Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July and my May, 2013 Reviews to boot!

Happy 4th of July!  Sorry folks, I have been lax in posting, but since I have the day off today, I'm actually getting some reviews done!  These are the books I read in May.  I've been so busy and have been loving the books I'm reading, I haven't had time to get in any posts - so without further ado!

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

Book Description:

In town, they called her "Crazy Widow Dinsmore." But Elly was no stranger to their ridicule--she had been an outsider all her life, growing up in a boarded-up old house under the strict eye of her eccentric grandparents. Now she was all alone, with two little boys to raise, and a third child on the way.

He drifted into Whitney, Georgia, one lazy afternoon in the summer of 1941, hoping to put his lonely past behind him. He yearned for the tenderness he had never known, the home he'd never had. All he needed was for someone to give him a chance.

Then he saw her classified ad: WANTED - A husband. When he stepped across Elly Dinsmore's cluttered yard, Will Parker knew he had come home at last ...

This was a fantastic book!  My first by this author, I couldn't wait to read it every chance I got.  An oldie but goodie, I'd heard LaVyrle Spencer's books were great, but I had no idea how great, I'm sorry it took me this long to discover her.  A simple yet touching story, set during WWII in Georgia of an ex-con, Will Parker who answers a newspaper ad from a young, pregnant widow who needs a husband to help her take care of her farm.  This is his chance to start over with a good, decent, hard working life.  Such a wonderful story!  The characterizations were straight on and well handled, everything was just right, I can't think of a thing wrong with this book! Perfect!  I was shocked to see it had been made into a movie back in the 1990's with Christopher Reeve and Deborah Raffin, but apparently it wasn't that great, so I think I'll skip it.  I am eager to read more and more by this author and savor each of them.  A keeper!  


Beast by Judith Ivory

Book Description:
American heiress Louise Vandermeer has agreed to marry a European aristocrat. Her intended is rumored to be a hideously ugly man, a prospect that propels her into a reckless shipboard affair with a compelling stranger she never sees in the light of day. Unbeknownst to Louise, her mystery man is actually her betrothed, Charles d'Harcourt, whose romantic prank backfires when he becomes smitten with his own fiancee.

This book had me up and down.  I loved the first part on board the ship and the affair that begins between Louise and Charles.  Yet, I was afraid to continue, dreading the inevitable upset and had to stop at times once they arrived in Marseilles and they say good-bye and Charles becomes himself - the real Charles.  I was in knots over his dilemma and the way Louise treated him at first.  Then, when the truth is finally revealed, it was a let down for me and their reunion.  Overall, I love Judith Ivory, but this book is not a favorite, although it was still an intricately, well woven plot and a unique idea, yet it left me unsettled.  Plus, I was curious to read it, since another of my favorite authors Sherry Thomas has stated this is a favorite book of hers and the inspiration for her Beguiling the Beauty?  'Nuff said, I had to read it.


How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long

Book Description:
The Scandal Sheets call him Lord Ice.

Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest - in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he's found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family's shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.

She's about to play with fire...

But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth's paid companion, Phoebe Vale, and the Marquess is undone. This quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy facade to the fiery man beneath. But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous, for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted.

Another fantastic read, I really enjoyed this book, my favorite so far in the Pennyroyal Green series.  I found it endearing and very funny in some parts - the cat was a hoot!  I loved Julian, Marquess Dryden and how everyone followed him and did everything he did (the forelock was hilarious).  I could have scratched Lizbeth's eyes out - glad the cat got her instead!  Also, I love the title, assuming Marquess is pronounced "Mar-kwess" - the British way.  My only gripe - awful cover!  Her dress makes her body look so loooooong!  Otherwise, great book with vivid characterizations and lots of humor - my favorite combination!  Each one in this series is better than the last - and eager for Adam's story next! A real winner - six is a charm!


What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris (audio)

Book Description:
The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian’s former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder.

Regency England, September 1812: After a long night spent dealing with the tragic death of a former military comrade, a heart-sick Sebastian learns of a new calamity: Russell Yates, the dashing, one-time privateer who married Kat a year ago, has been found standing over the corpse of Benjamin Eisler, a wealthy gem dealer. Yates insists he is innocent, but he will surely hang unless Sebastian can unmask the real killer.

For the sake of Kat, the woman he once loved and lost, Sebastian plunges into a treacherous circle of intrigue. Although Eisler’s clients included the Prince Regent and the Emperor Napoleon, he was a despicable man with many enemies and a number of dangerous, well-kept secrets—including a passion for arcane texts and black magic. Central to the case is a magnificent blue diamond, believed to have once formed part of the French crown jewels, which disappeared on the night of Eisler’s death. As Sebastian traces the diamond’s ownership, he uncovers links that implicate an eccentric, powerful financier named Hope and stretch back into the darkest days of the French Revolution.

When the killer grows ever more desperate and vicious, Sebastian finds his new marriage to Hero tested by the shadows of his first love, especially when he begins to suspect that Kat is keeping secrets of her own. And as matters rise to a crisis, Sebastian must face a bitter truth--that he has been less than open with the fearless woman who is now his wife. 

Someone has killed an elderly yet dastardly diamond dealer and the newly married Sebastian St. Cyr heads off to find out who it is. But at the same time, Russell Yates who is married to Sebastian's former love, Kat Boleyn, is accused of the murder and going to hang. How ironic for Sebastian, yet he's says he loves his bride, Hero. So who knows? Lots of suspects. Good book and I enjoyed it on audio, narrated to perfection by Davina Porter, but the story itself was not as riveting as previous books in the series.  Still, I'm eager for the next, due out in March, 2014.


Never Love a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath

Book Description:
"I would not make a good husband. I do, however, make an excellent lover..." 

Harrison Bainbridge, the second son of an English earl, left his home seeking a scandal-free life away from society's stuffy restraints. Then he arrives in Texas, never expecting that a sassy saloon-keeper's daughter would capture his eye. With her outspoken ways and flashing eyes, Jessye Kane is more than tempting. But although she is willing to be his partner in a daring business venture, she is unwilling to take the passion he offers.

Jessye knows that noble-born Harrison isn't for the likes of her, but beneath his devil-may-care exterior, she senses a deeper vulnerability. Then he's suddenly injured, risking his life to save her from mortal danger. And Jessye vows to do anything to make him whole again - forcing this rugged scoundrel who claims he has no heart to take the greatest risk of all...on love.

I wasn't really into this story about Jessye and Harry.  Harry is one of three Englishman come to the West to "grow up" and he's the big gambler of the three.  Harry's investor is Jessye, the daughter of a saloon owner.  Together with his other friend Kit, they lead a cattle drive to Kansas to make a lot of money.  Harry's big problem is he believes he is incapable of loving someone.  Jessye is falling for him, but knows he's no good for her.  Then calamity befalls Harry and his legs are broken and he must make the long recovery and he's not sure if he'll ever walk again.  I was fed up with his bitter, tortured, self-pitying attitude and didn't have much sympathy for him. I barely liked him! Jessye was okay, but not my kind of heroine either.  Overall, the book was meh.  Dull in parts and when it wasn't dull, I was tired of all the grumbling on the part of both the hero and heroine. The coincidences were a bit too much too. Frankly, I couldn't wait to finish this and move onto something else.  Will I continue in the series - definitely!  Lorraine Heath's Western have me by the collar. I. Must. Read. Them. All.


Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue

Book Description:
Nine years ago, Faerie Magic saved Mairi MacKiernan at the cost of her dreams of happiness, snatching her from her life in 1272, and depositing her in the twenty-first century. Now, she must save the last Daughter of the MacKiernan family...who was murdered in 1295. Transported back in time at her request, Mairi finds herself captured by the same evil men as before! Is this the price the Faerie Magic requires of her this time? Ramos Servans has dedicated his dreams to service as a Guardian, but when he discovers the evil unleashed on the Mortal Plain by his father and their people, he swears he will atone by ridding the world of Nuadian deceit. Part of his mission involves rescuing a lovely Highland lassie, and in the passion that grows between them, Ramos and Mairi find a new dream.

But falling in love can be dangerous when Faerie Magic is involved. Dreams may not be the only cost....

After returning to this series after about four years, I realized I just really couldn't get into this book! I think I've outgrown my love for highlander romances. Ironically, my visit to Scotland two years ago sort of cured me! I could barely get through this one, which was so dull - apart from a few battles, nothing really happens! Mairie, our heroine, goes back in time to rescue her niece from the 13th century, who turns out to be a spoiled brat. Ramos Navarro, a newly made Guardian is ordered to find Mairie while back in time and return her to the present day. Ramos has his own agenda as well, for he wants to find his father back then and destroy him somehow (but he's a Fae, so it's tricky). Ramos and Mairie of course are attracted to one another, but as much as he enjoys bedding her and there are a few hot moments between them, he cannot let it happen again for he is committed to being her Guardian! Of course, Mairie is not too happy with this idea, so they were always bickering, which made their "non-courtship" annoying! He kept thinking he was not worthy of her because of his past history as his father's son. No humor, no real chemistry, some battle scenes, and some loose ends all made for a less than satisfying book. Still, I will continue with the series, for I've heard it gets better. Sigh.  The things we do for kilts and Scottish accents.


Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen (audio)

Book Description:
Penniless and thirty-fourth in line to the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch finds herself in a truly draining state of affairs. To escape her hateful sister-in-law and clueless brother, Georgie accepts an invitation from the Queen to represent the royals at a wedding in Transylvania. But at the macabre- looking castle, Georgie finds the bride with blood running down her chin, and a wedding guest is poisoned. Now it's up to Georgie to save the nuptial festivities before the couple's vows become: to love and to cherish, till undeath do them part...

Royal Blood is a hoot and a send up to the ubiquitous vampires appearing lately in literature, TV and the screen.  When Georgie must be in a royal wedding in Transylvania and stay in an eerie castle that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler, odd things begin to happen.  Not only does she have the worst maid in the world, but she is convinced there are vampires roaming around the castle, one of whom could be her old school friend and bride to be!  There are lots of funny moments amidst the dead bodies.  Best friend, Belinda and Georgie's mother are on hand to add to the humor, and Darcy is around for romantic interest.  These two are getting warmer and warmer and I must admit, I'm growing very fond of the Irish devil, but they're not all the way there yet.  I'd love to know what his real story is.  I am loving this series and on audio it is delightful, narrated by Katherine Kellgren who makes listening to it a real treat!


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