Thursday, May 29, 2008

Steel Trapp

Steel Trapp: The Challenge by Ridley Pearson (2008)

Description: In this riveting crime novel, 14-year-old Steven "Steel" Trapp sets off with his mom and their dog, Cairo, on a 2-day Amtrak journey to compete in the National Science Competition in Washington, DC. Steel is both blessed and cursed with a remarkable photographic memory—just one look and whatever he sees is imprinted for keeps. Trying to be a good Samaritan on the train, he instead becomes embroiled in an ingenious plot of kidnapping and bribery that may have links to terrorists...

Review: This really was quite a fantastic novel. I did not put it down once I started to read it. We follow Steven "Steel" Trapp on his way to a National Science Competition and see all the trouble he gets in. Both his curiosity and photographic memory get him stuck smack dab in the middle of a government investigation and terrorist plot. The characters were well written and very believable. I think this is a great book for mystery lovers as well as that reluctant reader in your life.

Score: 4 out of 5

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Third Circle

The Third Circle (Arcane Society Book 4) by Amanda Quick (2008)

Description: Leona Hewitt, disguised in men's formal evening clothes, has secretly made her way into Lord Delbridge's private museum to recover a relic stolen from her family years ago. But someone else is there in the dimly lite gallery, on the same errand: a tall, black-cloaked man whose very voice is enough to put her in a trance.

Thaddeus Ware, a mesmerist with powerful psychic energy, is accustomed to fearful reactions from others - women in particular. After all, a man who can control the minds and actions of others could rob a lady of her virtue - without her ever knowing! But Leona shows to trace of hysteria in his presence. A force to be reckoned with as both a gifted crystal worker and a a woman, she exerts a rather hypnotic power over the hypnotist himself. And she is determined to keep the crystal they recovered, by giving him the skip and a run-down London inn.

Thaddeus, on assignment for the secretive Arcane Society, knows the menace Leona is courting by absconding with the crystal. It is a source of remarkable energy, and it holds the potential for great destruction. Lord Delbridge has already killed two men to acquire it, for it is his key to membership in the elite, shadowy group known as the Third Circle. And with the help of a seductive hunter of preternatural kill, dubbed "The Midnight Monster" by the press, Delbridge intends to find her. With the stolen crystal in their possession, the danger is only beginning.

Review: We are reunited with some familiar faces in this next installment of the Arcane Society books. This time, we learn a bit more about Thaddeus, a cousin to the master of the Arcane Society (who we met in Second Sight). I really did enjoy this read, I just wish we got to learn more about our characters. Unfortunately, there was not much character development and we had to take a few things on faith. The mystery about the theft of the crystal was interesting, but the end left me somewhat unsatisfied. Not one of Quick's best, but still enjoyable.

Score: 3 out of 5

Friday, May 23, 2008

Highland Savage

Highland Savage by Hannah Howell (2007)

Description: Beaten and left for dead, Sir Lucas Murray is a man wounded in body and soul. He has brought himself back to becoming the warrior he once was - except for his ruined leg and the grief he feels over the death of the woman he once loved... the same woman who led him into his enemies' hands.

Dressed as a masked reviver, it is Katerina Haldane who saves Lucas as he battles for his life - and for revenge. Shocked that she still lives, Lucas becomes desperate to ignore the desire raging through his boy. And Katerina becomes desperate to regain his trust, trying to convince him of her half-sister's role in his beating. Lucas is reluctant to let down his guard, but his resistance melts once Katerina is back in his arms... and his bed. Now he must learn to trust his instincts - in battle and in love...

Review: One mistaken look caused a lot of pain for both Lucas and Katerina. We spend much of the story waiting for Lucas to figure out the truth and then wait for Katerina to stop being bull-headed. A great match these two make. For the most part, I enjoyed the book. However, it seemed to take them forever to work their problems out. There was a lot of action and it made the story go by fast. All in all, not a bad read.

Score: 3 out of 5

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Highland Champion

Highland Champion by Hannah Howell (2005)

Description: Liam Cameron is certain he's died and gone to heaven when he opens his eyes to the angel before him. But the pain that wracks his body proves he is still earth-bound. Keira Murray MacKail saved Liam's life - and he has some enticing way she would like to thank her. Soon, lust gives way to a feeling much more profound for a woman whose battles he wants to fight... though he fears the most difficult one will be for her heart...

Keira quickly learns that Liam has danger chasing him. As her healing kindness frees him to tell his tale, she confides the trouble that plagues her: she is a laird's widow now responsible for saving a small village pillaged by cruel invaders. But even as Liam makes the crusade to reclaim her lands his own, he will face a far greater challenge to win her trust - and her love - for all time...

Review: This has to be one of Howell's most wordy books out there. Not a whole lot of action goes on but there sure is a lot of tongue wagging. Not to mention Keira's most interesting healing ability that leaves her ravenous after using it. The only thing that really irritated me (besides the wordiness) was Keira's utter lack of trust in Liam. It really was wearing me thin. Not one of Howell's best, but not a bad read.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Templar Legacy

The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (2006)

Description: The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes . . . until the Inquisition, when they were wiped from the face of the earth, their hidden riches lost. But now two forces vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was–and its true nature could change the modern world.

Cotton Malone, one-time top operative for the U.S. Justice Department, is enjoying his quiet new life as an antiquarian book dealer in Copenhagen when an unexpected call to action reawakens his hair-trigger instincts–and plunges him back into the cloak-and-dagger world he thought he’d left behind.

It begins with a violent robbery attempt on Cotton’s former supervisor, Stephanie Nelle, who’s far from home on a mission that has nothing to do with national security. Armed with vital clues to a series of centuries-old puzzles scattered across Europe, she means to crack a mystery that has tantalized scholars and fortune-hunters through the ages by finding the legendary cache of wealth and forbidden knowledge thought to have been lost forever when the order of the Knights Templar was exterminated in the fourteenth century. But she’s not alone. Competing for the historic prize–and desperate for the crucial information Stephanie possesses–is Raymond de Roquefort, a shadowy zealot with an army of assassins at his command.

Welcome or not, Cotton seeks to even the odds in the perilous race. But the more he learns about the ancient conspiracy surrounding the Knights Templar, the more he realizes that even more than lives are at stake. At the end of a lethal game of conquest, rife with intrigue, treachery, and craven lust for power, lies a shattering discovery that could rock the civilized world–and, in the wrong hands, bring it to its knees.

Review: A promise of a most intriguing story; however, it falls short. I was intrigued with the most graphic beginning of the torture of a Templar. Not long after that my attention sort of left. A great beginning, a not so great middle, and an okay end. If you like Da Vinci Code type books, you will like this one. I think if some of the middle was taken out, it would have been more enjoyable. Not a bad read, but a bit wordy.

Score: 3 out of 5

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Queen's Bastard

The Queen's Bastard (The Inheritor's Cycle Book 1) by C.E. Murphy (2008)

Description: In a world where religion has ripped apart the old order, Belinda Primrose is the queen's secret weapon. The unacknowledged daughter of Lorraine, the first queen to sit on the Aulunian throne, Belinda has been trained as a spy since the age of twelve by her father, Lorraine's lover and spymaster.

Cunning and alluring, fluent in languages and able to take on any persona, Belinda can infiltrate the glittering court of Echon, where her mother's enemies conspire. She can seduce at will and kill if she must. But Belinda's spying takes a new twist when her witchlight appears.

Now Belinda's powers are unlike anything Lorraine could have imagined. They can turn an obedient daughter into a rival who understands that anything can be hers, including the wickedly sensual Javier, whose throne Lorraine both covets and fears. But Javier is also witchbreed, a man whose ability rivals Belinda's own... and can be just as dangerous.

Amid court intrigue and magic, loyalty and love can lead to more daring passions, as Belinda discovers that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Review: This had a most interesting premise, but I somehow feel shortchanged. I was excited to get my hands on it after reading a review of it in Publisher's Weekly. After reading it, I have mixed feelings. While I like the overall story, there was almost a creepy feel to it. Some of the sexual content is a bit bizarre to say the least. Even with all of that, I still liked the main story enough to want to continue on with the trilogy. I would caution readers in saying that if you are a bit squeamish when it comes to literary sex, you may want to avoid this tome. All in all, not bad, but some of that sexual content could have been eliminated.

Score: 3 out of 5

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hellsing Volume 5

Hellsing Volume 5 by Kohta Hirano (2004)

Description: Intense and full of psychotic action, Hellsing continues its fevered pitch into a dark chaos that defies human logic. Human? Well, there are only a few left in the story line, as the emerging Millennium Project, an army of Nazi undead, is unleashed upon the world. What will surely ensue is a war of blood and nostalgia, with a coolly Gothic style and increasingly frenetic pace. Envision the Hindenburg, old sharpshooter rifles, and throwback uniforms, mixed with new jet technology and incredibly bold vampires. Hellsing is piled to the sky with radical mysticism and scary apocalypse... and it's fun as Hell!

Review: Another interesting installment to the Hellsing tale. The story gets more bizarre as time goes on. I am intrigued to see where the rest of the story will go. The artwork is interesting, but sometimes difficult to follow. All in all, a most different tale that you should read.

Score: 3 out of 5

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wait Until Midnight

Wait Until Midnight by Amanda Quick (2005)

Description: It could have been a scene from one of my novels. A s a rule, respectable ladies do not accept calls from Mysterious Gentlemen on business of the most grave importance - but I confess that I was possessed of a lively curiosity. The past three years had been so determinedly dull, I hoped Mr. Adam Hardesty would offer a tiny respite from it. Indeed, upon first glance, Mr. Hardesty had such a formidable, thrilling presence, he quickly became the model or the villain in the sensation novel I was currently writing.

Imagine my shock and distress then, when Mr. Hardesty accused me of being party to a plot of murder, blackmail, and general villainy! I knew nothing of such occurrences, and proclaimed by innocence. Unfortunately, Mr. Hardesty left unconvinced, and I had an uneasy feeling over what his search would uncover. You see, Gentle Reader, though I have a most uneventful life now, my past contained a Great Scandal that would be ruinous if resurrected. To protect my secrets from Mr. Hrdesty's investigation, I concluded that I would need to conduct an inquiry of my own, and if that meant sharing my findings with Mr. Hardesty, so be it. And my course of action had nothing whatsoever to do with the illicit, passionate feelings that he aroused in me - feelings that propriety would definitely from upon...

Review: Another story about a woman with a dark secret in her past and a dark stranger on her door. I have to admit this book really made me laugh. Poor Mr. Hardesty being so concerned by being turned in the villain of Caroline Fordyce's sensation novel. Although, not one of Quick's best work, it was fun to read.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Friday, May 16, 2008

Highland Warrior

Highland Warrior by Hannah Howell (2004)

Description: Fleeing an obsessed suitor, Fiona MacEnroy rides recklessly into Scotland's wildest hills and is captured by a horde of well-armed men. Instead of battling her for life, she finds herself swept away by a powerful stranger and carried off to a remote, forbidding keep. Oddly, here at Scarglas, a place shrouded in mystery and the black reputation of the rogue clan MacFingal, Fiona feels a strange, comforting sense of safety... and a consuming passion for its rugged laird.

Spellbound by Fiona's beauty yet detained to fight the longing she ignites, Ewan MacFingal plots to ransom Fiona back to her kin. Sworn to protect his eccentric clan against the dangers invading Scarglas, he refuses to be weakened by the power of a woman whose every glance and touch tell him that she is everything his heart desires. Now, as pride and passion war within, dark peril and forbidding secrets will force them to trust what has yet to be spoken - the unshakable power of a timeless love.

Review: A mysterious woman alone wielding knives is a most interesting start to the book. I found this to be a most enjoyable read. It made me laugh many times and I really couldn't put it down. For the most part, I liked most of the characters. Although there were times when Ewan drove me crazy with his strange ideas. All in all, a fun read that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Highland Groom

Highland Groom by Hannah Howell (2003)

Description: Sir Diarmot MacEnroy, deciding his illegitimate children need a mother and his keep needs a proper lady, now stands before the altar with a gentle bride he hopes is too shy to disrupt his life or break his heart. The nuptials, however, are interrupted by the appearance of a flame haired beauty carrying two babies, boldly claiming that she is his wife and mother of his two infant sons. Armed with her seven very large brothers, she has come to demand her due.

Now Ilsa Cameron MacEnroy faces the nearly impossible task of conquering his past - and his fierce reluctance to share his heart. It will take more than desire to win his trust. It will take the magic touch of a woman in love.

Review: Ah, those fiery Camerons. I think they are my favorite family in the Howell universe. This was a fun read, although not my favorite Howell story. Poor Ilsa had to really overcome a lot to hang on to her man. Diarmot was pretty much an ass throughout the book, but it wasn't all his fault. I think I liked learning more about Ilsa's brother Sigimore the most of this entire story. I wouldn't read this one unless you want to have a nice introduction to the Camerons.

Score 3 out of 5

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Highland Angel

Highland Angel by Hannah Howell (2003)

Description: Sir Payton Murray's reputation as a lover is rivaled only by his prowess with the sword, yet it is the latter gift that has captured the interest of Kirstie MacIye. Fleeing a murderous husband who left her for dead, she vows to expose the man for the vile scoundrel that he is. She also knows it will take planning, cunning, and the help of a brave, arrogant, and willing champion. Kirstie only prays that Sir Payton will accept her challenge.

Risking the ire of his own clan and hers, Payton nonetheless cannot ignore Kirstie's desperate plea or her captivating beauty. For he knows that nothing will deter the spirited lass from bringing an evil man to justice, even if she must do it alone. Joining her on the crusade, he embarks upon a dangerous quest against a powerful enemy only too eager to destroy them both.

Review: This is one of Howell's more disturbing tales. I was finally glad to have a story revolve around the dreamy Sir Payton. This was not was I was expecting at all. The characters were most interesting, but the background story was just too much for me I confess. Also, the fact that Kirstie could not get over that Payton would really like/love her because he was so good looking was begiing to drive me crazy. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book due to the background story. It is not something everyone really wants to read about.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Highland Bride

Highland Bride by Hannah Howell (2002)

Description: Though she has yet to be courted by any man, spirited Gillyanne Murray decides the time has come to visit the dower lands gifted to her by her father's kinsmen. She arrives to find the small keep surrounded by three lairds, each one vying for her hand... and property. Though resolved to refuse them all, the threat of battle on her threshold forces her to boldly choose a suitor: Sir Connor MacEnroy, a handsome, daring knight of few words. As his wife, Gillyanne is stunned by his terse, cold distance - and her own yearning to feel passion in his arms. Now, bringing her healing touch to a land and a keep ravaged by treachery and secret enemies, she dares to reach out for the one thing she fears she my forever be denied... her husband's closely guarded heart.

Review: This has it all. A manly man, a heroic woman, and romance. I really enjoyed this story. I have always loved the tartness of Gillyanne and was glad to see her have a most interesting story. Although, there were many times I wanted to smack Connor, the overall story was great. It was nice to see that she was able to show him the error of his ways and work her way into his heart. This is a story that you can read over and over again and find more to like about it.

Score: 4 out of 5

Monday, May 12, 2008

Highland Vow

Highland Vow by Hannah Howell (2000)

Description: Ten years ago, young Elspeth Murray rescued a wounded knight and lost her heart forever. Now a stunning beauty and gifted healer, she is reunited with Cormac Armstrong when he saves her from an unwanted suitor. But Cormac is promised to another, a woman who has blinded him to her ruthlessness. Now Elspeth must battle against the odds to claim a man and a love she will not e denied.

Cormac is stunned by the desire Elspeth's kiss awakens - and cannot resist the temptation she offers. A man of honor, he is torn by his pledge to another and his growing need for Elspeth. Blinded by duty and indecision, he is unaware that he is a pawn in a clever and deadly trap from which Elspeth is desperate to save him. but by the time he understand her gift of selfless devotion will it be too late to claim this perfect love?

Review: This story was sort of hard for me to get through. At the age of 9, Elspeth falls madly in love with Cormac and knows that they will be together. I remember myself at age 9 and that was pretty much the last thing on my mind. Then, ten years later they happen to be at the same place where he is able to rescue her. At first it sounds like a nice little love story. Then you have to fight through the hundreds of pages where Cormac is the biggest idiot on the planet. He annoyed me so many times I had to put the book down. This was not one of Howell's best and I would not really recommend you read it unless you really want to know more about Elspeth and Cormac and are a Howell fan.

Score 2.5 out of 5

Sunday, May 11, 2008

To Wed a Highland Bride

To Wed a Highland Bride by Sarah Gabriel (2007)

Description: Noble warrior James MacCarran has no desire to venture onto the thorny battlefield of marriage. But his grandmother's will issues an ultimatum - marry or forfeit his rightful inheritance - and now he must find a bride. Only the most ravishing woman could make it worth his while, but when he meets Elspeth MacArthur, she is nothing like he anticipated. Yes, she is beautiful, luminous really, but there is something mysterious about this lass...

Reluctant to leave her Highland home, Elspeth must keep an astonishing secret when unexpected circumstances force her to marry. But as an unseen threat draws even closer, about to reveal the truth of her life in the mystical Highlands, she soon realizes that her only haven is in James' passionate embrace... and that carries the greatest risk of all.

Review: A somewhat strange historical romance/fantasy. The story was interesting and very much bathed in faerie lore. I didn't really know that it had so much to do with faeries and when I started to read it, I was a bit confused. The characters were interesting, but not really fleshed out too much. The romance was a bit fast, but in the end it turned out not too bad. I would only recommend this to people who don't mind fantasy and/or a whole lot of faeries in their romance.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lost & Found

Lost & Found by Jane Sigaloff (2004)

Description: Her diary had never let her down, never told her it was too busy, never not been there for her unlike men! Now the unthinkable had happened...

For high-flying London lawyer (and self-confessed control freak) Sam Washington, accidentally leaving her diary in a New York hotel room is a fate worse than death! Tormented by the idea of a stranger reading her innermost thoughts, she knows there's also a secret in her little black book that, in the wrong hands, would devastate her best friend and cause a tabloid sensation...

Alarm bells start ringing when TV producer Ben Fisher turns up on her doorstep - fresh off the plane from New York... and desperately seeking Sam. They're complete strangers, yet he seems to know more than a little about her. Has he found her diary? Has he read it? Sam resolves to find out by getting closer to Ben - who seems happy to oblige!

Review: This really is a cute little romantic comedy that is similar to Bridget Jones' Diary. The characters are very interesting and well written. The only real problem I had was with the character of Sam. She could be a nice person, but the way she dealt with Ben made me so frustrated. He was such a cute, lovable guy and she treated him poorly. I was glad for the cute little movie ending. It did put a smile on my face. If you are looking for a nice light read, this is really a best bet.

Score: 3 out of 5

Anita Blacke, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Volume 1 by Laurell K. Hamilton (2007)

Description: Fusing mythology, werewolves and vampires with a story loaded with mystery, action and romance, the Anita Blake novels take place in a world were vampires, werewolves and other creatures of nightmare have been declared legal citizens of the United States. Anita Blake is an "animator" - a profession that involves raising the dead for a living. But Anita is also known as a fearsome hunter of criminal vampires, and she moonlights by investigating cases that are far too much for conventional police. And as Anita gains that attention of the vampire masters in her hometown of St. Louis, she also risks revealing an intriguing secret about herself - the source of her unusual strength and power.

Review: I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book and it was well worth the wait. I thought the story was fantastic. I have not read the actual book series, but now I really want to. This was really a great story. The artwork was just fabulous. I have been pleased with the literary fusing with Marvel as of late. Everything they have been producing has been outstanding. This story was really interesting and I can't wait to read more!

Score: 4 out of 5

Friday, May 9, 2008

Highland Promise

Highland Promise by Hannah Howell (1999)

Description: Eric Murray was the youngest of his brothers, determined to gain his rightful inheritance after thirteen years of bitter dispute with his father's family. Starting out alone to confront his tight-fisted kinsmen, he encountered a chestnut-haired beauty set upon by thieves. When she begged for Eric's protection for herself and her infant nephew, Eric promised to deliver them to safety.

Bethia Drummond desperately tried to ignore her attraction to the azure-eyed stranger. Still, Eric Murray was Bethia's only hope for escaping her ruthless kin, who planned to kill her and her orphaned nephew, and claim their inheritance. Then Bethia learned that Eric, too, was seeking land and coin from his own people - her family's closest allies. How could she love a man she might one day be forced to stand against? And yet she could not ignore what her troubled heart knew - that this proud knight had more than inspired her deepest passions... he had become her very destiny...

Review: How can a man ignore a beauty in distress? While assisting the beautiful Bethia, Eric found himself a woman to love. For the most part I enjoyed this novel. The only real complaint was the character of Bethia. She annoyed me to no end. There were many times I really wanted to slap her. I know some people can be insecure, but it was taken a bit too far with her character. All in all, not a bad read.

Score: 3 out of 5

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Highland Destiny

Highland Destiny by Hannah Howell (1998)

Description: When destiny brought Sir Balfour Murray and his wounded brother down the same road as Maldie Kirkcaldy, she offered her services as nurse even as she tried to deny the desire this dark-eyed knight had ignited at first sign. Soon they discover that they both share a mission of vengeance, but Maldie must conceal her true identity - or be branded a spy

Sworn to avenge his family as chief of the Doncoill Clan, Balfour vows to destroy his greatest foe, Beaton of Dubhlinn, with Maldie at his side. Yet Balfour knows that he can no more trust her than he can ignore his lust for this sultry beauty. Now he is not only determined to unearth her deepest secrets, but also to pursue his passion for her.

Review: This is the first of the "highland" series that features the Murray family. I also have found it to be the most annoyingly dull installment of the entire series. I really had to fight hard to finish this tale. I think part of my problem was the constant lying of Maldie throughout the entire story. It got old... fast. I would say to skip this story, but it does lay the foundation for the series and for that alone you may need to grin and bear it.

Score: 2 out of 5

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Highland Honor

Highland Honor by Hannah Howell (1999)

Description: Nigel Murray saw through her masquerade from the first: a young woman trying to pass herself off as a page It almost worked - until she was unmasked in battle with the English, at the pint of a sword. Recklessly Nigel saved the raven-haired beauty whose secrets now endangered them both He spirited her off to Scotland, determined to erase the terror he tasted in her kiss.

Gisele knew the dark side of men, having barely escaped the brutality of her highborn husband, Lord Deveau. Now, with Deveau murdered and a price on her head, she was every man's prey-hunted for a crime she did not commit. Nigel is her only refuge, a handsome stranger who challenged her with a fiery sensuality that burned all fear in its wake. But to truly trust him, Gisele must put the past behind her, and let her heart accept the simple truth... of his undying love.

Review: Trying to flee what he feels is unrequited love, Nigel finds himself in France and then helping the beautiful Gisele. This is a somewhat dark story that ends up having a good ending. Although it was a bit creepy that Nigel does end up with a woman who looks like a sister of his brother's wife (who he thought he was in love with). Do not let the darkness of the underlying story pull you away. This really is a great read worthy of a look.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Taming the Scotsman

Taming the Scotsman by Kinley MacGregor (2003)

Description: Nora is a woman with a mission. Rather than be forced to endure a loveless marriage, she has fled her home, bound for England. There's one small problem, though; she needs a guide, and the best choice is Ewan MacAllister, the only man both her father and her fiance fear. Beneath Ewan's rough and tumble exterior, however, she finds the heart of a loyal friend, and suddenly, more than to be free, she yearns to tame the proud Highlander who protects his wounded heart.

Tormented by his past, Ewan wants only to be left alone. Until the fiery lass forces herself into his remote home and refuses to leave unless he escorts her far away from Scotland, Ewan thinks her mad, especially given her claims to be none other than niece to the Queen of England, but he can't let her travel about the countryside unescorted. In spite of her unorthodox ways and stubborn nature, she is rather fetching for a bold lass. And to his deepest chagrin, he fins himself wishing for the one thing he never thought to have. A brave Highland lady to call his own...

Review: This book came into my view as I was checking it in at the library. Now that I've read it, I think it might have been better to leave this one behind. The story and characters were fairly cheesy. Not only that, but the whole feel of the novel was far too modern. It was obvious the author was trying to write a historical novel without referencing much history. I didn't realize it at the time but this is part of a series. So unless you are a die hard Sherilyn Kenyon fan (who is Kinsley MacGregor by the way), I would pass this up.


Monday, May 5, 2008


Reckless by Hannah Howell (1993)

Description: Heir to the clan MacFarlane, Ailis was a prize to be bartered by her calculating father, and her wedding to a man she despised seemed inevitable - until she is abducted by her clan's worst enemy, Alexander MacDubh, a brutally handsome laird with ice in his eyes and hot blood in his veins. She had heard rumors of the most famous and feared member of the MacDubh clan, a fair and loving man transformed by grief into an embittered, cold-hearted raider. An now, she was at his mercy...

Alexander had come riding into Leargan to claim the three children born of forbidden love between his brother and lovely Ailis' sister. Now, with Ailis herself as his pawn, he can strike at the enemy show treachery robbed his clan of so much. Her beauty and her fierce temper stir his blood, and vengeance has never been so sinfully sweet. But will a passion they cannot deny be enough to ease the pain and torment of the past - and break the chins around his heart?

Review: After reading a scathing review on Amazon I absolutely had to pick up this novel. I was pleasantly surprised by it. The story surrounds the haunted Alexander MacDubh and the spirited Ailis. A sort of Romeo and Juliet story, but one with a much happier ending. I thought the characters were really well written and believable. A really great story that you can read over and over.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Lady's Secret

A Lady's Secret by Jo Beverly (2008)

Description: When Robin Fitzvitry, the fun-loving Earl of Huntersdown, encounters a cursing nun in a French inn, he can't resist the mystery. Expecting only amusement on the tedious journey home from Versailles, he offers to help Sister Immaculata reach England.

Petra d'Averio is not exactly a nun, though she has spent years in an Italian convent with her widowed mother. Her mother's death has left her in danger, and she must find the only person who might protect her: her true father, an English lord who does not even know she exists.

This gorgeous young aristocrat will be a dangerous ally, but she's glimpsed her pursuers and must race to the coast. She will resist him, use him, and eventually escape him with her virtue and secrets intact... she hops.

Review: This amusing tale is non-stop action from beginning to end. Add in a dash of great historical references and it proves to be a most interesting novel. I had fun reading it and would definitely recommend it to others and read it again.

Score: 4 out of 5

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Affair by Amanda Quick (1997)

Description: Charlotte Arkendale knew all there was to know about men. After all, she'd made a career out of steering marriage-minded women away from untrustworthy members of the opposite sex. Yet nothing could have prepared her for Baxter St. Ives - an arresting stranger too daring, too determined, too dangerous to be her new man-of-affairs. Still, perhaps he was the perfect person to help Charlotte investigate the recent murder of one of her clients So she gave him a chance, never realizing that Baxter, a gifted scientist, would soon conduct a risky exploration into the alchemy of desire, with Charlotte as his subject. But even as he sets out to seduce Charlotte, a twisted killer lies in wait, ready to part the lovers... or see them joined together forever - in death.

Review: Charlotte gets herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery surrounding a secret book and murder. Baxter is involved in the same mystery, but is actually investigating Charlotte's involvement in the matter. These similar people are brought together by strange circumstances and raving madmen are determined to bring them apart. The characters were not what I have come to expect from Quick. I was bored with some of the novel and felt like skimming much of it. Not one of her best, so I would skip it.

Score: 2 out of 5

Friday, May 2, 2008


Deception by Amanda Quick (1993)

Description: Olympia Wingfield, an old maid at twenty-five, was saddled with raising her motherless hellion nephews, though the lovely bluestocking preferred spending every spare minute pursuing her true passion - the study of ancient legends and unearthing clues to long-lost treasure. Between trying to control a mob on unruly youngsters and fend off an overly attentive neighbor whose interest was far from scholarly, the absentminded beauty was having a most chaotic day. Cornered in her own library before she could mange to extricate herself from the cad's clutches, she found herself unexpectedly rescued... by a glorious stranger who was the embodiment of her most exotic dreams....

Tall and dark, with chiseled features and long, windswept black hair, Mr. Jared Chillhurst could have walked straight out of a legend of buried treasure and uncharted seas. As it was, he strode into Olympia's life with all the boldness of a privateer... setting everything and everyone to rights, before turning his brilliant gaze on her.

He announced that he was the tutor, come to school her three incorrigible charges. He claimed to be a gentlemen who'd traveled the world and made his home on a remote, mysterious island... And then he seduced imaginative, impractical Olympia, who'd long fantasized of foreign lands and ancient quests, with is daring traveler's tales and a pirate's plundering kisses.

Too late, Olympia would discover that only part of Jared's story was true. For the enigmatic Mr. Chillhurst was no lowly tutor but the future Earl of Flamecrest and the descendant of a notorious buccaneer. Chillhurst considered himself to be the only sane member of family noted for its flamboyant eccentrics, and he prided himself on his cold, logical, unemotional approach to everything including passion. He had insinuated himself into the Wingfield household for one purpose: to recover the missing Flamecrest fortune.

Soon Olympia is swept up in a scandalous affair with this dangerous, desirable man who is haunted by old enemies and an even older mystery. Only she can see beneath his smooth unshakable surface and untapped well of deep emotion and fiery sensuality. And she comes to realize that is it is up to her to find the key to the past, to the long-lost Flamecrest gold and to Jared's heart, if they are both to survive and win life's greatest treasure - a love worthy of a legend.

Review: Pirates, family legends, and treasure. What more can you ask for? Jared and Olivia are a cute couple. They both are alone in the world and understand each other. It is great to see that they get together early on as it is obvious they do belong together. Quick gives us another fun romp with the interesting Flamecrest family and their search for lost treasure. A really great read.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Mystique by Amanda Quick (1995)

Description: In the shadows of the great hall, Lady Alice approached the fearsome warrior who had swept into Lingwood Manor like a storm. Dark and forbidding, with hair as black as midnight and eyes of molten amber, Hugh the Relentless seemed aptly named. Yet to Alice, adept at driving off suitors and handing her insufferable relatives, Sir Hugh was not someone to dread but the answer to her dreams.

She knew he had come for the mysterious green crystal, knew he would be greatly displeased to learn that it was no longer in her possession. Yet Alice as certain that if she approached him logically, Sir Hugh, like any other man, could b coxed into a deal that would benefit them both. Her proposition was a simple one: in return for a dowry large enough to free Alice and her brother from the grasp of their conniving uncle, she would lend her powers of detection to Sir Hugh's knightly skills and together they would recover his treasured stone.

For over a sennight Hugh had searched for the crystal that was the last of the ancient Stones of Scarcliffe - and the vital key to the mastery of his new manor - only to find that it had once more been snatched away... only to find himself challenged by the most unusual female in all of Christendom. Sensible but unrepentant and with a tongue as sharp as a dagger, the flame-haired beauty filled him with fury... and reluctant fascination.

As she boldly met his gaze, it hardly mattered that she longed to spend her days studying natural philosophy, or that she found the though of entering a convent far more alluring that of marriage. Hugh knew he had found the wife who could help him put his manor to rights. So he accepted her terms with one alteration Alice must agree to a temporary betrothal and spend the winter in Hugh's great stone fortress, Scarliffe Keep.

The bargain is struck and the adventure begins for this unlikely pair of practical lady and battle-hardened warlord. Yet even as Hugh searches for a means to bind Alice to his side forever, his lifelong enemy is plotting against them, stirring up a whirlwind of treachery that threatens their fragile alliance.

Review: From the start, sparks fly between Hugh and Alice. They are both too smart for their own good, but will their brains get in between their hearts? Another story that involves family stories and their aftermaths. The mystery surrounding the deaths of Hugh's parents and the green stone is interesting. The characters were really great and I enjoyed following both Hugh and Alice on their road of discovery. This is definitely worth another read.

Score: 4 out of 5