Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie (audio)

Book Description:
Turn left at small town secrets...

Sophie Dempsey is content living a quiet life filming wedding videos until an assignment brings her to Temptation, Ohio. From the moment she drive into town, she gets a bad feeling; Sophie is from the wrong side of the tracks and everything in Temptation is a little too right. And when she has a run-in with the town's unnervingly sexy mayor, Phineas Tucker, making a little movie turns out to be more than a little dangerous.

Yield to oncoming desire...

All Sophie wants to do is film the video and head home. All Phin wants to do is play pool with the police chief and keep things peaceful. They both get more than they bargained for when Sophie's video causes an uproar and the proper citizens of Temptation set out to shut them down.

Welcome to temptation...

As events spiral out of control, Sophie and Phin find themselves caught in a web of gossip, blackmail, adultery, murder, and really excellent sex. All hell breaks loose in Temptation as Sophie and Phin fall deeper and deeper in trouble...and in love.

This is one of the books that I've heard about over and over again, always talked up as being great, you've got to read it, blah, blah, blah. Well, I decided to listen to it on audio and tried listening to it two different times and both times I just couldn't get into it - or finish it. Finally, I gave it another shot recently, and the 3rd attempt was a charm. I can't say I was truly charmed by the book, but it wasn't bad. But I don't think it was all that good either. I don't see what all the fuss is about - I think partly, the narrator's voice was flat and just plain annoying. She made all the characters sound annoying too and frankly, I didn't really like anyone that much, though I did like the hero, Phin. I could just picture his town boy charm and good looks and crisp white shirts and khakis, but I couldn't understand what he saw in Sophie except for some kind of instant male lust he just couldn't get over.

I won't go into all the banal details of this book, since I just can't really bear to, except for a few observations:

- Poor Sophie, if she's going to marry Phin at the end, her name will be - Sophie Tucker! She thinks it sounds like "power" and political - isn't there some old singer name Sophie Tucker? "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas?" That's all I could think of!

- Liz Tucker, Phin's mother - a dead ringer for Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate as Crusie has Sophie observe (she's always comparing life to movies and movie scenes which I found kind of annoying).

- How can Phin rationalize and forgive Sophie so easily for using their lovemaking dialogue in her porno movie and writing it all down? So implausible, and I thought Phin's mother actually taking her ring off her finger to give to him as an engagement ring for Sophie was unlikely as well. What made her accept Sophie all of a sudden? And the ring is supposed to be the total extent of the Tucker wealth? What about the other big ring that Liz Tucker wears on her other hand that Sophie noticed the first time they met? What's that supposed to be worth? Not that I'm being nit picky, but the Tucker's are not supposed to have tons of money, just political clout - so what's with the jewelry?

- The whole Leo middle aged 40-something porn king marrying 20 year old Rachel Garvey - eww gross. Are we expected to believe they're going to live happily ever after in La-la Land? And we're supposed to be happy for Rachel? Certain divorce, she'll get a good settlement, I'm sure.

- I did kind of like Davy and am interested to know the sequel is about him, but I think if I read it - big if - I'll read it, rather than listen to it.

- Phin's proposal - what a let down! Geez, I really wanted him to be more romantic, I thought Sophie deserved better, it was like pulling teeth to get him to say "I love you" to her!

So, the book was okay, but the plot was just so convoluted with the making of a vanilla porn film, a murder (I'm still not even sure, just who really murdered Zane in the first place!) and then the whole wrap up, Rachel running off with Leo to LA, and then hearing Wes had gone off to LA with Amy! Oh and of course it's okay if Davy coerces Clea into giving him the deed to her farm so his sister can live there for nothing! I can't believe this book is so popular! Granted, the sex isn't bad, but it really didn't make up for the rest of the plotline.

Is it me? Or do I just not like this sort of chick lit romance with so many things going on and sidelines and smart allecky people? I think the tone of the book has worn off on me - hence the snarky review.

Gimme an historical - fast!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Devil Wears Tartan by Karen Ranney

Book Description:
A man in the shadows

Some say he is dangerous. Others say he is mad. None of them knows the truth about Marshall Ross, the Devil of Ambrose. He shuns proper society, sworn to let no one discover his terrible secret. Including the beautiful woman he has chosen to be his wife.

A fallen woman

Only desperation could bring Davina McLaren to the legendary Edinburgh castle to become the bride of a man she has never met. Plagued by scandal, left with no choices, she has made her bargain with the devil. And now she must share his bed.

A fire unlike any they've ever known

From the moment they meet, Davina and Marshall are rocked by an unexpected desire that leaves them only yearning for more. But the pleasures of the marriage bed cannot protect them from the sins of the past. With an enemy of Marshall's drawing ever closer and everything they now cherish most at stake, he and Davina must fight to protect the passion they cannot deny.

This book was okay, nothing great, I had a lot of issues with it. First off, no where in this book, does our hero look like the guy on the cover. Not once do I recall him wearing anything like this, this takes place in 1880 - it's not like you have Scottish lairds running around bare-chested with their plaids wrapped around them! This is the Scotland that is all the rage because Queen Victoria has made it fashionable - hoop skirts, crinolines - Balmoral - that sort of thing.

Davina, our heroine is damaged goods. No longer a virgin and ruined in society, she is the reluctant bride of our hero, Marshall aka the Devil. He's called the Devil because he thinks he's going mad. He rants and raves and has visions of blood and death and victims of his imprisonment in China from a few years earlier. This only happens at night and he is convinced it's from all the opium he was fed and became addicted to. Thus, to achieve an heir and carry on his line, he agrees to marry Davina sight unseen (not exactly the usual way by the 1880's) because no one else will have her and she is forced to go ahead with the marriage or face being a spinster for the rest of her life. She is beautiful though somewhat of a bluestocking.

She has no idea of her husband's madness and comes to the marriage hopeful it won't be too bad. She's struck immediately by how handsome and nice he seems at first, and the two of them have a pleasurable wedding night. That seems to be about their only common ground - bed. But, when not in bed, he's grumpy and avoids her, finding refuge amongst his Egytian artifacts, and she basically does the same, though she longs to have him in her bed again and she's going to the Egyptian artifacts hoping she'll bump in to him! For a good part of the book she's trying to lure him back to her bed, and he's hiding because he's afraid he'll have one of his spells and inadvertently kill her in one of his fits of madness. Funny how these fits of his only occur at night and after he's had some wine...

Meanwhile, there's the side story involving his evil uncle that is a secret coolie slave trader, and Davina's aunt who secretly works for the Crown as a spy to infiltrate his uncle's house and get proof of his illegal doings (she was actually one of the more interesting characters in the book). In addition there was the evil housekeeper, the faithful valet, and the devoted ladies maid to round out the cast, all culminating in the big rescue scene at the end to release Marshall from the insane asylum he's been whisked off to and a surprise ending of who the real culprit is.

A different story, I'll grant you that, but it just didn't thrill and excite me as much as it should have. Still, it kept my interest and I found the bedroom scenes pretty good and the author obviously did her research on Egyptian artifacts and Chinese/Anglo relations in the late 19th century.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning

Book Description:

Aspiring romance novelist Jane Sillee was completely in love with her fantasy man--the hot and strapping dark-haired Highlander who'd been coming to her in her dreams for years and inspired her sensual flights of literary fantasy.

But it was more than her imagination that conjured up the brilliantly woven tapestry sporting the spitting image of her magnificently arrogant warrior. It was more than a dream that transported her to medieval Scotland to break an evil spell. And it was more than she could handle when she found herself wrapped in the muscular arms of Aedan MacKinnon, who had his own fantasies to fulfill...


I'm a little sad, I've read all of KMM's books now! No more!

Still, I really enjoyed this short novella that was sort of a bridge between her Highlander and Fever series. It had some lore on the Unseelie King and the Seelie Queen that assuaged by thirst for anything 'Feverish' and yet, it was a highlander romance at heart - with lots of romance and fun to boot.

Jane Silley (Seelie? Get it?) is a young aspiring romance author who has a hankering for highlander romances. She gets sent back in time to the 1400's in order to save a doomed highland laird from the Unseelie King. The highlander has forgotten what he was since he has been imprisoned in Faerie for 500 years doing the bidding of the Unseelie King. Now instead of Aedan MacKinnon, he knows his name as Vengeance.

Jane has a month to bring him back to who he really is. As it turns out they have been dreaming of one another all her life - romantic magical sexy dreams of the two of them together making love and being happy - and she wants that to happen for real! When they first meet he is cold and icy and wants nothing to do with her, but she works on him, thaws him out and it was so fun to read about how she does it - she's a clever girl!

I really loved this story and it was a very, very pleasant - and hot - quick read!

Highly recommend it, it's like the cherry on top of her Highlander Series!


Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (audio)

Book Description:
"Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."

These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a longstanding physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

My first by this author, I'd heard good things about this book, so I decided to venture into this mystery series starring Lady Julia Grey and the dark and mysterious Nicholas Brisbane.

I liked it.

This is the story of recently widowed Lady Julia Grey, an aristocratic young woman who must face the trials and tribulations of being a young widow in Victorian London in which wearing black and being in mourning is her - and her family's - chief concern in life. After her husband's death, she is visited by an unusual sort of man, Nicholas Brisbane who turns out to be a private detective or sorts that tells her he thinks her husband had been murdered. She finds this scenario unlikely since her husband, Edward, had already been dying from a weak heart for years - a family trait. She curtly dismisses Brisbane's allegations, but a year later she has reason to believe his story after finding a shocking piece of evidence that confirms he may have been right.

The two of them team up to try and find the murderer. They become unlikely partners. He is darkly handsome, but very mysterious and brooding with a slight Scottish accent, no less. He also suffers from a mysterious disease that she worries about. He introduces her to some likeable side characters, such as a French former courtesan and a young Jewish doctor. Yet I was drawn to the relationship between Nicholas and Lady Julia. As a young widow she slowly comes into her own right. Her marriage had not been a terribly happy one though she was fond of her deceased husband, but he controlled her life. Told her what to eat, what to wear, how to decorate, she did not become her own woman until after he died. She comes from a large eccentric family by the name of March and we are introduced to her various siblings and family members, some of whom live with her.

Although Lady Julia and Brisbane have a business relationship, there is a definite attraction between the two. She is young and good looking as is he, yet they resist the temptation, though it is always simmering, waiting to let off a little steam. She resists it, for she feel she must for proprieties sake, though everyone seems to be encouraging her to take a lover. He resists it because he feels he cannot be gentleman enough for her. His background is dubious, though outwardly he is a gentleman. He is also out to solve the mystery surrounding her husband's death and does not want to complicate things by becoming romantically involved with the widow of the man he was working for. I feel he also refrains from becoming involved with her because of his illness that comes and goes and - his passion. There are strong hints throughout the book that if given the chance, Brisbane would be a highly passionate lover and must keep himself in check with Julia. I'd like to think that at times the temptation is too great and he must stay away from her.

Of course, this is all conjecture, we are never inside Brisbane's head, the story is all from Lady Julia's point of view, and she is clueless about Brisbane's feelings towards her, though it is obvious to the reader. Did I mention how handsome and brooding he is - and those swarthy dark good looks? Right up my alley! It's also obvious to the reader that Julia is preoccupied with thoughts on Brisbane as well. She denies it, but she's attracted to him, though she keeps telling herself he's not her type - right! Of course she is also interested in finding out what killed her husband and by whom. As we get closer to the end of the story, revelations are revealed and there are plenty of surprises!

I did not guess who the murderer was, and although I found parts of the story rambling and unnecessary, I enjoyed listening to it, although the narrator could have been better. She had a tendency to mispronounce words which I found distracting. I kept wanting to correct her! Aside from that, it was a clever mystery and gave me a view of Victorian life and it's seamier sides. I learned a lot about Victorian condoms, pornography, prostitutes and gypsies, and it was all interesting and helped with the local flavor and appeal of the book, though I do not understand what was the point of a stolen Tower Raven that is part of the plot (I knew nothing about these special ravens of the Queen's before reading this book). It winds up helping Julia near the end of the book, but it seemed very anticlimatic. I would have thought the raven would have had more to do with the overall mystery! I also found that some conversations with her sister and aunt just seemed meaningless and stupid. But, these are small complaints, overall I looked forward to listening to the story and found myself getting wrapped up in the aura of it's mystery.

This is the first in a series of three mysteries involving Lady Julia and Brisbane and I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of them - I can't wait to find out if they ever get together!


Duchess By Night by Eloisa James

Book Description:
A Mischievous Charade...

Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with it. Enough with proper tea parties and elegant balls; what Harriet really wants is to attend an outrageous soiree where she can unleash her wildest whims and desires. But to attend such an event - especially if the event in question is Lord Justinian Strange's rollicking fete, filled with noble rogues and rotters, risque ladies and illicit lovers - would be certain scandal. That's why she must disguise herself...

Looking forward to a night of uninhibited pleasure, Lord Strange is shocked to discover that beneath the clothes of a no-good rake is the most beautiful woman in the room. Why is a woman like her risking her reputation at his notorious affair? And can he possibly entice her to stay... forever?

This book wasn't bad, but not great. It got off to a slow start while the reader is trying to figure out who all the main characters are. Harriet is a widowed duchess, a somewhat dowdy figure who never felt truly loved by her dead husband that had a passion for... chess. He killed himself over a chess game.

Harriet has a couple of close girlfriends, who are all duchesses as well and one of them (who has her own set of problems that comes out in the next book in this series) wants to go to this scandalous Lord Strange's house party in the country, to try and make her own husband jealous. Harriet accompanies her - dressed as a young man, a Mr. Cope. Harriet loves the freedom being a young man gives her and she enjoys wearing britches instead of long skirts. She no longer has to worry about elaborate hair do's, she can just wear her hair in a quieu now. But, she didn't count on how difficult it would be to pull off this sham in front of all the other men. She has to act like a man, just as much as look like one.

Once they meet the host of the party, the book starts to really get better. Lord Strange is a paradox. He holds these scandalous non-stop parties at his estate, yet he has an eight year old daughter that he keeps hidden away in the West Wing of the house under lock and key, so none of the nefarious guests he hosts can get close to her. WTF? I had a real problem with him, I didn't really like him all that much because to me this was his fatal flaw - he was completely clueless when it came to taking care of his daughter, who winds up being bitten by a rat (in her bed - eww!)and gets "rat bite fever" and nearly dies!

His daughter is extremely intelligent and advanced for her age and she seems happy enough but as Harriet gets to know the Lord and his daughter better she has trouble with the way he takes care of her as well. Mr. Cope and Lord Strange become friends, though Lord Strange aka Jem can't help feeling unnervingly uncomfortable around her/him. He finds himself attracted to Cope, yet cannot reconcile the idea that he may be attracted to another man - a young, beautiful young man that has large brown eyes that turn violet with long, lush lashes. What's getting into him? All the other guests assume that Harriet's young man is a "molly" (a gay man) and rumors start to fly that so is Lord Strange and he's taken a fancy to Mr. Cope.

Meanwhile, Strange has taken Cope under his wing to make him more of a man - he teaches him how to fence and ride and before long Harriet is finding herself falling for him. Their mutual friend, the Duke of Villiers, who is in on the whole charade of Harriet's, lets onto Strange what Harriet really is, but he does not let him know she is a duchess. Strange enjoys teasing Harriet along, making her think, he thinks she's a man (confusing, I know), but it was one of the best scenes in the book. Eventually, the truth comes out (but not to the rest of the house party) and Harriet and Jem begin an affaire. She is long due for something like this and as we find out, so is he.

But, can they continue their affair when he finds out that she's really a duchess? Will his feelings change for her once he finds out she's not some little nobody country squire's widow? He has some dark family secrets that he is afraid to admit to and both of them are too afraid to admit to them and the affair ends and Harriet packs up and leaves. I found it so frustrating that they didn't try and make it work harder. Both just gave up!

It all ends happily, but not quite as I expected. I enjoyed this little romp in the country, but it was nothing that I'll think back on as very memorable. As I said before, I was not won over by Lord Strange, but I did like Harriet, we do get the impression that she whips him into shape and changes his priorities and mores - which he is sorely in need of. There are a few sensual moments in the book that were well done, but overall I found the element of "romance" a bit lacking. It was more like these two people came together who hadn't had any romance in their life for a long time and it was suddenly, "wow!" for both of them, yet I couldn't get past Strange's lifestyle and his profound stupidity in bringing up his daughter in a house full of roues and orgiastic type parties in which he has to keep her bottled up for fear one of his guests may come upon her and rape her! Uggh! Yet, he was so intelligent in other matters like mathematics and architecture and money and business. Such the stereotype of a man, when it comes to "manly" things he's great, but anything domestic - forget it! Pfft!

I'm reading this series, starting on the third book, since I heard the first two were really not very good. The latest book in the series is supposed to be great, so that's why I picked this up in the first place. I do look forward to the next book in the series about Harriet's friend, Isidore who wanted to make her husband jealous at the house party. I hope I like it better than this one! This is my 2nd book by this author, the last one did not endear me to her, but I'm still willing to give her a chance - but she's not making it easy!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fever... you give me fever... Karen Marie Moning

You give me fever,
When you kiss me,
Fever when you hold me tight.
Fever! In the morning,
Fever all through the night.

This post has lots of spoilers in it. I just could not write my thoughts on this fantastic series otherwise. You'll also have to deal with my fevered stream of consciousness that will only make sense to anyone who has read this series, I apologize in advance

Has it really been less than two weeks since I first started reading Darkfever? I feel like I've been sleepwalking through my life, just living to read, read, read. I haven't been so engrossed in a new series since the first time I read Outlander And you know what that led to!


Book Description:
I used to think my sister and I were just two nice southern girls who’d get married in a few years and settle down to a quiet life. Then I discovered that Alina and I descend, not from good wholesome southern stock, but from an ancient Celtic bloodline of powerful sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae. Not only can I see the terrifying otherworldly race, but I can sense the sacred Fae relics that hold the deadliest of their magic.

When my sister was found dead in a trash-filled alley in Dublin, I came over to get answers. Now all I want is revenge. And after everything I’ve learned about myself, I know I have the power to get it….

MacKayla Lane’s ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland’s shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh–a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V’lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious. For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them.…

Bloodfever is the 2nd in the Fever series, and continues the tale of Mac and the mysterious and handsome to die for Barrons. I'm developing a major colossal crush on him. I'd say I'm falling for this man - but... I don't know if he's a man or not! Whatever he is - I want him. Mac undergoes her first transformation in this book, she nearly dies and when all is lost, it seems like this is it, she figures out that if she eats Unseelie, she will not die and gets better - and guess who feeds it to her? Uh.. yeah. I don't know what he is, but I want one of my own. Crazy as it might seem, I keep thinking Barrons is what Mr. Darcy would be like in the this crazy, paranormal fae universe. Is it no wonder I'm hot as anything for this guy in leather with his dark handsome good looks. Just the thought of riding around on his silent Harley, turning corners and holding on for dear life - gaaah! (as in a cross between a gasp and "aaah")

Bloodfever wasn't as good to me as Darkfever, but I'm still lovin' it! It's grittier, life is getting tougher, the Unseelie are pouring in, Mac is losing her innocence fast. I'm glad the vampire is out of the picture now, though, and loved that one hot moment between Mac and Barrons - such a teasing duo!

Onto the next...



Book Description:

"He calls me his Queen of the Night. I'd die for him. I'd kill for him, too." When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister's journal, she is stunned by Alina's desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister's killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac's quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V'lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

As All Hallows' Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds - with devastating consequences...

What a bloody cliffhanger! How did everybody last until the next book came out? All I can say is, I'm glad I didn't have to wait! I liked Faefever better than Bloodfever. Even though things are getting steadily worse and worse I could not stop reading, I'm addicted.

Am I the only one that thinks the sidhe-seers are whiny? I find Dani annoying too, but maybe that's just because I happen to live with a teenager right now. I have to keep telling myself, she's only thirteen.

I'm liking V'lane more and more, but I just don't trust him. Still...

Sorry, not much of a review, I sort of have lumped Bloodfever and Faefever together, though I liked Faefever more. I'm just bowled over how good this is - all the details and characters and weapons and villains and wondering what's what and who's who? It's mind boggling and so clever!! This just blows away her Highlander series!


Never know how much I love you,
Never know how much I care.
When you put your arms around me,
I get a fever that's so hard to bear.


Book Description:

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister's murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac's every thought-and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V'lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister's diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac's greatest enemy delivers a final challenge...

It's an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth-about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons...and about the world she thought she knew.

Oh God, there was just so much in this book that was hard to take in...


O ye of little faith... you didn't even try.

Noooooo! Barrons, Barrons - thank you for saving Mac, but... but... yes, I was so hoping he'd rescue her, but not like this, not this way! To think that they are having non-stop sex over and over again, but she's all Pri-ya and screwed up! It's too fast, it's rushed, it's not slow and sexy! Where's their moment in the sun? Where's their moment to fall in love? Where's that penultimate moment that we've all been waiting for? Instead we're bombarded with sex, sex, sex, but it's not real - although, some things were pretty damn hot - but it has no deep, inner meaning, he's saving her, he's rescuing her. Neither wants to admit there's more to it than that. I want romance, I wanted to slap the two of them up against the head and tell them to say "I love you!" in the abbey! I wanted Mac to go back with him, and V'lane jumping in and interrupting them - aargh! What a choice to make - though I'd choose Barrons any day - still! It's driving me crazy!


Still... it's bloody brilliant!

Did I mention how much I loved the description of Barrons and sex, he's amazing! All night long? Never gets tired? Always hard? Gulp! A woman's dream!

I still find Dani annoying, but she did save Mac, and for that I'll be grateful. I know there's more to her than we know, I guess I'm looking forward to her growing up. I am afraid the Unseelie Princes are going to get to her.

I got a little lost in all the cosmic Silvers going from realm to realm and stones and seeing Christian and then losing Christian (!) parts. The inter dimensional explanations of what could be happening - well, you lost me there, though I'm in awe of how KMM can write all this stuff!

Now for the end! Okay, the whole time Mac was being protected by the IYD "thing" monster I kept thinking "It's really Barrons." So? Is it? What do you all think? It just can't be - or if it is, she feeds him that last little piece of Unseelie (I'm not sure she even still has it). He can't be dead! And what happened to V'lane? I'm just so amazed at KMM's imagination! Really, really amazing stuff, I always liked her writing and loved her Highlander series before this, but this just puts her in a whole new class for me - this is really good! Or is it this fever I'm experiencing and I'm just .... uh, forgot what I'm talking about, I'm still in such a daze...

I don't know how in the world I'm going to be able to wait for Shadowfever! And it's been optioned with 20th Century Fox - whoah! But I know that nothing can come of it, Outlander has been optioned a few times with nothing coming of it, so who knows...

Still! It would be awesome!

*I don't even want to think about what Mac as Pri-ya and Barrons bringing her back would be like! Definitely would have to be on cable...*

Out of all the books, I loved Darkfever the best, since that was my intro, but I thought Dreamfever was the most compelling and imaginative of them so far and very, very well done. Brava!


Overall rating of Series: 5/5

Update: November 2, 2010

I've now listened to the whole series on audio now and loved it.  Funnily enough Dreamfever was much easier to listen to than read in print.  I understood it better and loved the sultry masculine voice of Phil Gigante, although I missed the strong Southern accent of Mac as narrated by Joyce Bean.   Dreamfever's new female narrator, Natalie Ross is fine and she sounded like she was in her early twenties, more so than Bean in the earlier books.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy (audio)

Book Description:
The first and most successful in the Baroness’s series of books that feature Percy Blakeney, who leads a double life as an English fop and a swashbuckling rescuer of aristocrats, The Scarlet Pimpernel was the blueprint for what became known as the masked-avenger genre. As Anne Perry writes in her Introduction, the novel “has almost reached its first centenary, and it is as vivid and appealing as ever because the plotting is perfect. It is a classic example of how to construct, pace, and conclude a plot. . . . To rise on the crest of laughter without capsizing, to survive being written, rewritten, and reinterpreted by each generation, is the mark of a plot that is timeless and universal, even though it happens to be set in England and France of 1792.”

We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.

Sound familiar?

Yes, this is that classic adventure story of Sir Percy Blakeney, one of England's richest men, who dons the character of a British fop without a care in his head - except for his lace - He lives to be amusing to the likes of the Prince of Wales and anyone else he meets. But, secretly he is the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel who, over and over again, rescues scores of aristos fleeing France during the Reign of Terror of 1792. He disguises himself ingeniously, foiling the French authorities and manages to see the French aristrocats and their families to safety in England.

But, the real story behind the Scarlet Pimpernel is the woman he is married to. Marguerite Blakeney, a beautiful french woman that he married the year before. She is the toast of the town, considered one of the most beautiful, witty, and intelligent women in London. Many cannot understand what she saw in Percy, who comes across as such a vapid dimwit, although he is rich and popular. At first we wonder why she married him as well, and then we learn the truth. Percy married her because he fell head over heels in love with her. But, shortly after their marriage, she tells him about how she unwittingly sent an entire family of French aristocrats to the guillotine. After that, their marriage changed drastically - and so did Percy.

From that moment on, we are left to assume that Percy no longer loves Margot, and keeps his distance from her at their large estate in Richmond. In public, they are the perfect couple, but in private he is civil, yet no more passion, no more anything. She suffers silently, having no one to blame but herself. Meanwhile, she has no knowlege of who her husband really is! All has heard of the elusive Pimpernel, yet no one knows who he could be, except that he has a band of 19 loyal followers, made up of young English noblemen who would follow him anywhere and do his bidding. Margot begins to imagine that she could love a hero such as the Scarlet Pimpernel. Someone who is dashing and so clever and intellegent - a true hero. Yet, she still loved Percy in her own way and is sorry for how her marriage has turned out. She feels guilt over her involvement of the death of the Marquis de St. Cyr and his sons, yet is powerless to do anything to change things about it. It is too late, they are dead, and all French aristocrats hate her for what she did, though many English don't believe it, she is so worshipped and admired in London.

Soon, a sneaky and foxlike Frenchman, Chauvelin, working for the French Republic to track down the Pimpernel and bring him back to Paris for the guillotine, blackmails Margot. He uses her to be a spy for him to trap the Pimpernel. He tells her that if she does not cooperate, her brother Armand, will be revealed as a traitor to the Republic and sent to his death. Armand is her only relative, she loves him dearly and she is forced to help Chauvelin at a ball. Of course, she had no idea Percy is the Pimpernel!

And so, much adventure, subterfuge and hidden agendas take place, leaving the reader wondering what will happen next! It all becomes very exciting with the story going to Calais - will Percy escape? Will he go to the guillotine? Will Margot ever be able to tell him that she loves him dearly? Will Margot ever find out that Percy never stopped loving her?

I really enjoyed this story, and on audio it was very entertaining. I listened to the David Thorn version and he was great at all the French and English accents, and especially Percy Blakeney as the foppish half wit. I highly recommend it!

I can't wait to rent this DVD now! I can't believe I'd never seen any of the movie versions of it before, although I'd always had an idea of what this story was all about, but still, not having read it, it was all very new to me!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Book Description:
MacKayla Lane's life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she's your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks... until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death -– a cryptic message on Mac's cell phone -- Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister's killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed -- a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae...

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister's death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane -- an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women -- closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac's true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book -- because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands...

I was blown away by this book, my first urban fantasy, I was caught up in the plotline from the beginning and couldn't put it down. I'm starting the next book in the series immediately, I can't wait to read on!

I didn't expect to really like it. I loved Moning's Highlander series, but had not been into the whole fae part of it, so I had no desire to read this series. Fantasy and paranormal are usually not my thing. But, Kindle was giving this book away for free and I downloaded it and gave it a shot - I'm so glad I did!

Mac (MacKayla) Lane is a Barbie doll type of girl, loves the color pink, long blonde hair, loves to pick out outfits and look cute. She's a bartender and lives at home in her parent's house, lounging around their swimming pool working on that golden tan. She's a real girlie girl, used to the good life. She was not unlike the character in Legally Blonde played by Reese Witherspoon. But, Mac's world turns upside down when she gets a phone call that her sister (and best friend) has been murdered in Dublin. No trace of the killer, the case has no leads and is eventually closed. Mac and her parents are devastated and mourn for the loss of their beloved child and sister. Eventually, Mac pulls herself together and flies to Dublin to see if she can get some answers about her sister's death. After belatedly hearing a message on her cell phone from her sister shortly before her murder, Mac can't put it behind her, she must try and get to the bottom of it.

While in Dublin all hell breaks loose for Mac. Suddenly she is swept up in the supernatural world of Seelie's and Unseelie's, who are good and evil fae's that can disguise themselves as humans. She must battle evil vampires, Master Lords and joins up with an enigmatic, handsome bookseller named Jericho Barrons, who becomes her unlikely partner. She's not sure what his motivation is, but he saves her life on more than one occasion and begins to instruct her on the ways that she can kill Unseelies and keep herself alive. He also had an ulterior motive with regard to her - she has a power he needs. Mac learns that she is a Null, a type of shidh-seer (pronounced "she-seer"), who can see monsters (evil faes known as Unseelies, without their glamour facades) that ordinary humans cannot. She becomes a sort of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only she becomes an Unseelie Slayer. Together she and Barrons try to find these particular OOP's (love this), Hallows that will lead them eventually to a fantastical and legendary book, the Sinsar Dubh that can save the world from the Unseelies.

Still with me?

The story was exciting and I was riveted to it. I kid you not, I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. It was so good! I can't help but wonder who and what Barrons really is. There is some sexual tension between the two, but nothing of note ... yet. I am hopeful, yet I still cannot be sure since I don't know what he is exactly. The various monsters that Mac must come across are horrifying and well described - I felt I was there with her meeting them face to face. Plus, I really love Mac's character. She seems real to me, I can identify with her. A lot of what she thinks and does I can see myself thinking and doing too! She's just an ordinary girl who likes pretty, shiny things and living comfortably. Suddenly she's thrust into this crazy world in which she is constantly looking over her shoulder battling evil and trying to find out what happened to her sister. Most of all, she's trying to find out who she really is. Is she really the daughter of her parents? Was she adopted? Is she descended from a long line of shidh-seers named O'Connor that makes her a human geiger counter for the Hallows? If so, she can prevent the Unseelies from destroying mankind by getting the Sinsar Dubh! Barrons wants the Sinsar Dubh badly - but do we know for sure he's a good guy?

Mac is so endearing. One of the funniest part of the book (and yes, there are some funny moments) is when Mac comes across this devilishly handsome royal Seelie, V'lane. He has this power to make human women want to have sex with him - immediately. They can't help it, and Mac is no exception. As soon as he comes in proximity to her she starts taking off her clothes and doesn't even realize it! She is amazed at herself as well! I laughed out loud at how she finds her bra and panties tossed on the floor - having no idea she has tossed them there. Made for some crazy moments! Luckily, she comes to her senses before V'lane can take advantage of her.

After much excitement, the book ends up in the air with a bit of a cliffhanger, definitely setting the reader up for the rest of the series. There is a glossary of all the different monsters and fae's and who is who. This is very helpful. I'm eager to read the rest of the series. Full of action and suspense - I loved it! I can't wait to continue it, stay tuned for more reviews from me!


Addendum 10/22/2010: 
I've recently re-read Darkfever but on audio this time.  I had my likes and dislikes.  I liked Mac's voice for the most part, but the narrator, Joyce Bean, sounded kind of old for a 22 year old girl, but I liked the Southern accent.  What I did NOT like was the way she made Barrons voice sound.  Not at all how I envisioned him sounding when I read the book last year.  He doesn't sound the least bit carnal or sexy, it's too foreign sounding - I don't know, it's just not how I pictured him sounding (if that makes any sense).  I'm glad to know that by book 4, it's Phil Gigante (gunh!) doing Barrons - crucial!

Highland Obsession by Dawn Halliday

Book Description:
In the Scottish Highlands, two warriors are about to clash over a woman of passion...

They were the unlikeliest of friends debauching their way through London: The Earl of Camdonn, a nobleman of vast wealth and power, and Scottish laird Alan MacDonald, a respected Jacobite with ambitions of his own.

But their friendship is destroyed when Alan marries the beautiful Sorcha Stewart-only to witness Cam kidnap her from their bedroom. Then Alan learns the truth: his bride was not an innocent. She took a lover before him-his friend-who taught her the ways of pleasure.

Now, Alan will do anything to get his wife back. Cam fights to redeem his honor, even as he refuses to give up his desire. Torn between love and duty, Sorcha must watch as the two men she desires go to war over her. And when the battle lines are drawn, all three lovers are lured into a triangle of forbidden passions...


This was one steamy, sexy highlander romance! *fans self* Needless to say, I loved it. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. I was drawn into the plotline from the first until the last, I had to know what would happen!

This is the story of two men, Cam, the Earl of Camdonn and Alan MacDonald his best friend who is the local laird of the MacDonalds that's lives nearby. Set during the time of the first rising in Scotland in 1715, Alan has just married Sorcha Stewart and it is his wedding night. They consummate their marriage tenderly and sweetly with no idea that Cam is watching them, voyeur like, through the window, tears in his eyes. Sorcha had been his mistress (unbeknownst to Alan) and he couldn't stand the idea that she was now married and out of his reach.

With that, he basically loses all sense and barges in and heaves her over his shoulder and carries her off to his castle! Poor Alan tries to go after her but is foiled by Cam's guards, injured, he is taken back to his cottage to have his wounds looked after. Sorcha doesn't want to to go off with Cam, but she can't stop him. She wants to stay with her new husband! What is she to do? She is now disgraced, Alan will now know she was not the virgin she appeared to be and she will be shunned by all. Quite the dilemma!

This is how the book begins and I must admit, outlandish as the storyline was, it was hard to put down. We see all three's persepective: Alan, Cam and Sorcha. Sorcha is able to escape and comes back to her husband the next morning, but by this time, he knows all. He has been duped and he's not happy. Still, he remains married to Sorcha and they try to patch things up. Eventually, they learn to deal with what happened and the fact she lied to him. She wants to remain married to Alan, although he will not touch her. But, even he begins to thaw, and after demanding satisfaction, he fights a duel with Cam, who is gravely injured and all changes.

Cam has many flaws, he is handsome and irresistible, but selfish and spoiled, used to getting what he wants. Hence, how he carries Sorcha off against her will - dishonoring his best friend in the process. He later regrets his actions, but only after he realizes she doesn't love him. Eventually he redeems himself in the duel, but he also has to redeem himself with the reader. His actions were repellent to me at first. Watching Alan and Sorcha on their wedding night while masturbating was abhorrant to me. I disliked him and didn't feel sorry for him at all. He should have asked her to marry him when he had the chance. He blew it and instead of accepting it, he makes a mess of it, not even thinking of the consequences of his actions. But, by the end of the book, he succeeds in redeeming himself and sets the scene for the next book in this series.

Alan, on the other hand, is more noble in my opinion, and the injured party in all of this. It was his wife that was stolen. He was the one that was lied to. He must learn to forgive and get beyond it. It's a long journey for him, but eventually love wins out and he accepts Sorcha for who she is and loves her. But, he has the niggling worry that she would choose Cam over him if she had the chance. He puts her on the spot at one point to help him cope with this frustrating conundrum between his wife and best friend. Cam is put on the spot too.

There was loads of passion and sizzling heat in this book. Both men are stunning and sexual, but in their own individual way. Alan was more believable and down to earth. It's understandable that Sorcha is torn. She wants to be a good wife and honor her vows to Alan, but Cam was her first, rich and powerful, there is a bond between them. Can she live this way, loving and caring for both? One drunken night, the three of them experience a night of carnal fulfillment together - a menage a trois. This is part of the way that Alan must come to terms with the idea that his best friend still wants his wife, and his wife still has a sexual bond with Cam that cannot go away. I had a little trouble with Alan here. He wants to see Sorcha and Cam make love, he demands it of them, yet the next morning..?

The menage scene was well done (if you are into that sort of thing), though it was very drawn out. Understandably there are the usual repurcussions and misunderstandings afterwards, complicated by the first Jacobite rising with Cam and Alan being on opposite sides and Alan leaving the next morning without saying good bye to Cam or Sorcha. But, the two unlikely friends cross battle lines for Sorcha, and Cam's search on the battlefield for Alan was enthralling. I don't know much about the first rising, mostly I'm familiar with the second and Culloden, blah, blah, blah. This first rising was unsuccessful and came to nothing. Alan, in the story is a Jacobite, but Cam is a loyalist, a follower of the Duke of Argyll, though he tries to remain out of the fray as much as possible.

Poor Sorcha, she made some bad decisions and had to face the consequences. I do admire her for not giving into Cam and wanting to stay and be a wife to Alan. Alan puts her in a very awkward position (no pun intended) during the threesome. She does not want to hurt his feelings and is hesitant at first, but eventually gives in wholeheartedly. Of course, Alan will never forget that...

So many complications, yet so irresistible to read on and see how these complications are dealt with and resolved.

All in all, this was a really hot book, if you are not into threesomes, this might not be your cup of tea (I didn't have a problem with it). The story itself was original and I loved the setting of two highlanders pitted against one another over one woman, with the backdrop of a Jacobite rising. I thought the tale was gripping and well written, I will definitely read more by this author!

P.S. This cover was to die for!


Friday, October 9, 2009

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn

Book Description:
Rumors and Gossip... The lifeblood of London

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancé, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits... and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I was a tad underwhelmed by this romance by Julia Quinn, her latest offering to the book world, since I had just finished up her incomparable Bridgerton Series which left me on a real romance high. Hence, a short review.

Still, it was pretty amusing and it had it's moments but it just didn't seem to have that je ne said quoi that her other books have. This is a sequel to The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheever, which I really enjoyed. This one centers on Lady Olivia Bevelstoke, the best friend of Miranda who is a raving beauty but finds herself spying on her next door neighbor, Sir Harry Valentine (I don't know why I kept wanting to say his last name was Winston!) Olivia is under the misapprehension that he must be up to something no good and then when she realizes he knows she's spying on him, she stops her little game and the two of them have a face off in which they both admit they don't like one another - but of course, that doesn't last, and they wind up falling for each other instead!

Sir Harry is a translator. With a Russian grandmother, he speaks Russian fluently, all the more reason why the War Office hires him to translate top secret missives and do a little covert work himself, when needed. He is ordered to spy on a visiting Russian Prince who has decided to court Lady Olivia. I must say the stiff and proper Prince was one of the funniest part of the book. One especially hilarious scene involved the reading and acting out of an especially silly gothic romance that has everyone (except Olivia who prefers reading the newspaper) enthralled. In addition, there are all kinds of mix ups: who speaks Russian, who is who, who's a spy, who's really a good guy and who's not? Lots of hi-jinx, but it didn't leave me thinking that I really loved this Julia Quinn book. I don't think it had enough of a romance in it for me. There were no sentimental moments that made me sigh inwardly, mostly it had a lighthearted farce feel about it, which is fine, but the hero and heroine seemed more friends than in love. Then once they realized they were in love and had their romantic tryst together (aka sex, which seemed very out of character for both of them) - she gets kidnapped! It all seemed a little rushed at the end, leaving me wanting more. The proposal scene was, IMHO, a bit ridiculous and a let down - I felt like I was at a party having a good time, and then all of a sudden, the party's over and we're all being sent home early!

Despite this, it is a worthwhile read - it is Julia Quinn after all - but not one of her best. Still, I am eager to read the rest of her backlist, since she is one of my very favorite romance authors.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (audio)

Book Description:
In the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH. The battle begins in a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond's fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.

Yes, this is Bond... James Bond.

That infamous womanizer secret agent with the sexy British accent that is convinced every woman who plays coy at first, secretly loves the thrill of giving in, head pulled back, lips ravished - a quasi rape that titillates the senses. Not one for any long term relationships, he's in it for the release, the rest and relaxation, the sex, a few pleasant weeks of having fun, bed, fine dining, bed and then time to get out before the clinging gets oppressive, the tears, and eventual good-bye at the door in the rain. He appreciates a beautiful woman, yet, James Bond does not fall in love, he does not get hung up, he does not let his emotions get in the way. Constant smoker, ruthless killer, drink inventor (yes, the famous martini), he handles himself and his job as any expert in their field would.

At one point in the book, Fleming lets Bond get a big philosophical about his line of work. He finds it a big unsettling at times knowing that he's been rewarded with a double 0 designation by killing two men. What does that mean? Good and bad start to become a bit murky for him and he vents a bit to his good friend, a French agent, Mathis. He tells Mathis of his intention of retiring. Mathis pooh poohs the idea, his friend Bond is a prodigy, he'll never retire.

Until... until... until he meets Vesper Lynd. A tall, cool, elegant brunette sent to Royale in the South of France, to be his partner and help him in the capture of Le Chiffre, a SMERSH spy who must win a ton of money at the casino in Royale or else he will be obliterated by his comrades from the Soviet Union. Bond's mission: beat Le Chiffre at baccarat, win all his money, leaving him ruined and then let the Russians do the rest.

Now, this book was almost nothing like the recent movie of Casino Royale, but there are similarities. The names are the same, and the plot is a bit similar. Bond eventually fancies himself in love with Vesper after she is kidnapped and he tries to rescue her and gets himself tortured in the process. But, his mission is accomplished regarding Le Chiffre, and during Bond's recovery after the torture, Vesper stays by his side, and his feelings deepen for her. They spend some time at a seaside resort near Royale. Here Bond gets his much deserved r&r, dining well, drinking champagne, lying nude on the beach (in the book he is nude, in the movie, he's not.)

And... he finally gets Vesper. They begin an affair, but things... change. What happened to cool, calm and collected Vesper? Was she really that overcome from the kidnapping, in which she was unmolested (amazingly enough) and unharmed? Over the course of a week, Vesper becomes more and more distraught and sad between frantic bouts of lovemaking that end with her in tears and Bond going back to his own room for the rest of the night. Puzzled, he's sure she's not telling him something, he is at a loss, but it's not upsetting enough to keep him up at night. He falls asleep, women don't worry him overmuch, despite the fact he considered asking her to marry him and retire from this line of work.

But as we know with the numerous books and movies in the Bond franchise, it seems as if his French friend Mathis is right - he doesn't retire. Though, Bond does not seem to have much luck with love, he's better off with quickie relationships with women, and best to leave the real nuts and bolts aka sex until after the job is finished.

My overall impression of Bond is he is ruthless when it comes to women and has a cold exterior and an even colder impression of how to treat women. To him, women are bitches. Granted, this book was written in 1953 and has a great deal of outdated impressions of women as sex objects, but I was still curious to read the first book that started the whole Bond thing. Nothing very graphic in the way of romance, a little, but tame compared to nowadays. As far as any lovemaking, completely glossed over to the morning after at breakfast! The movies are much more explicit! It wasn't bad, it wasn't great, but it did introduce me to James Bond and how his mind works. If anything, I think it's a good example of what the male psyche was like back in the day, makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Btw, this was narrated on audio by Simon Vance - I highly recommend him - great voice - perfect Bond.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn (audio)

Book Description:
A funny thing happened...

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except...

She wasn’t the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except...

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar...

I'm a little sad, this is the last of the Bridgerton's novels for me, there are eight of them, and I loved every one. Witty, well written, faithful to the period, you can't go wrong with them. This one is about Gregory, the youngest son who never really thought falling in love would be hard, and figured it would happen to him eventually and he'd marry and be just as happy as all of his many siblings. But, he realizes that finding Mrs. Right wasn't quite as easy as he thought. Zeroing in on the incomparable, beautiful and sought after Hermoine Watson, he imagines he is in love with her upon first sight of the back of her neck. Little does he know that it's really her best friend, ordinary (in comparison to Hermoine) Lucy Abernathy who is the one to unwittingly steal his heart.

As usual in a Julia Quinn novel, the hero and heroine are often the last to know they are in love with each other, and this romance is no exception. Although the book's prologue gives us a big clue of what happens at the end, there are plenty of twists and turns and a touching moment between Gregory and his mother, the all-knowing and ever wise, Violet Bridgerton. She knows her son so well, her darling son and youngest of the boys. *sniff* *sniff* Quinn always includes a moment between Violet and one of her sons or daughters that makes my nose get that funny feeling and a few tears in my eyes. This book was no exception.

I really liked Lucy and Gregory together, they become friends and then co-conspirators when Hermoine and Lucy's brother are caught in a compromising position. At the same time, Lucy finds out that she is going to have to finally marry the man, Lord Hazelton, who she has been affianced to for years. Unfortunately, just around this same time she is realizing that she is falling for Gregory. By this time, Gregory is fast coming to the same conclusion, especially after witnessing the downfall of Hermoine. They have a passionate moment before leaving the country house party (where this has all been taking place) of his oldest brother Anthony and wife, Kate. I really enjoyed Kate's role in this book, however brief, for I really liked her in The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony's story, book 2).

Once Gregory and Lucy do finally get together romantically it is all the reader can hope for. Sizzling passion, tenderness and wanting and finally completion - very well done! But, it's not over at this point, there is still the sticky matter of Lucy's impending nuptials to Lord Hazelton!

I really enjoyed this book, and the audiobook of it with Simon Prebble is fantastic, I wholeheartedly recommend it! Good-bye Bridgerton's now onto the rest of Quinn's backlist. If anyone has any suggestions for me for another series like this - please post and let me know!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Book Description:
Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he'd rather die than face his illegitimate son -- a young lieutenant in the British Army -- across the barrel of a gun. Fraser's time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won't include Jamie's life or happiness -- not if she has anything to say. Claire's grown daughter Brianna, and her husband, Roger, watch the unfolding of Brianna's parents' history -- a past that may be sneaking up behind their own family.

Not a full review, but just a quick post with no spoilers - I finished it! It was both satisfying and exasperating - loads of cliffhangers and loose threads to worry about over the course of the next four (?) years until the next Outlander installment. I did love it, but then I love everything about Outlander, still, is it the best? My favorite in the series? No.

The book had four or five main points of view, which was frustrating - in some ways it seemed like Outlander light. It was not like her past books where you become completely immersed in the details and story of Jamie and Claire - this one, you had parts of Jamie and Claire, Bree and Roger in 1980 Scotland, as well as young Ian and Lord John and Willie's stories during the Revolution. In my opinion, not quite enough to assuage my Outlander appetite, but I'll take and love anything Ms. Gabaldon writes, so I won't quibble about the lack of Jamie and Claire-ness in this book. I'm glad I've read the Lord John mystery books in the past, since in many ways they enhanced this book, but I did feel a bit put out for some people that haven't read them, for they will be a little lost about the importance of certain intriguing characters that come up here.

Some amazing revelations and events take place in this book - a bit of a "jump the shark" point in series? Maybe.

Still, I have to take a deep breath and soak it in and think about it all. A definite re-read eventually, but not right away.

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