Friday, September 26, 2008
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mystery/Book 1
Lady Julia Grey is married to her childhood friend Sir Edward Grey. The story opens at a dinner party Julia and Edward are hosting. Edward is struck down by a seizure and later dies. He had been in poor health for some time so this wasn't a complete shock to Julia. She finds herself left widowed and far wealthier than she ever expected. Also at the same dinner party she meets Nicholas Brisbane. He is a business associate of her late husband and was there to lend assistance when Edward collapsed. Nicholas later reveals to Julia that he does not believe Edward's death was due to ill health but instead believes he was murdered.
So starts this wonderful historical mystery. The story takes place in 1886 Victorian London and is told in Julia's point of view. Raybourn graduated with double majors in English and history and it definitely comes through in her writing. The reader is taken back in time and gets to experience the same London that Julia does.
Julia was raised with her nine siblings by her father, Lord March and her Aunt Hermia. Her mother died shortly after Julia's youngest brother Valerius was born. Valerius, who is six years younger than Julia, comes to live with her after Edward's death. While she and Val prefer to keep their contact to a minimum they do have a complex relationship and we see how it changes over time as the two are forced to have greater discussions than a simple passing in the hallway.
Sir Simon Grey also lives at Grey House with Julia. He is Edward's cousin and heir since Julia and Edward had no children. Simon was also Julia's childhood friend and is bedridden and in ill health similar to Edward.
Julia also has a wonderful relationship with her sister Portia. Portia is widowed but chose a different path after her mourning period rather than remarrying. She is one woman who knows what she wants and doesn't give a fig about what society thinks with regards to her personal life.
Nicholas Brisbane is a character with a past that he does not want to share. Julia is drawn to him because he is so different from the men she is used to interacting with. He tells Julia that he is in the business of "disposing of matters of a delicate nature for people who do not care to share their difficulties with the Metropolitan Police". He is a fascinating character who's layers are slowly revealed as the story progresses.
One thing I found interesting was how Julia perceived her marriage and relationship to Edward. This was not a love match but a marriage of convenience. They genuinely liked each other but theirs was a relationship of the aristocratic husband and wife, not passionate lovers. It's possible to consider her relationship with Simon deeper than that with Edward. At one point Julia is thinking about when she first met Edward and Simon. That over the years Simon came to be thought of as another brother to her. She is deeply concerned with his failing health and while imagining him dying thinks:
In some ways, his death would be more wrenching than Edward's. Edward had been my husband. Simon was my friend.
I really think this says a lot about how she thought of her marriage to Edward. There is a very distinct line that Julia has drawn between the two relationships.
Then there is her relationship with Nicholas. This is one that at first she maintains on a strict business level but eventually it turns into a partnership, at least in Julia's mind. As they work together to discover what really killed Edward the lines become blurry as to what their relationship is and what it may become. There is an attraction between the two that neither one wants to admit to.
I had a very slight problem with the characters of Magda, the Gypsy laundress and Morag, Julia's ladies maid and reformed prostitute. I would have preferred they have dissimilar names. I found myself getting them mixed up at times.
I completely enjoyed the story of Julia and Nicholas and their search for the truth. The March family members and the other secondary characters were a delight. They were not there merely for decoration but added substance to the plot. Putting aside the splendid language use, the growth of the protagonists and the well developed secondary characters, this was simply a wonderful story. The second book in the Lady Julia Grey Mystery series is Silent in the Sanctuary which is at the top of my TBR pile. The third book Silent on the Moor is due out March 1, 2009. I look forward to reading more about these characters and the mysteries they will solve. You can find out more about this author at her blog.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas is the second book in the Hathaway series. *The first book is Mine Til Midnight. *
Synopsis (from Amazon):
Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation…and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.
Then, Win returns to England…only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for…
I still need to read Mine Til Midnight. I'm terribly behind in my historicals. Long ago that's almost all I read then Paranormals and Urban Fantasy took over my reading life. I definitely need to make an effort to read more historicals ~ I miss them.
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn is the second book in the
Two Dukes of Wyndham two book set. * The Lost Duke of Wyndham is the first book*
Synopsis (from JQ's website):
There went the bride...
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting...for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all...
It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancé—all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay—and he does intend to marry her...eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas’s world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he’s not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love...with his own fiancé.
From Julia Quinn's website on her FAQ section she says that "These two books are heavily intertwined, and in fact, I'm writing them simultaneously" with regards to The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume. So it sounds like it would be a good idea to read TLDoW first. I've got it waiting patiently in my TBR pile. I used to love to read JQ's books then...well, see my previous comment above about my reading historicals or lack of.
King of Sword and Sky by C. L. Wilson, third book in the Tairen Soul series. *Book one ~ Lord of the Fading Lands, book two ~ Lady of Light and Shadows*
Synopsis (from C. L. Wilson's website):
Returning to the Fading Lands with his Celierian truemate, Rain discovers a dissension among the most powerful members of his own council. As the Eld plot their next deadly strike, Ellysetta struggles to master her powerful magic and discover how to save the tairen, while Rain confronts open challenge to his rule and prepares to lead the Fey army to war.
I feel like I've been waiting forever for this book. Okay, it's only been a little less than a year but that's like forever in "a book you're dying to read" years. The first two books in this series were absolutely wonderful. Wilson is a master at world building and character development.
If you would like to read an early review of King of Sword and Sky Kmont at Lurv à la Mode wrote a wonderful review (as always).
All three books have a release date of September 30.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Author: Julia Harper
aka Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
SpongeBob and Yoda walk into a bar...no wait, that's not how it goes. Okay, SpongeBob and Yoda walk into a bank and rob it. These two aren't exactly criminal masterminds, in fact they need help from a customer and a teller just to make it out the door. They do make off with some cash and manage to get away from the police. In the confusing aftermath Turner Hastings decides to commit a theft of her own. She steals the contents of a safe deposit box. Then Turner finds herself on the run from an FBI agent with a sexy voice and compassionate heart.
So starts the book HOT. This book was such a fun read. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I've read Elizabeth Hoyt's historicals and enjoyed them all. The question was could she write contemporary romance just as well? The answer is yes, she most definitely can!
Turner Hastings is a librarian and part-time bank teller. She steals the contents of Calvin Hyman's safety deposit box in an attempt to find evidence of embezzlement and exonerate her uncle who was accused of the crime. Turner is a contradiction in terms. On the outside she is the stereotypical small town librarian with her modest clothes, glasses, hair pinned up and quiet nature. But the real Turner is let loose while trying to stay one step ahead of a certain FBI agent.
Called to the scene of the robbery are FBI Special Agents John MacKinnon and Dante Torelli. John is a veteran agent who is very aware that he is getting older, he's 40. He has concerns regarding keeping up with the younger Torelli. He is also somewhat obsessed about his cholesterol which makes for some amusing internal dialogue. Another thing John becomes obsessed with is Turner. When a hitman is hired to go after Turner, John is determined to keep her safe.
The bank robbers provide comic relief as we get updates on their progress in eluding the law. How they managed to actually make it out of the bank and get away is simply amazing considering how they blunder about in their attempts to keep ahead of the FBI.
HOT was exactly that. Turner and John were apart for quite a bit of the book. When they were together they made the most of their time. John showed that he isn't too old to know exactly how to please a woman. When they weren't together their cell phone conversations got to be quite intense. We learn more about both characters by what is said, and left unsaid, during those conversations.
This was an all around enjoyable read. Great characters, witty dialogue and some laugh out loud moments. Next up for Harper is Dante Torelli's book For the Love of Pete, due out January 2009. You can read an excerpt here. I know I'll be reading Dante and Zoey's story.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Ok, here are the rules:
~ Comment on Kristie's post and ask for a letter.
~ Think of 5 fictional characters whose names begin with the letter, post their names and comments about those characters on your blog.
~ The characters can be from books, movies, TV etc...
So I got S. Not too difficult but I did have to do some thinking. Here's who I came up with.
Senior Chief Stan Wolchonok
from Suzanne Brockmann's Over the Edge.
Lord, I love a man in uniform. So much that I married one but that's another story. *g*
Stan is a U.S. Navy SEAL, part of SEAL Team sixteen. He's not your typical hero when it comes to looks. He's pushing 40, average height and described by his heroine as "...a scary looking man - with a face that looked as if he'd spent a few years in the boxing ring." But he is a total sweetheart, a real gentle man and can still be just as alpha as any SEAL.
from Linda Howard's Kiss Me While I Sleep
This is one of my favorite Linda Howard books. Lucas is a CIA agent that has been ordered to bring in agent Lily Mansfield. He's a hard driving, funny, "fly by the seat of your pants" sexy alpha agent. At just over six feet tall, he's lean with blue eyes and short brown hair with a bit of gray. I always thought Lily was very lucky that Swain was sent after her.
Sin ~ ex-god turned Dark Hunter
from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Devil May Cry
His name pretty much says it all. Tall, tan, with topaz eyes, curly black hair and just all out gorgeous. He's a sexy former god that was tricked by Artemis(the bitch), lost his soul and became a Dark Hunter. He doesn't always follow the rules, sometimes employing the enemy in his casino. Did I mention he lives in Sin City? He's one of Kenyon's classic tortured heroes.
Lt. Col. John Sheppard
from Stargate ~ Atlantis
There aren't many shows on TV that I like but this is one of them. And Sheppard is one of the main reasons why. He's funny with a dry humor and quick wit that I find very sexy. He's also a pilot, soldier and leader his team looks up to and can count on to come through in the end.
Captain Jack Sparrow
from Pirates of the Caribbean
Gotta love a man that can wear eye liner, prance around in heels and still be sexy. Yes, Orlando Bloom was in the Pirate movies but I truly think Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow really made the movies. His convoluted intellect and oh so sharp wit could not be matched. Even when you couldn't make sense of what he was saying he was still a thrill to look at.
Here's some Bloopers from Pirates of the Caribbean 1
Monday, September 15, 2008
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Dark Hunters/Book 12
While I have been looking forward to Ash's book it was with hesitancy and some trepidation. Would the book live up to all the hype? Because there was a hell of a lot of it. 2008 was proclaimed as "THE YEAR OF ACHERON". MySpace, websites, ComicCon and even TV commercials were all plugging the book.
Now for those of you that aren't familiar with Acheron (that would be you two in the back) here's the synopsis:
Part I starts out as told from Ryssa's point of view as she writes in her journal. Ryssa is Ash's sister and is the only human that really cares about him. While there were some short periods of almost normalcy or what could pass for it in his screwed up existence, overall his life was filled with pain and suffering. Ryssa did attempt to give Ash affection and love but she was limited in what she could do. Her father, a Greek king and her brother Styxx, Ash's twin, hated Ash and would do anything to degraded and punish him.
When Ash dies as a human he is brought back to life and given his god powers. He now has to figure out how to use those powers. This is where Savitar comes in to help. He also must hunt the Daimons that Apollo helped create with his curse. We find out how Artemis tied Ash to her and convinced him to help with the Dark Hunters that she created to fight the Daimons.
The word gets out about the new evidence and it seems like everyone is after the it. Ash must now not only stop the world from finding out the secrets of Atlantis but also keeps his enemies from hurting the only woman who won't be intimidated by him.
The characters of Jaden and Savitar also get more page time. We've seen bits of them in previous books but have very little knowledge of their background or what they are really capable of. The series is set to continue with Jaden's part next, then Savitar's then an unknown character for the fourth part of the series.
The second part set in present day was an easier read and I found myself far more interested to find out what would happen. It read and felt more like the other DH books and by itself I would consider it a good addition to the series. But this is Ash's book and because he is so much more than just a Dark Hunter I was expecting something extra special, something epic.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
This is the third book in Karen Marie Moning's wonderful Fever series. Here's the synopsis from her website:
He calls me his Queen of the Night. I'd die for him. I'd kill for him, too. When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister's journal, she is stunned by Alina's desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister's killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.
Mac's quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V'lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.
As All Hallows Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds with devastating consequences.
The first two books in the series are Darkfever and Bloodfever.
You really need to read the series in order to get the whole story. It's actually a very long saga broken down into five books.
Release date is September 16th.
If you want to be tempted, teased, tormented...you can find chapter one here and chapter two here. Chapter three is due to go up before next Tuesday's release. Also KMM has an amazing website with tons of information about this series as well as her highlander series. The message board is chalk full of info, speculation and loads of fun members.
Check it out and catch the Fever.
(sorry, couldn't resist. lol)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Dorian Christensen is a Changeling except...he can't change. Dorian was born latent and while he can feel his cat inside him that's where his leopard remains, stuck inside him. So at a very young age he learned to compensate for his inability to change by striving to be the best at everything he tried. He is one of the best snipers and is also an expert at various weapons and hand to hand combat. He feels immense hatred for the Psy since his sister was brutally murdered by a Psy sociopath who Dorian later killed with his bare hands. He is a member of the DarkRiver pack and has been asked to help rescue a Psy child who is being held captive.
The Psy child that needs rescuing is the son of Ashaya Aleine. She is a M-Psy scientist who is in charge of completing the Silence protocol. Her son Keenan is being used by the Council to ensure that Ashaya continued with her work on Silence. She was able to get in touch with the pack and arrange for her son's rescue. Now Ashaya just needs to save herself.
Dorian and Ashaya are thrown together because Ashaya needs protection and Dorian is it. They fight their attraction for many reasons but they can only fight it for so long before they must give in. Their path to HEA is not a smooth or easy one.
Out of all the changelings Dorian is the one that especially made me feel like he and his cat were two separate beings. I'm not sure if it was the inner dialogue Dorian had with his leopard, the references he made to his cat or because the two had been kept separate from each other due to Dorian's inability to change.
Dorian also swears, a lot. It surprised me a bit since I don't remember the other males swearing so much. It's endearing and it's just so him. He's very much an enigma with his surfer dude exterior but inside he is an intensely focused man. Driven by his latency and obsessed by his sister's death he is tormented by guilt because of his feelings for Ashaya.
Psy characters are not always the easiest to relate to. Ashaya is no exception, at first. While still under the Council's watchful eye she must maintain her shields and keep her emotions buried. She must be the good M-Psy or not only will she be in danger but so will Keenan. Once she escapes the Council and begins to interact with Dorian and Keenan we see more cracks in her shields and the glimpses of emotions come through.
Singh also brings back much loved characters from previous books. We get to see Clay, Lucas, Sascha, Vaughn and Tamsyn, who is one of my favorites and who I think of as the heart of the pack. We also get to see a softer side of Dorian's pack mate Mercy. She and Dorian have been good friends since childhood and have remained close. Mercy's book is up next.
Monday, September 8, 2008
When organizing my books over this past weekend it hit me how many books I own that I haven't read. It's closing in at 200 and at the rate I've been buying books it won't be much longer before I pass that mile marker. I do get lucky and find most of my books used and pay anywhere from .50(library) to half price(UBS).
But really, things have gotten out of control...
So I've decided to find out how much I really spend in a given month. I'm keeping a book buying log. It's nothing fancy just a list of what books I buy, where I buy them and how much I pay for them. I'm keeping it on my spreadsheet with my budget since that seemed like the most logical place. I've also started keeping track of my grocery spending since that has gotten out of hand as well. (Sam's Club is dangerous I tell you, dangerous.)
So how much have I spent so far this month? $6.48. Want to know what I got?
The Gaiman(0.50) was mass market size, the Lackey(1.00) was hardcover and the rest were trade paperbacks(Kostova 1.00, Setterfield 1.99, Tzu 1.99). All used, all in good shape with very little creasing and little or no fading.
The only new books I'm planning to buying this month are Faefever (hardcover, ouch) and King of Sword and Sky. So not too expensive and IMO well worth it.
I'm going to try to keep the spending under $50. We'll see if I can do it or if I totally blow it.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Joanne and her beloved Mustang are on the road trip of a life time with weather wardens after her and a nasty storm on her tail. Jo is trying to make her way to Lewis. He is a friend from college and is also a weather warden. He's considered the most powerful warden because he has power over all four elements. The trouble is Lewis went rogue and took three bottles of Djinn. So Jo needs to find him and hope she can use one of the Djinn to get her out of the terrifying situation she is in.
At one point Jo picks up a hitchhiker named David. He comes across as an easy going guy that she feels a connection with. As it turns out Jo will need him in more ways than she can imagine. Jo does try to get rid of David since she doesn't think anyone is safe around her. He stays with her and their connection grows.
Jo also gets in touch with her friend Star. She and Star have been friends since they met when Jo was fifteen. They were roommates at Princeton and have been best friends ever since. Star was a Fire Warden until tragedy happened and she had to retired. Star has agreed to help Jo find Lewis since Star lives where Jo is headed.
There is a lot of action in Ill Wind. Jo gets very little down time and when she does David is there to keep her company. Jo is a smart, funny and strong heroine. She knows she must do what is right no matter the cost. She is a loyal friend who discovers just who her true friends really are.
I enjoyed this book first for the different premise of humans who control the elements. Then there is also the Djinn aspect. The few Djinn characters we meet in Ill Wind have such potential for future books. I found myself fascinated by their role in the Weather Warden's world. I also want to know more about the Djinn's world. The world building is solid and the dialogue is sharp and witty. Enjoyable read. Want more info about this series? Check out Rachel Caine's site.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
On September 4, 2007 The Phade was born. It is a wonderful site made up of a great group of readers who were brought together by their love of paranormal romance.
Monday, September 1, 2008
My first impression of Drea Rousseau is: "What a cold hearted bitch." This is because the book opens with Drea sitting with her lover, Rafael Salinas, while he is meeting with a hired assassin. The assassin has just completed a job for Rafael and they are discussing the completion of it. Drea feels uncomfortable looking at the assassin so she is contemplating her toe nails. She regrets her choice of nail color because it clashes with her outfit. As it turns out the self-absorbed attitude is merely a pretense Drea maintains as a form of self-preservation.
Drea is the girlfriend of drug lord Rafael Salinas. She is there to make Rafael feel good and give him what he needs. In return he gives her money and a luxurious life-style. Rafael thinks very little of Drea beyond what she gives him, a beautiful woman in his bed. He thinks of Drea as a woman with all looks and very little brains. Drea, on the other hand, is simply playing a role.
When Rafael cruelly uses Drea as part of a business deal she decides she has had enough and leaves. She takes two million of his dirty money with her in order to teach him a lesson and give herself a new start in life. When he discovers what she has done he calls upon the assassin to hunt her down and kill her.
After a terrible accident where Drea is thought to be dead she is able to start a new life. Months later Drea and Simon, the assassin, are brought together again and the strong attraction that they felt in the beginning is still there. Drea, who is now known as Andie, decides to go to the FBI and try to put Rafael in behind bars. She wants to do the right thing and stop looking over her should.
Drea and Simon are anything but the typical hero/heroine. Drea's instincts are to look out for herself first. She trusts no one and leads a very isolated life. She spends her time shopping, watching pay-per-view and going to the library. Not close to her family, no real friends, she really has only herself.
Simon is an assassin. He doesn't apologize for his profession or make any excuses for what he is. His targets may not be upstanding citizens but he is still a killer for hire. He does seem to have his own ethical code but still looks as what he does as a job.
Both main characters go through some major changes in their outlook on life. They don't suddenly become philanthropist but do start to question their past actions. How those actions have gotten them to where they are now and what they need to do to get them to where they want to be.
Death Angel was a solid read. Not much in the way of romance and not one of my favorite Linda Howard novels but worth the read for Howard fans.