6/30/09

Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan


Although initially it seemed as though Ms. Feehan had mistakenly packaged a Ghostwalker book as a Drake sisters novel, Hidden Currents redeemed itself as a terrific finale for a unique series by the queen of paranormal romance.

Followers of the series have been able to watch Elle and Jackson dance around the issue of their relationship--or lack of one--for 4 full length novels and 2 novellas prior to the release of their story, Hidden Currents. So it's no real surprise that the traditional 'learning to love' phase is completely missing from this book. They already know and love each other. It is their struggle to find some common ground and build a real relationship--one that exists outside their heads--that forms the emotional center of the novel.

I'm a little (well a lot) uncomfortable with what happens to Elle in this book. It brings back some of the worst stereotypes of the genre--although admittedly not in the same way. The first 1/4 of the book is ugly and uncomfortable to read. It is far more violent than most of the other Drake series--which is why it seemed more like a Ghostwalker book than a Drake book.

Jackson is one of my favorite characters in the Drake series, and I think Christine Feehan did him justice. And while it may seem rushed to some, I really enjoyed the way she shows the marriages of the sisters. We also see brief appearances by just about every important secondary character as well--which I love for finale books.

So while the violence was a bit off-putting, this was a solid book with great characters, plenty of suspense, plenty of romance, and a compelling read.

6/16/09

Talk of the Ton: Eloisa James, Julia London, Rebecca Hagan Lee, Jacqueline Navin


I am normally quite careful when book shopping to check the 'new release' shelves for reissues. Publishers have a sneaky habit of reissuing older books in new packaging--and they often catch the unwary.

Today, that would be me.

Talk of the Ton is a reissue of a 2005 anthology. To be fair, I KNEW I had read an anthology by that name before with a very different cover. But I was in a hurry and merely glanced at the copyright page, missed the fact that there were 2 copyright dates. I only saw 2009.

The good news is that this is an excellent anthology by Regency romance authors who were just coming into their own back in 2005. And these novellas and short stories are a great deal lighter than some of the more involved historical romances. Eloisa James normally writes historicals that are extremely moving--but are often ones that must be read with tissues close at hand . Her contribution is one of the lightest pieces of writing by her that I've ever read--and just as wonderful as the rest of her stories. In fact, it sets the tone for the general lightheartedness of this collection.

For those who haven't read it and may still be unfamiliar with a few of the authors, it is an excellent choice. For those who have read it, but not recently, it is worth a revist. Even if that revist is unintentional.

Burning Wild by Christine Feehan


Christine Feehan is one of the top paranormal romance authors--period. Her Carpathian series may have catapulted her to super stardom, but it is her other series that have--in the past--held my interest.

Burning Wild, a new installment in the leopard series, started out strongly--very intense, very disturbing. But, sadly, there was a distance in her writing that isn't usually there. A kind of wall between her characters and the readers. I suspect it was a result of her attempts to portray the main character, Jake Bannaconni's, fear of emotion and the lack of control it brings. But in doing that, she somehow cut off the emotional impact of the rest of her characters.

The plot was very interesting, but the characters just weren't compelling.

6/10/09

The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick


Amanda Quick aka Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society series is unique. She switches from Victorian to Contemporary settings depending upon which name she uses, but the underlying themes and premises remain the same. Two very different styles dealing with the psychic powers and filled with suspense.

The last Quick installment left me a bit bored. The characters seemed overwhelmed by the themes of psychic power, murder and mayhem. And without strong characters, the plot really doesn't matter. This one brings Quick back to the strong heroes and heroines that made me pick up her books in the first place. Even her earliest historicals had suspenseful plot lines, but over time the heroines had succumbed to a high degree of wimpiness.

So, while not perfect--the suspense was not very suspenseful this time--the Perfect Poison is a vast improvement over previous Quick installments in the Arcane Society series.

If you like your Regency or Victorian historicals without the paranormal or psychic aspects, though, you should avoid this one.

6/9/09

Vision in White by Nora Roberts


I took a 2 year break from reading anything Nora Roberts. The books were increasingly disappointing and the characters irritating. I decided it was time to give Vision in White--strangely published in trade format--a chance.

Well...it was a good story. The characters were believable. The romance was actually on the sweet rather than steamy side--something I found refreshing. The plot wasn't all that compelling,but I enjoyed the book. I don't think, however, that it was one deserving of the fancy trade format or the fancy trade price.

And, for those with Nora fatigue, this may not be the best book to start with because it does echo several older Silhouette titles. She doesn't rehash the exact same characters and plots, but there are enough similarities to have you wondering if you have, in fact, read this before. She's written about female photographers before. And the bookish Carter Maguire seems to borrow heavily from MacAlister Booke from Heaven and Earth.

It was a nice change of pace, though, and I really did enjoy Carter Maguire--a nice guy who breaks that dangerous bad boy stereotype and gets his girl.

6/4/09

Don't Bargain with the Devil by Sabrina Jeffries


I adore Jeffries's School for Heiresses Series. They are all a little different, but Don't Bargain with the Devil is of a distinctly different mold than others in the series. I adore the hero--Diego, the magician. Not only was he sexy as hell, he was honorable in his way. And appreciative of Lucinda, our heroine, from the very first.

The shifting locales gave this book a different flavor, and the supporting cast of characters were--as usual--well developed and interesting. I found Lucinda to be unusually immature compared to how I imagined someone used to army camps would act. She seemed a bit too naive for me to fully believe in, but I enjoyed her impulsiveness. At least she wasn't simpering and weak.

Overall, this was a fun, quick read with a few less familiar plot twists and themes. It also sets up the finale quite well. I hope Mrs. Harris's story manages to meet or exceed expectations. We'll all find out next month!

Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery


There are some authors who are dependable. You KNOW that any book you pick up with their name on the cover is going to be terrific. There are others who are less dependable. Susan Mallery is one of the latter.

While I enjoyed her Marcelli sisters series, her Buchanan series was hit and miss. The latest release, Under Her Skin, was both hit and miss. Some parts were REALLY good, other parts were so trite and unconvincing that I almost put the book down. Even the characters weren't uniform in their depth. Some were memorable and believable, others were ho-hum and easily dismissed.

This was the first in a new series, but I doubt I'll be bothered to pick up the installments to follow.

Gifts for the Baker