Sunday, March 20, 2011


On a whim, I moved this entire blog over to my Wordpress account. Not sure why - maybe just to see if I could, and I could and I did.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

China Rose by Marsha Canham ***

Sigh. A burst bubble. This is the lowest rating I have given a Marsha Canham book!

Oh, there was some swashbuckling, and talk of ships. But it was mostly a rather odd tale of 3 brothers. China Rose is the heroine, pledged by her late father to marry the eldest brother, Ranulf Cross. She arrives 2 weeks before the wedding, a country miss not at all sure why she is betrothed to this gentleman. He and his 2 younger brothers don't seem to get along at all - the middle one, Justin, is usually at sea; Eugene, the youngest, just seems to sort of fade into the background. The brothers have a terrible family secret: their father went down with a ship bound for France, seemingly a traitor, and the family fortune was lost.

Well, nothing was as it seemed, and really, the oldest and youngest brothers were really quite madmen and unpleasant in the extreme. Silly China Rose runs off with Justin, but that seemed out of the blue to me. There were even hints that maybe Justin wasn't actually related to Ranulf and Eugene, but that thread was never followed.

I just never got into it - I found all three brothers pretty unlikeable and China herself paled in comparison to Canham's other heroines. blah. But I didn't dislike it, so 3 stars it is.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bound by the Heart by Marsha Canham ****

I really liked this book, but when I compare it to her books I've given 5 stars, it doesn't quite make it to that. It's hard to be even slightly objective when giving stars to books - I sorta go with my gut. I really liked it, maybe even loved it but... hesitate to give it the same 5 stars as others she wrote!

In this swash-buckling, bodice-ripping American privateer meets British heroine who takes his breath and heart away tale, the privateer is Morgan Wade. Well, that's not his real name - he stopped using his father's name (Granville? I think). He rescues Summer and Michael Cambridge, both children of the current governor of Bridgetown in the Caribbean when their ship sinks during a wild storm (think: hurricane). Summer will do anything to save Michael, but she's haughty and stands up to Captain Wade, assuming he will ransom them. Wade actually plans to return them, but must stop at his piratey hideaway to fix the ship.

Summer is engaged to a British Naval officer who has a severe case of bloodlust for Wade. Ah, this was the first time Canham has shut the door on a love scene - right before Wade sends the Cambridge children back, he takes Summer into his arms and disappears into her bed chamber. Then we are back in Bridgetown, where Summer and Winfield get married. However... Winfield KNOWS what really happened.

Now for the ROMANCE READER ALERT: she has a Secret Baby who turns out to be Wade's; Winfield KNOWS again; Wade secrets the secret baby away to lure Summer back to him because, dammit, he's a Besotted Pirate; Summer goes, intending to take the baby back and go back to Winfield; but she doesn't. And Adultery Occurs.

Then there's a major pirate chase-about, lots of pirate and British Navy deaths, Michael stows away to join Summer; Wade finally gets to face off against the awful, wife-beating Winfield and almost dies but is saved by his half-brother and best friend, and the rest of them lived happily ever after. 4 stars. PS it's possible Winfield became clam fodder.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Penelope and Prince Charming by Jennifer Ashley **

I really enjoyed Jennifer Ashley's The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and so downloaded to my Kindle app another Ashley book, either for cheap or for free. It's so unlike Madness that I had to consult Fantastic Fiction to be sure it was the same author and not just similar names.

OK, I get the whole "fairy tale" part, what with Prince Charming and all. There's even a fictional country where Prince Charming is Prince. And there's a prophecy that he will find the Nvengarian Princess in some small village in England, wearing the Nvengarian ring and lo and behold, there's Penelope's mother with the ring. Of course, she's too old for Charming (whatever his name is -lots of odd Nvengarian names) so she passes the ring on to practical Penelope. And of course, Penelope resists his charms because she's sooo so practical except when she is not resisting and they are boinking like bunnies ALMOST because if they do it before the Nvengarian rituals, they might break the prophecy.

I did read the whole story but sheesh, it was pretty silly and nothing like the prose and emotions in Madness. 2 stars.

The Wind and The Sea by Marsha Canham *****

I do love me some swashbucklin' Marsha Canham pirate romance! And this one is classic - non-stop wind in the hair, pirate-heroine as fierce as the gentleman hero, salt crusted secondary characters, lots of violence and courage and spies and tussling between the sheets - arrrrr!

Courtney passes as young boy Curt until Adrian, the British lieutenant hero, rips her bodice, er, man's shirt to reveal - whoops! - creamy flesh. Courtney's father and his partner are thought caught and hung on the Barbary Coast, but Courtney feels they are still alive and she must avenge the wrongs done to them by these British pigs, well, at least except for when she's tussling between the sheets with her avowed enemy and captor, Tall Blonde and Handsome Adrian of Virginia.

There's so much spying and intrigue - an alleged spy amongst the pirates who sold them out the to British, an alleged spy amongst the Brits who is selling them out to the pirates, the Arabs, the French and anyone else who will pay a little coin for government secrets. There's some misdirection - was the second lieutenant the spy, or just bragging? And the code word Seawolf - could Courtney's father have been the traitor?

Wow - Canham really evokes Errol Flynn movies she imagines with her prose, surrounding you with the howling wind and salty sea air and lust and death and intrigue and... It's definitely bodice-ripping, 5 star entertainment!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt ****

This is book 2 in the Maiden Lane series - Hoyt seems to thrive on series. I liked it - really - but having come off of reading 3 Julie James contemporary romances in a row this weekend, it wasn't nearly as much fun.

In this one, Lady Hero Batten (Hero?) is the heroine who is promised to Lord Mandeville. She meets his notorious brother Griffin at their engagement ball, where Griffin is banging some other woman. And go figure, she ends up with Griffin. Well, it's a sort of complicated tale, with the Maiden Lane Home for unfortunate orphans in the background, and there's gin distillers and informants and Hero's brother trying to arrest all the distillers, and Griffin IS a distiller.

The one thing that sorta irritated me about the story was how easy Hero was - I mean, considering she was raised as the sister of a Duke, you'd a thought she could resist a man at least once, but no, she was boinking like a bunny every time she got near Griffin, including at a ball. But there you have it, it's how Hoyt saw the story. I also thought it wrapped up rather neatly, really too neatly, all things considered, but I still enjoyed it and decided to go with 4 stars rather than 3. I dunno, I use my gut to decide these things.

I'm stuck now - no more books to read, and still 1 1/2 hours left in the boring audiobook I've sworn to complete... I can't believe I got books from PBS and Amazon and read them all.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Lot Like Love by Julie James *****

Help! Either I have no life or I read/skim too fast - two Julie James books in one day! Truth is, both - I don't have a life and I loved these books so much, I couldn't read fast enough!!

This one is related to Something About You by characters, making it Book #2 in a series of sorts - the hero and heroine from the first book playing minor character roles. Plus, YAY! there is an excerpt from Book #3 and the hero is Kyle! Oh wait, plot:

No lawyers! ::Shock:: Hero is FBI undercover agent Nick McCall, masquerading as Nick Stanton, aka Tall, Dark and Smoldering date of heiress and wine store owner Jordan Rhodes. It's slightly complicated: Jordan's twin brother Kyle shut down Twitter with a DoS attack and is now in prison as a result; FBI needs to get into a classy party that Jordan is invited to, so they offer to reduce Kyle's sentence if she lets an FBI agent accompany her. And it's related to the plot of Book #1 with original bad guy Roberto Martino, now behind bars.

The H/H don't know each other before she is brought into the FBI, so they don't have a We Hate Each Other history, but they manage to annoy each other a little anyway. She's the daughter of a man who made it big in the computer industry - as in, Billionaire - while he's from a slightly lower class Brooklyn background, so there is the element of Not Exactly Made for Each Other.

And Ms. James is ramping up the heat in her books big time. Big. Time. Jordan and Nick start out with sexual innuendos early on, and the chemistry is thick and there is no pussy-footing around. She paints a really terrific character portrait - both characters are smart, sassy and well developed by her prose. It's funny to me that I can sorta see them and experience what they are feeling from their thoughts, but I don't actually have faces for them. But I like them both very much!

She's also ramping up the suspense/thriller plot - not that the reader doesn't know who the bad guys are, they do - but still, having the bad guys get badder does also ramp up the adrenaline while reading. I like it! No, I love it! 5 stars