I used to love historical romances, such as Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series and Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books. Unfortunately, for the past 5 years II used to love historical romances, such as Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series and Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books. Unfortunately, for the past 5 years I haven’t been able to get into the genre. Katharine Ashe seems to be changing this. Captive Bride: A Regency Ghost Novel, is one of her stand-alone novels, which I picked-up after reading two of her novellas and enjoying them.
Captive Bride is a ghost story that is heavier on the historical romance side than the paranormal. After receiving a letter from her twin brother, Beatrice travels to a remote estate to help him get out of his newest mess. Accompanied by her two aunts and Lord Peter Cheriot, the man who has been proposing to her for the past four years, she discovers that her brother’s mention of a ghost were not false.
For all intents and purposes, I probably shouldn’t have enjoyed this book as much as I did. The terms of the ghost’s curse were pretty clichéd. Basically, the ghost must marry a maiden to free himself from the curse. So, any maiden who crosses the threshold of the estate gets trapped in the castle. You know where the story is leading in this regard. Ashe did put a small spin on the plot towards the very end, but it still generally ended-up in the same place I had thought it was going when I heard the term of the ghost’s curse. Despite this, I still really enjoyed the journey.
What made the book enjoyable were the characters. Bea and Peter’s relationship was cute, if a little frustrating because one clear conversation between the two would’ve cleared up so much angst. I also really love the way Ashe writes her heroes as not overbearing, which is found a lot in historical romances and was the reason I stopped reading them. I got tired of the caveman routine prevalent in the genre’s lead male characters. So, it was refreshing to get Peter as a lead because ultimately he wanted Bea to be happy. Even if that meant, after all was said and done, she wouldn’t be with him.
All in all, Captive Bride was a solid book. I will definitely look into some of Ashe’s other full-length novels soon....more
I read Rage purely because I was curious to see what Thea Harrison was writing back in the 80's under the name Amanda Carpenter.
Rage has some hardcorI read Rage purely because I was curious to see what Thea Harrison was writing back in the 80's under the name Amanda Carpenter.
Rage has some hardcore 80's soap opera stuff happening throughout the story. Glasses are getting shattered dramatically, people are slapping each other's faces all over the place, and the rich protagonists are going around calling each other droll. Now, I love a crazy melodramatic book once in a while but this one did not work for me. Mostly because the story didn't go far enough into the ridiculous for me to enjoy it. There was no rich male stripper with a heart of gold and pet owl (see Lightning That Lingers) or evil twin. Instead, the underlying plot was fairly interesting and believable. It was just the characters' reactions to things that were overblown and that's what made the book annoying. The tone of the plot and character's actions didn't match-up for me. On top of that, the stereotypical snobby rich tone of the dialog was grating on my nerves.
This book was interesting to see how far Thea Harrison has come as a writer. However, if you're thinking about reading this because you're a fan of her recent work, I would recommend you skip it....more
Annika is from a hidden village in Iceland and has spent the past four years searching for her sister when she runs into David. David is bent on fulfiAnnika is from a hidden village in Iceland and has spent the past four years searching for her sister when she runs into David. David is bent on fulfilling a promise to his mother that threatens to expose Annika’s people. While set in the same world as the rest of the Iron Seas series, this book can stand firmly on its own. There are no connections between the other books in the series so this would be a good introduction to the series if you’re not wanting to start with The Iron Duke....more
Kate Daniels and crew venture overseas in a bid to get medicine to stop shifters from going loup. I loved this book to pieces. The setting outside ofKate Daniels and crew venture overseas in a bid to get medicine to stop shifters from going loup. I loved this book to pieces. The setting outside of Atlanta was a breath of fresh air for this addition to the series. I loved how vulnerable Kate is with everything that is going on with Curren and the pack. It was also great to see a ramp-up in tension centered around Roland. It feels like the stakes are finally raising in the series and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out....more
Night Shift is one of the best anthologies I've read in a while with contributions from three powerhouse writers in their respective genres.
It says sNight Shift is one of the best anthologies I've read in a while with contributions from three powerhouse writers in their respective genres.
It says something when the "worst" story in a collection is from Nalini Singh. Secrets at Midnight is her contribution and it's pretty boring. Leopard shifter, Bastien Smith, has scented his mate but quickly finds out that not all is well with her. Singh can write some compelling short stories, so I was surprised at how she seemed to have sleepwalked through this one. The conflict is non-existent and it's painfully obvious what is going on with his mate from the minute Bastien starts talking about her. If I had to rate this one on an individual basis it would be a 3/5.
Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews was the reason I had been so anxious to get my hands on the anthology. The story takes place in the Kate Daniels world and follows the characters Jim and Dali who were featured in Magic Dreams, which I had adored. This story completely lived up to my high expectations. Dali is approached to look into the case of a missing person and Jim tags along for the ride. It was great to see Dali take the lead and I loved getting a little more of these two working together. I'm still holding out hope that we'll eventually get a full-length novel featuring Jim and Dali, as they're just fantastic. 5/5
Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin was the only author in the collection who was new to me. Makenna Frazier is a seer who gets pulled into a high profile case involving leprechauns on her very first day of work. I'm guessing this is a prequel to Shearin's Urban Fantasy series starring Makenna because the story works to set-up a much more involved plot. All in all, this was a good contribution and I was intrigued enough by the characters to potentially read the first book in the series. 4/5
The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) was my second favorite contribution in the anthology. Mala is on a quest for her goddess to tame the beast of Blackmoor in a corrupt kingdom dominated by a tyrant. I really loved how different interpretations of words and personal perceptions influenced this short story. I'm not a huge fan of medieval settings but this one worked for me. I'll be looking forward to the first full length book set in the world. 4.5/5
All in all a great anthology that is well worth the money....more
Esme is devastated when she finds out that vampire John Doolan has no plans to make her his thrall. The two spend the length of this short story circlEsme is devastated when she finds out that vampire John Doolan has no plans to make her his thrall. The two spend the length of this short story circling each other. I read this to see if I’d be interested in starting the series. The world here wasn’t anything especially new, but the writing was interesting enough that I’ll give one of the full length books a shot....more
In Guardian Demon, the final book of the Guardians series, things have finally escalated in the war between Guardians and hell. Lucifer has set into mIn Guardian Demon, the final book of the Guardians series, things have finally escalated in the war between Guardians and hell. Lucifer has set into motion events that will allow him to break through the barrier to earth and destroy humanity. In order to stop him, the Guardians must pool all their resources together. This includes Andromeda Taylor, who, after the events that brought Michael back from hell has committed herself to leaving the guardians by “falling”.
Guardian Demon was an intense read and an excellent conclusion to these books. What made it so suspenseful was that everyone was racing against the clock to discover Lucifer’s plans for starting the apocalypse and to save loved ones who got pulled into the fire. This became direr as each move seemed to play into his hands. On top of this, Michael has finally returned from his torture in the frozen field and is committed to atoning for what he has done to Taylor before the personal clock he’s racing against runs out.
What I love about Brook is that she isn't afraid to put her characters through some pain. Just because someone has been a staple of the series since it began or has gotten their own book, doesn't mean they’re safe. Knowing that characters you love could be hurt makes the emotional impact of the battle so much more engaging. I only wish that Brook had pushed this envelop a bit more in the final confrontation and that ending of the book wasn’t so clean cut.
All in all, this was a fantastic read and a very satisfying conclusion to the series. If you’re looking to get into the Guardians, I would recommend you start at the beginning with Demon Angel since each book builds upon the other. However, if you don't want to read all 8 books in the series then at least read Demon Angel and Demon Moon prior to this one since the characters from those two books are key ones here....more
Yasmeen and Archimedes are blackmailed into helping a friend find a missing relative. I absolutely loved this short story featuring the main characterYasmeen and Archimedes are blackmailed into helping a friend find a missing relative. I absolutely loved this short story featuring the main characters from Heart of Steel. They are both dealing with their emotional hang-ups while trying to take care of one another as they head into a dangerous job. I would love to see more of this pair together and I’m hoping that Brook will eventually decide to give them another book to themselves....more
After reading book six in G.A. Aiken's "Dragon Kin" series (How to Drive a Dragon Crazy) I had told myself that I wouldn't be picking up the next bookAfter reading book six in G.A. Aiken's "Dragon Kin" series (How to Drive a Dragon Crazy) I had told myself that I wouldn't be picking up the next book. However, when Light My Fire popped-up as a title on NetGalley I couldn't resist giving one more story in this series a shot.
After capturing Elina Shestakova (an Outerplains woman) for attempted regicide, Celyn promptly drops her off at the local jail and proceeds to completely forget about her for about a year. His memory is jogged, however, when there is talk of negotiating a truce between the Southlanders and Outerplains tribe. Elina is swiftly removed from jail and sent as a mediator with Celyn as her back-up.
For fans of the series, they'll recognize Celyn as the dragon who had a brief affair with the heroine from the previous book, Izzy, and nearly got himself killed over it. Celyn was the highlight of this book for me as I enjoyed how flustered Elina's mannerisms and expressions made him throughout the story. Elina herself was an interesting character, however the constant caveman structure of her sentences drove me insane.
My main issue with Light My Fire was that I had a lot of trouble remaining engaged with the story. A large part of this is because the characters are so flippant about everything. It's extremely rare when any of them take anything seriously, which is what a lot of the humor relies on. However, it becomes hard to care about what is going on in the plot when the characters don't care about what is happening. At times a character will take something very seriously but it will often be balanced with the others trivializing their reaction/concern. So there's not a whole lot of emotional stakes in the story, which doesn't really work for me when the book is a romance.
Bottom line, if you're a fan of the series, I would suggest picking this one up. However, if you're looking to get into the series, I would suggest starting with one of the earlier books first since there's a lot of previous main characters and mentions of past plot points floating around.
Ebook provided by Netgalley and the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review....more
After conquering the summerlands in the name of vengeance Wynter takes one of the Summer King’s daughters as his bride. This is one of those books wheAfter conquering the summerlands in the name of vengeance Wynter takes one of the Summer King’s daughters as his bride. This is one of those books where the heroine spends almost the entire story being neglected and abused by everyone around her. Everyone hated her because of where she came from and they made their opinions really clear, even Wynter. I hate martyr story-lines and this was definitely that. Despite this, CL Wilson’s writing style is engaging and I might eventually pick-up the next book in the series just for that....more