Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some of This-Some of That

Yes. I'm still in the land of the living. For a while I was unable to find a good book to read. Then by chance, my husband picked Driven out of the pile of TBR books that I have been neglecting.

He looked at the cover and said, "Is this a romance book? It looks bad-ass." I said, "Really? Hand me that book." And what a helpful husband I have, because I'm loving Driven! Who knew I had this little gem of a book in my TBR pile, just sitting there, waiting to be read?

I've also been perusing the book blogosphere and commenting here and there.

I wanted to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped me out by recommending a Contemporary Western and/or other selection. I went out and bought a few, can't wait to give them a go.

Back to my reading.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Book Suggestions?

I was reading Nath's post about Contemporary Romance over at Breezing Through. It got me thinking about why I have never read a contemporary piece. I mean, I have read paranormal, historical, sci-fi, fantasy... but no contemporary.

While picking my brain I came up with a few reasons as to why this might be.

1.) Since Contemporaries are set in the world I live in, I fear that I'll probably find the characters quirks and misunderstandings absurd. A lot of times when reading otherworldly books or historical books I can chuck up some of the actions of the characters to their world, or time period. With Contemporary I do not have that luxury.

2.) Every contemporary I have come across had a very uninteresting synopsis.

3.) I'm just plain afraid to take the leap.

After going over my reasons I have decided that it is time, but I need help finding a contemporary to read. I've set up a short criteria list below. Anyone who thinks that they might know of a book or books that might fit, let me know by dropping a comment. :)

Criteria:

Western *(Cowboy type)
Romance
Contemporary
Preferably good

Edited to add: I would want to read one of the hardest contemporaries to come by. I've been looking for two hours and haven't found any good prospects. So I'm extending my search to include all contemporaries. What are your favorites? I'm looking for a good place to start.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On The Wings Of Love Review

Book: On the Wings of Love
Author: Elizabeth Lane
Category: Historical - 1911
Grade: C

He gave her the freedom to fly...

Alexandra Bromley had everything her father’s money could buy. But what she really wanted was excitement, adventure and independence. When pilot Rafe Garrick fell out of the sky and into her arms, Alex discovered a thrilling new world. But how could she live her dream at the price of Rafe’s love?

Alex Bromley was trouble. Rafe knew it the first time he set eyes on her. But he couldn’t stay away. Not even if having her meant making a pact with her devil of a father. Now she was his, and it was up to Rafe to tame Alex’s reckless spirit—or lose her to the sky.

I was excited to read this book because of the time period in which it is set. The year is 1911, the place upstate New York.

Alexandra or Alex is the epitome of the term "poor little rich girl." She is spoiled, and for a girl of that time she has many liberties. But Alex feels that something is missing from her life. Under the oppressive thumb of her father, Alex is expected to hurry into marriage and birth a broad of boys to take over the family business.

During the boring summer of her twentieth year, Alex witnesses a plane fall from the sky and her future is forever changed. Alex ends up saving the pilot of the crashed plane and finds herself with a new found passion in not only the handsome pilot, Rafe, but flying as well.

Rafe Garrick loves to fly and not even a suffering a plane crash will keep him out of his plane. After being saved by the spirited Alex Bromely, Rafe falls hard for her but knows their situation will never work. Alex's father wants her to marry a man in her social standing and Rafe is not even close.

Rafe is determined to recover from his crash and leave Alex behind as a distant memory, but Alex is not allowing him the clean break he wishes for. She is determined to help him repair his damaged plane and after a little coaxing Rafe gives in and lets her. Their attraction is tested many times during the course of the weeks spent fixing Rafe's plane until they finally give in to the undeniable passion they have for each other.

My thoughts: I did not like Alex. I thought she was a selfish, self centered, spoiled brat. I had a hard time figuring out why Rafe even liked her. She lied to him more times than were necessary, defied his care for her at every turn, snuck behind his back and did things that could not only endanger her life, but those around her, and she blamed all of the stupid mistakes she made on him.

I understand that this was her character flaw and the author reiterates this by having Alex declare herself selfish whenever possible. But having the character admit to their selfishness, and actually work to change it for the better are two different things. I did not see any growth in Alex, and even up to the last pages she was telling Rafe that she may never change:

    "Listen to me. I've never been a good wife to you. I fought you at every turn, put my own selfish ambitions ahead of our marriage and made shambles of everything I touched. I might try but I can't promise that I'll ever change."

This sounds to me like someone that does not wish to grow. More than once Alex threatened to leave Rafe if he did not agree to her flying. Instead of attempting to compromise with her husband and work something out, she was completely all or nothing.

I understand that flying became her dream after meeting Rafe and she longed to fly a plane. I get that she did not want to be confined to the life of a subservient wife; like her mother had been. But I do not understand why she would be willing to throw her marriage away if Rafe dared tell her he was too concerned about her safety to let her fly.

And poor Rafe, he got saddled with her. Rafe had to bend and conform to keep Alex happy, but she never seemed to be content. Rafe would agree to let Alex do something that she wanted, but as soon she got that out of him she would quickly be discontented by something else she wanted to do. In short: Alex was never satisfied, she always wanted more, and Rafe was so afraid of losing Alex that he turned into a pansy to keep her.

The book started out promising but quickly fell flat for me. Grade C.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bleeding Dusk Review

Book: The Bleeding Dusk
Author: Colleen Gleason
Category: Historical Paranormal
Series: Gardella Vampire Chronicles: Book 3
Grade: A-

As Rome prepares for its Carnivale, the new leader of the city's vampire hunters – Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy – must prove herself as never before. For, to gain access to the secrets of a legendary alchemist, Rome's vampires have allied themselves with creatures as evil and bloodthirsty as they are.

Reluctantly, Victoria must turn to the enigmatic Sebastian Vioget for help, just as Maximilian Pesaro arrives to assist his fellow slayers – no matter what the sacrifice. Desire puts her at the mercy of Sebastian, while loyalty binds her to Max, but can she trust either man? Especially when a seductive vampire begins luring her into the shadows...


Ah, what to say, what to say? It's always the books that I enjoy the most that give me the fits when it comes time to sit down and express my feelings about them.

The Bleeding Dusk picks up where Rises the Night. ended. Victoria has become the leader of the vampire slayers, or venators. She is dealing with not only finding her way as leader, but also attempting to stop the vampires who have aligned themselves with the demons from unlocking the secrets of the legendary alchemist.

While Victoria has her hands full slaying vampires and demons, she is also doing her best to ward off the attentions of Beauregard Vioget, Sebastian's vampire grandfather. Not to mention that she is dealing with Max, who has returned as a venator but still has ties to Lilith, the Vampire Queen. There's also Sebastian, who reenters the picture when Victoria realizes needs something from him.

What I liked about this installment was that we were able to see all three of the main characters, Victoria, Sebastian and Max, share page space.

I enjoyed getting to know Max better, even though I'm still not a fan. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate a brooding male character but Max is just a stick in the mud (to me).

Side note: I'm also having a hard time softening up to Max due to something that happened in a previous book. I'm not over it, and will probably never be.

As always, I loved Sebastian. I did find myself very surprised by what is revealed about him in this book. While I didn't see it coming, it did not feel wrong or like it came out of left field. It also put my questions about why his shirt never came off into perspectivePhotobucket. I was glad to get his point of view in this book, I had been hoping for that.

I have to say that I spent more time annoyed with Victoria in this book than I would have liked. She does a few questionable things that made me go, huh? Yeah, I had a couple of head scratches with her this go round. But I'm letting it go, chucking it up to the fact that she is young and holds a huge responsibility to mankind on her shoulders. I did like seeing her figure her way through her new responsibilities, she is one tough cookie. I'm loving seeing her grow with each book.

And, like always, Colleen leaves us with an edge of your seat ending, that makes you crazy with anticipation for the next release. Grade A-

Excerpt

Seduce Me at Sunrise Excerpt

There is a new excerpt up for Lisa Kleypas' Seduce Me at Sunrise. I've been looking forward to Win and Merripen's story since Mine Till Midnight, and it will be out sometime this year. Can't wait.

Me <--- Really Excited!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

MeMe: Six Unimportant Things About Me

I've been tagged.

By who? Jill D from Romance Rookie. Hi Jill!

Rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six unimportant things about you
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blog.

1.) I love lakes, but I am scared to death to walk further than a foot out into one. If the water goes to my calves, I turn back around. I have no problem with swimming pools or oceans, just lakes.

2.) My lunch usually consists of a Twix bar and apple juice; my lunch is usually my first meal of the day.

3.) I pride myself on being a really good cook and my husband agrees. But I have a bad habit of critising my cooking and saying that it is horrible (when I know it's not) just to hear my husband tell me that it's really good. I've been doing this for two years and he has yet to catch on.Photobucket

4.) When I was six I almost fell from the seat of a roller coaster as it went down the first dip. My aunt, who was my riding partner, had to pull me up by my shirt to keep me in. I've been petrified of roller coasters ever since.

5.) I have a huge obsession with soap operas, telenovelas (Spanish soaps) and téléromans (French soaps). Since moving to Hawaii I've started getting in to doramas (Japanese* soaps) as well.

6.) I can not go to sleep at night without reading a least one chapter of a book. Most times I read more than a chapter, but I've become so OC about reading at least one, that my body won't rest until I do so.

I'm tagging...

Christina, Keishon, Kmont, and Bookgal. I know I'm short two people, sorry.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rattle and Prattle

Have you ever been really excited about a book, waiting on pins and needles for it to be released, then when you finally get your hands on said book, you no longer want to read it?

That has happened to me. I was looking forward to reading Nalini Singh's, Mine to Possess. I was lucky enough to get my hands on it on prior to it's release date (excitement) and was so hyped up to read it, but as soon as I got MTP home the feeling was gone.

I've tried to read it on three different occasions, but have not been able to get into it. And it's not like the book isn't good or that it's uninteresting, because it's not. What I have read so far I like. Still, I just can't seem to bring myself to go through with finishing the book.

This feeling reminds me of times when I am very hungry and all I can think about is eating, then as soon as I get food in front of me I no longer have an appetite.

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Right now I'm reading Colleen Gleason's The Bleeding Dusk and loving it. I am a little mad at my Sebastian though. He has really surprised me in ways I wasn't expecting, and to think; I defended his previous actions so staunchly. Victoria is working my nerves as well, and I have yet to warm up to Max.

Even with these three characters surprising and annoying me, TBD is still a great read.

Monday, February 11, 2008

If His Kiss Is Wicked Review

Book: If His Kiss is Wicked
Author: Jo Goodman
Category: Historical
Grade: A-

Shy by nature, Emma Hathaway usually leaves the drama to her rebellious cousin, Marisol. But when Emma agrees to meet with her cousin's secret lover to end the affair, she is pulled into a dangerous game. Now Emma is convinced her involvement in the scandal has put her life in jeopardy. The trouble is none of Emma's confidantes believe anyone is trying to harm her. As whispers of madness begin, Emma turns to the only person who might be able to help...

The very handsome, barely respectable Restell Gardner has gained a reputation for helping people out of compromising positions. Never one to turn away a lady in need, Restell agrees to help solve the intrigue. Sensing there is more to the green-eyed beauty than meets the eye, Restell feels himself falling for Emma. But he resists succumbing to his passion... at least until he learns the truth about the danger that is haunting her. For if he gives in to temptation to soon, he could lose Emma forever...

As I admitted in a previous post, If His Kiss Is Wicked is my first Jo Goodman read. Since I'd heard little to nothing about Goodman's writing prior to this book, I went into reading about Emma and Restell with some apprehension.

I am happy to say that my skepticism was unfounded.

Emma is asked by her cousin, Marisol, to take a break-up note to one of her male flirtations. Emma, agrees, albeit a little reluctantly, because Marisol is engaged and she feels that it is best for her cousin to break off all relations with men other than her fiance. Emma wears, Marisol's bonnet and shall when she leaves to deliver the note. In the course of her leaving the house and performing the task at hand, something terrible happens; leading Emma to believe that she was mistaken for her cousin and that Marisol's life is in danger.

This is where Emma goes to Restell, a man who assists people when they want minimal attention brought to their situation. Restell is not completely convinced that it is Marisol's life that is jeopardy, but that Emma may very well be the cousin in immediate danger. He agrees to take on Emma's case, and from there the story takes off.

I think the element that really stood out to me in this book was that Emma and Restell became married halfway through the book, at a point where story wasn't anywhere near finished. They still had to work through a heap of problems, but it was done in a very believable manner.

If His Kiss Is Wicked was a very enjoyable read. I felt a connection to all of the characters, even the ones that stayed on my last nerve. The love between the hero and heroine progressed in a truly believable way that. No contrived circumstances there, everything that happened seemed to fit seamlessly into the story as a whole and move it forward. Grade A-

Question: Now, I am a novice when it comes to Goodman, and I'm not sure if the rest of her books are as good as this one was (to me), but I have to wonder--given that Goodman has been writing for close to two decades--why the buzz around her work is so quiet?

I mean, is IHKIW a diamond in the rough, or are all of Goodman's books as good as this one? Thoughts?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Finally...


I have been waiting on an excerpt for Kresley Cole's, Dark Deeds at Night's Edge for months, and it's finally up! Dark Deeds will be released in May, with Dark Desires After Dusk following it in June. I just love the names of the books in this series. =P

Excerpt!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Out There In Blog Land

Just a couple of interesting blog land tidbits...

Kieshon, from Avid Book Reader has come up with a great book challenge idea. It is a TBR Challenge where readers take a book from their TBR pile and actually read it. If you are like me and your TBR pile is already a mile high, yet you continue to buy more books then this might be the challenge for you.

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Kristie(J) from Ramblings on Romance just clued me in to the BBC, North and South (mini series)Crusade. She was nice enough to explain to me the particulars of the crusade, and I was taken enough with her passion for it that I joined up. If you want to know more about the crusade then here is a link to the comments section where she explained it to me.

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And apparently I'm a Lemon? I found this little personality quiz on Kristie(J)'s blog and decided to take it.

You Are a Lemon

You have a very distinct personality. And if you're not being sweet, you're a little hard to take.

You're a bit overpowering, especially in one on one situations.And while you are very dominant, sometimes your power is needed and appreciated. You can liven up a dull situation, and you definitely bring a fresh outlook.

You are a bit of an acquired taste, and you tend to grow on people over time. People feel refreshed and rejuvenated after spending time with you.


I'm not sure how much of this rings true, but I thought it was cute.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Reading Update

I'm reading If His Kiss is Wicked and I'm loving it.

I have come to a point in the book where the story goes a lot deeper than an ordinary romance does. There is angst between the hero and heroine, and it is not of the contrived nature. I feel for both characters and I'm hoping that they will be able to work through their problems and come out of it stronger. I do not remember the last time that I felt this strongly for both characters in a romance.

This is my first Jo Goodman book, and I'm literally scratching my head trying to figure out why I haven't read more of her work?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Duchess in Love Review

Book: Duchess in Love
Author: Eloisa James
Category: Historical
Grade: B-
A Duke in Retreat

Gina was forced into marriage with the Duke of Girton at an age when she'd have been better off in a schoolroom than a ballroom. Directly after the ceremony her handsome spouse promptly fled to the continent, leaving the marriage unconsummated and Gina quite indignant.

A Lady in the Middle

Now, she is one of the most well-known ladies in London ... living on the edge of scandal -- desired by many men, but resisting giving herself to any one.

A Duchess in Love

Finally, Camden, the Duke of Girton, has returned home, to discover that his naïve bride has blossomed into the toast of the ton. Which leaves Cam in the most uncomfortable position of discovering that he has the bad manners to be falling in love -- with his own wife!

I picked up Duchess in Love based on the synopsis but was disappointed to find that in addition to Gina and Cam's relationship (the main romance going on) there were about three to four other relationship threads taking place in the book as well. This made for an interesting yet bothersome read.

Gina and Cam married when Gina was 12 and Cam was 18. Directly after the wedding Cam took off for Greece and hasn't returned until the start of the book, 12 years later. And he only returns to grant Gina an annulment so that she cam marry someone else.

Though Gina is married to Cam she is engaged to Sebastian and plans to marry him as soon as the annulment is final. The relationship between Gina and Sebastian is a strained one because Sebastian is very focused on Gina keeping up a good reputation before they marry. Sebastian also seems to lack the passion for Gina that she craves.

Cam returns to find himself passionately attracted to the wife he left behind years ago. The young girl that he ran away from has turned into a spirited woman and Cam, though he knows he shouldn't, can't help but entice Gina into compromising situations.

Meanwhile, Gina's friends, Esme and Carola, have their own relationship mishaps going on.

Esme is married but separated from her husband, Miles, who has a very public mistress that he lives with. The situation does not bother Esme at all because she was never attracted to her husband and never actually wanted their marriage. Esme being the beautiful woman that she is, attracts the attention of many men of the ton, including Gina's fiance, Sebastian.

But Esme believes that it is time to give her husband the one thing that he's always wanted, an heir.

Carola is separated from her husband also. She ran back to her mother's house after the wedding night because she wasn't prepared for the marital duties. Now Carola wants her husband, Tuppy, back. But she is daunted, sure that he does not want her anymore, and instead wants her friend, Gina.

There is also a slight mystery plot taking place while these events are unraveling.

To say I was cross eyed by the end of this book would be an understatement. I guess I wasn't prepared for so many relationships in one book. Duchess in Love is more of a ensemble cast, so for anyone who likes that type of book then this would probably be a good read for you. James does a great job of intertwining the lives of all the characters, but for me it was just too much.

I would give this book a C, but since the writing was good and I enjoyed the main relationship between Gina and Cam I gave it a Grade B-.

Excerpt