Monday, December 28, 2009

Serial Readers Challenge

Well, my dear read-a-holics this year is winding down and coming to a close. It has been a very rewarding literary year for me, and a rewarding year in other areas of my life as well. However, the subject of this post is the wrap up for the Serial Readers Challenge.

I know this time of year is sooo busy, so I've extended the due date for your wrap up post until January 14th. Hopefully by then we will all have had time to update our lists, and post all our wonderful books we've read. I know, I've been keeping a running total with the books I've read, and it has been fun.

I'd love to hear on your wrap up posts not only the books you've read, and so forth, but what titles you loved and why. We discover so many new authors that way. Please post your wrap up posts here and we'll have so much fun looking over each others lists. I know I will. I'll be posting mine as well.

I hope dear Read-a-holics that this was a fun challenge for you. I hope that you got great enjoyment from starting and finishing series this year. Maybe you discovered new authors that are now cherished favorites. I know I did, Julia Quinn is my new best friend. Of course, she doesn't know it, but hey some friendships are just that way. I fell in love with the Brothers this year, and am finding the wait for the next book AGONIZING!! Mostly, I hope you all enjoyed the books you've read.

I look forward to hearing from you all. Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

It Happened One Night

by Lisa Dale

rated 4 stars

Best Friends to Lovers title for ROR Winter Reading Challenge

Back Cover:

Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it. Lana Biel has always wanted to shake the dust of Vermont off her feet and see the world, one exotic country after another. But when a lighthearted spring fling changes her life forever, she turns to the one man whose strong shoulders can lighten her burden, her best friend, Eli Ward.

Eli has always been there for Lana--after all, that's what best friends do. But Lana isn't the only one hiding something. Eli is keeping secrets of his own that threaten their relationship. Yet, as summer turns to fall, new desires awaken between them, even as old fears tear them apart. Then when another Vermont Winter fills the valley with snow, Eli and Lana are given the chance for an adventure greater than they ever dreamed possible...and a love that will last for all time.

My Thoughts:

Best Friends/Lovers really is the whole theme of this book. The story was all about relationships. The relationship between Lana and Eli. The relationship between Lana and Karin (her sister). Karin/Gene, Karin/Calvert(dad)/Lana.

Lana and Eli have been friends since college, where they had one steamy night together. Afterwards they both did things to send the relationship back to the "friend" zone even though they both knew that they were really in love with each other. They each had their reasons why. It takes Lana's one night stand with Ron, and the resulting pregnancy to force them to come to terms with their feelings for one another. Eli is the first to come to terms with his love for Lana, and decides to live honestly. He breaks up with his "girlfriend" and puts his energy into showing Lana how he feels. Lana has some growing up to do, and has about 9 months to do it. When she finally realizes what she wants,or rather who she wants, and decides to act on it, a misunderstanding sends Eli running. He's had enough of the pain. (usually this plot device irks me, but didn't this time. It made sense with their complicated history.)

Also, Karin (Lana's sister) is dealing with her own issues. Infertility, and the obsession to have a family. It starts to really affect her marriage, and then her DaddyIssues. (turns out he was neglectful to them growing up and now wants forgiveness, they are not so eager to accomodate). She kinda gets on my nerves really. Once she finds out Lana is pregnant and Lana more than likely intends to go the adoption route, she tries to hint and pressure Lana to give the baby to her and her husband. We all saw, that conversation coming, but it was kinda ookey!

I felt like Lana, was too slow to fully realize her feelings, and to admit to them. Geez! But all things considered, it was a good book. I got my Happily Ever After. Things worked themselves out all the way around nad it was good. It didn't feel "wrapped up" in the end like can sometimes happen. "Oh, it's 297 pages time to tie up all the loose ends.." Nope it ran it's course, the way it should have.


A Creed Country Christmas

by Linda Lael Miller

rated 4 stars

Back Cover:

It's the unforgiving Montana wilderness of 1910, and widowed rancher Lincoln Creed has more worries than rustler, wolves and blizzards. He needs a governess for his young daughter---a respectable lady who can teach Gracie and cook for them, yet who won't set her sights for him.

Disowned for her refusal to marry, Juliana Mitchell saves her love for her students and the two orphans in her care. That is until she meets the handsome rancher, Lincoln, and his Gracie. In the season for miracles, could Providence find a way to bring Juliana, the children, and the Creed family together in time for Christmas Eve?

My Thoughts:

I love her westerns. It was such a fast read. It's kind of cool to see the beginning of the Creeds. I liked also the side story with Lincoln's brother and his woman who owns the saloon. Anyway, there may be more historicals in this family story. I'd be happy to read them.

I liked that Juliana was a woman of conviction. She could have married the older partner of her brother and lived the life of a wealthy woman. Instead she stands up for what she wants. she decides to become a teacher. She ends up in Montana teaching at the indian school. The indian school closes and she ends up keeping 4 of her "students". Lincoln meets them in the mercantile store where she has figured out that they have nowhere to turn and no money. Lincoln comes to their aid, and takes them home to his ranch.

Juliana falls for Grace, and eventually Lincoln. After the birth of a ranch hands baby, Juliana is exhausted and emotionally spent. Lincoln ends up putting her in bed, and lays down beside her. They fall into an exhausted slumber where Grace finds them the next morning. Zoinks! Busted!!!

Funny, thing that the circuit preacher happens to be coming through the very next day.....Whaddya Know?!

So, they get married, the indian affairs officer finds out about the children that she still has in her care. (they were supposed to be sent to new schools.) He comes on Christmas day and threatens to take the children except that Lincoln who also happens to be a lawyer (How convenient) has been drawing up papers to adopt the 2 indian children who don't have any family and has made arrangements to send the brother and sister who do have family back in the Dakotas, back to their family.

Yay! Then he decides that he does in fact love Juliana, and She fesses up to loving him....Woo Hoo!


Stuck with You

by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Rated 4 stars

Cabin/Road romance for ROR Winter Reading Challenge

Back Cover:

He wasn't about to be hog-tied. Wyatt Logan, champion bull rider, isn't ready to settle down. But from the moment he spots Charity Webster's cute little behind stuck in his Aunt Nora's doggy door, he knows he's going to end up eating dust.

Then came the snow....And Wyatt kisses his single life goodbye. Trapped by the storm, Wyatt and Charity have to keep warm somehow. And there's alot to be said for body heat. Not even the comical antics of Nora's maniacal neighbor disturb their idyllic love nest. But when the snow melts, Wyatt's dreams turn to slush. He's finally lost his heart to a woman who has no intention of committing.

My Thoughts:
This one was cute. It was quick and fun. I didn't think the neighbor was as fun as he was supposed to be. He felt more like a distraction really. Anyway, I liked the opposites attract theme. It was a light read. I read it in one afternoon.

Gentle Warrior

by Julie Garwood

Rated 4 stars.

Stand alone book. for ROR Winter Reading Challenge

Back Cover:

In feudal England, Elizabeth Montwright barely escaped the massacre that destroyed her family and exiled her from her ancestral castle. Bent on revenge she rode again through the fortress gates dressed as a peasant--to seek aid from Geoffrey Berkley, the powerful baron who had routed the murderers.

He heard her pleas, resisted her demands, and vowed to seduce his beautiful subject. Yet, as Elizabeth fought the warrior's caresses, love flamed for this gallant man who must soon champion her cause....and capture her spitited heart.

My Thoughts:

I'm a huge fan of Julie Garwood. I didn't Love this book as much as I have loved her others. This felt like #2 in a series, but it wasn't. There were some very minor disconnects for me. There were parts and dialogue that in other books were fun and quirky, but somehow didn't quite make it. It was good, and stuff, but just wasn't the same as her other books.

So someone has attacked her family estate. They've killed her family except for herself and her younger brother. Who happens to be the heir to the family title. Elizabeth and young Thomas are witness to the massacre and she suspects her uncle is behind it. Geoffrey Berkley is the Baron who comes to the rescue. He is wounded after saving young Thomas, and Elizabeth disguised as a peasant comes to his aid. She finds a wound that is hidden and spends days tending to the unconscious hero.

We have to figure out who is really behind the attacks. We have to learn to trust one another. We also have to compromise. We do all those things.

Though I didn't LOVE this book, it was a good solid read. It was also quick. I rate it 4 stars.


Chesapeake Blue

by Nora Roberts (#4 in the Quinn Series)

Title with a Color (for ROR Winter Reading Challenge)

Rate 4.5 stars

Back Cover:

Seth Quinn is finally home!

After a harrowing boyhood with a drug-addicted mother, he'd been taken in by the Quinn family, growing up with three older brothers who'd watched over him with love.

Now a grown man returning from Europe a successful painter, settling down in Marylands eastern shore surrounded again by Cam, Ethan and Phillip, their wives and children, all the blessed chaos of the extended Quinn clan. Finally, he's back in the little blue and white house, where there is always a boat on the dock, a rocker on the porch and a dog in the yard.

Still alot has changed around St. Chris while he's been gone and the most intriguing one is the presence of Drusilla Whitcomb Banks. A city girl who has opened a florist shop in this seaside town, she craves independance and the challenge of establishing herself without the influence of her wealthy connections. In Seth, she sees another kind of challange, a challenge she can't resist.

But storms are brewing that put their relationship to the test. Dru's past has made her sensitive to deception and slow to trust. And Seth's past has made him a target of blackmail-as a secret he has kept hidden for years threatens to explode, destroying his new life and his new love...

My Thoughts:

This is the final chapter in the Quinn Legacy, (although, this reader would love to continue to hear about those Quinn's,) Seth has made a name for himself in Europe as an artist, and his mother in continuing her blackmail. Money, plain and simple is what she wants from him. He is now somewhat of a celebrity (in the fine art circles). Drusilla (Dru) has left her wealthy and influential family back in DC to start a life on her own in St. Chris. After a painful betrayal by her fiance, Dru finds the family style community a fresh breath from the circles of DC. She does find it difficult to fit in, in this laid back community, but tries. Seth is instantly attracted and she to him. I mean, who wouldn't be, he's a Quinn people!!!!

I've read this several time (maybe 4) and each time is different. This time for some reason, I had a better connection with Dru. And--And for some reason I'd always pictured her as having medium blond hair, (not exactly fair, but not brown either...) As it turns out our Dru has very dark (almost black) hair cut in a short almost severe fashion. Quel Exotique!!!! And that really gave me a cool new point of view. I love it when that happens. After 3-4 readings, you start to skim to your favorite parts, but for some reason I really connected. So for me, this book gets better with age. Yay!!!


At Home in Stone Creek

by Linda Lael Miller

rated 4 stars

Reader's Choice Author L-Z

Back Cover:

Can the magic of Christmas give two college sweethearts a second chance? It's Christmastime and two of Ashley O'Ballivan's siblings are expecting children. No wonder she feels a bit left out. To make matters worse, Jack McCall--an old college flame--has booked a room at Ashley's Bed and Breakfast. When Ashley finds herself nursing Jack back to health after he falls ill, it would seem love was in the air again. In fact, Jack is furious with himself for compromising her safety. unbeknownst to Ashley, Jack makes his living doing high-tech global security work, which means he has more than his share of enemies. After a picture-perfect Christmas, Jack disappears, and Ashley assumes he's gone for good. Could anything make him return?

My Thoughts:

This is Ashley's story. She is the younger sister of Brad (book 1-ish though of the series) and Olivia (book 2). Melissa is Ashley's twin, although she doesn't play a particularly heavy role in this story, but her story is set up for the next book. Aaanyway, she runs the B&B in Stone Creek. Her on again/off again love affair with Jack McCall is the center for this book. They met in college and both fell madly in love, but his career is in "security" (wink wink, which means mercenary). So, to keep the love of his life, safe he must keep a distance from her, (rolls eyes). Now, he has come to her B&B in Stone Creek to recuperate from a mystery illnes, (he was injected with some sort of exotic toxin by an Argentinian Drug Lord, I know! Happened to me last week, very inconvenient!) In his weakened and fevered state, he only wants to be near Ashley. (awww!) She is not exactly jazzed about that, since 6 months ago he visited and they "rekindled" their romance only to have him leave one day while she slept. No word, no note, just disappeared. Mmmm Hmmm!! So, Will she nurse him back to health? Will he learn to "Love em and Stay"? Will they survive the dangerous Argentinian Drug Lord? Will they live Happily Ever After? "Tune in next week to find the answers to these questions and hear the climactic conclusion to....At Home in Stone Creek".....Just Kidding! Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes!

Now this story had some of my least favorite cliches, but I found there were moments of emotion that were very touching. Jack's family was told that he's died in the Gulf War 18 years ago, so he is forbidden to have any contact with them,for their safety. However, we see him "stalking" the website of his father's dentist practice. He "googles" his mom and finds out that she passed several years back due to Breast Cancer. His younger brother, is a dentist with Dad, and the youngest is in school to become an Opthamologist.(rebel) So, to see that even though he is the tough guy, he hurts knowing what he's missed, although has no (NO) desire to go to dental school. (Whew! not typical hero stuff) Ashley is the Martha Stewart "Clone" member of the family, so everyone sees her as fragile. They take matters into their own hands, and confront Jack. Go Away, and Never Come Back, basically covers the conversation. Ashley is not happy about their interferance and finally decides to follow her heart. So we see, Jack and Ashley both grow a little.

Yes, this was not my favorite of the series, but it was a good, solid read. It was quick and nice and gave me the warm fuzzies that I expect from LLM. (that's what her friends call her, Linda Lael Miller) I recommend this book, it was perfect for a cozy afternoon by the fire.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the Way to the Wedding

byJulia Quinn

Last in the Bridgerton Series::::sniff sniff::::

Rated 5 stars

Title with a W word.

Back Cover:

A funny thing happened...

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened.

Except, she wasn't the one. In fact, the ravishing Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory!!!

Except...Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the alter.

My Thoughts:

I was so hesitant to start this book. I have loved just about every book from this series. (Francesca's story When He Was Wicked being the only acception, since I just liked it.) So, I was sad to see it come to an end, and was therefore hesitant. You can surely understand my dilemma. We'd met Gregory briefly, very briefly in some of the other books, but by no means were those meeting enough for me to become invested in his character. (which was the reason I only liked Francesca's story, I'd not really even met her before.) Anyway, so I was kinda, uh....not sure. But, I have an illness that requires I finish a series once I start it. Even if I don't really like the series. So, I grab the book and settle in for what I was dreading would be a mediocre read. So, our hero meets the ravishing Hermione and her trusty sidekick Lucy at a house party being thrown by his brother Anthony and Kate his lovely wife. Gregory is immediately smitten with Hermione, who is the most beautiful woman of the season. Lucy, however is the lovely (although who really notices around Hermione.) lady with an actual personality and a brain, and a sense of humor.

Lucy is however, engaged to another, who Gregory happens to know from school. This engagement is arranged by her uncle as a final payout to the intendeds uncle who has been blackmailing the uncle for years. As it turns out the intended is well, not that interested in Lucy. In reality Gregory knows that he will never be interested in Lucy or any other Lady for that matter. (if ya know what I mean.)

Lucy falls for Gregory. Gregory falls for Lucy. Her uncle won't let her out of the betrothal. So she thinking that it is the right thing to do, to marry him anyway, goes thru with the wedding even though her heart belongs to Gregory. Gregory, figures out what she is about to do and runs across town to stop the wedding. He rushes into the church just in time to say," Don't!!" Don't marry him, marry me. I love you!! She says....

No spoilers here!!! You'll just have to read it to find out how it ends.

But I will say, that I fell for Gregory too. He is totally awesome, and such a romantic. I just wanna grab him and squeeze him and hold him tight. I give it 5 stars. Awesome!!!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's in His Kiss

by Juila Quinn

#7 in the Bridgerton Series

#3 in the Readers of Romance Winter 09 Challenge

Back Cover:

Meet Our Hero ... Gareth St. Clair is in a bind.

His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth's sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past .. and the key to his future. The problem is -- it's written in Italian, of which Gareth speaks not a word.

Meet Our Heroine ... All the ton agreed: there was no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton.

She's fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, probably best in small doses. But there's something about her -- something charming and vexing -- that grabs him and won't quite let go ...

Meet Poor Mr. Mozart ... Or don't.

But rest assured, he's spinning in his grave when Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual -- and annually discordant -- Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth's every word seems a dare, and she offers to translate his diary, even though her Italian is slightly less than perfect. But as they delve into the mysterious text, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the diary, but in each other ... and that there is nothing as simple -- or as complicated -- as a single, perfect kiss.

My Thoughts:

I thought Gareth to be true to human emotions. I like that he still feels a strong physical and emotional response to his boar of a father even though he doesn't want to. I like that he is self aware enough to want to be different and grown up. Somehow he can't. I love that even though he is a notorious rake and seems to take nothing seriously, he is fiercely devoted to his grandmother Lady Danbury. ( who I personally fell in love with in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. Penelope's story.)

Hyacinth is a great heroine too. She is smart and diabolical (according to her brother Gregory). She doesn't realize that she sometimes comes across off-putting and is troubled by that when she becomes aware. She has a soft heart even though she doesn't know it. She agrees to help Gareth translate his grandmothers diary and the fun ensues. They fall for each other eventually without the help of his grandmother and her mother who both want the match very much.

Upon first finishing the book, I thought maybe it's a 4. But after perculating on it a little. I keep remembering scenes that I really liked. I keep smiling. So, I don't think it was a 5 for me, like An Offer From a Gentleman, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and The Viscount Who Loved Me. but it has upgraded to a 4.5.

There is only one more in the series and I'm starting it, but am hesitant. I kinda don't want them to be over. (sad face) I guess all good things must come to an end. All right Gregory, you're up. I am a little disappointed that there are no more Pall Mall/shooting scenes etc. Those were some very fun things.


Noble Intentions and The Trouble With Harry

by Katie MacAlister
#1 and #3 in the Noble Trilogy.

(Noble Destiny reviewed earlier was #2.)

Back cover for Noble Intentions:


Noble Britton had suffered greatly at the hands of his first wife, and he refused to fall into the same trap again. This time he intended to marry a quiet, biddable woman who would not draw attention to herself or cause scandal. Gillian Leigh's honest manner and spontaneous laughter attracted him immediately. It mattered little that she was accident-prone; he could provide the structure necessary to guide her. But unconventional to the tips of her half-American toes--toes that one of them was constantly tripping over--his new bride turned the tables on him, wreaking havoc on his orderly life. And worse, demanding he surrender his heart. Perpetually one step behind his beguiling spouse, Noble suffered a banged up head, a black eye, and a broken nose before he realized Gillian had healed his soul and proved that their union was no heedless tumble, but the swoon of true love

My Thoughts:

I liked Gillian best of all the "Noble" women. I thought she was fresh and fun and forthright. (didn't originally plan that little alliteration, but just got lucky.) I thought Noble, was a great hero. A bit stodgy without having a stick up his.......well you know. And he was Hot! Then the way he loves Nick. Even though he didn't "have to". Some of the banter reminded me of some of my favorite romantic comedies. I especially like the scene where Nick is trying to get his father's attention. "Papa, Mama blah blah blah" (can't remember the exact dialogue as I've read 3 books since then) Noble is like, "Not Now Nick!" and back and forth it goes, until Noble finally realizes that Nick has spoken. For the first time since his very early childhood. (something like 5 years) Then it's a lightning bolt. Awesome! Emotional without being heavy. Fun without being frivolous.

Back Cover for The Trouble with Harry:

The third book in the loosely connected Noble series, The Trouble With Harry tells the tale of Frederica "Plum" Pelham, a woman with a past, and Harry, Marquis Ross--a man who has a few secrets of his own.Although Plum thinks Harry is the answer to all her problems, she quickly finds out that he's not quite as perfect as she thought...there's the matter of his five hellion children, his refusal to let her hide from prying eyes, and oh yes, the man from his past who's trying to kill them all. Not to mention the first husband she thought was dead...

My Thoughts:

It seemed too quick for me in the beginning. A little (sounds so 16 years old. but that's the way it felt.) Anyway, I felt like there was too much of the standard, "I think he means this, but he really means that" (not my favorite plot devise). Anyway, things really got better when they moved to town. I think Thom is a gem and honestly I'd love a novella of her story with Nick (the son from Noble Intentions). Anyway, the climax was good, and the children grew on me, but were really not that endearing. Then the secrets (that I won't divulge her) were....ok.

Overall they were probably a 4 star and a 3.5 star reads for me.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Marie T's Cheesy Cover

Marie T's Cheesy Cover for the W09 Reading Challenge.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Husband's Wicked Ways

by Jane Feather

3 Stars

Back Cover:

Aurelia Farnham is happy living in London's stylish Cavendish Square, but with her friends Livia and Cornelia both married, sometimes she longs for more. Then Colonel Sir Greville Falconer storms into her life, delivering a letter from her late husband, revealing he was a spy for the Colonel. The Colonel asks her to partner with him as he exposes a ring of Spanish spies who have infiltrated London society. When the simmering attraction between them ignites into passion and the danger of Aurelia's double life escalates, Aurelia realizes she has more than shadowy antagonists to fear.

My Thoughts:

The premise just didn't really sit with me. I didn't buy it. I also thought the heroine was very quick to jump into bed with the hero. It didn't feel it was plot driven. It felt more like, "ok, it's page 75 and we need a sex scene so....." This is the third book (all in this series) that I've read by Ms. Feather and haven't loved any of them. They were just ok. Probably won't read anymore of hers, but can say I finished this series.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For the Love of Pete

by Julia Harper

Rating 4

Back Cover:

Dante Torelli is an undercover FBI agent assigned to protect a mob informant and his family. But when the informant's hiding place is blown, a baby girl is snatched by a ruthless hitman. Now, Dante must save the toddler, uncover the traitor in his department, evade various bad guys, and deal with the toddler's sexy aunt, all before the biggest mob trial in Chicago history, set to begin in just three days.

When Zoe Adler's stepsister went into the witness protection program because of her sleazeball boyfriend, she wasn't supposed to tell anyone. Except the two sisters have always been close, and Zoe has been babysitting her niece, Pete, since her birth. What harm could it be to secretly get Zoe an apartment in the same building where the FBI is keeping the family under protection? So when someone inside the FBI turns and a hitman snatches Pete, Zoe is right there. During the shootout, she jumps into a sexy, uptight FBI agent's car and hangs on as he pursues the hitman. No matter what it takes, Zoe is going to bring her niece back.

My Thoughts:

I thought this was a fun solid story. I like quirky characters and this was full of them. I liked the Gupta Aunties. I did keep getting them mixed up, but they were fun. Neil was the bumbling hitman. He was ok, for me. I liked that he was the tough guy who was afraid of his wife and was therefore taking anger management classes. Then there is Zoe who is a hippie type and free spirit. Dante is the neat freak, hard core FBI guy!

The chemistry is great between the Dante and Zoe. There is mystery and intrigue and spice smuggling, and baby-napping. There was a lot going on and for the most part Ms. Harper does a great job of juggling it, but I do think that this could have benefitted from just a little less. Some of the extra stuff detracts from the romance, but it was a decent story. When I wasn't reading, I was wondering how certain things were going to get resolved. So, I guess that's the sign of a good story that you think about it when you're not reading it.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Readers of Romance Winter Challenge

1. Select ANY number of books to read that fit the category.
2. Post your list on the discussion board and blog (Name’s Winter 09 Challenge List)
3. If you need title suggestions please use the Discussion titled WINTER TITLE SUGGESTIONS if you don't see it please search (to try and minimize number of discussions)
4. Once you have read a book please find the corresponding discussion by searching you can search by 09 Winter # and use the number that corresponds with the list. (one will be created for each number on December 1, again, to try and minimize number of discussions) and post the book and title you read and rating, and review.
5. It is not required, but if you could post your review on the blog that would be great.
6. Reviews on the blog please include labels list the rating, author, and # of challenge only.
7. Audio books are okay
8. Rereads are okay
9. You can change your list at anytimeTHE CHALLENGE:

1. Read a book that was read in the Fall Challenge
Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas

2. Read a book with a cheesy cover
The Reluctant Viking by Sandra Hill

3. Read a Julia Quinn Book
It's in His Kiss ~~~finished 4.5 stars Not my favorite Bridgerton but very good. Love Lady Danbury. Hmmmph!

4. Read a romance that starts as a friendship
It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale~~finished 4 stars

5. Read a book with “ICE” or “FIRE” in the title
Fireside by Susan Wiggs

6 Read a book that is a Cabin/Road Romance
Stuck with You by Vicki Lewis Thompson~~~finished 4 stars

7. Reader’s Choice (Author last name A-K)
Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins

8. Reader’s Choice (Author last name L-Z)
At Home in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller~~~finished 4 stars

9. Read a book with a color in the title
Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts~~~finished 4.5 stars

10. Read a book that has a setting other than the U.S. or England
Tall, Dark, and Kilted by Allie MacKay

11. Read a book with a "magic" element (time travel, miracles, magic, psychic, angels...whatever this means to you!)
Covet by JR Ward

12. Read a book that is a stand alone (not part of any series)
Gentle Warrior by Julie Garwood~~~finished 4 stars

13. Read a new to you author
The Frasers-Clay by Ana Leigh

14. Read a book that has a three word title
Dirty, Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgeway

15. For Winter, Read a book that has a “W” word in the title
On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn~~~Finished 4.5 stars


Catching Up!!!

I am sooooo far behind with my reviews. It's been kinda crazy. So, I'll do some mini reviews to get kinda caught up.

Noble Destiny by Katie MacAlister

This is the second in the Noble trilogy. I thought it was good. I was a little irritated with how everyone let Char act like spoiled brat. Noone, not even her "best friend" would just tell her to grow up. That being said, I thought this story had the whimsy that I look for from Katie MacAlister and some very touching moments. Kinda makes ya want to get your hands on a copy of "Vyvian LaBlu's Guide to Connubial Calisthenics".

Morning Light by Catherine Anderson

I liked the story of a rancher and a phychic. She tells him, he has a son and he's the only one who can "save" the son who is in grave danger. They then go together on a trail ride of sorts to find the son he never knew he had. The tentatively fall for each other. This book has a strong Catholic influence, so if religion in your romance is not something you like, then be warned. My only criticism is that the hero monologues for several pages about how he won't have sex with her before they are married, but then the next day he sleeps with her. If you are going to voice such a strong "conviction" based on religion, then I much prefer that you follow thru with that. He shouldn't have slept with her.....That's all.

Say No To Joe? by Lori Foster

I liked Joe and Luna's story much better than Bryan's. Now I might have liked Bryan's story better if, I'd read them in order. Anyway, Luna decides to go to Visitation to raise her cousin's orphaned children. There seems to be some problems in town with the children so she asks Joe to come with her for help. (kinda like muscle!!) He agrees of course, because he's already in love with Luna whether he'll admit to it or not. Once, there they form a unique but close and loving family. The mystery is solved and everyone lives happily ever after.

MacKenzie's Magic by Linda Howard

This is Maris' story. She wakes up in a motel room with a nearly naked man, who's name she can't remember. His name isn't all she can't remember. Together they unravel the mystery of her lost memory, and the connection they feel that is electric. She starts to remember him and finds in him, the soulmate she had been waiting her life for. He is a little slower on the uptake, not realizing that they are meant to be together. Mystery is solved, and they get married.

I liked Maris' story much better than Zane's and I have to say, Linda Howard writes a mean epilogue. Love her epilogues. So much fun!!! I wonder if Nick will ever get a story....

A Game of Chance by Linda Howard

This is Chance MacKenzie's story. I think it was my favorite of them all next to Wolf's. We really get a great window into Chance and what makes him tick, and we get to see the inner conflict. I liked Sunny. She was strong without being a ....well you know. I liked her vulnerable moments, and her inner struggle. It made sense to me, when she decided to really open up to Chance. Again, the epilogue was the bomb!!!

I know, that I didn't "rate" these, but I liked them all pretty well. Probably 3.5's and 4's.


My Background


My background keeps disappearing. Why!!!!!!! Make it stop!!!! I don't know why it keeps doing that.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

When He was Wicked

by Julia Quinn

rated 4 stars

Back Cover:

Everything was so much simpler... When he was wicked.

In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton. After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer -- the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin. But that was then…

Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love... until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets…

My Thoughts:

I love a good unrequited love story. I also like that it's the reverse of the usual, being the Man is the one who is the secret admirer. I like how they feel conflicted about how they are feeling about each other. I did feel like, Michael was too long in his suffering. I mean, really!!! It wasn't until the very end that they actually talk and process their feelings.

I wasn't as invested in Francesca as I was with the others. We'd not even really met her in the previous stories, so it took me a while to connect with her. I however connected with Michael very quickly. I mean Yowza!!! Then the malaria thing...her presence makes it better. Wow!!!

This was not my favorite. There was less of the Bridgerton fun, and more angst but it was still good.


To Sir Phillip With Love

by Julia Quinn

Rated 4.5 Stars

Back Cover:

Sir Phillip knew that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he'd proposed, figuring that she'd be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except… she wasn't. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her…and more.

Did he think she was mad? Eloise Bridgerton couldn't marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking…and wondering… and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except…he wasn't. Her perfect husband wouldn't be so moody and ill-mannered, and while Phillip was certainly handsome, he was a large brute of a man, rough and rugged, and totally unlike the London gentlemen vying for her hand. But when he smiled…and when he kissed her…the rest of the world simply fell away, and she couldn't help but wonder…could this imperfect man be perfect for her?

My Thoughts:

I enjoy Eloise. I liked her in Benedict and Penelope's story. I lked Phillip too. He was an honorable man, even if he was a tad removed from those in his life, especially his children. At first, I had my doubts about him. He was so removed and stand-off-ish. I felt like Eloise deserved the best England has to offer. He couldn't even seem to talk to his, yea, I had my doubts. However, knowing how he'd tried with Marina and how he wanted things to be good for his kids...I had hopes. Then upon getting to know him, I saw his character, his quiet yearning. Aww! Whatta guy! He does everything that is expected of him, even if it wasn't meant to make him happy. He was selfless in that.

Some favorite scenes: The scene where Eloise puts the fish in Amanda's bed. The scene where the brothers show up and Anthony and Eloise are in the library. ( I laughed and sniffled perfection) The scene where Phillip, Benedict, Colin, and Gregory are getting to "know" each other and they end up smashed. The scene at My cottage where they are shooting was great. As soon as Eloise comes out and wants to join the game then all the boys (except Phillip) groan. Great!!!

I've yet to meet a Bridgerton that I haven't loved.


A Highlander in her Dreams

by Allie Mackay (Sue Ellen Welfonder)

#8 Title written by an AKA

rated 4 stars

Back Cover:

Paranormal investigative journalist Kira Bedwell is on a tour of allegedly haunted Castle Wrath when she meets Aidan MacDonald, who claims he is a medieval era laird. She initially assumes the hunk is joking, but after that first encounter, she only sees him in her wet dreams; he shares those sexual nocturnal encounters when he sleeps.

Kira is investigating a paranormal incident in Scotland when the reporter becomes the story. Somehow she is sent back to Aidan's time. His clan is frightened by Kira's arrival as they assume she is a witch. Meanwhile as he tries to convince his people she is his soul mate, he also battles his evil cousin who has plans to abuse the clan for personal gain after killing Aidan. Kira knows who won that confrontation of blood so must change the near future even if it means giving up her beloved Highlander.

My Thoughts:

I thought this was better than the first in the series and kinda hope the third is even better still. I liked Kira and Aiden. I liked that of all the things from the future that Kira ended up bringing with her it was a button and a zipper that wigged him out the most. Then in order to save Kira and himself they travel to the future. He doesn't do well. As you would assume. They find a way back to the past and solve the mystery of the cousins death and save the day.

For me, Time Travel stories are stressful. Usually the method used to travel back and forth in time is unreliable. So one never knows when one is going to be transported back and forth. This one was less stressful than others, but still. Also, if I'm a modern day woman and I go back to 12-something. The dress and environment would be an adjustment, but let us not ignore the most obvious to me....the smells. They didn't exactly have Right Guard back in the day and didn't exactly bath frequently. Toothpaste, soap, feminine hygiene products, cleaning products, the whole shebang! So I would imagine that the initial smells would cross your eyes. Then to get "up close and personal" would really frizz your hair. Am I right?! Who's with me?!

So I wonder how long would it take a modern person to acclimate to the sights and smells.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mackenzie's Pleasure

by Linda Howard

#7 Book with less than 300 pgs

Rated 3.5

Back Cover:

Barrie needed a saviour. The terrorists holding her hostage surely wouldn''t tolerate her silence much longer. Instead they would silence her. Then out of the darkness he arrived. Rugged and dangerous, he led her straight into his sheltering arms.

My Thoughts:

I am willing to suspend reality to a very large degree, however....Barrie Lovejoy is kidnapped, stripped naked, and bound. She is rescued by Zane MacKenzie Navy Seal. Within hours, he rescues her, and they hide out in a falling down shack in libya. After a short time, she decided to lose her virginity to navy seal stranger. It was your first time after a trauma in a dirty hovel would be. (did you catch the sarcasm? I knew you did!)

After this, they escape with the help of his Navy Seal team, at which time Zane is shot. Barrie, wants desperately to see to Zane and his injuries! She is not allowed to and the mystery begins. Why was Barrie kidnapped? Was her father part of some criminal plot? After a few months, Zane is healed from his wounds and Barrie is confirmed pregnant. Her father and his friends try to keep Zane and Barrie apart. He finally comes for her, sweeps her off her feet and they run away to Las Vegas to get married. He gets his brother Chance to help, and they set a trap for the bad guys.

It was pretty good overall, but the beginning was so unrealistic for me. I just couldn't buy it.


The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

by Jennifer Ashley
rated 4.5
#10 Reader's Choice

Back Cover:
The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family--rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn't be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them -- of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz. The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He's also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama -- an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

My Thoughts:
Ian MacKenzie has what would today be known as Asperger's Syndrome. Beth Ackerley is engaged to a real doo-doo head. (And I'm sure that's a real literary term!) Upon meeting Lord Ian, she is entranced and intrigued. They start a whirlwind romance that takes them to the decadent streets of Paris and the Misty moors of Scotland. There is a murder to solve and most people think Ian is to blame, with all the MacKenzies things are not always as they appear.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ABC Meme

got tagged by Heather.
Here are the rules:
. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Share your ABC’s.
3. Tag three people at the end by linking to their blogs.
4. Let the three tagged people know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
5. Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag.

Available or single? NO! Definately Married
Best Friend? I'll say my husband, but there are several of my girlfriends who fit here too. .
Cake or Pie? My homemade chocolate cake or my apple pie.
Drink of choice? Diet Dr. Pepper
Essential item for every day use? Toothpaste and my electric toothbrush.
Favorite color? Turquoise
Google? Isn't it fun to say...Google, google, google
Hometown? Weatherford
Indulgences? Books!!! and the occasional massage. Love that hour!!!
January or February? January, my daughter's birthday.
Kids? 11 and 9 (nine as of yesterday!!)
Life is incomplete without? my husband, my kids, and my dogs
Marriage date? May 6th
Number of siblings? 2 brothers and 2 sisters-in-law!
Oranges or apples? Oranges I guess.
Phobias and fears? Mice!!! Heights!!!
Quote for the day? "Live Each Day like you were dying" Tim McGraw
Reason to smile? My kids.
Season? Autumn
Tag 3 people? Jennifer , DesertRose , and Randi
Unknown fact about me? I am addicted to Food Network.
Vegetable you hate? Brussel Sprouts
Worst habit? Biting my nails.
Your favorite food? Right Now...Crawfish Etoufee. Found a great recipe on
Zodiac sign? Virgo


Reckless Love

by Elizabeth Lowell

#3 Read and Reviewed for Summer Challenge

Rated 5 stars

Back Cover:

Janna Wayland has survived in treacherous Utah Territory by using her wits, her grit and her knife. She is as bold and free as Lucifer, the wild stallion she vows to protect from men who would stop at nothing to possess him. Men like Ty McKenzie, whose will to survive is as strong as her own.

Nursing Ty back from death's grasp, she realizes that neither Lucifer nor her heart are safe from this man's fierce determination. Now Janna must follow Ty on a perilous trek through the badlands, battling renegade warriors, the elements and her own reckless heart with a fury that can be tamed only by love itself.

My Thoughts:

As I write this review, I find that I'm nervous that I will not do justice to this book. Ok, my only criticism. I'll get that out of the way. Ms. Lowell describes in absolute detail the geography. Every butte/ravine/creek/canyon etc. I'm not that familiar with the desert so it meant very little to me, BUT if I were familiar with that landscape and loved it like she obviously does, it probably would have enhanced the story for me. Ok, #2. Everyone knows that I don't need or particularly want graphic descriptions regarding the steamier more personal aspects of the romance story. There were times (not every/all times)when I felt the language was a little more than necessary. I also know that that is a matter of opinion for me, and therefore does not disqualify this book as a 5 star for me. The raw emotion and the story were so compelling for me that it overshadowed any criticism I may have.

Janna Wayland is an orphaned woman alone in a hazardous land filled with renegades and Mustangers who are intent to capture a wild mustang that she has vowed to protect. So not only is the lanscape harsh and difficult but the inhabitants of that landscape are dangerous as well. When Janna first sees Ty he is being beaten by a group of renegade indians and will more than likely be let to run so that he can be hunted, tortured and killed. He shows true grit in the chase and true courage. Janna finds him and rescues him before the indians can finish their dastardly plan. She nursed him back to health while hiding the fact that she is a woman by dressing like a man and hiding her hair.

Ty has plans and dreams. He wants Lucifer the mustang Janna has vowed to protect so that he can start a herd of horses on his Montana ranch and he wants to make his fortune so that he can find and court a "Silken Lady". A woman who is pure femininity and absolute beauty, and perfect creamy grace. As he is sharing his dream with the "boy" who rescued him, little does he know that he is breaking her heart with every word.

So you see the romantic drama. Eventually Ty finds out that the "boy" is indeed a woman and a passionate, loving, brave, capable women. Due to some rather amazing circumstances Janna and Ty catch Lucifer and as Ty begins to win his trust and loyalty, he doesn't realize that Janna is taming Ty as well. Each little step of the way, he fights and it hurts her desperately to be reminded that she's no "Silken Lady" but slowly and methodically she earns his love, and loyalty.

I was drawn in almost immediately and every time I had to put the book down, (I mean who needs to eat or sleep or take kids to school or work?) I couldn't wait until I could pick it back up again. I wanted to know, how/when they were going to come together. I wanted to know when Ty was going to truly see Janna for the perfect fit for him that she was. I needed to know what was going to happen next.

If you like westerns at all, you should read this book. If you don't like westerns typically, you should try this book.


Diamond in the Rough

by Diana Palmer

#13 One Last Try

Rated 3 stars

Back Cover:

Sassy Peale is desperate to help her family, but her meager salary doesn't stretch far. Then she meets John Callister, and she thinks her new friend is an honest-to-God cowboy—rugged and trustworthy.

But John isn't a ranch hand, he's a millionaire from one of Montana's most powerful families! And when Sassy finds out who he really is, she's certain the arrogant millionaire is just playing with her. John has to convince Sassy that he's the man she first thought he was—a diamond in the rough.

My Thoughts:

So, certain truths are universally accepted. Diana Palmer is going to write her Heroes as Older/wealthy/alpha-to the point of absolute jerk/women haters. She is also going to write her heroines as young/poor/virginal-to the point of creepy/traumatized. The typical story will have he hero wanting the much younger etc heroine but refusing to act on it. In his refusal he will be mean and hateful to heroine. She will love him anyway and want only to wed him and raise his children. He will be her first, unless she's been molested by someone before. He will work hard to make her feel young and inadequate.

However, this time she varied her plot device sort of. He wants her, but doesn't abuse her in order to try to deny himself. She is young and poor but working and hasn't loved him from afar for years. Yes, he rescues her, and yes she is the young virginal heroine. But it wasn't that bad. I mean, we all love a story like that every once in a while but not e-v-e-r-y book. It's like she got in a rut.

So I was pleasantly surprised that the hero here isn't a total jerk!!