Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Author: Sara Angelini
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: October 2009
From the back cover ~
Their attraction is so hot, it should be against the law...
Judge Fitzwilliam Darcy, a legal expert on both sides of the Atlantic, is ready to hang up his black robe and return to the life of a country gentleman until he meets Elizabeth Bennet, a fresh-faced attorney with a hectic schedule and no time for the sexy but haughty judge.
Tempers and sparks fly in Judge Darcy's courtroom and outside, in a series of chance encounters that give each of them pauses the two match wits and try to fight their overwhelming attraction. When they meet up in England at an international law conference, they embark on a hot, heavy affair. Back in the States, though, ethical considerations intrude, and each is subjected to a torturous period of soul-searching before they can find their way back to each other...
This is Sara Angelini's first book and was originally published in 2007. From the synopsis you can see it's a take on Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice. What Angelini does is give the reader an updated version of the love affair between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. Will and Lizzy are very contemporary characters, with Will being a judge and Lizzy an attorney. They both live and work in Meryton, a town outside of San Fransisco. They first meet in Darcy's courtroom. It took me a little bit to get into "Trials". At the beginning Darcy wasn't a very likable character but I did like Lizzy.
When they first meet and during subsequent meetings in the court room, Lizzy finds Judge Darcy to be a real pain in the ass. She doesn't like him at all. He's only 37 years old but he comes off as an uptight, stodgy, by-the-books judge that seems to have lost his ability to have fun. Lizzy is a hard worker but she also knows how to let loose and enjoy herself. Her best friend, Lou is always there to remind Lizzy how to have fun if she does start to get bogged down in her job. Darcy and Lizzy do come to respect each others' intellect when it comes to the law and Darcy can't help but notice how well Lizzy looks but Lizzy doesn't see past Darcy's aloofness until they meet up outside the courtroom at a conference in England.
The obstacle to their relationship is obvious, no matter if they are attracted to each other, they can not have any type of relationship outside of the courtroom since it would be a violation of ethics. But US law doesn't apply in England and what happens in London stays in London. Or so Darcy and Lizzy decide. Things heat up to the boiling point when these two decide to get together. Lizzy brings out the playful side of Darcy and gets him to relax and shake off his stodginess and act his age, not the age he pretends to be when he puts on his judge robe.
Some of the best parts are when Lizzy and Darcy are together in England. They shed their professional suits, if you will, and become more relaxed and just plain more likable, especially Darcy. I felt I got to know him better once he allowed himself to enjoy life.
There is also a secondary romance with Charles Bingley, Darcy's best pal, and Dr. Jane Bennet. They inadvertently helped get Darcy and Lizzy together. Then they're there to help them over the heartache from the fling they had in England. With both Lizzy and Darcy trying to maintain their professionalism once they return to the US and Darcy's courtroom. If that isn't difficult enough, Charlie and Jane are getting married and Lizzy and Will are both having to deal with their feelings of happiness for Charlie and Jane and sadness that they can't be together.
It seemed like the answer to their problems was to have one of them move to another judicial district. And then things become even more complicated when outside influences make changes that force Lizzy and Darcy to decide what they really want and what they are willing to do to get it.
While I liked the story, it did drag at some points. For two very intelligent people it seem to take Darcy and Lizzy and very long time to figure out how they could be together and not compromise their ethics. There were times when I found myself laughing at their banter and other times when I knew that this was definitely not Austen's Lizzy and Darcy. The sex was very hot and certainly not restrained once they gave into their desires. I just wished it had moved along at a faster pace.
Monday, September 28, 2009
That's what happens when you fight fires for a living, you get hot and sweaty. Goodness, but I can't imagine fighting fires with out the proper equipment is a good idea. Major safety violation going on there. Although, he does look cute in the hat. :) And how come when I went on a field trip to the firehouse with my second grader none of the firefighters looked like that?
I've got Jill Shalvis on my reading list for her full length novels about the Wilder brothers and now will be on the look out for her Blaze categories. This was a fun read that worked well in the short format. Shalvis kept the story tight and the characters interesting. Jill Shalvis and her considerable back list can be found on her website. Shalvis also has a daily blog about life as a writer in the beautiful Sierras.
Friday, September 25, 2009
To get the word out about the contest at Bitten by Books they are holding what you could call a pre-release contest for On The Edge. This is the first book in their new series, The Edge. You can read my review of On The Edge here. It's a great combination of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. It's one of those books that as soon as you're finished you want to read again, just in case you missed something. A wonderful start to a new series. I loved it!
So that's two contests and chances to win some great prizes. For all the rules and instructions for the pre-release contest go here or click on the graphic for information on the contest and chat at Bitten By Books . Good Luck!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult/Futuristic
Series: Hunger Games Trilogy/Book 1
Published: October 2008
*Very Minor Spoiler*
From the inside cover flap ~
COULD YOU SURVIVE ON YOUR OWN, IN THE WILD, WITH EVERYONE FIGHTING AGAINST YOU?
Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.
Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
If you haven't read The Hunger Games you really need to, it's that good! Yes, this is young adult for grades 6 and up per Scholastic's website. It's a story for anyone who simply wants to read an amazing tale of loss and hope, fear and courage. Of friendship and family. Collins doesn't pull any punches with the reality of life in District 12 nor does she take the easy way out when describing the deaths that occur in the Hunger Games. They don't all occur off the page but the reader gets up close and personal with what these kids go through and die for. It's not always an easy book to read but it was always a compelling story that grabs hold doesn't let go even after the games are over.
Katniss Everdeen is the head of her household. Her mother has taken a long time recovering from the death of her husband in a mining accident and has left most of the responsibilities to Katniss. Katniss still misses her father terribly and keeps his advice and wisdom in her heart and mind to help her through the tough times. She also has a younger sister Prim, who is 12 years old which makes this the first year that she is eligible for the games. Prim is sweet, kind and gentle and you can't help but feel protective of her. Besides her mother and sister, Gale, a local boy, is the other person Katniss cares about and is close to.
Gale is a good friend of Katniss and someone she trusts. They both have huge responsibilities when it comes to their families. Gale is 18 years old and the oldest child in his family. His father is also deceased, leaving Gale to provide for his mother and three younger siblings. To provide for their families Gale and Katniss hunt in the woods beyond District 12. To access the woods they must get past the fence that blocks off the woods from District 12. If they are caught, they will be punished but it's a chance they must take to keep their families fed.
I liked what we saw of Gale. His feeling for Katniss were genuine, caring for her as a person, not because it was easier to hunt with her help but because he truly cared for her. He also agrees to watch over Prim when Katniss must leave and she knows he'll be there waiting for her if she returns. There wasn't too much of Gale but he was with Katniss in her thoughts during the game. She doesn't have many people in her life she cares about but Gale is one of them.
The boy chosen from District 12 for the games is someone that Katniss only knows from school. She has never talked to him but has seen him in the district. Peeta is the baker's son and is something of an enigma. Katniss isn't sure if he's looking out only for himself or if he would be willing to help her during the games. Ulitmately there is only one winner but alliances are formed in the beginning if only to reduce the ranks of the players. What can I say about Peeta without giving too much away? He's an interesting character that never once left me bored. He kept me engaged in the story and curious as to his feelings towards Katniss. :)
When Katniss is taken to Capitol for the games it's like another world from where she came from. The setting is the United States but completely different than what we know. Katniss is from the area we know as the Appalachians, part of the U.S. where coal mining is the main source of employment. She comes from one of the poorest districts and has never seen the splendor that is Capitol. Capitol is in the Rocky Mountains and maintains it's isolation from the rest of the country by using those mountains as a physical barrier between it and the twelve districts.
The Capitol is a place of beauty and plenty. Where people have the best of everything and never worry about going hungry. Many of the things that are commonplace in the Capitol are things that Katniss has never seen or experienced. And the people she meets are just as different as the city they live in. The games are the biggest entertainment event of the year and the enthusiasm the people show for the games is both overwhelming and offensive. Knowing that only one child out of 24 will live through the games while cheering on their favorites is sickening to me. But there are things going on behind the scenes that we only get a sense of. The rulers of this new America rule through fear and punishment. They don't allow for even the hint of rebellion. The people of the districts are afraid to speak out against anything that the Capitol and it's rulers do for fear of severe reprimand.
As a heroine Katniss is one of my absolute favorites. She's a survivor in a world were many barely exist. She has such determination that she infuses that determination into those around her. Her love for her mother and little sister is only part of her strength. Her loyalty and kindness make themselves known even in the most dire of circumstances. What she is able to do during the games only strengthened my feelings for her. The games did not break her but they did push her into doing things she didn't think she was capable of.
The games are meant to test the participants, to push them beyond their limits and show their true selves. I think the ultimate purpose of these games is to show the power of the Capitol to the districts. The fact that the districts have no choice as to whether they participate and they have no choice but must watch the games as they are played and their children die. The games are made to maximize the drama and to shock the audience. Katniss is aware of this and hates the fact that she has to fight and kill to live. She doesn't want to get to know the other kids, knowing that some will most likely die before her and some she might have to kill. But her inherit goodness can not be suppressed.
There were scenes, most especially during the games, that left me in tears. Fearing for these children and knowing that they will most likely die was very emotional and difficult to stop reading. I wanted to find out what happens but at the same time I was afraid to find out who it happens to. Like I said before, The Hunger Games isn't always an easy read but it is a very good read. Obviously it's not a lite, day at the beach read but an edge of your seat, emotional read.
The Hunger Games is one of the best novels I've read in a very long time (and I've had some very good reads lately). The emotions that Katniss, Peeta and all the other characters evoked in me ran the gamut from sadness, horror, frustration, hope, despair, anger and love. I was left with a need to get to know these kids, these fascinating people, better.
Information on author Suzanne Collins can be found at her website. Scholastic also has a bunch of info on The Hunger Games and the second novel in the trilogy, Catching Fire. Included on Scholastic's site are those "look inside the book" features which I find interesting. Warning - there is music on the Catching Fire page and if you're like me you find that annoying so consider yourself warned. :)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Big Congrats to CJ aka author Carolyn Crane. She has posted the cover of Mind Games, the first novel in her new trilogy. Many of you know Carolyn from her eclectic blog The Thrillionth Page. I gotta say I'm really liking this cover. The female isn't showing any skin (for once) but still looking badass and sexy as hell. Love the blade - hope it's featured on each cover. Quote from Ann Aguirre - score! Mind Games is due for release March 23, 2010.
The very brief synopsis, per CJ (more to come) ~
...in a nutshell, Mind Games is the first in an urban fantasy trilogy about a hypochondriac who joins a psychological hit squad. It takes place in a fantastical Milwaukee/Chicago. (Specifically, the Milwaukee/Chicago of my childhood imagination. I lived in suburbs of both cities as a young child.)
No word yet from Miss Doreen or Little CJ on the cover. Since no reference is made concerning cowboys or ménages, Miss Doreen should be fine with the cover. Little CJ... well, that kid could cover snark the Bible so it's pretty much anybodys guess what she'll have to say. I say, I can't wait to read Mind Games!
Friday, September 18, 2009
From the back cover ~
The boys ~ Georgie and Jack are absolutely wonderful. Andrews gets you into their heads and hearts and makes these two characters an integral part of the story. Georgie with his big heart and caring nature and Jack, oh Jack. I couldn't help but be reminded of Curran, from Andrews' Kate Daniels series. What would Curran have been like as a boy? Maybe a bit like Jack. :) The boys keep Rose on her toes but they also try to help her and understand more of what's going on than Rose thinks they know. Most importantly these brothers look out for each other. Georgie tries his hardest to take care or those that he loves and Jack is fierce in protectiveness for his family. They don't sit on the sidelines while the adults "do their thing". Not these two. Their special talents are utilized well and not once did I wonder why they were in the story.
I enjoyed getting to know Declan and watching him and Rose dancing around each other, always wondering what the other was really up to. Declan and his sometimes peculiar Weird manner driving Rose crazy. They were such a treat to read and oddly perfect for each other. They way the authors reveal Declan in bits and pieces made me at times question what his real agenda was. Both Rose and Delan have difficulty trusting but are left with no choice and agree on a tentative alliance. And lets not forget the romance between these two. It's not the main focus, I'd say that would be their getting to know each other and fighting off the dangers that stalks Rose and her family. The romance is there and does come to a natural conclusion with Rose and Declan finally admitting not only their physical attraction but their deep affection for each other.
I know many of us have numerous series that we keep up with so why start a new one? Because the writing talent that is evident in the Kate Daniels series shines through in this new series as well. The pacing kept me immersed in the story - balancing the fighting and violence with the character development and the progression of the plot. This is probably one of the strongest first books of a series that I have read. It left me satisfied but still wanting more of this fascinating new world that Andrews has created. On the Edge is set for release on September 29th.
The husband and wife writing team that makes up Ilona Andrews can be found hanging out at their LiveJournal blog and information on all their novels can be found on their website.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
From the author's website ~
Coming January 19, 2010!
New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole enraptures again with this seductive tale of a fierce werewolf prince who will stop at nothing to protect the lovely archer he covets from afar.
A DANGEROUS BEAUTY
Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her—and those she loves.
AN UNCONTROLLABLE NEED
Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.
LEAD TO A PLEASURE SO WICKED. . . .
From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia’s greatest weakness—her wanton desire for him. . . .
Kresley Cole has posted the cover of her next full length novel in the IAD series. So, what do you think of the cover? I'm not feeling a whole lot a cover love here. I like the colors and he has sexy lips. He looks like his hands are tied - more bondage for the hero maybe? I think I'm one of the few that actually liked the first three covers in this series that featured both the hero and the heroine. One of the reasons I liked those covers is because they were different which is probably the same reason they were changed. I am however looking forward to Garreth and Lucia's story. I've found them an interesting couple since we first met them. I certainly hope I'll like it better than Kiss of a Demon King. Yeah, I'm one of the few that wasn't crazy about that one. Possibly the only one. :)
Her upcoming release is the duology Deep Kiss of Winter with Gena Showalter. Cole's story features Murdoch Wroth, vampire and Danii, the Valkyrie. Release date is October 13.
ETA: Per Kresley Cole's facbook page, Amazon is offering a free download of The Warlord Wants Forever here. It's a novella and the first story in the IAD series. It was originally released in the anthology Playing Easy to Get.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
From the inside cover ~
Fang Kattalakis isn't just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. And when the woman Fang loves is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.
The war is on and time is running out...
Finally, Fang and Aimee's story. They're sort of the Sam and Alyssa of the Dark Hunter world. LOL It seems like we've been waiting a long time for their story. Pretty much since Night Play (book 5). I did read some reviews and heard some grumblings about how Bad Moon Rising was a repeat of what has already been told in previous books. I can see why there might be some less than happy fans, especially if they paid for the hardcover but overall I liked getting Fang and Aimee's POV and what was going on behind those closed doors of theirs. :)
Aimee Peltier is a waitress at her family's restaurant and bar. She's just a normal young woman except for the fact that she's a wereswan, a shape shifter who can turn herself into a bear. I really liked Aimee. She's been in previous books and while I had a sense of who she was, Bad Moon Rising let's the reader into her heart and mind. She's very devoted to her family and has a kind heart for the underdog or underwere (LOL) as the case may be. But don't think she's a pushover. She has brothers galore that have taught her how to stand up for herself, otherwise they would smothered her with their love and protection and she wouldn't be allowed out of their sight.
Fang is such a stubborn, irritating, in-your-face, itching for a fight, pain in the ass hero. LOL Dang, that was a mouthful! He's also one of the most loyal and honorable Were Hunters around. Fang isn't easy to like because he doesn't want to be liked but once you get past that tough guy exterior he's such a wonderful, beautiful and caring individual. Fang had a terrible family life and the only things that made it bearable were his sister Anya and brother Vane. When Anya dies and Markus, their father, has Fang and Vane beaten and left for the Daimons, Fang ends up in the Nether Realm, spending some time in another dimension that leaves him less than whole. I kept hoping he would catch a break and all the bad shit would stop landing at his door. But in this of course wasn't the case, had it been the book would have been a lot shorter.
The plot is one that readers of the series are very familiar with. I kept having a sense of déjà vu. Bad Moon Rising starts before, most notably for me, Vane, Fury and Ash have their HEA so it was a bit odd to have them single and all cranky cause they weren't getting lucky with their mates. Almost all of the book has already been told in previous books so you know the basics of what will happen if you've read them. But Bad Moon Rising is different by giving us Fang and Aimee's POV we get a whole other story of what had been going on that we didn't get to see. With new characters, both good, not so good and all out bad, Kenyon puts a new twist on the old story arc. Some questions are answered while some new ones crop up. There are a number of characters to keep track of and being a lover of graphs, charts and glossaries, I do wish some type of glossary would have been included. Oh, one of my favorite Dark Hunters does spend some time on the page. Valerius in all his well dressed glory showed up to remind me why I like him so much. :)
So would I recommend? Yes, if you're a fan of the series. It's a decent story and I do like Fang and Aimee a lot. It kept me entertained and still wanting to read more from the Dark Hunter world. Is it worth the hardcover price? Hmmm.... that's not so easy to say. I waited and got mine from the library so no cost but my time. If the only way I could have read it was to buy the book new, then I would have waited until I could get it used, which would probably be a long wait. But I'm cheap. :)
Sherrilyn Kenyon has an extensive website with tons of info on her books, characters and worlds. Check it out here but plan on spending time some time looking at the eye candy. :)
Monday, September 14, 2009
Author: Lisa McMann
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
Series: Wake Trilogy/Book 1
Published: March 2008
From the back cover ~For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....
It didn't take me long to get into Janie's story. Being a teen isn't always easy. There's high school to deal with and the cliques and drama that always seems to go with it. For Janie she's got an added twist to her life - she unwillingly slips into other peoples dreams. While she's in the dream she suffers paralysis and convulsions in real life. In the dream, she experiences what is happening from an observer's point of view. She desperately tries to hide her unusual ability because she knows it will freak people out - it freaks her out!
Janie's home life is far from ideal. Her father is gone and her mother is a drunk. Janie basically takes care of herself and sometimes even takes care of her mother. They survive on welfare until Janie is old enough to get a job. She works as much as she can to save for college. All through her childhood she suffers from the teasing of her classmates because she is poor. Janie wants so badly to get away to college and make a better life for herself. I couldn't help but like Janie and feel for her in the horrible situation she finds herself in. As far as teens go, she's responsible and likable, given the way she's been brought up she could have easily gone down a very different path.
I liked the way McMann portrayed the teens and their attitudes, the difficulties of being a teen and their home lives. She gives them realistic situations amid the abnormal that is Janie's "curse". Janie tries to be normal but there's just no chance given what she has to live with day in and day out. She can't stop people from dreaming so she must try to build a buffer around her whenever possible. This isn't easy in high school where it's common for kids to fall asleep.
As time passes Janie does what she can to stop herself from experiences others dreams. It's the beginning of senior year and Janie is busy making plans for after high school. She meets up with an old acquaintance who has become someone she can't help but notice. Cabel is from Janie's neighborhood and has a similar background of low income and lack of parental guidance. He's paying more attention to Janie and trying to get to know her better. She finds herself attracted to Cabel and it turns out she could really use a friend. Their relationship starts out rocky and goes through some difficult times but in the end they come to rely and trust each other.
I was able to get Wake from the library. If I had to buy it, well I wouldn't. Which is sad because it is a good story but at $15.99 retail for a hardcover that comes in at just over 200 pages, I wouldn't be able to justify the cost. I also got Fade (book 2) from the library and enjoyed it as well (review to come). I will get the third book, Gone, from the library as well. I do wish the publisher had chosen to release these books in paperback but I'm sure they had their reasons.
Ms. McMann and details about her novels can be found on her website.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Author: Judith James
Genre: Historical Romance/1668
Published: September 2009
From the author's website ~
Set in a dangerous time of religious and political upheaval and civil war, HIGHLAND REBEL tells the story of Catherine Drummond and Jamie Sinclair, two proud and lonely outcasts whose struggle for acceptance and survival draws them together in a partnership based on mutual interest that will transform them both. In so doing it transports the reader to Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, the court of King James II, and the coffee houses, backstreets and taverns of seventeenth century London, while chronicling the brief reign of England’s last Stuart king.
Born in the waning days of Cromwell’s England, despised as a bastard by his Puritan father, and abandoned by his mother, James Sinclair has learned from an early age to fend for himself. Charming, dangerous, and decidedly amoral, his quick wit, good looks and military prowess have served him well in the courts of two Stuart Kings, the grudgingly Protestant Charles II and the openly Catholic King James. Adventurer, courtier, mercenary and spy, he’s a master of disguise who can transform from aristocrat to beggar and disappear in any crowd. Sent to mind a troop of foreign mercenaries, he looks forward to completing his mission and collecting his reward, and when an inconvenient spark of gallantry and his own perverse humor cause him to marry a maid captured on the battlefield he intends the marriage to be in name only.
Raised in the Scottish Highlands, heiress to a title, a fortune founded on the whiskey trade, and properties in Scotland and in France, Cat Drummond is far from the camp follower Jamie mistakes her for. Fiercely loyal to family, clan and king, she’s born to rule, trained on the field of battle and at the court of Versailles, and equally comfortable in men’s breeches or a gown. Disguised as beggars on the streets of London, or glittering amongst the courtiers of Whitehall Palace, Catherine and Jamie will join forces in an age where treachery and adultery are the fashion, and cynicism, cruelty and barbed wit are the qualities most admired. But in a world where family, creed, and princes can’t be trusted, and faith fuels intolerance, hatred, and war, they’ll soon find themselves on opposite sides of a growing conflict that will force them to question everything they know, and test the bounds of friendship, loyalty and love.
What a lush, provocative story Judith James has written. The setting is rich with history and the characters are different from the usual fare historical romances serve up. Highland Rebel isn't as dark as Broken Wing but still has it's gritty moments. The love story of Jamie and Cat isn't typical, they meet under very strained circumstances; on the battlefield. What I like about their story and the whole book for that matter, is that it's a step away from the usual. I wasn't always sure what might happen next which made for some fascinating reading. Highland Rebel is a not necessarily a book you can bang out in one sitting but something that takes time to read, a book that you want to take your time reading.
Let me just say how much I loved Jamie Sinclair. His brash boldness, his cynical view of the world around him, all made for a fascinating character. He's not at all what I was expecting and I'm thankful for that. He's one of my very favorite hero types - the anti-hero. He's all about looking out for himself. Jamie has been a Protestant and a Catholic, his religion depends on who is in power and how the political winds are blowing. This is a volatile time in English history and Jamie has every intention of coming out on top or the very least, surviving. He acts like he is only looking out for himself but he does have a handful of people he cares about. And now Cat is part of that select few. In true anti-hero fashion he tries to deny how he feels about Cat, he's really not sure about love. He's never know what true love feels like but he does know that he likes Cat, actually likes her and this surprises him. He comes to consider her a good friend and has every intention of keeping her safe.
Cat is a dynamic heroine. She was raised by her father to take over as head of the clan but she also spent time at the French court, acting the part of a lady. So she has two very distinct sides to her: the pants wearing, sword wielding Highlander who will do anything for her clan and the lady dressed in silks, tempting Jamie to find out what's under those silks. I completely enjoyed Cat, her loyalty and honor and her love of life that took such pleasure in seeing the darker side of London with Jamie. Cat is a complex heroine that has such difficult choices to make but through it all she stays strong and true to her character.
One of the things that I enjoyed in Highland Rebel was the setting and time period. While I enjoy the Regency and Victorian eras, I also enjoy a chance to read a different time period. The period of Highland Rebel is one of political upheaval and war. With friends and enemies changing from one day to the next, Jamie and Cat are caught in the middle. I loved the intrigue and the way Ms. James used it to show how these characters react to the different situations they find themselves in. When everything was said and done their actions made sense given the unrest in their countries and their own beliefs.
This is not what I would consider a quick read but a story thick with politics and court intrigue. That's not to say that the love story took a backseat to the history, not at all. At the center was Jamie and Cat's relationship, whether they were together or miles apart their relationship was still growing and developing even if they didn't realize it. Their love story was one of mutual attrations but also one of becoming friends first. Of learning to trust and to love. These two were perfect for each other because at their core they held very similar values. On the outside they seem so different, with Jamie having his 'devil may care' attitude and Cat being all about her clan. But at their hearts they were all about keeping their families safe and fighting for what they believed in.
Judith James has done it again and written a novel that takes the reader into a world of intrigue, action and most importantly, romance. Ms. James next novel, Libertine's Kiss, is set for release in August 2010. You can find out more about this wonderful author at her website.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Author: Rob Thurman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros/Book 4
Published: March 2009
From the back cover ~
How I felt the mental stirrings of a bloodthirsty heritage when I passed through the gray light wasn't my favorite topic... The Auphe nature wasn't mine. I wouldn't let it be. And if I said to myself over and over and sprinkled around enough frigging fairy dust, maybe it would be true.
Half-human Cal Leadros and his brother, Niko, are barely getting by with their preternatural detective agency when the vampire Seamus hires them. He's being followed, and he wants to know by whom. But the leandros brothers have to do more than they had planned when Seamus turns up dead (or un-dead.)
Worse still is the return of Cal's nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, the Auphe were almost wiped out. Now they want revenge. Cal knows that before the Auphe get to him, they will try to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear. Because for the Auphe, Cal's pain is a pleasure.
And they're feeling good.
Hey, where's the review? It's over at Breezing Through, that's where. :) nath from Books, Books and more Books asked me to do a buddy review for what has become one of my favorite series. So head on over to Breezing Through and check out our love for those Leandros brothers.
Rob Thurman and her books can be found here.
My reviews for the first three books in this series:
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Yes, instead of slowing down for the cameras like most everyone else, some people have taken to wearing monkey masks. The above picture is an actual photo taken by one of those cameras of a driver who doesn't want to slow down. You can read the full story here. Seriously people - animals masks???
So what have you done to get out of a speeding ticket? Crying, lying about an emergency or just take it like an adult and take the ticket? I blamed Roarke once for a speeding ticket. I was listening to one of the In Death audio books and Roarke was working his magic on Eve, trying to get her to relax. I was so into Roarke's voice (and yes it is a woman reading, but still) that I didn't realize the speed limit had decreased from 65 to 55. I still got the ticket and I still listen to the In Death series in the car, I'm just more careful when certain scenes are playing. ;o)
Monday, September 7, 2009
Author: Linda Warren
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Cowboy Trilogy/Book 3
Published: February 2007
From the author's website ~
Once. And For Always
Brodie Hayes is a former rodeo star, now a rancher-a cowboy, through and through. But when he finds out some shocking news about the circumstances of his birth, he begins to question his identity. Luckily, private investigator Alexandra Donovan is there to help him find the truth about who he is. Along the way, he discovers that even a man who thought he'd be alone for the rest of his life can fall in love.
For Brodie, love was something you did once-and for always. But is Alex the type of woman who can take on a stubborn man like him? Because there's one thing about him that will never change, no matter what they find out about his past-once a cowboy, always a cowboy.
Why did I read this? Because it was free. :) Yep, Once A Cowboy is one of the seventeen free downloads that Harlequin is offering to celebrate 60 years of publishing. What was even better than the price tag was the story. While I didn't download all of the free reads I do plan on trying a number of them. The two historicals look interesting and Hilcia from Impressions gave Raeanne Thayne's Dancing in the Moonlight ,from the Silhouette line,a very positive review.
I enjoyed Linda Warren's voice and her ability to give her characters a strong presence without overshadowing the story. The main characters of Brodie and Alex were easy to like and enough back story was provide that I felt I knew them. If I had any problems with their relationship it was the romance aspect of it moving too slow. The book was only 246 pages and I thought they would get together long before they finally did.
The overall story was different than what I was expecting. The author got into the ramifications of what would happen if suddenly you are not who you thought you were. Warren didn't gloss over how what affects one person can spiral out to affect others no matter what precautions are take. I liked that Brodie showed his concern for his mother, who sorely tried his patience. He was an easy going, likable guy that was content with his life. When his career as a bull rider ended he took to his ranch and made a life for himself there. When he first meets Alex it's for business reasons but Alex soon becomes concerned about Brodie and reaches out to him. He doesn't want her in his life but she is stubborn and continues to look out for his best interest.
The two do eventually acknowledge their attraction and Brodie lets Alex into his life where she quickly makes a place for herself. Alex, for all her tenacity, was a heroine that I saw as good for Brodie. And Brodie was good for her, he's there when she needs him the most. But at first it's loads of drama and the past coming back to haunt Brodie. Alex is good for him in that she knows when to push and when to back off. Alex's own past isn't a bed of roses. Her mother died when she was 2. She's now in her early 30's and lives with her father and grandmother, who don't get along very well. To say her life is pretty much about her P.I. work would be accurate. She's tends to get too involved in some of the cases and becomes emotionally attached. I think it was because she needed someone to focus all her nurturing instincts on and she needed to become independent of her father and grandmother.
All and all, considering this was free it was certainly worth my reading time which isn't easy to come by. The romance wasn't as strong as I would have liked but I'll be looking for more of Ms. Warren's book in the future. Even if this doesn't sound like your type of story, there might be some among the 17 category romances available to enjoy.
Linda Warren has written a number of books for Harlequin. Those books and the excerpts can be found at her website.
So zombie clowns would fall low on my list of must see. But for the new movie, Zombieland, coming out next month, I might make an exception.
Woody Harrelson is probably one of the few that could actually make me laugh while zombies are busy munching away on their slow moving victims.
And I mentioned the Resident Evil movies which I love and I might be loving even more since the current rumor has Jensen Ackles of Supernatural (scroll down for Supernatural love) playing in the next movie, Resident Evil: Afterlife, due for release next July. Jensen and Milla - perfect. I'm there!
ETA: Sorry about the video. :o( You can go here or here to see the trailer.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
This is book two in the series about the three Wilder brothers who run Wilder Adventures, a guide service in the California Sierras for just about any kind of outdoor activity. Ms. Shalvis' love for the Sierras comes through in her writing of the scenery, the feel and even the smell of the mountains. Makes me want to go there and look for these Wilder brothers. :)
Stone Wilder is aptly named because he is the rock that holds his family together. He's the mediator, the one that keeps the company running and diffuses the numerous quarrels that occur with three very opinionated brothers and their aunt who raised them. I liked Stone but he was a man that's easy to like. He pretends to be a laid back mountain bum, just hanging out, playing on the mountain. But he's really very responsible and very giving to his community. These are things that Emma comes to find out as she gets to know the real Stone Wilder.
Emma is used to the big city pace of New York and the ER that she ran. The pace in Wishful is decidedly slower and less trauma filled. The people are different too. They take time to enjoy life and concern themselves with their neighbors and the goings on in the small town of 3000. Emma is out of her element and can only look forward to getting out of Wishful. She just has to wait until her father is able to take over the Urgent Care clinic again. Until then, she's stuck in Wishful and trying to keep her attraction to the sexy Wilder brother from becoming more than simply enjoying the view. Emma was an okay character. I never really felt like I connected with her. Her personality is standoffish and she's not a person comfortable getting close with others. While I liked her I just didn't feel that connection with her that I was hoping for. That's not necessarily a bad thing and doesn't mean that other readers might get more from the character, just that I didn't.
The plot was interesting with Stone trying to get Emma to come out of her shell and learn to slow down and smell the roses. He takes her to some of his favorite places on the mountain and helps her to be more open with the townspeople. I liked Stone's patience with Emma and his consideration of her situation. She had left Wishful when she was only 6 and considers herself a New Yorker. She came back because her father needed her help with the clinic and it's only suppose to be temporary. Stone hopes that Emma will make the move permanently and tries to show her how much he and the town need her.
Instant Gratification was a quick, fun read with the hot, steamy sex scenes that I've come to expect from Shalvis. The road to HEA for Emma and Stone was an entertaining journey with a glimpse of brother number three, TJ and his potential HEA. His story looks to be a rocky one. Look for Instant Temptation (TJ's story) in April 2010.
Want to read excerpts for all three Wilder brother books? They can be found here. Want to read my review for Instant Attraction? That can be found here.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I'm not sure why I stopped watching but ever since I started reading Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series I've been thinking about Sam and Dean Winchester. Then the promos for the new season started and grabbed my interest. That's why I've been playing catch up with watching the series on DVD. The new season starts this Thursday.
Aside from the brothers and their relationship I also love the music. Dean is the brother who loves old cars and classic rock 'n roll and heavy metal - my kind of music. :) The show's play list really sets the mood and can work as a commentary to what's happening in the episode. The other thing I like is the creepiness and sometimes plain old grossness of the show. And the various hotel rooms the brothers end up in. Some of those can be quite scary too. :)
In Everybody Loves a Clown (season 2, episode 2) Sam and Dean become carnival workers and hunt down a killer clown. Anyone who says clowns are funny and harmless should watch this episode. Clowns totally creep me out!
While poking around at YouTube for more Sam and Dean goodness I came across Supernatural fan July83rose(http://www.youtube.com/user/July83rose)who has put together some great Supernatural bloopers and videos. You should really check them out.
I probably won't get completely caught up on all four seasons before season 5 starts on Thursday but I'm having fun getting to know these brothers again.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Sourcebooks B&N Heyer Receipt Promotion
This September, Sourcebooks is exclusively releasing The Foundling by Georgette Heyer in Barnes & Nobles stores Nationwide!!
Sourcebooks is holding a fabulous receipt promotion! Send us your receipt/proof of purchase of The Foundling from your local Barnes & Noble to our office or a scanned receipt in an email to Danielle Jackson and you’ll be entered to win a $200 Barnes & Noble gift card! Receipts must be dated between September 1 – September 31, 2009, and can be from an in-store or online purchase. Any questions please contact Danielle Jackson.
Sourcebooks is so excited about the warm embrace everyone has given the Georgette Heyer reissues! Good luck—we look forward to hearing from you!
Send your Barnes & Noble The Foundling receipts to
PO Box 4410
Naperville, IL 60567
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Just in time to get readers ready for the next release in Lisa Kleypas' Hathaway series, a free short story of the wedding of Merripen and Win. Just click on the image above and it will take you to the publisher's site where you can sign up to the get free read by email. The next novel in the series, Poppy and Harry's story, Tempt Me At Twilight releases September 22.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Johnny Gault (Tim Daly) is a cold-blooded gunslinger who wasn't looking for trouble but finds it when he rides into a dusty little town. An escalating feud over land between ranchers and new settlers is ready to explode into violence. As tensions mount, Johnny gets involved with a beautiful settler (Naomi Watts) and the fight becomes personal. Now it's the outsider who will need to settle the score in a final face-to-face showdown.
Stunning and beautifully acted adaptation of Penelope Williamson novel of the same name. The Outsider (Showtime/2002) tells the story of Rebecca Yoder, a woman of the Plain People. The Plain People believe in a strict life of no violence and that God will take care of them. Rebecca is recently widowed and is alone with only her young son. When notorious gunslinger Johnny Gault stumbles onto Rebecca's land she takes him home and nurses him back to health.
Tim Daly has played a number of different roles but I remember him best from the show Wings. In The Outsider he plays Johnny Gault who is a very bad man. Just the way I like them. :) Daly played this role surprisingly well. He was dark, violent, coarse and wicked, often just to get a reaction out of Rebecca. As Johnny he seems to relish his reputation as a killer. It's what he knows and what he's good at. He is confused by Rebecca's beliefs, especially after finding out her husband was killed because he would not fight back. Johnny even offers to kill the men who killed Rebecca's husband. He figures he owes her for saving his life. I really liked the character of Johnny and the way he changed over the course of the movie.
The movie opens with Rebecca and her husband in bed. You definitely get the sense that Rebecca isn't shy when it comes to sex. Not that she's promiscuous but that she loved her husband and loved the physical side of their relationship. She was at times a very simple woman who lived her beliefs and kept her faith in God. After some time with Johnny she didn't question those beliefs so much as begin to interpret them in a different way. She still doesn't believe that violence is the answer and tells Johnny this a number of times. He doesn't want to give up his guns since this is all he knows.
The movie worked on so many level. The relationship of Johnny and Rebecca and how she was afraid of him but felt it was her duty to save him because of her beliefs. Johnny comes to realize that violence isn't always the answer. There is also the range war going on and Rebecca and her sheep ranch are right in the middle of it.
Overall this was a wonderful story of two people who despite everything are attracted to each other to the point of going against their beliefs. The scenery was beautiful and the acting superb. Tim Daly as Johnny was smoking hot. He had that cool, "I don't give a damn" attitude down pat. Naomi Watts as Rebecca made for an admirable opponent to Johnny. There were also some scenes of humor that only added to the realism of the story. The drama of their everyday lives played out while their love story grew. When they do sleep together the sex is hot and both Rebecca and Johnny give and take. Their passion seems to take them by surprise for there was nothing quick or sedate about the love scenes. Their physical relationship merely adds another dimension to their bond.
If you are in the mood for a splendid love story then I would recommend The Outsider.
*Do I even need to mention who got me to watch this? :0)*