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.

Review: How to Ravish a Rake

How to Ravish a Rake
How to Ravish a Rake by Vicky Dreiling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SCANDALOUS DESIRES . . .

Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can’t, she’ll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security-if little else. What she doesn’t count on is the inappropriate-and irresistible-attention lavished on her in a darkened library by rake extraordinaire Will “The Devil” Darcett . . .

DEVILISH DELIGHT

When Will is caught in a tryst with the tons shyest miss, he knows he must offer for her hand. Yet Amy is not the shrinking violet she seems to be. Passion lies beneath her prim exterior and Will is eager to release it. But winning Amy isn’t simply a matter of seduction; first, Will must convince her that he’s mended his wicked ways

This is the third book in Vicky Dreiling’s inaugural How To series featuring Hawk’s brother Will and Amy (from the first 2 books). I did receive my copy as an ARC from the author.

Amy happens to be my favorite of Ms. Dreiling’s three heroines so far. She is an introverted thinker who must deal with a lot of social anxiety. This leaves her tongue tied in social situations and confused in larger crowds, which explains the idea that she is aloof, first mentioned in Duke. Amy is the type of heroine that many women can relate to. While insecure, she is strong enough to face it and begin to overcome it. She does so by using her natural talent as a way to move past her anxiety and relate to people, especially the ladies of the ton.

William, Hawk’s younger brother, has been living his life on the run from his family. He keeps his exploits public and is as charming as possible as a way of garnering attention, especially from his family. Will is like many overlooked children where any attention, even for bad behavior, is welcome. But he is conflicted because he fears his family’s intervention and disapproval due to his anger at them. Instead of confronting his family with his feelings, he prefers to stay away. This becomes impossible when Hawk cuts off his allowance and Will makes a major mistake in trying to garner funds. Despite his family issues, he is loyal, steadfast, and honorable.

Will and Amy’s story is endearing and refreshing. They are very different people who handle difficult feelings in the same way, withdrawal. Ms. Dreiling caught perfectly the swirl of emotions that anxiety can cause in a person and how it can easily rip apart the fragile self-esteem. Unlike other stories where both the heroine and hero have to go through extreme emotional upheaval to grow, Will and Amy gradually work their way through their problems. Despite them not knowing each other well, they quickly learn to rely on each other for strength and the importance of fully believing in each other.

It was an absolute thrill to finally read a book where when the twist comes, the hero and heroine act like rational mature adults instead of following the first emotional impulse that flits through their brain. Of course given both Amy and Will’s tendency to withdraw from adversity, it underscores their development and why they are so perfect for each other. As in her other two books, the hero and heroine compliment each others strengths and weaknesses and bring out the best in each other. The rapport between Amy and Will is light, witty and bewitching. Watching Will fall in love with Amy was utterly delightful and easily made this my favorite book of the series.

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