Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some romance for cold winter days (or nights)

Stephanie Laurens: In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster

I've been following the Cynsters forever. :) I have to say I didn't expect there would be more after the original Devil's crew of rakes, but luckily, there are always other family members on the lookout for love (or not). :)

This is the second book in the trilogy and we still have Angelica's and laird's story left (to come out soon, luckily for me). :)
In this book, we get to know the laird much better and I really appreciated that, it made me eager to read his story when the time comes. As obviously the first 2 kidnappings of Cynster sisters (so he can marry one because of a complicated story) didn't work out well for him.

I must say though, the lead male character Jeremy (a scholar turning half-warrior during the novel) is incredibly fun to read. He and Eliza go through some peril and a serious adventure during which both grow as people and fall in love (of course) with each other through their adversities. I particularly loved their theorizing as to why they should take advantage of the fact that she is obviously ruined (as she had to spend nights with only him as company). :)
Jeremy is also one of the rare male characters in romance novels who, even though he could have the woman he loves without him declaring it, decides to take all the facts into account and state his true feelings.
In the end, they both grow as people and show their families their true worth. :)

Sabrina Jeffries: A Lady Never Surrenders

This is the last novel of the Hellions of Halstead, the story of the youngest sister, Celia an Jackson Pinter, the investigator into the murder of her parents. The investigation starts in the first novel and runs through the whole year, which is how much time all 5 of them have in order to get marries unless their grandmother disinherits them.
Celia is the most fragile of them, not in appearance so much, but in emotions. Which is why her love story with Pinter (who has some problems of his own) is fraught with misunderstanding (and some heavy passion). I have to say, this seems one of the better S. Jeffries novels I read in a long time. She is always good, but this one made me react to many of the stories encounters. And that is one of the ways I know a story is good (any kind of story).
In the end, the manage to understand each other (through some serious misunderstandings and flounderings on Mr. Pinter's part - of course, he is a man, understanding female feelings is a bit difficult for him).

As this is the last Hellion of Halstead to get her love story, of course that the murder of their parents is solved.

Linda Mooney: Captive Surrender

I find the premise of the story, even though it's set in a future universe that doesn't exist, a bit scary and unfortunately possible. Kidnapping people and forcing them to have sex in order to broadcast it all over the universe (in this case) in order to make money seems not so far fetched in today's world.
Maurra is a member of Psi Police Corps and is kidnapped and forced into this by a guy she formerly sent to prison who got free.
And as the story is set in a universe full of different species, of course, her kidnapped partner is of another (much bigger) species. The problem is, it is forbidden to have inter-species relations and her a member of police force that uses their psi powers, she both needs to uphold the law as well as help the innocent, who is in this predicament because of her.

In the end, they break free and then a whole another set of problems occurs but the story is interesting, fast-paced and well a bit too short. :) I could have used a couple of more pages of this story. Especially as it's a sci-fi romance, something I haven't read in a while (I forgot how good they can get).

The only question I am left with is, is Maurra completely human in appearance or not? As there is a mention of her having 3 arms which are never explained afterwards. And I wondered where would you place a third arm on a human body... (as this was advanced uncorrected proof, that could account for this particular problem)

P.S. As I read this on my Kindle, I only now saw the cover - I have to say, Maurra looks much better (and smarter) in my mind than on that cover.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter 2012 Top Fragrances & Other Stuff

I always enjoy participating in joint blog projects as they make me organize my thoughts on a certain subject and it's fun to take a look back and see what my top winter perfumes and other stuff wore.
Thanks to Helg of the Perfume Shrine, today you can check some of the winter favorites both here and on the other participating blogs (the list is below). :)

So, in no particular order, this winter I've been enjoying the Voluspa Winesap Apple Spice candle in the evenings. I light the candle, and curl in my favourite armchair with a book. This winter has seriously sapped my energy levels (not the weather, but the period) so this is my way of relaxing and enjoying some down time.

On the plus side, when the candle burns out, I will have a beautiful cup to put in some of my favourite decants. :)

This winter, I also found out that if one is to go by perfumes, I had a completely wrong idea of what India smells like.
I have been lucky to test the Neela Vermeire perfumes (proper reviews to come soon) and I was completely taken by surprise by the perfume interpretation of India.

For some reason I thought that all the spices and notes will turn into an oriental perfume fullbodied and heavy.
Instead, what I found is the warm, summer air saturated with all kinds of smells but at the same time breezy and light-hearted. I can't wait to be able to wear them once the weather turns slightly warmer, I believe the cold we are having these days would kill their light happiness.

And that brings me to the fact that this winter, I'm all for warm and sweet when it comes to my perfumes, so I'm wearing vanillas and ambers and Shalimar in the evenings.
L'Artisan's Vanilia and L'Eau d'Ambre, MdO Vanille, Un Bois Vanille by SL and of course, Ambre Sultan.
Among all these ambers and vanillas, a strange little cinnamony gem also found its place - Un Crime Exotique.

Those are my go-to scents when I want to feel wrapped up in my little warm cocoon where the world can't get me (and they work rather well in that context).

As does my first ever cashmere sweater! :) Ok, so I might be late to that party but I just never thought there is a type of wool out there that could work with my extremely sensitive skin when it comes to clothing texture. Not to mention that the price wasn't exactly making me eager to buy one.
All I can say is, I might not be buying cashmere sweaters regularly, but they will slowly start appearing more and more in my wardrobe.

And last but not least, my list of top stuff couldn't be complete without a mention of an alcoholic beverage. ;)
This winter I discovered my favourite cognac and cognac house. Not that I've tried many but Frapin are my clear favourite. Not surprising though as I love their perfumes a lot as well (if they can make such great perfumes, imagine what they can do with cognacs which they've been making for 20 generations).

And here are my fellow participating bloggers with their thoughts on winter favourites:

The Non Blonde

Perfume Shrine

Katie Puckrick

I smell therefore I am

Under the Cupola

Waft by Carol

Apples and wine pic by

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Being careful around SL perfumes

It hit me this morning when applying Rousse.

It's not only Fleurs d'Oranger you need to take care when you decide to apply, as Birgit  explained the other day.
Many Serge Lutens perfumes are mischievous, not exactly beasts, but creatures they could be. Everything is working fine until one day you put the perfume on, and it smells off. I'm pretty sure this has happened to many of you but the only perfume house which perfumes do this to me is Serge Lutens.

I will have to employ some investigative methods  to discover why exactly does that happen but I think I know.


I believe they know when you are applying them without being sure it's the right perfume for that day as you're thinking, today this might work.
They know...

That is what happened to me today.
And that has also happened with Fleurs d'Oranger, and Cedre, once with Serge Noire, Fille en Aiguilles and Boxeuses (I'm pretty sure it will happen with some others I decide to wear without being sure it's their perfectly right time).

I tell you - they know your heart wasn't in it when you sprayed it. And they take revenge.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Little help needed

I hope someone can offer advice on a good tinted moisturizer. :)

So far, I've been using Dior's Hydra Life Tint which is a really great tinted moisturizer but I'm getting low and will have to buy a new one so I wanted to ask for recommendations as this one is a bit too dark for me even in the most light shade.

In case I can't find anything better, I'll go again with this one but as I like to try new things, I'd rather try something new (even though I know this one works great). :)
Yes, I'm very fickle and flighty when it comes to cosmetics.

I also noticed that tinted moisturizers work better for me than regular foundations, in winter, I need more moisture with the cold outside and in the summer, it gives me a  lighter feeling on my skin when the heat hits.

On an unrelated notes, as of yesterday, Croatian citizens said yes to European Union and Croatia is to join in the summer of 2013.
(which basically means I'll be able to order Serge Lutens perfumes without any problems!) :D

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Matthew Reilly: Scarecrow Returns

I promise, a perfume review is coming soon. :)

But until then, another book I read that deserves I talk about it. Besides, I'm a Matthew Reilly fan for years now (albeit I almost stopped being that after he killed a certain character some time ago).
And this is the part where I need to say that I REALLY doubted him. I was so upset at a certain point in the book, and kept thinking that I am not reading another MR novel after this if keeps going like that, but luckily for me, I was wrong and I hope there will be more MR novels in the future because I really enjoy them.

I mean, you shouldn't expect a novel that will become a classic (although it might in the fast-paced action category if those will ever become classics) - it's like reading a Hollywood action movie of the James Bond/Mission Impossible/Die Hard variety.
It's fast, action-packed and mostly fun. Until you get to the conspiracy theory part where it's usually US conspiracy although not known by the top authority. It's also very believable (in the possibility of people like that existing and attempting to destroy certain countries) and quite likely unfortunately. Not in the whole action-packed, impossible to survive situations, but from the perspective that we have no idea what is actually happening at top levels in our world.

Ok, enough with the conspiracy theories. :)
It's an easy read and if you enjoyed the previous Scarecrow novels, you're bound to enjoy this one.
And now that I've read it, I'm ready for the next Jack West installment (even though Scarecrow and Jack Reilly bear many similarities, not that I really mind). :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

S.K.S. Perry: Darkside

Where to start?

It's been a while since I read such a light-bantered book.
At first, I thought the main character, James, wasn't really funny, more that he tried too hard to be funny but as the story progressed and I get to know him, he became a really cute-funny, slightly dorky guy.
Although, I'm not sure he'd be happy to be called that, being an Eternal (someone who is dead, but not dead dead - the book explanation). :)

I must say in all my fantastical reading so far, I haven't yet come across the term of an Eternal, a being that is neither truly dead nor alive, spiritual so it can't be killed.
The story is told from his perspective, how he came to be an Eternal and to fight on the side of good. Which he does throughout the book (fight against evil).

Anyway, we have the usual set of fantastic beings, vampires, fae, weres, trolls, goblins, etc. The interesting thing is though that the Darkside is in this case our world, and the world of fae is Summerland (well, other beings live there as well).

The spectral dog part is one I really enjoyed I must say. :)
And even though James seems light-hearted and likes banter, he is at the moment of his first death, leading a solitary, unemotional life because everyone he loved died.
Luckily for him, in this book, his heart and emotions are once again his (through again some interesting mystical stuff).

A little fragrant bit - the favoutite perfume of his unfortunately dead girlfriend, was Eternity.

Even though I didn't think of that in the beginning, I really enjoyed the book and its light tone. It made me smile and laugh and that is something any one of us can use in large quantities.
Luckily for me, there is another book in the series. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kresley Cole: Lothaire

*probable spoilers ahead*

The Enemy of the Old.
That's who Lothaire is. And when I say "of the old" it actually means several millenia old (more than I can possible wrap my mind around).
He and Nix go together way back (and he remembers her name - Phenix) - it seems they started their immortal lives at about the same time and had dealings all throughout history - mostly friendly. He is the Enemy of the Old which makes him evil so friendliness isn't a characteristic of his dealings.
And make no mistake about that - you cannot call him anything else but evil until the end - even though at times you might be prone to forget it and forgive possibly. Try and ignore his gorgeousness in the process too. :)

But the most important part of this story for me is Ellie. She practically stole Lothaire's book. :)
In my opinion, she is the strongest female character so far in the Immortals after Dark series (and she should be, as she is the Bride of the Enemy of the Old).
There are her own references throughout the book about her being stubborn, but she actually isn't stubborn. At least not from my perspective. She is extremely strong in character, proud, fair, compassionate and loving. I can see though how pride can be mistaken for stubborness, but the more stubborn person in this book is Lothaire.

I don't want to go into details about the story as there is a lot of new information coming to light and I couldn't possibly decide what would be more important as I can't enumerate everything. Just read it and enjoy (and tell me if I'm right about Ellie). :)

Those who read my reviews probably know by now I am a huge fan of Kresley Cole. :) Luckily for me, now that I have my Kindle, I didn't have to wait for the actual book to arrive in my bookstore. The moment it was out, I had it and then got sucked into its world.
The best thing about that world and its stories is that, except for the part where the pair gets together in the end, is that I can never guess what is going to happen. 
Which of course works wonders for speedy reading. :)

I have no idea when the next book in the series is coming out (I just know it's not soon enough) but I'm wondering if it's about Kristoff's love story...
As we're left with an interesting parting scene in Lothaire...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reading challenges of 2011.

As I look back on my reading in 2011., I can tell that most of what I was reading was for the sole purpose of relaxing and getting rid of stress, which is why I went through the whole HP series twice in the last year.

I am happy to say that I read more books in the last year than in the previous one but I think that is mostly due to the fact that I had to get through a bunch of them for my thesis so the number grew a bit. I believe I finished the year with 81 but it is possible I missed one or two on the way (it happens). :)

I don't believe I will be participating in any this year though. I do plan on writing about books and keeping a list. The only one I find interesting to join is 100 books in a year (which I doubt I will ever manage) but this year non-fiction isn't allowed so I'm skipping it (as I know I will read some non-fiction as well and if it doesn't count, no way am I getting near to what I read in 2011).

As I can tell from how well I did in my challenges, there is no point in participating in the Speculative fiction one, as that's the easiest for me to finish - each year before the summer, since it's mostly what I read.

It turns out I don't read so much Mystery and Suspense, I only managed 10 out of 12.

And I'm ashamed to say, it was my idea to ask for the Vampire Chronicles challenge which I didn't even begin. I've been wanting to read those books again for some time, but I guess it wasn't meant to be in 2011. Possibly this year...

I'll see where 2012. takes me reading-wise. I'm bound to enjoy again many, many books, some again, some for the first time.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone all the best in the year that started - let it bring happiness, peace (I sound like a beauty pageant contestant), prosperity and many wonderful fragrant discoveries among friends! :)

Possibly with a glass or two of champagne on the way. ;)