Friday, August 27, 2010

Book - Beloved Enemy

December 1863 - Alexandria, Virginia
Marriage to her cousin was not an option for Julia Chandler, she simply had to find a way out. The invitation to the masked ball was there, even if it wasn’t intended for them, she may be able to find the solution there. The right questions, the right approach, the right man, she had to find a way to overlook them all being Yankees. It was an order for him to be there, Major Robert Montgomery didn’t want to be there, but the time was not a complete waste, he was able to spend an evening with a young lady that had read and could quote Shakespeare and had the most intriguing proposition for him. Finding out that it came from a Southern sympathizer should have changed things, after all he blamed them for leaving him disfigured and alone, but instead he found himself in her garden, more than once. He was a Yankee Major, she knew she shouldn’t spend time with him, but she did so enjoy his company. Just how much was she willing to do, could she forget all the things she thought she knew about the Union soldiers in order to be around him a little longer.

Good old Harlequin Historical, not only does the authors do their best to get historical facts as straight as they can, but they are able to make the tragedy of this whole war so real. To take a historical fact and be able to add just the right characters to the mix that you actually think, “that could be how it really happened” is great. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Julia at first, but as time progressed I started coming around (liked Rob from word one). As a period piece, these characters stayed true to the times, there is actually very few intimate moments between the Rob and Julia letting the emotional edge of the relationship carry the book. I had not thought that I had read any of Mary Schaller’s work before until picking up this book and realizing that I have, she also writes under the name of Tori Phillips which I have read several of (different time periods though so not something that can be easily compared). While a masked ball is not something new to the historical romance world, this one was fun, but I think that was because of Julia. ( )

Book - A Wild Light

After having one of the best birthdays she has had in a long time, waking up next to Jack Meddle’s corpse (her grandfather) made for the start of one of the worst days of Maxine Kiss’s life. Not only was her grandfather dead, well his body was anyways, but she was finding holes in her memory. The largest of the holes seemed to be centered around the man she apparently lived with. Knowing his special ability couldn’t help Maxine with her memory loss, Grant Cooperon held on to his faith that she would get her memories back soon. Being propelled by the need to find the person who had killed Jack, leads to realizing that the prison veil (the barrier holding the demons in another dimension) was tearing, leaving Max and Grant no choice but to figure out how to stop the demons from coming through, fighting them or dying themselves. With the help of Zee, Aaz, Raw, Dek and Mal (the boys), they hope to find the killer, restore her memories, repair the rip and save the world.

Book 3 ….. Sooo much, I am on overload with this one. Action and information flowed at such a rate that it was difficult to understand everything that was happening all at one time. All the labyrinth walks taking Max to the past gave her explanations and information she and Grant needed to understand what was happening, and what to do about it. I have to admit to occasionally being a bit confused with some of the why’s and how’s of it all, but I really enjoyed the relationships in this book. The character interactions with Max, Grant, Jack/Byron and even (to some extent) the demons was what carried me through to the end. I am not sure (especially after that ending) if Marjorie M. Liu is planning on another book in the Hunter Kiss series, but I would be interested to see if this series is of her typical writing style or if having a different subject matter changes things. ( )

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book - Amy Goes Surfing

Knowing today is the bid day for her to surf all by herself, Amy sits and starts to remember all her surfing instructor has taught her over the past few weeks. She still has to do this one alone and that concerns her for a moment. Until her surfing coach sits down and reminds her that she has done this many times before. She has talked about it, learned to paddle, tested her balance on the board and even surfed with him at her side before. The only difference today, he would wait for her on the shore. The practice was done, now it was time to surf. As Amy waited patiently for the right wave, she remembered every thing that he had told her. The she found the perfect wave and rode it to the shore and her families waiting arms. They were all so proud of her and they surfed with her the rest of the day.

Inspirational story about being able to do anything you set your mind to. I admired Amy’s desire to learn something new, to follow through with the whole process of learning it and then the final test of her courage, to do it all by herself. Even as scary as that thought was, she knew she had prepared for this ride and since it was something she had wanted for a long time and it was something that she had learned the right way to do, she knew that she could do it. She really enjoyed her ride back to the shore and seemed proud of herself in the end. Practice and patience are really great lessons for anyone, this story is geared for young readers or for reading aloud, with it’s plain wording, large print and great pictures. This would be a great addition to any youth library. ( )

Book - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Life before Riley had taken Bree Tanner to see “her” (their maker) was hard to remember. She knew she needed to hunt, to feed, to survive and for Bree that meant to hide. Something about her seemed different than the others, she felt different from the others so she kept herself separate, hiding behind “Freaky Fred” until she met Diego. He seemed to understand the differences too. Trusting only herself and Diego was going to be difficult especially when Diego didn’t return on night, but was Riley telling her the truth or was that just another of his lies.

Book 3.5 ….. Seeing the newly turned vampires that Victoria sends to fight the Cullen family and their view of their new world is a great idea. I had actually thought about the new vampires while I was reading Eclipse, but seeing it through Stephenie Meyer’s point of view, while different than what I was expecting was still very good. Even knowing how it ended, I found myself interested in the characters of Bree, Diego, and Fred. What a great reminder that there is more than one side to every story. ( )
August 21, 2010

Book - Kiss of the Bees

Twenty years ago, Diana Ladd had been instrumental in putting Andrew Carlisle in prison, as well as maiming and blinding him. After all those years, he was dead and Diana had published a book about the whole ordeal that had changed their lives. She had gone on to marry Brandon Walker (the sheriff), raised her son (Davy) and adopted an Indian child (Lani). Being part of the Walker family and having Rita Antone raise them, the children both knew the Indian customs and stories, including the ones about evil enemies. They never expected that evil ‘ohb’ to show up again, he was dead, but his cellmate had learned his lessons well and had agreed to help get revenge from the Walker family. Both Carlisle and Mitch Johnson had reasons to dislike the family and they agreed the way to the parents was through the kids. A dying request the Mitch was happy to see fulfilled.

Book 2 .…. All suspense, the mystery is in the timing. Will Brandon and Diana figure it out in time, will Davy understand what he is seeing in time, will Fat Crack (Gabe) get there in time, will Lani know what to do at the right time. We know from the start what kind of evil is coming for the family. The interactions between the family is defined by flash backs of previous events that give a better frame to the family. Liked the inclusion of Brian, even Quentin and Tommy help to show the dynamics of the family structure. Felt Brandon as a character so much more than Diana, but liked how strong Lani was. Interested to see the next one, Day of the Dead. ( )
August 20, 2010

Book - The Matchmakers

While driving her son Danny to school, Dori Robertson never expected him to ask for a new daddy, but he did. Stunned, she forgot were she was and what she was doing. Getting a handle on things, she turned around without looking for traffic. Spilling his drink, Gavin Parker followed the driver that had cut him off. The women and her son seemed to be having problems of her own but that didn’t mean he would let the matter slide. Many different decisions made by Dori and Gavin kept putting them together, but once the kids met, Danny and Melissa seemed to help pull them together even more.

Cute, sweet and quick, just what you expect from Debbie Macomber. Great characterization of the parents and the kids. Always a treat to read her work, this one happens to be a re-release from 1986 as part of the Harlequin “Famous Firsts”. So glad it was re-printed otherwise it might not have come to my attention. Even though it is an older story, it is a timeless one and other than the obvious lack of cell phones, it could just as easily be a current storyline. ( )
August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book - Hour of the Hunter

For six years Diana Ladd had hoped having Andrew Carlisle in prison was enough to keep them safe. After the tragedy that took her husband, her unborn child’s father reputation and life from them all she could do was find a way to carry on. Raising the child (a boy named David) had been a little easier when the strange bond had formed with Rita Antone. The grandmother of the women Garrison Ladd had been accused of murdering had held no grudge, surprisingly to everyone involved she grew to care for the Ladd family as if they were her own. Finding that Gary’s co-conspirator was out of jail reminded them all of the mouthed words he had spoken to a very pregnant Diana Ladd on the day he went to jail. He was coming after her and none of them were safe, no matter what Detective Brandon Walker, the lead detective, had said about justice all those years ago.

Book 1 ….. A suspense to the last of it, with the bad guy / killer showing his ugliness early on in the book, it is full of descriptive horrible acts. While the depravity is abundant from the evil characters, the generosity of heart and self is apparent in others. This story has several time periods that it covers, it bounces from the 60’s (and before) to the “current” which takes place in the mid - 70’s. Not only does it cover the history of Diana and her family through memories of first meeting and marrying Gary to the time of the murder, but it also includes the history of Rita who is a Papago Indian. The Indian culture is very prominent in the book, including several legends and folklore about the animals, the weather and the lands of the Tohono O’otham as well as other peoples. While the legends are interesting, sometimes it does distract from the story, they left me wondering from time to time what they were included for and other times I could see a link. I liked Brandon Walker and Diana Ladd enough to be interested in the next book of this series, Kiss of the Bees, from what I understand is set 20 years after this one (making it all the way to the 90’s). ( )

Book - Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Through letters between friends, old and new, there is a picture created of life after the war.
France, England and an island named Guernsey (part of the English Channel Islands) had started to re-build, but a lack of books to read on Guernsey instigated one man (Dawsey Adams) to write a letter to a woman (Juliet Ashton) and inquire about an author that he had come to enjoy. Reading of the need for books and how the book group he was a part of had gotten started was enough inspiration for a Juliet, a writer herself, to take interest in the small group know as the Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society. Traveling to Guernsey, Juliet just fell in love with the island, the sea around it and of course the people. They seemed to take to her too. With the letters and telegrams still traveling, the picture of how Juliet became a part of the Guernsey literary society.

I struggled with this at first, tried - put it down, picked it up and tried again. Finally after some time I was able to see the characters and see their personalities and characteristics. With such short letters (some times only a few words), it takes more time to even remember who is who. Once the characters show themselves, (especially Juliet, Sidney and Dawsey) it is easy enough to create that picture, even with limiting the story only to the letters. A touching and some times obvious tale about the strength each of them had to carry on, after everything. At times I was not sure if this was fiction or a real collection of letters compiled to tell the story, but I do see now why this is such a highly recommended book. ( )

Book - Yalu and the Puppy Room

Wanting only to be chosen, taken home and loved, this adorable golden retriever finds the answer to her dreams. A family in the Puppy room while the kid wanted to play with her, the mom called her “the cutest thing in the whole wide world”, but when the dad got hold of her and said he wanted a boy, all of the puppy’s dreams crumbled. Watching all of her brothers, sisters and fellow kennel mates of all shapes, size and breeds being taken to “forever home” made her sad, but determined to find that “forever home” for herself. After finding the perfect family to take her home, she discovered what made “forever homes” the best, and then she even got her name… Yalu, a name you can howl.

Adorable illustrations and a cute story. This poor little golden retriever grabs hold of your heart and hoping she finds just the right home to go to. Children stories like this are perfect for the younger children as a read - aloud book as well as for the child that has learned how to read on their own (there are only a few words that they might need help reading on their own). The illustrations by Tielman Chaney gives this loveable puppy those puppy dog eyes that are hard to resist for just about any kid or kid at heart.
( )

Book - Covet

Because of his previous job, Jim Heron had just recently started to try to do the right thing for himself. After an electrical accident he found that he would be tasked with helping seven other people do the right thing also. Discovering that his first assignment was his overly ambitious boss, Vin DiPietro, he realized how interesting this new job would be, considering what had recently happened with the mans girlfriend Devina Avale. Sorting through the mess that Jim had made and figuring out what Vin really needed to make him happy would reveal past problems for both Vin, and the fallen woman that had caught his attentions. Surviving that realization with the help of Eddie and Adrian (fallen angels) might not be as easy as anyone thought.

Book 1 ….. Such a big fan of Black Dagger Brotherhood, I had to try this Fallen Angels series. How fun to have the unexpected addition of a few of the BDB characters in a little bit of a cross over way. What and introduction to this series, these characters and this type of story. Watching the obviously fallible Jim Heron fumble through, getting so much wrong but yet still pulling the basic moral decisions together in time. I like the majority of the characters (except Devina) but I love the interaction between Eddie, Adrian, Jim and the dog (so fun). Really excited I don’t have to wait too much longer for the next book, Crave, due out October 2010. ( )

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book - Soulless

Wrong place, right time, of all socialites Alexia Tarabotti is one of the few people of the ton that could handle herself in the event of a vampire attack during a formal ball. As a preternatural she really didn’t mean to kill the vampire and then she had to answer to Lord Maccon. As the leader of the local supernatural office as well as the alpha of the Woolsey Castle werewolf pack, Lord Maccon was use to being listened to and obeyed, except when he runs into the headstrong Italian who happens to be soulless. Continual meetings with werewolves, vampires and her preternatural abilities puts Miss Tarabotti in danger with the same group that has been abducting rogue vampires and loner werewolves.

Book 1 ….. Very interesting take on the popular genre of paranormal/urban fantasy. I did really enjoy the concept, but I am not sure of the follow through of the story - it felt like Alexia did have a soul (what are the actions of a “soulless” person?) I really liked Lord Maccon, Professor Lyall, and the appearance of Queen Victoria. I will be interested in locating a copy of the next Parasol Protectorate: Changeless. ( )

Book - Summer's Bride

Being around the Ainsworth family for so long left Genevieve of Harwick knowing exactly what she wanted, to be a part of the family. Realizing that the one brother that she felt the closest to was finally coming home gave her hope. Returning home meant returning to the one person that he both wanted to see the most and wanted to avoid the most, Marcel Ainsworth knew that being the third son meant that he had nothing to offer but his name and that was not enough for him. Wanting to be wanted for more than just his name and his family, he had left two years earlier to find his own but never felt he had made it. Taking things into her own hands, Genevieve became a stow-a-way as Marcel left Brackenmoore on a journey to help his Aunt.

Book 3 ….. The Ainsworth boys are such a treat to read. For a historical romance they all show how strong and honorable they are, but they (at least with Marcel) shows a great lack of understanding when it comes to women they are interested in. The misunderstandings are the major drama as far as the romance, but with the addition of Aunt Finella’s troubles and the sea voyage this book does pack quite a bit of action and adventure to add to the suspense, but it is in the end a very predictable story. I will continue with the next and final installment of the Season’s Brides were the youngest of the Ainsworth boys, Kendran will finally get his story in “Autumn’s Bride“.( )
Aug 5, 2010

Book - Awaken Me Darkly

As a female on the A.I.R. (Alien Investigation and Removal), Mia Snow had to constantly prove that she deserved to be there. With her instincts and talent that was not terribly difficult, but when men are being abducted by what turns out to be an Arcadian and a women, Mia had to find a way to work with one of the most powerful Arcadian men she had ever met. As Kyrin became more involved in the case as a suspect, he also became more personally involved in Mia’s life going as far as abducting her to prove a point. Would the information and the help that he could give her ever make up for some of his actions.

Book 1 ….. An introduction into the Alien Huntress series. Getting to know the group of AIR agents was a handful but fun. There is so many agents and aliens species to get to know, but expected for a first book of a series. Being generous with a 4/5 star rating, I could not get into all of the characters as much as I wanted to, but I got Kyrin - liked him. Can’t wait to see who is part of the next installment in “Enslave Me Sweetly”. ( )
July 31, 2010

e-Book - Taken

Getting lost in the Dark Forest might be more dangerous than originally thought. Finding themselves in that very situation, Diana and Gala were hoping to find a way out as soon as they could. When they were informed that was not an option and that they would be transformed and mated to one of the Dark Elves that lived there, Diana did what she always did, she fought the situation and everyone that put her in it. While Diana fought, Gala found a way to live with the consequences.

Book 1 ….. Elves created for sex, goddess leaves them behind on earth with no way to survive. They find a way to not only survive, but still have sex and find mates. Yeah, ok - took some time and a stretch of the imagination to get into this one. To have the abduction and rounds of sexual encounters end in finding a lifelong mate - surely there would be a better way, course then this would not be such an erotic story about finding mates in this extreme situation. At first this story comes across as nothing more than an excuse for sex, some how I kind of started to like the characters also enough to look forward to the next installment of the Dark Elves: Mastered. ( )
flagJuly 30, 2010

Book - Savor the Moment

As a partner of Vows with Parker, Emma and Mac, Laurel McBane does her part with the confections. Working her magic on different pastries was easier than facing the feelings she had for Parkers brother Delaney Brown had ever been. Knowing each other for years and having always thought of all four of the girls as his sisters, Del had a difficult time believing what he was starting to feel for Laurel. Knowing didn’t make the doing a good idea, but finding out how she felt made it a different situation.

Book 3 ….. Saw this one coming a mile away (or at least two books away). But is was still a wonderfully written addition to the Bride Quartet series. Knowing the characters as much as we get to know them by the third book makes some things almost too obvious. I really enjoy the interaction with the other characters, just because this in not their story anymore does not mean they can’t be in it. Love how all the guys are friends and they all pitch in to help the girls (obviously friends) do their jobs as the wedding extraordinaire that they are. Loved the cakes too, mouth watering just to hear about some of them. For the next book, Happy Ever After, yeah it is obvious who is going to match up with Parker, but half the fun will be getting there. Definitely anticipating it’s release in November 2010. ( )
flag July 20, 2010