The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands

June 27, 2011

Remember the days when vampires were sensual and never had sex?
Times have changed and what we mortal women always suspected about vampires/immortals is true - they can have sex! Lot's of sex! And not just your typical run of the mill, plain old sex, but mind blowing fantastic-orgasmic, spectacular, super-duper sex! And let me tell you about the humpfest in this book - after reading 15 books in the series the constant thumping and banging is beginning to wear a little thin.

There's not much that's new in The Reluctant Vampire - Drina and Harper are life mates - so, resistance is futile. Oh, wait, that's the Borgs! Anyway, Drina is a rogue hunter, and if she is an example of a rogue hunter...all of you rogue vampires/immortals have nothing to fear.

We once again return to the lovely town of Port Henry, a town similar to Mayberry with Andy, Opie, Barney, Goober, Gomer, Lloyd and Aunt Bea...only there are vampires/immortals living there. And by the way, I am having trouble keeping track of all of the characters, where one story ends and another begins.

There were some humorous moments, especially with the stinky cat: however, I found the portion of the book when Drina dresses like a street-walker to attract Harper a little insulting, a little silly and very juvenile.

Spoilers coming to an eye near you!

I did find the character of Stephanie and her problem with vampire conversion to be very interesting and I'm looking forward to more insight into her story. However, I hope she's a little older when she finds her life-mate. Now, while I found her problems fascinating, I also became irritated with her eavesdropping on Drina and Harper's sexual escapades.

And then there was the Scooby-doo "someone trying to kill someone" solution at the end of the story. Tumor! OMG, the tumor moment, elicited a groan (and not a good groan). You would think with all the vampires around looking into minds, one of them would have seen the tumor.

I have enjoyed the Argeneau series, some of them more than others. My favorite books in the series are still The Interrupted Vampire and The Accidental Vampire, I found the The Reluctant Vampire to be a little weak. And, I for one would like to have more of the vampire/immortal culture featured in this series. I think it would add just a little bit more spice to the mixture.

Time/Place: Current time in Port Henry
Sensuality Rating: Scorching


On My Radar for Late July, Early August 2011

June 24, 2011
FYI, the 15th of each month is the cutoff date for me.

Jennifer Ashley
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Highland Pleasure series
Release date: August 8, 2011

Liz Carlyle
The Bride Wore Scarlet
St. James Society series
Release date: July 26, 2011

Victoria Dahl
It's Always Been You
York series
Release date: August 1, 2011

Mia Marlo
Diane Whi
Maggie Robinson
Improper Gentlemen

Release date: July 26, 2011

Kasey Michaels
Taming of the Rake
A Blackthorn Brothers series

Release date: July 26, 2011

Miranda Neville
The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton
Burgundy Club
Release date: July 26, 2011

anie Sloane
The Sinner Who Seduced Me
ency Rogues
Release date: July 26, 2011

Tracy An
ne Warren
The Bed and the Bachelor
Byron Brother Series
Release date: July 26, 2011

For a more complete list of Late July/Early August see Hey Delia


Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

June 20, 2011

It is what it is.

Yes, fellow readers in Just Like Heaven, the most recent book by Julia Quinn... the heroine, a Regency heroine, actually says "It is what it is." You know, I'm not fond of that little cliche when I hear it now , but to hear it come out of the mouth of an early 19th century person makes me shudder. Over the past years, I have made allowances for Julia Quinn's use of modern language interminglitis, but this one was just too much. It is what it is... hate it.

With Just Like Heaven, Julia Quinn begins a new series, about the Smythe-Smith family. You remember them from the Bridgerton series - they were the ones who held the horrible musicales - and the story seems to take place before Colin Bridgerton had his HEA.

As with all Julia Quinn books, I'm never surprised. I know that they will be fast, lighthearted, sometimes silly, but nothing really earth shattering, and if there are angst filled heroes they usually have a sense of humor. This book didn't change my mind; however, I found myself not enjoying this book as much as I have past Quinn books. My non-enjoyment of the book was puzzling at first; I liked the heroine, Honoria, and I especially liked the hero, Marcus. I thought Marcus could have been a really great beta hero, but Ms. Quinn just didn't develop his character very far. Actually, this seemed to be a story about nothing... nothing happens. And, while something about nothing may have worked with Seinfield, it didn't work with this book. Well, stuff happens, it is what it is after all. But there doesn't seem to be much of a plot-line, except for the annoying Smythe-Smith cousins who are constantly picking at each other.

It is when these cousins are together that the story falls apart. There is too much time spent establishing their characters and not enough on Marcus and Honoria. The moments I enjoyed the most were when these two were together. Their romance was both touching and humorous at the same time. The romance in this book could have been really great. We have two people who grow up together and when she's six she hates Marcus because he won't have tea with her and her dolls. One of my favorite themes is childhood friends who realize they love each other. I loved how they don't know what to say to each other, how Marcus is so terribly shy. Loved the workings of his mind when he's trying to figure out how to court Honoria. I just wish there had been more of Marcus and Honoria and less of the Smythe-Smith band.

This was not the best of Julia Quinn's book; I did smile occasionally but mostly it was just a so-so book.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Warm

Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris

June 20, 2011
TBR challenge

This is also the last in the series to date - the next book When Maidens Mourn will be coming out March of 2012.

We have some plus and minuses in this story - let's get those nasty minuses out of the way. Some may consider what I'm about to say spoiler territory. Dead bodies, dead bodies, dead bodies. I'm starting to think Sebastian St. Cyr is a bad luck kind of guy. In Where Shadows Dance if you happen to be one of the peripheral characters, you are either a killer of a killee! I'm also growing a little weary of all the different Bond-Bourne government conspiracy cover-ups that call all the murder-mystery in this series. And lastly, even though I was please with the idea of Hero saving herself, her Kung-Fu moment was a tad bit over the top. Four dead guys...Pulease!

Now to the pluses! I was delighted when the author brought in some macabre humor. Watch for what I consider a brilliant bit of black comedy with gravediggers, rain, mud, missing shrouds, missing body parts, finding missing body parts, putting missing body parts back together, and dumping a loosely attached body back in the grave, all before it is dug up again for an "official" inquiry. I was amused.

However, the best parts of the book were the moments when Sebastian and Hero were together. What a perfect crime-solving couple, and their chemistry is heating up. They're a funny, quick-witted intelligent couple, even though I find Hero to be the smarter of the two. Watching Hero and Sebastian as they test the waters of their relationship and watching that relationship as it grows stronger is well-written...and I'm looking forward to further steps in their development.

It was also great having the other characters back - along with all of their secrets. When will we find out what Kat's holding over Lord Jarvis' head? Will Sebastian ever forgive Hendon? Who's Sebastian's real father? When will Sebastian get over Kat? Soon I hope - Kat's my least favorite character.

I found the murder-mystery part of this book with the big field of dead people quite a stretch. However, the growing relationships between Sebastian and his peeps are very fascinating and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Kiss

DIK blogging

I will be blogging at DIK Ladies Rule today

The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

June 13, 2011

Spal Chek, Sple Cheek, Spill Cka, Spell Check!

I’m going to make this quick and hopefully painless – authors turn your spell check on! Pay attention to those red squiggly lines under the words…they will find thing! Things such as: welcom which is welcome, soo which is soon, Groin which is groin and Lday Northrophad which is Lady Northrup. Authors, if your publisher company does not seem to know what an editor or copy editor is, take it upon yourself to get one! It is always a shame when a promising author’s book, that book that they poured their blood, sweat, and tears into should have numerous typos in it that will prove to be a distraction to the story itself.

Now, on to the book

There were parts of The Devil in Disguise that I enjoyed a lot and other parts – not so much. The main characters were introduced and there was some strong character development, at least in the beginning. The heroine, Lucinda, was strong, witty and comfortable with herself. The hero, William is part of a secret spy group, the Young Corinthian’s…he’s a big guy, with a troubled childhood and he is a rake…or at least he’s pretending to be one. Although, I’m not sure how you pretend when you do all the things rakes do, like drink, fight, sleep with tons of women. So, I was happy when the story started, the characters were interesting, the plot line exciting and the writing strong. However, somewhere along the way the character development stopped and the people that inhabited the book became flat.

In the second part of the book, the couple looses the chemistry that was present in the beginning…also lacking was any sexual chemistry in their more intimate moments. I also felt the eventually deflowering was rushed. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of what the Young Corinthian’s were all about and since I’m pretty sure some of those men are going to have their own book, it would have been nice to get some kind of a feel for what those guys were all about. I had a problem figuring out whether the villain was going to kidnap or kill Lucinda and wondered why he was going to kidnap her in the first place. Also, why was William called the “Iron Will?” There also is a point in this book when Williams deception is discovered by Lucinda, and in my opinion her reaction is just a tad bit over the top.

This was a pleasant read, nothing earth shattering with part of it lacking depth. I was looking forward to this read, it was the first one of my new books that I grabbed – love reading new exciting authors, but for me this first in the series didn’t quite work. I am however, looking forward to the next one in the series, The Angels in My Arms …because I do see talent in Ms. Sloanes writing.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Warm/Hot


C.S. Harris continuing saga II

June 7, 2011


This fifth book in the continuing St. Cyr series, What Remains of Heaven, was the least satisfying read so far for me.

Oh sure, we still get to visit with Sebastian, he of the feral yellow night vision eyes and matching ears. The ears aren't yellow, but they can hear things from far far away - and he's not even a vampire!!! I think.

And we get to see Hero Jarvis again, and she seems to be extraordinarily intelligent. Now, if this were a romance book, I would at this point find myself getting irritated with Hero's stubbornness and Sebastian's inability to get over Kat. I've never been too keen on heroes who are unable to get over their first love, especially when they are blind to the perfect match standing right in front of them. (Even with night vision.)

Now there are a couple of things I have to force myself to remember. I am used to picking up a book and reading about a couple that meet, have misunderstanding/mystery/fight, resolve the problem, then have a HEA. And all in 200-300 pages or less. Now I have read 5 books, written over a time period of 5-6 years but cover a period of a few months. And the personal stuff is slow going and that I'm not used to. And, secondly, I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a romance book, but a murder-crime-mystery series.

Which leads me to what format I find irritating in murder-crime-mystery stories. I call them the "ice cube formulas" and Agatha Christie was a master of the "ice cube formula." Let me explain how that formula works with an old childhood puzzle that goes something like this: There's this dead man hanging from the ceiling, in a room that is locked from the inside, he's not tall enough to reach the ceiling, there are no chairs in the room and the coroner has ruled it a suicide. Now, in an Agatha Christie story this part is mentioned to us in the first or second chapter; it isn't until the second to the last chapter in the book that Poirot/Marple/Tommy/Tuppence reveal to us that there was also a puddle of water on the floor beneath the dead guy. It would appear our victim stood on a block of ice, which melted, resulting in his death - hence "ice cube formula," or the art of withholding clues and information until the end. Sometimes there is also the introduction of some character who usually turns out to be the illegitimate cousin to Lady so and so's husband's brother's step-son's cousin. I object to these type of non-clues in my mystery stories. And this story had them.

Yes, I know a mystery is, well, a mystery, and things are supposed to be hidden from us, the readers. However, part of the fun in reading a mystery is to see if you can guess who did it before the detective/sleuth/retired old lady/nun/monk does. And, so mystery writers need to walk a thin line of hiding clues and not hiding clues. Much to my disappointment, C.S. Harris didn't walk that line very well in What Remains of Heaven. Also, this time the secondary story of romance didn't save the story.

I am now waiting patiently for the sixth book in the series, Where Shadows Dance, to be returned to the library.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: None


C. S. Harris continuing saga

June 2, 2011

This series is really starting to become exciting!

Why Mermaids Sing, the third installment of Sebastian St. Cyr series, started out slowly, but by the time I was half way through I was engrossed in the mystery. With the third book, the mystery is on the same par as the character development and other story lines that are going on in this series.

Now, the review for Mermaids comes with a warning - I wouldn't advise eating lunch and reading this book at the same time. There are some pretty gruesome goings on in this tale - but it's all very engrossing - in a Hannabal Lector kind of way.

There are all manner of adventures in this story - and, once again we get to visit Sebastian and his peeps. I hope that the author soon drops the feral description of Sebastian's eyes... after reading three books in a row, I'm getting a little tired of hearing about his yellow night vision eyes. There are other repeating descriptions, Hero has brown tight hair, Paul doesn't have a leg, Kat smells when she enters a room...I guess that's what happens when you read one book right after another.

I found the mystery in this book to be totally absorbing and much to my surprise, I didn't spot the killer! And, there are some big BIG BIG secrets in this tale that we are let in on - some surprises with Kat and Sebastian - and more hints of secrets to come.

So, if you became discouraged with the first two in the series, I would encourage you to continue on with St. Cyr because they are just getting better. As I said before, the other two books had weak mystery elements, but in this one Ms. Harris has written what I'd call a true mystery/crime/murder story.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Don't blink

Where Serpents Sleep is the best book in the series to date. I love these characters! The mystery is solid - the supporting cast is great - and Sebastian just keeps getting better! And, gee I wish this was a romance because the dynamics between Hero and Sebastian just scream HEA! For me, I'm glad Hero is in the picture; I never cared for Kat as a heroine. I have to say I really like Hero Jarvis. I think she makes a great partner for Sebastian. Hoping they will become a husband and wife team.

Without going into spoiler territory, the way Ms. Harris wove her way through all the convoluted plots into one great conclusion was awe-inspiring and I was surprised at who turned out to be the killer. There were less of the secret background stories going on in this book, but all of my favorite characters were there and they are continuing to grow. And I love the new valet!

I recommend both of these books, but you should read the entire series just so you can become familiar with Sebastian St. Cyr's world.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Don't blink


On my Radar for End of June...Beginning of July, 2011

June 1, 2011

Mary Balogh
The Secret Mistress
Prequel to mistress series
Release date July 12, 2011

Loretta C
Silk is For Seduction
Dressmaker series (new)
Release dat
e June 28, 2011

Meredith Duren
A Lady's Lesson in Scandal
Release d
ate June 28, 2011

tte Featherstone
Seduction & Scandal
House of Orpheus series (new)

Release date June 21, 2011

Patricia Rice
The Devilish Montague
The Rebellious Sons series
ase date July 5, 2011

Stefanie Sloane
The Angel in My Arms
Regency Rogues series
Release date June 28, 2011

Anne Stuart
House of Rohan series
Release date June 21, 2011

For a more complete list of upcoming books see Hey Delia!!