Sunday, October 31, 2010

One Enchanted Evening by Lynn Kurland

One Enchanted Evening
(De Piaget Book #6)
by Lynn Kurland

Genre: Historical Romance | Time-Travel | Fairy Tale | Fantasy

Montgomery de Piaget attracts responsibilities like blossoms lure bees. Where other knights have bonny brides, laughing children, and noble quests, he has the task of rebuilding the most dilapidated castle in all of England. A bit of magic might aid him—if only he still believed in that sort of thing.

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 . . .

Persephone Josephine Alexander comes from a very present-day "granola" family. Nicknamed Pippa and determined to dominate the world through her fairy-tale fashion; she loses not only her apartment, but also her collection of rare fabrics and expensive sewing machines due to a fire at the beginning of our tale. Her bad karma changes when she gets the opportunity to display her whimsical costumes and show off her portfolio at her sister's newly opened castle in England. One thing leads to another and suddenly Pippa, along with her psychotic older sister Cindi, find themselves within Sedgwick Castle in the year 1241. Besides being her sister's servant, dismissing fairy beliefs and missing hot showers after falling into the castle's cess pool (twice!), Pippa's discovered she has growing feelings for the Lord of the castle, Montgomery de Piaget. He seems to know more about her "time" situation then he lets on, but he's also the only one who helps Pippa adapt to her new home. When their worlds suddenly flip, both characters question which is best: following their hearts or following their dreams?

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.


Happy Birthday Barrons!


Shadowfever Launch Party in NOLA!‏


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

The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

The Wolf and the Dove
by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Genre: Historical Romance

Likes a swift and bitter wind, Wulfgar, "the Iron Wolf of Normandy," sweeps down from the North at the head of an invincible army to claim the land and people of Darkenwald. But proud and beautiful Aislinn will never grovel before the fearsome invader.

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.

Aislinn has to deal with the harsh facts that she's lost her father, her home, her mother's sanity, her innocence, and her royal future when the Normans invade Darkenwald. The last thing she has left to give is her love and that is something she could never relinquish to any knight . . . that is until Wulfgar enters her world. Since the invasion, all she has known is brutally rough manners and disgustingly forced affection, but this new Lord of the castle doesn't offensively touch her at night and appears almost fair in his treatment of Darkenwald's people. Can old wounds be healed by true passion and can both Aislinn and Wulgar overlook their strong prejudices against each others heritage in hopes of becoming united?

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

Styx's Storm by Lora Leigh

Styx's Storm
(The Breeds Book #22)
by Lora Leigh

Genre: Urban Fantasy Paranormal Romance

To save innocent, young Storme Montague from the claws of Breed slave traders, Wolf Breed Styx is forced to claim her himself-on the condition that Storme will no longer be a virgin by night's end. And though Storme's defenses are up, Styx will free her-in ways she never expects.

Storme's earliest memories are of the facilities where the Breeds where made, tortured, experimented on, and much more. At such a young age, the world with her scientific family was all she knew . . . until the day escaped Coyote Breeds brutally killed her father and brother. Now, 10 years later, Storme is still on the run from all Breeds who look for her. They know her father entrusted her with vital Breed secrets and until those with power get what they want, Storme will never have a life of her own. Except one night, she breaks her exhausted escape (in hopes of forgetting her hunted existence) in the arms of Styx; a Scottish wolf breed and is treacherously caught for the first time. Yet, is being held captive by her "almost" mate such a bad thing? Can she overcome her childhood prejudices and finally give up hiding from the world?

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.


Book Blogger Hop #4


"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?"
Depends . . .
If its a stand alone book, I'll move on. *
If its part of a series I've been loyal too, I'll stick it out.
* I thought about starting a blog section on the books I move on from w/o finishing, but I don't know which is worse: giving the book a horrible rating or posting that I couldn't get past chapter two. Ek, not good!

Thanks for hopping by,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Vampire and the Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks

The Vampire and the Virgin
(Love at Stake Book #8)
by Kerrelyn Sparks

Genre: Paranormal Romance Fantasy

Olivia’s packing list:

1. Sunscreen
2. Bathing suit
3. Flip-flops

FBI psychologist Olivia Sotiris is looking for a cool ocean breeze, sand between her toes, and a break from her crazy, and sometimes dangerous, life. But when she escapes to the Greek island of Patmos, all she gets is a meddling grandmother trying to marry her off. None of the men there interest her—except a mysterious Scotsman named Robby MacKay.

Robby’s packing list:

1. Synthetic blood
2. More synthetic blood
3. Jogging clothes (even a Vamp has to stay in shape!)

Robby needs to cool off, too, since all he can think about is revenge on the Malcontent bloodsuckers who once held him captive. But then he meets Olivia, the beauty with wild curls and a tempting smile. When a deadly criminal from one of her cases back home tracks her down, Robby will have to save her life, along with giving her a first time she’ll never forget …

Suffering from being kidnapped and traumatically tortured, Robbie is ordered away from his security job on a three month vacation to heal some wounds and clear his mind. Having some creepy personal ties to a deadly serial killer, Olivia is also ordered away from her FBI job in a chance to escape her growing fear. Neither can truly escape their dark pasts, but they do find some comfort with each other while in Greece. When the past does finally catch up to them, Robbie and Olivia's relationship isn't something most could except, but can they make it their new reality?

I expect Kerrelyn Sparks books to be pure fun vampy fluff when it comes to paranormal tales. They're usually easy to read books full of silly vampire adventures and hot romances, but I found it difficult to enjoy Robbie and Olivia as realistic characters throughout The Vampire and the Virgin. Something about them didn't really ground them enough to make me feel compassionate to their struggle of being together. I'm not sure if it is the series in general that is making me lose interest bit by bit, the weak plots I've been trying to overcome later in the Love at Stake Series or just my reading taste changing over the years, but I'm not enjoying Sparks books as much as I use to.

Another flop in reading for me is the whole "instant love" effect that takes over the main characters and believe me . . . they talked about it a lot throughout this one, but, as always, the instantaneous attraction/sex/love wasn't really working for me. I wanted more depth to the story, I wanted more details to the characters lives, I wanted more of a lot of things and it just wasn't there. Thus, I felt the overall story was lacking for basic substance. It was a bland tale, but if you're loyal to the series - check it out . . . if not, you could easily pass for something better in the vampire romance area.

Likes: Olivia's Grandmother had her moments.

Dislikes: I hate how Sparks seems to be getting desperate in adding characters to the series, thus she appears to be adding new ones ever other book now and, sadly, they're not really the wow-I-need-to-come-back-and-read-more-about these-great-character characters.



Thursday, October 7, 2010

*REREAD* The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

The Immortal Highlander
(The Highland Series Book # 6)
by Karen Marie Moning

Genre: Paranormal Romance Fantasy

For eons Adam Black has aided humanity and meddled in its affairs, much to the chagrin of the queen of the Seelie Court. He has finally pushed her too far and finds himself, a once powerful Fae, invisible and very human. But he is still as resourceful as ever, and finds a way to reach the queen and plea to have his curse lifted with the help of a young lawyer, Gabrielle O'Callaghan, a human born with the ability to see his kind. As old enemies yearn to take advantage of his weakened state, threatening his life and all existence, Adam discovers that Gabrielle threatens a heart he never thought he had.

Adam, an ancient Tuatha Dé Fae suffering under a new mortal status, is confronted with a single Sidhe-seer (pronounced "shee-seer" and refers to one who can see the Fae realm and its inhabitants), Gabrielle. Thinking he can have a little fun with her while being punished in the human world, Adam is shocked to learn she not only doesn't wish for his amorous attention, but doesn't want anything to do with him at all. This sensual game between them intensifies when Hunters show up not only for Gabby, but also Adam. Now, they are both on the run in hopes of revealing a dark traitor to the Queen of the Tuatha Dé Fae's Seelie Court, Aoibheal (pronounced "Ah-veel"), before times run out. Only problem - Adam is being punished by having no connections to the Fae realm and Gabrielle is the only one who can see him . . . thus they must work together in order to survive.

This Highlander Series has been a constant go-to selection for me to re-read, for years. I adore her intriguing characters and can always fall back into the interesting stories of her couples. Great story telling never gets boring! My favorite book would still be The Dark Highlander, but The Immortal Highlander comes in at a close second. What prompted me to re-read this time was the fact my friend borrowed all my Fever Series books, thus I wanted to get caught up with the mischievous beginnings of Darroc, who eventually becomes the dark Lord & Master (I'll stop right there for those not up-to-date in the Fever Series).

I am happy I re-read this one, again! The story flows smoothly, the wrighting makes you smile, the romance is smoldering, and the characters are addicting . . . what couldn't be better? It makes me wish, upon finishing, that there were many many more Highlander books coming out by KMM, but sadly I'll have to wait till the final Mac tale is released in Janaury to get my Fae/Highlander fix . . . like the rest of the world.

Likes: Having all my favorite chacracters in the same MacKeltar castle . . . yummy!

Dislikes: Gwen & Chloe kind of rubbed me the wrong way, almost too accepting of the paranormal world they live in and sickingly happy in marriage. I didn't know what I was expecting, but it was almost too syrupy sweet with a cherry on top for my taste.



Sunday, October 3, 2010

*REREAD* Soulless by Gail Carriger

(The Parasol Protectorate Book #1)
by Gail Carriger

Genre: Paranormal Romance | Fantasy | Historical

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced! Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Alexia has always enjoyed the intellectual type most and even though she's considered a spinster by society, she's also a continued invite to most of the dinner parties in London due to her smart conversation. Yet, behind her interest in all things scientific, Alexia is keeping a secret that only a limited few know - she's a preternatural; known as being soulless in the supernatural society that is now accepted throughout Victorian England. Alexia's London has recently welcomed into society Vampire and Werewolves even though much of the world continues to shun them, but Alexia's kind if even rarer and feared by her new neighbors. Who comes to her aid isn't someone Alexia agrees with very much, Lord Maccon (a local powerful werewolf), and soon she finds herself fighting against something that can make many of her new enemies and friends cringe with fear and easily disappear.

This was a re-read for me, but with a twist because I got the new audio-book while on a recent road trip. I find I enjoy Book #1 best out of all three so far, since I enjoyed first learning about Alexia's supernatural society and meeting all the enticing characters. I loved Lord Maccon's rough & tough exterior and his courting manners were adorable, even though Alexia was clueless during much of it. Some of the characters who annoy me later on in the series were much more enduring in Book #1 for me as well and the audio-book version was done quite well with no overly annoying accents. Even Lord Maccon's Scottish burr was evident and fun.

Likes: Unlike many Victorian era ladies, Alexia stands out - in a good way. She sticks to the rules, but happily bends them as well to suit her needs. She's a sucker for fashion and is dearly loyal to her friends, which are two things I highly enjoy about her character.

Dislikes: I enjoyed how Alexia's spinster label didn't sidetrack her from enjoying a happy life, even though I felt she gave into it too easily - I disliked how easily she believed her Mother's complaints of having the wrong sized nose/skin color or her sister's complaints in regards to her eating habits/direct behavior. She easily lost confidence in herself, which is such a shame for a strong protagonist.