Tuesday, November 29, 2011

His Mistress by Christmas by Victoria Alexander

His Mistress by Christmas
by Victoria Alexander

Genre: Historical Romance

For three years, Lady Veronica Smithson has been perfectly happy as a widow—and thoroughly independent. Still, the right gentleman could provide the benefits of marriage without the restrictions. And in Sir Sebastian Hadley-Attwater, renowned explorer and rogue, Veronica is sure she has found him.

Sebastian will come into his inheritance in a matter of weeks-if his family deems him responsible enough. There’s no better way to prove his worthiness than with a home and a wife. But though the lovely Veronica will share his bed, she steadfastly refuses to marry.

But Sebastian has never been one to take no for an answer. Not when it comes to something he wants. And an intimate Christmas sojourn at his new country house will surely change Veronica’s mind. But he doesn’t count on unexpected visitors, meddling relatives and a few innocent deceptions gone horribly awry.

Still, and one way or another, this will be a Christmas to remember.

My Dear Friend,

Forgive me for the hasty nature of this Christmas letter but life has taken an unexpected turn and I scarcely have time to think.

I know you are well aware of my views on marriage. Having experienced it once, I see no need to do so again. And I did think I had the perfect plan to avoid the encumbrances of marital bliss. I quite carefully selected the right man, one whose history would seem to indicate a dire dread of marriage and, indeed, commitment of any sort. Why, the man never stayed in one place for any length of time and instead has spent his life in pursuit of adventure in the far flung reaches of the world. Beyond that, he had a, well, shall we say extensive reputation with the fairer sex. Such qualities would not be at all attractive if one was looking for a husband but if one simply wanted a man in one’s life he did seem eminently qualified for the position. To all appearances he was the logical and, admittedly, exciting, choice for my purposes. Did I mention he was dashing and handsome as well?

Little did I know, the gentleman in question has decided to reform and mend his wicked ways. He now wishes to be respectable and proper. He is curtailing his travel and has purchased a grand, if somewhat neglected, house in the country. Now, all he needs to complete this transformation is a an appropriate wife. Not at all what I have in mind.

This will certainly be a Christmas to remember. Lord help us all.

With warmest felicitations of the season
I remain yours affectionately,
Veronica, Lady

Delightful and entertaining; this book truly played a fun game between the sexes and their mannerism toward marriage. Veronica was head-strong and determined to get what she wants - blissful nights in bed with a handsome man and no strings attached. Yet, the man she picked has other long-term plans in mind, thus making it difficult for her to compromise their arrangement. The Christmas setting in this tale was charming, tender, and full of family devotion. Overall, this story was oddly different from most romance books because of the fact that it: 1. had the 'tables were turned' theme and 2. not all the characters were so innocent & naive about love, so expect something unexpected when picking up this tale -- Enjoy!

Likes: The crafty plotting between Veronica and Sebastiano in the beginning parts of their relationship was amusing.

Dislikes: Veronica could come off as almost TOO stubborn at times and that was somewhat off-putting.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake

Genre: Young Adult | Supernatural Thriller

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
But she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story . . .

"This city smells like smoke and things that rot in the summer. It's more haunted than I though it would be, an entire layer of activity just under the dirt: whispers behind peoples' laughter or movement that you shouldn't see in the corner of your eye. Most of the them are harmless -- sad little cold spots or groans in the dark. Blurry patches of white that only show up in a Polaroid. I have no business with them.
But somewhere out there s one that matters. Somewhere out there is one that I came for, one who is strong enough to squeeze the breath out of living throats.
I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she'll try. I wonder if she'll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?
How will she try to kill me?"
[ Back-cover ]

Theseus Cassio: "I work in the dark, killing what should have stayed dead. If people knew what I was up to, they'd probably try to stop me. The idiots would take Casper's side, and then I have to kill Casper and them after Casper bit their throats out. I'm no superhero. If anything I'm Rorschach from Watchmen. I'm Grendel. I'm the survivor in Silent Hill." (pg. 22)

Cas hunts ghosts. Its a job that's been passed down in his family and on this new move to Canada, he is hunting one ghost in particular - Anna. This was an interesting read and though I highly enjoyed it during certain times (the spooky parts; especially the first time visiting Anna's house), there were other times that just were so-so for me and somewhat boring. I didn't really connect with some of the characters (example - Cas was quite cocky and not always in a good way) and, thus, it was hard for my to truly loss myself in the story since I wasn't a fan of the protagonist. Yet, the gore and scary factor of the story was fun and I would have loved more of it. So, if you're not afraid to read something dark that is all about what-goes-bump-in-the-night, check this out ---- you may be more of a fan than I.

Likes: This was surprisingly bloody and grim, something I was not at all expecting from a Young Adult story.

Dislikes: There was something about the story that was ultimately unappealing and drab for me, thus I don't think I'll be checking out book # 2 in this new series.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Persuade Me by Juliet Archer

Persuade Me
(Darcy & Friends, Book #2)
by Juliet Archer

Genre: Contemporary Romance

When do you let your heart rule your head?

When it comes to love, Anna Elliot is stuck in the past. No one can compare to Rick Wentworth, the man she gave up ten years ago at the insistence of her disapproving family. What if she’s missed her only chance for real happiness?

Since Anna broke his heart, Rick has moved on – or so he thinks. Out in Australia, he’s worked hard to build a successful career – and a solid wall around his feelings.

The words ‘forgive and forget’ aren’t in Rick's vocabulary. The word ‘regret’ is definitely in Anna’s. So, when they meet again on his book tour of England, it’s an opportunity for closure.

But memories intrude – the pure sensuality of what they once shared, the pain of parting … And she has to deal with another man from her past, while his celebrity status makes him the focus of unwanted attention.

With Anna’s image-obsessed family still ready to interfere and Rick poised to return to Australia, can she persuade him to risk his heart again?

Anna comes off easily as a down-to-earth college professor; she's got the education & great friends but is deeply anguished by past events. When her old flame, Rick Wentworth, now a famous author, comes to do a UK book tour, Anna is ready for all the discomforts & remorseful remembrance that his visit will bring. Yet, the long-ago heartache appears to still be fresh between both her and Rick and while there is much bitterness and distrust to overcome, both are determined to fight in their own way for second chances.

A contemporary re-telling of Jane Austen's last novel, Persuasion. Full of heated romance, painful regrets & intense attractions and though it follows closely to the original tale, the new twist of Wentworth's thought process adds much to the overall story. Persuasion is by far my favorite Austen book and this contemporary tale was a joy to read.

Likes: Rick was a great masculine character and his persistent actions toward Anna were wonderful proof that true love never fades!

Dislikes: You really cringe during many of Anna's families scenes, but then again, that ever-growing hatred toward their egotistical mannerism could be a perk for the book since it created a nice emotional aspect for the reader.



Friday, November 4, 2011

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Falling Under
by Gwen Hayes

Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal Romance

In her dreams he's irresistible—seductive, charming, and undoubtedly dangerous. But when he appears to her when she's awake—and captivates her just the same—she's not sure which way is up and which is down.

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life, not allowed the same freedoms as the rest of the teenagers in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, she feels every urge she's ever denied burning through her at the slightest glance from Haden Black. Theia knows she's seen Haden before—not around town, but in her dreams.
Theia doesn't understand how she dreamed of Haden before they ever met, but every night has them joined in a haunting world of eerie fantasy. And as the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her forward one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. And as she slowly discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

Theia is a talented musician that is dedicated to school and her friends but lacking in a father/daughter relationship. One night, she dreams about a mysterious stranger and the next school day meets Haden, the same boy from her dreams/nightmares. As the two become closer and closer through her dark dreams, Theia eventually learns about the more sinister motives behind Haden's visits but is too far in love to let it stop her. Yet, someone even more deadly and devilish is on the hunt for Theia to take her "Under" for good.


This was a "Meh!" read for me. I was intrigued about the grim parallel universe concept and how disturbing the ghoulish characters were in those eerie dreams/nightmares, but essentially the story's plot was drab, tiresome, and doleful overall. It took me over a week to finish, something that proves my distaste of Falling Under; especially near the end when I was skipping ahead full pages at a time to just finish and move on to a more entertaining book.

One would think Hayden, the main male lead, could add a lot of enchantment and
masculine charm to keep the story alive, but he really didn't add enough interest for me to fully grasp that he was capable of a "loving" relationship to begin with. Theia's two best friends, Donny & Amelia, really kept the story going since Theia, herself, easily came off as lifeless, dull, and very tedious. Both of the friends really shared the book, in my opinion, with their own little love adventures going on throughout and I would have much rather followed Donny & Gabe's romantic tension than some of Theia's battles. All in all, this book bored me, was very dragged out and lacked that delightful spark that would peak my curiosity into reading more, but if you had another opinion than mine and wish to read more -- Dreaming Awake seems to be a similar story, if not continuation, of Falling Under and will be released early January 2012.

Likes: The mythological comparisons were easy to make within this book (Hayden=Hades & Theia=Persephone and yet, Theia's name seems a play off of "Lethe" since,
in Greek mythology, Lethe was one of the five rivers of Hades), but what I liked best, since I'm a big fan of creepy characters, were the dancing faceless ghouls and stitched up hand-maids and all those other deliciously spooky creatures that made up "Under". . . fascinating!

Dislikes: I'm not sure if Varnie, the psychic, was to be there for comical relief, but he was just too daffy for me to enjoy.