Monday, January 31, 2011
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publishing Date: January 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Book Disclosure: I downloaded an ebook from Barnes & Noble to my Nook.
Shadowfever is the long awaited conclusion to Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series. MacKayla Lane AKA Mac, after the huge cliffhanger in the last installment Dreamfever, is about to finally get answers to all her questions. What did happen to her sister, who is Jerrecho Barrons and more importantly just who is MacKayla Lane and how is she supposed to save the world?
I have been enthusiastically awaiting the release of Shadowfever ever since Dreamfever's release. I am happy to say that the book was able to live up to my lofty expectations. I was a little worried n the beginning when things looked bleak for Mac. I couldn't imagine how Ms. Moning was going to fix the situation in which Mac had found herself. Once things turned around the book really took off for me. It was one revelation after another that kept blowing me away. This book had more twists and turns than the Indy 500. I loved every minute of it.
While I did feel that Mac and Barron's relationship finally came to the place readers have long waited for it to get to, I also was surprised at the way it happened. I thought Barron's would do the taking, but that was not the case. I will refrain from saying more because I do not want to give away anything. Suffice it to say, you will just have to read it yourself.
Shadowfever was a great conclusion to a fantastic series. Ms. Moning left a few questions unanswered and hinted at other books. I am so excited that she has more stories to tell because I definitely am looking forward for more of her Fae magic!
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Author: Beverly Sommers
Publishing Date: 1987
Genre: Time Travel
Book Disclosure: I received a copy from Paperbackswap.com
I choose Time and Again because of this really great post done by Magdalan at Monkey Bear Reviews. I was in the mood for something different and this one fit the bill, a time-travel novel that takes place in turn of the century San Francisco, California. Lauren Hall is one minute at a McDonalds in 1980 in the middle of an earthquake only to find herself transported thru time to 1906. Early Cruz, a reporter for the newspaper takes pity on Lauren and allows her to live as his housekeeper.
Time and Again is a short book coming in at 253 pages. It is a quick, interesting read. I think I finished it easily in a day. The neat thing about this book is that it really is unlike any other romance I have read. The time travel portion of the book came off as rather genuine especially Lauren and Early's reaction to the time-travel. Early is very much old fashioned in comparison to Lauren's more modern proclivities. There is not a lot of romance between Lauren and Early, but what there was developed slowly. If you are looking for something a little different from the usual, give this a try (if you can find it, LOL).
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Author: Maggie Osborne
Publishing Date: 2007
Book Disclosure: I downloaded an audio book from my library.
Della Ward has lived an isolated existence since her husband was killed in the Civil War. Living in a remote western farm she spends her days regretting the last letter she wrote to her husband. James Cameron is haunted by his past as well. He has spent the last ten years struggling with the decision to go to Della Ward and give her a letter and photo that her husband had on his position when he died. James struggles with the death of Della's husband, but he will have to tell her the truth if he is ever going to move on with his life. He owes Della that much, at least.
Prairie Moon is a very tender and sad love story. Della and James both have an incredible amount of baggage. I like that Ms. Osborne doesn't reveal everything at once to the reader but rather dished it out a little at a time to keep the reader interested in what is going on. Once the reader does discover what both of these characters have gone through, especially Della, their heart will break for them.
There were a few things about the book that kept me from giving it a higher grade. James keeps a very big secret from Della for most of the book and the reader knows that eventually Della is going to find out James motivation for coming to her. James allows Della to make untrue assumptions about how her husband died and he doesn't correct her. When the truth does finally come to light Della reacts just the way James had feared. That bothered me about her. After everything she had learned about James and all the time she spent with him she should have handled it better. Eventually these two do get their happy ending, but boy did they have a long journey of heartbreak to get there.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Offspring Series. Good news for followers of the series. Jaime Rush is offering a contest. Here is more information:
A Cool Contest for Readers and Writers –A little fame & a little fortune! Jaime Rush is celebrating the fourth book in her urban fantasy romance series, BURNING DARKNESS (Avon), with her Kick Butt First Line contest. Shocking, suspenseful, funny…make us want more! Cash prizes! Contest runs through March 1, 2011. For aspiring authors, it's a chance to get your name out there and add a "win" to your bio. For readers, it's a chance to play at being a writer. For details, and to check out the entries, go to www.JaimeRush.com and click on the Contest link.
Be sure to check it out!!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Author: Robin T. Popp
Publishing Date: 2006
Book Disclosure: I purchased a used book.
Seduced by the Night is the second book in Robin T. Popp's Night Slayer series. Bethany Stavinoski is a biochemist and has recently been awarded for her brilliance in her leading research. Unfortunately for Bethany, it has made her the target of a group of men looking to create a new drug. These men are strange and mysterious but Bethany is lucky to have a protector in Dirk Adams a former military man who has a few secrets up his sleeves. Bethany is engaged to another man, but that doesn't extinguish the flames that burn between Bethany and Dirk.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series Out of the Night, which I rated an A. But unfortunately I didn't enjoy Seduced by the Night quite as much. One of the things I really enjoyed about OOTN is the unusual twist to the vampire legend. I thought it was rather clever and different from most vampire books, but by the second book that novelty had worn off and nothing new in terms of the legend had come to light, although there were new characters and motivations that surfaced in this book.
The other thing that bothered me with this book was that Bethany was engaged to another man and while she didn't feel passionate toward him she still was committed to him and it took away from her relationship development with Dirk. Dirk was kind of a Neanderthal with Bethany at times and of course hated the fact she belonged to another. I just couldn't really get into this one. Robin T. Popp's writing style reminds me of Elizabeth Jennings or Lisa Marie Rice, where the heroines are very feminine and the males are extremely protective, which is not a bad combination, it just didn't work for me in Seduced by the Night.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Since it is a new year, I am going to shake things up a bit and do things a little differently. Instead of just listing the newly released books I am looking forward to for the month, I will categorize them into degrees of want: Books I must have, books I need to catch up in the series and books I will wait to get until I hear positive buzz about.
Here is a look at the books that have caputured my interest.
Book 2 - Fairy Tale Series
Book 4 - Offspring Series
Book 8 - Lakeshore Chronicles
Book 10 - Immortals After Dark Series
Series Catch Up
Book 12 - Virgin River Series
Book 4 - Envy Chronicles
Book 3 - Lucy Valentine Series
Positive Buzz Waiting List
Book 2 - Maiden Lane Series
(I have to admit the cover on this one sparked my interest)
What are you looking forward to?
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Title: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume
Author: Julia Quinn
Publishing Date: 2008
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from paperbackswap.com.
The neat thing about Mr. Cavendish, I Presume is that it tells the same story as The Lost Duke of Wyndham but from a different perspective. The first book, TLDOF told the story from Jack Audley's and Grace Eversleigh's points of view. Now MCIP is told from Thomas Cavendish's and Amelia Willoughby's points of view. Thomas may or may not be the Duke of Wyndham since Jack Audley is his cousin of whom no one knew existed. Thomas will travel with an entourage of people to discover if indeed Jack's parent's marriage is legitimate and if so then Thomas will no longer be the Duke. To make matters even more complicated Thomas has been engaged to Lady Amelia Willoughby since they were young children. Thomas has put off his responsibility in marrying her and now that he finds she may not be his intended he discovers that he is more bothered by that fact than actually losing his title.
What I liked. Julia Quinn does a very good job of showing instead of telling the story. There are a lot of really great scenes between Amelia and Thomas where they are open and frank with each other. I liked that Amelia has a backbone where Thomas is concerned and decides she is tired of waiting around for him. Her impulsive nature is good for Thomas because he is too serious and stuffy most of the time. I thought it was interesting that Ms. Quinn decided to write the same story but using different perspectives. It was neat to see the same scene being played out but getting a different view of it.
What I didn't like. I had some issues with Thomas. I hated that he kept Amelia waiting and took her for granted. His indifference was hurting Amelia and because he was so self absorbed it took him a while to see that. It also took Thomas a painfully long time to realize that if he wants Amelia then he needs to go after her and win her affection. Basically, Thomas was such a Nob! The good thing is that at least Thomas grows throughout the story.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publishing Date: 1999
Book Disclosure: I purchased a used copy.
Lady Be Good is loosely related to Fancy Pants, another book by the illustrious Susan Elizabeth Phillips, AKA SEP. Kenny Traveler is a professional golfer who has been suspended from playing in tournaments for bad behavior. He is determined to clean up his act and lay low for a while to get back in the good graces of the golf commissioner. He has been asked to chauffeur Lady Emma Wells-Finch around Texas as she does research for a paper. She is the head mistress of a private institution for young ladies in England. She has never been attached to any scandal and is looking to ruin her reputation. Her motivations are complicated. Put Emma and Kenny together and they are fire and ice.
God, I love SEP! Her books entertain me endlessly. Right off the bat, Kenny and Emma both mistake the other. Emma thinks Kenny is just a hot body with no brains and Kenny is struck by Emma's beauty but once she opens her mouth her bossy demeanor has got to go! Kenny loves toying with Emma's serious, straight-laced personality and shaking up her world. Boy does he ever! But don't let Emma fool you, she shakes up Kenny's world and surprises him at every turn. He thinks she is going to react one way, but she never fails to turn the tables.
I really enjoyed this story. Kenny and Emma's characters are great. Kenny is a super, spoiled rich kid with whom nobody has ever really gotten to know. Emma is practically an orphan who has never had a family to call her own. These two manage to find and balance each other out. Emma is the first person to really see Kenny. I love that the major focus of this book is these two characters and their relationship is front and center. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a master story teller and this is a wonderful read. Fortunately, for those of you who haven't ever had the pleasure of reading her can start with this one. Even though it is loosely connected to Fancy Pants you don't have to have read that one to enjoy Lady Be Good.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Author: Dianne Castell
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new copy.
Hot and Bothered is the first in a series of books that takes place in Savannah, Georgia. Four women who have been close friends since childhood are all somehow connected to the disappearance of the heir to a wealthy hotel owner. Griff, the wealthy hotel owner, hires Charlotte to find the missing heir. Charlotte is a private PI and with the help of her girlfriends begins to unravel more than just the missing heir. Charlotte finds herself in danger on more than one occasion and it is not just a coincidence. To complicate matters Griff and Charlotte have long since desired one another but never acted on that desire. Although now that Griff and Charlotte are spending more time together, it's getting increasingly harder to do.
Right away, Ms. Castell immerses the reader with “Southern Charm”. It feels like the town of Savannah was created as its own character in the book. The customs and traditions of the people really come out in the writing. The characters' pasts are all intertwined and somehow connected to the mystery that Charlotte is trying to uncover.
I felt that the romance was the weaker part of the story because Charlotte and Griff have to share the spotlight with Charlotte's friends. And those friends are also involved in romantic entanglements. Therefore much of the romance between Griff and Charlotte felt secondary. However, I did enjoy Griff and Charlotte's interactions with each other. They are both fairly straight forward with their emotions - although I can't understand why they waited so long to act on their feelings for each other. It almost seemed like their relationship progressed too quickly over the course of the story to be believable especially in light of them not acting on their crushed for such a long time.
There is a continuing story arc that isn't quite resolved by the end of Hot and Bothered that will be carried into the next book in the series which is Hot and Irresistible. I have in the TBR and I'll probably get to it eventually.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Author: Charlotte Featherstone
Publishing Date: 2010
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from Paperbackswap.com
Matthew, the Earl of Wallingford needs money. His father has decided to cut him off from funds because of his wild and reckless lifestyle. Matthew holds an auction for one of his very risqué paintings. This money will allow him to open his own art gallery. After the action Matthew is jumped by a couple of thugs and is brutally beaten and left for dead. Someone finds him and he is taken to a hospital where he is nursed by Jane Rankin who is considered shy and plain by most.
Sinful started out with promise. Charlotte Featherstone's writing is very sensual and the characters were intriguing, each with a mysterious past. Unfortunately, things went downhill after the first quarter of the book. There is a point when Matthew insults Jane with such cruelty. It was such an ugly hurtful scene that I felt in order for things to work between them Matthew was going to have to grovel. He never really does. I believe they do talk about the incident but not much in the way of an apology is given.
Then the ending of the book was a complete an utter disappointment. Matthew had some major baggage in his past and I don't feel that it was ever resolved. Also, I felt cheated at the way that Matthew and Jane get their "happy ever after". I can't really go into details without spoiling it for other readers. Just suffice it to say that I was majorly disappointed. I almost wish I had not finished the book and just stopped in the middle. I would have been more satisfied. Sorry, but this is not a book I can recommend.
Here is what others had to say:
The Book Pushers
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Title: On Strike for Christmas
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Women's Fiction
Book Disclosure: I received a book as a gift from a friend. This was the December book for my book club.
On Strike for Christmas begins with Joy Robertson deciding that she is going on strike for Christmas because her husband Bob doesn't appreciate that all the baking and decorating she does makes Christmas... well Christmas. She is hoping that by not doing anything Bob will come around to her way of thinking. When Joy goes to her knitting group and explains what she is doing the rest of the ladies decide that they are going to go on strike too. To make things even crazier, the newspaper decides to do a series of articles following the movement.
The fun thing about this book is that there are several story lines all going on at once. Different women have different issues with their husband and are trying to prove different points. Joy is an empty nester who wants her husband to be an active participant in the holiday festivities. Laura is a mother of two young children and her husband is a happy go lucky guy who invites all his friends and family over but what ends up happening is that Laura is doing all the cooking and cleaning. Then you have Carol whose husband died and she can't understand what these women are complaining about.
I thought that this book was very entertaining to read and that a lot of women are going to easily be able to sympathize with the characters in the book, both the men and women. I really liked that not only did the men learn a lesson, but the women did too. I must admit that at the beginning of the story I was a little bit annoyed with Laura's character. I felt like she created her own situation by never asking her husband for help. I think that if she had just asked, Glen would have been happy to help out. The good thing is that eventually Laura comes to this realization. All in all this was a cute book that will put you in the holiday spirit. Oh and a bonus is that there are recipes in the back of the book that were mentioned in the story!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Finally, the post in which I choose the best books I read that were published in 2010. First though, before I get to the list I want to tell you a little about my stats.
Total books read with 2010 pub date: 67
Romantic Suspense: 5
Urban Fantasy: 5
Historical: Regency 20, Western 1, Medieval 3
I am really proud of the fact that half of the books I read last year were published in 2010. That was a goal I wanted to obtain and I managed it! I am surprised that the number of paranormal romances was so high. I would have thought that number would have been lower with me reading more urban fantasy. Paranormal is the one genre that has been on the outs with me, but these numbers don't reflect that at all. I am not at all surprised about historical being so high. I have been on a historical romance kick and it doesn't look like that will be letting up any time soon.
Now, on to the good stuff!
Romance Rookie's 2010 Top Ten Reads
How about you? What were your favorite books from this year? I have been watching the internet to see what others are putting as their favorites and if I didn't read the book then I am going to add it to my list. Are their any books that you didn't see me review that you enjoyed in particular?
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Title: Demon Blood
Author: Meljean Brook
Publishing Date: 2010
Book Disclosure: I purchased this book new.
Demon Blood is the 6th book in Meljean Brook's Guardian Series. Deacon is a vampire out for revenge after having lost his people and was cruelly tortured by Demons. Rosalia sees an opportunity to help Deacon with his revenge that will also benefit the guardians as well. Laying out a complicated plan, with Deacon the key player, Rosalia hopes to tip the tables between the battle of good and evil.
I am probably simplifying the plot with the above summary. If any readers have read Meljean Brooks before they are aware of the complexity of her plots and Demon Blood is no exception. Rosalia concocts a crazy hare-brained scheme to wipe out most of the Demons in existence. To make the plan work she must convince Deacon to help her. She has long loved Deacon from afar for many centuries and has been afraid to reveal her feelings for him. Deacon is a shell of who he once was and feels unworthy of life let alone someone's love and devotion. The fact that in Deacon's eyes Rosalia is beautiful inside and out he can't possibly fathom why she would want to be with him.
For the most part I really liked Deacon and Rosalia. Rosalia comes across as very motherly. It was interesting to see her show a fierce protector side and yet a vulnerable and caring side too. It did bother me that she held back so much of feelings from Deacon for such a long time. It felt cowardly at times and her character seemed much braver than that. Deacon was very broken at the beginning of the story and he needed to forgive himself and allow him to heal. Much of the book is about him doing just that. Although, I did feel that the ending which resolved the issue between him and Rosalia was too abrupt for my taste. It felt a little rushed. All in all, this was a fine addition to this wonderful series.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Publishing Date: January 2011
Book Disclosure: I received an ARC from the author.
Prelude to a Scandal is the first book in Delilah Marvelle's newest series. Lady Justine is in a bit of a pickle. Her father has been incarcerated for his scandalous, scientific research on the mating habits of animals. Justine creates a proposal to gain the help of her Father's most staunch supporter Radcliff, the Duke of Bradford. She offers Radcliff several nights with her in exchange for helping to secure her father's release from Prison. Radcliffe counter-offers with a proposal of marriage.
Prelude to a Scandal's plot had me engrossed in the story right from the beginning. The pacing flowed marvelously and the characters both had interesting personalities. Radcliff was unusual in the sense that he has an addiction to sex, so much so that he feels ashamed of his inability to control his physical needs. Justine's personality was different in the fact that as a woman in that time period she felt very refreshing and modern. These two learn to communicate early on in their relationship and have no issues with honesty. But they do have other issues that they must work through.
I worried a little when starting this book that with the hero having a sex addiction that the content would be very dark. That wasn't the case at all. Even though the subject matter was serious the tone of the book was light and not angsty at all. Sometimes Justine would come across as unfeeling towards Radcliff because she would take a tough love approach to his issues. It felt a little insensitive at times. But for the most part the book has very funny, light mood. I would recommend this book to a historical romance fan who is in the mood for something fun without brooding, moody characters.
Here is what others had to say:
Love Romance Passion
My Book Addiction
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Now, I am not nearly as quick as many of you are on posting your yearend book summaries and best and worst picks. That post will come a little later on this week. Right now, I am just summing up my reading for the month of December. I didn't do too bad considering the holidays are a hectic time of year. I must admit I didn't think I was going to pull it off, but I am not ashamed to admit I threw in a couple of novellas to boost my numbers. Only thing was both books were not very good. Oh well.
Books Read this month:
1. Play Dead, Coben (Fiction/Suspense) Rating: C+
2. Warrior, Archer (Historical/paranormal) Rating: B-
3. Naked, Hart (Contemporary/Erotic) Rating: B
4. The Bounty Hunter, St. John (Western) Rating: B+
5. Fancy Pants, Phillips (Contemporary) Rating: B+
6. Marry Me, Goodman (Western) Rating: B+
7. Demon Blood, Brook (Paranormal) Rating: B
8. Prelude to a Scandal, Marvelle (Historical) Rating: B
9. Slaves to the Outlands, Gabriel (Erotic) Rating: C
10. Ravishing Repunzel, Gabriel (Erotic) Rating: D
11. On Strike for Christmas, Roberts (Women's Fiction) Rating: B-