Monday, March 10, 2008

The Weekly Read: Ten Second Reviews

I’m still working my way through the bookshelves of newly unpacked and hoarded books. Nothing fresh off the press, but mostly good nonetheless. I’m trying to round out my base with earlier publications. That and play with my newly opened box of Romance Edition magnetic poetry words on the fridge…

It took me a few days, but I managed to finish the book I was reading while writing this blog last week. (I tend to finish most books within 24 hours based on the number of interruptions I have.) Second Chance by Lori Handeland. Post Civil War, a young widow saves the life of convicted bank robber. But is he really a criminal? This one was tough to read for a couple reasons, however, the main reason was it was just an average read. Certainly not grab-you-by-the-seat-of-the-pants exciting. The hero is an undercover Pinkerton agent, the heroine a widow trying to run her, mercifully, dead husband’s ranch. Keeping with the traditions of a Western, there are good guys, bad guys, hangings, horses, ranch hands, spinster school teachers running around in buggies, and even a barn raising and a shoot-out. A book to keep on the nightstand for those nights you want just to read a chapter before bed and not stay up all night.

I also dug up a few ebooks this week, not to forget the media I write for. First up was Conquering Connie, book eight of the Incognito series by Anna Leigh Keaton and Madison Layle, published by Cobblestone. I fell in love with this series from book one, Seducing Olivia. The stories are all connected by the private club, Incognito, where BDSM and fetish play is the name of the game. I found Connie a little frustrating in that the book was fairly short compared to the beginning of the series, and it ended on a huge cliffhanger with a To Be Continued notation at the end. I really hate To Be Continued. But I do love the way these two authors write. I’ve read other books they’ve written individually and they stand alone as well as they do combining their talents. Check them out, for sure.

My second ebook choice was Talk Dirty to Me by Michelle Miles, released by Samhain. Overall a fun read. One reason I like ebooks is because I can read them while doing handy stuff like knitting or crocheting. Bet you never expected me to be the domestic arts type, eh? In this story, the heroine writes a weekly column and supplements her income by running a phone sex business. Mostly jaded by the whole business, she gets one caller who turns the tables on her and turns her on. He becomes a regular and Trixie (her phone persona) looks forward to Jack’s call every night. Enter the meddling friend who invites her to dinner and a set up with a sexy doctor. Well, you’ve probably guessed it by now, but the sexy doctor is Jack (not his real name of course), though it takes them a while to figure it out while going through all the denial of attraction scenarios. The most frustrating thing about this book was first we see the phone call and first meeting through her eyes, then the author backs up and shows us the whole thing again through his eyes. Luckily, she grows out of this annoying style half way through. If you can ignore that, this is a fun read.

Since I’m talking ebooks this week, let me share with you the first ebook I ever bought and one that has influenced me greatly. Particularly important to the Just Better Rich series poised to debut in May, I discovered the novella, In the Garden of Dark Delights by Andreya Stuart, when doing a Google search on my newly chosen pen name. Morgan O’Reilly came up as the name of a character in this book. The blurb sounded dark and exciting, so I bought it. Not my first BDSM read, but certainly one that inspired the baby writer I was at the time. Not only did I further my education, but I gained some inspiration for the book pouring out of my head at the time. Deeply romantic, the love story between David and Morgan touched me and I keep a printed out copy of it near my bed. If you like romantic BDSM, then get this book and Slave Heart by Nage Archer, to whom Garden is dedicated.

Back to the Western theme with another old novel. Promised Sunrise by Robin Lee Hatcher takes place in a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. The remnants of a Georgia family who lost their plantation after the Civil War seek a new life in Boise, Idaho. They pick up a couple of ragtag orphans a week out of Independence, Missouri and take them along. Well written and very enjoyable and the guy on the cover is downright beautiful. Sigh. I wish the cover here could enlarge enough to show you his face. Anyhow, if you like American historical, and if you can find a copy of this book in a used bookstore, it’s worth the read. It is the first novel in a series called Women West. Don’t know if I’ll be able to find later books in the series as this one dates back to 1990.

In hand, Skinny Dipping by Connie Brockway. Just starting.

Hidden in the bathroom for those moments alone, One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. Not a romance, it’s one of those books my friends in book groups recommended to me. A fictional story written as if from the diary and letters of May Dodd, one thousand white women are sent to bond with the Cheyenne in exchange for one thousand horses. The Cheyenne logic being that their society is matrilineal, therefore to keep their culture alive, they must marry into the white man’s world. Looking good so far.

Also on the docket of TBR, on the way from an online book seller, a few PC Cast books at Jmo’s recommendation. Those are for next week if the bookseller can fix the mistake they made in swapping out one of them for something with a weird looking dog on the front.

So, Jmo, what did you get into this past week?

Vampire Interrupted by Lynsay Sands.
Marguerite Argeneau, matriarch of the Aregeneau clan has decided to play detective. Her new job lands her in the middle of a mystery that’s over 500 years in the making. And if she somehow solves the case, it just might destroy her in the bargain. That’s all you’re getting out of me. Anymore and I’d be ruining it.

Okay, I’m not normally this fanboy over a book, but this book is the absolute best book I’ve read in, like, forever. I know series usually run a set format and I’m okay with that. Vampire Interrupted threw the format out the window. Sure it was still there, but I’ve never read a book that twisted me through so many hoops and man did I enjoy it. If you want to step outside the box, this is the book for you. If you haven’t read this series yet, I feel sorry for you, because the 9th installment is better than the first and I can’t wait to see what Ms. Sands has up her sleeve next.

Dead Over Heels by Mary Janice Davidson, a collection of three stories. Let me start this by saying I’m one of the biggest MJD fans you’ll ever meet. That said, I bought this book solely for the Betsy Honeymoon story.

  • #1 Undead and Wed: A Honeymoon Story, was a disappointment. The story felt rushed and left me feeling cheated. This really should have been a larger work. It lacked the emotional attachment and some of the comedic pop her books are known for.
    On the other hand, the other two stories in the book were pleasant surprises.

  • #2 Survivors set in Fred the Mermaid’s world was fresh and original. In fact I enjoyed this story more than the first two books in the series. The story centers around Con, a TV host of a Survivorman type reality show, who finds himself lost at sea. When Reanesta the mermaid shows up to save the day, the sparks start flying. I truly enjoyed the attraction between these two characters. Out of the three stories in the book, Survivors is the true treasure.

  • #3 Speed Dating, Werewolf Style Or, Ow, I Think You Broke the Bone was another nice surprise. Centering around the Wyndham werewolves, Cain’s story sees her 30th birthday approaching and decides its time to settle down. Enlisting the aid of her best friend, Saul, to help her find a mate, not realizing her mate is closer than she thinks. Although the story is predictable, I found myself drawn into it.
Unfortunately, that’s all for me this week. I have started Heroes Adrift and hope to have it finished for next week.

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