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Showing posts from July, 2010

Seven Secrets of Seduction-Anne Mallory

Even the most guarded souls succumb to the power of beautiful words.
Set in the London of the early 1800's, Seven Secrets of Seduction follows the journey of Miranda Chase, bookish and reserved shopgirl, as she meets a charming Viscount and is drawn into a splendid game of seduction.

Leading lady Miranda was terrific; reserved in manner, yet able to verbally hold her ground with the Viscount.  Mallory scores points with this reader for leaving the choice to Miranda of whether she will succumb to the seduction.  Miss Chase is not held against her will, is not a helpless victim of any vile villain, but simply a young woman with a keen insight who accepts a challenge.  Not that there isn't some wonderful maneuvering in the game, but it is practiced by both parties and expected as well.  Maximillian Downing, Viscount, is also a great character.  Using the gossipy and cruel nature of the "ton" against his adversaries, he ensures his rakish reputation will over…

Slaughterhouse Five-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

With Sincere Regrets to my Favorite Phlebotomist and Fellow Wild-Haired Gypsy....
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. , in an attempt to reconcile his cumulative life experience with a singular experience, namely the day Dresden, Germany, was bombed into nothingness on February 13, 1945, seemingly asserts that points of time may be experienced or lived in random order and that one may simply spring from one point to another and live in that particular moment without affectation of any other moment, and likewise return again to any singular moment. 
He never quite declares this theory in so many words, but the premise is inferred.

Although based around such a perplexing theory, I found Slaughterhouse-Five haltingly awkward and at times bizarrely random, quite possibly the very point Vonnegut, Jr. intended.  This perspective was empty and meaningless to this reader however, as I believe a story of human experience obviously felt with such force should be told from beginning to end with cohe…

Reagan's War-Peter Schweizer

Reagan's War:  The Epic Story of his Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism  by Peter Schweizer

Schweizer wrote, "The 'one big thing' Reagan knew was the power and value of human freedom, which proved to be the defining principle of his worldview."

Many Americans know little about our 40th president, Ronald Reagan, and his life's work, a war against communism.  Reagan has been portrayed by some as an "absentee" president or an "empty headed dolt", however after reading Schweizer's book, I cannot agree.  In fact, the man may well have been a genius, at least concerning his views and strategies in combating the spread of communism and ending the Cold War.

Schweizer explains that to understand Reagan, you must understand his battle against communism.  This most important struggle at first left his life in ruins, ending his marriage to Jane Wyman and straining his relationship with his children.  It also led him to …

The Lady's Tutor-Robin Schone

Hot For Teacher Ottoman Empire Style
The basic story of The Lady's Tutor is straightforward:  a woman wants to learn how to please her husband because she believes he has taken a mistress and she turns to a man who it is whispered has the knowledge she desires.  The woman is the wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of England, and the man is a sheik, a bastard child of an English aristocratic woman and a Muslim sheik.   The Lady's Tutor has all the makings of a rich, sensual story, and in the first half of the story, it delivers.  However, it's the second half of the book that causes the story to become a tangled mess of too much dialogue and bizarre story lines.

Elizabeth Petre believes her husband has taken a mistress because she hasn’t satisfied him in bed.  The reader learns quite early in the book that it’s been years since they’ve been together in bed, so this plot choice seems illogical.  If it’s been 12 years since they’ve had sex, then it’s doubtful…

Lover Awakened-J.R. Ward

A Bad Boy With Issues (or more appropriately....A Real-Life Nightmare, A Romance Novel Naughty Novelty)
The third novel in Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, Lover Awakened, is to date my favorite in this series.  Zsadist, while a vampire warrior in the Brotherhood throughout the series, is the least interactive character until this installment and quite frankly, the most sinister.  Ward unveils his dark, disturbing past layer by layer throughout the book and this reader found Zsadist eerily dangerous, deeply contemplative, and wonderfully complex.  Ward's description of his form and physique happen to be what I find most attractive in a male and that certainly furthered my interest in this character.

Zsadist is introduced to Bella, also a vampire, in the previous book in this series shortly before she is kidnapped and held prisoner by an extremely bizarre Lesser.  She immediately desires this warrior and is not deterred by his convincing attempts to frighten her away…

The Historian-Elizabeth Kostova

Elizabeth Kostova Takes Her Readers on a Journey Through Time and Place
To my knowledge, this is Kostova's first novel, and after reading The Historian, I eagerly look forward to reading her second release.  The story is relayed by a woman looking back over her life and the strange events that shaped it.  She begins in 1972, when she was in her sixteenth year, and carries the reader through her travels as that present unfolds for her.  The vast history and ancient lore she uncovers is unveiled piece by piece as she travels across Europe during the cold war in pursuit of her father, her purpose, and the answers to her many questions concerning mysterious events surrounding herself and her parents.  This first person account allows the reader to feel each emotion and to be lured into her quest for knowledge, however frightening and dangerous....and all from the safety of a favorite overstuffed chair.  While not difficult to read, and a real page-turner, the story is inv…

Lover Eternal-J.R. Ward

A Selfless Hero

Lover Eternal is the second novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward and centers on the brother named Rhage and his romance with Mary. Rhage is the brother who has a beast inside him that is a punishment for his ways as a young vampire.  He's described as blond, 6'8", with a tattoo on his back of the creature that lives inside him.  Ward gives very little back story on Rhage, except to relate that as a youth he was brash and careless and offended the Scribe Virgin, who punished him with his demon.  So Rhage is a big, nasty vampire who gets bigger and nastier when he fights the Lessers and the demon comes out.  In Rhage, Ward has created the bad boy with problems that works so well in romance books.

In addition to a demon inside of him, Rhage, introduced to readers of the series in the first book also with the nickname "Hollywood", is also a consummate lady's man.  Having sex is one of the two ways he keeps the mo…

Prince of Ice-Emma Holly

Clinical Sex, Anyone? (And no, this isn't about hot nurse sex)
Emma Holly, the author of Prince of Ice, is complimented in the little blurb on the cover of the book as being a writer who uses vivid descriptions in her stories.  I can't disagree with this, but I wouldn't consider this ability praiseworthy based on this book.  Holly has created a story that's part prostate exam, part Pacific Rim, part Star Trek The Next Generation, and all weird.  As a rule, I find the mention of the word gland in any context other than when I'm sitting in my doctor's office as unnecessary.  Holly showcases glands in this story to such an extent that the sex wasn't sexy; it was clinical.  And then there's the anal sex.....oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The characters in Prince of Ice have a distinctly Asian flare to them.  I'm not sure if this is what was intended, however.  It's supposed to be a book about humans and this superior race, but t…