Thursday, March 12, 2009

Howl at the Moon by Christine Warren

Howl at the Moon is the fourth in Warren's Others series. It is set in a world like ours except with paranormal creatures like shapeshifters, demons, vampires, etc. The series is centered on one pack of werewolves who live in New York. I've read the first three books as well and it was nice to see characters from those play a part in this one. I don't think you have to read the others first to enjoy Howl at the Moon, though.

The heroine, Sam, is a werewolf and the hero, Noah, is a human. That is a nice change since it seems the male is usually the "other" and the female a human. It was great to have a heroine who was stronger than the hero for once. I liked both of them, although I did think Sam forgave Noah a bit too easily.

The plot line about the DNA research was interesting, but not as much as the relationship between Sam and Noah. There was a lot of sexual tension and some nice bits of humor. I especially liked the scene when Noah met Sam's family. The action and suspense was slow in the first half of the book, but really took off in the second half. The ending was satisfying, but did leave me with a couple of minor questions.

This is an enjoyable read if you like werewolves. I'll give it 7.0 out of 10.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Warlord's Daughter by Susan Grant

The Warlord's Daughter is part of the Borderlands series which I've been enjoying. I reviewed Moonstruck, the previous book in the series, here earlier. A few characters from previous books have important roles in this one and I would advise reading at least Moonstruck before you read The Warlord's Daughter.

The hero is Aral, son of a vicious Drakken Warlord. Aral has been leading a double life and secretly helping the Drakken's enemies for years. The heroine is Wren, neglected daughter of the assassinated Drakken leader. She is an endearing young woman and it was interesting to watch her grow during the book and realize who she really is.

There is a wonderful and emotional secondary romance between Bolivarr, Aral's brother, and Hadley, who was important in the previous book. She becomes a Captain, gets her own ship and comes into her own in The Warlord's Daughter and I was glad she got her happy ending.

Although I would give Moonstruck the edge if I had to pick which of the two books I liked best, primarily because of Moonstruck's hero Finn, they are both fun, action filled reads that I recommend to anyone who likes science fiction romance. I'd rate this book 8.0 out of 10.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

The Duke of Shadows is one of the best historicals I've ever read. It is definitely in the intense and serious category rather than the light and humorous one. I was blown away by the excellent writing, the emotional impact and the nail-biting suspense. I was also very impressed by the way Duran handled the history of India that is at the core of the book.

The heroine, Emma, goes to India in 1857 to marry her finance Marcus. Her parents are killed in a shipwreck on the way and her reputation damaged during her rescue. She meets Julian, the Duke, shortly before the Indian rebellion against British rule. He helps her escape but they are eventually separated and meet again after several years in London.

The plot is complex, but not confusing. There is an amazing sense of atmosphere and the contrast between India and England is striking. Serious themes are explored, including prejudice against Julian because he is half Indian and the horrors of war. But the book is not depressing--the writing is a joy and the ending is uplifting. These two characters go through a lot and surely deserve their happy ever after.

I haven't even mentioned the fascinating secondary characters, including the villain, and the few but powerfully sensual love scenes. This is the kind of book that will make you think. I doubt I will forget these characters for a long time. If you like historicals, READ THIS BOOK.

I'll rate this book a 9.0 out of 10. I can't wait for Duran's next book, which will be out in June.

More Books Bought

Had to use up the Barnes & Noble gift cards. I'm annoyed that I couldn't find Hope's Folly at Borders or Barnes & Noble. Guess I'll have to order it from Amazon.

Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop
Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione
Love With the Perfect Scoundrel by Sophia Nash
Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh
Into the Storm by Taylor Anderson
Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove
The Vampire's Bride by Gena Showalter

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Books

Devil of the Highlands by Lynsay Sands
The Secret She Kept by Amy Knupp
The Darkest Touch by Jaci Burton
Riding Temptation by Jaci Burton
Be With Me by Maya Banks
Hot Nights Dark Desires (Anthology) by Eden Bradley, Sydney Croft and Stephanie Tyler

There are a few books that have just been published that I can't wait to get my hands on, including Hope's Folly by Linnea Sinclair, Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione and Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh, so I'm hoping to get to the bookstore on Saturday.

Night Huntress by Yasmine Galenorn

Night Huntress is the 5th in the Otherworld series. The series features the three D'Artigo sisters, who are half-Fae and half-human, and each of them has different abilities. I've enjoyed all the books so far and am looking forward to the next in the series, Demon Mistress, which comes out in June.

In this book the focus is on Delilah, the sister who shapeshifts into a housecat and into a panther. She's my favorite, perhaps because she seems the most vulnerable. I have to admit I don't think much of her human boyfriend Chase, though, and I would have let the demons eat him.

This book never slowed down, it went from action scene to action scene. It was exhausting just reading it, but in a fun way. I couldn't wait to see what trouble Delilah would land in next. I enjoyed catching up with her sisters Menolly and Camille as well as the many interesting secondary characters. Smoky, the dragon shapeshifter, is a favorite, as is Maggie the baby gargoyle. I know some have criticized the series because they say Galenorn has thrown in everything but the (paranormal) kitchen sink, but I think that makes the books more fun. You never know what will pop up next!

I'll rate this exciting read 8.0 out of 10 and recommend you start with the first in the series, Witchling.

Too Many Good Books?

I've been giving out some high ratings lately and I'm about to do more, so I thought I'd explain. Since I get to pick which books I review, I pick books I think I'll like. Often they are books by authors that I enjoy or books that caught my attention because they got high reviews.

I have started quite a few mediocre books, but haven't finished them. I am more likely to finish books I like quickly, although this is not always true. Sometimes I misplace the good ones (if you saw all the books in my house you'd know how easy to do this is) or sometimes I put off finishing a book because I don't want it to be over.

I really don't like reviewers who rate everything they read a 9 or 10. That's one reason I'll never rate anything a 10 (except for Jane Austen's books--I'm a total Austen fangirl.) In my system, a book rated 5 is average so it's a respectable rating. A book rated 8 or 9 is very good indeed.

Too Scandalous To Wed by Alexandra Benedict

Too Scandalous To Wed is an English historical set in 1821. I thought a sentence toward the end of the book summed it up nicely: "He wasn't perfect--neither was she--but he was her imperfect hero."

The book is completely focused on the relationship between Henry (nickname for Henrietta) and Sebastian. There is a villain, but he plays a very minor role until the end of the book. Both of the main characters are entirely self-centered and stubborn as well. It would have been nice if one of them showed some sort of consciousness of the world around them, even if it was only that they were kind to animals or gave alms to the poor. Although I started out disliking both of them, as the book went on I found them more endearing. Perfect people are so boring, after all. They really did deserve each other so the ending was very satisfying.

I couldn't wait to see what happened next and finished this book in record time. There were a couple of things that made me wonder (would Henry really use the word "bugger?" Would she never have heard of the Hellfire Club?) but overall I thought the book was well written. It's a light and entertaining read.

I'd rate it 7.0 out of 10 and look for more books by Benedict.