Friday, December 13, 2013

[Book Review] The Proposal by Lily Zante

The Proposal (A Perfect Match #1)The Proposal by Lily Zante
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

A high-flying career woman with no time for romance finds herself at a loose end for her company's annual marketing convention. Partners are encouraged, and Nadine Stefano has every intention of fitting the image she believes her boss wants.
At her sister's recent bachelorette party Nadine finds herself irresistibly drawn to Ethan, one of the male strippers.
A single woman, desperate to present the image of being in a settled and happy relationship, she hires Ethan to act as her pretend boyfriend at the company event.
Not only is he five years younger, but he is also sexy as sin.
Theirs is a strong attraction, and the over-worked and uptight Nadine soon finds herself falling for the easy-going young man.
But company politics and nasty colleagues stand in their way.
Will their meeting lead to love, despite seemingly different career choices, or will Nadine dump Ethan in order to pursue her career goals?

Part 2: Recommendation

The Proposal by Lily Zante is a light read that I personally would classify as a romantic chick-lit and the plot line is very similar to the movie The Wedding Date starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney in the sense that both, highly successful women, hired an escort to act as their boyfriend for an event and ends up falling for the guy and the guy falling for the woman.

This book is another self-published endeavor and though I like the simple plot and the believable characters, sadly, I cannot give it five stars because there are so many grammatical errors and redundant phrases throughout the book that a proof reader and an editor should have caught. After reading this book, I went to check out the author's website to learn a little bit more about the writer and her other books and it looks like she has self-published a lot of other books. What I do wonder about though is that her website has no About the Author section, nor does her books.

I don't like her use of the word spectacles because the word is dated and since her book is contemporary, why couldn't she just use the word reading glasses or simply glasses? If she were writing a historical romance, by all means, use spectacles. A couple of words that I don't like in this book are words like spilt and leant when she should've used the words spilled and leaned. I also didn't like the fact that Nadine's thoughts were not italized.

Just an example where I feel she was redundant were on page 3: "Nadine stroked her sister's wavy hair...." followed by a short dialogue then "...she said, running her fingers gently down her sister's hair."

Since there are way too many errors in this book to go through them in this review, let's cut it short to what I think. The Proposal by Lily Zante has a simple plot, making it a light read which as I mentioned earlier, I'm classifying as a chick-lit (it feels like a chick-lit to me), the characters are believable, Lily Zante kept Ethan's main job as a mystery so that mainly is the only thing that kept me reading on. As for the author's writing style, it shows potential especially if the next book she puts out will have gone through a more rigorous proof reading and editing phase. So, if you are a person who will be distracted, mortified, or highly bothered by grammatical errors, sentence structure errors, etc, I will not recommend this book. However, if you are someone who can put aside your editing reflexes, and you are into quick, light and chick-lit like reads, then this might be for you.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

[Product Review] Fintie Folio Quilted Case for iPad

I have been searching Amazon for roughly 6 months now for the perfect folio case for my iPad 2 but I also want it to be sturdy enough to hold my iPad up without falling over when I prop it up on my lap when I'm typing up a story or an article in the backseat of my car during my lunch break. With the Apple Smart Cover, a little twitch will send my iPad crashing to the floor if I'm not quick enough. Another feature I was looking for in a case was a stylus pen holder. Finally, I came across the Fintie Folio Quilted Case for the iPad.

This item arrived in 3 days and it was packaged nicely by Amazon. The material, color and design were as described by the seller. I love how you have three viewing angles and though I have the iPad 2, all the cutouts lined up just fine. I just had to push the iPad 2 further inside so the back camera is not showing a portion of the metal rim and secure the iPad 2 with the velcro closure on the side. Other reviewers mentioned that there was this leathery smell to it and it did have it when I first opened it but it was not a smell that is overpowering. The new faux leather smell is very subtle (unless you deliberately put your nose to it and sniff it) and in the two days that I have it, I don't notice any smell at all. This folio made my iPad 2 heavier and bulkier than my old silicone back cover + Apple Smart Cover but I would still prefer this case because it has a stylus holder attached to it and this cover keeps my iPad 2 stable when it is propped up on my lap but closer to my knees and I'm typing on my lap with my Logitech K760 keyboard in front of it. The back panel of this cover is thicker and a lot more sturdy than the flimsy back of the Speck iPad folio case that I purchased for my husband's iPad 4. The magnets on the front part of the case automatically wakes and sleeps the iPad 2 when I open/close the cover and when it is closed, I just love how my iPad 2 looks just like a very nice and sophisticated journal.

Now that I've had this case for two days, I love it despite the added bulk and weight. It has everything on my checklist: sturdy back panel to hold my iPad up on my lap, three viewing angles, a stylus pen holder, a sophisticated girly quilted leathery exterior and it makes my iPad 2 looks like a journal. Just perfect for me! For the price, quality and color selection, I would highly recommend this product!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

[Book Review] Always You (Best Friend, #1) by Kirsty Moseley

Always YouAlways You by Kirsty Moseley
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Clay Preston is the most desirable guy in school, and boy does he know it! 

Movie star looks paired with a quarterback’s body, he’s every girl’s dream guy–but not mine. To me, he’s simply my best friend, the one who has been there as far back as I can remember. 

Our relationship has always been easy, playful and affectionate, but after one lost bet, and one payment in the form of a kiss, the dynamic of everything changes… 

Part 2: Recommendation

I got this book mainly because it was featured on iBooks' book of the week and though it was self-published, I thought I'd give it a try since I have read some really good self-published books in the past.

Always You is Ms. Moseley's second self-published book and though I have nothing against self-publishing, I have to say that this ebook copy that I have was published through Smashwords and it had a ton of grammatical errors throughout the book which is quite unforgivable. One or two errors is fine but hundreds of them from page one to the last page? Big no.

The plot is interesting enough for the more mature young adult audience that this book is targeting as for adults who just like reading YA fiction (myself included), there's not enough tension to keep the interest going especially since it goes on and on for six hundred plus pages when it could have ended quite nicely at around three hundred fifty pages.

Half of the book is based on Riley Tanner's point of view and then all of a sudden, on the second half, it alternates every two chapters between the point of view of Riley Tanner and Clay Preston. I guess even Ms. Moseley got tired of Riley's annoying personality.

While the major and minor characters in this book are pretty consistent I have to say that protagonist Riley Tanner makes me feel like she is a woman from the 18th century in the body of a 21st century teenager. Why? Because no teenager can be that helpless, stupid and crying buckets of tears all the time especially during moments when Riley is feeling fearful and in dangerous situations involving Blake, the psychotic antagonist.

There are lots of moments where I feel that Riley could have been more "kick-ass" whenever Blake is around and harassing her. For instance, when Blake kisses Riley forcefully and rubs himself all over her (more like assaults her really), Riley could have swung her purse at him or dig out a pen and stabs Blake in the ear or the neck and run away screaming for help.

And then there's that scene where Riley got kidnapped by Blake and they were on their way to Blake's home, instead of Riley thinking about "how to hot wire a car" she should be shown dialing 911 even with the phone in her pocket and going on with the dialogue where Riley says, "Why did you take me from school against my will and where are you taking me?" so that the emergency people taking her 911 call would immediately know that she has been kidnapped. The book didn't say that she had a flip phone and teenagers, texting a lot, she would've easily known the layout of her phone's keys like the back of her hand. So her phone being a brick phone type she should have been able to call 911.

The same thing when she got the chance to use her phone, instead of calling 911, she calls Clay. Really? If you have been kidnapped and you are in serious danger of being raped and held captive (Blake is psycho and all the doors and windows in the house were locked), you call 911 and not your best friend.

In the scene where Riley locks herself inside the car and Blake was trying to open the door and ends up smashing a rock against the window, in the time that Blake was trying to open the door with his key and picking up a rock, instead of trying to peel off the steering wheel column cover to "hot wire" a car, she could've just honked the horn until a neighbor comes out then she could've been rescued without Clay almost dying. Another scene was the one in the kitchen where Riley hides a kitchen knife under a towel. This is seriously annoying. It would've been better if Riley took the knife with her, kept the hand with the knife behind her, followed Blake to the front door and threatens him with the knife so when the door opens and Clay is right there, she could've just maimed Blake a little and run the hell out with Clay. And remember too, that all this time, Riley was calling herself "stupid" which made it all the more annoying because at the hospital when Riley was arguing with Clay's parents, she turns around and tells them that she's not "stupid." What on earth was that? From page one to this moment in the book, it is quite obvious Riley is stupid. Everything she did does not make any sense. In all the years that I have been reading, I have never hated a character as much as Riley Tanner. Right now, she tops my very short list of unlikable characters.

Now for Riley's parents allowing Clay to sleep over three days out of seven, and then towards the middle of the book, Clay sleeps over almost every night, even if they grew up together and no matter how much you trust that guy, your daughter's best friend, you as a parent, you still send the guy home. You don't let him sleep over no matter what especially since Riley's mom "can see how much Clay is in love with her daughter." As for Clay's parents, it seems like they were more of the absentee parents and the book only mentions them when Clay had to ask for permission to go to Vegas, when Clay and Riley announced that they got married in Vegas, when Clay's parents & Riley's mom came over to the apartment to help decorate and at the hospital. There's really no depth to these two sets of parents. David, probably has a little bit more depth than any of the parents. I couldn't really picture the rest of them.

As for Clay being overprotective of Riley, I can understand that but how he just goes ballistic and violent just by the mere mention of Blake's name, that actually seems a little bit bi-polar and unrealistic to me. True that heroes should have a little bit of a flaw to them but it should be realistic. I don't see the motivation for Clay having this reaction to Blake all the time given their past when Blake was still part of the football team and Blake dating Clay's girl of the week back then.

Finally, to conclude this lengthy review of Always You by Kirsty Moseley, for the characters in this book, they need to be fleshed out more where you can clearly see and understand the driving force of their actions. Right now, they're all a little bit flat and annoying. I also suggest she hire a professional proof reader and a professional editor before self-publishing any more books (this is assuming her first and third book currently out now have tons of grammatical errors and too many pages) because as a writer, I think she really has the potential to be better if she would invest enough time and effort into proof reading, editing and revising in order to produce a clean, crisp and concise book with pages filled with quality writing that doesn't go on forever.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

[Product Review] Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder, Logitech K760 Wireless Solar Bluetooth Keyboard

Product Reviews
Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder - I guess you can pretty much call this my biggest knitting-related
purchase. But with the help of a $25 Michael's Gift Card and a 40% off coupon, I got this for a reasonable amount and I love it! Though the yarn balls don't come off as firm as the ones you get with hand winded yarns (the yarn balls come off as soft and squishy and may or may not become unwound (is that the right term?) but so far, it works just fine for me and it keeps my stashed yarns in neat little balls.

Logitech K760 Wireless Solar Bluetooth Keyboard for Mac, iPhone & iPad - I got this
keyboard for Valentine's Day because ever since I started my writing class, I have been on the lookout for a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad because typing on the on-screen keyboard for a lengthy amount of time is just not good for my wrist. Everyone I know at work who has the iPad had bought the Apple wireless keyboard. They all said that they had to change the batteries every three months or so. I didn't like the idea of spending as much for batteries especially since I'll be using it more than they do. So I got this instead and boy do I love it! It has three bluetooth buttons to set up with three different devices. I set it up for my iPad, my husband's iPad and our shared MacBook. The keyboard has the same keyboard layout as any Mac/Apple keyboard and it paired up easily with the three devices during set up and afterwards, simply pressing on one of the bluetooth buttons would connect the keyboard to the device it is set up with in probably 2 seconds. There's no need to disconnect my iPad's bluetooth to use the keyboard with my husband's iPad, the MacBook and vice versa. Since I unboxed the keyboard on Feb. 9, I still have yet to see the keyboard's battery light to indicate low battery. Keyboard's tactile feedback is awesome and I think it has the same feel as that of the Apple Wireless Keyboard. Though the Logitech K760's dimensions are bigger than my iPad, overall, I am very happy with this keyboard and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a keyboard who doesn't want to deal with changing out the batteries.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

[Book Review] Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to GetPublished Now by Sam Barry,

Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published NowWrite That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now by Sam Barry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

From the foreword by Maya Angelou:
"[T]he joy they promise in their prose makes me glad that I and other writers have been willing to make good writing our aim, and even great writing our dream." 
"How do I get my book published?"
Good question. Lucky for you, publishing insiders Sam Barry and Kathi Kamen Goldmark have laid out the blueprint for what you want--your book. From transforming an idea into a manuscript to finding an agent to working with an editor to marketing your book, BookPage's Author Enablers are here to assist you every step of the way. And they've brought some backup with original insight from literary superstars like Stephen King, Amy Tan, Rita Mae Brown, and more.
It's everything you would ever want--and need--to know about the industry from the inside out.

Praise for Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need To Get Published Now

"This is THE book that every would-be author needs to own. It's full of incredibly practical advice about how to write and sell a book -- finding an agent, writing a proposal, dealing with an editor, boosting sales -- and on top of that, it's also probably the funniest thing every written about how to get published. Write That Book Already! is a gem." -- Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent and Innocent

"Write That Book Already! is the perfect companion to writer's angst, brimming with wise advice for all scribes, including myself." -- Amy Tan, author of Saving Fish From Drowning

Part 2: Recommendation

As an unpublished writer myself, this book is truly inspiring in the sense that the authors explain (in layman terms) what goes on after the writer types "The End" on their manuscripts and starts the campaign to find a kick ass agent to represent you and your book, what an agent does, what an editor from a publishing house does, who the other important people are and what they do to get your book out.

The book is evenly sprinkled with light humor so reading this guide or overview to publication is not boring at all. Also, it is filled with lots of tips for coping with rejection slips, time management tips in order to fit in some writing time, searching for an agent, marketing and publicity tips that you can do on your own to help out your publicity team from the big house, and lots of book and movie recommendations to jump start your creative juices to get you back on track with your writing goals.

This book is not designed to help newbie writers improve their writing skills (you have writing workshops/conferences/retreats and creative writing classes/courses for that). As I said earlier, this book is more of a guide into what happens after the writing process and you have decided to submit queries to agents/editors and what you should and should not do. With that said, I think this is a great guide in its simplicity and an inspiration to newbie writers who are serious enough about getting published one of these days.

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