I'm Back!

Monday, May 30, 2011
I spent some time at my mom's house, and now I'm ready to get back to reviewing books. (Well, mostly.) I have a couple scheduled for the week. I say mostly because I do have that class that ends on Friday and two papers to write for it which means I don't have time to comment on posts, but I will be next week!

Enjoy your week! I hope you had a great weekend.

Review - Matched by Ally Condie (15)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: 30 November 2011
Genre: YA dystopian
My Copy: library - hardback

I adored this book! At first I wasn't sure I'd like it because it starts slow. Normally I hate slow starts. Now that I've finished Matched, I realize how perfect that slow start fits it. The slow gradual build up of the story is intricately woven with subtle foreshadowing. It gives the reader time to understand the unique community created and connect with it. Because of this, the reader can truly understand the anguish of Cassia's decisions. Condie's writing has a wonderfully lyrical quality to it which starts strong and grows with the story. Not to mention, the strong connections to one of my all time favorite poems "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas. She does a great job of connecting objects from the past with the new society. I also really liked how she connected the ending of the story back to the beginning with certain phrases and scenes, yet the ending still has a strong sense of a new start itself.

Characters are quite possibly my favorite part of books. They easily make or break a book for me. The characters in this book are outstanding. Cassia is an awesomely strong girl. She's brave and compassionate yet she has faults which make her real. She wants to do what is right even as she struggles to determine what is actually right or wrong when her idyllic society begins to look more illusory. Xander is consistently loyal to Cassia which is very admirable. Ky has been through so much and still never gives up. Cassia's parents are even fantastic. They support Cassia through everything even when it threatens their lives. I love her grandfather too! I like that he's a quiet rebel. I cried and found myself wanting to shout at the Officials for Cassia and Ky, Xander and Bram, Cassia's parents and Ky's parents.

This book is now on my list of top favorites, and I cannot wait for Crossed to come out in November.

Other thoughts:
I love this cover. It matches the book so well!

Favorite quotes:
Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes a part of theirs. -pg 65

I look out the window where the burning evening sun sets in a clear sky. There is no trace of clouds, but I promise myself that when it rains I will remember too. This paper, these pictures and words. This piece of him. -pg 207

That's how I know they are dreams. Because the simple and plain and everyday things are the ones that we can never have. -pg 260

Sometimes, when I look down at the pale seeds I scatter in the black dirt, it reminds me of the night of my Banquet when I imagined that I could fly. The darkness behind doesn't worry me; neither do the stars ahead. I think of how perhaps the best way to fly would be with hands full of earth so you always remember where you came from, how hard walking could sometimes be. -pg 365

There are two paragraphs on page 249 which I love as well, but I'm not putting those here out of fear of giving too much away.

Rating breakdown:
Plot: 5+ hearts
Pacing: 5+ hearts
Characters: 5+ hearts
Character relationships: 5+ hearts
Recommend: Absolutely! It's a must read!

In My Mailbox (5)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I've combined my books from last week and this week because I was out of town last weekend.

For Review (Simon & Schuster Galley Grab):

Everyone has weird thoughts sometimes. But for seventeen-year-old Dani Solomon, strange thoughts have taken over her life. She loves Alex, the little boy she babysits, more than anything. But one day, she has a vision of murdering him that's so gruesome, she can't get it out of her mind. In fact, Dani's convinced that she really will kill Alex. She confesses the thoughts to keep him safe, setting off a media frenzy that makes "Dani Death" the target of an extremist vigilante group.

Through the help of an uncoventional psychiatrist, Dani begins to heal her broken mind. But will it be too late? The people of her community want justice . . . and Dani's learning that some thoughts are better left unsaid.


Erin Blackwell is headed to college in New York City to study creative writing and earn a living as a romance novelist. Her grandmother has other plans: she approves of the college, but she wants Erin to major in business and then come back home to Kentucky to run the family’s famous racehorse farm. There is no way Erin will agree. Studying in New York and writing her way into a career is her escape from the farm and the family tragedy that happened there. So Erin’s grandmother decides Erin really will live life as a starving artist. She takes Erin’s future job running the farm, her inheritance, even her college tuition, and gives them all to Hunter Allen.

Hunter has lived on the farm for years. He’s Erin’s age, he’s the stable boy, and he’s the romantic dream of every girl in her high school. But he was involved in the family tragedy. Erin has always given him a wide berth. And he’s a slick opportunist. She’s furious that he fooled her grandmother into giving him Erin’s birthright and sending him to Erin’s college.

At least she’s free of him in her creative writing class. So she pens a story that has haunted her lately, in which the horse farm heiress at the very first Kentucky Derby starts a forbidden affair with the lowly stable boy. Unfortunately for her, the day she’s sharing this story with her New York classmates, Hunter walks in. He’s switching to her class. And after reading about himself in Erin’s story, he writes his own sexy assignments that lure Erin into dangerous fantasies about what could have been between them, and what might be.

On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Sebastian dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction--and one night, into a passionate kiss.

The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Sebastian, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think...

Brought together each summer at a boarding school in Switzerland, three girls learn a lot more than just French and European culture. Shirin, an Iranian princess; Ingrid, a German-Canadian eccentric; and Vivien, a Cuban-Jewish New Yorker culinary phenom, are thrown into each other's lives when they become roommates.

This is a story of 3 paths slowly beginning to cross and merge as they spend the year apart, but the summers together. Through navigating the social-cultural shoals of the school, developing their adolescence, and learning the confusing and conflicting legacies of their families' past, Shirin, Ingrid, and Vivien form an unbreakable bond.

This story takes readers on a journey into the lives of very different girls and the bonds that keep them friends.

Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.


It’s only a week into summer break and already seventeen-year-old Gates has . . .

a) Hustled millionaires on the golf course

b) Tried to stop his mother from having a(nother) nervous breakdown

c) Promised to lose his virginity with his girlfriend, Mel . . . which would be great if he hadn’t already lost it to his forty-year-old godmother

d) Almost killed a man

Yeah, Gates has a lot of secrets, but he’s determined to keep his heart true. When he’s not swinging golf clubs like a pro, he reads pulp fiction to old folks at the retirement home. And despite his occasional slip-ups—drinking before noon and sneaking glimpses through his sexy godmother’s open negligees—Gates only has eyes for Mel. But she knows he’s hiding something, and she’s beginning to lose her patience.

Just as Gates is about to spill his shameful secrets, he gets tangled up in a golf club scandal that jeopardizes his dreams of a normal life. He’s never been a fighter, but this time he finally pushes back at the world—which could have been a breakthrough but turns into an epic fail. Probably because Gates fights back dirty. Now his life is on the verge of ruin, and he’s got no one to turn to for help.

Or so he thinks. Because what Gates is about to discover might hit him with the most amazing shock of his life.

There’s a fine line between love and hate.

For five years, Sally and Clive have been lost in a passionate affair. Now he has dumped her to devote himself to his wife and family, and Sally is left in freefall.

It starts with a casual stroll past his house, and popping into the brasserie where his son works. Then Sally starts following Clive’s wife and daughter on Facebook. But that’s alright, isn’t it? These are perfectly normal things to do. Aren’t they?

Not since Fatal Attraction has the fallout from an illicit affair been exposed in such a sharp, darkly funny, and disturbing way: The Mistress’s Revenge is a truly exciting fiction debut. After all, who doesn’t know an otherwise sane woman who has gone a little crazy when her heart was broken?

Eleanor Levine left Ireland seventy years ago with little more than a suitcase and her mother's handwritten recipe book. Now, a lifetime later, she's returning from New York with hard won wisdom and memories of her own. A renowned psychoanalyst, Eleanor knows there's one final journey she has to make...Lovely young actress Megan Bouchier didn't have to chase success - it arrived effortlessly. Fame was what she always wanted until a disastrous affair made her the wrong kind of headlines - now Megan needs a place to hide...Darkly beautiful Rae is a wonderful wife, a loyal friend and a dedicated community carer. From Titania's Tea Rooms she dispenses tea and sympathy to everyone - until a painful secret from her past threatens everything she holds dear.Big-hearted teacher Connie O'Callaghan has given up on love. She's cheerfully approaching forty and besides, why does no man ever match the heroes in her beloved romantic novels?As Eleanor re-reads her mother's comforting words and watches life unfold from her window in Dublin's pretty Golden Square, she slowly becomes drawn into the lives of Megan, Rae and Connie. But can treasured wisdom handed down from mother to daughter really be relevant today? And what are the ingredients for a life well lived?

A haunting, unforgettable story--based on real events in late 19th-century Ireland--of two women linked by a tragic, 70-year secret.

England, 31st of August, 1939

The world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unravelling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes - and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair, with unforseen consequences.

A story of longing, loss and complicated loyalties, combinging a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story, but a story about love.

It is the first century B.C. Cleopatra, the third of the pharaoh's six children, is the one that her father has chosen to be the next queen of Egypt. But when King Ptolemy is forced into exile, Cleopatra is left alone to fend for herself in a palace rife with intrigue and murder. Smart, courageous, ambitious and sensuously beautiful, she possesses the charm to cause two of history's most famous leaders to fall in love with her. But as her cruel sisters plot to steal the throne, Cleopatra realizes there is only one person on whom she can rely--herself.

When Isikara discovers the beautiful Queen Tiy of Egypt has been killed and her eldest son, Tuthmosis, is facing the same fate, she finds herself on the run with the young prince to get help to return him to his rightful place on the throne of Egypt. They must travel to Nubia to find allies - a journey which takes them along the Nile, across the desert and through bustling market towns, all the while avoiding their pursuers, the High Priests who wish to silence them. But there are dangers in the desert and all around. Who can they trust? And where will their adventure lead them? A gripping and pacy tale, packed with fascinating historical detail of Egypt.

For Review (NetGalley):

The year is 1856, and orphan Abigail Tamper lives below stairs in Greave Hall, a crumbling manor house in London. Lord Greave is plagued by madness, and with his son Samuel away fighting in the Crimea, the running of Greave Hall is left to Mrs Cotton, the tyrannical housekeeper. The only solace for the beleaguered staff is to frighten Mrs Cotton by pretending the house is haunted.

So when a real ghost makes an appearance - that of her beloved mother - no one is more surprised than Abi. But the spirit has a revelation that threatens to destroy Abi’s already fragile existence: she was murdered, and by someone under their very own roof. With Samuel returned to England badly wounded, it’s up to Abi to nurse him back to health, while trying to discover the identity of the killer in their midst. As the chilling truth dawns, Abi’s world is turned upside down.

The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon of the nighttime sky turned red and bathed the heavens in the ghastly color of blood, on the same night the Kingdom of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack.

Across the land of Hytanica, under the shadow of the crimson moon, infant boys continued to vanish. Not until the blood had faded from the sky did the disappearances stop and the bodies of the murdered infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. For the next sixteen years, peace reigned, but one mystery remained unsolved. The Cokyrians had abducted forty-nine newborns, but returned only forty-eight bodies.

Now, as seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica is besieged from all sides by suitors vying for the Throne, a teenage Cokyrian boy, Narian, is encountered within the walls of her Kingdom, a boy who will show Alera a world where women serve a purpose and not just a husband. As Narian helps Alera find her voice, she struggles against an arranged marriage that will shatter the life she has scarcely begun to live. And when Narian's shocking past is uncovered, and war with Cokyri looms once more, he must fight to defy a fate ordained at his birth.

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.

Olivia has just about had it with the popular kids at school. She and her friends have done nothing to deserve humiliating pranks and mean name-calling, but that doesn’t stop queen bee Brynne from tormenting them. If only Olivia’s classmates were more like the dogs she helps her grandmother train—poorly behaved, but improvable. Then Olivia hatches a brilliant plan: she and her friends will modify their tormentors’ behavior with the same kind of training that works on dogs. Using cues and responses, distractions and rewards, gets better results than anyone could have guessed. Soon, Olivia and her friends have replaced Brynne as alpha-dogs. But will popularity get Olivia what she really wants?

A hit man who kills with coincidence... A detective caught in a war between two worlds... A man whose terrible appetites hide an even darker secret... Dark Horse once again teams up with Hugo and Bram Stoker award-winning editor Ellen Datlow (Lovecraft Unbound) to bring you this masterful marriage of the darkness without and the darkness within. Supernatural Noir is an anthology of original tales of the dark fantastic from twenty modern masters of suspense, including Brian Evenson, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nick Mamatas, Gregory Frost, and Jeffrey Ford.

Mary Alice Monroe returns to the captivating and mystical South Carolina Lowcountry, a place of wild beauty and untamed hearts, to tell the moving story of healing, hope and new beginnings....

E.R. nurse Ella Majors has seen all the misery that she can handle. Burned-out and unsure of her next step, she accepts the temporary position as caregiver to Marion Henderson, a frightened five-year-old who suffers from juvenile diabetes.

But Ella soon realizes there is more sorrow in the isolated home than the little girl's illness. Harris Henderson, a single father, is withdrawn, seemingly better able to deal with the wild birds he rehabilitates in his birds-of-prey sanctuary than with his own daughter.

Then something magical begins to happen: the timeless beauty of the South Carolina coast and the majestic grace of the wild birds weave a healing spell on the injured hearts at the sanctuary. But a troubled mother's unexpected return will test the fragile bonds of trust and new love, and reveal the inherent risks and exhilarating beauty of flying free.

USA TODAY bestselling author Kasey Michaels introduces the first book in her sparkling new Blackthorn Brothers historical series, about three rough-and-tumble men and the only women who can tame them.

Much to her chagrin, Lady Isabel Milton has been given to Earl Rand Braesford—a reward from the udor king for his loyalty to the throne. The lusty nobleman quickly claims his husbandly rights, an experience Isabel scarcely hoped to enjoy so much. But youth and strength may not save Braesford from his bride’s infamous curse…

Accused of a heinous crime with implications that reach all the way to King Henry himself, Braesford is imprisoned in the Tower, and Isabel is offered her salvation—but for a price. She has the power to seal his fate, have him sent to the executioner and be freed from her marriage bonds. Yet the more Isabel learns of Rand, the less convinced she is of his guilt, and she commits to discover the truth about the enigmatic husband she never expected to love.

Her hand may be bestowed by others, but her heart is hers alone to give.

When the ton's most notorious heartbreaker…

Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society's most sought after matchbreaker. Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she's never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom-to-be. Until her final assignment brings her face-to-face with the man who'd once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache….

Meets London's most disreputable rake…

James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancĂ©e and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything. To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game….

Let the seduction begin!


When Lily stumbles upon the well-built corpse of a local body builder-his neck broken by a barbell-the town's underlying racial tension begins to boil over. The white victim was somehow connected to two unsolved murders of black residents of Shakespeare-and a dogged policeman is determined to stop the killing. But it is Lily herself who may have to decide whether to stay and fight for justice, or run away one more time.

Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

Baring It All

Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone’s throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley’s pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can’t seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she can’t convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie can’t afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.

Last, but definitely not least, a huge thank you to Jennifer Laurens for a copy of A Season of Eden. Not only did she send me the book, but she included a bookmark and even signed the book! It's my first signed book ever! I've already read it, and it is fantastic. I'll post a review of it probably later this week.

He's my teacher. I shouldn't be alone with him. But I can't help that he's irresistible.
I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us. "I like hearing you play," I said, moving toward him. He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn't say anything. I rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. "May I?" The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed. "Eden." My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them. "Is it okay?" I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was really asking. "Let me stay," I said. "Please." "You're going to get me in trouble," he said.

Book Beginnings on Friday (2)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme that features the first line (or two) out of books you are currently reading.

This week my favorite is a tie between How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf and Matched. The first one is fun and intriguing while the second has a visual appeal. Mercy also makes me curious, but it's not quite as catching.

When a naked man shows up on your doorstep with a bear trap clamped around his ankle, it's best just to do what he asks.

There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any age and anyone, all over again.

Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night? My wings aren't white or feathered; they're green, made of green silk, which shudders in the wind and bends when I move--first in a circle, then in a line, finally in a shape of my own invention.

Short Reviews - Dough, Shakespeare, and a Guardian (12-14)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie's bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso--a suspiciously wealthy, working-class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend--the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli--who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch--only makes the hunt more thrilling...

Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Grandma Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move...and his next move might be Stephanie's last.

Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #2
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 10 January 1996
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
My Copy: bought - mass market paperback

This is the second book in what has so far been an extremely fun series. It's definitely guaranteed to make you laugh. The trouble Stephanie gets into is very entertaining, especially when Grandma Mazur is involved. I love tough ol' Grandma Mazur. Morelli shows his sweet side in this installment. I just wish the story had a little more Ranger in it. Besides the murder mystery, Stephanie is hired to find a bunch of stolen coffins and as a personal bodyguard. The story moves along at a satisfyingly quick pace.

Review breakdown:
Plot: 5 hearts
Pacing: 5 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Character relationships: 5 hearts
Recommend: Absolutely!

From the author of the Aurora Teagarden novels comes a new series set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, a Southern town brimming with charm and a definite touch of noir. When her landlord is murdered, loner Lily Bard looks like the prime suspect. Uncovering the real killer may be the only way to prove her innocence, and Lily soon focuses on the other residents of tiny Shakespeare in her quest to expose the culprit.

Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris
Series: Lily Bard Mystery #1
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: 1 May 1996
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
My Copy: library - mass market paperback

This is the first book in one of Harris's lesser known mystery series. It's kind of dark in places. The story was a little hard to get into at first. Lily is continually hinting about some event in her past without really explaining what it has to do with the present. After awhile, I just found myself frustrated with it. Eventually the reader does learn what happened to Lily, and pieces of the story begin to fall into place. Despite this, I found myself really liking the story by the end. Lily is an extremely strong woman, and I respect her character. I look forward to seeing what happens with Lily and her new friends and clients in the next book.

Memorable quote:
I wasn’t set on gaining some kind of vengeance on all men for what had happened to me. But I certainly wasn’t a trusting person anymore, and I definitely never expected much of people, and I would never be surprised to hear of any perfidy again.

I did not believe in the underlying goodwill of men or the unspoken sisterhood of women.

I did not believe that people everywhere are really the same, or that if you treat people kindly you will get kindness in return.

I did not believe in the sanctity of life.
-pg 79

Rating breakdown:
Plot: 5 hearts
Pacing: 3 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Character relationships: 4 hearts
Recommend: Yes

Four young Highlanders - Connor, Ian, Alex and Duncan - hurry home from France after hearing news of the disastrous Battle of Flodden against Henry VIII's forces. With his father among the dead, Connor must take his place as chieftain. Before he can lead his clan through the perilous times ahead, however, he must first dislodge the usurper who has taken his family's castle and claimed leadership of the clan.

Connor's cousins and best friend, Ian, Alex and Duncan, will stand shoulder to shoulder with him in every fight. They are willing to give their lives for their clan and their new chieftain. But taking wives to serve the clan's interests is a different matter altogether...

The Guardian by Margaret Mallory
Series: Return of the Highlanders #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: 1 May 2011
Genre: Historical Romance - Scotland
My Copy: received for review from NetGalley - ebook (Kindle)

This is the first book by Mallory that I have read, but I've read many historical romances, and most of those were set in Scotland. The synopsis really fits the series better than the book itself. This book focuses on Ian as he returns home to a wife he was forced to marry when he was young, Sileas. A battle has just wiped out a good number of warriors from the clan, and a cruel man has taken control. I finished this book a few days ago, and I'm still not sure what I think of it. I liked nearly all of the characters except Ian. Not liking the main male character makes a romance novel a little harder to enjoy. I kind of felt like he didn't care enough about Sileas in a romantic way to make the novel work. I liked Ian's family though and the other three warriors, especially Alex, and the story line and action were good. I am looking forward to the second book.

Rating breakdown:
Plot: 5 hearts
Pacing: 4 hearts
Characters: 3 hearts
Character relationships: 2 hearts

*Links go to Goodreads*

Top Ten/Teaser Tuesday (5)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This week's topic is Top Ten Favorite Minor Characters (you know...all those great supporting characters or a VERY minor character that might have been only in there a page or two but had an effect on you). I actually had a hard time with this one. While there's not 10 individual books on my list, there are more than 10 characters to make up for it. I know there are way more, but right now I can't seem to think of them. I'm sure I will later.
  • Grimalkin, Ironhorse, Glitch, Leanansidhe, and Razor - Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
Grimalkin is awesome. I love Ironhorse's compassion. Glitch is such a bad-ass dude in the third book. Razor is freaking cute. I have a strange admiration for Leanansidhe. I mean, she turns people into instruments!
I would love to steal her friends, family, home, summer love...everything!
I imagine that if my grandfather had lived longer, and I had really gotten to know him beyond what my young age allowed, that he would be much like Mia's grandpa. A quote from him in the book is the whole reason I originally bought it.
I want them to be my friends. A witch and a selfless person. Who wouldn't want them as friends?
They are Jessica's adopted parents. They are both humanitarians and huge environmentalists. They support Jessica and give her freedom to be a teenager. They protect her and stand up for her right to choose her own future. Great parents.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Rising to my full five foot four inches, and mustering a strength that I never knew I possessed, fueled by an indignation I hadn't known I was capable of, I drew back my open hand and slapped Lucius Vladescu so hard across the face that his head snapped sideways. He was still rubbing his jaw when I slammed the door. Stupid Romanian bloodsucker. -pg 192

I wanted to lay my hands on each side of his face and return his kiss. I wanted him to walk out and never come back. -pg 12

I lower my head sharply and peer through an unfamiliar fall of black, curly hair. Momentarily disoriented, before I realise suddenly that it's mine. -pg 6