Monday, June 30, 2008

Kresley Cole 'Dark Desires After Dusk'

Smart Bitches already addressed the ridiculous title of this book so I'll get straight to the story.

Cadeon is the ne'er-do-well brother of a deposed demon king. He feels he's to blame for his brother losing the throne, of course. Now hundreds of years later it turns out that his fated mate is this century's Vessel. She is a Valkyrie who is fated to have her first born be the greatest warrior of the century. And whether he fights for good or evil is dependent on who the father is. Sooooo, an evil sorcerer wants her in exchange for the only sword that can kill the guy whose now on Cadeon's brother's throne. Are you still following this?

This is all explained in the first two chapters, and the rest of the book consists of their travels to said Evil Sorcerer's castle, escape from said castle and reunion after the destruction of said Evil Sorcerer. Cadeon, is basically a nice frat boy and Holly is an OCD uptight school teacher type. It isn't until she moves into a Valkyrie sorority house that I realized they were perfect for each other.

Really the writing is decent, the characters aren't horrible, some minor plot issues (like the Evil Sorcerer really isn't going to care that Cadeon slept with her, HELLO!). But the characters aren't amazing either. Light, slightly amusing, not terrible.

Paranormal Romance 2008: 3 out of 5 glass shattering Valkyrie shrieks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jeaniene Frost 'One Foot in the Grave'

I enjoyed this book much more than I would have expected. Don't get me wrong, I'm up for the whole vampire romance thing, I just think when a sub-genre gets so popular there are a lot of books thrown at the wall to see which ones might stick. And since we all have to buy 'em before we read 'em, they're all sticking whether they should or not, if you can follow my metaphor better than I can.....

Cat Crawfield is a half-breed vampire (the only one known to exist) who works for a special branch of the government developed to kill vampires. Four years ago she ran away from the love of her life, a vampire, and now he's found her and is determined to not only protect her from a new threat, but to never let her get away again.

Cat is a strong, smart character and Bones (her love) is pulchritudinous (i.e.; gorgeous: I just learned that word and it so sounds the opposite of what it is, I love it), lethal, and wants nothing except Cat's happiness. That's hard not to like. If there were some hard to believe elements, why exactly did Cat leave Bones? or how is this group discerning which vampires to kill again? It's possible these questions were better answered in the first book of the series; truthfully they weren't large enough issues to stop me enjoying the story, and in genre fiction, that's pretty much all I ask.

Paranormal Romance 2008: 4.5 of 5 ghoulish resurrections.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I'm obviously a little new to the blogosphere having never heard of (cyber) tagging before. But one of my favorite not-always-romance reviewers Kate has issued a small challenge. Go to my nearest book, find page 123, read and transcribe the 5th sentence.

I'm not kidding that I was perusing "The Instant Intellectual" by Norah Vincent and Chad Conway having received it in the mail this morning and trying to remember why I bought it. I had finally zeroed in on a vague memory of wanting to give it as a gift, but to whom?? Anyway, I digress. Unfortunately there is a picture on page 123. But on page 122 is the word Literati with the definition, "The literary crowd. Intelligentsia." Hmm.

I received another book in the mail this morning and as it is sitting right next to The Instant Intellectual, I'll include it here as well. I recently requested, from PaperBackSwap, All Night With The Boss by Natalie Anderson (I am so not making this up) because I just could not pass up reviewing a book on a romance novel site with that awesome title. Page 123, 5th sentence goes like this: "She obviously needed time to cool off and think about things." This is the voice of our hero by the way.

Okay, Kate. Thanks a lot. I'm a little (a lot) embarrassed by both of these books.

So now I tag the Tanaka Park's. One book for each of you, dears. No wriggling out now.

And one of my favorite author's/commentors on romance. Gennita Low

And one of my early commentors who has the blog with best title picture EVER, Marg.

Have fun!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Elizabeth Hoyt 'The Raven King'

I know this will send Stewart into another tizzy, to see me violating my 'only current books' rule, but I've been meaning to read Elizabeth Hoyt's first book in the fairytale trilogy. Anna Wren is a widow who lives in a small English town. She finally decides that she must find some sort of employment if she and her mother in law are going to continue to make ends meet.

The Earl of Swartingham has recently returned to his childhood home, and after scaring away two secretaries he sends his land steward out to find a replacement immediately. Anna bumps into him in town and accepts the job before he can gainsay her.

While some of the plot could be called far fetched, I really enjoyed these two characters. It might have helped that Edward has a large dog and Anna liked to garden, but of the three Prince trilogy books I liked this one best of all. Smart and funny and (mostly) believable characters with some raunchy sex thrown in. What more could you want.

Historical Romance 2006: 5 of 5 agrarian societies.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kimberly Logan 'Seduced By Sin'

Pet peeves, pet peeves.....Royce keeps calling Aimee 'mouse' and 'kitten.' I don't find this cute in the least. Lady Aimee is a retiring, rather plain, timid girl who was completely traumatized by witnessing her mother's murder ten years ago. She has mostly repressed the memories but lately she's dreaming of that night more often.

Royce is a friend of her father's who blew her off a year ago when she revealed her feelings for him after they had been friends for several years. He rejected her, not because she was eighteen and he is probably like 40 (okay, maybe 30) but because he has a darkness inside that causes everyone whom he loves to die. Very inconvenient I will admit.

Royce and Aimee are thrown back together when she becomes the target of an attempt on her life. Royce agrees to take her off to his 'end of the world' estate to protect her. You can't marry the chit because she'll get killed in some weird accident but you think it's smart to bring her to your house when there is an actual person out to kill her. What can I say.

In the end this book is pretty well written, the characters are certainly consistent, but the premise of their interaction; she thinks he couldn't want her, he thinks he must protect her from himself; is difficult to enjoy. I liked the fact that he is the one who is overcome by passion. Not terrible but not great either.

Historical Romance 2008: 3 of 5 murdering fiends.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Esri Rose 'Bound To Love Her'

I did finish How Green Was My Valley but I'm not going to review it until my book club meets to discuss it. Otherwise they've already heard everything I have to say.

I zoomed through Bound To Love Her last night. It's about Erin, who takes a neighbor's dog for a walk and meets up with an injured elf in the woods. Somehow they become bound to each other and he needs her energy to stay alive. She gets tangled up in the elves battle against a dark elf.

Fun book, hard to not like the idea of Legolas suddenly needing you, and the heroine is very resourceful and cool. On the other hand, Mr. Elf is pretty much off stage-left for much of the book, while Erin worries about their future and deals with the stalking dark elf. And the 'world rules' are a little fuzzy. The source of the bond between these two is never explained, for instance. If you like 'paranormal-urban modern romance' this is an enjoyable light book. It did bug me that the cover model doesn't exactly have long silvery hair.

Paranormal Contemporary Romance 2008: 3.5 out of 5 New Age Earrings.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lynsay Sands 'Vampire, Interrupted'

My friend Erica delivered some books and provided some new blood for me. (so to speak) This is obviously a later book in this series which may have affected my ability to connect with the heroine.

Marguerite is seven hundred years old and has spent most of that time in a nasty marriage with another vampire who could and did control her and read her mind. Her husband has finally died and she is starting a new career as a private investigator. While she is searching for her client's birth mother, she wakes up to find an assassin with a sword attempting to take her head off.

I was struck by how little it matters in this book that these characters are all vampires. There is an effort made to set up vampire rules for them, but their enhanced physical abilities aren't all that integral to their personalities. This isn't an entirely bad thing, but maybe a missed opportunity for the book. The sex was good, not much tension before consummation but that's pretty common these days. The mystery to be solved lacked any foreshadowing so it actually lost my interest. But I liked the hero and the heroine and I loved the scenes where all the guys got together and tried to give the hero advice. Somehow the male interaction was better drawn than almost anything else.

Paranormal Vampire Romance 2008: 3.5 of 5 lifemates.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Patricia Briggs 'Steal The Dragon'

One of my pet peeves, there are many, is when titles of books are inserted into the book awkwardly. Not only did I enjoy this book thoroughly, but the title is very cleverly taken from the story. I won't categorize this book as a romance, although there is a romantic relationship that develops, mostly because there is no sex. I know there is an entire section of romance that does not include coitus but those aren't the books I typically read or review.

Rialla is a former Daran slave who escaped to the mercenary nation of Siamin, where she is now a horse trainer. She is recruited to return to Daran posing as a slave again to help protect a Daranian lord who wants to end slavery in Daran, a dangerous endeavor.

I particularly liked how, while she has been trained as a mercenary (everyone is in Siamin) as a horse trainer, she is realistically less skilled in combat than some of her companions and more skilled in outwitting her enemies. The plot unfolds quickly and well. If you really enjoy fight scenes, these may not be riveting, but I liked the way they were more about smarts than gore. The characters are not completely stock and genuinely different from each other, not something you always see in genre fiction. And finally the world creation is terrific. I was completely sucked in and enjoyed the ride.

SF/Fantasy Girl Power 1995: 4.5 of 5 sylvan mages.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Julia Quinn "The Lost Duke of Wyndham"

Even better than the last one.

No, really!

Oh, fine, go read it for yourself.

Historical Romance 2008: 5 out of 5 Irish Highwaymen.