January 31, 2010

Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber

MorningMontana rancher, Travis Thompson is desperate though he's not exactly ready to admit it, but ever since his brother and sister-in-law died a few months ago he has been having a lot of trouble taking care of his 2 nephews and niece: he's gruff and a bit of a loner, and he also has no housekeeping skills to speak of (his cooking and cleaning leave a lot to be desired).

When the social worker lets him know that, unless something changes, they will be taking the kids away, Travis decides to get married, to have a wife who would help him with the kids. To that effect, he posts a personal ad in the paper.

Said ad is answered by Mary Warner, a quiet and lonely librarian from Louisiana, who agrees to marry Travis without meeting him because she wants to feel needed and she knows that Travis' nephews and niece need her. So she packs up and moves to Montana not sure exactly how this marriage is going to work but determined to make a home for herself next to the Thompson family.

I don't mean this a in a bad way but Morning Comes Softly is the type of book you can easily turn into a Hallmark or Lifetime movie and though I found it generally OK, it wasn't very memorable. Plus and I a few pet peeves, Travis acts a lot like a jerk and I could never really believe the emotional connection between Travis and Mary, other than because they were both lonely. And I could never get a sense of the time the story was supposed to be set in- was it the 1990's? the 1980's? No clue.

The one thing I liked were the two younger kids of the story, Scotty and Beth Anne who often were the funniest and most endearing.


January 30, 2010

The Spy Master's Lady by Joanna Bourne

Spy MasterAnnique Villiers has been a spy all her life, since she was a little girl she spied upon Italians and Prussians to serve France as her parents had done before her, but when important plans regarding an impending invasion of England, orchestrated by Napoleon, fall into Annique's lap she must decide what to do with them.

Especially since the knowledge of said plans keeps landing her in hot water, as is the case when she finds herself imprisoned by Leblanc - an member of France's Secret Service- who is determined to get the plans out of her, no matter the cost. As it happens, while in Leblanc's prison she meets Mr. Grey, the head of section of the British Secret Service - who was also imprisoned- who has quite a few questions to ask Annique himself. But first they need to make their way out of France and toward relative safety.

And that, my dears, is just the beginning of the story. The Spy Master's Lady is full of intrigue and plots and lots of action. As Annique and Grey fall reluctantly in love, they both have to struggle with their loyalties and The Game of espionage they are engaged in, while many secrets lurk about.


January 29, 2010

Killer by Sara Shepard

KillerKiller is the sixth book in the Pretty Little Liars series, so some spoilers from previous books might be found. Also, I'm going to assume you're following the series.

We are once more in Rosewood, Pennsylvania diving into the lives of Aria, Emily, Spencer and Hanna. When we last saw them they had just found the dead body of Ian Thomas in the woods at the back of Spencer's house only that, by the time the police arrived, the body was gone and soon the girls are labeled as liars seeking attention.

Clearly, the new "A" is not going to make things easy for the girls while they struggle with their different problems:

Emily has to face the fact that her new boyfriend's mom hates her. Spencer is dealing with Momma-Drama too, as she seeks for her would be biological mother. Aria has moved back with her father to avoid her mother's slimy new boyfriend. And Hanna is in a death match against her stepsister Kate, both to see who's Rosewood Day's it girl and for the heart of a younger lacrosse player.

And, all the while, disturbing stuff about the past is coming to the light, about Ali's murder, her brother Jason, Officer Wilden and even Jenna Cavannaugh, as "A" sends each of the girls in a wild goose chase, making them doubt what they know about what happened all those years ago.

Okay, so like I said we are back in Rosewood and I'm sorry to say but the story is getting a little tired, I know there are only two more books to go in the series but I somehow felt like nothing really happened during this book and yet everyone's life got screwed over at some point or another, but then again, it has been happening in every book.

I guess that is a testament to Mrs. Shepard's skill that even though I didn't particularly like or dislike this book, I still want to read the next one because not knowing who killed Ali is driving me nuts.

Read if you are hooked in the series and you must.


January 19, 2010

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

Bed of RosesBed of Roses (Book 2 in the Bride Quartet)

Once upon a time, friends Mac, Laurel, Parker and Emma (the Quartet) loved playing Wedding Day, and now, as adults, the four friends have turned their childhood game into a lucrative wedding planning business but, more than that, they get to work together doing the things each of them love.

For Emma Grant it was always about the flowers, she loves playing with them and creating magical bouquets and decorations for each bride, bringing life and color to everything around her. Always the romantic - and with parents that are still together and have a really romantic love story of their own - she can't help to long for the love that lasts forever.

Jack Cooke is no strange to the Quartet, since he has been friends with Parker's older brother Del for over a dozen years, he has always been aware of the girls as if he also were an older brother until he realized not ALL of the Quartet's members are like sisters to him. The problem is that he's not really into commitment and he knows that Emma is the type of woman you commit to. Still, as they decide to take their attraction, run with it and see where it takes them they can never know where they'll and.

I loved this book so much. I really liked Vision in White but I think that in Bed of Roses the series has hit it's stride. Emma and Jack - and Del, Parker, Lauren, Mac and Carter - feel like real people and I was rooting for them all the way. The romance is down to earth but magical at the same time.

And, the relationship between the Quartet is one of the best parts of the books, these are the type of women you wish to have as friends, no one is perfect but they are smart and accomplished and love each other so much. Plus, their scenes together are just a delight to read.

Also, can't wait for the next book in the series Savor the Moment, coming out April 27th.

starstarstarstar1/2Personal Favorite

January 13, 2010

To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

To Desire a DevilAfter escaping a seven-year long captivity, Reynaud St. Aubyn has finally made it back to England, only to find out that his title, lands and money has been given away to a distant relative due to the fact that everyone thinks he died during the battle at Spinner's Falls.

Sick with fever and more than a little angry, he stumbled into his family home, talking in French and collapsed right in front of Beatrice Corning, the present earl's niece .

And so the story begins, with Reynauld trying to regain what was taken from him, trying to finally find out who was the traitor that gave them away at Spinner's Falls and with him laying his claim on Beatrice because in a world where everything doesn't make much sense to him anymore, she seems like home.

To Desire a Devil is the forth and final book in Elizabeth Hoyt's Legend of the Four Soldiers' series and I'm sad to say that I didn't love it. Oh, there were parts that were very good and I loved the trademark fairy tale told in the epigraphs of each chapter, but I just never grew to like Reynaud. He was a very selfish hero during most of the book and it was hard to even sympathize with him. I liked Beatrice and her friends Lottie and Jeremy, and I liked catching up with the couples of the previous books in the series but Beatrice and Reynauld just never convinced me as a couple.

Maybe it's just because I've loved all of Mrs. Hoyt's other books and I had high expectations but this one was only so so for me. Still, the writing is quite good and I did enjoy most aspects of it.


January 11, 2010

I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

GG1Cammie Morgan is not like other girls her age, and it's not because she's the daughter of the principal of the elite boarding school she attends to... but because said school, the Gallagher Academy, is actually a school for spies!

As a new year starts, Cammie is excited about seeing her best friends again - Liz and Bex - and start her new classes but soon two very unexpected things happen at the Academy. One is the arrival of Macy McHenry, a senator's daughter who has been kicked out of tons of boarding schools and has landed inadvertently at the spy school. And, then there is the arrival of Joe Salomon, a former spy who has come to the Academy to teach Covert Operations.

While on a Covert Operations assignment, Cammie meets Josh, a local boy who has no idea about what really goes on at the Gallagher Academy and who thinks she's just a regular girl, a delusion she really wants to keep him under.

I'd Tell You I love You but then I'd Have to Kill You
(what a long title!) is the first book in the Gallagher Girls series, and I found it to be fun but I also sort of expected more spy stuff to happen, however it was a good start to the series. Cammie and her friends are definitely the kind of girls I would love hanging with and, all in all, the book is fun. And I'm so very intrigued about Cammie and her family - what happened to her dad? what's up with Mr. Salomon? what will happen next? - and will be reading the second book soon.


January 9, 2010

Son of Shadows by Juliet Marillier

Son of ShadowsWarning!! Possible spoilers of Daughter of the Forest
Growing up in the fortress of Sevenwaters, Liadan has had little cause to worry or suffering so far, the youngest daughter of Sorcha and Red, she grew up surrounded by the love of her parents and her siblings, her twin Sean and her older sister Niamh and other than fending off a possible marriage proposal by a childhood friend she's content with her life working as a healer for the people of Sevenwaters and keeping her mother company.

But things change once her sister Niamh falls in love with a young druid by the name of Ciaran. The men of their family, however, are not pleased by this - due to secrets they won't share - so Ciaran is banished and Niamh is quickly wed to a chieftain from the north, which sets in motion a chain of events that will change everything at Sevenwaters.

On her way back from escorting Niamh to her new home, Liadan is abducted by a band of outlaws, lead by a man they call The Painted Man. After spending sometime with them - taking care of one of the band's members who had been injured -Liadan comes to see them as friends rather than mercenaries and she forms a close bond with the Painted Man, to whom she gives the name of Bran.

Soon Liadan is faced with many choices to make, regarding her family and this man she is falling in love with, even as the Fair Folk tries to intervene and mold her life to suit their purposes. And so, secrets and more secrets begin to be revealed, binding the future of Sevenwaters and Harrowfield together once more.

It took me many years to read the sequel to Daughter of the Forest for different reasons, but I finally decided to go ahead and do it a couple of weeks ago, and I fell right back in love with this mystical world of Sevenwaters and the people who inhabit it. Again, this is no light read by any means, and the story of Niamh is particularly heartbreaking, but things do sort of work out in the end, which is always a plus.

Some returning characters from Daughter of the Forest lost my sympathies completely in this book (say, the 'Honorable' Men of Sevenwaters kind of suck) but I found plenty of other people to like.

starstarstarstar1/2Personal Favorite

PS - Once more I put the Australian Cover, because the US one is less than charming.

January 5, 2010

Secrets of My Hollywood LIfe: On Location by Jen Calonita

On LocationWARNING (possible spoilers from Secrets of My Hollywood Life)When we last saw Kaitlin Burke she had just made a comeback, landed the role to die for in a highly anticipated movie, and gotten hottie Austin Meyers for a boyfriend.

Things should be going pretty well for her but, as production starts she has less time to be with Austin, has to deal with her Family Affairs co-star, the scheming Sky, and her jerky ex-boyfriend Drew both of whom are co-staring in the movie as well, there is also a Darth Vader like studio publicist and a moody director.

Soon Kaitlin is being pulled in many different directions at once, and her relationship with Austin is suffering, because in Hollywood not everything that shines is gold and if Kaitlin wants to keep those things that matte the most to her, she must learn to put them first.

I actually enjoyed this book quite a bit, but I also sort of grew annoyed with Kaitlin, mostly because she falls back into the same mistake that landed her in trouble in the first book: she always lets herself be pulled every which way and ends up miserable for it. I hoped a little more from her, and she does eventually take a stand, but meanwhile she annoyed me a little bit.

Other than that I found the book funny and entertaining; a light, quick and easy read and I'm glad I already got the sequel Family Affairs in my TBR pile.