“Twas the Night after Christmas (Hellions of Halstead Hall #6) by Sabrina Jeffries

Historical Romance

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has been a side character in the Hellions series and now in “Twas the Night after Christmas he has his own story.  Here is what Goodreads says:

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has been estranged from his mother for most of his life. When his mother’s new companion, Mrs. Camilla Stuart, writes to tell him that his mother is seriously ill, he goes home. But when he learns that the lovely widow tricked him in order to effect a holiday reconciliation, he refuses to stay—unless she meets his “terms.” Somewhere between trying to seduce the beautiful Camilla and struggling with the cruel memories of his childhood Christmases, Pierce discovers that not only does forgiveness go two ways, but that love can blossom even in the coldest of winters.

I loved the story.  It is filled with heart-warming moments and characters that I cared about.

Plot:  This had what seemed like a simple plot but turned out to be very intricate.  Pierce’s parents sent him away at age 8 and never let him come home of see them after that.  It took until the end of the book to find out why.  I truly had no idea why Pierce’s Mother did what she did.

Characters:  Pierce is a rogue but his actions have been to punish his parents.  Now that his Father is dead his Mother would like to see him again but Pierce inside is still a small boy has been hurt but does not know why.  Camilla Stuart can’t understand why Pierce treats his Mother like he does and tries to help.  She is a torn between the two.  Lady Devonmont loves her son Pierce but believes she deserves the way Pierce ignores her. 

Tension:  The interaction between the characters is very well thought out.  That interaction keeps up the tension and there is plenty. There is the tension between Pierce and his Mother, between Pierce and Camilla, and between Camilla and Lady Devonmont.  Throw in some side issues and the story moves briskly.

Worldbuilding:  Part of the worldbuilding for the story was done in previous Hellion’s books.  We see mentions of previous main characters in the story and meet a few as side characters in the book.

‘Twas the Night After Christmas was a really satisfying read.  It had everything I look for in a romance;  great characters, good plot and a wonderful HEA.

 

Galley Books released ‘Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries in 2012.

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Stacking the Shelves October 27, 2012

Welcome to my Stacking The Shelves post!  Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews so follow the link and check out what other stacked on their shelves this week.  

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books I am adding to my shelves each week letting me share with you my excitement for my newest books.  I don’t post covers on this postI have not learned how to post than many and still keep the post looking like anything readable.

 

From Amazon Vine”

 

A Scandalous Scot by Karen Ranney

Vlad all Over vy Beth Orsoff

Countess So Shameless by Liana LeFey

Far From Perfect by Barbara Longley

The Most to Lose by Laura Landon

 

Purchased  from Amazon:

 

Hunter’s Season by Thea Harrison 

 

Purchased from Barnes and Noble:

 

Spider‘s Bite  by Jennifer Estep 

 

Checked out from the library:

 

Going Postal by Terrty Pratchess

Elfhome by Wen Spencer

Vampire Empire Book One:  The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

A Rising Thunder by David Weber    

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Book Beginnings on Fridays October 26, 2012

 

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include  include the title and author so others know what you’re reading.

 

 

My book beginning this week is from the Carina Press release Courting Trouble by Jenny Schwartz.  Here is the start of the book:

 

“Esme Smith, I could spank you.”  Jed loomed over the rickety round table where she sat trying to concentrate on the socialist speaker, whose thin voice was losing badly to the competition of a hurdy-gurdy and the pub patron’s drunken sallies.”

 

I did not like the spank you part of the start but I did like the Goodreads summary enough to request and receive the book from Netgalley.  Here is that summary:

 

Swan River Colony, Australia, 1895

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is respect. Her beau, American inventor Jed Reeve, may be more enlightened than most men, but lately his need to protect her is at odds with her need for independence. Esme begins to wonder if a modern woman can share her life with a man without losing some of herself.

With his courtship of Esme stalled, the last thing Jed needs is the pressure of saving the Prince of Wales. But when blueprints for a sonic destroyer fall into his hands, he uncovers an anarchist plot that could have deadly consequences.

While investigating the threats, Jed is determined to keep Esme out of harm’s way, despite her protests. But when the terrorists capture Jed and demand a priceless emerald in exchange for his life, it’s Esme who must draw on all her strength to save the day.”

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Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Paranormal

Dead Spots is a very good first book and another one I had doubts about until I started reading.  47 North is the publisher and this is another of Amazon’s publishing companies.  I have had mixed results with their books but this one is first rate.

Here is a summary:

A woman with the ability to counteract magic is in a race against time–and the supernatural underworld–to catch a killer before another body drops.

Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused–vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.

But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.

Here is my opinion on different parts of the book.

Plot:  This is an intricate and complex plot.  It kept me guessing until the very end.  Expect to be surprised.  It even set up the next book in the series in a the context of everything that happened in Dead Spots

World building:  I really liked how the author handled building this world.  Information arrived just when you needed it and in a way that fit into the plot.  I never felt like anything was just dropped in.  Things were revealed in ways that fit and were a part of the story.  This is a paranormal world and it was explained in a logical and believable manner.

Back-story:  There had to be a lot of back-story included in the world building.  There was just enough to allow me to know the what and why of things.  Again it was a part of the story and did not intrude on story flow.

Characters:  There were really three main characters; Scarlett, Jesse and Eli.  Scarlett is the main character.  She is very well-drawn and comes from a difficult back ground, is likeable, and seems to be drifting through life.  Eli is just loveable.  He cares for Scarlett even though she things he is just using her.  Jesse on the other hand is the very clean all American type.  There is a slight triangle here.  There are a number of important side characters.  Each had just the right amount of development to fit in the story. 

Writing:  I was really impressed with the writing.  Everything was laid out in a logical manner.  I did not see one place where things did not flow smoothly.  Characters, back-story, world building, tension and plotting all meshed into a smooth whole. 

Tension:  There was plenty of tension in this story.  Scarlett blamed herself of a lot of things in the past causing her a lot of internal tension.  There was the murder and the deadline for solving that ramped up the external tension.  There was the tension between the characters that added to that external tension.  All in all a satisfactory balance between external and internal factors moving the story.

I do not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal books. Dead Spots is a well- written book that tells an excellent story.

47 North published Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson in 2012.

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Teaser Tuesday October 23, 2012

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: 


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

My Teaser today is from Moonlight and Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape.  This is #4 in the Gaslight ChroniclesI can tell already that this will be one of or my favorite in the series.  As the book starts Wink has grown up and is not conforming to male standards.  Here is my teaser:

 

“What does a young lady like you know about steam engines?

“Snickers and rude noises erupted in its wake from throughout the co-called genteel membership.”  

 

Here is the Goodreads summary:

 

Engineer Winifred “Wink” Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.

Because of his dark werewolf past, Liam tries to keep his distance, but can’t say no when Wink asks him to help find her friend’s missing son. They soon discover that London’s poorest are disappearing at an alarming rate, after encounters with mysterious “mechanical” men. Even more alarming is the connection the missing people may have with a conspiracy against the Queen.

Fighting against time—and their escalating feelings for each other—Wink and Liam must work together to find the missing people and save the monarchy before it’s too late. 

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Musing Mondays (Oct.22)

This week’s musing asks…

Do you ever get crushes on fictional characters? Name one (or a few), and tell what you liked…

I don’t.  While I like some of the characters I see things in them

  •  I don’t like 
  • They need saving, something I don’t want to do, 
  • And/or they are not really developed enough to become that real to me. 

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Balance of Terror by KS Ausustin

Science Fiction Romance

I read In Enemy Hands when it was released.  It was an excellent story but the ending left a lot up in the air.  Balance of Terror finishes the story.  It has been awhile since In Enemy Hands so the author included a full synopsis of In Enemy Hands at the beginning of Balance of Terror.  You could just read that and be somewhat up to speed but I recommend reading In Enemy Hands first.

Here is the Blurb from the book:

Save one man? Or save billions? It’s Moon’s choice.

Stellar physicist Moon Thadin and amnesiac savant Srin Flerovs are on their way to possible sanctuary with an old research partner of Moon’s. But between them and safety lie a cunning arms dealer, a suspicious pirate captain, and a universe of unfamiliarity.

 

Refusing to turn her research into a weapon, Moon and Srin outran the Republic in IN ENEMY HANDS, only to find that the anti-Republic rebels they’re heading for want her knowledge for the same reason, and they’re willing to trade critical gene therapy for it. Withhold the therapy and Srin will die. Share the research and billions will die.

 

Can the needs of one ever truly outweigh the needs of many?

 

While that lets you know what Moon and Srin’s choices are the outcome is not what you might expect.  With the help of a friend there is a HEA for Moon and Srin.  The story follows an interesting path.  There are obstacles, new characters and several characters from another book.  All in all I found the story and the ending very satisfying.  Look for something different that allows Moon and Srin to have their HEA.

Those characters from another story;  Moon and Srin run across Quinton from Quinton’s Story.  I wondered if we would get the sequel to two stories in one but that didnt happen.  Augustin promises the next chapter of Quinton’s Story sometime in 2013.  I will be looking for it to be published.

If you are a Science Fiction Romance fan you do not want to miss either of Moon and Srin’s books.  In fact look up KS Augustin to see her other SFR books.  They are all worth reading.

 Sandal Press published Balance of Terror by KS Augustin in 2012.

 

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Stacking the Shelves October 20, 2012

Welcome to my Stacking The Shelves post!  Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews so follow the link and check out what other stacked on their shelves this week.  

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books I am adding to my shelves each week letting me share with you my excitement for my newest books.

 

From Edelweiss: 

 

The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville

The Second Seduction of a Lady by Miranda Neville

  

From Amazon: 

 

The Scargill Cove Case Files: An Arcane Society Story (A Penguin Group eSpecial from Jove) by Jayne Ann Krantz

 

Won:

 

The Wicked Wager  by Anya Wilde

 

From Barnes and Noble:

 

Magic in the Blood  by Devon Monk  

 

From Netgalley:

 

The Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder 

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Book Beginnings on Friday, October 19, 2012

 

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include  include the title and author so others know what you’re reading.

 My book beginning this week is from Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom #2) by Devon Monk.  Barnes and Noble sent me a 15% off coupon yesterday and since I was out and stopped and used it to buy Magic in the Blood.  

 Here is the beginning:

 “I dunked my head under the warm spray of the shower and rubbed shampoo into my hair, wondering where my next Hounding job, and paycheck, were coming from.” 

I am about a third of the way into the book.  There is a lot of back story at the beginning but it is worked as Allie finds herself with one job and and problems with three separate people.  

 Here is the Goodreads summary:   

 Working as a Hound-tracing illegal spells back to their casters-has taken its toll on Allison Beckstrom. But even though magic has given her migraines and stolen her recent memory, Allie  isn’t about to quit. Then the police’s magic enforcement division asks her to consult on a missing persons case. But what seems to be a straightforward job turns out to be anything but, as Allie finds herself drawn into the underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

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The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell

Science Fiction/Space Opera

The Lost Stars is a spin off to the Lost Fleet and Beyond the Frontier series.  Unlike both of these series, which follow Black Jack Geary, this series follows characters that were on the other side of the war.  Here is what Goodreads says about The Lost Stars – Tarnished Knight

The authority of the Syndicate Worlds’ government is crumbling. Civil war and rebellion are breaking out in many star systems despite the Syndic government’s brutal attempts to suppress disorder. Midway is one of those star systems, and leaders there must decide whether to remain loyal to the old order or fight for something new.

CEO Artur Drakon has been betrayed. The Syndic government failed to protect its citizens from both the Alliance and the alien enigmas. With a cadre of loyal soldiers under his command, Drakon launches a battle for control of the Midway Star System—assisted by an ally he’s unsure he can trust…

CEO Gwen Iceni was exiled to Midway because she wasn’t ruthless enough in the eyes of her superiors. She’s made them regret their assessment by commandeering some of the warships at Midway and attacking the remaining ships still loyal to the Syndicate empire. Iceni declares independence for the Midway Star System on behalf of the people while staying in charge as “President.” But while she controls the mobile fleet, she has no choice but to rely on “General” Drakon’s ground forces to keep the peace planet-side…

If their coup is to succeed, Drakon and Iceni must put their differences aside to prevent the population of Midway from rising up in rebellion against them, to defend Midway against the alien threat of the enigma race—and to ferret out saboteurs determined to reestablish Syndic rule.

I really wondered if I would even like Tarnished Knight. Some spin-off books don’t work and I had no previous investment in the characters or in the Syndicate Worlds.  What I found was a book that I enjoyed.  Jack Campbell (John Hemry) writes are good tight story and Tarnished Knight is no exception. 

Neither Artur Drakon nor Gwen Iceni are a role model for heroes.  While they did not measure up to the ruthlessness the Syndic government wanted they were ruthless enough become CEO’s (very high ranks) in the government.  Watching them try to change and leave behind many of the behaviors they had learned to survive was interesting.  I kept pulling for both of them to survive and change.  While they were the two main characters there were several side characters that added to the tension and action in the book.  There is one in particular that needs to be watched very closely.  Even those that did not come across as untrustworthy could not be totally trusted. The title fit the characters.  While any might be a Knight all are tarnished.

Like all the books in all three series the ending was a cliffhanger so I will be looking for the next book in The Lost Stars series.

Ace published The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell in 2012.

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