Sunday, March 29, 2009

Claiming the Highlander

Claiming the Highlander (Brotherhood/ MacAllister Series, Book #2) Claiming the Highlander by Kinley MacGregor

My review
rating: 2 of 5 stars
I love Kinley MacGregor's sense of humor. She has feel for humorous dialogue that is natural. She creates amazing characters that I easily become emotionally invested in.

The plot for Claiming the Highlander was weak. At first glance it seemed that this would be an interesting read, but it was dull filled with a lot of flashback sequences that didn't really move the story forward. The hero began the story as a careless playboy and then in the middle he claimed to be the innocent victim of sex-crazed females. I like reading stories about people who are less than perfect, less than beautiful, with characters who stay true to their character. I like it when bad guys stay bad, people with good intentions mess things up, and playboys fall in love and vow to be faithful.

Pub. Date: March 2002

Series: MacAllisters Book 2

Synopsis: It is said that Braden MacAllister, English baron and proud Highlander warrior, can fell an enemy with a single blow -- and a woman with a single kiss. But not Maggie, it seems. For the fire-haired beauty, determined to end the long running feud that rages between their clan and it's common foe, is immune to Branden's attempts to stop her foolishness. But stop her he will, once he gets the meddling minx alone...and favors her with a passionate caress and an irresistible kiss. No matter how she trembles beneath Braden's sensuous touch, Maggie must not yield! As long as this feud continues, the lives of her brothers are at stake. And though Braden is known to have bedded many a lass, he has given his heart to none. But dare she dream that by assuring peace for her clan she may also be claiming the most magnificient Highlander for herself?

Recommended Reading:
Born in Sin by Kinley Macgregor
Taming the Scotsman by Kinley Macgregor

A Dark Champion by Kinley Macgregor
Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals after Dark Series #5) by Kresley Cole

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals after Dark Series #2) by Kresley Cole

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Master of Desire

Master of Desire (Brotherhood/MacAllister Series, Book #1) Master of Desire by Kinley MacGregor

My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars
A few different twists in an otherwise average love story. Very good writing with lots of humor. One of the reasons I keep coming back to this author.

The only thing I found frustrating was that the heroine seemed to "pollyanna" and the author couldn't seem to decide if the character should be a naive virgin or a knowledgeable virgin.

Some of the dialect seemed it would have fit better in a Civil War/Deep South romance than a medieval England romance.

Pub. Date: February 2001

Series: MacAllisters Book 1

Synopsis: Beautiful Lady Emily dreams of the rapture of love and the joys of marriage. The youngest daughter of an English lord at war, she is shaken by the arrival of a mysterious stranger to her father's castle. Could this breathtaking man be Emily's yearned-for lover? Indeed, Draven de Montague, Earl of Ravenswood, has come for Emily . . . but romance has nothing to do with it.

Draven would never have entered the home of his most hated adversary had not the King himself ordered him to take in his foe's daughter for a year to forge bonds of peace between their two feuding houses. Worse still, here is a lass whose exquisite loveliness could tempt Draven to betray his sworn vow never to let anther close to his heart. Emily knows the searing heat of her passion could burn down the defenses of this proud warrior. But will the surrender of the sweet nectar of his lips and his bold, sensuous caress ignite a blaze so hot it consumes them both?

Recommended Reading:
Born in Sin by Kinley Macgregor (Brotherhood of the Sword Book 1, MacAllisters Book 3)
Claiming the Highlander by Kinley Macgregor
Taming the Scotsman by Kinley Macgregor

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Scent of Roses

Scent Of Roses Scent Of Roses by Kat Martin

My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a good book. Some of the wording became redundant: fingernail of a moon; sickening sweet, bad element, etc. but it wasn't extreme. The author did an excellent job with making the ghostly appearances eerie; I got the chills once or twice and had to sleep with the kids' night light for a few nights. The author also does well with sex scenes (almost too well).

I think if the author had stuck with one plot, this would have been a 4-star book for me. I found the two plots overwhelming. Okay, so not only do we have the guy and the girl falling in love and tracking down a ghost, but the guy has to deal with his asinine brother, his sick father and his own demons from his past. Hello, Information Overload. The book would have been stand-alone as a ghost story.

There was an interesting twist thrown in in the last two pages. According to the Author's Note, this is based on actual events. Curious to know more, I spent 1-1/2 hours on the internet and turned up nothing relating to this story. Curious if this really is based on actual events or if that was just a sales gimmick.

Pub. Date: July 2006

Synopsis: Elizabeth doesn't believe in ghosts. But this time she has no choice. Family counselor Elizabeth Conner isn't sure what to think when Maria Santiago comes to her for help. Pregnant and terrified, Maria claims to be visited each night by the ghost of a little girl, warning her to flee. Her husband, Miguel, a migrant worker at Harcourt Farms in the San Joaquin Valley, dismisses her fears as hormonal changes. Sympathetic to the young woman, Elizabeth agrees to help by contacting Miguel's employers, who own the cottage where the young couple lives.

Elizabeth immediately picks up on the deep enmity between the two Harcourt brothers: Carson, the handsome scion running the estate for his incapacitated father, and Zack, the rebellious black sheep. While Carson is more interested in Elizabeth than in her concerns, Zack grudgingly agrees to help her look into the history of the house.

But even as unexpected desire draws them together, Elizabeth and Zack feel something dark and disturbing at the house. And when the cloying scent and lingering chill of pure evil surround her, Elizabeth knows something terrible has happened here before, something that has its roots in murder.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Thief in a Kilt

A Thief In A Kilt A Thief In A Kilt by Sandy Blair

My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars
The plot and love story were a little weak and far-fetched. The storyline picked up towards the end. The author has a great sense of humor, which kept me reading. She didn't involve the heroine's second sight as much as I had hoped. That part of the storyline started out strong in the beginning, disappeared in the middle and then briefly reappeared in the end. In some aspects I enjoyed her other books more but other aspects made this book better than the others.

Pub. Date: November 2006

Synopsis: Sir Ian MacKay deserves to be called the Thief of Hearts. Yet he is a man with a mission: to return Scotland's rightful king to his ancestral throne. But first he m ust find out the true identity of the mysterious woman whose beauty and wit have dazzled the cort and why she is avoiding him. Can it be possible that Kate Templeton is an English spy?

Though Ian insists that no woman has ever refused him, Kate vows to resist his scandalous charm. Leading him on a merry chase all over Scotland is the best way to safeguard her heart. Yet a passionate confrontation brings them together at last. And the only word on her lips is yes.

Recommended Reading:
A Highlander for Christmas by Sandy Blair
A Man in a Kilt by Sandy Blair
How to Marry A Duke by Sandy Blair
A Rogue in a Kilt by Sandy Blair

Friday, March 13, 2009

Knocked Up

Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be by Rebecca Eckler

My review
rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book was like a pregnancy: It dragged on and on and then suddenly it was over. I'm torn between loving the book and hating it. There was a lot that I related to - guilt about not quitting smoking, crazy obsessions, and the mysterious body parts poking me from the inside (no, really, how do you know if that's a foot, an elbow or a third arm?) - and there was a lot that I found utterly ridiculous. In some ways, the author reminded me of Sophie Kinsella's 'Shopaholic' character: ridiculous and petty.

Pub. Date: March 2005

Synopsis: Rebecca Eckler is a popular newspaper columnist who lives the fabulous life and gets paid to write about it. So when a tipsy romp with her fiancé on the night of their lavish engagement party leaves her unexpectedly expecting, she is utterly at a loss. How will a woman who loves nothing more than a night out on the town sipping cocktails with her fellow party girls survive the pregnant life?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Water For Elephants (Audiobook)

Water for Elephants Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My review
rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was amazing. It grabbed me right in the beginning and didn't let go. I love it when books throw a reader right into the middle of the action at the very first word. The transition between the present time (Jacob at 90 or 93) and the past (Jacob at 23) was beautifully done. This audiobook had exceptional readers who made the characters come alive.

Pub. Date: June 2006

Synopsis: As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

Recommended Reading:
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Final Victim

The Final Victim The Final Victim by Wendy Corsi Staub

My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars
Even though I had the bad guy figured out by page 100, I kept reading to find out the "why". I didn't get emotionally attached to the central character - she was supposed to be a smart woman but, man!, was she dumb! I really liked the daughter's character. Plot was so-so. To me it was see-through. I thought the character Aunt Jeanne could have been played out better.

Pub. Date: March 2006

Synopsis: Everyone in Savannah, Georgia knows the Remington estate. The rambling old house bears blatant testimony not just to the esteemed family's vast wealth, but to unbearable tragedy and whispered secrets. Soon, the Remingtons will all come home to this secluded plantation nestled deep in the shadow of moss-covered trees. Then they will have to diee... one by one.

For Charlotte Remington Maitland, the past five years have been a haze of pain and loss. Now, with her new husband and teenaged duagher, she's found a second chance at happiness - until the moment her grandfather's will is read. As the sole beneficiary of the vast Remington estate, Charlotte will get everything that's coming to her. A killer will make sure of that - no matter who has to die.

Trapped in a house of lies, searching for answers to deadly questions, Charlotte has never been more afraid. Someone knows her family's deepest secrets. Someone who will take Charlotte to the edge of sanity and the dark heart of her greatest fear in order to make her The Final Victim.

Received: May 2006 - Our online book club offers free books when you swap, trade, or exchange your used books with other book club members for free.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Divide (Audiobook)

The Divide The Divide by Nicholas Evans

My review
rating: 1 of 5 stars
I couldn't finish this. There was too much flashback and not enough dealing with the crime at hand. The story begins with finding Abbie's body, identifying her and contacting her family. There is an interesting struggle between Abbie's parents as they deal with the death of their child, their own blame in her death and as they each try to one-up each other. Then, suddenly the reader is thrown into a flashback of where, when, why and how their marriage fell apart. In mind-numbing detail. I had to give up. I couldn't stand to listen to it. Which was really too bad, there were some great secondary characters.

Pub. Date: September 2005

Synopsis: On a crystalline Montana morning, two backcountry skiers find the body of a young woman embedded in the ice of a remote mountain creek. All through the night police work with floodlights and chain saws to extract her. Identifying her, however, takes not time at all. Abbie Cooper is wanted for murder and acts of ecoterrorism and her picture is on law enforcement computers all across the country. But how did she die? And what was the trail of events that led this golden child of a loving family so tragically astray?

A devastating journey of discovery that extends from the streets of New York to the daunting grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, The Divide tells the story of a family fractured by betrayal and struggling in search of lost happiness. It explores the pain we inflect on those we love the most, and charts the passions and needs, the dashed hopes and disillusionments that connect and divide all men and women.

Recommended Reading:
The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans

Received: September 2008 - Our online book club offers free books when you swap, trade, or exchange your used books with other book club members for free.