Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crystal Passion - Jo Goodman


As you probably already know - Wendy has a weekly feature known as Random Romance Sunday where she randomly selects a romance novel and posts it up on her blog.  A week ago sunday that random romance novel was Crystal Passion by Jo Goodman.  I picked this book up at a used book store along with 8 other Jo Goodman books without even glancing at the back cover blurb - it's Jo Goodman - she's an autobuy so why would I bother.

Well last week when I saw Wendy's post and read the blurb...

When Ashley awoke from her drugged sleep, she found herself in the bedchamber of a dark-haired, steel-eyed stranger. Before she could escape, his powerful hands had pinned her to the bed--before she could scream, his lips had captured hers. Before she could explain that her guardian had tricked them both with a vile and ruthless scheme, the rapture of his searing, searching caresses drove all thought from her mind. All she could feel was hunger for his touch, thirst for his kiss, and yearning for ecstasy's endless pleasures...

Captain Salem McClellan was amused to discover that the Duke of Linfield's hospitality included a lithe young beauty to warm his bed. Tangling his fingers in her ebony hair, exploring the creamy satin of her flesh with burning lips, he felt the fire of Ashley's response beneath him. Too late, he realized her innocence and knew he could never leave her to the Duke's mercy. For he was enchanted by her fierce pride, ensnared by her rare beauty, and enthralled by the night of shimmering CRYSTAL PASSION

I couldn't believe it - this isn't the same Jo Goodman I've read and loved before it can't be!  Then I was afraid to ever read and just thought I would keep it so I would have the full collection on my shelves but then I thought No.  There is a whole pile of Jo Goodman books with ridiculous titles and over the top blurbs and if I don't read this one I'm not going to read any of them.

So I read it.


Thank God.  The blurb is way off.  That scene doesn't happen like that at all.  There are no forced seductions.  Although there is a non-consensual sex scene it is well after the scene that is noted in the blurb above and doesn't make the hero a domineering asshole (trust me on this).  I wouldn't call the prose purple - there were no turgid members to be found anywhere (although there was some sipping and laving going on).  It was kinda lavender I guess you would say - all flowery language used to get around saying what was actually happening.  It was quite boring actually and I ended up skipping most of the sex scenes.

And just to fill everyone in on the synopsis of the story since the blurb tells you a whole lot of nothing. The book takes place during the American Revolution and Salem (Jerusalem) McKlellen is a colonial captain who is in England looking to purchase one of the Duke of Linfields horses for his father. The Duke of Linfield is a seriously disturbed individual who happens to be the guardian of the heroine Ashley Lynne.  The duke is marrying her off to an impotent 80 year old man and just for his own enjoyment plans on having Ashley raped by the next man who stays at the Linfield residence.  Lucky for Ashley this is Salem and he's not interested in forced sexual encounters (despite what the blurb wants you to believe)  Anyhoo, once he realizes what a sicko the Duke is Salem decides that he wants to marry Ashley and get her away from her guardian and the two have to escape the Duke and try to make it back to America together. Oh and as a mini-spoiler there is a portion of the book where Ashley believes that Salem is her brother (although Salem is pretty certain it's a lie) and that was kinda icky for me.

I enjoyed both the hero and heroine.  The heroine was able to be naive without being TSTL and the hero was an all around great guy.  My only problem with the book was that it seemed to stall at about the half way point and never really picked back up again.  I found myself skimming over much of the last half of the book and I'm having trouble even remembering much about it other than the fact that I was ready for it to be over a good 100 pages before it was.

This was one of her first books though and I know how good she can be so I'm not going to have a problem picking up the rest of her books regardless of the ludicrous titles, cover art and blurbs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Gold Coin - Andrea Kane

This is the first book I've read for the winter 2011 challenge.

Back Cover Blurb
As children, identical cousins Anastasia and Breanna Colby swore always to protect each other. Now that Anastasia's beloved parents have died, she has come to live with Breanna...and Breanna's father, whose raging temper has locked his daughter into a life of fear. What is more, Anastasia soon realizes that her uncle is involved in a sinister scheme that places both young women in deadly danger. Fearing most of all for her cousin, Anastasia turns to the only help she can think of, the man who holds the reins to her considerable fortune-the fascinating, enigmatic Damen Lockewood, Marquess of Sheldrake.
From the moment Anastasia and Damen meet, blazing passion flares between them. But in the face of overwhelming peril-and threats on Anastasia's life-thoughts of love cannot be indulged. Not unless the mystery that entraps them is solved will they at last be able to pursue the future their feelings command them to share. But is the danger stalking them really gone?
My Thoughts
I liked somethings about the book (plot) and disliked other things (characters).   First my dislikes,
1. Identical cousins? Really?  I know their fathers were twins and their mothers sisters but to be alike enough that their parents can't even tell the two apart?  Come on.  Only a minor qiuibble I know but annoying enough to jerk me out of the story anytime it was mentioned.
2. Too perfect characters.  There were no shades of grey in this book.  You had the good guys (where you could all but see the glowing halo's over there heads) and the bad guys who you could imagine walking about in a cloud of their own toxic miasma they were so evil.
3. Romance? What romance?  Yes there was a  couple in the story but that was it.  This is the amount of time devoted to the romance. 
Anastasia: Hi, I'm Anastasia I'm incredibly smart, business minded and I won't let you boss me around.
Damen: Hi, I'm Damen.  I find your intelligence and business-sense incredibly attractive.
Anastasia: I love you.
Damen: I love you.
Breanna:  Thank God you showed up Anastasia to take this rich, charming and incredibly handsome gentleman off my hands.  Too think I almost had to marry him - the horror!  
And that's it.  Yes for awhile Anastasia had to pretend to be Breanna so Breanna's father wouldn't find out but that's it.  And there was no conflict in the relationship since they were both perfect.  How can there be?
4. Wallpaper Historical - while I don't consider my self an expert on  history by any stretch of the imagination I find it incredibly hard to believe any of the characters in this story acted true to the time period.  Viscount's and Marquieses as business men.  The girls had entirely too much freedom with zero consequences.
After all this what did I like?
The plot moved along quite well.  It was actually quite a good suspense plot although I'd consider it suspense light since you always knew what the bad guy was planning and so did the good guys so you could be pretty certain it was going to work out well for the good guys.  Even so it kept me turning the pages and was left on a bit of a cliffhanger so although I'm luke warm about the characters I'll be reading the second book.   I'm hoping to enjoy the next one a little more as Breanna didn't appear to be the "fiesty" heroine stereotype that Anastasia was.  I also hope her hero has some flaws and they have a few internal challenges to work out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter 2011 Challenge

I've joined the winter 2011 challenge in the Readers of Romance Group over at Shelfari.

This is my list.

1. Reader’s Choice - The Gold Coin by Andrea Kane
2. Reader’s Choice - Beyond the Rain - Tess Granger

3. Reader’s Choice - nothing yet
4. Read a book by an author you’ve been wanting to try, but haven’t yet - Venus by Jane Feather
5. Choose a cover with a headless model - Not Quite a Husband - Sherry Thomas
6. Read an Enemy story http://likesbooks.com/enemy.html - Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson
7. Read a book by Jill Shalvis or Nancy Warren -
8. For MLK Day: Read a Title with 'Dream' in it - The Dream Hunter - Laura Kinsale
9. A book where one of the main characters has a weird/uncommon name - The Perfect Match - Kimberly Cates
10. Read a Christmas themed book OR an author that first or last name begins with C http://likesbooks.com/christmas.html - Sea of Fire by Carol Caldwell
11. Read a book that has 2 words in the title - Sweet Release by Pamela Clare
12. Read a book by picking one off your Shelfari’s friends shelf (and list who you got it from to make it fun!) By Design by Madeline Hunter (Kristine G)
13. Read an American Indian themed book http://likesbooks.com/native.html - Tall Cheif by Dinah McCall
14. Read a book that has been on your shelf for a while (Out with the Old!) Key of Light by Nora Roberts
15. Read a book that was published in 2011 -or Dec of 2010 (In with the New!) - nothing yet

Between this challenge and the TBR 2011 challenge I should have plenty of reviews to post to my blog.  There are a few other challenges I may join as well.  It will definitely make it easier to choose which of the books in my enormous TBR pile I should read next.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 AAR Top 100 Results

Okay, so I managed to get my top 100 romances ranked into list form for AAR (although #40 - 100 are probably pretty interchangable).  Anyhoo, if my math is correct:

I've read 35 of the top 100 Romances
25 of my top 100 Romances made the list
Only 2 of my top 10 made the list (Outlander - Gabaldon and Knight in Shining Armour - Devereaux)
29 of the Top 100 are in my TBR pile
There are only 2 books I have no intention of reading on the list (On the Way to the Wedding - Quinn and Ransom - Garwood)

Here is the full list of AAR's Top 100 with my ratings/comments below.  I'm sorry if it's hard to read.  You have no idea how much time it took to figure out how to get this table into blogger without having to re-do the whole thing with HTML.

Okay - I can't get it to work properly.  It shows up in preview then disappears when I publish the post.  This may have something to do with the reason I keep dropping out of blog land.  I spend hours trying to get something set up on the blog - it doesn't work and then I don't want to look at it anymore.  Boo.

Okay so I sort-of got something to work.  Don't ask me how I managed to get the first one so easy to read and then not the rest.  I don't know and I'm not going back to do it again.  If you click on each picture it opens a little bigger.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Back Again

Who is the lonely bookworm?  If you asked me in 2009 I'd tell you to read my side blurb.  If you ask me now... she's a slacker!!!  Holy Moses - no posts since August and only a pitiful handful of posts all year.

Well - I'm back again.  It's been a busy/stressful year and I've had trouble finding time to read any of the other blogs let alone write my own.  I've filled most of my spare time with reading which is so very relaxing for me after spending so much time on the computer at work.  

But I miss writing about my books and I tried the handwritten journal but it's just not the same so I'm back and I'm going to try to post more often.  I've joined the 2011 TBR challenge so that should guarantee at least 1 post a month.  I also joined a challenge over on Shelfari and will be posting those reviews here as well so you never know maybe even two a month.

It used to be easier for me to post at work prior to my "pro"motion (you know the kind where you get more responsibility, longer hours and the same pay??) but when I was moved to my own office I got stuck with the slowest computer in existence so doing anything internet related on my lunch is beyond frustrating.

Anyhoo, onwards and upwards.  I'm going to be posting about AAR's 2010 100 Top Romances List next but I'll need sometime to compare it to my own list and already read pile.