Monday, August 16, 2010
Beach Bag Reviews
Summer is winding down and soon we'll feel the crisp chill of Autumn but, before that happens, there's still time for one more getaway. Whether you're headed to the beach, the lake, a hammock in the back yard or maybe a shady corner of the local park, here are a few books you might consider taking along.
By Loretta Chase
Release Date: July 27, 2010
After spending the past ten years in Egypt, Peregrine Dalmay, Earl of Lisle returns to England and a reunion with his dear childhood friend, Miss Olivia Wingate-Carsington. They’ve corresponded by letter during his time in Egypt so it doesn’t surprise him to learn that the remembered mischief-maker is still the talk of the ton but he’s stunned to discover that she’s become a beautiful woman and even more surprised to find that, unlike when they were children, his feelings for her aren’t at all brotherly!
Olivia has turned down several marriage proposals but knows her family is growing impatient and she will soon have to accept one of her admirers and settle down to a life of boring respectability. Before that happens though, she’s determined to have one last grand adventure and who better to have it with than her childhood friend. Though he’s anxious to return to his beloved Egypt, when he’s forced by his parents (who threaten to cut off the money) to instead travel to Scotland to put an, apparently haunted, ancestral castle to rights, Olivia, along with two funny, feisty old ladies who are possibly the world’s worst chaperones, decide to go along to offer their “assistance”…without letting Lisle in on the plan. What Lisle and Olivia discover in Scotland is much more than they could have anticipated and, possibly, what their hearts have been searching for their entire lives.
Last Night’s Scandal is Loretta Chase at her very best. The characters are vibrant, the dialogue sparkles and the story kept me riveted to the pages from beginning to end. I’ve been waiting for this book for four years, ever since the young Peregrine and Olivia burst onto the pages of Chase's Lord Perfect. These two likeable characters, and their story, are all I could have hoped for…and more.
The Viking Takes A Knight
By Sandra Hill
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Viking Princess Ingrith is fleeing a vicious Saxon commander who promises retribution to her and the band of orphans she is bound to protect. At the ripe old age of one and thirty (hey, this is the Middle Ages!), Ingrith is fairly certain that she will never marry and have children of her own, no matter how many suitors her father parades before her. Finding love is the last thing on her mind when Ingrid arrives at Hawk’s Lair.
John of Hawk’s Lair is a knight in the king’s service who values quiet and solitude when he is home. His passion is beekeeping and studying the many uses for his varieties of honey. So when the beautiful Ingrith arrives with her merry band of orphans, to say John is less than please would be an understatement! To his way of thinking, the sooner they leave the better off he’ll be. But neither John nor Ingrith count on the attraction they feel for each other growing into a love they cannot ignore.
I love Sandra Hill’s contemporaries, but this is the first of her many historicals that I have read, and it definitely will not be the last. From the very first page, this book captured my attention. I smile, giggled, chortled and laughed out loud all the way through. The banter between John and Ingrid is hilarious, and the motley crew of secondary characters completely won me over. With sizzling love scenes and passion aplenty, The Viking Takes A Knight is a must have for your end-of-the-summer reading.
by Carolyn Brown
Release Date: August 3, 2010
The second installment in the Honky Tonk series, Hell, Yeah is sure to make you put on your best dancing cowboy boots and take your sweetie for a swing on the dance floor. Cathy O’Dell is the new owner of the local bar, the Honky Tonk. Being a pretty young thing in Texas, Cathy is used to all the oil workers making a play for her and being the tough cookie she is, she has no problem turning them all down flat. Really, who needs a man when you have money in the register and the best country songs on the jukebox? But life has a way of throwing you curve balls when you least expect them and that is exactly what happens when tall, sexy cowboy Travis Henry walks through the doors of the Honky Tonk. Smittened from the get go, Travis does all he can to win over the very independent Cathy. And when she finally takes the time to ask herself if she is ready for the Texas Two Step with this hunky guy, the country gal in Cathy screams back -- Hell, Yeah!
Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress
By Diane Gaston
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Miss Marian Pallant is in Brussels as a guest of her friend Domina and her parents. Disguised as boys, Marian and Domina have the wild notion to see the battle at Waterloo. They become separated, and Marian finds herself alone and far too close to the thick of the battle. She is discovered by Captain Allan Landon, who thinks he has rescued a boy… until Marian’s cap falls off and her long golden tresses tumble down. Amidst the danger of war, Allan and Marian forge a bond of friendship and passion. But their fragile bond is all but broken through the deceit and machinations of others. They meet again in London after the war, but now Marian and Allan find themselves on opposite sides of a social war, and neither of them is willing to concede. All’s fair in love and war….and this is both!
This is the second book in Ms. Gaston’s Three Soldiers series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is sprinkled with enough historical detail to make it interesting, but it does not detract from the love story. Allan and Marian go through a great deal of pain and strife to reach their happily ever after, and it is very well deserved. Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress is a perfect addition to your end-of-summer reading.
By Veronica Wolff
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: August 3, 2010
A young love is nipped in the bud when a childish dare has tragic consequences. Cormac MacAlpin’s twin brother, Aidan is kidnapped, never to be heard from again and Cormac, wallowing in guilt, turns away from Marjorie Keith before their feelings for one another ever have the chance to blossom. Though they haven’t seen one another since that fateful day thirteen years earlier, Cormac and Marjorie have never forgotten and their lives continue to be shaped by the loss of Aidan. Cormac, a tormented warrior, punishes himself by not allowing any happiness into his life and Marjorie devotes herself to helping the poor children of Aberdeen. When a young boy in her care goes missing in circumstances reminiscent of the kidnapping of Aidan all those years ago, Marjorie swallows her pride and travels to the MacAlpin home to ask Cormac to help her rescue the child. It soon becomes apparent that feelings long buried still simmer between the two but, as they work together to unravel a nefarious plot to impress young children into slavery, will they be able to overcome the guilt of the past and give their love a chance to bloom?
Though this is a straight historical, unlike her previous time-travel romances, Wolff once again brings us a passionate, action-filled story with engaging characters, deep emotion, rich historical detail and enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the pages late into the night. Cormac and Marjorie are a couple I won't soon forget. Devil’s Highlander is the first book in Wolff’s new Clan MacAlpin series. I can’t wait to find out what she has in store for us next!
Tell us about the books you've read lately that should be added to our beach bag. One random commenter will win a signed copy of Diane Gaston's Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Miss.