Monday, February 13, 2012

Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Just finished Firelight by kristen callihan this past weekend. Loved it! The hero was a scarred hero with an interesting backstory and twist. The heroine also has an interesting backstory and twist.  There was a definite gothic feel to the story which made the atmosphere richer. I loved how Miranda (the heroine) was a strong character - no whimpering wilting little flower. I liked how the relationship took awhile to develop. The ending sort of took me by surprise but I liked how the story resolved itself. Can't wait for the next book by this author!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae by Stephanie Laurens

Rating:  5 stars

The only book I haven't read in this series is book 1. This book - the 3rd one - is so worth waiting for.
For those of you who may not have read this book or the two earlier books in this series - this is the basic storyline: Some mysterious Scottish Earl has been behind the kidnapping of two of Celia Cynster's daughters - Heather in book 1, and Eliza in book 2. At the end of book 2 they had reason to believe that the Earl was dead so everybody breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed the guarding of daughter #3 - Angelia Cynster (also the youngest of Celia's daughters). Angelica's sisters were all successfully rescued & obtained fiancees out of their ordeals. Over the course of the two books little hints are dropped about the mysterious Earl and what his motives are. He never did the actual kidnapping himself & instructed his accomplishes to take care of the kidnapped women. Once he realized each woman had found love - he backed off on his kidnap intentions of that woman and just looked to watch over the woman and her intended.
At the opening of book 3 Angelica (the youngest and what is believed to be the most headstrong, & resourceful sister) spots a dashing figure in the ballroom. Three guesses who it is that she spots.   :)  The Earl had just planned to do some reconnaissance - imagine his surprise when the object of his mission descends on him and aggressively pursues him, engineering a private tete a tete out in the garden.
This book was so good for so many reasons. The characters were fabulous, the passion - steamy, the plot - interesting. These kinds of stories are usually ruined in several typical ways:
1.) There is an adversarial, very antagonistic relationship between hero & heroine throughout 90% of the book
2.) The hero treats the heroine cruelly, the heroine acts like a ninny
3.) The hero & heroine learn to trust each other but then a twist late in the book upsets that trust on a colossal scale

How Laurens makes this story fab:

1.) The heroine is super attracted to the hero before the abduction and is the furthest thing from a passive, wimpering little heroine. She is a classic Cynster.
2.) The hero is super sexy and treats the heroine w/ the utmost respect at all times. He is also a clever man, and caring.
3.) All through the journey to the hero's home in Scotland, Angelica and Dominic (her hero Earl) work together and plan together. Dominic's staff are won over by Angelica and it makes for a nice atmosphere for the long trip.
4.) The story is littered with scenes of the Cynster family planning what to do about Angelica's disappearance (both the men & the women). Of course all the Cynster men come riding to help out at the end. Yea!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Murder Out Of Tune by Simon Shaw

Not Cassio kill'd! then murder's out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh.
Othello, Act V, Scene II

Rating: 4.5

The hero/villain of this story is Philip Fletcher. He is a 44 yr old actor living in England circa 1988. This is not a "who done it". Philip is the murderer. The only surprises are who he kills, how many people he kills, and in what way he kills. There is a lot of dark humor. The first person he kills is kind of spur of the moment & out of anger. The second killing is premeditated and out of revenge. Of the last two - one is accidental. The last one would be accidental, however the person survives and by then Philip is majorly pissed so it becomes a premeditated killing. Over the course of the book, Philip has a little transformation. It makes me think of all those stories about women having an "awakening". Philip has an awakening as well - just with some new criminal tendencies.

In spite of Philip's arrogance and almost sociopathic tendencies, he has his Macbeth moments - waking up in a sweat, panic attack, & nightmares because of what he's doing. I like one moment in the book - after the 1st killing he is interviewing for a part and he runs into another actor competing for the same role. He kind of has an omg moment:
Now, Tom de Vere had told him that the final selection had been between Dick and himself, so it occurred to him in a blinding flash of paranoia that what he had considered doing to Dick, Dick could very well do to him. If something happened to him, Dick would still be the automatic replacement. Philip wondered if Dick realized that the final selection had been so close. He was quite renowned for his aggressive temper; undeniably he had some violence in him. Perhaps, thought Philip, he ought to take pre-emptive action and murder him anyway. Then again, he might be mistaken, in which case it would be a bit rough on Dick, as well as risky for himself. He'd just have to take care and not lean invitingly out of any four story windows, such as the one he found himself staring out of now.
This might be awful to read if not for the wonderful writing by Shaw and the fine line he walks between dark humor and "ick". The character of Hannah (Philip's sometime girlfriend) reminds me of Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.

All in all, great 1st book of a series. The last time I read these books was about 17 or so years ago. I wanted to see if I liked them as much now as I did then. So far, so good.