Saturday, July 03, 2010

Recent Reads

The One That Got Away by Jamie Sobrato

Why this one: After reading What the Librarian Did - my first Harlequin Super Romance, I finally discovered this line after all these years and have since read a few of them. The story line on this one sounded interesting

Steam Level: Tepid

Blurb: The Rules of friendship are about to be broken
Good friends are hard to find. In fact, they're priceless. And it's only after almost losing her that Marcus Katanos really appreciates his bud Ginger Townsend. She's even offered her house as a place for him to stay while he gets his life on track. Could he have a better friend?

Which makes the wild attraction he feels for her so inappropriate. It's true that she's become a stunning woman since college, but that's no reason to let his libido run amok. The longer he's in her home, the harder it is for him not to act on these urges. Just when he thinks he's got a everything under control, Ginger drops a little confession that changes everything!

My Thoughts: See - sounds good doesn't it? Not. I'm easily pleased when it comes to books. I want to love every one I read and while that may not happen, if I don't love a book, chances are pretty good that I will at least like it. So you see very few low grades here. But alas, once in a while a book comes along that I just can't give a good grade to and this is such a book. I can say I finished it. That's something. And I mostly liked Ginger, though I found her a bit confusing. Such as what the hell a fairly good heroine like her ever saw and continues to see in a total loser like the hero in this book. Marcus was like a 12 year old inhabiting a much older guy's body with about the same amount of depth to him as a head of lettuce.

I'm not sure which one got away according the title but if it was Marcus, Ginger would have been much better off letting him stay away. Years before, Marcus and Ginger had been chums in college. But Ginger had much deeper feelings for Marcus that vice versa. Why - I'm not sure, think lettuce. He's bland, bland, bland. But on their last night, when she finally gained the courage to tell him her real feelings, he didn't even pay her any mind and planned to leave the US the next morning with no plans to keep in contact with his 'supposed' best friend.

Fast forward 14 years and Marcus has been shot by some guy who objected to a story he wrote. Ginger hears about it and offers him a place to stay and regroup. Marcus also comes with someone else - a daughter he knew nothing about for years. Her mother has just recently died and he wants to try and give fatherhood a go. As long as it's convenient for him that is. He's always run away when life got a tad to difficult and it's not long before he wants to leave his responsibility to his daughter to anyone but him. Ginger knows he's a boy in man's clothing, but somehow - why I don't get at all - still has feelings for him. Of course now that she's not the dumpy girl he knew in college, he's eyeing her.

As I was reading along in this book and getting closer and closer to the end, I was wondering when the change; when the 'growing up' would occur with Marcus and it wasn't until the final two or three pages that he aged from 12 to maybe 17. I'm usually pretty gullible when it comes to a HEA - thinking most heroines/heroes can have one. But not so in this book. I didn't believe it for a nano second. A fairly decent heroine staying happy with a 17 year old head of lettuce - nope - can't buy that one at all. And if I can't buy into a HEA, then it's a BIG fail for me.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

The Conqueror by Kris Kennedy

Why this one: Wendy had a review for this one last year and with her review, and the price, and the fact that it was a medieval, a genre I love even though I don't read enough of them, it was a given that I'd love it. Wendy is a pretty tough reviewer and if she likes a book, chances are I'll love it! It's happened before. So I got it and it sat around in the TBR pile like SO MANY other books I plan to read. Then when I got the Kobo and was looking up Ms. Kennedy's newest book, The Irish Warrior, that Wendy gave another good grade to, and which happily I already got before my no new book self imposed ban, I noticed that The Conqueror was available for a very good price as an ebook so I got it as an ebook. And I was off to the races.

Steam Level: Oh yeah!!

Blurb: England, 1152. Henry II is king. The country is wracked by bloody civil war. Griffyn Sauvage is a valiant knight with a strict moral code of honor. But when his family's estate and vast treasures are seized, he becomes hardened by the betrayal. Now he will go to any lengths for vengeance—even if it means forming a union with his most despised enemy by marrying his daughter, Lady Guinevere de l'Ami. Then, Griffyn lays eyes on Gwyn and is completely disarmed. . .

As war strikes, Gwyn is left alone to fight her enemies who want control of her ancestral lands. When Griffyn comes to her rescue, she is grateful that the mysterious, brave knight has risked his life to protect hers. With each passing day, she finds herself drawn to him even as she senses he's hiding a dark secret from her. And when another dangerous adversary closes in on both of them, Griffyn and Gwyn's trust in each other will be put to the ultimate test. . .

My Thoughts: First, if you haven't read Wendy's review - Go. Read. It Now............

OK - did you read it? What Wendy says.

Now I could leave it there; Wendy did an excellent review of this book, but that would kind of be cheating. And Wendy's a tougher critic than moi so I'll try and give my own words.

This book really, really worked for me. Pagan is a hero to die for! He falls and he falls hard for Gwyn but he has other duties and they are on opposite sides in a civil war. He's brave beyond belief, he's loyal, he's honourable, in short he's everything we want in a hero. Even though circumstances are against them, still he saves her again and again. And well he should. Gwyn makes for a wonderful heroine. She's stubborn, smart, brave and funny as all get out. It's not a laugh out loud kind of funny, but a smile a lot funny. The quips she and Pagan Griffyn exchange are delightful. But he knows things about her that he doesn't tell her and she knows things she doesn't tell him. Which considering they are on different sides, as well as the fact that her father stole his fathers lands from him, makes sense.

The love they feel for each other is palpable and the choices, difficult to say the least. While reading this book, I simply had to know more about the history and spend some interesting time reading about Stephen and Matilda and her son Henry Fitz-Empress. I love it when a book has me digging into history.

As Wendy points out in her review, this book is available as an ebook for a very reasonable price and like she says "At that price how can you not try it?"

Grade: 4.75 out of 5


Leslie said...

LOL Not sure if I've ever heard the hero compared to a head of lettuce. It's too bad when you've got a good heroine and an idiot hero. :(

Hey, you made up for it with the medieval! It sounds good and like you, I've had it on the tbr pile since last year.

Great reviews Kristie!

Wendy said...

This means you have to read The Irish Warrior very soon (oh, like how about now?) because while I think I gave both books the same grade - if you were to corner me - I'd say I liked that one even MORE than her debut. And whoa doggie! The steam level? The steam level is off-the-hook!

And crappity crap crap about the HSR. Sure enough, it's loaded on my Sony Reader right now with plans to review for TGTBTU. Let's see if I can finish it like you did - which I might be able to if the heroine works well enough. It's interesting - I can slog thru books that have not-so-great heroes but give me a not-so-great heroine and I'll slap a DNF on that puppy pretty darn quick!

Kristie (J) said...

Wendy: *BG* As a matter of fact, I had to go over to Son #2's house to water his grass as he's away for the weekend and what should I pull out of my purse while I watched grass grow - but The Irish Warrior. I'm not very far into it so far - but enough so that I think I'm going to really like the heroine.
And I'll be curious to see what you think of the other one. Like I said I liked the heroine well enough except for her poor choice of men. But the hero(?) - nope. He had no depth to him whatsoever. So I'll be curious to see how you rate it.

Leslie: I had it on my TBR pile that long too - but I'm sure glad I took it off and gave it a read. It really make me wonder why I haven't read as many medievals as I used to. It was very, very good with a great hero and heroine. Though as Wendy mentioned in her review, she was stubborn a wee bit too long. I mean she had this great guy and but she waited so long to trust him.
And as for the other book *sigh* I really hate not liking books. Though the writing was good enough that it wasn't a DNF - and maybe with a different sort of hero I might like her books. But Marcus - head of lettuce - hard to tell the difference.

SarahT said...

Oh, dear! The Sobrato book sounds like one to miss.

I know you like angst in romance. Have you read any of Janice Kay Johnson's SuperRomances? I particularly enjoyed 'The Man Behind the Cop' and 'Match Made in Court'. They both deal with uncomfortable topics, but they're ultimately uplifting stories.

I loved the first part of Kris Kennedy's debut book, 'The Conqueror', but the second half didn't work as well for me. However, I liked her style and I do plan to read 'The Irish Warrior'.

Kristie (J) said...

Sarah: No, I haven't tried Janice Kay Johnson yet, but thanks for the rec. Since I am fairly new to this line and looking for authors, I will check her out when I'm once again buying books :-)

orannia said...

Marcus was like a 12 year old inhabiting a much older guy's body with about the same amount of depth to him as a head of lettuce.

*attempts not to spill water all over keyboard*


WRT The fiesty is the heroine please? I'm always on the lookout for a good medieval, but...there is nothing worse that reading about a 21st century heroine in 12th century England.

Kristie (J) said...

Orannia: I wouldn't consider her fiesty. She was smart and crafty, but very much within the context of the times I thought. So I didn't feel at that it was 21 century behaviour in 12 century England in Gwyn at all :-)

nath said...

Well, the very good book balanced out the not so good one :P Sorry that The One That Got Away wasn't so good.

So glad you enjoyed The Conquerer. I have it in my TBR pile... but there's just so many books to read, Kristie!