Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Recent Reads - and a reread

Well – our cable seems to momentarily down so I can’t blog hop - either that or Blogger is acting up again. I might as well do some reviews I’ve been behind on.

First up:


The Ultimatum - Susan Kearney

Once again, this fit my main criteria these days. She’s a new to me author, I like the genre; Futuristic and while I don’t find the cover all that great, it’s not too bad. I’ve seen Ms. Kearney’s name around a bit lately for winning awards. I was perusing the bookshelves not too long ago and saw this one and decided to give it a try.
Dr. Alara Calladar is a scientist working on fixing a most peculiar problem the women of her planet face. It seems they go into heat on a regular basis and if not ‘satisfied’ by their mates, they die. This happened to her mother. As a result, the men of her planet see no reason to put any effort forth into being decent husbands – the womenfolk need them anyway. She also has other talents – such as being able to read DNA. Because of this, her help is needed by star pilot Xander in locating the DNA of the old-timers and saving the galaxy from certain annihilation. Alara is very reluctant to help, but with the help of the leader of her planet, who sees her as a trouble maker, she is kidnapped by Xander and his crew. Thus begins a race to find a cure and save the universe.
I liked this book. I liked it quite a bit. There are two previous books in this series and it probably would have helped if I had read them first since I got lost a few times, but I found my way again and went on to enjoy this one. I really liked the character of Alara. She hates being bound by her body chemistry and is determined to find a cure, yet once she realizes the severity of the entire galaxy, she is willing to fight for it. Xander also makes quite a good hero. He’s noble and brave and is willing to do whatever it takes.
I like the twist of making Alara a slave to her ‘biology and needing Xander to save her life. This book is hot; which I like. When I was halfway through, I went to the bookstore to pick up the next one in the series and I know I’ll be looking forward to the previous two. She kind of reminds me a bit of Robin Owens without the annoying cats (and remember – I am a cat lover)
Grade 4 out of 5

Next one up

Swan’s Grace - Linda Francis Lee

This one was in a bunch of books I picked out and ordered from Amazon. It hadn’t been one of the better days so when I noticed a box o’ books sitting at our back door, well I did a little happy dance there.
I’ve long been a fan of Linda Francis Lee. This is the second book in a three book series. I read Nightingale’s Gate a number of years ago (and may I say that Mrs. Giggles and I completely disagree on it. I loved the book, while she……didn’t.). Ever since I read it, I’ve been on the look out for the other two of the series, Dove’s Way, the first one, and Swan’s Grace. I fond Dove’s Way a couple of years ago, but couldn’t find Swan’s Grace. Thus the happy dance when I got this one.
This book takes place in 1892. Sophie Wentworth is a successful cellist in Europe when she is called home to Boston by her father. She thinks it’s because her father misses her and wants her home, but in reality it’s because her father has betrothed her to Grayson Hawthorne, the man Sophie has been in love with most of her life. Although she is in love with Grayson, when she finds out the truth, she is dismayed and refuses to marry him. She has changed since she was that young and na├»ve girl who ran away and so has Grayson. Now he is a very successful, very stuffy lawyer.
This book is wonderful – truly, truly wonderful! Sophie is one of the best heroines I’ve read in a long while. She headstrong, she’s a lost soul, she’s complicated and she’s a diva. She hides behind a mask of confidence, but really she is still an insecure woman. She’s fabulous. Grayson is no slouch in the hero department either. Kicked out of his home at age 16 and expected to fend for himself, he relied heavily on the small kindnesses of Sophie years ago. He’s never forgotten her in all the years and he refuses to let her out of the betrothal. He’s much more than the stuffy lawyer he appears to be. The other two books in this series are who knows where in the house, but I’m looking forward to finding them, reuniting them and reading them all over again – in order this time.
Linda Francis Lee is now writing contemporaries. I don’t know if she has plans to go back in time; the market isn’t really publishing many of these days, but *sigh* at least there are these ones to reread.
Grade: 5 out of 5


and then the reread

The Lion’s Daughter by Loretta Chase

It’s no secret that Lord of Scoundrels is one of my all time favourite books. I read it years ago and after I did, I went in search of her other books. Luckily I found both Lion’s Daughter and Captives of the Night. This was all years ago and while I’ve read Lord of Scoundrels many times, I’ve only read The Lion’s Daughter once. While I remember liking it, it didn’t have the same impact as LOS. Since my tastes have changed so much over the years and the came out with a reprint I thought I would read this one again to see if I liked it any better. I’m happy to say that yes, I like it much better on the reread.
Esme Brentmore is the daughter of Jason Brentmore and a Albanian woman. Jason (the Red Lion) was banished from England many years ago when he lost at cards and was disgraced. He met and married and fathered a daughter while working for the leader of Albania. She has since grown into a very wild young woman. Jason decides in the view of all the political intrigue going on, that he would be more effective if he was dead so he faked his own death. Unfortunately he didn’t really make plans on what would happen with Esme. Through a round about way that would be too complicated to summarize, she lands in the hands of Varian Edenmont, a real wastrel in every sense of the word.
While Esme got on my nerves a bit with her stubbornness and affinity for getting into trouble, the real enjoyment of this book is with Varian. He starts out, simply put, a jerk. Too handsome for his own good, he depends on the generosity of others, never doing anything of value with his life. At the beginning of this book he’s a very dislikeable hero. But what makes this book so good is his transformation into a worthwhile and compassionate character. It takes a rare talent for an author to do this believably and Ms. Chase pulls it off so by the end of the book I was fully captivated by Varian. When I first read this one years’ ago, I didn’t fully appreciate what she had accomplished with his character, so I’m so glad I decided to give this one a reread. The next book in the series, Captive of the Night is another one I read years ago and is Ismal, the charismatic villain of The Lion’s Daughter. I’m going to start reading this one later tonight I think (while I watch the Jays and hope they don’t blow another one) (I did - they did - aarrrggghhh)
Grade: 4 out of 5 (5 for the hero, 3 for the heroine)

'til later

11 comments:

Valeen said...

So Lord of Scoundrels was good to you too? I've seen this book talked about alot on blogs and I've tried to find it. The library system (of the entire damn province) doesn't have one single copy of it. And neither does my bookstore. I'm still watching for it though!

Kristie (J) said...

Valeen: I'm really hoping they reissue it. Since it's the third book in a series and the first two have just recently been reissued, it only makes sense that they reissue LOS - especially since it's a classic and would sell like hotcakes me thinks. I know I'd buy a copy just so I could have a better cover :)

ames said...

Hmm...I should hurry up and read my LC books - I've got The Hellion and The Lion's Daughter in my TBR. Glad you liked the Lion's Daughter. I loved Lord of Scoundrels. :P

I've read LFL's "simply" books. Didn't really like them.

Kristie (J) said...

Ames: I know - the Simply books aren't my favourite either. I liked the first one well enough but the other two - not so much. I really liked Looking For Lacey though - that's my favourite of her contemporaries.

Mailyn said...

Lord of Scoundrels is da bomb! lol and so is the follow up The Last Hellion.


OMG you are reading Beyond Paradise!!! I am soooo hoping you love it. :)

Teena said...

Looks like some great reads here! Thanks for the recommendations!

Sandie said...

I found a Lord of Scoundrels in our public library system and have it on reserve! Can't wait to try this one..Thanks for the recommendation Kristie J.

Sandie

Amarjaa said...

Good reviews! The first one looks really interesting...despite the fetching(?!) cover, I think I am going to check it out. ;)

And I've never read a Loretta Chase book, but I think I may have to based on your review!

Wendy said...

I read Swan's Grace ages ago and remember finding it too heavy on the angst. It just seemed so melodramatic to me at the time. Maybe I'd feel differently if I read it today given my current ho-hum reaction to a lot of the new historicals.

That said, completely gorgeous cover! I know they're expensive, but I really wish publishers would do more of the step-back style covers....

Kristie (J) said...

Mailyn - yup - you loved it so much I ordered it along with Swan's Grace and some others.

Teena - you're welcome. I love giving rec's

Sandie: ooohh I can hardly wait to hear what you think of it. The good thing is that although it is part of a series, it stands really well on it's own since Dain isn't mentioned in the previous ones.

Amarajja: It was great discovering a new author

Wendy: She does do drama well :) But she does it good. And I loved it if just for the setting if nothing else. It's kind of fun to go back and reread older ones and discover you like them better the second time around

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