Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bella at Midnight

Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley (2007)

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0060775750

Description: A baby girl, Bella, is born to a mother who dies in childbirth. Bella's furious father sends her away to be raised among peasants, where she is befriended by Julian, a prince, a fourth son who has no place in his family. When they are both teenagers, Julian treats Bella cruelly; then he is sent away to a warring kingdom as a hostage for peace. Soon after, Bella is recalled by her father and finds herself unhappily living with him and his new family, including a stepsister who is a handmaiden at the palace. It is from this young woman that Bella learns about an invasion that will bring about Julian's death, which Bella is determined to prevent.

Review: A most interesting take on the Cinderella story, albeit a somewhat depressing one. From birth, Bella is despised by her somewhat mad father and sent to live with the wet nurse. Here, she is well below her station, but loved as one of their own children. Later, Bella is ripped from the family she knows and loves to her father's cold home. She learns her childhood friend, the prince, is in trouble and has to ride to his rescue. There are some deviations from the classic story, however, they were most interesting. Stanley also gives great lessons in the book. That love and loyalty are very important. This was a delightful read and definitely worth a look.

Score 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Highland Wedding

Highland Wedding by Hannah Howell (2007)

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0821780026

Description: Raised among eleven brawny, boisterous brothers, beautiful Islaen MacRoth knew nothing of the tricks a maiden uses to trap a husband. Instead, her desperate father had arranged a match at court - with a man who had sworn never to wed again.

But from the moment Islaen crept into his darkened bedchamber and innocently bared her charms to his hungry gaze, Iain knew he could not deny her promise of passion. She shared his bed - but would she ever be the wife of his heart?

Review: Iain made it clear that he didn't want to wed and had a fear of children as his first wife died in childbirth. However, he was more or less forced into a marriage with Islaen (although there was an instant attraction). As you get farther in the story things get taken a bit far. We are hit over the head with Iain's fear and Islaen's defiance of it. Also, the fact that Iain almost goes to bed with a past flame and then sees her instead of his own wife whom he claims to love while she takes care of the kids. It had its good moments, but overall not one of Howell's better books. You could skip it and not really miss anything.

Score: 3 out of 5

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thrill of the Knight

Thrill of the Knight by Julia Latham (2007)

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0061235156

Description: Lady Elizabeth Hutton will never succumb to the ambitions of a neighboring lord—even after his soldiers imprison the newly orphaned heiress in her own bedchamber. Ever resourceful, the proud beauty has devised a strategy to escape the devil who's determined to possess her and her great wealth: she will switch roles with her loyal maid so that she can save herself and her people.

Sir John Russell's love of adventure has always carried him to far-flung places and dangers—and now he must ride to the rescue of the noblewoman he's betrothed to but hasn't seen since boyhood. However, it is not his bride-to-be but her bewitching servant who enflames his passion—and Sir John's desire for the fiery beauty threatens to undermine his sacred, sworn oath, forcing a noble knight into the most devastating choice of his life: between duty and honor . . . or ecstasy and disgrace.

Review: It is a good thing that I read the second book first. If I would have read this to begin with, I probably would have given up on this series. I was so frustrated while reading this book. The character of Elizabeth just irritated me to no end. She just kept blathering on about how great Sir John's brother was to his face. I had to force myself to finish this one. Needless to say, I really don't give it many high points. The characters of Lady Elizabeth and Sir John just annoyed me. I would pass this one up.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Friday, June 6, 2008


Desire by Amanda Quick (1993)

Description: Upon her father's death, beautiful, headstrong Lady Clare knew that she must wed, for the protection of the Isle of Desire now fell to her. Yet when her guardian's choice of prospective husband rode through her castle gates, she felt utterly betrayed. All sinewy muscle and savage steel, Sir Gareth of Wyckmere was not the poet she'd requested but a fearsome knight whose only interest was in war.

Legions of robbers had fallen beneath the Hellhound of Wyckmere's sword, and now this bold warrior was certain that he could tame one willful wife. Yet even Gareth could not deter Lady Clare from trying to mold him into her ideal... until their clash of wills ignited a passion that set them both aflame... and a treacherous plot put their love and their lives in deadly peril.

Review: When two people used to commanding others come together, sparks will fly. I really did enjoy this book. It was fun to see the sparks fly between Gareth and Clare. Although, many times the character of Clare was somewhat annoying. As usual, there was much humor and some suspense. All in all, a fun book that you should check out.

Score: 4 out of 5

Thursday, June 5, 2008

One Knight Only

One Knight Only by Julia Latham (2007)

Description: Daring and adventurous, Anne Kendall would give anything to join the secret band of warrior knights known as the League of the Blade, and she eagerly agrees to a perilous masqerade. But the Sir Philop Clifford, a reckless, brutally handsome knight, joins their party, birnging back memories of stolen kisses, passionate longings, and one night when she would have done anything to be his.

Anne would prefer to concentrate on the dangerous mission at hand... but the glorious, savage passion that begins to develop between her and this unruly warrior may prove him to be the knight of her dreams... and her fantasies.

Review: I can sum this book up in one word... steamy. Whew. Whenever Anne and Philip are in a room together, the sparks fly. Its obvious to everyone around them that they have something together. They just have to get over their own misgivings and misconceptions. Latham did a good job with the historical aspects of the novel. My only real problem was some of the verbiage used. It seemed out of place. Other than that, it was a fun novel and a great read.

Score: 3.5 out of 5