Thursday, May 31, 2012

Giveaway Goodies: My Favourite Reads Giveaway Hop (INT)



I haven't participated in a Giveaway Hop in a real long time so I thought, what better Hop to follow but this one! Goodness knows I have quite a few fave books I hope to share the love with. Oh yeah, firstly, BIG THANKS to the lovely hosts, I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Rachelle's Writing Spot. I am number #53 on the list!

And so, I want to share a few of my fave books with you. And for the giveaway, you get to pick your book of choice from my list! I hope you'll enjoy them as I have! Oh yeah, and it's of course, open WORLDWIDE!






 


Other books you can choose from:
Any of Judith McNaught's other books
Naked Heat/Heat Rises - Richard Castle
Any of J. D. Robb's In Death books

If you've been waiting to enter, there is only 1 mandatory entry and a few extra ones if you like. Please enter below! For INT entrants, I'll be getting your book from the Book Depository, as for US & Canadian entrants, I may choose to send your prize from Amazon. Thanks for entering! Do try out for more winnings after the Rafflecopter.

P.S. If the Facebook link doesn't work, try searching for me through my email (it's located in the Rafflecopter's T&C box) 


Giveaway Goodies: Spring Sample Giveaway

I'm quite a bit of a shopper when it comes to cosmetics and especially skin care so I get lots of goodies. My friends and relatives know that too so they like to pile on the pressies. As I know I can't and won't be able to use so much, I thought of sharing it with my readers. So I am opening this giveaway to INTERNATIONAL readers, except where prohibited of course. I hope you'll make use of these in my place.



Here are some of the goodies in the box. I will include more when I as I get them.

Laneige Snow Crystal Shimmer Lipgloss in Pink Glow
Laneige High Perm Curling Mascara in Black
Benefit Benetint
My Lip Stuff Natural Lip Balm in Almond Ice Cream Cake
Lancome Genifique Youth Activator
Paul & Joe Moisture Lotion
Paul & Joe Light Cleansing Milk
Paul & Joe Moisturizing Serum
Paul & Joe Essential Moisturizing Cream
Revlon Matte Eye Shadow in Luscious Lime
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Firecracker
Revlon Matte Luxurious Kohl Eyeliner in Very Violet
RMK Cleansing Milk
RMK Water Color Eyes in Olive Green
The Face Shop Raspberry Roots Collagen Eye Patch
The Face Shop Su Hyang Snow Maximizing Gel Cream
Sexy Look Face Mask
Sunplay Skin Aqua Moisture BB Cream SPF 36 PA++
The Skin Food Honey Black Tea Jelly Foam
The Skin Food Aloe Moisture Ampoule 100
The Skin Food Argania Sebum Control Ampoule 100
The Skin Food Black Bean Nose Pack
The Skin Food Black Sugar Deep Cleansing Cream
Ettusais White Serum Dual Effect
Ettusais Medicated Acne Aqua Shooter
Ettusais Medicated Acne Clear Spots Superior
Vichy Normaderm Anti-Imperfection Hydrating Care
Vichy Normaderm Promat Non-Stop Matte Effect Hydrating Care
Vichy Normaderm Refine Total Pore Resurfacing Essence
Vichy Bi-White Reveal Double Corrective Whitening Essence
Vichy Bi-White Reveal Double Corrective Whitening Cream
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Complete UV Waterlight Lotion
Nature & Co Vital Purity Lotion
Nature & Co Vital Purity Milky Lotion
Clinique 3 Step Skin Care System
Clinique Color Surge Eye Shadow Super Shimmer in Blue Lagoon
Clinique Skin Supplies for Men Age Defense for Eyes
Clinique Skin Supplies for Men M Gel-Lotion Light Daily Hydration
May White Radiance Shower Cream
iNuovi Pro Lash 03
iNuovi Browcake in Charcoal
Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion
Bio-Essence Tri-Action Aqua Boost Complete Nourishing Sleeping Mask
Avene Hydrance Optimale Protective Hydrating Cream
Marie France Bodyline Contour Xpert Energizing Gel
Cellnique Skin Action Sebum Gel
Clarins Hydra-Matte Lotion
Nutox Oxyfusion Advanced Serum Concentrate with Birds Nest Collagen
Garnier Light Overnight Whitening Peeling Cream
Stella in Two Peony
Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey
Madara Decoface Moon Flower
GoodSkin Labs Tri-Atkaline Instant Deep Wrinkle Filler
GoodSkin Labs Smooth-365 Intensive Clarity Smoothing Peptide Serum
GoodSkin Labs Lumecin Overnight Brightening Gluco-Protein Treatment

So, if  you'd like to enter, just start clicking on the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends June 20th. Winner will be emailed as well as posted in a blog post within 1 week of closing.

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. If the Facebook link doesn't work, try searching for me through my email (it's located in the Rafflecopter's T&C box)



Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post financially or otherwise. Everything is from my own pocket or gifted to me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Bookworm: A Kingdom of Dreams - Judith McNaught


  • Title: A Kingdom of Dreams
  • Author: Judith McNaught
  • Format: Paperback 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Published: 31 May 1996
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • ISBN 13: 9780671737610
  • ISBN 10: 0671737619
  • Source: Bought it myself

In an apple core (The Bookworm’s version of a nutshell)
A dream book for fans of historical romance.



Summary

Judith McNaught has written her most tender, most tempestuous romance yet...the story of Jennifer Merrick, a feisty Scottish beauty, and the fierce English warrior she defies - and desires. Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Jennifer does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf, " his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with this man who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will...until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in bewildering web...a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty...and overwhelming love.


My Thoughts

I have re-read this book I don't even remember how many times. Yet I never get tired of it. I can wholeheartedly say that even to this day, Judith McNaught remains one of my favourite authors, and for good reason. A Kingdom of Dreams is Book 2 in the Westmoreland series after the smashing Whitney, My Love. This book tells of the first Duke of Claymore, Royce Westmoreland. He is a warrior in every way, fighting for king and country. But how far will you go to appease your king and fulfill his orders. Or will the truth be more wonderful than it seems?

Jennifer is a nun-in-training and so hasn't pledged her life to God. She is quite the rebel of the abbey in which she lives in. She sleeps during sermons, pretending to be lost in prayer, she daydreams when she should be doing other things, and she is often found wandering the hills ala Maria in The Sound of Music. Actually, if Maria were to don a fiery red wig, and have green eyes, you'd pretty much get the picture. I love reading about how she foolishly believes that she can escape from her destiny. She is as cunning as she is passionate. But of all else, all she has ever wanted is to have a kingdom of her own, a kingdom of dreams.

Royce on the other hand is tactful, intelligent, and scarred beyond belief. He strikes fear in everyone who dares lay their eyes on him. Everyone, but one. He is like the King's dog, risking his life on a daily basis to win his battles and fatten his King's coffers. But he has had enough. Royce has accumulated enough wealth and land to retire, right after this one last battle in hopes of claiming Scotland for his King. All he wants is some peace and quiet, never in his imagination did he think his serenity would and could be disrupted by a young maid with hair of liquid coppery sunlight and unyielding defiance. 

I love the other supporting characters as well. I like that they are given time to grow and become a real part of the story. The ones to look out for are Jennifer's Aunt, Stefan, and Arik. Although, the rest of Royce's personal guards contribute lots of laughs on their own.

This is a tale about one's undying loyalty to one's kinmen. And whether or not that loyalty clouds one's mind to the truth. It is also a question about loyalty vs being true to one's heart. Whenever I am itching for a historical romance, I always come back to this one time and time again. 


WARNING: There is sex and some mild language in this book so please note that this should only be read by those 18+.


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review financially or otherwise. Everything mentioned are my own thoughts based on my experience.


Get the Book 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Bookworm: Paradise - Judith McNaught


  • Title: Paradise
  • Author: Judith McNaught
  • Format: Paperback 709 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
  • Published: 01 October 2006
  • Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
  • ISBN 13: 9780671776800
  • ISBN 10: 0671776800
  • Source: Bought it myself

In an apple core (The Bookworm’s version of a nutshell)
Forbidden love never read so good. If you only have time to read one good romance, Paradise is at the top of my recommendation list.


Summary

Ruthless corporate raider Matthew Farrell was poised to move in on the legendary department store empire owned by Chicago's renowned Bancroft family. In the glare of the media spotlight, it was a stunning takeover that overshadowed the electric chemistry between Matt, once a scruffy kid from steel town Indiana, and cool, sophisticated Meredith Bancroft. Their brief, ill-fated marriage sparked with thrilling sensuality -- he was the outsider who dared to rock her country club world -- and ended with a bitter betrayal. Now, locked in a battle that should be all business, dangerous temptations and bittersweet memories are stirring their hearts. Will they risk everything on a passion too bold to be denied?


My Thoughts

To me, the book's summary does this beautiful love story absolutely no justice. Judith McNaught's books have gotten me through thick and thin over the last decade and are dear to my heart. And at over 700 pages, this is quite the romance tome. You get to grow up with these characters and follow them through their challenges and share their emotions. Paradise is about a man who came from nothing, rising to the top of the world (or Chicago at least) who was scorned and is now out for some payback. Yet love gets in the way and like most cases, complicates things. It is about how these two lovers defy the odds set in front of them from the time of their meeting. Is their love meant to be? Or will they be pulled apart by unexpected forces.

Matthew Farrell had big dreams. Dreams of making it big and providing his loved ones with a life worth living. He started out as a lowly steel worker cum part-time mechanic, getting by on hard work and smarts alone. Matt is the epitome of sizzle and charm. His character is like the stone walls of Troy, yet once broken, is like sugar and spice and a fountain of everything nice. The beginning of the end starts with his short-lived marriage to Meredith Bancroft, shortened even more due to some meddling he is hopeless to defend against. Now, he is out for vengeance and his dreams of becoming a better man are put to the test. With trust and honesty being immensely important to him, the betrayal of a loved one is like a jagged knife to the heart. Can he forgive the past and turn his future into paradise?

Meredith Bancroft is the typical platinum blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty. Except she really isn't as she is the heir to a huge, profitable departmental store. I don't know of any young girls who has not wished she could shop in her very own store, but Meredith can, and does. She was not always the beautiful swan she is known to be as a grown-up. The book follows her from her youth, when she was still a gawky wee little thing who on the surface, seemed to have it all, even though it was far from the truth. Meredith's character is one we can sympathize with as she goes through misunderstanding after misunderstanding. Her life is made more colourful by the presence of her school friend Lisa, a direct opposite of Meredith's character in every way. She has also been in love with the same person since youth, creating further complications in her future life. Meredith's character is smart and bright yet is always sheltered from the truth, leading her into some very sticky situations. In order to achieve paradise, she has to gamble and decide where her heart truly lies. 

Philip Bancroft is Meredith's meddling father. He always does what he thinks is best for her, although it may not always be the case nor the best thing to do. This is one character you just love to hate. His character is thick with suspicion and makes him take offense at everything that is different. As president of Bancroft's, he is wary of anyone he thinks is trying to crawl their way into the company or his family life. 

The other secondary characters in this book are a lot of fun and pretty well-rounded. They add some great layers to the story. I also liked that Judith McNaught incorporated the tough business world in this book. You get a sense of what it takes to become a big player in the real world. I also loved how Matt drizzled his conversations with business and some betting talk.


This is the Ultimate Modern Day Love Story and is still one of my favourite books. Looking at things, it will be one forever. If you have not read any of Judith McNaught's books before, I say, this is a good place to start!


WARNING: There is sex and sprinklings of mild language in this book so please note that this should only be read by those 18+.


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review financially or otherwise. Everything mentioned are my own thoughts based on my experience.


Get the Book

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Bookworm: Strangers in Death - J. D. Robb


  • Title: Strangers in Death
  • Author: J. D. Robb
  • Format: Paperback 368 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus Books
  • Published: 07 February 2008
  • Genre: Crime
  • ISBN 13: 9780749908706
  • ISBN 10: 074990870X
  • Source: Bought it myself

In an apple core (The Bookworm’s version of a nutshell)
If you haven’t read this book, what have you been doing!? A kinky read in every way, and a great one to start the day. Crime mystery at its best. And you know when a book is good when you can't stop thinking about it even after more than a month and a dozen other books.


Summary

Technology may be different in 2060 New York, yet the city is still a place of many cultures and great divides. But as ever, some murders receive more attention than others - especially those in which the victim is a prominent businessman, found in his Park Avenue apartment, tied to the bed - and strangled - with cords of black velvet.It doesn't surprise Lieutenant Eve Dallas that Thomas Anders' scandalous death is a source of titillation and speculation to the public - and of humiliation to his family. But while all those in the city are talking about it, people close to Anders aren't so anxious to do the same. With some help from her billionaire husband, Roarke, Eve is soon knocking on doors - or barging through them - to find answers. But the facts don't add up. Physical evidence suggests that the victim didn't struggle. The security breach in the apartment indicates that the killer was someone connected to the family, but everyone's alibi checks out. Was this a kinky sex game that turned into a crime of passion - or a meticulously planned execution? It's up to Dallas to solve a case in which strangers may be connected in unexpected, and deadly, ways.


My Thoughts

This is my first J.D. Robb book. And of course, being my silly self, I didn't know this was part of a series, and a long and very popular one at that! I’ll admit, shamefully, that I’ve never been quite taken with Nora Roberts’ books. I’ve never even picked one up before! But when I picked up this book and saw that it is written by J. D. Robb aka Nora Roberts, I thought, why not give it a try! The summary sounded good enough. I guess the name Nora Roberts to me spelled “old-fashioned”? But boy was I WRONG!

This book is like a futuristic version of a Castle case. But spunkier and naughtier, and definitely more matured. The technological factor makes everything so much faster and more fun. And the summary really captured my attention. When you take a wealthy man plus kinky sex gone wrong, I don't know about you, but to me, that makes for a good read! The whole book is a mind-game from start to finish and full of surprises. It's even worth it just to see how Eve outwits the culprit.

Eve's men have a somewhat standstill case of their own. And it is up to her to help them out with theirs while she works tirelessly on her own high-profile case. A few returning characters come in to help out, only to end up having minor problems of their own. All will be revealed close to the end of the book.

And oh my my, Roarke ooh la la.... What can I say. I finally get it! After months of seeing people comment about a guy named Roarke, I can finally put a face, or an as-far-as-my imagination-will-take-me face, to the man. And what a man he is! Through Robb's words, his voice purrs like smooth whisky (must be that Irish accent), he's all-intelligent when it comes to IT and *ahem* hacking, a good and extremely useful tool that Eve manipulates to perfection. Oh, did I mention he is GORGEOUS too?

Eve's character is really well-built too. Did you notice I mentioned her name only after Roarke's? She's the foundation that seals the book's success, and rightly so. She's spunky, foul-mouthed (no filter can stop her), and doesn't give a rat's a** what she does to get the job done. But that's why I love this character! She's like a rose, with lots of layers that slowly unfold to reveal a totally new secret. I also found her quite adventurous in the sack. Like they say, "when you work hard, you play hard." I really liked Eve's constant debate with Roarke yet almost always succumbing to his wiles.

Even the villains are something to talk about. I will be a good blogger and not divulge any spoilers. Unfortunately this means I can't reveal quite a lot of the storyline. The plot twists and turns like a rollercoaster ride Revenge (the TV series) style.

But I must say that villains were very meticulously created and one main baddie would probably win the Sneakiest Villain in Book History Award! Shameless I tell you! But you'll have to read it to find out how deeply conceited Robb's villains can be.

I even like that Robb gives her main characters the CUTEST pet names for each other. Roarke's is The Civilian (very cool) and Eve is logically called Lieutenant or Eve darling (to Roarke). Also another plus point of this book is the humour within the entire squad. Especially love the way the coppers talked about "real food"! Trust me, you'll love that bit when you read it!

The bad thing about this book, is that you have to have read the series from the beginning to be able to understand the complexities behind the relationships. In this book, Eve and Roarke are already married and very settled down. Some of the minor characters get their own romances this time around which makes for even more fun. And as for character descriptions, I feel this book is a little lacking too. I know fans of the series won't encounter this problem since they have been with the characters from the beginning but I'd have loved more details in character building.


All in all, a very fast-paced book that will keep you on your feet till the end with strong characters. I loved the twists and turns this book took and the depth the case went into. All I can say is, Give Me More


WARNING: There is sex and some bad language in this book so please note that this should only be read by those 18+.


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review financially or otherwise. Everything mentioned are my own thoughts based on my experience. 


Get The Book

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random Thoughts: I'm Taking Part in an Upcoming Giveaway Hop!

Just to let you know, I will be participating in the My Favourite Reads Giveaway Hop from June 1st - 6th.


The winner gets his/her choice of 1 book from my list of 6 offerings.

I am doing my best to review all the books and will be posting them as I go. I only have 1 week to go so we'll see how many I can finish.

If you like to participate in my Giveaway, do check out my reviews so that you can start picking the one you'd like to pick should you win!

I'll be posting the links to this post as well for your convenience.

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you in the Giveaway Hop!


Strangers in Death by J. D. Robb

Paradise by Judith McNaught

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Thoughts: Random Acts of Kindness: May Sign-Up

I haven't joined RAK since January and I think it's about time I shared the book love again. I intend to send off at least 1 RAK this month, especially to those May babies! Happy birthday to them! 

As usual, a big thanks to Book Soulmates for the greatness that is RAK.

But before you jump in, do read the rules first! And remember, this is about giving as much as receiving!

Here's my Wishlist if you'd like to share the book love with me! THANKS.

COMPLETE RAK RULES RE-CAP:
Please read carefully & follow all rules!  Thank you!


  • Please sign-up each month that you can participate (and by participate, we mean give as well as receive).
  • Show off your participation by grabbing our RAK button (code is in the right sidebar).
  • Create a wish list (on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog, etc) and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
  • If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger directly for their information.
  • Once you receive a RAK, send an email to [rakbybooksoulmates @ gmail . com] so that they can update the Google Doc. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU SEND EMAILS TO THIS ADDRESS!
  • E-book participation is limited to files being gifted directly to a person from the e-book store. Amazon's Kindle Store is set up to allow this, as well as the Kobo store and we believe Barnes & Noble with Nook as well.
  • At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K by making a "RAK Wrap-Up" post.  This post should include who you SENT gifts to as well who you RECEIVED gifts from :)
OPEN TO EVERYONE including all our International brethren!
Remember, there's always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

Easy peezy!!

Links you will need:
  • Sign up for May [HERE]
  • See who else is participating [HERE]
  • If you have any questions regarding RAK, please contact them via the following: rakbybooksoulmates @ gmail . com
Tips:
1. When talking about RAK on Twitter, please use the hastag (#RAK). It makes it much easier to keep track of the conversations, answer questions and/or tweet back! =)
2. When submitting your wish list, please make sure that it is set to PUBLIC viewing. Some people have run into trouble with wish lists that were set to private. We want to be sure that no one is left out of getting great RAKs.
3. Some of you seem to have gotten frustrated because you can't get your links to appear active. This is a very easy fix :) Just make sure that when you enter your link, do NOT hit the Enter key. Instead, hit the TAB key which will send you to the next field on the form. Additional spaces entered after the link will leave the link inactive. However, if this does happen to you...no worries, we'll fix it for you :)