Monday, June 23, 2014

The Escape by Mary Balogh

I love me some romance novel, don't get me wrong but so many of them have these beautiful men and women that sometimes leave us regular folk feeling a little  .... left out. This historical romance is a little different. It's part of a series called The Survivor's Club (I haven't read the others yet but everyone is a little damaged, either physically or mentally!) Though it is historical, everyone was affected by the war, I feel like this book, and most likely the others in the series, can also resonate with today's society as troops come home from Iraq and the world descends just a little further into violence all over the world. 

Sir Benedict Harper is struggling after returning home from the Napoleonic Wars. Though he has returned a hero, his body has been broken upon the back of the war. He had always dreamed of having a military career and now, unable to walk without the aid of crutch's he is forced to find another dream in a world which is no longer familiar. 

Samantha McKay recently lost her husband. Well in all honesty she lost the man she loved about a month into their marriage, but after returning from the war broken, she nursed him back to health for years before he finally succumbed to his injuries and past away. Her sister in law drives her mad with her rules and propriety. Almost getting trampled and meeting the arrogant man who then yells at her as if it's her fault shows her freedom and gives her something to fight for as she flees to Wales to a tiny home that she had almost forgotten she had been left.

Can love bloom between honour and reckless abandon? Can you tell the difference between love and pity? Can you learn to dream again after everything has been lost? These are some of the questions that the book makes you think about! I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical romance or just a good romance in general. It was such a great read!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bride of a Scottish Warrior by Adrienne Basso

Bride of a Scottish Warrior is a very cute romance story of learning to love someone, faults (and baggage) and everything else. Sometimes what we see as a fault in ourselves is a sign of strength to another. It was a great easy read with a few moments of genuine humour. 

Sir Ewan Gilroy is now a knight, born a bastard when his father refused to marry his mother, he has struggled against the stigma of being born out of wedlock his whole life. Finally the new king has seen his worth beyond his name and granted him title and lands. Though Gilroy is almost dismayed to see that lands he was gifted with. The burned out husk of a building and women, elderly and children as his people. He gains the peoples trust the instant he gives them choices in a world where the rich rule through power alone. But now he needs a wife and a dowry to really bring this land back and feed his people. So Gilroy goes off on a hunt for a lady to wed him despite his bastardy.

Grace was born to a noble family and the responsibilities there of. She gave up a life in the convent to marry as her brother requested and now as a widow all she seeks is to return to her childhood vocation. Staying with her brother and his wife, have been a restful period even if her brother does keep broaching the subject of marriage. Grace has sworn to never marry again to make up for the sins in her past. Though her brother becomes much more insistent when Sir Ewan Gilroy comes calling. Now debating with her growing attraction for Gilroy and the sins that haunt her, Grace is challenged to love a man who can only see her face and not her heart. 

I read this in one day. It was such a great read, good for days filled with sunshine and laying out back and enjoying the beautiful summer! Preferably with a cup of tea by your side! If you like historical romance I think you will like this one! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas

Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas is a great and interesting take on forbidden love, family pride and following family duty, all well being directed by fate and free will. I can honestly say that I missed my bus stop while reading this book! 

The story focuses on Savitiri, who born to servants but raised with the young master in prewar Madras; Nataraj, taken from an orphanage at a young age by the Doctor and raised in rural south India in the hopes that he will one day follow in his father's footsteps if he can survive school in the West; and Saroj, who spends the first part of her life as the dutiful, quiet daughter of her strict, Hindu father in Guyana, South America, until her father starts talk of an arranged marriage, causing her to embrace her dreams and fight for a life she dreams of. 

I loved the way these stories were intertwined. At first it was a little difficult with the jumping time periods but as long as you remembered which time line you were reading then it was great to see how the past and future would ultimately meet up. 

I thought it had another great feature with the Ma character. How often do we really know our own parents and their histories and stories? Especially as we get older and start looking at our parents as people rather then just the caretakers. I just thought it was great to see that mirrored and expressed so succinctly in this novel!

It also gives you some interesting details about the history of India and Guyana which I thought was pretty awesome! I am always glad to read a good story and learn new things at the same time!

You can grab this great book at amazon for under 3 bucks! Definitely a worthwhile buy and a great read!! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Curse Breakers by Denise Grover Swank

The second installment in Denise Swank's sweeping urban fantasy is even better then the original!!

After the betrayal of Collin Dailey and the loss of her father Ellie Lancaster is struggling to keep herself together and keep moving forward. Vowing to find a way to seal away the spirits so they can't hurt anyone else while continuing to defend herself as she is trapped between two different native american gods. 

Though her soul is permanently joined with Collin, Ellie just can't bear to see him knowing that he allowed all of this to happen. She begins searching for others who may know about the legends and can help her close the portal. Where she meets Dr. David Preston, an expert on native american folk lore. She begins to feel an attraction with him as they fight against the darkness that seeks to claim her innocent soul. And now she must decide just how far down the rabbit hole she will bring one more person. 

I love this series, all the characters are compelling from the best friend to the pawn dealer. The imagery is lush and the language is seductive. I love how Ellie is strong even in the face of being pulled in so many directions and being able to say No even in the hottest of circumstances!

I can't wait for the last part of this series to be released in September!

Definitely a worthwhile read in the urban fantasy setting.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Janus Legacy by Lisa von Biela

Jeremy Magnusson is living a quiet life. He lost his mother years ago and rarely speaks with his father for leaving them as her disease grew worse. Now Jeremy is plagued with the disease and even lost the love of his life because of it. Everything changes for him when he receives the phone call telling him that his father has died and if he takes charge of the medical company that his father ran then he can have all the riches that go along with it. It's a hard decision for Jeremy as he struggles knowing that his father was involved in certain medical things that he didn't approve of. However greed wins out and he claims his birthright. He will then learn of the gift his father has left for him if he is brave enough to claim it. 

Love it! A medical thriller that really takes you into the debate about the moral high ground. What can be done versus what should be done to prolong a life or ease the suffering of a disease. Mrs. Biela really pulls you in and makes you feel for all the people involved and see the situation from both sides of the issue, filling us full of sympathy and horror in equal measure. 

Seriously brilliant, it drags you along on the roller coaster ride as you begin to root for Jeremy and then wonder how he can live with the decisions that he is forced to make. I loved weighing the morals of different situations and seeing the difference between the have's and the have nots. If you like excitement and have ever wondered what they are really doing in high end medical institutions I definitely suggest you check out this great read!

Friday, June 6, 2014

When We Fall by Peter Giglio

First just let me say that I really enjoy this author, he also wrote Lesser Creatures which I have also reviewed and loved. He takes a story that we think we know and changes it on it's head so that it's new and fresh and just a little bittersweet. 

The year is 1985 and Ben is still reeling from the loss of his best friend. He had never been one to make friends easily and he still felt lost without his friend. He can't tell anyone though that he still sees him at night, in his room. It helps ease the pain until he begins to get close to the neighbour girl Aubrey. Then the voice in the night brings shame and fear. But nothing like the fear that Ben feels when after making an 8mm film with Aubrey he sees the face of a boy who died the summer before. 

The spirit demands that Ben find out who killed him and help him. Ben is haunted and horrified by this even as his family becomes more worried about him and he grows more attached and more afraid of the beautiful girl next door, Aubrey Rose. Thirteen is already a hard enough age without adding more strife and hardship on his slight shoulders and Ben has to decide what to do, revert forever into childhood or make a stand and find the truth.

It was such a great read, quick and to the point you feel attached to Ben and just want to keep him from all the darkness that seems to surround him no matter which way he turns. At the same time you are cheering him on as he grows and learns that adults lie and just because you love someone doesn't mean they aren't flawed. It's a hard lesson as an adult to learn but at 13 he handles it with grace and continues to seek the truth. Loved it! Peter Giglio is just such a wonderful author. If you come across anything of his I definitely suggest grabbing it when you have the chance!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reaping the Dark by Gary McMahon

The main character is a get away driver, waiting for the rest of his group to leave from the old warehouse when everything goes wrong. The sound of bullets shatter the still night and he has only seconds to change his life forever. He takes a chance, hoping for a better life for himself and his unborn child. Ultimately he learns that you can hide so long from the darkness inside of yourself and you always reap what you sow. 

It was brilliantly handled as the main character really tries to battle between what he's doing with his life and the person that he wants to be for his child. I think everyone struggles with that when they learn that they are going to be parents for the first time. You really felt like you got to see his personality even though it was a novella. 

This is a great short horror novel. I would really love to learn that this was the opening into an even bigger world. It was dark and ominous, with a hint of Rosemary's Baby to it which I loved! The pace was quick and the supernatural was handled right without seeming too unbelievable. I can't wait to see what else Gary has for us in the future!


Dark Father by James Cooper

Dark Father is an interesting take on a horror novel by James Cooper. It's three interlocking story lines and their consequences throughout the years and the psychological effect those actions can have on you. 

It was an interesting premise, however I just wasn't a huge fan of it. The writing was rather tedious and a few of the characters felt very one dimensional to me. My favourite character was Mack, with his rare mental disease. I enjoyed trying to figure out how the story lines all connected however I just found the writing dry and the characters not engrossing enough. 

I would definitely not recommend it. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank

Life is always filled with mystery when you live on the same island as the missing colony of Roanoke that disappeared in 1590.

For years Ellie Lancaster had ignored the ramblings of her father about a curse that her family could trace all the way back to Ananias Dare. Until the handsome young man entered the restaurant and changed her life forever with a simple touch. As the mark spread across her hand something was unleashed that was meant to be kept contained for all eternity. And it was angry, and hungry, and looking for Ellie. 

Collin Dailey had always known about the curse, and it infuriated him that Ellie wasn't taking it seriously even as he marked her doors and windows every night to keep her safe. Feeling himself becoming more and more attracted to the strong woman struggling to wrap her head around something she had always thought of as a fairy tale. He only hoped that at the end she would forgive all his secrets as he joined his soul to hers. 

I love this book. The female lead is strong even when confused and trying to find her way through the issue. She doesn't get lost in her attraction for the delicious Collin Dailey but tries to see him how he genuinely is. The book is wicked and you can tell the author really spent a lot of time researching the subject and getting to know the lay of the land. There is one scene where the author describes Ellie feeling the spirit of the animals of the sea all around her and it's beautiful. She has such a way with words that just lets you picture everything.

I had heard of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, I think most people have, but I loved Mrs. Swank's take on the mystery. It was engrossing and captured your imagination in a way that lingers with you long after the book is done. It makes you want to google and learn more. 

You can find it for under $6 on Amazon right now and I definitely would grab it. It's an urban fantasy and I can't wait for the conclusion of this series to see how things end up!

The Trouble with Honor by Julia London

The Trouble with Honor begins with Honor Cabot debating what to do with herself as her beloved step father is about to lose his life. It's hard enough for her to contemplate what to do without the man who is as close as a father to her, but as he gets closer to death's door and her step brother gets closer to marriage with a woman who hates Honor and her three younger sisters, Honor is forced to realize that she can no longer postpone a marriage to an eligible bachelor if it means keeping her sisters and family secret's safe. With a stroke of luck she realizes there is one last thing she can do to give her sisters their best chance at happiness. She can end her brothers engagement and encourage him towards a young lady who would be able to take pity on her family. And she knows just the man who could help her!

George Easton, the illegitimate son of a duke, has always enjoyed a good gamble and when the woman with the piercing eyes breaks all conventions and sits down at this table at the men's club he feels destiny spinning around him. Soon he is embroiled in a game to woo another woman but his thoughts are held captive by Honor. 

In between all this intrigue can these two ever find their way to each other and be honest with all the secrets in their hearts?

I had never read anything by Julia London before but I really enjoyed this book! It was funny and endearing, I cared not only about the main characters but the supporting cast as well. Which is good since this is the beginning of the Cabot Sisters series. The characters each have their graces and their flaws which always makes things more interesting. Definitely a read that I would suggest for those who enjoy historical romance!

It's on sale right now through for around $6, definitely worth the price!

Elderwood Manor by Christopher Fulbright & Angeline Hawkes

Elderwood Manor is a short story that appears to be an ode to horror novels from the Victorian era. It is filled with dark imagery and yet has a glimmer of hope interwoven in the story with the love that the father feels for his son. 

I really liked this story, it was a quick read, so nice for over a vacation or on the bus. It was well written and kept a fairly good pace throughout. I did wish that it had gone into a little bit more in depth of the history of how the activity had started but it gives you enough information and detail that you still get the family history of the house. 

Bruce Davenport is returning home after years away from his distant mother. Returning to his childhood home after a desperate phone call from his mother, and only because the rest of his life has seemingly fallen apart. He recently lost his wife to cancer and with mounting debt, it seems like he was also struggling financially. Arriving just as an ice storm hits the isolated location of the manor, he is grateful to get inside out of the cold. But now they're stuck inside the home that chills his blood faster then any cold front, no gas left and no hope of rescue until the morning. The horror builds as he finds his mother's body and begins to wonder if she was even the one who made that desperate phone call that brought him back to this cold, desolate place. 

It was so good! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good horror story. It will be exciting to see what else these authors will have for us in the future!