Welcome to my Den of Delights! Please make yourselves comfortable.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Inspiration of the Moment: Ode to Can

I watched, and listened to, an ad by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on TV, recently, of the "Ode to Can" as read by the talented Aussie actress, Toni Collete, and I just love it and find very inspiring, so I wanted to share. But wait... an ad by a BANK that's inspiring??? Say, what??? But... true story, here! ^_^


There’s a four lettered word
As offensive as any
It holds back the few
Puts a stop to the many.
You can’t climb that mountain
You can’t cross the sea
You can’t become anything you want to be.
He can’t hit a century
They can’t find a cure.
She can’t think about leaving or searching for more.
Because Can’t is a word with a habit of stopping
The ebb and the flow of ideas
It keeps dropping
itself where we know in our hearts it’s not needed
And saying “don’t go” when we could have succeeded.
But those four little letters
That end with a T
They can change in an instant
When shortened to three.
We can take off the T
We can do it today
We can move forward not back
We can find our own way.
We can build we can run
We can follow the sun
We can push we can pull
We can say I’m someone
Who refuses to believe
That life can’t be better
With the removal of one
Insignificant letter. 

(Beautifully written, in only a few hours, by 
M&C Saatchi Creative Director, Andy Flemming, 
for the CommBank Can Campaign) 

Here's the link to the Ad, if you want to watch it:


Saturday, May 26, 2012

REVIEW: Night Sky by Jolene Perry

3.5 Stars

I’ve been in the mood for YA reads, lately. I saw this book on the blog of Nyrae Dawn, author of What I Boy Wants which I'd read and loved, recently, and the blurb of this one sounded good and the cover is pretty and intriguing.

Night Sky by Jolene Perry is about Jameson a.k.a. Jay who has been in love with his best friend, Sarah, for 3 years, and he never told her. But Sarah has a boyfriend now and Jay meets Sky, a Tlingit from Alaska, who has just moved into his street. Sky attends college and she is very candid - something that takes Jay by surprise as he comes to appreciate her "honesty approach". He finds himself incredibly attracted to Sky at a time when he is grieving the loss of his best friend to a guy he thinks is a jerk. Then, when his family life gets turned upside down, Sky is there for him; they form a connection and she changes him.

I was really looking forward to reading this… but I don’t know… I liked it but I didn’t connect strongly with the characters or the writing.

The first person narrative of Jameson (a.k.a. Jay), senior high school student and star swimmer, was quite engaging but I thought he spent too much time thinking about kissing and touching Sky - way too much (but not in a creepy/pervy way, just in a repetitive way). I know teen boys are known to be “horny teens” and this is likely a realistic portrayal, but the amount of time in the book he thinks about this took away from my enjoyment rather than building the tension. There is a balance to be made between the authenticity of the male voice and the storytelling and tension-building, I feel, and this balance was a bit off, for me.

I know I shouldn’t be comparing, but in comparison to such great Boy Point-of-Views (POV) like that of Alex Fuentes in the alternating POVs of Perfect Chemistry and Sebastian's sole POV in What a Boy Wants, Jay’s “voice” just felt a bit awkward, didn’t flow quite as well, and was repetitive. Jay’s character was very nice and sweet, though; his first date with Sky was very romantic and thoughtful; and there were some other really good moments in here. I really liked Jay and appreciated his growth throughout the story.

Sky’s initial forward behaviour perplexed me; and even more so after I found out her tragic backstory. I guess it just went to show how much she trusted Jay, from the beginning, because of his kind eyes and the eyes being the windows to the soul and all.
' "How can you even be with me? Why did you get in the car the night we met?" Now that I know her history, the comfortable way she is around me, doesn't make any sense.

"You have kind eyes." She breathes out the words, not moving.

"That's it?" My eyes?

"That's everything." Her arm tightens around me.

I run my hands through her hair and down her arms. Her body relaxes against me. There's nowhere in the world I'd rather be, and nothing else I'd rather be doing. It's all right here.'

I still felt like I was missing something with Sky, though; that I didn’t get a full grasp of who she was. But considering that Jay didn’t fully get to know her until the end, because of secrets she kept, that may have been why.

Night Sky was a nice read. It just wasn’t great, for me, especially coming off the back of a really great Boy POV book I’d just recently loved.

I loved this moment when Jay actually WASN'T thinking about kissing Sky ^_^:
'I'm suddenly afraid to touch her. My fingers touch the edges of hers and she slides our hands together. I scoot toward her, so I can take her in my arms. I don't think about kissing her or touching her. I just want to hold her, protect her. It means so much more now.'
My Jay (Edilson Nascimento) and My Sky (Orianka Kilcher)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

REVIEW: Skin Deep (I-Team After Hours #1) by Pamela Clare

5 Stars!

Governor of Romancelandia Declares Pamela Clare Model “Prisoner” But Won’t Release Her

Author, Pamela Clare, made headlines when more readers became confirmed I-Team-oholics after reading Unlawful Contact, the third I-Team book, starring the dangerously gorgeous Marc Hunter and the sweet and strong Sophie Alton (now Hunter).

It was books such as that one that resulted in Ms Clare being charged with the following:
“Charge 1: Causing addiction to a book series through grippingly suspenseful, sensual, emotional, engaging, and thought-provoking writing.

Charge 2: Creating to-die-for heroes who steal hearts, and who induce immense longing for “Unlawful Contact” with said heroes.

Charge 3: Risk to personal safety by writing scenes which induce heart palpitations, breathlessness, sudden swooning, hot flashes and the melting of panties.”

To read the judgement of The People of Romancelandia v Pamela Clare [2010] SCRR 6996 (31 October 2010), click here.

Justice Isabith McHardup of the Supreme Court of Romancelandia found Pamela Clare guilty of all charges and sentenced her to write amazing stories, with to-die-for heroes, for life.

Ms Clare’s recently released, and self-published, I-Team After Hours novella, Skin Deep, featuring Marc Hunter’s baby sister, Megan Hunter, has been a roaring success amongst I-Team-oholics and is just another prime example of Ms Clare’s addictive and satisfying writing.

In a statement released by the Governor of Romancelandia, following the steady flow of raving 5-Star reviews upon the release of Skin Deep, the Governor stated: “Ms Clare has been a model “prisoner” by continuing to write wonderful stories, and thus, I’m afraid I cannot release her from her sentence to do so, for life. Her I-Team-oholics need her stories. Bravo, Ms Clare, for keeping them out of mischief by keeping them happy! And for self-publishing!”

Readers will be delighted with the tightly-written novella which features a scarred heroine and hero – Megan, scarred by the traumas in her past from sexual abuse and addiction; and Nate, a former Marine in Afghanistan, turned Colorado rancher, physically and emotionally scarred from an explosion, while in the service of his country. When Megan’s life is threatened outside the community kitchen she volunteers for, and to which Nate and his father donate ground Angus beef to, Nate comes to the rescue. Thus, begins, a beautiful story of the healing power of love.

Pamela Clare has created yet another to-die-for hero in Nate West who is strong, courageous, protective, honourable, attentive, HOT, tender, patient, kind and understanding. Readers with a weakness for scarred heroes are sure to love him.

Former Marine, Nate West, while on leave at Cimarron Ranch, before the explosion

The right side of Nate's face and body were severely burnt in Afghanistan

Lady Jayne, the complainant in Ms Clare’s trial in 2010, had this to say about Skin Deep: “While the relationship did develop quickly, I loved how Nate tenderly and sensually, with such understanding and great perceptiveness, awakened Megan’s desires, and helped her heal from the traumas of her past. From their sweet,  kisses, sizzling explorations, and the trust they had in baring their souls and bodies to each other, which was significant given both their scars… It was just beautiful! Even though time-wise it may have been fast, it didn’t feel rushed to me, at all, but made complete sense. I loved how Megan saw beyond Nate’s disfigurement, and saw the precious hero within. My chest tightened when she kissed his burn scars. I just loved honourable and brave Nate and it was so wonderful to see Megan get her happily-ever-after with a worthy hero, after all she'd been through! Nate was just wonderful with Megan's daughter, Emily, and so was his dad, Jack - Aww...” 

Sweet, willowy redhead, Megan Hunter, gets her HEA

Megan’s daughter, Emily, and Nate’s father, Jack, are also heart-stealers, and the snow-covered Colorado ranch setting made the novella extra special, indeed. 

The West's ranch, Cimarron Ranch, is a picturesque ranch mansion
The Wests take pride and care in their horses and family ranch
Four-year old Emily falls in love with the horses

For a novella, which tend to leave Lady Jayne a bit unsatisfied, due to the short length, “Skin Deep was engaging, hot, sweet, suspenseful, heart-warming and just satisfied on so many levels. It was just SO GOOD! There was nothing lacking in this novella!”

In usual amazing Pamela Clare style, Skin Deep was not only entertaining, but brought to readers’ minds important issues. In this novella, the great service and sacrifices that soldiers make for their country, the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress for soldiers and victims of sexual assault, were highlighted deftly in the story. It is clear that Ms Clare took great pains to portray them with sensitive and thoughtful realism.

While the novella can be read as a stand-alone, as Ms Clare does reveal what happened to Megan in it, it does contain some spoiler-ish content for Unlawful Contact. Lady Jayne said that she would encourage new readers to read the series in order, to truly appreciate the interactions between the characters and their stories.

If you haven’t read the series, START. READING. NOW!

The novella is not all Ms Clare gifted her dedicated readers with. Included with it is a bonus short story titled “Marc and Julian Make a Beer Run”, which features all the past I-Team heroes and heroines, and while it dealt with a scary but all too real issue, was also humorous and an enjoyable read.

“I just love the bromance between Marc and Julian. Heck, I love the way all the guys relate to each other! And that many hotties packed into one great short story? YOWZA, SWOONS!” squealed Lady Jayne.

She admitted to being very happy to see Reece, from Extreme Exposure, the first book in the series, featured in this short story, as she said she hardly sees him and he has a special place in her heart. Though, Marc Hunter is the one who has truly stolen her heart away.

It is no wonder that the Governor refuses to release Ms Clare. Though, considering that Ms Clare is able to serve out her sentence in the beautiful Colorado landscape, and gets to create more swoon-worthy heroes, to warm her and her readers’ days and nights, it’s a sentence she could probably live with.

Image Credits:

1. Sean Sullivan by Photographer Rick Day
2. Sean Sullivan by Photographer Gregory Vaughn (converted to B&W for dramatic effect)
3. Model and Photographer Unkown
4. The Home Ranch, Colorado from http://newfinmysoup.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/coming-home-again-our-week-at-home.html
5. Photographer Unknown
6. Photographer Andrew Dierks

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Otter Cuteness!!

My Poetry and Photography: Caught in Autumn's Web

Caught in Autumn's Web

I'm caught in Autumn's web,
Enraptured by its lustre,
The fiery leaves that swirl and dance,
Unchoreographed in a bluster;

The carpet leaves like vibrant petals,
In hues of scarlet, bronze and gold,
Ignites a spark deep within,
And it makes me ever bold;

The vibrant tints of Autumn, 
Never fails, my soul, to lift,
In its warmth I am revived,
There's nothing like the Autumn gift.

~ By Jayne Michellane a.k.a Lady Jayne, 8 May 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Photography: Caught in Autumn's Web

Title: Caught in Autumn's Web (Abstract)

I titled this photo "Caught in Autumn's Web" because the branches looked like a web, to me, and I was captivated by the intertwining branches and the smattering of vibrant Autumn leaves. It's my absolute favourite season. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

REVIEW: What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

5 Stars

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! (As Bastian would say ^_^) WHAT A BOY WANTS was just what I wanted right now!

Thanks again to Karla for recommending this to me! Karla, sweetie, you can recommend YA reads to me ANY TIME, from now on! ^_^

WHAT A BOY WANTS is such a fun, cute, sweet, heart-warming, charming and highly enjoyable YA Romance, by self-published author Nyrae Dawn, about a boy who may be an expert at hook-ups but is brought to his knees when he actually falls in love. I really enjoyed being in Sebastian’s head through his realisations about love and whether it was worth it, and his growth throughout the story.

I’ve read YA Romances with alternating Boy-Girl POVs (point-of-views), like Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry series which I just love, but this is the first I’ve read which is fully from the Boy’s POV. I really enjoyed Sebastian’s voice - his inner monologues and reasoning processes were funny, thoughtful and insightful.

Sebastian Hawkins is a cocky, funny, sweet, protective, noble and loyal 17-year old boy.
“Feel free to tell me how sexy I am any time though. A guy can never hear it enough – ouch! You pinched me.“
Sebastian is the only child in a single parent family (mother). He considers himself an expert on “hooking-up” and has made a small business of providing advice services as a “Hook-Up Doctor”, giving advice on how to win someone over.

While Sebastian may know a lot about hook-ups, he is completely uneducated in romantic love. Having seen his mother fall in love many times and having gone through several failed relationships, he doesn’t really believe in love and long-term relationships. Plus, he doesn’t want to hurt, or be hurt, the way his mother has, not liking having seen her shed so many tears over the years. For this reason, Sebastian is up-front with girls he hooks up with and is careful not to lead girls on.

Sebastian’s beliefs are shaken to the core when he finds himself reacting “abnormally” to a girl he never expected to feel that way over.
“I’m cool,” I said, trying to play it off when really I was anything but cool right now. She shouldn’t look so hot at this moment, but she did. Is this what love was? Thinking a girl looked beautiful in her pajamas and glasses?”

“And, holy shit, did I want to touch her. I wanted to trace the strap of her shirt over her shoulder and down her back. Her skin looked so smooth, so creamy that I almost needed to touch it to make sure it was real. I wanted my tongue in that hollow spot at the base of her throat, and for the first time, I wondered what she tasted like.”
I loved seeing cocky Sebastian squirm and work through what love is, whether he was in fact in love, and once he decided he was, how he was going to handle it, because he felt completely out of his depth.
‘I’d never been in love before. How did I know for sure? It could have been lack of female attention, rebellion, or, I don’t know, delirium or something. Stranger things had happened. Jumping to the conclusion it was love, was just a…what’s it called? Hypothesis? My science teacher would be so proud.’
Sebastian’s beliefs that he knew all about girls were certainly tested. I felt for him through all the mistakes he made as he attempted to navigate his way in the uncharted territory of love, and my heart ached for him and the girl he loved when they inadvertently hurt each other. I was delighted when he made it all right.
“You have such a big heart, Sebastian Dale Hawkins.”
“Shh, don’t tell anyone that either.”
“Your secrets are safe with me.”
I buried my face in her hair, to hide from the seriously mushy words that were about to come out of my mouth. “And your heart is safe with me.”
I admit it: I have a “book crush/love” on Bastian. I think he is “book boyfriend” worthy. ^_^

I loved Sebastian’s relationship with his mother, and how protective he was over her, and how he turned to her when he was so confused.

Sebastians group of friends – Jaden, Pris and Aspen – were something awesome and the friendships they had are ones I believe will be life-long ones. I really loved the dynamics within their little group and they played such a huge part in this story.

I also loved the character of Crystal and would love to see her get a HEA.

I’m SO excited to see that Jaden is getting a story – WHAT A BOY NEEDS! Because, as I read this, I thought there was a wonderful and potentially heart-aching story there to be told. Oh, Jaden...

What wonderful timing for me to have just finished reading this and then to see on Nyrae Dawn’s Blog that the cover for Jaden’s book is about to be released along with a teaser this Sunday, 6 May 2012!

Check it out here:


My Sebastian (Tyler Blackburn) and the girl he loves (Ashley Benson)

Yes, I have been influenced by Pretty Little Liars. LOL The Sebastian on the cover reminded me of Tyler, especially his eyes, and well, I think he and Ashley are so cute together. ^_^ But picture her with slightly darker hair, as I remember she was described as having "honey" hair and for some reason I thought it was more honey-blonde rather than honey-brown. Oopsies! ^_^

Source: Teen Vogue
Source: Pretty Little Liars stills

Kitty Cuteness: Under the Covers

I think this kitty and my Tookie have the right idea. There's nothing like snuggling under the covers on a 
cold day. ^_^ Winter is definitely on its way.

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's Friday - WOOT!!!

It's Friday night!!!! *bounces with joy....
then plops on couch with a good book*

I'm not the only who feels like this, right? ^_^

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

REVIEW: Hex Hall (#1 Hex Hall) by Rachel Hawkins

4 Stars 

Hex Hall wasn’t quite Hexcellent, but was certainly enjoyable! 
(...And lovely cover ^_^)

Sophie Mercer was sent to Hecate Hall a.k.a. Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent “Prodigium” (Witches, Warlocks, Shapehifters, and Fairies) after she performed a love spell at the prom, for a classmate, that went terribly wrong, threatening to expose the Prodigium world to humans. “Hex Hall” is located on an island off the coast of Georgia.

Before this, Sophie has only ever lived in the human world, with her mother, and hasn’t known her father, a warlock whose relationship with her mother ended before she was born.

In a way, this story reminded me of Harry Potter as he first attends Hogwarts, but without quite as much whimsy, magic, and detail. There were certainly some moments of attending class including a “Defence” class, a creepy forest nearby, but no moving staircases or talking pictures. There’s an interesting connection between fallen angels and the Prodigium, though, that I liked.

In line with these thoughts, the plot of this story actually reminded me of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, with mysterious deaths/injuries, a ghostly, helpful figure, blame being cast on an “obvious” suspect, and the protagonist being caught up in the middle of it all. Though, this was most assuredly NOT a replica of The Chamber of Secrets.

Hex Hall was an enjoyable read, with a steady pace, and a great climax.

The story is told from Sophie’s first-person perspective. I really liked Sophie, who looks like a girl-next-door, with a great sense of humour and smart-ass wit, and the struggles she faced against the “mean girls” of Hecate Hall, led by gorgeous redhead, Elodie Parris. I enjoyed Sophie’s humourous voice, and her inner monologues, especially in regards to her crush on Archer Cross, made me smile. I really liked that she admittedly had an inexplicable "crush" and didn’t consider herself immediately “in love”.

I also really liked Sophie’s roommate, Jenna, the only vampire student at the school, who funnily adores the colour pink, and with whom Sophie forms a close friendship.

Alas, I didn’t find another “book boyfriend” is this one with snarky, lean, dark, and bad-boyishly good-looking, Archer Cross. *sad sigh* I mean, he was aiiight, but he didn’t have me sighing and swooning. Which is one of the reasons why this didn’t garner a 4.5-5 Star rating from me. Hey, I take my “book boyfriend” collection very seriously, okay? LOL

Cal, the blonde, down-to-earth, quarterback-physiqued, and magically talented groundskeeper, on the other hand, intrigued me, somewhat. Hmm... And no, he doesn't look like Hagrid. ^_^
“So if you can heal with your touch, why are you working here as like, Hagrid, or whatever?”
There was some romance in this, not a lot. And for parents, it should be noted, that there is mention of sex and a rather passionate kiss, but that’s all.

All in all, a nice, fun read. Recommended.
'“Let's just say you may regret that second piece of cake."
Oh my God. Regret cake? Whatever was about to happen must be truly evil.'

'“Sophia Mercer," Elodie intoned, "we have come to induct you into our sisterhood. Say the five words to begin the ritual."
I blinked at her. "Are you freaking kidding me?"
Anna gave an exasperated sigh. "No, the five words are 'I accept your offer, sisters.”'
My images of the characters...

Sophie (Kaya Scodelario)

Archer (Wade Poezyn)

Cal (Zach Roerig)

Elodie (Simone Simons)