Saturday, June 09, 2007

Recent Reads

I've been remiss in posting about the books I've read. I've been reading pretty good but finally here are my thoughts on some of them. I've been reading some old and some new with bad, good and great results.

First the bad

Come Lie With Me by Linda Howard – published in 1984

Back cover blurb: The accident that temporarily robbed Blake Remington of his ability to walk also took away his will to live. It would take a woman whose soul was as paralyzed as his body to make him care again.

Dione Kelly was Blake’s last chance. She knew that and she knew the challenge his case presented. But what she didn’t realize was that, in healing the broken man he had become, by helping Blake to rediscover his strength, she would expose her own painful vulnerabilities and start to heal herself.

Why this one: It’s Linda Howard

Level of Steam: didn’t really care – but I’d guess lukewarm

My Thoughts: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I do so love most Linda Howard books. But when I don’t like one (which isn’t often) I really don’t like it.

Short thoughts: at least I finished it.

Long thoughts: This one started out right from the get go not working for me. First off, the story is told completely from the heroine, Dione’s POV. I like to see the hero’s POV but we never get it in this book. Thus I did not like Blake. He got on my nerves even before we ‘meet’ him with his ‘willing himself to death because he can’t walk’ attitude. Sure it’s a rotten thing to have happened to him. He was a vital and risk taking kind of guy, but to me he was a coward with his attitude and since we never see his thoughts. I couldn’t get past that. We never got to know him in any sense of the word – unlike most Linda Howard books.

I mostly liked Dione, the heroine, although her poor me, I’ll never be a ‘normal woman able to love and bear children’ got a bit wearing after a while. Once we got to see why she was like that, her secrets, it was a bit more understandable

And back to Blake. I often see readers say they doubt the hero/heroine can have a HEA but me being the optimist that I am, rarely see this in a book. But in this book, I wouldn’t give them a snowball’s chance in hell of making it past a couple of years at most without Dione getting therapy. She had been emotionally damaged much earlier in life and although Blake claimed to understand her, he never really did and made a couple of real dumbass mistakes. At one point in the book Dione and his sister shared a look that he caught and insisted on knowing what it was all about. Then, when she wouldn’t tell him (cause it was really none of his business), he got a bit rough with her. At that point, she should have left his sorry ass but she didn’t. And then he put on an annoying display of jealousy and mistrust not long after that. Sorry, but jealousy in a guy is just another way of saying you don’t trust your woman. Then later still he steamrolled all over what she was trying to say – that it won’t work out. He just kept on – not listening to her.
Like I said, I finished the book. But I really didn’t like it. For a Linda Howard – I hated it.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

Now the good

One Sultry Summer by Laura Leone - published 1989

Back Cover Blurb: What would a hotshot architect like Race Bennett want with a kennel? That was what Vicky Wood needed to know when she discovered her late business partner had given half his property to his illegitimate son. Her dream had been almost within reach, but not she found that Race had other plans - and they didn't include two hundred yapping dogs!
Though he was clearly skeptical, Race gave Vicky's business one summer to succeed - otherwise they would try things his way. Vicky was determined to wipe the smirk off his wickedly attractive face, but one sulty summer only proved the passion between them steamed - and that the only partnership possible was one for life

Level of Steam: enough to make me happy

Why this one: I’ve read a few Laura Leone books and loved ‘em. I thought I would try and get more in her back list. I ordered some on Amazon and Renee sent me a couple.

My Thoughts: Not a bad little book. It was her first book and shows great promise. Vicky Wood, kennel owner, finds she has inherited half the kennel when her partner dies. The owner of the other half, Race Bennett was the previous owners illegitimate son who has his own plans for the land.
Both are appealing characters, especially Race and this is a charming, quick read.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Guilty Secrets by Laura Leone - published 1990

Why this one: see above

Level of Steam: see above

Back Cover Blurb: Leah McCargar had almost believed sexy Adam Jordan was making a pass at her when he barged int o her bedroom and taken her into his arms (note: I don't know where they got this from. Didn't happen in the book I read). But then Leah was perversly disappointed - but she was also a bit relieved. There was something mysterious about her aunt's literary collaborator. He acted like a man with something to hide...

Adam's reactions were hardly premeditated - he hadn't even been able to enjoy them! But though the pretty Ms. McCargar piqued his masculine interest, his common sense reminded him to keep his distance. Because Leah was as brainy as she was beautiful - and she was smart enough to figure out that Adam Jordan was not at all what he seemed!

My Thoughts: This one was very similar to One Sultry Summer but I liked it a little better. Leah wasn’t quite a prickly as Vicky from OSS and as was Race in OSS, Adam was a charmer. There were a number of unusual pets and they alone were quite funny.
I have more of her early books to read and while I think her later books such as Fallen From Grace were much richer, still, these two made excellent summer reading and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her early Harlequin books.
Bit of a rant here. I remember reading somewhere that one of the reasons she still isn’t writing under Laura Leone is because she couldn’t find a publisher. What is wrong with publishers today! There are so many talented writers who just aren’t being given the opportunity to write books that readers will surely enjoy! I would LOVE to see more romance from this author. I think Fallen From Grace was her last one and that is truly a shame.

I haven’t read any of her books written under Laura Resnick. Has anyone else? And if you have, what do you think? Is there romance in them, enough romance to satisfy a primarily romance reader?

Grade: 4 out of 5

And finally the great

The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars

Back Cover Blurb:
It's been five years since Lacey Burnham saw Sean Logan, and in that time her son Calvin's best friend has turned from a surly youth into a handsome, self-assured young man. Crushed with grief over Cal's sudden death, Lacey offers Sean a place to stay while he's in town - an innocent proposal that quickly becomes anything but. Lacey is stunned and confused by the yearning he ignites with a single kiss...
Beautiful, warmhearted Lacey Burnham was a haven of comfort in Sean's troubled youth. Now, against every shred of logic she possesses, Lacey is falling hard for Sean and for a heady carnal bliss she's never experienced before. But the ghosts of the past are waiting. And sooner or later, every shadow must face the light of day....

Why this one: KarenS has had an effect on me and made me see I was ignoring a whole segment of books by not reading AA authors. When I saw the buzz on this one, it had a story line that is one of my favourites – younger man/older woman, well I was sold. I promptly ordered it from Chapters and thankfully it arrived nice and quick.

Level of Steam: nice and steamy

My Thoughts: I loved it! It was different than anything I've read before. I really liked the fact that Calvin hadn't made it to the 'other side' and that we got to see his thoughts and reactions. While the age difference was a tad much for me - Sean the hero, was the same age as her son, it didn't dimish my enjoyment of this book at all. I thought Ms. Cullars did a very good job of explaining the attraction Sean felt for Lacey and the attaction she felf for him. I was really drawn into this story and read in in just over a day. Now I'm quite anxious to try another Sharon Cullars that has gotten pretty good buzz - Again

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

More reads to come shortly

'til later


Devon said...

I love Guilty Secrets. I first read it as a teen. The part they're referring to on the back is when he is sleepwalking at the beginning. I think.

Julia said...

I love Linda Howard older books, been a fan of her for long time.

Happy Reading!

ReneeW said...

I didn't like CLWM either. I have read other wheelchair bound hero books that were done better (can't remember titles right now).

Leone's old catagories are pretty good. I was so surprised after reviewing A Wilder Name that she left a comment on my blog and said she was surprised that people were still reading them. AWN was her second book and her editor made her rewrite half the book. She obviously had talent even then.

I'm like you ... I love younger men/older women stories plus I like interracial love stories. It sounds so good, I must put it on my TBB.

Rosario said...

Leone wrote some very nice categories. I admit those two you read have been my least favourite of them, so you have some excellent books to look forward to there.

Oh, and I just finished Again, by Sharon Cullars. Definitely different, can't wait to read The Object of Love now.

Kristie (J) said...

Devon: I really quite liked this one. I forget the other ones I have - but if they are all as good as these two (or as Rosario says - better) than I'm in for some happy reading. And I'll have to reread the first part again *g*

Julia: Welcome to the blog!!! I like most of what Linda Howard writes - even most of her early ones too. But this one, for me, was a real (rare) stinker.

Renee: Yep - Blake just wasn't handled very well. Maybe if we had seen inside his head too it might have been different, but as it was - I thought he was being quite selfish. And like I said about The Object of Love - the age difference was a bit too much for me - maybe since I have two sons and thinking of having the hots for one of their friends just was too wierd or something - but I still very much enjoyed this book.

Rosario: Good to know they get even better *g*.
And I see that Ms. Cullars also has a story in an anthology just recently released too. I just wish *sigh* they weren't so expensive in trade size

Karen Scott said...

Kristie, I loved Object, but then again, I am pretty partial to Boytoy romances!

Casee said...

I didn't really care for Come Lie with Me, either. One of my least favorites.

Oh and to answer your question...OF COURSE I have read Dreaming of You. I can't believe you'd even ask. *g*

Kris said...

I have not read any of those. Linda Howard is a love or hate with her older books for me. Some of her characters I love and others annoy the heck out of me. I have a Sharon Cullars book in my tbr pile, i am glad that you liked that book.

Zeek said...

Come Lie With Me and An Idependent Wife are two LH's I didn't like either. I don't think I've heard of anyone who does either.

Rowena said...

Man, I haven't read any of those books but they're all going on my lists, well except for the LH one, that doesn't sound all that great to me.