Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jacquelyn Frank 'Elijah'

In a nice change from my current pattern, I quite enjoyed the third book in "The Nightwalkers" series. This book is about Elijah, the head of the Demon warriors, and Siena the queen of the Lycanthropes. One of the Smart Bitches described her love of JR Ward's vampire series as basically a crack addition. This book is like that for me.

Elijah gets caught in an ambush and nearly dies, Siena finds him, takes him to safety and nurses him back to health. I'm a sucker for the wounded hero set up. Once they are in close proximity they 'imprint' or find out they are soul mates who will quite literally die if separated for too long. Talk about sexual frustration. The rub (and there is a lot of rubbing) is that the Demons and the Lycanthropes have been at war for a long time, and although they are now at peace, Siena's sure her people won't accept Elijah.

The world is well crafted, the characters are enjoyable, the sex is hot, the writing is good. The dialog isn't incredible but I've finally decided that the inescapable nature of this imprinting thing is what draws me like crack. What has always spoiled the idea of LURVVVVE for me is the 'how do I know this will last' aspect of it. If true LURVVVVE exists, how are you ever sure until one of you is on your deathbed? So while on the one hand, an irresistible compulsion to hump one person for the rest of your life might sound confining, it's irresistibility also feels freeing, from doubt. Fantasy, yes, enjoyable, definitely.

Paranormal Demon Romance 2008: 4.5 of 5 destinies.

I was hoping I wouldn't like this book so I wouldn't have to post the cover forever. *blushes*

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Laura Guhrke 'The Wicked Ways of a Duke'

Hmm, I had the same response to the second book of Jacquie D'Alessandro series; this is pretty good, but not as good as the first girl bachelor book 'And Then He Kissed Her.' Let's see, Prudence is an orphan who lived with her unlikable Aunt and Uncle until she was seventeen. She left them to live in London and now supports herself quite well as a seamstress.

Now that Rhys (aka Adonis) has inherited the Dukedom, he must marry an heiress or face complete ruin. When Prudence inherits millions from her erstwhile father who abandoned her mother, they have a match made in heaven.

What I liked so much about the first girl bachelor book was how strong the heroine was, I know some people disliked the hero, but I thought his conversion was believable, and a direct result of his interaction with the heroine. In this book, Prudence definitely dances along the edge of too stupid to live. She doesn't ever fall off the edge, thank god, but she's darn close. Rhys is an almost unredeemable user but the author plants enough goodness in him that his conversion is also quite believable. So in the end, these guys are an enjoyable couple, just not a awesome couple.

As an aside, I liked that Prudence was plump but felt it was mentioned a bit too often. I'm still traumatized by the sentence I read in some romance novel from the 1980's "....her concave stomach...' Probably I read that in more than one romance novel over the years....So GO PRUDENCE!

Historical Romance 2008: 4 out of 5 tight stays.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mary Karr "The Liar's Club"

This is a memoir of Mary Karr's east Texas childhood. Her mother is an intellectual alcoholic drowning in existential despair and her father is a hard drinking blue collar storyteller who gets into brawls a bit too easily.

She tells her generally horrific story with a healthy dose of humor but I found myself not noticing it was supposed to be funny except as an afterthought. The anxiety she describes, as only a powerless child can feel it, rings true as you're reminded of your own moments of fear as a kid. But it was overwhelmingly depressing to think that her unreliable and unpredictable parents created a permanent state of turmoil and fear for her and her sister. I just couldn't find this book funny.

I have a hard time reading depressing stories in general, I read romance novels for goodness sake. So my opinion of the book is certainly colored by my Pollyanna'ish desires in reading material. In other words, her voice is engrossing and heartrending in it's honesty. You even gain some peace with the mother in the end which I didn't think was possible. But for me, I just couldn't enjoy it. I really only finished it because it's my book club book this month.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, #1 Commentor, Anne

So I have to post something to take that Valentine thing off the top of my page and I'm still not done reading The Liar's Club, despite my book club meeting looming on Thursday evening.

Today is Anne's birthday and I decided to institute this post as homage to the best commentor (yes, I know it's mis-spelled, I thought it looked more like dictator and tormentor and creator) I have on my humble blog. Despite not being a romance novel reader, Anne always has something pithy and often snarky to say. And she has actually read two (I think) books on my recommendation, and she still talks to me. All that and she's a radio star as well. Let's all give it up for Anne! *general cheering*

Happy Birthday, Anne!

-image may or may not be an actual photo of Anne

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Struggling Over That Perfect Valentine Gift

It occurred to me that I should write a post on Valentine's Day, this is a romance novel review site.

I was pretty stumped until I came across this post on The Book Bitches. Holy Moly. Not safe for work, not truly safe for most of humanity. I warned you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cheryl Holt 'Secret Fantasy'

My Secret Fantasy is to never read a book this bad again. Margaret is the sweet orphaned heroine who lives with her evil Aunt and her horrid daughter. "Margaret had spent her entire life caught between them as they fought like cats trapped in a sack." I wasn't surprised to find Margaret sneaking out of the estate house to teach the local children in an abandoned crofters hut, but I guess I was surprised when our hero allows the evil Aunt to fondle his privates in her boudoir while Margaret spies through the keyhole. That should have been my first clue.

I can't even decide which disgusting, ridiculous plot twist to complain about next. Evil Aunt has, of course, stolen Margaret's trust fund for her horrid daughter. Meanwhile our hero gets caught in bed with Margaret but decides he still needs to marry Margaret's horrid cousin because of her supposed (stolen) fortune. But fate steps in, in the form of the hero's father, who (I kid you not) rapes the horrid cousin before the hero can get her to the altar. But the horrid cousin doesn't really mind the rape cause she has always wanted to be a Countess.

Later when Margaret finds out that she is not poor, but an heiress, she is reluctant to make up with the hero after his betrayal, but a month in a big mansion with no one to talk to takes care of that. She searches him out and asks him to marry her and help her spend her money. Oh, my aching head! This book so calls for the bat shit picture. Even skimming most of it was painful beyond words.

Historical Romance 2007: 0 out of 5 popped cherries.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jacquie D'Alessandro 'Confessions at Midnight'

D'Alessandro wrote Sleepless at Midnight which I gave 5 stars. This new book about Sarah's sister, Carolyn is fun and witty and just as light and enjoyable as her earlier book, until about halfway through. Somewhere around the second week of Carolyn's affair with Daniel, I got a little tired of his overwhelming addiction to her. And I started to notice that the book really didn't have anything other than their relationship going on. This is not necessarily a deal breaker in a romance, however the interaction of said main characters better remain pretty darn entertaining if that's the only element present. Oh, there is a little murder mystery but it's really an aside.

What I loved about Sleepless at Midnight, and what I love about the first half of this book is the clever, entertaining, witty dialog. But once the first infatuation runs it's course, the descent into maudlin overly dramatic emotion is all that's left. With not much other plot to distract me, I lost interest in these two.

Overall, solid middle of the road romance. Good in a pinch, but not very memorable.

Historical Romance 2008: 3.5 out of 5.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yasmine Galenorn "Darkling"

Personal Opinion: Didn't Like it. But for this one I have to allow some caveats.

First, this is the third book in a series. The Otherworld species and connections were overwelming and boring at the same time, but obviously if I hadn't jumped into the series here, that wouldn't have been such an issue.

Second, I'm not into the 'urban' sub-genre so much. I like fantasy, vampires etc. I like ass-kicking and trash talking in my films, but not so much in my books. Just doesn't translate as well for me.

Third, there is no third caveat, sorry. This is not a book about two characters falling in love. It's a book about Menolly's journey toward recovery from her torture at the hands of her sire vampire. I thought it was interesting how sex was used in the book, not to deepen an intimacy between two characters, but to heal one character using various partners. I didn't hate the book cause it diverted from the 'romance' rules, the story just didn't grab me, I didn't care too much about the characters, and I found myself skimming it just to finish.

Modern Paranormal Vampire Urban Book 2008: 2 of 5 Supernaturals.