Review: The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (Pink Carnation, Book 11) by Lauren Willig - Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds Make sure to read the Prologue because it prepares the reader for the first chapter. Sally Fitzhugh is at an evening soirée and s...
Monday, December 15, 2008
Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Contemporary Romance
Series or Stand-Alone: Travis Series
Publish Year: 2007
Number of Pages: 418
Sensuality Rating: Warm
Part of a Challenge: 2008 Winter Reading Challenge (#3 Read a Book that has a ‘D’ word in it for December)
Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her away from Welcome, Texas-if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger that Welcome, and Liberty is a complication he doesn’t need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than either of them.
When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty is under the spell of a billionaire tycoon- a Sugar Daddy one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family’s past.
To say that I love this book would be an understatement. I don’t know the right words to choose to express how much I love this book. It blew me away from the beginning until the end. I started reading it before going to bed and once I started it, I knew I had to finish it before I went to sleep. And I did! By the time I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was grab the book from the bedside table and relived every scene and dialogue that I loved so much.
In my opinion, Sugar Daddy is Lisa Kleypas’ best work so far. Although I’m not really a fan of first person POV, in this book, it didn’t bother me at all. I felt an immediate connection with Liberty Jones. As a reader, I found myself crying with her, laughing with her, and watching her grow up, mature, and triumph in every hardship she had to go through.
I understood what she felt for Hardy because in a way, I had gone though the same thing she had when she fell in love with him (the powerful emotions she felt for him and the beauty of ‘first love’, not really wanting to let go of that wonderful past). I admired Liberty for her courage, bravery, and her deep connection with her sister Carrington.
Although I liked Hardy, I was rooting for Gage all the way. Hardy will always be a special person in Liberty’s life because he had helped her when she was younger and vulnerable. But when Hardy left, that’s when Liberty realized her own strengths. She learned to stand-up on her own, be responsible, and be selfless.
I think Gage was the perfect man for her. Since the beginning of their relationship, Gage accepted her for whom she was, and he loved her unconditionally, without limits. When Gage discovered Hardy messed up the Medina deal, he knew only Liberty could have told him about it but even then, Gage didn’t blame her because he didn’t want Hardy to create a wedge between him and Liberty. That’s when I realized that Liberty comes first, before anything else in Gage’s life and that he truly loved her.
This book made me cry more than any other book I’ve read before. It also made me laugh and think about a lot of things in my life. This book was wonderful, touching, and healing all at the same time.
Sugar Daddy is a definite keeper.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Genre: Historical Romance
Series or Stand-Alone: Princes Series
Publish Year: 2007
Number of Pages: 384
Sensuality Rating: Hot
Wealthy Lady Georgina Maitland doesn't want a husband, though she could use a good steward to run her estates. One look at Harry Pye and Georgina knows she's not just dealing with a servant, but a man. Harry has known many aristocrats-including one particular nobleman who is his sworn enemy. But Harry has never met a beautiful lady so independent, uninhibited, and eager to be in his arms. Still, it's impossible to conduct a discreet liaison when poisoned sheep, murdered villagers, and an enraged magistrate have the county in an uproar.
This was my first book from Elizabeth Hoyt and I'm so glad I bought it. I loved this book so much. The story was so refreshing and unique. Usually, it's the heroine who is the servant and the hero is the lord, but this one is different. I loved Harry Pye! And Georgina was a wonderful, strong, and funny heroine. You could really feel the connection between the two since the beginning of the story.
The mythology was intertwined skillfully, both as metaphor and plot device in this story. It drew me in and the interaction between Harry and George were most of the time filled with humor but the conflict between their statuses in society was dealt seriously.
I loved this book. And I recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried Elizabeth Hoyt.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Read on for the rules:
1. Now, "Romance" isn't limited to steamy Harlequin novels. There is a huge selection of books in this category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance to name a few. As long as the story has romantic love between the two main characters your selection will fit this challenge. The novels do not need to have a happy ending either, there can also be unrequited love.
2. Choose at least 5 novels read them between Jan 1st though Dec 31st 2009. You can change your choices at any time. Crossovers between other challenges are fine.
3. Read them at your own pace in 2009 then come here and post the link to your review(s).
4. Link your "RRC" choices here with any of these graphics:http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/2008/11/romance-reading-challenge-2009.html
I'll update this post once I've decided what books to read for this challenge.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Genre: Historical Romance
Series or Stand-Alone: Malory Series
Publish Year: 1990
Number of Pages: 462
Sensuality Rating: Hot
Part of a Challenge: 2008 Winter Reading Challenge (#10 Read a Book that has a Pirate or Viking in it)
Her heart trampled and torn, innocent Georgina Anderson was desperate to return home to America. Leaving her sorrows on England’s shores, she defiantly boarded the “gentleman’s ship” Maiden Anne disguised as a cabin boy- never dreaming she’d be forced into intimate servitude to the irrepressible rake Captain James Malory.
A handsome ex-pirate, the black sheep of a proud and tempestuous family, Malory swore no woman alive would entice him into matrimony. But on the high seas, he would be bested by a high-spirited beauty whose love of freedom and adventure rivaled his own… and by an inescapable tidal wave of passion hat threatened to engulf them both.
Gentle Rogue is the third book in the Malory series of author Johanna Lindsey. This is the first time I’ve read a novel from this author and I’m so delighted to have had the opportunity to do so (and see Fabio in all his glory on the cover with matching eye shadow make-up with the heroine) because I fully and completely love this book.
This novel is not only delicious and romantic beyond your wildest dreams. It has all the classic elements of a wonderful romance novel- adventure, passion, and humor. It took me into a family that seems like the one you always wished to be a part of. Both the Malorys and Andersons become a part of you. You laugh with them, cry with them, and sigh with them. The story line is fast-paced and attention-grabbing, but the main attraction is the characterization.
James Malory is a rake, a pirate, a ‘black sheep’ of their family, and a pompous nobleman all at once. On top of all this he’s likable, witty, and devilishly charming.
Georgina, on the other hand, was a fantastic heroine, unique and full of courage. She had a wonderful sense of humor which appealed to me.
The story of James and Georgie falling in love was enjoyable and it made me laugh in almost every chapter. The chemistry between the characters, James being a typical rake who helplessly falls for the disguised sharp tongued Georgie yet doesn’t like to admit it even after matrimony was very amusing. The bantering between the two was priceless. One of the most memorable scenes for me was when Georgie was explaining to James about her ‘illness’ and him telling her that he knows how to cure her said ‘illness’.
The second characters were also wonderful. Georgie's meddling brothers trying to prevent the couple to be together will keep you on your toes throughout. And of course, who wouldn’t love the Malorys?
Although I love this book, there’s just one flaw that kept me from giving this book a solid A grade. I sometimes found it hard to grasp her style of writing. There were times when she got me confused as to which character she was referring to with her dialogue. But all in all, Gentle Rogue was a wonderful book. I’ll recommend it to fellow romance readers and to those who haven’t read a Johanna Lindsey book yet.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Publish Year: 1996
Number of Pages: 373
Sensuality Rating: Hot
Part of a Challenge: 2008 Winter Reading Challenge (#4 Read a Book that has an Arrange Marriage or Marriage of Convenience)
Pretty, flighty Daisy Devreaux can either go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has chosen for her. Arranged marriages don’t happen in the modern world, so how did the irrepressible Daisy find herself in this fix?
Alex Markov, as humorless as he is deadly handsome, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little featherhead with champagne tastes. He drags Daisy from her uptown life to a broken down travelling circus and sets out to tame her his ways.
But this man without a soul has met his match in a woman who’s nothing but heart. Before long, passion will send them flying across a safety net… risking it all in search of a love that will last forever.
Aren't all romances clichés? That's true for Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Kiss an Angel. But in its own way, the novel is a gem because of its underlying unique perspective.
In truth, I’ve put off reading this book for quite a long time. Although I love the marriage of convenience type of plot, I didn’t have an idea of how a sweet society girl will fair with a tough and intimidating Russian brooding guy and how these characters will play out with a marriage of convenience plot. And a story set in a circus? This, to some, might not be a promising plot.
But if anyone can make this unlikely scenario work, it's Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Let me begin by saying that after reading the first few pages of the book, I already had a feeling that Kiss an Angel will be a definite keeper. But then again, I’ve always enjoyed reading a story of impossible love, of two people who are totally wrong for each other ending up totally who the other one needed, and in this book, this scenario was very well done.
Alex and Daisy are both wonderful characters. In the beginning, some might hate Alex because of his rough and intimidating attitude towards Daisy. But given the circumstances behind their marriage, you can’t really blame him for acting that way. Daisy also doesn’t hold a strong opinion of her husband and considers Alex to be an overbearing monster.
But then as the story unfold, you’ll witness how Daisy will worm her way inside Alex’s gruff exterior and how she will transform and overcome her own weaknesses. It’s fun watching Daisy learn to cope with her new setting and yes, she will capture your heart. The strength of her character was very endearing and I admire her because of her capacity to love and forgive her husband. And it's just as fun watching Alex learn to laugh. The novel doesn’t only tell a love story but it’s also a wonderful story of personal growth, filled with humor, emotion, and some pretty sexy love scenes.
As a reader, I enjoyed the journey that Alex Markov and Daisy Devreaux went through in their quest to find themselves and the true meaning of love. I've wept and enjoyed touching moments in other books, but this was written in a way that somehow felt like I was directly involved in the story. It is funny and sad, hopeful and heartbreaking, all at the same time. One page you'll be laughing out loud, and then the next page you're heart will wrench, and the next page you'll be crying real tears.
I recommend this book not only to fellow romance lovers but also for those who suffered trauma in their life. It may have been written simply, but this book does have so many brilliant insights that made it a powerful, touching and healing novel.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Winter Challenge FAQ’s December 1 - February 28
1. Select 5,10, or 15 books to read that fit the category.
2. Post your list on the discussion board and blog (Name’s Winter Challenge List)
3. If you need title suggestions please use the Discussion titled WINTER TITLE SUGGESTIONS if you don't see it please search (to try and minimize number of discussions)
4. Once you have read a book please find the corresponding discussion by searching you can search by 08 Winter # and use the number that corresponds with the list. (one will be created for each number on December 1, again, to try and minimize number of discussions) and post the book and title you read and rating, and review.
5. It is not required, but if you could post your review on the blog that would be great.
6. Reviews on the blog please include labels list the rating, author, and # of challenge only.
7. Audio books are okay
8. Rereads are okay
9. You can change your list at anytime
Winter Reading List
1.Reader’s Choice Place any book here:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Book of Scandal by Julia London
Miss Fortune Julia London
The Real Deal Lucy Monroe
2.Book that was read and Reviewed in the Fall Challenge:
The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
Never Seduce a Scoundrel by Sabrina Jeffries
Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros
3.Read a book that has a “D” word in it for December:
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
4. Read a book that has an arranged marriage or Marriage of:
Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
5.For Valentines Day, read a book that has love, kiss or heart in the title:
If His Kiss is Wicked by Jo Goodman
The Price of Love - Jo Goodman
6.Read a book by Lisa Kleypas:
Seduce me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
7.A book that makes you think about Christmas
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
8.A title that has 4 words in it:
Like No Other Lover by Julie Ann Long
The Book of Scandal by Julia London
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn
In the Highlander's Bed by Cathy Maxwell
9.Read a story that has a military or civil servant (firefighter/cop/fbi/clan chief/commander):
The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Petals in the Storm by Mary Jo Putney
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Dream Man by Linda Howard
10.Read a book that has a Viking or Pirate in it:
Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsay
11.Pick a book that was first published in 2008:
Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase
Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
After the Kiss: The Notorious Gentlemen by Suzanne Enoch
The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn
12.Read a series (Harlequin or Sillehoutte):
Harlequin Nascar (any book)
13.Read a book that the author has 3 names :
Dark Lover by JR Ward
Ain’t She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
14.For the New Year-Pick a book that has been in your TBR pile for a long time --Out w/ the old in w/ the new:
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffineger
Perfect by Judith McNaught
Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts
15.Read a book that has a “W” word for Winter:
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Some like it Wicked by Teresa Medeiros
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Beth tagged me tagged me with this lovely award, my very first award. So here it goes:
Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there.
Okay so the book closest to me, the one I'm reading is Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsay.
And with my height and slimness, timbre of voice and"-she looked down at her chest-"some tight binding, I can easily pass for a boy of nine or ten."
She got a disgusted look for that assumption. "Yer intelligence will give ye away."
Now I'll tag 5 people to do this. ^_^
1. Phoebe Jordan
3. Naval Langa
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Series or Stand-Alone: Twilight Saga
Publish Year: 2005
Number of Pages: 464
Sensuality Rating: Kiss
Part of a Challenge: No
Bella Swan’s move to Forks could have been the most boring move she ever made. But when she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella.
Twilight is the first book in the much talked about Twilight Saga from author Stephenie Meyer. Twilight is the story of Edward and Bella’s romance. The book is marketed at Young Adult readers but it has the ability to cross age barriers and will satisfy both teenagers and adults alike.
The story is told in first person from the perspective of Bella, so the reader will only ever know what she knows, making Edward and his family a mystery that is slowly unraveled throughout the book.
I was unsure if I really wanted to read this book at first especially after reading a fair amount of mixed reviews about its story. But I did and I’m glad that I read this book. I rarely read vampire novels but I found myself enjoying the story albeit its flaws.
The first part was a bit slow because it takes a while to set up the story but after that, the story became more exciting and action filled. The second half of the book, after Bella saw Edward’s true form, made me excited and craving for more. I wanted to know what will happen next and the story went smoothly and action-filled from there on.
But then again, although the book was entertaining, I think that it was overly done.
Twilight is an okay book but I wouldn’t consider it a personal keeper. One problem I had was the character of Bella. For the most part, I felt that she was too whiny, selfish, and her character seemed flat. I was also distracted by how she would always describe Edward as ‘Too beautiful’ in almost every page. It was too much and making her character shallow. I think her descriptions were a bit redundant and over the top. And while I was reading, I had to remind myself that the story was told from Bella’s point of view and that she was obsessed with him. But then Meyer could have given her character more depth. And really, there are other things that Bella could have been doing, but did she have to cook all the time?
Now I think I understand where the mixed reception for Twilight is coming from. All in all, I will give Twilight 3.5 stars. It’s a good book but it fell short from what I was expecting especially since a lot of people had been raving about it.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Book Awards Reading Challenge Rules:
Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009.
You must have at least FIVE different awards in your ten titles.
Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
You don't have to post your choices right away, and your list can change at any time.
'Award winners' is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs, keeping in mind Rule #2.
Book Awards Reading List
The Giver by Lois Lowry (Newberry Medal)
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenneger (Alex Award)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Pulitzer Prize)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Governor General's Award)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Man Booker Prize for Fiction)
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Alex Award)
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Giller Prize)
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Nebula Award)
Atonement by Ewan McEwan ((National Book Critics Circle Award)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Genre: Historical Romance (Medieval England)
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Publish Year: 1991
Number of Pages: 438
Sensuality Rating: Warm
Part of a Challenge: No
Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf," his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will...until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web...a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.
A Kingdom of Dreams holds a very special place in my heart. Once again, author Judith McNaught didn't fail to deliver and spellbound me with this very wonderful love story.
It's one of the best medieval historical romance stories I've read in a long time. A Kingdom of Dreams brought out a whirlwind of emotions from me. Sometimes, it made me laugh, it made me cry, squirm, and even jump out at some twists along the story.Once you start reading it, the characters become so real that by the end, you'll find yourself saying, I want more!
Royce Westmoreland is a breathtakingly wonderful hero. In most romance novels,the heroes don't realize the meaningfulness and the importance of the 'love' that the heroines willingly offer to them until the very end of the novel. But Royce was able to realized how much he loved Jenny and he hold onto it and cherished Jenny's uniqueness, her wit, subtle naivete without being worried about how love can make a man vulnerable.
Jennifer Merrick is a heroine that we could all relate to. She's humble, stands-up for what she she believes in, loyal, albeit with a quick temper. She also had her own insecurities and throughout her life, she had been struggling to appease her father and gain his approval. Even though the clan had been vocal against her being the head in the even that her father dies, Jenny was still determined to prove her clansmen wrong. Even with everyone against her, Jenny loved her family and she was faithful to her clan.
I think that one of the most remarkable aspects of this book was that I was able to see how Royce and Jenny's relationship developed. It was a long journey but with it came very important revelations and twists that strengthen the plot line and the characters of the hero and the heroine. I saw how they were able to slowly reveal their true self to one another and upon that discovery, made them trust and fall in love with each other. I believe that they know each other more than they know themselves. It became apparent throughout the story that Jenny and Royce understood one another because of the similarities in their situation. With Jenny, Royce need not be the arrogant, stubborn, and gruff Duke of Claymore and be his true self and Jenny could be herself and be vulnerable without being ridiculed by him.
If I had to choose my most memorable part in the story, it was the scene after Royce and Jenny made love the first time. It was then that Jenny and Royce bared out their soul to one another. It made me cry while reading the dialogue that transpired between the two and as you imagine that scene in your head, you can definitely say that 'This is true love!'. The imagery and the dialogue that transpired between Jenny and Royce took me by surprise and left me breathless. This book is definitely worth every penny that you'll pay for it. A Kingdom of Dreams will always be a personal keeper.