Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nutcracker Prince

Nutcracker Prince (Kids & Kisses) (Harlequin Romance #3340) Nutcracker Prince by Rebecca Winters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Oh Rebecca Winters. *sigh* you lost me as a fan a couple of books before. Her novels are so formulaic that I tend to pick them up, read the back and go "oh, this is just like (insert the name of any of her books here). I doubt that I will find myself returning to read anything new of hers in the future unless my library is seriously lacking in new reading material!

Meg was just a seventeen year old girl the first time she went to Russia and was hauled into KGB custody because she gave a Russian national a pair of her sunglasses not knowing that it was considered a crime. That's where she met Konstantine, a KGB agent who took personal interest in the girl.

It wasn't until she returned to Russia six years later as a twenty-three year old that she saw him again. Meg lost her heart to the dark haired stranger. But it wasn't until she returned stateside that she realized she was carrying his child.

Now a single mother, Meg is flummoxed when Kon pops back into her and her daughter's life stating that he is going to marry Meg and start a good old fashioned American family with dogs and a white picket fence.

Meg hardly believes that Kon, the man who rose so fast in the rankings of the KGB, would have defected from his beloved motherland of Russia and turned traitor against the government. Even when her Senator calls Meg personally to insure her of Kon's genuine "American-ness," she still fells that he's only here to take their daughter and flee back to Russia.

Rebecca Winters doesn't do a very good job of instilling any emotion into her writing. The characters are very flat and come off as condescending at points. When Kon finally gets Meg to marry him for their daughter's sake, he still remains emotionally distant even when Meg takes the time to try to get him to open up to her. And then he runs away ... three weeks pass and he just appears back at the house (Meg has been beside herself all this time with longing and love for the man that she could hardly stand until he took off) with his long lost mother who doesn't speak a word of English but instantly loves her granddaughter.

Really, Rebecca Winters, you need to take some time to build the emotion, build the characters, hell ... build the plot. Until then ... I'm giving up on you.

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A Mother's Way

A Mother's Way Romance Anthology A Mother's Way Romance Anthology by Lisa Cach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I only read Lynsay Sands's addition to this anthology. It was decent for an anthology. A quick read. Less than an hour total for Lynsay Sands's story.

Hers is set in medieval England where a Lord is told by the King that he must marry in the next two weeks and have produced offspring by the following summer's end. So, his mother decides to help him by having the daughter of friend sort through all the eligible women at court.

The problem starts when he finds himself falling for the daughter that his mother has said is off limits.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love Is Blind

Love Is Blind (Leisure Historical Romance) Love Is Blind by Lynsay Sands

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Love Is Blind is not one of Lynsay Sands's best. Some of her "historical romances," which all seem to be set in England in the medieval days or in time of Regency London, seem to me to be written early in her career when she has yet to find her voice or humor. It's this humor that draws most readers back to her.

Lady Clarissa has maimed, set on fire, burned with scalding water and stomped upon the feet of most of the ton. But it's not her fault, her step-mother Lydia won't let her have her glasses. She says that no one will want to marry an ugly girl who wears glasses. But Clarissa can't imagine anyone wanting to marry a girl who seems out to kill them with her ineptitude!

At the first ball he's attended in ten years, Adrian Monfort notices Lady Clarissa and, with her aunt wandered off to find a bit to eat, he takes her dancing across the floor telling her to close her eyes and allow him to lead. Clarissa seems a natural at dancing with Adrian's help.

Amusing little asides happen. There is a dead plot against Clarissa and then everything ties up at the end. Not something I'd pull off the shelf again but not a horrible read nonetheless.

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The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next Series #1)

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Eyre Affair was my first jaunt into the world of Jasper Fforde and I'm glad I took the time to read it.

In a world where literature comes to life and dodos are the norm, Thursday Next is a Literary Detective who becomes embroiled in some nasty doings with a Big Brother like corporation. She's smart, well read and likes her men handsome and intelligent. She's definitely a heroine I can get behind.

Set in an alternate 1985 than we remember, The Eyre Affair takes place in the idyllic English countryside town of Swindon. Thursday accepts a job that her future self told her to take (confusing right? not in the context of the book it's not). She's thrust back into her hometown and into a cast of characters who include her mad-inventor uncle, an aunt who gets trapped in a Wordsworth poem, her out-of-time-and-everywhere-in-time dad, and an ex-fiance who is pressing her for a final "no" or "maybe yes."

What's a girl to do? Get caught up in the doings of Jack Shitte and Acheron Hades, the greatest criminal mind in all the world ... that's what!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Reluctant Reformer

The Reluctant Reformer The Reluctant Reformer by Lynsay Sands

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Maggie is just doing her job. She's a journalist. Well ... she has been ever since her brother died and left her the pen name of G.W. Clark.

Maggie's latest article is a piece on the working girls of one of London's houses of ill repute. Maggie is interviewing one girl when a client of that girl comes in. It's Maggie's beau and the local pastor. In an attempt to get Maggie out of the room (and the wardrobe she's hidden in), the girl changes dresses with Maggie and gives her a mask. Maggie sets off on the outside ledge of the building and hops into the next window she comes across.

There she is accosted by a stranger, bound up in his cape and stolen away from the brothel.

James has rescued Maggie at last. After having her followed for days, he has discovered that she is Lady X (a well-to-do Lady about the ton who has fallen on hard times). Now he must save her from herself. He had, after all, promised her ding brother (his companion in war) to watch over the chit.

But what will happen when they get back to his home in the country? And what will Maggie think of him when she realizes who he thinks she is? Will Lord James ever find out if she is in fact Lady X?

And who's trying to kill Maggie!?!

Not one of Lynsay Sands's best books (it seems I do not appreciate her Regency London novels as much as other people) but it's a good read. I would have finished it fast (it took me a week) but I had bronchitis and a sinus infection and I wasn't into reading ... I was into sleeping.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Many Bloody Returns (Sookie Stackhouse series # 7.1)

Many Bloody Returns (Includes: The Dresden Files, #9.1, Sookie Stackhouse, #7.1) Many Bloody Returns by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Just read Charlaine Harris's addition to this anthology.

Sookie is invited to Fangtasia where Eric is hosting a birthday for Prince Dracula who is rumored to appear at one party every year.

Hilarity and the trouble that always follows Sookie around ensues.

A great read and a must read for any and all Sookie Stackhouse fan.

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Three Little Miracles

Tiga Mukjizat Kecil (Three Little Miracles) Tiga Mukjizat Kecil by Rebecca Winters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A good read. I finished it during a snow day so it took me maybe 2 ... 2 and 1/2 hours tops to read it. Yes, it's in English, and no I haven't learned a new language just to read trashy romance novels.

This is pure romance. No sex. It's good but got annoyingly sappy at parts.

Tracey wakes up in a rehabilitation hospital with no recollection of why she is there. Turns out, she's been in an accident and has sustained head injuries. All this comes back to her when she hears her "husband"'s voice. But ... wait .. husband?

Oh yeah. Julien. The love of her life since she was 8. Why is he still her husband. She very vividly remembers filing divorce papers ... if it weren't for the babies she wouldn't ... wait ... babies?

Try triplets.

Like I said it gets sappy and slow. I would only recommend this book if you like romances, you need something to read on a slow day or if you are going to the beach for a while.

other than that ... don't bother.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Blindness Blindness by José Saramago

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of my favorite types of literature and movies are zombie or its-the-end-of-the-world-so-what-do-we-do-now? plots. Blindness is just that: a great tale of what happens when the world goes to hell in a pretty little hand basket.

Blindness starts in an unnamed town was assume is in Europe at an intersection where the light is turning from red to green. The cars move but for one. Behind the wheel of this car, a man has suddenly gone blind. Eventually, a passerby offers to help him home. This "good samaritian" is discovered to have stolen the keys to the First Blind Man's car and, subsequently, his car. The First Blind Man's wife comes home and after explaining his problem, they go to an eye doctor.

Slowly, everyone the man has come in contact with goes blind. Everyone lost people come in contact with go blind ... and so on ... and so on.

Oddly, this is not a normal blindness. The blindness is not black. It is white almost as if someone hasn't turned off the light but filled the world with the brightest white light possible.

In the early days of the epidemic, the governement of the country decides to take the Doctor, the First Blind Man and others and seclude them in an old unused asylum. After behaving like human beings for a minimal amount of time, the novel and it's characters take a very Lord of the Flies's turn.

This novel was hard for me to keep reading in the middle. Even with all it's action, I found myself thinking that there were other books waiting for me to read so why couldn't this one get over all ready. I was wrong though. When I got to the end, I found myself weeping and pondering some deeper meanings of the book. It's a great book. I would suggest anyone who has read The Road or Lord of the Flies should give Blindness a chance.

Now off to see if my library has the DVD of the movie!

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

GoodReads Group: Paranormal February 2010 Reading Challenge

So I'm becoming addicted to this "reading challenges" I think. I found a new one for February 2010 through the reading group Paranormal.

1. A Favorite Author: Stay The Night (Lynn Viehl)
2. A "New" Author: Blindness (Jose Saramago)
3. An Author you are willing to give a Second Chance to:
4. A GoodReads Author: Tall, Dark, and Fangsome (Michelle Rowen)
5. An Author born the same year as you (1980): The Turning (Blood Ties #1) by Jennifer Armintrout
6. An Author whose first name initial is the same as your first name initial (B):
7. An Author whose last initial is the same as your last name initial (O):
8. A male Author: The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde)
9. A female Author:
10. With more than one author:

well I'll have to find some more now won't I?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Covet (Fallen Angel #1) by J.R. Ward

Covet (Fallen Angels, #1) Covet by J.R. Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I thought that when J.R. Ward announced that her novels were going to be less paranormal romance and more urban fantasy that she was going to lose me as a reader. I mean really, the woman wrote Lover Awakened for Pete's sake. She clearly can write paranormal fiction with the best of them. (Then again, I compare most writers to her and Sherrilyn Kenyon because J.R. Ward was my first forray into paranormal fiction (thank you, Kim) and Sherrilyn Kenyon because I believe she's the best paranormal romance writer out there, right now.)

So, I started reading Covet with a bit of hesitance. I didn't think I was going to like it. And truth be told, it did take me a little while to get into it. It is different than her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but in a good way. And I love how some of the characters pop up in Covet. We see Phury headed into an AA meeting as Marie Terese is leaving Bible study. Trez owns the Iron Maiden where Marie Terese works as a prostitute. And Detective de la Cruz even makes an appearance!

There are three main characters in this book: Jim Heron, Vincent diPietro, and Marie Terese Boudreau.

Jim Heron is a construction worker and, the best we can tell, an ex-special ops agent for a service which is never mentioned by name. He has a really kick ass tattoo of the grim reaper on his back and we are lead to believe he has been a killer by occupation. After getting electrocuted on the job site (Vin's new house overlooking the Hudson River), Jim is sent to "Heaven" or something like it, where he is told that he is going to assist a final confrontation because "good" and "evil"/"Heaven" and "Hell"/"The Devil" and "God." He's got to help seven people at the cross roads.

Marie Terese Boudeau is on the run from her abusive and kidnapping ex-Husband, Mark. She works as a prostitute at Trez's club, The Iron Mask, and she's there one nice when Vin, Vin's gf (Devina) and Jim come into the club. Jim and Vin help fight off two thugs giving Marie Terese a hard time and Vin is instantly taken by her.

Vin is less than perfect. Once a criminal, now a driven business man, he's on the verge of proposing to Devina (his PERFECT girlfriend) but then Jim comes into his life ... and Marie Terese. The gorgeous petite brunette who makes him want to hold her close and protect her as if she was something to be cherished.

But, to Jim's consternation, evil's already got a head start on Vin. And her nails into him as far as they will go.

Can Jim win this one for the good team? Or will evil prevail in the first battle?

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Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Agnes Grey (Penguin Classics) Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë is the story of a governess named ... hold your breath! ... Agnes Grey. The novel comes off as the cautionary tale of how to be a governess to indulgent and neglectful families in England.

It's a simple tale of a clergyman's younger daughter who has to look for employment after her father loses all the family's money on speculation. Agnes is first employed by the family of a friend of her aunt whose boys and girls are board line heathens. When Agnes attempts to scold them and teach them their lessons their parents always find fault and stand in her way. Eventually, Agnes is dismissed because the children have not learned enough under her tutelage.

Time elapses and Agnes has a new family and new challenges, a debutante with a superiority complex and a younger sister who acts just like the grooms in the stable. Poor Agnes. Will she ever find happiness?

I think so. *wink*

Not as good as a similar governess finds herself/love story by her sister, Villette by Charlotte Brontë. The flame or spark of life in Villette is not as evident in Agnes Grey.

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