Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rules of Seduction by Madeline Hunter

Alexis Welbourne has been living with her cousins for a while now and is grateful for their generosity. When she is suddenly left with nothing, after Lord Hayden Rothwell ruins her cousin Timothy Longworth and forces the family out of London. To avoid being a further burden on her cousins she is determined to find employment, when her greatest enemy offers her the opportunity to stay in the house she has made her own as a governess to the miscreant's young cousin.

Lord Hayden Rothwell is quite innocent of the accusations laid on his doorstep. He approached Timothy after discovering that he had been extorting funds from the bank he works at. In turbulent banking times, Hayden decides to leave his own funds in the bank, but demands that Timothy resign, leave London and payoff his debt. He promises not to reveal his crime as long as he follows the dictates he required. Timothy reluctantly agrees since not to, would have meant the gallows.

Do you think there is some gratitude in Timothy? Some semblance of shame for what he did? Not at all. Since Hayden promised to remain silent about the whole affair, Timothy decides to bad mouth him to everyone that can hear, saying that Hayden FORCED him into bankruptcy by removing his funds from the bank. Thus, leading Alexis to despise the man.

As she begins to work for Hayden and becomes better acquainted with him, she revises her opinion that he is a beast. She sees that there is more to the bank issue than was first explained and Hayden is being honorable to a fault. Now she just need to be certain that the man she has fallen in love with is the man she believes him to be.

Great Great Great tale. I love the slow, easy way Hunter takes us to the love story that unfolds for our Hero/Heroine. She also brings in several side characters that inspire strong feelings, like the Aunt and Timothy... who can we hate more...

Wonderful to get back to Hunter as we know she can be!

Grade: A

No True Gentleman by Liz Carlyle

Since we are reviewing Liz Carlyle books lets get to the one I read that was a complete miss. I could not bring myself to even finish reading this one.

Catherine is the sister to the Earl of Treyhern who was the hero in Beauty Like the Night. She is a widow who still finds herself mourning her husband but knows that she needs to move on with her life. While she is in London she crosses path with a man that is No True Gentleman.

Max de Rohan was introduced to us in A Woman of Virtue. He was in charge of the murder investigation of the women in Cole's Mission. In that tale he was a bit spooky but at the same time very admirable. Now, in his own book he just ended up being plain boring.

He is involved in some investigation, Catherine gets in the way, he tries to ward her off, she is determined to stick her nose into what doesn't concern her... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Can you guess I didn't like this one? I just felt bored to pieces. I wanted more of the romance and less of the subplot and since I was not getting it by mid book I decided to close this one and put it to rest. As I mentioned earlier, I did not finish this one.

Grade: DNF

A Woman of Virtue by Liz Carlyle

I want to say that Carlyle is a hit and miss author for me. Because of that I tend to wait a while before picking up her latest releases. I already have all of her earlier work in my TBR pile and I'm working my way to her more updated stuff, but because of that hit and miss situation, I take her work in small doses. The problem with this is that most of her books are interrelated and I tend to forget who is who and how they relate.

Thus was the case with David, Lord Delacourt. I had to go back and look at her previous work to find out that David is the secret brother of Reverend Cole Amherst's wife, Jonet from A Woman Scorned. David is put in a precarious situation when his brother in law, Cole swindles him into taking over his duties at the Mission he has started for fallen women.

Cecilia Lorimer, Lady Walfren would prefer to keep a respectable distance between herself and Delacourt. When she was just 18, Delacourt almost compromised her, which led to a fictitious engagement and finally, a similarly fictitious jilting on her behalf. She eventually married an older man who gave her stability and calmness after the whirlwind that was David. Now that she is widowed she tries very hard to keep that calmness in her life, but the news of David sharing duties with her in the Mission has her trembling, but not so much in fear as in need.

I really loved these two characters, both had reasons to resent the other but they learned to put that aside when a series of murders follow the woman of the Mission. David and Cecilia are able to focus their energies on something other than their disagreements and they discover that there is more to each other than a first impression.

Wonderful, wonderful book! I absolutely loved how these two found a way back to each other. The subplot of the murders never out shined the romance.

Grade: B+

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

After many years of reading Harry Potter, I was greatly anticipating this last installment. I also feared it, due to all the rumors that were flying around. I kept telling myself that our hero will come out safe from this encounter as he has done in the past, but inside, I had my own doubts.
I have enjoyed this series greatly but I think i enjoyed it more than most because my daughter so loved it. She, as most of American children, grew up with Harry Potter and kept that magic alive for me.

Well this final installment finds Harry about to turn 17 and the charms that have kept him safe all this time are about to be broken. The Order of the Phoenix try their best to get him to safety with so many dementors and spies around but they do not realize that Harry, Ron & Hermione are on a mission to find all the horacruxes that make up Voldemort, as per Dumbledore's direction. This is a mission that is at risk many times as Harry questions everything around him.

I really need to keep this review vague since there is so much to give away. The deaths start up early in the book and the final battle claims others we have come to love, but I will offer one spoiler... Our Trio come out Alive.

I found that there was a point in the book that dragged a bit, especially in the middle when the trio set off in search of the horacruxes and, really, had no direction what so ever. They didn't have a clue where to look. Imagine looking for something around the world and not knowing where to start. I felt desperate on their behalf.

We find out a lot about Dumbledore and his past, and it's not what we would expect from the character we all have respected and learned to love. I like the way Rowling has been pulling us along and letting us view these characters from Harry's perspective, There is always a sense of black and white in our judgments. This book introduces the shades of gray that goes with every human frailty. We see everyone from a different perspective and learn to accept these faults.

This series is not one to disappoint. If you have never read a Harry Potter book, you must start from the beginning. It is a long journey but worth every page.

BTW: Don't miss Jo's commentaries of Harry's life after the final page at

Grade: A
Format: Audiobook

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Anthology - Wish List

It has been a while since I read an Anthology that was really worth recommending, but this one is just that. The stories that comprise the Anthology really make this one worth the time. There were a couple of stories, like Dain's Union and Kleypas' I Will, that actually felt like full length novels, and I think that itself speaks highly of the stories.

Lisa Kleypas contributed the story I Will where Andrew, Lord Drake enlists the help of Miss Caroline Hargreaves to decieve his dying father into believing that he has mended his rotten ways. He has been cut out of his father's will and he already had half of his inheritance spent on gambling and frivolous diversions. He desperately needs the funds so he bribes Caro into assisting him by promising to stay away from her young brother Cade, who is following in Andrew's footsteps. Although we don't get to experience every nuance of the developing love affair, Kleypas gives us enough to root for the couple and be outraged for Caroline when a twist is thrown at the end of the story. Excellent tale! BTW: Andrew is the half brother of Logan Scott, which appeared in an earlier story of Kleypas. (B+)

Lisa Cach contributed Puddings, Pastries and Thou where we meet Vivian Ambrose, who is the poor relation that has been passed around from cousin to cousin for several years now. She arrives at her new "charitable" relations home the night before Xmas, and her cousin's daughter Penelope does not waste a minute to show Vivian her displeasure of having to share her gowns, let alone her first season with Vivian. Vivian, in turn, would like nothing more that to find herself a husband so she no longer will be a burden for her family, so Penelope, tries to put her in the path of Richard Brent. Richard Brent is looking for a wife that will accept him, faults and all. But, what are those faults? and why is it that he is considered less than marriageable material, even for a spinster like Vivian?
I really loved the way we discover Richard's secrets and Vivian's capacity to eat her way out of a difficult situations made this entry a light, pleasurable read. (B)

Claudia Dain gave us the novella Union and although it read like a full length novel, the characters where not as sympathetic as in the other stories in the book. Clarrisa Walingford is on the marriage mart but she is determined to go about her choices with care since she really doesn't marry an Englishman, regardless of the fact that she is English herself. Her goal is to marry a man that has lands in Ireland, her home. Beau Wakefield, Lord Montwyn, owner of a grand estate in Ireland is searching for a bride and believes Clarrisa just might fit the bill, especially after her meddling brothers indirectly challenged him to win her over.
Regardless of the characters or maybe, in spite of them, I found this one funny. Clarrisa and Beau were being easily manipulated by the hordes of brothers she has and it was just plain funny to see these two dance to the brother's tunes without realizing they were doing it. My disappointment in the story was because I really didn't get a feel for the spark between these two. they appear to be attracted to each other but they mostly wanted the union for other reasons. (B-)

Lynsay Sands gives us the last tale in this book, All I Want, which is another funny tale. Prudence Prescott is determined to grant her mother's Christmas wish of having her father stop his gambling and come home. They are on the way to debtor's prison at the rate they are going and Pru is determine to stop the downward spiral, if she could only speak to her father. Stephen Ballard, Lord Stockton, owns the gambling establishment that is frequented by Lord Prescott. He lives on the fringe of society and is dissatisfied with his life, until Pru steps in and turns it all around. I found this one the funniest of all since poor Pru just cannot get anything right and continuously finds herself in Stephen's way, ruining his business and just making a pie of herself. (B)

Grade: B
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