Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans...

Just because it's Halloween week and I really like the Underworld movies. This is a prequel to the first two Underworld movies. It's about Sonja (vampire) and Lucian (lycan). This looks so good. Can't wait to see it! January 2009.

Review: Any Given Doomsday

Title: Any Given Doomsday
Author: Lori Handeland
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Phoenix Chronicles/Book 1
Based on an Advance Review Copy ~ Release Date November 4, 2008

Elizabeth Phoenix is a former Milwaukee cop and now bartends at the bar owned by the widow of her former partner. She's also a psychic who was raised in foster homes until she was taken in by a wonderful old lady named Ruthie who reminds me of The Oracle from the Matrix movies. One day Liz gets a psychic "urge" to see Ruthie. What she finds at Ruthie's house sets in motion a series of events that even Liz didn't see coming.

Lori Handeland is well known for her paranormal romance series Nightcreatures. Now she is branching out into Urban Fantasy with a new series focusing on the main character of Elizabeth Phoenix and her quest to save the world from ending. Yes, we've heard this all before, end of the world, apocalypse etc. But this time it might just happen.

After finding herself in the hospital and waking from a four day coma, Liz has a few visitors. The police arrive in the form of two homicide detectives looking for Liz's old boyfriend Jimmy Sanducci. Liz hasn't seen him in years and tells them she doesn't know where he is. After they leave Jimmy shows up. He and Liz argue and he leaves without teller her much about what happened to Ruthie. Liz is then discharged and goes home to her apartment. Once home things just continue to get stranger with horrific dreams of Ruthie and monsters.

Liz and Jimmy do get together and journey to New Mexico and to the home of Sawyer. Liz had spent the summer she was fifteen training with Sawyer and learning how to use her psychic abilities. Now she must to train to fight the horrible monsters that are all too real and discover what she is truly capable of. She also needs to explore her feelings for Sawyer. She is no longer a teenager but a woman who finds herself attracted to him. And he is so much more than what he seems as Liz discovers. He lives on the Navajo Reservation and has some interesting powers of his own. One of them being a skinwalker. He is an intriguing character. I'm really not quite sure what to make of him yet. Is he good? Bad? Only looking out for himself?

Liz's take on him:

"The feelings I had for him were complicated. He both attracted and repelled. He'd made things clearer, and he'd muddied them up. When I'd left him after a summer of training, I'd been stronger, but I'd never been able to learn everything he wanted to teach me. I suspected that some of the lessons were about things I really shouldn't know. Sawyer walked a fine line between good and evil and there were times he wallowed in the darkness, times I felt he wanted to drag me there with him."
page 94

And what about Jimmy? He's this great looking, world renowned photographer with everything going for him, or so it seems. He's still in love with Liz and she still has strong feelings for him but he has some demons of his own to fight ~ literally. And soon gets Liz involved in even more danger with his own problems. I didn't really care for Jimmy one way or the other. The things Liz went through because of him... He didn't leave as big of an impression on me as Sawyer did. Not sure why but there you have it. The dynamics between Liz, Sawyer and Jimmy do not equal a love triangle yet. More like a bit of a tangle with no clear winner at this point.

Handeland's world building is complex yet I was never lost at what was happening. She has a knack for blending information with the overall structure of the story and not overloading the reader with lengthy narratives on the variations of her world. Overall I enjoyed this first installment of The Phoenix Chronicles. I'll be reading the next in the series to find out what happens with Liz and company and their quest to save the world.

For more information about the author visit her website where you can also access a short story prequel called In the Beginning.

Ratings: B+

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Magic Strikes ~ Excerpt

Ilona Andrews has posted the first full chapter and part of the second chapter of Magic Strikes on her livejournal.

Thank you Ilona!

Part of the first chapter was previously posted on the website but we lucky readers have been give even more. I love Kate Daniels and can't wait for this next book in the series. It's due out *sigh* not until March 31, 2009. Oh, how I miss Curran ~ my very favorite shapeshifter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Review: Broken Wing

Title: Broken Wing
Author: Judith James
Genre: Historical Romance

Before I get into the review I just wanted to thank Kristie at Ramblings on Romance, etc for posting about this new author and her new release. It was fun to get excited about the arrival of a book. And yes, she was right. It was wonderful... and now for the review.

As a child he was left on the doorstep of a Parisian brothel. Taken in and taught to pleasure both men and women, Gabriel is a creature of sensuous beauty and literally a product of his surroundings. He knows many ways of how to give pleasure but finds little of it for himself. He chooses rather to numb himself with alcohol and keep his emotions locked deep inside.

Gabriel has lost interest in life and his feelings are buried so deep physical pain is the only way he is reminded that he is still alive. When Gabriel is nearly without hope a young boy is brought to the brothel. With Jamie, Gabriel has a renewed sense of purpose ~ to keep what happened to him from happening to Jamie. Five years pass, Gabriel and Jamie have formed a relationship of sorts. Both needing each other in different ways to stay alive. Then Jamie's brother and sister, Ross, the Earl of Huntington and Lady Sarah Munroe, find him and come to take him home. When Gabriel is asked to accompany them back to England he agrees to spend a year helping Jamie adjust to being home again. Thus his new life begins but it ends in a place he could never have imagined.

Judith James takes the reader on a journey with Gabriel from Paris to England to the Mediterranean Sea and the Barbary Coast. The story starts in the late 1800's, ten years after the French Revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte is coming to power, pirates and privateering are as common on the seas as war on the land. France is recovering from the Terror and England is well, England. The description of the land, the buildings and the people of the time give the book a genuine historic feel. Add to that some historic figures and the setting is complete.

Gabriel St. Croix, the hero of our story, is anything but a typical hero. Yes, he is gorgeous with an innate sensuality. While his age is never stated he is often referred to as "lad" or "young man". I got the impression he was in his early 20's. His sexual experiences are many and varied but his life experience is very limited outside the brothel environment. So when he journeys to England with Sarah, Ross and Jamie he is treated to a host of new experiences. One such is on board the ship that takes them from France to England. He is a natural sailor and shows a keen interest in all things nautical.

Once arriving in England Gabriel must deal with being treated differently than he was in the brothel. No longer treated as an object he is now treated as a person. Someone with feelings, opinions, likes and dislikes. This may seem like a wonderful thing but for Gabriel it is something that causes him difficulty. It's not in his scope of experience. Trust is also a big issue for him. The ability to trust is completely foreign to him. He is always waiting for something bad to happen, for the good to come to an end. He must learn how it feels to be treated with kindness and respect. That is where Sarah comes in.

Lady Sarah Munroe, the heroine, is neither a typical heroine nor a typical woman of the time period. When she was sixteen she was forced to wed an old man and was fortunately widowed shortly after. This happened around the same time her parents were killed in an accident and Jamie disappeared. It was an extremely difficult time for her.

Sarah enjoys dressing in britches, voicing her opinion and is known as the Gypsy Countess because of her gypsy ancestors. She lives an unconventional sort of life ~ traveling and being friends with privateers and not caring what society thinks of her. She has some experience with the world and enjoys developing friendships with a variety of people. She much prefers interesting people to the snobs of the ton. When she meets Gabriel she decides that in return for his keeping Jamie safe she must help him get out of the life he's been living. There is an attraction but she treats him as a person, a friend. She refuses to use him in the way he had been used and abused by others.

"I'm just so confused, Gabriel. I'm trying to do the right thing and I don't know what that is anymore. It's not that I don't want you. I do! I dream about you. I imagine... Look, you call yourself a whore, as if that's who you are. How can I show you how wrong you are? How can I truly be your friend if I use you as everyone else has? Damn it, Gabe, you're such an innocent!"

"Innocent!" He was so shocked his mouth hung slack and open. page 189-190

At first Gabriel keeps himself distant from Sarah and Ross. Choosing only to spend time with Jamie. Slowly Gabriel spends more time with Sarah and they gradually develop a relationship. They find they enjoy spending time in each others company and feel at ease with one another. Eventually they fall in love.

Gabriel thinking of how Sarah sees him...

"She saw him clearly, if in a different light than he saw himself." page 213

This says so much as to how Sarah not only sees him but treats him.

Gabriel also meets Gypsy Davey, privateer and captain of a ship. Cousin to Sarah, Ross and Jamie, Davey agrees to teach Gabriel about seamanship and takes him under his wing. Gabriel feels he needs to go to sea and make his fortune so he can support Sarah. He refuses to live off of Sarah's money and so he leaves with Davey, promising to come back to Sarah. She, in turn, promises to wait for him for however long it takes.

Gabriel's journey back to Sarah is not a smooth one in any way. His past comes back to torment him and leaves him broken and in despair. He becomes a mercenary and gambler, living like the ice cold emotionless man he was before meeting Sarah.

This story is really more Gabriel's than Sarah's. She is a critical piece but she is the constant where Gabriel is the evolving, changing character. One thing I really liked was that they didn't jump into bed right away. Given Gabriel's background and the fact that they were attracted to each other it was a pleasant surprise. What Gabriel needed more than anything was a friend. That's why it was so wonderful that Gabriel and Sarah became friends first, then lovers. Gabriel needed someone to talk to, feel comfortable with. Someone in whose presence he could simply be.

Sarah was the catalyst that helped Gabriel release his old self and become his new self. Jamie was Gabriel's first real friend. He said that he protected Jamie because it gave him a purpose. The friendship with Jamie pulled Gabriel from the edge ~ Jamie is the one that cracked the ice and Sarah is the one that broke it completely.

The secondary characters of Ross, the Earl of Huntington and Davey are well developed and given enough page time to leave an impact yet not detract from the main story. They are interesting enough to possibly warrant their own stories. There is also a character that Gabriel meets later in the book that certainly left an impact on me. I won't say much but I have a feeling he would make a wonderful hero. I wouldn't be surprised if he got his own book too.

Overall this was a beautiful story of love and trust. I'm looking forward to reading more by Judith James.

Rating: A

Friday, October 17, 2008

Elizabeth Hoyt ~ News & Free Serial Novella

Updates and news for Elizabeth Hoyt fans of which I'm one ~ love her books!

The second book in her Legend of the Four Soldiers Series, To Seduce a Sinner is due out on the 28th per Amazon but Ms. Hoyt's site says it out now. It's the story of Lord Vale and Melisande Fleming. They were secondary characters in To Taste Tempation, the first book in the series.

The third book in the series is called To Beguile a Beast, due out in May 2009. It's about Sir Alistair Munroe and ???. His heroine hasn't been named yet. Hopefully we'll find out more in To Seduce a Sinner. And the fourth book is To Desire a Devil. No cover yet, release date of November 2009.

Her covers are so beautiful and the stepbacks are even better!

Starting in January Ms. Hoyt will be posting a chapter a month of a novella called The Ice Princess. This is about Coral Smythe, a secondary character from The Raven Prince. Here's the synopsis from her website:

As the madam of Aphrodite’s Grotto, the most infamous brothel in London, Coral Smythe knows everything possible about men’s needs and desires. Yet she’s never experienced the love of a single man—not even that of Captain Isaac Wargate whose hawk-like eyes stare at her with both condemnation…and lust.

Captain Wargate heartily disapproves of the sensuous madam who always wears a golden mask. She lures his officers from both his ship and their duty. But when Coral herself is offered up as the prize in a game of chance, Wargate impulsively enters…and wins.

Now the puritanical navy captain has just seven nights to learn everything he can about the mysterious madam and what she knows of a man’s desires. But when Coral is threatened by the new owner of Aphrodite’s Grotto, will Wargate take a chance on the woman beneath the mask…and on love?

Also for November only, you can order a free preview booklet of the first chapter of The Ice Princess and the first chapter of For the Love of Pete by Julia Harper the contemporary name Ms. Hoyt writes under. Here's my review of HOT, the other Julia Harper book. For the Love of Pete sounds like another fun read. The info for ordering these and subscribing to her newsletter can be found here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cover Love ~ Nalini Singh

Isn't it gorgeous! This is the cover for Nalini Singh's new series due out next year. You can read info and an excerpt for Angels' Blood, first book in her Guild Series due out March 2009. It sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read more of Nalini's books.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's Here, It's Here!!!

Broken Wing by Judith James has finally made it to my doorstep! I still can't believe I'm getting this excited about an author I've never read. But I have faith in Kristie.

The cover is interesting. A quick glance and it looks like a typical historical romance cover ~ hero on a ship at sea. But the thing that captured my attention was the fact that the hero is looking down not out from the cover. In fact his eyes are closed. Usually they're either looking out to sea, looking out from the book or down at the heroine. This guy is almost oblivious to what's going on around him. It also has a bit of an old world painting look to it. There's lots of dark clouds in the background with some lighter clouds as if the sun is peeking through. It must be quite windy if his hair is any indication. And it looks like he's been injured ~ his arms are sporting bloody bandages. He's also very lean, not a big muscular guy reminiscent of say the old Fabio covers. And the lack of a heroine ~ not sure what to make of that. All in all a very interesting cover. Can't wait to read this!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coming Soon from Sherrilyn Kenyon...

Sherrilyn Kenyon has a few books due out soon that I plan to read. I've only read her Dark Hunter/Were Hunter/Dream Hunter books. And they can be confusing at times with all the who, what, where and how of the characters. The various gods and goddess are what usually screw me up. She also writes historicals under the name Kinley MacGregor. I have a few of them but haven't had the chance to read any yet. While I don't run out and get her books on release day I do still enjoy reading those from the Hunter universe.

The first book, due out November 4 is One Silent Night, Stryker's book. He's the leader of the Daimons and a total bad boy. He loves nothing more than killing Dark Hunters and eating humans. How Kenyon will redeem him or if he will be redeemed is why I want to read his book. Here's some info from Kenyon's site:

While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all out onslaught against his enemies--which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race. To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife. Zephyra. Just when he thought nothing could stop him, he's now embroiled in a centuries old war with a shrew who gives new meaning to pain and a shrew who is the only woman he's ever really loved.

This is a keystone book where new alliances form and old ones realign. The world of the Dark-Hunters is shifting and you definitely don't want to miss it. There are major shockers in it about Nick and Acheron and you will also meet Simi's future hero.
Longer than a novella, but not quite as long as a novel, OSN is a special thank you to fans. It's events will also lead directly into the next few books.

So there will also be new stuff on Nick and Ash and Simi's future HEA. I can't even begin to imagine what he will be like. The comment about the events in OSN leading directly into the next few books could mean more of Jaden. He's an interesting demon that we got to read more of in Acheron. You can read an excerpt of One Silent Night here.

The Dead After Dark anthology with stories by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. R. Ward, Susan Squires and Dianna Love. Release date is December 2, 2008. Kenyon's story is about Fury and Angelia. They are both Were's, wolf shapeshifters. Here's some info on this story from Kenyon's website:

Angelia has fought her entire life to make herself strong. Now, with her tessera under fire, she has to protect herself and her patria from Fury and his Werewolf pack. But now the hunter has become the hunted and the only for her to survive is to trust the very Wolf she once tried to kill...

This book sets up the summer release Bad Moon Rising which will be Fang and Aimee's story. While it is a short story, you will see a lot more about Fury and Angelia in the summer release.
Look for a special cameo appearance from Z in the story and don't miss meeting Trace-- Vane and Bride's son.

I've always like the Weres and a visit to Sanctuary is usually entertaining. You can go here to read an excerpt of Fury and Amelia's story in Dead After Dark.

Then there's the next Dream Hunter novel ~ Dream Warrior, due to release February 2009. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. I'll read it but will probably get it from the library. I've liked the past Dream Hunter novels, The Dream Hunter and the very short book Upon the Midnight Clear, and Dream Chaser which I thought was pretty good. This one sounds like there are a lot of new characters to keep track of and I'm just not sure I'm up to it.

Here's some deets from the official site:

We are the Dolophoni. Diligent. Vigilant. Fierce and inescapable. Servants of the Furies, we are the right hand of justice and no one stands before us.The son of Warcraft and Hate, Cratus spent eternity battling for the ancient gods who birthed him. He was death to any who crossed him. Until the day he laid down his arms and was banished into exile. Now an ancient enemy has been unleashed and our dreams are his chosen battlefield. The only hope we have is the one god who swears he will never fight again. As a Dream-Hunter, Delphine has spent eternity protecting mankind from the predators who prey on our unconscious state. But now that her allies have been turned, she knows in order to survive, the Dream-Hunters need a new leader. Someone who can train them to fight their new enemies. Cratus is her only hope. But she is a bitter reminder of why he chose to lay down his arms. Time is running out and if she can't win him to her cause, mankind will be slaughtered and the world we know will soon cease to exist.

This book is a lynch pin book of the Dream-Hunter series. Several characters will meet their demise and new order emerges...

The Dream-Hunter world is rocked as the Skoti revolt against the Oneroi and the battle lines are drawn. Their world will never be the same.
Cratus is a darkly tortured character. Complex and even scary at times...

It sounds interesting but I think I may need to check out The Dark Hunter Companion from the library again before reading Dream Warrior. And I like the UK cover better ~ the guy is blond on that one. If you'd like to read an excerpt and maybe get a bit more confused like me you can read one here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Review: Seduce Me at Sunrise

Title: Seduce Me at Sunrise
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Hathaways/ Book 2

She's leaving and he won't stop her. He knows what to do to keep her from leaving but being a stubborn cuss he refuses to say those simple words. That's all it will take. Just a few simple words. She even tells him this but he thinks he knows what's best for her so he lets her go...without saying the words or saying good-bye.

Thus starts the bumpy, sometimes frustrating journey to a Happily Ever After for Win and Merripen, the heroine and hero of Lisa Kleypas' current historical. Readers of Kleypas are probably familiar with Win and Merripen or Kev, as we find out his first name is, from the first book in the Hathaway series Mine Till Midnight. In MTM we see how Kev watches Win and longs for her but refuses to give in to his less than brotherly feelings for her. In Seduce Me at Sunrise the denying continues for Kev with everyone else around him knowing how he feels for Win. Even Win is aware of his feelings but can't get him to admit them.

SMaS starts a few months after MTM ends with Win's sister Amelia happily married to Cam (They were the H/H in MTM). Win is about to travel with her brother Leo to a clinic in France where it is hoped that she will recover her full health. She contracted scarlet fever a few years before and is still recovering. It was Kev who nursed her back from death and who now watches over her like an avenging angel ready to assault anyone who dares hurt her.

Kev came to the Hathaways as a young boy broken and abused by his uncle the leader of the Gypsy camp where Kev grew up. He was raised to be an asharibe. They are the warriors of the tribe and are made to fight other boys for sport. Kev is neglected and treated like an animal by his uncle. Being found and taken in by the Hathaways was the best thing possible for him. Kev has always kept himself somewhat separate from everyone, not quite family not quite servant. He has loved Win for so long but is afraid he will hurt her because of his violent upbringing.

Winnifred (Win) is the third eldest of the Hathaway siblings. She is the middle child and like many a middle child has become the peacemaker of the family. She is soft spoken but with a backbone of steel. She doesn't want to give up on Kev and the chance of having a more intimate relationship with him. When Kev tells her he doesn't want her she calls him a liar. She doesn't mince words with him and tells him that she loves him and she know that he loves her. She sees their relationship as "Forever together and yet apart".

Two years have passed when Win and Leo return from France. They bring with them Dr. Julian Harrow. It was at his clinic where Win received treatment and under his care that she regained her health. He has begun to shown more than a doctor/patient interest in Win and this is cause for no end of irritation for Kev.

Kev's feelings for Win are not the restrained love from a far that he thinks they are. He pretends he can't have her but he can't let her go either. Letting her go would be the equivalent of letting part of himself go. He may think he can let her go to another man but deep down inside he knows he can't. His fight is not with Win but within himself. The wild boy who wants to hold on to Win no matter what and the grown man who thinks he knows what's best for her.

"You don't know me. You think you do, but you don't. The things I've done, the things I'm capable of - you and your family, all you know of life comes from books. If you understood anything -

"Make me understand. Tell me what is so terrible that you must keep pushing me away."

He shook his head.

"Then stop torturing the both of us," she said unsteadily. "Leave me, or let me go."

"I can't," he snapped. "I can't, damn you." And before she could make a sound, he kissed her.
page 151

There is also the developing relationship between Kev and Cam, a Gypsy and the wonderful hero of MTM. Cam keeps referring to Kev as phral, which in Roma means brother. Kev gets irritated and keeps telling him to stop calling him that. Cam being Cam, continues to call Kev phral. Cam is the calm that Kev needs. Kev acts as if he doesn't like Cam but there is respect for him whether Kev wants to admit it or not. Cam continues to show his love for his new family and also how important family is to him.

And there are the Hathaway siblings who are well developed secondary characters. Leo continues to become less the sad, broken man from MTM and more of the brother that he once was. The years in France did him well. I see him becoming an un-hero hero. You know the type that keeps insisting he's not a hero but continues to act a hero.

We see Poppy and Beatrix growing up into young ladies who still maintain the their precociousness. The new character of a governess joins the family. Miss Marks is hired to teach Poppy and Bea how to conduct themselves in society. She is an interesting character who acts as if she has something to hide. I do see her appearing more as the series progresses.

Amelia and Cam's relationship is still in the honeymoon stage with all the cuddling and loving you would expect. And who wouldn't want to love Cam? Yes, I have a thing for Cam. Can you blame me? He's adorable. Amelia and Cam are the parental influence in the family. Guiding with love and intelligence.

I did enjoy Seduce Me at Sunrise. After reading about Win and Kev in MTM I was anxious to read their story and get to know them better. I do think it got a bit tedious with Kev continually pushing Win away. He loves her so desperately yet would let her go to someone else whom he has serious doubts about. That got on my nerves and I found myself wanting to smack him.

When Kev tells Win "You're mine", she thought "Finally" and I did too. It was about damn time! After they've slept together Kev is holding Win while she sleeps. He begins to kiss her ~

He loved every part of her. It occurred to him that he had not yet kissed the spaces between her toes... page 271

Only a man in love would think of that.

Rating: A-

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall Romance Book Challenge

This is a really cool idea that Jill D. of the wonderful blog Romance Rookie is starting. (She even made the beautiful picture shown above). It's called Fall Romance Book Challenge. You can read how it all came about on her blog. The challenge is to choose and read 15 books of different criteria. The reading should take place from October 1st to December 31st 2008.

What a great way to diminish the massive TBR pile that I can't keep up with. I know I shouldn't buy more books until I read some of the ones I own but I can't seem to help myself. It's an addiction I don't want to kick just control a little better.

So here are my choices:

1. Read a book listed on RT’s All-Time Favorites List.
Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann
2. Read a New (to you) Author.
Broken Wing by Judith James
3. For Autumn, choose an author whose first or last name begins with “A”.
All Souls Night by Jennifer Armintrout
4. Read a book with a one-word title.
Contact by Susan Grant
5. For Halloween, read a book with a scary theme. (ex. Ghost, Vampire, Witch, etc.)
Bound by Shadow by Anna Windsor
6. Read a book that is part of a series.
King of Sword and Sky by C. L. Wilson
7. For November, choose a book that has an “N” word in the title.
Naked in Death by J. D. Robb
8. Read a category romance (ex. Harlequin, Loveswept, etc.)
Bound by Marriage by Nalini Singh
9. Read a Christmas/Holiday themed book.
The Magical Christmas Cat Anthology by Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh and Linda Winstead Jones
10. Read a book published before the year 2000.
Tempting Torment by Jo Goodman (published 1989)
11. Read a book that contains an aristocratic title. (ex. Duke, Lord, Baron, Viscount, etc.)
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
12. Read a book with a number in the title. (ex. Fearless Fourteen, Three Little Sins)
The Perfect Ten by Janice Maynard
13. Choose a book where the heroine is an heiress.
After the Kiss by Suzanne Enoch
14. Choose a book where the hero is a cop or lawman.
Twisted Creek by Jodi Thomas
15. Read a book with “baby” in the title.
Nobody’s Baby but Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

All the books in italics are ones that I own. So out of 15 I'll be reading 12 that I own. That's pretty good and will put a dent in the old TBR pile. Many that I've been wanting to read for a long time but just haven't gotten around to it. Number 15 ~ I had a hard time finding a book with "baby" in the title so I used the same one as Jill. It's a SEP book so it's all good. And the RT list was amazing! As I read through it there were so many authors that I recognized and want to do rereads of my favorites. I was tempted to pick one that I had read but chose Brockmann's Prince Joe since I've been meaning to start that series and also because it's short and I've got to be practical if I expect to complete this challenge. : )

The In Death series is one that I hear so many good things about but have been putting off starting because it is so long ~ 25 novels, a bunch of anthologies and counting. The hero Roarke always seems to be mentioned when readers talk of their favorite heroes. I really need to see what the fuss is all about.

I first heard about Twisted Creek by Jodi Thomas when I read Nath's review and put it on my TBR list. I used to read a lot of Jodi Thomas' westerns and enjoyed them. Looking forward to reading this one.

I haven't read anything by Susan Grant but have heard great things about her writing. Contact won a RITA for best paranormal in 2003.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review: Mine Till Midnight

Title: Mine Till Midnight
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Hathaways/Book 1

Amelia Hathaway is searching the London night for her wayward brother Leo. Before she can find him she crosses paths with Cam Rohan, gypsy turned manager of a club called Jenners. Before she knows it Cam is helping her in the search for her brother. Along for the ride is Merripen, a dear friend who Amelia thinks of as another brother. Her concern for her brother Leo stems from his recent excessive indulgence in alcohol and gambling. She is worried for his life and is determined to save him whether he likes it or not.

Once Leo is found, brawling in front of a tavern, Cam and Amelia part ways but not before Cam kisses her senseless and leaves her with a desire for more. She returns home in a daze, thinking she will never see him again. A week passes and the orphaned Hathaway siblings move to the Hampshire country home that came with the title of Lord Ramsay that Leo inherited. The house is in a shambles and it is up to Amelia to see to the restoration and to the care of her sisters and Leo.

It turns out their neighbor in Hampshire is Marcus, Lord Westcliff. He was the hero in It Happened One Autumn. Amelia has an impromptu meeting with him and two of his house guests. Marcus and his wife Lillian welcome the Hathaways to the neighborhood with an invite to dinner. Amelia is beside herself since the Hathaways are quite poor and have very little in the way of appropriate clothes. But she manages to gather everyone, even Leo and off they go.

But where's Cam? Back in London? Just to show what a small world it is... Sebastian, Viscount St. Vincent is a friend of Lord Westcliff. He and his wife are also guests at Lord Westcliff's country estate. Sebastian was the hero of The Devil in Winter and he happens to own Jenners, the club where Cam works. See where this is going?

Amelia is a no-nonsense type of heroine. She has to be. She can't depend on Leo, the eldest and only male sibling. He has decided to wallow in self pity. Her three sisters are all younger and look to Amelia for guidance. She is very practical and sees her future as a spinster taking care of her siblings. I really like Amelia. Her attitude of never give up no matter what didn't get on my nerves like I thought it might. Her inner dialogues were amusing and showed what she wanted to say but dared not for fear of causing hurt feelings. She wasn't always as circumspect when it came to Leo. She loves him dearly but even he pushed her to her limits.

Then there's Cam. *sigh* I fell for Cam in a big way. He's not the typical dark, brooding hero that I usually go for. In fact there was very little angst in Cam. The one thing he did get upset about is money. No, not lack of, but what he called his "good-luck" curse. Being a half gypsy and raised by them he adheres to the belief of not being tied down and materialistic. He only wants what he needs and doesn't feel the need for great wealth. Unfortunately for him, he seems to have the magic touch where money is concerned. This, added to the fact that he is employed in London no less, was really the only source of angst for him. Until he met Amelia. Otherwise Cam is the calm in the middle of the storm. Always cool. Serene. Not a word I would normally use for a man but it fits him. But when he's with Amelia she has the ability to make him loose all that calm and practically explode with emotions.

And I don't want to forget the Hathaway siblings. They are such a essential part of the story. They're not here just for fill or future books, which are certainly in the making. The relationship Amelia has with her siblings is a vital part of who she is. When Cam comes into the picture he develops his own unique relationship with each sibling, slowly becoming part of the family before he realizes what is happening.

In addition to woe-is-me Leo, there is Win, Poppy and Beatrix. Win is in frail health after she nearly died the year before. She is described as being soft spoken and ethereal but her strong backbone peaks through every now and then. Poppy is similar to Amelia in her practicality but still has the air of mischief about her. And I should point out Leo does have a good reason for being so terribly depressed.

The youngest is Bea. She is such a fun character. How can you not like someone who cheats at solitaire and sees nothing wrong with it? I look forward to reading her HEA. I see her with a very proper, by the book, lord of the manor born. Someone without a breath of scandal in the family. Then Bea comes along and knocks his world upside down. Can you tell Bea made a big impression on me?

Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors. I've been enjoying her books for years and look forward to each new release. Mine Till Midnight was released a year ago and I have no idea why it took me so long to read it. I finally picked it up because the next book in the series, Seduce Me at Sunrise, is out and I absolutely must read them in order. I'm so glad to finally read Amelia and Cam's story. They are among one of my favorite Kleypas couples to date.

Rating: A

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Quest: Broken Wing

Kristie over at Ramblings on Romance has posted an amazing review on the book Broken Wing by Judith James. She gave it 6 out of 5 which certainly got my attention! She has also set forth a quest for fellow bloggers to get the word out about this wonderful book.

Here's the synopsis from Judith James' website:

Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, Gabriel St. Croix has never known tenderness, friendship or affection. Although fluent in sex, he knows nothing of love. Lost and alone inside a nightmare world, all he’s ever wanted was companionship and a place to belong. Hiding physical and emotional scars behind an icy façade, his only relationship is with a young boy he has spent the last five years protecting from the brutal reality of their environment. But all that is about to change. The boy’s family has found him, and they are coming to take him home.

Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother’s disappearance. When he’s located, safe and unharmed despite where he as been living. Sarah vows to help the man who rescued and protected him in any way she can. With loving patience she helps Gabriel face his demons and teaches him to trust in friendship and love. But when the past catches up with him, Gabriel must face it on his own.

Becoming a mercenary, pirate and a professional gambler, Gabriel travels to London, France, and the Barbary Coast in a desperate attempt to find Sarah again and all he knows of love. On the way, however, he will discover the most dangerous journey, and the greatest gamble of all, is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.

Now the book isn't due for release until November 1 but based on Kristie's review I've ordered it from Amazon and it's supposed to be shipping soon. Did I pay full price? Yep. Is this something I normally do? Heck no. Coupon queen here. Even when buying new books I either use my Borders coupons or buy from Target or Walmart for the 25% off. But...the review was so well written and Kristie's feelings about the book were right there for all to see it hooked me big time. I simply have to read this book asap!

To purchase Broken Wing:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Banned Book Meme

A little late to the party...
I got this from KMont at Lurv à la Mode. (((Feel better Kenda)))
The books in dark purple are the ones I've read. Most were read many years ago so the memory is a bit fuzzy.

Three things I learned while doing this meme:

1) My elementary and high schools were either forward thinking or didn't know they were making the kids read banned books.

2) All three of my kids have read banned books.

3) What the heck's with all the Judy Blume hating going on?! She was one of my favs when I was a teenager.

A couple comments on specific books:

On Where's Waldo? I actually looked this up to make sure they weren't talking about some bizarre pornographic Where's Waldo? Nope, it's the kids book.

On Little Black Sambo. I remember having this when I was just a little kid. It was one of my favorites. And if I'm not mistaken I think it was a Little Golden Book.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Thursday, October 2, 2008

September Book Spending Results

For the month of September I kept track of my book spending. I made a list of each book and how much it cost. I wasn't too surprise by how much I spent. I think it would have been more had I not been keeping track. The number of books did surprise me. Now I know why my TBR pile has become a monster.

The numbers:

The most spent on one book ~ $2.99.

The least spent on one book ~ 0.50.

Total number of books ~ 40.

The grand total spent ~ $50.46 USD

All are used but in good shape, some look like new, some like they've only been read once. A few are a bit yellowed with age and have a bit of that "old book" smell. I did plan to buy C. L. Wilson's King of Sword and Sky which would have put me close to $60 but I still haven't made it to the bookstore.

Some of my favorite finds:

Hawkins Heart by Suzanne Brockmann. I have been looking for this book for a very long time. It's part of Brockmann's Tall, Dark and Dangerous series about SEAL Team Ten. It's one of the few in the series that I didn't have.

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott. I've read Little Women and it's one of my favorite books as well as a favorite movie (the 1933 version with Hepburn) but I've never read A Long Fatal Love Chase. I don't remember what blog I read about it only that someone posted that it was one of their favorite books. The title stayed with me so when I saw it I grabbed it.

Forever in My Heart by Jo Goodman. First, Jo Goodman is one of my favorite authors. Second, on our last move I lost at least one, maybe two boxes of books (damn movers). Yep, Goodman's were among them. Also among some of the missing were books by Jo Beverly, Cynthia Wright, Laura Kinsale and Kathleen Woodiwiss. I'm slowly replacing them so I was please to find a Goodman that I didn't have.

A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Same reason as the Goodman.

Irresistible, Slightly Dangerous and Under the Mistletoe all by Mary Balogh. They're Baloghs I don't have and I want them all. : )

Three Weddings and a Kiss. Stories by Woodiwiss, Kleypas, Chase and Anderson. Talk about some wonderful writers. Although I haven't read any of Chase's. I have all but one of her books. Need to get to those.

Here is the final list for books purchased in September. The few duplicates I will either take to the UBS or give to friends.

American Gods, Neil Gaiman
The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova, TPB
The Serpent's Shadow, Mercedes Lackey, HC
The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield, TPB
Art of War, Sun Tzu, TPB
Don't Let Go, Marliss Melton
How to Propose to a Prince, Kathryn Caskie
In Bed with the Devil, Lorraine Heath
8 Sandpiper Way, Debbie Macomber ~ duplicate
Forever in my Heart, Jo Goodman
An Honorable Thief, Anne Gracie
Dying to Please, Linda Howard, HC
Venetia, Georgette Heyer
Into the Fire, S. Brockmann, HC
Long Fatal Love Chase, L.M. Alcott, HC
Slightly Dangerous, Mary Balogh
Pretties, Scott Westerfeld, TPB
Hawken's Heart, S. Brockmann
The Edge of Desire, Stephanie Laurens
A Fragile Trust, Helen Kirkman
The Duke Next Door, Celeste Bradley
Agnes & the Hitman, J. Cruise/Bob Mayer
Love Letters from a Duke, Elizabeth Boyle
Under the Mistletoe, Mary Balogh
Midnight Rainbow/Diamond Bay, Linda Howard
The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
A Rose in Winter, Kathleen Woodiwiss
Crazy for You, Jennifer Cruise ~ duplicate
Irresistible, Mary Balogh
One Perfect Rose, Mary Jo Putney, HC/pb size
Born in Shame, Nora Roberts
Three Weddings & a Kiss, Woodiwiss, Kleypas, Chase, Anderson
Somebody's Lover, Jasmine Haynes, TPB
The Velvet Chair, Jennifer Stevenson
Once a Pirate, Susan Grant ~ duplicate
After Glow, Jayne Castle
Draycott Eternal, Christina Skye
Before the Scandal, Suzanne Enoch
The Macgregor Grooms, Nora Roberts ~ duplicate
Morning Comes Softly, Debbie Macomber ~ duplicate

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Review: When Twilight Burns

Title: When Twilight Burns
Author: Colleen Gleason

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Gardella Vampire Chronicles/Book
*Spoilers ahead if you haven't read the three previous books

Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy is a vampire hunter, a Venator. The fact that she lives in London in the 1820's only makes things more interesting. On the one hand she is a lady of the ton with the responsibilities that go with the title. She is expected to dress and act like a lady and attend the various functions of the ton. She is also Illa Gardella, the leader of the Venators. She has the vital task of carrying on the legacy left to her by her Aunt Eustacia who was the previous Illa Gardella. Although she has no plans to remarry she has feelings for Sebastian Voiget and Max Pesaro. Sebastian has been Victoria's lover in the past but it remains to be seen if he will continue to be. There is an attraction between herself and Max but he refuses to follow through on it.

When Twilight Burns picks up where The Bleeding Dusk left off. Victoria is in Rome and has just woken up after being under Beauregard's control. (Beauregard was a master vampire who captured Victoria and try to turn her into a vampire in The Bleeding Dusk.) Her friends and fellow Venators are waiting to find out if she has been turned. Fortunately for Victoria she passes the Holy water test and is deemed free of Beauregard's legacy...or is she? *insert evil laugh*

Once back in London Victoria's mother, Lady Melly, expects Victoria to venture back into the ton and start looking for a husband. Victoria is not at all enthused about this and looks for any reason to forgo attending the various ton functions. Making social calls during the day and slaying vampires at night complicates her life. Then when old enemies emerge Victoria has no choice and must interact with the members of the ton. She must also deal with her late husband's heir who has arrived from Kentucky to take his place in society. Victoria was widowed when her husband, Lord Phillip de Lacy, was turned into a vampire. Even though she loved him it fell to her to kill him.

Victoria and her Venators have the task of finding a vampire who is not only able to walk in the sunlight but can mask his or her presence. A venator can sense the presence of a vampire by a cool chill on the back of their neck. In the case of the daywalker their is no chill, no warning that he is near.

The two men currently in Victoria's life are Sebastian, the seemingly untrustworthy ally and great, great..grandson of Beauregard. And Max, the dark, brooding and deadly Venator. Sebastian had once refused to take sides in the war between the Venators and the vampires. He finally took the side of the Venators when he killed Beauregard. He is now a Venator and Victoria's most ardent suitor. Max is still dark and brooding but is no longer a Venator. He gave up his position when he broke free of the hold the vampire queen had over him. He knows she will be after him and is on the run.

That brings us to the wonderfully evil Lilith. She is queen of the vampires and Victoria's nemesis. Lilith is such a fascinating antagonist. Gleason's description of her is gloriously eerie.

"Lilith was still horribly elegant, still skeletally slender with the whitest skin marked by an occasional blue vein. Her eyelids were onionskin thin, colored bluish-purple, and her lips the gray-blue of someone who cannot get warm." page 216

"Lilith lifted her head from the distended vein of her victim's neck, looking at Victoria. She ate daintily, and even when she smiled a knowing, horrible smile, her teeth gleamed pure white." page 225

Gleason has a way of writing that pulls you into the scene and into the character's head. I've been a Max fan all along but at one point she had me cheering for Sebastian. This was another terrific addition to the series. If you haven't read the previous three books you really should. Then go out and get When Twilight Burns. The fifth and final book, As Shadows Fade, is due out March 2009.

And I don't want to forget to mention, these are some of the most gorgeous covers. Kudos to the cover artist.

For more information about this series Ms. Gleason has a website as well as a blog that she updates regularly.

Rating: A