Sweet Liar by Jude deveraux
by Lune Belle on

Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux
Samantha Elliot’s father ran her life – even after his own death. A strange provision in his will demands that Samantha move to New York City and investigate the mysterious disappearance of her grandmother.
Shy, divorced, and naive to city life, Samantha arrives in New York and meets Michael Taggert, the handsome landlord of the apartment her father has already chosen for her. What she doesn’t know is that her father also chose Michael to be her secret guardian. Soon sparks fly, but Samantha’s tragic past keeps her distant. But as her family’s history begins to unravel, so does Samantha’s cold exterior, and despite her determination not to, she cannot help falling in love.
THE AUTHOR

One distinctive skill of author Jude Deveraux is her talent not only in writing, but her ability to write across time. She can tell you a story set in 1928 or 1991 or a time from the early days of America and you'll form clear mental pictures of what she's trying to narrate. She can shift from one writing voice to another. And that's how I think that she's born a natural storyteller.

Back in high school, I thought Jude Deveraux's books were all about knights, princesses or ancient characters. At that time, a friend of mine suggested, The Enchanted Land, the very first romance novel I've ever read (I think). So when I stumbled upon Sweet Liar, I found it refreshing to read a book by her that does not include horses, wagons, riding habits or long gowns for the ladies.

If you haven't already, I suggest you read some of her historical romances like the Peregrine series. There you'll notice the differences in her writing style. See a full list of her novels here.


THE BOOK

Sweet Liar was set in 1991 New York and follows the love story of Samantha Elliot and Mike Taggert.

Samantha lived with rules. She grew up taking care of her own self. She even took care of her father after her mother died when she was twelve years old. She had experienced loss more than any other people in this world. Mike was intrigued by this prim and proper woman. He wanted to know why she didn't want to go to bed with him yet he's sure he felt true desire and longing when they kissed passionately the first time they met at the doorstep of Mike's apartment. He wanted to know because no woman had ever said no to him. He's determined to break down the cold exterior that Samantha had built for years.

Soon they'll realize that they weren't brought together by chance. Together, they'll discover the truth behind the tragic past that happened in the night of April 1928 and where her grandmother had been all these years.


***

I liked the genuineness of the characters. They laugh and they fight. They're not perfect. But they adore one another. Mike wanted to take care of Samantha even if Samantha thinks she doesn't need being taken care for. I especially love Mike when he fondly calls Samantha "Sam", "Sammy" or "Sam-sam".

What bothered me, however, is the idea of gangsters and killings, I had a hard time sleeping the night I finished reading the book. Today, a gangster could be a simple troublemaker. In the 1920s, a gangster is someone who makes money from illegal activities, including killing a room full of innocent people. What troubled me I guess are the details of these killings and I personally don't like horror or massacre stories, whether they be in book or film form.


CONCLUSION

Reading the book was like watching my favorite TV show. I wouldn't want to miss any episode so I'd leave whatever it is that I'm doing and just sit there in front of the television and see what will happen next with my favorite characters. The story will keep you guessing with every twist and turn, plot and subplot. It's a romance story, a comedy, drama and a mystery. It'll make you smile and it will make you sad, but that's how I felt that the story and characters were real, because in life, you'll experience happiness and you'll experience loss, but what's most important is you'll experience love.
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Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse Book 10)
by lunebelle on

Charlaine Harris book review

Finally! The long wait is over.
The lastest installment of our beloved The Southern Vampire Mysteries later renamed TrueBlood Series and popularly known as the Sookie Stackhouse Series is out in the market.

It was released this 4th of May by Ace Hardcover, which really made the fans excited to have a copy.


Sure, the book was good and as with the other books in the series, it will get you hooked. Though, I found the prologue a bit weird, like it's not even Charlaine Harris who wrote it. But comes Chapter 1, all was well and normal.

In this book, we'll learn more of Eric, how he became such a vampire. What I've learned is that he's not high-handed after all. Yes, he is Eric, but he has his own weaknesses and vulnerability. From Book 1, I already know that he cares for Sookie the most and it is only he who can truly make her happy.

I knew that this is the last installment of the series, but now I'm not so sure. I think the author said something about writing additional books. I hope she does, because though the book was good, I'm not satisfied with it.

First, I think the weird feeling I felt came from mood of the book. It is entirely different from the earlier ones.
Sookie Stackhouse was no longer the same woman, nor was Eric, or Bill, and everyone else. I have no problem with that. Of course, people change. I just wish the author added more twists and turns to the story.
But I'm happy with what happened to Bill. Even after all that happened, I believe he loved Sookie and he deserves to be happy.

Another thing, it feels like there's something lacking. I mean, it ended just like that. Unlike the previous books, a problem starts in the beginning and ends in the end. With this book, there are still a lot of issues that needs closure. Which makes me think that probably Sookie's story is not yet about to come to an end.

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place... or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives...
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The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
by lunebelle on

Sometimes you don’t need a goal in life. You don’t need to know the big picture. You just need to know what you’re going to do next.
Sophie Kinsella book review

When I started reading this book, I wasn't that interested. I got a little bored.
Well, the same goes with a lot of books that I've read.
I read a few pages, then stop. The next day I'll read again, and then stop. Until I arrive at the exciting parts of the story, that's when I get obsessed.

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She's made a mistake so huge, it'll wreck any chance of a partnership.
Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up, in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she's mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they've hired a lawyer; and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can't sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope - and finds love - is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.
But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does - will she want it back?

At one point in your life, you'll get into a crossroad. This is the stage where you have to make big choices. You have to choose well because time plays a very important role. Once you made choice, you either rejoice because you made the right decision; or realize that you chose the wrong road, but you can't just go back because life is not a game that you can reset to the time and place you started.

I like this love story. I like the moral. And even though I got bored at the beginning, I learned a ton in the end. I learned that you can't always run and beat deadlines. The best ways to enjoy life is by taking things slowly, one at a time. You don't live to work, you work to live. :)

***



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Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
by lunebelle on

When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.
Sophie Kinsella book review

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

If you're really into reading you'll probably understand what I'm going to say...

There are lots of books out there. From dreadful horror to mushy romance. Sometimes we read a particular book, out of curiosity, maybe because everyone's talking about it or just because the cover looks good, or  for whatever reason you may have in mind.

Sometimes, you'll encounter a book that will take you ages to finish. You know it's good, and that's the reason you' still want to read it, but then you feel too lazy to turn to the following page. And there are those books that would make you grip, keep your eyes open in the middle of the night, until you finally come to the very last page.

That's what I admire about authors. They have different styles of story-telling. Some feels so alive while others are just soooo plain boring. :)


After reading three Nicholas Sparks' for months in a row, I decided to lighten up my spirit.
So I picked Remember Me?. I don't know why, probably because of the cover.
For two nights, I've slept at four o'clock in the morning. The first day, I wasn't that addicted but yesterday, I didn't stop until I was in the ending. (okay, maybe I stopped to eat and to take a shower.)

The book is funny, like most Sophie Kinsella books. I'm a fan of hers you know. :)

I've read Can You Keep a Secret?, of the same author. The characters are the same, even the story has similarities; the main character having a not so good luck and then something good comes her way.

But this one absolutely lifted my mood.

And it teaches me a lot about life, in a humorous way. :)

The love story is cute. I always like love stories where the guy is a serious type and the girl is all clumsy and funny. Sounds like the Princess Diaries isn't it? I think that is the point. You don't need to be pretty and sparkly like Barbie for someone to love you. It always feels good to be loved for who you really are because you could be carefree.




And what else did I learn from this one?
You don't have to have all the glamorous things in life to be happy.
"Everything looks different when the gloss is gone."
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Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
by lunebelle on

What does it mean to truly love another? 
There was a time in my life when I thought I knew the answer...
 

After more than two weeks, I was finally able to finish this book...

I don't really know exactly what kept me from finishing it. The story was great, all right. But somehow I just got bored with all the falling in love thing. Or maybe because from the very beginning, it already told how it's going to end. I even thought of not finishing it at all. Night by night, before I sleep, I'll read a chapter or two (it depends if I can keep my eyes from closing). And then I reached the part where John and Savannah were like drifting apart (that was only yesterday), that's the time that  the story seemed to sink in. So from this morning up to this very moment, I am drawn into it.

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

Nicholas Sparks book reviewMaybe many are hating Savannah for what she did. But I don't.
Sometimes, or most of the time, that's the way love is. One moment it gives you the feeling that it will conquer all, and the next thing you knew, it is shattering you.

I've become aware that love doesn't always have a happy ending, and life is not fair.
There would be this one thing that you'll want most in your life but no matter how hard you fight for it, fate won't give it to you.

I'm not saying that I can relate with Savannah, or with John. I simply understand them. If they indeed wanted to conquer all, whatever it was that happened to them wouldn't happen. Some things are possible, if you really want it. But sometimes, what you want is not the right thing to do. You have to make choices. And then there is also the fact that things change, and people too.

I know what it feels to be left for someone else. Anger, sadness, denial, shock, regret. Eventually, you will go on with your life, yet you feel that there's something missing. In time, you may say that you've moved on, but when you see that person, you'll seem to forget the long time that passed, for the memories would always be clear like it had just happened yesterday.


***

I like the book not only because of the love story between John and Savannah, but because of John's relationship with his father.

And what do I like about Nicholas Sparks?
He gives us a picture of what love is, not only romantic love, but love in general.



You may want to buy a copy of the book? :)
I learned a lot from it, I'm sure you'll do too.







In time, maybe years, I'll read this again. And when that time comes, I'll relish every sentence of it....
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A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks
by lunebelle on


First you will smile, and then you will cry.

Nicholas Sparks book reviewI expected to shed a tear or two, but I did not. It's not that I didn't like the book. Of course I did!
I guess I won't be able to cry to this anymore when I've already cried my heart out when I watched the film adaptation. And maybe because the movie was, how should I say this, more intense?

In the book, Landon Carter wasn't really that rebellious as depicted in the movie. Though people looked at him as a bad kid, he never got close to expulsion and doesn't really smirks in front of Jamie's face. Yes, he didn't had good grades and would sometimes make fun of his schoolmates, but most of his time, he would just hang out with his friends in the graveyard, talking and eating peanuts.

He had known Jamie Sullivan all his life, as with all the kids in town, but he rarely ever talks to her. She is the only daughter of Reverend Hegbert Sullivan. She is a nice girl, who always wears her hair in a bun, coupled with her plaid skirt and brown cardigan and carried her Bible wherever she went. She is everything that makes Landon crazy, initially not because of love but because of wondering which planet she actually came from.

Even in his wildest of dreams, Landon never thought about falling in love with a girl such as Jamie...


If you have watched the film, of course you know that Jamie died in the end. With the book, the ending got me wondering if Jamie actually lived or not. So I searched the net for the answer, and so I'm quoting Sparks' comment,

As to whether she actually lived or died, it's ambiguous and purposely meant to be that way. If you wanted Jamie to live, she lived. If you knew that Jamie would die, she died.

I like the story in a special way. It's not the kind of book that you would soon forget about. Even with the film, I can still see the scenes in my mind vividly.

Nicholas Sparks may not be an author who would have you open-mouthed with his splendid style of writing, but what he says will surely sink into you.

***

Since I read Twilight, I have been wondering what it feels like to be married at a young age. Though I want to get married at the age of twenty five or twenty six, I'd also like to know the feeling of being married when you're seventeen or eighteen. You know what I mean. It's not being forced to marry because you got pregnant and all, but because you just found the guy who realizes that he wants to spend the rest of his life with you.

As I've said, I liked the book as much as the movie. I first watched it when I was in sixth grade. My friends laughed at me then because I cried on the part where Jamie said she's sick.
Last year, I watched it for the second time, and by golly, I was actually crying from the moment Landon knew about Jamie's illness all the way until the end.

***

Please have a copy of this if you haven't already done yet. :)




or watch the DVD





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Peregrine Series by Jude Deveraux
by lunebelle on

The Peregrine Series is comprised of The Taming and The Conquest, both set in medieval England.
 
The first book in the Peregrine series, The Taming, set in 1445, tells the story of wealthy Liana Neville and infamous warrior Rogan Peregrine. The second book, The Conquest, set two years later, narrates how Zarred Peregrine and Tearle Howard withstood the feud from their rivaling families.
 
The stories are not likeable initially, especially at some parts where it talked about dirt and sex with many women. (I'm glad I wasn't born at that time). But what's intriguing about them is that the lead characters weren't the "love at first sight" type so it had me wanting to know how they fell in love.

The Taming

Jude Deveraux book review
Liana is everything a woman would dream to be. Pretty, young and rich. Men from all over England paid court to her. They would sing for her, write her poems and tell her all the lovely things. All of these she gave up just to live with the handsome but rude Rogan Peregrine in a filthy, old and decaying castle.

Rogan married the lady for her dowry. He wanted a rich wife to build an army against his family's enemy. He didn't care a single bit for her. He left her alone all the time.

For all that she gave, her husband ignored her. Liana tried to be a meek and mild wife, hoping to win the man's heart. Not until she found out why her husband wouldn't spend the night with her. From a scared little rabbit, she transformed to a Fire Lady, setting his husband's bed on fire, literally.

For the first time in his life, Rogan was softening to a woman. Liana introduced him to the comforts of a clean home, the pleasure of bathing and to great food that doesn't have sand in it.

He spent all his life training for battle. For him, looking at the moon was a waste of time, but not when he looks at it with his wife. He had many women but only Liana responded to him so passionately.

But the three generations of war between the Peregrines and the Howards kept Rogan hard. His family is all that was left to him, and he would do anything to protect them.


The Conquest

Jude Deveraux book reviewFor all her boy's clothing, only Tearle Howard knew that she is a girl the very first time she saw her.

Beautiful Zared Peregrine was raised and trained as a boy. She grew up with horses and lances and anything there is for a man. The Peregrines had suffered loss enough that they'd do everything to protect Zared from their enemies, the Howards.

Tearle, though a Howard, is very much different from his older brother. He grew up with all the finery and joy of life. He didn't grow up with hatred planted in his heart. He wanted to end the ancient feud with the Peregrines, but most of all, he wanted to have Zared Peregrine as his wife.

He did everything to have her trust, and her love. He befriended her brother, showed her the things a woman should have and gave her all the things she didn't have. He did everything to prove to her that he deserves her trust. He did everything, but all the Peregrines could see is a Howard, not the man that he truly was.

For Tearle, one could end a war without a fight. Above all, his love is more important than the riches that the two families were trying to have.


Order your copy now. :)


I keep a list of Jude Deveraux novels so I could pick a romance book any time I'm feeling mushy or at times when I just want to take my time reading a book for a week or two and not get those ugly eye bags for staying up so late at night.

Though these are not the kind of books that I specially love and would be tucked in my Favorites shelf. what I do like about these are the way the stories are presented. The author wanted to tell a story about castles and motes and horses, and I imagine just that. These are the kind of books that I'd want to read every night before bedtime, like fairy tales, only they're intended for adults.

Well, I noticed that Deveraux has a thing for disguises and men with gorgeously shaped, big body and black hair. But there is this thing about Jude Deveraux. She seem to touch something deep within me with her novels. Maybe, I have a thing for romances and with men with gorgeously shaped bodies. ;) No, seriously, maybe because deep inside I'm still a princess and I'm dreaming that one day I'll meet my knight in shining armor.

Uhm, the last line is cheesy, I know, but forgive me.

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