Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lightning Reviews

I guess this is the follow-up post to last week's library haul. Since I'm without internet this month (except for while at work), my blogging has slowed to a crawl. Then again, that means more time to READ. hehe.

Here are my lightning reviews (actually, more like short comments) on the stack of books from last week.

The Irresistible MacRae - Karen Ranney
I got about three chapters into this book when I realized that the entire plot centered around what may be my biggest pet peeves. The big misunderstanding coupled with the martyr heroine. The heroine is lured into a compromising situation with an fortune-hunting rake. Because her sister has caught the interest of a prime marital candidate, the heroine feels forced to keep her reputation clean by becoming engaged to the rake. We must sacrifice ourselves on the altar of family, girls! A family friend (presumably the irresistible MacRae of the title) is sent to try to lend her assistance and they fall in love. But oh the horror, she must not love him nor tell him why she is determined to marry the awful bounder. Yeah, I flipped through the book and when I saw that they were still hashing out the Big Mis 3/4 of the way through, I thought to myself that I really don't have the time nor the inclination to willingly put myself through torture. So I didn't bother.

The Cobra and the Concubine - Bonnie Vanak
This book reminded me of those old blowsy adventure stories. Full of melodrama and impossible coincidences. Big Secrets abound, lots of brooding, much angst. The hero is an English nobleman raised as a Bedouin. The heroine a rescued concubine from a rival clan. Of course it is love at first sight but she feels it is necessary to push him away "for his own good" throughout pretty much the entire book. yada yada. Quite frankly, if the exotic setting hadn't kept my interest, I probably would have given this a much lower grade. As it was, I felt oddly compelled to keep reading. I think that Vanak has promise but needs to tone down the over-the-top-ness (if that's a word).

To love a Thief - Julie Anne Long
This book was absolutely delightful. A little of a Pygmalion story. The heroine is a gently-bred young lady down on her luck who has turned to pick-pocketing. Our hero is a barrister who has pulled himself up by his own boostraps, has political aspirations and a "grand plan" for his life which culminate in getting the ton's most sought-after debutante to marry him. He engages the heroine thief to act as a potential rival for his affections which should then push the debutante into his arms in a fit of jealousy. Of course, he can't see that the perfect woman is right in front of his nose. This book charmed me and I put it down with a sigh and a huge smile on my face. It probably would not pass the strictest litmus tests of historical accuracy for some, but I loved every minute of it.

Master of the Moon - Angela Knight
I liked this entry better than the last Knight book I read. King Llyr was a pretty darn sexy hero and matching him up with a werewolf was a nice touch. Oddly enough though, as much as I like love scenes, there were almost too many in here and they started to get repetitive and didn't tell me much I didn't know about the characters. Overall, an entertaining little piece of escapism, but I don't think I'd spend hard-earned money on it.

Kiss and Makeup - Allison Kent (Harlequin Blaze)
This little book was short and sweet. Or actually more like short and spicy. My main complaint is that I was a little skeptical about the HEA given that the heroine spent most of the story convincing me that she didn't want to give up her dreams of making it as an industry makeup artist to move down to Texas with her rich lover (big-time music producer guy). Still, all in all, a good little book and I'd look for more HQs by Kent.

Bluestocking Bride - Elizabeth Thornton
I just finished it this morning over breakfast. I felt a little like the victim of false advertising. The cover and blurb made this look like a historical. But in fact it read like a Regency. By that I mean, slow, proper, boring and old-fashioned. It started off somewhat interesting through the courtship period of the hero and heroine, but after the marriage takes place, we get the good old BIG MIS plot on both sides. The heroine is supposed to be intelligent (after all, she reads and understand Greek!) but she is forehead-slappingly stupid in how she jumps to conclusions about the hero's motivations and then instead of TALKING with him, she gives him the cold shoulder and pushes him away. blah blah blah. The heroine and hero spend the last 2/3 of the book being verbally and emotionally mean to one another and then in the last 2 pages it is all cleared up. hooray. And that will be my last Thornton book.

The Star King - Susan Grant
I'll admit that I'm not a huge sci-fi person, although I do have a soft spot for reruns of Andromeda and the Star Trek series with Scott Bakula (I don't even try to keep all the STs straight). So in some ways, this book felt like one of those Saturday afternoon adventures. I liked that the heroine was middle-aged and divorced with grown-up kids. Why should us young gals have all the love? *g* And the story of how she explores the universe with our fair hero is pretty interesting. I'm a traveler myself, so details about new languages and cultures is right up my alley. Stuff that I could have lived without included all of the political machinations and the dumb blonde moment which allowed the heroine to get kidnapped by the bad guys. But I understand that conflict makes for plot, so I'll get over it. This book definitely ranks higher on my list than my last Susan Grant book. In fact, I think I'll keep my eyes open for the newer one with the long title (how to lose an extraterrestrial in 10 days? or something like that).


Now I'm tired. And it's time to start the workday. I hope I get a chance to hit up my library again before the long holiday weekend. Also, I have Shana Abe's The Smoke Thief at the top of my TBR pile which I am very much looking forward to.

And now for a little gratuitous Richard Armitage photo posting just to make me smile. Have a good day, kiddies!


Dev said...

I was beginning to worry when I saw your first 2 reviews that you may have gotten stuck with a bunch of clunkers ~ but was so glad to see that at least a few of your books were worthwhile reads. I have the Julie Ann Long book at home (bought it at the library) and am looking forward to reading it. The Elizabeth Thornton sounded familiar, but I know I haven't read it before. I also have the Susan Grant book How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 days at home, but haven't read it yet. It's burried in Mt. TBR somewhere.

Tumperkin said...

You summed up beautifully one of my pet peeves in your comments on that Karen Ranney book: martyr heroines. Ugh.

Kristie (J) said...

I haven't read that Ranney book, I liked the Vanak book better than you did me thinks *g*, I did read the Long book but I can't really remember it that well - but I know I enjoyed it. I haven't read the Kent or the Thornton book and I quite enjoyed the Grant book. The Star King is actually the first of 3. The second one - The Star Prince I found meh, but I really (really) like the third one, The Star Princess - also the ones she wrote in the 2176 series - oh and Contact was quite a good one too. But I think my fave is Once a Pirate.

Tumperkin said...

BTW Sula - I tried to email you but the email link you put in your comment on my post didn't work and the one I tried to send to the address on your Blogger profile didn't work neither.

Anyhoo - thanks for the offer re Angel Rogue - but would cost you a fortune to mail to the UK! Thanks for the offer though!