Monday, July 14, 2008

Half-assed reviews and pitiful excuses

Wow. Over a week without posting. I'm not sure what to say. I could provide a whole list of reasons I have been absent, but they would just be pitiful excuses. I was lazy last week. It is as simple as that. It has nothing to do with not having reviews to write. Nope, I have read a handful of books. I even liked most of them! I am simply suffering from a lack of energy. I am a lazy sloth.

So I will attempt to make this up to you all by providing a number of half-assed reviews. (Sorry there are no photos, blogger is acting weird and not giving me a full toolbar.)

Title: The Spymaster's Lady
Author: Joanna Bourne

She's braved battlefields. She's stolen dispatches from under the noses of heads of state. She's played the worldly courtesan, the naive virgin, the refined British lady, even a Gypsy boy. But Annique Villiers, the elusive spy known as the Fox Cub, has finally met the one man she can't outwit

OMG, so good! Yep, I am a sqeeing fan girl. This book was beautifully written. The language Ms. Bourne uses builds such a vibrant picture in your mind that you feel you are there with the characters. The heroine is strong and self-sufficient. I don't think I have read a stronger female character in a historical romance before. Annique was daring, bold, brilliant (in a believable way), yet innocent at the same time. All of the men were wonderful. The plot was strong, complicated without being convoluted. The writing never seemed to lose momentum. The romance between the hero and heroine was believable. The sex was written so well that it wasn't until I finished the book that I realized the book lacked the cliched euphemisms. All in all, a stellar book. I would recommend this book to anyone, even non-historical or non-romance readers. It is like a bar of high quality milk chocolate. Easy on the palate and so very good. I can't wait to read My Lord and Spymaster.

Title: Demon Angel
Author: Meljean Brook

For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father's armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation—Heaven's own Sir Hugh Castleford...

Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied...

I don't like books that take place earlier that the mid-1700's. I just don't generally like them. Because of this, I put off starting Demon Angel after picking it up from the library. I had heard all the love being professed for this book and author. I just wasn't buying it. So finally, after some lackluster reads, I picked up DA. Good God, why did I wait so long? I will admit that I am an idiot. I should have listen to all of you out there that expressed such love for this series. Hugh and Lilith were such great characters. I love how their relationship steadily builds over the centuries. The story is so packed full of information and moments of significance, that I would often have to stop reading and do something else just so my brain could work thought what I had just read. Ms. Brooks crafted a wonderfully complex story. It is a rare thing that I don't figure out how the conflict will work itself out when I read a book. She had me stumped all the way until the end. This book is a bar of single origin dark chocolate. It is sharp and rich. You need to take time to savor each delicious bite. I can't wait to read about Savi and Colin. I am currently awaiting the arrival of the two short stories MB wrote. Go read this book if you haven't. Don't be an idiot like me. (Oh. One small comment. The only thing I did not like was the cover. It was pretty, but I could not bring it along on the train or to the family gathering I had to attend. I appreciate the half-nekked pic of Hugh, but my family would not.)

Title: How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks

So what if he's a bit older and usually regards a human female as dinner, not a dinner date? Yes, Roman Draganesti is a vampire, but a vampire who lost one of his fangs sinking his teeth into something he shouldn't have. Now he has one night to find a dentist before his natural healing abilities close the wound, leaving him a lop–sided eater for all eternity.

Things aren't going well for Shanna Whelan either...After witnessing a gruesome murder by the Russian mafia, she's next on their hit list. And her career as a dentist appears to be on a downward spiral because she's afraid of blood. When Roman rescues her from an assassination attempt, she wonders if she's found the one man who can keep her alive. Though the attraction between them is immediate and hot, can Shanna conquer her fear of blood to fix Roman's fang? And if she does, what will prevent Roman from using his fangs on her...

This was a cute, average read. It was nothing to call home about, but not bad. I guess I would say "pretty good." It set up the beginning of the series enough the I am interested in reading more (especially since I own two of the other books in the series.) However, the title is completely wrong. The heroine does not know vamps exist until quite a ways into the book. She is not setting out to marry a millionaire vamp. Heck, she is not setting out to marry anyone. She just wants to stay alive. I was a little iffy on the subplot with her father. It kind of seemed tacked on to add even more drama to the poor heroine's life. Regardless, it was a fluffy, fun story. This book is a Cadbury Creme Egg or a box of Peeps. It is fluffy and sugary, but it does not leave a lasting impact on your sweet tooth craving.

Title: It Had To Be You
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises—a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.

I have been hit or miss with this author. It Had To Be You was the first book in her Chicago Stars (football) series. I had previously read two others in the series (out of order, I know!!!) One book I liked, the other made me want to scream. I am happy to say that this book was a winner. Funny, quirky, the characters were great. Phoebe is not what you expect when you first start reading the book. She is introduced as a Paris Hilton-type bimbo. The real Phoebe is vastly different. Dan is strong, opinionated, sexy, and has the best interest of his team at heart. I actually bought the whole enemies become lovers deal in this book. Dang it, now I have to read the rest of the books in the series. It would almost have been better if this was another miss. Instead this book is one of those huge caramel apples. Crisp and rich at the same time. Not in the same category as chocolate, but still damn satisfying. Ah well, more reading for me! Oh, and all the Chicago and DuPage County locations make this series even more fun for me to read. I know exactly where the characters are when Ms. Philips includes descriptions of locations or driving directions. We need more books set in Chicago!

Tune in tomorrow when the book club starts discussing our book of the month: Mr. Perfect!


lisabea said...

Despite the recent hair color accident, Meljean is a goddess. And Demon Moon is my fav. romance. Evah. It's Savi. She rocks.

Carolyn Jean said...

Hey Shannon! Great reviews. I totally agree on Spymaster's lady and Meljean. The others I haven't read, but maybe I'll look at that It Had to be You.

Oh, I haven't gotten Mr. Perfect, dammit! I so wanted to be in your club. I'm still going to lurk, though!

Tracy said...

I'm so glad you like the Spymaster's Lady - so good.

Demon Angel - Rocks! Demon Moon - rocks just as much!

I've only read 1 SEP book but I'm looking forward to the beginning of the Chicago Stars series as I've read the most recent and liked it - oops!

Kerrelyn Sparks series for me was ok. I keep reading them, but they aren't great. Like you said...pretty good. You get to know the characters and then you start looking for a certain characters book. Oh well - they suck us in every time! :)

Kristie (J) said...

I adored The Spymaster's Lady and just finished Her Lord and Spymaster and it's just as good!
And I'll be back tomorrow for Mr. Perfect *g*. I didn't get a chance to reread it but since I've read it about 4 times already I think I can contribute.

Jill D. said...

Hi Shannon, Nice to have you back. I like to take a little vacation every once in a while too. I mean life does seem to get in the way:)

Demon Angel was my least favorite of Brook's books so far. Hugh was to goody-goody for my taste. Although, Lilith is great. Oh, and lets not forget Sir Pup!

Can you believe I have never read the legendary SEP? I know, I know. I plan on it one of these days.

Ciara said...

YAY!!! Great reviews. Joanna Bourne is a master linguist. Such beautiful phrases! And Meljean is frekin awesome. I agree about the cover. My fav cover of hers is Demon Night, with Ethan (who is MINE!). I started DEMON BOUND last night. ;) yum!
I really liked IHTBY. Made me all warm and fuzzy, which is one of the things I love about romance novels. Haven't read KS yet. For some reason I confuse her with Linsay Sands - both lighthearted vampire romps, right?

Katie(babs) said...

I adore all these books :D.
You have a great selection from historical to fantasy and some fun contemps :D