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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: The Virtuoso by Grace Burrowes

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN:140224570X 
Pages:416 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency  
Series: Windham-1,2 
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

The highly praised trilogy of Regency romances by award-winning author Grace Burrowes concludes with gifted pianist Valentine Windham, youngest son of the Duke of Moreland. Val retreats to the country after an injury robs him of his musical ability, only to learn from impoverished widow Ellen Markham that he can be loved even when his music falls silent.

My Review: 

I read the previous books in this series and was looking forward to Val's story from the beginning.  He was always my favorite of the brothers.  The Virtuoso definitely lived up to expectations.

I really liked Ellen quite a bit.  I can totally identify with her desire to stay alone and her cottage for the rest of her life.  I often have that desire myself.  Even though I don't have a cottage.  She also had reasons for it, I don't.  I loved Val.  He was such a sweet guy.  I have a special place in my heart for injured heroes.  But Val was special.  He never went to that whiny or uber-damaged place that some injured heroes find themselves in but he tried to distract himself with work (somewhat foolishly).

The chemistry between Ellen and Val the some of the most intense I've seen in years.  Honestly.  It was magnetic.  Also, The Virtuoso happens to have one of the best love scenes I've ever read... and I've read a lot.  Burrowes really knows how to build chemistry and relationships between her characters and maintain a good sound plot.

Rating:

*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.

Review: The Highlander’s Heart by Amanda Forester

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN: 1402253044
Pages:384 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Highlander 
Series: Highlander(1)    
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Fleeing into the wilderness to escape an abusive marriage, Lady Isabelle Tynsdale would sooner face down a wild boar than spend another night with her wretched husband. Battered by the elements, desperate to elude a band of attackers, and defending herself against, as fate would have it, a wild boar she is rescued by the handsome Laird David Campbell.

Campbell knows holding Isabelle captive for ransom is his best chance to temper the storm threatening to destroy his clan. The ransom of an English countess should be more than enough to pay off his debts to England and save him from an unwanted marriage. But Isabelle didn't escape her husband just to become another man's captive and Laird Campbell is seriously misguided if he thinks she's going to go quietly.

My Review: 

I've come to the conclusion that if there's a man in a kilt on the cover, I am reading the book.  That's just the way I work.  Highlanders are one of my weaknesses.  I make no apologies.

Isabelle was one of those troublesome heroines.  Not because I didn't like her but this poor girl constantly got herself into trouble, peril and mayhem.  I couldn't decide issues brave or crazy.  But I liked her anyway.  She had spirit and courage.  Now, David was awesome.  I have to admit to a bit of a crush on David.  Who wouldn't?  The man is strong, brave and kilted.  He has to be one of my favorite heroes in a very long time.

The chemistry between Isabelle and David was off the fricken chart.  Even though she spent the majority of the book married and he was engaged to two women, their chemistry she was beyond intense.  That sounds strange to say but so true.  Isabelle had me laughing with all of her schemes and the various ways she failed at her schemes.  I can't wait for the next book One True Highland Spirit.  It sounds just as good as this one.

Rating:

*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 29, 2011

Review: Tall, Dark and Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN: 1402251440
Pages:376 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Western  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

SHE'S LOOKING FOR AN OLD FRIEND...
In the wake of a nasty divorce, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming where she's sure her old friend will take her in. But her high school pal Chase Caldwell is no longer the gangly boy who would follow her anywhere. For one thing, he's now incredibly buff and handsome, but that's not all that's changed...
WHAT SHE FINDS IS ONE HOT COWBOY...
Chase has been through tough times and is less than thrilled to see the girl who once broke his heart. But try as he might to resist her, while Lacey's putting her life back together, he's finding new ways to be a part of it.

My Review: 

Joanne Kennedy is one of my favorite western romance authors.  She always writes the best cowboys and the most likable heroines.  This so was no different.

I kinda wavered with Lacey.  I thought that it was very presumptive of her to expect Chase to take care of her after so many years.  I mean, who does that?  She seemed very self centered.  But I think in her desperation, she gets a pass.  I absolutely love Chase.  I love that he didn't immediately become a patsy for Lacey.  He gave her a good fight before he gave in.  I think I would've lost some respect for him if he immediately forgave Lacey everything.

This was the reverse of so many stories I've read before -the requited high school crush.  Usually it's the girl panting after the boy.  I like that it was Chase who had a crush on Lacey.  I like that Kennedy added a bit of mystery and action to spice up the plot.  I'm also a big fan of novels where animals play a significant role and they definitely did in this one.  I, however, felt that the chemistry between Chase and Lacey was a bit lacking at times.  I did like them but sometimes I just didn't feel the connection.

Rating:

*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.

Review: Embrace the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN: 1402251262
Pages:384 pages
Genre: Romance/Highlander/Paranormal  
Series: Connor Clan(1)    
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

They were driven apart by a timeless secret…
Cody MacBain let the woman of his destiny slip away. A member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, he grew up beside Shay Logan as her secret protector, but his heart compelled him to become more. Until Shay’s true identity was revealed, and the fated pair’s chance was gone…
But danger will drive them back into each other’s arms…
Shay fell for the boy next door, suspecting nothing of the ancient secrets he guarded. After a stinging betrayal, she’s determined to banish the memories of her first love forever. But the past can’t let go, and the boy she once loved has returned to her a warrior determined to protect her from the unspeakable evil fate has planned…
But with all the Underworld after Shay, Cody will have to call in the entire Connor Clan to keep her safe.

My Review: 

Highland romances are kind of my thing.  I love them all but I'm always looking for something different.  This was definitely something different.  It was a perfect combination of paranormal romance, historical romance and highlander romance.

I really liked Shay.  There really wasn't anything too spectacular about her but she had such intense chemistry with Cody that I couldn't help it like her.  Cody was such a great hero.  He had great chemistry with Shay.  Individually, they're okay but together the chemistry was amazing.  I don't think I would've liked the book is much if they hadn't had such intense chemistry even though the plot was interesting.

I love it when the main couple has an intriguing and tragic back story --Shay and Cody definitely do.  If it involves long separations, misunderstandings and opportunities lost, I am totally there.  I tend to chase the angst in romance novels.  If you couldn't tell already.  I loved how the paranormal mixed in with the story and kept it interesting.  This is one of my first contemporary Highlander novels - -something new that I must admit I like.

Rating:

*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 28, 2011

Review: Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer

imagePublisher: The University of Arkansas Press  
ISBN: 1557289727
Pages: 151 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/WWII  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

"Camp Nine beautifully captures a sense of time and place that resonates with authenticity. It shows an intimate familiarity with the internment camp at Rohwer-how the camp came to be situated in such a remote part of Arkansas, life within the camp, and the feelings of the Japanese Americans held captive there, as well as what life was like in the 1940s for the locals outside. It is a perspective that has never been presented. I love this book and recommend it as a must-read."
-Delphine Hirasuna, author of The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942 - 1946
"Through the prisms of place, family, race, class, power, and privilege, Vivienne Schiffer skillfully constructs a necessarily complicated portrait of the era into a meaningful mosaic and satisfying story."
-Grif Stockley, author of Ruled by Race: Black/White Relations in Arkansas from Slavery to the Present (University of Arkansas Press)


My Review: 
I find the Japanese internment during WWII to be such an interesting point in history.  It was so terrible and disgusting I get so interesting that the American government and people could sanction such an offense.  It's not often that I read books about but I was immediately interested in this one.

Camp Nine focuses on Chess Morton, a child upon whose land Camp Nine was built as sanctioned by her grandfather.  I loved Chess.  Her childlike curiosity helped temper the horror of the historical events going on around her.  She was a real treasure of the character because you felt you are seeing the world through her eyes even though she was telling you the story as an adult.

Camp Nine was a book that I put off for a few days.  I haven't been reading much of historical fiction lately.  I have no idea why.  Lately if it hasn't been a romance or a YA, I haven't been reading it.  I was actually a bit worried that this wouldn't work for me.  But thankfully it did.  Probably because I love Chess.  It's very rare that I connect so deeply with the protagonist.  Especially one that happens to be a child.  Perhaps it's because the story was told by Chess as an adult.  It gave a more knowledgeable voice to a situation a child could never fully understand.

I really love this book.  I'm so glad that I picked it up even though I was a bit nervous about it.  The storytelling was great, the writing was amazing and I really loved how easy it was for me to connect to Chess. 


Rating:

*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.

Review: Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Landmark  
ISBN: 1402259042
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice  
Series: The Darcy Saga (1,2,3,4,5,6)    
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Hugely successful bestselling author (over 95,000 copies sold through) of sensual, romantic Pride and Prejudice continuations explores unusual aspects of the Regency world, this time following Mr. Darcy's younger sister into the world of classical music.

Noble young ladies were expected to play an instrument, but societal restrictions would have chafed for Georgiana Darcy, an accomplished musician. Her tour of Europe draws the reader into the musical life of the day, and a riveting love story of a young woman learning to direct her destiny and understand her own heart.

My Review: 

Georgiana Darcy has always had one of my favorite characters From Pride And Prejudice.  That's probably a bit unusual because she's not exactly one of the most vocal characters.  I guess the best that you can say about her is that she has potential and Sharon Lathan explores that potential in Miss Darcy Falls in Love.

I love books about Georgiana.  She plays such a pivotal role in Pride and Prejudice but we know so little about her.  We basically only know that she's really really shy, she loves her brother, and she was hoodwinked by the nefarious Mr.Wickham.  I search out books about her.  I may be the only person who does this but I just love her so much.  I mostly a ship her with Colonel Fitzwilliam but Georgiana was great in this one.  She was so well developed.  She had some of this same characteristics that I loved in Pride and Prejudice --her sweetness and shyness --but she was also much spunkier and much more independent.  I love how Lathan transformed Georgiana in simple ways but still was able to capture the character that I loved from Pride and Prejudice.

Now, we can't simply talk about Georgiana.  We also have to talk about Sebastian.  I have come to the conclusion that if a character is named Sebastian, he is automatically awesome.  That is very much true here.  Even though I am loath to admit it, Sebastian is the perfect hero for Georgiana.  He is musically inclined and charming.  I know I said that I love her with Colonel Fitzwilliam but Sebastian kind of change my mind.  Not completely but still, it worked in this book.

First of all, I loved how this book is organized.  It was so perfect for Georgiana  and the perfect reflection of her talents and character (as well as Sebastian's).  The writing was great and the story progressed nicely --even though the language does get a bit flowery here and there.  But the book was so good that it didn't catch my notice very often.  I also did miss the presence of other Pride and Prejudice characters.  I always like for there to be cameos but there weren't that many here.  Again, I didn't mind it so much because the book was generally awesome. 
Rating:

*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 23, 2011

Review: Fortune’s Son by Emery Lee

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca  
ISBN: 1402256442
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Georgian  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Love is the ultimate gamble…

Seasoned gambler Philip Drake knows every trick and uses most of them. After years of infamy, he’s ready to accept the mantle of respectability with his earldom— until a devastating racing loss and the threat of debtors’ prison force Philip right back into his gaming ways…

Susannah, Lady Messingham, is a woman with a past who refuses to belong to any man again. But Philip’s skill catches her eye and she persuades him to teach her how to win at the tables. Their new partnership turns into an exhilarating high-stakes game that entangles them in terrifying risk and unimaginable rewards…
Immerse yourself in the risky side of Georgian England with a pair of lovers who aren’t afraid to risk it all on a toss of the dice…


My Review: 
I loved Lee's last book, The Highest Stakes, and I was really looking forward to this one.  Phillip and Sukey were some of my favorite characters from the last book and I've been looking forward to their story.  This one lived up to every one of my expectations and then some.

Susannah was an amazing heroine.  She was so self possessed, feisty and smart.  I love that.  She was also older than Phillip.  She is actually a bit of a puma.  I mean that in the of ways.  You almost never see that.  I also really liked Phillip.  I have a thing for gambler heroes.  It's probably because they have this danger about them.  Or possibly because I'm a bit of a card shark myself.  But either way, I loved him.  He was Susannah's guide into the world of gambling and he was oh so sexy.

I loved so many things about this book.  I loved how gambling and cards were so prevalent in the plot.  I almost expected the gambling to be glossed over or disappear midway through the book.  But it wasn't and it didn't and I was thrilled. The chemistry between Phillip and Susannah was so good.  I thought they worked so well together.  Even though they both did things that frustrated me to no end.  I mean he married another woman for money (and, of course, Susannah became his mistress).  In fact, I almost wish the gambling had played a lesser role because I became so engrossed in the romance.

Rating:

*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 22, 2011

Review: Utterly Charming by Kristine Grayson

image5Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca  
ISBN: 1402248512
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Romance/Fairy Tale  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb





Summary from publisher:
Bestselling author Kristine Grayson's fairy tale romances bring the classic stories into the present day, where fairy tale characters must grapple with the complexities of modern life as well as their own destinies.
This time when Sleeping Beauty wakes up, she wants nothing to do with the man who kissed her. Consoling Alex Blackstone, the rejected suitor who is a brilliant magician but inept when it comes to women, falls to modern career woman and lawyer, Nora Barr. Nora now has to deal with Beauty's evil stepmother, and the discovery that Alex just might be her own personal Prince Charming...

My Review: 
I really loved Wickedly Charming.  It was one of my favorite reads of the summer.  I've always liked the baddie characters much better than the good guys.  I always thought that there was something wrong with me.  Turns out I'm not so abnormal. I was really looking forward to this one.

Nora was a great heroine.  I loved her.  She spent much of the book trying to fight her attraction to Alex.  Quite rightly.  He was a bit of a putz.  I am almost hoped that should find someone better.  Alex AKA “the putz” was blindly obsessed with Emma AKA Sleeping Beauty.  How does one maintain an obsession with a woman in a coma?  Is it a special talent?  Does he have pretend conversations with her?  He just got on my nerves.  He had his awesome woman in front of him but fawned over the comatose one.  It made no sense at all.

I have to admit that I had a bit of trouble with this one.  Not because it wasn't good but because I wanted to give a hero a hearty slap.  There just some heroes that are begging for it.  Alex is one of them.  He only came to his senses close to the end of the book.  Nora was what saved it for me.  She was one kickass heroine.  Grayson does a great job of recreating a fairy tale that we all know and love and making it completely new again.  Despite my issues with the hero, I could not put this book down while I was reading it.

I'm really looking forward to Grayson's next book in this series.  I really hope the next book is about Bluebeard.  He was my favorite character from the first book.

Rating:

*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.

Review: Chosen by Chandra Hoffman

imagePublisher: HarperLuxe  
ISBN: 0062002457
Pages: 468 pages
Genre: Fiction  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb


Summary from publisher:

In Chosen, a young caseworker becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of adoptive and birth parents, with devastating results.

It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her "signing paperwork" charcoal suit standing alongside beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn, set against a fluorescent-lit delivery-room backdrop. It's this blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of the Chosen Child's domestic-adoption program, happy while juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of both adoptive and biological parents.

But the very job that offers her refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland's winter rains soon becomes a battleground involving three very different couples: the Novas, well-off college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who have nothing—except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what he or she really wants and where it all went wrong.

Told from alternating points of view, Chosen reveals the desperate nature of desire across social backgrounds and how far people will go to get the one thing they think will be the answer.

My Review: 

I have to admit that I tend to cringe away from books about babies or pregnancy. I don’t know why. It’s something I have never done and never plan to do so I just skip over it. But this one seemed so interesting that I could not resist.

Chosen focuses on Chloe Pinter, director of Chosen Child’s adoption program, as she deals with three very different couples.  I thought I was very interesting how these couples stories wove together and showed all the different facets of adoption.  I have to admit that I really do not envy Chloe her job.  It seems so demanding and stressful and hectic.  I would be sitting in a corner and talking to a hand puppet.  I don't deal with stress well.

There's so many things I loved about this book.  And let's have deep in detail it went into adoption and the adoption process.  It's so interesting to read about the person behind the adoption.  It's the story you very rarely hear but it's a story I'm very interested in reading about.  I love that the story was told in alternating point of views.  It definitely added another dimension to an already interesting novel. 


Rating:

*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 21, 2011

Review: The Seekers of Fire by Lynna Merrill

imagePublisher: CreateSpace  
ISBN: 1466236604
Pages:334 pages
Genre: Fantasy  
Series: The Masters the Be (1) 
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Barnes and Noble clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb


Summary from publisher:

The Bers have ruled Mierenthia with fire magic and an iron fist for hundreds of years, but now their magic is failing. The firepipes are dry. The firewells gape cold and empty, and the factories are shutting down. Light, warmth, and food are scarce. Strange creatures appear not only in the distant forests but even in the cities, the Bers' own strongholds.

Amidst this chaos arises Linden, a young commoner woman who dares oppose a Ber with forbidden magic of her own. She is joined by Rianor, the High Ruler of Qynnsent, who defies what the Bers call a noble's greatest responsibility. The two tamper with the half-ridiculed, half-forbidden idea of science and believe that there is more to science than the Bers and mentors would have people think.

Dominick, a young mentor, one of the priestly class who keep people from thinking aberrant thoughts, starts to question the Ber world even as he is trying to save it.
Merley, a young Ber woman who sees things that others cannot, saves a condemned boy and seeks out a reprobate old witch.

As these young people choose the paths rarely taken and make paths of their own, others try to pull their strings and shape the world according to their own wills.

My Review:

I am not really a straight fantasy type of person. At all. It usually needs to be mixed in with another genre to make it palatable for me.

I started this one with a bit of trepidation. I tend to either really love or really hate fantasy. For instance, I really hated The Lord of the Rings series (I know…sacrilege) and I loved A Song of Ice and Fire series. Either the world draws me in or it just plain doesn't.  This one sucked me in. I found myself becoming really intrigued by all of the detail.

As I said, the world building is amazing. So much that I am anxious to start the next book. That very rarely happens with me and fantasies. It took me months to start The Two Towers after finishing The Fellowship of the Ring. The one thing I was missing with this one was a little character development but I think that will come with the next book.

Rating:

*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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