It almost causes me physical pain to write this about a woman whose work I so publicly worship but...I found this book to be a major disappointment. T...moreIt almost causes me physical pain to write this about a woman whose work I so publicly worship but...I found this book to be a major disappointment. This is an older one of hers but if you're working your way through her back catalogue like me, you can probably skip this one.
There are a few reasons I think it didn't quite measure up.
Firstly and most obviously, the story was missing the rich tapestry of historical information I have come to expect from her novels. She did create a minor story and there is some reflection on Roman times but it really failed to capture the heartbeat of history. Instead, it flailed around some jealous love triangle and left me completely detatched to the plight of these people from the past.
Secondly, I really don't understand the deal with the poet boyfriend. Maybe women in 1994 didn't expect quite so much from their life partners but I didn't really buy it all. Kate seemed so weak. I still don't understand why she didn't just tell both her love interests to bugger off. Neither of them were exactly prince charming.
Thirdly, the whole ghost thing was really overdone. I mean, if I wanted to read that stuff, I would've read an out and out horror novel. It didn't even really scare me (and I'm a big fraidy cat!). Can 2000 year old ghosts transport cars into the middle of lakes? I don't think so...
I would really only recommend this book to die hard fans of Erskine who read her novels for their spooky side rather than the historical fiction. It had excellent potential but it just fell flat for me.(less)
This was a reread for me as part of both The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and The Outlander Challenge. The idea behind The Outlander Challenge...moreThis was a reread for me as part of both The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and The Outlander Challenge. The idea behind The Outlander Challenge is to complete all of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander novels before the release of An Echo in the Bone in September this year. I've found it a fantastic motivator to dive back into a much-loved series.
Dragonfly in Amber continues the story of Jamie and Claire pretty much where Cross Stitch/Outlander left off. Set mostly in the past (bar about 100 pages) with a high-level of research and historical accuracy it can easily be classified as a historical novel. If you forget the fact that Claire is a time-traveller...
I absolutely loved revisiting this novel and I can't wait to see what's in store for the rest of series. Two down, four to go!(less)
Hunky heroes? Check! Political turmoil? Check! Headstrong, believable heroines? Check! WILLIAM WALLACE? Check!
If you're looking for a fantastic histor...moreHunky heroes? Check! Political turmoil? Check! Headstrong, believable heroines? Check! WILLIAM WALLACE? Check!
If you're looking for a fantastic historical fiction set in Scotland you can't go past this novel. Givens has written the spirit of the Scottish people into the pages of this book and it is difficult to be unmoved by their struggle for freedom from the English crown. This story is tight with suspense and is filled with passionate characters whom I guarantee you will barrack for.
Part of the brilliance of the book is that it tells two very different love stories - Rory and Isobel, Keiran and Rachel. Givens was very clever with the way she wrote this. Because she uses four points of view, the tension is always high and you constantly find yourself reading on even though you promised yourself you would put the book down at the end of the chapter.
The other aspect of this novel which was quite brilliant is that even though Givens is ultimately telling a love story, she never neglects the larger issues happening in the country of her characters. Instead, she lets the tension and turmoil of her character's inner worlds mirror the mood of Scotland. She never forgets that the purpose of historical fiction for a reader is to connect emotionally not just with the characters but with history itself.
If you loved On a Highland Shore then Rivals for the Crown will not disappoint. Although it is a sequel I believe it can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone novel also. If you have read OAHS, Margaret and Gannon do feature in the book (they are Rory's parents) and you do get to hear a little of the life they've shared together but I have no doubt that the new characters will steal your heart too.
All in all, a fantastic book! I really do hope that Kathleen Givens is busy writing another now.(less)
**spoiler alert** Like The Notebook, A Walk to Remember is a simple yet poignant novel of love and loss that will leave you with the sense that you ha...more**spoiler alert** Like The Notebook, A Walk to Remember is a simple yet poignant novel of love and loss that will leave you with the sense that you have been given a glimpse of something special.
Apart from a handful of tissues, this little book does not ask much of you. It will not require much of your time or effort to immerse yourself in the 170 pages but the reward is great. It's not a feel good novel in the way of a romance but a novel that gives meaning to tragedy. A novel that offers a small explanation for the unexplainable. You may not get the happily ever after high but you may just be left with the impression that some of the most challenging moments in our life, some of the most unfair tragedies are there to shape our very souls.
For anyone who has lost someone they loved dearly, this read could be challenging but it is a journey that is not unguided. Sparks is no stranger to personal tragedy and in this book, he walks you into those emotions far enough for you to connect with them but not so far that you are drowning in them. And somehow, his characters reach out from the page with their words and experiences and lay themselves upon your heart as if to say, 'I know. I understand.'
I don't know if this novel is for everyone and you probably shouldn't read it expecting to be a transcript of the Mandy Moore movie. There are many, many differences (most obvious being the book is set in the 1950's) and it is targeted at an adult audience. There is also a very strong religious aspect to this novel which I felt fit perfectly to the characters and themes.
Here's one of my favourite quotes:
I took a sip of the punch, trying to soothe the sudden dryness in my throat. As I drank, all the times I'd spent with Jamie came flooding into my mind. I thought about the home-coming dance and what she'd done for me that night. I thought about the times I'd walked her home and how I'd helped collect jars and cans filled with pennies for the orphans.
As these images were going through my head, my breathing suddenly went still. I looked at Jamie, then up to the ceiling and around the room, doing my best to keep my composure, then back to Jamie again. She smiled at me and I smiled at her and all I could do was wonder how I'd ever fallen in love with a girl like Jamie Sullivan.
Ever wondered what would happen if a thirsty vamp bit Sophie Kinsella's Becky Bloomwood on the neck and crowned her Queen of the Undead? No? Neither h...moreEver wondered what would happen if a thirsty vamp bit Sophie Kinsella's Becky Bloomwood on the neck and crowned her Queen of the Undead? No? Neither had I till I began reading Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson but I can now tell you the result is a hilarious mix of sex, shoes, comedy and blood-sucking!
This book takes everything you love about a good chick-lit novel: - a smart-mouthed heroine with impeccable fashion sense - a light-hearted and cheeky plot line - a smouldering sexy love interest And infuses it with a healthy dose of vampiric action!
Even though the main character's materialistic tendencies make her a little tough to love, blood-sucking Betsy is still entertaining as all hell and an absolute scream to read (hardy harr harr). Some of the things she said had me clutching my side with laughter.
I listened to rather than read this book and I have to say that it translated perfectly to audio. Listening to the voice actor speak with a lisp when Betsy's fangs came out was a particularly memorable moment that tickled my funny bone. I thoroughly recommend giving the audio version of this book a go! It's how I'll be listening to the rest of the series.
This isn't the kind of book you'll remember forever but it is certainly wonderful escapism. A great beach or weekend read!(less)
Let's get one thing straight...Sookie Stackhouse is no Bella Swan. You may have read the myriad reviews that list the similarities between Charlaine H...moreLet's get one thing straight...Sookie Stackhouse is no Bella Swan. You may have read the myriad reviews that list the similarities between Charlaine Harris's novels and the Twilight Saga and I can assure you that most of them are true. Harris refers to her vampires 'glowing', Bill drinks synthetic blood, Sookie can read minds...the list goes on and on.
But after finishing this book, what I can assure you is that in so many ways these books are so completely different that they bear no comparison. The Sookie Stackhouse novels are fun and action-packed where Twilight is contemplative with a more restrained plot. Neither one is better...they're just different.
What I enjoyed so much about Dead Until Dark is the incredible, break-neck pace the plot moved along at. This was like watching a blockbuster movie and truly didn't take much more time than that to read. Harris threads the hooks of the story expertly. When you get to the end of a chapter, she'll write something to stop your heart dead in your chest. You literally HAVE to turn the page to find out more.
The other major strength of this novel is Sookie. She is one of the most fun characters. She's kooky, she's kick-ass and I loved being able to step right into her mind. I would've taken tough-stuff Sookie over Bella any day.
But Bill is not comparable to Edward. He's HOT and he oozes that sexy bad-guy image but I just don't know if I 100% believes he loves Sookie. I know his character is supposed to be stiff and uncommunicative but I did find it a challenge to warm to him as much as I have done with other romantic heroes. He doesn't really have the 'swoon factor' Edward does.
I will absolutely continue to read this series with great pleasure. I do want to know what happens with Sookie...I secretly hopes she shacks up with Sam. Is that too much to ask?
Readers should be warned that this novel is quite violent. It also discusses issues that some could find disturbing and upsetting (incest etc). For more conservative readers, please be aware there are multiple explicit love scenes.
I would certainly recommend this book to Twilight fans looking for an enjoyable vampire series.(less)
This is the kind of book that makes me want to taunt people in the 'Literature' section of Borders by pointing my judgemental finger at them and sayin...moreThis is the kind of book that makes me want to taunt people in the 'Literature' section of Borders by pointing my judgemental finger at them and saying 'My book's better than your book! Na na na na na na.' Granted that may not be the way to convert sceptics but me being handcuffed in a bookstore might put a spotlight on a genre Aussies should be proud to read.
Slave to Sensation embodies all that makes a Romance novel so utterly, gratuitously satisfying. It's intelligent, high-concept fiction coloured by the deep understanding of the emotions that make us all human and I can't sing its praises enough. Having said that, this is a paranormal romance and since we all have preferences, I'll gladly let you know why I loved it.
I haven't read very many paranormal romances but I was extraordinarily impressed with the Psy-net concept. It's fascinating, well-developed and creates more than enough guts to power the plot along at high speed. Even if you removed the romance element from this book, you would still have a concept interesting enough to create a science-fiction novel.
But after a few pages of the hero, you wouldn't want to remove the romance element of the story. Lucas really is quite divine. But then again, I always was a sucker for the alpha hero. And as the Alpha of a pack of changelings, Lucas is as possessive, sexual, dominant and masculine as they get.
Lucky Sasha gives as good as she gets. She is a heroine you find yourself slipping into the mind of easily. There were so many things about her that I loved but I don't want to give away any secrets. She is a character you gladly observe developing throughout the course of the novel.
The other thing that Romances novels tend to do really well is develop interesting minor characters. I will gladly read about any of the cast of the changeling-psy world...actually I don't think I'll be able to stop myself.
And yes, I whole-heartedly agree with the Empress...I want my own panther with skin-privileges ;-) (less)
For the first 100 pages of this novel I was laughing out loud, shaking my head in disbelief and cringing at Becky's antics. By page 300 I was still la...moreFor the first 100 pages of this novel I was laughing out loud, shaking my head in disbelief and cringing at Becky's antics. By page 300 I was still laughing, shaking my head and cringing but with much less enthusiasm. It's just after a while, this character can get a little tedious.
The scary part is that as much as I hate shopping for clothes, I can see a little of myself in Becky. I certainly have the book-buying compulsion! That is part of the charm of this character though, in her craziness, in her extremities, she is still relatable to some degree. Although we don't want to BE Becky, we can admit quietly that we can sometimes be LIKE Becky.
Like me, you might spend a great deal of the book hoping for some miraculous cure to Becky's addiction. All I can say is, don't hold your breath. Shopping is seriously like crack to this woman!
This isn't the best book I've ever read but it was a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to the movie...I'm hoping it'll be a great chick-flicks to enjoy with friends.(less)
I have to admire the courage it took for Karen Harper to take something as small as a discrepancy on William Shakespeare's marriage certificate and cr...moreI have to admire the courage it took for Karen Harper to take something as small as a discrepancy on William Shakespeare's marriage certificate and create an entire novel from it. Although the idea that Shakespeare had a mistress is not a new one, it is a fantastic literary premise sure to draw attention and potentially, criticism.
There are plenty of areas in which this novel does deliver and can be commended. First of all would be the clever way Harper weaves lines of Shakespeare's sonnets and plays into witty dialogue between the two main characters. I found it terribly romantic when Will would whisper things to Anne like 'Parting is such sweet sorrow.' That part of the novel certainly lived up to my expectations.
The other thing you can't fault Harper on is her ability to recreate a time and place in history. Even though she's used pure speculation for the basis of her novel, the world in which these characters inhabit is very distinctly Elizabethan England and all the little details she weaves into the story really add to the authenticity. It is clear she did her research. There are two scenes - a birth scene and a plague scene - that are particularly haunting and remind you of what it really would've been like to live in these times.
However for all its strength and ambition, Mistress Shakespeare doesn't quite manage to be all that it could've been. To me, the biggest cause of this was the character of Anne Whately. Although I did enjoy aspects of her life, she just really puts up with way too much rubbish from William Shakespeare to appeal to me. Reading the journey of her life with her, I somehow failed to make any real emotional connection to Anne. I understand the duplicity of her feelings for William Shakespeare and her motivations as a character but to be really honest, she just didn't do it for me. Maybe I wanted her to be more modern? This is probably unfair as Harper was staying true to women of the time but even in historicals, I'm used to reading heroines who give as good as they get.
The other thing was that William Shakespeare wasn't portrayed in this novel to be as brilliant as I wanted him to be. I know that he was just a man but I really wanted to see something special in him and I just didn't get it. He didn't seem different or even really quirky. Just another man unable to give the woman he loves what she wants.
I know there are many fans of Karen Harper out there and not having read any of her other work, I'm unable to tell you how this novel compares. I can see from her writing and research that she is probably a brilliant author but unfortunately I found Mistress Shakespeare to be forgettable.
I would love to tell you that the first novel in Nalini Singh's new Guild-Hunter series was as enjoyable as the first novel in her Psy-Changelling ser...moreI would love to tell you that the first novel in Nalini Singh's new Guild-Hunter series was as enjoyable as the first novel in her Psy-Changelling series but unfortunately it wasn't for me. There were a few reasons I've given it the rating I have but most of them come down to personal choice and reading preferences. I have no doubt that there would be many readers with different taste to mine who will love this book. After all, Singh is a wonderful writer who creates a wonderful plot full of suspense. So please take my comments with a grain of salt and understand this isn't criticism directed at the book but more a matter of opinion.
The biggest thing for me in this novel was that I felt the main characters lacked a tenderness for one another that would indicate their feelings were more than sexual. I know that Raphael wasn't human and that being an archangel makes him more prone to cruelty but honestly, apart from his hot bod I don't really see why Elena fell for him. At times I think he borders more on asshole than alpha male. He doesn't have any of the inner-softness of Lucas and unfortunately I kind of felt he needed that. Emma Darcy once wrote that the most important thing in a romance novel is that the reader fall in love with the hero. I just don't think I got there with Raphael.
The other thing that turned me off was the extreme amount of gore and swearing. Body parts were strewn everywhere through this book - throats are slashed, hearts are ripped out of chests, eyeballs are gouged out. It really was enough to make me cringe in parts and read faster to escape the violence. I don't normally mind a bit of suspense, a bit of violence in a novel but this was akin to watching two people fall in love on the movie set of Saw. This may not bother some readers at all but it made my stomach do flip-flops. Also the swearing was a little much after a while. In those situations, I would probably drop the f-bomb fairly often too but as a reader, it was a little much.
I didn't really love the whole angels making vampires thing either. I understood it and by the end of the book I was used to it but I didn't really like that take on things.
Again, this is all personal preference. I really wanted to love this book but for the above reasons felt I couldn't connect with the story. I will definitely contine with reading the Psy-Changelling series as it seems more my style but I don't think I'll be reading anymore of the Guild Hunter novels.
I do have a feeling that The Empress of Good & Evil might like this book though! She may be able to give you a different spin on it. (less)
Have you ever read a book where you've loved one half of it and then felt completely lost for the second half? Unfortunately that was me with Gene of...moreHave you ever read a book where you've loved one half of it and then felt completely lost for the second half? Unfortunately that was me with Gene of Isis. And I'm not completely sure it's Traci Harding's fault either.
This book is divided into three sections set in three separate times: 13th Century France, 19th Century England and modern day Australia. An interesting combination but it works for variety! The novel begins with the story of Lady Ashlee (19th Century England) and follows her troubles as a child who can see and talk to spirits. Reading about her struggle to make sense of what she sees and her refusal to identify herself as abnormal is truly gut-wrenching. I was on the edge of my seat with horror and suspense when she is committed to a mental hospital at a young age after embarrassing her high-flying parents with her 'gift'.
Likewise, I continued to fly through the pages as she embarks on psychic training and has her debut in society. About 200 pages into this novel I was describing it as part-fantasy, part-historical, part-romance - the perfect combination!
Unfortunately, I got lost somewhere along the way. And it happened to be round about the time the author introduced the modern day character and began talking about the Holy Grail and the secret bloodline of Mary Magdalene.
It's not that this story line doesn't interest me, or even that it offends me. It's actually quite the opposite. I am a major ignoramus when it comes to Biblical studies and Christian history. So for me, the links between Bible stories and this book were really unclear. I just didn't really get it. I got the Da Vinci Code and all the connections but I really failed here. I felt like I was doing a paint-by-numbers but without the numbers....
Harding's writing style is really quite easy to read and she does a wonderful job of keeping up the suspense over a 600 page novel. So if you do have better knowledge than I do about religious history and are not easily offended by some pretty radical twists on religion then you may find you really enjoy this novel. It is quite clear that it is highly researched and thought-out.
I'm not sure I'll continue with this series however I will definitely read more of the author's work. If this had been a story solely about Ashlee and hadn't involved the Holy Grail, I can imagine it really would've been one of my favourites. Traci Harding really is a brilliant writer. (less)
This is my first Robin McKinley book and I'm sorry to say that it'll probably be my last. I know she has a large fan-base and I know that she is criti...moreThis is my first Robin McKinley book and I'm sorry to say that it'll probably be my last. I know she has a large fan-base and I know that she is critically acclaimed but I just couldn't get into her writing. Even if Neil Gaiman says it's 'Pretty much perfect.'
The whole novel is written like one giant info-dump with barely any dialogue or interaction between characters. It's made up mostly of the character's internal reflections and while she's certainly quirky, I didn't find Sunshine endearing. I never felt like I managed to care enough about the story to get past the fact that the author continually made up words, had purposefully terrible grammar and had no chapters. Call me boring, call me backwards but maybe this novel is just too unconventional for me?
The other thing was that I really liked Constantine and I felt he was barely even in the novel. What was with that? It felt like McKinley was constantly holding out on me. I didn't really care so much about SOF or any of the other sub-plots. I wanted more of Con and I never got it. I really felt that if there had been more interaction between Constantine and Sunshine, I would've enjoyed this much more.
Judging by other reviews, if you're a McKinley fan, you'll probably enjoy this novel. I just think I missed the point!(less)
Slave to Sensationwas one of the first books I read in 2009 and is still my favourite read so far this year. I was busting to learn more about Nalini...moreSlave to Sensationwas one of the first books I read in 2009 and is still my favourite read so far this year. I was busting to learn more about Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling world and be swept off my feet by all new love stories so I dived into Visions of Heat.
The novel centres on Faith Nightstar, an F-Psy who is being exploited for her accurate visions of the future. Her visions cause her to be so sensitive she has had very minimal contact with other people and is overwhelmed by the sensation of touch. That is, until she meets Vaughn, a changeling who makes it his mission to introduce Faith to all the sensations she's been deprived of.
Lovers of paranormal romance and urban fantasy are sure to be impressed by Singh's power to create a compelling novel that puts you on the edge of your seat from page 1. This book was wrought with all kinds of tension and anticipation - sexual and otherwise - to propel the reader quickly and satisfyingly through its pages.
You'll learn beautiful and surprising things about the Net Mind and the Psy Council. You'll wonder how the Psy-Changeling story will ultimately end. Will there be an all-out war? Will the Psy be liberated from Silence? The best part of these books is that you don't just care about the main characters, you are drawn so far into the story that you actually care deeply about the fate of the very world they live in. What an amazing storyteller!
I can say with confidence that because of this series, Nalini Singh is one of my favourite authors. Classifying Twilight as YA, I don't think I've read a paranormal romance that rivals this series.
Five stars all the way and a definite potential re-read.
Some of my favourite quotes are a little too naughty to post but here's an excerpt:
'So I could be mated to someone who could choose not to be my mate?' A nightmare idea. Mating was a one-shot deal. The link usually involved a conscious decision at some point by the female, which made Vaughn and Faith's link very unusual. But no matter how it had come into being, once made, even death couldn't break it. No one mated twice. They might find a lover but the hole in them would never be fixed. Never. "I need to run."
But though he ran himself to exhaustion, his beast could find no comfort in an act that had always before meant freedom. Because he was chained, tied on the deepest level to a woman who just might destroy him.
Wow! I think this has now become my favourite urban fantasy series!!! Not since Twilight have I read a series that has had me thinking about the chara...moreWow! I think this has now become my favourite urban fantasy series!!! Not since Twilight have I read a series that has had me thinking about the characters so obsessively I've dreamt about them. Karen refers to her fans as 'Moning Maniacs'...well I guess I'm one now too.
One of the things that makes this series so exciting to read is that there are no real 'good guys'. As a reader, who are we to root for? Who are we to trust? I know who I want to trust (*cough* Barrons), who I want to believe in (*cough* Barrons) but the author deliberately does not give me enough hard evidence to decide whether this is unfounded or naive. Every time you think you have it figured it out, the game changes again. Nobody's motivations were revealed and readers are kept excruciatingly on the edge of their seats trying to work them out. MacKayla aside, out of all these players, who really will use the Sinsar Dubh (pronounced she-sa doo)for good instead of evil? Will anyone be able to save the world from the Unseelie? This is a solid, well-crafted plot that will have you eagerly turning pages.
However the tension created by the plotline is nothing compared to the tension between Mac and Barrons. Talk about a sexual inferno! Part of me wished this was a full-blown romance novel just so I could read 100 pages of those two tearing the clothes off each other. Moning has referred to this series as a whole as a romantic urban fantasy and has indicated that MacKayla will get her happily ever after. However, it's probably a fair way off yet because at this stage, Barrons hasn't even admitted how he feels about Mac. Instead, he uses anger and sexuality to mask his feelings for her:
His hand was on my throat, and he was crushing me back with his body into the cold steel beam behind me. 'Yes, I have loved, Ms Lane, and although it is none of your business, I have lost. Many things. And no, I am not like any other player in this game and I will never be like V'lane, and I get a hard-on a great deal more often than occasionally.' He leaned fully against me and I gasped. 'Sometimes, it's over a spoiled little girl, not a woman at all. And yes I trashed the bookstore when I couldn't find you. You'll have to choose a new bedroom, too. And I'm sorry your pretty little world got screwed up, but, everybody does and you go on. It's how you go on that defines you. Page 193
And then other times, he plainly shows that he cares but stops short of verbalising it:
His face was in my neck and he was breathing hard. Was he grieving me? Already? Would he miss me? Had I, in some tiny way, come to matter to this enigmatic, hard, brilliant, obsessed man? I realised he'd come to matter to me. Good or evil, right or wrong, he mattered to me...
He raised his head. His face was all harsh planes and angles in the torchlight, his expression bleak. His eyes were dark windows on a bottomless abyss.
'I'm sorry, Mac.'
'Not your...fault,' I managed to get out.
'My fault in more ways than you could possibly know, woman.'
Woman, he called me. I'd grown up in his eyes. I wondered what he'd think of me soon.
This guy must have some serious history, be seriously damaged to not sweep MacKayla off her feet. Instead I get the picture he's holding her at arms length to protect her, to stop her emotions from making her vulnerable. I swear if he doesn't turn out to be the good guy, I will cry. Loudly. If he does turn out to be the good guy, he might just end up being my favourite hero of all-time.
Bloodfever works so well as a follow-up novel because it asks as many questions as it answers and propels the reader through the pages at break-neck speed. Readers of Darkfever will be left wanting, begging, craving more. So my only advice here is to make sure you've got book 3, Faefever, lined up and ready to go!
The best part of all of this is that you can try out the Darkfever series for free via an audio podcast. I think most urban fantasy fans would be sucked in after listening to just two chapters of this. Check out the link here. What have you got to lose?
Click here if you'd like to read my review of Book 1, Darkfever.
If you like my reviews, stop by my book blogs to say hi! There's always a giveaway or two going on and plenty of other reading-related craziness. Click on a link below:
This would be the first romance novel I've read that begins with the hero doing his darndest to end the heroine's life. It's probably the only attempt...moreThis would be the first romance novel I've read that begins with the hero doing his darndest to end the heroine's life. It's probably the only attempted-murder scene that's had me laughing out loud too! But then again, I would expect nothing less from Mary Janice Davidson. She is just insanely funny. I have this mental image of her sitting in her office writing, having a big belly laugh as her characters run off at the mouth yet again. Man, if I was Mary Janice Davidson I would be in constant delightful hysterics about how funny I am.
The basic story behind this 200 page novel is that Derik, a werewolf from the Wyndham pack is sent to kill Sara before she destroys the world (FYI, although she doesn't know it, Sara is a supposed evil socreress and the reincarnation of Morgan Le Fay). What ensues is pretty much the story of Sara and Derik falling in love (and Sara calling Derik a dumbass frequently). The plot plays second-fiddle to the romance here and I think that just made it easier to read.
I haven't read any of the other Wyndham were novels but considering the backstory was very minimal, it didn't really seem to matter. However the characters that were introduced were interesting enough that I'd be happy to continue reading about them.
My only critcism here would be that I felt the conflict wrapped up a little too fast. It's probably a pretty good sign though when the only bad point is that I wanted to read more of the characters and story.
This is the perfect book to read when you've got a few hours to kill and not much energy to expend. Highly recommended to fans of Undead and Unwed - a definite guilty pleasure!