Monday, January 15, 2007

Recent Reads

The Untamed One by Ronda Thompson
I read the first book, Untamed One, in this series a while ago and really liked it. I’ve had this one, the second one, sitting on my TBR pile for a while now and finally got around to reading it after Sizzling. It was kind of interesting because the hero in this one was also the same type of character – only in a different setting. This is a blend of historical and the paranormal. Jackson, the youngest Wulf brother is a physically beautiful wastrel and a drunk and a womanizer. He is also cursed, like the rest of his brothers. They turn into a wolf when violent passions are raised or when the moon in full. In order end the curse for both himself and his brothers, he comes up with the idea that if he kills a witch, that should do the trick. He hies off to the country in search of a witch and finds Lucinda, a young and beautiful witch about to give birth. He helps her and soon realizes he can’t kill her. Instead they strike up a bargain. Jackson will take care of her newborn son and Lucinda will try and break the curse.

Is it a hit or a miss?

As I said, Jackson starts out in this book not a very admirable character but he decides it’s time for him to make a few life changes and grow up. And the author does a marvelous job in transforming him. It doesn’t take overnight and we get to see him struggle along on his journey into becoming a better man. She also gives us glimpses into why he became the kind of person he was and I felt myself sympathizing with him and understanding why he was the way he was.
And Lucinda makes a wonderful heroine. She’s intelligent and strong; she is able to hold her own against the animal magnetism of Jackson and she fully realizes the difference in their status. And unlike the heroine in Sizzling, she didn’t capitulate to Jackson’s charm like a wet tissue. No, she made him work and therefore it was much more satisfying when they finally ‘came together’. This is a fairly new-to-me author and one I will be glomming. I have her final book in the trilogy and I also recently purchased Love at First Bite – not for Sherrilyn Kenyon the lead author, not for LA Banks and not for Susan Squires – nope the reason I bought this one was for the other brother in this intriguing series by Ronda Thompson
Grade 4.5 out of 5

A Reason to Live by Maureen McKade
I’ve been trying to get as many reads in as I can for the AAR Reader Poll. Usually I vote fairly early, but since I didn’t read as much as normal last year, I’m going to vote later than normal. With that thought in mind, I picked this book up. I had intended on reading it earlier in the year but I knew from others reviews that this would be a very emotional read and I wasn’t quite ready.
And it is! A very emotional read that is. Laurel was a nurse during the Civil War. During that time she saw many terrible things. After the war she sets out on a mission to deliver the dying words of her patients who didn’t make it. Creede Forrester who had lost his wife years earlier and lost his son in the war has been looking for Laurel to find out about the last moments of his son’s life. He decides to join and protect her on her journey to visit the few remaining families.
Laurel is the heart and the soul of this book. When I finished the last page I knew right away I had found my favourite heroine of the year. She is suffering from PTS Syndrome although of course they had no idea what it was back then. She has nightmares and now is beginning to have the same kind of thing when she is awake. She thinks she is going crazy as at each stop she seems to get a little worse. Yet despite this, she doesn’t hesitate in her mission. Along the way she and Creede experience adventures, some good, some not so good.

Is it a hit or a miss?

It’s fascinating to read all the different reactions the families have to their loved ones final words.
Laurel shows a great deal of compassion while trying to remain somewhat detached in order to survive. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming to read about a young cat that adopts Laurel & Creede. Laurel is afraid to get close to it, yet afraid it will leave them. Rarely have I seen a heroine so well-written and so alive.
And while the character of Laurel is a stand-out, the hero, Creede is also a fascinating character in his own right. A former gunslinger who took up a life of revenge after the death of his parents, he gave up his violent ways when he met and fell in love with Anna his wife who tragically died 10 years before the story begins. He is also suffering greatly from the death of his young 16 year old son during the war and haunted by the final bitter words between them.
This story should be read by everyone who enjoys the Western genre and even those who don’t but are looking for a beautiful story of bravery and sorrow. I know this is one that will stay with me for days.
Grade: 5 out of 5


Wendy said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed A Reason To Live. The romance genre speaks to me when an author can deliver multi-faceted "real" characters and McKade knocks herself out with this couple. And I also loved the responses that Laurel got from the families she visited - the "madam" is the one that stands out in my mind.

Kristie (J) said...

Wendy: I thought it was very interesting some of the responses she got - such as the madame. Also the woman who owned the boarding house and her bittnerness and the woman - forget her name - whose son shot his grandfather. And it was so interesting that the closer she got to the end of her mission, the worse she seemed to get. I thought this was such an emotionally laden book and I'm glad you recommended it so highly. I think that's one of the big reasons why I got it awhile ago - even though it took me a while to read it. That and it's a Western. That in itself would have me looking at it. I did read To Find You Again but I enjoyed this one ever so much better - not that there was anything wrong with the other one, but this one had that something extra didn't it?

CindyS said...

Wow! I've only heard good things about the McKade book and it is in the TBR pile. As much as I love romance books that deal with real life issues, sometimes I just need something sweeter. Right now I'm re-reading Lover Awakened - not sweet but I'm only reading the scenes I want.