In Clark’s fresh debut novel, THE EDUMACATION OF JAY BAKER, readers are introduced to a wonderfully awkward character that will seem quite familiar to both male and female fans.
This modern coming of age book deals with relevant issues that plague today’s generation. From parental separation (and the sordid behavior of said parents) to the normal hormonal dramas with friends, school and love interest that every teenager deals with to some degree…THE EDUMACTION OF JAY BAKER touches on all of the above and does so with self deprecating humor that will feel right at home with it’s audience.
Being a teenager is tough and Clark illustrated perfectly the roller-coaster of emotions that normal teens go through on a daily basis. At times his hero felt wise beyond his years and overly mature, then there where moments (particularly when Jay Baker was home with his little sister) where we see that despite his height (and seemingly adult vocabulary) he is still just a boy going through that incredibly awkward stage – who still needs his parents and the reassurance that things will get better.
THE EDUMACTION OF JAY BAKER is an enjoyable read that will pull both boys and girls into the journey of Jay Baker giving them a hero they can laugh with, get embarrassed for and totally relate to one hundred percent!...more
The Daisy Dalrymple mysteries came to my attention around a year ago and I kept wanting to read them – I love mysteries set in the 1920s. But I could never find the first few books in the series and I didn’t know if they could be read out of order.
I finally got my hands on The Winter Garden Mystery – the second book in the series – and I really enjoyed every single minute. Before I get to the plot I’ll just mention that it is a shame that I didn’t try harder to find the first book in the series, Death at Wentwater Court (out of print on most sites but available via the Book Depository) because Dunn doesn’t give you much background information about Daisy, Alec or any of the other characters who might be series “regulars” in The Winter Garden Mystery. I did sometimes feel like I was missing something in the story, especially in scenes involving Daisy and Detective Alec Fletcher.
Our story begins with the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple heading out to visit Occles Hall to do a piece for Town and Country magazine. Like many in her social stratum, she is suffering from a lack of funds and so has taken on a job as a writer. Yet when she arrives at Occles Hall it is revealed that while she’s been invited by her old school friend Bobby (short for Barbara), the Lady of the Manor is less than pleased to see her.
Valeria rules her house and her family with an iron fist – her husband lets her to make all the decisions, her son and daughter are stuck under her thumb, the village believes her word is law and even the local authorities prefer to stay on her good side. So when she decides she dislikes Daisy on sight (ladies of quality shouldn’t be working you know!) Daisy’s visit seems to be about to be cut short. And then she accidentally discovers (with the help of the assistant gardener) a body in the winter garden…
Now Lady Valeria really wants her to leave, but when the local police pin the murder – of former parlor maid and loose woman Grace Moss – on the assistant gardener and close the case before they even look into any other possible suspect, Daisy is determined to stay and find the real killer, even if that means annoying Lady Valeria.
With that purpose in mind she calls Scotland Yard’s Inspector Fletcher, who she befriended in Death at Wentwater Court. Alec knows what Daisy is like and decides to take over the case.
What follows is a fun and yes, ‘cosy’ read: Daisy is a wonderful lead who doesn’t have those annoying ‘I’ll just stick my nose in no matter who I endanger’ moments. She helps with the case in a believable way and brings out the best (and the very worst in some cases) in the supporting characters.
The other storyline – Daisy’s friendship with Alec Fletcher is just pure reading-goodness and I was seriously peeved off with myself over my stupidity in not working harder to find Death at Wentwater Court – a mistake I have now rectified. I luvs you Book Depository.
If Winter Garden Mystery is what this series is like, it is definitely going on my favorites shelf....more
I loved the sound of this book. Zombies, post-apocalyptic wasteland, and vagabond survivors…yep, pretty much right up my alley. Or, so I thought.
I have read other works by Amanda Hocking and found her writing to be very entertaining, but HOLLOWLAND just didn’t manage to hold my attention. The writing style is very straight forward and not overly poetic which is perfectly fine considering the genre, but when compared to similar books on the shelf it seems to lack luster and polish.
Even the characters fell flat for my tastes. The heroine, Remy, is on a mission to find her little brother after being separated in an attack on the compound where they were sheltered. Along with another girl that escaped the attack, she sets off on her mission and along the way picks up some unlikely travelling companions in a rescued a lion, a formerly famous rock-star and a pre-med student. The unique blend of characters should have been refreshing and fun but instead were dull and annoying.
I am a huge fan of character driven storylines and need to feel a connection with the characters (as I did in hocking’s SWITCHED) in order to care about their journey. Unfortunately, I didn’t find that in HOLLOWLAND. :(...more
I loved how Sarah Jio wove love, mystery, past and present in her last novel The Violets of March and she has accomplished this perfect combination yet again with her latest novel The Bungalow. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest novel and Plume was nice enough to provide Paperback Dolls with an ARC. Jio’s latest novel begins in the present as Anne’s daughter is trying to solve a mystery about a beautiful sculpture at her college and Anne receives a note from Bora-Bora requesting her help in solving a long forgotten murder on the island. With this note Anne is swept back up in the past of her youth and memories of the love she has never forgotten.
Jio takes us on a journey from the young Anne Calloway who is smart and living in a time when women did not have the choices they do today. For a young girl of her time and her privilege she was expected to marry, stay home and raise children. In a brief moment she decides to head off to Bora-Bora in the Army Nurse Corps. One of my favorite quotes centers around this inevitability in Anne’s life when she is told “You be yourself,” she said. “And never ignore what your heart is telling you, even when it hurts, even when it seems like following it will be very difficult or untidy.” I wish I had followed this advice a few times in my own life.
The story takes shape as Anne discovers the true nature of others, the reality of her childhood friendship and the beauty of love. I could imagine lounging on the beach in the warm breeze and the beauty of young love. I have to admit that I loved The Violets of March more but I think it’s because I could identify with the character and what was going on her life than I could with Anne. I also thought the mystery aspect was less exciting in The Bungalow than it was in Violets however, the romance and complicated relationships involved among friends was just as endearing in this book.
Overall, I finished the book quickly and loved the fact that it centered on nurses in WWII. The descriptions of the Bora-Bora made you feel as if you were there walking on the beach with your feet in the water, sand between your toes and the breeze in your hair. I was engrossed in the changes in Anne as she meets Westry and discovers what passionate love is and with her despair as her friendship with Kitty begins to falter after so many years. Jio once again has written a touching story of the complex relationships in our lives and how they affect us. I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for an engaging quick read....more
When I started reading I had a solid connection with the characters and the different take on vampires. Plus I got into the whole courier aspect since I’ve seen so many while working at the courthouse. It worked well and I could picture everything, especially when Sydney moves to Maui. It remind me of my three trips over to the island from Oahu and how much faint had. But this cliffhanger for me didn’t work and that’s a first.
The novels of the Edge Series written by Ilona Andrews are works of paranormal romance filled with smart heroines, kooky characters, grueling fight scenes, charming heroes, and rich story telling covered in romantic goodness that will melt your heart and leave your brain feeling happy. The series takes place in a parallel world that exists just around the corner from our everyday world in dimensional planes that are imbued with varying degrees of magic.
The dimensional plane we live in is called “The Broken” since we mere mortals survive without any magic. The first dimension outside the broken is “The Edge”. Citizens of the Edge have varying degrees of magic in their DNA. The next dimension is “The Weird” and it is mostly populated by nobility who wield strong magical powers. But this parallel universe has a sense of balance that tends to keep everyone in check. Most members of The Broken have no knowledge that magic even exists and instead have modern technology. Most “Edgers” have enough magic to keep them out of the Broken while others have the ability to cross the barriers separating the dimensions. But the magical inhabitants of the Weird cannot enter into the Broken at all. Their magic is too powerful and the barrier between the planes would rip them apart. Members of the Weird can enter into the Edge but just like in real life, there exists a caste system of sorts – snobbery! Why no self-respecting noble or inhabitant of the Weird would ever be caught dead in the Edge! How ordinary and vulgar! But there is one other similarity to real life in this world building that is particularly of note – evil and greed are just as alive in a magical world as in an industrial one.
The first book in this series,
ON THE EDGE
, introduced us to this magical world.. It also introduced us to some of the most interesting characters in UF or PNR in ages. Jack the young changeling boy who can turn into a lynx, and George, the pre-teen necromancer with a heart so large he would rather die than see anyone suffer – and almost does. Other memorable characters live in the Edge including Zombie Grandpa, brave Rose, noble Declan and lonely but deadly William. The final battle scene at the end of this book is one of the most terrifying battle scenes I’ve ever read!!!! I was on pins and needles! And the formula was set! Each book would have a smart admirable heroine facing an impossible challenge; a brave and charming hero ready to come to the rescue; at least one if not a group of God awful terrifying villains; and a mix of supporting characters that remind me of The Beverly Hillbillies, Swamp People, The Hatfields, The McCoys, Cinderella, and characters from the X-men series, all combined!
Cerise, the heroine of
is my favorite from all three books. Her sense of humor had me laughing out loud. And my good Lord, her family, The Mars, is some sort of swamp people Addams Family! The fight scene in
did not disaapoint. Dear Lord – how do Andrew & Ilona come up with this stuff - cecause they look so nice and yet they write about these truly terrible fight scenes. Shudder! Makes you wonder what they see in the ink blot tests, ya know?
, the third installment in the series, takes place a few years later. Rose & Declan are happily married and living in the Weird. Jack & George are living the privileged life of Weird nobility with Rose & Declan as their guardians. Cerise & William have settled into domestic bliss and are enjoying the roles of doting aunt & uncle to Jack & George when they aren’t on spy missions for the Mirror. And the Mars family has successfully re-established itself down the way form Cerise & William. Tranquility! Well – not exactly. The savage battle in
has left a number of walking wounded including Kaldar Mars. Kaldar – with his “Dukes of Hazzard” charm, pretty boy looks, and con man ways is bent on avenging his family and killing as many members of the Hand as he can. Now a secret agent working for the Mirror, he has been called into action on a new mission which threatens to destroy the delicate balance keeping the world in check.
Jack and George have been trying to fit into their new lives in the Weird but the onset of puberty is bringing its own set of problems. Jack can’t seem to keep out of trouble and George is realizing his options are limited in regards to his future. Both boys struggle with the anti-Edge bigotry that surrounds them in the Weird and worry that they will be sent away.
Audrey Callahan is a beautiful grifter trying to go straight. Raised in a family of grifters in the Edge, her talents have always been a means to an end for her greedy and abusive family. As a teen Audrey is sold into slavery to a local drug lord and beaten to within an inch of her life. Managing to escape she disappears into the Broken to start a new life.
A powerful ancient artifact has been stolen and Kaldar is placed in charge of the recovery. All paths lead to Audrey and sparks begin to fly the moment these two grifters meet. They must pull off the biggest heist of their lives while keeping ahead of the Hand, The Hounds, and the Claws of Bast; and keeping two castaways safe. Can these two con artists open their hearts enough to fall genuinely in love or will the fear of having their hearts broken keep them lonely forever?
Kaldar made such a huge impression in
. He was the scoundrel uncle with the charming ways and no-good sexy looks which makes it is no surprise he gets his own book. And the best part is he gets to meet his match in a beautiful female con artist so wise to the game it’s a wonder she has managed to hold onto her heart. I really enjoyed reading the cons that Kaldar and Audrey pulled off including their hilarious first meeting. Watching them struggle to accept love with another grifter was very entertaining. But most of all – reading Kaldar’s insights into the cons he played in the past give me that fly on the wall access to a grifter’s mind.
Jack and George are always great! And it was such a wonderful surprise to have them show up in integral roles in
. Watching them develop and suffer with aspects of their natures really tugged at my heartstrings.
Overall – the book went along at a relatively slower pace compared to its predecessors but the element of danger and culminating fight scenes were exciting and over only too soon.
This series really delivers a punch! It is packed with drama and excitement. The Ilona Andrews team has a gift for world building and making each book better than the one before. These novels are subtly crafted and much like their Kate Daniels series, the first book only begins to set the tone for the rest of the series. I can’t wait for the fourth installment and I wonder what surprise Ilona Andrews have up their sleeves for us....more
I have a confession to make. This is my very first pirate romance novel. When I first came across Shana Galen’s The Rogue Pirate’s Bride I instantly thought of those Harlequin ‘bodice ripper’ romance novels that came out in the early 90’s with Fabio Lanzoni on the cover. And not even exactly what they are, but more along the lines of what I thought they would be like considering I haven’t read one of those either. However, it’s always a pleasure to be proven so completely wrong.
Matter of fact, I wish there were more heroines like Raeven Russell in our Regency romances. Raeven is the daughter of a British Admiral and has been living with her father on his ship since she was four years old. I suppose that living on a ship doesn’t just help her possess all the things we hope for in our heroines, but gave her the practice to own them in a society that expects the quit and demure. Never the less, Raeven is a spitfire. She’s spunky, cocky, out spoken, resourceful and smart. When she wants something, she goes out and grabs it.
She had the object raised! Damn him if she wasn't going to strike again!
But he had his hand wrapped around her wrist now, and he twisted it violently. She cried out, and he muttered, "Drop it."
The black sea was fading now, and he was able to focus on her face. It was set in a stubborn expression, those green eyes flashing like the ocean during a tempest. He tightened his grip and saw her jaw clench, but she didn't drop the candlestick she held.
Merde. The thing was brass and had to weight two pounds. She really did want to kill him. Anger shot through him as his head throbbed again, and he wrenched her arm. The little hellion held on, so he pushed her up against the door, slamming it closed in the process.
Her eyes were watering with pain now, but she still held the candlestick. "Drop it."
"No!" The word was barely a breath.
He shook his head. "Mon Dieu! Are you always this stubborn?"
"Some might call it persistence," she grit out.
This is why Captain Cutlass –also known as a privateer, rogue, and Sebastian Harcourt, marquis de Valére– is in so much trouble. Raeven is hunting him down and she doesn’t plan to stop until she kills him for his murderous pirating ways, regardless if she dies in the process. She believes he has killed her young fiancé for no other reason than the glory, but we come to find this isn't how Cutlass operates. He's far too honorable for that. An honorable pirate? Raeven can't believe it, it's not possible.
However, Sebastian has his own problems. He’s searching the seas high and low for his enemy, Jourdain, for the murder of his mentor. At first, like Bastian, I found Raeven to be a kin to a gnat that just won’t stop buzzing around. But she grows on you when you learn what she’s really all about. Bastian eventually keeps her, half by sheer circumstance and half because I believe he can’t bare to let her go. He finds her entertaining, unbelievably alluring and something of an enigma. Definitely not the kind of woman he was use to seeing. The rogue himself is smooth, charming with a broody mixture of the dark and mysterious. Did I mention that he was unbelievably good looking and French? I think I’m in love.
One of my favorite scenes for Raeven:
Something zipped past him and struck the man with enough force to cause him to drop his pistol and clutch his abdomen. Bastien had a moment to look behind him and saw his cabin girl, his beautiful cabin girl, standing there with arm out stretched. He'd known she'd be accurate with that dagger.
and one right before my favorite scene for Bastien (you'll have to read to find out how it ends):
"I-I’m not going to take off my clothes.”
Since she didn’t appear likely to take it, he set her wine on the desk. “No? Then why are you here? And don’t tell me it’s simply to retrieve your sword.”
She clamped her mouth closed.
“You could have had another sword made.”
She cocked her head to the side. “Why do you think I’m here then?”
He shrugged, drank some wine. “Me.” He looked pointedly at the large berth.
She laughed. “Oh, really? You have a rather high opinion of yourself.”
He sat down behind the desk, lifted his glass to examine the red wine in the candlelight. “You went to a lot of trouble to see me again. Perhaps my arrogance isn’t entirely misplaced.”
Over all, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride is a swashbuckling good time. There’s tension, lies, deceit, action, adventure, passion, witty dialogue, lust, love and romance – all the ingredients to keep you up until the wee hours of the night. The characters are scrumptiously refreshing, and one is sorry to see them go off to their well-deserved happily ever after. Shana Galen writes a fun, vivid story in this third installment of The Sons of the Revolution series that will keep you turning those pages. I have not read either of the two previous books in the series about Bastien's brothers: The Making of a Duchess and The Making of a Gentleman, but I had no trouble following the storyline and events. I for one am ready for the next. Right now....more
P.O. Box Love was an interesting read. Even after two day I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not sure what I expected after reading the blurb we got from the author. It sounded interesting, and the story was. I just never fell in love with it. It needed more emotion.
P.O. Box Love is written as love letters and a story. Meaning part of the time you’re reading love letters between two characters and the other time you’re reading the story from the main female’s POV. The main characters are Emma and Federico. Emma’s a fifty something bookshop from living in Milan and Federico is a fifty something successful architect, working in New York City. Emma is divorced and has been for many years. She has a son, Mattie, whose graduating high school and about to attend University. Federico on the other hand is married and has been for twenty some odd years. He and his wife have a daughter, Sarah, who’s also a teenager.
Emma and Federico, in their youth, had been boyfriend/girlfriend and something happens to break them up. Now after all this time, Federico finds Emma in her bookshop, Dreams & Desires. Dreams & Desires is a bookshop designed and furnished for romantics. All Emma sells are romance novels, it doesn’t matter the size or shape. This is the part that confuses me, Emma is such a romantic, yet I didn’t get much feeling from her. She can remember just about every book she’s ever read, yet she forgets her personal history. She does this on purpose, which doesn’t make sense to me. I would’ve thought she’d care about her memories, since romantics usually do. (At least romantic writers that is, their memories give inspiration.)
When Emma and Federico decide to start corresponding with each other they do so by writing letters. These, hand written, letters are the only line of communication they have, because Emma has decided technology is a bad thing. She doesn’t own a cell phone and she dislikes the internet and computers. Needless to say she doesn’t touch either. So the story starts with former high school sweethearts becoming “pin-pals.” It’s truly a twist on You’ve Got Mail, without the technology. Emma and Federico us a P.O. Box to send, receive and store their letters so no one will find out. Their affair including the correspondence spans over six years during which Federico opens up to Emma about his life and emotions. Things he can’t share with his family. Emma begins to look at life a little different too as she adds architecture to her life. What I mean by this is that she starts looking at the beauty of buildings, whereas she’d never done that before. She seems to like hearing about Federico’s work on the Morgan and she tells him about different bookshops around New York City. They also talk about their lives but not too much. Federico stops in the stores she tells him about and he starts to enjoy the peace the stores and parks give him as he writes to her.
This affair isn’t just the letters that these two former sweethearts share. They actually do become lovers ad meet once a year on an island. The island fits their “prefect” affair since it doesn’t get any service for phones or internet. In these short encounters we get the most “emotion,” still I expected more. Don’t expect the details of their sex life, it’s not there, what we get is how they fit into each other’s life. That they enjoy each other’s company and the outside world means nothing. We the reader know this relationship is doomed even Emma knows it. She tells us so. Yet when Federico talks about his wife and his actions Emma basically says she’s okay with the status quo. She seems to like being a mistress. This is something else I don’t understand, because I don’t know why she’d want to be the other woman.
As the relationship heads to a close the book seems to skip or loss something. You find more spelling errors and sentences that don’t completely make sense. This also goes along with Emma somewhat losing herself. Plus we have the end of Federico’s letters which doesn’t seem like the right spot, especially when Emma references it within her letters. She states it’s been two weeks when it’s been two months almost to the day. Still she doesn’t make any call to see if everything is okay. There’s also a point when Federico asked to see her about a month or so before his last letter and we see nothing of that encounter. We don’t know if it happened or not, Emma doesn’t even respond to the invite if she could make it or not. Both of these events confused me. But I’d say the ending is what really through me and how we got there we don’t know. There needed to be more so that this ending made sense and could flow. As it stands you have an ending and something like an afterthought. The first would have been fine, the reader could’ve thought of their own “true ending”. What we get falls flat, and doesn’t seem to fit what had been going on....more
West has delivered a romantic thriller that strives to combine romantic love scenes with a grisly murder mystery. The story is interesting and engaging as we watch Wes struggle with his lack of police skills, his deep seated nostalgia for the town, and a torrid romance that has him physically and emotionally overwhelmed. As the story unfolds and more victims fall prey to the murderer, we feel Wes’s blinders begin to fall off as he attempts to comprehend the extent of the crime encompassing this small bucolic town. This story pays homage to novels like THE STEPFORD WIVESwith a town overrun with couples so happily in love for so many years; you start to wonder if there is something in the water.
My concerns with the novel center on a few basic issues. The novel is uneven in pace and often repetitive in language. The first 17 chapters could easily be consolidated into a much tighter package providing stronger world building for the novel. The protagonist, Wes is not the most intelligent of characters and seems to be the last one to realize what and who are behind these crimes. Several sub arcs are distracting and seem to lead nowhere including the news that Leah gave a daughter up for adoption 12 years earlier.
The story would benefit greatly from a strong foil to Wes’s good guy caught in the middle of something too big for him to handle. A town newspaper journalist or reporter would have been a great foil – asking questions, pointing out inconsistencies, and revealing town gossip that leads to breakthroughs in the case.
The murder scenes are bloody and the buildup of suspense is steady. The romantic relationship between Wes & Leah is not very developed so it didn’t grab me too strongly.
But the ending – the ending had me scratching my head for a few days; even inspiring a dinner conversation along the lines of – what would you do in their position?
ADDICTED TO LOVE is a romantic thriller perfectly suited to the reader who enjoys an easy going mystery that is not explicitly sexy....more
Greg Novak is the Pack Alpha in Detroit and heir to the pack council leader. Fianna Meadows is an exile from the Seelie Court and Greg’s responsibility. Someone is murdering werewolves in the Detroit area and the Novaks are next on the list.
Greg, his brother George, and his cousin Lana had formed their own pack upon reaching adulthood. They inherited a bar in Detroit, The New Moon, and have been quietly running their business while trying to stay out of werewolf politics. Fianna Meadows has been exiled from the Seelie Court after inadvertently taking part in a revolt against the Seelie queen. Stripped of her fairy powers, Fianna is sentenced to work and live as a human under Greg’s care. The last thing that Greg expected was to become attracted to Fianna and he is awash with guilt for having feelings for someone entrusted to his care. As the days pass and the attacks become personal, Greg and Fianna can no longer deny the passion between them.
If you love Alphas who are tall, dark and protective – then you will love Greg Novak. His shaggy bad boy rock star looks are at odds with his paternalistic code of honor for his friends and family. Fianna Meadows may be over 100 years old but she is completely out of her comfort zone in the human world and it is fun to watch her struggle with even the most mundane of tasks. Fianna’s blasse acceptance of sex as a natural part of life are a perfect match for Greg’s libido. Smexy shifter sex galore.
There are a few twists and turns as the mystery unfolds. But overall, the story is not subtle. Be ready for a few startling scenes towards the end of the book. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Motor City Wolf is a perfect choice for all those readers who love strong Alpha males and hot smexy love scenes....more
My dad says that since the end of the Cold War, two things will never be the same again: James Bond movies and espionage/suspense books. This has often been the truth – I mean lets face it, it’s hard to find a good villain in this day and age and without the east/west division Berlin has just become a rather boring place for drop-boxes.
Which is why I was very excited and intrigued when I received the opportunity to review The Silent Oligarch by Christopher Morgan Jones.
Jones introduces us to the world of post-Cold War Russia – where if you managed to move quickly enough after the fall of the Iron Curtain, you are now sitting pretty as a billionaire thanks to Russia’s natural resources. In our case – Oil.
We are also introduced to three main characters:
Konstantin Malin has reached the top position within the Ministry of Natural Resources – a simple government bureaucrat, no? Well, obviously not. In fact, thanks to his frontman Richard Lock he has been laundering oil money for years – investing and making money abroad and then bringing it right back into Russia.
Richard Lock, the money launderer who is the face for Malin’s many business interests, but he now feels that he is out of his depth – the ventures have just become too big. What started out as a great way to launder funds has now become a billion dollar industry he can’t seem to control.
Thanks to some shady dealings with another shady businessmen – the secrets these two men have been trying to hide might just be about to explode across the front pages of the international media.
Which is how we get to Benjamin Webster – in the days just before the end of the Cold War he was a young journalist trying to make a name for himself. An incident involving a young Russian colleague who was asking one too many questions led him to leave Russia behind. Now a corporate intelligence investigator, he is asked to expose Malin and Lock – and finds out there may be a connection between the events that led to his friend’s murder.
The Silent Oligarch is very much a character-centric book and together with the understated writing style it makes the reader feel as if we’re sitting in the room, on the sidelines watching as the story unfolds – it reminded me a lot of the John Le Care style of writing. Slowly building up the suspense and the drama to a masterful finish.
What I found to be extremely intriguing about The Silent Oligarch is that I was left constantly wondering who the ‘hero’ or protagonist of this book was. The POV changes every chapter or so between Webster and Lock so you get the sense that each of them, in a way, takes on that role. No black and white heroes and villains here – and it was in the grey areas that this book excels.
The POV changes also served to show the reader the similarities and contrasts between these two complex characters. In one chapter we see Webster with his family, the interactions with his wife and children. In the next chapter we see Lock realizing how much of his daughter’s life he has missed and what his relationship with his wife is like.
For both Webster and Lock the outcome of the Malin case will serve as a turning point and for each one there are moments when they wish they could just turn their back on it all and disappear.
Then there is the Silent Oligarch himself – Malin. Through Lock’s eyes we see a man of secrets and power, a man Lock looks up to, despises and fears all at the same time. As the book moves forward we learn more about his motives and how Lock came to become the man he is today.
I should add that there is another character that has a very important role in this book – Russia herself. I don’t know why I feel this way, but to me at least it appeared as if Russia wasn’t just a place where much of the plot took place, rather, Jones’ Russia was an actual presence throughout the book – a living breathing thing.
The Silent Oligarch is Jones’ début novel and I hope that it won’t be his last. Jones has a unique style and has written a brilliant tale of suspense – for the post-Cold War reader....more
I’m hooked on Gena Showalter’s Lords of The Underworld series. The series describes the adventures of the immortal Lords of the Underworld, a group of warriors created by Zeus. Overcome by jealousy when Pandora is chosen to guard the box that imprisons all the worlds demons, the Lords kill Pandora and inadvertently set free all the demons upon the Earth. As punishment each Lord is sentenced to carry a demon within their body for all eternity. Now the Lords dedicate themselves to finding the mystical tools that will release them from their sentence.
The Darkest Surrender is the story of Strider, Keeper of Defeat. As Keeper of Defeat, Strider experiences debilitating pain whenever he is defeated. His demon seeks a challenge in even the most mundane of tasks. Incredibly handsome and overwhelmingly obnoxious, Strider will go to any length to keep from losing, especially when it comes to love.
Kaia Skyhawk is a beautiful harpy hopelessly in love with Strider. A mistake during the Harpy Games at the age of 14, has left Kaia ostracized by the harpy community and haunted by the ensuing tragedy. Countless decades have passed since that day and Kaia has sought to redeem herself in the eyes of her family but most especially her mother. When the Harpy Games are announced and Kaia receives a special invitation she is certain she can win and regain her status. But as the details of the event unfold, Kaia and Strider find themselves pitted against each other in the battle for the prize. Will Strider risk losing his heart to Kaia even if it means losing the only chance the Lords have to win their freedom?
The Lords of the Underworld series is a PNR set in modern day Budapest. The characters although hundreds or thousands of years old live in castles filled with video games, hip-hop music and state of the art surveillance equipment. Like a Black Ops outfit on steroids, the story is told in contemporary slang full of swagger and posturing – a never ending frat party. Showalter’s dialogue is fun! But behind all the bravado is a story of two people who are afraid of getting hurt and disappointed by love. It is painful to read the missteps and misunderstandings as Kaia and Strider awkwardly navigate the game of love. Showalter makes you believe that even immortals with centuries under their belts can still be made to feel insecure and sensitive when it comes to barring their hearts.
The Harpy Games add an exciting background to the love story. The challenges are bloody and gruesome and the villains are dastardly.
Showalter is the best friend who knows where all your skeletons are hidden and wants to help you find some more to put into the closet with them. This series is a fun over the top read that is full of action and and super smexy scenes. Give yourself a present – bring The Darkest Surrender home tonight along with a bottle of margaritas and get ready for some fun!...more
Thomas “Veck” DelVecchio, Jr. has a chip on his shoulder. The newest detective on the Caldwell police force is also the son of a notorious serial killer. Eager to distance himself from his father’s gruesome reputation and firmly establish his own sense of worth, Veck has lived a solitary life of self loathing. His smoldering good looks have never left him at a loss for company but his insecurities have made it impossible for him to connect with anyone.
When Veck is found covered in blood at the scene of a vicious attack on a serial killer Veck is immediately pegged as the number one suspect. Officer Sophia Reilly, a by the book red headed bombshell, is assigned by Internal Affairs to investigate the attack and become Veck’s partner. Right from the start these two find themselves fighting their attraction to each other. Can they find the real culprit and exonerate Veck? Who is the mysterious Jim Heron who continues to show up with information about the attack and the serial killings? Will Veck and Reilly finally allow their passions to take over?
What a ride! Ward’s writing style is direct and aggressive. Her characters are in your face, challenging you to deny their brash intensity. ENVY is the third book in Ward’s Fallen Angels series which follows Jim Heron in his fight to save souls on the verge of being eternally damned. Heron is pitted against the demon lord, Devina, an Angelina Jolie look alike who will break all the rules to make sure she wins this contest. Compared to the previous two books in the series, ENVY is simpler and easier to follow. Both Heron and Devina have gotten the hang of the contest and it is great fun to read the psychological battles between the two.
The mystery surrounding Veck and his role as the chosen soul is fairly clear and doesn’t leave the reader in the dark. The animal attraction between Veck and Reilly comes to life in some super smexy love scenes that may leave you hot and bothered so don’t say I didn’t tell you! Ward throws in a few doozies but there are two sub plots I could easily have done without (can’t tell you because they are spoilers). And you can always count on Ward to give you the anti-heroine heroine (her specialty) – Reilly doesn’t wear make-up and is utterly unaware how attractive she is. A paragon of tighty whitey efficiency - literally – she is brainy but she can’t understand what super hunky Veck even sees in her. While Veck is so steeped in guilt and repentance for the sins of his father, Reilly’s straight arrow good girl rocks his socks off and leaves him totally inept and hopelessly flummoxed.
Take this PNR to bed with you and don’t be surprised if you find yourself racing through the book to read the smexy parts!...more
Kitt: When Suz found out that I got an ARC to Jenn Bennett’s second in her Arcadia BelOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Kitt: 3 Stars Suz: 3 Stars
Kitt: When Suz found out that I got an ARC to Jenn Bennett’s second in her Arcadia Bell series, Summoning the Night, she down right viciously attacked me to get her grubby little hands on my precious. Of course, being the fabulous, golden heart creature that I am, I couldn’t just let her pout in the corner could I? That’s right; I couldn’t, because no one puts Suz in the corner.
Suz: You sound a little bit like Johnny from Dirty Dancing, Kitt. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” “Oh, Kitt!” ;) But seriously, Kitt – I really loved the first Arcadia Bell book and when I heard that you had an ARC of the second I found myself squeeing like a fangirl. It was a bit embarrassing, really. But I really enjoyed the first one. The world Jenn Bennett has created around Arcadia Bell is pretty compelling and draws me in. I wanted to go back there and see what was cooking.
Kitt: You squeeing like a fangirl? I almost don’t believe it. Almost. Because I know where you’re coming from and think I’d have to agree. Ms. Bennett’s world truly is a fantastic, fresh new angle on magic. Arcadia Bell is a magician who can kindle Heka through electricity, and after Kindling the Moon, we now know about her Moon Child powers too. But it isn’t just her world is it? Her charming characters have this way of completely stealing the show. Who would of thought that a thirteen year old motor mouth could be so entertaining?
Suz: Isn’t that the truth? You know I’m not a big fan of the kiddies, Kitt. It’s not that I dislike kids; I’m just one of those people who does better when I can “awww” from afar and carry on with my day. Even so, it’s the kid’s show in this book, for sure. I don’t mean to take anything away from the rest of the characters, they all reached out and grabbed me one way or another, but that kid redefined “endearing brat.”
Kitt: I know what you mean! But oh we’re skipping ahead, aren’t we? Summoning the Night begins only two months after Cady’s tragic brush with reality. Everything is going swimmingly with her job and her new found relationship with Earthbound demon, rare book collector and rich photographer, Lon Butler. That is until the head of the Hellfire Club, Ambrose Dare, asks them both to look into the case of missing teens and a cold case serial killer, the Snatcher, from the early 80s.
Suz: I gotta tell you, Kitt, I really don’t like that guy, Ambrose. In the first book he was just alluded to as the power behind the throne, so to speak, of the Hellfire Club, and the person who would fix the ills the club had been up to. Turns out he’s a real piece of work in his own right and I’m thinking I’m going to get plenty of opportunity to love to hate him in the future, too. Just a hunch.
But Lon, I think, is a new kind of dreamy that we don’t see very often in romantic leads. He’s not super hunky, but more of a later-hippy-throw-back who kept his decent looks. You’re a bit younger than me, Kitt, so that might not be up your alley, but it brings back memories for me! *eye wiggle* Combine that with his other, supernatural characteristics and his near infinite patience and it’s a pretty attractive package to me in an unconventional way. Although, I could probably do without the mustache.
Kitt: No, I get the appeal – he’s rich, charming with all the right amounts of laid back that some heroes seem to have an allergy to, but I have to admit, he’s not really my type. There’s something about him that didn’t quite resonate with me at first. Also, the mustache! Throws me every time and I have no idea why. Though, the more I see him on the page the more I’m warming to him.
I have to admit that this story brought on a complete state of confusion for me. I understand Cady’s power, but I don’t understand why she would be asked to help find these missing kids. Ok, well maybe not why she was asked, but more like feelings that maybe this story was brought on too soon in the series. Nothing about her seems like the appropriate person to ask and her skills rank somewhere near junior league detectives. Before Kindling the Moon, she was just magician fugitive bartender, and now in Summoning the Night, she still is. Not to mention, that Cady seems to be moving backwards from the self-assured women we saw in the first in the series. What did you think of the plot, Suz?
Suz: I agree there seemed to be holes in the plot and you’ve mentioned one of them that was confusing. I half expect to find out in a later book that Ambrose has some inside information from Cady’s magic society that we haven’t been privy to yet, but I suppose that’s just me trying to fill in the blanks.
For me, however, her moving backwards as you suggest, was the most frustrating. I could have dealt with it had it been a personal growth arc that was book length, but it’s looking like it’s going to be her cross to bear in the long haul and I find that pretty infuriating. She’s acquired tons of magic she’s afraid to use just because she prefers to “not think about it right now” and she puts herself and everyone around her at risk because of it. Again, this is something that when it first appeared in this book I frustratingly thought it had to be a book length personal growth arc but when we reached the end of the book and it was not only unresolved but perhaps in worse shape I have to admit I was disappointed.
Kitt: Same here. Seeing Cady continue down the path of ignorance is just going to make things worse in the end, not only for her new found family, but for readers as well. Summoning the Night started out well enough. And it does have all the action, mystery with a smidgeon of romance that I look forward to in my urban fantasy’s, but I honestly was hoping for more than I was given. Maybe we’ll see a little more personal growth from Cady in the short story, Leashing the Tempest, when it release’s this December.
Suz: Oh! See, I didn’t know there was a short coming out in the same year. That’s a bit of salve on my confusion and helps me lean more to wait-and-see. Bottom line for me is that I loved the first one, was so torn with duality about the second one that it ended up feeling unfinished, even though it’s not, so I could only give it a middlin’ rating. However, the world is so original, the way the magic works and the characters interact is so interesting and genuine, and Cady started out with such a bang that I’m going to continue to follow this series and see where it goes, hoping that Cady finds her figurative cojones soon. I’m chalking this one up to a sophomore slump because I think the foundation is essentially still pretty solid. ...more
When I discovered that Anne Rice had a new novel coming out that would delve into the world of the werewolf legend I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself. I immediately requested an ARC copy of The Wolf Gift and Knopf was kind enough to allow Paperback Dolls a copy. I must say I loved the book and hungrily read each word with anticipation.
In The Wolf Gift Rice tackles the legend of the werewolf much the same way she tackled vampires and witches. She weaves a tale for you creating new perceptions and adding her own twist changing how we perceive the werewolf. One thing that I loved about her created legend is the fact that you are very much aware while you are in the wolf state and this is exactly what makes the story so endearing.
We are introduced to Reuben Golding who is a young energetic reporter searching for deeper meaning in his life when he suddenly finds himself with the “wolf gift”. There are many things I thoroughly enjoyed and loved in The Wolf Gift. The first thing is the fact that Reuben actually considers this a blessing. A quote from Reuben that sums this up quite nicely is “I thank you with all my heart for the gift of life, for all the blessings you have rained down upon me, for the miracle of life in all its forms-and Lord, I thank you for the Wolf Gift.” Since the story is from his perspective we marvel with him as he discovers his newfound strength. We journey along as he discovers his sense of smell is stronger; he can jump on top of buildings and run lightning fast. I also love the fact that we are taken along on his moral journey as well since he struggles with whether or not he is evil and what it means to be good or evil. Reuben has to entertain ethical questions regarding when is it ok to kill, if they are evil, about to kill someone else etc. These are complex issues and I enjoyed the thoughts that Reuben has around the issues and the lessons he learns along the way.
Reuben isn’t the only fascinating character in The Wolf Gift. As we learn more about the history of the werewolf we are introduced to an enchanting group and I was entirely engrossed in the mythological beginnings for the werewolf race that Rice has created. I felt I was sitting at the table leaning in with my head on my hands hanging on every last word. I was a little disappointed to sit the book down and leave the company of such fantastic companions.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book was in the beginning I felt the book was paced a little slow. This was necessary to create the backdrop for the rest of the story but I want to warn you to keep reading!!! Once the story picks up you will find yourself tuning out everything around you as you voraciously read to the last page.
I feel that Rice has given herself lots of room for more books in this series if she chooses. There are many characters introduced and I would love to see books on the back stories of many of them and hopefully we will learn more about Felix, I loved him. This is an enchanting read that draws you in, captivates you, and wraps you in its splendor. I am so excited that Rice is back in this genre. If you are a fan of Rice’s work you must read The Wolf Gift, nothing beats a day curled up on the couch with coffee or tea and a mesmerizing book by Anne Rice....more
Sins of the Angels is first in Linda Pointevin’s Grigory Legacy series with a fresh new look on Angels and Demons; good and evil. Alexandra Jarvis is a homicide detective in Toronto, Canada working a particularly gruesome serial killer case where the body count is high, but the savagery and depravity is higher.
Fighting demons from the past become a struggle for sanity when Alex meets her new partner, Jacob Trent. From their very first meeting, Alex recognizes something in him that she just cannot let go, but the tormented Angel has his own mission. The tenuous relationship hangs by a thread as they scour the streets looking for their suspect only to realize that he’s already found them.
One of my favorite scenes for a multiple of reasons, but mostly because it shows the intense struggle that both Alex and Jacob Trent (Aramael) are going through:
Alex jerked her hand from Trent’s arm, but too late.
Energy jangled through her, unstoppable, unfettered.
Making her see again that which could not be. A man who looked as shell-shocked as she felt, and who was possessed of wings rising from his back.
Magnificent, powerful, golden wings.
Panic twisted in Alex’s gut. She stumbled backward, recoiling from Trent – and from her own reaction. She did not see wings, and she sure as hell didn’t feel myriad of emotions woven into the brief touch they had shared, either here or in the office. Didn’t feel those emotions vying for attention, each as improbable as the one before, all underlined by utter confusion.
“Detective Jarvis – “
At the sound of Trent’s voice, the wings rising beyond his shoulders disappeared. Alex blinked, swallowed, and felt cold fingers of dread brush against a mind that terrified her with its sudden fragility.
No. Not that.
With careful movements defined by their very deliberateness, she took the keys from her pocket and replaced the cell phone in its case at her waist. Then, with equal precision, she locked away the image of a winged Trent with the memories and the gut-congealing fear with which she’d lived a lifetime.
“We have another body,” she said. “Staff Roberts wants us at the scene.”
Set in third person multiple povs, Sins of the Angels is a roller coaster of a ride sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. I just could not stop reading until I reached that very last page. My heart was racing through the twist and turns, broken with surprises and left aching by the end with a promise of retribution. With only minor flaws, Linda Poitevin writes a beautifully vivid and sometimes all too real story that readers of Jeannie Holmes Alexandra Sabian series is sure to love. Now, if only Sins of the Son, Grigory Legacy 2, were releasing tomorrow instead of next week....more
Hello, my name is Noa and I’m a romance novel reader. I read them on the train, I read them on planes, I read them when I’m happy, I read them when I’m sad, I read them at work… hmm? what? who? ;)
I think by this time everybody on this site knows I love romance novels, I mean, only someone who loves them as much as I do can stress so much about things I don’t like about the genre. I also realize that calling oneself a reader of romance books AKA “bodice rippers”, “trashy books” and “those Fabio covered monstrosities” will have people readjusting their opinion of me and probably deducting at least 50 points from my estimated IQ but I don’t really mind. They’ve never had the luscious experience of reading a Judith Mcnaught or Loretta Chase or Laura Lee Guhrke or georgette Heyer or *place favorite romance author here*. Plus, when people underestimate you – you have the power. Bonbon eating pink princess with low brow reading preferences and minuscule levels of intelligence? That’s me!
So imagine how disappointed I was when Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitch Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) went and destroyed my cover, eviscerated the condescending prejudices of readers of “real literature” everywhere and exposed us romance readers as the educated intelligent and sometimes sophisticated women we really are. *Shakes fist at Sarah* Why? Why?
And as if that wasn’t enough she goes on to prove that romance readers may actually have healthier relationships, have better skills at dealing with conflict and just might have a more…interesting sex life. Does this woman want to kill me?
Ok, now seriously, I love this book. Reading it made me smile and laugh and most of all, it made me want to re-read every single romance I’ve ever read. Through a collection of interviews with authors, real-life reader stories and her own witty, insightful and humorous commentary, Sarah puts together a book of rules and lessons on life, love, relationships and of course: Romance.
Here you will find out why seeing yourself in a romance novel is not a bad thing, you will get a chance to discover what romance book you are (I’m a Historical, Regency with a touch of Erotica), you’ll get a nifty guide to romance heroes (mullets are NOT optional) and you will realize that while there are plenty of things that can be listed in the “wrong with this genre” column there are also so many things that are just so right.
In Everything I know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels Sarah not only vindicates romance book lovers, she celebrates them – this isn’t about us being naive romantics who believe that knight in shining armor might just ride over the hill and take us with him to that magical kingdom beyond the sunset, it’s about how we are capable of understanding that real love may not come with 50,000 acres and a title yet it does have to come with a man who has some of those heroic qualities – humor, the ability to put us first and the knowledge that we are worthy of love.
In its way, this book is an ode (sonnet? limerick?) to the romance reader community – and I think it does us all proud.
Sarah says that just about every romance reader she has met can remember what the first romance they ever read was. Well, I certainly can. It was Kingdom of Dreams by Judith Mcnaught, my mom gave it to me and it has had a special place on my keeper shelf ever since.
Romance novels may just be delicious escapism, but as Sarah confirms – we sure can learn a lot from them....more
I am a fan of Lisa Klaypas. When people hear this statement they automatically assume I mean her historical romances. I haven’t read them. What hooked my on Lisa’s writing were the Travis family.
A trilogy set in Texas, it is chalk full of of alpha males and strong female roles. Lisa Kleypas has a way of pulling you into a story from the first sentence and when you inhale her words a need to start from the beginning one more time. I was really hoping after waiting for months I would get the same quality read with Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. Ms. Kleypas did not disappoint.
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is an introduction to the long awaited contemporary romance series from Lisa. Set on the island of San Juan in Washington state the book opens the door to the town of Friday Harbor and the Nolan Family. Now before I go throwing spoilers all around let me tell you what I thought…. Oh wait that’s right I don’t spoil. :)
I genuinely enjoyed this book. I had some pretty high expectations for Friday Harbor and Ms. Kleypas delivered. I was a little surprised when I downloaded it to find it was more a novella length then novel but each page is packed with good solid writing.
True emotion flows through this book. I laughed and I admit I choked up once… or thrice. Lisa Kleypas captured a snapshot of a couple falling in love amidst the pain of loves lost and prior commitments. The only thing this book was lacking was about 100 pages of more really well scripted scenes.
As much as I loved this book it left me hungry for a more in depth look into the romance of Mark and Maggie. If I was giving this book a start rating it would be 4 out of 5 for the story telling. I think to sum up this book I would say it was poignant, funny, along with a little push and pull angst along with some great well written dialogue. I think that is one thing about a Kleypas book we can all rely on....more
Noa gave Trouble at the Wedding 5 stars. Kitt gave Trouble at the Wedding 3 stars.
Kitt: Last Month of Love, Noa and I reviewed the first two novels in Laura Lee Guhrke’s Abandoned at the Alter series (which you can find here if you’re interested) and now we’re back to review the third, Trouble at the Wedding. This time around it should be a little more interesting though, because while I found the series latest release to be somewhat lacking, Noa really loved it.
Noa: It’s fun how the third in the series is the one we disagree on, we’ve usually agreed when it comes to romance novels. I really loved this book, I loved the heroine, the hero, and most of all, I loved how every single time I thought the book was headed for a tried and true romance cliché, Ms. Guhrke turned the tables and surprised me. But before we continue, maybe we should share the book’s premise…
Kitt: I’ve got this! Trouble at the Wedding takes place in 1904, half aboard the Atlantic and half in London. Annabel Wheaton is an American heiress looking for her way into Society through marriage. Normally, I don’t like social climber heroines, but Annabel is doing it for a slightly different and altogether altruistic reason which makes her ambitions less disingenuous in my eyes.
Noa: I’ll add that I don’t usually like the social climbers either, though I am a fan of the Buccaneers, I guess it bothers me less when you remember girls didn’t have much of a choice, and in this case, Annabel really does have some altruistic reasons.
Kitt: I remember, I remember and it is possible I’m still a teensy bit jaded by a resent read of another social climber, but that’s for another review, another time. Now let me finish! :p Where was I? Oh yes, when we meet Annabel, she’s already found the man who is going to make all her dreams happen in the Earl of Rumsford. This arrangement works both ways, because while Annabel needs a tittle, the Earl needs money. Not everyone is thrilled with this union, though. Annabel’s uncle Arthur has been doing his best to thwart the wedding to no avail, but then he gets this brilliant idea for the rakish Duke of Scarborough, Christian De Quesne, to talk Annabel out of a life he thinks she isn’t ready for.
I personally found this premise a little uninteresting compared to Ms. Guhrke's previous releases in this series. The first part of Trouble at the Wedding goes smoothly and at a steady pace, but it’s too unmatched for my taste, because on one hand it felt like it took too long for the prevention of the wedding to happen, and then on the other, it felt as if Christian and Annabel aren’t given enough time. And while the lust is pretty high, it’s after the initial buildup that the romance just turned into another one of those “I can’t marry you because you don’t love me” romances that so frustrate me. After a while everything just feels a little too forced and then events happen because they’re needed to move the characters in the right position instead of a more natural transition. But more on that later, Noa, what did you think of the plot?
Noa: Ok, so it really seems like this one is going to be complete disagreement ;) I actually thought the premise was fun, starting out in NY, the book then moves to the high seas and then on to England – Christian never expected to be the Duke of Scarborough, but with his father and big brother dead, and the family pile (and the pile of debt that comes with it) now his, he has to make some changes in his life, but due to his own past, he refuses to take the easy way out by marrying money. He has his eye on a business venture and needs to find an “in” … which is how he gets mixed up in trying to talk Annabel out of her marriage. I thought the book moved at a steady pace, I do understand where you might have felt things were a bit drawn out, but I actually liked the way things unfolded on the romance front. But Kitt, I want to know, what did you think of our hero and heroine?
Kitt: Believe it or not I actually really liked our heroine. Annabel is a rags to riches Southern Belle. Yes, she has beauty, but she also has smarts, wit and a healthy amount of stubbornness that she utilizes to her advantage whether it is in business or matrimony. She’s also one of the few heroines that I’ve come across to have her own money – not her parents or her brothers, but hers. The problem is that now she no longer belongs back home in the back waters of Mississippi, but neither does she feel like she belongs to the high society she now finds herself in. The number one thing she longs for – and something I think we all can relate to – is acceptance.
As for Christian De Quesne (it’s Du Cane, in case you wondering), he’s a notorious rake and gambler struggling to adjust to the new role he never thought to find himself in as a second son. Also, he’s been married once before… to another American heiress. His story really bothers me and his actions do very little to comfort me. He married his first wife for her money and when she was at her lowest, he was off gambling with her money in France. I find it extremely hard to find sympathy for his plight of the dukedoms dwindling funds when he was doing the exact same thing his brother did. What did it matter that his brother was the duke at the time? And saying that his youth was to blame is a weak and inexcusable excuse – that’s what is you know, an excuse. But I’m sure you saw him differently, what did you think of the roguish Duke of Scarborough?
Noa: First of all, I agree about Annabel, she was a fun gutsy heroine who wasn’t afraid to go out and get what she wanted – loved how she got her vengeance on her so called sweetheart! Yet she has this vulnerability that makes us as readers empathize. She isn’t hard the way many gutsy heroines are written.
As for Christian, I get where you’re coming from but… I disagree :p he does not justify his actions with his first wife, if anything, they are the reason he is so adamantly against marrying for money. Was he perfect? No. But that would make him a bit boring. I loved how in Annabel he saw a way to make up for some of his mistakes, he sought to make her realize she didn’t have to change, that to me is awesome.
I have to get to my favorite part of the story, I mentioned it before: the lack of clichés. This is what really made this book a fun read for me. Every time I thought the book was headed in a “not that again” direction, Ms. Guhrke swerved and surprised me.
I just had so much fun with Annabel and Christian, I think what I really wanted was more time. More time of them together, more time for him to explain his motivations to Annabel… I didn’t want it to end.
Kitt: Ah, we are in agreement, but our views of the situation are different. I, too, recognized his motives behind his not wanting to marry, not only to Annabel, but ever again regardless of wealth. The problem was that I didn’t feel Christians love towards Annabel, but instead his determination to do the right thing felt more to me like atonement for his first wives suicide. At first, yes, I could see him unknowingly falling for Annabel, but somewhere around the second half, it changed or he changed and instead, it felt more like he was trying to convince himself into love to make the new situation he found himself in easier.
I just wanted, and again like you, more – more time of them together, more time for him to explain his motives to Annabel, and more time for him to fall in love. So, while I didn’t enjoy this books story as much as the first two, I didn’t completely hate it either. Trouble at the Wedding is one I would recommend those who are interested to find out and decide for themselves.
Noa: I think this book ties for me with the second book in the Abandoned at the Alter series - Scandal of the Year. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the next installment in the series...wherever it takes us....more
500 blind dates. Yup, 500. 31 years old and 500 blind dates. So you see, I usually don’t like books that tell me about dating. I mean, I may not be an expert at relationships, but after the number of dates I’ve been on, dating – I know. Well, so do the Garter Brides.
Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe all found love when they already had a life, all over 35 and all share their amazing stories in this book. It’s self help without being self help but more than that, it’s a big ‘ole book of hope.
After over ten years in the dating world a girl gets tired of being told “yours will come along”, “you’re too picky” and my favorite: “it’s not him, it’s you.” It’s disheartening, depressing and at some point, gets you a bit bitter. You really do feel like “I’m Mr. Lonely” is the soundtrack to your life.
Then you read about these incredibly successful and wonderful women who found love – some in places they least expected it and it just gives you that small glimmer of hope. Well, it gave me that small glimmer of hope.
Now, if you think this book is just for singletons – you’d be wrong. Love for Grownups takes a look at dating, building relationships, creating a new family when you already have a family, and even weddings and everything that comes with them. Through the Garter Brides stories and the stories of other women who also shared the “grownup relationship” experience.
The book was filled with humor, tales of romance and nice dose of sensible advice. Perfect for anyone looking for love yet it also has a great deal to offer those who have love in their life.
Thanks to the Garter Brides, I’m not giving up quite yet…I just hope it won’t take 500 more dates!!!...more
The fact that we have been celebrating Month of Love on Paperback Dolls means that I’ve gotten to read my share of romances in February. Heroes and heroines galore! And before I get to my review of A Rogue by Any Other Name I need to mention another story I read just before A Rogue.
It too was a story of revenge, of a hero seeking justice for wrongs done to him in his youth or in his childhood, where vengeance has become the very thing that feeds his every move… The hero had every right to seek justice, could have had all my sympathy, and yet, he didn’t. I just couldn’t connect with him. And, as I mentioned to Kitt, I was really more interested in finding out what had happened to his brothers…
Then I picked up Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue by Any Other Name.
In A Rogue we meet the Marquess of Bourne – a young man who had everything and who lost it all on the turn of a card – to his guardian Viscount Langford. The public humiliation and loss of his entire fortune, including the ancestral lands, meant he could not show his face in good society.
Lady Penelope Marbury was Bourne’s childhood friend and neighbor, when he went away to school and she was left behind, they kept in touch through letters wherever he was. But after his parents died, he stopped answering her letters. (Each chapter opens with one of these letters and it was a lovely way to show the special connection these two had growing up).
Now, years later, Penelope is on the shelf (more on why in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart) and in a desperate attempt to get her off said shelf, her father offers up something to sweeten the deal – the land around Bourne’s home as her dowry.
And Bourne? Well, he’s made his fortune from a gambling hell and while he doesn’t need Penelope’s money or dowry – he wants that land and will do anything to get it. Including marrying Penelope – by any means necessary.
See, in this story we also have a hero, who has made revenge the one goal of his life – get his land back, and crush the man who took it from him. And even though I found the reason Bourne was seeking revenge to be a bit lacking – I felt a lot of sympathy for his character and found him to be a much more interesting and multifaceted character than “the other vengeance book”. He was just that well written., the reader, even if she (being me) doesn’t agree with Bourne’s reasons can sympathize with his plight, and that made me understand why Penelope did.
In Penelope I found a heroine like those I’ve come to expect from MacLean – Smart, witty, knows what she wants and finally finding the courage to go out and get it. She was crushed by the circumstances surrounding her broken engagement and now feels that she’s not good enough in some way, that she’s unworthy. She has stood by as two of her sisters married men who aren’t exactly shining examples of what husbands should be – and she blames herself for failing her family. Penelope still has two unmarried sisters and refuses to be the one to stand in their way of a happy marriage.
Well, then she meets Bourne. Again. And yes, she does think the man (boy) she used to know is still in there somewhere but she is also actually realistic. This story could have gone both ways – it could have been a bit too soppy, another heroine who just won’t give up on a hero not really worth saving – but Penelope saved the story from going down that path.
And yes, Bourne was a bit of a so-and-so, revealed in it really, but you could see as the story progressed exactly where that attitude came from.
Moreover, whenever Bourne is being a bit of a “drama queen” – Penelope calls him out on it and refuses to back down. Which means there is plenty of what I have come to love about Sarah MacLean’s books – characters that communicate with each other and no silly misunderstandings. These romances are about the couple and their road to love and a healthy relationship. And there is plenty of that in A Rogue.
This is the first in a series about the owners of the Fallen Angel gambling hell and each of the characters introduced is extremely intriguing, so I’m very really looking forward to finding out about the next instalments…Though I have to say, I do wish A Rogue gave just a little bit more information on Bourne’s time between losing his fortune and becoming the wealthy businessman. It would have helped to better understand his character and motivations.
A Rogue by Any Other Name was a great addition to Maclean’s Historical Romance offerings and just goes to show, great writing can make you like even the biggest rogues....more
Noa: Will you be able to bring the new Sebastian St. Cyr book back with you from the states? I’m getting a review copy. Big Sis: *Squee* Yes! This way I can read it first! Noa: But I need to review it. Big Sis: You’ll get to review it…I’ll get it to you ASAP…after I read it
Another conversation between two sisters:
Little Sis: Whatcha reading? Noa: the new Sebastian St. Cyr, I’m reviewing it for Month of Love… Little Sis: OMG! I’m so excited!!! Yes! Sebastian! Yay! When can I read it????
Ten minutes after we finish reading it: How long do we have to wait for the next one????
Is it any wonder we need multiple copies of this series in my family? The beauty of C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series is that it manages to enthral each of us. Yes, enthral. Each of these books (this being No. 7) just captures you from the get go and doesn’t let go even after you’ve closed the beautiful cover.
This instalment was no different; picking up from where we left off in the last book, Sebastian and Hero are starting off on married life together and while it seems that there is a kind of understanding between them, the wall created by the fact that Hero’s father and Sebastian still can’t seem to see eye to eye (understatement of the century) is still there.
Their enmity puts Hero in a very difficult position as in this book she keeps asking herself – who comes first, her father or her husband. Reading about how Hero deals with these issues, with her changing role gives the reader a new view of Hero’s character. She is so complex and when you put that together with Sebastian and his issues…well, wow!
Sebastian also has a lot to deal with – his love for Kat, his feelings for Hero, impending fatherhood, his own father…And then there is the ongoing mystery surrounding his mother’s whereabouts. Oh, and who is this man who seems to have Sebastian’s eyes? ;)
Sebastian needs to discover why Gabrielle Tennyson was murdered – was it because of something she discovered on a dig at the site she had believed was Camelot of old, was it because she was an independent woman who refused to accept the conventions of 19th century England, or was it something to do with Sebastian’s father in law Lord Jarvis… and what does Hero know? Sebastian is racing against time on this one as two children are missing and they may already be in the hands of a killer.
When Maiden’s Mourn also shares new information about Sebastian’s background and while it may not be shocking, it does raise even more questions. I am very happy to say that C.S. Harris does not fall into the trap that often captures authors writing a series – there is no treading water and yet, there are also no forced plot devices used to extend the drama. There is no need. The drama in this series keeps unfolding and like a maze, you take one step froward only to find you need to make a different turn to find the center. I love it!
This installment in the Sebastian St. Cyr series was as usual, a pleasure to read, The romance, conflicts, mysteries… I simply cannot get enough. Totally worth waiting a year. Now if only March 2013 would just get here already…...more
The Night Strangers is very much in the same tradition as such revered horror stories as Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen. Chip Linton is an airline pilot trying to rebuild his life after an emergency landing kills almost all his passengers and crew. His wife Emily decides a move to the bucolic town of Bethel in New England will be just the thing for rebuilding their little family and his battered psyche. Upon arrival The Linton’s are welcomed by the local community but most especially by a group of ardent gardeners who adopt them and the couple’s twins.
Nestling into their new home Emily is quickly able to find work with a local law firm while Chip takes on the duties of a stay at home dad. But it’s not long before Chip begins to feel that the Lintons are not alone in their new home. Emily begins to notice that all their new gardening friends are easily identified by the fact that they all have first names that belong to herbs and their passion for gardening is bordering on obsession. Before long, Emily realizes that Bethel is divided into two groups – The Herbalists and the rest of the town. And the rest of the town is in fear for their lives.
As Chip embarks on remodeling their new home, he is struck by the discovery of a door in the basement with 39 bolts. There were exactly 39 deaths related to his plane crash. Day by day, Chip becomes increasingly disturbed and we follow him on a journey through madness. It isn’t long before The Lintons are fearing for their survival and looking for an escape.
Bojalian’s story is somewhat timeless – it could be set in almost any decade. Young disenfranchised family suffers though a tragedy and tries to leave the past behind by settling down in a new place only to find that things in their new community may not be as wholesome as they seem. The story has that wonderful quality where everyone is in on the joke except for The Lintons. And while the premise is intriguing the pace occasionally lags during the moments where Chip is lost in his reveries. Bojalian plants several sub stories throughout the novel that are never fully explored and serve to add little to the story in fact they are distractions. I won’t go into details because I don’t wish to spoil the story for anyone. But most of all – I suppose I wasn’t fully convinced of the ease with which the nefarious Herbalist plot unfolds and that feeling nagged me throughout my reading.
Nonetheless, The Night Strangers, is a page turner and could easily be adapted for the big screen. Before long everyone will be saying, “Eat them – they’re vegan.”...more
If you’re looking for a good laugh, you’ve come to the right place. J.B. Lynn has given us the next Stephanie Plum in the form of Maggie Lee.
What’s a girl supposed to do when an accident leaves her sister and brother-in-law dead, her tiny niece Katie in a coma, and the insurance isn’t enough to cover the expenses? As a claims representative for Insuring the Future, Maggie doesn’t make the kind of money needed ensure her niece has the very best care, so she has to figure out how to cover the costs before the hospital turns Katie over to another facility. She also has to take care of Katie’s very small anole lizard named Godzilla….God for short. Oh, yeah, he talks. At least, he talks to Maggie.
After being rudely accosted in the hospital hallway by a sleazy jerk, Maggie decides to give him a piece of her mind and follows him into a patient’s room only to discover that he’s smothering the patient. She does the only thing she can think of—hits him with a plastic chair—thereby preventing a murder. She later learns the man was Alfonso Cifelli, son-in-law to mob boss Anthony/Tony Delveccio. (Delveccio is a twin. Their not-too-bright mother named them Tony and Anthony and Maggie has no idea which one she’s dealing with.) The person she saved turned out to be Anthony/Tony’s grandson…Alfonso’s son.
Anthony/Tony makes her an offer: Kill Alfonso and he’ll pay her one hundred thousand dollars—enough money to keep Katie right where she is. But since Maggie has no skills and only a week to do the job, Anthony/Tony arranges a meeting with someone who will train her. That someone turns out to be police detective/hitman Patrick Mulligan.
The path of the story is never straight, never what you expect, but always darkly funny. Maggie’s three weird aunts, incarcerated father, and mother in the loony bin make it seem she’s the only sane person around. But after talking to God (the lizard), she begins to doubt her own sanity.
The secondary characters are as bold and quirky as Maggie Lee. You’ll fall in love with her co-worker, Armani Vasques, who gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘smart ass’ and Paul Kowalski, who may or may not be a dirty cop. Fifty-something Aunt Leslie, who’s usually higher than a kite, is twin to Aunt Loretta, the sex kitten.
This dark comedy is great entertainment, and I hope Lynn plans to make this into a series, because I can’t wait to read more....more
I have a confession to make. I’m really on the fence about this book and I hate that. On one hand, it had all the right ingredients for a topnotch historical romance, but on the other, it missed the mark.
The characters were sometimes mere shadows of themselves, while the protagonist, Emily, often seemed bi-polar. I looked for more depth in the former romantic relationship as well as in Emily’s sisters, but it kept slipping away, never quite taking shape. Francis was a man tormented, yet it never seemed quite real.
The story is set in England in 1811, still a somewhat prudish time; however, at one point the author has Emily and Francis waltzing close together, which we all know simply wasn’t done. Not only that, but while she’s attending a ball, Emily’s white knuckles are mentioned…when it’s generally accepted that women didn’t appear in public at that time with bare hands. Another point that bothered me was the author’s reference to Francis turning off the light as opposed to extinguishing the lamp or candle. In my mind, I kept seeing this man in breeches flipping a light switch. Needless to say, it totally pulled me out of the story.
Emily would have been better served by eliminating half the inner dialogue and sharpening the prose. The reader is smart enough to complete some actions on their own without detailing everything. For instance, if, during a conversation about someone named Dave, I were to say, “He is the noblest man I know,” you could correctly assume I meant Dave. Such was not the case in this book. References were detailed to the point they became annoying and I wanted to shout, “Yes, I get it!” And unless the color of a ribbon has some bearing on the story, I don’t give a flip about it the first time much less the other dozen or so that it’s mentioned.
Anyone who’s read my previous reviews knows that I love books of all kinds, and I can usually find something redeeming in nearly everything I read. I’m sorry to say this was the proverbial straw for me. I truly believe Ms. Barnes has great potential as evidenced by the imaginative premise of the story, but unfortunately, she’s not there yet. Even more disturbing is the fact that the editor let the story ramble and thereby risked alienating future readers. ...more
I chose this book on a whim based solely on the title and quickly fell in love with it. McAfee has created a humorous homage to friendship, love and self acceptance centered around the main character, Graciela “Ace” Jones. Loud, loyal, and gregarious, Ace and her friends find themselves at crucial turning points in their lives.
Ace is stuck in a job she desperately hates and wonders if she has lost her one chance at happiness because of her pride & insecurity. Deeply in denial over her abusive marriage timid Chloe’s life is in shambles but her shame alienates her from her friends just when she needs them most. While worldly sophisticated Lilly is willing to sacrifice her own reputation to give another at chance at true love & happiness. Minor story lines round out the novel with humor and at times heartbreaking moments.
Set in Bugtussle, Mississippi,a small Southern town where most people stay from cradle to grave. Bugtussle feels genuinely like most small towns except for one crucial element towards the end of the book. That change is necessary to move the book forward but is so preposterous it breaks the spell McAfee had so convincingly laid.
Ace, Chloe and Lilly remind me of women I have met through the years. McAfee accurately and honestly taps into the unspoken rules of adult friendships – knowing when to respect a friend’s decision and when to intercede. Of course more often than not, Ace sees herself as a protective mama hen ready to rise to any challenge or perceived slight.
This book reminds me of a small town “Sex in the City” replete with drinks, gossip, sex and wild escapades! I can’t wait to read the follow-up, HAPPILY EVER MADDER when it comes out!...more