This is the second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and follows the story of Rhage aka Hollywood. Rhage is Hollywood good looking, thus theThis is the second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and follows the story of Rhage aka Hollywood. Rhage is Hollywood good looking, thus the nickname. Women practically throw themselves at him and that’s good thing, because he has a 200 year curse that’s given him an inner demon that can only be tamed with sex or fighting. If the demon is let loose, there is no stopping him and he will destroy all in his path, friend or foe.
The story opens with Butch unsuccessfully trying to pursue a relationship with Marissa. And, Vishous, who is psychic telling Rhage that he is going to meet his love and she will be a virgin. Rhage finds this to be a bit unbelievable –especially given his penchant for having random sexual encounters.
Mary Luce nursed her faithful, Catholic mother through a fatal illness, survived leukemia and now works for a law office and volunteers at a suicide help line. She’s just received a phone call from her doctor that they want to do some follow up testing and she’s sure that the leukemia is back. That night, after leaving her shift at the suicide help line, where she’s gotten another mystery call from someone who doesn’t speak, a young boy shows up at her home. He doesn’t speak but he knows American Sign Language – which Mary knows because she used to work with autistic children.
The boy’s name is John Matthew and he is an orphan who was named by the nuns at the orphanage where he was taken after he was found abandoned. He is now living on his own in a dingy apartment. He’s the one who has been making the anonymous phone calls. While sitting outside and talking with him, her neighbor, Bella, comes over and meets John as well.
Bella is shocked when she sees the bracelet the John has made for himself. The bracelet says the name “Tehrror” in the vampire’s old language – a warrior’s name. John tells her that he doesn’t know what it means. He just saw it in a dream. Bella goes home and puts a call into the Black Dagger Brotherhood hoping they can help, because she knows that John is a pre-transition vampire and he’s going to need someone around to help him go through the transition.
She is instructed to have John ready to go to the Brotherhood’s compound with her the next night. They will send a car to her place. Then she tells them he doesn’t speak but can sign and needs an interpreter but the interpreter is human. They tell her to bring the human. They will erase her memory after the evenings events.
At the Brotherhood compound, Rhage meets Mary and decides that he wants her. He tells Bella that she needs to make arrangements for him to have a date with Mary. She is resistant and the king, Wrath, is not happy about this plan either. Getting involved with humans is not a good plan. He convinces them to allow it because he’s going to force a meeting if they don’t and he’ll erase her memory after the one date. No big deal.
Mary doesn’t understand why Rhage, who is devastatingly handsome and has women practically throwing themselves at him wants to date her. He doesn’t scrub her memory and then on their second date, they encounter some lessers and in the process of fighting them off, Mary loses her purse which has her identification information.
Now Rhage can’t leave her alone at her home because the lessers will show up there and try to harm her. They won’t know that she’s not one of them. He spends the first night at her place only to have her find out he’s a vampire the next morning when he is burned by the sun. After that, he goes against Wrath’s wishes and takes her to the Brotherhood’s compound for safe keeping.
While Rhage is pursuing Mary, Tohrment is pursuing John – trying to convince him to move in with the Brotherhood. He gives him his cell phone number and says to whistle when he calls him. He’ll know it’s him and come pick him up.
Bella has also become enamored of one of the brothers, Zsadist. He doesn’t really understand why she’s not attracted to his twin, Phury, who doesn’t have a scarred face and is much more pleasant to be around. Bella’s brother, Rehvenge is not happy about her wanting a relationship with one of the Brother’s, but he’s not happy that she’s living in a home on her own either. He feels it’s too dangerous and in the end, he is right.
I liked this story better than Dark Lover. The sacrifices for love and redemption are in this story as well. I also like how the author is building the series and introducing characters and relationships that will be the stories told in the future books.
The story arcs about the lesser are there – the Mr X thing doesn’t seem as bad. I’m not sure if that’s because Mr X is replaced by Mr O or if I’ve just gotten used to the overuse of the lesser formal name.
Life in Dark Ages of 9th Century Europe was hard and it was especially hard for women. It was even more difficult if you were a woman who wanted to beLife in Dark Ages of 9th Century Europe was hard and it was especially hard for women. It was even more difficult if you were a woman who wanted to be educated. Pope Joan is a historically fictional account of the life of Joan/John Angelicus who, according to legend, was made Pope and ruled the Catholic Church for about two years in the mid-ninth century.
Joan is the third child born to a Catholic priest and his “pagan” wife. A woman who he saved when the Christians invade the Saxon countries. She has two older brothers, Matthew and John. Matthew is very intelligent and is studying to be a priest as his father. John struggles with his studies but this is not a problem until Matthew dies. Now his father expects John to take Matthew’s place and become a priest, but John doesn’t have the aptitude for studies and struggles with his lessons.
In the meantime, Joan has secretly started to learn – she convinced Matthew to teach her before his death. Joan learns the lessons readily and strongly desires to learn more, but she has to do so without her father’s knowledge or she must face his wrath.
The Greek tutor her father hires to teach her brother John learns that Joan is an excellent student and wants to teach only her. Her father reluctantly agrees with the caveat that the tutor must work with both John and Joan.
Her Greek tutor leaves, but promises that he will send a new tutor for Joan. When the time comes for Joan to go for more tutoring, her father insists that the requested student is John (Johannes) and that the name Joan (Johanna) written on the letter is simply a mistake. Her brother John is taken for further study. That night, Joan sneaks out and follows the caravan with her brother.
In their new home, Joan befriends Gerold who becomes her benefactor and is allowed to continue her studies. Her brother John, while continuing his studies, is also allowed to pursue his true desire – to become a soldier – along with his studies.
A tragedy befalls the village where Joan lives and her brother is killed, but Joan is one of the lone survivors. As her brother was about to be sent off to a monastery, Joan takes this opportunity to assume his identity. She cuts off her hair and binds herself and heads off to the monastery to continue her studies and her life.
She is accepted as her brother, John, but also has to work very hard to not be discovered.
Eventually, she ends up in Rome working with the Curia. Much to her surprise she elected Pope. She has a very brief, roughly two year reign as pope.
The story ends at her death.
The Catholic Church has claimed the legend of Pope Joan to be a story to somehow subvert the Church. Yet, as the author has pointed out, the legendary story of King Arthur is consider based on fact and she has found less actual evidence of the existence of King Arthur than she has found for evidence of Pope Joan. The author did not want to prove or disprove the existence of Pope Joan, so she chose to write an historical fictional account of a woman who disguised herself as a man and accidentally became pope.
I had heard the legend of Pope Joan and enjoyed this story immensely. While reading the story, I knew that eventually she would become Pope, but I was always a bit apprehensive about whether or not she was about to be found out and what would happen so that she could continue living as a man.
The author constantly reminds the reader that Joan is not a man by writing about Joan as Joan. She is only referred to as Brother/Father/Pope John when addressed by other characters in the story.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction....more
Greeley reviews his opposition to the Iraqi War based mainly on the principle that the war is not a just war and now that the United States is in theGreeley reviews his opposition to the Iraqi War based mainly on the principle that the war is not a just war and now that the United States is in the war, extracting our country from the war should be our number one goal.
The book is journal entries written by Greeley beginning on September 16, 2001, just after the terrorist attacks of September 11. The last entry was written April 13, 2007.
I found the book to be a challenge to read – partly because of the anger that I feel when I read about the collateral damage from the war – and because it is frustrating to read about the things that Greeley feels our military is failing at in this war. It doesn’t help that I agree with his opinion....more
Mark Doty is a professor and has published books of poetry and non-fiction prose. This is a memoir of his life with Beau, a golden retriever he adopteMark Doty is a professor and has published books of poetry and non-fiction prose. This is a memoir of his life with Beau, a golden retriever he adopted from an animal shelter to be a companion for his dying partner, Wally. The two already owned another dog, Arden.
He writes about how the dogs helped him through his darkest days after the death of Wally and as he moved on to a new relationship with Paul, as well as the lessons he learned from them.
This was a book for my book club, so it's definitely something I wouldn't have chosen to read on my own. I enjoyed parts of the book but I felt like he kind of bounced around in time. He would be talking about what was happening at that point and bring up something that would happen in the future. For me, that made parts of the story rather jerky.
He also incorporated a lot of Emily Dickinson's poetry. I'm not a poetry fan and have very little knowledge of the genre. Maybe I would have enjoyed these segments more if I was more familiar with Dickson and other poets or just enjoyed poetry more.
There were a couple points in the story where I just found the author to be annoying. One was when he, Paul, their two cats and the two dogs move to live in Iowa City while he works for a semester (or two) at the University of Iowa. The University helps him to find temporary housing and in doing so, tells him he needs to lie to the person he will be renting the home from and say he has a small dog. He's not comfortable with this, but the person at the University assures him this is the only way she will be able to secure him housing that will allow all the pets.
The owner is living someone else during this time, so they are moving into a furnished home and the owner has some fairly explicit directions about how she would like things maintained so the animal doesn't (or should we say "animals don't") damage anything. The author belittles the owners desire to maintain and care for her furnishings because they aren't all that valuable and says they are lower quality than Ikea. As if only high-end and expensive furnishings should be maintained. At this point, he's already written about how he's felt suicidal at times and wants the reader to feel some empathy for him, but he can't come up with empathy for someone who may have purchased the best furnishings for their home that they can and understand why they would want to return home to find these items still in good condition.
The other incident that sticks out takes place in New York. Another dog is waiting outside a store for its owner and comes up to Beau and the two are doing the doggy get-to-know-you routine when the female owner comes out and, in a tone that the author interprets, as snippy, orders her dog to come along. He attributes this to the woman thinking that he (a gay man) is looking to hit on her or that she doesn't want her dog to socialize. It never crosses his mind that the women knows he's gay so doesn't see this as him hitting on her and that she's just in a hurry to get home. Maybe she has a deathly ill parent at home or a sick child. Perhaps she was just diagnosed with a terminal illness. Maybe she's just having a bad day and wants to get home and take a bath. But those options aren't presented -- it's purely about the person not wanting to be around him or his dog.
It's not a bad book. Perhaps a dog owner would like it better....more
The second book in the trilogy finds our six circle members continuing their training to battle Lilith, Queen of the Vampires. It is also the love stoThe second book in the trilogy finds our six circle members continuing their training to battle Lilith, Queen of the Vampires. It is also the love story for Blair and Larkin.
The circle continues to train to defeat the vampires and has some run-ins with them in modern day Ireland. They also prepare for the trip through the Dance to Gaell and the battle with the vampires.
About half-way through the book, they travel through the Dance to Gaell. Here they continue their training and start to train the people of Gaell who will join them in their battle.
I did not enjoy this book as much as the first book. It’s really the stepping stone book and while there are a few sporadic battles and we learn more about the evil that is Lilith, there’s not much else to expect to happen. Being a traditional Nora Roberts trilogy, we know that somehow Blair and Larkin will marry and because there is a third book, we know the final battle isn’t in this story. ...more
Mikael Blomkvist, a Swedish journalist, has just been convicted of libel and needs to distance himself from his magazine. At least for the duration ofMikael Blomkvist, a Swedish journalist, has just been convicted of libel and needs to distance himself from his magazine. At least for the duration of his sentence and probation.
Henrik Vanger persuades Blomkvist to spend a year doing his own investigation into the disappearance of his niece, Harriet, over 40 years ago. For his efforts, Vanger will pay him handsomely.
Lisabeth Salander does freelance work for a private investigation firm and is a highly experienced and effective computer hacker. She joins up with Blomkvist to help him solve the mystery of Harriet Vanger’s disappearance.
It took me some time to get into this book – about 100 pages. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t read the notes on the back cover – I knew it was a murder mystery – or if it just took that long to get into it. I couldn’t figure out why the story kept jumping between the story of Blomkvist and Salander and I was wondering when the murder was going to happen. Of course, it’d already happened.
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next two books in the seriers. ...more
Agnes Crandall writes the “Cranky Agnes” cooking column and is engaged to Taylor, an up-and-coming local chef. The two of them have just worked out aAgnes Crandall writes the “Cranky Agnes” cooking column and is engaged to Taylor, an up-and-coming local chef. The two of them have just worked out a deal to purchase Two Rivers from Brenda Fortunato Dupres. Brenda is the mother of her best friend, Lisa Livia (aka LL) growing up. Part of the deal is that Agnes and Taylor will cater the wedding for Maria – Brenda’s granddaughter and Lisa Livia’s daughter.
This will be Agnes and Taylor’s first big catering event at the home which is on the river and has a barn for the catering events.
One evening, a young local comes to Agnes’ home and tries to kidnap her dog. Agnes uses the nearest weapon she has at hand to stop him – a frying pan. (This is not the first time she’s conked a guy on the head with a frying pan, either.) In the struggle, the intruder falls through a previous covered-up door in the kitchen and fatally falls to the floor of the previously hidden basement.
Shane is a government agent and is called in to help protect Agnes by his Uncle Joey, who is also a good friend of Agnes’.
While protecting Agnes, the two of them need to figure out why people keep trying to break into Agnes’ home and Agnes’ has to work to ensure that Maria’s wedding takes place at her home because now Brenda is trying to set things up so that the wedding will get moved and then Agnes will have to come up with three months of actual mortgage payments or be foreclosed on.
I enjoyed this book better than the last Crusie/Mayer collaboration that I read (Don’t Look Down.) The action and romance is better written and the story is a little easier to follow even though much of it is pretty far fetched....more
This is the third and final book of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy.
The final story is Mia Devlin’s and part of the battle for her is that the man whThis is the third and final book of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy.
The final story is Mia Devlin’s and part of the battle for her is that the man who left her over ten years ago, Sam Logan, has returned to the island. Mia still feels the betrayal and abandonment that she felt when he left, but Sam wants to win Mia’s heart back.
Once again, evil is out to stop the three and they all join forces to fight the evil that is out to get them.
This book is good, but I didn’t like it as much as the first two....more
Phury’s story is book number six in the series. He’s just accepted the role of Primale for the Chosen and has been mated with Cormia. But the relationPhury’s story is book number six in the series. He’s just accepted the role of Primale for the Chosen and has been mated with Cormia. But the relationship has not been consummated because when the mating ceremony occurred, it was done against Cormia’s will and Phury will not mate her until she decides that that is her wish.
He’s also battling a severe drug addiction. Doing battle with a voice in his head telling him how worthless he is and can’t do anything right as well as continuing his battle with his feelings for his twin brother, Zsadist’s, wife, Bella.
This has led him to acting out inappropriately and fighting against the Lessers on his own. And, being irresponsible about how he chooses the battles. This leads Wrath to kicking him out of the Brotherhood.
Cormia is now living in the Brother’s world – where things are very different from her world with the Scribe Virign. Phury has asked John Matthew to help her adjust to the world with color (the world of the Other Side is all white) and the things that the brother’s take for granted – like movies. She wants to consummate her relationship with Phury – but she wants a full, loving relationship with him.
Rehvenge (aka “Rehv” or “Reverand”) is the owner of ZeroSum, a drug dealer and a symphath. (A symphath is a vampire subspecies who will manipulate others feelings to get what they want and are traditionally discriminated against. If a symphath is found living among vampires, he or she is to be sent to a symphath colony.) He is Phury’s drug supplier and uses that as leverage to keep him from being sent to the colony by Phury. Rehv is also Bella’s older and very protective brother.
John, Blay and Qhuinn as still in the training program for the Brotherhood, as is Lash (Qhuinn’s cousin.) Qhuinn’s family, members of the glymera (vampire high society) are in the process of disowning him because he is flawed – he has two different colored eyes and they are constantly comparing him the Lash – who they view as an ideal member of the glymera community.
One day, Lash reveals that he knows John’s secret – that as a pretrans he was raped by a human male and starts to attack John. Qhuin steps in to defend John against Lash and causes what could be a fatal wound to Lash. Lash is rushed to the hospital to be treated and Qhuinn is set up for charges for his actions against Lash.
While Lash is being treated at the hospital, the Omega, leader of the Lessening Society, is ready to claim his son. A child who has been raised in the vampire community and has recently transitioned. He will get his son and have him join the Lessers in the battle against the vampires. An insider is very helpful in defeating the vampires – especially when they will not listen to the Brothers when they beg them to leave their homes and go into hiding.
We learn what has happened to Tohrment in this book and John continues to pine for Xhex.
This was the first book in this series that I was really disappointed with. Phury’s addiction story didn’t grab me – so much of the poor me, I’m an addict ove and over. Plus the dancing around that he and Cormia do when they both really just want the same thing and can’t just open their mouths and say so.
I also don’t understand two things (and I feel like these are fairly important aspects in the overall story.) One, how the hell Rehvenge has not been sent to the symphath colony when it’s pretty obvious all of the Brothers know that he is one. Is it really just because he’s Phury’s dealer? Two, (and this is a bit of a spoiler so quit reading if you don’t want spoilers) how Lash could be the adopted son of members of the glymera and no one else seems know this. The glymera is composed of stuck up snobs who wouldn’t accept someone who is not “perfect” into their ranks. Lash’s mother, female vampire, was kidnapped by the Omega, impregnated by him and died in child birth. Neither of the vampires who raised him was his biological parent and they both would have known this. On the other hand, I was a bit worried that it was going to be Qhuinn who was the Omega’s son – which would have been an interesting twist. I’m glad he wasn’t.
And, there wasn’t as much sex in this book....more
Kelsey Byden is finally divorced from her husband after a two-year separation when she discovers that her mother, Naomi Chadwick, is alive and livingKelsey Byden is finally divorced from her husband after a two-year separation when she discovers that her mother, Naomi Chadwick, is alive and living on a horse farm in Virginia. As a child, she had been told by her father that her mother had died and she grew up living with her father, Philip, an English professor at Georgetown.
But the fact is that her mother did not die, but was convicted of murdering her lover and sentenced to over ten years in jail. Her mother contended it was self-defense, but could not get her conviction overturned. She did not want Kelsey to visit her in jail, so she agreed to allow her father to tell her that her mother was dead.
Kelsey decides to accept her mother’s invitation to come live with her and for them to get to know each other. Her father and step-mother, who her father married when Kelsey was 18, are not exactly happy and her grandmother, Milicent, is furious. So furious that she tries to cut Kelsey out of the trust that her grandfather had set up for her. Milicent is extremely concerned with appearances and does everything she can to try to control Kelsey’s behavior.
Kelsey discovers that she loves life on the horse farm and she is starting to develop a relationship with the owner of a neighboring farm. Then things start to go wrong at some races and Kelsey decides to determine if her mother’s crime was murder, or manslaughter.
Once again, I enjoyed this book by Nora Roberts. There was one part that kind of had me wondering though. Kelsey knows how much her grandmother despises her mother and of her opposition to their marriage, I had a hard time believing she didn’t figure out much sooner that it was her mother who pushed the investigation in a way that would find her mother guilty and not her father....more
Ms Hickman’s book focuses on the lives of five English courtesans: Sophia Baddeley (1745-1786), Eliabeth Armistead (1750-1842), Harriette Wilson (1786Ms Hickman’s book focuses on the lives of five English courtesans: Sophia Baddeley (1745-1786), Eliabeth Armistead (1750-1842), Harriette Wilson (1786-1845), Cora Pearl (1835-1886) and Catherine Walters (1839-1920.) During each of these stories she does spend some time on other courtesans of some name during the existing time frame, but the main focus of each section is the five courtesans she researched and the story of each one’s life as a woman of the demi-monde.
The stories of each woman are well told and very interesting. Each ended up as a courtesan for a different reason but found the life of a courtesan one that gave them the independence that they desired. An independent life was one that a respectable woman couldn’t have – but as a courtesan, it was one that was allowed, although with some restrictions.
A few things were a bit annoying. Like terminology – she would refer to the brothels as nunneries with no notes that this was a colloquial term for a brothel at the time. And, along the same lines, the madam of the brothel would be referred to as the “abbess.” There were some other terminology pieces and cultural norms that could have been better explained.
The thing the author did that I found the most annoying was to present entire conversations or descriptions in French with the English translation following in parenthesis. At one point, she wrote that the English translation was nowhere near as beautiful at the French. Well, I don’t speak French and the author’s apparent expectation that the readers of this book would speak French was annoying. The “untranslatable” part was obviously translatable and I understood the translation and found it to be beautifully written. In fact, I didn’t read any of the French passages as I don’t speak, read or understand French beyond please and thank you. Personally, I would have preferred she do footnotes with the original French for those who would desire to read the passages in their original form. The book is already filled with footnotes and couple more for the original French wouldn’t have hurt.
I also think you could skip reading most of the introduction – it didn’t really add any valuable information to the stories and most of the information was just repeated once you started reading the stories of the courtesans.
Despite all my negatives, I really did enjoy the stories of the woman and what their lives were like....more