Archive | October, 2010

Breaking the Rules to Love

31 Oct

Weekend Reads

To many, the idea of spending a Saturday afternoon curled up and engrossed in a book doesn’t sound all that excited.  For me, a good book, a blanket, and a cairn terrier at my side all make a recipe for a great weekend.  In fact, I often find myself unable to sleep until the story is complete.  My genre of choice for a weekend read?  A good romance novel.  Since it’s easy enough to average one of these books per weekend, I decided it wasn’t enough for a book review post.  So I did something different.  I chose two books that seemed similar and I read them both.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, by Sarah MacLean

Nine Rules to Break CoverThis Regency romance (set in the early 19th century) features Lady Calpurnia Hartwell, nearly “on the shelf” and coming to terms with the fact that she is bland and uninteresting to anyone in the high society.  The only time she ever felt desirable was ten years ago during a brief run-in with Gabriel St. John, notorious rake (of course).  Since that time, Callie has harbored a crush that she knows will never amount to anything.

Until Callie’s younger sister becomes engaged.   This causes Callie to re-evaluate her life.  Realizing that she is practically invisible to society anyway, she creates a list of things that “a lady” can’t do…And decides to complete them.  First on her list?  A kiss from Gabriel St. John.

Gabriel has problems of his own, so when Lady Calpurnia shows up unexpectedly to request a kiss, she’s like an answer to his prayers.  He needs her to help him out, but one kiss quickly leads to complications he didn’t expect.

I personally love the “damsel in distress, strong man sees past the exterior to ignite passion and make the woman’s dreams come true” plot line.  This is definitely one of those books.  Callie occasionally brought me to tears with her vulnerability.  That being said, she was also very self deprecating.  This is a woman who felt that basically her life had no value, and for some readers it may really get on the nerves.  It was fun to see a man work so hard to break down those walls, and it was fun to see a woman slowly grow in self-confidence.

Additionally, the stunts Callie pulls in order to complete her list are full of fun and adventure.  This romance was an easy to read, fun four and a half stars!  Also, I read this just in time for the recent release of MacLean’s next book, Ten Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord.

A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior, by Suzanne Enoch

Lady's Guide to Improper Behavior coverTheresa Weller is a very proper lady in the Regency romance.  In fact, she wrote the book on exactly how a single young lady should conduct herself.  However, from the moment she meets Colonel Bartholomew James, she can’t help but to act completely improper.  She looses her temper, but can’t seem to keep away.  Theresa suddenly considers breaking all the rules in order to become the pursuer and court a man.

Bartholomew, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with anyone.  Injured while in service in India, his leg isn’t the only part of him scarred.  He can’t figure out why someone so proper and adored like Theresa would have anything to do with him, but she is the first person in a year to make him feel alive.

Isn’t this cover cute and fun?  I certainly thought so, which is why I was surprised to learn how dark this was.  Unlike the previous book, which was a debut for the author, this book is authored by one of my favorites.  I re-scanned my previous reads by Suzanne Enoch, and I realized that they were a bit dark and brooding as well.  Those books made up for it with deliciously bad boys as main characters.

The refreshing part of this story is the way there is very little tiptoeing around their relationship.  Both are very direct with each other.  This meant that we got to watch the story unfold as their love deepened.  They confronted adversaries together.  On the other hand, the story was a little strange, and full of characters that I think were only there to justify their own story in a series.  Also, for some reason, the nicknames (Tess and Tolly) got on my nerves.  I know that’s kind of personal, but still it distracted me.

I usually really enjoy Enoch, but in this case it is a three out of five stars.  Nothing special, just a quick read.


The Passage, By Justin Cronin

22 Oct

“You should have seen it.  The way they swoop down from the trees.  We really should have seen that coming.”

Recently, a facebook advertisement was kind enough to inform me that while Justin Cronin was on Good Morning America talking about his book The Passage, Stephen King called in to congratulate him on such a great book. Being the dedicated King fan that I am, I had to check it out.

The Passage is written in several parts, following several hundred of years of Post-Apocalyptic history. It begins with several story lines that all come together at a government research facility studying the effects of a virus that seems to give eternal life, give or take a few nasty side effects. As these things often do, the “experiments” get out of hand and seven scary creatures escape into the world. This marks the creation of a new world where light is the key to survival and very few actually make it.

Fast forward a hundred years later and the remaining survivors have created their own society.  The “virals” are held back with constant light.  Things are still dangerous though, and they are about to change once again, thanks to a little girl who has been there since the beginning.

I’m sad to say that I was disappointed. In fact, it took me quite a while to get through this book. The beginning started out slow. Eventually things picked up, and right as I was getting really interested, that part ended. I think I was really put off by the fast forwarding in the middle of the book, into what felt like a completely different novel. It took some getting used to. That being said, I think I can see why King would be really into it. Cronin created a complete world, full of detail and mixed into reality. As a fan of Post-Apocalyptic fiction, I appreciated the explanation of a brand new government structure. There’s also a great scene in Las Vegas that got my imagination stirring.

I only recently learned that this is the beginning of an intended trilogy. Learning that, I still don’t know what to think of the ending. Three out of Five stars, which is disappointing because I was really excited about this novel.

What do you think?

14 Oct

The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

I’m in the mood for a good Halloween read, and I came across this book.

Quoted from Amazon:

“The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.

The Strain

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

In two months–the world.”

Has anyone read this book?  Is it worth getting excited about?