Friday, December 24, 2010
by Michele Sinclair
Genre: Historical Romance
Her Only Hope For The Season
With their father gone this Christmastide, Bronwyn de Breton and her two younger sisters are utterly vulnerable at unprotected Hunswick Castle. And their troubles are compounded when a fearsome knight arrives on the king's orders to take Hunswick as his own—and the youngest de Breton daughter as his wife.
Is A Man She's Never Met
Bronwyn would never let her little sister be forced to marry a man as rough and wild as the new lord is whispered to be. Yet someone must form an alliance with him, or all of Hunswick will be at risk. So she steps forward, pretending to be her own sister.
And A Love She Never Expected
But the new lord is not so easily fooled. He knows Bronwyn is not the woman he has promised to marry. And yet, no matter how duty-bound he may be, there is no resisting the golden-haired beauty who so fearlessly gives herself to him...and awakens a passion unlike any he's ever known.
Bronwyn de Brenton is the oldest of her sisters. In her father's absence she has taken on the duties of running the castle and keeping her rowdy sisters in line. Upon hearing from a messenger that her father is dead and the King has granted a new Lord in his place to marry Lily, Bronwyn comes up with a scheme to trade places with her sister in hopes of saving her from a unhappy future. Her sisterly sacrifice unfortunately doesn't fool Renulf who knows in detail the description of all three de Brenton girls, but he doesn't let on that he is aware of the switch since he has now developed feelings for the oldest sister. Does he stay loyal to the King & his promise to Laon or, for once, follow his own heart?
There's lots of Christmas spirit in this book and other great holiday tales that are no longer shared or celebrated, which was fun and enjoyable to read about. The sister connection was nice as well since they were all complete opposites of each other but truly shared a bond that was evident while reading. I adored the bickering relationship between Renulf's best friend, Tyr Dequhar and Bronwyn's middle sister, Edythe de Brenton - can't wait for their story! Lots of adventure and mischief sprinkled throughout as well that kept the overall tale exciting.
P.S. Yes! There are future books planned for Bronwyn's sisters. YAYYYY!!!!
Dislikes: The first third of the book annoyed me a bit since every other page had Renulf wondering if Brownyn would "indulge him in a kiss from her sweet lips" and after one too many similar thoughts ( why not just cup her face already and do it instead of thinking about it for the 20th time already!!!! Maybe think about something other than her lips for once...mix it up!!! ) . . . I got rather bored with their dull budding relationship . . . but it got better near the end.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
by Jennifer Donnelly
Genre : Young Adult, Historical, Time Travel, Romance
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
During her stay, she is gifted an old guitar to continue her hobby of music, which is basically an obsession and escape route from her daily life. Yet, one day she discovers a secret compartment in her guitar case and the hidden documents within now becomes Andi's newest obsession, a memoir of a girl from two hundred years before. Though both ladies lead separate existences, Andi and Alex share the same age (being seventeen) and both suffer from the lose of someone they love dearly - except one has to deal with the feelings associated with a tragic quick death while the other a long enevitable one - they're bonded in their grief.
While following Alex's diary, Andi begins to come out of her dark shell and slowly learns to turn to others for comfort. It's a long journey to overcome grief, but Andi takes a step back from her lonely music playing and distracts herself with her thesis research and a Parisian boy, Virgil. Along the way, she learns a bit about her father, a lot about the Revolution, and begins to realize she's not alone in the world as she had previously thought. It's a guy-wrenching tale at times to follow, but the story evolution is truly amazing. You feel all the pain/despair Andi & Alex experience and you dearly hope for a light at the end of the tunnel for each.
Near the end, the whole story begins to blur and it becomes a challenge to tell the girl's lives apart. They share the same city, same passions, same love for another, and even Andi's Malherbeau (favorite musician and her thesis topic) comes into play. It's really amazing to witness both girls grow throughout Revolution and be warned : you will cry, you will become obsessed with following Alex's memoir, and foolishly wish for a happy ending for all. Overall, it's a refreshing read!
Likes: The personal experiences of Alex's life in Versailles and with the Royal Family is a new twist on old boring historical facts. Even if it is fiction, it shines a new light on an old tale.
Dislikes: Andi comes off as VERY emotional distraught in the beginning, almost enough to where the reader cannot feel her pain along with her without finding her being immaturely distracting.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
by Kiersten White
Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy | Paranormal Romance
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.
Evie, being an orphan, has known nothing else beside working full-time within the IPCA. Her best friend is an organizational mermaid, she is obsessed with high school TV melodramas, and now she is secretly crushing on a newly captured guy who is invisible most of the time. Yet, something strange is happening to other paranormal creatures that no one can explain while fellow IPCA facilities are being destroyed overnight and before Evie knows it . . . she's having strange dreams about her involvement in all this tragedy. Besides dodging creepy faeries, trying to spend as much time with Lend, and catching up on the latest episodes of “Easten Heights - Evie must now come face to face with the Evil causing all this havoc since they may be the only ones with all the answers on just who (and maybe what?) Evie is herself.
Evie truly comes off as a budding teenage girl. Crushes easily on guys. Obsessed with cool clothing. Just learning how to flirt and very innocent in many ways. Wants everything in pink bling (including her weapons . . . which she names btw) And she's automatically accepting of her life (ie. job) within IPCA until other characters make her begin to question her existence within the agency and if she truly has control over her future. Overall, she's cute, fun, and easy to like. She wants to have a normal lifestyle more than anything else and the simplest things for other people her age (ex. High school, the mall, Prom, etc.) excite her to no end.
Lend is really a likely male lead as well. He begins the story as a mystery, but in the end the reader really warms up to him even more since we learn a lot about his background (lifestyle, friends, and family) compared to Evie. The plot was different from what is out there and though I found the story to drag as certain points, all in all, it was an interesting read that kept me guessing till the end how everything would play out. Plus, there were parts that had me smiling which is something that always gives a book extra points!
Likes: Alisha's cursing moments!
Dislikes: Evie was almost too cocky/innocent/immature/whiny at times for me to truly step into her shoes as a protagonist lead, but it just shows she's young!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
(Vampire Saga Book #4)
by Shannon Drake (aka Heather Graham)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
In an ancient churchyard just outside Paris, archeologists uncover an ancient tomb certain they have stumbled onto the find of the century. But something goes very wrong as the tomb is opened. Something too frightening to imagine...and too terrible to utter.
For American visitor Tara Mason, the romantic city of her dreams has suddenly turned sinister. For she has heard the blood-curdling screams in the churchyard and knows that she must run away--from the powerful stranger chasing after her...and from a nightmare she can't be sure is real or imagined.
At the country estate where she has sought refuge, the shadowy man reappears. He calls himself a guardian, sworn to protect the innocent from an evil most never see. And Tara will have to trust him, because that evil has seen her...and won't stop until it claims her. body and soul.
Tara is moving to France for a bit to take care of her ailing Grandpapa, Jacques DeVant, with her cousin, Ann. Yet, on the first day, her Grandpapa talks her into investigating an archeological dig going on within a local church in the village. Her visit turns out tragically when what is inside the discovered coffin of Louisa de Montcrasset disappears and one of the diggers ends up brutally murdered. Now Tara must, begrudgingly, keep her visit to the dig secret from the police but also the public due to the tough advice from a mysterious friend of her Grandpapa, Brent Malone. He's dark, insanely handsome, oddly knows more about all the strange activity going on in the village around Tara's family chateau than anyone else and she cannot stop her attraction to him upon his ever visit. Can Tara accept the truth of what exactly is causing these shadows to emerge throughout her Grandpapa's village while believing in this mythical "Alliance" that began during WWII?
The relationship between Tara & Brent wasn't anything special as well. I didn't feel sparks between them and had hoped their romantic scenes would have added some spice to the story, but nope! Usually Heather Graham's (aka Shannon Drake's) stories don't have too much heat going on in the bedroom department, but this one seemed to lack even less (except for the murdering parts). Plus, I'm not a fan of books involving Police characters (or any other correctional institutional figures) so Inspector Javet didn't really fascinate me at all and he actually took away some of my interest from the tale during his crude interactions with Tara or Brent.
Likes: The historical flashbacks to WWII were interesting!
Dislikes: It just felt like parts of the story were dragged out way past what they were meant to be and that turned me off.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
(Van Alen Legacy Book #6)
by Melissa de la Cruz
Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal Romance
Back in New York, Mimi has been elected Regent of a crumbling coven. Struggling with her heartache over the loss of Kingsley and with her overwhelming desire to destroy Jack, she must focus all of her energy on a perilous new threat. Vampires are being abducted and their captors are planning to burn them alive online…for all the world to see. Help arrives in the form of Deming Chen, a Venator from Shanghai, who must untangle the web of deceptions before the killers strike again.
I was a little lost about 1/3 into the story since the reader is closely following Jack & Schuyler's mission in pursuing her Grandfather Lawrence's study of the guards & gates of Hell . . . and then the story cuts to Mimi, back in New York, with new characters joining in to discover the truth behind the missing vampires. It was like two major stories going on at the same time, which did eventually intertwine in the end, but threw me out of the loop for a bit. Overall, I highly enjoyed getting back into the Upper East-Side richy high school scene again after the last couple of books had us traveling the world and dealing with family deaths & disappearances.
Likes: I cracked up listening to the audio book voice actor doing a human conduit's voice (Jemma) . . . since it sounds IDENTICAL to a friend of mine! Too Fun!
Dislikes: I just wish we would have gotten more of one story instead of having it split into two.
Words of Wisdom: "The way to female friendship is through flattery" - by Deming Chen
Monday, November 29, 2010
Location: La Pavillon Hotel, New Orleans, LA
Book hosting from Octavia Books
Monday - January 17th
Book Signing at 4pm
****Yes, this means the book is released a day before everywhere else!
Tuesday - January 18th
KMM will give several talks starting at 11:00am discussing the Fever Series from conception to end for the first time ever and answer questions.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Genre: Historical Romance
Dashing, handsome, tall, and kind, Raven Seabern is quite unlike any man Abrielle has ever encountered. From the very first moment their eyes meet, he intrigues and mesmerizes her—and dancing in his arms at a royal banquet leaves her weak with the desire to surrender. But their love can never be, for Abrielle is betrothed to a monster. And the well-being of everyone she cares for demands that she honor her promise.
Still, the fire lit that night will not be doused. Raven knows he has found the true one and must never let her go—though secrets, deceptions, dishonor, and unimaginable peril will surely be their fate if they follow the dictates of their hearts.
I was so hoping for another great Woodiwiss read similar to The Wolf & The Dove, but sadly I was let (way!) down. I couldn't warm up to any of the characters, they just came off as too distant to me. Much of the story didn't really need to be there as well and it seemed like a lot of fluff was added in to make a higher page count. The two protagonists also really didn't click for me and them finally being together didn't really add any excitement to the story. Abrielle, to me, wasn't a very likable character since she came off a too stubborn/fickle/prudish throughout much of the story and upon owning up to actually loving her husband; it was page 294 in a 326 page story.
Mostly, the whole book dragged horrendously for me and I kept forcing myself to continue reading when all I really wanted to do was finish the story permanently. The writing style bothered me as well since each paragraph was devoted to a different character POV instead of chapters - thus I was lost with whom was speaking/thinking when. This random paragraph phrasing also happened with time lapses throughout the tale, which was very annoying since I found myself skipping some paragraphs due to a boring tale! I wouldn't have said I was happy to have finished overall, but I had "hope" that it would get better . . . silly me, since in the end I wasn't satisfied! Fellow readers: Don't Bother!
Likes: Nothing much stood out to me and I found myself skipping whole paragraphs & pages at a time; because of that no character/chapter/event became very memorable or likable in the end.
Words of Wisdom: "Twould now be a goodly jaunt to reach your home, but what is that distance between close friends?" (pg. 150)
Thursday, November 11, 2010
by Lynn Kurland
Genre: Historical Romance | Time Travel
I'm a sucker for time-travel tales, especially when they involve a little historical romance as well. So, after reading Lynn Kurland's One Enchanted Evening, I opted for more and, I have to say, I highly enjoyed The More I See You quite a bit. It wasn't as kooky and ridiculous as some time-travel stories can easily become and I enjoyed that Jessica didn't really make it a secret of her time slip. Richards harshness was easy to find displeasing, but you could also easily see him falling for Jessica throughout the book - which was adorable. Happily, the ending wasn't abrupt . . . since you could feel the story winding up quickly, you'll be glad to read more chapters after the fact to tie everything together nicely. Something I love!
The reader gets a lot of one on one time with Jessica & Richard for the first half of the book, with a few of Richard's comical guards thrown in here or there. Yet, my favorite interactions were when Jessica was forced to mingle with other Medieval women in the second part of the story and finds a kindred spirit. Sadly, I felt the good-byes at the end were bit rushed though and would have been much harder to accept personally, but the characters do do a great emotional roller-coaster and I even found some other characters (ex. Kendrick & Abby) that I want to continue reading up on in the future. Can't wait!
Likes: At least there was more "parallel action" in this book compared to the last one I read, One Enchanted Evening. Nothing too graphic, but enough to satisfy my romantic side.
Dislikes: They made such a big deal of Richard's past treatment as a child in the first half, but it kind of fizzled away in the second half. I would have liked the fact to have been pursued a little more to get a deeper understanding of his character.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
(Pulse Series Book #1)
by Kailin Gow
Genre: Paranormal Romance | Young Adult
Received book from Traveling ARC Tours
Firstly, I had to chuckle at the name Jaegar. This was my first time seeing it in print as a character's name and all that kept flashing through my head was my early drinking days with Jägermeister, eww. Besides name association, the brother characters were complete opposites of each other. I understand Jaegar's mysteriously dark & coldly flirtatious older brother attitude, but Stuart's sweet awkwardness stumped me a little. Certain parts of the story described him as "a bit awkward, a bit stiff -- a thousand years of practice hadn't cured him of his romantic ideals of women" (pg. 99) and at other times that "all the humans that [he] had spent any significant amount of time with fell neatly into one of two categories. Food - ... or sex. Stuart had been a rake in his day -- more romantic that Jaegar, perhaps, but in the end no less promiscuous." (pg. 72-73) Oddly to me, "awkwardness" describes an amateur attitude, someone who is uncoordinated and tactless, so Stuart's past rakish mannerism in the ways of women was very conflicting and I couldn't quite understand him as a male lead because of that.
The overall plot of Pulse was very intriguing, but it took me a while to get caught up in the story itself. From the beginning, I felt, it would have flowed better if the readers could have had a prelude of Aaron's accident or at least Kalina's discovery of the accident before cutting three months into where the story started. Except, what the readers got was a prologue to where both brothers deceived Kalina with "compulsion" right off the back, so it took me a while to figure out who and what exactly was going on the first few chapters and to warm up to the protagonists.
I did enjoy the twist at the end of Pulse and believed that could add some juicy intrigue to the future of the series, but I'm hesitant of reading further into the story since it may turn into another viscous love triangle similar to Zoey & her multiple guys in the House of Night Series . . . something I couldn't quite overlook. Yet, Kalina's character was wonderfully strong and I liked that she wasn't intimidated with any of the situations she was placed in. She portrays a normal teenager with jealousy tendencies, but she's calm, caring, and remains chaste when the times calls for it. ;)
If you're big into series and ready for a little young adult vampire love twist, try out Pulse, but don't expect fireworks or a monumental in-depth story. Just check it out for an enjoyable lazy Sunday afternoon read.
Likes: The relationship between Kalina & her older brother/"acting father figure" was enjoyable.
Dislikes: This story had too many similarities to The Vampire Diary brother figures.
Monday, November 1, 2010
(The Iron Fey Book #2)
by Julie Kagawa
Genre: Fantasy | Paranormal Romance | Young Adult
The same kooky characters we readers came to enjoy in the first book are back in #2: Ash is just as dark and distant as always, Puck is just as egotistical and lovable at the same time, and Grimalkin is still a mystery. The story jumps between the modern world and Faery as well; with even a visit to Meghan's old high school. The romantic tension between the trio of characters remains strong, even though Meghan begins to lean more toward one over the other. It's obvious she's young in love since she's confused on exactly what types of love are out there (ie. her relationship with Puck vs. Ash) It's pretty obvious to the readers (or at least me!) which one she's drawn too romantically and which one she enjoys as a close friend /"brother" figure . . . she just doesn't always see it at times.
The creepy factor was back, which I enjoyed highly throughout the previous book, The Iron King, as well. You'll travel within the tangled darkness of The Briars which are "always moving, slithering, reaching for you out of the corner of your eye" (pg. 154) or witness the various creatures that lurk in the darkness of Tir Na Nog or the odd rooms of Leanansidhe's (the Dark Muse, self-claimed Queen of the Exiles) domain, where "schools of fish [swim] through the air" (pg. 175) and more. Unfortunately, the wow effect wears off a bit from Book #1 upon first being introduced into the whimsical world of Faery, but Ms. Kagawa does a nice job of keeping the plot/new characters/setting interesting enough to satisfy her fans.
Likes: New powers for Meghan was something I was looking forward too, yayy!
Dislikes: Meghan came off a little too "love sick" for my tastes. It seemed all she thought about every other page was Ash this or Puck that and honestly it became a little annoying. She came off as a whimpering, needy girl and not Arcadia's new powerful princess, a side which she should truly be embracing.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
(De Piaget Book #6)
by Lynn Kurland
Genre: Historical Romance | Time-Travel | Fairy Tale | Fantasy
When Pippa Alexander is invited to England to provide costumes for an upscale party, she jumps at the chance to showcase her own line of fairy-tale inspired designs. Not even her older sister’s decision to act as Fairy Queen crushes Pippa’s hope that this time, she’ll wind up wearing the glass slippers. Not that she believes in fairy tales, or magic that whispers along the hallways of an honest-to-goodness medieval castle…
But the castle is full of more than cobwebs, and danger lurks in unexpected places. And only time will tell if Montgomery and Pippa can overcome both to find their own happily every after . . .
This was a cute read. Sadly, I'm not sure if it was the story itself or outside entities disrupting my reading process, but I found One Enchanted Evening lagged a bit. It went on a lot more into certain areas that I had no interest in going and that fact had me reading the book a lot longer than normal since I just could not seem to keep up with it for long periods of time. The quirkiness of the sisters and parents was odd to me when it was to be comical and I felt Pippa adjusted too quickly to her time-travel problem than would seem normal, but overall, it's a fun (and clean) historical read to keep by the bed at night.
Likes: I enjoyed flashing back and forth through time within the same places and seeing the changes over the years, be it structure wise within the castles or noticing who within the de Piaget family we'd run into next.
Dislikes: I kept hoping for some hot-steamy scenes to pop up and get me really engrossed into the story, but no . . . only some kissing and nothing more. I think I need a little bit more "romantic involvement" between the characters to keep my stories spicy and interesting.
SHADOWFEVER IN NEW ORLEANS!
Thought that might get your attention. It certainly gets mine. Any excuse to party in New Orleans is a good excuse in my book.
Toward that end, I’ve decided to combine several things I love: you guys, New Orleans, a four-day getaway for myself in NOLA with special events leading up to the launch, a book signing gala the night before the book goes on sale, a stay-up-all-night-long-reading Pajama Party, capped off by an intimate discussion and Q&A with me the next day about the entire series: including what’s what, what you think of what’s what, who was right, who was wrong, and how much did you see coming?
The date of the signing will be Monday (late afternoon or evening) January 17th in New Orleans, location yet to be announced (but coming very soon, like next week soon.) I’ll be in the city from Saturday the 15th through late on Tuesday the 18th. I know a lot of Maniacs are already planning to come in for the long weekend prior to, and stay through mid-week. The more the merrier!
There is no charge for the event—other than your own expenses for travel and accommodations (although you will be required to buy a book on the 17th from the hosting bookseller to attend the signing and subsequent all-night reading party, we know you have spouses and significant others, companion tickets will be available for a nominal charge.)
Check my blog mid to late next week for concrete details, including hotel, times, tentative itinerary which will continue to be fleshed out right up to the last moment with cool stuff.
Hope to see you there!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Genre: Historical Romance
A princess of Saxon blood, Aislinn burns with hatred for the mighty Norman knight who has destroyed her home. And she plots her revenge -- even as she submits to her enemy's passionate will. But she in unprepared for the fire her daring foe awakens within her. And, ultimately, it is the powerful Wolf himself who is vanquished, undone by a heart that aches for his courageous and sensuous captive -- and by a love that threatens their separative loyalties and their lives.
Truly Amazing! I've always heard rave reviews in regards to this story and I even went out and bought the book almost a year ago. It sat on my library shelf for a few months until I picked it up and attempted to begin. . .sadly, I got easily distracted and it went back on the shelf. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I noticed it again and how happy I am. The history was fantastic! The characters where both enthralling and endearing! The overall story was captivating! I wish it wouldn't have ended!!
The book almost spellbinds the reader in a way that they become so emotionally involved in the tale, that they can't put it down. You'll want to scream with fury at Ragnor's treatment at the beginning of the story. You'll want to feel remorse for all the changes Darkenwald's people will have to endure. You'll get giddy along with Wulfgar's playful bantering about Aislinn's stubbornness. You'll be shocked at all the different ways to betray a person. Its truly an emotional roller-coaster that you'll only be too happy to keeping enjoying.
The story is long, complex, and I think it spans almost two years in time, so be prepared to become immersed during the Norman/Saxon era, circa 1060s. You'll witness not only the lives of slaves within the castles, but also the luxurious royal court of the new King, William the Conqueror, and the harshness of the English countryside as well. Aislinn and many other prominent figures will take on many different rolls throughout The Wolf and the Dove, so never fear, the book doesn't get slow, tedious, or boring at any time due to all the continuous character development. Overall, I'm happy to add this story to one of my favorites and definitely recommend this to all readers who love classic historic romances.
Likes: Kirwick was possibly my favorite character. He had a lot to overcome throughout the tale, but he did it in grace, good humor, and loyalty.
Dislikes: Besides the harsh topics brought up (like rape, senseless murder, etc.) that grabs at your emotions in a negative way, there is really not much to complain about.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
(The Breeds Book #22)
by Lora Leigh
Genre: Urban Fantasy Paranormal Romance
I wasn't that big of a fan of Leigh's last Breed book, Lion's Heat, for many reasons. Thus, I was pleasantly shocked by how much I REALLY enjoyed Styx and Storme's story. I got sucked into the overall plot right away. I enjoyed the past story of Storme's childhood flashbacks and her struggle to continuously be on the run until getting caught by Styx's team and being taken to the Haven compound. I liked how Styx wasn't such a hard ass alpha and treated Storme with respect but scolded her when needed. Storme came off as having a dark past with something truly personal to overcome and her personality changes were pretty evident throughout the story.
There were certain quirks to the story that were endearing at first, but became pretty redundant pretty fast: Styx's chocolate addiction and the line "so good" were just a few I could think of off the top of my head. Yet, overall Styx's Storm was a great read. Its got its romance scattered throughout (no building up the anticipation and waiting till the end of the tale for any play), plenty of action to keep the story pumping, heart-wrenching emotion, and lots of past character interactions. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours, I love books like that!
Likes: I enjoyed that the "almost" mate plot was introduced into the series since the whole hormone kick was getting a little overdone. Something new thrown into the mix was nice.
Dislikes: I guessed early on who the person was sent to Storme by her father. It kind of bugged me it wasn't even brought up until the very end and not even by that person to begin with, esp. someone who was pretty active from the beginning of the story. I wanted more in regards to this fact, but it all worked out in the end anyways and that characters story is up next . . . so we'll probably hear all about this then.
"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"