Book Review: Charmed by His Love

“All Duncan MacKeage wants is to keep his crew building roads and bridges up the mountain to the fancy resort overlooking Spellbound Falls’ new inland sea. He doesn’t want anything to do with his own family magic or with beautiful widow, Peg Thompson, and her tribe of little heathens. But when Duncan is tasked with keeping an eye on the widow Thompson, trouble starts.” (From Amazon.com)

Peg Thompson is a widow and mother of four young children. She just quit her job as counselor for friend Olivia Oceanus’ summer camp so she could stay home with her kids. Money is tight and Peg is getting desperate. Just when all hope seems lost, a builder hired by Olivia’s husband saves the day.

Duncan MacKeage is building the roads and bridges leading up to the soon to be new resort of friend Mac Oceanus. He pays Peg to use gravel from her pit and spends time bonding with her adorable kids. Duncan tries to get closer to Peg as she’s pushing away. Peg has a curse. She lost her first husband to it and vows never again to lose another–or her heart.

But Duncan has some mysterious surprises of his own and won’t let a pesky curse stand in the way of true love.

What I Thought:

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the second installment of Janet Chapman’s Spellbound Falls series. I thought I’d read the first couple of chapters and drift off into another book out of boredom. However, I found this one moved along quite a bit faster than the first book and hooked me in more deeply.

The character of Peg Thompson really intrigued me even in the first book because she came off (even in the few scenes she appeared in) as a really strong and confident character. Which is the exact opposite of how the heroine in Spellbound acted. I liked that Peg’s reluctance to get involved with Duncan had a lot more to do with her family curse than it did how she looked.

Peg’s four tiny children were absolutely adorable and I really enjoyed that each one of them had their own little unique personality. The twins, Peter and Jacob (affectionately Pete and Repeat) were so cute and had some of the best lines in the book. Isabel and Charlotte each had their own distinct personalities but despite every child being different they all love their mom just as much as she loves them. They worked together, played together, and attacked together (hint, hint, read the book!)

Duncan is actually a character from Chapman’s Highlander series. His father starred in one of the books as a time traveling Scottish Highlander. These books are all about magic. Not black magic or scary magic but magic that can lift you up and make anything happen. Mac (hero of book one) and Olivia (heroine of book one) have married and gone on a two month road trip leaving Duncan to start building the roads up to the new resort. Before Mac leaves though, he makes sure to let Duncan have his pick of the new mountains.

This book was a lot more fantastical than the first, which I really enjoyed. My only qualm is that there was even less sex/sexual tension than the first! I have to admit though; it was a LOT more enjoyable getting to it in this book than in the first installment.

In Charmed by His Love, there was a magic mountain, a family curse, a wizard, and even a whale from Atlantis. Not to mention a mystery/drama happening in the town.

I’ll be reading the next installment in the series shortly!

Final review: 4/5.

Book Review: Spellbound Falls

“Olivia…doesn’t have time to deal with her growing attraction to the dangerously seductive Mac. Besides, weird stuff seems to happen all around him. Take the fact that her seatbelt keeps getting stuck in his presence, or locks magically open for him without keys, and that he seems to have a talent for sensing things…” (From Amazon.com)

Olivia Baldwin is a widow running a camp designed to help families get along better with each other. Her husband died overseas and together with her hard to love parents-in-law, Olivia makes Inglenook her second priority. Her eight year old daughter, Sophie, is her first.

Mac Oceanus and his newly discovered son, Henry, come to Inglenook to try to bond. Olivia finds herself incredibly attracted to Mac and also eerily spooked by the magic that seems to occur when he’s around. Doors lock and unlock seemingly at random, seatbelts get stuck, and zippers don’t work. Olivia wants to have an affair and be done with it several months later but love catches her off guard and soon magic is happening all around her.

What I Thought:

I have read most of Janet Chapman’s Highlander time travel books and found myself skipping and skimming a lot of them so I was wary of purchasing this one (especially at full price for an ebook) but I was caught up in the plot surprisingly quickly.

I read some of the reviews on Amazon prior to purchasing and one common disappointment seemed to be that Mac’s son, Henry, was old-fashioned and spoke too eloquently to be believable as a child. I had absolutely no problem with the way he spoke. He did speak like an adult throughout most of the book but Chapman made it clear early on that there wasn’t something quite right with the Oceanuses. It was my understanding from the beginning that Henry wasn’t originally from the 21st century.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was that the paranormal/magical elements were placed throughout very intelligently. The author didn’t throw the whole back story at the reader at once but instead left hints and used foreshadowing to allow me to keep guessing what was happening and who Mac and Henry really were. Even at the end of the book, nothing is spelled out for you (which I actually liked as it allows for a little more imagination.) Don’t get me wrong though, there was a definite conclusion and you do finally find out where Mac is from and who he is.

I had only two quarrels with the book. Number one, I thought Olivia was a little too down on herself. I understand that the point was to have her left very broken after her first marriage but she seemed to be constantly doubting herself, her looks, her decisions, everything! And it did get a little on my nerves. I found myself hoping throughout the book that she would finally grow up and be confident.

The only other thing I didn’t like is that there was only one love scene. I know, I know, not all novels need to have sex but to build up the sexual tension and only give the reader one quick glimpse at the actual act is such a tease. I’m not asking for erotica, just a little more love.

All in all, I have already downloaded the second book in the series, Charmed by His Love, starring another widow from Spellbound Falls. I’m excited to see where the series goes.

Final review: 3/5.

Ladygarden? Huh?

“Io pointed at his crotch. ‘You’re getting all bulgy, and I resent your penis’s implication that I’m doing something to arouse you.”

This book has some of the funniest lines I think I’ve ever read. And I’ve read some seriously funny authors. I’ve been reading A Tale of Two Vampires and I have to say, I’m totally into it. I find myself laughing outloud every time the two main characters have a conversation.

Nikola is a Dark One, otherwise known as a vampire. Iolanthe Tennyson is an amateur photographer who during a visit in Austria to her cousin, falls thru a time portal and ends up in Nikola’s castle. Nikola is mysterious and sexy but also a scientist, interested in all which he does not understand. This leads to some extremely funny circumstances throughout the book.

“‘…stop staring at my breasts.’
His gaze flickered straight back to my boobs. ‘Why? You present them for male appreciation, do you not?'”

I don’t normally read Katie MacAlister (which, as I’ve said previously is very peculiar considering she is known for her Paranormal Romance) but the character of Nikola is so intriguing and genuinely humorous, I can’t help but read on. The storyline, to be completely honest, has been done. Time travel? Vampires? Though, I must admit, though they’re two of my favorite genres I have never read a time travel novel that was also a vampire novel.

“‘Perhaps penguins were not allowed on the ship that you sailed on to Europe. However, I will admit that I’ve never seen a pink penguin, and I take quite an interest in natural history…’
‘No, it’s not…er…it’s not a real penguin.’ For some reason, Io seemed flustered by this turn in conversation. He was more than intrigued by that phenomenon. ‘It’s my Tingleator. It’s shaped like a penguin, you see.’
He hated feeling left out of knowledge. ‘I am unfamilar with a Tingleator. You will describe it to me.’
‘Sorry, that may have been too regional. It’s my hoe, you know?’
His frown deepened.
‘My hoe for the ladygarden.’
Perhaps she was mad. Her conversation certainly didn’t make too much sense. ‘You wish to discuss gardening?'”

Seriously, check this book out. It’s totally worth it even if just for the hysterical conversation that takes place between Io and Nikola. I wish I could post all my favorite quotes but the story does progress and I don’t wish to give anything away!

Go buy this book!

Hey everyone!

I wanted to post about an upcoming book my favorite author is releasing. So am shamelessly promoting her work.

This is a continuation of Lynsay Sands’ long running Argeneau series, which if you’ve read my previous posts you know all about by now. This one comes out Tuesday and I’ll definitely be picking up my copy before work at the wonderful Target.

Do you love Lynsay Sands? I’m always on the look-out for any recommendations you may have for me.

A proper posting will follow within the next couple of days. I should (hopefully) finish Dragonfly in Amber by Sunday night and will be starting a new fluffy book called The Miss Fortunes.

Historical Thoughts

Well hello there to my many readers! I have just updated the WIRN (What I’m Reading Now) page and have continued on with Diana Gabaldon’s time travel series. Reading these books remind me of the historical romance that I used to devour when I first started reading. I thought I’d take the time to put my two cents in about the genre in general and share with you a few of my favorite historical romances.

Now, a lot of people roll their eyes at the mention of historical romance and I have to admit, I’ve become one of them. However, I give praise where it’s given and even though the majority of the genre has become a bit monotonous, there are a few books that I’ve enjoyed so much that I do go back to them time and again to re-read.

 I was in 8th grade when I read my very first novel. It also happened to be a historical by the name of Highland Princess. The book itself isn’t anything too incredible, but it does hold a special place in my heart. For this is the first book I devoured, the first book I couldn’t wait to open, the first book that literally made me giddy with excitement just to read even a page of. I still love the feelings that come over me when I know I’m reading an incredible book. Highland Princess is set in Scotland and stars a Princess named Bera, only sister with twelve warrior brothers. When her brothers are imprisoned in enemy dungeons, Bera takes it upon herself to rescue them, disguising herself to sneak into the fortress. It’s here that she meets Curran, a mercenary and a man to match her for everything she is.

I know it sounds totally corny. But hey, as a first book, I can’t help but still love it. If not because it’s a genuinely good historical romance because with it began my obsession and love of books.

The second book that I wanted to mention is called The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros. It stars Gwendolyn Wilder, a villager who is cruelly sent off as a sacrificial offering to the beast of Weycraig. But the beast is just a man, Bernard MacCullough, recently returned to his broken down castle. Again, this one is pretty typical. And I just realized also set in Scotland. Must be something….

In fact, since I’m lingering on The Bride and the Beast, I’ve enjoyed most of Teresa Medeiros’ books. She has some wonderful storylines and who doesn’t love a “happily ever after” in between Urban or Paranormal Fantasy, a long Non-Fiction, or even in the middle of a saga?

I read a lot of historical romance for a long time so to think off the top of my head of my favorite ones are a bit hard. I average about one book a week now but back when I was flying through historicals taken from the library, I could easily read thru 5-6 in a week. Julie Garwood was a favorite of mine and since her historicals have been published, she’s ventured into modern day mystery, intrigue, and romantic suspense. I also loved Johanna Lindsey, always good for a great plot, action and adventure.

I will end this for now, but was happy to give you a little further insight onto my bookshelf. Historicals may not be my first choice these days but you can’t ever knock a good historical. They are the best books for taking you away from the monotony of life and transporting you to far away worlds involving pirates, cowboys, nobility, you name it.

What are your favorite historical romances? What are your opinions on the genre in general?

Authors

I think the best way for you to get to know me is by taking a look at my bookshelf. I dare you to find one book that you can pick up, read a chapter of, and put back down again. The books I read are thrilling, mysterious, romantic, and just plain good! Now I know everyone has their own preferences, but here are mine.

1. Lynsay Sands and Kerrelyn Sparks
These women are just too much fun. Both series are about vampires and both series are hilariously funny as well as steamy and romantic. I started reading Sand’s Argeneau series years ago with “Single, White Vampire,” “Love Bites,” and “Tall, Dark, and Hungry.” These three were the first published and feature three vampire brothers whose meddling vampire mother plays matchmaker. The series continues on through fifteen more books as well as a novella.
Kerrelyn Sparks writes very similarly though the plot line of each of her vampire books usually involves a little more action and mystery. The Love at Stake series revolves mostly around vampires but Sparks has included other supernatural creatures as main characters as well. Hysterical and full of plot and intrigue as well as good old steamy fun, these books are an incredible read.

2. Janet Evanovich
Now, if I’m being honest, while I know most people just can’t get enough of the Stephanie Plum series, I kind of grew out of it. I read up to “Twelve Sharp” and after that I just got a little bored with the same old bounty hunter situations. Now, don’t get me wrong, Evanovich is a fabulous author and the Plum series is a fabulous series. Definitely pick up a copy of “One for the Money” and read it, if you haven’t already. A great light read and good for the beach. However, I did just discover a new Evanovich series which I love. Very light and humorous like the Plum series but also containing a bit of a supernatural element as well, which of course I can’t resist. “Wicked Appetite” is the first in the series is about finding one of the seven deadly sins, in stone form. (You can guess which one of the seven deadly this book revolves around.) And you’ll certainly see more about the series as I will post a review for both books one and two of the series.

3. Karen Marie Moning
I feel as though I just have to include this author. Hands down, I have never and don’t believe I ever will read a series quite like her Fever series. They are definitely Paranormal. They’re definitely dark. They’re definitely fully addictive. Written in the first person, they’re about a young woman whose sister (while studying abroad in Ireland) is viciously murdered. Feeling the very real urge to find out what happened to her, Mac jumps on a plane to investigate. I won’t go too far into the plot as I do plan on posting reviews of all five books in the series. These are books that a reader dreams of and waits for. These are books that come around only once in a few hundred. I’m not usually a fan of Urban Fantasy. In general I find it almost too plot filled and confusing. I can’t tell you how amazing this series is. I stayed up until three or four AM every morning just trying to get to the next page, eyes bloodshot and tight with exhaustion. But it was definitely the best feeling and if you’re a reader, you know what I’m talking about. Also try out Moning’s Highlander series, more light-hearted and romantic but still great nontheless.

There are most certainly more authors that I enjoy beyond these four wonderful ladies and I’ll definitely be posting more author suggestions along the way. In the meantime, get started on these ones! You won’t be disappointed…