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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

To Conquer Mr. Darcy

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402237308
Pages: 416 pgs
Genre: Romance/Regency/Jane Austen
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
    Summary (from Publisher):
    What if...
    Instead of disappearing from Elizabeth Bennet's life after she refused his offer of marriage, Mr. Darcy had stayed and tried to change her mind?
    What if...
    Lizzy, as she gets to know Darcy, finds him undeniably attractive and her impulses win out over her sense of propriety?
    What if...
    Madly in love and mutually on fire, their passion anticipates their wedding?
    In To Conquer Mr. Darcy, instead of avoiding Elizabeth after his ill-fated marriage proposal, Mr. Darcy follows her back to Hertfordshire to prove to her he is a changed man and worthy of her love. And little by little, Elizabeth begins to find the man she thought she despised, irresistible...
    My Review:
    Abigail Reynolds is my favorite Jane Austen adaptation author. There! I’ve said it. I have loved many others but none as much as Abigail Reynolds. Her books have something special about them that make me want to savor them and read them slowly. To Conquer Mr. Darcy was one of them. I did not want to read it in one sitting even though that is exactly what I ended up doing.

    My favorite part of Abigail Reynolds’ books is that the changes she makes to the Pride and Prejudice story are subtle but have huge impact. In To Conquer Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy does not give up when Elizabeth rejects him but, instead, her pursues her. That simple change set off a domino effect that changed the whole framework of the story we already know and love and only makes us love it more. I think that is so amazing about Abigail Reynolds is her ability to find the other road in Pride and Prejudice and take us on a leisurely stroll towards greener, slightly more spicy pastures.

    I also love how Abigail Reynolds captures Elizabeth and Darcy. They are the same Lizzy and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. They are witty and they have the same magnetic chemistry. Reynolds keeps them true to Jane Austen but adds a little to both of their characters. I also love that we get to see Lizzy and Darcy together. Their chemistry is palpable and their wit when combined is amazing. We also got to see much more of Georgiana. I love her and I usually have no idea why. I mean, we barely hear from her in Pride and Prejudice but I feel like I really got to know her in this one.

    I loved this book. The word love is pretty mild when considering how awesome this book was. Every Jane Austen fan should pick this one up. I must warn, however, that To Conquer Mr. Darcy was previously released as Impulse & Initiative and I am not sure how much was edited or changed.
    *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Hell, Yeah by Carolyn Brown

    Hell, Yeah
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    ISBN: 1402239270
    Pages: 384 pgs
    Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Western
    Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge


    Summary (from publisher):
    She's finally found a place that feels like home...
    When Cathy O'Dell buys the Honky Tonk, the nights of cowboys and country tunes come together to create the home she's always wanted. Then in walks a ruggedly handsome oil man who tempts her to trade in the happiness she's found at the Honky Tonk for a life on the road with him...

    He lives the good life...
    Gorgeous and rich, Travis Henry travels the country unearthing oil wells and then moving on. Then the beautiful blue-eyed new owner of the Honky Tonk beer joint becomes his best friend and so much more. When his job is done in Texas, how is he ever going to hit the road without her?

    My Review:
    Cathy O’ Dell has given her life to the Honky Tonk, the dive bar she owns. That is until Travis Henry strides across the bar and smacks a New Years’ kiss on her. She has to decide whether her roots at the Honky Tonk are more important than finding love. 

    This book was a bit foreign to me. I am not the most country person in the world. New York is in my blood and an Irish pub is the closest I have ever come to a dive bar. I also was clueless about most of the music mentioned in this book. I had to look them up and didn’t like most of them. That being said, these differences in culture did not detract from my enjoyment of the book even though with a lesser writer it would have been. 

    There were so many things that I loved about this book. There was an energy about this book that really amazed me and kept me interested. The characters, the setting, and the writing was so lively that it was difficult not to get into this story. The characters were also really great. Cathy was career driven, independent and willful. She was strong and intelligent. I loved her. Travis was suave and sweet. I liked him even though he is an oil guy.

    Overall, I liked this book quite a bit. I am looking forward to Carolyn Brown’s next book.

    *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Guest Post: M.J. Rose

    The Hypnotist (The Reincarnationist, Book 3)At the Museum

    Growing up, I didn’t want to be a writer; I wanted to be an artist. We lived a block away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I started taking Saturday morning art classes there when I was just seven years old.

    I’ve often felt art is my religion and that museums in general but the Met specifically is my temple of choice. It’s where I go to be renewed, refreshed and inspired.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone longer than a month without visiting there.

    So its not all that surprising that sooner or later I’d write a novel with a museum as one of my main characters and that I’d pick the museum that was in my backyard when I was a kid.

    But how I got idea for the Hypnotist is surprising, at least to me.

    One day about three and a half years ago, on one of my regular pilgrimages to the Met, I headed straight for one of my favorite spots. The Mastaba Tomb of Perneb is a tiny bit of 5th Dynasty Egypt transplanted to Manhattan. A gift from Edward S. Harkness to the museum in 1913.

    You can enter the limestone tomb from the left or the right.  One doorway leads to the main offering chapel. I took the other, which leads to a second ritual chamber. The space is very small and only three or four people can fit at the same time.  I was lucky to be in the intimate ritual chamber alone and looking through the slot in the wall at a wooden statue of Perneb in the room beyond known as a serdab. In ancient times this passage way allowed for family and priests to offer up incense and chants to the deceased.

    I heard footsteps. A little girl about seven or eight had entered and came up beside me to look through the slot.  She had long blonde hair and was wearing a school uniform. I watched her examine the space, giving every section careful attention.

    “It hasn’t changed much at all,” she said finally in a wistful voice.

    I asked her what she meant.

    “Since the last time I was here,” she said.

    Something about the way she said it made me curious.. “When was that?” I asked.

    “When I lived in Egypt.”

    “You know this tomb has been on display in this museum since 1916.” I said.

    “I lived in Egypt way before that,” she said and smiled. She was about to say something else when from outside the chamber an older woman’s voice called out.

    “Veronica, it’s time to go. Now.. Please.”

    The little girl ran off, quickly, without looking back, without giving me a chance to ask her anything else.

    Even though I write about reincarnation, I haven’t had any meaningful reincarnation episodes of my own. I don’t get visitations. I’ve never seen a ghost.  But I’m not sure what happened that afternoon.

    I can picture Veronica in her navy jumper and white blouse that had a dark smudge on the collar. She had a one-inch scratch on her left hand. Her hair was pulled off her face with a silver barrette. A lot of curls had escaped. She had a child’s voice but it was so charged with adult emotion.

    It was that emotion which sparked the idea for my novel, The Hypnotist.  And the paintings and sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum that fueled it.

    If you go the Met, please go visit Perneb’s tomb. And if you see a little girl there with long blonde hair and a blue school uniform… ask her if her name is Veronica… and if it is, thank her for me.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Book Spotlight: The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose

    The Hypnotist (The Reincarnationist, Book 3)Summary (by Publisher):
    An FBI agent, tormented by a death he wasn't able to prevent, a crime he's never been able to solve and a love he's never forgotten, discovers that his true conflict resides not in his past, but in a…Past Life.
    Haunted by a twenty-year old murder of a beautiful young painter, Lucian Glass keeps his demons at bay through his fascinating work as a Special Agent with the FBI's Art Crime Team. Currently investigating a crazed art collector who has begun destroying prized masterworks, Glass is thrust into a bizarre hostage negotiation that takes him undercover at the Phoenix Foundation—dedicated to the science of past life study—where, in order to maintain his cover, he agrees to submit to the treatment of a hypnotist.
    Under hypnosis, Glass travels from ancient Greece to 19th century Persia, while the case takes him from New York to Paris and the movie capital of world. These journeys will change his very understanding of reality, lead him to question his own sanity and land him at the center of perhaps the most audacious art heist in history: the theft of a 1,500 year old sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
    International bestselling author M. J. Rose's The Hynpotist is her most mesmerizing novel yet. An adventure, a love story, a clash of cultures, a spiritual quest, it is above all a thrilling capstone to her unique Reincarnation novels, The Reincarnationist and The Memorist.
    About the Author:
    M.J. Rose is the bestselling author of several fiction and non-fiction books. She graduated from Syracuse University and went on to a successful career in advertising. She founded, the first marketing  company for authors. She is also a founding board member of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog, Buzz, Balls & Hype. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and dog.
    • Publisher: Mira
    • ISBN: 1402237537
    • Pages: 416 pgs
    • Genre: Romance/Paranormal

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Seduced by the Wolf by Terry Spear

    Seduced by the WolfPublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    ISBN: 1402237537
    Pages: 416 pgs
    Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Shapeshifters
    Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
      Summary (from Publisher):
      His first priority is to protect his pack...
      Werewolf pack leader Leidolf Wildhaven has just taken over a demoralized pack. With rogue wolves on the loose causing havoc and the authorities from the zoo suddenly zeroing in on the local wolf population, the last thing he needs in his territory is a do-gooder female, no matter how beautiful and enticing she is...

      She'll do anything to help wolves...
      Biologist Cassie Roux has dedicated her life to protecting wolves in the wild. On a desperate mission to help a she-wolf with newborn pups, the last thing Cassie needs right now is a nosy and entirely too attractive werewolf pack leader trying to track her down...
      With rogue wolves and hunters threatening at every turn, Cassie and Leidolf may find their attraction the most dangerous force of all...
      My Review:
      Cassie Roux, a wolf biologist, has dedicated her life to the protection of wolves in the wild. Her current focus is the mission to rescue a she-wolf and her newborn cubs. Taking her focus away from her rescue mission is Leidolf Wildhaven, the pack leader desperate to make her his mate, as well as rogue wolves causing havoc and zoo authorities with an eye for the local wolf population.

      Cassie was an interesting heroine. Interesting as in she annoyed me quite a bit but yet I still liked her. She was so stubborn and single-minded. Every time I thought she got close to Leidolf, she scampered away. She always managed to run away and get herself, and Leidolf, in heaps of trouble. I do, however, find it strange that the characteristics that I find annoying in Cassie are characteristics that figure prominently in my own personality. It says something about me, doesn’t it? I loved Leidolf. He was the typical alpha. Intelligent, demanding, with quite a bit of machismo. I loved how he was so protective of Callie and his pack. He also had a scampy sense of humor that I loved..

      My favorite part was the depth that Spear goes into about wolf behavior and pack dynamics. Wolves are my favorite animals and I have always been a bit curious about them. Spear really went into great detail about wolves and their behavior.  Spear obviously did a great amount of research about wolves and it is very obvious in this book. Generally, the writing was very good. There were times, mainly during the sex scenes, where I felt it got a smidge repetitive but generally it was not a problem and I found Spear’s writing style to be quite pleasant and engaging.

      As soon as I finished this book, I quickly went out and bought the earlier books in the series. Seduced by the Wolf was a great read and I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
      *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

      Monday, August 23, 2010

      Anne Elliot: A New Beginning by Mary Lydon Simonsen

      Anne Elliot, A New Beginning: A Persuasion Re-imaginingPublisher:CreateSpace
      ISBN: 1451524706
      Pages: 238 pgs
      Genre: Jane Austen Sequel-Persuasion
      Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

      Summary (from Publisher):

      On Anne Elliot's 25th birthday, her family declared her to be a spinster, but instead of being downcast by this change in status, she finds it to be quite liberating. As a result of her new-found freedom, Anne becomes a long-distance runner, and this activity greatly increases her confidence. It is this new Anne who Captain Frederick Wentworth meets when he sees the love of his life after eight years of separation. The Captain admires the changes in Anne, and he finds that he is falling in love with her all over again. However, there is a complication. The heir to Kellynch, the Elliot estate, William Elliot, has also come back into the picture after an estrangement with Anne's father, Sir Walter Elliot, and he has set his sights on Anne. Now living in Bath, Anne senses that something is not right, and with the help of a street urchin named Swoosh, she sets out to discover what William Elliot is really like.
      My Review:

      In this adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne Elliot is tired of being a pushover. She has lost the love of her life because she let herself be influenced by Lady Russell and is constantly ignored by her father and sister. She begins a regular regimen of running and exercise. She gains confidence strength to tell all of these morons where to stick it through these activities. She is also able to make Captain Wentworth fall in love with her again by showing him that she will not be influenced by anyone again and that she is a stronger woman.

      I love Anne Elliot. She has always been the one character that should have annoyed me but I just can’t help but love her. Every time I pick up Persuasion, I hope to find a newer, stronger Anne but she is always the same pushover. I am not intending to insult her but, you have to admit, that as much as you love her, she still is a bit of a pushover. I was so happy to pick up a book and find that Anne has become stronger and more independent. I also love how we got to know Captain Wentworth better. I have always been curious about his motives during his flirtation with Louisa. It always angered me a little although I could see his reasons for it. Swoosh, the streetwise orphan that befriends both Anne and Captain Wentworth, was awesome. He was so spunky, intelligent and quite adorable. He was one of the biggest highlights of the book.

      This book was a treasure that I really thought I wouldn’t like and wouldn’t be believable. I mean, the idea of a Jane Austen character taking up running was as plausible to me as having Mr. Darcy walk to the middle of the drawing room and start doing the chicken dance. So yeah not plausible. If the thought of Anne running was implausible, the thought of her gaining a backbone was darn near impossible. However, the way that Simonsen altered the story was ingenious.  Anne changes so much because of one decision. It was amazing how Simonsen could pull such a subtle shift in character and plot without it being too outlandish.

      If you are a fan of Jane Austen sequels and are looking for something different, pick this one up. I am looking forward to Simonsen's next Jane Austen adaptation, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, coming out in January.
      *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

      Thursday, August 19, 2010

      Captured By Desire by Kira Morgan

      Captured by DesirePublisher: Forever
      ISBN: 0446548189
      Pages: 384 pgs
      Genre: Romance-Historical-Scotland
      Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge,100+ Reading Challenge

       Summary (from publisher):
      In 16th century Scotland, young Miss Florie Gilder runs away from her drunken foster father to find her real father and her noble heritage. Along the way, she is accused of theft, becomes a fugitive hiding in a forest, and is accidentally wounded by a handsome local huntsman. The huntsman--a Robin-Hood figure who poaches wild game from the landowner's estate to feed the starving poor--carries the beautiful maiden to a church where she is guaranteed 40 days of sanctuary from the law. During that time, he learns her true story, falls in love with her, and helps her in her quest, at the risk of his own life. Smitten with him, she worries more for his survival. But enemies of the state are seeking to overturn the Catholic royals, while a vicious noblewoman is out to destroy Florie.
      My Review:
      Florie Gilder is a celebrated goldsmith. She also happens to be a fugitive from the law seeking shelter from the Church. She is discovered i.e. shot like a hunter shoots a deer by Rane MacAllister. He also happens to work for the people trying to catch Florie and is put in charge of preventing Florie from escaping. Rane is used to women being charmed by him and is not expecting the headstrong and somewhat volatile Florie.

      Florie was one of those unique heroines that did not annoy me very much at all. Very strange statement to make but I usually get quite annoyed by most female characters and it usually is the mark of a really great book when I don’t. Florie was one of those that did not annoy me at all. She was fiery, stubborn and strong yet vulnerable. Rane was also quite the interesting character. I am used to rakes. Of course I am. I am a regency romance addict. Rane’s type of rakishness was quite unique. He was kind, compassionate and gentle even though he was a bit of a manwhore. Most of the rakes I have come across are bad-tempered, broody, and brash. He was a complete departure from what I am used to.

      Captured By Desire was initially very appealing to me because I loved the premise upon which it was built. Both the Robin Hood and the taking shelter plots were very appealing. Rane made a very convincing Robin Hood type character. Most surprising to me is how much I loved the role that the Church played in this book. The idea of the Church playing protector was really appealing to me. I have had quite the different experience when it comes to the Church. Also, if I had ever met a priest as kind, charitable and doddingly adorable as Father Conan, I probably would have been a better Catholic.

      I have very rarely been able to start a book and finish it in an hour. I get distracted very easily but I was able to finish this book within an hour with no bored moments whatsoever. The writing was engaging and the plot was well-crafted. I highly recommend Captured By Desire and I am looking forward to more from Kira Morgan.
      *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

      Wednesday, August 18, 2010

      Black Magic by Cherry Adair

      Black MagicPublisher: Pocket Star
      ISBN: 1439153817
      Pages: 400 pgs
      Genre: Romance-Paranormal
      Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

       Summary (from Publisher):
      Ever since the death of her parents, Sara Temple has rejected her magical gifts. Then, in a moment of extreme danger, she unknowingly sends out a telepathic cry for help—to the one man she is convinced she never wants to see again.

      Jackson Slater thought he was done forever with his ex-fiancée, but when he hears her desperate plea, he teleports halfway around the world to aid her in a situation where magic has gone suddenly, brutally wrong.

      But while Sara and Jack remain convinced they are completely mismatched, the Wizard Council feels otherwise. A dark force is killing some of the world’s most influential wizards, and the ex-lovers have just proved their abilities are mysteriously amplified when they work together. But with the fate of the world at stake, will the violent emotions still simmering between them drive them farther apart . . . or bring them back into each other’s arms?
      My Review:
      Sara Temple calls to her former fiancĂ©, Jackson Slater, to rescue her when Alberto, a man she thinks of as a father figure, goes berserkers and goes on a murderous rampage after suffering from a mysterious illness. Jack is not exactly joyful to be summoned to Sara’s rescue because they had parted on not exactly the best terms two years before when he thought that Sara had aborted their baby when she had actually had a miscarriage.  The Wizarding Council , who are also completely befuddled by the illness and subsequent rampage, put Jack and Sara in charge of figuring out what is causing the illness.

      Jack and Sara’s story was the best part of Black Magic for me. I love romance novels where the lead couple has been separated and reunited under auspicious circumstances. It always leads to tension, fights and brooding which just adds to the drama and interest factor. This was one of those rare couples that I enjoyed reading about even though I couldn’t stand either of them as individuals. Sara was stubborn, bull-headed and blind and Jack treated Sara so badly in the beginning that it was difficult to see them ever working out. Nevertheless, as a couple, I loved them.

      Usually, unless a book called “Harry Potter and the so and so”, I avoid books about magic. Magic has just never interested me. I was actually a bit apprehensive about this book because of it even though the romance plot was quite appealing. But once I was into the book, I found that I enjoyed the magic element. It was well done and interesting. It worked really well with Jack and Sara’s story and never overpowered it. I also found the workings of the magic community to be quite interesting in and of itself.

      I really loved Black Magic. It was quite the fun read. I will be looking up the rest of Cherry Adair’s books because I really enjoyed this one.
      *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.


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