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.

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