Thursday, March 31, 2011

Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen V. Waslyowski

Title: Darcy and Fitzwilliam; a tale of a gentleman and an officer
Author: Karen V. Waslyowski
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4594-7
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: Trade Paperback
How I read it: Trade Paperback ARC from the publisher

A gentleman in love cannot survive without his best friend...
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam couldn’t be more different, and that goes for the way each one woos and pursues the woman of his dreams. Darcy is quiet and reserved, careful and dutiful, and his qualms and hesitations are going to torpedo his courtship of Elizabeth. His affable and vivacious cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a military hero whose devil-may-care personality hides the torments within, until he finds himself in a passionate, whirlwind affair with a beautiful widow who won’t hear of his honorable intentions.

Cousins, best friends, and sparring partners, Darcy and Fitzwilliam have always been there for each other. So it’s no surprise when the only one who can help Darcy fix his botched marriage proposals is Fitzwilliam, and the only one who can pull Fitzwilliam out of an increasingly dangerous entanglement is Darcy...
(from the publishers)

My thoughts:

Darcy and Fitzwilliam is highly original for a Pride & Prejudice spin off. While maintaining the core of Jane Austen’s characters, the author has in a sense liberated them from the restrictions of the era in which they were penned. Jane Austen was said that she did not write any scenes in which men were alone because she did not know what they spoke about or how they acted, in some ways that put a limit on her novel, being that we only see things from a woman’s point-of-view. Now with Darcy and Fitzwilliam we see the flipside, we get to see how these two men interact with each other, and I have to say it is a truly fascinating glimpse. I loved they way Karen Waslyowski knew her characters, when an author is truly in tune with her characters it shows, and you could see it in this book. I also enjoyed the way she portrayed Darcy and Elizabeth as a couple, no marriage is perfect, and there are bound to be a few ruffled feathered, and those were included.

I highly recommend this book! It is a true page turner, that you will get lost in!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower

Title: Sins of the House of Borgia
Author: Sarah Bower
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 9781402259630
Format: Trade Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I Read It: Trade Paperback ARC

A Notorious Duke
An Infamous Duchess
An Innocent Girl

Violante isn’t supposed to be here, in one of the grandest courts of Renaissance Italy. She isn’t supposed to be a lady-in-waiting to the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia. But the same secretive politics that pushed Lucrezia’s father to the Vatican have landed Violante deep in a lavish landscape of passion and ambition.

Violante discovers a Lucrezia unknown to those who see only a scheming harlot, and all the whispers about her brother, Cesare Borgia, never revealed the soul of the man who dances close with Violante.

But those who enter the House of Borgia are never quite the same when they leave—if they leave at all. Violante’s place in history will test her heart and leave her the guardian of dangerous secrets she must carry to the grave.
(from the publishers)

My thoughts: This was one book that I could not put down. I have heard some say that beginning of the novel was a bit slow and it deviated from the story of the Borgias, I one the other hand found that I enjoyed the beginning, I felt as though it added a nice back-story to the book. I found that while reading this my fascination with this so call First Family of Crime, grew because they way that they author presented the Borgias. It was a very fresh take on his this fascinating family and cannot speak highly enough of THE SINS OF THE HOUSE OF BORGIA. I find that I am telling everyone I know and even random strangers who are in the bookstore about this book. If you are looking for court intrigue then this is the book for you.

This is the one book that you will want to read.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Legacy by Jeanette Baker

Title: Legacy
Author: Jeanette Baker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 978-1-4022-5583-0
Format: Trade Paperback (Special Release)
How I read it: Trade Paperback from the publisher


Christina Murray is elated to inherit her family’s ancestral home in Scotland. But upon her arrival she is confronted by her breathtakingly handsome new neighbor, Ian Douglas…and an ancient family curse that comes with the castle.


Seduced by Ian’s easy Scottish charm by day, Christina dreams at night of three raven-haired beauties, ancestors who fell victim to the curse one generation after another: Katrine, the fiery Jacobite supporter who lost her heart to an Englishman; Jeanne, an accused witch; and Mairi, who shared a forbidden passion with the King of England.

Now it’s Christina’s turn to lie in that cursed bed… and loving Ian might just cost her life.
(from the publishers)

My Review:
Christina Murray has been summoned to Traquair House and after the death of Lady Maxwell, Christina now finds that, she has inherited this piece of history. Little did she know she has also inherited the curse that comes along with the house. It seems that Christina has also fallen under the spell of her gorgeous neighbor, Ian Douglas. Although, it is not the handsome that haunts her dreams, instead she is plagued with vision of the past. Visions of three women who look exactly like Christina and who have suffered greatly for the men they chose to love.

Each one of the three women fell victim to the curse, first it was Mairi. She suffered at the hand of the Bruce for her forbidden love of an English King. Next in line is Katrine, a loyal Jacobite supporter who fell hopelessly in love Richard an Englishmen in the Kings Army. The third woman to share this ill-fated destiny is Jeanne; once again, she marries only to find that the stars are set against her. Now it is Christina’s time to fall in love, will she escape the curse and change her destiny? Or, will loving Ian Douglas cost Christina her life?

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It reads as four books in one, each one taking you on a journey throughout Scotland’s history, and each one more intriguing than the next. The characters were intriguing as well, and I found that I could not put this book down; if I would have had the time, I could have finished this book in one sitting. Although I should warn you this book has its share of heartbreak as the curse is explained, it also has its share of twists and turns that I did not see coming. I also enjoyed the plot.

While I enjoyed the story, I would have enjoyed a deeper look into the storyline especially when the plot reverted to the past. I felt that bits and bobs of the story rushed from one point to the other. Although I did find that I truly enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it to those of you who like Scottish history.

For a romance book, it was light on the romance, of course it was still there it was just tuned down allowing the focus to be on the story itself rather than the falling into bed aspect of it.

Cover Thoughts:

I am not sure what to think of the cover, I like that it gives off an air of mystery although I think it fails to covey the story. In addition, I would have liked the strip of tartan that is down the side of the book to have either been a Maxwell, Murray, or Douglas color rather than a Stewart tartan.


This was one of my favorite books. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories of the four women, although I believe that my favorite would have to be the story of Katrine, the Jacobite supporter and her doomed love. Not that the others fail in comparison, I just have a soft spot for the Jacobite cause and those who have suffered for it. Jeanette Baker also conjures up a gripping account of Culloden Moor.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carrol and Nickolas Cook

Title: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Lewis Carrol and Nickolas Cook
ISBN: 978-4022-5621-9
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 256
How I read it: Trade Paperback ARC from the publisher

They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank—the birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable. All of them were covered in Alice’s now cold and congealed blood, which made them even tastier looking to poor hungry Alice.

When little Alice follows the Black Rat down into the gaping darkness of an open grave, she falls and falls. And soon finds herself in an undead nightmare of rotting flesh and insanity. Venturing further into this land of zombies and monsters, she encounters characters both creepy and madcap along the way. But there’s something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. She’s cold. And she has the haunting feeling that if she remains in Zombieland any longer, she might never leave.
Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her?
(from the publisher)

My Thoughts:

It just gets curiouser and curiouser with these mash-ups, although I have to say that they do make for a rather entertaining read. Alice in Zombie was a fast paced read with an air of creepiness about it. For those of you who have watched Tim Burton’s Alice and Wonderland, this book holds that darker quality that the film possesses. While some bits and bobs of the story are a bit gross, such as the undead tea party, I found that this was a very humorous read, although I will say that I read this book before falling asleep and it did provide for some interestingly strange dreams. A quick read for those of you who enjoy mash-ups.

Please note that the size of the book is 5x7, and it does include pictures and breaks in-between each chapter so this is a very quick read.

Cover notes: I liked that the art department gave the cover the look of the old cloth books, it added a nice touch to the creepy quality.

An excerpt of chapter one:

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do. Her sister had seemed very displeased about having to accompany her against her will down to the graveyard that sprawled adjacent to their home. The graveyard, her favorite place to play, was all tangled gray vines and tilting ancient tombstones, bearing names she’d never heard before, though she supposed they must be family, in some distant past before she had been born. Alice loved to stroll through the graveyard, to pick the funereal flowers from old grassy knolls where someone dead most certainly must lie beneath. For her, there was always adventure in a graveyard.
Despite her sister’s nasty disposition, it would have been a perfectly cloudy, chilly day in her
favorite play place had she not been so hungry, for her sister had refused to have tea before angrily bringing Alice outside. Tea and a sandwich would be nice. Perhaps a nice meat pie, if the cook could be bothered to bake one up. For their cook made the best meat pies in the world and Alice could think of no better meal than a delicious hot meat pie.
As if being ravenous wasn’t enough, now her sister was also refusing her the joy of perusing the ancient stones, and had hold of her arm while she read such dull material. Once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversation?”
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the chill of the bleak day made her feel very sleepy and stupid) whether the pleasure of making a daisy chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a sleek Black Rat with shining dark eyes ran straight from a nearby tomb and quite close by her.
There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Black Rat say to itself, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!” (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but, when the Black Rat actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice broke from her sister’s grip and started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rat with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and, burning with curiosity, she ran across the graveyard after it, despite her sister’s angry yells for her to come straight back to her this instant, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down into a gaping open grave. Clods of gray dirt sat all around its edge and a displeasing smell seemed to waft up from it.
For a moment, Alice stood beside the grave, her sister’s voice far away and still frightening for all the distance, deciding whether she’d dare jump in after the strange Black Rat. In another moment, down went Alice after it, hardly considering how in the world she was to get out again.
Then she was tumbling forward into the stinking, black grave which went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down and down. On the way down, she hit her head upon the leaning tombstone, and tears filled her eyes for a moment as she tumbled forward.
Either the grave was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she checked the smarting place on her head and pulled back a small hand coated with bright red blood. Her head hurt quite a bit, but as there was nothing to do but cry or get along with her adventure, she chose to stifle her tears and smile through the pain bravely. Then she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the deep, deep grave, and noticed that they were filled with strange and frightening things. In some places, she could see rotting bones poking from the dark soil; in others skulls leered at her as she fell by them, missing teeth giving silent voice perhaps to warn her back from what lie at the bottom of the grave. It made her feel quite out of sorts to see such emblems of death sitting so close next to her.
“Well!” thought Alice to herself, “after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!” (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! “I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?” she said aloud. “I must be getting somewhere near the center of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think—” (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) “—yes, that’s about the right distance—but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?” (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. “I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think—” (she was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word) “— but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?” (And she tried to curtsey as she spoke—fancy curtseying as you’re falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) “And what an ignorant little girl she’ll think me for asking! No, it’ll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.”
Down, down, down. The pain in her head had turned into a deep throb, but she continued to ignore it and held in her tears some more. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. “Dinah’ll miss me very much tonight, I should think!” (Dinah was the cat.) “I hope they’ll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I’m afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that’s very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?” And here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, “Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?” and sometimes, “Do bats eat cats?” for, you see, as she couldn’t
answer either question, it didn’t much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, “Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?” when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of cold sodden earth that smelled of dead things. Nasty, pale worms writhed throughout the small hill and she hastily threw herself from the dirt, wincing in disgust. Worms and beetles crawled through the sodden earth, clicking and grubbing along at her feet. Was this what a grave was like inside? She wondered. She’d often wondered how the darkness got along without the light of the sun, how things lived; now she had a better idea how the things that lived without light got along.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wow! It has been awhile since my last review. Things around here seem to go from crazy to hectic to completely out of control. Thankfully things are finally back on track and I can focus on reviewing the mountain of books that I have read. I also have few giveaways that I will be posting so please bear with me as I get back into the swing of things.

In the meantime, I thought that I would share with you a few books that I just finished as well as the books that I am currently reading.

Just Finished:

Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carrol and Nicholas Cook
* It was a rather interesting mash-up to say the least.
Release Date: February 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Review to post on the 28th

Legacy by Jeanette Baker
*One of my favorite Scottish Romances
Release Date: February 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review to post on the 29th

Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower.
* I loved this book. A Very interesting insight to a rather intriguing family.
Release Date: March 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Review to post on the 30th

Darcy and Fitzwilliam; a tale of a gentleman and an officer by Karen V. Waslyowskif
*Loved this book!
Release Date: February 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Review to post on the 31st

The Mistress’ House by Leigh Michaels
*Loved this book. It was like three romances rolled into one.
Release Date: Febraury 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review to post on April 1st

Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain
*A Sourcebooks Classic reprint and a favorite of mine.

Highland Heat by Mary Wine
*The final book in Mary Wines Highlander series.

A Creed in Stone Creek by Linda Leal Miller
*This was the first book that I have read by Linda Leal Miller

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise
*Loved her new take on Pride & Prejudice

My Love, My Enemy by Jan Cox Speas
*A classic romance reissued by Sourcebooks Casablanca

The Mistress’ House by Leigh Michaels
*Loved this book. It was like three romances rolled into one.

Fierce Eden by Jennifer Blake
*A historical romance set America.

Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange
*This is definitely a book to watch the bookstores for.
Release Date April 20111
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Review to post in April

Heart of the Highland Wolf by Terry Spear
*First book that I read by this author, will defiantly check out the others
Release Date: June 2011
Publishers: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review to post in June.


Currently Reading:

The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie special edition.
* I picked this up at Barnes & Noble a few months ago for hardly nothing and thought that it might make for an intriguing read. I also thought that the riddle cards would make for a fun distraction. I have to say that so far the book seems to be interesting, although I am only one chapter two.

As always


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Treasure Me by Robin DeHart review, giveaway, and guest post

Title: Treasure Me
Author: Robin DeHart
ISBN 9780446541985
Publish Date: 3/1/2011
Price: $7.99/$8.99
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How I read it: Mass Market Paperback ARC from the publisher

The Legend Hunters . . .

The Men of Solomon's meet in secret, their very existence only a rumor among the best of Victorian society. They are treasure hunters, men of wealth and title, seekers of myths and legends. And no legend is as captivating as the Loch Ness monster . . .

Graeme Langford, Duke of Rothmore, has always been torn between his beloved Scottish homeland and his duty to the English Crown. Yet his is truly an adventurer's soul-and he's determined to find a long-lost stone hidden near Loch Ness.

Bookish Vanessa Pembrooke heads to the Highlands to prove the existence of the legendary beast. Instead she finds the first man who has ever shared her hunger for adventure. Soon Graeme and Vanessa are fighting a dangerous battle as well as their own simmering attraction. As their passion grows, so does the danger. Ultimately, they must risk everything to keep the cursed stone out of a murderer's hands. But can they survive without losing the greatest treasure of all-their love?

My Review
After catching her fiancé in a rather compromising position, Vanessa Pembrooke heads off to the Scottish Highlands in search of the legendary beastie of Loch Ness. After narrowly escaping one marriage, she now finds herself married to a man she does not know. Agreeing to annul the marriage as soon as possible, she then discovers that her husbands unusual work calls to the paleontologist at heart and it would be more beneficial to her studies if she could convince her husband that they needed to stay married.

Born to a Scottish mother and an English father, Graeme Langford finds himself torn between his duty to the English Crown and the pull of Highland homeland. As a member of the secretive treasure hunters club, Solomon’s, he has spent most of his life searching for the legendary Stone of Destiny, determined to find the true relic for his homeland. Yet when he finds himself with an accidental wife who has a penchant for adventure, he finds that things are becoming a bit out of hand.

Things go from hot and heated to dangerous in a matter of moments, when the two discover that a notorious villain is after the very treasure that Graeme seeks, as well as a few other gems that could possibly end the reign of Queen Victoria. Will the newlyweds be able to stop the destruction that is looming as well as sort out their accidental marriage?

My Thoughts:

I have been waiting to read this book, and I have to say that once it arrived I devoured it in one sitting and I was not disappointed. This is the book that I have been craving, not only does it offer passion it offers action, adventure, legend and lore. Thoroughly researched and well written, Treasure Me flows off the page with ease and will have you constantly turning the page. I also have to say that I fell in love with the characters of Graeme and Vanessa, they were simpatico from the start and I enjoyed watching them come to that realization as the book progressed. I also enjoyed how Fielding and Esme returned to the series. There is something about this trilogy that made me fall in love with them, and I cannot wait to reread their adventures.

Characters I enjoyed:
Graeme- I enjoyed his internal struggling, as he tried to come to grips with his duty to the Crown and the pull that his homeland of Scotland had upon him. Out of the three men in the Legend Hunters trilogy, I have to say that he is my favorite. Plus, I cannot resist a man in a kilt.

Vanessa- Like the other two women in this trilogy, she was not the typical damsel in distress that you see in most romance novels. She was determined, strong-willed, and feisty, throughout the book Graeme makes little comments about her not being like a typical English woman, and I have to agree, she had a strong spirit, I would describe her as a paleontologist at heart with the soul of an adventurer.

Moira- She was very intriguing, and I would have liked to have known more about her. I would love for her story be told.

*I also have to add that these treasures that are being searched for become almost like another character, and Robyn DeHart did an amazing job at including the history, lore, and mystery of each and every one of them.


I have to say that I am sad to see this trilogy come to an end. I feel as though I am saying goodbye to friends, and I love it when I connect with a book(s) that make me feel that way. I would love to see one more book come out in this series that catches up with the three couples , kind of like one last treasure hunt that rounds out the series and brings it to a close.

I would like to thank Robyn DeHart for this lovely guest post

For today’s blog I was asked how I came up with the Legend Hunters idea and how I went about selecting each legend. What a great question. I went back to my idea file for this one to see what that initial thought was that I jotted down. It was something like this “elite gentlemen’s club who fancy themselves archaeologists”. So it started there, just that kernel of an idea that eventually grew into Solomon’s and my Legend Hunters.

Ever since I was a little girl I loved the idea of archaeology-old tombs, ancient relics and hidden treasures. Of course the thought of actually digging around in an underground cave or bug-infested room cured me of the fantasy very quickly. I mean the second Indian Jones made it abundantly clear that there are icky creepy-crawlies all over archeological sites. So if I can’t do it, I can at least write about it and pretend I get to do it, all from the safety of my house.

Coming up with the myths themselves was a different story entirely. I basically just started jotting down ideas that came to mind, fountain of youth, Pandora’s box, Atlantis, Excalibur, etc. I had enough ideas to fill several books, but when it came time to putting the series together I stuck with a trilogy because readers tend to like books in threes. Atlantis was actually the first idea and I thought I’d go with that one, but them Esme from Seduce Me came to life in my mind and Pandora’s Box became the first book in the series. Treasure Me features a joint myth with the Stone of Destiny and the Loch Ness monster and it was actually the very first book I ever wrote. Well, sort of.

Vanessa and Graeme were in that first book as was the general setting and some of the other characters, but the story is completely different. I basically took the characters’ names and started from scratch and built an entirely new world from that old book (that shall remain hidden under my bed). I had already done most of the research on the beastie, but I had a whole new myth to dig into with the Stone of Destiny and what I found was utterly fascinating. It immediately captured my attention the book just grew right out of that history. I love it when that happens!

So far Treasure Me is getting great reviews and I hope all of you will enjoy it too. You can read an excerpt on my website.

But I do have a question for all of you readers. When you read a series, do you prefer trilogies or open-ended series? Do you like to know when a group of books is coming to a close? What’s your favorite kind of series to read, books connected by characters (like in a family or a group of friends) or do you prefer another kind of connection tying them together?

Thanks so much for having me today!

About the author:

Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers. Publishers Weekly claims her writing to be "comical and sexy" while the Chicago Tribune dubs her "wonderfully entertaining." A two-time Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice award nominee, Robyn has earned 4 star and 4 ¿ star top pick reviews on all her books and Kathe Robin says, "Like Amanda Quick, DeHart [will] keep you up all night."

Please Visit:

I have three copies of Treasure Me to giveaway.

To enter please answer the question that Robyn supplied:

When you read a series, do you prefer trilogies or open-ended series? Do you like to know when a group of books is coming to a close? What’s your favorite kind of series to read, books connected by characters (like in a family or a group of friends) or do you prefer another kind of connection tying them together?

Contest ends March 24th
Contest open to residents of the US & Canada only
Sorry no P.O. Boxes
Please include a VALID email adress