Saturday, June 19, 2021

Recent Reread

 First read - April 9, 2105


Radiance by Grace Draven


I'm so glad I love to reread


I just recently picked up the third book of this series. It’s been quite some time since I read a book in this series so I wanted a refresher and figured it was time for a reread of Radiance. When I read the review below again, I realized I couldn’t do a better job.

This is still just as beautiful as it was six years ago.


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This is a wonderful story of two rather throw away people who were put together for political reasons. Brishen is a warrior and prince, the second son or the spare of the race of Kai. They aren’t quite human and they look very different. Their skin is grey and their eyes are very different than human eyes. They live at night and sleep during the day. Ildiko is the impoverished niece of the king of the Gauri, a human race. It was determined that the two of them marry to shore up a political alliance – marry sight unseen. They run into each other before the wedding and in a very sweet and funny scene, the each agree they find the other one repulsive. It’s not meant to be insulting, more of a matter of fact admission. But what is rather cute is Brishen is very attractive to fellow Kai and Ildiko is very attractive other humans.
But this meeting and honest assessment of each other is the basis of a growing deep friendship. Brishen becomes very protective of Ildiko, defending her against his vile family and protecting her from those who would attack her because of the political intrigue resulting from their marriage. Ildiko, on her part, does everything she can to immerse herself into Kai culture and become a helpmeet to her new husband. There is an ever growing respect for each other and I loved the dynamics between the two. This is a true story of friends first and then developing romantic because the friendship does turn deeper and they both see the inner beauty in the other and they slowly fall in love.
I loved this book – simply loved it. I liked that the conflict came from outside, not from the hero/heroine. They are united throughout the story. It made very much for an ‘us against the world’ kind of feeling. Though there is a great secondary character, Brishen’s cousin and a warrior in her own right. She is devoted to Brishen and slowly sees that Ildiko is a true mate for him, even though she does come from a different race entirely. Both Brishen and Ildiko are wonderfully written. Brishen is a warrior, but he is also very sharp when it comes to the machinations around him. He’s attentive, protective, and gentle and all that is good to Ildiko and eventually he’s even jealous when he realizes how attractive she is to others. And Ildiko is tender, understanding, compassionate towards Brishen and fierce when it comes to protecting him.
They are in fact perfect for each other. While the story did end, and happily so, there is a final little bit that leaves it open for another book and in fact this is called Book 1 in the Wraith Kings. I shall be happily waiting for the next one. In the meantime, I have Master of Crows and Entreat Me by this author to help in the wait. And then of course, I’ll have to reread this one again when the next in this series comes out.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

People who change our lives

 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

People who change our lives

I live in London Ontario.  I don't like to give too much personal information on line but there is a reason I'm sharing this.  In case anyone hasn't heard, there was a horrific act of hate that happened earlier this week in this city.  A young man (though I almost hate to call him that) deliberately drove up on sidewalk and ran into a family out walking.  Four out of five of the members of this family were killed.
What could cause this level of hate?  Because the family were Muslim.  That's it.  No other reason.  I can't speak for all but I think many Canadians may be under the impression that this kind of thing doesn't happen here in Canada, that we are somehow immune.  But we aren't.  Racism, hatred for anyone different exists all over the world.

I originally posted this on May 26, 2005.  At the time I did, I hoped that we would grow as a people and see and appreciate our similarities with people of other faiths and nations and colours.  But that didn't happen.  Instead, it's only grown.  I don't understand it.  But I will always appreciate what I learned back sixteen years ago and I continue to appreciate what working with Magda taught me.  I like to think I'm still growing as a person.

I wanted to repost this as it is as true today as it was back then and I just wish more people could see it.


May 26, 2005

I want to say something about somebody who changed my life. I started a new job six weeks ago. I had been off work for the previous for five months and the job I held before that was difficult for me. So when I started at the new job, I was in a bit of a mess, emotionally wise. I hadn't used my brain for five months and it definitely showed. My confidence in myself wasn't the greatest. I was lonely, scared and overwhelmed, emotions I don't like feeling this late in life. The day after I started, someone else started in the work station next to me. She was there on a six week placement. 

When I was introduced to her, I had a sinking feeling inside. She was a traditional Muslim woman who had moved to our country from the mid-east three years ago and didn't speak English very well. She wore traditional Muslim clothes with the head covering; sorry I don't know what it's called. I thought I would have nothing in common with my nearest coworker. I have worked with Muslim women in the past, but they have spent most of their lives in Canada and were quite used to our customs and ways. Because we were both new and most of the other people in the office eat there lunch at their desks, I began eating lunch with her. And slowly but surely she began changing my perceptions. As we began to talk more and get to know each other better, I realized that we weren't nearly as different as I thought we were. We didn't talk about religion. We didn't talk about the ugliness going on in certain parts of the world. Instead we talked about our own daily lives as wives, mothers, sisters. I learned that she loved her husband just as I love mine. She loved her kids and was proud of them just like me. She has a child that is more of a challenge shall we say and so do I. We both lost both our parents when they were relatively young and we both understood what that was like. Both us had husbands who tried to teach us how to drive a standard; once. That was enough :). I learned that although she didn't speak English very well, she actually had quite a bit more education than I did. She was older than I was when she got married and had children when she was older. Her boys love to play sports just like mine do and she told me how excited her son was when he made the high school soccer team. She told me how he didn't tell her when he hurt himself at his first game and I told her how my son broke his wrist playing baseball. As we talked and got to know each other, I realized that our similarities increased and our differences decreased and I came to like her very much. She had a wonderful sense of humour and she made me laugh and I made her laugh at some of the absurdities our every day lives. 

Today was her last day and I don't know if I will see her again. Our lifestyles are very dissimilar. But she taught me something very important. She taught me not to judge people on appearances or preconceived impressions. She taught me that different cultures can and do have common ground. I know that she will never read this but still I want to say thank you Magda. You helped me to grow as a person.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Ponderings

 


I am a collector.  When I find something I enjoy I go full out on almost obsessiveness.  For a while I was very big into crocheting – afghans.  That seemed to be the only things I wanted to crotchet and I must have made at least 15 of them.  And the wool.  Oh my goodness did I go all out for wool.  I could have made 50 of them with the amount of wool.



Then I started beading. So I bought beads and more beads and more beads and so on.  I keep meaning to really start, I have enough now to open a jewelry store – except I haven’t mad that many necklaces, bracelets, earings and so on.  But if I ever do get around to it.





And finally we come to books, the biggest and brightest of my hobbies and I made a momentous decision.  I’m not sure how many I have but it’s in the thousands.  Between print books and ebooks I will admit it is insane.  So I decided yesterday that I will stop buying books.  It’s a scary thought and there are exceptions.  I will allow myself five authors and still buy their books:

Lisa Kleypas

Pamela Clare

Mia Sheridan

Carian Cole

Scarlet Cole

That’s it.  Those are the only authors who will remain on my autobuy list.  In order to purchase a new book by any other author, I will have to read 5 books I already own.  Then I will let myself buy a new book.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and these are the rules for me.  I can still get books through Kindle Unlimited.  I have 10 of them now, the most you are allowed at one time so I will be reading them until I have them done before getting any new ones.  And of course I will be seeing book I just have to have.  I will put those ones on an Amazon wish list and when I finish reading the number of books needed to get a new book, I’ll have that list.

The only other exception is the FREE books offered through Book Bub and only if I can't live with out it.  Other than those rules that's it!  No new books for me.

We will see how long this lasts.  I'm thinking a week at tops before I talk myself into breaking my rules and getting a new book



'til later

Monday, May 24, 2021

Recent Reread of an old favourite

 

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (MacKenzies & McBrides, #3)The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although I've read The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, I think this is only the second time I've read this boo. I'm every so glad I read it again. I think maybe it took so long as I hadn't picked it up as an ebook until the other day and since I don't read print books much at all anymore, I kind of forgot about this one. I m ever so glad I decided to read it again. I'd forgotten how much I love it.

Still deserves the 5 stars I gave it last time!!

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I'll be honest here and say when I read the first two books of this series, Cam didn't make that big an impression on me. And my main thought was that I would have to read his story before I got to Harts' the one I wanted most after reading all about Ian and the rest of his MacKenzie brothers. So going into this one I wasn't expecting a whole lot.

I don't know if that's the reason or what it might be, but this one turned out to be, as Tony the Tiger says, GREEEEAAAATTT!! I LOVED it - almost, but not quite as much as Ian and Beth's book.

It starts out with a bang when Ainsley is scoping out Cam's bedroom for some missing letter stolen from the queen when in walks Cam and the thieving woman who is using the letters to blackmail the queen. She has hidden them with Cam, though he doesn't know it and as one of the queens lady's, Ainsley is trying to find them and give them back. Cam of course, discovers Ainsley's hiding place and is wickedly delighted. You see, they had a similar kind of meeting six years previous when Ainsley was trying to find something in Cam's room. They had an immediate attraction to each other though Ainsley refused to act on it as she was married and while not in love with her much older husband, respected and cared for him a great deal. But neither has forgotten the other over the year and now that Ainsley is a widow, Cam is determined to 'get in her skirts' this time 'round.

For not being a character who made me sit up and take notice in the previous books, with his own story it was an entirely different matter when reading it. Cam is a man who was betrayed beyond belief by his first wife. Not only did she take many, many lovers over the time they were married, but she also tried to kill both Cam and their son Daniel and indeed ended up taking her own life. She was clearly mad but that didn't keep her from leaving deep, deep scars on Mac, both physical and emotional. He uses his gift with horses and meaningless sex to try and escape his demons. But when he's with Ainsley, he feels a deep sense of peace though it takes him a while to recognize it as love he is feeling. I just loved this poor tortured man to pieces and pieces. He loves his son deeply, and Daniel is a wonderful secondary character by the way who will be getting his own story, but doesn't really understand how to be a father. His own father was a monster and all the MacKenzie heroes have a lot to overcome with their horrific childhoods.

Once he gets Ainsley into his orbit again, he is so gone for her. I've said on many occasions I love a hero who is so gone for the heroine.

And Ainsley is exactly the kind of heroine I enjoy. She's sharp and she's funny and she's intelligent. No false miss is she. After a bit of hesitation and then consulting with friends, when Cam wants to take their relationship much further, she goes for it, with no second thoughts. She has very fond thoughts of her first husband and admired him even though he was much, much older than her.

I love that the author didn't go down the cliched route and make her first husband evil. Even the character that was blackmailing the queen didn't turn out to be evil, evil. She just wanted the money to desperately escape an unhappy marriage. The most evil person in the book was Cam's first wife Elizabeth and her evilness was needed to turn Cam into the kind of person he was.

I finished this book in a very short amount of time as I couldn't bare to put it down. I, um, ah, may have taken longer breaks and lunches than I'm allowed as work since I really didn't want to stop reading this Very Enjoyable Book. I still like the first one better, but just by a shade. But this one also is getting very high marks!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

 

Entreat Me by Grace Draven

 

When I saw what the theme was in May for Super Librarians (Wendy) TBR Challenge, I wasn’t sure if I had anything that would fit the bill.  The month’s theme is Fairy Tale/Folk Tales.  I think you get those tropes more in Fantasy and I don’t read Fantasy very much at all so I wasn’t sure I had a book that would fit the bill.  I do!  I hit the jackpot with this one.  I’ve had Entreat Me by Grace Draven in the pile since 2015; just sitting there, unread.  I picked it up after reading Radiance ad Eidolon and loving them.  Then I tried getting into Master of Crows a couple of times, unsuccessfully and forgot I had this book.

 

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  Louvaen is our Beauty and Ballard is our Beast.  Now in this story, Cinnia, sister to Louvaen is the real beauty and Louvaen is the mother lion, doing everything she can to protect her sister.  Their father is ineffectual at everything and has put them all in debt to the evil villain who is willing to overlook the debt if he can have the hand of Cinnia.  This will be only over Lou’s dead body.  Cinnia is smitten with the handsome and dashing Gavin and the two of them run off to his mysterious castle.  Lou is hot on their heels, bound and determined to save Cinnia’s honour.

 

Ballard is the father of Gavin and he is under an evil spell.  He routinely goes through times where he turns into a beast.  Gavin does too but not to the same extent.  Ballard’s wife and Gavin’s mother put on an evil spell as she lay dying after giving birth to Gavin.  She hated Ballard with a burning seething passion and wants to make his life hell.  None of the castle inhabitants have really aged since she put the spell on them, which includes a few servants and one caster of spells, and they’ve been living in the run down and isolated castle for over 200 years now.

 

There is instant chemistry between Ballard and Lou.  Even when not in monster form, Ballard still bears the aftereffects and is hideously scarred.  He can’t see how Lou would find him the least bit attractive.  However, Lou sees beneath his scars to the truly fine person that he is.  He makes for a wonderful hero.  This felt a lot like a medieval and I love the atmosphere that Ms. Draven creates. I love the relationship between Ballard and Lou.  She is a very prickly type heroine and so overprotective of her sister.  Ballard gets more of a kick out her for it.  Ballard is also an amazing father.  We learn right at the beginning that his wife was not a faithful one and Gavin’s father is Ballard’s enemy but not even for one moment does Ballard not love him and consider Gavin as his.  We learn later what a sacrifice Ballard has made to help his son, to the point of being willing to give up his own life. 

 

I love the secondary romance between Gavin and Cinnia.  Also the bickering between Lou and Ambrose, Ballard’s magician and good friend.  Lou has inherited a bit of magic from her mother and hates it.  She and Ambrose do quite a bit of bickering and I admit I love some of the names they came up with for each other.

Moreover, the villain sure is good and villainy.  Though we don’t see her, there are a few flash back scenes with Isabeau, Ballard’s wife is truly evil.  It is bad enough to put a curse on your hated husband, but to put one on your newborn son is beyond the pale.

 

Except for Lou being a tad overprotective, this book is perfect.  I can really see me reading it again.  I was very impressed with this book.  While I was reading this book, I picked up a couple more of her books.  The third book in the Wraith King series is out and somehow missed that and I picked up another one of her books at the same time.  One other thing I have to mention is the absolutely beautiful covers she has for all her books.  I love all of them.

 

Therefore, this month’s TBR Challenge was a complete success.  I love the book.  I’d forgotten I had it so finding it was a real treasure and I loved enough to get back on the Grace Draven train.  Win, win  This book gets 4.5 stars and comes oh so close to 5.  I very happily recommend this book.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Recent 5 star ReReads



Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness, #2)Love in the Light by Laura Kaye

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having just finished a reread of the first book, of course I had to reread this one again. I said I knew I would reread it, I just didn't know it would take this long to get back to. And yep, loved it just as much this time around

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I just reread the first book in this series, Hearts in Darkness before reading this one. I needed to revisit with Caden and Makenna. I thought this book was SO wonderfully written. In the vast majority of books, we get the HEA and then it fades to black. But in Love in The Light, it continues on and we get to see that things don’t always end so perfectly. The description of this book is pretty spot on so no need to go over it too much. Caden and Makenna are still deeply in love and are rarely apart since they met in the darkness in Love in the Dark. But it’s not a happily.

You see, Caden is really struggling to comprehend things are going so well. He has a very tragic story, my heart just broke for him, and he can’t believe that Makenna could really care about him. He has very little self-worth and he is inadvertently sabotaging the relationship with his doubts. Makenna is still crazy about him and she knows she always will. She is slightly aware of his insecurities but not all of them. She doesn’t know how deep it runs. He has told her about his past but not how much he was damaged by it. Things come to a head when they go to visit her family at Thanksgiving and one of her brothers has brought an ex-boyfriend of hers, an ex-boyfriend who wants Makenna back and Caden hears this declaration and it feeds right in to his own lack of confidence. And if that weren’t enough he overhears a conversation between the ex and the brother who happen to be best friends agreeing that Makenna is too good for this scarred, tattooed, face piercing guy and Caden can’t handle it anymore. Even though her father and other two brothers really seem to like him and see how happy Makenna is with him, it’s not enough.

He ends the relationship and then falls apart. Makenna is devastated but holds hope they will get back together. She KNOWS they are meant to be together and Caden is just struggling with his devils at the moment. But then thing happen and she just can’t wait any longer.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Caden suffers from acute anxiety and severe depression. As this is something I struggle with myself, I could really relate to him. Everyone around him may be telling himself what a great guy he is, but he can’t buy it. His inner voice is constantly telling him he’s not good enough, she’d be better with someone else, he doesn’t deserve to experience love – all those kinds of things. He knows he’s spiraling downward but he can’t stop the free fall. That’s exactly what depression does, how it lies to us. I know from experience and I just wanted to hold Caden through it. No matter how much we tell ourselves to ‘get over it’ it’s not that simple.

And Makenna. Oh what a great character she is. She is patient and compassionate and wildly in love with Caden. She “sees” who he is. She is honest. She tells him about the conversation she had with the ex, even though she doesn’t know Caden overheard the conversation. I know this is going to be a book that stays with me for a long time and one I will read over and over again.


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The Tender TexanThe Tender Texan by Jodi Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being a looonnnggg time romance reader, there have been books I’ve read that have stayed with me over the years and I remember them as if I just read them yesterday. Then there are books where I don’t remember the details, but I clearly remember the love I felt for the book. Such is the case with The Tender Texan. This is one I’ve been wanting to get as an ebook for a number of years now. My thousands of books are all packed up in over 35 boxes in one of the rooms and very inaccessible. Plus I so much prefer ebooks. I’m having to use somewhat larger fonts now. The cost of The Tender Texan has always been too high to justify getting it. I have a number of books like this that I check every few months and low and behold – the price came down!! So of course I picked it up lickity split

Anna Meyers is part of a group of settlers all the way from Germany planning on settling in Texas with the promise of free land. While on the journey, her husband died and because of this, she doesn’t get the land they were promised. She needs a husband. She bravely walks into a camp of cowboys and ask if any of them are willing to marry her for $100. Of course she’s laughed at until one steps forward. Lets just say that Anna struck gold when Chance Wyatt volunteers. He needs the money for personal reasons and agrees to marry Anna and take care of her and help her build her home and get things going. At the end of one year he will leave and she will have her land.

Chance is simply the very best kind of hero. He’s slightly younger than Anna but that doesn’t matter. He is fully competent in everything he does and he is smitten with Anna right from the very beginning. Over the course of the story he does everything he says he would do and so much more besides. There was one stipulation that Anna put on the marriage and that is no kind of physical touching whatsoever and as Chance falls deeper and deeper for Anna, he finds that harder and harder. And although the reader might get a little annoyed with her – I mean this guy is pure gold – she has her reasons. She was brutally attacked by her husband a couple of times and left pregnant after the second time. What’s worse is he was carrying on with her nightmare of a mother and she has no sense of self worth. She’s learned to be cold because she had to in order to survive. But she is gradually attracted to Chance in return and manages to send the poor guy some mixed messages.

There is a whole lot more in this book that I have mentioned and it all works together to make this such a wonderful book and yet another reason I love Westerns. I’ve read many a book by Jodi Thomas and this is my favourite one – still.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Recent Read

Hearts in Darkness (Hearts in Darkness, #1)

Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I saw this book mentioned on a few Romance Vlogs I've discovered over this past year and was reminded of how much I adore this book and how much I want to reread it. So I did. This time around I changed it from a 4.5 to a well deserved 5 stars

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I first read this novella a number of years ago and it was my first introduction to Laura Kaye. Next up on my list to read was the follow up to this one, love in the Light so I wanted to revisit Caden and McKenna first.

They meet when the elevator they are riding in stops midway and they lose all power. Caden got a glimpse of Mckenna but she didn't see him before power went out.

Because of a tragic accident many years before, Caden suffers from claustrophobia. McKenna helps him through it and during this time they talk for hours and over the course of time sparks begin to grow.

It's a simple premise but one I enjoyed very much. Caden is seemingly a rough, tough kind of guy with piercings, tattoos and a shaved head. But because Mckenn can't see the outside of him, she gets to know the inner Caden who is a whole lot different. This is a quick and very enjoyable read.

'til later

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