Thursday, April 30, 2009

If You Desire

If You Desire (MacCarrick Brothers, #2) If You Desire by Kresley Cole


My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars
An interesting plot. The love story was a little weak. I never did understand how everyone knew that she loved him and he loved her but never bothered to tell the two lovers that.

Pub. Date: April 2007

Series: MacCarrick Brothers Book 2

Synopsis: How much temptation can a Highlander resist? Fierce Scottish brothers shadowed by a dark curse face steamy new adventures in the second book in Kresley Cole's thrilling new trilogy.

He tried to run....
In his youth, Hugh MacCarrick foolishly fell in love with a beautiful English lass who delighted in teasing him with her flirtatious ways. Yet he knew he could never marry her because he was shadowed by an accursed family legacy. To avoid temptation, Hugh left home, ultimately becoming an assassin.

She tried to forget him....
Jane Weyland was devastated when the Highlander she believed would marry her abandoned her instead. Years later, when Hugh MacCarrick is summoned to protect her from her father's enemies, her heartache has turned to fury -- but her desire for him has not waned.

Will passion overwhelm them?
In hiding, Jane torments Hugh with seductive play. He struggles to resist her because of deadly secrets that could endanger her further. But Hugh is no longer a gentle young man -- and toying with the fever-pitched desires of a hardened warrior will either get Jane burned...or enflame a love that never died.

Recommended Reading:
If You Deceive (MacCarrick Brothers Series #3) by Kresley Cole
If You Dare (MacCarrick Brothers Series #1) by Kresley Cole
No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals after Dark Series #2) by Kresley Cole

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus: A Novel The Birth of Venus: A Novel by Sarah Dunant


My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a well-written book. The story was easy to fall into, at times disturbing and beautiful. The subject matter was overwhelming at times, definitely not a "mindless read". The plot has innumerable twists that keep the reader interested.

Pub. Date: February 2004

Synopsis: Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family’s Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities.

But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra’s parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man. Meanwhile, Florence is changing, increasingly subject to the growing suppression imposed by the fundamentalist monk Savonarola, who is seizing religious and political control. Alessandra and her native city are caught between the Medici state, with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola’s reactionary followers. Played out against this turbulent backdrop, Alessandra’s married life is a misery, except for the surprising freedom it allows her to pursue her powerful attraction to the young painter and his art.

Recommended Reading:
In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
Courtesan by Diane Haeger
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Pompeii : A Novel by Robert Harris

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Captain of All Pleasures

The Captain of All Pleasures The Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole


My review
rating: 1 of 5 stars
This is Kresley Cole's disappointing debut novel. If I hadn't read her other work before this book, I would never read her again. The plot was terrible. The hero was a jerk. The dialogue was stilted and random. The characters were in situations that were not believable.

If you want to read Kresley Cole, I recommend starting with her "If You..." series and skipping the "Pleasure" series altogether.

Pub. Date: July 2003

Series: Sutherland Brothers Book 1

Synopsis: Raised as a free spirit aboard her American sea captain father's majestic clipper ship, willful Nicole Lassiter has never encountered an obstacle she couldn't overcome — until she meets Captain Derek Sutherland. His sizzling kisses leave her longing, but after they share a night of passion, his subsequent disdain makes her blood boil. Nicole vows to take her revenge — by helping her father beat Sutherland in a high-stakes competition: the Great Circle Race from England to Australia.

Nicole's scheme is thrown overboard after her father is wrongly imprisoned, yet she remains undaunted — taking to the high seas with her father's ship. But a storm wrecks her plans, and she finds herself a virtual prisoner aboard Sutherland's vessel. And while her mind tells her she should escape, her body urges her to surrender...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Remember The Magic

Remember The Magic (Berkley Sensation) Remember The Magic by Donna Fletcher

My review
rating: 1 of 5 stars
I started this book with high hopes, it's been on my shelf for years. I was disappointed in the storyline, I gave up in the first 30 pages. First, the two introductory characters tell the back story in conversation - which if they'd been together for hundreds of years, they both would be familiar with the story. The dialogue was stilted. I felt like the author was trying to tell us too much instead of letting us read between the lines or get into the characters' heads. Second, on page 30 the heroine (who is a witch in 1564) starts conjuring up a modern kitchen and bathroom in her cottage.

I'm all for fantasy if it's done well, but this book seems to be a half-formed thought that managed to get published. I think it could have been done better, perhaps if the author had begun the story at the beginning instead of the middle...

Pub. Date: January 2004

Synopsis: It's been five hundred years since Sydney Wyrrd fled the Scottish Highlands, fearing her presence would bring harm to her beloved. Only through divine intervention - and the help of her friends and fellow witches, Tempest and Michael - has she been able to return to 1564... and to Duncan, the brave chieftan who captured her heart all those years ago.

Ever since the day she disappeared, Duncan has been haunted by thoughts of the beautiful witch who stole his heart. But believing he'd never again set eyes on Sydney, he promised to take the daughter of a nearby clan chieftan as his wife - a union that will benefit both clans. A man of his word, he can't imagine breaking off his engagement - not even when Sydney returns. But for how long can he deny the passion she has reawakened - or resist the enduring love that still burns between them?

Last Kiss Goodbye

Last Kiss Goodbye Last Kiss Goodbye by Rita Herron

My review
rating: 1 of 5 stars
I started this book with the intention of kicking back and enjoying it. I read about 30 pages and threw the book down in disgust. I was confused by the storyline. The characters seemed over-dramatized and unrealistic. The writing was ripe (stinky ripe, that is) with heavy handed forshadowing and "oooh spooky" factor.

Sorry, kids, another one I just couldn't waste my time on.

Pub. Date: August 2006

Synopsis: Fearful yet determined, Ivy Stanton returns to the small Appalachian town she left fifteen years ago…the night her parents were murdered. But in coming home to Kudzu Hollow, she discovers she is not alone in her search for the truth: Matt Mahoney, the man who saved her life, who haunts her dreams, who was wrongfully accused of the crime, has come back, too, demanding answers -- and justice.

When Matt looks into Ivy's eyes, he sees a woman whose pain mirrors his own. The feelings she stirs within him promise a life he never thought he'd have. But evil still resides in this sleepy mountain town, as do secrets worth killing for. Now danger stalks them both, and Matt is fighting for more than vengeance…he's fighting for their future.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

My review
rating: 5 of 5 stars
The final book in the Twilight Saga brought out all of my emotions. I laughed, I cried, I raged, I felt the limitless bottom of depression... I felt the enduring possibility of love. Possibly the most amazing rollercoaster I have ever been on in a book.

I was frustrated through the third of the book that took the reader into Jacob's point of view. I love Bella's voice and it was difficult to leave for Jacob's bitterness, anger and shattered heart. It was necessary, after all, to understand the break that Bella had made, the healing that occured after. But it was still a relief to get back to Bella's voice. I thought I was going to become suicidal.

To say that this book (the whole series, truth be told) took over my emotions, my life, would be an exaggeration. Stephenie Meyer is a master story teller. None of her characters are half-done. The only flaw I found with this last book is that the plot wound up too neatly. I put the book down feeling complete, but that maybe it was a little too anti-climatic.

Pub. Date: August 2008

Series: Twilight Saga Book 4

Synopsis: When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life seem ready to heal and kit together, could the be destroyed....forever?

Recommended Reading:
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Book 1)
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Book 2)
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Book 3)
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eclipse

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3) Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

My review
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Amazing. From the very first word I was sucked into the story, into a world where vampires, werewolves and true-love-forever exists. This book made me laugh, cry and gasp with terror, fear, excitement and love. Stephenie Meyer is amazing!

Pub. Date: August 2007

Series: Twilight Saga Book 3

Synopsis: Edward’s soft voice came from behind me.

I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again. This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine–like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us.

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob–knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

Recommended Reading:
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Book 1)
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Book 2)
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Book 4)
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Moon

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

My review
rating: 5 of 5 stars
I feel sorry for my kids. The only way they've been able to get my attention this weekend is by shouting, "Mom! Vampire!"

If possible, this book was better than the first. The pain Bella went through when was heartbreaking. I enjoyed that some of the secondary characters, such as Jacob and Alice, played bigger roles in Bella's life.

There was a brief moment of ridiculous when Bella met the Volturi family, but fortunately it didn't last long.

A beautiful book. Absolutely amazing.

Pub. Date: September 2006

Series: Twilight Saga Book 2

Synopsis: I FELT LIKE I WAS TRAPPED IN ONE OF THOSE TERRIFYING NIGHTMARES…For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning. . . .

Recommended Reading:
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Book 1)
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Book 3)
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Book 4)
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twilight

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My review
rating: 5 of 5 stars
I can't find a single bad thing to say about this book. The characters were brilliant. The storyline flawless. I didn't think the "teenage angst" was overly exaggerated - if anything the story was two old souls in young bodies. The only bad thing I can say about this book is that it ended.

Pub. Date: October 2005

Series: Twilight Saga Book 1

Synopsis: "About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him - and I didn't know how dominant that part might be - that thirsted or my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."

Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, a pair of star-crossed lovers whose forbidden relationship ripens against the backdrop of small-town suspicion and a mysterious coven of vampires. This is a love story with bite.

Recommended Reading:
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Book 4)
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Book 3)
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Book 2)
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Who By Fire

Who by Fire: A Novel (P.S.) Who by Fire: A Novel by Diana Spechler


My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was slightly overwhelming in the beginning, learning to understand the Hebrew/Yiddish terms. For being a short book, the characters were well developed. Very enjoyable.

Pub. Date: September 2008

Synopsis: Bits and Ash were children when the kidnapping of their younger sister, Alena—an incident for which Ash blames himself—caused an irreparable family rift. Thirteen years later, Ash is living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, cutting himself off from his mother, Ellie, and his wild-child sister, Bits. But soon he may have to face them again; Alena's remains have finally been uncovered. Now Bits is traveling across the world in a bold and desperate attempt to bring her brother home and salvage what's left of their family.

Sharp and captivating, Who by Fire deftly explores what happens when people try to rescue one another.

Recommended Reading:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Taming the Scotsman

Taming the Scotsman (Brotherhood/ MacAllister Series, Book #4) Taming the Scotsman by Kinley MacGregor


My review
rating: 1 of 5 stars
The heroine of this book came across as too ditzy for me to finish the book. Even the author's sense of humor and a hunky hero couldn't save this book.

Pub. Date: August 2003

Series: Brotherhood of the Sword Book 6, MacAllister Book 6

Synopsis: No one can tell the hot-blooded Scottish lasswhom to marry! But the much-feared man Nora runs to for protection may be more perilous to her heart than any unwanted groom...
And much more difficult to tame!

Recommended Reading:
Claiming the Highlander by Kinley Macgregor
Born in Sin by Kinley Macgregor
Return of the Warrior by Kinley Macgregor
If You Deceive (MacCarrick Brothers Series #3) by Kresley Cole
If You Dare (MacCarrick Brothers Series #1) by Kresley Cole

My Horizontal Life

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler


My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a hilarious book! It took me a chapter or two to fall into the author's humor style.

Pub. Date: June 2005

Synopsis: In this raucous collection of true-life stories, actress and comedian Chelsea Handler recounts her time spent in the social trenches with that wild, strange, irresistible, and often gratifying beast: the one-night stand.

You've either done it or know someone who has: the one-night stand, the familiar outcome of a night spent at a bar, sometimes the sole payoff for your friend's irritating wedding, or the only relief from a disastrous vacation. Often embarrassing and uncomfortable, occasionally outlandish, but most times just a necessary and irresistible evil, the one-night stand is a social rite as old as sex itself and as common as a bar stool.

Enter Chelsea Handler. Gorgeous, sharp, and anything but shy, Chelsea loves men and lots of them. My Horizontal Life chronicles her romp through the different bedrooms of a variety of suitors, a no-holds-barred account of what can happen between a man and a sometimes very intoxicated, outgoing woman during one night of passion. From her short fling with a Vegas stripper to her even shorter dalliance with a well-endowed little person, from her uncomfortable tryst with a cruise ship performer to her misguided rebound with a man who likes to play leather dress-up, Chelsea recalls the highs and lows of her one-night stands with hilarious honesty. Encouraged by her motley collection of friends (aka: her partners in crime) but challenged by her family members (who at times find themselves a surprise part of the encounter), Chelsea hits bottom and bounces back, unafraid to share the gritty details. My Horizontal Life is one guilty pleasure you won't be ashamed to talk about in the morning.

Recommended Reading:
My Point...and I Do Have One by Ellen DeGeneres
Mr. Instability by Tom Elsa
I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley