Thursday, August 28, 2014

Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel
Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $12.99

2.0 out of 5 stars "They Had No Scruples and Every Scruple."August 27, 2014

Book Description
 August 26, 2014New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm
Deepest winter.An isolated island off the coast of Maine.A man. A woman.Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)And . . .A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.
Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It's going to be a long, hot winter.

I think I am the only one here that truly did not love or even really like this book all that much. Don't get me wrong, I liked it but I didn't 'like it' like it (if you know what I mean!) It will not become an automatic re-read as so many of the other books by Ms.Phillips are.

This book combined many excellent ideas from her past books and I really know this to be true because I happened to be re-reading all of Ms. Phillips books before the publication of this one.

The rest of the book follows the authors regular formula - spunky underestimated heroine, broody, misunderstood and uber sexy hero, someone within the community or among the 'beloved' characters friends/family trying to either break them up or drive the spunky heroine/brooding hero away (usually the spunky heroine). They fall in love, but will not admit it to each other...or at least they pretend not to understand what is happening. The heroine grows up and takes responsibility for herself/her career. Hero finally believes the heroine once she has taken her last stand and either leaves or tries to leave.

This book had an added character that past books do not --- an Island off the coast of Maine. This was new. Yes, I really meant that the island is a character all on its own! If you read this, you will see what I mean. The Gothic house was a nice touch, but I really do not understand why so many are calling this a Gothic romance. I do not think anything could be farther from the truth.

The idea of the puppets/dummies and the conversations they held with Annie was too much like Molly and her book characters in This Heart of Mine and because there were so many puppets, the conversations got a little annoying. However, it was very clever to use them as a sort of therapy for the books secondary characters.

This is by no means a horrible book, it just isn’t one of the best or funniest or even sexiest books this author has ever written. I found it difficult to warm up to the characters and the mystery wasn’t that big of a mystery to me. It was a book that was just a tiny bit too predictable.

Happy Reading!

The Highlander Next Door (Spellbound Falls series Book 6)
The Highlander Next Door (Spellbound Falls series Book 6)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Not the BestAugust 28, 2014

Book Description
 August 26, 2014From the New York Time bestselling Janet Chapman comes this delightful tale of a young woman who's had enough of men...until she meets her spectacular new neighbor.

Legend has it love is carried on the rising mists of Spellbound Falls, and not even time-traveling highlanders are immune to its magic…

Birch Callahan has seen the trouble men can cause. After witnessing her mother’s four marriages, Birch now runs a women’s shelter and doesn’t want a man in her life. But there’s something about her neighbor, Niall MacKeage. Birch can’t figure out how the cop can be so big and gruff and yet so insightful and compassionate—and sexy. Or how she’s falling for a man who acts like someone from the twelfth century.

Niall knows that Birch is attracted to him, even if she seems to distrust all men. Yet he also knows she has a secret—something that drives her to place herself in harm’s way for the women of her shelter. Niall would gladly rush to Birch’s side to protect her from harm, but with their secrets standing between them, he’ll have to reveal his own truth if he wants to keep her…

Janet Chapman has in the past, written so many books that I am constantly re-reading that I could never really believe that she would ever write a book that I am unenthusiastic about. A book that I wouldn't be able to praise to kingdom come. Until now.

The first 15 -18% of the book is pretty much spent recapping all of the past books and you will find that this happens during the book also. The characters and the romance never really seems as fully developed as in the past books. The magic never has to be explained to Birch. Birch; is that a French-Canadian name? I'm not used to non-famous parents naming their children after trees or plants!

The story line is a little preposterous, but then again usually the story is more about the romance than anything else. The mysteries are usually secondary to anything else. However, in this particular book, the romance seemed to take a back-seat to they mystery.

If anything, this book seems to be a set-up for upcoming volumes and it really left something to be desired for me.

I have a feeling this won't be the last time we see these particular secondary characters and the build up of the forest God might lead to the best book yet...I hope. Otherwise this book may just be a bad book and not the stepping stone I hope it to be!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Truth About Leo by Katie MacCalister

The Truth about Leo (Noble series)
The Truth about Leo (Noble series)
Price: $5.91

2.0 out of 5 stars Ten Long Years and For What? (Some Spoilers Ahead)August 6, 2014

Book Description

 August 5, 2014
The much-anticipated, brand-new Regency romance from New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister.
Can Dagmar flee Denmark
Dagmar Marie Sophie is a poverty-stricken Danish princess whose annoying royal cousin is about to have her stuffed away in a convent. When she finds a wounded man unconscious in her garden, she sees a way out of her desperate situation.

By Lying to Leo?
Leopold Ernst George Mortimer, seventh earl of March, and spy in the service of the king, finds himself on the wrong end of a saber and left for dead. He wakes up not remembering what the care of a beautiful woman who says she is his wife.

Back in London, Leo-with the help of his old friends the eccentric Britton family-sets out to unravel what he's forgotten... Is Dagmar truly the wonderful, irrepressible woman who makes his heart sing, or is she a dangerous enigma bent on his destruction?"

Most reviewers are at times, unhappy with character growth - with this new novel I am unhappy with Author growth. If you took Noble Intentions and slapped different names on the characters (especially the female ones, then gave it a slightly different plot line you could be reading the same book. At least with the first three novels, each couple was totally different.

Yes, there is a difference, but just barely. With The Truth About Leo the female protagonist is an impoverished Princess who connives and manipulates a marriage to get to England.(sound a tiny bit familiar?). The couple is so hot for each other they act like idiots (familiar yet again?)

With Noble Intentions the mystery aspect of the story starts right from the very first chapter and builds the excitement. Not so with this new offering. Halfway through the novel and you are left still wondering when the excitement and mystery will happen, and when will the inane sex talk will calm down. Yes, it is giggle worthy at times, but that quickly fades. I don't think that a whole novel can't be sustained on that one gimmick alone.

I was also disappointed to see that the Brittons didn't play a big role in this book and unfortunately I was unhappy that this book was not about Nick --- I knew it wouldn't be just by the name, but I am still unhappy that we've passed over such good story material. I think he deserved an entire book, not just bits and pieces in this one.

So at 50% I am fighting the urge to go wash my kitchen floor or scrub my toilets; something unheard of with Katie M's other 'can't put'em down' books.

At about 75% we finally get a bit of action going with the Princess companion Julia being accused of murder. There had been some hinting of nefarious goings ons with her early in the book. However, since the writing style is a bit difficult to keep up with; what with no one getting to finish a complete sentence or thought, the reader is left to fend for themselves and try to fill in the blanks.

The scene in the gaol drove me batty trying to figure out what conversation belonged to who! It was like that skit with Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?"!

The last 20% of the book finally dealt fully with the so-called mystery and I felt it was rushed and obvious.

I understand that this is a romance and should not be held to the same principles and 'rules' as a full mystery book, but if a mystery is indeed going to be included then a good job should be taken to make it believable.

I guess what I am saying is that none of these books are going to hold my heart like "Noble Intentions" did. Back then this style was funny and fresh; now it just seems formulaic.