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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

Devil's Desire
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402242417
Pages: 312 pgs
Genre: Romance/Regency
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

 Summary from Publisher:
 They called him the devil...

With his seductive golden eyes and sin-black hair, it's no wonder Lord Alex Trevegne has earned himself the sinister title-not to mention his reputation as one of the most notorious rakes in England.

And she's the only one who can conquer him...

When fate throws Alex and Elysia into a scandalous situation, Alex suddenly finds it surprisingly difficult to tear himself away from her.

As an unexpected passion blossoms between them, Elysia begins to wonder if after a lifetime of heartache she's finally found heaven in the arms of the devil.

My Review:
I have been reading Laurie McBain’s books since I was a child. I used to pilfer them from my mother’s bookshelf. Probably not the best reading material for a child but at least I was reading…a lot. All of my mother’s copies were lent out and never returned (another reason I do not lend my books to anyone). I am so happy that these books are being reissued because I have been wanting to reread them for quite some time. Devil’s Desire was one of my favorites- it’s  about a marriage of convenience of sorts--my favorite romance novel plot.

This is my favorite type of regency. The heroine is very, very good and the hero is very, very bad. Elysia was the type of heroine I can only take so much of before I have to put the book away. She was way too good and prim but I also loved that she had quite a bit of spunk too.  Alex was quite the highlight of the book for me. He was true rake in every sense of the word. He was badly behaved, a bit of a manwhore and quite snarly most of the time. But I still loved him. He was the epitome of what I think a regency hero should be. 

This one of those typical regencies that no matter how many times you see it, it never gets old at all. As a matter of fact, it just gets better and better every time you read it.  Devil’s Desire contains all of the tension and conflict that you would expect from a well-crafted regency with the great writing of Laurie McBain.  

*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, November 29, 2010

Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley

Child of the Northern Spring: Book One of the Guinevere Trilogy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 140224522X
Pages:  576 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/England
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary from Publisher:
Among the first to look at the story of Camelot through Guinevere's eyes, Woolley sets the traditional tale in the time of its origin, after Britain has shattered into warring fiefdoms. Hampered by neither fantasy nor medieval romance, this young Guinevere is a feisty Celtic tomboy who sees no reason why she must learn to speak Latin, wear dresses, and go south to marry that king. But legends being what they are, the story of Arthur's rise to power soon intrigues her, and when they finally meet, Guinevere and Arthur form a partnership that has lasted for 1500 years.

This is Arthurian epic at its best-filled with romance, adventure, authentic Dark Ages detail, and wonderfully human people.

My Review:
I am not the biggest fan of the Arthur legend. I dealt with it in various literature classes that I had to take in college. I had hoped that I would never have to see it again because “bored to tears” was not an exaggeration.  I keep trying to like it because there are so many amazing sounding books about the legend but I can’t make myself.  There are few exceptions to my dislike of Arthurian legend-based books and this may be one of them. 

I loved the depth that Woolley goes into about Guinevere’s life apart from Arthur. I always thought she was more interesting anyway. This is so much more her story than a story about Arthur and Guinevere. I loved that we got to know that feisty, intelligent person that Guinevere was. We usually see her as being defined by her relationship with Arthur but it was nice to learn about her on her own. 

There was also a depth to the historical research that was both impressive and mind-boggling.  You can really tell that Woolley knows her stuff. I love the detail and how everything is so true to the period. Every little detail was so spot on and it was very impressive.  You feel as if you are a part of it.  I am most definitely going to continue with this trilogy simply because of the historical detail alone (and the story is great of course)

*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.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley

Dating Mr. December Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402241429
Pages: 304 pgs
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary from Publisher:
She doesn't need rescuing, she only needs a change of scenery...
After a disastrous discovery loses Emma Tremayne both her boyfriend and her high-profile PR job in London, she moves to the Lake District to recover her confidence and live a simpler life. She loves her new job with the tourist board, and she's settling into small town life just fine-until she ends up responsible for a fundraising effort that calls for twelve naked mountain rescuers...

My Review:
I was really looking forward to this one. I have been in a bit of a reading (and reviewing) jag lately and needed something a bit different to pull me out of it. Dating Mr. December was the perfect choice. Plus, who can resist a book about a group of naked mountaineers making a nudie calendar?

Emma was one of those rare female characters that make it through the whole book without a moment of obnoxious. She was witty, intelligent and strong. I love that she did not give Will an easy time of it. He needed to have a bit of difficulty (and a good woman to challenge him). Will, on the other hand, caused me to have some moments of wanting to smack him upside the head as if he were my errant little brother. Men can be so stupid and Will definitely lived up to that. I was so frustrated with how he treated Emma at times. I did like him quite a bit but still...wanted to smack him at times.

I loved the mix of humor and romance in this one. The humor is subtle but you will find yourself giggling when you least expect it. I love that it was not over the top. I tend to get really annoyed when books make me cringe because the main character is always embarrassing themselves and everyone around them(Bridget Jones is one of them). I was happy that this book did not get sucked into that trap. As always, I tend to get sucked in by the romance. The chemistry between Will and Emma was amazing. Even when they were constantly bickering, their chemistry popped off the page.

I do still have one question and would be grateful for an answer...What is Will's middle name? I must know.

*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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Brava, Valentine: A Novel
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
ISBN: 0061257087
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Romance/Chick Lit
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary from Publisher:

When Valentine's grandmother begins a new life in Italy, she places Valentine and her nemesis, her brother Alfred, "the Prince," as partners at the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of handcrafted wedding shoes since 1903. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she unearths a long-buried family secret and finds herself torn between a past love that nurtured her and a new one that promises to sustain her, in this "dazzling" (USA Today) follow-up to Very Valentine.

My Review:

I have had Adriana Trigiani on my To Read list for quite some time.  I’ve had Very Valentine in my hand to buy more times than I can count and never managed to actually buy it but I will now. 

I loved Valentine. She was the type of character that want to find in every book you read. She was engaging, witty and completely relatable. I loved Gianluca. He was a gentleman. Something you find very rarely these days. Val and Gianluca definitely brought the sweetness. They may be one of my favorite couples from the books I have read this month and most of them have been romances. 

As an Italian American myself, I could not help but love how the Italian culture was so prevalent throughout this whole book.  It was amazing to see Italian culture portrayed in a realistic and honest way. The Roncalli/Angelini slightly crazy but you could tell that they all love each other. Their antics were perhaps the most familiar to me…it was like a page out of my family’s book of insanity. 

I must read Very Valentine now. Not reading it was excusable when I didn’t know how awesome Adriana Trigiani’s books were but now that I know it’s inexcusable.

*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, November 22, 2010

The 2011 Debut Author Challenge

I was very tempted by this challenge last year. Very tempted. But told myself that I had too many other challenges and was I really going to read THAT much YA? Well, the answer was a big, huge resounding "Yes." So I am getting in on this lovely challenge brought to you by The Story Siren.

I probably picked way too many books but my free time is plentiful and since my New Years Resolution for this year is to read more and to bake a new cupcake recipe every week, I figure this should help with one of them. I scheduled it according to release date (because I am crazy like that).

1.       Warped
2.       Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
3.       XVI by Julia Karr
4.       Timeless by Alexandra Monir
5.       Across the Universe by Beth Revis
6.       Choker by Elizabeth Woods
7.       Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
1.       Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
2.       A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
3.       Haven by Kristi Cook
4.       The Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar
5.       Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
6.       Where I Belong by Gwedolyn Heasley
7.       Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
8.       The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
9.       The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver
1.       Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
2.       Wither by Lauren DeStefano
3.       Entwined by Heather Dixon
4.       Clarity by Kim Harrington
5.       Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
6.       Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
7.       Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
1.       Enclave by Ann Aguirre
2.       Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
3.       The Returning by Christine Hinwood
4.       Bumped by Megan McCafferty
5.       Future Imperfect by K. Ryer Breese
1.       Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
2.       The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
3.       Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
4.       Saving June by Hannah Harrington
5.       Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
6.       Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
7.       The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
8.       Hourglass by Myra McEntire
9.       Die for Me by Amy Plum
1.       Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman
2.       The Revenant by Sonia Gensler
3.       Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley
4.       Hereafter by Tara Hudson
5.       Possession by Elana Johnson
6.       Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
7.       Forgotten by Cat Patrick
8.       Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
1.       Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
2.       Wildfire by Karsten Knight
1.       The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
2.       Dark Parties by Sara Grant
1.       Half Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
2.       Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
3.       With A Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
4.       The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (?)
5.       Broken Wings by Helen Landalf
1.       Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
2.       Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
1.       Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
1.       Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert
2.       Frost by Marianna Baer
3.       Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
4.       The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
5.       Flawless by Lara Chapman
6.       A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
7.       Circle Nine by Anne Heltzel
8.       The Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson
9.       Queen of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
10.   Banish by Gretchen McNeil
11.   Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
12.   A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Stronger Than Sin by Caridad Piñeiro

Stronger than Sin (Sin 2)
Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 0446543845
Pages: 336 pgs
Genre: Romance/Science Fiction
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary from publisher:
Dr. Liliana Carrera nearly lost her life to Wardwell scientists. She won't let them harm other innocent victims, like her new patient, Jesse Bradford. The former pro athlete had the best hands in the NFL . . . until an injury forced him to undergo Wardwell's experimental gene therapy. Now Jesse's gorgeous body is superhuman-but his strength comes at a price.

With Wardwell threatening his family, Jesse can't tell Liliana all he knows. Yet he can't resist her compassion . . . or her healing, erotic touch. As their passion flares, Jesse's body becomes dangerous and volatile. For evil men are plotting to change the face of humanity-and will destroy whoever stands in their way.

My Review:
Science fiction is usually not my thing at all. I go to great lengths to avoid it in most situations. But....when it is packaged with an intriguing romance plot, I find myself unable to resist.

I loved Liliana and Jesse. Liliana was the type of heroine you look for in romance novels. She was strong, intelligent and interesting. She was, for lack of a better term, kick ass. She rescue Jesse not the other way around.  I also love it when brainy chicks are heroines are heroines in romance novels. Jesse was also a great character. I loved that he had so much machismo and was definitely an alpha male but he had such a gentle side to him. The chemistry between Liliana and Jesse was borderline amazing.

Stronger Than Sin is a complete aberration for me. Science fiction and the such tend to be markers for a book to avoid for me but I loved this one. I loved the mix of mystery, thriller, romance and scifi. And even more so I loved that no particular plot overwhelmed the others.  It was balanced and well-writen. The "mad scientist" aspect of this book may have actually been my favorite part. It kind of reminded me of the Stryker and Wolverine plot in the XMen movies (pardon my lack of knowledge about the comics-I'm uninformed).

If you are looking for a romance that is not completely typical, pick this one up--as well as the first book in 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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Montana Glory by R.C. Ryan

Montana Glory
Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 0446548642
Pages: 384 pgs
Genre: Romance/Western-Contemporary
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary from Publisher:
The last thing in the world Zane McCord wants is a wife. But after returning home to the family ranch in Montana to help his cousins search for the lost treasure that is their legacy, Zane can't help notice that love and marriage seem to be contagious. Both his cousins have succumbed, but he refuses. Determined to stay a bachelor till he dies, Zane wants to devote his time to filming documentaries and taking care of the ranch...and then Riley Mason walks into his life.

The last thing on Riley Mason's mind is romance. Sent to the McCord ranch to save the family's accounting problems, she only wants to impress her firm in Helena and be on her way. Life as a single mother isn't easy and she needs to impress her bosses for a raise. But when Zane McCord opens the door, her breath catches in her throat and a desire she's never experienced before takes over her. When the McCords insist that she and her daughter, Summer stay at the ranch, she's forced to give in and before long, she's pulled into their search for the long lost treasure. But she absolutely draws the line at getting involved with Zane McCord, playboy and heartbreaker extraordinaire.

But as they all get closer to finding Coot's lost treasure, a dangerous series of accidents target Riley and her daughter Summer. Can Zane keep her safe while trying to win her heart?

My Review:
You really tend to have a good feeling about a book when an extremely pretty boy is on the cover and extremely pretty boys are on the covers of this whole series. I have only read the last two books in this series (have to review the second books and the first is on my wish list). I think that this one might be my favorite of the series for reasons I am not even sure of yet.

First of all, I loved the family dynamic between Zane, Riley and Summer. Zane was the one character that I thought would have been rough around the edges by the time his book in his series by the time his book came around but I was extremely happy to find him to be kind, sweet and a bit scampy. The father/daughter relationship he forms with Summer even before he considers a romantic relationship with Summer's mother. I also liked Riley quite a bit. She was one of those heroines that you would like to meet in real life. I also love how the characters from the previous books played such a huge role in this one instead of fading into the background.

I must admit that with this series, the adventure and mystery fell sort of short with me. It's not that I didn't enjoy it but the romance and family story was just so well done and interesting that it was a bit difficult for me to become overly invested in anything else. I loved watching the family dynamic between Zane, Riley and Summer develop and I loved that so much of the focus was put on that developing relationship.

I really loved the last two books in this series and now find myself a bit compelled to buy the first book or request it from the library.

*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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Legacy of Pemberley by Rebecca Ann Collins

The Legacy of Pemberley: The acclaimed Pride and Prejudice sequel series (The Pemberley Chronicles; Pride and Prejudice Sequel Series)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402224524
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary from publisher:
It has been fifty years since Mr. Darcy took Elizabeth Bennet as his bride, and through half a century of both true happiness and difficult trials, their love has never faltered. When Charles Bingley's declining health forces Darcy and Elizabeth to travel with their dear friends to Europe, it will fall to the next generation to continue the legacy of love and family their parents have spent a lifetime establishing.

Reunions of old friends go hand in hand with the introduction of new adversaries, and long hidden secrets come to light. But as this chronicle comes to a close, the sadness in parting is tempered not only by splendid memories, but the knowledge that the legacy of Pemberley will live far beyond the written page...

My Review:
I have followed the Pemberley Chronicles since the beginning and I have loved the entire journey. This is one of my favorite series not only in the Jane Austen sequel genre but in almost very genre.

There is so much to love in this series.  The characters are engaging and the writing is spot on as always. I love, most of all, how Rebecca Ann Collins emulates Jane Austen's writing style but makes it her own. It lends an authenticity to this series that some other adaptations do not have.

 This was the perfect end to this series. All of the story lines came together in a way that left you fully satisfied with the ending of this series. I did feel somewhat confused at times because there were so many characters and so many families within the Darcy circle that it became difficult to recall all of the various couples and stories. I am getting older and the memory is already going. But I did find that if I used the character glossary and looked at my old reviews, I could remember quite a bit easier.

If you are looking for a complete Jane Austen sequel series where you not only see the Jane Austen canon characters develop but also the further generations, this one is for you.

*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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