Saturday, January 31, 2009

Serial Readers Challenge List

So this is my post! I'll be reading lots of series and not in order. So I'll be adding as I go along. It may get messy, but if a book makes it into this post then it's been read.

Dakota Trilogy by Debbie Macomber
1. Dakota Born ****3.5 Stars****
2. Dakota Home ***3 stars***
3. Always Dakota ****3.5 stars****

Prince Trilogy by Elizabeth Hoyt
1. The Raven Prince ****4.5 Stars****
2. The Leopard Prince ****4 Stars****
3. The Serpent Prince ****4 stars****

1. Guardian Angel by Julie Garwood
2. The Gift by JG
3. Castles by JG
4. The Lyon's Lady

Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts
1. Blood Brothers *****5 Stars*****
2. The Hollow *****5 Stars*****
3. The Pagan Stone ****5 stars****

Argeneau's Series by Lynsay Sands
A Bite to Remember (book 5) (1-4 read in 2008)
Bite Me if You Can (book 6)
The Accidental Vampire (Books 7)
Vampires are Forever (book 8) ::::I keep getting them out of order for some reason...::::
Vampire Interrupted (book 9) :::Oops out of order:::

Chicago Stars by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Match Me if You Can *****5 stars*****

Queen Betsy by Mary Janice Davidson
Unwed and Undead ***2.5-3 stars***(see review, I'm conflicted!)

Fever Trilogy by KM Moning
1, DarkFever ***3.5 stars***

Wallflower Series by Lisa Kleypas
Scandal in Spring (4/4)***4 stars***

Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward
1. Dark Lover ****rated 4 stars****
2. Lover Eternal ****rated 4.5 stars****
3. Lover Awakened ****rate 4.5 stars****
4. Lover Revealed ****rate 4.5 stars****
5. Lover Unbound ****rated 4 stars****
6. Lover Enshrined ****rated 4 stars****
7. Lover Avenged ****rated 4.5 stars***

MacKinnon Rangers by Pamela Clare
2. Untamed ****rated 4 stars****

Race Car (cuz I don't know the name of the series yet.) by Erin McCarthy
1. Flat Out Sexy ****rated 4-4.5 stars (can't decide)****
2. Hard and Fast ***rated 3 stars

Keyes Sisters Trilogy by Susan Mallery
1. Sweet Talk
2. Sweet Spot
3 Sweet Trouble

Montana Creeds: by Linda Lael Miller
1. Logan
2. Dylan
3. Tyler

MacKenzies by Linda Howard
1. Mackenzie's Mountain
2. MacKenzie's Mission
3. MacKenzie's Pleasure
4. MacKenzie's Magic
5. A Game of Chance

Buchanon Family by Susan Mallery
1. Delicious
2. Irristible
3. Sizzling
4. Tempting

Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts
1 Sea Swept
2. Rising Tides
3. Inner Harbor
4. Chesapeake Blue

Texas Series by Mary Connealy
1. Petticoat Ranch (read previously)
2. Calico Canyon
3. Gingham Mountain

Bayou Angels by Sandra Hill (Tanta Lulu)
1. So Into You

Gamblers Series by Lisa Klaypas
1. Then Came You
2. Dreaming of You (oops, thought there were more to this series.....)

Bridgertons by Julia Quinn
1. The Duke and I
2. The Viscount who Loved Me
3. An Offer From a Gentleman
4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
5. To Sir Phillip with Love
6. When He Was Wicked
7. It's in His Kiss
8. On the Way to the Wedding

Noble Series by Katie MacAlister
1. Noble Intentions
2. Noble Destiny
3. The Trouble with Harry

Dakota Born

Dakota Born by Debbie Macomber

TBR Pile Resident

Pages 358

Rated 3.5 stars

Back Cover:

Buffalo Valley, North Dakota. Like so many small Midwest towns, it's dying. Stores are boarded up, sidewalks cracked, houses need a coat of paint. But despite all that, there's a spirit of hope here, of defiance. The people still living in buffalo Valley are fighting for their town.

Lyndsay Snyder is a newcomer. She's an outsider, even though she spent childhood vacations here. Now she returns to see the family house again, to explore family secrets and to reevaluate her life.

To her own astonishment, she decides to stay, to accept the vacant position of teacher. Her decision marks a new beginning for Buffalo Valley and for Lyndsay, who discovers in this broken little town the love and purpse she's been seeking.

My thoughts:

Nobody writes community like Debbie Macomber. Her stories are poignant and romantic, but are full of angst and wrought with the realism that honestly I try to escape. I have to read the second in the series because honestly I want to find out what happens. You see when we left off, Bandon and Joanie were still separated, and with the baby on the way... What will happen with Sara and Dennis? Will Calla ever accept that her mom is dating? Will Rachel ever give her heart to Heath and if so, will he be willing to settle down for a regular life without the thrills he's so used to? What will become of Kevin and Jessica now that Kevin has been accepted into Art school. So you see, she sucks you in and gets you emotionally invested in the entire community. Yes, it feels like an episode of your favorite soap opera. so if you like that, then this will be a good book for you. I can't give this book a 5 because I read to escape the stresses of daily life and the drama of negative people and their relationship issues. So when I read Debbie Macomber she puts all that into her stories. I liked it pretty well though and it was a quick read. So I will give her a 3.5 stars. It was good, but not GREAT. I'll probably read the rest, cuz I need to tie up all the lose ends as stated above. So, I'll be tuning in for another episode.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Raven Prince

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

#2 Read a book reviewed in the Fall Reading Challenge

Pages 356

rated 4.5 stars

Back Cover:

THERE COMES A TIME IN A LADY'S LIFE...Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant male on horseback nearly squashes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits. What is a gently bred lady to do?WHEN SHE MUST DO THE UNTHINKABLE...The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior. Dammit! How hard can it be to find a decent secretary?AND FIND EMPLOYMENT.When Anna becomes the earl's secretary, both their problems are solved. Then she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London for his "manly" needs. Well! Anna sees red--and decides to assuage her "womanly" desires...with the earl as her unknowing lover.

My Thoughts:

I liked this story quite a bit. I liked the heroine as a woman who doesn't back down. I liked that she pushed her own comfort zone in several areas. finding a job, her wants and needs, following her conscience, and even in the bedroom. I like reading about women of courage. I liked the hero. He wasn't a perfect picture of manly attraction. I liked that he had his insecurities about his appearance, and that he had a temper and knew it. I liked that he liked her courage. I liked that he liked the dog and horse. I liked the secondary characters. Some of whom were a little ridiculous like Hopple and his wardrobe. I felt like I got to know the deepest longings of the couple without it being a pity party. They wanted what they wanted and were self-aware enough to realize it.

This book was..."Steamier" than I typically read. It was ok, but a little too much for me at this time. That is the sole reason I didn't give this book a 5 stars. If you like steamy, then this book is a must read. If you don't, then read at your own risk. The story was great.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Only for a Knight

Only for a Knight by Sue Ellen Welfonder

4 word title

pages 365

rated 2.5 stars

Back Cover:

For ten lusty years, Robbie Mackenzie has savored the sensual pleasures that only a man with no wife can taste. To the lassies of Scotland, he is a living legend, the sole heir of the Black Stag clan, and a prize catch indeed. But Juliana Mackay has no such interest in the rogue or his powerful family. Her mission--to deliver an unpaid debt for her dying mother--is the only thing that could force her within reach of the wayward knight. That is, until an accidental blow to the head sends her reeling right into the brawny arms of Robbie MacKenzie himself.

In the heat of the moment, their passions ignite. But Juliana has forgotten her own identity, as well as her mission--and Robbie has promised to marry a bride from a rival clan. How can these two star-crossed lovers resist the love that vurns in their hearts...and the desire that consumes their souls?

My Thoughts:

I didn't really like it. I can't put my finger on why. Too much inner dialogue...that didn't add to the story. Some of which was supposed to be mystical or something, but just ended up annoying me. I liked the fellas mostly, but the women! I'm giving it 2.5 stars because I'm being somewhat generous. I just didn't like it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

When I Fall in Love

When I Fall in Love by Lynn Kurland

Title with a "W" Word

pages 445

rated 5 stars

Back Cover:

Nicholas dePiaget is finished with demoiselles more interested in his riches than his heart. He is certain he'll spend the rest of his life in his leaky castle, watching others enjoy wedded bliss, until he stumbles upon a flame-haired maiden in distress. His honor demands that he help her return home-if only his heart would allow it.

Jennifer McKinnon is convinced that there are no more knights in shining armor-at least not in Manhattan. Then a chance trip to England leaves her wondering if a happily ever after might be in her future. Little does she know that a hero of legendary chivalry awaits her...eight hundred years in the past.

But desires of the heart and dangerous secrets threaten to tear them apart, and only time will tell if true love can lead them to a fairy-tale ending....

My Thoughts:

I really loved this story. It was a great romantic tale. It truly was a fairy tale for grown-ups. Ms. Kurland writes real people with humor and grace. She acknowledges their flaws and makes them real. The story of Nicholas and Jennifer is full of passion and romance. They both have to come to terms with the complications that time travel provides. I enjoyed the natural progression of Nick and Jennifer's relationship as they each come to realize their love for each other and make choices that will affect their future together. There were bittersweet moments where each was trying to look to the needs of the other. I enjoyed the secondary character who were written well and displayed ranges of emotion but most of all dedication to one another.

Something else I like about this book was that it didn't have a "love scene". It's kinda nice to hear of an alpha male who falls in love with someone without having to continually read about the state of his..."kibbles and bits". I mean really, sometimes the way some of these stories are written it's a wonder that these guys can walk straight! **rolls eyes** Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good steamy story too, but a pure romance is a nice fresh change of pace from time to time.

My only complaint would be that When I Fall in Love is obviously part of a series, and not the first in that series. My personal preference is to read books in order. There seemed to be many back stories and many other pairings of past/present that I felt like it would have enhanced my story experience to have known from the onset. But that's my fault for not doing the research before reading it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Gift

The Gift by Julie Garwood

Arranged Marriage Book


Rated 4.5

Back Cover:

A child bride, Sara Winchester had grown into a winsome beauty, joyfully anticipating the day when her husband Nathan, Marquess of St. James, would return to claim her heart at last. Charmingly innocent, she dismissed the ancient feud that divided Nathan's family from her own...and she was totally unaware of his past exploits as the notorious pirate, Pagan. The man who now stood before her was perplexing, arrogant and powerfully handsome...a warrior-gentleman whose gentle touch aroused her to the wildest, deepest pleasures of love.

Nathan had never bared his soul to any woman, but he was soon utterly beguiled and exasperated by Sara's sweet, defiant ways. Aboard his ship, The Seahawk, she was brave, imperious and determined to win his heart completely -- yet upon their return to England, her love would be sorely tested as a vile conspiracy tried to tear them apart. With their future at stake, they would discover the true destiny of their passion...for all time!

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this story. This telling had the humor and warmth that I've come to expect from Julie Garwood. I much preferred this story to Guardian Angel. I enjoyed the quirky heroine and Nathan's inner struggle to trust. I also loved the secondary characters of Nora, Matthew, Jimbo and Chester. I think my favorite series of scenes where when Sara was liberating her Aunt and punches her uncles henchman. She thinks she's doing this all on her own, but really Nathan is there the whole time. Cute!!! She uses more realistic names now! Yea, I know, Drop will Ya!! I'll give this one a 4.5 for sure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel by Julie Garwood

Pages 375

Rated 4 stars

Back Cover:

The Emerald flew across the seas, carrying the pirate Pagan--despised by the ton, whose riches he plundered, and beloved by the poor, whose plight was eased by his gifts.

The Marquess of Cainewood vows to hunt down the pirate wretch in revenge for his brother's death. But when Jade, an enchanting vision of rippling red hair and eyes of jewel-green, appears at his door to beg desperately for his protection, the Marquess agrees to keep her safe from the villains who want her dead. Jade is infuriating, exasperating, and gorgeous; Caine is noble, strong-willed, and powerful. No woman has ever befuddled him so, nor so deeply aroused his desire. But as Jade answers his knowing caresses with an innocent, wild abandon, they are drawn into a web of treachery that will test the very heart of their love!

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I liked the quirky heroine. (I guess the goofball in be is showing.) I liked the interplay between Caine and Jade. I liked the twists and turns and the Uncle Harry. I have a hesitation though. I'm not sure what it is. I think that I didn't like that her name was Jade. (seems very unlikely.) Right?! I know I'm being petty, but that is just not what someone of the time would have named their child. Not even close. Caine?! He'd have been a Simon or Neville or Charles or something. I guess it wouldn't have been nearly as romantic if it had been Neville and Winnifred! "Neville, I love you!" "Winnifred, you will be mine!" Naw! Ok, naming aside, there is something that I did have a problem with. The first half of the book, makes Caine look like a buffoon with the whole being duped by Jade. She kept thinking she was getting something over on him, then the second half, was where he was finally proved as the alpha male that he is. He knew she was lieing, and took care of the dangers around them. I'd have preferred knowing from the beginning that he wasn't out to lunch. It would have been fun, to know what he was accomplishing that she never knew, and to see what she was accomplishing that he never knew. I'd have preferred that to the method used here. Anyway, I know I'm being petty, but I just think that Julie Garwood is really good, and this would have made it soo much better. I expect so much from her, and felt like she missed the mark with her approach. I'll give it a 4 stars for sure.