Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Another year of Reading...

It's been almost a year and I'm setting up to review my reading.

Something new this year has been ebooks! I have started adding these books to my reading because there are lots of erotica published in this medium and the authors are outstanding. Lora Leigh and Sherri L. King are just some names that have attracted me. Lisa Marie Rice is another great author that has put ebooks on my map.

I have also noticed that my reading has leaned toward paranormals with Vampire series and shapeshifters.

I will post my year end summary at the end of the month when I have tallied the books read for the Month of December.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Viking we shall go!!

Just finished reading Sandra Hill's A Very Virile Viking. This was the story of the last Erickson Brother, Magnus. The eldest of the bunch, he has the problem of being overly fertile. With having bred 13 children (2 died in infancy) he has a reputation of being overly virile. His friends tease him mercilessly and after another child gets dumped on his lap, he decides to take his children and find a better land.
He leaves Vestfold with 9 of his offspring (his eldest daughter has just been wed and his eldest son is left to care for his father's lands). They head out on his longboat and get caught up in a mysterious fog that dumps them on a Viking movie set in Hollywood. It is there that he meets his destiny in the form of Angela Abruzzi.
Angela is the granddaughter of Italian immigrants that have a vineyard in Sonoma California. The vineyard no longer produces wine but they still harvest grapes that get sold to other vineyards. They are barely making ends and Angela has taken a part time job in the city as a real estate salesperson. She is trying to contract with the movie studio so that they will use the vineyard as the set for an upcoming movie, thus giving the vineyard an influx of cash flow. The director agrees to the location IF she takes Magnus and his children to the vineyard while he tries to convince Magnus to be the star of his Viking movie.
Magnus has taken a vow of celibacy because he doesn’t want any more children but after meeting Angela he questions his strength to follow through.

Hill returns to the great writing that we saw in The Last Viking. The children add a new element to the fold but don't distract from the main romance. I loved to see how Magnus adapts, not only to his new environment but also to the new challenges he faces as a father of children in the 21st century. During the other books, when I heard about Magnus I could not imagine him as a hero to his own story, but Hill did an exceptional job in making him appealing. She made him a tender father and that tugs at most woman's heartstrings. I loved one line in particular, when he tells Angela that if she is willing to become a mother to his 9 children, he could certainly become father to their one. This is when Angela tells him that she wants children of her own. The story was and excellent read!

Going to give Judith French a try by reading The Barbarian... Will let you know how that goes.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Viking that wasn't very interesting....

I finished Sandra Hill's Truly, Madly, Viking on Thursday. It was definitely not as fabulous as The Last Viking. I had to give it a C+.

Second in the Contemporary Viking Series, Hill tells the story of Geirolf's brother Jorund. Jorund returns to his homeland after several years warring to find his wife (whom he really didn't love) and his twin daughters (who he did love) dead. They have died in the famine. His father has asked him and his brother Magnus to go out and search for his younger brother Geirolf, who they think is lost at sea.
While on his voyage, an Orca whale 'kidnaps' Jorund and takes him through a time portal to Texas (yr 2000).
Maggie is a psychiatrist who is raising twins on her own. The girls are trying desperately to find a father, even to the extreme of wishing upon a star (it won't hurt to try EVERYTHING). On one of thier trips to Orca World (the local Sea World) they see a man being dumped into the Orca's water pen by a free whale. The man (Jorund) swims (bare naked) to shore thinking that he has died and is in Valhalla. Everyone thinks he is crazy and so Maggie steps in and claims he is a patient from her hospital. Why she does this, no one can understand, not even herself.

Anyway, the book spends a lot of time discussing how Joe (the name Mag-he has given Jorund) is helping the patients (there is quite an assortment of interesting characters in the book) but not enough time on his relationship with Maggie. He acclimates too easily to the modern world, there is barely any shock to his system upon encountering modern day stuff. He loves watching soap operas and loves the exercise machines but is not floored by simple things like beds and showers… there was just not enough humor in it. There was also his issue with Maggie's daughters, since they are twins like his children he doesn't want to spend time with them, but gives in waaay too easily when they approach him. It was an okay book but nothing I would ever recommend.

Now on to the third book int he series, The Very Virile Viking. Based on reviews, this last one seems to be the best of the three. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Sandra Hill's Vikings are yummy!

So I re-discovered Sandra Hill. Sandra was an author that everyone loved to recommend and I went out and got most of her back list before reading any of her books! *I'm somewhat impulsive* :)

When I finally got around to reading my first book by this author, I died a slow agonizing death. I couldn't even bring myself to finish the book! BTW: The book in questions was Love Me Tender.

Now... I'm a good reader in the sense that I don't chuck an author after one bad book. I tend to be forgiving and after many months of recuperation, I'll pick up another of the Author's books and give them another chance to wow me. This technique has worked in the past and has let me enjoy the works of some great writers like Teresa Medieros, Jane Feather and Mary Jo Putney to name a few.

So this past month was Sandra Hill's turn. I picked up The Last Viking, the first in her contemporay/time travel viking series. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing out loud at the hero's antics.

Geirolf Erikson is on a mission for his father when his longboat is attacked and is destroyed. After floating for several days he finally gets sucked into a whirlpool that has him surfacing 1000 years in the future. He meets shore in Maine, on Dr. Meredith Foster's land. She is on a mission herself, trying to complete her grandfather's dream of building a Viking longboat. With funding drying up and the project no where close to finish, Meredith is on her last hope. Geirolf is the answer to her prayers, although she thinks he is crazy. It is hilarious to see him turn her life around. She is always trying to please everyone and everyone takes advantage of her. Her ex-husband ran away with another woman, her sister dumps her daughter on her, her parents are always criticizing and her brother just could care less. The only one that has shown her unconditional affection has been her grandparents and now, with them gone, she feels the need to give back something by finishing what her grandfather had started, yet she didn't count on the new shipbuilder to steal her heart. Although unbelievable, this book was very entertaining and kept me wanting to read more. Hill kept the sexual tension to a level where you didn’t find yourself frustrated because they didn't just get it on! Loved the references to Tim Allen as Tim "the Toolman" Taylor and how Geirolf fell in love with all the power tools!

Started reading the next book in the series, Truly, Madly, Viking, but it's definitly not as wonderful as the first. I'm still waiting to see if things pickup after Jorund gets out of the mental hospital... I'll leave you with that tidbit until I finsh the book and can review it.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Master of Ecstasy by Nina Bangs

It promises to be an interesting day. I took a peek out of the window this morning and found close to white out conditions. My SUV is partially buried under quite a bit of snow. It's the first blizzard in 2005 and it has been many years since we have seen a real blizzard hit New England.

This weather has made it cozy to catch up with my reading.

I just finished the first winner for 2005. Master of Ecstasy by Nina Bangs was nothing I expected. I found this book at the library's resale shelf and picked it up because I thought I had seen it on someone's trade list. I wasn't actually going to read it, but I have been in a paranormal frenzy lately and I'm reading tons of that stuff, so I thought I'd give it a turn before trading it. Wow! Was a happy I opened it. It got a solid A.

Bythe 56-2310, comes from the year 2339 and she has decided to take a working vacation to 1785, Scotland. She works for Ecstasy, Inc.. A company that specializes in providing happiness to it's clients (in a non sensual manner). She is traveling with her supervisor because her last 'gig' ended up with her in bed with her client, which earned her a demotion and a transfer to Wyoming (happy town, as she calls it since no one needs her services because they are all happy). She is determined that this job will not end up like her last and she will reinstated to her previous position. Darach, the vampire who is staying in the room above hers, has other plans.

Darach Mackenzie has a duty to perform. He has to guard the keep and await those of his clan that return to die. Vampires are not turned but part of a breed of highlanders who are being exterminated but lustful women. The women seek immortality and think that by mating with a vampire they will achieve it. They bleed the vampire until it is weak and then rape them. When they are turned loose the vampire try to replenish their blood too quickly, causing them to poison themselves on human blood. They then turn into demons who seek out thier clan's home as a final resting place. Darach is there to give them peace by killing them.

Blythes determination not to fall in bed with her new target (Darach) is undermined by his equal determination to rid her of all inhibitions and show her the path to sensual pleasures. The story was wonderful because the author let the romance build from lust to love in a believable pace. Blythe is frightened by this vampire but she is also determined to do her job. Darach won't let her see his emotions but he gets a good glimpse at hers and finds his walls melting at her insistance. Before he realizes what is happening, he has actually fallen in love. Darach is not without flaws and his fears make him equal to the heroine. There is no Alpha male in this story, just a man who falls for a women. The story is filled with great humor, which adds to the overall ease of the book. There is a 'cosmic troublemaker' who takes the form of a cat and talks to Blythe about all things sexual, a tour guide (ex-cosmic troublemaker) that loads up on pepto bismal to counteract the stomachache being good causes him, two horny ghosts, a underwear sales person who designs see through briefs and a herd of little pink puff pets that follow Blythe around. I'm happy I picked this one up and I'll be putting Nina Bangs on the list of authors to keep an eye out for.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

It took me a while but I finally finished Dark Prince by Christine Feehan. My delay in finishing the book was not due to the content of the book but because Dre caught the flu.
Yeah my baby was sick. Funny how a 17 yo can still be your baby when she looks like she is on her last wheel. I had never seen her that sick and it was disturbing. Thank goodness she is on the mend and I'm back to tell you about Feehan's book.

Dark Prince is the first of the Dark Series. This is the story of Prince Mikhail who is virtually ready to commit suicide when he hears Raven Whitney coaxing him away from the edge of insanity. Carpathian males are on the verge of losing their fight with fate. They have virtually no women to breed with and their race is dying. Carpathian men lose all emotions and lose the ability to see in color if they go long without finding their life mate. The emotionless shells they become is no way to live and many choose to step out in to daylight, thus ending their lives. They can also choose to convert into vampires, which is what happens if they lose their mind to the emotionless pit in their soul. Raven is a very strong telepathic person. She helps police solve murders. After tracking down a dangerous serial killer, Raven seeks solitude in the Carpathian Mountains where she discovers Mikhail about to commit suicide.

As soon as Mikhail discovers her he regains his emotions as well as the ability to see in color. This confirms that Raven is his life mate. He then becomes a neanderthal, macho, pig. He is use to commanding and he thinks he can command Raven. Raven becomes a doormat, letting Mikhail walk all over her. He pisses her off, she stomps her feet and says she is leaving him, he makes puppy dog eyes at her and she melts. *sigh*

I was ready to hurl the book out the window when I started to see a change in Mikhail. He started to accept Raven's will and started to respect her. I also became glued to the book because Feehan writes incredibly fast paced action scenes. There is a scene where Raven gets mortally wounded and the pace and descriptions kept you on the edge of your seat. Wonderful work.

As a secondary story line, there are a group of vampire hunters out to kill Mikhail. They have already killed his sister Noelle, leaving her two month old son orphaned. With two more Carpathian women preggers, everyone needs to work together to ferret out the killers and protect the women.

The secondary characters are fabulous! They make you want to know their story, make you want to see them happy.
Next in the series is Dark Desire, but I just ordered it via Amazon so I'll have to put it on hold until it arrives with three more Feehan books.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

More Charmed (Anthology)

The last story in the Charmed Anthology was... well... it was good, but... different.

The story was by Eileen Wilkes and it was called Pandora's box.
I liked it and gave it a B, but it was missing something that I just can't put my finger on. The story was about a couple that has a love already established, which is good because I find it hard to believe the 'I met you today and in a few hours I have determined you are it for the rest of my life'. The couple live in an alternate universe where witchcraft and genies have been incorporated into society as minorities. Pandora is a bit prejudice and doesn't realize she is actually a witch. John is her boyfriend and he is a stiff. He basically has a stick up his butt, yet she feels the love. She also realizes there is something missing in the relationship and she hopes to remedy the situation by going on holiday with John to his family home, where she hopes that a good helping of sex will loosen this guys screws. Anyway, the truth is that John wants to propose but there is a secret in his family he must reveal to Pandora before her acceptance. He is a decendant of a djinn (genie). His ancestor needed to seperate his immortal self and everything that was impulsive and spontaneous to become mortal and marry the woman he loved. He then sealed it in a bottle and now all male descendants must give their bride a choice between the entity in the bottle and them.
Well, I would have chosen Jack (the entity in the bottle) in a heartbeat. He was sweet, sexy, fun and much more alive than John.
I think the tough part of this story was feeling that John deserved the girl. He just did nothing to prove he was worth her. He whined alot and was rude to her and was a jerk, but she loved him in his weird stuck up way. All in all it was an entertaining story and a quick read.

This rounds out the Charmed Anthology as a B book.

Starting Christine Feehan's Dark Series next. Dark Prince is first on the list.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Charmed (Anthology) & Lori Foster

Well the third story in the Charmed Anthology I've been reading was a success as predicted. It was a re-read for me though. It was the story of Chase Winston from the Winston Brothers, Tangled Dreams and I gave it a B + .
Okay for those of you that are not familiar with the Winston Brothers go out right now and pick up thier book called... Hold on to your seats now, because you will never believe what Lori named this book... The Winston Brothers! LOL!
She is always so original. She keeps things simple. Gotta Love her!

Anyway, the Winston brothers are all hunky and gorgeous, but Chase Winston is a Dom (he's a Dominant) and he likes things Kinky!! LOL! The series covers Cole, the eldest; Chase, the second eldest; Mack, the youngest and then there is Zane, the wildest of the bunch and next to last in the birth order. He has a book all his own and in that book we get introduced to Joe! Joe gets his own book where he introduces us to Bryan, who also gets his own book. Just like Bruce, Clint and Jamie.
So here is the order of the Winston Series by Lori Foster:
Winston Brothers
Say No to Joe?
The Secret Life of Bryan
When Bruce met Cyn
Just a Hint Clint

Lori is a great read and worth taking the time to pick out her books.

So, I'm thinking about rebelling and reading my books out of order. Blasphemy! I'm such a rebel! LOL!
My TBR pile is in some semblance of an order so I can eventually get to all my books/authors. The thing is that I'm following so many authors that if I read one book from each author I would have to read over 60 books before I repeat an author. This system seemed to work until I realized that I read alot of series. These books are interconnected and if I wait 4-6 months to read the next book in the series I lose track of my characters. So I decided to read the series as they showed up but now I'm back to never getting around to authors that I REALLY like. What a vicious cycle!

I've been in a reading slump lately and so I need to do something to get me going. I'm thinking of just chucking the order and reading what I want! Screw the list!!

I'll let you know if I go ahead and do it or not. At least the next book on my list is a winner. Christine Feehan's Dark Prince, the first book of the Carpathian series.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Charmed (Paranormal Anthology)

I'm back...
I finally finished the Krinard book but it took forever and a day to get through the book. Don't get me wrong, if we look at the book as a whole it was good but Krinard just went on and on and on...

It was way to wordy. Like Jessy, my sister, would say, they thought too much. It seemed as if Rowena, the heroine, was constantly thinking about everything. Tomás, the hero, was the same way. The book had a lot of potential but it kept adding too much narrative. The book had action but the narrative didn't give it a chance to grow. So I had to give the book a C. Nothing could save it. It actually put me off from reading the rest of the series. I'm going to have to take a break from Krinard and move on, which is what I did.

Could not find Slightly Shady by Amanda Quick at the library or the UBS. So I looked into Jayne Ann Krentz and found that she writes paranormal stuff under the pseudonym of Jayne Castle. I discovered that she actually has a series based on a planet called Harmony that has specters and energy beings... It sounded interesting so for my yahoo group I read the first in the series. The story is in an anthology called Charmed. I picked up the book in and already read the first two stories in the book.

Here are my thoughts:
Charmed (Anthology):
Jayne Castle - Bridal Jitters: (B) The story takes place on the planet of Harmony where specters and psychological phenomenon is something of everyday occurrences. Para-Archeologist Virginia Burch is entering into a Marriage of Convenience (MC for short) with her landlord, ghost hunter Sam Gage. MC's are a legal way of living together and sharing all marital privileges for a 2 year period when they can then decide to renew, cancel or move to a more permanent contract called a Covenant of Marriage. Sam proposes an MC as a way to merge their businesses but in truth he actually wants Virginia. Virginia on the other hand is ready to back out of the agreement because she is in love with Sam and doesn't think her heart can take the disappointment after the 2 years are over. The story is about their first assignment as a merged company and how they fall into a competitor's trap. It was nice smooth and had a bit of suspense. To get all that in an 86 page story, is quite an achievement. Kudos to Krentz!

Julie Beard - Man in the Mirror: (C+) This was an interesting tale. The heroine seems to develop a dependency on men who save her. She is always the damsel in distress. She lives over an antiquities store and the owner, Lillian, gifts her beautiful mirror. It is said that if you peel an apple in front of the mirror it will show you the man of your dreams. It's Halloween and she has been experiencing all sorts of disasters all day yet she sits in front of the mirror to peel her apple. After seeing a wounded knight call her from the mirror she crosses into the mirror with hopes of saving this man. Of course she falls in love with Tristan of Ilchester, who is one of King Arthur's knights, but she isn't there to stay, just to save. The story was passive and everything was very rushed. The characters were interesting but other than Katherine we didn't really get to know any of them. When she leaves Tristan behind we don't feel for them because there is no attachment to the couple. When she finds her own 'Tristan' in modern day, we feel no sense of happiness or sighing love. It's just there.

Next story in the book is by Lori Foster and the critics have deemed it the Gem of the book so I'm looking forward to it.

BTW: If you are wondering what happened to Stephanie Plum in Hot Six? She had to hunt down her mentor, Ranger. She had men showing up at her house at all hours in the night but none where her "boyfriend" Joe Morelli. Well, at the end of this book Joe admits he loves Stephanie and proposes. We'll have to wait to pick up the seventh book in the series, Seven Up, to find out if she accepts!!

See you next time with more on my reading!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Janet Evanovich vs Susan Krinard... No contest!

Reading this Susan Krinard is taking more time than expected. The story is very good but not as good as Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I'm on the fifth book of the series called High Five and I am finding myself very addicted to it. I have the sixth book called Hot Six ready to start listening.

What's the big deal with these books? They have such a peculiar group of characters in the books that you find yourself just shaking your head thinking, where does she come up with these people!
Stephanie Plum use to work as a lingerie buyer and when she got laid off, she went to work as a bond enforcement agent for her cousin Vinnie, who is a sexpot. Her family is crazy, her collegues are a ex-hooker called Lula and a hispanic mercenary called Ranger. She has the hots for a vice cop called Joe Morelli but Ranger is looking better every day. I'm telling you, this series is just too good!!

So, I've been listening to the series and my actual reading has fallen behind.

My yahoo group is doing an author of the month reading. They have chosen Amanda Quick as the author to read for January. I'm trying to find Slightly Shady for my selection but the library has it checked out. I'm going to have to do a quick search at the UBS (used book store).

Anyway... I'll be back on my regular reading phase after I finish reading my Plum series.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Sieze The Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Just finished Seize the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. If you go to the Dark Hunter website ( Kenyon says that this book is where everything changes and a new Dark Hunter is born. She was absolutely right. We get to know so much more about Ash that, at times, it was almost as if it was Ash's story. We find out that there is someone in love with Ash. We also find out WHAT he is. We find out Who is Simi and how the little demon relates to Ash. And we also find out that he has a weakness.

The new Dark Hunter that is born was a shock. Not a shock as to who he was (yes, it's a he. At one point I thought it would be Tabitha), but how he became a DH. I didn't expect the scene to go that way. There is also some question about his being a DH because of the way he died. Let say it was untraditional.

Next book won't be out until July. I guess I'll be waiting in line with my daughter. She'll be buying the new Harry Potter and I'll be picking up the New Kenyon. I'm not familiar with the DH called Alexion. The excerpt makes him appear very powerful. I'm wondering if he had a smaller role in anonther of the books and I just missed it. He could be the guy that provides everyone with their weapons. I think that just might be him. I also think Danger (the female DH) was in Karek's story.

I'm now going to tackle Krinard's Once a Wolf, the second in Krinard's historical wolf series.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters

I've been reading Sieze the Night and I must say I have really been enjoying it. There is only one thing that just makes me cringe when I read it. The whole falling in love within 24 hours. Not just a normal falling in love but a"I want to spend eternity with you" type of love. I think I can easier believe the whole Dark Hunter world with all it's Daimons and Undeads than this I spend 24 hours in your company, screw you like there is no tomorrow and therefore I can make a lifelong commitment to you. How does that work?

I have problems with books like that. I need something that can make me believe their love is true. How can you love someone you don't really know? That was my problem with Night Play as well. I loved Vane & Bride's story but he walked into her shop and was screwing her within the hour. What's up with that??

Anyway... I'm still enjoying the book. Valerius is a tortured hero and I'm just a sucker for a man thata has suffered. I guess that is why I really loved Zarek's story. He was hated by all and lived in such isolation, you just felt sorry for the guy. Now with Valerius, Zarek's brother, we see that it runs int he family. I love how Zarek, who is now a god, strikes Val with lightning and sends him rain clouds as a form of punishment. It's sort of funny.

Dre & I went to the movies today. Saw Flight of the Phoenix. It was okay, but more a rental than anything else.
Almost done watching Full Metal Alchemist. We're on episode 42 out of 51. I think we should be done by Wednesday.

End of Year Review - 2005

Holy crap! Can you believe it's been over six months since I last updated? Well... I guess you can since there aren't any entries since May.

New year and new hopes as too my reading blog. I guess I just find myself chatting too much about the books I'm reading vs actually reading.

Here is the breakdown for last years reading:

181 total reads. 46 Audiobooks & 5 ebooks

Best month: January w/ 19 reads

Worst month: February w/ 11 reads

Discovered Sherrilyn Kenyon & Jo Beverley this year.

The Dark Hunter Series was consistently the best, followed by the Mallorens and The Bedwyn Series.
The books in these series consistently got exceedingly high marks.

My favorites this year have been:

Darkling, I listen By Katherine Sutcliffe

Envy by Sandra Brown

Lord of the Storm by Justine Davis

All The Queen's Men by Linda Howard

Funny that my favorite books this year have been mostly contemporaries, while I read mostly historicals.

Worse of the bunch:

Sandra Hill's Love Me Tender

Jane Feather's Widow Kiss

Katherine Sutcliffe's Fever

Weird that Katherine Sutcliffe was among my favorites as well as my worse. LOL!

I went to Barnes & Nobles tonight and picked up Sherrilyn Kenyon's new book Sieze the Night. I thought it best to start the year off right. This is the story of Valerius and Tabitha. Loving it!

I then plan to read the rest of Susan Krinard's Historical Wolf series. I loved the first in the series and need to read the rest. She is such an intense writer.

I hope to update more but you never know...
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