Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Lord of Darkness

Lord of Darkness
Elizabeth Hoyt
Historical Romance/England/1740
Maiden Lane/Book 5
Grand Central Publishing/February 26, 2013

When Strangers In The Night

He lives in the shadows. As the mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, Godric St. John's only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless young lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife.

Become Lovers...

Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and to the man she hasn't seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be—and so much more.

Desire Is The Ultimate Danger

When passion flares, these two intimate strangers can't keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth—that the Ghost is her husband—the game is up and the players must the temptation that could destroy them both.

While still trying to conquer my historical romance reading slump, I began reading Lord of Darkness and I do believe Ms. Hoyt has brought me out of the slump for good!  By the end of Lord of Darkness, I found myself anticipating the next book in this wonderful series.  What a great feeling!

Lady Margaret (Megs) has become quite bold, traveling to London and moving in with her estranged husband after spending two years alone at their country home.  Their marriage was not a love match but one made of desperation and blackmail. To say Godric is surprised to see his wife is an understatement.  He's under the assumption that she will not be staying long and once she is back in the country, he can resume his lonely life and focus on saving those of St. Giles.   Imagine his surprised when she reveals her plans.  (Nope, no spoilers.)  I loved how very matter-of-fact Megs was in her plans.  She does exhibit some shyness with Godric which is understandable since they barely know each other but otherwise she is determined to see through her plan to the end.

Godric, for his part, is almost a bit frightened of Megs.  He really doesn't know what to make of her.  He has lived a nearly self-imposed exile from life and when Megs arrives, his exile comes to an end.  He gives Megs the impression of an older gentleman with very little to recommend to a younger wife.  But Godric is good at giving false impressions.  He's not what I would considered a typical historical romance hero.  He's more subdued in his appearance and manners but once he's dressed as the Ghost, that's when he comes alive.  I think that's why it took a little longer to warm up to him, he kept himself closed off to everyone, until Megs.

The romance is the focal point with the Ghost's activities intertwined within the romance.  It's not just Godric's connection to the Ghost but Megs has a history with the Ghost as well.  This causes conflict in a relationship that seems to have little else going for it.  Even with the conflict, I enjoyed how Godric and Megs learn their preconceptions of each other are off the mark.  In the end they are pleasantly surprised at how compatible they are.  

The story doesn't center around the orphanage as much as some of the previous books, but we do get a chance to catch up with the ladies from the orphanage committee.  One of the things I was thrilled to read was the history of The Ghost of St. Giles.  The back story is fascinating.  In the end, there was a good balance between the romance, mystery and the suspense.  It all came together in a delightful story.

If you're not familiar with the series, I would highly recommend starting from the beginning.  Hoyt does a wonderful job creating the world of St. Giles as well as the aristocratic society of 1740's London.  Lucky for me, I don't have to wait for the next book in this captivating series.

Rating: A-

Maiden Lane Series ~

Wicked Intentions
Notorious Pleasures
Scandalous Desires
Thief of Shadows
Lord of Darkness
Duke of Midnight

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Letters to Nowhere

Letters to Nowhere
Julie Cross
Young Adult
Letters/Book 1
Long Walk Press/ August 1, 2013

I've gotten used to the dead parents face.  I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son.  Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet.  But here I am, doing it.  And something about Jordan - being around him, talking to him, thinking about him - makes me feel like I can finally breath again.  That's something I haven't been able to do lately.  He knows what it feels like to be me right now.  He knows what it's like to wonder - what now?  I think about it constantly.  I need answers.  I need to know how to get through this.  In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning.  How do I work hard at moving on?  At being on my own? And what happens if I might be . . , maybe. . . probably falling for Jordan?  I mean we live together now.  That can't happen, can it?  But kissing him. . . well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget.

Big thanks to Li by way of Nath for this great recommendation!  This is what I love about the blogging community - finding out about wonderful books I might not have heard of if not for other bloggers.

Letters to Nowhere was such a surprise in number of ways.  First off, while I enjoyed watching gymnastics when I was a kid, I wouldn't call myself a big fan.  So I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my venture into the world of competitive gymnastics.  It's an intense look at the girls and how they their lives center around this highly competitive sport.   Cross does a great job of setting the scene and giving enough information about the sport without overwhelming the reader.

Karen Campbell has been working hard for years to reach her ultimate dream of competing in the Olympics.  That dream was shared by her parents but now they are gone, killed in a car accident, leaving Karen alone.  Karen's grandmother is willing to take her in but it feels like it comes more from obligation than true desire.  So Karen's gymnastic's coach steps in and agrees to have Karen live with him and he will act as her guardian.  It's an interesting situation since Coach Bentley's home is occupied by himself and his teenage son.

Karen's world is gymnastics.  She's had little of what is considered typical teenage experiences.  So when she moves in with Jordan she's exposed to a teenage boy with teenage interests and teenage hormones.  It's interesting to see Karen experience what life has to offer outside of gymnastics.  She also gets to know her coach better and see him beyond his coaching and as someone who has experienced great loss and lived through it.

The development of the romance between Karen and Jordan is a realistic look at teenage romance even thought these teens have experienced very different childhoods from what would be considered typical.  I liked how it wasn't this instant surge of hormones.  Instead the author allowed Karen and Jordan to slowly get to know each other and become friends first.

The letters themselves are a fascinating look at what Karen wants to say but isn't ready or simply can't.  The letters contains emotions and fears she's afraid to let go of as well as documenting her progress in grieving her parents deaths.

Even if you don't usually read the young adult genre, I would recommend giving Letters to Nowhere a try.

Rating:  A

Letters to Nowhere Series ~

Letters to Nowhere
Return to Sender (November 15, 2013)*

*The author stated "the remaining books will be released in shorter more frequent installments, basically TV episode style."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Romani Armada

Romani Armada
Tracy Cooper-Posey
Beloved Bloody Time/Book 3
Patchwork Press/September 6, 2013

Justin Edward Kelly, vampire and Chronologic Touring Agency member, hates time traveling and prefers to pretend he’s human. Deonne Rinaldi is human and arm-twisted the Agency into the deal of a life-time: They make her a vampire if she pulls off the PR campaign of her career and make humans like vampires. Everyone was stunned when the mismatched pair became lovers, including Deonne and Justin and neither of them will admit even to themselves how well the relationship works.

While Deonne is tucked away in history to protect her from Gabriel’s psi-file army ravages, Justin gets a time-delayed letter from her telling him their affair is over. She is in love with Adán Xavier Santiago, a Romani vampire from ancient Spain who will turn her. Despite the massive dangers screwing with time this way can cause, Justin travels back to China to confront Deonne, but when he arrives there is no Adán and Deonne knows nothing about the letter. Justin, not used to time traveling, figures he’s averted a personal disaster until Deonne meets a sexy Spaniard who introduces himself as Adán….

WARNING: This book contains two hot, sexy alpha heroes, frequent, explicit and frank sex scenes and sexual language. It includes heart-stopping sexual scenes between the aforementioned sexy heroes, menage scenes, and anal sex. No vampires were harmed in the making of this novel.

Oh, my.  Take the warning to head, this is a very sexy, hot romance.  This is the third book in the series and I do wish I had read the first two.  I think it would have help get into the story and characters had I read the previous books.  But once I did feel like I was caught up, it was easy to become involved in the characters and their lives.

Time travel is now an option for some and vampires are the ones who make it possible.  Imagine going back in time to watch a famous battle or visit a historical site.  Now imagine taking that journey with a sexy vampire.  The author has created a interesting world where humans and vampires coexist although not all humans are happy about sharing their world with vampires nor do they trust them.  I really enjoyed the politics of the story and how they continued to develop throughout the storyline.

The romance is a mix of drama, tension and out-right sexiness.  I liked the tension between Deonne and Justin.  They fit well together making it easy to see them as a couple.  When Adán joined in it wasn't as easy to shake off the vision of Deonne and Justine as a couple.  Adán didn't feel as developed as a character as the other two.  Maybe that's why it was more difficult to have him become part of the romance.

The strength of the story was the world building.  It's a fully envisioned world of political strife, tension, courage and love with the added excitement of time travel.  I look forward to reading more set in this unique world.

Rating:  B+

Beloved Bloody Time Series ~

Bannockburn Binding
Byzantine Heartbreak
Romani Armada