Monday, August 31, 2009

August Reads Round Up

This is the first month since I've been back into reading that I've actually kept track of what I've read. Wow, I do like to read!

Here's what I read in August:

1. Highlander Untamed - Monica McCarty
2. The Undoing of a Lady - Nicola Cornick
3. Highlander Unchained - Monica McCarty
4. Mr. Cavendish, I Presume - Julia Quinn
5. 4 Dukes and a Devil - Anthology
6. Son of the Morning - Linda Howard
7. Seducing Mr. Darcy - Gwen Cready**
8. Dance Upon the Air - Nora Roberts
9. When Strangers Marry - Lisa Kleypas
10. Heaven and Earth - Nora Roberts
11. Bad Moon Rising - Sherrilyn Kenyon
12. To Sir Phillip With Love - Julia Quinn
13. Beloved Highlander - Sara Bennett
14. A Dance Through Time - Lynn Kurland
15. Dreamfever - Karen Marie Moning**
16. The Borderlord's Bride - Bertrice Small
17. The Immortal Hunter - Lynsay Sands
18. Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs - Molly Harper (reread)**
19. Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men - Molly Harper**
20. The Queen's Bastard - C.E. Murphy - DNF
21. The Magic Series reread (Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Bleeds)**
22. Pleasure Unbound - Larissa Ione
23. Face the Fire - Nora Roberts (currently reading)

**These are on my favorites list.

Review and Request: The Queen's Bastard by C.E. Murphy

Alright, alright, I give up already! I really, really tried to finish this book. It's not that it was a bad book. It was interesting. There was political intrigue, murder, witchcraft, and sex.

How could I not like this book? I don't know. I read 338 out of 432 pages. It's just that I felt like I was waiting for something to happen that never did. The heroine is Belinda, from birth she's been secreted away in a castle, her parents were dead and her "uncle" would come visit sometimes. No, not that kind of uncle. Actually, he does have a secret but he's not Chester the Molester. Belinda realizes she has some kind of weird ability to hide herself, and once she realizes it, her uncle somehow makes it go away. She ends up as an assassin, craving her uncle's acceptance? favor? I don't know. Her motivation was unclear. If it was me and I had been in that castle, alone all that time I would have left at the first opportunity. I guess that was my first problem, I didn't understand why she did the things she did.

Then, there was also the fact that I can't keep up with all the characters and places. I thought there were two queens until halfway through the book when I realized there were three queens! I still don't know who held which country. I know Belinda worked for the Red Queen, but I can't remember which country is hers or what it is they're trying to do - kill the other queens or just take their lands? And it seemed like everyone had more than one name!

The prince, Javier, seemed like a pretty okay guy to me. He was the son of one of the Queens. I think he may have either been illegitimate or she faked her pregnancy and was not really the Queen's son. Again, not sure. I liked that he was able to help her discover her hidden talents. His friends were another story. I liked Marius, who seemed like a true friend, although I felt sorry for him, but Eliza and Sacha were unlikeable. I couldn't tell if Sacha was a friend of Javier's or was secretly working against him politically.

I'm not saying this was a bad book, as I said earlier, it's full of all kinds of interesting stuff - I just couldn't keep it all together. I've had a lot going on in my personal and professional life, so it could just be that it was not a good time for me to be reading a book that required this level of concentration.

Despite all my complaints, I'd like to know what happened to Belinda and Javier, I just can't force myself to keep reading... If anyone has read this book, I got as far as Javier asking Belinda/Beatrice to marry him and Robert and the Red Queen finding out she was engaged. I'd like to find out if they did eventually marry, or if she betrayed him. Did she find out who his parents really are? My secret worry is that they were actually related - ewww!!! And what about her father? And who in the hell is Dmitri?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cover Alert - Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Sci-Fi Guy has posted the new Mercy Thompson cover. It's gorgeous!!! I love this series and her covers are fantastic! Silver Borne comes out March 30, 2010 - I can't wait!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Show Me Yours Saturday

I heart Book Gossip has started a new meme: Show Me Yours Saturday.
Here's how it works:

Each weekend try to post a Show Me Yours. It can include a favorite food to something about you. Show me the deets and I will show you mine. Key word is show: So show us some snazzy pictures not just words.
I think most of you know by now I live in New Orleans. Since today also happens to be the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I decided to post a few quick pics of the city I love:

This is my view of the city every morning on my drive in to work. This was a hard picture to get! I drive a stick shift and took this picture in bridge traffic on my way to work - let me tell you that took a bit of coordination! I work in one of the high-rises (I won't tell which one!)

Here's a St. Charles Avenue streetcar. It is the oldest continuously operating streetcar system in the world. The first Mardi Gras parade is held on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar every year on 12th night (January 6).

This is not a very clear picture, I couldn't get close enough to do it justice. It's our first Borders bookstore! The building used to be a funeral home (should be fun at Halloween)... I think that's pretty cool.

This is the ferry that goes from Algiers (where I live) to Canal Street (downtown New Orleans). I have many happy memories of riding this ferry with friends, headed out to the French Quarter. I love that I can just catch the ferry and I'm right there in the heart of the city!  [photo redacted]

This is the Catholic church in my old neighborhood. I was married here and my kids did their baptisms and first communions here. I love this church with it's high ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows. Modern churches give me the creeps.

I know I could have done a lot more touristy pics, but decided to show what I like about the city. Hope you don't mind.... and enjoy the pics!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Friday 56

I saw this meme over at Sweet Vernal Zephyr and decided to play along:

A weekly meme hosted by Storytime with Tonya and Friends.* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.* Turn to page 56. * Find the fifth sentence.* Post that sentence along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.* Post a link along with your post back to this blog.* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

I am currently reading The Queen's Bastard by C.E. Murphy:

"Bitter thoughts on a midsummer morning did not bring on sudden illness, no matter how useful that illness might be to her. Dismayed nausea at a task interrupted did not leap from her frustration to poison a man's body.
It was not herself she had to convince."

(The last sentence is actually the 5th sentence, but it seemed like kind of a rip-off to just do that tiny sentence all by itself. )I hadn't been to the library in quite some time, and this one "fell off the shelf" and I decided to check it out (heh - I said "check it out". About a library book. Get it? Huh? Huh? ). Currently I'm struggling a bit with it, lots of names and places that I keep getting confused. BUT, it is an intersting story and I'm hoping my perserverence will pay off.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review - The Undoing of a Lady by Nicola Cornick

This is the 3rd book in the Brides of Fortune trilogy. There's a lot going on so I hope this review makes sense!

Lady Elizabeth Scarlet (Lizzie) has always been a free spirit. Her mother was an alcoholic who left when she was a child, and her father died, leaving her in the custody of her two brothers. One brother, Sir Montague, is the squire of Fortune's Folly. No one in the village likes him, including Elizabeth, due to his greediness - he's enacted several more medival taxes since the Dame's tax from book one to milk his villagers of their money. Her other brother, Tom, is a worthless lout who has already dishonored one of her friends by getting her pregnant and leaving her to face the consequences alone.

Lizzie has strong feelings for Nat Waterhouse, one of her brother's friends that she has been very close to since childhood. Nat is getting married to an heiress because he desperately needs her dowry money. Lizzie knows he will be miserable and she plans to stop him before he makes a huge mistake. She sends for him to meet her the night before his wedding, intending to lock him in until after the wedding. Her plans go awry, however, and they end up having sex! Both parties are distressed once they realize what they've done and Lizzie runs away. Lizzie decides pretending it never happened is the best course of action, Nat wants to talk about it. She avoids him like the plague but keeps running into him in social situations.
Then, her brother Montague is murdered and the next night Tom has a very indecent party in their home, and Nat ends up rescuing Lizzie. The spend the night together and know that physically they are amazing together. Nat tells her she has no one else and must marry him and she agrees, although she is upset Nat doesn't love her like she loves him.

She does not know her brother Tom is blackmailing Nat with information about his sister. This is the only part of the book I had a problem with - Nat is a law enforcement officer of some sort. He should know better. But, he feels he must keep his sister's reputation safe, as well as provide for his mother. AND, he feels responsible for ruining Lizzie and wants to marry her to save her reputation as well as receive her rather large dowry so he can pay for Tom's silence.

Nat and Lizzie marry and it is a disaster from the start - neither one behaves well, and Nat's indifference and Lizzie's drinking and acting out become a problem. They have no communication between them, only great sex, and Lizzie decides that's not enough. She decides she wants Nat to woo her. Then, she overhears a conversation that causes her to run away again, not knowing the true story.

This story was good. The characters from the first two books were part of the story. The only thing I didn't like, as I mentioned before, was the blackmail plot, but it was integral to the storyline. Lizzie's character was pretty consistent as far as her actions and reactions to the various goings-on in the book. I can tell you this book had a lot of things going on at once - murder, sex, blackmail, jealousy, alcoholism, a naked horseback ride through a club. Yes, you read that right, a naked horseback ride through a club. I enjoyed this story, I'm sorry it's the last in the trilogy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Am I reading too much paranormal romance?

My husband brought a new scented laundry soap home. We've been using it for about three days, and I keep smelling it on our clothes and sheets. Today I thought to myself, "I wonder if this is how vampires and werewolves feel when they are near people who wear perfume?"


Time Travel Tuesday

(I'm sure I've seen that title before, so my apologies to you if I stole it!)

I'm very excited about Diana Gabaldon's Echo in the Bone coming out September 29. I only own her first two books (will eventually get the rest) and I've been reading them randomly now and again, and I keep thinking to myself, if I went back, what would I bring?

I first thought - my Ipod, of course, but it would only last a few hours. But I wonder if I would remember any of the songs I like? Or just snippets? I barely know the words to half the songs on the radio now, let alone when there's no radio to sing along to. Then I imagine a scenario something like this:

I love that scene from Black Knight! If you haven't seen the movie, it's typical Martin Lawrence. He's an amusement park worker who accidentally travels back into Medeval England and the king thinks he's a court jester, or something like that. If you like "low-brow" humor (I do), you'll like it; if not, don't bother...

Back to the question at hand: What would I bring: Definitely a toothbrush and toothpaste, more than one if possible. My next choice would be shampoo/conditioner. Maybe a compact mirror and tweezers (I think they'd come in handy for more than just eyebrows!)? I thought about some kind of shoe insert (are you gellin'?) because I would imagine shoes in the past were not at all comfy. I wonder if a photo album would get me burned at the stake? Or my tattoo, for that's pretty visible. I would want to bring medicine, of course, but what kind or how much? Or maybe chocolate? Neosporin? So many choices................

Monday, August 24, 2009

Need Help - Can't remember the title of a book!!! Updated

***Many thanks to pattepoilue - you're a genius! The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga by Edward Rutherfurd is it!!! This has been driving me crazy for weeks -thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I have been trying to remember the name of a rather long book I read a few years back and haven't been able to remember. I tried calling the library to see if they kept the titles you check out but they don't. I've tried putting keywords in google but I'm not having any luck.

Okay, I read this book about 5 years ago, and I don't think it was new even then. It was not a romance. It was a fictional story, but sort of a history of Ireland, from pre-celt to ?maybe early 20th century? (I'm not sure it even got that far). It started out with the pre-celts painting themselves before battle. There were several storylines as time moved forward, but I think they all were somehow related by a human skull used as a drinking cup that was passed from generation to generation. I think there was a forced marriage in the beginning of the book. It touched on when St. Patrick came to the island, there was a bit about a priest who made copies of the bible, I think he may have also had the Book of Kells. There were stories involving women, but they're very vague in my mind... The arrival of the Vikings were covered, and also the beginnings of the history of strife between the Protestants and Catholics.

It was as very thick book, and an interesting read, but it went slowly; it took me longer to finish this book than any other book I have read. For some strange reason I remember the cover being green.

Does this book ring any bells for anyone????

Friday, August 21, 2009


A HUGE thank-you to everyone who left a comment. I am so thrilled with all the suggestions; lots of new-to-me books and authors to explore! I'll be reading new stuff for weeks!!

I'm not as computer literate as I'd like to be, so to pick the winners I wrote down all the names and put them in a hat. My 8-year-old drew from the Daughters of Fortune hat and my 16-year-old drew from the Eve hat. So, if you're unhappy you didn't win you'll have to take it up with them on the playground after school. :)

Anyway, the winners are:

The Eve trilogy: Llehn!!
The Daughters of Fortune trilogy: Eva S!!!

Congratulations Ladies!!!
Please contact me with your snail mail addy at:
pspinney AT cox DOT net.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Four Dukes and a Devil Anthology

I bought this book because I love Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. I've never heard of the other authors.

Things I love about anthologies:

1. No long, boring back story. You jump right into the action.
2. Good way to "test drive" new-to-me authors.
3. If I hate the story, there are more to choose from.

Things I hate about anthologies:

1. You get into the story and suddenly it's over.
2. You can get characters from a series you're not familiar with.

Four Dukes and a Devil contains five stories. The first story, The Irish Duke, by Cathy Maxwell, was good. A 26-year-old spinster, Susan, starts a business (shocking!) as an advisor for young women in society looking to meet appropriate husbands. One of her selling points is "The Irish Duke" - it's a little known fact that the Irish Duke follow English and Scottish Dukes in order of precidence. The English families are horrified - they didn't know. Of course, she does not mention they are still titled and there are only two in existence. Then, at a dance with her "charges", she comes across a very irate gentleman - the Duke of Killeigh, and Irish Duke. He questions why no one will dance with him and learns Susan is indirectly responsible. He hatches a plan to make her renounce her story and ends up falling in love.

The second story, The Duke Who Came To Dinner, by Elaine Fox, was a contemporary romance that started out with a bang....a naked woman riding down the street on her bicycle! This story had two Dukes -a ghost that was a Duke and a Duke who is actually a dog, specifically the dog who stole the aforementioned clothes! It was a nice story about a normally shy woman who got out of her "comfort zone".

The third story is by Jeaniene Frost - Devil to Pay. Cat and Bones make a brief cameo, Mencheres has a bit more of a part. As you can probably tell from the title, this was the Devil section of the book. Elise is a vampire who is slowly losing touch with humanity. She runs across a man, Blake, who is in some sort of trouble. Turns out the trouble is he's posessed by a demon and the only way to get rid of it is to die; the only problem is that if he's near people the demon will pass to another person. Elise and Mencheres come up with a plan to get rid of the demon, but Elise is falling for Blake and doesn't want him to die. Is there any way to save him?

The fourth story, Catch of the Century, by Sophia Nash, is a historical. Victoria Givan is a 30-year-old spinster governess, traveling with three young charges to a new assignment. She has some difficulties and they end up walking along the side of the road when they are almost run over by a fancy coach. The owner, John Varick, gets out to apologize and ends up offering a ride to Ms. Givan and her charges thinking he's giving her a short ride, until he realizes her destination is 60 miles away! He feels obligated to take them and then deposit them at their destination, but once they arrive it's uninhabitable. He arranges for them to stay at his place, which is nearby, and attraction develops. Mr. Varick has a secret identity that is not revealed until later in the story.

The last story, Charmed by her Smile, by Tracy Anne Warren, is also a historical. I must say this was my favorite story. The young heroine, India Byron, is at a ball and grabs a stranger and implores him to kiss her...she's being hounded by an unwanted suitor and hopes that seeing her kiss someone else will put him off. It works, but she finds herself attracted to the stranger. They part after a second kiss, never to see each other again, so she thinks. A few weeks later she is at a friend's country home for a week, and her unwanted, very persistent suitor is there. He proclaims his love and tells her he will have her. She tells him she is almost engaged to the gentleman he saw her kissing earlier. Then, to her surprise, she runs into the gentleman at the country house! He agrees to her request to pretend to be courting her, then she finds out he's a Duke! Of course, there's attraction, but the Duke is not intersted in marriage and tries to keep his distance. Then, India gets into some trouble. What's a girl to do?

All in all, five very delightful short stories. I am a big fan of Jeaniene Frost but now I've also been introduced to some new-to-me authors and look forward to discovering more of their work.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cover Alert - Shift by Rachel Vincent

I stumbled across the new cover for Shift over on SciFiGuy's site:

I love her covers! They way she left things in Prey, I just can't wait until this one comes out in March 2010. I love these books, Ms. Vincent is such a talented writer. If you haven't read them, check them out here, or read my review of the series here.

Ms. Vincent talks about her cover here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Before and After

Since I've recently begun reading again, things have gotten crowded in the ol' bedroom. I went out and bought a bookshelf today. Here's before:

And after:

I can't decide if it's better...maybe I should have gone for the 5-shelf model. The top is my TBR - I know, sad right? But I've gotten a lot of suggestions from my giveaway and will be adding to it! The rest are my "keeper" shelves, and the pile on the floor are books I can't decide what to do with. Note the big, empty space on the top shelf where my Sookie books should be (she's out galavanting around again!).
Also, for your viewing pleasure, is our other bookshelf that was only supposed to be for our "good books", which turned into kind of an Anne Rice shrine as well as a few other books we had in hardback. That didn't last long and we're planning a larger bookshelf...

(Don't laugh at Spongebob - my 2-year-old loves him!!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Final Dreamfever Teaser Released!!

Just when I think I cannot wait another day, Karen Marie Moning releases this. It's almost 15 minutes (6 pages) of audio from her audiobook - I cannot wait two more days!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seducing Mr. Darcy by Gwen Cready

I loved this book! Let me just start by saying this: Sexiest game of Scrabble ever. This book was time-travel but not, contemporary and historical, funny and sad.

Flip is a bird researcher and is part of a book club that is planning to review Pride and Prejudice. Magnus is a Jane Austen scholar from England currently working at the local college. Flip and her friends are outside a coffee shop one morning, talking and laughing and making ribald remarks about Mr. Darcy, planning their book club meeting the next week. Magnus is sitting nearby, trying to work and not hear their ridiculous remarks about the book. He is a serious scholar and can't believe they're reducing P&P to comments about Mr. Darcy's pants and hedgerows. As she leaves the coffee shop, Flip accidentally bumps into Magnus. She tries to make small talk but he rebuffs her by repeating some of what he'd overheard of their conversation and leaves. Flip gets angry and follows him, planning to tell him off, but ends up distracted and her neck hurts. She sees a flyer for a quick massage and decides, why not?

The massage has a theme - Imagine Yourself In Your Favorite Book. Of course Flip imagines herself in P&P. She falls asleep and wakes up in the book. Her character, Lady Quellin, ends up having sex with Mr. Darcy in a gazebo! She wakes up back on the table, thrilled with the massage, and heads home. The next morning, she sees a copy of P&P at the library - a first edition- and it's different!! Lizzie Bennett does not marry Mr. Darcy, she has a tryst with Wickham and ends up pregnant and alone!!! Uh-Oh. Flip needs to see more to see how bad it is but the book is encased in glass and guess who has access? Yup, Magnus. She goes to him for help (obviously she can't tell him the truth) and he denies her. She leaves in a huff.

He is intrigued by her request and goes to her home to get more information, and a comedy of situations ensues, including the sexy Scrabble game. Magnus sees the changes in the book and is alarmed and confused. Flip ends up back at the massage therapist to try to correct the changes, but it's dangerous because you're not supposed to go back into the same book twice, AND, you only have 24 hours from when you started to correct the changes. Magnus follows her and ends up in the book as well, and the two of them try to get Lizzie and Darcy back together.

This book was great! From the first page I laughed and cheered. The characters were likeable and I really wanted Flip and Magnus together. Flip's ex-husband, Jed, and his girlfriend Io were hilariously awful. I couldn't put it down, this one definitely goes on my keeper shelf! I want to read it again!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to Score by Robin Wells

I liked this book. The premise is good - Chase Jones is an FBI agent. His brother, Luke, goes out for pizza and sees a mob hit and is immediately put into protective custody until the trial. Chase feels guilty because he suggested the pizza place, so he takes over Luke's job as a Life Coach, just until the trial. It's not a problem as he can talk to all the clients by phone. Since they're brothers, their voices sound similar - no one should notice.

Sammi Matthews is a museum curator who's had a bad run of dates - she's accidentally injured the last few guys she's dated. Her sister convinces her to call a life coach just to get herself back together and get her confidence back.

I think you see where this is going....Chase poses as Luke to counsel Sammi, and he wants to see what she looks like. He tells her she needs to change things up in her life and to go jogging in the morning. He's also there, waiting to catch a glimpse. Sammi brings her dog, and the dog ends up pulling Chase's shorts down, and he falls on top of her! They end up talking and attraction blooms. They end up seeing each other a few more times, all the while Chase is still posing as Luke, her Life Coach, and giving her advice.

I will say this, it could have gone cheesy and Chase would have been giving her advice pushing her towards his bed, but that's not what happened. He actually gave her good advice - in addition to her dating problems, she's also having problems at work and her landlord is trying to sell her apartment.

The story is fun, and the main characters are likeable. I wasn't as involved in the side story about her boss, or her landlord, so I just kind of skimmed those parts. I loved Chase's interactions with some of the other Life Coach clients - he was pretty funny. And, while I think it was dishonest of Chase not to tell Sammi the truth before he did, I can understand how he never had the chance.

The story was good and the romance was nice. The ending was super-sweet and made me laugh. What more could you ask for?

Monday, August 10, 2009

50th Post Giveaway!

I'm back! Many thanks to my SIL who helped me with the makeover - Love You!!!

Here's the thing: I'm pretty new to Romance reading, whether it be paranormal, historical, or whatever. I'm an avid reader, and it usually takes me 2 days, tops, to read a book. Exception: Diana Gabaldon - so not complaining, love her! So, I fervently search other book blogs for reviews and recommendations. I've read so many, many books reviewed and recommended by other bloggers and for that I am eternally thankful to you all! My only problem is that I have all these tiny post-it's and scraps of paper with authors and titles written on them floating around in my purse so I don't forget what I want to read.... it looks like a trash can inside my purse!

I will say my list is VERY short on sexy Highlanders, so if you know of any of those, I'd appreciate a recommendation. I'm also running out of paranormal romance TBRs, which was how I was introduced to romance in the first place.

However, now I've got a huge pile of books I've read that don't have room for, so decided to celebrate my 50th post by doing a giveaway from my bookshelf. Your choice of :

the three SJ Day Eve books

the three Nicola Cornick Daughters of Fortune books.

I like meeting book bloggers and want to know - what is your favorite book or series and who is your favorite author? Leave a comment with a book/author recommendations, mention which set you'd like to win, and follow me or post about my contest, and I'll pick one winner for each set on August 21. Thanks!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Under Construction

Please be patient while Book Addict is undergoing a facelift!

I'll be having a giveaway to celebrate my 50th post once it's done, so be sure to come back!!

Happy Reading!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ransom by Julie Garwood

Since I liked her other Highlander books so much, I grabbed Ransom with much anticipation. I was not disappointed! Ms. Garwood's stories are romantic, but I love the humor she infuses into her stories too.

Ransom is the story of Brodick, one of the characters from The Secret (my review here), and Gillian, and English Lady. As a child, Gillian and her sister try to escape as her father's castle is attacked. Her sister gets away, but Gillian is captured and brought back just in time to witness her father's murder. The murder, Baron Alford, sends her away to live with an uncle.

Fast forward a few years, and she has been brought back to Baron Alford to see what she remembers of a valuable box her father had in his posession that the baron is trying to find. He keeps her captive in the castle.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the son of one of the Lairds, Iain, is kidnapped at a fair and brought back to Alford's castle in a plot to kill the Laird. BUT, they got the wrong child. Gillian overhears the barons discussing the Highlander who is coming to assist, and she knows the traitor will know they have the wrong child and kill him.

Gillian tries to escape with the child, Alec, and is injured while doing so. They are caught, and Alford beats her savagely and tells her she must go to the Highlands, where he hears her sister is hidden, find the box, and bring the box and her sister back to him before the Fall Festival. If she does not, he will kill Gillian's uncle. Gillian brings Alec with her, hoping to return him to his family, and travels a pretty good distance but, unable to go further, sends a request for help to Alec's protector, Brodick, through a Scottish soldier passing through. She doesn't know how to make sure Brodick will get the message, so she claims to be his bride, knowing he'll come out of curiosity if nothing else. She sees the traitor going towards England while she is hiding out, waiting for Brodick.

Intrigued by the strange message, Brodick does come, with backup, and is overjoyed to see Alec alive and well. He agrees to assist Gillian with her plan to bring Alec home and ask Alec's father to help her find her sister. On the long way back to return Alec, Gillian charms the Highlanders. They all treat her as if she really is Brodick's bride despite her protestations, "A claim's a claim" they state.

Once they finally get to Iain's keep with his son, she tells them what has happened and they agree to assist her. However, she refuses to tell them the names of the baron and his henchmen who kidnapped and assaulted her, as she fears the Highlanders will go after them and Alford will kill her uncle.

Over the few days at Iain's keep, Gillian and Broderick grow more and more attracted to each other and share a few kisses, and when he hears there's rumor that Gillian is his mistress, Broderick insists on marrying her to protect her reputation. She, of course, is having none of it, because she knows she must find her sister and the box and return to England, where she will probably be killed. The wedding scene was one of the funniest I have read!

They find Gillian's sister, but she doesn't want to speak with her. Gillian can't believe it's true and hatches a plan to see for herself. Meanwhile, she tells Brodick who the Barons are after he promises the Lairds will not to act unless she is with them. She wakes up the next morning and they're gone, so she goes off to find her sister, but is ambushed by the Highland traitors and rescued by an unlikley character.

The confrontation between Gillian and Alford is great. Ms. Garwood did a great job of tying all the loose ends into a satisfying ending. This book has good guys that are bad guys and bad guys who are good guys. There is a female character, Bridgid, whose part starts small and humerous at the beginning, and gets funnier as the story continues. I will definitely read this one again!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

BBC's 100 Books

I was blog-jumping this morning, and stumbled upon a meme over at Bloody Bad, A Book Blog about BBC's 100 Books. I went to the BBC's site to check it out... it's a good list!

Here's the list from the BBC site , it's actually the 100 Best Loved Novels (it's not exactly the same as the meme going around), and I've checked off what I've read:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien X

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen X

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams X

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling X

6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee X

7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne X

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell X

9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis X

10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë X

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller X

12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë X

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier X

15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger X

16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame X

17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy x-started it, couldn't finish it!!

21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell X

22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling X

23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling X

24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling X

25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien X

26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

27. Middlemarch, George Eliot

28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving X

29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck

30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll X

31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson

32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett

34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute

38. Persuasion, Jane Austen X

39. Dune, Frank Herbert

40. Emma, Jane Austen X

41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery X

42. Watership Down, Richard Adams

43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald X

44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas X

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

46. Animal Farm, George Orwell X

47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens X

48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian

50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett X

52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck

53. The Stand, Stephen King X

54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy X

55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

56. The BFG, Roald Dahl

57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome

58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell X

59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer X

60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman

62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden X

63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough

65. Mort, Terry Pratchett

66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles

68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding X

71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind

72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

74. Matilda, Roald Dahl

75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding

76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt

77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins

78. Ulysses, James Joyce X

79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens

80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

81. The Twits, Roald Dahl

82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

83. Holes, Louis Sachar X

84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake

85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson

87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons

89. Magician, Raymond E Feist

90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac

91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo

92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel

93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett

94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

95. Katherine, Anya Seton

96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer

97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez

98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson

99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot

100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Hmmm....37 1/2 out of 100, and some of those were children's books!! I need to buy more books!! How well do you stack up?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Highlander Untamed by Monica McCarty

I read Julie at Outlandish Dreaming's terrific reviews of Monica McCarty's books and decided they sounded exactly like the kind of story I've been looking for - and I was not disappointed! Highlander Untamed is the first book in the Macleods of Skye Series. What a great story!

At the request of her uncle, Isabel MacDonald agrees to a year-long handfast to an enemy clan's laird, Rory MacLeod. Her uncle wants her to find the hidden entrance to the MacLeod castle and steal their infamous Fairy Flag and bring it to him. If she does not, he will back the enemy clan of her father in a feud, which will certainly end in her father and brothers deaths. The plan is for her to seduce him and gain the information for her to pass on. The only problem is, he's not being seduced! He won't come anywhere near her.

Rory's plan is simple, handfast Isabel to maintain peace, then return her at the end of the year. He does not want to get close to her, or have sex with her, or like her. But she is beautiful, and he finds himself attracted to her. She befriends his sister, who was wounded and shamed by Isabel's clan two years previously. He sees the difference in his sister almost immediately - she's more outgoing, and seems happier than he's seen her since her injury. It's not until Isabel is ambushed by a rival clan and almost raped that Rory realizes he might love Isabell.

For her part, Isabell starts to love Rory's family, and then even Rory himself. They begin a physical relationship that brings them even closer. But Rory knows he must return Isabel at the end of the handfast so that he can marry someone from another clan for political reasons. Isabel knows he plans to return him and tries to think of a way to stay.

She feels tied to Rory's family in a way she's never felt before and comes up with a plan that will satisfy her uncle yet not betray Rory, but he walks in on her in the middle of the plan and thinks she's planning to betray him. He breaks the handfast and throws her out, devestated by her betrayal.

Can she prove to Rory her allegiance is to him? Will Rory believe her? What will her uncle do to her?

I will admit I am a sucker for stories with forced weddings (in books only - haha), so this book had everything I like - great characters, clan battles, sexy, sexy Highlanders, and, at one point, Rory asked Isabel for a boon (I surely do luv me a boon!). I loved this book!!! I can't wait to read the next one...

The author's note at the end of the book was fascinating. Apparently these were real people. The story may have been fictional, but it was based on historical facts. I would never have guessed the fairy flag or the War of the One Eyed Woman were real.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sleepless in Scotland by Karen Hawkins

I picked this up at B&N because I wanted a good, sexy Highland romance. What I got was a Highland romance. It wasn't bad, don't get me wrong. It was okay. Possibly part of the problem is that it is the 2nd in a series and I haven't read the first.

Catriona Hurst lives in the country with her family. Her twin sister, Caitlyn, is in London for the season, and word has reached Catriona that Caitlyn has been acting up in an unladylike manner. Apparently Caitlyn made a bet with Alex MacLean that he would ask her to marry him, and she plans to win. Catriona hurries to London to stop her sister before she makes a huge mistake and ends up ruining her reputation. When she arrives, Caitlyn is already gone. Catriona learns that Caitlyn's plan is to climb into Alex's carriage and wait until they've been gone long enough that when she is discovered he will have no choice but to propose to save her reputation. If that isn't bad enough, she plans to say no!

Catriona rushes out to look for her sister and finds Alex's carriage at an Inn changing horses. She climbs into the carriage to grab her sister and put a stop to her nonsense, but she finds the carriage empty. Then it starts to pull away, with Catriona still in it! After some time, Alex gets into the carriage and tells her he knows what's going on and he won't fall for it. Catriona tries to tell him she's Caitlyn's twin, and that there's been a misunderstanding, but he won't listen. It's not until much, much later, when Catriona's uncle pulls them over, that he understands the truth. The other problem is that it's not Alex, but Alex's brother, Hugh, that has been with the carriage.

Of course, Catriona's uncle demands they marry, as society has already heard what happens and her reputation will be in tatters. Three days later they are married, and she goes home to Scotland with him. He tells her they will live there for a few weeks, until the scandal dies down, then she will return to her home and they will live their lives separately. While Catriona is not happy about being married to this stranger, she is even less happy with his idea of how their marriage will be. Then, on top of that, when she arrives at his home, his three daughters are there (he's never been married)!

Things continue to go downhill for her. I found Hugh was a very blah character - he was just ambivalent about everything. He didn't want her involved in his work raising horses. He didn't want her interacting with his daughters, as they had a history of being abandoned and abused and he didn't want them to grow attached to Catriona just to have her leave again. Due to their abusive history, the girls were awful to Catriona - they played pranks and tried to get Hugh to send her away. It seemed to me the only time he wanted Catriona involved was in the bedroom.
Needless to say, Catriona was lonely and homesick.

Also, Hugh's family was cursed in such a way that when they were upset they control the weather, and I think he did get mad enough a time or two to cause that to happen. Once was during a terrific fight with Catriona about her place in his home and his life and with his daughters. This "talent" was just a weird side-note until near the end of the book when it came in handy.

As I said before, it wasn't a bad book, the plot was good, I just found that I really didn't care what happened to the characters. There were some secondary characters that might have a good storyline, but for this book, eh.