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Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Challenges

2011 Challenges


Challenge Name/Site: Pick Your Poison Challenge/My Cup of Tea
What is the Challenge: Decide what books you want to read from chosen categories and read em. Mine are Regency Romance and Paranormal YA. Monkshood level 12+
My Progress:
Regency Romance-0/12
YA Paranormal Romance-0/12


Challenge Name/Site: Romance Reading Challenge/The Bookworm
What is the Challenge:Read 5 romance novels
My Progress:0/5





Challenge Name/Site: Shapeshifter Challenge/Parajunkee
What is the Challenge:Read 20 or more books about shapeshifters.
My Progress:0/20




Challenge Name/Site: Vampire Challenge/Parajunkee
What is the Challenge:Read 20 or more books about vampires.
My Progress:0/20

Challenge Name/Site: Page to Screen Challenge/Reading Extensively
What is the Challenge:Read 20 or more books that were made into movies and maybe watch the movies.
My Progress:0/20

Challenge Name/Site: Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge/Romance Book Maven
What is the Challenge:Read 10 contemporary romances before the end of the year
My Progress:1/10

Challenge Name/Site: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge/Historical Tapestry
What is the Challenge:Read 20 historical fictions before the end of the year
My Progress:0/20

Challenge Name/Site: Support Your Local Library Challenge/The Book Junkie's Bookshelf
What is the Challenge:Read 51 library books before the end of the year
My Progress:0/51

Challenge Name/Site: YA Reading Challenge/For the Love of YA
What is the Challenge:Read 50 YA books before the end of the year
My Progress:0/50

Challenge Name/Site: 100+ Reading Challenge/My Overstuffed Bookshelf
What is the Challenge:Read 100 or more books before the end of the year
My Progress:1/100

Escape Between The Pages
Challenge Name/Site: The Highlander Reading Challenge/Escape Between the Pages
What is the Challenge:Read 20 Highlander books before the end of the year
My Progress:0/20

Challenge Name/Site: Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge/All Things Historical Fictions
What is the Challenge:Read Georgette Heyer's books before the end of the year
My Progress:0/38

My Love Affair With Books
Challenge Name/Site: Wish I'd Read That Challenge/My Love Affair With Books
What is the Challenge:Read 20 books on your reading list before the end of the year
My Progress:0/20

Challenge Name/Site: 2011 E-Book Reading Challenge/The Ladybug Reads
What is the Challenge:Read 100 e-books before the end of the year
My Progress:0/100

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Challenge Name/Site: Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge/The Book Vixen
What is the Challenge:Read more books than you did last year
My Progress:1/139

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Heir by Grace Burrowes

The Heir


Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402244347
Pages: 480 pgs
Genre: Romance/Regency
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating:





Summary from Publisher:
  
An earl who can't be bribed...

Gayle Windham, earl of Westhaven, is the first legitimate son and heir to the duke of Moreland. To escape his father's inexorable pressure to marry, he decides to spend the summer at his townhouse in London, where he finds himself intrigued by the secretive ways of his beautiful housekeeper...

A lady who can't be protected...

Anna Seaton is a beautiful, talented, educated woman, which is why it is so puzzling to Gayle Windham that she works as his housekeeper.

As the two draw closer and begin to lose their hearts to each other, Anna's secrets threaten to bring the earl's orderly life crashing down-and he doesn't know how he's going to protect her from the fallout...

 My Review
I've been in need of a regency lately. I was really looking forward to this series. It looked so good and I had such high expectations.

I loved the characters in The Heir. They were surprising and unique. Anna was a strong and independent heroine. Her intelligence really came through well. She had this sense of mystery around her. Westhaven was really one of the best heroes I have ever come across. I expected him to be rakish but he was kind of adorable. He was cute, funny and he had a terrible sweet tooth. I found him incredibly endearing.

Anna and Westhaven had such amazing chemistry. I love how they played off of each other. They were so cute and funny and just adorable. Not something I often say about a romance novel but it's the truth. They were adorable. The action was also really interesting. The bad guys were semi sorta creepy. Especially Stull, Anna's betrothed. He was the definition of a creeper.

This is one of those series that I will continue reading. I say that about many of the romance series I start but I often never remember to finish them. This one will have a spot on my calendar because it's that good.

*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, December 26, 2010

Wolf Fever by Terry Spear

Wolf Fever
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402237529
Pages: 416 pgs
Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Shapeshifter
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating:





Summary from Publisher:
She may be his destiny, but she's not his first choice...

Hospital nurse and newly turned red werewolf Carol Woods is being pressured by her pack leader to find a mate, but he's the only guy in the pack who remotely attracts her.

Why is he playing so hard to get?

The fate of the pack rests on his shoulders...

Gray pack leader Ryan McKinley doesn't want anything to do with Carol unless she's willing to embrace her wolf nature-no matter how beautiful she is.

But when a virus infects the local lupus garou pack, Ryan realizes just how wrong he's been not to seize the moment with the woman he's come to love. And now, it may be too late...

My Review:
This is only the second book in this series that I have read. It goes against very instinct that I have to jump into the middle/end of a series but I did it. I do have to say that with this series I did not mind so much. Each book and each couple is so different from that last that it's easy to pretend that it's not a part of a series.

I liked both Carol and Ryan. They had this great push and pull relationship. Carol was harangued by her pack leader into finding a mate and Ryan was a pack leader who does not want to mate with Carol because she is not comfortable with her wolf nature. It works perfectly and creates just the right amount of tension to make it interesting.

This is my second favorite shapeshifter series (second only to Lydia Dare's series). The writing is good, the action is compelling and the romance is, of course, amazing. I really loved the action in this one. Perhaps even more so than the romance. I loved the whole virus plot. It was interesting without being contrived.

I definitely have to catch up with this series because I have loved both books I have picked up. Maybe as my belated Christmas gift to myself.

*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, December 22, 2010

Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello

Salting Roses: A NovelPublisher: Avon
ISBN:0061443743
Pages:  336 pgs
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating:







Summary from Publisher:
A young woman abandoned as an infant on an Alabama porch is horrified to discover that she is the missing heiress to a vast Connecticut fortune—a birthright she is desperate to reject in favor of her Peachtree Lane roots.

Gracie Lynne Calloway—once left in a coal bucket on a front porch in a small Alabama town—discovers on her twenty-fifth birthday that she is the kidnapped daughter of a late New England financier and heiress to a fortune. When the tabloid press and her unwanted greedy relatives descend on her, she has to admit the quiet secure life she's known and loved is gone for good. As Gracie struggles to stabilize her world and come to terms with her new identity, she learns that belonging is not about where you came from but who you are.


My Review:
Namesake book! I love books with main characters with my name. It’s a sick obsession to collect them but I can’t help it. When I was a kid, no one had my name. Now it’s every-freaking-where.

Gracie was one of the best characters I have come across in a long time and not only because we share a name. I love that she is a tomboy. You get so tired of reading about the same girly heroines but it was nice to read about a heroine that broke that mold. She was also stubborn, spunky and strong. I love that her stubborn verged on obnoxious and that she was quite the tough cookie. Part of my love for Gracie is that Marinello wrote her so well. She managed to take a tough girl like Gracie and soften her up without losing any bit of the character that I had grown to love.

There was something so engaging about this book and I can’t place my finger on it. I am a New Yorker through and through. Sometimes books about the South and Southern culture tend to go right over my very Northern head. This one didn’t. I found it charming. I loved all of the characters, the romance, the romance, the story. Everything really.

*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, December 21, 2010

Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell

Pemberley Ranch  Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402241283
Pages:  384 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Adaptation
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating:





Summary from Publisher:
When the smoke has cleared from the battlefields and the civil war has finally ended, fervent Union supporter Beth Bennet reluctantly moves with her family from their home in Meryton, Ohio, to the windswept plains of Rosings, Texas. Handsome, haughty Will Darcy, a Confederate officer back from the war, owns half the land around Rosings, and his even haughtier cousin, Cate Burroughs, owns the other half.

In a town as small as Rosings, Beth and Will inevitably cross paths. But as Will becomes enchanted with the fiery Yankee, Beth won't allow herself to warm to the man who represents the one thing she hates most: the army that killed her only brother.

But when carpetbagger George Whitehead arrives in Rosings, all that Beth thought to be true is turned on its head, and the only man who can save her home is the one she swore she'd never trust...

My Review:
I thought I had read every possible permutation of a Jane Austen adaptation possible. But like with most things, I was wrong. I had never thought that a western, post-Civil War, Pride and Prejudice would work at all but it did.

I loved Beth in this one. She was as witty and spunky as we would expect our Elizabeth Bennet to be. She was a bit more…shall we say…untamed. I also was completely into Confederate, war-scarred Darcy. I loved that he was even more of a hero in this one than he was in Pride and Prejudice. He actually went to battle for Beth which Jane's Darcy really never had to do. I did think that sometimes it seemed as if it was only Beth correcting her behavior and part of the charm of Pride and Prejudice is that both Lizzy and Darcy need some correction before they could be together.

I did feel at times that Caldwell was more interested in imparting a Civil War history lesson than telling Beth and Will's story. But being a historian, I loved it. Any book that has footnotes is a book that I will love. But generally, I thought that the writing was really good and Caldwell really had the Pride and Prejudice characters and story down and made it his own really convincingly.

This western version of Pride and Prejudice came together perfectly. The characters, the story and the romance from Pride and Prejudice melded well with a Western American environment and every little change that Jack Caldwell made only served to enhance an already amazing story. 

*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, December 20, 2010

Desiree by Annemarie Selinko

Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon's First LovePublisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402244029
Pages: 608 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/French
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating:





Summary from Publisher:

To be young, in France, and in love: fourteen year old Desiree can't believe her good fortune. Her fiance, a dashing and ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte, is poised for battlefield success, and no longer will she be just a French merchant's daughter. She could not have known the twisting path her role in history would take, nearly breaking her vibrant heart but sweeping her to a life rich in passion and desire.

A love story, but so much more, Désirée explores the landscape of a young heart torn in two, giving readers a compelling true story of an ordinary girl whose unlikely brush with history leads to a throne no one would have expected.

An epic bestseller that has earned both critical acclaim and mass adoration, Désirée is at once a novel of the rise and fall of empires, the blush and fade of love, and the heart and soul of a woman.

My Review:

I've been rather review silent this week. I got sick with the flu and my brain was not capable of even writing my own name for most of the week. I'm lucky I got my go-round with the flu over with early because I get it once every year and it sucks.

I am a huge historical fiction junkie. I have read about almost every period…but never about French history or Napoleon. I have never been interested in this period much but I loved the Marlon Brando version of Désirée and decided that I must read the novel.

I loved almost everything about this book. I am used to historical fiction novels where the historical characters seem a bit flat but Désirée was really a well rounded and interesting character but I did think that there was an issue with her voice. She sounded the same in her youth as she did when she was an older and mature queen. I like it when there is a progression in the voice as well as the maturity of a character as we watch them get older. I never thought her voice reflected her age and maturity and it got a bit frustrating.

I did love how the story was told. Ever since I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was 9 years old, I have loved books in the journal format. I also loved that this wasn't so much about the romance between Napoleon and Désirée but it was more about history and politics. I really loved this book. If there had not been the issue with the voice, it would have been perfect.

*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, December 13, 2010

Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King


Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 0307452794
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/Scotland
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating:





Summary from Publisher:
Refugee. Queen. Saint. In eleventh-century Scotland, a young woman strives to fulfill her destiny despite the risks . . .

Shipwrecked on the Scottish coast, a young Saxon princess and her family—including the outlawed Edgar of England—ask sanctuary of the warrior-king Malcolm Canmore, who shrewdly sees the political advantage. He promises to aid Edgar and the Saxon cause in return for the hand of Edgar’s sister, Margaret, in marriage.

A foreign queen in a strange land, Margaret adapts to life among the barbarian Scots, bears princes, and shapes the fierce warrior Malcolm into a sophisticated ruler. Yet even as the king and queen build a passionate and tempestuous partnership, the Scots distrust her. When her husband brings Eva, a Celtic bard, to court as a hostage for the good behavior of the formidable Lady Macbeth, Margaret expects trouble. Instead, an unlikely friendship grows between the queen and her bard, though one has a wild Celtic nature and the other follows the demanding path of obligation.

Torn between old and new loyalties, Eva is bound by a vow to betray the king and his Saxon queen. Soon imprisoned and charged with witchcraft and treason, Eva learns that Queen Margaret—counseled by the furious king and his powerful priests—will decide her fate and that of her kinswoman Lady Macbeth. But can the proud queen forgive such deep treachery?

Impeccably researched, a dramatic page-turner, Queen Hereafter is an unforgettable story of shifting alliances and the tension between fear and trust as a young woman finds her way in a dangerous world. 
 
My Review:
I usually avoid books about saints for the simple reason that I had lessons about the lives of saints shoved down my throat as a kid and I wasn’t interested then and I most definitely am not interested now. The only thing that caught my interest was that it was historical fiction and romance. I was thoroughly surprised with how much I liked this book when I let go of my childhood trauma.

I usually must make a connection to the main character in order to like a book. It’s a quirk of mine but it’s become a necessity. I must admit that I did not like Queen Margaret at all. I could not understand her. Her religious beliefs bordered on the fanatical and I think that alone created a disconnect. She was constantly worrying if she was praying enough and quite frankly it was exhausting. I can commiserate with having faith and beliefs but to go as far as to continue to fast while pregnant and to endanger your child because of your beliefs is beyond my comprehension. This is coming from a woman who has no children and is never planning on having any. I did, however, like the other two characters in the book, Malcolm and Eva. It was so much easier to identify with them.

There was much I loved about this book. The depth of historical research was really wonderful.  Susan King really knows her stuff and it comes through in the storytelling.  King’s writing style is engaging and interesting and is the true highlight of the book. She really shined in her descriptions of Scotland. She created a landscape that felt almost tangible. The descriptions made me want to visit Scotland even more, if that’s at all possible—it’s my dream vacation. 

Overall, I did like this book quite a bit. The issues I had with it were character related. I loved the writing and everything else about it. If you like Helen Hollick, or Elizabeth Chadwick’s books, you will probably like 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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