Saturday, August 30, 2008

Review - Beast

Title: Beast
Author: Judith Ivory
Publishing Date: 1997
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

If you haven’t yet guessed, Beast is an adult version of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Charles d’Harcourt plays the Beast. He is blind in one eye from an infection during his infancy. The doctor lanced the eye and it left permanent scaring. The ingenuity in this tale is that Charles is actually very vain. He uses his scars and muscular physique to woo the ladies. He is quite the accomplished ladies man and is very suave and debonair. He plays them like musical instruments, making them hum.

Louise Vandermeer, an American heiress plays the role of Beauty. She is exquisite; unlike anything Charles has ever seen before. Louise has grown up in a house of love. She has been cherished and above all spoiled. Surprisingly enough, she has a love/hate relationship with her beauty. She likes being beautiful, but she wonders if there is more to her than just her pretty face. Does she have worth outside of her looks? She is young, only eighteen and is trying to discover who she is.

There is a duality to Beast from both characters Charles and Louise, to the flow of the plot in the story. The first part of the book takes place on a ship as Louise is traveling from America to France to meet her Fiancé and marry him. On the ship Charles witnesses Louise flirting with a young lieutenant and concocts up a scheme to woo her without her knowing that he is really her intended. While on the boat Charles is smooth and mysterious, confident that he can seduce Louise. He is more than successful. Louise herself opens up to him like she has never done with another living soul before. At the end of the affair she still doesn’t know who he his and has fallen madly in love with him.

In the second half of the book after Charles and Louise have been formerly introduced the whole tone of the story changes completely. Now Charles has this secret hanging over his head and his sweet loving Louise has become cold and distant. Charles himself changes too. He becomes unsure of himself and vulnerable to Louise. Does she find his scarring repulsive? He looses his confidence and can’t seem to get on even footing with her. At this point since Charles won’t tell his secret, he will have to woo her all over again and that is exactly what he sets out to do.

Judith Ivory has taken a well loved classic and made it fresh and unique. There are so many hidden messages and metaphors that just show the time and effort Ms. Ivory put into crafting this story. While some readers may find the characters selfish and unlikeable, I found them to be very human and complex. The focus is completely on Charles and Louise and their relationship with relatively little outside influence from anything else. There is no mystery. All the conflict revolves around Charles and Louise and how they have affected each other. This was a brilliant story and one that I am sure if reread would reveal hidden meanings I missed the first time through.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Force of Nature

Title: Force of Nature
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: B+

Force of Nature is Suzanne Brockmann’s tenth book in her Troubleshooter series. Private detective Ric Alvarado, along with his new receptionist Annie Dugan, stumble into a dangerous situation when they take a new case for a client. What they thought was a cut and dry missing person case turns into something more sinister with mob and terrorist dealings. Ric and Annie team up with Jules Cassidy and the FBI on a high profile case to stop a dangerous al-Qaeda terrorist from entering the United States via Gordon Burns, the local mob boss.

Annie and Ric have known each other since they were eleven and fifteen respectively. Secretly, they have been in love with each other. Ric has quit the police force and opened up his own private detective agency. Annie has just recently had her best friend die of cancer. She was living in New England but moves back down to Florida to get away from the memories. She takes a job at Ric’s agency thinking she is his partner, when he thinks she is more like his receptionist. Annie doesn’t want to be a receptionist and sit behind a desk all day pushing papers. To say Ric and Annie don’t see eye to eye would be an understatement. They are constantly at each others throats. Really, their bickering is just a front to hide their true feelings for each other. While most of the time this was funny to read, sometimes it got a little tedious. One thing that I really like about them as a couple though, is that they always talk their problems out. There are no big misunderstandings between them.

The second story arc in this book is between Jules Cassidy and Robin Chadwick. Jules and Robin started their story arc in Hot Target. They have a history together, but haven’t seen each other in years. Their relationship is so bittersweet. They love each other so much but Robin has a slew of problems. He is an actor and doesn’t want to come out of the closet for fear it will ruin his career. He is terribly lonely and drowns his sorrow in alcohol. He won’t admit he has a problem and that he is an alcoholic. Jules knows Robin is bad news, but he can’t help who he loves. As bad as Robin sounds, I still can’t help but like him. He is a very charismatic guy, and very likable. He makes some terrible choices that ultimately end up hurting him and those he loves.

This book is action packed with plenty of suspense. The pacing is fast and doesn’t let up. Force of Nature is another solid book in the Troubleshooter series.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bond of Blood

Title: Bond of Blood
Author: Roberta Gellis
Publishing Date: 1965
Genre: Medieval
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm

This book is a very hard to book for me to grade. It is a very well written and researched book, but some things in it were very hard to swallow. Bond of Blood is one of the first books Roberta Gellis wrote, if not the first. It is a story of two families who come together by marriage. Politics plays a major reason for the marriage. The Earl of Pembroke ultimately wants to kill his son-in-law to gain control of his lands. So he hatches a scheme to wed his daughter Leah to Cain, Lord of Radnor.

Cain and Leah are instantly attracted to one another and are pleased with the arranged marriage. Cain has never had luck with the ladies. He was in love once before, but she was cruel to him and hurt him pretty badly. Cain is unlike other men from his time. He was taught by priests when he was a boy, so he can read and write unlike other men of war. Cain also has a deformed foot. He has made adjustments for it and has over compensated all his life to be a better warrior because of it. He also has emotional scars from people thinking his foot is the mark of the devil. Even his own Father has said this to him.

Cain is very intelligent and Wiley. He easily picks up on traitorous feelings from his father-in-law and takes precautions against him. I really liked Cain. Gellis made him very human, which means he makes a lot of mistakes. Even though, he does some things that are cringe worthy, I still really liked him. He learns from his mistakes and when he did something wrong and he knew it, he would apologize. I found him endearing.

Let’s talk about Leah. Okay, she is fifteen. I know. It goes against everything I like in a romance and yet I still liked this book. Cain is twice her age and yet somehow Gellis made it work. I think the reason for this is that Leah and Cain truly felt like characters from the twelfth century. I could believe that they were a product of the times they lived in and all their decisions and actions remained true to the era. Leah was just precious. She was very obedient and sweet, but when something really mattered to her she could become mulish and take a stand. She was always honest. Thank God, because there were enough lies floating around with all the political intrigue.

That is where the story stumbled for me a little bit. I had a very hard time keeping track of all the different Lords and Ladies and Kings and Queens and who was on who’s side and who was going to stab who in the back. Did I confuse you? That’s because I am still scratching my head over what exactly happened in the book as far as that goes. After thinking on this book for a few days, I must say that I did really enjoy it. It is a lot different from the romances of today, but different in a good way. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. Leah and Cain have a difficult journey to their “Happily Ever After”, but wow, what a journey.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tagged and bagged

Jace from the book blog, Jace Scribbles has tagged me for a meme. Unfortunately, I totally suck and have only read one book on the list. Since that was just too boring to post by itself, I have added books that I have read and watched.

Copy the list below.
Mark in bold the movie titles for which you read the book.
Italicize the titles that you’ve watched.

1. Jurassic Park
2. War of the Worlds
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
4. I, Robot
5. Contact
6. Congo
7. Cocoon
8. The Stepford Wives
9. The Time Machine
10. Starship Troopers
11. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
12. K-PAX
13. 2010
14. The Running Man
15. Sphere
16. The Mothman Prophecies
17. Dreamcatcher
18. Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
19. Dune
20. The Island of Dr. Moreau
21. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
22. The Iron Giant (The Iron Man)
23. Battlefield Earth
24. The Incredible Shrinking Woman
25. Fire in the Sky
26. Altered States
27. Timeline
28. The Postman
29. Freejack (Immortality, Inc.)
30. Solaris
31. Memoirs of an Invisible Man
32. The Thing (Who Goes There?)
33. The Thirteenth Floor
34. Lifeforce (Space Vampires)
35. Deadly Friend
36. The Puppet Masters
37. 1984
38. A Scanner Darkly
39. Creator
40. Monkey Shines
41. Solo (Weapon)
42. The Handmaid’s Tale
43. Communion
44. Carnosaur
45. From Beyond
46. Nightflyers
47. Watchers
48. Body Snatchers
*these are the ones I added*
49. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
50. Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring
51. Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers
52. Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King
53. The Devil Wears Prada
54. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
55. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
56. Harry Potter the Prisoner of Azkaban
57. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
58. Pride and Prejudice
59. Bram Stoker's Dracula
60. The Da Vinci Code

That is all I can currently think of, but I am sure there are more. If anyone hasn't yet done this meme, feel free to join in and add your own titles as well!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Review - Lord of Midnight

Title: Lord of Midnight
Author: Jo Beverley
Publishing Date: 1998
Genre: Medieval
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Claire’s father, Clarence of Sommerbourne was a part of a rebellion against the current King. He dies in a fight at the beginning of the story. The winner of that fight, the king’s champion Renald de Lisle is given Clarence’s land and holdings along with the order to wed either his daughter Claire or one of his two sisters. Renald allows the women to choose who will become his bride. One thing leads to another and Claire is the one who stubbornly accepts her duty to her people.

At first Claire is confused about her feelings for Renald. On the one hand, she knows he is a battle hardened warrior unused to her gentle way of life. Her father was more of a scholar than warrior. Claire expects Renald to treat her badly, by groping her or being cruel to her. When he is actually very gentle and kind, she starts to feel an unwanted attraction for him. She is confused by these new feelings he stirs within her and she feels guilty about her new attraction. She wonders if she is being disloyal to her father.

Where I had trouble with this story is that there is a very big secret hanging over Renald and Claire’s relationship. I knew the truth was going to come out, I just didn’t know when and because of this, it made it hard for me to really focus on the development of Renald and Claire’s relationship. Also, most of the conflict is internal and this leads to a slow development of the story. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if things would have moved a little quicker.

I really enjoyed both Renald and Claire’s personality. Renald especially made for a very nice hero. His personality is unusual in a medieval knight. He was very patient with Claire and very kind. When he was angry he was controlled and never cruel. I think readers who enjoy a beta hero would really like Renald.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Review - Lawless

Title: Lawless
Author: Diana Palmer
Publishing Date: 2003
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: D
Sensuality: Warm

Christabel Gaines married Judd Dunn when she was only sixteen years old. It was a marriage in name only so that Judd could protect Christabel and her ranch. Now five years later Chrissy will almost be twenty-one years old and she has strong feelings for Judd and wishes her marriage was more than in name only. With Chrissy experiencing a threat to the ranch and possible danger to her life, Judd takes a more active role in Chrissy’s life. He starts to notice she is not a child any longer and starts to have more than platonic feelings for her. Judd likes the freedom he has and doesn’t want to be tied down.

I had a strong reaction to this book. It seemed like it hit all my hot buttons. First off, there is a huge age difference between Judd and Chrissy, fourteen years to be exact. I have a hard time believing in the validity of the May-December romance. The relationship is too uneven. The older person has more experience and knowledge and it leaves them with too much power over the younger person. I find I am uncomfortable with that. Add that to the fact that Judd is pretty much a big jerk and it becomes even more uncomfortable.

Another thing I can’t stand is when one of the characters decides that they are going to be less than honest with the other person because they know what is best for the other person. In this case, Chrissy decides that she doesn’t need to tell Judd about the trouble at the ranch because he won’t believe her anyway. Judd takes it upon himself to lie to Chrissy too. Uaahhhhhh! That is so annoying. Why can’t they just be honest with each other? There reasons are so noble though (insert eye-roll).

To summarize, I just didn’t like the characters and I didn’t like the plot. So, there wasn’t much I did like about this book. I will say there wasn’t anything wrong with the writing. I actually read the book relatively quickly. So that wasn’t the problem. I think people who like May-December romances might like this book. Beware of big misunderstandings because of LIES.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I heart Shelfari!

Okay, I know I have already blogged about it once, but once just wasn't enough people! I just love Shelfari!!! Let's see how many times I can say that. I have been playing around with it quite a bit the last few weeks and I have just noticed a new feature that I have to brag about it. Did you know that if you click on the members link you can see what other members are currently reading the same books as you? Is that not cool or what? You can even send the messages and chat about the book as you are reading it.

Also, I have been busy uploading reviews. This got me to thinking about the current problem with Amazon and their reviewing system. I know that a lot of fellow bloggers out there used to go to and peruse book reviews. But ever since the Deborah MacGillivray incident and others, readers have been leary of the validity of the reviews at Amazon.

Well, I propose that everyone come on over to shelfari. At least at shelfari, you don't have to worry about your review being deleted. On top of that, you also can look at the reviewer's profile, their favorite books, and how they rated their recent reads. So you can match your taste to the reviewers! I think that it would be a lot harder to cheat the system over at Shelfari.

Another cool feature Shelfari has, is that you can ask other members if you should read a certain book or not. You can ask for any book and other members can click yes or no based on the books you have already read or marked as favorites. You can advise other members as well.

Anyway, there are a lot of other cool features but I have spent enough time bragging about Shelfari. Just check it out (if you haven't already) and if you want to be "friends" just ask!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Review - The Darkest Kiss

Title: The Darkest Kiss
Author: Gena Showalter
Publishing Date: June 2008
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C
Sensuality: Hot

The Darkest Kiss is book two in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. The Lord of Death, Lucian has been ordered by the Gods to kill Anya, the goddess of anarchy. Unfortunately for Lucian, Anya’s soul is one he can’t seem to force himself to take. He finds himself attracted to her zest for life and of course, her sexy body. If that is not enough, the warriors are dealing with the fanatical Hunters who wish to imprison them while they look for Pandora’s Box. Once the Hunter’s get their greedy hands on the box, they plan to kill the warriors and lock the demons back into the box.

I enjoyed Anya’s personality. She has a great sense of humor and she brings out the best in Lucian’s so serious, I’m-a-stick-in-the-mud, personality. He really needed to lighten up and Anya manages to do that for him. She has her quirks, with her constant need for chaos. She manages to control her impulse to wreck havoc by stealing. This is pretty minor to some of the damage she has caused in the past. She finds herself drawn to Lucian in a way that no other man has been able to do. Only, sadly for her, Lucian wants nothing to do with her and fights his attraction pretty much the whole book.

This is where I got annoyed. Too much time of the book was spent with the characters mental lusting after each other. This is a sore spot with me and something I really can’t stand. I much prefer action or dialog to a character droning on and on about how they feel. Urrrrhhhhhaaa. It really gets my goat.

I will say that the world building is coming along nicely. There is a brief continuation of part of the plot from book one involving Danika and Reyes and Aeron. Paris begins his story as well. I must say as brief as these story arcs were, I was totally hooked on what was happening. I already have the next book The Darkest Pleasure, which is Reyes and Danika’s story. I just hope the mental lusting is toned down a lot.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad and The Unread
Dear Author
Reading is Sexy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dark Embrace in stores August 26!

Brenda Joyce has a time travel series called The Masters of Time. The books are about medieval warriors who have taken an oath to protect the innocent from Evil. Through the centuries they have upheld this promise. They have been given powers that enable them to travel through time to fulfill their duty. Dark Embrace is the third book in this series and actually starts a trilogy within the series.

I have read the first two books in this series Dark Seduction and Dark Rival. Dark Seduction is the first book in the series and by far the weakest. See, the warriors get their powers through sex and can actually kill their lovers by giving them too many orgasms. Plus they are hung like moose. I just thought this premise was pretty silly, but I thought the series had a lot of potential so I stuck with it and when the second book came out I read it too. Dark Rival was much better and the whole “sex by death” issue wasn’t such a big deal (Although, the hero was still hung like a moose). I couldn’t wait for the third book to be released. Unfortunately, I had to wait a whole entire year for its release, which is now only a few days away.

Here is the book summary from Joyce’s website:

A Highland warrior sworn to protect Innocence throughout the Ages…

Aidan, the Wolf of Awe, has abandoned the Brotherhood and forsaken his vows. Feared by all and trusted by none, he hunts alone, seeking vengeance against the evil that destroyed his son. He has not saved an Innocent in sixty-six years--until he hears Brianna Rose’s scream of terror across centuries, and leaps to modern-day Manhattan to rescue her…

Her Seduction... His Salvation.

Brie spends her time fighting evil from the safety of her laptop—and fantasizing about the medieval Highlander she met just once. She is also a gifted empath. Still, her life is pretty ordinary—until she awakens one night consumed with Aidan’s pain and rage—which she is feeling across centuries! And when Aidan suddenly appears in the city and takes her hostage, Brie cannot believe how dark and dangerous he has become. She knows she should be afraid, but instead, she will fight across time for his redemption… and his love.

She also has three excerpts from the first and second chapters.

Excerpt 1
Excerpt 2
Excerpt 3

Monday, August 18, 2008

Review - Sleeping with the Devil

Title: Sleeping with the Devil
Author: Vanessa Marlow
Publishing Date: April 2008
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: C
Sensuality: Burning

First off, let me make sure that I state up front that this book is NOT a romance. I am sure some of you are scratching your head, asking yourselves why I am reviewing this book then, since this is a romance book review blog. Well, you see, the author Vanessa Marlow is actually a pseudonym for the well known romance author Cheryl Holt. Wendy the Super Librarian had reviewed this book and it intrigued me so that is why read the book and since I try to review every book I read I went ahead and reviewed this one too.

Naive, young Meg White meets Jordan Blair, a sexy, wealthy man and is unable to resist his charms. She dumps her current boyfriend Sandy, leaves her meager possessions and what few friends she had behind to go live with Jordan. What ensues is the story of Meg’s complete, painful degradation at the hands of Jordan, told in first person from her point of view.

This is a very dark story. Holt leaves nothing to the imagination. She slowly, in painstaking detail shows the downward spiral of Meg’s relationship with Jordan, from the blissful newfound love and attraction to mental and physical abuse; to the point that Meg thinks she is loosing her mind.

Cheryl Holt does a really good job of setting the mood for this story. Right from the beginning, the book has sinister overtones and it is no surprise to the reader that Jordan is not a normal, sane man. This was one of the issues that I had with Meg. Several times at the beginning of the story when she first meets Jordan, several red flags go up. Does she ever heed her gut instinct and listen to what her heart is telling her? No, she ignores it and this is why she ends up in the situation she is in. I had a hard time feeling sympathetic to her. Actually, that is not true, what Meg endured at the hands of Jordan was just horrible. I can't even fathom it.

Jordan was just creepy. Oh my goodness. I was definitely terrified of the man. For those of you who want to know, yes, there is a positive solution to Meg’s problem. Would I call it a happy ending? No, I would not. That is another thing I had an issue with, was the lack of closure at the end of the story. I needed more. I guess I will have to leave it at that without heading into spoiler territory.

Here is what others had to say:

The Misadventures of Super Librarian
Ramblings on Romance

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blogger Appreciation Week

I stumbled across the website My Friend Amy. She is hosting a blogger appreciation week in honor of us book bloggers. You know who you are, people who dedicate all their free time to reading, talking, obsessing, recommending, reviewing and cherishing books. The grand event is scheduled to take place September 15 - 19. I think it sounds like a lot of fun and I definitely plan to participate. I have registered and you can register too. Just head on over to here and read the post and follow the directions. It's really quite simple. Just email Amy and tell her your interested in her event and what type of books you generally blog about. There will be prizes everyday for those who have signed up. Sounds good to me, so what are you waiting for?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Review - Hot Stuff

Title: Hot Stuff
Author: Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks
Publishing Date: April 2007
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Sweet

Cate Madigan is used to constantly having her loving Irish Catholic family setting her up with random men for dates. She is the youngest in her family and the only unmarried one. She might be used to it, but she hates it. The dates have never lived up to her expectations. She is twenty-six and a student trying to get her teaching degree. She figures if she can handle four brothers, then a classroom of 8 year olds should be a piece of cake. When Cate is not in school she is tending bar at a local pub. Recently she noticed a cute patron Kellen McBride. He hits on her and it is hard for her to resist his charm. Cate finds herself in a bit of a tight spot when her transvestite roommate leaves town and sends her a guard dog. Strange phone calls and all sorts of antics ensue.

This is a really cute, light fluffy story. It is just what a reader needs after reading a draining emotional book. It’s a very quick read with fun characters. Cate is so sweet and charming you can’t help but like her. Kellen is your typical male, but he easily worms his way into your heart. Cate’s friends such as Julie and Shannon add fodder to this fun heartwarming story. Julie especially livens it up with tales from the “deep south”. I was cracking up at some of these stories.

This is short, cute read, and I don’t really have anything else to add. It was just what the doctor ordered after having read a very dark disturbing novel. I would definitely recommend this when you are between books and don’t want anything to heavy, but just want to pass the time. It flows very nicely, with a lively cast of characters sure to charm the most crusty of hearts.

Here is what others had to say:

Reading Adventures

Friday, August 15, 2008

Review - The Duke of Shadows

Title: The Duke of Shadows
Author: Meredith Duran
Publishing Date: April 2008
Genre: Historical
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Emma Martin has been engaged to Colonel Marcus Lindley since she was a child. She sets sail with her parents on a ship to India, where Marcus is currently stationed. A terrible tragedy occurs when the ship goes down in a storm and she is the only survivor. Not only does Emma have to deal with the loss of her parents, but she realizes that Marcus is a terrible person and is only marrying her for her inheritance. Add that to a revolt between the British and Indian armies and Emma will have the fight of her life. Along the way she meets Julian Sinclair, the Duke of Auburn. He helps her to run away from Marcus.

The Duke of Shadows is Meredith Duran’s first novel. My overall impression of this book is that it is a great story, with a few imperfections. I thought the pacing and writing style could be a little inconsistent at times. For the most part it flowed nicely, but occasionally the writing stumbled a bit. The plot and story itself I really enjoyed. The setting is unusual, taking place in British Colonial India. Another thing I really enjoyed was the open honesty between Julian and Emma in the first half of the book. It is a nice change of pace to see the protagonists’ honesty with one another instead of lies and deception or even denial of feelings that is so often the case in the romance novels I read.

What I struggled over while reading The Duke of Shadows, was my dislike of Emma. I had a hard time relating to her. I think she bordered too closely to the line of selfishness and self-pity for me to truly like her. But Julian was a much more likeable hero and I thought he was a great character. I found him much easier to relate to than Emma. It was refreshing to have a hero who was honest about his feelings and never in denial about them. He was so patient with Emma, when another person would probably be pulling their hair out. Ms. Duran cleverly introduces the Earl of Lockwood as a very intriguing secondary character. She reveals a few brief hints about the Earl of Lockwood including the mysterious estrangement of his wife, who he supposedly was madly in love with. It seems the perfect set up for her next novel. Okay, I’ll bite. I will be curious to read Ms. Duran’s next effort.

Here is what others had to say:

Thoughts of an Aspiring Writer
Dear Author
The Book Smugglers
The good, The Bad, The Unread

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Review - Industrial Magic

Title: Industrial Magic
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publishing Date: 2004
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Industrial Magic is book four in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series. It is the second book where Paige Winterbourne is the narrator. In this story Paige teams up with Lucas, her sorcerer boyfriend to investigate the murder of a runaway teenage witch. After flying down to Miami where the murder took place, they discover that there has been more than one murder. It seems the killer has been targeting Cortez Cabal employees’ teenage children. Lucas and Paige ship Savannah off with Jeremy, Clayton and Elena to keep her safe. Lucas is the named Cortez Cabel CEO, only he refuses to acknowledge his position because he is at odds with his father. Now, in order to find a vicious killer he is working with his father, which rebels against everything he stands for. At least with Paige by his side, as a mediator, he can get through it.

Kelley Armstrong continues to write a fascinating paranormal book that adds intrigue to this already unique series. This time Paige and Lucas meet more interesting characters as they try and figure out who is behind these horrible killings. Along the way, Cassandra, a 300 year old vampire and Jamie Vegas, a Necromancer with her own TV show, help aide Paige and Lucas with the case. Both characters add to the world and never come across one dimensional. That is the true strength of this series. The characters are all very well developed; even down to the minor characters who only appear for a brief time.

Lucas is great in this book. I think readers finally get to know the true Lucas and learn so much more about him than they did in Dime Store Magic. His strength of character really comes out when dealing with the different Cabels. I love how he is not afraid to voice his opinions, or defend Paige – even to his family. What makes this even more appealing is that when people first see Lucas they automatically write him off as nobody. That he is just another average Joe, pushing pencils in a cheap suit. Boy, does he have them fooled. Everyone it seems except for Paige and his father.

Lucas and Paige are good together. I like them as a couple. I wish that Paige would have come to her senses a little sooner about Lucas. But she needed time to work through her feelings for him. Paige is a great narrator. She is a good person with high ideals. I like that she is a nice person, but can confront people and get mean if she has to. I like how she handles Cassandra when Cassandra is being rude. Paige isn’t mean about it, but she isn’t going to take anything lying down either. I really enjoyed this addition to the Women of the Underworld series and I plan to continue to read the next book Haunted.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Review - Into the Storm

Title: Into the Storm
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: 2006
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Into the Storm is book ten in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series. Mark Jenkins, of Navy SEAL’s Team Sixteen is asked to work side by side Lindsey Fontaine, former cop and now employee of Troubleshooters Inc. Troubleshooters Inc. was started by former Team Sixteen captain Tom Paoletti. He is pitting his employees against the new captain and his team of SEALs in a training op exercise. Lindsey and Mark will be working together to set things up between the teams. Lindsey and Mark are instantly attracted to each other. The rest of the plot is rather complicated and I am not going to go into all the details. I will say that the summary on the back of the book is a little misleading. The hostage situation with the receptionist Tracy doesn’t actually take place until about 250 pages into the story.

Ms. Brockmann is the queen of great dialogue and there is no shortage of conversations worth quoting. Whether the conversation takes place between couples or SEAL buddies, Brockmann gets it right every time. Her characters seem so REAL. Izzy especially stole the show with his antics and one-liners.

I had mixed feelings about Lindsey and Mark’s relationship. On the one hand, they made a really cute couple and had some very funny, tender moments together. On the other hand when Mark came on too strong, I would cringe right along with Lindsey. With her hang-up about relationships, she did the only thing she knew how which was to push him away. But Mark being a navy SEAL knows nothing of failure, so persistence played a major part of his strategy.

There is a lot going on in this book. There are multiple plot lines involving Sophia and Decker and Izzy and Tracy. There is also a suspense plot involving a sociopath. All these plots were very interesting, yet I thought they took to much attention away from Lindsey and Mark. I still really enjoyed the story and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, but after finishing the book, I can’t help but feel that Lindsey and Mark got short changed a little. It could be because their story hadn’t appeared in any of the previous books. For those of you new to this series, I think Into the Storm can be read without reading any of the other previous books in the series. I will say that Sophia and Decker have appeared in Flashpoint. However, Brockmann does a good job of catching the reader up without a bunch of info dumping.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Avid Book Reader (for an opposing opinion)

Friday, August 8, 2008

New toy!

I have just discovered the shelfari website. I have been wasting my day away loading my shelves with books. Books that I have read, books that I own, books I plan on reading and books that are my favorites. I discovered shelfari when Christine from Happily Ever After had a contest and the winner could pick a book off her prize shelf. I thought it was so cool because it really does look like a book shelf in a book store. So I signed up and started my own account. It turns out you can have friends and they can see what you have read or are currently reading and vice versa. Oh boy! This is a book lovers paradise. I could spend hours purusing this website and all it has to offer. I especially love that you can look at all the pretty book covers. Anyway, that is what I have been messing around with all day. Shelfari even has a feature where you can upload it to your blog. I have yet to figure this out. I will have to spend some time on it and hopefully I will be able to load it to my blog.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Review - The Sherbrooke Twins

Title: The Sherbrooke Twins
Author: Catherine Coulter
Publishing Date: March 2004
Genre: Historical
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm

The Sherbrooke Twins is the eighth book of Catherine Coulter’s Sherbrooke Bride series. James and Jason Sherbrooke are the twin sons of Douglas and Alex Sherbrooke whose story was the first of this series, The Sherbrooke Bride. James and Jason are nothing alike. James is sure and steadfast and enjoys astronomy and land management. Jason doesn’t like to be tied down and is much more impulsive. Their neighbor, Corrie Tybourne-Barrett, has been following James around since she was three years old, worshiping the ground he walks on. Now she is all grown up and James has started to notice her in a different light.

This book really took me by surprise. First of all, this is the eighth book of this series and after reading the last book, I felt the series was getting a little stale. So with great reservations I picked up this book and to my delight I got more than I had bargained for. What started out as a light-hearted romping good time, ended on a much unexpected somber note. It was by no means a perfect book, as there were a few issues I had with it.

First off there is a lot taking place in this book. We have the romance between Corrie and James, which was very sweet. Not a lot of passion, but it was fun to read their interaction with each other. They were cute and funny together. Then there is a mystery when Douglas is shot at in the park. Now the family is coming together to try and stop this threat to their father. Jason meets up with a woman who catches his attention and he can’t seem to put her out of his mind.

At first, I felt like the threat to Douglas didn’t make much sense in context of the rest of the plot. It seemed unimportant and more like fodder to help move the romance along, or allow for silly conversations in drawing rooms and such. But over the last half of the story the mood took on a more serious note and the mystery started to become more important. The conclusion took me by complete surprise. The villain was unexpected and yet his motivation didn’t quite sit well with me. It’s hard for me to express because, on the one hand it made the book original, yet the villain had that whole eeeviill vibe going on. We all know how silly that can seem. I really liked that the author was able to make this book stand out in the series instead of it coming across formulaic with new characters. Plus, she has managed to peak my interest for the next book in the series.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Review - Death Angel

Title: Death Angel
Author: Linda Howard
Publishing Date: July 2008
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot

I will try and give a brief synopsis of the book without giving too much of the plot away. Death Angel, for me is told in two parts. Part one begins with Andrea (Drea) Rousseau being given by her mobster boyfriend, Rafael to an assassin for a sexual liaison as a payment for services rendered. This liaison is to happen only once and no longer than five hours. To say Drea is stunned is an understatement. She can’t believe how easily Rafael gives her away to another man. Since taking a hit to her pride, Drea robs Rafael and goes into hiding. I think I am going to leave the summary here as to not give any spoilers. The second part of the story is about Drea trying to make a better life for herself and to be a better person. She no longer wants to have anything to do with the shallow woman she once was.

First off, let me say that I am a HUGE fan of Linda Howard. I love her writing style and her super hot alpha heroes. However, her last few releases have been hit or miss for me. I was hoping that Death Angel would be more of a hit than a miss, but I wasn’t holding my breath. I am happy to say that with this book, it seems that Ms. Howard is back on track. Drea was a very unique heroine in that the reader gets to see her journey from a shallow, selfish woman to a genuinely kind person. Along the way she falls in love with an assassin Simon. Simon is very unique too. He toes the line between good and bad leaning more towards the dark side of life. He has an epiphany as well, but it is not as well defined as Drea’s.

One of the things that I love about Howard’s writing is her ability to make her love scenes so sexy. I think major reason for this is the hero’s powerful focus on the heroine. Simon is no exception. He is very intense and whenever he is focused on Drea it’s as if the rest of the world has fallen away.

I think that the balance between Drea’s attempt to hide her identity and the romance of the story were a little uneven. I felt that more attention was paid to the details of Drea’s escape than her relationship with Simon. However, the scenes when Drea was with Simon totally rocked. I felt the good more than outweighed the bad. Death Angel has a darker tone, but it was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The Book Binge (Casee)
The Book Binge (Holly)
Thrifty Reader
Dear Author

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Review – Dime Store Magic

Title: Dime Store Magic
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publishing Date: 2004
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Dime Store Magic is book three in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series. It is told in the first person point of view by Paige Winterborne, a twenty-three year old witch, whose mother was the Coven’s leader. But she died recently (see book two, Stolen) and now Paige has a lot of responsibilities heaped on her shoulders. First of all, Paige has accepted responsibilities for Savannah, who has also been orphaned by the same people who murdered Paige’s mother. Savannah is thirteen years old and has shown promise of becoming a very powerful witch. She already can cast spells that Paige can’t do. Along with raising Savannah, Paige made a promise to her mother that she would lead the Coven and bring witches to a more modern way of life.

Dime Store Magic is full of action right from the beginning. Savannah’s biological father Kristoff Nast, the heir to the Nast Cabal, wants custody of his daughter. He teams up with a half-demon Leah, who murdered Savannah’s and Paige’s mothers. Naturally, Paige will do everything in her powers to keep Savannah safe from her father. Only it may not be enough. She is up against very powerful forces. Her own coven wants nothing to do with the problem and refused to help Paige. It looks as if she will have to figure this one out all on her own. Help comes unexpectedly in the form of a young sorcerer, Lucas Cortez. Paige is not sure if his intentions are true, but with lack of help from anyone else, she is forced to accept his help.

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this story. I was skeptical and thought that I wouldn’t like Paige as a narrator as much as Elena who narrated the first two books in the series. Paige is a very strong character all on her own and I really enjoyed reading about witches and sorcerers. Paige is a very likable character. She is easy to relate to and is strong, yet vulnerable. She is very determined to do the right thing. Even though her current situation is desperate at best, she will see things through and do the best that she can. She is scared that it might not be good enough, but she will do what she has to and won’t give up. A few times she did come across as bull-headed, but for the most part I couldn’t argue her choices.

The pacing of this book is very quick and exciting. There is a lot happening that keeps the reader on edge most of the time. Sometimes this story had a horrific feel to it with all the supernatural beings making an appearance, not to mention the raising of the dead at one point. Armstrong balances this with Savannah’s lively, thirteen year old personality. Armstrong’s idea of a moody teenage girl rang true and gave comic relief when necessary. Paige’s budding relationship with Cortez also lightened the mood. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of Lucas. The reader is not sure if he can be trusted. But as the story progresses and Paige learns more about him, he definitely shows promise of becoming a great hero. The dilemma of Savannah’s custody is resolved at the end of this book, but there are other questions that have been left unanswered. The story will continue on into Industrial Magic, with Paige again narrating the story.

Here is what others had to say:

Rosario's Reading Journal
Twisted Kingdom

Monday, August 4, 2008

Faefever teaser #6!

Yay!!! Ms. Moning has given readers another brief glimpse into her third book in the Fever series, Faefever. Fans have less than 50 days until the book's release on September 16th! I have to admit I was worried we wouldn't get a teaser this month since Ms. Moning was at the RWA conference in San Francisco. She was at the literacy signing event and I would have loved to have met her. Without further ado here you go!

"Such naked pain," he whispered.

I turned my face into his palm and closed my eyes. His fingers threaded into my hair, cupped my head, and brushed the brand. It heated at his touch. His hand tightened at the base of my skull and squeezed, and he raised me slowly to my tiptoes. I opened my eyes and it was my turn to inhale sharply. Not human. Oh, no, not this man.

"Never show it to me again." His face was cold, hard, his voice colder.

"Why? What will you do?"

"What it is in my nature to do. Get inside, Ms. Lane. It's time for your lesson."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Review – The Loner

Title: The Loner
Author: Rhonda Nelson
Publishing Date: July 2008
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: D
Sensuality: Hot

Lucas Finn was a former Ranger in the US Army. He sustained a career killing injury to his knee during a training op and is now working as a security operative for Ranger Security. His first assignment is to guard an heiress, Sapphira Stravos. She does not want to have a guard following her every move so she devises a plan to act as annoying as possible so the guard will quit. She manages to fool her first three guards, but Lucas quickly sees through her act.

This book is just one bad cliché after another. Love at first sight; check. Silly heiress secretly gives all her money away to charity because, what does she need it for; check. Her daddy doesn’t love her; check. This book is silly, silly, silly. The prose is so purple it borders on fuchsia. I actually found myself giggling several times and I am sure that is not what the author intended. Although, maybe it was, what do I know?

I didn’t want to finish it, but it was so short, I thought, “Eh, why not see it through to the end.” I am sorry I did, because the ending was just ridiculous. I guess you could say it was a fantasy, since reality never made it to the pages. Other than the ridiculousness of the characters and plot, half the book was told through mental diatribes that went on and on in the characters heads. Then to top it all off there was an over abundance of mental lusting. Maybe I am being just a tad bit to harsh on this story, but for me it was one big eye roll.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (Sandy M.)
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (Limecello)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Review – Night Train to Memphis

Title: Night Train to Memphis
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Publishing Date: September 1994
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Kisses

Night Train to Memphis is the fifth Vicky Bliss mystery. This is NOT a good place to start if you haven’t read any previous Vicky Bliss books. A few characters and relationships have already been established in previous books and this book will be enjoyed more if you are already aware of these characters, more specifically Schmidt and Sir John Smythe.

Vicky Bliss is an assistant curator at the National Museum in Munich and has been asked by the police to assist them on a certain case. She accepts and will be a presenter on a very exclusive cruise on the Nile River in Egypt. At least one other person on this cruise is supposed to be a criminal that Vicky can identify, which is why the police have asked for her help. On the cruise, Vicky gets a very nasty shock from her former lover Sir John Smythe and she is off and running onto another adventure.

This story was a lot of fun. Vicky as a narrator is full of dry wit, constantly telling it like it is. She is a down-to-earth person that everyone can relate to easily. Her boss, Schmidt is hysterical. I don’t think I have encountered a character quite like him before. In between outsmarting the bad guys there are some funny moments. The thing about them is that they are not “in your face” laugh out loud moments, but much more subtle. It is hard for me to describe, but Peters has a writing a style that I thoroughly enjoy. There are nuances to her humor where you almost have to be an “insider” to get it. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.

The mystery is fully developed with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing as to “who done it”. This book has an Agatha Christie feel to it. When Vicki is on the cruise, all the suspects are stagnant; everyone on the cruise is suspect. In a way it reminded me of a movie I once watched staring Mia Farrow called. It was Death on the Nile. This first part is all mystery. Sometimes it dragged in places where I was waiting for the action to catch up. About halfway through it did and the story moved along at a brisk pace. All the romance was on this end of the story. It wraps up nicely with Vicky getting her “Happy ever after”. I believe that this story was to be the conclusion to this series. Recently, however, Ms. Peters has written one more Vicky Bliss novel Laughter of Dead Kings to be released August 2008.

Here is what others had to say:

Rachel Reads