18 December 2011

The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern, Book 3)


The best of the series so far! With the focus on Jaxom and Ruth, this book offers more character study than the previous two books. We really get to know Jaxom, and are privy to his thoughts and feelings and what makes him act the way he does. And as a result we are (at least I was) more invested in the outcome of his story.

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

04 December 2011

A Stolen Life


In case you've been in the desert without television or newspapers or radio for awhile and don't know, Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at age eleven, and kept imprisioned in a backyard for eighteen years. This is her story.

Every parent's nightmare. At times it was a difficult book to read. Jaycee Dugard is an amazing woman, who has proven what a strong individual she is as she gracefully moves forward with her life.

03 December 2011

Sweet Blessings (Love Inspired No. 295; McKaslin Clan, Series 2, Book 1)


This is the first book I've read by Jillian Hart, and after looking through my TBR pile I'm pleased to discover that I have another by her, in this same series. I enjoy most of the Love Inspired books, but some are much better than others. This is part of that some.

Amy McKaslin and her two sisters run a family diner, with plenty of cousins working for them or floating in and out of the story. One night, just before closing time, a loner, staying in the motel next door, comes in for a burger, and intervenes when the only other two customers in the diner get a little too rowdy.

Heath Murdock has been drifting from town to town and job to job, carrying an overwhelming burden of grief that he can't unload. After helping the sisters out, he accepts a job as a cook, intending to stay long enough to replenish his cash reserve before moving on to the next town.

Not a lot actually happens as we follow the characters through their day to day lives, although the two rowdy customers do come back and stir up trouble. But as the story unfolds and we slowly learn more about the circumstances that brought Heath to this point in his life, Ms. Hart takes us deep into the characters' heads and psyches. Usually a romance is a little more on the heroine's point of view, but I felt like this was really Heath's story more than Amy's. While Amy has her own issues of course, and her own tragic background, Heath is the soul who jumps out of the pages and makes you want to wrap your arms around him and tell him it will be okay.

And towards the end, I thought he'd had a breakthrough of sorts, and I set the book down to go to sleep, thinking I'd pick it up the next day and the last couple of chapters would be sweet and lead to that HEA. I did not expect to pick it up again and suddenly be on an emotional roller coaster that literally made me cry.

A very well done character study. I will definitely seek out more of this author, and particularly this series.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)

28 November 2011

Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern, Book 2)


I enjoyed this one much more than the first one. Again, it was a little slow for me, getting into it, but once I did, wow! I felt a little more connected with Brecke and F'nor than I had with Lessa and F'lar in the first book and I think the author let us in on their feelings a little more than she had in the first book. Yes, I know this is a science fiction book, but I still want a love story and an HEA, and the author delivered one here. There were a couple of scenes that were much more emotional to me - I even teared up once.

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

25 November 2011



I finished this a couple of days ago, but with Thanksgiving this week I haven't been online much. It was enjoyable for the most part, and I like the author's breezy writing style. I don't know that I would want to vacation at Austenland myself, it seemed like the majority of the time spent there would have been incredibly boring.

Jane Hayes is an American who has had a succession of disappointing relationships. She secretly yearns for a Mr. Darcy, and no man she meets ever lives up to that ideal. When an elderly relative passes away, she leaves Jane a paid vacation at Austenland, an immersion experience where women live out their Austen fantasies. Jane isn't totally thrilled at the idea, but then decides that this may be the perfect opportunity to get her Darcy fixation out of her system and then find a "realistic" man. 

Other guests at Austenland include Miss Charming, who cracked me up, the way she tried to talk like an Englishwoman, with her "what-whats" and such. The gentlemen seemed a little boring, though Mr. Nobley, the most Darcy-like, piques Jane's interest while annoying her at the same time. Then Jane meets Martin the gardener, a breath of fresh air, not to mention exciting as, being a servant, he is not supposed to speak to or interact with the guests. I think if I were Jane I'd have found myself drawn to him as well. 

The ending was a little unexpected to me, and while the scene at the airport was amusing, I would have liked it to end a little differently...this is a little spoilery so stop here if you don't like that...

I would have liked to see Jane get on the plane and go home, leaving both Martin and Mr. Nobley behind, to start the rest of her life fresh with the possibility of meeting a new man who she can better appreciate now that she's gotten enough Austen and Darcy to last her awhile.

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

18 November 2011

Code of Honor (Love Inspired Suspense No. 143; Secret Agent #3)


Selena is a nurse, who works in a clinic for low-income/poor families, and has currently been in Argentina helping to run a clinic there. When the clinic is attacked and many of the staff, along with villagers, are killed, she makes a desperate phone call to her long time friend, Brice, who flies in and whisks her safely back to Georgia.

Brice and Selena met in college, and a romance might have happened, but Brice was eager to join CHAIM, a covert Christian agency that protects and helps Christians in need. Being a part of CHAIM, of which Selena's father is also a part of, means a relationship is off limits. So they have been the best of friends since then.

Now they're thrown together as Selena's father places Brice in charge of protecting her while he's out of town, as it becomes clear that her life is in danger.

I had a few issues with the story that sort of got in the way of my enjoying it. Selena and Brice have been close friends since college, yet she keeps secrets from him that put her life at risk. She has suspicions about the raid in Argentina and what the attackers were after. But she keeps her thoughts to herself and leaves Brice in the dark. Diego, who went to Argentina with her, was killed in the attack, and Brice wonders if Selena were in love with him. We never really learn the nature of her relationship with Diego, we never know if they were just friends or romantically involved.

I knew long before the book ended who the bad guy was, but it took Selena much longer to figure out, though Brice wondered. Although Brice was actually suspicious of everybody.

Part of it may be that missionary/drug cartel/guerrillas plot lines just don't appeal to me, so even without my issues with the characters I may not have loved the book.

I guess basically this was a decent, fairly enjoyable read, but nothing particualrly memorable for me.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)

13 November 2011

Stakes & Stilettos (Immortality Bites, Book 4)


With this entry in the series, we're back with Sarah Dearly and her master vampire boyfriend, Thierry (and in this one I finally found out how to prounounce his name properly when he enuciated it for someone who said it wrong - note to author, you could have done that in the first book!).

As we know from Sarah's previous book, she has been looking forward to going to her home town to attend her high school reunion. But at the reunion, she is confronted by a former classmate, who she doesn't remember but who she apparently treated badly. The classmate is now a witch, and she curses Sarah to be a nightwalker - an ancient race of vampires who could not go out in the sun without burning up, and who crave blood and kill to get it.

As with the first two books, the story is narrated by Sarah, but there are a few "Interludes", told in third person from Thierry's point of view, which give us some backstory on his life. I kind of wish there had been more of these throughout the book.

This was a very enjoyable read, with several plot twists and turns, and without wrapping up the nightwalker curse plot, which will continue in the fifth and final book. I have really loved this series and definitely reccomend it to fans of this genre.

(Purchased at Half Price Books.)

09 November 2011

Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter, Book 2)



Our hero this time around is Talon, who appeared as a secondary character in the previous book, Night Pleasures. I wasn’t sure what I thought of him at that time, but I really liked him from the beginning of this book. Talon had a horrible childhood, but grew up to marry Nynia, the love of his life. But everyone he loved was murdered, his mother, aunt and uncle, his wife. He was betrayed by his cousin, and then his sister was murdered in front of him, just before he himself was also slain. Artemis then made him a Dark-Hunter. He was also cursed by a god, so that anyone he loves will die. So he has buried all feelings deep inside, and just does his job, has the occasional one night stand with a woman, then goes back to his home in the swamp, alone.

Sunshine is an artist, married and divorced young, who lives above her parents bar, and is not interested in another relationship right now. She’s a little unconventional (her whole family is), a little forgetful, a health food nut, and is friends with Selena, having a booth near hers where she sells her artwork.  Once she and Talon meet, they are irresistibly drawn to each other, even though neither wants a commitment.

I liked Sunshine, but I’m not into reincarnation, and I didn't particularly care for the idea that she was Talon’s wife, Nynia, reincarnated. I can understand how that plot line couldn’t really be removed though, as it would change too much of the story. Once Sunshine recovers her memories of being Nynia, she worries that Talon doesn’t love her as much as he loved Nynia, or that he doesn’t love her for herself because he is still so devastated over having lost Nynia. And then the whole thing with her grandmother, which just totally came out of left field to me and brought home the fact that Talon and Sunshine were fated to be together but also made me feel fate had been manipulated a little…

With Mardi Gras approaching, Acheron has brought in reinforcements as Daimon activity will increase, so we meet Valerius, who has ties to Talon from before they were Dark-Hunters, and the cold-hearted Zarek, who had been banished to Alaska until he was called in to help out here. Zarek was a very interesting case, and I hope that he will have his own book at some point in the series.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book, and am eager for the next one to be in my hands.

(Received through BookCrossing.)

04 November 2011

The Prodigal Patriot


First line: Today was a glorious day to be outside, Sally Reid decided as she went about her morning chores.

Publisher's Synopsis:  Sally Reid's family decides on a dangerous course when the Tories of Maple Notch, Vermont, chase Patriot families from their land. They make  a home in a secluded cave nearby and farm their land by moonlight, working hard and waiting for the day when they can safely return home.

When Josiah Tuttle discovers their secret and offers to help, Sally doesn't know if she can trust him. After all, Josiah's father is one of the Tories who forced her family into hiding.

The Tuttles have already lost one son to the hated Patriot cause. How can Josiah both honor his grieving father and protect the woman he loves? When called upon to take a stand, which side will he choose? How can Sally and Josiah battle through the barriers separating them from love and forgiveness?

It took me a bit to get interested in this story. Sally is a sweet enough heroine, living with her parents, two brothers and a young sister in 1777 Vermont. Josiah and his brother and parents are neighbors and friends, for as long as Sally can remember. But the community is in unrest as loyalties are divided between the king and independence, and Sally's and Josiah's families are on opposite sides.

Then tragedy strikes both families, taking a son from one and a father from the other, as tensions escalate. Sally, her pregnant mother, and her two youngest siblings are forced to abandon their home after being threatened by the Tories. But they are determined not to abandon their land, and make a home in a nearby cave, hiding out by day, working their land in the evenings before the moon is too bright for them to be easily seen.

While the first two-thirds of the story move along slowly, the last third suddenly caught fire and became a page turner. I won't say exactly why as I don't want to be spoilery...but in the end it was a pretty gripping read.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)

30 October 2011

Dragonflight (The Dragnriders of Pern, Book 1)


It took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did I was pretty engrossed. I can tell I have been reading way too many romance novels lately, however, as I kept expecting more development of feelings and eventual declarations of love between the two main characters! As with much SF, I don't care for some of the names of the characters and palces. Names like N'ton and R'gul, where the pronunciation doesn't just flow off the tongue. Regardless, it was an enjoyable nostalgic read for me as I loved this series when I was in my twenties or so, and I look forward to continuing with it.

(Received through BookCrossing.)

28 October 2011

Small-Town Brides


This is the second Love Inspired collaboration I've read from these two authors, the first being "Small-Town Moms", and I enjoyed it much more than the first one. The book contains A Dry Creek Wedding, by Tronstad, and A Mule Hollow Match, by Clopton. Typical Love Inspired fare, but during both novellas I actually laughed out loud at times. In Tronstad's story, Rene and a young pregnant girl start making a list of what qualities a husband should have, while tow truck driver Clay listens bemusedly, tossing his two cents in at one point. The whole scene just cracked me up. Then in Clopton's story, Paisley has an amusing exchange with a store cashier who thinks she and Trace are having a lover's spat, and while musing aloud about what a good-looking man Paisley has, then commenting about how most of the lookers are jerks.

I think I'm really starting to get hooked on Love Inspired, which is bad because there are a million of them and I already have too many books to read as it is.  Oh well....

(Purchased at a library book sale.)

23 October 2011

Double Take


I didn't realize Love Inspired had a Suspense line until I picked up this book. I'd never heard of the author. And now I'm disappointed to learn that she only has one other book out, and it's not another romantic suspense. Cuz I really enjoyed this book. A very cleverly plotted mystery that keeps you on edge.

Cole Leighton, on vacation visiting his cousin in Atlanta, boards a bus one day, and opens the mystery novel he is reading. Minutes later, he watches as the events of the book seem to be unfolding before his very eyes.

Kenzie Jacobs' car wouldn't start, so she catches a bus one day, and finds herself taken hostage by armed robbers.

Cole can't bring himself to believe it's just a coincidence, and even though the local police not only don't take his theory seriously - that the kidnappers are acting out the novel - but now consider him a suspect, he is determined to find the missing woman and rescue her.

There are lots of twists and turns along the way. In a lot of suspense stories, the women who are in danger seem to cope very well. Better than I sometimes think I would cope in their place. Kenzie is terrified, drawn to Cole but not sure if she can trust him, and she often gives in to moments of panic. To me she seemed like a very realistic and human, er, person. If that makes sense. She and Cole both have issues in their past that still haunt them, and he is a reluctant hero, who often thinks he should just let the police do their job and go back home to Texas. But he just can't bring himself to abandon Kenzie, even when she makes it clear she doesn't want him around.

All in all, a very gripping and tense story.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)

20 October 2011

Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunters, Book 1)


OK, this is officially my new favorite series. Even though I've only read the first book so far. But first I read Fantasy Lover, which according to Fantastic Fiction was the inspiration for the series. It looks like there are around 20 books in the series, so I am really looking forward to being in this world!

Night Pleasures is the story of Kyrian of Thrace, a Dark-Hunter, who wakes up one day to find himself handcuffed to a human, Amanda Devereaux. While she comes from a large family who are all involved in the supernatural, she hates that side of her and has repressed her psychic abilities, insisting that she has no powers. She, of course, is horrified to wake up in an unknown place with this strange man next to her. Turns out one of Kyrian's enemies, Desiderious, has mistaken her for her sister Tabitha, who hunts vampires, and he put them together, expecting that Tabitha would kill Kyrian, a vampire.

Kyrian is not an evil vampire – in fact, he's not anything like what we've heard about vampires, as in this world the mythology has been gotten all wrong by us humans. As a Dark-Hunter, he's sworn to protect humans from Daimons, demons who live less than thirty years unless they take humans' souls.

So now the two must find a way to get rid of the mystical handcuffs, protect Amanda's sister, and kill Desiderious, all while fighting their attraction to each other.

It's a very involved and complicated world Ms. Kenyon has created, and I was sucked in very quickly. The characters are very well drawn and fleshed out. Ms. Kenyon obviously has a great sense of humor and her characters often banter back and forth in a delightful manner. But we are also privy to their anguish and soul searching, and become very vested (at least I do!) in their lives.

I've seen this author's name around a lot, and her books around a lot, and I'm now kicking myself for having not read anything by her before now. Her entire back list is now on my wish list!

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

15 October 2011

Lady & The Vamp (Immortality Bites, Book 3)


I did not realize until I sat down to read this book that it was not about Sarah and Thierry, from the first two books! In those books, Quinn was a secondary character, a vampire hunter who tried to kill Sarah. He was later bitten by a vampire, but left to die an agonizing death - vampire venom slowly kills the victim unless the victim is given vampire blood to drink, thus turning him or her into a vampire also. Sarah, who was still a "fledgling" herself, dragged him to Thierry, who reluctantly fed him and saved his life. After that, Quinn was in love with Sarah.

Now, to nurse his broken heart and get away, Quinn has offered to drive werewolf Barkley from Toronto to Arizona to join his former pack. He has an ulterior motive, he's found a letter from an old family friend with instructions on obtaining an artifact called the Eye. The holder of the Eye is granted one wish, and Quinn, hating being a vampire and convinced he is now a monster, intends to wish to be human again.
In the meantime, Janie, another secondary character from the previous book, a merc who works for a mysterious man known only as the Boss, has been given instructions to travel to Arizona, with her partner Lenny, and bring the Eye back to the Boss. She doesn't know what the Eye does, and doesn't care, she is just doing her job. Plus the Boss has informed her he knows where her long lost sister is, and will torture said sister if Janie fails in her mission.

I was kept guessing right up until the end as to whether or not Quinn and Janie would be together, or whether their story would continue on to the next book. I mean, literally until the last three or four pages I was on edge wondering.

I do think I liked the two previous books a tad more than this one, but that was only due to the fact that I loved the characters of Sarah and Thierry, and was disappointed at first to have left them behind. However, I'm really enjoying this series, and Michelle Rowen's writing. It's breezy and funny and amusing and yet serious and touching at the same time. The characters are well written and we get good looks into their psyche and what makes them do the things they do and feel the way they feel.

One minor issue I did have with the book - Quinn is described as having dark blond hair. That guy pictured on the cover definitely does not have blond hair, dark or otherwise. I mentioned this in a tweet, and the author told me if I wanted to see him the way he looked in her head while writing the book, to picture Jensen Ackles. Sweet! (And a reason I love Twitter!)

(I purchased this book from Amazon.)

09 October 2011

Late Bloomer


A couple of weekends ago I went to a book sale at my local library with my mom and sister. We went on bag day, where you pay $5 for a paper sack and cram in as many books as you can. My mom bought three bags, and stuffed a few books into my bags as they wouldn't all quite fit in her bags. Later, while going through my bags, I discovered this book that must have been one of hers. I'm seeing her in a couple of days and will give it back to her then, but this morning I decided to read it first.

I am so incredibly glad I made that decision, because I absolutely loved this emotional roller coaster ride of a book. Here's the synopsis from the back cover:

Twenty years after a childhood accident left a permanent shadow over her life, Cady Jordan has returned to her Pennsylvania hometown. Her beloved grandmother Lola, a retired movie star, needs Cady's care -- but soon after arriving at Lola's lavish estate, it's clear that the colorful actress will be Cady's mentor to living life to the fullest. Cady wants nothing more than to come out of her shell, but to do so means resurrecting her lost memories of the day when a foolish stunt ended with a young bully's death and Cady's serious injury -- a tragedy for which her friends held Cady responsible. They're adults now -- a lawyer, a businessman, a stay-at-home mom. And a police chief: Boomer Ward, whose flaring attraction works on Cady's guarded heart. Now, Cady must determine who can be trusted as she draws closer to Boomer and confronts those who wish she'd never returned. Old wounds may be healed, but can Cady close a door on her heartache and embrace a bright new life?

Cady is a lost soul. Her grandmother and the two companions who live with her are characters. You know those old screwball comedies, where funny incident after funny incident happens one after another? There are many scenes in this book that remind of those. As Cady settles into her grandmother's home and begins making contact with her old friends, bits and pieces of her memory come back, and secrets are revealed. The accident is played out for us in the prologue, but throughout the book we are taken into the minds of  Cady, Boomer, and the other three children who were there, and how it affected each of them as they grew up.

I read this book in one day. I literally did not want to put it down. I don't know how I've not read this author before, but she has a long backlist, so there's about 90 more books to add to my already extensive wish list.

Fanged & Fabulous (Immortality Bites, Book 2)


First lines: Jogging is great exercise. Running for your life - even better.

Michelle Rowen is my new favorite author. In this second entry in the Immortality Bites series, Sarah discovers that thanks to the incident at the club at the end of the first book, she now is known as the Slayer of Slayers, with an undeserved reputation that causes her to be feared by some of her would be enemies. Throughout the book she frets about the hunters and Thierry who has not had sex with her since their vacation in Mexico two weeks ago, and her best friend being married to Barry who she can't stand, and Quinn coming back...and it's all quite enjoyable and humorous. And I wasn't sure how things would be left off with Thierry at the end of the book. And I'm quite eager to get to the third book.

(I purchased this book used from Amazon.com.)

03 October 2011

Dead and Dateless (Dead End Dating, Book 2)


First line: "I need a man."

After reading the first book in this series, I was a little on the fence about it. Lil, the heroine, was a little too fashion obsessed and self-obsessed, constantly reminding us that born vamps, herself included, are all ultra sexy and desirable...and there was a plot line in the middle of the book that just did not sit well with me and made no sense to me. But I was very enamored of Ty the bounty hunter.

In this second book, Lil is happily working away at her dating service when the cops suddenly bust in and arrest her for murder, claiming she chopped a man up. Using her vamp strength she is able to escape and goes on the lam. After a good (or actually bad) 24 hours of trying to hide out on her own, she finally calls Ty the bounty hunter, who she is very attracted to but doesn't want to be attracted to because he's a made vamp, not a born vamp. Made vamps can't procreate, so made and born do not get together. Anyway, Ty takes her in and assures her he believes she's innocent and they'll figure it out.

Lil is still too fashion obsessed and self-obsessed, and knowing the police are looking for her and there is a bounty on her head you'd think she'd be more careful, but she insists on running around doing what she wants to do, which puts both her and Ty in even more danger. So I was a little frustrated with her throughout the book. But I'm still quite enamored of Ty, and I did enjoy this book more than the first one.

(I purchased this book at a USB.)

22 September 2011

Africa In My Blood

An Autobiography In Letters - The Early Years


From the Introduction: A romantic and very young Englishwoman arrived in British colonial Africa in early April 1957 and soon, quite possibly in her first letter home, wrote the astonishingly dramatic, precocious, and prophetic words "I am living in the Africa I have always longed for, always felt stirring in my blood."

This book is made up completely of letters written by Jane Goodall to family, friends and colleagues, starting in1942, when she was seven years old, and ending in 1966.

I recently read In The Shadow of Man, and many incidents from that book are recounted in Jane's letters, though from a slightly different perspective, as that book was the result of her research, and this one is her own bubbly personality relating incidents to her family and friends. For the most part this was a fascinating read, though I was a bit bored by the early years, until Jane had grown up and was off working and eagerly getting ready for adventure. She seems like she would have been a very fun person to know.

(I purchased this book at Half Price Books.)

16 September 2011

His Little Cowgirl


Love Inspired No. 466; The Cowboy Series No. 1

The first book I've read by this author, it was an enjoyable story, though it seemed to drag out just a little too long. Bailey has been raising her daughter as a single mother, with her father's help, for five years. Her father is ill and unable to work, and life is a struggle as she tries to keep up the mortgage payment and keep their heads above water. One day Cody Jacobs shows up on her doorstep, the father of her daughter who he doesn't know exists. Working his way through the AA 12 step program, the pro bull rider has stopped by to apologize to Bailey for the way he treated her six years ago, and then head off to the next meet. Then he sees little Meg, and suddenly he doesn't want to leave.

A story about love and redemption and forgiveness. The gossip and shame and guilt Bailey suffered as a young unmarried pregnant girl seemed a little quaint in this day and age, but then she does live in a small town.

I'll admit I teared up a time or to while reading this.

(Purchased at a library book sale.)

12 September 2011

Song of the Waves (Harlequin Presents No. 209)


I think this is the first one I've read by this particular author. I enjoyed it, I absolutely love these older Harlequins. In this story, our heroine, Wendy, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and no surgeon will operate as the risks are too great. So on her doctor's advice she sells her home and embarks on a four month around the world cruise, where of course, despite her intentions, she falls in love. At times it was laughably melodramatic (especially when she thought the end had come and she was dying that very minute), but Wendy was a sweet, likeable young girl, and despite her illness we, the reader, are never really in any doubt as to whether she will survive.

(Purchased at a library book sale.)

10 September 2011

Dead End Dating (Dead End Dating Book 1)


First line: For those of you who don't already know me, my name is the Countess Lilliana Arabella Guinevere du Marchette (yeah, I know), but my friends call me Lil.

A quick read, that was enjoyable for the most part. The author puts her own spin on vamp mythology, with two classes of vamps, born vamps, and made vamps, who do not intermarry. Born vamps can have children with their eternal mate, and when choosing a mate they don't consider love or feelings. A female looks for a mate with a high fertility rating, and a male looks for a mate with a high OQ - orgasm quotient - as the more orgasms she can have in a single session of love making, the more eggs she can produce and the higher her chances of conceiving. Made vamps are unable to procreate.

Lil Marchette is a born vamp, who is also a romantic. She has started a matchmaking service, catering to both vamps and humans. She would like to find an eternity mate for herself, but she also wants someone she can actually love. Her mother is constantly trying to set her up and get her to settle down. One of Lil's first big clients is Francis, a geeky born vamp who blushes whenever a woman talks to him. If she can make him over and find him a mate, then her business should surely take off.

In the meantime, she meets Ty Bonner, a bounty hunter who is after a serial kidnapper. Ty comes to her office to warn her to be on the lookout as the kidnapper may be meeting his victims through dating services. Ty is a made vamp, and Lil is surprised and dismayed at how attracted she is to him, and keeps reminding herself that born and made do not get together and it would never work.

The story and the dialogue were enjoyable, though Lil is a little too on the chick lit side, being overly obssessed with fashion and clothing and such. Her assistant is a human who knows nothing about Lil's vamp side, and it was a little hard to believe that she never wondered about her nocturnal boss.  Ty was a great character, but was around way too little, though I gather he'll be in future books in the series. He seems attracted to Lil also, and hopefully something will come of that, despite Lil's reservations.

Where the book turned sour for me was during Francis' transformation. Lil has fixed his wardrobe and messed with his hair, but she isn't satisfied with him. So she takes him to her parents' next door neighbor, a werewolf, and talks her into keeping him for the weekend. I never really understood the point of that exercise, how spending the weekend with werewolves was going to make Francis more confident, and when Lil picks him up Sunday night he seems to be a quivering mess who no longer blushes - because they overly spray tanned him - who can't stop blinking.

I have the second book in the series so I'll read it, but I'm not really sure yet how eager I'll be to continue after that.

(I purchased this book at a USB in April 2010.)

05 September 2011

Oregon! (Wagons West, Book Four)


So far my favorite book in the series, and I liked it so much that I'm now eager to get to the next book. It was a little slow going at first, but once the wagon train actually reached Oregon and began to stake their claims and interact with the British settlement across the river, it picked up very quickly. There are many characters, but as the books go along their personalities seem to be evolving more and they're becoming more memorable, which makes me more vested in them. Whip Holt is still one of the more prominent characters, along with Lee Blake and their respective wives. We also meet a few Russians who join with the settlers, British officers - some sympathetic to the Americans, some who want them to leave, and some traiters. What would history be without a few of those?

(Received through PBS.)

26 August 2011

Class Action


The story opens with Gillian standing before a judge for sentencing after having been arrested for staging a protest. The presiding judge is her godfather. Her father is also a judge, and Thomas "Hawk" Carter, the attorney who will be supervising her probation and thinks she is a spoiled little rich girl, is in his pocket. Gillian knows that the three of them have conspired together to decide her community service assignment, to teach a computer class at an Iroquois reservation, which is far enough from home that she will have to live there.

However, as she and Hawk get to know each other better while she's working on the reservation, they both begin to realize they may have misjudged each other. Gillian is a spunky and defiant heroine, who often said things that made me laugh.

This was a quick light read that I was almost sorry to finish.

(Received through BookCrossing.)

25 August 2011

Mini Reviews

The Ex Files, by Jane Moore

In the first little "chapter", I was thinking "hmm, I really like the author's style and her humor, I'm gonna really enjoy this". Then I began to get confused as all these different characters were introduced and began to intermingle. But in the end I did get caught up in it. And while the ending was a bit predictable, the journey there was still enjoyable.  (Received through BookCrossing.com and read in January 2008.)

Size 12 Is Not Fat (Heather Wells, Book 1), by Meg Cabot

I enjoyed it! Meg Cabot is always great. At first I wasn't sure about this one. Even though this book is written for adults rather than teenagers, it still read like a teen book, but with more grown up language and sexual references. For some reason that kind of bothered me in the beginning. But once I got past that, I really enjoyed it. I was disapointed not to have a resolution with Cooper, but then remembered that it is the first book in a series, so of course that storyline will probably be played out further in the next book, which I defintely want to read. (Receieved through BookCrossing and read in February 2008.)

Scot On The Rocks, by Brenda Janowitz

I really enjoyed this book! A very amusing story, told by Brooke, of how her boyfriend, Douglas, dumped her just a couple of weeks before her ex-boyfriend's wedding. Too embarrased to go to the wedding alone or to let the ex know she'd been dumped, she talks her friend Jack into posing as Douglas and going with her. Of course everything isn't smooth sailing. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. (Don't remember where I got this book, but read it in April 2008.)

Santa, Baby, by Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, and Carly Phillips

The Crusie story, Hot Toy, was very good, funny and exciting, typical Crusie! The Foster story, Christmas Bonus, while I enjoyed it and all, was much more about sex than story. And the Phillips story, Naughty Under the Mistletoe, fell somewhere between them! (Do not remember where I got this book; read it in January 2008.)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor

This is a really good, tense at times, story. How scary to live in those times if you were not white. And how ashamed of my white ancestors I feel. (Purchased at Waldenbooks and read in March 2008.)

Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 9), by Laurell K. Hamilton

I really liked this entry in the series. Edward has always been my favorite character (besides Anita of course), and I'd missed him in the recent books, so I was glad to see he had such a huge role in this one. In this book, Edward calls in his favor from Anita and she travels to Arizona to assist him in investigating a series of mutilation murders. We get some insight into Edward's character and a glimpse at his long-buried human side! Jean-Claude only makes one brief appearance in this book, and Richard doesn't appear at all other than in conversation. And quite frankly, I did not miss either one of them! Terrible, I know, since Jean-Claude especially is such a central character, but I've never much cared for him or their relationship. In Arizona, Anita meets another of Edward's occasional back-ups, Olaf, who is a cold-blooded serial murderer who starts out hating Anita but comes to respect her in a creepy way, and I suspect that he will show up later in the series as well. An interesting character. (Received through PBS and read in 2008.)

Nebraska! (Wagons West, Book 2), by Dana Fuller Ross

It took me a little bit to get into this one, but once I did I got very caught up in it. So much so, in fact, that when I read the last page I was taken by surprise. The ending was quite abrupt, and unlike the first book, seemed to just stop in the middle of one of the plots. In this book the wagon train travels across Nebraska on their way to Oregon, and I guess I just figured the book would end when they reached Oregon. But of course, between Nebraska and Oregon they still have to travel through Wyoming and Idaho, duh. (Received through Book Mooch and read in November 2008.)

Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, by Marian Keyes

 Like all of Marian Keyes' books, this was wonderful. At first I wasn't sure I'd like it as much as her others. Lucy is a very likeable character, but her flippant attitude towards drinking, work, men and drugs kinda bugged me. And then I thought to myself, jeez, I must be getting old. Then Gus came along, and while he was so very funny, I also felt that he would get very annoying after awhile. In the end though, it all came together for me, and had a very satisfying conclusion. (Received through BookCrossing and read in January 2008.)

The Highland Wife, by Lyn Stone

Enjoyable story. Lowlander travels to Highlands to take a bride, thinking that her father has told her he is deaf. When he discovers that she is not aware of his "affliction", he decides to hide it from her until he has her home, so that she will see how well he's done and that he is still worthy. She of course figures out his secret but doesn't let on that she knows...  (Purchased at a library book sale and read in May 2008.)

23 August 2011

Family Practice


Harlequin Superromance No. 844

Dr. Michael Forsythe and his wife Polly have lost their nine year old daughter to an incurable disease, and in the aftermath of their grief they forget how to communicate with each other and drift apart. Michael keeps himself busy working as much as possible and not thinking about their daughter, while Polly thinks about her constantly and wants to talk about her and share memories of her. Then they find themselves looking after a four year old while her father is in the hospital. Michael enjoys the child, but Polly is ashamed that she cannot bring herself to actually like this child.

This is a longer Harlequin, being a Superromance, and for the most part I just found it long and depressing. Happy ending of course, but it took forever to get to it.

(I received this book from a BookCrossing member.)

22 August 2011

The Man That Got Away


Harlequin Intrigue

I did not know when I picked up this book and started reading that it was going to be a time travel romance. There was no indication anywhere in the back cover copy or anywhere else of that. So I was pleasantly surprised, as I am a fan of time travel stories.

Dana Smith was shot outside an office building five years ago, and has had amnesia ever since. Nobody ever identified her, and she's accepted that her past will always be a mystery and has settled into life as an assistant film director. But lately she's been having strange dreams, where she's a woman in the 1930's. And one night, she suddenly finds herself in the 1930's, where Gabe O'Shaunessy mistakes her for Dana Torrence, a young woman he saw shot outside that very same building, but who's body had disappeared before he could get to her.

As Dana and Gabe finds themselves being targeted by gangsters and on the run for their lives, the mystery of what happened to Dana Torrence begins to unravel as Dana Smith's memories slowly begin returning.

An enjoyable romance, with a mystery at it's core which I was unable to figure out right up to the end.

(I received this book through BookCrossing in August 2010.)

20 August 2011

No Gentle Persuasion


When I started this book I was hooked within the first 10 pages. On a Friday afternoon Lauren Devlin is impatiently waiting for her father to come out of a meeting at work so they can go to lunch. The executive he is meeting with finally leaves, and dad reveals to his daughter and his secretary - who is also his girlfriend - that he "borrowed" money from his company to make an investment. He intended to replace the money when the investment came through, but Nick Brent, one of the company directors, discovered the discrepancy. Now Lauren's father has until Monday, at which time Nick will inform the other directors, and the police will be called in.

Devastated for her father, and determined that he not go jail for his mistake, Lauren chases after Nick, and tells him she is "prepared to do anything you want to get my father off the hook".  Nick takes her up on her offer, though what he wants is more than she anticipated - he is about to go to Italy on business, and he demands she accompany him.

As the story progressed, I was a little irritated at Lauren's attitude. She is determined that Nick will never enjoy being with her, and she fights her attraction to him. Yes, it is despicable for a man to agree to have sex with a woman to keep her father from going to jail. But I kept thinking, you made the offer, you put yourself in this position. In a way, I felt she wasn't truly holding up her end of the bargain with her attitude. But then, she, of course, was a virgin, so what did she know?

Once in Rome, the story suddenly took a turn, and things weren't quite what they'd seemed on the surface, as Lauren slowly discovered Nick's own reasons for wanting her with him. I didn't particularly like the plot twist, and from that point on was less enchanted, up until the satisfying ending.

So I loved the first half of the book, which is enough incentive for me to read more from this author.

(I really hate the picture on the cover. Lauren almost looks like a man in drag. And what is wrong with Nick's hand? It look about 50 years older than the rest of him.)

(I don't remember where I got this book, but first registered it at BookCrossing in November 2007, so it had been in my TBR pile awhile.)

13 August 2011

Fantasy Lover


First line of Chapter 1: “Honey, you need to get laid.”

Publisher's Synopsis: It might sound like a man's favorite fantasy – to live forever, destined to be the lover of thousands of women. But for Julian of Macedon, it's a nightmare. Once he was a proud Spartan general, now he's a love-slave, his essence magically held captive in a book, cursed to spend all eternity pleasing women. Then, one day, Grace Alexander summons Julian to fulfill her passionate dreams – and sees beyond the fantasy to the man himself.

Long years as a sex therapist, listening to other people's bedroom problems, has taken a lot of the fun out of the physical side of love for Grace. She's remarkably understanding about Julian's situation – and that's disconcerting for all concerned. With or without sex, the rules of the enchantment cannot be changed. Julian is hers for the next month. And, as their time together slips by, Julian and Grace find more to share than sympathy and conversation – and they begin to wonder if love might be within their grasp. That leaves only one question. Is love enough to break a 2,000-year-old curse?

I've heard a lot about Sherrilyn Kenyon over the years, and I even follow her on Twitter, but until now I had not read any of her books. The premise for the Dark Hunter series was very intriguing – to quote from Ms. Kenyon's website: “ancient warriors with attitudes who fight rough, and play hard”. Sounds pretty irresistible, right?

So I went into Fantasy Lover with high hopes, and they were definitely met. Grace Alexander is a very likable heroine, and Julian of Macedon is the picture of the brooding, tortured-soul hero. Ms. Kenyon lets us into their heads, and we get to know them both very well, gaining an understanding of what drives each of them, and knowing of course that they desperately need each other, whether they believe so or not. None of the secondary characters are nearly as fleshed out as Grace and Julian, but since the bulk of the story is told between the two of them, alone with each other, it didn't really matter. There are lots of steamy scenes, several doses of humor, and a couple of eye-welling incidents. The solution to break the curse made me skeptical, which is kind of funny when you think about, as if everything else that happens is completely believable in the real world. But how exactly the whole story would end was a little twisty/turny and not a pat resolution of the kind you see coming from a mile away.

I think the back cover copy is a little misleading, in that Grace did not actually willingly summon Julian “to fulfill her passionate dreams” - her best friend wanted to summon Julian for her and Grace grudgingly went along with it, never actually expecting the summoning spell to work. And when it did, she was not a happy camper about it. Also, I did not get the impression that her years as a sex therapist, listening to other people's problems, really had anything to do with the state of her own love life. The man she gave her virginity to obviously was the root of her problems.

My only quibble was that Grace's best friend is introduced as, and referred to in the narrative, as Selena, yet Grace always calls her Lanie. Nickname? Childhood name? Real name and Selena is her stage name? No explanation was ever given for that, unless I just totally missed it.

Overall, a very enjoyable read, a new premise for me, a different type of hero, and a series I very much look forward to continuing with.

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

09 August 2011

Ruthless Boss, Royal Mistress

Harlequin Presents #2883; The Royal House of Karedes


Enjoyable book that I read in one evening, while kids were both at work and a storm was brewing outside. The princess sub-genre doesn't really appeal to me as much as other heroines do in these serial romances, but the hotel boss hero was definitely right up my alley.

Apparently this is the 47th or something in a series, "The Royal House of Karedes", and normally I read series in order, except this type, where the books are written by different authors. There were a few mentions of characters who I suspect were the hero/heroines of previous books, but I'm not intrigued enough to go back and search them out.

Princess Lissa Karedes is described on the back cover copy as a "renowned posh party girl", and indeed, she does like to spend all her evenings dancing the night away at clubs. Her brother has cut off her money however, and shipped her off to Australia to work as a secretary for James Black, who gives her the job as a favor to his friend. She's horrible at secretarial work, and James is determined not to treat her special just because she's a princess, while she is equally determined to master the job and prove she can handle it. They are drawn to each other of course, but he's been hurt before by a social butterfly, and they both fight the attraction.

There were some pretty well-written and steamy scenes ("She wanted to sit on him, not next to him."), and both Lissa and James were fully fleshed out characters that I felt like I really got to know. So overall, I quite liked it.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)

08 August 2011

How To Make An American Quilt


After reading the prologue, I thought this was going to be a quick, easy and enjoyable read. I thought wrong.

The prologue is written in first person narrative, by Finn, and quite honestly, I can't even remember now anything she said to us, the reader. The first chapter is titled "Instructions No. 1", and is written directly to the reader, detailing what you need to begin a quilt. Then the next chapter begins the story of two sisters. After that, the chapters alternate, between a set of instructions for a particular type of quilt, veering off into other subjects at times, and the story of another character's life. The characters lives intertwine at times, though sometimes I didn't even realize, for instance, that this person I was reading about was the best friend of the person I read about earlier until halfway through her chapter.  None of the characters were memorable enough for me to keep up with them, and at one point I almost just put the book down. Almost. I did finish it though, and the last story was actually the best one.

But I still feel a little bewildered by the whole book, and am fuzzy on the details. I guess the writing just wasn't for me.

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

02 August 2011

Bitten & Smitten


Immortality Bites, Book 1.

First line: For a dead woman, I felt surprisingly good.

There's a whole lotta vampire/romance out there now, but I think after Lynsay Sands' Argeneau series, this may be my new favorite series. It put me a little in mind of MaryJanice Davidson's Queen Betsy from her Undead series, so it's a little more chick lity than Sands' books.

Sarah's best friend sets her up on the blind date from hell, who turns out to be a vampire and wants her to be one also. After turning her, against her will, he is promptly killed, and Sarah finds herself running for her life. Thierry is a 600 year old, suicidal vampire who everyone else calls Master (a term of respect, not because he is everyone's master), who reluctantly takes Sarah under his wing while she adjusts to her new life.

This is the first book I've read by this author, and I definitely enjoyed her breezy, humorous, at times snarky, writing. There were lots of funny lines, starting with that opening sentence and getting better:
"If I had a nickel for every time I've been staked" - she glanced at me wearily - "well, I'd only have about twenty cents. But still, it's never a fun experience."
The secondary characters stay secondary, and never seem fully fleshed out, and I'm still just a little confused about one character's motivation for some of her actions. But it was a quite enjoyable read, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

31 July 2011

At His Command

(Love Inspired #460; Homecoming Heroes #3)


First line: Texas attorney Jake Hopkins was severely allergic to two things: peanuts and a sweet young army nurse named Madeline Bright.

That  first line reeled me in. It told me the heroine was going to be a young, dewey eyed, probably sunshiney girl, loved and adored by everyone she meets. Not my favorite kind of heroine (probably because I'm an old, weary eyed, well, you get the point). But it also told me we would get the story from both the heroine and the hero's point of view, which I'm a big fan of. And it told me there would be plenty of amusing lines and humor infused in the story, which I'm also a big fan of.

Jake and his best friend, Noah, who was Maddie's older brother, were in the army together, flying Apache helicopters. They were shot down by insurgents, and Noah was killed. Jake was severly injured, and still suffers pain in his leg, and has to use a cane to help him walk. He also blames himself for Noah's death. Not because they were shot down, but because of decisions he made immediately after. He suffers from flashbacks and nightmares, but he stoically keeps his feelings bottled inside and refuses to talk to anyone about what happened.

Maddie adored Jake from the first time he came home with Noah, when she was in the first grade, and they were Cadets at West Point. She grew up and pursued her dream of becoming a nurse, then, after hearing Jake express admiration for doctors and nurses who served at army combat hospitals overseas, she joined the army. She wanted to be a hero. But she soon realized serving as a combat nurse just wasn't for her, and now she's in Priarie Springs, working as a nurse in the maternity ward.

Maddie very much wants to talk with Jake about Noah, and about what he's been through, and she worries about him and prays for him. Jake lost his faith in God after the accident, and he is determined to fight his feelings for Maddie, convinced that he would not be good for her and would end up hurting her. And that if she knew the truth behind Noah's death, she might never forgive him. So he continually puts her off, and she doggedly continues to advance on him. If she can't have him romantically, she still wants to be his friend.

I'm not a very religious person myself, and I'll admit to you now that I was pretty far into this book before it hit me that the tile was a reference to God, not just a military reference. I've never read anything by Brenda Coulter before now, but I enjoyed her breezy style while addressing a serious topic, and her humor. I particularly liked this passage:
"You both turned up your noses because I put beans in it. And you like beans."
"Not in chili. No self-respecting Texan does." He couldn't believe she didn't know that. She might have been raised in Alabama, but that was no excuse. Not when she'd been married to a Texan - a retired rodeo cowboy, no less - for almost as long as Jake had been alive. Was Leland  Ridge aware that his wife was going around putting beans in chili?
(I purchased this book at a library book sale in March 2011.)

28 July 2011

Zombies and Shit

Carlton Mellick III

Publisher's Synopsis: Twenty people wake to find themselves in a boarded-up building in the middle of the zombie wasteland. They soon realize they have been chosen as contestants on a popular reality show called Zombie Survival. Each contestant is given a backpack of supplies and a unique weapon. Their goal: be the first to make it through the zombie-plagued city to the pick-up zone alive. But because there's only one seat available on the helicopter, the contestants not only have to fight off the hordes of the living dead, they must also fight each other. 

This book was a little like reading a graphic novel without the graphics. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. It took me a long time to really get into it, and I considered putting it down a couple of times and moving on to something else. By the middle of the book though I really did want to know what happened to each contestant and how the reality show would end, so I stuck with it.

I think the writing style just wasn't for me. And sometimes the ick factor was almost too much, and I've never felt that way about a book before.

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

23 July 2011

Mini Reviews

 A few quick thoughts about various books I've read....

Flirting With Forty, by Jane Porter

 I put this book on my wish list after seeing the Lifetime TV movie, and I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed this. As a single mother in my 40's, I can't imagine getting involved with a younger man the way Jackie did, but it was fun to read about her adventures. But the book was so much more than that. Jane Porter really gets inside the head of a divorced woman and all those thoughts and feelings and fears that you experience. So in lots of ways I could still relate to Jackie.  (Received through BookCrossing.com and read in July 2009.)

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris

 I loved this book! Compared to the Anita Blake books this was definitely lighter fare and a welcome contrast. I don't get HBO so I haven't seen True Blood. I've only seen Stephen Moyer in The Starter Wife and am not really a fan, but I did picture him in my head all through this book! I'm really looking forward to continuing the series and hoping I can wait for the next one without getting too impatient! (Received through BookCrossing.com and read in January 2010.)

Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 10), by Laurell K. Hamilton

Not my favorite of the Anita Blake books. In fact, sometimes when reading, I wonder why I'm still reading them. At times it seems like the books are about nothing now but sex and violence and gore. And I was sad that Edward was not in this one, he's one of my favorite characters. I think I like Micah though, better than Jean-Claude or Richard. So I will continue with the series. (Received through Title Trader and read in January 2010.)

Agnes and the Hitman, by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

You know those great old screwball comedies from the 30's and 40's? Fast paced, snappy dialogue, players running in and out of the scenes, everybody getting mixed up with everybody else? "Agnes and The Hitman" was kind of like reading an old screwball comedy. Like all of Crusie's heroines, Agnes is funny and quirky - always a great combination. Shane is the strong silent type, with the perfect partner in Carpenter. In fact, all the secondary characters are just as entertaining. I'm really glad I came across this at the USB, usually when Crusie has a new book out I buy it as soon as it's released so I'm not sure how I missed this one! I've loved everything she's written. I've not read anything else by Mayer (other than Don't Look Down), but I do have one of his books, Dragon Sim-13, in my TBR pile, so one of these days...  (Purchased at a USB and read in August 2009.)

The Catsitters, by James Wolcott

I loved this book. It's like chick lit, but not fluffy, and from a guy's point of view. Wonderfully written and amusing. I'm gonna have to google the author and see what he's done since this. (Received through BookCrossing and read in June 2009.)

A Kiss to Remember, by Teresa Medeiros

I really enjoyed this book. It's been a long time since I've read a historical romance, though I have lots of them in my TBR and used to read them a lot. But lately I've been reading more contemporary stuff and chick lit. I've been following Teresa Medeiros on Twitter and she's just delightful, so when I was browsing the books at Wal-Mart and saw her name I grabbed it. I'm so glad I did, and now I defintely want to read more of her stuff. (Purchased at Wal-Mart and read in October 2009.)

The Lady, by Anne McCaffrey

This was an enjoyable book. I read all of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books many many years ago, but had never heard of this until it came into my possession. It's completely different, being set in the world of Irish horse breeding and showing. The characters are very well drawn and it's easy to get caught up in the story (Purchased at a USB and read in December 2009.)

Manhunting, by Jennifer Crusie

I think this is one of her earlier books, and in the beginning it just seemed like another standard romance story. Not bad, but not exceptional. Then Kate goes to the resort and begins interacting with the staff, other guests and townspeople, and it took off fast and became exceptional. Like all of Crusie's books, it was quick paced, funny, and the story kept me involved and turning pages. This is why she's one of my favorite authors, one of the few who, when a new book is released, I actually go out and buy in hardback. I'm glad I stumbled across this! (Purchased at a USB and read in July 2009.)

The Honey Badger, by Robert Ruark

This sat on my shelf for a long time, and then on a whim one weekend I decided to pick it up and read it. And I'm really glad I did! After the first awkward sentence I almost stopped:  "It was that hot -- steaming, stinking, sewer-vaporous, New York -- humid, solid, soul-smiting hot."  But fortunately I continued on, and found it a very enjoyable read. In fact, in my head I could picture all the snappy dialog in a movie from the 30's or 40's, being spoken by Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and their peers! (Receieved through BookCrossing and read in July 2008.)