Saturday, December 6, 2008

November 2008 Reads

*ARC copy
1) THE WEDDING TRAP by Tracy Anne Warren ~Regency~ Rating – B

*2) SEDUCED AT MIDNIGHT by Jacquie D'Alessandro ~Victorian~ Rating – A
Jacquie D'Alessandro has spun an entertaining tale full of mystery, laughter and passion. While I was kept on my toes wondering who the real murderer was, I was also amused by the antics of Julianne trying to gain the attentions of Gideon, and his attempts to resist her. The author did an excellent job stringing along characters, leading to a sexual tension, that dang near had me screaming, please let them find some relief! Okay okay, actually I was hoping that poor Gideon would finally get some relief, as Julianne was the only one leaving the encounters satisfied, uhm mostly. I was glad that Julianne was finally able to gain the most cherished of her dreams and wishes. Though it wasn't an easy achievement. I also enjoyed seeing Sarah, Caroline and Emily, again, seeing how they're lives were moving along, without any of them being scene-stealer's. They are all very likable characters, and I look forward to meeting them again and watching the sparks fly in Emily and Logan's story.

*3) TEMPTED BY HIS KISS by Tracy Anne Warren ~Georgian~ Rating – A
Tracy Anne Warren is a welcome voice to the historical romance realm, she writes with depth and passion, bringing her characters to life. I found Meg and Cade to be both intriguing and likable. The tension between them was almost unbearably hot, Cade putting himself through a bit of torture, wanting to do the right thing by Meg, until he finally succumbs to his own desires. Cade, while trying to be aloof, is actually more open and accessible than most wounded heroes, which I liked. He was attempting to cut himself off from society, but, he voluntarily re-enters with Meg, not putting up much of a fight to close himself off again. Meg tried not to fall for Cade, but when she did, it was hard. TEMPTED BY HIS KISS introduces us to the Byron family (no relation to Lord Byron), which I eagerly look forward to meeting again, I can't wait to see what kind of women enchant Jack and Edward.

*4) SMART GIRLS THINK TWICE by Cathie Linz ~Contemporary~ Rating – A
Cathie Linz has created characters that just come to life off the pages of the book. She creates a story full of laughter, hot desire and deep unending love. Rock Creek is the type of small town that I would love to live in, with all the quirky characters that show true friendship. I loved Jake Slayter, he was absolutely delicious, and I just couldn't get enough of him! Emma was fun to get to know, and I enjoyed watching her try to resist Jake, and ultimately succumbing to the passion between them. Also, Emma's family was a hoot! They had their share of issues and then some, but I could feel the love and caring they each felt for one another.

*5) HEART OF COURAGE by Kat Martin ~Victorian~ Grade – A-
This was a very enjoyable read. I'm an absolute sucker for a Viking warrior, and though this takes place in Victorian England, the premises of Thor's tale of growing up on an island unchanged since Viking times is a bit far-fetched and a fun and unique twist to the story. Also. while the independent Victorian woman seems to be a fairly cliched character trait, Kat Martin did a wonderful job making making Lindsey likable and keeping the story fresh with Thor's unusual past. I liked watching their relationship grow while they fought off their attraction.

*6) THE HIGHLAND GROOM by Sarah Gabriel ~Scottish~ Rating – B
This was a nice read for a cold wintry afternoon. Its light-hearted whimsical tone was sweet, a pleasant story to escape reality without getting in to anything too deep. I liked both Fiona and Dougal alright, but I had a difficult time really caring whether or not they spent their lifetime together. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly kept me from being more drawn to them. Partly because the storyline was a little silly for me, I was a bit put off with the whole “you have to marry a certain type of person or you won't get your inheritance ploy” and I felt that the presence of the ferries was little more than an attempt to bring a slight enchantment to the story. I think that the book fell short of any substance, it was more of a “fluff” read for me.

7) A DANGEROUS LOVE by Brenda Joyce ~Regency~ Rating – A

8) MY FAIR MISTRESS by Tracy Anne Warren ~Regency~ Rating – A+

9) THE ACCIDENTAL MISTRESS by Tracy Anne Warren ~Regency~ Rating – B+

10) MY FAVORITE MISTRESS by Tracy Anne Warren ~Regency~ Rating – B+

*11) TEMPT THE DEVIL by Anna Campbell ~Regency (Courtesan)~ Rating – A
Anna Campbell has the wonderful knack of being able to take story lines that I don't like, and create spellbinding tales that I can't put down. I will admit that courtesans are my least favorite type of heroine, I don't mind a non-virginal heroine, but I would rather that she wasn't paid for sex, even if she didn't enjoy it. I find it quite an accomplishment for Ms. Campbell to enthrall me into such a book. I was riveted by Olivia and Julian's struggle to find love. Olivia really didn't want an emotional connection to Julian, I loved watching him woo and court her, seeing her shell brake around her heart, as she learned how to feel again.

Julian was not exactly emotionally stable himself. He'd married young, lost a wife he loved, and pushed his children away, allowing them to be raised by relatives, as he stayed abroad. The only relationships he would involve himself in was the purely physical kind. I liked seeing how he evolved from a sardonic aloof man, to a man of needing to express his love. I liked how Olivia didn't fall strait for him, but made him think about his actions, making him discover himself as he discovered the depth of his emotions for Olivia.

October 2008 Reads

1) DARK OBSESSION by Alison Chase~Victorian, Gothic~Rating-B
A pleasing read, though I didn't fall for the Gothic feel I believe Allison Chase was going for. I felt the ghosts and mystery fell flat in the sense of I didn't feel anxious or edgy by the suspense. I did enjoy following Nora and Grayson's budding relationship and the problems they faced, and I liked Johnny. All in all I found this a nice freshman effort by Ms. Chase, and look forward to reading more of her work.
*2) WHEN THE DUKE RETURNS by Eloisa James~Georgian~Rating-B+
*3) DARK TEMPTATION by Alison Chase~Victorian, Gothic~Rating-C
While this is written in a Gothic style, it is merely an echo to earlier Gothic novels, the mystery was there, but I had difficulty feeling any tension or anxiety when Sophie or Chad were in precarious situations. Though the story is written well, there were just to many personal things that irked me and kept me from getting completely immersed into the story. Such as, I found myself continuously annoyed with Sophie, because I found her selfish and stubborn on the verge of stupidity, making it a challenge for me to connect with her. Chad just really fell flat for me. I found the ending to be very cheesy. I was intrigued by the local legend of Meg and Jack Keating and would have liked to have seen their ghosts intertwined into the story. I also would have liked to have seen Nora, Grayson and Johnny, Chad's friends who we met in DARK OBSESSION a novel of Blackheath Moor #1.
*4) DESTINY KILLS by Keri Arthur~Paranormal, Contemporary, Dragons~Grade-A
I loved following Destiny and Trae through their relationship and their travels. Keri Arthur did an excellent job creating an engrossing story that hooked me from page one. I really liked Destiny's determination and passion for life, while she had spent much of her life in captivity, she never gave up on the hope of freedom. When she finally attained her goal it was at a huge cost, but she knew she must go back to help those that were still at the hands of evil. Trae was hot, sexy and extremely lovable. I loved the connection between them, and how Trae wasn't discouraged by her attempts to fight the battle alone, and helped her fulfill her destiny. I also loved the little teasers about Trae's sister and look forward to meeting her in the next book.
5) EVERY NIGHT I'M YOURS by Christie Kelly~Regency~Rating-A
This is an engrossing tale that kept me awake late into the night, as I followed Avis and Banning though their journey of discovery. The combustible emotions flaring between them led to an entertaining story, full of passion and fun. The depth of the emotion felt by Avis' aversion to marriage after watching her parents abusive relationship and an antipathy towards Banning was blended perfectly, showing Avis' vulnerability, though not sapping her strength, and I felt the issues were well resolved. I felt that both Avis and Banning grew as the book progressed. I also felt that the secondary characters, while not over powering, were well written and fully developed, I hope to see a few of them in future stories of their own. Toward the beginning of the book, the writing seemed a bit choppy, but everything quickly smoothed out and flowed together, captivating me into the story. This was an excellent debut from a new author, as I can't wait for more of Christie Kelley's books to come out, to see how her writing grows, as she sucks me into another story.
6) HERO WORSHIP by Dawn Calvert~Time-Travel, Regency~Rating-C
7) HIS AND HERS by Dawn Calvert~Time-Travel, Regency~Rating-C
I loved the premise of this book, an author's characters taking over the story and showing her that she may not have cast them quite right, hoping that she will create a better story. Unfortunately the execution just didn't work for me. I really struggled through this book. I found Jane to be insipid and annoying, I wish she would have been less of “Book Jane” and more “Real Jane”. I understand why Jane was willing to have someone write her as a “perfect” heroine, but there were just some parts when I felt “Real Jane” should have stood up more, especially knowing this was a romance. Such as when Jane knew the feelings for James just weren't there, instead of trying to “make” herself feel emotions, she should have used that as an opportunity to move the story from that point. I would hope that as a reader of romance, she would know that in the best books, there is intense feelings between the hero and heroine, sure it may start as hate, but it is still a vivid impression, not the vapid indifference between her and James. There really wasn't much feeling between her and Curran either, though at least he showed some potential and had some drive to change his prospective character. I really think that this book should be classified more as chick lit than historical romance. HIS AND HERS is a light-hearted story, with romantic elements, but I felt that there was no real passion or a sense of “true love” in this book. It told more of Jane's emotional growth. I didn't think that there was enough time spent between Jane and Curran to qualify them as a romantic couple, sure she felt some desire for him, but I didn't feel as if she was really longing for him when she knew she couldn't have him. And the ending of this story truly fell flat for me, I did not like it at all.
*8) NEVER DARE A DUKE by Gayle Callen~Victorian~Rating-B
*9) WHAT A PIRATE DESIRES by Michelle Beattie~Pirate~Rating-A
Mmmm...pirates, one of my favorite kind of heroes! I loved Luke's sexy demeanor, and his bit of bad luck along with his gorgeous self endeared him to me. I loved that with his cocky attitude, he wasn't annoyingly arrogant, he was still likable. Samantha was a great match for him, as she was strong and independent, with a bit of vulnerability that allowed Luke to help her. I liked her, though I really wasn't impressed by her skills as a captain, I felt that though the men liked and respected her, they saw her more as a figurehead, or as a sister they needed to protect, even when it was told how she saved some of them from a life of slavery. I wish that she was a stronger Captain. The secondary characters were were well fleshed out and very likable, without stealing the show. I especially liked Samantha's protector, Joe; young Aidan; and Luke's sister, Jacqueline. The villains were pure evil, and deserved what they got, though I felt that the scenes of her revenge against both villains were a bit anti-climatic, and they fell kind of flat for me. I look forward to more of Michelle Beattie's characters and story lines in the future.
10) UNEXPECTED by Lori Foster~Contemporary, Action/Adventure~Rating-A
*11) DEMON'S HUNGER by Eve Silver~Paranormal, Contemporary, Gods/Demons~Grade-A
I absolutely devoured DEMON'S HUNGER! I was captivated by Eve Silver's realm of sorcerers and demons, living out their lives in our world, seeing how the light battled the dark. The characters were engaging and the sexual tension between Dain and Vivien was hot hot hot. Dain's battle against the demons and his attraction to Vivien, the a woman who may be his enemy, fascinated me. I liked the mystery of not really knowing who the evil was coming from, but realizing that the serial killer they searched for wasn't just killing random victims, but humans who had inflicted harm onto those weaker than themselves, not that it made the killing okay, but it gave the killer more depth and took an edge off the malevolence. The only reason this didn't give a perfect score, was because I felt that the book jumped around a little to much for me, though I was thankful that it did because one of the particular jumps happened at a time I was supposed to be getting ready for work, it jolted me enough out of the story so that I could bear to put the book down and wasn't too late in the office-though it didn't stop me from wanting to pick it right back up! I was drawn into the lives of the secondary characters and look forward to more of this series, eager to see where Ms. Silver takes this universe and their battle of good vs. evil.
12) THE HUSBAND TRAP by Tracy Anne Warren~Regency~Rating-A
13) THE WIFE TRAP by Tracy Anne Warren~Regency~Rating-B

Friday, December 5, 2008

The days just seem to run together

Where the hell do the days go? I just can't keep track of anything anymore. I lose days, or so it seems. Since we were all cut to only 3 days/week, at the title company, I've found additional employment in the retail industry-that was a hell of a change for me...but fortunately I like it, but the hours and pay suck, not a real surprise there. I'm just happy to have work in this crappy economy, though I foresee us (there are 2 other people) being laid-off from the office this winter, and the owner trying to run the company herself.

I'm looking for more work, but so is everyone else...

Between work, kids and just plain life, I've made time to read some books for some well needed "escapism"'s so nice not having to think of my problems for a few hours, at least until my husband and kids come home...though come to think of it, most of my recent reading time has been at night, daytime leaves me w/to many other things to do...unless I'm using books to avoid the dishes in the sink, the floor that needs to be vacuumed, the laundry, which did seem to happen today, well, I didn't avoid it ALL day, the only thing I didn't accomplish today was the floors will still be here tomorrow, when I can enlist my 13yr old son to do it...and tonight's dishes...

The best thing about romances, I think, is that they allow me to step away from my life stresses for a fraction of time, and no matter what transpires between the pages, I know that by the end of the book I will have a (hopefully) satisfying HEA.