Book Review: Hostage To Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Book: Hostage To Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Published September 2008 by Berkley Books|330 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #5

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy–cool, calm, emotionless…at least on the surface. Inside, she’s fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper’s embrace.

DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard’s rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian’s agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules…

I really liked this one!  I definitely liked it a lot more than Mine To Posses, the previous book in the series.  Ashaya has come up in the previous novels, and I was really intrigued by what she was doing.  I’m really glad that we got her story, though I did figure we’d get it eventually.  It’s the same with Dorian, of course.

I thought Ashaya was interesting.  We do get more of what she was doing, especially with the implant protocol she was working on.  I also thought her shields were interesting as well, and the whole thing with her sister really got my attention as well.  Even though Ashaya was the focus of this book, I’m sure her work and everything with her twin will come up in some of the other books.  I really wanted more of it.

I also like that we got bits and pieces from her encrypted files.  That’s definitely different, but it gave a lot more insight into her thoughts and what was going on with her.  She’s definitely logical (she is Psy, after all), but she and Dorian are so good together, and they are my favorite couple.  At least, so far they are.  That could change as I continue the series, but so far, they are it.

The more I read this series, the more I love it.  The characters are all so different, but there are some great friendships, alliances and romance.  And even though each story stands alone pretty well, I also love that the world keeps building on itself.  I’m curious to see how it all comes together and how it all ends.  I’m at the point where I’ve requested the entire series from the library, and I’m waiting on the last couple of books before picking it up again.

I haven’t talked about Dorian at all!  I loved seeing him with Keenan, and I really feel for him.  I definitely get why he doesn’t want to be with Ashaya, even though she is his mate.  One thing I’m kind of curious about is how the changelings know who their mate is.  Now that I think about it, I can’t recall it ever being mentioned in detail, especially since they all seem to mate with Psy.  Maybe I’m not just remembering anything, and I’m totally cool with them just somehow knowing, but it would be interesting to get more details.  Or details that I can remember.  Maybe I’ll have to pay more attention in the next one to see if it comes up.

What is driving me crazy is not knowing who the Ghost is!  Singh is doing such a great job at not giving anything away.  Not that I’m actively trying to figure it out, and I can’t recall any clues.  I’m wondering if it’s someone we know, or if we’ve never met them before.  I’m hoping we find out, but I also don’t want to be let down with the reveal either.

And what is going on with Kaleb?  I’ve decided, I want a book focusing on him.  I’m intrigued by what he’s up to, and I can’t quite decide if he’s good or bad.  Time will tell, but I’m sure this is not the last we’ve seen of him.

4 stars.  I really liked this one!  I liked Ashaya and Dorian together, and both characters are pretty cool.

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Book Review: Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh

Book: Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh

Published February 2008 by Berkley|328 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changling #4

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed…and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.

Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life–the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows…

Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past…or lose everything that ever mattered.

I liked Mine To Possess!  I think it’s my least favorite book so far, though there were things that I liked as well.

I really liked learning more about the Silence and the Psy-Net.  With each book, we’re learning more and more about the world, and while each book is relatively contained, and is a mostly complete story, we’re also getting more about the world they live in, and how much history there is.  There’s a larger picture that you wouldn’t see if you didn’t read each book.

The overall story gets moved along a lot in this book and that was nice to see.  We get more behind the scenes with the Council, and though there was something that I figured out early on in the book, I was surprised at some of the details.  It makes sense, but I had never thought about it before, and I’m really curious to see where it will go.

As for Talin and Clay…I didn’t particularly care for them as a couple.  I mean they make sense in terms of the story, and they have a history.  I get why Talin acted the way she did, and I felt for her.  There were a couple of time Clay was really frustrating, but for the most part, I liked Clay a lot more than Tally.  I wish I rooted for the romance more, because with romance, I want to love the characters together, and I just didn’t.  Hopefully, I’ll have better luck with the next book.

3 stars.  I didn’t like it as much as the previous books because of the couple but I did like learning more about the Silence and the Psy Net.  And I’m really curious to see where things go.

Book Review: Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh

Book: Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh

Published September 2007 by Berkley Sensation|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #3

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Nalini Singh explores new heights of sensuality, returning to the world of the Psy – where two people who know evil intimately must unlock the good within their icy hearts…

As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren 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…

Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted – and had 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…

I really liked this one!  It seems like this is one where people seem to fall in love with the series, and after reading it, I can see why!

So far, this one is probably my favorite, and I really liked Brenna and Judd.  It’s nice to see a book that follows one of the changlings, instead of one of the Psy.  Not that we don’t get chapters from Judd’s perspective, because we do, but the previous two books followed Psy, and I liked the change in perspective.

We learn a lot about Silence Protocol and Psy Net, and I liked seeing that.  There’s a lot that we haven’t seen yet, and this book really gave us a lot of world-building.  I honestly want more of it, at least in some of the books that follow. We also see a lot of behind the scenes stuff with the council, and there is part of me that hopes we see a little more of that as well.  It doesn’t have to be in every single book, but there’s a lot that we see in Caressed By Ice that we haven’t seen yet.

I really like this world, and I especially like Brenna and Judd together.  I don’t know that I could pick a favorite couple, of the three we’ve seen so far, but they are an interesting couple.  I mean, Judd doesn’t want to break silence because of what it will do, and I don’t blame him, but it should be interesting to see Judd in the future, with everything that happens in this one.

I think I’m going to keep this one short.  I don’t have a lot to say about Caressed By Ice, and I know it’s part of a long series, so short may be good (at least for now).

4 stars.  I really Caressed By Ice, and I liked how much we learned about the world.  I also really liked Brenna and Judd together.

Book Review: Visions Of Heat by Nalini Singh

Book: Visions Of Heat by Nalini Singh

Published March 2007 by Berkley Sensation|332 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changling #2

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Hailed as a major new talent in paranormal romance, Nalini Singh takes us deeper into the world of the Psy and the changelings in her latest extraordinary novel, where a gifted woman sees passion in her future – a passion that is absolutely forbidden by her kind…

Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous – aching need…exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.

Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced – and keep her from Vaughn.

I really liked Visions Of Heat!  I especially liked Faith and Vaughn together.  Thought Sasha and Lucas from the previous book aren’t the focus, I do like that we see them in this book, and that we still get their story, even though they aren’t the main couple in this book.

I really like the world, and I’m intrigued with the F-Psy and how isolated they are.  She lives in her own little bubble and I thought it was interesting that she decided to try to get out of it and break free.  I particularly liked seeing Faith outside of the compound she’s lived in for years, and how she begins to adjust to the outside world.

We get more of this world we saw in Slave To Sensation, and I’m curious to see if we’ll see some of the other packs and Psy in the other books.  I’m sure each book will focus on a different couple, if this book and the one before it are any indication.  She really built on the world, and though you don’t need to read the first one to understand what’s going on in this one, I still think the world and characters are good enough that you’ll want to read each one in order!

It did seem more political than Slave To Sensation- Faith is a possibility for an opening on the Council, and it’s pretty much for the control they’d have over her, and because of what she can do.  I think that’s why it’s so interesting that those with abilities like Faith are so isolated.  I mean, they do seem to train them to see certain things, but it’s interesting that they don’t try to control them more.  I don’t know if we’ll see more of the F-Psy in future books (or that we’ll see one as powerful as Faith is supposed to be), but I am curious to learn more about what they can do.

I did like her dad, and he seemed pretty cool, all things considered.  He did seem to care about her, which seemed unexpected, considering how cold and emotionless the Psy are supposed to be.  Maybe they’re not all alike after all.

We do see more of the Silence Protocol, and the NetMind, and I hope we’ll continue to see more of it in the books to come.  I’m sure we will, and while I’m fairly certain each book is going to focus on a different couple, I’m sure we’ll see appearances from Faith, Vaughn, Lucas and Sascha.  I’m very curious to see if the Psy will rebel and change how things are done.

4 stars.  I really liked Visions Of Heat, and I can’t wait to start reading the next one!

Book Review: To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

Book: To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

Published May 2008 by Forever|362 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Legend Of The Four Soldiers

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

06

The ton loves nothing more than a good scandal, and they’re giddy with the appearance of wealthy Samuel Hartley. Not only is he self-made, American, and in the habit of wearing moccasins, but he is also notorious for fleeing a battle in which several English gentlemen lost their lives. What the ton doesn’t know, though, is that Samuel is in London because of this massacre. He believes his regiment was given up to the enemy and won’t rest until he finds the traitor.

Lady Emeline Gordon is captivated with Samuel. Not only does he defy convention with his unusual dress, his sensual smile, and his forthright manner, but he survived the battle that killed her beloved brother. Samuel suspects that the person responsible for her brother’s death is Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale, a family friend since childhood—and Emeline’s fiancé. Despite Emeline’s belief in Vale’s innocence and her refusal to break off her betrothal, she and Samuel begin a passionate affair. But can their relationship survive the fallout from Samuel’s investigation?

I was in the mood for a romance novel, but unfortunately, this one was just okay.  I didn’t particularly care about Emeline and Samuel as a couple, and while I wanted to root for them, I had a hard caring about them as a couple.  Maybe I wasn’t completely in the mood for romance- or maybe I just needed one that wasn’t this one.

I will say that I did really like how this book had a quote from a fictional book at the beginning of each chapter. I know I’ve read one of her other books, and she incorporated a fictional book into that one as well.  I don’t know why I liked that so much, but I did.  I can’t imagine coming up with a full story, plus quotes from a fictional on top of that, though fantasy and sci-fi writers build entire worlds, so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.  But still, there is something about a fictional book within a book that is really cool.  So while part of me wants to read that fictional book we see mentioned in To Taste Temptation, I also don’t want to, because what if it’s just not that same?  I don’t want another Fangirl/Carry On scenario.

I do like that her books mirror a fairy tale, though I didn’t particularly pay too much attention to the parallels between the fairy tale and the actual story.  It does seem to be her thing, if this book and The Raven Prince, are any indication.  Maybe I just happened to pick up the two books connected to fairy tales, or maybe it’s a thing she does in a lot of her books.  At any rate, I do like the connections between the two, and it does make things interesting.

Overall, I’m not really sure what else to say about To Taste Temptation.  So before I start repeating myself, I’m just going to end things here.

2 stars.  It was okay, and while I liked the story within a story, I didn’t really care about the main romance.

Book Review: Let It Be Me by Kate Noble And Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase

Book: Let It Be Me by Kate Noble

Published April 2013 by Berkley Sensation|308 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: The Blue Raven #5

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

London weather is chilly—and the social scene even more so. Luckily, Bridget Forrester is just getting warmed up… Bridget longs to meet a gentleman who doesn’t mention her beautiful sister upon shaking her hand. But since being branded a shrew after a disastrous social season, Bridget knows she’s lucky to even have a man come near her. It’s enough to make a lady flee the country…

So Bridget heads to Venice for music lessons with the renowned Italian composer Vincenzo Carpenini, with whom she’s been corresponding. But not only is Carpenini not expecting her, he doesn’t even remember her! His friend, theater owner Oliver Merrick, does, though. And one look into her tantalizing green eyes has him cursing his impulsive letter-writing, which brought her across the continent. Yet before Merrick can apologize, Carpenini has ordered her away.

Little does either man know that they will soon be embroiled in a wager that will require the beautiful Miss Forrester’s help—or that there’ll be far more at stake in this gamble than money…

I liked Let It Be Me!  It did start off slow, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the first book in the series (which I did read ages and ages ago, though I don’t think there are a lot of connections between the two).

I did like Merrick and Bridget together, though there was a point when I thought that maybe she would end with Carpenini.  I’m not sure why I thought that, since Merrick was why Bridget ended up in Italy in a musical wager in the first place.  And while I liked them together, I didn’t love them together.  Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for romance when I read this book.

It started off slow, but it did pick up when Bridget started her lessons with Carpenini.  I liked that she liked music, and the musical competition was interesting, but it felt like the romance between Bridget and Merrick took a backseat to the musical aspects of the book.  At the same time, I liked that things did move slowly between them (a little bit more than what I would have thought).  But…I also found myself wanting more moments between them.  They felt few and far between in this book.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked Let It Be Me, and I liked Merrick and Bridget together…I just wish their romance was as important as the music.

Book: Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase

Published March 2004 by Berkley Sensation|352 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Carsington Brothers #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Historical Romance

Due to his history of expensive romantic entanglements, Alistair Carsington now has six months to find either a useful occupation or a wealthy heiress to wed. To prove he is not an idle fop only concerned with sartorial pleasures, Alistair agrees to help his old friend, Lord Gordmor, by traveling to the wilds of Derbyshire to convince Gordmor’s neighbors to support the nobleman’s proposal to build a canal.

Upon arriving, Alistair, a famous war hero and eligible bachelor, finds everyone couldn’t be nicer, everyone except for respectable, practical, spinsterish Mirabel Oldridge. The last thing Mirabel wants is for her tranquil little corner of England to be destroyed by a noisy, nasty canal, and she is prepared to use every weapon at her disposal–including her disheveled coiffure and unstylish wardrobe–to stop Alistair.

I’ve read a few of Loretta Chase’s books, and really liked them, so I figured I’d read this one.  It has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time, and it seemed like it was a good time to actually read it.

Maybe I wasn’t in the best mood for romance, because this one was just okay.  I felt like there was some chemistry between Mirabel and Alistair, but not enough to care or feel fully invested in their relationship.  They are definitely at odds in Miss Wonderful, but that clearly isn’t a barrier for them.  They managed to work it out, but like I said, I had a hard time with completely caring about their romance.

Maybe it’s because I felt like the book was more about them fighting over the canal, and how he wants it built, while Mirabel doesn’t.  I get why, for both of them, but I feel like it was more about their own histories then them.  I did like Mirabel, though, and Alistair was just okay.

I did like that Mirabel was 31- for some reason, that seems old in the world of romance.  It’s not (because then I’d be old, and I don’t feel old at all), but it worked really well, and she and Alistair, because of their different life experiences, do match up well.  They seem to be on pretty even footing, which was nice to see, because that doesn’t always seem to be the case.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It’s not my favorite Loretta Chase book, and I had a hard time getting into it, but it wasn’t horrible.

Book Review: Slave To Sensation by Nalini Singh

Book: Slave To Sensation by Nalini Singh

Published September 2006 by Berkeley Sensation|338 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Psy-Changling #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

I really liked Slave To Sensation!  I don’t read a lot of romance, and I feel like I always say that I’m going to read more of it, but I never seem to do that.

I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for ages, and I figured it was about time to read it.  Partly because I was in the mood, but also because I’ve been trying to read some of my owned but unread books in an effort to see what I want to keep and what ends up being donated to the library.

I did like the concept- two very different people, and two very different worlds.  I wanted to know more about both, and I really liked what I saw of the world Lucas and Sascha live in.  I was especially impressed with the world building, considering it’s a romance.  Granted, it’s a paranormal romance, but even then, you get a lot more then what you’d typically see from other books in the genre.  I liked both the Psys, who have psychic abilities, and the Changelings, who are shifters.  Both are very, very different, but I’m curious to learn more.  They both seem to be at war with each other, and I really want to know how it plays out.

As for the romance, I liked Lucas and Sascha together.  They have their obstacles, of course, and they do get their happily ever after.  It is a romance, after all.  But there is no insta-love here, and things felt very natural between them.  I guess it usually does with romance, but I also don’t read enough of it to know for sure.  I’m just going off of what I have read.  I think I’m also comparing it against the romance you see in YA, which is unfair since romance as a genre is very, very different then YA.

I definitely rooted for them, and I’m glad things worked out for them.  It was hard not to, but they really do belong together, and they really are cute together.  I have the feeling that the other books in the series won’t focus on Lucas and Sascha, but that they’ll make an appearance, and we’ll still get to see how things work out for them.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and while I’m not rushing to read the next book in the series, I still can’t wait to see what happens next.

Book Review: All The Ugly And Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

all-the-ugly-and-wonderful-thingsBook: All The Ugly And Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Published August 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books|353 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from a co-worker

Series: None

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Adult Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It’s safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy’s family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. Kellen may not be innocent, but he is the fixed point in Wavy and Donal’s chaotic universe. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I heard about this book from a co-worker, and I’m actually glad I read it!  I was unsure of the romance, because there is a HUGE age difference between Kellen and Wavy.  But I ended up rooting for them, and I thought it was really well done.

If anything, this book broke my heart.  The relationship that Kellen and Wavy have in the book is very unusual, and you can tell that he really cares for her.  It really seems like he’s the only one looking out for Wavy, and making sure she’s okay.  Even when other people have good intentions (like her aunt), you can tell that he has her best interests at heart, and it was no surprise that it turned into something.

I would also like to point out that they don’t have sex until she’s 18, and this book definitely isn’t for everyone.  I can see why people would have a lot of issues with their friendship, and later on, relationship.  There is domestic violence and drugs in the book, so keep that in mind if you’re considering reading this book.  It does take place over the span of 15 or so years, so that is another thing to keep in mind.

I really like that we’re never told how to feel, and you really go through a range of emotions throughout the book. We can draw our own conclusions about the book, and I finished the book not knowing how I felt while also loving the book.

Wavy is very much influenced by everything going on with her parents, and it is through everyone else’s eyes that we see things unfold between Wavy and Kellen.  It’s uncomfortable and graphic, and I think everyone will have a strong reaction to it, whether you think Wavy and Kellen are both victims or Kellen took advantage of Wavy and should have known better.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

5 stars.  I loved this book, and even though it was uncomfortable to read at times, it was worth it.  I definitely finished the book questioning so many things!

Book Review Round-Up: Boxers, One Night For Love And City Of Night

I have quite a few books I want to talk about, so I figured I share some quick thoughts on some of them!

boxers-coverBook #1: Boxers by Gene Luen Yang

Published September 2013 by First Second|325 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Boxers And Saints #1

Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction

What It’s About: China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.

Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from “foreign devils.”

Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils”–Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.

What I Thought: I liked it, but not as much as I liked Saints.  I think reading Boxers before Saints will help you understand what’s going on in Saints, because it goes into greater detail about what the Boxer Rebellion actually was. I really like the idea of history being told in the form of a graphic novel.  It’s been a while since I’ve read it (over a month), and now I’m finding that I’m having a hard time talking about the book and what I thought about it.  It’s definitely worth reading, though, and it does make me want to learn more about it. Whether I actually do so remains to be seen, but maybe one day…

It is a good introduction to the subject, though, and I think if you’re new to graphic novels (like I am), Boxers (and Saints) is a really good place to start.  I also liked seeing the other side of the story, and that there are many sides to one event.

My Rating: 3 stars.  Mostly because it’s a good introduction to the Boxer Rebellion and the format makes it different. But it also gets 3 stars because I don’t remember enough to give it a higher rating.

one-night-for-love-coverBook #2: One Night For Love by Mary Balogh

Published January 2012 (originally published 1999) by Dell|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Bedwyn Saga #0.5

Genre: Adult Romance, Adult Historical Romance

What It’s About: One reckless man…One passionate woman.

Enter the world of Mary Balogh—the glittering ballrooms and vast country estates of Regency-era England, where romance, with all its mystery, magic, and surprises, comes vibrantly alive.

It was a perfect morning in May…

Neville Wyatt, Earl of Kilbourne, awaited his bride at the altar—when a ragged beggar woman raced down the aisle instead. The cream of the ton saw him stare, shocked, then declare that this was his wife! One night of passion was all he remembered as he beheld Lily, the woman he’d wed, loved, and lost on the battlefield in Portugal. Now he said he’d honor his commitment to her—regardless of the gulf that lay between them.

Then Lily spoke her mind…

She said she wanted only to start a new life—wanted only a husband who truly loved her. She had to leave him to learn how to meet his world on her terms. So Lily agreed to earn her keep as his aunt’s companion and study the genteel arts. Soon she was the toast of the ton, every inch a countess fit for the earl, who vowed to prove to his remarkable wife that what he felt for her was far more than desire, that what he wanted from her was much more than…One Night for Love.

What I Thought: This is another one I don’t remember a lot about.  I vaguely remember liking it, but not being super-into the romance.  I do remember not being surprised by the fact that she wasn’t really dead, and that he never told anyone about it.  Other than that, nothing stands out.

My Rating: 2 stars- mostly because I remember nothing, and I don’t remember enough to dislike it, but I also don’t remember enough to actually like it.

city-of-night-coverBook #3: City Of Night by John Rechy

Published January 1994 (originally published 1963) by Grove Press|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction

What It’s About: When John Rechy’s explosive first novel, City of Night, was first published in 1963, it became a national bestseller and ushered in a new era of gay fiction. Bold and inventive in his account of the urban underworld of male prostitution, Rechy is equally unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “Youngman” and his restless search for self-knowledge. As the narrator careens from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter, we get an unforgettable look at a neon-lit life on the edge. Said James Baldwin of the author, “Rechy is the most arresting young writer I’ve read in a very long time. His tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own; and he has the kind of discipline which allows him a rare and beautiful reckless.”

What I Thought: This was a really hard book to get through, and I really struggled with it.  I can see why it was such an important book when it was published, considering what the book is about.  But I had a hard time with it, and it felt really dry.  I know it’s loosely autobiographical, and it really read that way.  It’s not a bad thing, but it just didn’t work for me.

It is a glimpse into what life was like during that time, but it seemed to drag on.  It also seemed really repetitive, and I’m sort of doubting why I took the time to finish the book.  It just seemed like an endless cycle of the same behavior for the main character, but I suppose it goes with the lifestyle that the character is living.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It’s definitely not the book for me, and it was a struggle for me to get through but I can see why it gets a lot of praise.

Book Review: Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing The Duke CoverBook: Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

Published May 2014 by Avon|370 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Castles Ever After #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love…

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and…Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I was randomly in the mood for romance, so I picked this one up from the library.  I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would, especially since the couple of romance blogs I read really seem to like Tessa Dare.

It did make me smile, though, and I was left wanting to believe that true love and fairy tales exist in real life. Which they do, for some people, and I liked the hopeful feeling that fairy tales are real.

I loved the historical fanboys/fangirls in the book.  That was fun and unexpected, but it’s a good fun and unexpected, and it made me laugh.  But I also liked that Izzy had to act a certain way because of it, and I liked that Ransom hated that she thought she had to live up to their expectations.  I felt for her, because life has not been easy for her, and yet, people want her to remain the sweet, innocent girl that they think she is.  She has fears but she deals with them, and she might not seem like she’s strong, but she is.

And I believed in her and Ransom, even though they are complete opposites, because Izzy is hopeful and romantic, where Ransom is more cynical and distrusting.  They really complement each other, and I loved watching them fall in love.  It’s sweet and adorable, and it builds over the course of the book.

And things haven’t been easy for Ransom either, with being engaged but the engagement being broken off, and with his vision not completely working…he’s nicer than he initially seems.  Izzy really brings out the best in him, even when he tries to fight it and pretend like he doesn’t have feelings for her.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

3 stars.  I liked it!  It’s cute and sweet, but I didn’t love it.