Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beating the Book Slump

I've been MIA for the last few days trying to squeeze one more book into September. I powered through Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann and I sucessfully avoided falling into a slump. Yea Me!!

Anyhoo, I'll be back to post my review either tonight or tomorrow a.m. but I'm running out of time this morning after answering the discussion questions on Almost Heaven *sigh* for the Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Look Down - Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer

Blurb from Amazon
It sounded simple. Go to Savannah. Finish directing an action-adventure film. Earn some quick money. Get a chance to see sister Daisy and niece Pepper. Instead, as soon as Lucy Armstrong arrives on the set of Don't Look Down, she discovers that nothing about her current job is simple. The cast is lackluster. What she has seen of the script is, even by Hollywood standards, unbelievably incoherent. The stunt coordinator is none other than her annoying ex-husband, Connor Nash, and her sister seems to have become a zombie. Bryce McKay, the movie's leading man, turns up with Captain J. T. Wilder, whom Bryce has personally hired to be his stunt double and military consultant. The last thing Lucy needs is a taciturn, too-sexy-for-his-own-good male like J. T. on her set, but once the going gets tough, someone like J. T. turns out to be exactly the kind of person Lucy decides she wants in her life. This first collaboration between best-selling romance writer Crusie and adventure-thriller writer Mayer is a rare delight. Mayer's delectably dry sense of humor perfectly complements Crusie's brand of sharp wit, and together the two have cooked up a sexy, sassy, and smart combination of romance and suspense that is simply irresistible.

My Review

I went into this book not expecting to like it very much. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself greatly enjoying it. Maybe because I'm not a hardcore Crusie fan I was able to accept the change in writing style easier than most.

The plot was fast moving and kept me interested and J.T. was so wonderfully realistic. I imagine that was Meyers doing and I really appreciated having the male point of view so very.... male. The romance didn't really work all that well for me and I would have been happy if the book just ended with the two being together. I didn't need the declaration of love and spending the rest of their lives together after three days - that's just creepy.

I don't always enjoy kids in the books I'm reading but I really enjoyed Pepper. She was a spoiled brat and hilarious. I don't think I would have enjoyed the book nearly as much without her.

I'm looking forward to their next collaboration "Agnes and the Hitman" which I think will be even better. I actually read the preview in the back of Don't look down and that is something I never do.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Down Side of Really Great Books

If you read my post from yesterday I'm sure your aware that I looooooved Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught. Or maybe you aren't - these 6:00 a.m. posts are not exactly my most concise writings...

Anyhoo, Almost Heaven was the best book I've read so far this year - I loved everything about it. However, I'm now finding myself in the same conundrum I usually find myself in when I read a book that I positively fall in love with. I can't find anything else to read. I want to read another romance but that really wouldn't be fair since I'd be continuously comparing the couple to Ian and Elizabeth and lets face it they can be an even more wonderful couple and have a more wonderful story but it won't matter because my brain wants Ian and Elizabeth. Okay - so romance is out I don't even want to switch sub-genres because it still won't be fair. Well, I have lots of other genres in my 600+ TBR pile just pick one of those. So I did. I picked several and I can't get into any of them why?? because I want another romance. So I look at the romances again... but no we already know why I can't pick a romance.

Do you see the circle of hell I've created for myself now? I've been here before it can take weeks for me to find my way out of it.

So what do you to get over those really great books? Do you re-read them? Read books by the same author? Just take a break from reading? I need help over here!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Almost Heaven - Judith McNaught


I haven't read a Judith McNaught book in a very long time and now I remember why. My goodness these books put you through the ringer. Yes I love every minute of it but I really need a break afterwards.

Elizabeth Cameron has barely ever been away from her country home prior to making her debut into society. Unarguably the most beautiful young lady of the ton Elizabeth attracts many suitors as well as the attentions of the most unsuitable Mister Ian Thornton. Elizabeth meets Ian at a weekend house party which is being thrown by one of her friends sisters. The guests at this particular part are a very "fast crowd" and Ian assumes that Elizabeth is far more experienced and knowledgeable than she is. One thing leads to another and Elizabeth and Ian are caught in a very compromising position there is a duel, a big misunderstanding and a two year separation.

Two years later Elizabeth is a social outcast, her brother has disappeared and she has had to sell off almost every possession she had in order to keep her home. Her guardian (her slimy uncle) is sick of footing the bill for her childhood home and sends out letters to all 15 men she had offers from during her season asking them to spend the weekend with her to see if they still "suit." Only three men respond and one of them is Ian. Unfortunately for Ian his secretary mixed up his correspondance and rather than ignoring the letter Elizabeth is offered an invitation to his Scotland home. Of course once Elizabeth arrives it's impossible for her to go back to her Uncle's right away so she must stay and try to fight her feelings for Ian until it is time to leave.

There are very few authors who can make me feel every single emotion that the characters are feeling as well as McNaught. I laughed, I cried, I ground my teeth and punched my pillow in frustration numerous times while reading this book. The weekend party where Elizabeth and Ian first fall in love with one another is probably my favourite part of the whole book. I don't know how to better explain it but I was falling in love with Ian right along with Elizabeth.

Ian is one of my favourite types of hero's - he's older, cynical and although he enjoys women Elizabeth completely turns him inside out... and I believe it. The standard romance scenario where they sleep with one another and its AWESOME and it's never been like that with any other woman before so she must be the one is not what happens here. In Almost Heaven every thing and I mean every little thing Ian does from the moment he first meets her shows that he is completely out of his element where Elizabeth is concerned and although he doesn't understand it - he's going with it.

I also loved Elizabeth - she is a very intelligent and smart girl but she lacks experience and it is understandable how she gets caught in such a compromising position. Over the course of the story you see her grow into a very admirable young woman who is perfect for someone as experienced and worldly as Ian.

Some people may have issues with the book because there are a few big misunderstandings. I love the big misunderstanding plot - as long as it's well done. What does that mean exactly? I don't know but I know it when I read it. The final scene in this book where everything is finally put to rest is so heartbreakingly wonderful to read and it wouldn't be there without the big mis.

I really really loved this book. It's going up on my keeper shelf right beside Something Wonderful, A Kingdom of Dreams and yes - Whitney, My Love.

Grade 10/10

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Too Deep for Tears - Kathryn Lynn Davis

Too Deep for Tears is one of those big meaty historical novels you can really sink your teeth into. It seems to have been marketed as a historical romance but this is somewhat misleading. Although there are love stories within the book it is not a traditional romance novel. It is historical fiction with romantic subplots.

The book is the story of Charles Kittredge's three daughters. Charles was a British diplomat who traveled the world and was forced for different reasons to abandon all three of his daughters. The novel is divided up into 4 separate smaller books. One book for each of the daughters and a fourth when they all return to Scotland to meet one another and their father.

Since the book was set up as four small novels I'm going to review each separately as I felt differently about each one.

The first book is about Ailsa the daughter of Charles and Mairi - Charles was married to Mairi but there relationship ended soon after as Mairi could not bring herself to leave the glen in Scotland and travel with Charles. This book was by far my favourite. It was longer then the the other three books and part of that may be why since I spent so much more time with Ailsa. Ailsa story starts out with her in Scotland and has her leave the man she has loved all her life to marry an English man who promises to show her the world. Ailsa and Williams story is very bittersweet it is obvious he is head over heels in love with her and although Ailsa cares very much for him her heart is still with Ian in the glen. This story was so well written I felt everything Ailsa felt and the ending of this story was one of the most perfect endings I've ever read.

Li-an is Charles second daughter who he had to leave behind in China when the government - fed up with all the foreigners taking advantage of them tried to have him killed. In order to escape with his life he was forced to leave Li-an and her mother and never come back. This was very hard on Li-an as her and her mother were always under suspicion after that - also Li-an's blue eyes gave her away as a foreigner and she was forced to always hide who she was. I found it very hard to connect with Li-an and this was my least favourite story of the four. Li-an's hatred of her father and her heritage are a large part of what makes her who she is and it makes her hard to like. Li-an's story is also very tragic but I found I was not all that much affected by it. The relationship between Li-an and Chau was developed over a fairly short period of time and I couldn't believe their relationship.

The third book was about Genevra whose mother had an affair with Charles which resulted in Genevra. Genevra lives in India as part of the British colony. Charles was present in Genevra's life until he was once again forced to leave the country as he was needed elsewhere. After he left Genevra's mother who suffered with depression hit her breaking point and confessed to her husband. Her husband threw both her and Genevra out of his home and Genevra was eventually abandoned with her unloving Aunt and Uncle. Genevra life was always difficult as she battled many of the same demons her mother did and was ostracized by the british community living in India and found herself relating more to the indians which only isolated her further. Although Genevra was filled with alot of the same bitterness as Li-an she didn't allow it to completely change who she was and I was able to sympathize with her.

The fourth book has all three sisters traveling to Scotland to see their father before he dies. This part of the book I found sort of anti-climatic as Charles is very ill and isn't able to really work things out with his daughters as he should.

Although I had a few minor quibbles (Li-ans story and the fourth book were only so so for me). As a whole I really enjoyed this book. All three sisters have the gift of second sight and throughout all the stories when they were in desperate need of comforting they would visit one another in their dreams. The way the abandonment by their father has shaped each sister was also done very well and you could see how it shaped the women they became.

If you like really in depth long historical novels I highly recommend this one.

Grade 8/10

Monday, September 21, 2009

Take that HTML

Woo hoo! I beat HTML!! I think.

I'm not sure if I like this template though... maybe it needs to grow on me....

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Final Confession of Mabel Stark - Robert Hough

Blurb from Amazon

In the 1910s and '20s, during the golden age of the big top, Mabel Stark was the superstar of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, and one of America's most eccentric celebrities. A tiny, curvaceous Kentucky blonde in a white leather bodysuit, Mabel was brazen, sexually adventurous, and suicidally courageous. The Final Confession of Mabel Stark is Robert Hough's brilliant, highly acclaimed novelization of her fantastic life. It is 1968 — Mabel is just turning eighty and is about to lose her job at Jungleland, a Southern California game park. Devastated by the loss of her cats, she looks back on her life and her five husbands: the fifth would one day be tragically mauled by her one true love, her ferocious yet amorous 550-pound Bengal tiger Rajah. Starting with her escape from a mental institution to begin her circus career as a burlesque dancer, Mabel's exquisitely voiced confession is a live wire of dark secrets, broken dreams, and comic escapades. It is a brilliant, exhilarating story of an America before television and movies, when the spectacle of the circus reigned and an unlikely woman captured the public imagination with her singular charm and audacity.

My Review

Well... it was different...

I don't know if I'd go so far as to say I'd enjoyed this book but it has stayed with me for two days now since I finished reading it. I had to wait to write this review because I wasn't sure how I felt about and needed to let it sink in for a few days.

First off I didn't have the same experience I find most people had while reading this book. Some of the words I saw in reference to this book were fascinating, ribald, fun, humorous and compelling... huh. It's times like these when I wonder if I'm missing something. Personally, I had a few problems with the book that kept me from really enjoying it. First off it was Mabel. I just plan didn't like her. I realize the grit it must have taken to be a woman in a typically male driven profession in those days but she was really abrasive and when I wasn't out and out disliking her I was feeling sorry for her. To me she lead a very lonely and sad life. Everytime things were starting to look up for her if something didn't come along and ruin it for her she'd make sure she ruined it for herself. Which I think was part of the reason I disliked her so much.

I also found the book got bogged down quite a bit in the middle and would drag on with paragraph after paragraph of Mabel listing which city she went to next and when she went there and maybe a sentence or two about something that may have happened with her act. I didn't find any part of the book fun although certain parts were interesting I don't even know if I'd go so far as to call it fascinating mostly I just found it frustrating.

However, I do find that anytime I read a book that is based on a true story or a real person quite often that book stays with me for a long time. This book is no exception the author did a fabulous job of creating a voice for Mabel and I kept forgetting that a man had actually written this book and not Mabel herself. Over the last couple of days I've had a hard time getting Mabels voice out of my head and I've even been rather melancholy at times when I think about Mabel and everything she went through in her life. Which is why it's hard for me to give a grade to this book - I didn't like Mabel and didn't really get any fun out of this book but it's been staying with me day in and day out not to mention I finished it so I must have been enjoying it on some level but at the same time I don't want to go near this book ever again...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reliquary - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Blurb from the Authors Website

How to write a sequel that could follow Relic, one of the most successful techno-thrillers ever written? That was the problem facing Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child when they agreed to write Reliquary. What setting could top the New York Museum of Natural History?
That was when Preston and Child realized there was only one solution. And that was to follow the Museum Beast itself. And that way led underground. Deep underground...
Hidden beneath Manhattan is a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast...

When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation. Margo must once again team up with police lieutenant D'Agosta and FBI agent Pendergast, as well as the brilliant Dr. Frock, to try and solve the puzzle. The trail soon leads deep underground, where they will face the awakening of a slumbering nightmare.

My Review

As I’m sure you can tell from the blurb this book is a sequel to Relic and the second book in a series of books involving Special Agent Prendergast.

I enjoyed this book almost as much as the first one. My only quibble with this was the beginning was just a little slow. It took me almost a week to get through the first 1/3 of the book and then 2 days to finish it. In Relic there was plenty of suspense beginning to end. In Reliquary the first 150 pages is made up all most entirely of investigations by police officers, political bickering, scientific experiments and lots remembering going on. There were only a couple of scenes with the monster(s) and these were usually only 1 or 2 pages long. Once this book got going though holy moly was it a quick read.

One of the main reasons I liked the first book so much was the characters and this book was no different. A lot of the time with thriller/suspense type novels so much effort is spent on the action that I find the characters lacking. Not so with Preston and Child. These are really good, well written characters. They are all multi layered and well developed and you find yourself really caring about the good guys and rooting for the bad guys to get their just desserts. Even the characters who are only present for a small part of the story are wonderfully drawn.

Agent Prendergast is still my favourite character out of the books and I was disappointed that he didn’t have a larger part to play in it.

The style of this book really works for me as well. For the most part (there are some exceptions) the book is divided up into fairly big chapters and each chapter is a different character in a different place and the endings are almost always left on a cliffhanger. I find cliffhangers effective anyways but you when you have to get through three or four chapters with different characters all being with cliffhangers before you can find out what happened in the first chapter you read… well it makes it very difficult to put down the book and finally get to sleep! Unless of course the battery in your book light dies and your too freaked out to go downstairs and find a new one J.

Overall if you liked the first book you will most likely enjoy this one as well. If you haven’t read the first one I would definitely start there. They do go over a lot of the info from the first book in the second so you wouldn’t be totally lost but I think you would lose a lot of what makes these characters so special.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

By Arrangement - Madeline Hunter

Back Cover Blurb

The lady and the commoner...

Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn was not opposed to marriage. But she demanded to be married on her own terms, not as punishment for a romantic indiscretion, and especially not to a common merchant. Yet she was in for a shock when she met David de Abyndon. For she was confronted by no ordinary merchant but a man of extraordinary poise and virility. He was unaffected by their difference in social status. And even less affected by her well-thought-out arguments against their upcoming betrothal. Instead, it was Christiana who felt uneasy in the presence of this naturally lordly man behind whose cool blue eyes she sensed the most uncompromising of passions.

David de Abyndon understood Christiana's dilemma, for he too harbored a secret pain. How could he tell her that there was more to this arrangement than met the eye? How could he tell her about his deal with the king-a deal that meant he had all but bought Christiana sight unseen?

What's more, now that he had seen this beautiful, spirited woman, how could he convince her that the love she sought was not in the callow knight she had romanticized but in the flesh-and-blood arms of the man who may have bought her body-but in the bargain lost both his heart and soul?

My Review

Wow. This book completely blew me away. I've read one other Madeline Hunter book and that was By Possession which I enjoyed but never really connected with the characters. I went into By Arrangements with similar expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

First off the characters. Christiana and David are definitely up there in my top 10 couples. At first I was worried that Christiana was going to ruin the book for me since she was so incredibly naive and girlish at the beginning but part of what makes this book so great is the character growth you see from Christiana by the end of the book she has turned into a woman who is totally deserving of David. As for David, I think he will be a hard hero for some people to love. He has a definite dark streak and can be ruthless at times but with the exception of one incident he is gentle and kind with Christiana and it really shows what a good person he truly is on the inside. I love complex heros and angsty books so David worked for me on so many levels.

This was also one of those "butterflies in the stomach" love stories. Watching these two fall in love with one another against their own will was romantic and the love scenes were well written and passionate although they could be a little "purple" at times.

The other thing I should point out that may turn some people off is that this book does have a "Big Misunderstanding" in it. This isn't a plot device that bothers me though because I find the scenes where the characters get back together some of the most emotional. This book is no exception the last scenes in this book had tears welling up in my eyes.

All in all this book is definitely a keeper for me and for anyone out there looking for a solid Medieval Romance I would highly suggest you pick this one up.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Birthday Loot

I had two gift cards from my birthday last week burning a hole in my pocket and I finally had a chance to get out and spend them today - despite my growing level of annoyance at Chapters today I managed to do okay.

Acacia - David Anthony Durham

Summary: Born into generations of prosperity, the four royal children of the Akaran dynasty know little of the world outside their opulent island paradise. But when an assassin strikes at the heart of their power, their lives are changed forever.

Forced to flee to distant corners and separated against their will, the children must navigate a web of hidden allegiances, ancient magic, foreign invaders, and illicit trade that will challenge their very notion of who they are. As they come to understand their true purpose in life, the fate of the world lies in their hands.

Why: I used to be very into fantasy novels but haven't purchased a new series in quite some time only because I have so many un-started fantasy series in my TBR pile already but I happened to detour down the fantasy aisle during my shopping trip and the shiny wonderfulness that is this cover caught my eye and I wanted to buy for that fact alone. Add to that the huuuuge size of it and the back cover blurb and I was sold.

Blood Rites - Jim Butcher

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or
Other Entertainment.

For Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, there have been worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Dodging flaming monkey poo, for instance. Or going toe-to-leaf with a walking plant monster. Still, there's something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film's producer believes he's the target of a sinister entropy curse, but it's the women around, him who are dying, in increasingly spectacular ways.

Harry's doubly frustrated because he got involved with this bizarre mystery only as a favor to Thomas, his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can't quite figure out, until his investigation leads him straight to Thomas's oversexed vampire family. Harry's about to discover that Thomas's family tree has been hiding a shocking secret: a revelation that will change Harry's life forever...

Why: Because I'm in love with Harry Dresden. Oh and because this series keeps getting better with every installment.

A Reason To Live - Maureen McKade

Summary: How could I refuse the wish of a dying man?

May 30, 1865: During the War, I watched over too many young boys in the hospital, comforting them as they cried out for those they loved, as they whispered their final thoughts to me. Keepng a record of their names, families, and last words seemed a small tribute to their sacrifice -- until the war ended, and I found a new mission in life.

I would visit the loved ones of those poor soldiers and deliver their messages so that some comfort could be found even in grief...

But Laurel Covey never expected to find a man like Creede Forrester -- an ex-gunslinger who rode all the way from Texas to Virginia in the hope of finding his son and ended up saving her from a band of ruffians. It pains her deeply to tell him of his boy's death, and she believes that in his heart, Creede blames himself for driving his son away. But there is something more to this rugged, weary man. Something that draws Laurel closer to him ... something she cannot resist...

Why: Okay I didn't buy this one. I won it and it came in the mail a few days ago but I'm including it anyway. Thanks Wendy!!!!

Dead Girls are Easy - Terri Garey

Summary: There's something about almost dying that makes a girl rethink her priorities. Take Nicki Styx—she was strictly goth and vintage, until a brush with the afterlife leaves her with the ability to see dead people.
Before you can say boo, Atlanta's ghosts are knocking at Nicki's door. Now her days consist of reluctantly cleaning up messes left by the dearly departed, leading ghouls to the Light . . . and one-on-one anatomy lessons with Dr. Joe Bascombe, the dreamy surgeon who saved her life. All this catering to the deceased is a real drag, especially for a girl who'd rather be playing hanky-panky with her hunky new boyfriend . . . who's beginning to think she's totally nuts.
But things get even more complicated when a friend foolishly sells her soul to the devil, and Nicki's new gift lands her in some deep voodoo.
As it turns out for Nicki Styx, death was just the beginning.

Why: I don't know since I've sworn off buying any paranormals other than series I'm already invested in. I don't very often see ones about ghosts though and the third book in the series sounded interesting so I grabbed the first book.

Goddess of the Hunt - Tessa Dare

Summary: Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion–one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

Why: Only because I've heard so much buzz about it on the AAR boards. Along with paranormal romances this is exactly the type of european historical I've sworn not to buy any more of but I can't resist the hype.

Gone - Michael Grant

Summary: In the blink of an eye.
Everyone disappears.
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, gone is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.

Why: Personally, I think this cover is hideous and I never would have picked it up had it not been the one lone non-vampire looking cover on the young adult table. The blurb on the back and the first few pages convinced me though. I think this one is going to be moved up the TBR heap very quickly.

A Hint of Wicked - Jennifer Haymore


Sophie, the Duchess of Calton, has finally moved on. After seven years mourning the loss of her husband, Garrett, at Waterloo, she has married his cousin and heir, Tristan. Sophie gives herself to him body and soul. . . until the day Garrett returns from the Continent, demanding his title, his lands-and his wife.


Now Sophie must choose between her first love and her new love, knowing that no matter what, her choice will destroy one of the men she adores. Will it be Garrett, her childhood sweetheart, whose loss nearly destroyed her once already? Or will it be Tristan, beloved friend turned lover, who supported her through the last, dark years and introduced her to a passion she had never known? As her two husbands battle for her heart, Sophie finds herself immersed in a dangerous game-where the stakes are not only love . . . but life and death.

Why: Because difficult love triangles are one of my favourite plot devices. I love the angst that comes along with them. Twice Loved by LaVyrle Spencer and Midnight Honor by Marsha Canham are among some of my most favourite reads. Slightly off topic here - Do these bullshit generic titles really sell more books? I would never have even bothered picking this one up off the shelf had I not read the review online first. There are so many of these titles in the bookstores I can't even be bothered to pick them up.

Mister B. Gone - Clive Barker

Summary: Mister B. Gone marks the long-awaited return of Clive Barker, the great master of the macabre, to the classic horror story. This bone-chilling novel, in which a medieval devil speaks directly to his reader--his tone murderous one moment, seductive the next--is a never-before-published memoir allegedly penned in the year 1438. The demon has embedded himself in the very words of this tale of terror, turning the book itself into a dangerous object, laced with menace only too ready to break free and exert its power.
A brilliant and truly unsettling tour de force of the supernatural, "Mister B. Gone" escorts the reader on an intimate and revelatory journey to uncover the shocking truth of the battle between Good and Evil.

Why: I'm a long time fan of Clive Barker and the fact that his name was on this book at all was enough to make me buy it. Add to that the intriguing synopsis, a cleverly written introduction in which the book instructs me to burn it immediately, the $9.99 hardcover price tag and the way the pages were made to look yellowed and aged and feel wonderful and I didn't have a chance.

The Perils of Pleasure - Julie Ann Long

Summary:"A rescued rogue . . . "
Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.
"A captivating captor. . . "
Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist.

Why: What? Another european historical you say? Well that's what I said to myself when I was looking over my purchases before I left the store but - I read about this one on a blog post about bad girl heroines and I'd never read one before so I made a point of picking this one up. And yes another dumb generic title that I wouldn't have glanced twice at in the store.

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Summary: Barcelona, 1945—A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called "The Shadow of the Wind", by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax’s other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that "The Shadow of the Wind" is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author’s identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

Why: My doctor told me I had to read it, then the girl in the bookstore went on and on and on about it and she convinced me. I'm still not entirely sure what it's about.

Wild Heat - Bella Andre

Summary:He's a hotshot firefighter addicted to risk.
She's the sultry beauty he never saw coming.

Maya Jackson doesn’t sleep with strangers. Until the night grief sent her to the nearest bar and into the arms of the most explosive lover she’s ever had. Six months later, the dedicated arson investigator is coming face-to-face with him again. Gorgeous, grinning Logan Cain. Her biggest mistake. Now her number one suspect in a string of deadly wildfires.

Risking his life on a daily basis is what gets Logan up in the morning. As the leader of the elite Tahoe Pines Hotshot Crew, he won’t back down from a blaze—or from beautiful, lethal Maya Jackson. She may have seduced him with her tears and her passion, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before Logan lets down his guard again. But when Maya’s life is threatened, his natural-born-hero instincts kick in, and Logan vows to protect the woman sworn to bring him down. And as desire reignites, nothing—not the killer fire nor the killer hot on their trail—can douse the flames.…

Why: I have a thing for fire fighters.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Golden Leopard - Lynn Kerstan

Back cover blurb

In every adventure, there must be passion....

Lady Jessica Carville wants nothing to do with men after having her heart betrayed. Despite society's disapproval, she has found fulfillment and success as a dealer of rare antiquities for Christie's auction house in London. The last thing she needs is for the scoundrel who once cast her aside to rear his handsome head.

Despite her best efforts, Lord Hugo Duran's sudden return from India piques Jessica's curiosity--as does his tempting offer. He needs her expertise on a quest to locate a priceless artifact that is rumored to have been smuggled into England--a quest full of daring adventure, dangerous intrigue, and unbridled passion.

My Review

7/10 seems to low a score for this book but 8/10 is definitely too high I guess 7.5/10 would seem to make sense but somehow it just doesn't feel right... how about 6/10 for the first half and 8/10 for the second half.

This book was very hard to get into at first I found the first 150 pages to be relatively boring but well written enough that I didn't put the book aside. In addition to that I was not able to warm up to the heroine Jessica until the book was almost over. The hero Duran I found quite likable but he is far from being a favourite. If my first impressions of this book had continued I probably would have only given this book 6/10 but as it was the second half of the book improved tremendously. Jessica quit being such a harpy, the romance picked up and the plot moved along at a fairly nice suspenseful pace.

Some people may have an issue with the plot if they are sticklers for plausibility. For myself I'm willing to suspend my disbelief as long as it doesn't get ridiculous and even then in a well written book it still may not bother me. As such I found the plot well done and quick moving but there were a number of instances that would probably jerk someone else right out of the story.

One thing that did bother me was how quickly the heroine went from wanting nothing to do with the hero to jumping into bed with him - there was sufficient sexual tension prior to this to explain why she wanted to climb into bed with him. However, it would have been nice to be inside Jessica's head at that moment rather than Duran's to see the thought process that lead from her previous stance to the one that had her jumping him like a wildcat.

All in all aside from the less than compelling first half of the book I quite enjoyed the read and I'm looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Prairie Moon - Maggie Osborne

Back Cover Blurb

Living on a rundown farm at the edge of a small Texas town, Della Ward is haunted by the bittersweet life she once lived with an adoring husband who died too soon. Once a laughing, carefree soul, Della is now a widow with only guilty memories for company. Until the day she sees a rugged stranger riding across the prairie toward her house. His presence awakens Della’s heart, but she can never imagine the ways this man will forever change her life.

Lawman James Cameron believes in settling debts and living by honor. It may have taken him ten years to arrive at Della’s door, but he’s finally here and is determined to tell her the truth about the day her husband died. But one look at the woman whose picture he has carried with him for years and he knows that the truth may destroy them both. For Cameron will have to face the past and force Della to do the same before either of them can have a future . . . or each other.

My Review
I'm still recovering from my weekend in Vegas so I'm not sure how concise this review is going to be but here it goes.

This was my first Maggie Osborne and I really really enjoyed it.  I love angst and this story had plenty of it and not made up my ex-wife/girlfriend/lover cheated on me and now I can't love anyone angst but real honest to goodness angst. ****Minor Spoiler****** James Cameron killed Della's husband during the war and has come to make amends and deliver the letter he found in her husbands pocket.  Only 10 years later he's fallen in love with Della through her picture and can't bring himself to tell her.  I loved it.  Della was a true western heroine who is strong, independent and hard working.  James is the strong, silent western lawman that I love.  Although, he didn't talk much throughout the book every word he spoke was that much more important because of it.  

The story line mostly focused on these two getting to know one another and was a bit slow at times but I found it really worked for this story.  The ending was tied up just a touch too easily for a true angst bunny like myself but all and all this was a solid and very enjoyable read.

Rating 8/10

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Flying Away

Holy moly,

Three posts in one day!

I just want to let everyone know I'm leaving Thursday morning (and I do mean morning I have to be at the airport by 4:00 a.m.) to go to fabulous Las Vegas with my husband so I won't be posting until I get back on Monday, September 6, 2009.  I don't think I'll get a chance to post tomorrow since I'll be tying up loose ends at work, then packing and trying to get to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour.  I doubt I'll be sleeping much since I'm still like a little kid and get too excited to sleep.

Now I just have to decide what to books to bring with me...

She Walks These Hills - Sharyn McCrumb

Summary from Sharyn McCrumb's web site

She Walks These Hills: An Introduction

She Walks These Hills is the story of mountain journeys, both literal and figurative. Charlotte Pentland's passion is the first Appalachian journey: that of the mountains themselves. Through a vein of the mineral serpentine that runs from the hills of Georgia up to Nova Scotia, she hopes to trace the mountains' kinship back across the ocean following the serpentine chain to its beginning, in the mountains of western Scotland. Scholarly research in a good place to hide from an unpleasant reality: that Charlotte's father is the escaped convict, even now wandering in the Appalachians.

Historian Jeremy Cobb is backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, attempting to retrace the tragic journey of Katie Wyler, who was kidnapped by the Shawnee in 1789, and who escaped, making her way home through hundreds of miles of wilderness. Jeremy has no trail experience, but he is determined to complete his scholarly quest or die trying. He doesn't know that the spirit of Katie Wyler is still seen wandering the hills, trying to get home. Mountain wise woman Nora Bonesteel sees her every autumn "when the air is crisp, and the light is slanted, and the birds are still."

Sheriff Spencer Arrowood feels sorry for Harm, imprisoned for life for killing a hated local bureaucrat. There is even some doubt about Harm's guilt. Besides, the elderly convict has Korsakov's syndrome, a side effect of chronic alcoholism that robs its sufferers of their recent memories. To Harm, it is always 1967. As the psychiatrist tells a deputy: "You may get this fellow out of the hills, but you'll never get him out of the past. He's got nowhere to go." Harm doesn't even remember the crime. He doesn't know he's an escaped convict. For Martha Ayers, who wants the job of deputy, catching Harm Sorely would be the best way to prove her fitness for the position.

Harm, an Appalachian Don Quixote on the edge of reality, meets both Jeremy and the still-wandering Katie Wyler on his journey back to a home that isn't there any more. He is the "last moonshiner," holding the dream of an unspoiled wilderness in the fragile web of his delusions. When he goes, it will be lost forever.

My Review

I had no idea what to expect going in to the this book. Was it a mystery? historical fiction? literary fiction? ghost story? I'm still not sure how exactly you would class this book but I do know it was a great story no matter where you shelve it.

The multiple story lines and characters made it difficult to really connect with any of the characters but that really didn't matter. The writing style is very lyrical which I sometimes find distracting but it really worked with this book.

The author had a habit of leaving cliffhangers everytime the character point of view changed making this a very difficult book to put down and a very quick read.

This is a difficult review to write because it's hard to summarize exactly why I liked this book. There was so much going on and the way all the plot lines ended up tying in together was really well done. All I can say is to just try the book and you'll see what I mean.

Rating 8/10