Because you can't judge a book by its cover

Monthly Archives: July 2013

swimming poolAva Barton has had one goal since the death of her husband, open a private school focused on helping children with their reading. In Relentless Pursuit by Sara Orwig she is months away from her goal, she just needs to finish getting the financial backing for it when Will Delaney enters her life, offering her a chance for that funding but providing a temptation that may keep her from her ultimate goal.

Will Delaney finds himself the unlikely guardian of his five-year-old niece Caroline who has shut herself away from the world with the death of her father. Will hires Ava to recommend a tutor for Caroline for the summer but after meeting the sexy Ava Will decides that only Ava will do for Caroline, and possible for him for the summer.

The nice thing about reading a Harlequin (whatever the line) is that you know what you are getting going in and Relentless Pursuit was no exception.A quick, easy read with some heat thrown in. I gave it a three star rating because it felt like at the beginning of the novel Orwig was doing a lot of telling about what was going to happen and then it would happen, so it felt a bit repetitive, not enough that I didn’t finish the book but enough that it was noticeable.  Caroline was a cut child with some tragic experiences and I really felt for Will trying to do anything to reach her emotionally. Ava was a strong female character that mentioned how strong her ties to her family were and I would have enjoyed seeing more interactions between her and her sisters to back this up. Overall, I enjoyed Relentless Pursuit and recommend it for a one time read.

You can read an excerpt here.

Lone Star Legacy Reading Order:

Relentless Pursuit

The Reluctant Heiress

Midnight Under the Mistletoe

relentless pursuitRating: Star 3copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Relentless Pursuit

Author: Sara Orwig

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 192

ISBN: 978-0373731725

Publisher: Harlequin

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Available for purchase: Amazon, Harlequin

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

murky pondSophie Mercer is a witch who came into her powers at the age of 13, three years ago whose non-witch mother has been supportive but doesn’t really understand her powers and Sophie has never met her warlock father, only exchanged emails and cards. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins begins with Sophie trying to help a sad classmate by casting a love spell that backfires in a big way. As punishment for letting the humans know about her powers, Sophie is sentenced to finish out her high school years at Hex Hall, a boarding school for difficult supernatural creatures.

If Sophie thought trying to fit in with regular high school was difficult, trying to fit in supernatural high is even harder because Sophie doesn’t have the basic supernatural knowledge that a five year old supernatural child has. As if that weren’t enough, Sophie’s roommate is accused of attempted murder and it is up to Sophie to figure out what is going on.

Hex Hall has intrigued me for some time, one of those books that I have picked up several times but never purchased for one reason or another so when Amazon had it on sale I decided it was time to finally get it and read. Good choice on my part but it did lead to me purchasing the entire series and reading it in two days. Yep, I found them that good. Sophie is witty, clumsy,  loyal and she is constantly mouthing off at the wrong time. I literally couldn’t put any of the books in Hex Hall down. Hawkins kept me flipping pages and continuing to read through the entire series and the one spin off novel, School Spirits. 

You can read an excerpt here.

Hex Hall Reading Order:

Hex Hall

Demonglass

Spell Bound

hex hallRating: Star 5copy

Content: favicon no background

Title: Hex Hall

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Format: Paperback, Hardbound, eBook

Page Nos.: 352

ISBN: 978-1423121398

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Release Date: February 2011

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer:  Jessica

fourth of july

To all my fellow Americans, Happy 4th of July! I love the 4th of July, the Patriotism that is shown warms my heart. This year I started thinking about books that take place during the American Revolution and I thought I would share some with you that either I have read or I plan on reading.

john adamsIn this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot — “the colossus of independence,” as Thomas Jefferson called him — who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as “out of his senses”; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.

Like his masterly, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman, David McCullough’s John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. It is both a riveting portrait of an abundantly human man and a vivid evocation of his time, much of it drawn from an outstanding collection of Adams family letters and diaries. In particular, the more than one thousand surviving letters between John and Abigail Adams, nearly half of which have never been published, provide extraordinary access to their private lives and make it possible to know John Adams as no other major American of his founding era.

As he has with stunning effect in his previous books, McCullough tells the story from within — from the point of view of the amazing eighteenth century and of those who, caught up in events, had no sure way of knowing how things would turn out. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, the British spy Edward Bancroft, Madame Lafayette and Jefferson’s Paris “interest” Maria Cosway, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, the scandalmonger James Callender, Sally Hemings, John Marshall, Talleyrand, and Aaron Burr all figure in this panoramic chronicle, as does, importantly, John Quincy Adams, the adored son whom Adams would live to see become President.

Crucial to the story, as it was to history, is the relationship between Adams and Jefferson, born opposites — one a Massachusetts farmer’s son, the other a Virginia aristocrat and slaveholder, one short and stout, the other tall and spare. Adams embraced conflict; Jefferson avoided it. Adams had great humor; Jefferson, very little. But they were alike in their devotion to their country.

At first they were ardent co-revolutionaries, then fellow diplomats and close friends. With the advent of the two political parties, they became archrivals, even enemies, in the intense struggle for the presidency in 1800, perhaps the most vicious election in history. Then, amazingly, they became friends again, and ultimately, incredibly, they died on the same day — their day of days — July 4, in the year 1826.

Much about John Adams’s life will come as a surprise to many readers. His courageous voyage on the frigate Boston in the winter of 1778 and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits that few would have dared and that few readers will ever forget.

It is a life encompassing a huge arc — Adams lived longer than any president. The story ranges from the Boston Massacre to Philadelphia in 1776 to the Versailles of Louis XVI, from Spain to Amsterdam, from the Court of St. James’s, where Adams was the first American to stand before King George III as a representative of the new nation, to the raw, half-finished Capital by the Potomac, where Adams was the first President to occupy the White House.

This is history on a grand scale — a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

martha washingtonThe portrait of the beautiful, elegant young woman on the cover of this excellent biography will stun anyone used to seeing pictures of Martha Washington as a white-haired, matronly woman. And in a richly woven tapestry of social history and biography, historian Brady re-creates the 18th-century world of wealthy Virginia planters into which the elegant Martha, née Dandridge, was born and the “joyful duet” of her marriage to America’s first president. Though born to wealth, Martha (1731–1802) was well schooled in domestic skills—from killing and plucking fowl to preserving fruits and vegetables— and the expected social graces. Just before she turned 19, Martha married Daniel Custis—whose father initially opposed the union, but Martha managed to persuade him otherwise—and moved to his large plantation, where she raised their two children until Custis’s death in 1757. Two years later, as the owner of Custis’s vast estate, she married George Washington and became the wife of a young colonel whose ambitions and military and political ingenuity catapulted him into the leadership of the colonies and later the republic. Devoted to George, Martha accompanied him on his sojourns during the Revolutionary War, and her considerable social skills were crucial in helping her husband navigate the difficult political waters of the presidency. Brady’s splendid biography offers a compelling new portrait of this passionate, committed founding mother who has unjustly been obscured by others, such as Abigail Adams. (June 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Publishers Weekly

at the captain's commandDuty and career—Captain Thomas Moberly of His Majesty’s Navy prizes them above all. So why is he tempted to relinquish both for Dinah Templeton? Though Dinah seems sweet and charming, the difference in station between an East Florida belle and the son of an earl is too marked to ignore. And all other obstacles pale with the discovery that Dinah’s brother James is not what he seems….A war is brewing on the colonies’ horizon, and James has chosen his side—in opposition to the country Thomas has sworn to defend. But what of Dinah? Where does her heart truly lie—with her family, or with the man she claims to love?

I hope your day is filled with friends, fireworks and the chance to get some reading in. Here in Phoenix I will trying to stay cool in this ridiculous heat wave that we have been having. To give you an idea of how warm it has been, I went swimming in my pool this morning at 7:00 a.m. and it was already 85 degrees outside.

England, London, Southwark, Interior of Shakespeares Globe TheatreSamantha Drummond has spent her entire life doing whatever her famous, demanding parents required, never leaving home and never earning any money so she could leave home. In Roses in Moonlight by Lynn Kurland, Samantha takes an opportunity offered by her brother to house sit for a couple in England for the summer, hoping that the money she makes will allow her to leave home forever.  But things get complicated when Samantha realizes that a simple delivery for her employers leads to her being followed by more than one individual and eventually kidnapped.

Derrick Cameron is an antiquities acquirer expert, basically he is the guy you call when you want something located, either legally owned or illegally stolen and he will figure out who has possession of it. When a valuable piece of Elizabethan lace goes missing from a client’s house, Derrick is sure he knows who took it so he immediately sets off to get it back. But things don’t go as expected and Derrick must travel back to Elizabethan times to recover the lace with Samantha, keeping both of them alive in that dangerous and dirty time period.

Lynn Kurland is one of my favorite authors but I have to admit that the last several novels have seemed a bit formulaic, while a good read nothing that was absolutely fabulous. That being said, Kurland has brought everything I love about her original books to Roses in Moonlight. The characters are believable, heartwarming and charmingly flawed. Kurland takes us back to Elizabethan time, giving us a fabulous glimpse of this majestic history making moment (Shakespeare’s The Globe Theater) but she doesn’t sugar coat the smelly, dangerous time period that it was. Roses in Moonlight is a great stand alone read but I highly recommend, at the very least, that you read the first few books in the series so you understand about the time travel a little bit better. I couldn’t put Roses in Moonlight down and it definitely rated a five star for this reason.

You can read an excerpt here.

The MacLeods Reading Order:

A Dance Through Time

The Very Thought Of You

Veils of Time

A Knight’s Vow

Opposites Attract

Christmas Spirits

My Heart Stood Still

A Garden In the Rain

Much Ado in the Moonlight

When I Fall in Love

With Every Breath

Till There Was You

Roses In Moonlight

roses in moonlightRating: Star 5copy

Content: favicon2 NB

Title: Roses in Moonlight

Author: Lynn Kurland

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 368

ISBN: 978-0515153460

Publisher: Jove

Release Date: April 2013

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

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Graphic Ratings*

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