Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Review - The Secret Pearl

Title: The Secret Pearl
Author: Mary Balogh
Publishing Date: 1991
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

The Secret Pearl begins with Fleur, a gentle woman in dire straights who hasn't eaten in two days because she can't find decent work, selling her body outside a theater. Adam, a nobleman, sees her in the shadows and is intrigued enough to proposition her. They go to an inn and he has sex with her. After he realizes that she was a virgin he feels very guilty. After they part ways he can't seem to stop thinking about her. He sends his secretary to find her and employ her as his daughter's governess.

Now, normally this type of book would set all my alarm bells ringing. The hero is already married. How on earth are the hero and heroine supposed to get their "happily ever after"? Not only is the hero married, but the heroine is terrified of the hero. It seems very unlikely that there will be a successful love match between these two characters. But luckily, the author was very talented in engaging me with a well written story and characters that I could really sink my teeth into.

Adam and Fleur are both good people put in an impossible situation that forces them to make difficult decisions. Adam was a well balanced man in that he was noble by sacrificing his own happiness, but never came across as stiff or priggish. Fleur was a little harder to like. She was sweet natured, but she was to quick to make assumptions about people and this was the main cause of a lot of her problems. In all actuality, the whole situation that Fleur comes to find herself in could have been avoided if she would have just stopped and thought for a minute. She continues to make these assumptions throughout the book and this might drive some readers crazy. I personally like lots of drama, so it didn't bother me as much as it might others.

There was a good cast of secondary characters that provided plenty of situations to allow the reader more insight into Adam and Fleur. The story slowly unfolds overtime and their relationship builds believably. I liked how the author was able to engage my feelings for these characters and I felt sympathy for them and their plight. Everything works out in the end and true to romance genre, they do get their "happily ever after".

Here is what others had to say:

Reading Adventures

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Under the Tree

My husband surprised me this Christmas with an iPod Touch under the tree Christmas morning. I must have been a very good girl this year to deserve such an exciting present. I have been having so much fun learning about all the cool applications I can download to it.

For those of you who are not familiar with the iPod Touch, it is just like the iPhone, only it's not a phone. It does everything else imaginable, like Internet access and GPS only you don't have to pay AT&T a monthly fee. You just need to have access to wireless (which we now have). I am really excited about my iPod, because I can read books from it, check my feeds from google reader and even post to my blog, all from my iPod. Oh, and I can email too, along with hundreds of other cool applications. They even have a facebook one. So as you can guess, I have been having a lot of fun over the holidays.

I downloaded Stanza, which is an eReader application that stores ebooks. It works in conjunction with the fictionwise website. I haven't used it yet, but I did download a couple of mini harlequin ebooks that were free. I was also able to get the ebooks I already owned onto my iPod with a couple of downloads. This took a little bit more work because I had to download a special stanza program to my desktop computer. This program converts your .pdf and .html files to stanza files. Once you do that then you can add your ebooks to your iPod. It was all fairly easy because of their step-by-step instructions. Jane, from Dear Author, blogs about her iPhone quite a bit which uses the same application. As I learn more about it I will follow up with more posts. In the mean time, I am off to discover more!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Review - Mine to Possess

Title: Mine to Possess
Author: Nalini Singh
Publishing Date: February 2008
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C
Sensuality: Hot

Mine to Possess is the fourth book in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. Clay Bennett who is a sentinel for the DarkRiver leopard pack has been haunted by the death of his childhood sweetheart, Talin. While he was in juvenile detention for killing Talin’s abuser, he is informed that she died in an auto accident. Now he is a grown man and he still occasionally smells her scent on the breeze and wonders if he is being haunted by her ghost. Talin is not dead, and has kept this knowledge from Clay. Now, she needs his help and hopes that he will be able to forgive her and help her find her foster son who she believes has been taken by the Psy.

The Psy-Changeling series is evolving to incorporate the human part of the world into the series. Readers were exposed to the Psy and the Changeling way of life in the first three books and now with Mine to Possess, they get to add humans to the mix. The reader is also introduced to other Changeling groups such as rats and snakes. Ms. Singh is expanding her world and creating changes that are important to future books. I felt with Mine to Possess there was a shift in the direction of the series. Fans of the series should be happy with the new direction the author is going with.

There are many great elements to this story such as great world building and a tough alpha hero. Clay is extremely protective and possessive of Talin. As much as I love these elements and I am definitely a sucker for childhood loves, Talin and Clay just could not hold my attention. I think the main reason for me was that much of the story was told instead of acted out. Also, there was a lot of repetitiveness in the characters thoughts. These things took away from the action for me and therefore caused the story’s pacing to drag. This was just an average read for me.

Here is what others had to say:

LesleyW's Book Nook
Karen Knows Best (AztecLady)
Renee Reads Romance
Ramblings on Romance etc.
Rosario's Reading Journal
Scooper Speaks
Lurv A La Mode
The Happily Ever After
Breezing Through

Friday, December 26, 2008

Review - One for the Money

Title: One for the Money
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date: 1994
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Kisses

One for the Money is the first book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie is a 30 year old divorcee who has lost her job as a lingerie buyer for the department store, E.E. Martin. She has been out of work for six months and is down to her last penny. Her car has just been repossessed and she needs a job fast. Her cousin Vinnie owns a bail bonding company and Stephanie takes the Morelli case. If she can land Joe Morelli she will get $10,000. There are a few complications, though. For one thing Joe is a vice-cop wanted for murder. The other is that Joe and Stephanie have quite a history together and none of it favorable. So Stephanie is off on an adventure of a lifetime and hopes that she has what it takes to be a successful bounty hunter. Her livelihood depends on it.

One for the Money is a fast, action packed read. There is lots of humor, plenty of suspense and a hint of romance. Stephanie narrates the book in first person and she is a riot. She is a Jersey girl and it comes across the pages loud and clear. She has big frizzy hair and wears spandex. I got the biggest kick out her. She has so many one-liners and zingers, plus her descriptions of people and things are right on target. I laughed out loud repeatedly while reading this book.

One thing I laughed about is Stephanie’s clothing choices. Now, I don’t know if this was intentional or not by Ms. Evanovich, but Stephanie has terrible outdated taste in clothing. She wears a lot of spandex, Reeboks with big socks and over sized tee shirts that hang off one shoulder. Now, is it just me or does this scream Flashdance? This book was published in 1994, so I wasn’t sure what the reason was for the outdated clothing. Anyway, I just had to mention it.

The mystery was good. I will say this aspect of the book was more gruesome than I was expecting. Stephanie really gets into some trouble and gets hurt more than once. Someone even dies and it surprised me. I wasn’t expecting such heavy material for such a light book. All in all, I really enjoyed the book and read it in one day. I will definitely be sticking with this series.

Here is what others had to say:

Book and Cranny
Melange's Book Reviews
Bibliophile's Passion
Reading Reflections
Blog Critics
My Years of Reading Seriously

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review - Courting Miss Hattie

Title: Courting Miss Hattie
Author: Pamela Morsi
Publishing Date: 1991
Genre: Western
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

At a young age Miss Hattie Colfax had to run her family farm by herself with the help of her plowboy Reed Tyler. She was determined to be successful and sure enough she has one of the most prosperous farms in town. Although, since she had a farm to worry about, her youth passed her by. Now, at twenty-nine for the first time a man wants to court her. Hattie believed that her dreams of having a family of her own where just that, dreams. But when Ancil Drayton’s wife dies and he desperately needs someone to help care for them, he turns to Hattie. Reed Tyler who has known Hattie since he was a child and starts to look at Hattie in a new light now that Ancil is showing some interest.

Courting Miss Hattie was a wonderful, peach of a story. This story is more character driven, than action driven. The characters are rich and vivid as is the backdrop of Arkansas. Hattie knows she is not the prettiest woman around, but she is smart and hard working. She takes a lot of pride in her farm. Hattie who hasn’t ever had someone show a romantic interest in her doesn’t exactly know how to handle this new attention Ancil is giving her. He opens up a whole new perspective for her and she realizes that her feelings for Reed are more than just friendship. Even though Reed is engaged to pretty Bessie Jane, he can’t seem to stop thinking about Hattie either.

As the story unfolds slowly Hattie and Reed unearth their feelings for each other. The scenes are so sweet and tender. Not to worry, it never feels syrupy. My favorite part of the book is when Reed sees Hattie crying on her front porch. He wants to know what has her so upset and she tells him she doesn’t know how to kiss. He then proceeds to give her a lesson in kissing. It is a most memorable scene because of their innocence and it is both funny and touching. Both are surprised at the depths of their feelings this kissing lesson evokes and it becomes a turning point in their relationship. If you like westerns or frontier romances, it doesn't get better than this folks.

Here is what others had to say:

I love fiction

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Review - Nobody’s Baby but Mine

Title: Nobody’s Baby but Mine
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publishing Date: 1997
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Dr. Jane Darlington desperately wants a baby. She is thirty-four years old and has spent most of her life alone. Jane, with an advanced IQ, obtained a Ph.D in physics at a record young age of twenty. Jane wants the father of her baby to be dumb. This is to counteract her own intelligence so her child is normal. When she see’s the Chicago Star’s quarterback on TV being interviewed, she thinks he would be the perfect candidate. With a crazy scheme from her next door neighbor, Jane sets out to make her dream a reality.

The major complication in this book is that Jane deceives Cal, right at the beginning of the story. Even though, what Jane does is unethical and I had problems with her dishonesty, I still could see where she was coming from, as well as Cal’s point of view. It was easy to like both characters because Ms. Phillips’s writing is so very engaging. The reader is completely invested in these characters.

There were numerous funny scenes interspersed throughout the book along with heart-wrenching ones as well. The creative interaction between the characters was outrageous and extremely entertaining. I liked how Jane and Cal challenged each other. There is one scene in particular where Jane surprises Cal by sabotaging his favorite breakfast cereal, Lucky Charms. What a riot! The “first date” scene at the drive-in movie theater, as well as many others, are very memorable and will stay with readers long after they have finished the book. There is a side story involving Cal’s parents that only added to the emotional impact of the story. I can see why SEP has made such a big name for herself.

Here is what others had to say:

The Forgetful Faerie
Leslie's Psyche
Just Your Average Carpool Queen
A Book Lover

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fall Challenge Status

Remember back in October when I posted about the Fall Reading Challenge. Well, how are you guys coming along with your books? With the holiday's fast approaching, time is really at a premium. Will you be able to finish in time with only 12 more days left. I have to be honest, at the start of December I was afraid I wouldn't meet my challenge. Now though, I only have two more books to read and I will be finished.

If you were a part of this challenge and you have a blog, email me and I will add your link at the bottom of this post. If you just participated and you don't have a blog, email me anyway and I will add you as a participant.

1. Read a book listed on RT’s All-Time Favorites List.
Courting Miss Hattie - Pamela Morsi

2. Read a New (to you) Author.
Pleasure Unbound – Larissa Ione

3. For Autumn, choose an author whose first or last name begins with “A”.
Twilight – Kelley Armstrong

4. Read a book with a one-word title.
Tempted – Megan Hart

5. For Halloween, read a book with a scary theme. (ex. Ghost, Vampire, Witch, etc.)
No Humans Involved – Kelley Armstrong

6. Read a book that is part of a series.
Into the Fire – Suzanne Brockmann

7. For November, choose a book that has an “N” word in the title.
Nightkeepers – Jessica Andersen

8. Read a category romance (ex. Harlequin, Loveswept, etc.)
Heat Lightning – Anne Stuart

9. Read a Christmas/Holiday themed book.
The Wallflower Christmas – Lisa Kleypas

10. Read a book published before the year 2000.
Chance the Winds of Fortune – Laurie McBain

11. Read a book that contains an aristocratic title. (ex. Duke, Lord, Baron, Viscount, etc.)
The Lost Duke of Wyndham – Julia Quinn

12. Read a book with a number in the title. (ex. Fearless Fourteen, Three Little Sins)
One for the Money – Janet Evanovich

13. Choose a book where the heroine is an heiress.
Bedding the Heiress – Cathy Maxwell

14. Choose a book where the hero is a cop or lawman.
Sometimes a Lady – Linda Randall Wisdom

15. Read a book with “baby” in the title.
Nobody’s Baby but Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Nath of Books, Books and more Books
Nikki of Romance Book Crazy
Leslie of Leslie's Psyche

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Review - Into the Fire

Title: Into the Fire
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

Into the Fire is the thirteenth book in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series. The main characters are Hannah and Vihn Murphy. Vihn is accused of killing Tim Ebersol who was the neo-Nazi leader of the cult, Freedom Network. Murphy’s wife Angelina had died by Ebersol’s hand in the book Hot Target. She was brutally gunned down to set an example and it affected Murphy and the rest of the Troubleshooter’s team, as to be expected. Murphy has always been friends with Hannah since they were teenagers. He has had feelings for her even before he met Angelina. After being accused of Ebersol’s murder, he is determined to keep Hannah safe.

Ms. Brockmann is a consummate story teller and Into the Fire is no exception. She has left nothing out in this story. She has grabbed the readers’ attention and not let go. I love the depth at which she delves into each and every character. She also has the art of conversation down to absolute perfection. There is a lot going on in this book; Vihn and Hannah’s relationship, Izzy and Eden’s, Decker, Dave and Sophia’s and Nash and Tess’s. The stress level is very high for everyone and emotions are extremely volatile. Many of these relationships are at a breaking point.

Izzy is an absolutely wonderful character and I cannot get enough of him. He is uncouth and says what is on his mind, but beneath that lackadaisical demeanor is a man with a heart of gold. What amazes me is that he is a knight in shining armor, but none of his friends realize this. He keeps his heart of gold hidden beneath his sarcastic demeanor and doesn’t care what his friends think of him. As a matter of fact, he is happy to let them think the worst, while he does his best to act in a manner that is so by the book and following a strict code of honor. I absolutely loved his relationship with Eden and felt that it overshadowed Vihn and Hannah’s story. Vihn and Hannah just had so much baggage it was easier for me, and more enjoyable for me, to take a time out with Izzy and Eden.

Here is what others had to say:

Thrifty Reader
Shae Reads
I Just Finished Reading
The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Nobody Asked Me

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review - Bedding the Heiress

Title: Bedding the Heiress
Author: Cathy Maxwell
Publishing Date: April 2007
Genre: Historical
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Bedding the Heiress is the fourth book in the Cameron Sisters series by Cathy Maxwell. Francesca Dunroy is the daughter of a wealthy business man. With the recent remarriage of her father to a woman younger than herself, Francesca finds herself in the arms of a notorious rake. At her coming out ball, she arranges for a clandestine meeting in her father’s study, but mistakenly kisses the wrong man, the Duke of Colster. Justin can’t forget the kiss and seeks to find Francesca and get more than just a kiss from her.

Bedding the Heiress is a quick, breezy, entertaining read. The story is relatively light, with plenty of action to keep the plot moving forward quickly. Francesca is a head-strong, prideful girl, a little on the spoiled side, but the author never takes it too far into bratty territory. Justin is a brooding Scotsman, but again the angst is never overdone.

The major quibble I had with the book is the fact that Justin and Francesca fall in love over the course of two days. These two days make up over two thirds of the book. For as many major conflicts in the book as there were, everything was wrapped up too hastily for my taste. From Francesca’s strained relationship with her parents, Justin’s return to England and his duties as a Duke, to the whole mystery surrounding The Sword of MacKenna, the resolutions were too superficial. But if you want a light read with just entertainment in mind, without a lot of angst, then I would recommend it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Review - Heaven, Texas

Title: Heaven, Texas
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publishing Date: 1995
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

Heaven, Texas is book two in Ms. Phillip’s Chicago Stars series. It is a modern fairy tale type story. Gracie Snow, as she puts it, is a “homely” woman who grew up in a nursing home. As a kid growing up she always felt like the butt of others’ jokes. She has recently been given a chance to prove herself with a movie company and was given the difficult task of getting Bobby Tom Denton down to Texas to film a movie. Bobby Tom is a former pro football player who had to retire because of a knee injury. At 33 years old he feels lost because football has always been his life. What is he to do now? This movie he is supposed to star in doesn’t seem to appeal to him as much as he had hoped.

Oh my goodness, I just loved this story. I loved everything about it, from Bobby Tom and Gracie to all the town people of Telarosa and their annoying behaviors. I loved the silly antics that were constantly happening between Bobby Tom and Gracie. The opening scene is a classic when Gracie is mistaken for a stripper when she first meets Bobby Tom. I just loved the cleverness of the characters. Bobby Tom had finally met his match in Gracie.

There were so many wonderful moments in this story. It was sweet and poignant and at certain times I thought Bobby Tom would rip my heart out because it took him so damn long to realize that he loved Gracie and then when he does, Gracie mistakenly rips his heart out by standing up to him. Oh god. It was just so moving to watch Bobby Tom’s cool façade falter in front of the whole town of Telarosa. I just didn’t want this book to end. Ms. Phillips is a consummate entertainer. I laughed. I cried. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Here is what others had to say:

Book Binge
Revisiting the Moon's Library
A Book Lover

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Series Sunday - Mercy Thompson

Patrica Brigg's has a wonderful urban fantasy series narrated by Mercy Thompson who is a coyote shapeshifter and a VW mechanic. In her world, mythical creatures such a elves, trolls, witches, vampires and werewolves exist. The more non-threatening of these species like fairies, trolls and gremlins have been outed to the human world. They are establishing liberal rights so they can exist along side humans. Mercy has an in to this reality because she was raised in a werewolf pack. Mercy finds herself acting a go-between for both worlds, helping to solve mysteries as needed.

Mercy Thompson is great character. She is down-to-earth and readers can relate very easily to her. She knows her limitations and is not afraid to ask for help if she needs it. There will be none of that Too Stupid Too Live (TSTL) crap for her. At the beginning of this series she has two men vying for her attention, Adam the local packs Alpha and Samuel from her past, three if you count the vampire Stefan. For those of you who are not fans of long drawn out triangles, never fear. That is not the case with this series. In Iron Kissed she makes her choice regarding the hero. Because each book builds off of the previous one, I recommend reading this series in order.

Series reading order:

1. Moon Called
2. Blood Bound
3. Iron Kissed
4. Bone Crossed
5. Silver Borne
6. River Marked (releases Feb 2011)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Review - Ultimate Weapon

Title: Ultimate Weapon
Author: Shannon McKenna
Publishing Date: November 2008
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Hot

Ultimate Weapon is book six in the McCloud brother series. Finally, readers get to witness Tamara Steele’s story. She mysteriously appeared in Standing in the Shadows as Novak’s mistress. In the end she ultimately helps Erin escape by killing Novak. Well Daddy Novak over the years has been nursing a grudge the size of Texas. It comes to his attention that Tamara is alive and he seeks to abduct her and torture her. Val Janos who once worked for Novak has been sent to bring Tamara to Daddy Novak. Val who wants absolutely nothing to do with Novak is in a rock and a hard place because Novak is holding his dear friend and mentor Imre captive. If Val doesn’t do as Novak demands, then Imre will be slowly tortured to death. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

When McKenna writes a bad guy, she really writes a bad, evil, totally f---ed up psychopath. She leaves nothing to the imagination. Novak is completely sick and twisted leaving the reader cringing with fear and desperation for Tamara and Val. Ultimate Weapon has lots of very graphic action. For more sensitive readers, it might be much for them to read.

I found this book to be quite different from the other books in the series. For one thing there wasn’t as much sex and it wasn’t as graphic as past books. McKenna has toned down the use of crude sex words in her love scenes. Also Janos is a European man, with English not being his first language. McKenna did a fabulous job of making this very believable right down to the way he talked and handled Tamara. He was more sophisticated than her past heroes. I was really worried with Tamara being such a ball buster of a woman that no man could stand up to her. I needn’t have worried. Janos was an even match for her without completely overpowering her. Tamara stayed true to the character readers have come to know and love. For me, this story really worked and I am glad that McKenna has taken a different approach to her writing.

Here is what others had to say:

Rip My Bodice

Monday, December 8, 2008

Review - Sometimes a Lady

Title: Sometimes a Lady
Author: Linda Randall Wisdom
Publishing Date: 1992
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Elise Carpenter is a widow with three daughters. She and her husband were in their veterinary clinic late one evening when a group of men attacked them looking for drugs. Her husband died that night and Elise suffered a brutal beating. Now, several years later she finds herself in a bank at the same time the man who killed her husband is robbing it. He manages to evade the police and threatens Elise’s life. Detective Dean Cornell is assigned to protect Elise until they can catch the killer.

Elise’s character has a lot of baggage. She blames the cops for her husband’s killer being on the loose in the first place, and with good reason. They screwed up big time. But she allows her hate for cops in general to be unnecessarily rude and nasty to Detective Cornell most of the time. I thought her treatment of Dean was unjust and she was overall too prickly for me to really like her.

Dean, on the other hand, was quite the charmer. He let Elise’s insults roll over him like water off a duck's back. He never took her anger personally and that made this book much more tolerable. I loved how he interacted with Elise’s daughters. There is one part when he is dealing with the six year old that was just hysterical. I laughed out loud at that part and even days later would still chuckle over it.

It took a while for Dean and Elise to establish their relationship and I found that it progressed at a reasonable pace. So many books today have the hero and heroine jumping into bed right after they meet or having sex while a killer is lurking in the shadows. That wasn’t the case here. Aside from me having difficulty with Elise, Sometimes a Lady was an appealing story.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Series Sunday - Immortals After Dark

The Immortals After Dark series is currently one of my favorite paranormal series out there. It encompasses a wide variety of interesting creatures from werewolves and vampires to trolls, goblins, valkyrie and demons. These creatures all live among humans without their knowledge. An Accession that happens every five hundred years is coming. It is a huge war were certain factions will become enemies and others will become allies.

Ms. Cole has created a very entertaining series that serves up plenty of humor with a side order of angst. Her heroines are more than a match for her heroes and there hasn't been a book I haven't liked so far. According to Ms. Cole, the books do not have to be read in order. They are all stand-alone books. For those of you who are sticklers (and you know who you are), here is the series reading order:

1. The Warlord Wants Forever (Story in anthology Playing Easy to Get) (Nikolai and Myst)
2. A Hunger Like no Other (Lachlain and Emmaline)
3. No Rest for the Wicked (Sebastian and Kaderine)
4. Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (Bowen and Mari)
5. Dark Needs at Night's Edge (Conrad and Neomi)
6. Dark Desires After Dusk (Cade and Holly)
7. Kiss of a Demon King (Rydstrom and Sabine) releases Feb 2009
8. Anthology Not That Innocent (Murdoch and Daniela) releases May 2009

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Review - Twilight and Stalked

Title: Twilight (A story in the anthology Many Bloody Returns)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Kisses

Twilight is narrated by the vampire Cassandra. Even though, as a vampire Cassandra is considered immortal, she does have an expiration date. She has sensed for a while now that her time is coming to an end. She has little desire to continue as she has been. Once a year vampires are required to make a kill. She has come upon the anniversary of her kill and needs to make it if she is to continue living.

Twilight addresses Cassandra’s struggle and reluctance to take her annual kill. Her good friend Aaron senses Cassandra’s stress and is concerned. I loved getting a glimpse into Cassandra in this short story. In the past books Cassandra has come across as very cold and uncaring. That is not the case in this story. I loved getting to see her interact with Aaron as he is very much so her opposite in personality. Where Cassandra is serious Aaron is playful.

Title: Stalked (A story in the anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B
Sensuality: Kisses

The short story Stalked takes place two years after Elena gave birth to the twins. It is told in the first person point of view by Clay. They are on their honeymoon and I am not sure what city they are in. As they are honeymooning Clay smells that a mutt has been following them. Clay is the muscle in the pack, but ever since he damaged his right arm, his dominant arm, he has been worried about other mutts coming to challenge him. That is exactly what happens in Stalked. Some mutt has decided he wants to see if the rumors are true and Clay has to prove that he is still a wolf not to be taken lightly.

This story is only 30 pages long. It just amazes me how Kelley Armstrong can write such a short story and it be a quick enjoyable read. There wasn’t really anything ground breaking as far as originality with this story but it was nice to have more insight into Clay. This was the first story in this series narrated by him.

Friday, December 5, 2008

December Classic Challenge - The Secret Pearl

The Secret Pearl is one of the books that I kept hearing things about time and again in the message boards at Romantic Times and All About Romance. I found the discussions about it to stand out because some people really liked it and others hated it. Wondering which camp I would fall in, I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about, as usual.

I have read some of Mary Balogh's work which included a few books from her Bedwyn series and a couple from her Mistress series, all of which I enjoyed. The Secret Pearl has made All About Romances top 100 Romances List twice as well as being a Romantic Time's Reviewers Choice in 1991. Let's see if it lives up to expectations, shall we?

From the Cover:

Fleur. That was her middle name. The name she told the
man to whom she sold herself out of desperate want. But her full name was
Isabella Fleur Bradshaw, gently born and brutally expelled from her sheltered
life. His name was Adam Kent, Duke of Ridgeway, the wealthiest lord in England,
but scarred in war, bitterly betrayed in marriage.

She feared his
overpowering physical passion. He fought to keep from loving her. They each had
so much to teach each other and so much to learn... 'n a drama of desire played
out on a vast estate - where a man and a woman come closer and closer to their
moment of heart-pounding truth…

Thursday, December 4, 2008

As You Desire

Title: As You Desire
Author: Connie Brockway
Publishing Date: 1997
Genre: Historical
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

Desdemona Carlisle lives in Egypt with her Grandfather. She manages to get herself kidnapped by a young boy who belongs to a tribe of men. Her long time friend Harry Braxton comes to her rescue and brings her safely back home. Desdemona and Harry have had feelings for one another for years now that they have kept hidden from each other. When Harry’s cousin, Blake Ravenscroft comes to Egypt, he sets in motion a series of events which force Harry and Desdemona to face their true feelings for each other.

As You Desire is a wonderful book. It has everything I have come to love in a romance, plenty of adventure, a passionate and noble hero, and a good mixture of laughs and tension. Desdemona seems to find herself in little scrapes here and there and Harry is always looking out for her. Her grandfather who really should be the one to protect Dizzy (as Harry likes to call her) is like the absentminded professor. He is too busy cataloging his ancient relics to be bothered by Dizzy’s misadventures. Therefore Dizzy gets away with a lot of behaviors in Egypt that she wouldn’t normally if she lived in England.

A strength and point in favor to this book is that many of the characters were multifaceted. Just when you expect them to act a certain way, they surprise you and show you that there is more to them than just what is shown on the surface. Also, there are some beautifully written passages in this book that read more like poetry than a normal work of fiction. There is a scene where Harry waxes poetic about Desdemona’s attributes and it truly is a work of art. I also thought the addition of Dizzy’s thoughts as passages out of a gothic novel was a cute touch. This was a very well written and very enjoyable book.

Here is what others had to say:

The Way I See It
Jennie's B(ook)log

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

November Book Summary

I have good news and bad news regarding my reading goals this month. The bad news is I dropped the ball and came up one book short of my monthly goal of 12. The good news is I have already reached my yearly goal of 144 books. Although, I can't get too excited yet because I still havn't completed my Fall Reading Challenge and I only have 30 days left to do it. (More on that later.) So what about you? Have you met your reading expectations this year? Any challenges that fell by the wayside?

1. The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Ward (Paranormal) Rating: N/A
2. The Wallflower Christmas, Kleypas (Historical) Rating: C
3. Fallen, Delacroix (Futuristic) Rating: B+
4. Seduce me at Sunrise, Kleypas (Historical) Rating: A-
5. Twilight, Armstrong (Paranormal) Rating: B+ (story in anthology Many Bloody Returns)
6. Demon Bound, Brook (Paranormal) Rating: B+
7. Chance the Winds of Fortune, McBain (Historical) Rating: D
8. It Had to be You, Phillips (Contemporary) Rating: B
9. Pleasures of the Night, Day (Paranormal/Erotic) Rating: D
10. As You Desire, Brockway (Historical) Rating: A
11. Stalked, Armstrong (Paranormal) Rating: B (story in anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Review - Pleasures of the Night

Title: Pleasures of the Night
Author: Sylvia Day
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Paranormal (Erotic)
Rating: D
Sensuality: Burning

Aidan Cross is guardian of the realm of Twilight, a place that exists only between the real world and the dream world. It is Aidan’s mission to guard humans from Nightmares when they are dreaming, by having mind blowing sex with them. Also, his other duty as an elite warrior and the reason for his existence is the find and kill The Key. Unfortunately for Aidan, Lyssa is The Key and he falls in love with her.

I don’t know why I decided to read this book. As I was summarizing the plot, I realized just how ludicrous the whole book seems. It could have been fun, albeit a little campy, but for me it didn’t measure up. (Although there were quite a few references to how Aidan’s package did).

I think the main problem for me was that the characters just felt bland. There wasn’t really anything to hold my interest and I felt disconnected from them. I didn’t feel any urgency with the problems Lyssa and Aidan faced. As a matter of fact the issues revolving around Lyssa and Aidan are never fully resolved. It seems to me they just got brushed under the rug. I think there was potential with the prophecy and the world building, but it wasn’t fully developed. There is another book in this series, so it’s possible more things will be disclosed in that book. I am not certain I am interested enough to continue on though.

Here is what others had to say:

Thrifty Reader