Friday, January 9, 2009

My January Reads (Part 1)

Finally, after saying that I will be update soon, I found the time to sit down and actually do it! So here they are, the books I've finished so far this year (January 1st to January 9th), a short summary and review and my rating of them. If this is okay with everyone else, I will probably stick to this format for all of my reviews, not counting certain favorite books and ARCs I might receive, instead of the long posts for just one book.
But if you would prefer it the other way, you can always leave me a comment saying so and who knows, I might just change back some time!
Okay, enough rambling on! Hope you enjoy. :)
EDITED TO ADD: Sorry about the post guys, but after I saved it and posted it the computer decided to suddenly mess up my spacing between paragraphs and books and now it looks crappy. But I tried fixing it and it just did it again. So I give up for now. It can just stay the way it is! I hope you can still read it though.
Title: Mysteria Lane
Authors: MaryJanice Davidson, P.C. Cast, Gena Showalter, Susan Grant My Rating: 4 stars Summary: Return to a town of bewitching seduction and sensual demons. There’s a spellbinding witch of love who wants to make one man hers; a vegan having trouble adapting to vampirism; Satan’s emissary, who is looking for steady work in Colorado; and angelic triplets feeling a wee touch of the devil. My Review: I've only read two of the four authors in this anthology (PC Cast and Gena Showalter, both of whom are one of my favorite authors). And while I had hoped that I wouldn't have to play favorites with the anthology, I had to: Cast and Showalter's were by far the best, but even then neither one hit a 5 star for me.
Don't get me wrong, each of the four stories had their own positive and negative qualities about them, the most common negative one being the fact that the "love" felt waaay too rushed, even for an anthology. BUT, the last two stories in there were the closest to an 'A' grade. The others were not horrible, in fact, they were a bit on the funnier/lighter side, which made them fairly enjoyable, but I don't think I'd want to re-read them again anytime soon.
All in all, the whole book was a good read, nothing great, but not horrible. Just barely above 'average' in my book. Personally, if you wish to see what these authors' books are like, pick up one of their full length ones so that you can get a better feel for it and you'll probably end up liking them that way.
Title: Night Falls Darkly
Author: Kim Lenox
My Rating: 4.5 stars
A new voice in paranormal romance...A brand-new chilling saga....A cunning immortal who’s been called upon to reclaim a marked soul...
Ever since an accident took away her memory, Miss Elena Whitney can’t recall the secrets of her own past. All she knows is that with her mysterious benefactor Archer, Lord Black, returning to London at the behest of Queen Victoria, she should seize the chance to get some answers.
A member of the immortal Shadow Guard, Archer has been summoned to London to eliminate the soul of an evil demon—Jack the Ripper. Archer feels not only bound to protect the women of the night, but also his beautiful young ward, Elena, whom he spared from death two years before. But with a wave of panic spreading across London, Archer fears that Elena is his weakness—a distraction he can’t afford, especially since she’s likely to become the Ripper’s next target...
My Review:
At first I was a bit hesitant about liking the book, simply because it seemed to start off a bit slow and the characters, while definitely not the worst, also didn't seem to stick out a lot in my mind. And the fact that it was reading more like an urban fantasy than a para-romance didn't help to make me love it any either. But I was wrong, I will admit.
By about the 60th page or so, it picked up considerably and the characters and plot seemed to explode, they developed so quickly. I was instantly drawn all the way into the book instead of just part way like when I picked it up.
There were all sorts of twists and turns, mysteries and suspense, a few laughs and, yes, eventually a bit of a romance too. Though the romance seemed to take a back seat to the plot in this book, what little there wasn't half bad! It had it's moments, more so towards the end when he finally admits why he saved her in the alley in the prologue of the book. It wasn't the 'let-out-a-deep-sigh-oh-my-that's-true-love' type of romance, but it wasn't the 'ho-hum' kind either. Pleasant, but not awe-inspiring.
What it lacked in the romance it made up for at the end when the author pretty much leaves you hanging, drawing you in for the sequel, out later this year. Lenox just starts to scratch the surface of the story in this one, only telling us the bare minimum about these Immortals, which made me even more desperate to read the next one!
Title: Double Fantasy
Author: Cheryl Holt
My Rating: 3 stars
Orphaned as a young girl, Anne Carstairs was taken in by her cruel, malicious relatives. She’s lived a lonely life at their Gladstone estate, but with a new earl coming, everything is changing. Anne has heard many rumors about him, but she is completely unprepared for him to be the most deeply seductive man she’s ever encountered. No sooner do they meet than he brushes her lips with a delicious kiss that leaves her wanting so much more…
As a boy, Jamieson Merrick was denied his inheritance and forced to work as a privateer on the high seas. Until years later, when Jamie discovers that he is the rightful heir to Gladstone. Now, as the new earl, he’s determined to claim what is his…including Anne Carstairs. Once he lays eyes on the petite beauty, he vows to take her to his bed and make her his own. She’s a pawn in his plan for revenge. But he never dreamed that revenge could be so sweet…
My Review:
I've read all but two of Holt's other books, and I enjoyed all of them. They had a bit of everything-- tons of steaminess, a good dose of romance, and a plot that, while maybe not he most interesting or original were still solid 'okays'. Together, it was always enough to add up to a 4-5 star books for me. So when I bought this one early last year, I thought 'Oh, this will be another automatic favorite for me!'. But I was wrong. I strongly disliked this one. It was pretty bad, especially coming from this author who has had so many notable books before this.
The characters were not strong, they were not very deep, and they whined. A lot. They had so many flaws, yet the author didn't expand on their characters and personalities enough to allow them to over come this flaws. If they had learned from their mistakes, I would have been a bit happier, but they didn't. And the fact that the twins were both rakes that didn't really care about the two women who *somehow* fell in love with them didn't really push my buttons either. I'm okay with the 'reformed rake', etc, but these ones never reached the reformed stage, even by the end I felt that they retained too much of their wicked ways. I'm not really interested in man whores as the hero, thanks.
As far as the sex factor, this one had plenty! I'm not usually one to complain, I liked my romances to be a bit more steamy, but I want the couple to fall in love during the event, not just see it as a mutual release like they did in this one! It had very little romance in it, and it made the whole story seem cheaper. When they *kind of* realized their love at the end, it wasn't as much of an 'aw' moment as it usually is for me because of their actions earlier on.
Title: Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband
Author: Melissa Mayhue
My Rating: 4.5 stars
SCOTLAND, 1272. Connor MacKiernan, a descendant of the Fae Prince, is a warrior who lives only for honor and duty. Though he's vowed never to marry, that's exactly what he must do to save his sister. Enter a little Faerie magic, and the search for a bride is on.
DENVER, 2007. Caitlyn Coryell is having a really bad day -- she just discovered her fiancé with another woman! Imagine her surprise when she puts on some sexy lingerie and an antique pendant and Connor appears in her bedroom, begging for her help. He offers a simple yet outrageous adventure: travel to his time, marry him, and return home. But nothing's simple when Cate is trapped in the thirteenth century. The wedding's delayed, someone's trying to kill her, and in the middle of all this, she realizes she's falling in love with a man who can only be her husband for thirty nights.
My Review:
I read another book in Mayhue's Daughter of the Glen series last year and I loved it! I quickly put the others on my want to read list, and after reading Thirty Nights, I'm positive that she is now one of my new favorite authors!
Not only do I find the plots to be intriguing, but the romance is magical *and not just because of the magic themes in the story*, truly magical. It's both touching and steamy, witty and charming, funny and mysterious. It's everything you could possible want rolled up into one. Time travel, Scotland... and, oh yeah, did I mention sexy Highlander heroes? Oh yeah!
Honestly, I'm not sure what kept me from giving it the full 5 stars, but whatever it was, it must have been insignificant if I can't remember it now. It's so close to a 5 though! But my stars only have half way points, not 3/4 of stars. :D
Title: Persistence of Memory
Author: Amelia Atwater Rhodes
My Rating: 5 stars (though I'm suddenly leaning a bit towards a 4.5, not sure...)
Sixteen-year-old Erin Misrahe just wants to be like everyone else in her new school. But Erin has more to worry about than passing AP Chemistry or making friends. In times of stress, she has always been overcome by her alter ego, Shevaun, whose violent behavior wreaks havoc on those around her. Erin can never remember anything about these episodes, and she’s grateful to have been spared them for a while.
But when a protective friend comes back into Erin’s life, he insists that Shevaun is a vampire who actually exists apart from Erin. Shevaun has dangerous allies, like the handsome witch Adjila—and they’re determined to sever Shevaun’s connection to Erin once and for all.
My Review:
From the first book I read from her (Which was also her first book ever, written and published when she was just 14. FOURTEEN!! Can you believe it? That alone is something to be proud of!) I was instantly hooked. Her worlds were written with such vivacity, such color and emotion and interesting characters. I quickly read all of her books, both the vampire series and her shapeshifter series. I liked the shapeshifter ones a bit more, only because the romance in them were a bit more prominent then in her vampire series, but still, all of them got 5 stars they were that good. It was a few years of no new releases, and then suddenly I got news of her newest, POM. Needless to say, since it came out in Dec, it quickly went on my X-Mas list. And what do you know, I managed to get it after all!
Like all of her books, it's fairly short, which means a quick read. But her work usually doesn't feel rushed, even though it's shorter than I'd like. But this one was a bit different. I found that even though I loved the book in the end, the middle parts seemed a bit, well, underdeveloped, especially the characters and their connections. I wish she had spent a bit more time in that area, but still, all in all, I loved it. There have been mixed reviews about this one, and while I agree that it doesn't seem as strong as her earlier works, it's still not horrible! She's an amazing writer, and I applaud her for all of her hard work and accomplishments. The world's she's created have turned into some of my all time favorite books, yes, even this one, though out of all of her books, it may be at the bottom because of a 0.0005 point on my star rating. But to make it easier, I just give the books 4.5 or 5 stars.
My point is, if you've read her books before and loved them, you will probably enjoy this one too, though, like I said, it may be a bit below the others in your personal ratings. Or not, of course, it just depends. But if you have not yet read her work and would like to, I would suggest starting with her earlier work first and then reading this one. Not that this one isn't a recommendable book, but, well, like I said, this one is slightly less 'Wow factor' in my opinion.
Title: Never Deceive a Duke
Author: Liz Carlyle
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Summary: They call her the porcelain princess... With her fragile beauty and regal bearing, the Duchess of Warneham knows how to keep her admirers at a distance. Twice wed and twice widowed, Antonia has vowed never again to marry; never again to surrender her freedom. But when her husband's death is deemed suspicious, and his long-lost heir returns to seize control of the dukedom, she finds that fate has placed her future in yet another man's hands -- but not just any man.
They call him a cold-hearted bastard... Deep in London's docklands, Gareth Lloyd runs Neville Shipping with an iron fist. Unrecognizable as the starving orphan who was abandoned by his family and sent an ocean away from home, Gareth has put his troubled past behind him. That is, until the Duke of Warneham is murdered, and Gareth turns out to be the dynasty's last living heir. Wrenched from his solitude, Gareth neither wants nor needs the honors and obligations of nobility -- especially the Duke's all-too-tempting widow.... Or does he?
My Review:
I've always enjoyed reading Liz Carlyle's work. She writes great historical romances that are both touching and passionate. And NDAD is no different. It's the second in the Never Series, the first one I read back in '07, and I can't wait to read the next one in the series.
The characters are very interesting, especially Kemble, and the story lines are also really good. I found myself laughing more than a few times, and the connection between Gabriel (aka, Gareth Lloyd, but I preferred thinking of him as Gabriel) and Antonia was very touching. I liked watching the two of them work the relationship out and learn to trust each other, since neither one, especially Gabriel, had an easy life. I can't say enough good things about this one!
Title: The Summoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
My Rating: 4.5 stars
My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again. All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.
My Review:
Though at times the book was a bit rocky and slow, and the character did get a little annoying and flat, in the end this book came out shinning brightly!
The first in a new series, The Summoning tells the story of Chloe and her struggle to figure out what's going on in her life. Why can she suddenly see ghosts, and why won't they leave her alone? She gets sent to a special house for 'others' like her, but she thinks they are just treating them for real mental illness. Little does she know at the time, but the house is actually used to 'treat' and experiment on supernatural people, such as Simon, who is a sorcceer, or Chloe who turns out to be a necromancer.
You think you've got the book figured out, know what and who the characters are, and then suddenly you get thrown a curve ball, leaving you guessing until the very end.
And while the ending was a bit weak and leaves the reader on a big cliff hanger, I still enjoyed the book a lot. It was interesting, and I can't wait for the sequel, The Awakening, out later this year.
Well, sorry that that took so long to do-- I really wanted to have this posted yesterday (Sunday) but I was too busy and, I'll admit, a bit lazy too. I'm only a day late! Lol. I hope you enjoyed, and if you wish to know more or if my 'reviews' seem a bit confusing, just ask I'd be happy to tell you more or clarify.
I will probably use this format for the rest of my books I read this year. I'm going to try and post on Sundays and include the books from the previous week, but I could run a day late or early depending on the week in question.
Until next week then!

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