Monday, April 28, 2008

Thrill Me to Death Review


Book: Thrill Me to Death
Author: Roxanne St. Claire
Category: Contemporary
Grade: B-
Series: Book 2/The Bullet Catchers Series
HE KNOWS ALL HER SECRETS...

Max Roper never lets emotion get in the way of his job -- not since the tragic shooting that killed his fiancée's father. Now the former DEA agent is a Bullet Catcher, and he's managed to block out Cori's bitter goodbye -- and their sizzling passion. Those dangerous desires come back with a vengeance when Max is assigned to protect a recently widowed heiress: who turns out to be Cori. But Max must also discover his ex's dark secret...and they both know she can't hide anything from him.

...AND HOW TO USE THEM AGAINST HER

Her luxury lifestyle suggests that Cori has gone from being a trophy wife to a merry widow, but nothing could be further from the truth. Suspicious of her billionaire husband's sudden death, she hires a bodyguard. But her protector is the one man who can melt her every defense -- the one man she blames for her deepest sorrow, the one man whose six-feet four-inches of solid muscle ignites reckless passion in her. And as they close in on a killer who hides in plain view, their high-stakes affair could cost her everything...including her life.


Thrill Me to Death begins with Max Roper, bodyguard for the Bullet Catchers Bodyguard Service, being assigned to protect a woman that he was once in love with; Corrine Peyton. Cori's billionaire husband, William Peyton has died recently, and there has been at least one attempt on Cori's life. Max is sent not only to protect Cori, but to also find out if she might have had a hand in her late husband's death.

Max takes the assignment and heads to Florida. When he arrives at the home of his ex, Max finds Cori is indeed in danger, but he's not quite sure where the danger is coming from. Cori has a slew of people around her who could have wanted her husband dead and her as well.

Cori is shocked to find out that the bodyguard assigned to her is her ex fiancee, Max, a man she once loved deeply, but abandoned that love when she found out he had a hand in her fathers death. She is able to push her initial resentment of Max aside and focus on the pressing matter, because she needs his help. Someone has attempted to kill her, and she's positive that her husband's death was foul play, not the heart attack the autopsy claimed.

When a forged signature turns up, Max and Cori set out to figure out the mystery behind William's death on their own. They soon realize that the closer they get to finding the truth, the more danger they put themselves in.

My Thoughts:

For the most part I liked Thrill Me to Death. I did have a few problems with the story, though. First, I found Max and Cori's initial separation go be contrived. All it would have taken was a little communication and they would have never needed to break up.

Second, Cori had more than a few TSTL moments throughout the book. At times I couldn't help rolling my eyes at her naivete's. Considering that she believed that her husband was murdered and that there had been an attempt on her life, I would expect her to listen to reason and not just do what she feels is best, just because. Another problem I had was the characterization, both Max and Cori were surface level characters to me. Neither were as three dimensional as I would have liked.

What I did like was the overall mystery. I felt that it was well thought out and intriguing. I had somewhat of an idea of who the killer was and while I was half right, it wasn't glaringly obvious. Also, St. Claires writing is sharp. That, along with my investment in the mystery elements, kept me turning the pages. Grade B-


Excerpt

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Joint Review

Book: 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover
Author: Linda Wisdom
Category: Paranormal
Grace: C
Nikolai Gregorivich, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire cop on the trail of a serial killer.

The sizzling love affair between Jazz and Nick has been off-again, on-again-for about 300 years. Mostly off, lately. But now Nick needs Jazz's help, and while Jazz and Nick try to figure out their own hearts and resist their ever-increasing attraction, they must steer clear of a maniacal killer with super-supernatural powers.

They are surrounded by a hilarious cast of oddball paranormal characters, including Irma, the chain-smoking ghost who haunts Jazz's sports car, Dweezil, her ghoul of a boss, and Fluff and Puff, a pair of bunny slippers with sharp teeth and short tempers (watch your ankles)


I had trouble finishing this book. There wasn't enough going on with the romantic relationship to keep me interested. I would have liked to see more insight to Jazz and Nick's relationship, and a little less "showing" of their world.

Sure, Fluff and Puff were cute, but I needed a little more romance with my paranormal.

For the complete run down of my feelings on this book, check out the joint review I did with Nath for 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Upcoming Reviews

Reviews are coming! The next books in line for review are:

50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom (Joint review with Nath)

Thrill Me to Death by Roxanne St. Claire

Hidden by Eve Kenin

Demon Moon by Meljean Brook

That's a good mix of genera's, I think. A little paranormal, a dash of contemporary, and a smidgen of futuristic.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Layout

If you've stopped by recently and this place looked ... off. That's because I was working on changing my blog design. I'm glad to say that after much eye strain, back pain, and html challenges, I have completed the new layout. I've been itching for a clean, three column design for a while now, and I'm really happy that I finally took the time to make it work.

If you experience any problems please let me know. Other than that, I hope that it's as good for you as it is for me. ;)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Private Arrangements Review


Book: Private Arrangements
Author: Sherry Thomas
Category: Historical
Grade: A-

To all of London society, Lord and Lady Tremaine had the ideal arrangement: a marriage based on civility, courteousness, freedom—and living on separate continents.

But once upon a time, things were quite different for the Tremaines… When Gigi Rowland first laid eyes on Camden Saybrook, Lord Tremaine, the attraction was immediate and overwhelming: she simply had to have him. But what began in a spark of passion ended in betrayal the morning after their wedding—and Gigi wants to be free to marry again. Now Camden has returned from America with an outrageous demand—an heir—in exchange for Gigi’s freedom.

Gigi’s decision will have consequences she never imagined, as secrets are exposed, desire is rekindled—and one of London’s most admired couples must either fall in love all over again…or let each other go forever.

Spirited, eighteen year old Gigi Rowland is all set to be married to the Duke of Fairford. Her mothers determination in snagging Gigi a duke, coupled with Gigi's direct manner has secured her future as a Duchess. Neither Rowland woman could be more pleased. That is, of course, until The Duke dies suddenly, leaving Gigi back at square one.

One fateful day, not too long after the Dukes death, Gigi comes face to face with the man of her dreams, Camden Shaybrook. Gigi is immediately taken with Camden. Not only is he handsome and smart, but he's the nephew of the late Duke of Fairford and in line for the Dukedom. The feelings Gigi has for Camden are mutual, as Camden is taken by her as well. What should be a perfect opportunity for marriage, Gigi soon finds out is not. Camden is already promised to another woman and even though he wants Gigi, he thinks it wrong to back out of his proposal.

Gigi is devastated to find out that Camden will not break his promise to the other girl, and in her determination to have him as her own she forms a plot to get him and does. What should be a happy beginning to their marriage, turns into a quick and bitter end when Camden finds out Gigi's scheme and leaves her.

Ten years later, Gigi has found love again and wishes to divorce Camden and marry her intended, Fredrick. Camden, who has been living in America, travels back to England to give Gigi her divorce, but there is one catch; Gigi must give him an heir first. Left with not much choice in the matter, Gigi agrees to Camden's terms.

What begins as a duty for them both turns into more as new feelings emerge and old ones resurface. It becomes painfully clear that Gigi and Camden must deal with their past before either one can move on with their future.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. Private Arrangements is told in alternating chapters of present and past. Slowly, the events that occurred between Gigi and Camden years prior unravel, revealing the deceit that ended their marriage before it had a chance to begin. The journey that both Camden and Gigi take through the book is one of ups and downs. There were times that I cringed at the hurt that came off the pages. I mean, I really felt it. This doesn't happen often with me. Where a character experiences something horrible in a book, and I experience it right along with them. I can honestly say that when Camden left Gigi after they married, I felt like I was being left. The scene was heartbreaking.

Then there were moments where Camden and Gigi were lighthearted with each other, and I was granted with a glimpse into what they could have been if not for the betrayal Camden felt. At those moments I wanted so desperately for them to work it out. The way that Sherry Thomas wrote Camden and Gigi's past love was the main reason that I wanted them to find a future love again. Without that background being written as well as it was, I could have easily disliked Camden way too much to care.

I also liked that Fredrick, Gigi's intended, was not portrayed in a negative light. Too often the other man/woman is drawn out as horrible, or devious or harboring a nefarious purpose. Fredrick was none of that, he was likeable even if he did come off as a little simple.

While Camden and Gigi's story is playing out, Gigi's mother, Victoria Rowland, is discovering her own love with the Duke that she once thought she would marry. This secondary story does not take away from the book at all, to me it only enhanced the overall story.

In the end, Private Arrangements was a great read from a new author. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a historical with a fresh take. Great characters, excellent writing, engrossing story. Grade A-


Excerpt

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What Kind of Regency Heroine am I?

While surfing the blogosphere, I came across a quiz at Sybil's. The question asks what kind of Regency heroine are you?

Here is my answer:




Oops - you seem to be the victim of an Accidental or Arranged marriage. You never intended to marry him. In fact, you may never even have met him before. But, somehow you managed to compromise yourself, or perhaps this marriage was arranged by your parents, all along. Either way, this is not a love match and you are angry, unhappy or afraid of the way things have turned out - at least, until you find yourself falling in love with him.

There are so many ways this novel can go; maybe you distrust all men or perchance you just despise him personally. Perhaps he is a rake, or the enemy of your family or your country. Or, worst of all - perhaps you overheard him swear love for another woman, or express distaste for your person! But have no fears.

Though misunderstandings (and probably seductions) will be plentiful, by the end of the novel, you and he will certainly have confessed your love for each other, and be well on the way to living happily ever after.


Take this quiz!




Oh, the drama! If only my life was half as noteworthy as this.

I'm curious to know what type of heroine you are? Do share.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Rules of Seduction Review

Book: The Rules of Seduction
Author: Madeline Hunter
Category: Historical
Grade: A-
His rules will teach her the most sensual seductions and pleasures.

Her rules will bring him to his knees.

He enters her home without warning or invitation—a stranger of shadowy motives and commanding charisma. Within hours, Alexia Welbourne is penniless, without any hope of marriage. Until Hayden Rothwell takes her innocence in one impulsive act of passion. Society’s rules of seduction force Alexia to marry the very man who has ruined her family. What Alexia doesn't know is that her masterful, sensual new husband is driven by a secret purpose and bears a dark debt of honor. He will risk anything, give everything, to repay it. Except, he discovers, the woman who starts playing by her own rules.


I think that the synopsis is a little misleading.

First, it wasn't as though Hayden just took Alexia's innocence, as Alexia was eager to give it. Second, there was no forced marriage, it was very consensual.

The Rules of Seduction begins with the hero, Hayden Rothwell, entering to the home in which Alexia lives with her cousins' to speak with her cousin, Tim. After Hayden's departure, Tim informs his two sisters and Alexia that they have been put in ruin by Hayden and are now being forced to move back to the country. Little does Alexia and her two cousins know that Tim is the real reason for their misfortune and that Hayden actually allowed Tim to use him as the reason for the sake of his sisters.

Upon learning that they are being evicted, Alexia decides she will not be going with her cousins to their home in the country. Alexia is the poor relation and she feels it is best if she stays behind, so as not to be another mouth to feed. Hayden learns of Alexia's dilemma and offers her the opportunity to become governess to his niece, and companion to his aunt, both of whom are moving into the home that Alexia lived in with her cousins. Without any other sensible options available to her, Alexia reluctantly accepts.

Being reduced to a servant in the home she once lived in with her cousins' is hard for Alexia. What is also hard for her is her growing attraction to Hayden, the man she thinks responsible for her family's misfortune. Hayden is also drawn to Alexia. He finds her practical stance on life fascinating. He has never met a woman like Alexia before, and the attraction he feels towards her leaves him torn. He wants to act on this attraction but he knows doing so will ruin what little social station Alexia has left. So what happens? They give into their passion for each other, of course--which leads to a marriage between the two.

Hayden and Alexia's marriage is a double edge sword. While they are extremely attracted to each other, they both have issues with the other. Alexia is not able to let her resentment towards Hayden, for his part in her cousins' downfall, go. And Hayden is bothered by the fact that Alexia is still harboring feelings for her dead cousin, Benjamin, years after his death. He feels like Alexia will never love him the way she did Benjamin.

On top of their marital problems there is a bit of a mystery surrounding Alexia's family going on. Needless to say, Alexia and Hayden have a long road to a true happy ending.

My thoughts:

I really liked The Rules of Seduction. It was a quick read with just the right amount of passion, suspense and love to keep me on the edge of my seat, eager to find out what would happen. The motivations of the characters were clear, I was never at a loss for why any of them did what they did. Whether their actions done in the name of self preservation, greed, lust, honor, love ... I understood. The relationship between the Alexia and Hayden was realistic, their internal struggle; real, and I felt that they both experienced character growth on their way to finding love. Grade A-

Excerpt

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Checked The Mail Today

And was pleasantly surprised to find this:

Photobucket

Yes, an early copy of Eve Kenin's Hidden. I haven't began reading it yet, I need to finish up the book I'm reading now before I do, but I can't wait to read about Wizard's sister, Tatiana.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Uncertain Magic Review

Book: Uncertain Magic
Author: Laura Kinsale
Category: Historical, Paranormal
Grade: C+
Cursed with the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her, Roderica is resigned to living without marriage or love. But when she finds one man's thoughts closed to her, she takes her only chance on marriage with an enigmatic, impoverished lord, The Devil Earl, whose Irish estate is haunted by memories and faerie mists...

Let me start by saying that I'm very so-so on this story. There were parts that I absolutely loved and then there were parts that I rolled my eyes at.

Roderica (Roddy) Delamore has a gift of being able to hear the thoughts and feel the emotions of people and animals. To Roddy, her gift is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand she is able to see past facades and get to the truth of the people around her, but on the other it leaves her feeling as though she knows too much. All of the women on Roddy's fathers side of the family have had this gift and they all lived lonely lives because it. One of her aunts even suffered having her husband leave her when he found out about his wife's gift. Roddy fears that she will fare the same fate as her aunts so when she meets a man whose thoughts she can not read, she jumps at the opportunity to get him to marry her.

The man is Faelan Savigar, "the Devil Earl." Faelan is man with a horrible reputation. He is said to be a callous murderer, scandalous womanizer, and it is even whispered that he killed his own father. To Roddy, none of these rumors matter, the fact that she is unable to read Falen is reason enough for her to propose the idea of a marriage to the impoverished earl. Roddy knows that Faelan's estate is in ruin and he is in dire need of money. She has a sizable fortune of her own that will become her husbands when she marries. She tells this to Faelan in hopes of him seizing the opportunity, Faelan is easily persuaded and asks Roddy's father for his daughters hand in marriage.

Of course, Roddy's family is flabbergasted at this sudden request. They had no idea that Faelan even knew Roddy let alone wanted to marry her. They also know of his reputation and are not too eager to let Roddy go to him. None the less, they give in and Roddy and Faelan are married. Once Roddy is married to Faelan she realizes that the simple life she wanted might not be as easy to obtain as she had once hoped. Her new husband has many secrets that come in many forms and it is slowly revealed to Roddy just how dangerous the man she has come to love can be.

Alrighty then.

Certain Magic is told in third person, but from Roddy's POV, we never get inside of Faelan's head. No problems though, because Faelan's character is drawn very well. I had no problems understanding him or his motivations, and I liked him a lot. I loved the passion between Roddy and Faelan and for the most part I thought they were well matched, but as the book progressed I began to not care so much for Roddy.

Roddy had a tendency to do stupid things: Like pull away from Faelan's side while a battle was going on around them (bodies were hitting the ground) to chase after her pet pig! I also felt as though she doubted Faelan way too easily. Her faith in him was not strong which made me doubt her love for him. My dislike of Roddy only grew as the story progressed and toward the end of the book I was secretly hoping that Faelan would ride off into the sunset without the faithless chit. If not for the fact that she finally began to show some conviction in him (all be it late), I would have written her off completely.

I feel that most of the drama that occurred between Roddy and Faelan during the second half of the book was contrived and could have easily been done away with to make a better story. But that's just me.

As far as the paranormal aspect goes... There was Roddy's gift and some other paranormal elements, related to Faelan, threaded through the story. Both came together to tie everything up at the end. I'm still not sure how much I liked the final explanation given to all of the strangeness.

Even with its faults I can not ignore Kinsale's talents. Her writing is very captivating and it is easy to get lost in the story she builds. If I could grade this book in two parts I would give the first half a strong B and the second half a low C. I guess that would average out around a C+.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Reviews are coming

I've read three books while I've been sick these past days.

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas

The Rules of Seduction by Madeline Hunter

Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale

And I'm now reading The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

That is a lot of books for me! But what else is one to do when they are ill? I will have reviews up for all three as soon as I'm feeling better.