Come check out my review of The Rogue Countess by Amy Sandas @ A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet

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Review: Death Comes to Pemberly

Death Comes to Pemberly
Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As a fan of Pride and Prejudice adaptations and spin off, I have read many of these types of novels. I was unimpressed with this novel, so much that I am not even going to do an in-depth review.  The book simply isn’t worth it.  . I felt the author did a disservice to Austin’s characters. They lacked personality and the entire book was one person after another worrying over something. The characters were bland, uninspired, and unremarkable.

The book also felt very fragmented to me and never allowed me to get into a smooth reading groove. I found the plot to be more like reading a newspaper report of an event rather than a novel. The author made an attempt to play off both pride (Wickham’s, Denny’s and the Colonel’s) and prejudice (everyone’s bias in regards to Wickham) but it just fails.

There are far better adaptations and spin offs than this one. Unless you feel the need to read all of them, take a pass on this one.

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Review: Skies of Fire

Skies of Fire
Skies of Fire by Zoe Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Man made of metal and flesh

Captain Christopher Redmond has just one weakness: the alluring spy who loved and left him years before…when he was still just a man. Now he’s superhuman—a Man O’ War, made as part of the British Navy’s weapons program—and his responsibility is to protect the skies of Europe. If only he could forget Louisa Shaw.

A most inconvenient desire

Louisa, a British Naval Intelligence agent, has never left a job undone. But when her assignment is compromised, the one man who can help her complete her mission is also the only man ever to tempt her body and heart. As burning skies loom and passion ignites, Louisa and Christopher must slip behind enemy lines if they are to deliver a devastating strike against their foe . . . and still get out alive.

I wasn’t sure what to think about this book when I first decided I wanted to try it. I was worried that it would end up being more 1 million dollar man with the girls fainting at the hero’s feat. But I really should have more confidence in Ms. Archer and her stories. Like her previous series (Blades of Rose) she found the perfect balance between the science fictional elements, the time period, and the characters.

If you’ve read her previous books, the character traits found in the hero and heroine are no surprise to you. Louisa (Lulu) reminds me of Astrid from Rebel. She is a completely independent woman, out to prove she needs no one, yet knowing deep down that she’s made the biggest mistake of her life. She is so afraid of giving up her hard fought control that she’s willing to risk her life, her mission, love and happiness to hold onto it.

Christopher (Kit) shouldn’t be described by his implants or special abilities. His ultimate strength is not in these, but rather in his ability to take the risks needed to achieve his goals, even when that goal is the object of his desire.

The story is a classical boy meets girl, girls walks out, boy runs into girl again years later scarred by the loss. But, instead of allowing the pain each feels to control their reactions towards each other, I was glad to see each was able to set it aside and move forward, especially Kit. I git giddy to see adults in romances actually act like adults and understand that people do things for a variety of different reasons and not just to harm the other person.

Beyond the romance, the premise of the book is downright fun. You get a great story choke full of flying ships, bombs, superman type strength and the totally unbelievable presented in a believable manner. Every unbelievable feat shown, whether it be Kit’s super strength or Lulu’s chemistry knowledge, has a specific task in pushing the book forward and avoiding it from bogging down. None of these elements are thrown in just to show off or impress. Which leads to Ms. Archer hitting another home run with this series. For those that liked the Blade of the Rose, this is a must read!

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Review: The Demon Hunter

The Demon Hunter
The Demon Hunter by Lori Brighton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ellie has always been different, from playing with fairies as a child to fighting demons as an adult. She grew up wondering why no one else seemed to notice the oddities of the world that she came into contact with on a daily basis. When she is the only witness of a demon attack and the police suspect her, Ellie skips the country heading to England where she plans to keep a low profile. Everything is going fine, until Devon appears, stumbling around her garden like a drunken fool, and completely naked no less.

Six months ago Devon sacrificed himself to bind the soul of a demon and save the world from certain destruction. Thanks to a spell gone awry, Devon is back. But Devon hasn’t come alone. The very demon he tried to destroy has returned and is wreaking havoc on earth. When Devon meets Ellie, he instantly recognizes another supernatural being. Ellie may just be the only person who is strong enough to destroy the demon, if the demon doesn’t destroy her first.

A good follow up to Ms. Brighton’s The Ghost Hunter.

Once again we are taking back into Ms/ Brighton’s Paranormal England to pick up where she left off in The Ghost Hunter.

Devon, is a Victorian raised man brought back to life in the 21st century. Former warrior of god, he sacrificed himself to allow the h/h in the previous book to have their HEA. We finally get to learn what makes Devon tick, more about his family and also his ill-fated first wife. His backstory is important, because it explains how his feelings lead to his protection of Ellie.

Ellie is an American, who like in The Ghost Hunter, has come to England (but unlike the Ghost Hunter she’s avoiding the police). Ellie is a fun character who fights her attraction and eventually her feelings for Devon. Of course, the information she learns about her self at the same time, doesn’t help her confidence in their budding romance.

This book moves beyond the plot to destroy the demon and really focuses on Ellie and Devon finding their inner strength. Devon to not just accept a modern woman, but a meddling do it herself modern woman. And Ellie finding the strength to control her powers and save the day.

There are a few twists in the book including another romance, a death of a character, and betrayal, which keep the plot from slowing down. I was also happy with the final twist at the very end and look forward to more books along this series.

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Review: Haunted Warrior

Haunted Warrior
Haunted Warrior by Allie Mackay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kendra Chase is exhausted from her work as a ghost whisperer, so she’s been looking forward to her vacation in Edinburgh. But work awaits her as the tiny fishing village is being excavated, and supernatural uprisings have been reported.

Graeme MacGrath knows the source of the psychic trouble. The excavation is disrupting the protective veil between this world and darker, more ancient ones. He hates to admit it but he will need the fetching Kendra and her paranormal abilities to save the town he loves from unspeakable evil.

I have read Ms. Mackay’s previous paranormal books (Highlander in My Bed, etc) and really enjoyed them. This is a companion book (which does mention one of the other books characters) and a very similar concept as her previous books.

The heroine Kendra, is essentially a ghost whisperer. She goes into historical areas and crosses/soothes the restless spirits. Usually so that new construction of some sort can go on. Beyond her ghost abilities, I didn’t feel her character was well developed, unlike the heroines in previous novels. She’s pretty plain and forgettable.

Graeme is the more interesting of the two and you see more of his characters depth and strength. Especially in his love for animals, including his dog and the seals native to the area. You also understand how deep his conviction to safeguard his home and community runs.

There was great potential in this book which was undeveloped. The story built up the idea of a strong villain only to have the showdown between him and Graeme be so unremarkable, boring, and anti-climatic it leaves a pallor over the rest of the story.

While the romance is touching with good interaction and flow between the couple, the meandering path the plot takes hurts this book. You think your going to get a nasty villain driving this couple to the brink and all you end up with is an annoying fly to swat.

All in all, not one of the better books in these related series. Her earlier Highlander books are better with stronger plots. I am hoping she will bounce back with the next one.

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Review: A Week to Be Wicked

A Week to Be Wicked
A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Week to Be Wicked is the 2nd novel of her Spinster’s cover series. The story revolves around Geology minded Minerva and Colin, Victor’s (from A Night to Surrender) ne’er-do-well cousin.

We first met Minerva in A Night to Surrender. She is the middle child and the bane of her mother. To understand Minerva you must understand her position in the family. She is the intelligent one, focused more on knowledge then appearance. She also hides many of her talents in order not to overshadow her older sister, whom her mother feels their future security relies on catching a good husband. But she does so because deep down she wants her sister to be the star and because Minerva, like many bookish types, suffers from some social anxiety. It is easier for her to unnoticed then deal with the personal stress of someone, especially someone like Colin, turning their attention onto her. The one place she lets herself shine is in her geology. In that field, she is determined and unwilling to allow anything to stop her from achieving her geological dreams.

Colin was also first introduced in A Night to Surrender. At that time Victor left him stranded in Spinster’s Cove, without access to any funds. Victor is hoping that spending time there will mature Colin and bring him out of his self deprecating behavior. But the source of Colin’s behavior is the great tragedy he suffered in his childhood. Like Minerva trying to hide from social stress, Colin’s lackadaisical behavior and refusal to engage in close relationships is his way of not having to face any strong emotion. While he does not get to love or be happy, he also does not have to deal with loss again. Colin is a touching hero who’s childhood nightmares make you want to help him heal.

It has been a long time since I have laughed so heartily throughout a book. Minerva and Colin’s banter is wickedly funny and includes everything from names in the bible to dirty mathematical terms. The geek in me was thrilled to have a heroine whom most recognized as highly intelligent and a hero who worked hard to hide his. Like Minerva, I found Colin’s hidden intelligence to be a bright plus which mixed with his humor and charm makes him irresistible.

Even better, Ms. Dare was able to keep up the touching humor throughout the course of the book. As Minerva and Colin heal each other, they began to place the needs of the other above themselves. They are both willing to set aside the things they want the most in order to give the other what they want. It is this true support that finally heals Colin’s wounds and cements their happily ever after.

This book and really this series is one not to miss. The diversity and depths of the characters is excellent and they feel so real. You can easily imagine yourself living among them in your day job.

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Guest Review – The Hunger Games by my 12 year old son

Today we have a review of the Hunger Games from the perspective of the low-end of the target audience, my 12-year-old son!

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins,  is a thrilling book that takes place in the country of Panem.  The country is ruled by the capital which is intersected by 12 districts.  After a civil war and the 12 districts were defeated, the capital invented the Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games consist of 1 girl and 1 boy from ages 12-18 from each district.  These children have to fight to the death, on live tv, until one person remains for the reward of fame and fortune.

Katnis is the main character.  She is a 16 year old girl, from district 12, who takes her 12 year old sister’s place in the Hunger Games.  During the games she is resourceful and manages to get a bow and arrow during the games, her preferred weapon.  She is good-hearted and loves her family so much that she risks her life and faces death to spare her sister.  She is temperamental but it takes a lot to make her show it.  Katnis has two love interests, Peeta and Gale.

Peeta is the local baker in district 12 and has a crush on Katnis.  He is the boy representative from district 12 for the Hunger Games.  He is physical strong and works to help Katnis stay alive, including faking her death.  He ultimately betrays the other districts, which leads to serious injuries.

Gale is a minor character in this book and not a part of the hunger games, but it is implied that he also has a crush on Katnis.

I think the story is a good book because it provided a lot of suspense and thrills.  I really enjoyed the survival part of the plot and the author  makes you feel like your part of the story.  Katnis and Peeta indirectly revolt against the capitol’s control because they refuse to allow one of them to die and the other to live.  Instead the both agree to commit suicide with poisonous berries to end the Hunger Game with no winner, which would leave no point to the game.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and hope those books are as exciting as this one.