.

Upon arrival, Lake meets a new neighbor,
Good-looking, 21-year-old Will Cooper,
His parents are six feet under,
His world revolves around his little brother, Caulder.

Lake and Will form an intense chemistry,
They attend a poetry slam on their first date,
Not your typical poetry, but it’s entertaining,
They share a lot in common, which is great.

Kel and Caulder become the best of friends,
Lake’s mom suddenly leaves for unexplained errands,
Lake becomes kindred spirits with a girl named Eddie,
Not her real name, but she’s not too shabby.

Lake and Will’s relationship is blocked from the start.
Truths and secrets appear from the dark,
They try hard to keep themselves apart,
Patience pries delicate strings from your heart.

At first, the story parallels Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel series,
Only because of the nature of the characters, really.
Deeply not just an emotional love story,
It’s about surviving life’s unexpected intricacies.

Colleen Hoover did me proud, simple yet powerful,
I could not put the damn Nook down,
I laughed, I cried,
I love when characters come alive.

A friend told me about a book she read.
A book so emotional and so sweet,
Anxious to read what happens next,
Pardon me, but it’s time for Point of Retreat.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Book Review: “All I Want For Christmas is You” by Lisa Mondello

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Move over, Mariah! This book is now taking center stage!

The best way that I can describe this book is that it warms your heart and soul like a bowl of creamy, warm tomato soup. Though I finished this 200-page piece after Christmas, it was a great holiday story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a story about love, family, and giving back. The plot was simple. Lauren Alexander was a struggling single mom with a 6-year-old daughter named Kristen. One night, they go to the mall so that Kristen can tell Santa what she wants for Christmas.

Of all the presents Kristen can ask for, the only thing she tells Santa (a.k.a: Kyle Preston, a local real estate developer) is that this Christmas she wants a daddy.

Kyle Preston is definitely a selfless person and hearing the little girl’s plea makes him and the reader’s (including yours truly) heart melt. This leads a chain of events that makes everyone’s wish come true.

I loved the story though my only gripe is that there were times where I felt the author went a little fast in scenes. Nonetheless, Lisa Mondello did a great job in bringing Kyle, Lauren, and Kristen to life. The spirit of the holiday is not about the gifts. It’s about the exemplary of love to one another. I highly recommend reading this book near a Christmas tree.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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