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.