30 June 2012

Second Chance Bride (Love Inspired Historical)


Annie MacAllister is an unusual heroine for a Love Inspired romance – a former prostitute (with a heart of gold to quote the old cliche). Annie had a horrible childhood after her mother died and, orphaned at age 14, uneducated and illiterate, her only option for survival was to go to work in the local brothel. Having saved her money, she's now on a stagecoach for the town of Trail's End, hoping to put her old life behind her and make a fresh start. Then a horrible accident occurs, and a young woman named Matilda Cunningham, also traveling to Trail's End, is killed. While the driver goes for help, a distraught Annie mourns for the lovely young woman and wonders why she should be allowed to live instead. And then in a flash of inspiration (for lack of a better word), she goes through the other girl's belongings and puts on her clothes and shoes, and becomes Matilda.

Annie doesn't know much about Matilda, except that the other girl had a job waiting for her in Trail's End and someone would be meeting her when the stagecoach arrived. So she was somewhat dismayed to discover that Matilda was a schoolteacher.

John Sullivan, a member of the school board and president of the bank, meets Annie/Matilda and drives her to the schoolhouse. He's a little concerned that maybe she received a head injury in the stagecoach accident as she seems a little disoriented, asking him questions about her job, the answers to which he'd already detailed to her in letters and the contract she signed when she accepted the position.

John is a likable hero, though a little high hatted. He's a widower who is a wonderful father to his young daughter. He's a pillar of the community, but doesn't really give God much consideration in his everyday life. He seems more about what's proper and accepted than about spiritually right and wrong. He arrogantly tells Annie/Matilda that she is to basically, to paraphrase, live in the schoolhouse, attend church every Sunday, attend meetings when the Board of Education requires it of her, and not have a social life of her own. Okay, maybe that's not quite what he said, but that's how it came across to me. Naturally, he is attracted to the new schoolteacher, but he tamps down that attraction as it is improper. Not to mention she seems terrified if he gets too close to her.

While the story is told from both Annie's and John's POVs, the majority of it is Annie's story, and it's an engrossing story. Annie wonders how she will teach her students when she herself can neither read nor write, and I was pretty curious myself. She prays that she can have just a few days, maybe a week, to enjoy sleeping in a warm bed and having enough food for the first time since she can remember. While Annie seems quiet and shy, she is a strong character, with good morals despite her previous career. She is determined to never go back to that kind of life, and to stretch this schoolteacher gig out as long as she can. Annie overcomes so much during the course of the book that you can't help but admire her.

Eventually of course the truth must be told, and I was gratified that Annie's friend Amanda and the sheriff both wrap her in their love and friendship, with no judgment of her past. John's reaction on the other hand made me want to smack him. But I guess there has to be some conflict before they can have their HEA.

All in all, a very enjoyable story.

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

11 June 2012

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1)


Damn you, Jeaniene Frost! I have a shelf in my bookcase full of books that are part of series that I need to catch up on, and now you've hooked me on yet another!

Ok, I know, its really my own fault, because when I picked up Halfway to the Grave, I knew it was the first book in a series. But I'd read a couple of reviews about it some time back and, despite my resolve to not start any new series until I finish the ones (or at least one of the ones) that have piled up on me, I really wanted to read this book. So I caved. And it so lived up to my expectations!

There are a lot of vampire fiction/romance series out there. Some I've avoided like the plague (yes, Twilight, I'm referring to you), some I've wearied of and I have to space them out (sorry, Anita Blake, I like sex in a story but I like some story in between the sexual encounters, and lately you are all about nothing but sex sex sex), some I'm eager to continue with (Argeneau clan! Call me!), and some I've only gotten a little way into and haven't really decided  on (Lil Marchette, you kinda get on my nerves, but damn, I want more Ty Bonner!).

So here we have Catherine "Cat" Crawfield, who learned when she was a teenager that her rapist father was a vampire. She's human, but she's half vampire, with enhanced strength, senses, and eyes that glow green when she's pissed. She's always been a loner, never had any close friends, and her first boyfriend coerced her into sex and then dumped her. She and her mother share a room in her grandparents house, and it's a house, not a home, at least not for Cat. On the weekend, she trawls the local bars, looking for vampires to lure out, get alone, and then kill. Her mother has taught her that all vampires are evil and should die, and she's devoted her life to this mission, hoping to eventually find and kill her father.

Then her latest conquest-to-be turns the tables on her, and she wakes up in a cave, stripped to her underwear and chained to the wall. She's been kidnapped by Bones, a gorgeous vampire with a cool accent - I pictured/heard Chase from House in my head (is that weird?). Bones is a bounty hunter - like Cat, he kills vampires, when someone has offered a bounty for one. But he's also trying to take down a mysterious ring of vamps who are preying on young girls, and he thinks Cat is working for the enemy. Once she convinces him she's only working for herself, he decides she might be useful to him, and blackmails her into training with and then working for him. She'll still get to kill vampires, but he will choose the targets. The inevitable happens of course, and romance blossoms. But as with all romances, there are complications, and Cat is not sure they can be overcome.

Cat is an awesome heroine, bright and sarcastic. She's a ruthless killer when it comes to vampires, not so much with humans unless they are working for or with the vampires. Bones is a violent hero, also a ruthless killer but with fewer scruples than Cat. A couple of times I felt a little squeamish at some of his actions, but not so much that I didn't adore him regardless. I so want them to be able to be together, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

(I received this book through BookCrossing.)

09 June 2012

May Acquisitions

I've gotten lazy about not updating my Acquisitions page. Meh. But I did acquire quite a few new (and old) books in May:

Dead in the Family and Dead Reckoning, Books 10 and 11 in the Sookie Stackhouse series, by Charlaine Harris; Halfway to the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost


Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson; Sweet and Deadly, by Charlaine Harris; The Future Scrolls, by Fern Michaels

Some Girls Do, by Leeann Banks; Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen; Reese's Bride, by Kat Martin


Just Like a Man, by Elizabeth Bevarly; For Pete's Sake, by Geri Buckley; Bad Boys to Go, by Lori Foster, Janelle Denison, and Nancy Warren

His Secret Duchess, by Gayle Wilson; Paint Me Rainbows, by Fern Michaels; My Man Michael, by Lori Foster

Small Town Protector, by Hope White; Plain Secrets, by Kit Wilkinson; Bullseye, by Virginia Smith

Zero Visibility, by Sharn Dunn; When You Dare, by Lori Foster