Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ace of Hearts (House of Cards, Book 1)

Ace of Hearts by Barbara Metzger (2005)

Pages: 340

ISBN: 0451216261

Description: Alexander "Ace" Endicott, Earl of Carde, needs a woman who will beget him heirs to the earldom. But never did Ace imagine himself to be thrice betrothed against his will by the doings of three desperate females. So Ace does what any respectable earl would do - he folds.

Escaping the comforts of London, Ace journeys north and follows through with his deceased father's last wish. He and his brother, Jack, promised to find their long-lost stepsister. But he draws a wild card when his search takes a detour and leads him to Nell, whose delicate beauty piques his interest. And when Nell returns his affection, the situation becomes more than either wagered for. Now Ace may have to reconsider his rejection of marriage and see if two mismatched lovers can make a winning pair.

Review: Ace finds himself deep in trouble. He somehow has gotten himself engaged to three different women. Well, to be honest, they just said they were engaged, he didn't do anything to provoke that state. To escape them, he takes off for his family estate and then decides to look into the disappearance of his half sister. This journey takes him right to Nell's door. It is obvious they are attracted to each other and events get in the way of them getting together. This was an average story. It seemed to lack more strength of character. For ever step taken forward, there were two taken back. The characters were bland and the plot seemed to be too flimsy. Not a bad book, but one that you could skip.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fruits Basket (Volume 1-23)

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya (1999-2006)

Description: Tohru Honda was an orphan, living with her grandfather, when one day fate kicked her out of the house and she was forced to take up residence in a tent in the forest. Little did she know that the land she was staying on belonged to the Sohma family, a clan of beautiful and mysterious people. After stumbling upon the teenage squatter, the Sohmas invite Tohru to stay in their house in exchange for cooking and cleaning. Everything's going well until she discovers the Sohma family's greatest secret: when hugged by members of the opposite sex, they each turn into their Chinese Zodiac animal!

Review: Right from the start this manga had me hooked. How can you not like Tohru? She has to be one of the sweetest people on the planet. All the hopes of breaking the Sohma curse fall on her head. It was interesting to see the relationships grow and change throughout this series. Not only are the characters great, but the storylines were fantastic, although somewhat depressing at times. This is the one series that everyone should read. It was outstanding.

Score: 5 out of 5

Monday, September 22, 2008

Then Came You

Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas (1993)

Pages: 371

ISBN: 038077013X

Description: Reckless, wild, and beautiful, Lily Lawson delights in shocking proper London society - and now she is determined to rescue her sister from an unwanted impending marriage to the notorious Alex, Lord Railford, by fair means or foul. But while she succeeds outrageously, Alix is a master gamesmen who is not to be undone.

Alex has lost one bride, yet he is enchanted by this remarkable lady who is willing to break any rule to flaunt her independence. When lily offers him only scorn, he counters with kindness, and he parries her blistering barbs with gentle words and a soft, tender touch. The spirited miss will pay dearly for her interference - with her body, her soul, and her stubborn, unyielding heart. But will Alix's own heart be the prize to be won in this sensuous game of love?

Review: To start off, Alex and Lily dislike one another. It has been said there is a fine line between love and hate... that would be the same with these two. They are bitter rivals from the beginning. Lily shocks Alex with her outlandish behavior and with her determination to save her sister from an unwanted marriage. It is obvious to everyone that Lily and Alex are perfect for one another, it just takes them many pages and exposition to find that out for themselves. For the most part, I enjoyed this story. The characters were well made and enjoyable (or not). However, I found the story to be somewhat repetitive and not very creative. Its not a bad read, but there are far better novels by Kleypas out there.

Score: 3 out of 5

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Mistress Diaries (Pembroke Palace, Book 2)

The Mistress Diaries by Julianne MacLean (2008)

Pages: 370

ISBN: 0061456845

Description: The night I met Lord Vincent Sinclair, son of the Duke of Pembroke, was the night I lost control. I never imagined that I, Cassandra Montrose, could engage in such wicked, wanton behavior with a man I hardly knew. But in that fateful moment, alone in his coach, the passion I felt for him was undeniable, even though I knew that after my surrender I was unlikely to ever see my lover again.

Until a fateful secret brought me to his door...

I always believed my pride would prevent me from becoming any man's mistress - especially a rogue like Vincent, who cares for nothing but his inheritance. Yet I have very good reason to remain in his life. If only he did not tempt me so...

Review: This book starts of with a bang (quite literally). Vincent and Cassandra are instantly besotted with each other. For Vincent this is just one night, but something happens that connects him with Cassandra forever. A year later, Cassandra brings their daughter to his home for him to care for as she thinks that she is going to die. Vincent reluctantly agrees to care for their child, but then when she discovers that she is not as ill as she though, she tries to leave with their daughter. Vincent has other things in mind. Eventually, they become friends and then lovers once more. The book is average. The story was somewhat bland and the characters were even worse. Often I was left wondering why Vincent and Cassandra were even drawn together. The side characters were worse. There were too many gaps in the story. I realize belatedly that this is part of a series, but even so there is too much missing. It wasn't a bad book, but one that I would definitely say to check out at your local library.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wintersmith (Discworld)

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (2006)

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0060890312

Description: At 9, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland.

At 11, she battled an ancient body-stealing evil.

At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you're thirteen. . . .

But the Wintersmith isn't exactly a boy. He is Winter itself—snow, gales, icicles—all of it. When he has a crush on Tiffany, he may make her roses out of ice, but his nature is blizzards and avalanches. And he wants Tiffany to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever.

Tiffany will need all her cunning to make it to Spring. She'll also need her friends, from junior witches to the legendary Granny Weatherwax. They—Crivens! Tiffany will need the Wee Free Men too! She'll have the help of the bravest, toughest, smelliest pictsies ever to be banished from Fairyland—whether she wants it or not.

It's going to be a cold, cold season, because if Tiffany doesn't survive until Spring—Spring won't come.

Review: This Discworld novel for young adults continues the story of the young Tiffany Aching. She is now a witches apprentice and on her way to a great adventure. While watching the dance, she gets caught up in the rhythm and jumps in. Because of this, she unknowingly interrupted the coming summer and caught the eye of the Wintersmith. Her guardian witch attempts to shield her from his interests, but life intervenes. Throughout this adventure, Tiffany learns many lessons about life and grows up even more. This is a really fun read. Pratchett has such a great wit. A laugh out loud adventure that everyone should read.

A side note, if you haven't read any of the previous novels (two in total), you still can enjoy this book.

Score: 5 out of 5

Friday, September 12, 2008

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986)

Pages: 212

ISBN: 0061478784

Description: In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Withc of theWaste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to torrorize the country again. She had threatened the King's young daugher and had killed the Wizard Sulliman, who had been sent to deal with her. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters - Sophie, Lettie, and Martha - and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, nothing wand no one are quite what they seem to be. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? What is the mysterious contract that binds the Wizard to Calcifer, his fire demon?

Review: We enter a fantastical world where witches and wizards are part of everyday life. In this world is Sophie, who gets caught up in a duel between the Witch of the Waste and the King, as well as the Wizard Howl himself. This was a fun fantasy novel filled with twists and turns. It kept my imagination going and I couldn't wait to read more. A great book, especially for the young adults.

Score: 4 out of 5

Movie Connection: In 2004, famed director Hayao Miyazakai brought this book to the big screen and it became one of the highest grossing Japanese film in history. It really is a great movie and should be on your "to see" list if you haven't seen it already.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stranger in my Arms

Stranger in my Arms by Lisa Kleypas (1998)

Pages: 344

ISBN: 038078145X

Description: Lara's had been an arranged marriage to a man who was cold and mostly absent, so when word reached Lady Hawksworth that her husband was lost at sea, she happily gave up her title and position and preceded to lead an exemplary life as a volunteer at the community orphanage. But suddenly - after over a year - Lara receives word that her husband is alive and on his way home. while Lara couldn't deny that the handsome man who appeared before her resembled her husband in many ways, and knew things that only he could know, the "new" Hunter was attentive and loving in ways he never had been before. Was it possible that her rake of a husband had reformed - or was Lara being seduced by a cunning stranger?

Review: From the beginning, its obvious that Lara and Hunter did not have a good marriage. He was heartless and uncaring and she was unattached. When she discovers that he perished in an accident at sea, she is more than happy to give the title away to someone else and live out her days as a widow. However, that was not too last. Suddenly, a man claiming to be her husband has returned and is more than willing to return to his marriage and especially marriage bed. However, Lara has other plans. She got a taste of freedom and often encourages Hunter to seek out other women. For the most part, I disliked this novel. The story was not that great and the characters even worse. There is nothing to like about Lara. She is cold, cruel, and selfish throughout most of the book. I think Kleypas was trying to redeem her by making her so interested in the orphanage. However, I think that made things worse. Lara appeared to be nothing but supervicial. I would recommend skipping this book. Most definitely not one of Kleypas' best works.

Score: 1.5 out of 5

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let Sleeping Rogues Lie (School for Heiresses, Book 4)

Let Sleeping Rogues Lie by Sabrina Jeffries (2008)

Pages: 371

ISBN: 1416551514

Description: When Madeline Prescott took a teaching position at Mrs. Harris' School for Young Ladies, it was to help restore her father's reputation. Instead, she's in danger of ruining her own. The devilishly handsome Anthony Dalton, Viscount Norcourt, has agreed to provide "rake lessons" to Mrs. Harris' pupils so they can learn how to avoid unscrupulous gentlemen, and Madeline is to oversee his classes. She has always believed that attraction is a scientific mater, easily classified and controlled - until she's swept into the passionate desire that fiercely burns between her and Anthony. Nothing could be more illogical than risking everything for a dalliance with a rake - even one who's trying to behave himself. Yet nothing could be more tempting...

Review: Anthony will do just about anything to get Mrs. Harris to allow his niece to enter her school. He agrees to teach "rake lessons" with the assistance of Madeline, who suggested it. Even though they have just met, there is an instant attraction between them. They also do more than plan lessons in her office. Although Madeline hides much from Anthony, he keeps coming back for more. I really felt bad for him. Not only did he have a bad childhood, but then the woman he loves ends up using him for her own ends. For the most part I liked the characters, I just felt that Madeline was a bit annoying. Overall, not a bad read. I would definitely recommend it if you have started the School for Heiresses series.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Worth Any Price (Bow Street, Book 3)

Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas (2003)

Pages: 386

ISBN: 0380811073

Description: Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished - but that was before he met the lady in question.

For instead of a willful female he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who would destroy her very soul. So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition - one he has never offered before.

And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know - that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London's most notorious lover might claim Charlotte's bod, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.

Review: Nick and Charlotte are both masquerading as different people when they meet. Almost instantly they have a connection that they both do not understand. Nick decides to save Charlotte from her fate and as a result ends up saving himself. This final installment of the Bow Street series does not disappoint. From the begiing sparks fly between Nick and Charlotte. Many of the characters from the previous books are seen, even if only a slight glimpse. The story was good and it was a nice way to end these books. Another great read from Kleypas.

Score 4 out of 5

Monday, September 8, 2008

Where Dreams Begin

Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas (2000)

Pages: 373

ISBN: 0380802317

Description: Zachary Bronson has built an empire of wealth and power, but all London knows he is not a gentlemen. He needs a wife to secure his position in society - and to warm his bed in private. But one alluring, unexpected kiss from lady Holly Taylor awakens a powerful need within him beyond respectability.

An exceptional beauty whose fierce passions match Zachary's own, Holly always inteneded to play by society's rules, even when they clashed with her bolder instincts. But now a dashing stranger has made her a scandalous offer that does not include matrimony. Should she ignore the sensuous promise of a forbidden kiss... or risk everything to follow her heart to a place where dreams begin?

Review: The sparks fly between Zachary and Holly from the beginning when they "meet" at a ball. From that moment, Zachary knew that he wanted her and only her. What better way to get her to be his than to offer her a business proposal. That decision changed her life forever. For the most part, I enjoyed this story. It was an interesting to see a match between someone from the aristocracy to a lower class person who rose to a high position. The characters were well made. I didn't really care for Holly's in-laws. They were overbearing and tried to manage her. Also, how she always made George out to be this perfect man really made me ill. No one is perfect... no one. Overall, a nice story that you can enjoy.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dreaming of You

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas (1994)

Pages: 373

ISBN: 038077352X

Description: A prim, well-bred gentlewoman, Sara Fielding is a writer who puts pen to paper to create dreams. But now curiosity is luring her from the shelter of her country cottage into the dangerous world of Derek Craven - handsome, tough, and tenacious - and the most exciting an Sara has ever met.

Derek rose from poverty to become he wealthy lord of London's most exclusive gambling house. And now duty demands that he allow Sara Fielding to enter his perilous realm of ever-shifting fortunes - with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But there is a hidden strength and sensuality to the lady that captivates him beyond his better judgment. And in this world, where danger lurks behind every shadow, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress - and a cynical gambler can be shaken to his core by the power of passion and the promise of love.

Review: Sara and Derek come from very different worlds. One chance encounter will connect them forever. Even though Sara is from the country and well-bred she has a wild side. That is where Derek comes in to play. He is the one person who can fulfill all of her dangerous fantasies. It was most interesting to see this very bad boy fall for the very proper country maid. The love they felt for each other came off every page. Another great page turner.

Score: 4 out of 5

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers, Book 3)

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (2006)

Pages: 368

ISBN: 006056251X

Description: Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts - which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions..... or perhaps surrender his own heart or the very first time in the name of true love.

Review: Both Evie and Sebastian needed something... she needed protection only a husband could give her and Sebastian needed her money. What a match. From the beginning Evie was able to see that there was more to Sebastian than his reputation. Soon, Sebastian was able to see past the overly shyness of Evie and see that she was indeed quite a woman. I really love these Wallflower books. The characters are well written and the story is engrossing. This is most definitely a page turner and a must read.

Score: 4 out of 5

Friday, September 5, 2008

Somewhere I'll Find You

Somewhere I'll Find You by Lisa Kleypas (1996)

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0380781433

Description: All London is at Julia Wentworth's feet - and anything she desires is hers for the asking. But the glamorous leading lady guards a shocking secret: a mystery husband whom she does not know, dares not mention... and cannot love.

For years Damon Savage has been searching for the stranger his parents wed him to without his consent, hoping to legally free himself from matrimony's invisible chains. And he is astonished to discover his "bride" is none other than the exquisite lady he'd hoped to make his mistress! But though his wife by law, Julia will never truly be Damon's until he conquers her fears, his formidable rivals... and her proud, passionate, and independent heart.

Review: The premise behind this book is somewhat odd. The main characters were married when they were children. Now they don't want have anything to do with each other. In order to hide from her "husband" Julia becomes an actress under an assumed name. Ironically she meets the man she loathes... her husband, only to realize that he isn't so bad. For the most part I enjoyed this tale, but towards the end I began to get so frustrated with Julia that I wanted to slap her. Not a bad read.

Score: 3 out of 5

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Suddenly You

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas (2001)

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0061259357

Description: She was unmarried, untouched and almost thirty, but novelist Amanda Briars wasn't about to greet her next birthday without making love to a man. When he appeared at her door, she believed he was her gift to herself, hired for one night of passion Unforgettably handsome, irresistibly virile, he tempted her in ways she never though posible... but something stopped him from completely fulfilling her dream.

Jack Devlin's desire to possess Amanda became greater when she discovered his true identity. But gently-bred Amanda craved respectability more than she admitted, while Jack, the cast-off son of a noblemen and London's most notorious businessman, refused to live by society's rules. Yet their worlds collided with a passionate force neither had expected... but both soon craved.

Review: If I had to sum this book up with one word, it would be steamy. Whew! Instanly Amanda and Jack were attracted to each other. It was fun to watch them interact in public and finally their eventual affair. It was obvious these two needed each other but their pasts and certain events nearly tore them apart. I was on the edge of my chair to see what would happen between them. I would most definitely recommend this book.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lady Sophia's Lover (Bow Street, Book 2)

Lady Sophia's Lover by Lisa Kleypas (2002)

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0380811065

Description: Lady Sophia Sydney would do anything to ensnare the unattainable Sir Ross Cannon. Her goal - to ruin his reputation and cause a scandal that would be the talk of all London. So she insinuates herself into his life by gaining his trust and living in his house.

Every morning, her lush presence tempts him beyond all reason... the way she bends over the table to serve him the meal she has prepared... the way her hands oh, so gently - yet sensuously - brush against him. Every night, she promises with her eyes - and her body - that the hours before dawn could be spent in unbridled passion instead of restless sleep - if only he's let her share his bed.

She knows he is falling more in love with her each day. But she never counted on falling in love with him. And she never dreamed he might very respectably ask for her hand in marriage...

Review: From the way Sophia tried to secure her job with Sir Ross it was obvious that she was there for an alternative reason. Even though it was known that Sir Ross had loved his wife and wasn't really interested in women, he was instantly attracted to Sophia. After reading Someone to Watch Over Me I was glad to get a better look at Sir Ross. He is an interesting character and his interaction with Sophia was lovely. Its obvious that they have great chemistry together and the sparks flew off the pages. A must read.

Score: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Someone to Watch Over Me (Bow Street, Book 1)

Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas (1999)

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0380802309

A temptingly beautiful woman awakens in a stranger's bed, rescued from the icy waters of the Thames, her memory gone. Told that she is Vivien Rose Duvall, one of London's most scandalous beauties, she finds herself under the protection of enigmatic, charming Grant Morgan. Her life is an his hands. Deep in her heart, she knows he has mistaken her for someone else...

As one of London's most eligible and unattainable catches, Grant Morgan is a man who has known every kind of woman. And the one in his arms now seems so Innocent, so vulnerable, that he can't help but be enchanted. And as his love for this mysterious beauty grows, he's determined to unravel the secrets of her past and discover the truth no matter what.

Review: I've always been interested in the Bow Street Runners and it was interesting to see a romance about them. This was another heartfelt story from Kleypas. I really felt compelled to keep reading and I needed to find out what happened. The characters were well developed and the story was great. A must read.

Score: 4 out of 5

Monday, September 1, 2008

Again the Magic

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas (2004)

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0380811081

Description: Lady Aline Marsden was brought up for one reason: to make an advantageous marriage to a member of her own class. Instead, she willingly gave her innocence to John McKenna, a servant on her father's estate. Their passionate transgression was unforgivable - John was sent away, and Aline was left to live in the countryside... an exile from Lonon socity.

Now McKenna has made his fortune, and he was returned - more boldly handsome and more mesmerizing than before. His ruthless plan is to take revenge on the woman who shattered his dreams o love. But the magic between them burns as bright as ever. And now he must decide whether to let vengeance take its toll... or risk everything for his first, and only. love.

Review: An almost tragic tale of love lost. It was obvious that Aline and McKenna should have been together from the beginning; however, she was from the aristocracy and he most definitely was not. Lies were told and hearts were broken. It was nerve wracking to see if these two would get over the past and get together. The love story was well written and scorching. A definte page turner.

Score 4 out of 5