Monday, November 29, 2010

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

Crazy Hot (Steele Street, #1)Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

This one's hard to rate. I really liked it, but I was a bit disappointed with a couple of aspects.

First of all, the good:

*Oh, my. Was Quinn delicious or what? Yes he was. I adored him. He was a sweetie, and I loved how he had been so in love with Regan since he was a young boy. He grew up to be a major hottie, alright.

*The concept was very cool. I liked the idea of the SDF, who does things outside of the law to help protect their country. I loved the whole aspect of them being gearheads and using their car know-how to do their job. How they had shady pasts, and they use those to their advantage.

*I was not into cars until I saw Gone in 60 Seconds. For some reason, that activated my appreciation for hot rods. And then there was Vin Diesel and that luscious GTO in XXX. Enough said! I don't want to drive them, but yes, I can see the appeal of a guy who drives them very well. I really liked the car stunts parts!

*The romance aspects were a double-edged sword for me. I really liked that we get two romances in one. I will talk about the negatives a little later. As far as positives, both couples were likeable with great chemistry, and I rooted for their happy ending.

*Pretty good (as in really nasty) villain. Boy, was he a piece of work. I liked Christian, who is deep cover, and he is in a very scary little situation, but handles it with calm and grace. His story should be interesting.

What I was underwhelmed about:

*I didn't like the climax. I thought it was anti-climactic. Some pivotal moments seem to take place off-screen. I thought that there was a good build-up to a really high octane finish, and that didn't come to fruition. I could understand Regan's actions, but it felt a little ditzy in how it came across. I would have liked her to show a little more finesse in saving her man than she did.

*I felt the rapid progression of the romances to be kind of unbelieveable. I could buy that Regan and Quinn had enough history for things to more fairly quickly, but Nikki and Kid, not so much. Also what are the statistical probabilities that two sisters will meet the loves of their life, hook up, have fantastic sex, all in the same night? Pretty unlikely.

*I would have liked to see more action. Yes, I am an action movie junkie. I think there was the potential to have a fantastic book that read like the Fast and the Furious-type movies, but it didn't quite hit my satiety center here.

*I think the details of the SDF agency could be more fleshed out. As it was, there were tantalizing bits here, but it was like getting one of those tiny spoons-full of really good ice cream and not being able to get more in the end! I guesss I have to keep reading to find out more about the SDF and the men who work there.

So, I guess that's why I couldn't give this four stars. I liked it a lot, but I wanted it to be more. Having said that, I am looking forward to continuing this series. I adore Kid, and I cannot wait to read his book. And Christian has that 'I am a bad man, or at least pretending to be a bad man' thing about him that is calling my name.

Overall rating: 3.75/5.0 stars.

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Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters, #1)Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really do not like to give books bad ratings. I feel like an author puts a lot of energy into writing a book, and I should respect them for that. But, there comes a time when I am forced to do what I don't care to do, rate a book poorly. Such was the case with Prophecy of the Sisters. I went into this book with an open mind, and I was curious to see what Ms. Zink could do with the concept of sisters who are on the opposite side of an ancient battle between Heaven and Hell, if you will.

What were my issues with this story?

First of all, I don't feel that much was actually accomplished here. Mainly the situation was discussed, again and again with various people, and it was done in a rather vague fashion. The writing didn't come to life for me. The world-building was too pallid, and I never felt engaged into this story. The Victorian setting was not as vividly fleshed out as I would have liked--there was a generic historical feel to the story, instead of getting a distinct sense of time and place. I think that Ms. Zink did establish a gothic tone, but not to the degree that the sense of unease that should have been evoked was a sustained one. Honestly, for the serious nature of what these two sisters faced, it was very hard for me to actually care. There were only a couple of moments where I felt a sense of urgency and dread.

I didn't feel that the characters were very well-drawn either. Lia seemed a little bit wishy-washy to me. I felt that she had made her choice and was committed, but I didn't see a real sense of urgency or purpose in her. Alice, her sister, had chosen the opposite of Lia, she too seemed detached from the entire situation. I feel that the author wanted the reader to get a sinister vibe from Alice, but she seemed more petulant and skulking than frightening.

It's never a good sign when a reader has to force herself to keep reading, and constantly checks the page count. That's exactly what happened to me here. I was determined to finish this book because I needed it for my A to Z challenge, and not because I was compelled to find out what happened. Sadly, one of the few parts that engaged me filled me with such a sense of rage, I had to restrain my intense desire to fling this book against the wall with all my might. I don't think I could possibly have been more angry at something that occurs in this book, and Lia's lackluster reaction to it. Certainly, I understand the value of picking one's battles, but the manner in which she dealt with her sister's highly heinous actions was inappropriately subdued. I wanted to hate Lia for showing such passiveness and I certainly despised Alice for her cruel, selfish act that she tries to write off as not having had a choice in committing. You always have a choice. Certainly, one of the few redeeming parts of this book is that Lia didn't give in to what was suppposedly her fate, but made a choice to break the cycle, although I wish I saw more action from her from that standpoint.

To sum up, I was highly disappointed in this book. I don't like to say that a book is bad. But, this was certainly not a book I enjoyed or was happy with the reading experience. Instead, I am glad that I got it over with, and I am able to move onto other books which will engage me and enthrall me in the way that such an interesting concept like the one presented in Prophecy of the Sisters should have done, although it failed in the end in doing so. It is my hope that the forthcoming books are able to compensate for this book's shortcomings for other readers. As for myself, I have no desire to continue this series.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

One Week as Lovers by Victoria Dahl

One Week as LoversOne Week as Lovers by Victoria Dahl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One Week as Lovers had the serious tone that I like in historical romance, with a tortured hero, and a heroine with enough depth to make for a satisfying read. My favorite aspect of this book, by far, was the hero. I really loved Nick. He was an incredibly sweet, loving guy, and very emotionally strong. I was impressed that he was able to survive such a horrible event in his past, and to become a relatively functional adult. He didn't turn into a hater or user like some men would have, given his background, nor did he become a perpetual victim.

I thought the contrast between Nick and Cynthia was very interesting. Nick should have been the hard, distant, and emotionally unavailable one, but Cynthia was, although what Nick suffered was much worse than what Cynthia endured. At times, Cynthia skirted the unlikeable heroine abyss, and nearly teetered over the edge. I could understand her fierce desire to be in control of her life, but it seemed almost a little selfish and off-putting at times. What redeemed her from being a heroine I did not like was the way she reached out to Nick and accepted his needs and him for who he was, even though what he had gone through might have disgusted some people, although it was not his fault. I liked her pragmatism, although it did come off as abrasive at times. I respected the fact that she wasn't deluded about her shortcomings. I also liked that she came to realize what she had almost turned her back on, and called herself on her actions. If Nick wasn't the steadfast hero that I loved him for being, she might have let a great love walk out of her life for good. Another aspect I appreciated about their relationship was that Nick loved Cynthia for the sometimes grumpy and abrasive person she was. It spoke to me, because that is huge part of loving someone in the real world, accepting them for who they are, good and bad.

I thought that Ms. Dahl did a great job of showing the growing intimacy between Nick and Cynthia, and how their friendship turned into a passionate love. The love scenes are pretty steamy and have an edge because of Nick's emotional issues, but they completely fit this story, and were very well-written.

I was satisfied with Ms. Dahl's ability to convey the Victorian period and to capture the almost gothic, and darker sensibilities of Victorian-set literature. Despite the fact that the cast of characters is very small, and the locations limited, it felt very authentic in the portrayal of Victorian England, and the mores of the characters were realistic.

I think Ms. Dahl is a good writer. I'm not 100% sold on her heroines, if they are all similar to Cynthia. I don't tend to like prickly, abrasive, reckless, and stubborn heroines that much, unless I can get inside their heads and come to understand them. Fortunately, I was able to gain some understanding of Cynthia, and that went a long way towards liking her for me. But I think Victoria Dahl writes a good, readable, emotional romance, so I'd read more of her books. And Nick is definitely a candidate for my favorite heroes list!

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Private Maneuvers by Catherine Mann

Private Maneuvers (Wingmen Warriors, #4) (Silhouette Intimate Moments, #1226)Private Maneuvers (Wingmen Warriors, #4) by Catherine Mann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first book by Catherine Mann, and I will definitely put her on my list of go-to authors for military romantic suspense. What I really liked was that the military part of the equation in this book was the heroine, Darcy Renshaw, who is a pilot in the Air Force. She was a very likeable heroine--well-balanced with a soft, feminine side and a tough exterior. She was great getting along with the guys, but not too prickly where she was annoying. I liked her confidence, but I also appreciated her awkwardness as she tries to let Max know she's interested in him. I also liked the hero in this book, Max. He's a deep-cover CIA agent who happens to have a PhD in Marine Biology. I have an unrepentant fondness for intelligent guys, so he gets bonus points for being a scientist who's also a CIA agent.

I could understand and respect both character's baggage. Darcy was kidnapped at a young age and mentally tortured by her captors. Sense then, she's been afraid to let anyone get too close, and highly values her independence. Max is mourning his lost lover who got murdered in the line of duty as a CIA agent, taking his unborn child with her. Max blamed himself for not getting out of the life. Since then, he's kept women at a distance. But the attraction between them breaks down their barriers.

Ms. Mann has a very good, dramatic and descriptive writing style. She brought the tropical locale of Guam to vivid life for me. I could have been there on the island as I read this book. I found myself impressed with how she kept the narrative active and my interest engaged. I do have to say I felt the suspense conclusion was a little abrupt. I felt somewhat underwhelmed with the reveal on the villain. I was thinking, "That's all?". Also, I could have done with the brutal, wanton spider-killing part. I could understand Darcy's issues with spiders, but I felt bad for the critter. I certainly got why she took out the snake. I just wished the villain had more respect for animals instead of using them to terrorize Darcy and leading to their untimely demise. But otherwise, I thought this was a very good book. It's great to see a heroine who is in the armed forces, and is blazing her own trail in her military career, and a hero who is not at all threatened by her independence and proficiency in her field.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

The Siren Song by Anne Ursu

The Siren Song (Cronus Chronicles, #2)The Siren Song by Anne Ursu

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

If anyone could take on the Greek gods by herself, it's Charlotte Mielsweatski. She proved that she was more than capable in The Shadow Thieves, and now she's taking on the all-powerful Lord of the Seas, Poseidon. But, you see, he picked the fight. Poseidon is a very vain god, full to the brim with his own self-importance, and he is annoyed that Charlotte and her cousin, Zee (short for Zachary), kicked the pants off his evil descendant Philonecron. So, he decides he's going to make Charlotte pay. Little did he know that this redhead packs a punch.

This was a very enjoyable book. I loved the humor. It had me laughing out loud many times. I think Ms. Ursu does something magical with the Greek myths. If I had kids, and I was trying to get them interested in Greek mythology, this is definitely a book I'd let them read.

It's also a good book to show the beauty of family (and in all its diversity). I loved the message that family doesn't all have to be the same color or same ethnicity or culture. You see, Charlotte's cousin Zee is biracial: his mother is black British and his father is white American. That makes no never mind to Charlotte; he's her beloved cousin and that's all that matters. I liked the way Ms. Ursu subtlely and eloquently addressed what Zee faced as a biracial person. People would ask how he and Charlotte were related. I am sure that is what biracial people face, but it's no big deal. You deal with it, and embrace that families don't necessarily come monochromatic anymore. And kudos to the publisher, for actually showing a boy on the cover who looks biracial (I wish the romance publishers would get a clue and realize that people will buy books if they show a brown-skinned person on the cover!).

There is also a powerful message about being strong and standing up for what is important. Charlotte is still grounded from having been out all night when her and Zee had to save the Underworld from Philonecron's takeover plan. It's rough having to deal with parents that don't get that you have very righteous motives for breaking their rules. Charlotte has a strong personality, and I think she's going to grow up to be a phenomenal woman. Of course, she is afraid of having to take on Poseidon, but she knows it has to be done when she learns Poseidon is going to sic his monster, Ketos, on the cruise ship where her parents and hundreds of others are being entranced by his siren lounge singer. She gets hurt very badly by Poseidon in their smackdown, but she doesn't surrender until her family and Zee are safe. What a girl.

Although this is a book for younger teens and older children, I think any reader who is young at heart and appreciates a good, fun, meaningful story will appreciate The Siren's Song. I know I did. Like I said, I consider this a must-read if you like Greek mythology. I am excited to see Charlotte and Zee take on Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. I know she's up for the challenge.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Dream Chaser by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Dream Chaser (Dark-Hunter, #14) (Dream-Hunter, #3)Dream Chaser (Dark-Hunter, #14) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This was a fun book that I loved reading. I am glad that I enjoyed it much more than the last book in the series (Upon a Midnight Clear). I thought that Simone was one of the more fleshed out and interesting heroines, and definitely one of my favorites so far. I thought she was a great match for Xypher. Ms. Kenyon has not diverted from her uber-tortured hero mode with Xypher, but that's okay. She does the tortured hero very well. I liked how he was so surly and untrusting, and how Simone slowly taught him to trust and to open his heart to her, since his first love betrayed him, and led him to being doomed to torture for an eternity in the underworld by Hades.

I liked the new direction that Ms. Kenyon is opening up, with the various subplots, including the charonte and gallu demons. I'm excited to see where she is going with this. Jaden is also a very interesting new character. He's evil, but kind of good at the same time. I also liked Jesse, Simone's ghostly friend. He died in the 80s, so he is stuck in that time period, culturally. I loved all the 80s pop culture references that Jesse would make. He was a good secondary character; along with Tate, who is an ME and Dark-Hunter Squire, who calls on Simone's expertise when he gets a murder that seems to be supernatural in origin.

This book really hit the spot, and it's reinvigorated my interest in the ongoing Dark-Hunter series. I am so excited that I can finally read Acheron now!

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Z for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah (New Windmill)Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Z for Zachariah was a very suspenseful book. From the moment I started it, I had a knot in my stomach. For most of my life, I lived with my fear of nuclear war and its aftermath. As a child of the 80s, I remember that Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. Were the Soviets going to push the button, or the Americans? Either way, we'd both lose. I remember everyone in school was watching "The Day After Tomorrow," and I was afraid to watch it, but I heard all the ugly details. I inadvertently watched the other nuclear war movie, "Testament," and I still remember how utterly hopeless and depressing it was. I didn't want to die slowly and painfully from radiation poison, nor did I want to be instantly incinerated in the first blast, or have to survive a nuclear winter. It was a very ugly thought that I've tried to push way to the back of my mind. Well, this book brought it all back for me. So, I could deeply sympathize with Ann, the protagonist of this story.

And it turns out that her worst threat is not the aftermath of the nuclear war. It's the fact that the only other apparent survivor of the holocaust is dangerously insane. Ann showed a lot of fortitude and intelligence, in my opinion. I didn't really consider her overly naive, considering she grew up in a sheltered world. I think she did an admirable job of keeping herself alive. How on earth could she be prepared to do deal with a crazy man who decided that everything left in the world belonged to him, and was not hesitant about using violence or ugly methods to make sure it remained in his possession? It was a tough road to travel for this young woman. She had a choice to let this man succumb to radiation poisoning, or to nurse him through it, even knowing he was possibly a murderer. She did what she thought was right, although that action contributed to the destruction of her small, safe world. I appreciate the ethical dilemma that the author presents in this story. Do we abandon all the qualities that make humanity worthwhile, because the civilized world as we know it has gone away? Should we embrace violence as the best solution, because it's the most expedient one? These are all very pertinent issues to Ann in this book, and I had to work through them as I read.

I was literally on the edge of my seat, as I saw how things were unfolding. I felt a rage at Mr. Loomis, who came to Ann's valley, availed himself of her generosity and good heart, and decided that he was entitled to all of it, and he could take control of everything. Oh, I definitely understand that battle that Ann faced. People controlling others is a real problem for me. I felt her pain as she decided that she would have to leave everything was familiar and she'd worked hard for, because she refused to be enslaved to another person, not for any reason.

I found Z for Zachariah to be a powerful read. It did resonate with me, and that wasn't always a comfortable feeling. The issues of isolation, fear for the future, defining who one is when the world is no longer the same, and having control of one's life and destiny were very well-handled here. I think Ann could be a metaphor for any young woman who is facing choices in her life that will define her present and future. I would recommend this book to young adults and to adults, because it has a very timely message, and it was good, albeit nerve-racking at times, entertainment. Also, readers who enjoy stories in which the characters have to use their wits and energies (physical and mental) to survive on the land, and in a hostile environment, will enjoy this story. I'm very glad I got the opportunity to read Z for Zachariah.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee

The Highest StakesThe Highest Stakes by Emery Lee

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

First of all, I want to thank Emery Lee for the opportunity to read her book. This was not a typical read for me, since I don't tend to read a lot of historical fiction that is not romance. The Highest Stakes was a good stepping stone for me into the historical fiction genre, with a good, strong love story for my romance-loving palate.

I have to confess I did not grow up with horses. I actually never really had contact with them until I was in college. So, I became a equine aficionado later in my life. Without a doubt, The Highest Stakes is a book for horse-lovers. It is very clear that Ms. Lee loves, understands, and respects horses; and is very much an equestrienne. I appreciate the detail that she put into describing people firmly immersed in horse culture, and in giving this horse-racing novice a crash course into the horse-racing industry. Now, don't expect me to be down at the horse tracks every weekend. That's not going to happen. But I must say, I have a lot more respect for what goes into horse-racing. I am just as much a horse-lover as I ever was, maybe a little more after this book. In fact, I loved reading about the details of equine husbandry. I can certainly see how it becomes an obsession that can drive people in many ways, like it did with the three main characters in this story: Robert, Charlotte, and Philip.

On top of the foundation of horse-racing, this is a story about human nature: the dark sides, and the fundamental urges within people that drive them to achieve what they want most in life. For Robert and Charlotte, they just wanted each other. A mutual love of horses was their intial connection, and a great love blossomed between them from that starting point. Their road to happiness was a very crooked, even heartbreaking path. Many times, I felt like I was being twisted into painful knots as I read about all the troubles that this couple faced. I wanted to keep reading, crossing my fingers that things would work out; and at times, I was afraid to read one more page, for fear that their love would be driven past the point of survival. Fate seemed against them at many turns, although there was also a providential guiding hand that kept them working and striving towards their future together. I came to love and respect them both very deeply. I respect Ms. Lee that she was not afraid to put this couple through so much over the course of this book, even if it didn't always make for comfortable reading for me.

Philip was by far the most complex character. I must confess I still don't quite have him figured out. He manages to be a very self-serving person, but at the same time, he has a core of honor. Towards the end of the book, I really wanted to hate him, but I found I could not, because he was such a fascinating person, and truly did want to be a good man. He made some wrong decisions that really hurt two people that he cared about. At the same time, he played an important role in their destinies, and in some ways, helped to drive them to achieve the successes they obtained in the horsebreeding fields. One thing was for certain, he came very close to stealing the show, despite the fact that I really loved Robert and Charlotte's characters.

The writing was very good. Ms. Lee firmly establishes the Georgian period, and she doesn't have to spend a lot of detail describing what the characters wore, or what their houses looked like. Instead, she weaves in a time table of important events that occur in the background of this story, and which involve Robert and Phillip to no small extent. It felt very authentic, yet she always kept this book readable. To be honest, I am not sure that this book would appeal to readers who have no interest in horses. But that's okay. I am glad that Ms. Lee wrote a book about a subject that she clearly has a lot of passion for, and did it well; for her passion for horses is quite infectious to those who have the slightest inclination in that direction.

Quite frankly, this book came very close to being a five star book. I think that for readers who don't mind some very complicated obstacles between the hero and heroine, it probably would be a five star book. Unfortunately, I just don't like when the hero and heroine are together while they are married to other people. I really regretted that Robert and Charlotte's first time together occurs after she is forced to marry Philip. I can see that this was a realistic choice for Ms. Lee to make in plotting her story, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I would have preferred for Robert and Charlotte's happy ending to be unmarred by this. I freely admit that adultery is my huge pet peeve and it's hard to get past that when I am reading a romantic story. Despite that fact, I cheered on the couple for being able to get their happy ending. My other issue was that I found the ending to be a little abrupt. I was very glad to see Robert and Charlotte to achieve many of their life goals, but I would have preferred to see a little more page time spent on their reunion and how they dealt with Phillip. I did like the letter. It was a nice, and very fitting way for some of the denouement to be incorporated into the story.

The Highest Stakes was an excellent book. I was emotionally and intellectually involved with this story. It is very clear that Ms. Lee put a lot of heart and soul into this book, making for a great reading experience. Highly recommended to horse-lovers, fans of historical fiction, and those who love a good star-crossed romance.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale

Lessons in FrenchLessons in French by Laura Kinsale

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura Kinsale is back....finally! And this book was a breath of fresh air. I felt as though I was watching one of my beloved BBC period historical movies when I was reading this book (hint, hint). Instead of writing a historical romance in the modern style, Ms. Kinsale wrote a romance that reads like historical fiction. There is a strong romance here, but it is well-integrated into a story about two people who have led full lives, although their hearts have always been entwined since they were teenagers.

Callie and Trevelyan love each other. They always have. But, that doesn't mean that their road to true love runs smoothly. Trev has a lot of secrets, and he's a wanted man. He doesn't believe that he's worthy of Callie. Callie's heart is wary of love, because she's been jilted three times, four if you count Trev running off and leaving her. Callie is a rich spinster with a serious avocation for cattle breeding. That in itself was a refreshing touch. Usually you will read about a heroine in historical books who is horse mad, but Callie is more into livestock, particularly cattle. She has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge about animal husbandry. Her beloved prize-winning bull Hubert plays a fairly large, and humorous role in this story, and the things that Trev does for Callie regarding Hubert show his devotion, although his plans often go awry.

I liked the depiction of small town English life: the social hierarchies, the gossip chain, which was quite powerful, and the interesting (and humorous) characters all added texture to this book. Even Callie's suitor, Major Sturgeon, who happened to be the first man who originally jilted her, managed to show some layers. At first, he was courting Callie (anew) for her money, but he seemed to want more from their union, even though she was happy enough to marry him, allow him his affairs, and access to her money, as long as he didn't expect intimate relations between them. He had a past with Trev that makes their connections to Callie even more complicated, in addition to being rivals for the same woman.

I admit that I was frustrated with the obstacles that kept Callie and Trev apart, particularly their stubborn insistence that they couldn't be together. Trev didn't believe he could offer Callie a good life, even though he had money. His name was mud in England, and she is the daughter of an earl who once slashed his face with a riding crop and ran him off after catching he and Callie in a compromising position. Callie has been rejected so much, she doesn't think much of her looks and the ability for a man to love her, even though Trev says numerous times how much he loves her (even before she does). I wanted to yell at them to just take what they wanted--each other. Run off together, already!!! I just had to keep reading.

It's hard to say if this book will appeal to some readers of historical romance. The relationship between Trev and Callie is the lynchpin of this story, but their love story unfolds slowly through their interactions with each other and the various characters that they encounter in their complicated lives. For readers who like that sort of dynamic, a fuller story in which the main couple plays their roles, I think they would enjoy this book. It felt very authentic and period, which I am always happy about when it comes to historical romance. This was no modern love story wrapped up in costume drama. The characters were people of their time, with all the expected social values, expectations, and hangups. I loved the mostly subtle, but sometimes laugh-out-loud humor. Die-hard romantic that I am, I found the deep, intense love between Callie and Trev irresistible, and I felt their longing and frustration for them to be together, even though circumstances seemed to work against them at every turn. They were committed to living their lives apart, but it was clear their lives weren't complete without each other. Even though the love scenes aren't terribly detailed, I felt the passion between Callie and Trev. I really rooted for them, and I loved the end of this book. It wraps everything up very nicely, with a very happy ending for this couple, on many levels.

Lessons in French was a sweet, delicious, and unique love story. I'm glad that Ms. Kinsale took a chance and wrote something that is quite different from her other books. I'd nominate this one for a movie in a heartbeat!

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The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

The Great God Pan (Creation Classics)The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I quite liked this story by Arthur Machen. I liked the air of mystery, but harrowing menace he created. Apparently the doctor's experiments in piercing the veil had some very bad effects. There was a subtle element of dark sexuality in this story, handled very elegantly. I like that much is left for the reader to discern in this story. Many of those people who see what should have been left hidden don't live long afterward, and I was encouraged to draw my own conclusions about that horror they were exposed to.

I think that Mr. Machen will make fans of weird fiction very happy with this story. There's enough description to get the mind going, but at the same time, it's done discreetly. He seems to tap into a bit of Greek mythology, yet takes the story in a novel direction. He hints at the dark, depraved, and sinister, but never sways from a cultured, refined tone. Unlike Lovecraft, Machen doesn't go for an overdramatic, hysterical tone. No, he stays discreet, but I still felt the hairs on the back of my arm raise and I wondered what those poor people had seen that drove them to the edge of madness and beyond. Even so, I still felt I had some questions about the nature of evil as revealed by this story. Not enough to see "The Great God Pan" for myself though!

The Great God Pan might not appeal to all tastes, but I found it a worthy read for fans of classic horror and weird fiction done in a very refined, dreamy manner.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

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