Showing posts with label Teresa Medeiros. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teresa Medeiros. Show all posts

Thursday, August 15, 2013

July 2013 Reviews

Before I launch into my July book reviews, a brief note about my sadness regarding the recent passing of eighty-five year old Barbara Merts aka Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michael's. Barbara is the author of numerous books, but Crocodile on the Sandbank is one of my all time favorite historical mysteries and the series as a whole is fantastic. Set in Victorian times (and then into Edwardian), it mostly takes place in Egypt. It follows the hilarious archaeological enthusiasts, Amelia Peabody, her husband, Emerson and their precocious son, Ramses - it is very well done. I'm still making my way through the series, it has about 20 books in it. Especially good on audio, with the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat narrating. Barbara will be dearly missed. Rest in peace.

Now onto the reviews...

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre (audio)

Book Description:
In 1943, from a windowless basement office in London, two brilliant intelligence officers conceived a plan that was both simple and complicated— Operation Mincemeat. The purpose? To deceive the Nazis into thinking that Allied forces were planning to attack southern Europe by way of Greece or Sardinia, rather than Sicily, as the Nazis had assumed, and the Allies ultimately chose.

Charles Cholmondeley of MI5 and the British naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu could not have been more different. Cholmondeley was a dreamer seeking adventure. Montagu was an aristocratic, detail-oriented barrister. But together they were the perfect team and created an ingenious plan: Get a corpse, equip it with secret (but false and misleading) papers concerning the invasion, then drop it off the coast of Spain where German spies would, they hoped, take the bait. The idea was approved by British intelligence officials, including Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond). Winston Churchill believed it might ring true to the Axis and help bring victory to the Allies.

Filled with spies, double agents, rogues, fearless heroes, and one very important corpse, the story of Operation Mincemeat reads like an international thriller.

Unveiling never-before-released material, Ben Macintyre brings the reader right into the minds of intelligence officers, their moles and spies, and the German Abwehr agents who suffered the “twin frailties of wishfulness and yesmanship.” He weaves together the eccentric personalities of Cholmondeley and Montagu and their near-impossible feats into a riveting adventure that not only saved thousands of lives but paved the way for a pivotal battle in Sicily and, ultimately, Allied success in the war.

This was a great (true) story about how during WWII the Allies were able to make the Nazi's think they were going to invade Greece instead of Sicily, a major coup on the road to winning the war. The plan involved loads of behind the scenes espionage, but primarily the big scheme was planting the dead body of what appeared to be a naval officer delivering important war plans of the invasion - misleading war plans. All in intricate detail which does tend to get bogged down occasionally. Very well done on audio, narrated by John Lee. I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in Fifth Column spies during WWII. All of Macintyre's books of this are fascinating, if this is your thing.

3.5/5


Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole

Book Description:
Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her—and those she loves.

Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.

From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia's greatest weakness—her wanton desire for him.
 

Another rip-roaring roller coaster ride in the Immortals After Dark (IAD) series. Here we have Garreth McGrieve, Lykae who finds his mate - Lucia, a Valkyrie who is the greatest Archer and due to a promise she made eons ago, she must not have sex - at all - ever.  Of course, this is anathema to Garreth who lives for sex - especially with his mate, but he finds ways to get around this with her. For the first half of book, Lucia is evading him, while he is chasing her around the world until they wind up in the Amazon together. This was one long adventure of ups and downs, often reading like an Indiana Jones movie - with lots of sex! Loved it!

4/5


Demon From the Dark by Kresley Cole

Book Description:
A scorching tale of a demon outcast poisoned with vampire blood and the vulnerable young witch he vows to protect—even from himself.
 

Malkom Slaine: tormented by his sordid past and racked by vampiric hungers, he's pushed to the brink by the green-eyed beauty under his guard.
 

Carrow Graie: hiding her own sorrows, she lives only for the next party or prank. Until she meets a tortured warrior worth saving.

In order for Malkom and Carrow to survive, he must unleash both the demon and vampire inside him. When Malkom becomes the nightmare his own people feared, will he lose the woman he craves body and soul?

I didn't expect to love this next and 10th in the IAD series - but I did.  If fact I think it's a favorite so far for me.  Exciting battle scenes, a vulnerability in both hero and heroine, amazing chemistry - and let's not leave out the hot sex. The intense plot line definitely makes you want to continue on in this paranormal series which has only gotten better and better with each successive book.  Here we come full circle with Malkolm, a demon that is turned into a vampire (demons loath vampires) against his will.   Intense and strong, I loved to see his "human" side eventually shine through, particularly cute with the young witch Ruby.   Plus, I loved seeing so many of the past characters (and future) coming together in one book - and what the hell is this Order all about? And La Dorada - yipes!  A thrilling read and hard to put down in the second half.

4.5/5


Open Country by Kaki Warner
Book Description:
Molly McFarlane is desperate, forced to flee to the frontier with her late sister's children. While outrunning the trackers their stepfather set on her trail, she marries a dying man, assuming his insurance settlement will provide for them. But the man doesn't die. And when Molly ends up caring for the man and his own family, she finds that even the best of lives can emerge from the worst of circumstances... 

Second in the trilogy of brothers living in New Mexico Territory in the early 1870's, this is Hank's story. Molly McFarlane, out of desperation, marries an unconscious Hank Wilkins because she believes he won't live after a train derailment and she needs the railroad widow's settlement money because she is fleeing her evil brother-in-law with her niece and nephew. Of course, this isn't right and she knows it, which becomes a major fly in the ointment when Hank lives after all. His amnesia doesn't help matters either as the lie is prolonged. Good story, with a truly scary villain who is tracking Molly and the children. I loved Hank who is the big, strong, silent type.  Shy about his unusually handsome face, he hides himself under a beard most of the time.  To say the least, Molly is devastated by the first time he sees him smile clean shaven.  Wonderful story between the two, though I did have trouble with the deception going on for so long, but it was still great to see so much of Brady, who I really loved from the first book in the series, as well as Brady's wife, Jessica.  Brady sees to Hank's safety while he is ill and barely gives Molly an inch.  He's not a pushover when it comes to her, and I was glad of it.   I'm becoming a Western lover and these books are great and keep me riveted and reading, reading, reading until they're finished.  The character development and the plot lines are first rate.

4/4



The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig

Book Description:
As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .

What follows is a potent story that spans generations and continents, bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters. From the inner circles of WWI-era British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.


Although this book is very different from author Willig's previous Pink Carnation books, the dual storyline scenario remains.  The story flip flops between modern day events in Manhattan with Clemmie and the series of events that happened in the 1920s between the beautiful Beatrice and the less prepossessing Addie, Clemmie's grandmother.  There is a mystery of what became of Beatrice, who married and was banished to Africa and then disappears there.   What happened to her and how did Addie wind up with Beatrice's husband?  And what about the children?  I found the story a bit slow at first but then after the second half of the book it really picked up and I found it hard to put down. I really wanted to find out what the truth was behind the events that slowly unfold in Africa.  But alas I found the big finale and the big secret a bit anti-climatic.  Still I enjoyed it though I found it very similar to a Kate Morton novel.  Coincidentally, while reading The Ashford Affair, I was listening to one of Morton's books simultaneously on audio.  (See review below).  I must admit, I found Willig's novel much more riveting though there was a certain something lacking.  Neither Clemmie nor Addie really won me over and frankly, I found Beatrice the only really interesting character in the book.  Clemmie's budding romance with her distant step-cousin didn't sit well with me, and I was actually rooting for her to wind up with the Englishman!  Oh well...

3.5/5



By Love Undone by Suzanne Enoch

Book Description:
Madeleine Willits was shunned by London society for a scandal that was no fault of hers, and forced to seek a paid position in the country. So when Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Wakefield, comes to direct the household during his uncle's illness, Maddie is determined to detest the nobleman on sight. But though the 'marquis' is easy to dislike, the 'man' himself is a different matter. Quinlan's aplomb in the face of mud, demented pigs, and musket-waving villagers is deucedly appealing. Small wonder, then, that Maddie quite forgets to repulse Quinlan when he enfolds her in a sweet embrace...

Caught kissing his uncle's lovely young companion, Quinlan feels he should make amends, and use his rank to re-establish Miss Willits in society. Unfortunately, it is soon apparent that Maddie has no idea how to resist importunate young rakes who believe her ripe for the plucking. But Maddie knows there is only one rake whose attentions she truly needs to fear—because only Quinlan Bancroft possesses the power to break her heart.


Vintage Enoch and a surprisingly entertaining romance of Madeleine, a ruined young noblewoman taking care of an elderly invalid who is the estranged brother to a duke. His nephew comes to check up on his uncle and help with management of the estate.  He unwittingly falls for Madeleine, no matter how much of shrew she appears to be!  He thinks she's his uncle's mistress at first, but that is cleared up soon enough.  They trade insults and barbs and fight through a good part of the book - and it was a lot of fun! The plot was a bit far fetched bringing her back to London to reinstate her reputation with his mother (the duchess) overseeing her come back.  I found the whole thing a quick read and I gobbled it up!

4/5


Never Marry a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath

Book Description:
Sensitive and lovely Ashton Robertson fell in love with Kit Montgomery the moment she first laid eyes on him. Four years later, her most cherished dream has come true: the rakish English aristocrat is her husband, if only for a brief time. But will a few days in paradise be enough, now that Ashton has found sweet freedom in his arms?

To ease his tormented soul, Kit agreed to marry his dear friend's sister. But Ashton's gentle beauty and fiery spirit are slowly captivating the hardened rogue, causing him to reevaluate his outlook on life...and to wonder if, perhaps, they should turn their blissful temporary union into something more permanent.


This is the last of this Rogues in Texas western series, but I found it still lacked the oomph of her Texas Destiny series which I adored.  This western romance is the story of young girl who is believed to be dying of consumption.  Her brother, wishing to grant her last wish, asks the town of Fortune's (now) sheriff, Kit Montgomery to marry her in name only so that she can have a nice wedding day to remember until the day she dies.  After much hesitation, based on his history with his brother's dead wife, Kit agrees to marry her.  Of course, they wind up falling in love which is exasperated by the fact she's expected to die within six months.  They try to avoid too much intimacy but it's impossible after a while.  Both are torn, but of course it all ends well, but only after much hand wringing and worry.  I liked this better than book 2 in the series and it kept my attention, but overall it didn't have the emotional pull I believe it should have, based on the angsty storyline.  Btw, this needs a new cover design pronto - it's so reddd!

3.5/5



Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh

Book Description: 
Meet the Bedwyns—six brothers and sisters—men and women of passion and privilege, daring and sensuality....Enter their dazzling world of high society and breathtaking seduction...where each will seek love, fight temptation, and court scandal...and where Alleyne Bedwyn, the passionate middle son, is cut off from his past—only to find his future with a sinfully beautiful woman he will risk everything to love.

As the fires of war raged around him, Lord Alleyne Bedwyn was thrown from his horse and left for dead—only to awaken in the bedchamber of a ladies' brothel. Suddenly the dark, handsome diplomat has no memory of who he is or how he got there—yet of one thing he is certain: The angel who nurses him back to health is the woman he vows to make his own. But like him, Rachel York is not who she seems. A lovely young woman caught up in a desperate circumstance, she must devise a scheme to regain her stolen fortune. The dashing soldier she rescued from near-death could be her savior in disguise. There is just one condition: she must pose as his wife—a masquerade that will embroil them in a sinful scandal, where a man and a woman court impropriety with each daring step...with every taboo kiss that can turn passionate strangers into the truest of lovers.


What a surprise, I really enjoyed this installment of the Bedwyns saga.  The previous book was such a let down I've had this one languishing on my "to be read" list forever!  This is Alleyne's story.  After the battle of Waterloo, Alleyne Bewcastle, believed dead by his family, has amnesia and is found by Rachel York who is living in a brothel in Brussels - long story, she is not a prostitute. She comes from a noble background but is down on her luck. She nurses him back to health and they pose as a married couple, returning to England so she can claim her inheritance.  Once again, another Balogh false marriage/engagement scenario where the couple falls in love while pretending to be in love.  Despite the usual Balogh formula, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, and the ending was worth it all.  Now onto Wulf's story - finally!

4/5


The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (audio)

Book Description:
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 


I had a hard time with this novel, it took me forever to get into and I almost put it down, but I persisted until the end.  I found the story hard to follow for some reason.  Lots of red herrings, just when you think you've got it, and you've figured out the story of the "mud man" and who he is or what happened to Tom - you realize you're wrong!  Not the best I've read by Kate Morton, but by the end it kept me interested, though an overall melancholy story.  I loved the WWII setting, which tied in with my recent surge of interest in WWII non-fiction titles.  On audio the narration was great by Caroline Lee who is always superb and gives it a nice touch, I love her voice and accent.

3.5/5



The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

Book Description:
Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing—and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.

And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances—and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.


I was not as enamored by this story as everyone else seems to be, but I find Courtney Milan hit or miss.  Jane Fairfield, in order to avoid being married off, pretends to be a social clod, actually turning people off by her inane talk and outlandish fashion sense.  Yet, she is nothing she appears to be.  She is doing this all for the love of her sister who has "fits."  I thought it was extremely clever the way Milan wrote Jane and how she managed to insult everyone by looking like she did not mean to and so forth.  But what I had trouble with is when we got further into the story and her friendship with Oliver. I loved both he and Jane together, but why doesn't Oliver, who is so brilliant, realize just how much he should marry her from the first?  It should not have been such a dilemma for him?  Yet he struggled.  The big problem was so obviously solvable.  We do get his side of things at the very end of the story, but by that point it seemed kind of lame. Too much hand wringing over the dilemma of whether he should declare himself for her or not and how it would affect his political aspirations.  She's of age, an heiress and they have a mutual attraction and love. Why not?  She's got tons of money, that will fix anything as far a future career for him.  Instead of feeling for them I just wanted to slap some sense into them!  I remember feeling the same way in The Duchess Wars. Such a big to do. All this worrying when the solution was so obvious. Overall this was good for me but not great, though some bits were fun such as their horse ride together and their honest opinions of the pitfalls of courtship. Some little gem-like moments, but overall - meh.

3.5/5



Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (audio)

Book Description:
Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bona-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can't imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.

Blue Bailey is on a mission to murder her ex. Or at least inflict serious damage. As for the beaver suit she's wearing . . . Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curveballs? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.

Blue's career as a portrait painter is the perfect job for someone who refuses to stay in one place for very long. She needs a ride, and America's most famous football player has an imposing set of wheels. Now, all she has to do is keep him entertained, off guard, and fully clothed before he figures out exactly how desperate she is.

But Dean isn't the brainless jock she imagines, and Blue—despite her petite stature—is just about the toughest woman Dean has ever met. They're soon heading for his summer home where their already complicated lives and inconvenient attraction to each other will become entangled with a charismatic but aging rock star; a beautiful fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past; an eleven-year-old who desperately needs a family; and a bitter old woman who hates them all.

As the summer progresses, the wandering portrait artist and the charming football star play a high-stakes game, fighting themselves and each other for a chance to have it all.


Natural Born Charmer is for everyone who's ever thought about leaving their old life in the dust and never looking back. Susan Elizabeth Phillips takes us home again . . . and shows us where love truly lives.

Another great one by SEP on audio, I'm sorry to finish the last of the Chicago Stars series for I simply loved it.  Dean Robillard, natural born charmer and quarterback to the Stars meets fate in the shape of a petite woman wearing a beaver costume on the side of the road. He picks her up and so begins his unusual courtship with Blue Bailey as they make their way to his farm in Nashville.  Things aren't exactly what he thought they'd be like while there.  He unexpectedly meets up with his estranged parents: his gorgeous 52 year old ex-groupie mother whom he wants nothing to do with and his aging rock star father, Jack Patriot.  In addition there's his 11 year old stepsister who has run away from home and a mean old lady who own the town of Garrison, Tennessee where his farm resides. It's one great story and I loved it!  Loads of laughs, but heartwarming parts too as only SEP can do.  Great characterizations, I loved everybody, especially Dean and Nita Garrison and the late great Anna Fields was amazing as narrator!  Loved, loved the way she did Nita especially!

4/5


A Kiss to Rememeber by Teresa Medeiros

Book Description:
Laura Fairleigh needs a husband. If she is to keep a roof over her siblings’ heads, the prim rector’s daughter must wed by her twenty-first birthday. When she finds a mysterious stranger with the face of an angel and the body of Adonis unconscious in the forest and with no memory of his name or his past, she decides to claim him for her own. Little does she know that her fallen angel is really the devil in disguise.

Sterling Harlow, the notorious rakehell known as the “Devil of Devonbrooke,” awakens to the enchanting kiss of a lovely young woman who informs him he is her long-lost betrothed. With her sun-kissed cheeks and smattering of freckles, she looks every inch the innocent, but her curves possess a woman’s allure. When she assures him he is the perfect gentleman, he wonders if he’s lost his wits as well as his memory. He would have sworn he was not a man to be satisfied with mere kisses—especially from lips as sweet and luscious as Laura’s.As he attempts to uncover the truth before their wedding night,
A Kiss To Remember ignites a passion neither of them will ever be able to forget....

An endearing romance of Sterling Harlow, a notorious duke who falls off his horse and hits his head while en route to one of his smaller estates.  He gets amnesia (another amnesia romance!) and is talked into believing he's engaged to Laura Fairleigh, a rector's daughter who his mother had befriended and took him before her death.  Laura, an orphan with her siblings is presently living in the house where he lived with his parents before he was fostered off to become the heir to the dukedom of which he now.  I really loved the way this story developed, and I couldn't put it down in the second half when Sterling regains his memory and the sh*t hits the fan!  There's a lot more to it than that, but I really did love it and the 2nd half of the book is pretty sizzling!

4.5/5



Surrender to the Devil by Lorraine Heath

Book Description:
Frannie Darling was once a child of London's roughest streets, surrounded by petty thieves, pickpockets, and worse. But though she survived this harsh upbringing to become a woman of incomparable beauty, Frannie wants nothing to do with the men who lust for her, the rogues who frequent the gaming hall where she works. She can take care of herself and feels perfectly safe on her own—safe, that is, until he strides into her world, and once again it becomes a very dangerous place indeed.

To bed her but not wed her. That's what Sterling Mabry, the eighth Duke of Greystone, wants. But Frannie abhors arrogant aristocrats interested only in their own pleasure. So why then does the thought of an illicit tryst with the devilish duke leave her trembling with desire? Her willing body begs for release...and a wicked, wonderful surrender.


A surprisingly quick read which I enjoyed - my favorite in this series so far.  This is Frannie Darling's story.  Protected by Feagan's Lads (as she calls them) she finally finds love with Sterling, the Duke of Greystroke (another duke named Sterling!)  Only due to their differences in status it's understood he can never marry her.  He ruthlessly pursues her and because she is so taken with him - and against her better judgment - they embark upon a short affair, both knowing it can only hurt them in the end.    As far-fetched as much of it was, I liked it. 

4/5


Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas

Book Description:
"We're strangers in the darkness," he whispered. "We'll never be together like this again."

Zachary Bronson has built an empire of wealth and power, but all London knows he is not a gentleman. He needs a wife to secure his position in society—and warm his bed in private. But one alluring, unexpected kiss from Lady Holly Taylor awakens a powerful need within him beyond respectability.

An exceptional beauty whose fierce passions match Zachary's own, Holly always intended to play by society's rules, even when they clashed with her bolder instincts. But now a dashing stranger has made her a scandalous offer that does not include matrimony. Should she ignore the sensuous promise of a forbidden kiss...or risk everything to follow her heart to a place where dreams begin?


Vintage Kleypas and surprisingly better than I thought it would be.  Lady Holland Taylor (Holly) is a young widow that is caught off-guard by the fabulously wealthy self made Zachary (typical Kleypas hero) who kisses her in a conservatory at a ball, having mistaken her for someone else.  From there, he can't forget her and she goes to work for him, teaching him etiquette and how to be accepted by polite society.  Of course, they fall in love in the usual Kleypas way - passionate and stormy.  Yet, despite the feelings she has for Zachary she is torn about the memory and promises she made to her dead husband George.  I really enjoyed this book and wonder if she'll ever write a novel for Zachary's rival, the mysterious Vardon Ravenhill.

4.5/5

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

June, 2013 Reviews - Part II

Slowly but surely, I'm catching up with my reviews from June, some of them I really loved - an unexpected surprise Western from Teresa Medeiros and a quirky contemporary from Rachel Gibson set in Idaho!  Also, a dazzling sequel to one of my all time series!  I'm realizing I'm leaning more and more towards Westerns and contemporaries now.  I'm still reading plenty of English historicals, but now I can barely get through most Scottish Highlander and Medievals.  Interesting...


He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan

Book Description:
Marketing exec Lucy Cunningham is thrilled when her firm lands The Palm Club account. The campaign concept for Miami's hottest fitness club was Lucy's idea: take one fitness-challenged woman, put her in front of TV cameras, and into the hands of the club's top personal trainer, Theo Redmond. And there's a big cash reward for each pound shed. It seems like a brilliant idea-until Lucy gets picked to be the guinea pig. It's obvious she needs to drop the pounds, but the idea of letting it all hang out in front of some Malibu Ken jock has her choking on her Milk Duds before she even begins!

After one meeting, Theo knows Lucy will be his toughest client and one of the most unforgettable women he'll ever meet. Smart-mouthed and stubborn, it's clear she isn't fond of marching to anyone's drumbeat but her own. But she shocks Theo by rising to the challenge like a pro. And he finds his heart in jeopardy long before Lucy starts to slim down and turn heads.

As Lucy sweats her way into a whole new life, things start to heat up between her and Theo. But trust doesn't come easy for either of them. They've both been burned by romance in the past. Now Lucy and Theo are about to discover that appearances can be deceiving-and in the end, true love lies somewhere between pizza and Pilates...

I simply loved this contemporary romance about a very overweight young woman who goes on TV as an advertising campaign to lose 100 lbs in a year. With the help of her gorgeous trainer, Theo Redmond, will she do it? Great story and the romance that develops between Theo and Lucy was sweet, albeit, far fetched, IMHO. Still, a quick and very enjoyable read. The characterizations were good and a thoughtful side story involving Theo's brother.  I've liked everything I've read by this author and am definitely checking out the rest of her back list.

4/5


Stolen Kisses by Suzanne Enoch

Book Description:
FIRE AND ICE ...

Jack Faraday, the Marquis of Dansbury, is rich, titled, and handsome as sin. A scandalous rake who's charmed a long string of ladies, he finally meets his match in Miss Lilith Benton, known as the Ice Queen.

Intent on restoring her family's good name, Lilith wants only to make a respectable marriage. So when the tempting but notorious Jack begins to woo her, she is determined to ignore him. Then their accidental involvement in a duke's mysterious death forces Jack and Lilith to become conspirators to clear their names - and suddenly cold disdain gives way to hot desire. Now Lilith may find his passionate stolen kisses too tempting to resist ...

Not a bad early historical romance by Enoch (notice the cover) that involves the handsome scoundrel, Jack Faraday who receives the cut direct from Lilith Benton, the beautiful Ice Queen of the ton who is out to make a spectacular and respectable match.  Jack vows revenge and wants to ruin her out of spite, but things get in the way, such as the death of his relative, a duke who is bent on compromising and marrying her in order to force her to marry him - only the old goat drops dead instead!  In her drawing room!  Jack winds up being Sir Galahad and helps her out of a pickle but only succeeds in implicating himself.  Some funny bits and plenty of drama surrounding the death of the duke and the passion that erupts between Jack and Lilith as she tries to clear his name.   Entertaining and frothy.

3.5/5

Somewhere I'll Find You by Lisa Kleypas (audio)

Book Description:
The toast of the town...

All London is at Julia Wentworth's feet—and anything she desires is hers for the asking. But the glamorous leading lady guards a shocking secret: a mystery husband whom she does not know, dares not mention ... and cannot love.

For years Damon Savage has been searching for the stranger his parents wed him to without his consent, hoping to legally free himself from matrimony's invisible chains. And he is astonished to discover his "bride" is none other than the exquisite lady he'd hoped to make his mistress! But though his wife by law, Julia will never truly be Damon's—until he conquers her fears, his formidable rivals ... and her proud, passionate, and independent heart.

An early Kleypas historical, it's the story of an aristocratic young woman, Julia Wentworth, who disguises herself and becomes an actress in London. Secretly she is married to a handsome duke, Damon Savage, who doesn't know who she really is.  Their marriage was arranged when they were children and they haven't seen each other in years - they don't even recognize each other!  There is a lot of drama (no pun intended) and back story in regard to Julia's career leading up to when she and Damon finally come together and fall in love - yet, all the while, he still doesn't realize she is really his wife!  Eventually he finds out the truth but the big deal is will he require that she leave the stage and her career? He's so controlling and he keeps on calling her "mine", it was borderline annoying. Still I thought this was pretty good for an early Kleypas and I am interested in seeing what happens with her boss, Logan Scott's story in the next book in the series. On audio, well done by Rosalyn Landor, as always.

3.5/5

Fairest of Them All by Teresa Medeiros

Book Description:

She was rumored to be the fairest woman in all of England. But Holly de Chastel considered her beauty a curse. She had already turned away scores of suitors with various ruses, both fair and foul. Now she was to be the prize in a tournament of eager knights gathering from across the land, each more determined than the last to win her hand. Holly had no intention of wedding any of them, and concocted her most outrageous plan yet: to disguise her beauty from their avaricious eyes. But she never planned on Sir Austyn of Gavenmore.

The darkly handsome Welshman had come looking especially for a plain bride, and Holly seemed to fit the bill. Suddenly she found herself in the possession of this mysterious stranger, ensconced in his castle, and forced to keep up her carefully planned illusion. Why did this electrifyingly passionate male, who could have any woman he wanted, desire a homely bride—and what would happen when he learned he'd been tricked? By the time Holly found out, it was too late to avoid the searing fires of passion—and the dark curse of Gavenmore.
This is a Medieval historical romance of beautiful maiden, Holly, who has the harebrained idea of disguising herself as homely to avoid being married off by her father.  Little does she realize, Austyn, a Welsh knight, is in need of an ugly wife due to a curse on the long line of men in his family (involved story) in which they've killed their beautiful wives - out of jealousy.  He takes her back to his castle as his bride having no idea she's really a beauty underneath.  So much of this book was far fetched and plodding, it took a long time for me to even get into it.  I disliked Holly's deception from the beginning and the long drawn out disguise and expected betrayed feelings of Austyn when he learns the truth just only made me think he was so stupid he deserved what he got!  Plus, his anger just went on much too long, locking her in the North Tower of his castle?  All because he resented her beauty, it was so ridiculous!  I just wanted to get this over with!  I've found this author hit or miss - this was a miss.  Read on, and you'll find a hit!
3.5/5

Nobody's Darling by Teresa Medeiros

Book Description:
Billy Darling never enjoyed being a wanted man until the day Miss Esmerelda Fine marched into the Tumbleweed Saloon and pointed her derringer at his heart. Lucky for him, she's a mighty poor shot. Instead of killing him, she hires him to find her runaway brother. He should turn down her offer. He should resist her charms. But he doesn't. Because there comes a time in every man's life when he's got nothing left to lose...but his heart.

I love, love, loved this western historical romance - it was so much fun!  It has everything I love - spinster heroine, Esmerelda Fine comes to New Mexico to track down the man she thinks killed her brother. At first sight she can't stand the charming cowboy she nearly murders in the saloon, but he eventually wins her over.  Plenty of laughs, sexy, heart stopping love scenes and - cowboys! A great story, one of my favorites by this author now!  I wish she'd write more Westerns, this is the only she has written as far as I can tell.  Remember what I said about this author and hit or miss?  This is a hit!  A real keeper!

4.5/5


Roaring Midnight by Colleen Gleason

Book Description:
Amid the glitzy age of Jazz, when gangsters and bootleggers control the cities, there lies another, more insidious threat ... the undead.

Macey Gardella is a typical young woman of the Roaring Twenties: she works a job, has her own flat, and loves to dance the Charleston. But when a mysterious man named Sebastian Vioget informs her she belongs to a family of vampire hunters, Macey is stunned and disbelieving.

Yet, strange and frightening things begin to happen, and when Macey comes face-to-face with one of the fanged creatures, she has no choice but to believe Sebastian. And when she learns his own soul depends on her willingness to carry forth the family legacy and hunt the undead, Macey capitulates and joins the fight.

As she begins to learn about her new life, Macey meets the handsome newspaper reporter known as Grady - who seems to know more about vampires than he should. When he begins to ask too many questions, she has to juggle her strong attraction to him with the need for secrecy.

Slipping into speakeasies and sampling bootlegged whiskeys, dodging gangster gunfire and trying to keep her nosy landlady from finding the stakes in her flat, Macey Gardella must navigate through a world of stunning violence, passionate romance, and dark betrayal...

Ah, it's nice to be back in the Gardella world again.  I fell in love with Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles a few years ago and I was thrilled when I found out she'd come out with a sequel to that series set in the roaring 20's!  A very satisfying addition to the Chronicles, featuring Macey Denton, descendant of Victoria and Max who has now taken on the mantle of Venator in the gangster-ridden 20's of Chicago.  Like her g-g-g grandmother Victoria before her, Macey has to be convinced first of her Calling.  Then she undergoes her training of how to kill the vampires that are sweeping through Chicago and cozying up to Al Capone.  Like Victoria, Macey is torn between her "real" world which involves the new man in her life, an Irishman reporter named Grady, and her "new" world as a Venator, where she must prowl around all night killing vampires with her new mentor Chas.  There's quite a lot of similarities to the old series - but that's a good thing!  We meet some old friends like Sebastian and new ones like Grady and Chas.  I really loved it!  Bring on some more!

4/5

The Trouble with Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson

Book Description:
Dumped by her boyfriend, stressed out by her job, Kate Hamilton needs to regroup and get back some self-esteem. She moves from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the wilderness of Gospel, Idaho for some small-town fun. But when her first attempted seduction of a hunky stranger is completely rejected, she wonders what else could possibly go wrong?

Well, for starters she quickly realizes that the Mountain Mama Crafters Original Poetry reading is about as good as it gets on a Friday night. Then she comes face to face with Rob Sutter, former ice hockey madman, owner of Sutter's Sports—and the hunky stranger who told her to get lost!

Rob's been more than burned by love—but then he and Kate find themselves in an ultra-compromising position in the M & S Market after-hours, giving the phrase "clean-up in aisle five" a whole new meaning, and cause a whole lot of gossip in Gospel...

OMG, I loved this story so much of ex-NHL player, Rob Sutter, getting over some bad times and a divorce.  He unexpectedly finds love in the unlikeliest of places - Gospel, Idaho, yet he's too stupid to recognize it. Great story with lots of heat, although I could kick him for being such a horse's ass after one particularly crucial moment in the book! Grr! Men!  Otherwise I loved him.  *grin*  Lots of humor and plenty of loving and good old fashioned romance.  He and Kate's courtship was a pleasure to read about.  A keeper for me!  Best in the series so far.

4.5/5

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros



Book Description:
Dear Reader,

I'd been prowling the crumbling ruins of Castle Weyrcraig for so long that I could no longer remember if I was man or beast. Then one stormy night the superstitious Highlanders of Ballybliss decided to leave a helpless virgin bound to a stake in the castle courtyard to satisfy my insatiable appetites.

My demands might strike terror in the hearts of men, but this bold beauty dared to defy me. After she informed me that she didn't believe in dragons, I had no choice but to make her my prisoner—or risk being exposed to those I had sought to deceive with my dangerous masquerade.

Soon I found myself stealing into the moonlit tower just to watch her sleep. Little does she know that beneath this beast's gruff exterior beats the passionate heart of a man. Gwendolyn Wilder may not believe in dragons, but I intend to use all my sensual wiles to teach her to believe in something even more magical—true love.

Eternally yours,

The Dragon of Weyrcraig


Quickie Review:
I know this book is a favorite by many, but I just didn't feel the love for it.  Set around fifteen years after the Battle of Culloden in Scotland, it's the story of how Gwendolyn Wilder, a virgin who is considered overweight and unattractive in comparison to her beautiful - and promiscuous - sisters, falls in love with the Dragon of Weyrcraig, a man who sees her in a different light - as a true beauty.  Ironically, he will not show Gwendolyn his own face as he holds her prisoner whispering sweet nothings in her ear as he gradually seduces her over time.  Why all the secrecy?  Who is he really and what is he hiding from, for he is truly hiding from someone - himself, maybe? 

How did sensible Gwendolyn wind up as the Dragon's prisoner?  It all started because the Dragon, who took over the crumbling castle on the hill overlooking her village began to scare everyone to death by making demands for food and money.  The townspeople are a superstitious lot who decide to make Gwendolyn a human sacrifice to the Dragon in hopes that he will give up his demands of the exorbitant amount of £10,000.  The same amount of money that was paid to the traitor who turned in the laird of Weyrcraig following the battle of Culloden.  The laird had been a Jacobite supporter protecting Bonnie Prince Charlie and helping him escape the British.

As it turns out the fearsome Dragon is Bernard, the son of the former laird.  Believed to have died when the castle was shelled by the British, he actually lived and now is eager to seek revenge on whoever turned in his father, a fate leading to the laird's death, but not before he cursed the entire village for their treachery.  Gwendolyn fell for Bernard years before when she was a pudgy young girl and he the strikingly handsome future laird of Weyrcraig.  But much happened after Culloden, including the sacking of the castle and an end to Bernard's future as laird.  Captured and held prisoner by the British, he was then rescued by an Englishman who wound up raising him as his son and heir.  Now rich and powerful, Bernard, posing as the Dragon, has come back to the small village, bent on avenging the life of his father.  

Did Bernard remember Gwendolyn from all those years ago when she was just a young girl?  Their reunion when he rescues her from the rain, tied to the post outside his castle is vague in Gwen's memory.  Who carried her inside the castle?  A smart girl, Gwen suffers from an inferiority complex due to her weight.  As Bernard - the mysterious Dragon - makes it plain he likes her lush, curvaceous figure, but she finds it hard to believe anyone, much less the Dragon would find her beautiful.  Yet he obviously does and keeps her there for weeks with him, dressing her in beautiful gowns and treating her like a queen - albeit in a gilded cage.  Over time she gets to know him slightly, but is chagrined that he will not confide in her or reveal his face to her.  She gets to know his friend Tupper who visits with her often and becomes a friend, yet after questioning him, she still cannot glean any information as to who the identity of the Dragon is and what he is doing there.  Meanwhile, she's fighting her own desires that are growing more and more due to her proximity to him.  She is drawn to him, yet she's also annoyed with him since he won't show himself to her.  Why won't he?  For fear she will recognize him?  Is he horribly scarred? Is he so hideous he cannot bear to have anyone see him?  While his prisoner, Gwendolyn and Bernard have many sparring interludes that lead to kisses, but all the while his face remains hidden from her.  She has no idea who he really is and frankly she's getting fed up with being his prisoner and this game of his, even if he dresses her in finery and feeds her with delicacies fit for a princess.  It's apparent he wants to bed her, but the gentleman in him won't deflower a virgin.  Yet, still he wants her. Big bones and all. 

I have to admit, I grew bored with this long, drawn out imprisonment and wanted something to happen!  I really wanted to like this story, but it just wouldn't move forward!  It seemed like her time locked in his castle went on forever and the story just wasn't going anywhere!  His friend Tupper and her sister Kitty's storyline was more lively and  interesting than Gwen and Bernard's!  I sympathized much more with Tupper, who pretends to be the dragon to get Kitty interested in him.  In comparison, Gwen and Bernard s plot line was just kind of... dull.  I never quite felt that the love growing between them was believable.  She takes an eternity to warm up to him and I just couldn't remain interested in what was happening.  No chemistry between the two, as far as I was concerned.

The Bride and the Beast wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  Unfortunately Teresa Medeiros is one of those hit or miss authors for me and this is a ... miss.  I found the plot line uneven and it wasn't too hard to figure out who the traitor was even though both Gwen and Bernard are suffering from misplaced guilt, convinced it was their fault that the British came and sacked the castle fifteen long years ago.   I didn't have much sympathy for anyone (except Tupper).  It annoyed me that Bernard was deceiving everyone, including Gwendolyn when he supposedly loved her and Gwendolyn's feelings seemed to run hot and cold for Bernard even after she knows the truth about him.  It all became rather complicated and to top it off I kept on thinking poor Kitty and Tupper - their wedding day was upstaged by Gwendolyn and Bernard's!  


Sorry for all of you folks who loved this book, but I just didn't get into it. 

3.5/5

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros


Book Description:
Gabriel Fairchild's valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, the man who once walked like a prince among London's elite secludes himself in his family's mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.   

Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn't possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel's life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets - and some pleasures - are best explored in the dark ...

I loved, loved, loved this book!  Teresa Medeiros is one of those hit or miss authors for me, but let me assure you, this one's a hit. This is the story of Gabriel Fairchild, a war hero who was blinded during the Napoleonic Wars.  Home now at his country estate, he must learn to cope with being blind, losing his fiancee and getting on with his life.  No longer the perfectly handsome gentleman who made women swoon and fall at his feet, he's now bitter over how his life has changed.  Not only is his face scarred, his psyche is as well.  He lashes out at anyone and everything.  He behaves like a savage at his country estate and everyone is afraid of him, including his parents and siblings.  No one has the courage to stand up to him - except for the new nurse, Samantha Wickersham who enters into his life.

I loved Samantha.  Strong willed and smart enough to take this monster on, for that is what Gabriel has become, she takes none of his anger and self pity - all nonsense.  Outmaneuvering Gabriel over and over again, she never gives up (although she comes close at one point), she finally wins him over and teaches him to re-learn the manners he once had.  She wakes him up to reclaim the gentleman that once lived inside his body.  She shows him that he must learn to live with the fact he is blind and will most likely never regain his sight again. There is a slim chance that someday his eyesight will be come back, but it's a dim hope.  He must be realistic and with Samantha's help he can do it.  Not only does this domineering force in his household turn his life all around, but she steals his heart as well.  A twist on the beauty and the beast theme, Samantha teaches Gabriel to be a better person, while at the same time she seeks atonement for her own past sins as well.

As the two develop feelings for one another, the reader begins to realize there there's more to this story than meets the eye.  It was a pleasure to see how they interact, first as enemies and eventually as soul mates. This really was a great story and I loved both hero and heroine.  Gabriel is bigger than big, but as they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  I loved it how she "tames" him and we see his transformation, all due to her.  But there is more to it than just that, which I won't go into, to avoid spoilers.  The story deepens when we find out the truth about Samantha's past, it gives the story a whole new dimension.  Trust me - it's good.

Not only is the main storyline well done but so are the characterizations.  I loved the little thing going on between the butler and housekeeper too!  All the servants join in to help Samantha eventually.  They want to see her succeed with Gabriel where all others failed.  Not only was it thrilling and entertaining, it was heartwarming to follow along with this couple through their ups and downs. *sigh*

Great, great story, very worthwhile - a keeper.

4.5/5

P.S. 4.5 rating because of the one scene towards the end that didn't fit with the rest of the story and seemed very odd and out of character for the h/h.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Heather and Velvet by Teresa Medeiros



Book Description:
Wounded in a foiled robbery attempt, Scottish bandit Sebastian Kerr must rely on the assistance of Prudence Walker, an innocent orphan.

This was a convoluted Georgian romance centered around a notorious highwayman known as the Dreadful Scot Bandit Kirkpatrick, who's real name is Sebastian Kerr.  With a long, drawn out plot line that was broken up into two parts, it had me confused and wondering through most of it.  I don't even know how I can write a coherent review of this book because it had so many story lines and details to it. 

What did the fearful highwayman Sebastian really want?  Was it the nearsighted and innocent young lass who rescued him from a bullet wound one rainy night?  Or is it the money and respectability of marrying her attractive - albeit self centered - aristocratic Aunt Tricia?   Despite the confusing plot line, parts of the story were funny and Medeiros has a flair for the sense of humor, particularly Aunt Tricia (and her wig!)  Her characterizations of the side characters were well done and, ironically, I appreciated them more than the leads.  But overall, the whole thing was all over the place and hard to follow despite it's amusing bits.

The first half of the book follows Sebastian and Prudence and how they deal with the fact they are crazy about one another but he needs to marry her aunt for her money so he can regain his castle in Scotland.  Sebastian is living two lives, one as the secret highwayman, the other as a Scottish nobleman.  Prudence knows his secret and her life is in peril because of it.  Sebastian's grandfather, a Frenchman who wants to overthrow the English monarchy, wants Sebastian to kill Prudence.  His grandfather has his own grand designs and Prudence's knowledge can ruin his plans. 

Prudence seems to be two different people as well.  The real Prudence is a prudish and sensible wallflower living with her aunt who nobody notices.  Nothing like the wild and vivacious young thing Sebastian met that night in the rain - and in his bed.  Prudence hates Sebastian for leading her on when he intended to marry her aunt for her money.  He asks Prudence to be his mistress, of all things, once he's married to her aunt.  Grossly insulted she refuses his offer.  Then, there's this sticky matter of whether he's going to kill her or not.  There are lots of other details and people I'm leaving out, believe me.

Part Two begins a few months later.  Prudence has managed to stop the marriage to her aunt by having Sebastian "captured" and sent off to Scotland.  She has saved Sebastian from the noose for highway robbery.  Despite everything, she still loves him.  Crazy, I know.  There were so many complications in this romance, I was baffled through much of the second half of the book.  While in Scotland, Sebastian falls to his lowest point and becomes the leader of a gang of thieves.  As fate would have it, Prudence is now a duchess (!) and has lots of money!  She deliberately tries to find Sebastian so she can tell him that she still loves him and help him.  But, at the same time, she's also engaged to his archenemy - the MacKay - the man who owns the title and castle that Sebastian feels he has rights to.  Sebastian forces her to marry him instead and then she hates him again - did he marry her for her money or because he really loves her?  Back and forth, back and forth - I got so sick of these two! Grr!

Although a lot of this book was entertaining, I had so many issues with the crazy storyline and loose ends!  Did I happen to mention that Prudence is an expert when it comes to gunpowder? Whatever happened to the notion that Sebastian had to kill her?  Whatever happened to his French grandfather in the House of Commons - and how can a Frenchman become a member of the House in England anyway?  How come no one realized who MacKay obviously was until the end?  I guessed it from the time we first meet him.

Parts dragged and other parts were amusing.  It's hard to say whether I liked the first part or second better.  What parts did I really like?

Tricia - she was very funny with her many past husbands - and her wig.

Devoney, Prudence's neighbor - I laughed at her silliness and how she loved being ravished by highwaymen!

The butlers - both were funny in their own way, very cheeky.

Jamie, Sebastian's sidekick - what a laugh, won me over by the end, though I didn't like him at first, he turned out to be an angel in disguise for Prudence.  Dressed up as Cupid - what a riot!

The long and short of it is, this book was all over the place.  The romance was uneven and I wasn't overly crazy about either the hero or heroine.  Yet, it's saving grace was the light hearted surprises and humor.  The minor characters kept me reading.   Read it if you're into highwaymen, but as a Georgian romance, you might want to skip it.

Btw, the copyright is 1992, is that Fabio on the cover??

3/5

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Vampire Who Loved Me by Teresa Medeiros



Book Description:
Julian Kane is back in town.

Once, as a girl of seventeen, beautiful, headstrong Portia Cabot saved the cursed life of the dashing vampire Julian Kane - who marked her forever, then left to go in search of his soul. He returns five years later to find the enchanting young girl he left behind grown into a bewitching woman with a woman's heart - and a woman's desires.

Portia quickly discovers that Julian's seductive and forbidden kiss can still make her crave the night . . . and his touch. But the Julian who has returned to London is not the vampire she remembers. His fruitless pursuit of his stolen mortality has reduced him to drunken debauchery. And a recent spate of murders makes Portia fear that the man she has always adored may truly be a monster.

Julian knows he must drive Portia away - but his passion and hunger for her grow more irresistible every time they touch. For years he has fought the temptation to embrace his dark gifts, never realizing that Portia's love may give him the most dangerous gift of all . . . a reason to live.

Whenever I read a Teresa Medeiros book, I'm not sure if I'm going to like it or not.  She's a bit uneven.  The first book of this duo, After Midnight was great, I really loved it.  But, it's sequel, The Vampire Who Loved Me just didn't work for me.  I suspected that might be the case since Julian is a vampire and I wasn't all that fond of him in the first book, and here he's the hero!

Here we follow younger sister Portia who still carries a torch for Julian, the vampire brother to Adrian, her brother-in-law. Portia cannot accept that he is as dissolute as he appears to be.  She's been carrying a torch for him for five years.  At the end of the last book, she is locked up in a crypt with him and we never find out what exactly happened - did he drink her blood?  Did he deflower her? What actually happened between them when they were locked in together? We find out in this one, although not until close to the end.

Portia has grown up quite a bit since she was seventeen and had a colossal crush on Julian.  She's become a beauty and has also learned a thing or two about becoming a vampire slayer.  Julian has long since disappeared, yet Portia knows immediately when he's back in London and goes to him as soon as she can.  He now has a reputation as a wastrel and just as he shows up in town again, young women in Whitechapel are found dead - by a vampire.  Is Julian the killer?  Portia wants to clear his name, but at the same time she's putting herself in danger.   What if he tries to kill her?  Would he?

I had a hard time with Portia, at first she comes across as a strong heroine, someone who can hold her own. But then she keeps doing all these stupid things that bothered me.  Constantly putting herself in danger, leaving her windows open, walking alone looking for the killer in back alleyways, posing as a new vampire bride (as if!) After a while, she started to bug me.  Julian. I'm afraid I never cottoned to him from the beginning. 

The main gist of the story is Portia and Julian never stopped loving one another.  Their moment in the crypt left an indelible impression on both of them.  Yet because Julian loves her, he has stayed away from her because he is a vampire and has no soul.   He realized it was hopeless for them.  It turns out he has an old lover - another vampire who is old and powerful, though she is beautiful and dangerous.  She is the one that owns Julian's soul.  She's awful and is the real vampire who is going around killing unsuspecting women in the alleys.  Plus, she hates Portia for she is jealous and knows Portia is the love of Julian's life.  There's a real tug of war over Julian between the two of them.  Frankly, I just rolled my eyes - what did they see in him - he did nothing for me!  Somehow there must be a way to kill her, but at the same time, to do it in such a way that Julian can become a mortal again.  Not easy.

Still with me?

Parts of the book weren't bad, I liked the part when Julian and Portia attend a vampire party where Julian leads Portia around by a golden collar and she has to pretend to be his vampire bride.  Turns out Lord Byron is there - and he's a vampire too!  Of course, the vampires all find out the truth and they have to make a run for it and hide.  I was saddened and shocked afterwards when they find out that while they've been shacked up together in hiding, a certain beloved character had been kidnapped by Julian's vampire lover.

Overall, this turned out to be another vampire book I could have skipped.  I just can't resist these historical vampire romances!  Why do I keep doing this to myself?  I think I'll try Medeiros' other romances - without vampires, maybe I'll like them more.  I still haven't given up on her.

3/5

Thursday, October 7, 2010

After Midnight by Teresa Medeiros



Book Description:
"Our sister is marrying a vampire." When the ever practical Caroline Cabot first hears those words from the lips of her fanciful youngest sister, she accuses Portia of having a wild imagination. But when she discovers their sister Vivienne is actually being courted by Adrian Kane, the mysterious viscount rumored to be a vampire, she decides to accept his invitation to a midnight supper and do some sleuthing of her own. To both her delight and her dismay, she soon finds herself falling under Kane's bewitching spell. After all, what's a proper young lady to do when her sister's suitor arouses more than just her suspicions?

I really enjoyed this late Regency paranormal romance!  A pleasant surprise, I had no idea what to expect.  Still on the search for an historical paranormal that's as good as The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, this one has come the closest so far in my quest.

Set in 1820 London and it's environs, the story centers on three sisters, one of whom is outwardly being wooed by a rumored vampire.  Said vampire is doing nothing to dispel the rumors, while at the same time, he's falling for her sister Caroline, who as the eldest and considered on the shelf, has serious doubts about whether or not she wants her sister Vivienne marrying this mysterious Adrian Kane, who is never seen in the daylight.   Caroline's common sense wars with the evidence that is gradually stacking up against him. Is he a vampire or not?  If not, why has no one seen him outdoors on a sunny day?  Why are there no mirrors in his entire house?  Why is a London constable suspicious and warning her away from him, and why is he so interested in Vivienne, who looks exactly like his fiancee who mysteriously disappeared and died a violent death six years earlier?  Good grief!  And to make matters worse, he's devilishly handsome, in a blond, hot blooded, manly sort of way with nary a hint of fanged teeth about him!

Yet, his younger brother is another story.  What is he hiding beneath that studied Byronesque pose of his?  Is he the real vampire in the family with his deathly pallor and penchant for rare meat? 

Adrian is definitely hiding something and Caroline is torn.  One side of her wants to find out the truth about him, and the other side just wants him!  It doesn't help that he obviously wants her too!  How dare he, when he's supposed to be courting her sister! Stolen kisses and his enigmatic answers to her questions aren't helping.  The stakes are upped when she finds out her sister Vivienne is being used as bait to catch the real vampire in the story.  Will Caroline risk her own life to save her sister, and unwittingly put her other sister, Portia's life in grave danger?  Can she forgive Adrian for lying to her and putting Vivienne in such danger?

Lots of questions and dilemmas that made this a really fun read.  I loved the vampire slayer aspect to it without it being too heavy handed.  It didn't dominate the story which is basically a romance.  There were humorous parts that made me laugh, particularly the way Adrian and Caroline sparred with one another, yet somehow she always seemed to wind up in his arms and ultimately - his bed.  There was also just enough suspense and mystery to it to make it compelling all the way to the finish with room for a sequel, which I'll definitely be reading!

I highly recommend.  An entertaining and worthwhile read!

4/5

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Whisper of Roses by Teresa Medeiros




Book Description:

As she peered over the edge of the gallery, Sabrina Cameron trembled at the sight of the sun-bronzed giant striding into view. But she never recognized the stranger...not until the moment she found herself surrounded by arms of warm steel—and drowning in smoldering green eyes that had once held cool disdain but now shimmered with passion. Morgan MacDonnell, the boy, had been her tormentor. Now it looked as if Morgan, the man, would prove infinitely more dangerous...

Though hatred divided their clans, Morgan MacDonnell had come to Cameron Glen hoping for a truce...only to find that by evening's end the only way to avert bloodshed between the two families was for him to marry his enemy's daughter. But even as Morgan spirited Sabrina away to his rugged fortress, his battle would not be won. For this delicate rose of a girl would put up a bold fight...and the spoils of victory would be nothing less than a heathen MacDonell's heart.


This is the 2nd Teresa Medeiros book that I've read, and unfortunately this one didn't thrill me too much, much the same as the last one. The premise was good and sounded like I would like it. It's a Scottish Highlander romance, but I found it hard to like the hero, Morgan MacDonnell at first. Then, when we finally like him, we no longer like the heroine! Plus, there was this nagging feeling the hero was in love with her mother - huh?!

It is the early 18th century and Sabrina Cameron's family has had a long going feud with the filthy, disreputable MacDonell's as long as anyone can remember. Wealthy, her father invites the MacDonnell's to dine at his castle. After many years, Sabrina who grew up with Morgan McDonnell (he fostered with them as a boy during the summers) meets him again. He is now grown up, handsome, strong, virile, everything she thought he'd be. Yet, he had been a bully to her for years and had treated her badly. Now, we are led to believe that she had carried a torch for him all that time?

Inexplicably, during the grand feast, the laird of the MacDonnell's is murdered, a knife in the back. All hell breaks loose and after much ado, it is determined that Sabrina is going to have to marry Morgan. Yes, I know you must be thinking - "what?" But, they cook up a good reason, and she must leave her beautiful home and go live in the poor and ramshackle crumbling castle of the MacDonell's.

Sabrina and Morgan are wary of each other at first, but before long they fall in love and have a pretty good time of it... But, there are others in the clan who don't want her around and a scheme is carried out by Morgan's kinsmen (unbeknonst to him) that ends in tragedy. Sabrina winds up having a terrible accident in which her legs are broken, and she is crippled. In her own mind, she feels she must do the "noble" thing and make Morgan think she blames him and hates him for being the cause of her accident so that he'll divorce her and find a "whole" woman. Grrrr! I hate it when the heroines gets these stupid ideas in their heads!

So for the rest of the book, the two of them separate and then try to reunite at the instigation of her parents who hate to see what she has become. Sabrina turns into a bitter shrew and Morgan goes to London (where she is living with her English aunt and uncle and cousin, Enid who turns out to be a promiscuous miss in love with one of Morgan's cousins) and poses as a wealthy Scottish earl to win her back. The London part of the book was good, but most of the rest of the book was just a little lacklustre. I can't put my finger on it, but it didn't grab me. Then when we find out the big truth at the end of the book - I really found it hard to believe that Morgan would just accept it! It's quite a revelation!

I've left a lot out, but this review was the gist of the book. It's not much of a review, party because I couldn't really get excited about writing one up! There was a lot of deception, scheming and some sex, but the heroine is just boring. Sometimes she seems intelligent, and other times too stupid to live. I found it hard to believe she had always loved Morgan after he'd been so mean to her. And what did he see in her? I'm not reading any more by this author, I've realized there are better Scottish romances out there, this was well written, but there wasn't much passion in it and as much as there were some good parts in the book, there were also some dull and slow moving parts and revelations that were, in my opinion, hard to live with. As a whole, it all left me with an overall blah feeling in regard to the book. Maybe it's just me, but I recall I felt the same way with the other book I read by her. Disappointing.

3/5
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