Sunday, May 30, 2010

Flashback Sunday Review/ Night Magic/ Karen Robards/ Grand Central Publishing

Flashback Sunday Review:  A review of a book that is at least 5 years old- an oldie but a goodie!
Title:  Night Magic
Author:  Karen Robards
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Publication Date:  April 13, 1988
Print ISBN978-0446353915
eBook ISBN:  978-0759541993
Length:  384 Pages
Format:  Print/eBook
Purchase:  Night Magic    Barnes and Noble
Book Blurb: 

A contemporary author of romantic thrillers becomes unwittingly embroiled in an adventure with a handsome stranger that surpasses anything in her fiction.

My Review: 

I really enjoyed reading this book.  The blurb was not much but it was recommended to me by someone that I shall just refer to as my "book pusher", a woman who is extreemly knowledgable about romance books and who has exquisite taste.  We were discussing good romantic suspense and she said that she loved to read Karen Robard's books and I confessed to have not read any of Ms. Robard's work.  She then insisted that I read this book and I'm happy that she did.

First I have to state that the time frame for this book moves very fast and that the action is taking place while the Cold War is still in existence.  Russia and the United States are still at odds and Europe is still broken into the Communist and Non-Communist countries.

The hero of this book is Jack McCain, an operative of the C.I.A., who is currently assigned to desk duty due to a mission that went poorly in the past.  He is given a chance to redeem himself and come back into active agent duty because a Russian operative has requested assylum and has requested that Jack be his liason.  Of course, things don't go exactly as planned and both Jack and his contact are almost killed.  Jack manages to escape with some information and the chase is on. 

The heroine of this book is Clara Winston, a novelist of romantic suspense fiction who owns a cat named "Puff".  How Clara gets involved with Jack is really quite funny but one thing leads to another and both Clara and Jack are fleeing for their lives from a very determined Russian agent by the name of Rostov.  Clara had been content living a semi solitary life on her mother's farm and writing her books and had never thought of herself as adventurous or particularily strong.  She is also not very fond of Jack and doesn't think that he is very attractive at the beginning of their adventure.  As is to be expected in a romantic suspense book, her opinion changes as the book moves on.

The pace in the book is fast and the writting is well done.  The dialogue is smart and funny.  While the situations that take place aren't always believable, they are well written.  This book has a very satisfactory ending and I  definitely recommend that you read this book if you like romantic suspense.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  The reviewer purchased this book for review. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Contest - Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (Kate Douglas Series Book 4)

I absolutely love this series and in celebration of the release of Magic Bleeds, Book 4 in the Kate Douglas series- I'm throwing a contest. 

Here is the Blurb for this book:

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it rose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

Author:  Ilona Andrews
Publisher:  Ace Books
Length:  384 Pages
Genre:  Science Fiction/Fantasy
Purchase:  Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Book 4)

Contest and Contest Rules:
I will admit that I am avoiding certain genres of books, for instance, I don't really like to read non-fiction books at this time.  Part of the reason is that I finished my Master's Degree towards the end of 2009 and after years of having to read non-fiction for school- I'm burned out.  Other genres either scare me or I'm just dragging my feet on.
 So the contest question is this:  Is there a genre of book that you are avoiding like the black plague?  If so what is it and why are you avoiding it?
1.  You must be a follower of this blog
2.  You must leave your email address so that I can contact you to notify you and get details for shipment. 
3.  Due to shipment issues, the contest is open only to U.S. and Canada residents. 
4.  Contest will close at 6 PM on Friday , 28-May-10.  Winner to be announced by Noon on the following day. 
Two winners will receive a print copy of Magic Bleeds plus a choice of one of the following candy bars:
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Toffee Interlude
Ghirardelli Dark & Caramel
Ghirardelli Dark & Raspberry
Ghirardelli Luxe Milk
Winners: If you have not been reading this series, you can instead choose to get the first book in the series "Magic Bites".  This is one series that I strongly recommend reading in order (which can be found on the author's website). 
Good Luck Everyone!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review/On The Steamy Side/Louisa Edwards/St. Martin's Paperbacks

Title: On The Steamy Side
Author: Louisa Edwards
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Print ISBN: 978-0312356460
eBook ISBN: 978-1429939003
Length: 336 Pages
Format:  Print
Purchase:  Amazon          Barnes and Noble


She’s Never Met A Man So Mouth-Watering

When Lilah Jane Tunkle fled her dull life in Virginia for the bright lights of New York City, she didn’t expect to wind up a nanny to a gorgeous celebrity chef’s ten-year-old son. Working for the delectable Devon Sparks is a sure-fire recipe for disaster, especially after Lilah gets a tantalizing taste of his perfectly seasoned kisses . . .

And He Can’t Resist Her Down-Home Spice

Devon’s not sure he can handle one more surprise ingredient in his life—he left his popular TV show, his culinary reputation is on the line, and now the son he barely knows is back for seconds. Lilah’s Southern sass is supposed to keep the boy in line, but soon enough she’s teaching Devon a thing or two about homespun food . . . and turning up the heat.

My Review:

I really liked this book by Ms. Edwards.  The writing was tight and the dialogue was witty and sharp.  The characters were very well done and were a joy to read.  This is the second book in the "Recipe for Love Series" and it was a superb sequel to Can't Stand The Heat (A Recipe for Love)

The main female character in this book, Lilah "Lolly" Tunkle, was a great character.  She was determined to change her life and moved to New York City to do so.  She grew up in a small town in the south and had been raised by her aunt and uncle.  She's good looking, charming and is very selfless.  She has a great capacity for love and it really makes her character like able.  She also has gumption and resolve.

The main male character of Devon Sparks, was also a joy to read.  He was an extremely successful chef but somewhere along the line his love of cooking and love for food got lost.  He also was blessed with model looks but cursed with a vile temper and has some family ghosts in the closet.  He also has a small son that he has barely seen and that almost no one knows about. 

Due to circumstances that take place during the story, Devon gets temporary custody of his son Tucker.  They are virtually strangers but with Lilah's help, they start to form a relationship.  There is also the drama taking place in Devon's career, which involves a two week stint as a replacement chef at the restaurant "Market" that we were introduced to in the first book. 

I don't want to give away spoilers as there are still many people who have not read this book yet.  I will say that there is a happy ending and also a clue towards the next book in the series, Just One Taste, which is due out on August 31, 2010.  I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to catch up with some of my favorite secondary characters in this series again.

One other feature of this series that intrigues me is the fact that Ms. Edwards places at least 3 recipes in the back of each book.  The recipes are always for food items that are mentioned in the book and there is on in particular from this book that I am going to try myself and that is the recipe for "Delmonico Pudding".

I highly recommend this book!

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Crowns

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: The Seduction of His Wife/Janet Chapman/Pocket Star

Flashback Sunday Review

Title:  The Seduction of His Wife

Author:  Janet Chapman

Publisher:  Pocket Star

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date:  June 2006

ISBN:  978-1416505273                       

Length:  368 Pages

Format: Both Print and Ebook


Book Blurb:

He set out to seduce her for all the wrong reasons -- but found himself falling in love with her for all the right ones.

Alex Knight is dead -- or so everyone thinks. A widowed logger baron with a risk-taking streak, he took on a South American engineering project and was reported dead after a rebel attack. So when he turns up back in Maine very much alive, his grieving family is shocked. But the biggest shock is Alex's, when he discovers he's now married -- to a woman he's never met.

Sarah Banks is ready for a change from running a quiet Bed & Breakfast, and working for the Knight family offers not only a bigger opportunity, but also the family life she yearns for. So she's glad to help secure custody of Alex's orphaned children, whom she's come to love, by marrying their father by proxy before he's legally declared dead. But when Alex returns, the sexy, determined woodsman upends all of Sarah's plans. Because suddenly she's married to a passionate stranger with an easy smile...and tumbling headlong into a fiery dance of seduction.

My Review: 
     I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  Ms. Cjapman did an excellent job in creating a book that was light and fun to read.  This book was easily read in a day.  It is the first book in her Logger series. 
     The main character of Sarah Banks is somewhat of a conundrum in that she is a woman in a modern setting who has the aspirations to be a successful busineswoman yet she also feels the need to take care of others in a more traditional fashion.  She is very much a Martha Stewart type woman.  There are some people who don't think that you can be as much of a caretaker as this character is and still be a modern woman but I disagree.

     The character of Alex Knight is pretty typical of a romance hero.  He's tall and good looking, happens to have some money and is an alpha male.  He's also a little damaged by a previous marriage that didn't turn out the way he wanted.  It was interesting to read his attempts to manipulate Sarah into doing what he wanted and how she managed to outwit him most of the time.

     Overall, this was a very enjoyable book to read and I would consider it somewhat of a comfort read.  Nothing earth shattering but more than pleasant enough to pick you up on a day when things have been a little tough.

My Rating:       4 out of 5 Crowns


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review: Savor The Moment/Nora Roberts/Berkley Publishing Inc.

Title: Savor The Moment

Author: Nora Roberts

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: April 27, 2010

eBook ISBN: 978-1101187128

Print ISBN: 978-0425233689

Length: 352 Pages

Format: Print and eBook


In Savor the Moment, the third book in the irresistible Bride Quartet series, Nora Roberts takes us down the aisle once again, this time with a feisty young woman who knows what she wants…but is unsure how to get it.

Just because wedding baker Laurel McBane is surrounded by romance every day—she works at Vows wedding planning company with her best friends Parker, Emma and Mac—doesn’t mean she covets all the luxuries of which their clients can’t seem to get enough. She’s way too low-key for such extravagances. What Laurel does appreciate, though, is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker’s older brother, Delaney, on whom she’s had a mega-crush since they were kids.

Unfortunately, some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the handsome Ivy League lawyer she still daydreams about is, as always, out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the romantic line with her…or so she thinks. When one of Laurel’s quicksilver moods get the better of her, leading to an angry, hot, all-together mind-blowing kiss with Del, can she quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into happily-ever-after true love?

My Review:
I really liked this book.  I have felt that each book in this series has improved on the previous book and this was a really fun book to read.  This book mostly focuses on Laurel and Del, however, the characters from the previous books do continue to appear and play an important part.

The character of Laurel McBane is interesting in that she has spent most of her life with the three other ladies in her immediate group, yet doesn't quite feel like their social equal.  Laurel is still dealing with issues that make her feel separate and as if she is looking in from the outside.  Ms. Roberts gives us enough details to help us understand why Laurel feels that way and why she has never acted on her attraction to her best friend's brother.  As Laurel watches two of her friends find the loves of their life, she realizes that she is going to need to change something and she finally gets the courage to do so and acts on her attraction to Delaney Brown. 

Delaney Brown is an interesting man.  He comes from a privileged background and has a very secure financial setup.  In fact at one point, Laurel realizes he's not just rich, he's wealthy.  He is well educated, extremely responsible and very solicitous towards his sister's friends.  He considers all of the ladies as his responsibility - like he is their big brother also.  Recently he realized that he is attracted to Laurel, however, he is afraid of changing the dynamics of their relationship, so he doesn't act on it (Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet, Book 2)).  When Laurel decides to act on her feelings and attraction, he decides that perhaps it's time to look at things from a different perspective.

I liked how both Laurel and Delaney took an objective look at their attraction towards each other and pondered and discussed whether they should risk their life long friendship and somewhat familial love for what could possibly turn out to be simply an affair that didn't develop into anything.  They also discover that even though they have known each other a long time, there are still things about each other that they don't know.

We get to see the Brown's housekeeper, Mrs. Grady, and also have another encounter with Mackenzie's mom, Linda, who is a great villain in this series.  I would recommend that you read the previous books Vision in White (The Bride Quartet, Book 1) and Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet, Book 2) so that you have a good feel for the characters and how the relationships have evolved.

My Rating:    5 out of 5 Crowns

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review: Soulless/Gail Carriger/Orbit

Title:                              Soulless

Author:                         Gail Carriger

Publisher:                    Orbit US

Genre:                             Steampunk/Fantasy

Publication Date:      October 2009

Print ISBN:                   978-0316056632  

Length:                       384 Pages

Buy:                            Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)

Book Blurb:

     Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

My Review: 

     I really didn't expect to like this book because it was a new genre to me.  I couldn't figure out what the big deal was about Steampunk.  I loved this book.  Reading this book made me feel like the day that I read my first paranormal romance. 

     Alexia Tarabotti is an interesting character.  She has known for some time that she is "soulless", or what we would identify as preternatural.  She is not supernatural like the werewolves, vampires and ghosts that have come out of the closet in her society.  Did I mention that her society is taking place during Queen Victoria's reign?  Science has made big leaps in her time and Alexia prides herself on being up on he latest inventions and scientific thinking.  She's open minded and far thinking, and also thinks that women can play a significant role in society.  She's also not willing to always be the damsel in distress and when things hit the fan is right in the middle and thinking of ways to help herself and the other's that are involved.

     Lord Maccon is a really fun character.  He's a Scottish Werewolf and has had encounters with Alexia before.  In fact one could say that they have a somewhat adversarial relationship at the beginning of the book but deep down the issue is that he is really attracted to her.  He is in charge at the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), the government's official register for supernatural creatures and is considered one of the area's most eligible bachelor's.  He ends up investigating an incident at a party that both he and Alexia attended and begins to spend more time in her company and their mutual attraction grows. 

     The secondary characters in this book are also alot of fun, especially the somewhat rogue vampire, Lord Akeldama, and Lord Maccon's beta wolf, Professor Lyall.

     Overall this is a really great paranormal book and I plan to read the rest of this series.

My Rating:   5 out of 5 Crowns