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Posts Tagged ‘Romance’

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton

In Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on January 31, 2010 at 7:27 pm
The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Title: The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake #2)

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Genre: Fiction/Vampire

Rating: ****/****

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Well, in the second Anita Blake book the pace picks up & we see Anita interact a little more with the new master of the city, Jean Claude. (When will they get together? Hmmm…)  She’s also investigating supernatural attacks with the police which seem to point to the perpetrator being a zombie.  But what kind of zombie could be tearing people literally to shreds & what would be the motive for raising such a zombie?

Anita herself gets entangled in a web to raise a zombie which requires a human sacrifice when a millionaire Harold Gaynor propositions her.  Of course, she refuses & we see her through the whole book trying to find out who raised the zombie before she becomes a victim of it herself.

What I especially liked about this book is how Anita managed to navigate her way into new situations with powerful priests & priestesses who reveal more about what she could have become if her lot in life had been different.  It’s also pretty gore-rific, so if you do not want descriptions about body parts or blood running everywhere, perhaps you should pass up this book.

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Anita Blake #1: Guilty Pleasures

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The Diaries of Avalon Rose by Sharon Hooper

In Romance on January 31, 2010 at 7:17 pm
The Diaries of Avalon Rose: First Blush by Sharon Hooper

The Diaries of Avalon Rose: First Blush by Sharon Hooper

Title: The Diaries of Avalon Rose: First Blush

Author: Sharon Hooper

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Erotica

Rating: **/****

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Avalon Rose is forced to leave her aunt’s residence to take employment at home as a maid, but she soon finds that her work requires her to do more than clean.  As the title implies, it’s a diary, but Avalon Rose seems to be a rather immature character who annoyed me the whole way though.  The plot was lacking, the sex scenes embarrassing, & the growing love of Avalon with a character Johnathan completely unbelievable.  Despite the pretty artwork & coverwork, I have to say that this book didn’t thrill me at all.  It was rather boring, but thankfully it was short so I could finish it quickly.  I wish I could say something nice about it, because it’s obvious that the author put a lot of work & planning into it, but I didn’t connect to it in the least.

There will be more diaries in the future, which according to Hooper’s website will be longer.  I’m not certain if I’ll read them, as this genre perhaps just isn’t meant for people like to read who want more plot & 3-d characters.

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http://www.diariesofavalonrose.com/

A Merry Heart (Brides of Lancaster County #1) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

In Romance on January 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm
A Merry Heart (Brides of Lancaster Country #1) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

A Merry Heart (Brides of Lancaster Country #1) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Title: A Merry Heart (Brides of Lancaster County #1)

Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter

Genre: Fiction/Amish/Romance

Rating: ***/****

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Okay, so I’m an atheist, but I decided to read an Amish romance story because of an article I read a few months ago which noted their rising popularity.  Also, last time I was in a bookstore I saw a table covered by stacks of these books.  Hey, I can’t help it, it looked interesting!

But it was culture shock! Still interesting, but a shock nonetheless considering our differences in values, plus the scripture quoted throughout the book.  I’m in the Bible Belt, but it still makes me feel strange when people quote scripture verbatim, even fictional characters.  Don’t ask me why, you’d be too offended to hear my answer.  Aside from this, I did like the protagonist Miriam who is bitter after her boyfriend jilted her two years ago.  Now, she has another man in her life wanting to marry her, but she believes it’s only because he needs a mother for his daughter, and not because he loves her.

Miriam really has a trying time trusting men, especially when she means an ‘English’ reporter who excites her in a new way, tells her that’s pretty, but deep down she knows nothing can happen with this man.  He is an outsider & she isn’t willing to abandon her church, her family, for this person.  Now, this is the only gripe I have about the novel, but it may just be a gripe with Amish values.  Nowhere did I read any character talking to Miriam about how she felt about being jilted, sure they talk about her behind her back, but practically push her on another guy to make her happy.  The lady has trust issues, why push her on another guy before those can be dealt with?

I guess Amish people just don’t think non-married people can be happy. I’m so happy I’m not Amish.  Despite this one complaint, I will continue reading these books as they are well-written (for any age) & I like reading about these people, even though I find their lifestyle to be completely ridiculous overall.

Yes, I’m mean. Wah!

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http://www.wandabrunstetter.com/

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories) by Charlaine Harris

In Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on January 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm
A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse:The Complete Stories) by Charlaine Harris

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse:The Complete Stories) by Charlaine Harris

Title: A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Fiction/Vampire/Short Stories

Rating: ***/****

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If you haven’t read the series through ‘All Together Dead’, you may not want to read this collection because it may contain too many spoilers for you.  However, for fans who have read the series who didn’t want to go searching through Harris’ other novels to find these stories is in for a treat.  The book is short at just shy of two-hundred pages, but it’s packed with five stories that will make you laugh & feel a bit sentimental, as Sookie’s life stories normally do.

If you’re not interested in reading this, please just give it a chance for the story ‘Dracula Night’ alone.  And if you read the whole book, you’d learn a little more about Eric, Sookie’s cousin Hadley, & great-grandfather Niall. Read it, fans, read it.

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Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) – review

http://charlaineharris.com

The Wedding Challenge (Matchmaker Series #3) by Candace Camp

In Romance on January 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm
The Wedding Challenge by Candace Camp

The Wedding Challenge by Candace Camp

Title: The Wedding Challenge (Matchmakers #3)

Author: Candace Camp

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Regency

Rating: ***/****

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At the time I started it I didn’t realize it was the third book in the series.  After a bit, I put it down because I thought I would spoil the rest of the series, but I’m glad I picked it back up.  It’s my second Regency era romance novel & I have to say it’s pretty good.  It centers around Callie who goes to a masquerade of her aunt’s, meets a mysterious man, & is forbidden by her brother to see him.

Sensing that she isn’t receiving the full story from her brother, Callie enlists the help of a dear friend as a matchmaker.  The novel has a few twists & turns, the romance is built overtime, but it doesn’t drag out unnecessarily.  I really liked Camp’s writing & how each of the characters had depth & their own stories, which surprises me that this book has received more than a few negative reviews on Amazon.  Until I read the other novels in the series, I guess I won’t be able to evaluate this one properly.

If you’re looking for a Regency series that isn’t too graphic, has great characters you can empathize with & despise, don’t pass up these books by Candace Camp.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series in the future.

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My Summer of Love by Helen Cross

In YA Lit on January 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm
My Summer of Love by Helen Cross

My Summer of Love by Helen Cross

Title: My Summer of Love

Author: Helen Cross

Genre: YA Fiction

Rating: ***/****

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Mona is a young teenage girl living in Yorkshire finding herself rather lonely & bored with her existence. Her mother has passed away from cancer, her sister has just married & had children, leaving her all alone to wonder what her role as a woman should be. She finds more comfort in looking after animals, to show that she doesn’t care about people, but it’s rather obvious that she’s dying to have a friend. What turns her life around is when she’s asked to befriend a girl who has recently got out of boarding school, for what’s hinted as general difficulty in making friends or getting along with others. Tamsin doesn’t seem like she’d have any difficulty considering she’s wealthy, goodlooking, & confident. Mona being a working class girl with self-esteem issues latches on to Tamsin & revels in her upper middleclass privleges. But all isn’t well with Tamsin who lost her sister, Sadie, to anorexia. They bond with each other over their grief. Soon,they take it upon themselves to move in with each other while Tamsin’s parents are split up & develop an unhealthy relationship with each other, though neither is completely devoted & are both left wondering at times if it’s all an act. Are they just acting out how they were treated by other women? Are they really in love with each other? Is it a rejection of the roles society & family have given them?

Cross really hammers home a lot of the frustration young girls have to deal with since they both lack female figures in their lives, neither girl is fully able to understand what a proper woman should be. All they have left is pop culture & women they despise on a personal level to emulate & imitate. They learn that it’s dangerous to be a woman, because her appearance could attract the wrong kind of attention or even cause her to be unloved. Both girls on multiple occasions talk about what makes their appearances good or bad and make comments that lead us to believe they do not understand what a healthy attraction to women should be (confusing exploitation with adoration), & are jealous of their older sisters. In the background, there is an ominous feel to the story. A girl is missing & Mona assumes her to be dead & frequently imagines her body lying at the bottom of a lake.

For one summer, both Mona & Tamsin decide to live life by their own rules, disregarding what harm it causes to those around them or anybody who comes within their path. Cross’s work is a magnificent representation of the effects of class differences, exploitation of women, & cruelty of young girls. It’s a tough read for the first thirty pages, but afterwards the story builds & you’ll keep turning the pages.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)

In Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Vampire Novels/Series on January 14, 2010 at 5:20 pm
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead After Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Fiction/Vampire/Mystery

Rating: ***/****

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In the first Sookie Stackhouse novel (formerly the Southern Vampire Mysteries), we meet a twenty-five year old southern waitress who leads an ordinary life in the small town of Bon Temps, LA & suffers from a disability. It soon becomes clear that Sookie has the extraordinary ability to read minds which will come in handy, but not until she meets her first vampire Bill Compton. It’s been a couple of years since vampires ‘came out of the coffin’ to let the world know of their ‘virus’ since a Japanese company invented synthetic blood bottled known as TruBlood. (In every type, though they are supposed to not be as fully satisfying as the real thing.) While Sookie’s mind is constantly working to block the noise & images she receives from other human’s thoughts, Bill’s mind is silent to Sookie, which allows her to relax around him & embark on her first romance, much to the chagrin of certain people.

A murderer is taking the lives of women who have previously been involved with vampires & when Sookie’s brother Jason is implicated in the crimes, it’s up to her & Bill to find out who the killer is. Charlaine Harris expands on the vampire canon in new & interesting ways, she makes each character stand out (moreso in the later novels in the series, reviews to come) & although we don’t come to understand vampires completely, we get an idea that part of their humanity was never lost. And that human beings are capable of the worst crimes imaginable which makes their fear & prejudice towards the supernatural hypocritical.

Fans of ‘True Blood’ who haven’t read the books may be slightly disappointed with the storyline, but overall it contains much of the same plot as season one with a few major differences. Compared to tv Bill, he is more gruff & mysterious & other major characters in the show e.g. Tara, LaFayette, & Eric, do not figure prominently yet in the series.

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http://www.charlaineharris.com

More Than A Mistress by Mary Bologh

In Romance on January 14, 2010 at 5:08 pm
More than a Mistress by Mary Balogh

More than a Mistress by Mary Balogh

Title: More Than a Mistress

Author: Mary Bologh

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Regency

Rating: ****/****

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Since I’m new to the romance genre, I am still a bit cynical about the pastel covers & purple prose. ‘Oh, this can’t be any good,’ I think whenever I
see one of these books though I’m trying my best to forget those notions. If anything will, it’s this book by Mary Bologh who I believe happens to be
one of the top authors in the Regency Romance genre. Bologh’s novel focuses upon two people fighting against their better judgments when they fall in
love with each other.  Of course, it’s a romance novel, they have to fall in love.  Now, how do they fall in love, you say?  Well, the beautiful Jane
Ingleby is walking across Hyde Park on her way to work when she sees a duel taking place involving the scandalous Duke of Tresham. By the way, he’s
also pretty good looking from what I gather & rich too, it seems to be a theme in these types of books. (If anybody knows any romances that don’t
involve ridiculously wealthy men, send you recommendations my way.)  OK, have to stop being cynical, as this book did not work out as I thought in the
least. 

The saucy Jane Ingleby has a mind of her own & sees to it to interrupt the duel, causing inadvertently for the Duke of Tresham to be shot in the leg.
Tresham isn’t too happy with what has happened & demands Jane help him, eventually hiring her as his nurse both as a punishment for distracting him
in the duel & because he made her late, causing her to lose her job. Convenient!  Now that Jane has found her way into his home, her wit & brutal honesty, make her at first an annoyance to Tresham but eventually, he warms to her. And she to him despite his brooding nature & angry moods. What follows is an arrangement for her to be his mistress, where she lives in a London house in the lap of luxury. To each party, they believe that it is merely a business deal, but it transforms into something more indeed.

Now, I shouldn’t give away anymore details as I’ve already stated that it didn’t work out as I had guessed it would. It is a romance, so we know it
will be a happy ending, but Bologh’s novel is really about the different facades people put up to protect themselves, sometimes literally from the
danger just around the corner. What Tresham & Jane find in each other is the ability to eventually open up, share their secrets, & accept that love
isn’t only for fools.

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http://www.marybalogh.com 

Everlasting by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

In Romance on January 4, 2010 at 1:40 pm
Everlasting by Kathleen Woodiwiss

Everlasting by Kathleen Woodiwiss

Title: Everlasting

Author: Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Genre: Romance/Historical Romance

Rating: ***/****

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This being my first real visit to Romance Genre Land, I am pleasantly surprised to not find it filled with what I thought would be half-naked Fabios & fainting women.  Rather it was endearing, well-written, & the characters neither racy nor weak.  There was a scene of bodice ripping, but I’ll let it slide since it was presented in context with the scene.  I feel fortunate to have chosen this book at random from my library when I decided to give the romance genre a test, because Woodiwiss was instrumental in the rebirth of the genre in the 1970s.

The story surrounds Abrielle who is married off to the disgusting Desmond de Marlé, to save her family from financial ruin while she longs for another man.  Not just any man of course, a highlander with raven hair (coincidentally named Raven), blue eyes, & impeccably chivalrous manners.  Well, aside from the wanton staring he does at her! I really can’t do this book any justice in my descriptions, I find too much humor in summarizing it.

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http://www.amazon.com/Everlasting-Kathleen-E-Woodiwiss/dp/0060545534/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top