Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Counterfeit Betrothal/The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

A Counterfeit Betrothal/The Notorious RakeHistorical Romance
From Goodreads:
"New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh presents two of her classic Regency-era romances—seductive tales of ladies who are running away from love . . . and rogues who enjoy the chase.

Lady Sophia Bryant has no intention of marrying anytime soon. Her one desire is to reunite her parents, who have been estranged for fourteen years. Surely, if she happens to announce her betrothal—even a false one—they will be forced to see each other. Devilishly handsome Lord Francis Sutton seems perfect for such deceit, always agreeable to games of passion in which he has nothing to lose. The trap is set—if only Lady Sophia can keep her foolish heart from falling prey to her brilliant snares.

Lord Edmund Waite is everything that Lady Mary Gregg despises: lewd, lascivious, mocking—the most incorrigible and successful rogue around. A bluestocking like her would never tempt a man whose taste runs to pretty playthings—so Mary is startled to find herself the object of Lord Edmund’s desires. Even more surprising is her reaction to his shocking advances. She may be a lady, but this man knows so well how to make her feel like a woman."
A Counterfeit Betrothal and The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh are a two in one release.  Both are re-releases of book that were out of print.  I liked both stories .  The Notorious Rake follows a familiar pattern but A Counterfeit Betrothal is a little different from other historical romances.
There are two story lines in The Counterfeit Betrothal.  Lady Sophia and Lord Francis are the two main characters in one line and Olivia and Marcus, Lady Sophia’s parents, are the main characters in the second line.  I enjoyed the dual nature of the story.   All along I felt Lord Francis was playing a different game from the one Lady Sophia was playing.  I was right.  Trying to get Olivia and Marcus back together seemed an impossible task.  It took a lot of time and effort to bring them together.  I liked following both story lines.  It made the story more interesting.  I look forward to seeing the re-release of more Mary Balogh’s books in the future.
Dell published A Counterfeit Betrothal and The NotoriousRake by Mary Balogh in 2013.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chance of a Lifetime (Harmony #5) by Jodi Thomas

Chance of a Lifetime (Harmony, #5)Romance
From Goodreads:
"The Harmony novels are “Jodi Thomas all the way—super characters [and] lots of riveting subplots.”* Now the New York Times bestselling author takes us back to Harmony, Texas, where big dreams are brewing—and anything and everything is possible…
Emily, the local librarian, has started a writing group, but as the group stumbles through both the fiction and reality of their lives, they’re learning much more than how to write. But Emily suddenly has other things on her mind when a friend from her past shows up in Harmony's library. Now she must deal with a secret she’s kept for fifteen years—a secret that changed her life and threatens to shatter her future.

Meanwhile, new lawyer Rick Matheson thinks he’s in charge of his world until accidents start happening all around him. Just when he realizes someone is trying to kill him, he meets a beautiful U.S. Marshal named Trace Adam. Now that the marshal has given him an even stronger reason to go on living, he must learn to take a chance on life to dream bigger—and love better—than he ever has before."
Chance of a Lifetime is another feel good novel set in Harmony, Texas.  It came out just as I left on my trip.  I ordered it when I came home and just finished it.  While the setting is the same as in previous novels the focus in the book is on several new characters.
There are several stories woven into the book.  Most are left hanging but one comes to a satisfactory conclusion. Look for great characters, good story telling and wonderful plotting.  There is enough danger, tension and romance to satisfy any reader.  Chance of a Lifetime is a good fit for the Harmony series.  Now I am waiting for book #6.
Berkley published Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas in 2013.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Musing Monday's May 27, 2013

Musing Mondays ( asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits. • 
Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
 • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
 •Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
 • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

 I'm reading Hellhole Awakening by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.  This is the second book in the series, Hellhole was the first.  It is Science Fiction/Space Opera and a really fun read.  It has been over a year since I read the first book and I had forgotten quite a bit about the story and the characters. However, there is just the right amount of backstory dropped into the scenes to get me up to date.  I love Science Fiction and reading Hellhole Awakening is a reminder of why this genre is my favorite.

I have The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick (also Science Fiction)  checked out from the library and on my TBA shelf.  I also have the following Science Fiction books on my wish list. 

The Hertic by Tony Daniel and David Drake

Fire with Fire by Charles E. Gonnon

How Dark the World Becomes by Frank Chadwick

Portal by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor
Baen published all four of these while I was on my trip.  They changed how you buy their ebooks and I cannot purchase from Baen but have to go to Amazon.  That also pushed up the price.  I have to wonder how it will affect their bottom line.  I know it did make me an unhappy customer.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Guardian (The Lost Fleet) by Jack Campbell

Guardian (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, #3)Science Fiction/Space Opera

From Goodreads:

"Admiral Geary’s First Fleet of the Alliance has survived the journey deep into unexplored interstellar space, a voyage that led to the discovery of new alien species, including a new enemy and a possible ally. Now Geary’s mission is to ensure the safety of the Midway Star System, which has revolted against the Syndicate Worlds empire—an empire that is on the brink of collapse.

To complicate matters further, Geary also needs to return safely to Alliance space not only with representatives of the Dancers, an alien species, but also with Invincible, a captured warship that could possibly be the most valuable object in human history. Despite the peace treaty that Geary must adhere to at all costs, the Syndicate Worlds regime threatens to make the fleet’s journey back grueling and perilous.

And even if Geary escortsIn
vincibleand the Dancers’ representatives safely unharmed, the Syndics’ attempts to spread dissent and political unrest may have already sown the seeds of the Alliance’s destruction."

This is short and sweet this time.  I have followed this series from the beginning.  Guardian has the same cast of characters and is a continuation of the previous Lost Fleet Beyond the Frontier books.  Guardian is a good story but for me it lacked the tension that was part of the previous books in the series.  I could not tell from the ending if this was the last book in the series or if there will be more.  If there are more I will continue to read.  

I think reading this series from the start is the best way to know what is going on.

Ace published Guardian by Jack Campbell in 2013.   

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

To Capture a Rake by Lori Brighton

To Capture a Rake by Lori BrightonHistorical Romance
From Goodreads:
"After her husband's death, Elizabeth Ashton knows she must remarry ? and fast. But not just any man will do. She must find Lord Ashton's long-lost bastard nephew and convince him to wed, cementing his claim to the family fortune and rescuing Elizabeth from certain ruin. Her desperate search will reveal a world she never knew existed ? and a love she never dreamed possible? Forced into prostitution to protect his darkest secret, Gideon spends his days pleasuring London's wealthiest women. Only one hope burns inside his guarded heart: that someday he will escape the gilded confines of Lady Lavender's brothel and reclaim his freedom. When a widow hires him for a two-week-long seduction at her country estate, he spies his chance ? never imagining the young beauty will reawaken a passion he thought long dead? Bound by desire, only together are they strong enough to face their enemies ? and to claim the promise of love."
Set in Victorian England To Capture a Rake is a little different from other romances.  It is however the second book I have read lately where the hero is a male prostitute.  Gideon Drake is the unlikely hero. Elizabeth Ashton is the one to rescue him.  I liked both characters.  Their journey to a HEA was interesting and full of surprises.  Both kept secrets and that added to the tension.  There were also some side characters that caught my interest.  I do wonder who Mr. Smith really is. 
The story had some disconnects but as I was reading an ARC they may not be in the final edition.  There were some surprises in the story.  This is the second book in a series and I liked the story enough to go find book one.  To Capture a Rake will be released in June of 2013.
Montlake Romance published To Capture a Rake by Lori Brighton in 2013.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4)Historical Romance
From Goodreads:
"What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?
Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?"
I laughed so hard reading parts of A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove #1) that I could not continue reading.  I looked for that humor in the next Spindle Cove books but I did not find it until Any Duchess Will Do.  Here that humor is sprinkled through out the book.  Griff sets up many of the situations and Pauline just takes what he says and runs.  I loved both characters.  Griff’s mother, the Duchess, starts off as someone you would love to hate but as the book progresses she becomes someone you have to love.  She is pulling for Pauline the whole time.  There are many obstacles to Griff and Pauline’s HEA but in the end love conquers all. 
Most of the characters in Any Duchess Will Do are new to Spindle Cove  but all are great additions to the series.  It is only near the end of the book that some of the previous characters appear but they do play an important part in the story.  The plot is fun, the pacing great and the romance feels very real.  Pre-order now so you can start reading on May 28th when Any Duchess Will Do comes out.
I received an ARC of Any Duchess Will Do from Edelweiss.
Avon published Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Musing Monday's, May 20, 2013

Musing Mondays ( asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits. • 
Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
 • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
 •Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
 • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Today I am musing about books that are part of a series.  While I was away several books in series that I follow were released.  Once I got home I either purchased the books or checked them out from the library.  I want to read them all at once but am trying to pace my reading and add some other books in between.  

A new book in two of the books are released each around the same time each year.  Both are historical mysteries with a touch of romance.  Both have actual historical settings.  Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson is set in New York in the early 1900's and What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris is set in England in the early1800's.  Both are part of series that I have followed from the start and both contain accurate historical references.  Reading them as close together as I am started me thinking about how different authors handle series writing.  Both C.S. Harris and Victoria Thompson write series where each book builds on the one before and while fiction are in some ways historically acurate.  While you can read any as stand-alone books they are much better when read in order.  Since I have been home I have finished both books and both series are continuing to hold my interest.  I would recommend either series to mystery fans.

Dream Eyes by Jayne Ann Krantz is another book that came out while I was gone.  She takes a slightly different approach to her series.  She has created a universe where the paranormal is real and sets her books in that universe.  She writes in that universe in three different time periods and uses three different names.  Amanda Quick books are set in the past, Jayne Ann Krantz books are set in the present and Jayne Castle books are set in the future.  From there she writes trilogies.  Dream Eyes is the middle book in her current trilogy and while it solves one problem it also sets up the next book.  Characters from previous books do show up but each trilogy has its own unique set of characters and actions.  Each can be read as a stand-alone and the books have a universe in common instead of building on the previous book.   

When I looked at the books I purchased and checked out at the library I realized that I read a lot of books that are a part of series and while there are similarities between how authors write series there are also some major differences.   The attraction for writing is series is once you hook someone on the series you have a guaranteed reader and guaranteed sales.  If you read this take a look at what you read and see how many of your favorites are in a series.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Trail of Dead by Melissa E. Olson

Trail of the Dead by Melissa F. OlsonParanormal Mystery/Romance
From Goodreads:
"As a null, Scarlett Bernard possesses a rare ability to counteract the supernatural by instantly neutralizing spells and magical forces. For years she has used her gift to scrub crime scenes of any magical traces, helping the powerful paranormal communities of Los Angeles stay hidden. But after LAPD detective Jesse Cruz discovered Scarlett’s secret, he made a bargain with her: solve a particularly grisly murder case, and he would stay silent about the city’s unearthly underworld.
Now two dead witches are found a few days before Christmas, and Scarlett is once again strong-armed into assisting the investigation. She soon finds a connection between the murders and her own former mentor, Olivia, a null who mysteriously turned into a vampire and who harbors her own sinister agenda. Now Scarlett must revisit her painful past to find Olivia—unless the blood-drenched present claims her life first."
Trail of Dead is the second Scarlett Bernard Novel.  I read and reviewed the first novel, Dead Spots, in October of 2012.
Sometimes a second book is a let down.  That is not true of Trail of Dead.  If anything it is even better that Dead Spots.  One of the things that struck me this time was how two different authors can take the same premise and write books that are completely different.  In the Alexia Tarabotti novels by Gail Carriger Alexia can negate supernatural powers or when near vampires and werewolves they become normal humans.  Scarlett does the same but the stories and characters are completely different.  The fact that it took me two books to even make the comparison is proof of that.
The world building was done in Dead Spots.  The main characters are the same. Jesse, Scarlett and Eli are all part of the story but the focus has moved from Jesse and Eli to Scarlett.  Trail of Dead builds from the foundation laid in Dead Spots.  Again the writing is excellent, the plot well developed, the characters well drawn and tension builds to a satisfying conclusion.  Again, there were some unexpected twists and turns.  This book was based on a problem character from book one.  That character is now gone.  Trail of Dead could be the last Scarlett Bernard Novel but I am hoping that I saw a small set up for the next book.  I will certainly be on the look out and hoping that the series will continue.
Trail of Dead is scheduled for publication June 4, 2013.  I received an advanced reader’s copy review copy of Trail of Dead from Amazon Vine.  You should pre-order your copy now.  At 3.99 for the Kindle edition it is a bargain.
47 North will publish Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson in 2013.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stacking the Shelves, May 18, 2013

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books I am adding to my shelves. They may it be physical or virtual. I include books I buy in a physical store or online, books I borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.  Follow the line to see what other have on their shelves.

I am finally home after being gone for 4 months.  It has been hard to get back into the book blogging mindset so this is the first Stacking the Shelves post since I got back.  It includes 2 1/2 weeks worth of books.


Her Sky Cowboy by Beth Ciotta
Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre
Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson
Alien in the House by Gini Koch
Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas
A Counterfeit Betrothall/The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh
The Handbook to Handling His Lordship by Suzanne Enoch
The Lost Fleet: Guardian by Jack Campbell
Blowback by Kristine Kathryn Rusch 
Darius by Grace Burrowes
Nicholas by Grace Burrowes 

From the Library:

What Darkness Brings by C. S. Harris 
Dream Eyes by Jayne Ann Krentz
Charming Blue by Kristine Grayson 
Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas 
Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas 
Cold Days by Jim Butcher
All Summer Long by Susan Mallery
Protector by C.J. Cherryh
The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick
Hellhole Awakening by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

For Review:  (These are all Vine books and all have been reviewed on Amazon.  They have changed their rules for reviewing and all must be reviewed by the publication date or no more books.)

An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands
The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens
Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson
To Capture a Rake by Lori Brighton 
Beauty Awakened by Gena Showalter
The Lost by Vicki Pettersson

(I have more For Review books loaded but have just run out of time to enter.  Look for a longer list next week.) 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens

Historical Romance
From Goodreads:

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh (The Cynster Sisters Duo #2)"The 2nd in the Cynster Sisters duo, #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens thrills with this fantastic tale of a Cynster who'll stop at nothing for love.

Lady Mary has been waiting years for this opportunity. Now that her sister has thrown off her spinster ways and become betrothed, it's finally Mary's chance for true love. She knows exactly who she wants --and it's not someone as wild, unmanageable, and sinfully seductive as Ryder Cavanaugh.

Ryder Cavanaugh, Marquess of Raventhorne, had never met a woman who wouldn't happily fall at his feet--or into his bed...until Lady Mary Cynster. But Ryder has made some decisions about his life and he'll only succeed at being the man he wants to be with Mary by his side. And convincing her of that fact is just the kind of challenge he thrills at."

While it is not a requirement that you follow the Cynster books I do think The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh would be more enjoyable if you were a fan of the series.  Many of the characters from previous books are scattered through out the story.  In some ways they are a distraction if you do not know their history.  It makes it difficult to recommend this as a stand-alone although it can be read as one.

Both of the main characters are well written.  Lady Mary always knows what she wants and does not hesitate to go after it.  .  Ryder Cavanaugh is the same.  At the first of the story they are at cross-purposes but that changes.  Once they come together the story changes.  Now there is danger thrown into the story.  All of the elements add up to a easy enjoyable light read.

Avon published The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens in 2013.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands

Historical Romance

An English Bride in Scotland "The first in a new historical series set in the Highlands of Scotland, from Lynsay Sands, the New York Times bestselling author of the Argeneau vampire series and countless historical romances.

Annabel was about to take the veil to become a nun when her mother suddenly arrives at the Abbey to take her home… so that she can marry the Scottish laird who is betrothed to her runaway sister! She knows nothing about being a wife, nothing about how to run a household, and definitely nothing about the marriage bed!

But from the moment Ross MacKay sets eyes on Annabel, he is taken with his shy sweet bride… and the fact that she's blessed with lush curves only makes him utter his own prayers of thanks. But when an enemy endangers her life, he'll move the Highlands themselves to save her. For though Annabel's not the bride he planned for, she's the only woman he desires."

I really enjoyed An English Bride in Scotland.  Ross MacKay and Annabel Withram are both great characters.  Ross is prepared to refuse his English bride but takes one look at Annabel and goes through with the wedding.  Annabel was supposed to become a nun but like Maria in the Sound of Music she just does not suit.  Unlike Maria she does not have a kind Mother Superior.  She is wearing a hair shirt and has whip marks on her back when we first meet her.  Leaving the convent and becoming a wife is the best thing for her.

It is fun to see how she and Ross get along with one another.  Annabel is frightened of the marriage bed and manages to put off the consummation of the marriage.   Look for how Ross manages to get around the church’s rule that there should be no bedding on Wednesday.  It is a great scene.  Even though Annabel is worried that she will not know how to run Ross’s home she does all the right things by just being herself. 

This is a very well written and plotted book.  There is danger, romance, tension and a lot of fun on the journey to the HEA.  I loved how the side characters added to the story.  This is the first in a new series and I am looking forward to the next books.

Avon published An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands in 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Musing Mondays, May 13, 2013

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits. • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s). • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it. • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us! • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

The last one on the list works for me.  I have been away from home for four months.  During that time I had limited internet so my blog went on vacation with me.  I did make a few posts but without the links and covers that I usually do.  I have been home two and one half weeks and am finding it very hard to get back in the blog posting groove.  Not only that but I was away from book buying during that time and now that I am back home I have already collected a huge TBR pile.  It is amazing how many must read books come out in four months.  Next week when I post here I will try for a list of library and purchased books.  Hopefully by then I will be back in the groove.  Right now there is more reading and less posting.  Until next week!