Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays fellow Readers!

Happy Holidays


The Christmas Knight by Michele Sinclair

The Christmas Knight
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.

I got into a seasonal mood lately and wanted to read something related! How happy I was to find this new historical release, The Christmas Knight. Ranulf "Deadeye" de Gunnar was located abroad & unwillingly dragged back to England by Sir Laon de Brenton on a mission from the King. Yet, upon a tragic accident, Ranulf makes a life promise to Laon to marry his youngest and most innocent daughter, Lily, and to rule as the new Lord of his land. Thus the beginning of our tale.

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!!!!

Likes: The beginning of each chapter broke down the historical significance of each day around Christmas; from village traditions, to what food was eaten or who was being celebrated. LOVED IT! (says the historical fanatic!)

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

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

by Jennifer Donnelly

Genre : Young Adult, Historical, Time Travel, Romance

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

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.

Diandra Xenia Alpers, aka Andi, has been dealing with some tough times for the last couple of years. Depression dominates her day, her parents are separated, her Mother isn't mentally there anymore, and her heart aches constantly for her lost brother. Her grades are suffering, all but one friend has deserted her, and she's developing suicidal thoughts. During her Christmas break from school, her father forcibly whisks her off Paris to have a change of scenery in hopes of completing her Senior thesis and graduating on time.

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

Paranormalcy by Keirsten White

by Kiersten White

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy | Paranormal Romance

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

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

Realm of Shadows by Shannon Drake

Realm of Shadows
(Vampire Saga Book #4)
by Shannon Drake (aka Heather Graham)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Every Nightmare Has Its Beginning

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?

I had high hopes for this book since the back description sounded intriguing, but sadly it lagged to much and I couldn't finish it in full (not just yet!) I got bored quite easy while reading this and had to skip on to something new to spice up my reading habit before I got into a lull. I did get to page 296 out of a 414 page story, so not too shabby. The story wasn't too bad, but it did skip around to a lot of places with too many new characters brought up too infrequently that it made the story flow unsmoothly and just felt choppy overall.

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.