June 4, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Lady Julia Grey has finally spread her wings after her wake-up call during the investigation into her husbands death. She’s spent some time in Italy with two of her brothers, but after her father gets word that her brother Lysander up and married a random Italian woman he calls the three home to Bellmont Abbey, the family’s huge sanctuary-turned-home. Not wanting to upset their father even more so close to Christmas, Lady Julia, her brother Plum, Lysander and his new wife Violante, and their friend, the Count Fornacci all head back to England to deal with father. But what’s supposed to be a simple meet-the-new-member-of-the-family and Christmas holiday becomes something more when Nicholas Brisbane appears with a fiancée and a body turns up in the old sanctuary. It appears Lady Julia will be getting her hands dirty again solving another murder with Brisbane and maybe the mystery of the man himself.
When I reviewed the first Lady Julia Grey novel, I mentioned that it had me hooked. The second was no different. While I didn’t finish it in one sitting like the first – after all I did start this at 4:30 in the morning – I did read the majority of it and finish in a second sitting later that night, I just couldn’t put it down. All of those pluses from book one (characters, writing, plot) were in book two as well.
While a part of the mystery is that a man was found murdered, a part of it is also the situation with Brisbane and his fiancée. And, let me tell you real quick, I was pissed when he announced he was getting married to someone other than Lady Julia. Of course, as the story unfolds you understand more, but I was still a bit angry at the start.
I found that, while I enjoyed the investigative parts of this book, I was much more attached to the characters and what was happening to each of them personally with this one. It’s hard not to love them all. The relationship between Brisbane and Lady Julia continued to be a constant source of frustration and there was a time or two when I considered throwing the book across the room because of them. By the end of the book, which was almost 1,000 pages of Brisbane and Julia they still weren’t together (much to my dismay) but the rest of the story was amazing, and of course I wanted nothing more than to pick up book three to see what would happen next.
All in all, Silent in the Sanctuary was another superb read. I admit that my attachment to all of the characters continues to grow, especially as the characters themselves grow. These books fit into the ‘Once you start, you don’t want to stop’ category. I absolutely recommend this series.
May 31, 2011 § 2 Comments
When Sir Edward Grey collapses during a house party, the last thing his widow expects to hear is that he was murdered. When Nicholas Brisbane explains to Lady Julia Grey what he believes to be the truth she doesn’t believe it – refuses to believe it.
It’s been almost a year since her husband has passed, and Lady Julia decides to start cleaning out her husbands office. What she finds tucked away in his desk startles her to be sure, for it’s one of the threatening notes that Brisbane told her about nearly a year ago. Needing to know the truth, Lady Julia teams up with Mr. Brisbane in an attempt to find the person who murdered her husband. In doing so, she stumbles into an unknown world of danger and thrills.
So, uh… WOW. It seems, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been seeing the name Deanna Raybourn everywhere I look, so of course I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I’m glad to say that I see it.
Silent in the Grave was addictive, I was glued to the pages. So glued that I read the last sentence of the book, squealed and ran to my bookshelf to start the second… at 4:30 in the morning. Raybourn simply kept me wanting to read.
The investigation into Sir Edward’s death was intriguing. I wanted to know what would happen next. Once I thought I had it all figured it out, Raybourn would toss another curve ball leaving me whirling… and wanting more. Silent in the Grave certainly kept me on my toes.
The characters, specifically Lady Julia and Mr. Brisbane… well, that’s just another reason to read this book. The tension between the two is palpable. Lady Julia, throughout the investigation begins to find reasons to enjoy life instead of living in the haze she inhabited while her husband was alive. Nicholas Brisbane was a bag of jolly’s to get to know. He is mysterious, infuriating, and swoon-worthy all at the same time. Lady Julia’s family, the Marches, are simply fascinating. Really, each and every character in the book is someone I wish I could know in real life.
Silent in the Grave was absolutely fantastic and I highly, highly recommend it for the story, the characters… everything about it. I’ll be continuing and revisiting this series without a doubt.
May 31, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Lachlain MacRieve has waited centuries to find his mate and is shocked to find that very young, very innocent half Valkyrie/half vampire Emmaline is the one that he’s destined for. Escaping from the torture he’s been forced to endure, Lachlain isn’t about to let her get away. Emmaline, on the other hand, is searching for information about her parents when she finds that she’s being followed. She doesn’t make it to safety before a huge Scottish… werewolf gets her though, and when she learns that he believe she’s his mate, she does everything in her power to get him to leave her be. That is, until he starts growing on her.
A Hunger Like No Other is the first book in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series and proved to be a fun read. I absolutely loved the Valkyrie, and of course whats not to love about a big ol’ Scotsman? The characters, the story, the romance – certainly a bit steamy, A Hunger Like No Other proved to be a great book and I look forward to continuing the series.
Ella Tipton has spent the time since her ex-boyfriend nearly killed her recovering in more ways than one. Finally, with the near completion of her degree and a placement doing a job she loves working with people who are where she was Ella is ready to take the next step in her new life. Andrew Copeland has always been something of a playboy, but he’s finally ready to settle down, and he knows exactly who he wants. The self-defense lessons that Cope has agreed to give Ella bring the two closer than ever before and it doesn’t take long for them to find that together, they can handle anything that comes their way.
Lauren Dane’s Inside Out is the third book in the Brown Siblings series and is an excellent addition at that. While each of the books in this series are romance and very steamy, they each deal with some big underlying issue (or issues). With the first book it was learning to accept ones-self no matter how frightening you might think that is. In the second it was starting over in a new place. In Inside Out it’s Ella’s putting herself back together and Cope’s learning to love, plus the two sharing some family struggles and learning to deal with them. Inside Out continues a great story with two of my favorite characters. I’m very much anticipating the last book in the series.
When Lt. Garth Vale finds an abandoned baby aboard a Spy plane he knows he needs to develop a plan. The first order of business, find a doctor. What he doesn’t expect is the town’s new doctor to be the woman he met at his buddies wedding. Dr. Bronwyn Whitescarver realized that working in the ER is not the type of medicine she wants to practice. When she is offered the chance to become a small town doctor she jumps at it, excited for the chance to practice medicine the way she wants. When Garth Vale shows up at her house in the middle of the night with a sick baby she notices that his story doesn’t make much sense, but she’s determined to help the child, and the man.
I actually came across this book by chance – I had no idea that Daughtridge had released a fourth book in her SEALed series, but when I spotted this at the book store I just had to read it. SEALed Forever is another great romance read with great characters and an intriguing story.
Micah Sloane died several years ago after the deaths of his parents. Now he’s an operator on a top secret team that does what normal government agencies can’t. Risa Clay has struggled to stand on her own two feet ever since her own father arranged her kidnapping to be drugged and raped. When her friends introduce her to Micah she struggles to deal with her trust issues and the lingering effects of the drug she was given eight years before. Unfortunately, with Orion, a highly successful assassin after her, Risa’s got no choice but to let Micah and the others on his team into her life.
I’ve come to expect great things from Lora Leigh and Maverick certainly lives up to the expectations. The workings of the Elite Ops team, the danger, the sex, the characters… it’s all there. Maverick is quite simply another phenomenal story from Leigh.
Finn O’Connor hasn’t been to the Ledbetter’s beach resort in over a decade, but as he’s gearing up for another deployment and still trying to overcome the death of his parents, it’s time for him to go back to that place. When he finds out that Sunny Ledbetter, the first girl he ever loved, is covering for her parents that week, it’s seems meant to be. Sunny never forgot Finn, and now that he’s back she decides to make the most of it.
The Rebel is another of Rhonda Nelson’s romances featuring independent women and uniformed – or rather un-uniformed – men. A quick read about two lovers who were separated for years and found their way back to each other, The Rebel is a catchy story.
Mackenzie Stafford decided to head back home after her soap went off the air, but home isn’t exactly home now that her brother is gone. When her former flame Aidan Donnelly lends a helping hand she is quite adamant that nothing will happen, but thats not always how things work out.
I ended up reading Flashback because I wanted to know how things would turn out in this small town. The first book Flashpoint, which I read sometime last year, was quite interesting. With twists and turns I certainly did NOT see coming Flashback proved to be just as good as the last book and is certainly up to par with Shalvis’s other works. At this point, I can honestly say that I look forward to each Jill Shalvis book that I pick up.
May 31, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have married and now it’s time for Elizabeth to be introduced to London. Amidst dinner, dancing, and tea Elizabeth must find a way to fit into the social circles that Mr. Darcy has always been a part of. While there are some who shun Elizabeth and some who are simply jealous, she manages to find a friend in the Marchioness of Englebury – a very powerful woman within society. Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride is a great telling of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth settling into marriage.
Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride quickly became a favorite among the Pride and Prejudice sequels I’ve read. It is well written and fun and easy to read. The big plus of this book, though, is the characters. Halstead did a fantastic job writing Darcy and Elizabeth. In addition, Kitty Bennett and Georgiana Darcy get their stories here along with a few newer characters who were quite fantastic – the Marchioness of Englebury among them. This one is definitely worth picking up.
Elizabeth Bennett has been invited to join her aunt and uncle in America for a time and so she boards a ship to cross the Atlantic. Mr. Darcy allowed his sister to travel to America with her companion, but as she’s fallen ill, Mr. Darcy must travel to America to bring Georgiana back to England. The unlikely couple eventually become friends sharing morning walks among the deck of Pemberley’s Promise. When Mr. Darcy notices that Elizabeth is beginning to fall ill and hears about the illness in steerage he is quick to find a solution. He proposes that the captain marry them so that Elizabeth can take the one open bed on the ship – the one in Darcy’s cabin. The question becomes, after they separate in America, will they ever find each other again?
First, I have to admit that I was cautious going into Darcy’s Voyage. I remember reading something about this that had me going, ‘Ehhh…’ In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when I read this. The author stays true to both Darcy and Elizabeth while changing things up a bit. The story itself proved to be very interesting and moves fairly quickly. Romance, wit, and my favorite love story of all time… Darcy’s Voyage is certainly a great read.
May 26, 2011 § Leave a Comment
All too often, religious beliefs make their way into arguments surrounding law-making. The huge debate over whether or not gay marriage should be made legal is only one example, but it is a good one. No matter where you go in the U.S. (even in my liberal home state) someone is going to say that The Bible says homosexuality is not to be tolerated, therefore, allowing gay marriage is not okay. But, what does The Bible really say when it comes to matters of sex and desire? In Unprotected Texts, Jennifer Wright Knust, a bible scholar and American Baptist pastor answered just that.
There are no topics left alone in Unprotected Texts. Want to know what the different books of The Bible have to say about whether desire is good or bad and what to do about it? You can find it here. Curious about premarital sex and same-sex relationships, you can find that here too. How about the physical body? There’s an entire chapter devoted to circumcision, semen, and menstruation. Gender roles, monogamy and polygamy, marriage… You name it, if it’s in The Bible, Knust has presented it here.
Not only are the contradictions of The Bible pointed out, but Knust also takes a look at some of the interpretations as well. She states that some of the translations aren’t literal, but educated guesses. In addition, she points out that our present day understanding of certain words and phrases (Sodom is the example that comes to mind right now) did not come along until centuries later. If that’s the case, how can we really say that the destruction of Sodom happened because of same-sex relationships, when it’s far more likely that the destruction of Sodom happened because of human/angel sexual relations or the attitude of the people.
Knust, in my opinion, very successfully argues that The Bible is too contradictory to use as a guidebook for anything, let alone sex and desire. She states, up front, that something that is tolerated in one book will be prohibited in the next, and glorified in another. In that case, sure you can argue that The Bible says one thing, but they guy next to you will probably point out that it says another entirely – and there you have the not-so-merry-go-round of The Bible, as I’ve chosen to call it.
There are a couple of things I think it’s important to mention about Unprotected Texts, both positive. First, we all know that there is a stereotype assigned to religious books. That’s the idea that the author is going to try to push their beliefs on you. Does Knust acknowledge her beliefs in this book? Yes, she mentions them in the introduction. Does she at any point try to say her beliefs are right or that you should believe as she does? No, Knust stays on topic the entire book. Second, you don’t need to be a bible scholar to understand Unprotected Texts. As someone who has yet to successfully read The Bible, I was able to follow along with her discussions of the different stories and books of The Bible quite well.
Overall, Unprotected Texts was a great book. It was easy to read, easy to follow along with, and it answers the questions regarding sex and desire in The Bible.
May 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Back in 1915, a man named Franz Kafka (maybe you’ve heard of him?) had his novella The Metamorphosis published. Since then, The Metamorphosis and his other works have been considered some of the best literature out there.
Fast forward roughly nine decades – give or take a few years. This here reviewer is in one of her required English classes when her professor says, read The Metamorphosis, great tale that it is. And so I go home, and I read a story about a man who wakes up not a man, but a bug. When I finally finished the story I realized that this ‘gem’ of literature gave me one of the most painful reading experiences of my life (topped only by dislike for Steinbeck – which I actually mentioned in my review of The Metamorphosis which I wrote after having to read it again… in another English class).
Fast forward (last time, promise) to April 2011. I’m checking my email, and there in my inbox is an email with the subject “The Meowmorphosis.” There I am thinking, ‘this ought to be interesting.’ And so I read an email about a book by Franz Kafka and Coleridge Cook that feature’s Mr. Gregor Samsa, only this time he wakes up a baby kitten. My first thought after reading that email… ‘Oh, this is gonna be better than the original.’ With that, I give you my review of The Meowmorphosis.
The Meowmorphosis is the story of Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman working his hind-end off to pay off his fathers debt and provide for his parents and sister. One morning, after a fitful night’s sleep, Gregor wakes up to find that not only is he late for work, but he appears to be a kitten! Of course, Gregor’s new status as a kitten means he’s not exactly able to work – what with the lack of opposable thumbs and perhaps the whole communication thing, which leaves his family in an uproar trying to figure out how they will keep the bills paid.
Shortly after turning into a kitten, Gregor finds his chance for escape, and so he bolts for freedom from the family apartment to the streets of Prague. It doesn’t take Gregor long to find out that he isn’t the only man turned cute little kitty-cat. That one crazy night with the men-turned-cat’s of Prague leaves Gregor reeling, and so he returns home.
Of course his father is still miffed, his mother still can’t breathe with him in the room, and his sister no longer wants to cuddle him… so much for the rainbows of love he was hoping to go home to, eh? And so Gregor lives out the rest of his days with a family that is quite content to leave this no longer kitten-sized, but overgrown cat be.
So, was The Meowmorphosis better than the original? Most definitely.
This is a mash-up, so there are many parts of The Meowmorphosis that mirror the original, and for me this ended up giving the story a slow start. Once stuff actually started happening though, namely Gregor’s escape from the apartment, I became far more involved. I loved the addition of meeting the other man-turned-cat’s and all that came along with Gregor’s discovery of this group. Even if he did go back home towards the end, which I had hoped wouldn’t happen, I still really liked the book.
Coleridge Cook’s writing fit in really well with the essence of Kafka and consequently, the story has a good flow to it. There were some pretty humorous moments as well. This is, after all, a story that happens from the perspective of a cat and while a lot of the story was about what was going on around Gregor, there were moment’s of very cat-like interjections (you know, ear scratching, pouncing, kneading, all that stuff that cat’s adore – on their schedule of course). Gregor’s night on the town and seeing the different perspective of Josef K and Franz (other men-turned-cat’s) made for some good moments as well.
The Meowmorphosis is a fresh take on an old story joined by those ridiculously awesome illustrations that Quirk novels always have, an fairly hilarious Appendix titled ‘The Curious Life of Franz Kafka, author of The Meowmorphosis,’ and what I think are some of the best discussion questions I’ve ever seen in a book. Basically, I consider this one definitely worth checking out.
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
May 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
A bit of a confession, I’m a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fangirl. What does this have to do with anything? Well, the other night when I was organizing some of my e-books I came across a novel by Amber Benson. I thought to myself, why is that name so familiar? Well, a Google search revealed to me that yes, Amber Benson, the very actress who played Tara on Buffy has written novels. My excitement led me directly to the bookstore for a copy of the first book in her Calliope Reaper-Jones series.
Calliope Reaper-Jones has been content to live a normal life for the last three years. She lives in her New York City apartment, working too much and playing too little. One day at work, out of nowhere her father’s executive assistant tricks her and that memory-forgetting charm she put on herself – the one that let her forget the insanity that is her family – is broken. So much for that normal life… I mean how can anyone be normal when they are Death’s daughter, right?
When Callie realizes that Jarvis was the one to ruin everything for her, she’s ready to tell him just how she feels about that, but when she finds out several executive members of the Death, Inc. board have been kidnapped, including her father and her older sister she realizes she has to go home to help out.
Taking over the position of Death was not something Callie had ever intended to do – in fact she’d done everything she could to avoid it, but after being guilt-tripped by her mother, Callie agrees to take the reigns, assuming she can complete three tasks she’s given.
Facing family members who believe the worst of her, monsters the likes of which she’s never heard of or seen before, and the world she’s only wanted to avoid, Callie has to accept unwanted responsibilities, fight the bad guys, and find everyone who has been kidnapped.
Death’s Daughter was interesting enough, but it’s filled with positives and negatives. Basically, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Why?
Firstly, the writing – it just wasn’t consistent. At times the book was very easy to read, it was well written, even witty. The rest of the time though, I found myself struggling, wanting to put the book down and pick something else up. Things would go from this fast paced ‘don’t look away, we’re moving!’ to ‘pardon me, reader, but I appear to have found myself some molasses.’
Secondly, the main character – I can’t decide whether I want to like her or hate her. Calliope had her moments, but all too often I found myself shaking my head at her whininess and immaturity.
Regardless of the above two points, the story itself was pretty catchy. I mean, death’s daughter, who becomes death after going so far as to block her memory to avoid exactly that, c’mon! I know I was intrigued.
Death’s Daughter boasts some really good characters, outside of Calliope. I absolutely loved Jarvis and Callie’s younger sister Clio. Kali, too, was one of my favorite characters, even if she did egg Callie on at times. There is also Daniel, whom I really liked once I figured out what was going on towards the end of the book, though I must admit to not being happy about his disappearance. I’m determined that he’ll be back though – he has to be.
Bottom line, Death’s Daughter is an interesting story with some equally interesting characters, and also some negatives. While I won’t be waxing poetic about this one, I will continue the series to see what happens next – hopefully I’ll being seeing some growth in Calliope and maybe better writing…
The Calliope Reaper-Jones series:
1. Death’s Daughter
2. Cat’s Claw
3. Serpent’s Storm
May 19, 2011 § 10 Comments
On the afternoon of May 13, 1945 a group of 24 officers and enlisted military personnel hopped on a military plane to see the popular Shangri-La, a picturesque valley hidden away in the mountains of New Guinea. The only way to see Shangri-La was by air, flying through a particularly tumultuous mountain pass. On this day, one man’s questionable decision, one co-pilots inexperience, and possible mechanical problems paired with the unpredictable mountain weather all lead to a tragic fate for the men and women aboard the plane dubbed the ‘Gremlin Special.’
After the crash, only three of the 24 passengers survived – one woman and two men. Armed with few supplies and an array of injuries – broken bones, burns, cuts, bruises, and gangrene, not to mention the grief of losing friends and acquaintances and in one survivors case a twin brother, the three started their hike down the valley into an open area they were able to spot. Living off of small tins of water and hard candy, they never gave up. Eventually they made it to the field where they were spotted by American pilots and the native peoples.
Soon after the survivors are spotted, supplies start coming in raising morale and a group of Filipino-American paratroopers volunteer to make a daring jump into the valley. Finally, with the attention of medics, things start to look up, but they still have a long way go to heal, hike back to the main base set up by the paratroopers, and get out of the valley – safely. Almost seven weeks after the crash, a daring attempt was made, and in a matter of days, the survivors, the volunteer paratroopers, and one man from Hollywood all made it out of Shangri-La.
If I was limited to one word to describe this book, it would be: phenomenal. It’s hard to believe that Lost in Shangri-La is a non-fiction book because the story is so amazing. However, this is a true story, and it is pretty epic. Lost in Shangri-La isn’t just about a plane crashing and what happened afterwards. It’s an extremely comprehensive telling of the history of New Guinea, what life was like for the native peoples and soldiers stationed there, the men and women who went down in the plane as well as the men and women who were willing to risk their lives to help the survivors, what was happening during WWII at the time, and the rescue that one has to be crazy to attempt.
The three survivors of the Gremlin Special are the ultimate heroes. They found within themselves the motivation they needed to go on, even when they were in so much pain they could hardly stand and at times they were actually crawling through the jungle. They were confronted by a native people with whom they couldn’t communicate very well and whom they were lead to believe were a cannibalistic and cruel group of prehistoric warriors. In fact, these people ended up friends. On and on these three fought, never giving up no matter what was thrown their way.
A story put together from interviews, journals written by those involved in the crash and rescue, old news articles, along with pictures from the time spent waiting to be rescued and the rescue itself, Lost in Shangri-La is a book you have to read, to experience for yourself. It’s the type of book that you don’t want to put down because you want to know how these individuals fared.
Bottom line, Lost in Shangri-La is beautifully written, the chapters move very quickly, and the story is absolutely captivating. I highly recommend this book, not only for lovers of history, but for anyone who is looking for inspiration, for a story of struggle and triumph.
**I received a copy of this book as a part of TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own and have not been influenced in anyway.
April 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Michael Bowman’s life was turned upside down four months ago when he was turned into a vampire. He was no longer a surgeon, no longer living with his detective wife who now looks at him with cold eyes while he’s forced to live a life he never would have signed up for.
When Michael’s friend Adam goes missing, he’s got to try to find him. After all, if it weren’t for Adam, who knows how Michael would’ve turned out. Michael is willing to do just about anything, but what he thought would be asking a few questions turns into a hunt for deranged, cold-blooded killing William and an attempt to get out of the grasp of The Society – a cultish society that let’s no one go willingly.
I picked up Cold Kiss today because I was looking for something scary to read. I had the day off from work, it was gray and stormy, and I thought it would be perfect for a shivering in my boots read. While Cold Kiss turned out to not be the least bit frightening, it was still a good book, and it was fun to read a Zebra Horror again (I really don’t know what it is about these books that I love so much – maybe its the covers). I didn’t realize until after I had finished the book that it’s actually a sequel – the first book is the story of Michael’s turning – but, I found I wasn’t lost at all reading this one, it reads just like a standalone.
Cold Kiss was an easy read, I found myself hooked into the story quite quickly and had finished it in about three hours. The whole time I wanted to know what was going to happen with the Society members, I wanted to know how Maggie’s (Mike’s wife) investigation was going to relate to the bigger picture, I wanted to know what was going to happen with The Society, The Family, and those involved, and I wanted to know what would happen to William – would Adam get his revenge, would Celestine turn out to be just as insane?
Michael and Maggie were great characters who had suffered something of a tragedy. Michael’s life was so suddenly stolen and Maggie had to face a life-changing decision. My heart actually hurt for them. Maggie though, she’s definitely my favorite – she is so classicly strong (thanks to having been written before the recent vampire literature charge, I’m sure). When I was reading I realized something about the characters – either you loved them, or you hated them, there was no ‘ehhh, I dunno how I feel about this person.’ Even the insurance agent, with the three pages or so he appeared in – such a small part, but I adored him.
As for the ending, well I’ve sat here for a couple hours trying to decide how I feel about the ending. I’ve decided to like it more than hate it. I knew that things would have to turn out a certain way with William, and I’m glad that that was settled – he was an ass. As for Celestine, Lilly, Darla, and the others from The Family and the fate of The Society, it would have been nice to see a Terminator style bring-down, but I was not to be satisfied on that front. I was actually kind of pissed off when Celestine and Lilly drove off into the sunset. As for Mike and Maggie – well, I was happy for them to be sure!
Bottom line, Cold Kiss was enjoyable and well written – even if it didn’t have me cowering in the corner – and I heartily suggest reading it (if you can find a copy: hint, hint – used bookstores!).
April 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Well, I definitely meant to get these up last week, but between Easter weekend (a killer at work – 40+ hours in 4 days killer) and my final paper for my Applied Psych class due this week, book reviews were not first and foremost on my mind. Hopefully you understand…
Emma Jensen was raised by a man who loved to indulge in life’s pleasures, but she never thought the desensitization she went through as a child would help her when she became an adult. Posing as a widow, Emma heads to London with her new housekeeper who’s just escaped her abusive husband just before the season starts to win a fortune that she can finally make a life for herself from. When the Duke of Somerhart first meets Emma, he doesn’t realize that he’s met her before, but it’s been so long he can’t remember and Emma isn’t complaining about that. When Emma realizes just what her attraction to the Duke could cost her, she had to find a way to stay away from him and make her fortune so she can begin that new life.
I finally got my hands on a copy of A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure – and isn’t that a horrible title? – the last of Victoria Dahl’s novels I had to read to be caught up, and I loved it. While it’s not surprising that I loved this, I’ve liked everything I’ve read from Dahl at this point, I’m still going to tell you about it, mainly because I loved Emma and the Duke together. When I read my first historical from Dahl, the Duke had a part, but we don’t get to know him very well. He’s mostly a quiet man who loved his sister, though most seem to think of him as severe. Who doesn’t love someone who is dark and broody, though? Having the chance to know him here, well certain parts of his character surprised me, but all in all I still liked him. Emma is, in my opinon, totally kick ass – in a very 19th century, daring woman way. If I had been a woman in 1800s England, I hope I would’ve been like Emma – embracing life the way she wants to, even if she’s doing it because she is so badly in need of money. I have yet to be disappointed by Dahl and very much look forward to more of her work.
Rodeo Queen Jodi Brand beat feet out of her small Wyoming hometown to grab her chance at college and hasn’t been back since. During the time she’s been away she’s done far more than get a college degree, she’s overcome her resentment against her mother and she is pretty sure she’s over Purvis bad-boy Teague Treadwell. Armed with her degree and her determination to open a horse therapy clinic for children with disabilities, she’s ready to head back home to the family ranch to make her dreams come true. But when Jodi get back to town, things are a little bit different, and it seems that maybe she isn’t over Teague, and perhaps there is some competition.
Last year, I discovered Joanne Kennedy and she quickly became a favorite author. While I did like Cowboy Fever overall, there were certain things that I really didn’t like which made the book… difficult. At least for the first half. When Jodi lets her mother try to dictate her life, even though she’s an adult, I got seriously pissed. Why should her mother tell her what she can and can’t do, especially when she (mom) is judging someone she really doesn’t even know. Letting herself be ifluenced by this made me dislike Jodi for a while, but like I said, things pick up after a while. Her mother admits she was wrong to make Jodi promise to stay away from someone. Plus there’s the new girl in town, who I strongly disliked the entire book and misjudged for being a daddy’s girl.
Regardless of what I didn’t like in Cowboy Fever, the relationship between Teague and Jodi is fun to follow. The two are great together. Lets also not forget Teague’s brother, Troy. He is definitely my favorite character from the book, especially with his love for ACDC. Bottom line, Cowboy Fever has some down points, but is full of great characters that make the book worth reading.
Tara Daniels swore she wasn’t going to stick around in Lucky Harbor this time. She was going to meet her sisters, sell her mothers inn, and get back to Texas, where her life is. When Tara does end up sticking, she’s got to find a way to deal with Ford and that one summer from her past that keeps haunting her. When her ex-husband shows up in town, things start to get really crazy and Tara’s got to figure out how to deal with the two alpha men and the HUGE surprise that she’s not at all expecting.
The Sweetest Thing was really good, and to be honest, I’m surprised at just how much I like the book. In the first book of the series, you don’t really get a chance to know Tara and because of that, it makes her difficult to like. A few chapters into The Sweetest Thing, and I’d learned about Tara – who she is and what she’s been through, and I found out she isn’t that, sorry there’s no nice way to put this, frigid bitch she seems at first glance. As the book went on I was rooting for Tara and Ford, regardless of the fact that I knew they would end up together – and when the surprise comes all chances of me putting the book down were lost. Basically, this was just another awesome Jill Shalvis book, and let me just say I cannot wait until the last book comes out in a few months!
Reporter Merinus Tyler has finally gotten her brothers and father to let her work with them on the case surrounding Callan Lyons, a man who was actually created by a group of scientists experimenting with human and animal DNA. Callan wants nothing to do with the reporter or her deal, he simply wants to protect his pride, the five others who are just like him, but believed to be dead. Callan realizes that Merinus isn’t just going to leave town, and when something attracts the two to each other, an urge that neither can deny, he’s got to do something. Eventually, soldiers serving the group that created Callan and his pridemates track him down, and now they don’t just want him, they also want Merinus and Callan’s got to find a way to protect Merinus and get the council off his back once and for all.
Fifteen months ago, Taber broke Roni’s heart. Fifteen months ago, she didn’t know the truth, but now she does. Taber, the man she’s loved all those years is the result of a genetic experiment, and the reason she hasn’t been able to feel a thing for any man other than Taber the last fifteen months… the mark on her neck. A mating mark. When Roni is assaulted by media reporters one day, she is flown to the compound that Callan’s pride has taken over for protection. For the first time in over year she sees Taber, and she needs answers. Taber has always wanted Roni, he has spent months apart from her, out of respect for her wishes, but when he see’s that she’s been chased by reporters he’s got to get to her first, before the people from the genetics council that created him can get to her.
Since reading the first review I ever had for Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, I’ve been curious – even the terrible covers couldn’t keep me from reading these books. I found the first two books to be really interesting and read them in quick sucession. I’ve read from some of Lora Leigh’s other series and liked them, but for some reason I expected these would be all sex with little and terrible actual story behind them – not so. While these are first and foremost erotica novels, I found that for the life of me I couldn’t stop reading.
I loved the idea of the genetics council, government backed, but never acknowleged. That they never gave up going after Callan. Even after everything is exposed and hundreds of others come out of hiding, they don’t give up, they just find a way to be more quiet about what they’re doing.
As for the characters… The breeds are certainly interesting to read. A mix of human and animal instinct, a biological change that no one ever expected and isn’t understood – it’s a great addition to the rest of the story. The leading females, Merinus and Roni, aren’t difficult to dislike either. Their lives are irrevocably changed with the mating, and it all happens quick enough that there’s not much time to deal with things. The men have to deal with their man and beast sides – they need to find a balance and learn along with their mates what is happening to them. Very little is understood about the mating attraction – but it is undeniable, and it changes the men in an instant.
Basically, the Breeds series (or at least what I’ve read of it so far) is made up of a great story and great characters, but it is erotica, and if you don’t do stories with lots of sexual content, I wouldn’t suggest even cracking the cover.