Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

Genre: YA Fiction

Publication Date: July 2009

One Word Review: Entertaining

Author Website: www.allycarter.com

First Line: “We’re moving.”

GoodReads Synopsis: When Cammie "The Chameleon" Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she's in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she's there to watch Macey's father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world's best school (for spies), "exciting" and "deadly" are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers' plot, with only their espionage skills to save them. As her junior year begins, Cammie can't shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn't feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion's corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe? Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey's private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth...

Kathy’s Review: This is such a fun series. I thought this book really got back to its original charm. Cammie seemed more like herself, was smart, tough, and of course constantly breaking rules. I was very glad to see the whole gang back together again. I really like the interactions of Cammie, Macey, Bex and Liz. They work well together and their personalities are all unique, but complimentary. The story, setting and mystery are all fun and original. I like reading about all the spy stuff, gadgets, missions, and this installments added disguises. While I enjoyed the story, it did feel like the book was a set up for the next book, there was still mystery and excitement, but felt more like it was gearing up for the next adventure. My only complaint is that I wish there would have been more Zach (or even a little love triangle with Josh-Cammie-Zach), a little romance adds a lot, in my opinion. I like Zach, but I’m still a little unsure whose side he’s really on?? I look forward to reading the next book, which comes out in June!

Bookworm Rating: 4.5

Reading Order:
Book One: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
Book Two: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
Book Three: Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover
Book Four: Only the Good Spy Young (June 2010)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Heavenly Surrender by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: 2001

One Word Review: Okay

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com


GoodReads Synopsis: Genieva Bankmans had willfully agreed to the arrangement. She had given her word and she would not dishonor it. Yet when she saw, for the first time, the man whose advertisement she'd answered...she was desperately intimidated. The handsome and powerful Brevan McLean was not what she'd expected-he was not the sort of man she'd reconciled herself to marrying. This man-the stranger whose name Genieve now bore-was strong-willed, quick-tempered and expectant of much from his new wife. Brevan McLean did not deny that he had married her for practical reasons only. He merely wanted any woman whose hard work would provide him assistance with the brutal demands of farm life. Still, Genieva would learn there were far darker things, grave secrets held unspoken by Brevan McLean concerning his family and his land. Genieva Bankmans McLean would find herself in the midst of treachery, violence and villainy-her estranged husband deeply entangled in it.

Kathy’s Review: I think my expectations may have been a little high for this one. I thought the plot sounded fun and I’ve grown to love the old western setting. I just couldn’t get past the (sorry to say) awful Spanish and Irish accents. Brevan (as well as Brian & Brenna) sounded like an Irish Yoda. Their way of speaking just distracted me from the story, as well as Lita (and her brothers) Spanish accents. While I did think the story was sweet, I thought it was missing some of the tension that really captures your attention. I was a little tired of Brevan and Genieva both being in love but doing nothing about it. When Genieva went to bed exhausted from all the farm labor, I felt exhausted as well. I know I wouldn’t have been a very good rancher’s wife. I admired her coming from the busy city life and adjusting so well to the frontier life. However, looking back on it, I don’t think her need to “run away” was really fully developed, and was a little disappointed with how things played out with her family. The secrets that Brevan were keeping also ended up being a little lackluster; I couldn’t see any reason why he would have kept them from Genieva. Anyway, I would have liked a little more tension between Brevan and Genieva, as well as a little more build up with the “bad guys”; I never really felt any real fear of them or the situation. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys McClure’s novels.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Tapestry of Spells by Lynn Kurland

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Publication Date: January 2010

One Word Review: Okay

Author Website: www.lynnkurland.com

GoodReads Synopsis: Sarah's brother has embraced the dark arts, vowing to destroy the Nine Kingdoms, and she doesn't have the power to stop him. Now she must risk everything to thwart his plans, even though she fears the quest will reveal the secret she's kept all her life. After seeing his entire family slain by magic, Ruithneadh swore never to use his power again. But when Sarah pleads for his help, he's thrust back into a life of enchantments and peril, and a quest capable of unraveling the entire fabric of the Nine Kingdoms.

Kathy’s Review: I was excited when I found A Tapestry of Spells, since I enjoyed the Nine Kingdoms trilogy I had read before. I knew it was set in the same place, following new characters. After I began reading I realized it wasn’t only the same place but the same time. The story runs concurrently with the Nine Kingdoms trilogy. To be honest, I didn’t like that it was almost the same story, just told from a completely different perspective. It kind of felt like a lot of re-hash and some of the mystery was gone since we know so much from the first trilogy. Although, it has been a while since I read the trilogy so I don’t remember a lot of the specifics.

Anyway, this story fallows Ruith and Sarah. I admit, I didn’t like them as much as Morgan and Miach from the original series. I did like Sarah, she is definitely tough in her own way, stubborn and once she sets her mind to something she will see it through. As for Ruith, I liked him okay. I got a little bored with how tired he got, how he kept his magic under lock and key, and how he never really made any “moves” on Sarah. I guess the lack of romance in the whole story was a little disappointing. It’s hinted at, and maybe Kurland is just saving it for the next two books, but I wanted more. Again, the story felt too similar to the first series, a lot of traveling and contemplation going on, with little else. I’m still deciding if I’ll read the rest of the series, I probably will because I do enjoy the setting and a bit of me is still curious how Ruith and Sarah’s story will end.

Bookworm Rating: 2.5

Nine Kingdoms Reading Order:
Book One: Star of the Morning
Book Two: The Mage’s Daughter
Book Three: Princess of the Sword

Book Four: A Tapestry of Spells
Book Five: TBD
Book Six: TBD

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Visions of Ransom Lake by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: July 2002

One Word Review: Comfy

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com

First Line: “Oh, Vonnie…this is so exciting!”

GoodReads Synopsis: Youthful beauty, naïve innocence, a romantic imagination thirsting for adventure-an apt description of Vaden Valmont, who would soon find the adventure and mystery she had always longed to experience-in the form of a man. A somber recluse, Ransom Lake descended from his solitary concealment in the mountains, wholly disinterested in people and their trivial affairs. And somehow, young Vaden managed to be ever in his way-either by accident or because of her own unique ability to stumble into a quandary. Yet the enigmatic Ransom Lake would involuntarily become Vaden's unwitting tutor. Through him, she would experience joy and passion the like even Vaden had never imagined. Yes, Vaden Valmont stepped innocently, yet irrevocably, into love with the secretive, seemingly callous man-Ransom Lake. But there were other life's lessons Ransom Lake would inadvertently convey to her as well. The darker side of life-despair, guilt, heartache. Would Ransom Lake be the means of Vaden's dreams come true? Or the cause of her complete desolation?

Kathy’s Review: Marcia McClure is quickly becoming a favorite author. I’ve read a couple of her eBooks and two of her novels, all have been a pleasure to read. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, I had read a few reviews that said this was their favorite McClure book so I gave it a try. I really enjoyed the story, the romance and the setting. Vaden starts off very naïve, young and full of life. I actually wondered how old she was because she was acting so young, but her character does grow throughout the story. I think she was a bit hung up on Ransom, I would have liked a little more independence, but it is a “romance” novel so o-well. I also really liked Ransom, he is a great leading man, full of troubles, grumpy and you know deep down he’s a teddy bear. I liked that Ransom and Vaden brought out the best in each other and of course they had great chemistry. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and will definitely be reading more McClure books in the near future!

What kept this from being a “five star” rating was first, the names. I am not a fan of weird character names (Ransom and Vaden??). Second, it also bothers me when authors use a characters full name throughout the entire book. The whole book we hear Ransom Lake this and Ransom Lake that. I think we know his name; Idon’t need to be reminded of it all the time. Just a personal pet-peeve. And lastly, the majority of the story takes place in winter and yet Ransom seems to be running around with his shirt off an awful lot (not that that is a bad thing, just not consistent with the weather, IMO).

Bookworm Rating: 4.5

Mr. Malcolm's List by Suzanne Allain

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: February 2009

One Word Review: Fun


GoodReads Synopsis: The Honorable Mr. Malcolm has a secret. This elusive matrimonial prize, long the target of desperate debutantes and their matchmaking mothers, is well known for his fastidiousness. What is not well known is that he has a list of qualifications for his future bride. Can any woman hope to win the heart of such a hardened critic? Selina Dalton can only try her best. And when she begins to succeed, Jeremy Malcolm is not sure whether he has discovered the perfect woman... Or the perfect hoax.

Kathy’s Review: After reading Ingocnito by Allain I had to see what other books she had written, which is how I found Mr. Malcolms List. This was probably just as fun as Incognito, both are lighthearted regency novels. I thought the story idea was fun, the characters likable and of course I love the regency setting. I admit, I did not love Mr. Malcolm, but he did grow on my throughout the story. I definitely think it’s a good idea to have a general idea of what qualities you look for in a spouse, I just didn’t always like how he went about things or the items on his list (but, to each their own). Selina was really likable though, I liked that she was honest (for the most part) and held her own. They have good chemistry together and was not only happy for them, but for all the side characters as well. If you’re in the mood for a fun, light read then I’d give this one a try!

Bookworm Rating: 4

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Wanted Man by Nancy Parra

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: December 2002

One Word Review: Fun

Author Website: www.nancyjparra.com

First Line: “The boy is mine, bought and paid for fair an’ square.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Brianna McGraw ventures out West to find and rescue her brother from bandits who will sell him illegally to the highest bidder. Separated after they were orphaned a few years ago, Brianna has worked hard as a librarian to save money for the trip. But when she arrives, she realizes she has to somehow come up with a thousand dollars to buy him back. She then sees a wanted poster with a sufficient reward and decides to become a bounty hunter, accomplishing two good deeds at once--bringing a criminal to justice and saving her brother. Trey Morgan's renegade days are long over. He is at home on his ranch, tending to his cattle, when Brianna appears and arrests him. He is more amused than concerned, wondering how she thinks she's going to drag him 900 miles through the mountains. To his surprise, Brianna proves over and over again that she is intelligent and strong enough to make the long and grueling trip. While he quietly observes his beautiful captor, his discomfort grows when she begins to win more and more of his respect and admiration. Soon, the threat his beautiful captor holds over him is not so much in the pistol she wields, but the lasso she has firmly fastened over his heart.

Kathy’s Review: Parra certainly creates some very likable characters. Brianna was a hoot, I liked her right from the start. Her interactions with Trey were fun and left a smile on my face. I’m not sure about the historical aspects of the story, but she finds herself in a tough situation and really takes her problems head on. With all of the Parra novels I’ve read so far she takes these interesting plot ideas and makes them very believable. I thought Trey was great, I loved that he just “gives up” right at the beginning because he is so curious about what this “little chit” was up to. The more time they spend together they more they fall for one another, and it was fun to be along for the ride. Again, like her other books, I wish it had been a little longer. It kind of feels like things get wrapped up a little too quickly and I would have liked a few more chapters, at least. I still really enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Queen in Exile by Donna Hatch

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Publication Date: March 2010

One Word Review: Captivating

Author Website: www.donnahatch.com

GoodReads Synopsis: Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telpathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people from tyranny.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

Kathy’s Review: Donna Hatch is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. I’ve read all her regencies and was excited to see what her fantasy world would be like. I wasn’t disappointed, it was clear that Hatch put a lot of thought into creating her world of Arden and the surrounding countries, as well as all the new and interesting creatures that roamed the land. Princess Jeniah was very believable and consistent. While her character did grow throughout the story, I still felt like she stayed true to herself, she was just given more opportunities to show her character throughout her trials. I liked that she was smart and could take care of herself, and was also still vulnerable and wasn’t afraid to get help. I am definitely a fan of Kai (Team Kai), he was a great hero and I loved watching him fall in love with Jeniah, they had great chemistry together. I really enjoyed their story. I’m pretty sure this is a stand-alone novel, which I liked. It was nice entering their world and having some satisfactory conclusions at the end. However, it also would have been nice if it had been a trilogy and some things dragged out a little more, either way it’s a great read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good romantic fantasy.

Content Warning: There is a lot of war, battle scenes and some violence. Otherwise, it’s pretty clean.

Bookworm Rating: 4.5

Of Paupers and Peers by Sheri Cobb South

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: September 2006

One Word Review: Cute

Author Website: www.shericobbsouth.com


GoodReads Synopsis
: Overworked and underpaid curate James Weatherly is resigned to a life of genteel poverty, never suspecting he is heir to a dukedom until a solicitor appears on his doorstep. Alas, on the way to claim his inheritance, James is set upon by footpads whose handiwork deprives him of his memory. Margaret Darrington is no stranger to genteel poverty herself, since the death of her father has left her in charge of her two younger siblings and feather-brained aunt. But the decisive Margaret has a plan: to salvage the family's finances, she has only to put her beautiful younger sister, Amanda, in the way of marrying a wealthy man --- perhaps the new Duke of Montford, who is expected to arrive any day. When Margaret finds a beaten and bloodied young man on the road, his shabby attire and collection of secondhand books lead her to mistake him for the tutor she has hired for her younger brother. Still reeling from the attack upon his person, James is relieved to have the mystery of his idenitity so easily "solved," and accompanies her home. As James's bruises fade, Margaret discovers that he is, if not classically handsome, undeniably pleasing to look upon, with an appealingly self-deprecating wit. Suddenly Amanda's brilliant marriage is in jeopardy, for how can any impressionable female resist such a paragon? But nothing about the penniless pedagogue is quite as it seems, and Margaret would do well to forget about her sister's prospects, and look to her own heart instead .

Kathy’s Review: This wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. For some reason it took me awhile to get into this one, and by time I got around to enjoying it, it ended. I thought the story was cute and the characters were nice. I liked the side story of Amanda and her love interest. I also thought the relationship between Margaret and James was really sweet. I was actually kind of hoping it had been a little longer; I would have liked to see a little more tension between with Margaret and James, when Margaret finally discovers the truth, it felt like things were a little rushed towards the end. Overall, I still enjoyed it and thought it was a cute story.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Lovin' Kind by Nancy J Parra

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: April 2006

One Word Review: Cute

Author Website: www.nancyjparra.com

First Line: “It was the most humiliating day of Beth Morgan’s life.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Beth Morgan has never met a man she couldn't love. All her life the Wisconsin beauty has been happily surrounded by beaus. It isn't until she starts down the aisle that she realizes it's the attention she loves and not the actual men. So, Beth does what any self respecting socialite would do. She turns on her heel and runs. Quaid Blair hunts down the runaway bride, drags the spoiled willful girl home, dumping her ruined wedding dress and all in her father's study. She has to get out of town now, even if it means going all the way to Wyoming with none other than Quaid Blair. Quaid agrees to take the spoiled vixen to her brother in Wyoming. He figures it will take one maybe two days on the trail before Beth Morgan caves to the hardship of pioneering and demands to be taken back home. The trip becomes a battle of wills and Quaid learns there is more grit to this stubborn woman than he first thought. Admiration turns to love, but once back in civilization, will this fickle woman go back to gathering beaus? Beth comes to understand the difference between infatuation and true love. But Quaid has seen her at her worst. How could any man forget the spoiled girl she once was?

Kathy’s Review: I actually think I liked this one more than The Bettin’ Kind, which is saying a lot since I really enjoyed The Bettin’ Kind. I guess I just really liked Beth and Quaid. Beth is so stubborn, she totally reminded me of me. I have a pretty strong stubborn streak and could totally see myself in Beth’s shoes, although I think she probably handled things a lot better than I would have. Quaid was just great, I liked that he tried to get under Beth’s skin, but was also really protective of her and deep down really cared about her. The setting was a lot of fun as well and the different struggles they have to go through. The romance is sweet and grows stronger throughout the story; I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t want the story to end. I do wish it would have been a little longer, but again its probably just because I liked the characters so much. I look forward to reading more of Nancy’s books!

Bookworm Rating: 4.5

Morgan Sister Romance:
Book One: The Marryin’ Kind
Book Two: The Bettin’ Kind
Book Three: The Lovin’ Kind

Morgan Brothers Romance:
Book One: Wyoming Wedding
Book Two: A Wanted Man
Book Three: Loving Lana
Book Four: Saving Samantha

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Bettin' Kind by Nancy J. Parra

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: October 2005

One Word Review: Cute

Author Website: www.nancyjparra.com

First Line: “I’m in big trouble.”


GoodReads Synopsis: Amelia Morgan dreams of a handsome prince who would take one look at her and fall in love. Together they would find a dynasty of magnificent horses and live happily ever after. What she never counted on was her baby brother losing her beloved stallion to a slick card shark. Desperate not to lose her dream, she gambles that the threat of marriage would cause the card shark to cut and run rather than go through with a hasty marriage to a total stranger. Alex Laird is no dummy. He calls Amelia's bluff, fully expecting her to jilt him at the altar. Then the question of the horse's ownership would be indisputably his. These two stubborn foes go through with a hasty marriage, neither willing to let go of their claim to the horse. Stuck with each other for the time being, each comes up with a plan to secure their future. Unfortunately, their goals are once again at odds. For a while, Alex decides an annulment is the answer to their predicament. Amelia takes a different tact. She believes the only way to see her dream come true is to make Alex fall in love with her. The struggles that ensue become more than a battle of wills. It becomes a battle of the heart where dreams are won and lost at the turn of a card.

Kathy’s Review: This was a fun quick read. I liked Amelia right from the start, she is stubborn and fun. After reading the synopsis I wondered how the whole wedding thing would play out, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was actually somewhat believable after you get to know the characters. Both Alex and Amelia thought they other would back down, but both are too stubborn to back out. I admit, I thought Amelia seemed a little naïve once they were married, almost immediately she set out to make Alex fall in love with her, which was fun, but still seemed a little unrealistic. Alex deep down was a decent guy, never tried to take advantage of the situation…even though he wanted to. They had good chemistry though and it was a very entertaining read. I wish it were a little longer and maybe a little more added to the ending. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a nice lighthearted story.

I accidently read this out of order; I’m looking forward to going back and reading the first book, The Marryin’ Kind. It doesn’t seem to make a big difference, each book follows a different sisters’ story. Oh, and don't judge the book by the cover (hated the cover), I didn't think the cover really did it justice.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Reading Order:
Book One: The Marryin’ Kind
Book Two: The Bettin’ Kind
Book Three: The Lovin’ Kind

The Importance of Almacks by Denise Patrick

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: May 2008

One Word Review: Entertaining

Author Website: www.denisepatrickauthor.com

First Line: “The stranger lay completely still as Pamela approached the stream.”

GoodReads Synopsis: In Regency England, lineage and vouchers to Almack's are everything, but Pamela Clarkdale has neither. After her father casts her out, she considers herself fortunate to have obtained a position as a companion to an elderly widow. Kitt Covington has sworn off Almack's and marriage. Why attend one when he has no interest in the other? Guilt, however, is a powerful motivator. Knowing he caused Pamela to be thrown out of her home, he proposes a sham betrothal between them to ease his conscience. Kitt's offer is tempting and Pamela agrees, with the caveat that the betrothal will disappear at the end of the season. But not only is Pamela refused vouchers to Almack's, her family is scheming to destroy her to protect a secret she doesn't realize she knows. When the twenty-year-old web of lies and deceit begins to unravel, will Pamela and Kitt discover that Almack's isn't really that important after all?

Kathy’s Review: I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. I obviously love the regency setting and it seemed this book went a little deeper into the culture, especially that of Almack’s (which is mentioned in so many regency novels). I really enjoyed that part of the story. I also loved our leading characters, Pamela and Kitt. I was a little wary of Kitt in the beginning, but he really ended up being a great leading man. I thought they had great chemistry and I loved the scenes when they were together. Pamela was a likable enough heroine, I sometimes wished she had a little more spunk, but even so she still managed to hold her own and at those times I was really proud of her. Oh, sometimes her reactions seemed a little…dull. Something startling would happen and instead of getting mad/hurt she would just think about it and then go about her way. There were a couple instances that I would have liked a little more action. Overall, it was a really fun read and one I would definitely read again.

Bookworm Rating: 4.5

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: 1962


GoodReads Synopsis: Tiffany Wield's bad behavior is a serious trial to her chaperone. "On the shelf " at twenty-eight, Ancilla Trent strives to be a calming influence on her tempestuous charge, but then Tiffany runs off to London alone and Ancilla is faced with a devastating scandal. Sir Waldo Hawkridge, confirmed bachelor and one of the wealthiest men in London, comes instantly to the aid of the intrepid Ancilla to stop Tiffany's flight, and in the process discovers that it's never too late for the first bloom of love.

Kathy’s Review: I started out really liking this one. I liked Sir Waldo and Ancilla, I thought they had good chemistry together and I liked the direction their story was going. Somewhere along the line they became overshadowed by all the many other characters and they were hardly together. By the end, I didn’t really feel much connection between them, I guess by that point it was expected that they loved each other and therefore no need to actually show emotion? The misunderstanding that separated them was interesting and I was hoping for a little more confrontation when Ancilla finally confronted Waldo about it, but I was disappointed with how the whole thing was handled. I did enjoy some of the side characters, even the spoiled Tiffany, who added some amusing moments to the story. Overall, it ended up being enjoyable read, but not my favorite Heyer novel.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Weaver Takes A Wife by Sheri Cobb South

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: January 1999

One Word Review: Charming

GoodReads Synopsis: Haughty Lady Helen Radney is one of London's most beautiful women and the daughter of a duke, but her sharp tongue has frightened away most ofher suitors. When her father gambles away his fortune, the duke's only chance for recouping his losses lies in marrying off Lady Helen to any man wealthy enough to take a bride with nothing to recommend her but a lovely face and an eight-hundred-year-old pedigree. Enter Mr. Ethan Brundy, once an illegitimate workhouse orphan, now owner of a Lancashire textile mill and one of England's richest men. When he glimpses Lady Helen at Covent Garden Theatre, he is instantly smitten and vows to marry her. But this commonest of commoners will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to win the heart of his aristocratic bride.

Kathy’s Review: I was very pleasantly surprised with this one, it is one of the cutest regency books I’ve read. I really enjoyed the story line and our two main characters Ethan and Helen. Helen is not too excited about her marriage to Ethan, but slowly she begins to see what a catch this non-gentleman is. At first I was not that impressed with him, I think the way he spoke really turned me off (a part of my was hoping it was just a pretending), after awhile I didn’t notice it as much and I fell for him along with Helen. He really is such a sweet guy, but also isn’t afraid to stand up for himself or his wife if the need arises. Overall, this was just a fun regency read, well written, fast paced and lighthearted. Definitely recommend it to all regency fans!

Bookworm Rating: 5

Reading Order:
Book One: The Weaver Takes a Wife
Book Two: Brighton Honeymoon
Book Three: French Leave

The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: June 2006

One Word Review: Okay

Author Website: www.deeannegist.com

First Line: “This street is impassable, not even jackassable.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Rachel van Buren arrives in Gold Rush San Francisco with two wishes: to protect her younger siblings and to return east as soon as possible. Both goals prove more difficult than she could imagine as her brother and sister are lured by the city's dangerous freedom and a missionary-turned-gambler stakes a claim on her heart. Rachel won't give up without a fight though, and soon all will learn an eloquent but humorous lesson about what truly makes a lady.

Kathy’s Review: I really had mixed feelings about this one. I guess by the end it all just felt a little too preachy for me. I think I could easily go off on a little tangent, so I’ll skip that and just get to the review. Rachel, Lissa and Michael find themselves in a desperate situation when they arrive in San Francisco. Their father had died on the trip over leaving them alone in the world. While Rachel tries to keep everyone together, her siblings turn their backs on her (repeatedly) and decide to go wild. At one point I really wanted Rachel to just pack up and leave, let them realize how much they’d hurt her and maybe realize how much they actually needed her. I guess I felt like they were so mad at Rachel for judging people that they didn’t stop to notice they were judging her just has harshly.

At times I really liked Rachel’s character, even though she was kind of a nerd. What was with her fascination with bugs…oh, I mean insects? Sometimes I liked her, other times not as much. I guess she had a hard time finding a balance between living your standards and allowing others to do their own thing, and not trying to convert everyone to her way of thinking. I actually liked her morals, even if some were a little extreme, I guess it was the way she went about stuff that drove me bonkers. I liked Johnnie probably the most out of everyone. He seemed consistent and the changes he made within himself seemed more sincere and realistic. The relationship and banter between Rachel and Johnnie was fun and probably my favorite parts of the book (except when they were being nerds talking about bugs and trees…).

I was really disappointed with Michael and Lissa, I was hoping by the end of the novel both would have learned something, and maybe Michael did a little, but Lissa sure didn’t learn a thing. She was annoying from the first, totally spoiled, self-centered, lazy and judgmental. The truth is the way she was living would never really bring her any happiness and it saddened me that she again didn’t learn any lessons and was still cold (in my opinion) to her sister.

This was the second book I read by Gist, and I enjoyed it a lot more than the first. The setting was fun and enlightening, Johnnie was a great leading man and overall I enjoyed the story, even if I didn’t agree with how certain things played out.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Amelia and the Outlaw by Lorraine Heath

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: December 2002

One Word Review: Light

Author Website: www.lorraineheath.com

First Line: “The first thing Jesse Lawton noticed when the train pulled into the station was the girl standing on the platform.”

GoodReads Synopsis: With a strict, eagle-eyed judge for a father and two older brothers to back him up, Amelia Harper is doted upon and protected within an inch of her life. She's not even allowed to have a sweetheart until she's seventeen, for example. Amelia longs for the day she can do as she pleases, but that day doesn't seem to be in any hurry to arrive. For a young fellow, Jesse Lawton has a surprisingly shady background. The only wonder is that it took him until the age of fourteen to end up in jail, so wild was the path he'd been on. But five years have passed, and his luck finally seems to have turned: he's been freed. If only he can stay on the straight and narrow... When Jesse arrives at the Harper ranch to work off the remainder of his sentence, it's no surprise that the judge's pretty daughter catches his eye. What he doesn't know is that this young lady is itching for excitement, and with one look into his haunted eyes, Amelia knows she's found it in Jesse. Without meaning to, Amelia forces the erstwhile outlaw into a choice between his freedom and his heart.

Kathy’s Review: This was a cute story, I don’t know if cute is the right word, but it’s the only thing coming to mind. Amelia actually kind of annoyed me at first, she was just a little too naïve and it rubbed me the wrong way that she continued to hang around Jesse when it would clearly get him into trouble. After awhile she kind of grew on me, or maybe she matured during the story, but by the end I liked her. I also liked Jesse, he clearly had a rough life and tried to get by the best he could. Although he didn’t always make the best decisions, he still tried to make good choices, but didn’t have a lot of opportunities to change his life around. The relationship between Amelia and Jesse was sweet, she saw the good in him and he finally had someone to believe in him. The story was light and entertaining, about what you’d expect.

Cover Comment: I don't care for the cover, I probably would've passed the book by just based on the cover. Since I've liked this authors other books (written under pen-names Jade Parker & Rachel Hawthorne) I decided to give this one a try.


Bookworm Rating: 3

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Rouge Knight by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Romance

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com

First Line: “The snow was falling harder now, the wind pushing it into drifts against the buildings, which lined the cobblestone streets.”

Synopsis: After losing her parents, Fontaine is left to the care of her evil aunt Lady Carileena Wetherton, until she turns nineteen and can then take control of her inheritance and future. Lady Wetherton has other plans in mind, she plans to marry Fontaine off before she turns nineteen and keep the inheritence for herself. Fontaine has little choice in the matter and relies on the friendship of her faithful servants to get her through. One evening a handsome man arrives on her doorstep, beaten and bruised and may be the answer to all her problems.

Kathy’s Review: I found this book on Marcia’s website (click here for a free copy). It’s only 90 pages long, but packed with a fun story, lovely characters and a sweet romance. I enjoyed the story; it was totally different from the last McClure book that I read, which was a surprise. I liked Fontaine’s character, she puts herself at risk to help a total stranger (okay, so he’s a hottie, but I think she would have helped him even if he wasn’t cute), she cares deeply for her friends and does what she can to protect them from her evil aunt. I also liked Knight, he kind of made it seem like he had a really bad past, but aside from keeping his identity a secret from Fontaine, I didn’t really see what the big deal was. If anything, it seems like it could have helped her more than harmed her. Anyway, the aunt was supposed to be evil, but aside from being a gold digger with little morals, I didn’t really get the “evil” vibe. I also thought the plight Fontaine was in was kind of weak, but putting reality aside I thought it was a fun story. I enjoyed the writing, setting and the sweet romance.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weathered Too Young by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: February 2010

One Word Review: Sweet

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com


Synopsis: Lark is running from her past and finds herself in a small town in Colorado. Looking for work she hears of two single brothers looking for a housekeeper/cook. Accepting the job she doesn’t realize quite what’s in store for her.

Kathy’s Review: So, I just read a handful of Regency novels and got accustom to the way they spoke and I admit it took me a little while to jump from a very proper regency setting to the “wild west” setting. Once I got used to the language I started to enjoy the story a little more. It is a nice cozy read for a Saturday afternoon. There were some sweet romance scenes that made my heart pitter-pat and the overall story was enjoyable. While I liked Lark’s character, I was also a little disappointed. I was hoping she would have a little more…spunk. From the things she thought in her head to how she actually acted/spoke were kind of conflicting. I liked Slater, although I got a little tired of how “old” he was supposed to be (he’s 30ish), I know he had a rough past but he really acted and spoke A LOT older than 30, IMO. I liked their relationship and was rooting for them, BUT I did get tired of their inner dialog of how they both loved each other, but neither wanted to act on it. I would have liked a little more tension and interactions vs. all the inner dialog. I liked the supporting characters, Tom and Katie. I was really hoping for a nice love-triangle with Lark-Slater-Katie, but things sort of fizzled out early on, I kind of wish there had been some resolution there. One minute Lark is full of jealousy and then it’s pretty much forgotten. I think adding a little more suspense between the three would have made the story a touch more interesting. The backgrounds of Lark and Slater were interesting, but could have also been played up a little more. Maybe since the past few books I read had a lot of mystery too them I was expecting a little more out of this one. I finished the book yesterday and having slept on it I decided that I still really enjoyed the story. I think when I re-read it (which I’m sure I will), I will enjoy it more. It’s a nice western setting with likable characters and a sweet romance.

Bookworm Rating: 4

I love the western setting, any recommendations for similar reads?

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Stranger She Married by Donna Hatch

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: October 2008

One Word Review: Great

Author Website: www.donnahatch.com

First Line: "Alicia Palmer stepped down from teh coach with all the enthusiasm of a condemned prisoner about to meet the executioner."

GoodReads Synopsis: When her parents and only brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor's prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret. Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he'd thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer's attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart.

Kathy’s Review: I really enjoyed this one and Donna Hatch is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I accidently read book two, The Guise of a Gentleman, first and in that we are introduced to some of the characters in this book. I thought I knew what was going on, but I still kept second guessing myself the whole time which leads me to think Hatch is an excellent author. I really enjoyed Alicia, Cole and Nicholas’ story. Alicia is such a likable heroine, not only is she super nice she also has really good morals. I liked that she stood up for what she believed in, even though you could easily see she was torn between two men. I really liked Cole, I wasn’t sure if I would (since I liked his brother Jared in Guise so much), but he was different than Jared and I just liked him right from the start. He really is a decent guy and was crazy about Alicia from the moment they met. He definitely plays the role of “knight in shining armor” very well. Nicholas was also very likable, in different ways. He is more soft spoken, kind and very patient. The mystery added a lot to the story without being too overwhelming. It also added a lot of exciting elements and overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Definitely recommend it to regency fans, or anyone who enjoys a good romantic story with hot leading men!

Ms. Hatch, PLEASE write a story for Grant. We’ve gotten to know him in both books and I know there is much more to his story and I really want to find out what his secrets are! (Oh yeah, and one for Christian too. I’m thinking he isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks he is?)

Bookworm Rating: 4.8

Rouge Heart Series:
Book One: The Stranger She Married
Book Two: The Guise of a Gentleman

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Heartless by Jaimey Grant

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: July 2009

One Word Review: Intense

Author Website: www.jaimeygrant.com

GoodReads Synopsis
: Finding herself abandoned after the death of her father, Leandra Harcourt takes a chance on a dark stranger at a small inn. Married, she learns about her husband during his extended absences, discovering more truth and mystery than she ever could have dreamed. The Duke of Derringer is feared and reviled wherever he goes; he is a man not to be crossed. Finding himself suddenly in need of a wife only interferes with the plans he has already set in motion. Vowing to marry the first woman he meets, he stumbles upon Leandra Harcourt, desperate and alone. With only sporadic visits home, Derringer finds his wife intriguing, baffling, and oddly desirable. In her prosaic attitude and calm demeanor, he discovers a peacefulness that he's never known in his life and knows he will never find again. While facing a nameless assassin, his search for his missing cousin intensifies. Little does he realize that in reaching his goal, his enemies may reach theirs, endangering his new bride as well.

Kathy’s Review: I admit to being sucked into the story right from the start. I really liked Leander’s character; she is the type of person that everyone just falls in love with because of her niceness, honesty and charm (aside from her crazy family of course). She sees the good in her husband Hartley right from the beginning and because of that she doesn’t let him get away with much. He isn’t used to people treating him in such a way, and falls for her pretty quickly. I actually liked Hartley, even though he was pretty rough it was understandable knowing his childhood. Deep down, he had a good heart and was actually pretty kind to people who deserved it. I liked the relationship between Leander and Hart, they fought and made-up and learned to communicate with each other in a pretty short time. The mystery element added some suspense to the novel, and while it kind of took a different turn (it was a little dark, not your typical light regency read) it was still enjoyable.

There were just a couple things that kept me from really loving the book. First, I did like that Hart ended his relationship with his mistress once he was married, but at one point made it seem like he would still have mistresses, but wouldn’t let Leander know about them (as if that is some consolation). I just have a pet-peeve about people who cheat, I don’t like it. I admit, it seems like they really are in love and so I don’t think he would actually cheat and just wish he would have said something along those lines. Second, the mystery part was good and even the “surprise” was interesting, but I was sad with the way the author took the story. That particular story line could have been a little happier (I’m all for happy endings). And lastly, the ending was a little abrupt and left me a little disappointed. Everything just wrapped up too quickly, and while I’m glad with how some things ended up (and not others), I decided to give it a little lower rating.

Overall, the book is fairly clean. There is some swearing and Leander and Hart are married so there are “relations”, but nothing too descriptive.


Bookworm Rating: 3.5
The Stranger She Married by Donna Hatch

Incognito by Suzanne Allain

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: July 2009

One Word Review: Lighthearted

Author Website: www.suzanneallain.com

First Line: “Lady Elizabeth Smithfield, relict of Sir John Smithfield, surveyed her two daughters as they sat together.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Can a young lady allow her beloved sister to be sacrificed on the marriage altar? Emily Smithfield cannot. So when her mother announces that a marriage has been arranged between Emily’s older sister Lydia and Lord Wesleigh, a man the sisters have never met, Emily offers to marry the gentleman in her sister’s stead. Emily’s act of selflessness leaves Lydia free to marry the man she loves and Emily the bride of a handsome young marquess. Not a bad bargain at all! Lord Wesleigh, who knows nothing of Emily’s matchmaking scheme, arrives in the small village where the Smithfields reside disguised as a curate, in an attempt to observe his betrothed anonymously. When Lord Wesleigh finds himself more attracted to Emily than her sister, the rules of the game change. Can he make Emily fall in love with him when she believes him to be a penniless curate?

Kathy’s Review: This was a really lighthearted, fun read. I liked our heroine Emily, she wants to get out of her small country lifestyle and see the world. She is also perceptive and starts noticing things that don’t quite add up. She puts on her “Nancy Drew” hat and ends up getting herself mixed up in a little adventure. Alex (Lord Wesleigh/Mr. Williams) was a fun leading man. I don’t blame him for wanting to go undercover to figure out what his future wife is like, and although things got a little out of hand, he still maintains his cool. Emily and Alex have great chemistry together, their romance was really sweet and as the story goes on you can tell they really do care for one another. It was a fun read, and probably one I would read again.

The only thing I didn’t really like was the fact that it switched POV randomly throughout the novel. Not just between Emily and Alex but also with some of the supporting characters as well. I can see how the author wanted us to know what was going on here and there, but it can get confusing when it switches too much and at random parts. Once you get into the story though you get used to the transitions and I didn’t notice it as much by the end.

Bookworm Rating: 3.5
Similar Reads:

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week’s waiting on Wednesday is:

The Red Pyramid
By Rick Riordan
Release Date: May 4, 2010

Synopsis: Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Why I’m Waiting: Okay, so this one has already been released (on Tuesday). But, I thought I would include it anyway because I really am excited to read it. I really enjoyed The Percy Jackson series and thought this new Egyptian series sounded like a lot of fun. Hmm, I wonder if it will also be made into a movie?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Pirate and the Puritan by Mary Clayton

Genre: Historical Fiction-Romance

Publication Date: September 2007

One Word Review:

Author Website: www.monyamaryclayton.blogspot.com

First Line: “At first glance the pirate captain looked as staid a man as any Puritan Mercy Penhall knew.”

GoodReads Synopsis: 1704 - Dangerous times, when the colonies of the Americas are threatened by Queen Anne's War. It is not the French but a pirate who captures Mercy Penhall, mute Puritan spinster. In fear for her life and virtue yet drawn to the captain in spite of herself, Mercy has unknowingly begun on a course of adventure, heartbreak that will test her courage to the utmost. And in the end the secret she carries in her soul threatens to prevent even the small chance of happiness inherent in an impossible love. Edmund Gramercy is an unwilling pirate, forced to join a hostile crew to save his life. He defies them to spare the lives of the vanquished and the virtue of the women. But the mute Puritan girl tempts him like no other. It is best to set her free and never see her again. A pirate's life is a short one - for her own sake he cannot claim her. Yet their paths cross again, then again. He is drawn to her but his passion is hopeless. He is a wanted man. To love a decent woman is impossible. And there is a strange shadow behind her brave blue eyes... Can the impossible become possible for the pirate and the Puritan?"

Kathy’s Review: This wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I suppose I thought it would be similar to the book I just read, Guise of the Gentleman, with a pirate tale and high-sea adventure, and of course romance. While this does have the pirate and romance angle, it was very different from that book. It is definitely a historical fiction, with a heavy emphasis on history. The history lessons were woven into the story, which I liked, but at times it felt a little bogged down. So much happens throughout the story between Mercy and Edmund; being pushed together and torn apart so many times I lost count. By the end I was just plain frustrated with Mercy (I’ll explain more later). I was a little skeptical of how the story would play out with Mercy being mute; it only added another level to the story and surprisingly for me didn’t take away too much, although I am huge fan of conversation and dialog in books. Mercy was a good heroine, I liked that she had strong convictions, but trusted herself to make her own way. I liked Edmund as well and that he kept her strong and thought they were a good couple. Although, I still have a hard time with people that “fall in love” when they’ve barely said two sentences between them, I think their relationship grew throughout and ended where I believed them as a couple. It is a fairly clean romance, but some of their intimate times get a little heated, mostly just kissing, but kind of pushes the limit a little.

So this next section contains spoilers. I was somewhat confused at the very end when Mercy became convinced that she could not marry Edmund because she thought of herself as a witch. Of course we know throughout the entire story that her mother had been hanged during the Salem witch trials and that others worried that Mercy may also be a witch, but Mercy never thought of herself as a witch and until the end never thought of her mother as one either. Maybe I misremember what happened earlier in the book, but with everything they had gone through you’d think she would feel comfortable enough to tell him about her past. AND, when she leaves I was stunned that he just let her go so easily. Of course, another situation arose and things played out a little better, but I just had a hard time believing he would just let her go like that. Just too many partings and reuniting for my taste.

Anyway, I did enjoy the story. I learned a lot about the time period that I didn’t really know and although it was a bit too serious it still kept me entertained and was happy with how everything ended up.

Bookworm Rating: 3.5

Similar Reads:
To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker
The Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch

I'm new to the pirate genre, any suggestions for some clean pirate adventures?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch

Genre: Regency Adventure

Publication Date: March 2010

One Word Review: Swashbuckling-fun

Author Website: www.donnahatch.com

First Line: “Lady Standwish was a traitor.”

GoodReads Synopsis: The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for freedom and adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret. A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared accepts one last assignment before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

Kathy’s Review: This was definitely different from your typical regency novels. It starts out kind of the same, the first half of the book takes place in regular society, but then things take a turn and Jared’s pirate life takes on a much bigger role. I really enjoyed the story, it was fun and adventurous. I really liked Elise and Jared. Elise is witty, brave and very ladylike. Jared brings out a different side in her and she does the same for him. He’s kind of a rake without really being a rake, which I liked. I really liked that he had a lot of respect for Elise and even though there was mutual attraction he was still a gentleman and I think it made their relationship stronger. There is a lot of chemistry between the two, and lots of kissing, but a really sweet romance.

I accidently read this book not realizing it was the second book in the Rogue Heart’s series. Book one is about Jared’s brother Cole and Alicia. Knowing them from this book I am excited to go back and read their story. I am also hoping there will be books for his other brothers Grant and Christian, I felt like they each had some secrets that I’d like to find out.


Bookworm Rating: 4.5
Rouge Heart Series:
Book One: The Stranger She Married
Book Two: The Guise of a Gentleman

Similar Reads:
 
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