Friday, September 28, 2007

Recent Reads

Rising Wind by Cindy Holby

Why this one: Well, I love me Colonials and there are so few being written, that when I see one, it’s a no brainer that I’ll get it.

Back Cover blurb:
Last of the Duncans

Leaving behind the Highlands for the New World at the tender age of ten, Connor Duncan quickly learned that only the fit and the fortunate survive. He was both, becoming a scout and an expert marksman… a man to be reckoned with. He knew his way through the backwoods as well as any Shawnee, but he was far less comfortable in the drawing rooms of Williamsburg.

What was a rough-hewn frontiersman like he to do with a sheltered beauty like the governor’s niece?

But there seemed to be no way to avoid the “Virgin Widow.” Neither capture, nor torture, nor the violent birth pangs of a young nation could keep them apart of stop the founding of a brand new dynasty of Duncans.

Level of Steam: tepid

My Thoughts. Hmmm, this one is a difficult one to do sort of. Mostly I liked it. I adored Connor. Though he had every right to be bitter, his father was killed at Culloden on the day he was born and his mother was raped and hung in front of him when he was ten, he was amazingly well-adjusted. He was sent as a bond servant to the colonies when his mother was killed and after serving his time, has fashioned a relatively good life for himself. And while he has every reason to hate the British, he doesn’t and judges them on the person rather than the nationality.

I also liked Carrie, the heroine. She was a klutz. Being a klutz myself, I could relate to that part of her. She was adventuresome but not in a TSTL way although she did manage to get herself into trouble and Connor rescued her. It wasn’t so much her own actions as just being in the wrong time at the wrong moment. And when she needed to be, she was a very strong woman.

So why, ultimately why won’t I give this one a higher grade. It’s hard to say. Part of it may be that it doesn’t come close to my favourite colonial – Ride The Fire or another very good one, Surrender, both by Pamela Clare. I suppose it’s not really fair comparing them different authors altogether. But still, it’s hard not to.

Then there is the issue of one particular scene. It’s a torture scene. Now I always turn my eyes away whenever I see anything the least bit squeamish on TV so I don’t have to watch it. That’s harder to do when reading. And although I can read those kinds of scenes in the In Death books, in this book, it particularly bothered me for some reason. It really was quite gruesome. I know, I know you’re thinking, there was that opening scene in Ride the Fire that was difficult. But since it was the hero it happened to, we know he survived. When I first read the book, I skimmed real fast over it and when re-reading, I skip it entirely. The scene in question in Rising Wind was in the middle and I wasn’t prepared for it.

Another thing that kind of disappointed me in this one was the love scenes. There were only two and they weren’t very hot. There’s a good review for this book at AAR and I can see why the reviewer graded this one higher than I did.

If you don’t mind a lack of steam and the odd torture scene thrown in, this is quite good. There will be another one coming out with Carrie’s brother and I do plan on getting it too – because I liked this enough to read the next and also if only to support a genre that has far too few entries.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

Why this one: After I met her in Dallas, even if I hadn’t read any books by her. I would have picked this one up, just because she’s such a delightful person. Luckily, I’ve read the first two in this series and enjoyed them (although all that carrying did get to me after a while in the second book)

Back Blurb: As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Laren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now he is a defector, and his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins – cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna….

Brena Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted – and her mind violated – by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives.

Level of Steam: This one doesn’t need to go in the microwave to heat it up more

My thoughts: Good news!! This is my favourite of a good series so far. For those of you who read the first book, you will remember at the end Brenna, a member of the wolf clan was in real rough shape. She had been tortured physically, emotionally and mentally by a psycho from the Psy race. Somewhat off scene her healing has been helped along by Judd, a member of the Psy race who along with his family dropped out of sight and off of the Psy net. As the book opens, Brianna is on her way to healing although she does have a ways to go. She feels comfortable with Judd and his lack of emotions – much more so than her over-emotional wolf pack, including her two over-protective brothers. Used to being a strong person with a life of her own, she feels herself trapped by the damage done to her and the following protectiveness. She is also strongly attracted to Judd and if he allowed himself, he was also strongly attracted to Brianna. But the very nature of his race is the Silence, a way to eradicate all emotions. But it doesn’t really work – holding them in. Judd, in his previous life with the Pys was one of their strongest warriors and although he doesn’t acknowledge it, deep down, way past the emotionless barrier, he does feel. He feels guilt, he feels worthless, he feels loyalty to his family, and he feels a great deal of attraction to Brianna. But to give in to his emotions, particularly physical attraction causes him harm.

But Brianna doesn’t know this for quite some time and despite the flak she receives from her brothers, she goes after Judd full throttle.

I love a cool on the outside, seething on the inside kind of hero and Judd fits the bill deliciously. I really liked how Judd thought he was undeserving of any kind of respect even though we all know what a hero he really is. And I loved his possessiveness and protectiveness of Brianna. Although he is both, he realizes more than her own pack how important it is for her to get her life back.

And I really liked Brianna too. She wasn’t about to let a little torture slow her down. She’s determined to get over it. She’s strong and a really great heroine.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Exposure by Susan Andersen

Why this one: One of the neat things for me about having this little 'guess that book' contest is revisiting old favourites. Twice now, when I’ve picked a book, I’ve gone back and read it again myself. The first one was Lady of Desire and this is the second one. I loved it the first time I read it years ago. I loved it when I read it a couple of years ago and I loved it when I closed the last page just the other day.

Back Cover Blurb: A tragic childhood and a doomed marriage have forced Emma Sands to do what she does best - run. Now, she and her young daughter have arrived in Washington State's Port Flannery, a remote fishing village where no one knows who she is...or where she is going

Big-city cop turned small-town sheriff Elvis Donnely is six and a half feet of bruising muscle and solid hurt. The victim of a violent boyhood and a brutal bomb blast, all he wants is to forget the past...until it suddenly comes calling.

Level of Steam: Ahhhhhh – perfect

My thoughts: I love this book. I could stop there – but then that wouldn’t be very fun since I love discussing why I love books. There were two main characters that really stuck out and grabbed my imagination in this one. Elvis, the hero is one of them. He truly is droolworthy. He grew up as the son of the town whore. It was a small town so everyone knew everything and he developed a real chip on his shoulder. Still he managed to make a good life for himself and became a cop. Then his world fell apart when he was seriously injured in an explosion. He came back to Port Flannery and became the sheriff. Although the townspeople accepted him as sheriff, they never really accepted him as a person.

Because of the way he has grown up and because of the damage the explosion did to him; he has a hook instead of a hand and a big scar on his face, at first he can’t believe that Emma, the heroine can really be attracted to him. Of course me makes a complete mess of things.

The other character who really stands out for me in this one is Gracie, Emma’s precocious daughter. She plays a very big role in this book and normally I’d be wanting to gouge out my eyeballs with such a child in a romance book. But Susan Andersen REALLY makes her work. She’s very realistic; at times adorable, at times a real brat, just like any ordinary kid. And the way Elvis reacts to ‘Baby Beans’ is just adorable. He’s completely smitten with her.

And Emma is great too. She’s been through a lot and is a bit skittish and wants to keep running, but finally she realizes that Elvis really can help her. She doesn’t take shit from anyone and I love that in a heroine. I know a lot of others have read and loved this one. For those who haven’t, it gets a hearty thumbs up from me

Grade: 5 out of 5

'til later


Dev said...

Glad you got some reading it. I haven't read any of the Nalini Slingh books yet ~ I've had Slave to Sensation in my TBR for what seems like forever now.

erika said...

Wish I liked CBI as much as you, Kristi J. I did like Judd though and I will still buy the next book in this series.

nath said...

Yay, another person that read and liked CBY!!! I just read the back blurb of Mine to Possess, her next book and wow, sounds really good :D

Was Exposure a re-read? :D the book was good :D

Kristie (J) said...

Erika: *chuckle* I think you're a tougher sell than me. I read your reviews and you're a tough critic *g*. It was Brenna you didn't really care for wasn't it? I liked the way she overcame what was done to her and I kind of admired her for going after Judd *g*

Dev: They are pretty good. You should dig it out and give it a read.

Mollie said...

Ok, I have to admit after reading the summary for Exposure all I can focus on is the hook for a hand. And I keep thinking of the movie Adventures and Babysitting and the dude w/ the hook. Not to mention all the urban legends about the scary dude w/ the hook for a hand. *giggles*

About to start Visions of Heat, really enjoyed the first one, glad to hear CBI is living up to expectations! :)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever read any of the futuristics that Cindy Holby wrote as Colby Hodge? They are just a little...boring, I guess. I've been reluctant to pick up Rising Wind because of this, though I do love the setting. I don't think your review changed my mind. :P

I haven't read CBI, but I'm going to soon! Loved the first book, thought the second was okay. Hopefully I like this one better than VOH.

Exposure - I guess I've gushed enough about it. Totally agree with your 5 out of 5 rating.

Thanks for your reviews!
Jane A.
P.S. I signed up with a google acct and now it won't accept my password. So I guess I'm destined to remain anonymous! I do like your blog. :)

Rosie said...

EXPOSURE is by far my favorite of Susan Andersen's books. It's one of those books that you can recall and think about long after you read it.

Mollie, don't be scared about the hook. Yes, I know it can sound off-putting, but this story is very well written.

CindyS said...

I totally get what you are saying about books not living up to our 'favs' but that part of how we grade things I think. Like you said, you have read a really great colonial romance and let's all hope you read another but Rising Wind wasn't it. If the heat level was higher I could see picking it up but since it's tepic I'm going to pass.

Loved CBI!! Glad you did too!

Exposure - it was the kid that had me putting the book down. That and the odd french word thrown in. Ugh. If you had said the kid didn't play much of a roll I would try it again but I can already tell it's not for me.


Kristie (J) said...

Alas Cindy - knowing how much you despise kids in books, this just might not be the one for you cause she does play a large roll. But she was adorable *g*. And Rising Wind was good - just now a Ride the Fire good.

Rosie: it is a wonderful book isn't it? And you're right - very memorable!

Jane: Thank you!! And yes, I have read one of her futuristics - the one with the real scary guy on the cover. It was OK - not a keeper though. And I have her latest one in the TBR pile.

Mollie: *laughing* I have heard those stories with the evil maniac with the hook. But this one really is good! Rosie's right - don't be scared off by the hook *g*. 'Tis such a fabulous book!