quotes Jennifer likes


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."— Jane Austen

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Characters On A Deserted Island


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On a Deserted Island~

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
1. Katniss Everdeen -- Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
This was the first person to come to mind!  She obviously knows how to survive in unfamiliar territory and her archery skills will come in handy when it comes to food.  I could have chosen so many characters from this trilogy like Finnick or Johanna, but Katniss is still number one.

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
2. Tarver Merendsen -- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meghan Spooner
This is a character who spent much of his book stranded on a deserted planet (rather than island) and he was forced to survive along with a girl who is obviously not made for such an adventure.  Since I'm horrible at anything involving the outdoors, I need someone with that type of skill and patience.

Obsidian (Lux, #1)
3. Daemon Black -- Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
He's strong and powerful so I think he would be good for battling any dangerous creatures that might be on the island.  Plus he's nice to look at and I would probably take all the enjoyment I could get in such a situation.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)
4. Jamie Fraser -- Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
Another character who knows how to survive in unfamiliar territory though his specialty is the wilds of 18th century Scotland.  You can never have enough hunters and gatherers when stuck on an island.

Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling, #13)
5. Vasic -- Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh
This one feels like cheating, but I decided to add him anyway.  Vasic is a powerful telekinetic whose specialty is teleportation.  I would definitely want him on the island because he could probably just teleport us to safety.

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)
6. Claire Randall -- Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
I chose Claire because she is a skilled nurse and healer.  I' m sure someone will get sick or injured during our island stay and I think her knowledge of herbs and other natural remedies would come in handy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
7. Hermione Granger -- Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I would think I would want someone who is good in a crisis and wonderful at problem solving.  Hermione is amazing at getting through tough situations as she showed during the great Horcrux hunt in Deathly Hallows.

Rapture in Death (In Death, #4)
8. Eve Dallas -- In Death series by JD Robb
She's a tough lady who also doesn't take crap from anyone.  I would think in such a situation that there would be arguing and Eve would be a great mediator.

Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark, #10)
9. Malkom Slaine -- Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole
He is a vemon (half-vampire, half-demon) that has spent much of his life isolated in a cave.  He knows how to survive on his own and I'm sure he would be glad to teach me.  Plus, like with Daemon, he's handsome and would be fun to hang with.

Highland Warrior (Murray Family, #9) (MacEnroy, #3)
10. Fiona MacEnroy -- Highland Warrior by Hannah Howell
She's very skilled with knives (her nickname is Fiona of the Ten Knives) and that would come in handy with hunting, protection, and cooking.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (42)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness 
I love this trilogy featuring a historian witch and her vampire husband.

Neanderthal Marries Human (Knitting in the City, #1.5)
Neanderthal Marries Human by Penny Reid
I adore Penny Reid's writing and I'm excited to see more with Janie and Quinn.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
I've been meaning to try this contemporary romance for a long time and finally found it on sale.

Destiny's Embrace (Destiny's, #1)
Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
I have had my eye on Jenkins's historicals and was excited to see them go on sale.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister, #4)
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
I literally squealed when I saw that I got approved for this on Netgalley.  I am obsessed with Milan's historicals and am reading/love this right now.

~RECEIVED FROM GIVEAWAY~
I won the June giveaway for the Review Pile Reading Challenge from Rachel at Fiktshun so I got to pick two books from Amazon.

Burning Dawn (Angels of the Dark, #3)
Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter
One of my favorite paranormal writers and I'm excited to see the tortured angel Thane get a happy ending.

Champion (Legend, #3)
Champion by Marie Lu
I still haven't read the second in this dystopian trilogy, but I wanted to have the complete set so I could finish it in one swoop.

***********
WEEKLY RECAP

I READ...
Maybe This Time by A.M. Arthur
Caroline and the Duke by Sabina Darby
Temptation in Shadows by Gena Showalter
Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling

I REVIEWED...

Friday, July 18, 2014

REVIEW: "Shadow of Night" by Deborah Harkness


Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
(All Souls Trilogy #1)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 18+
Paranormal Fiction/Historical Fiction

Viking Adult -- Published in July 2012
Hardcover, 584 pages
Read in July 2014
Purchased from Half-Price Books

THEMES
Alpha Hero, Elizabeth Era, Demons, Witches, Vampires, Time Travel

SUMMARY
Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library,she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers.



FIRST LINE
"We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire."


MY THOUGHTS
Warning!  This book contains minor spoilers for the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches.

Shadow of Night is one of those books that is very hard for me to review.  I really enjoyed it, but there is so much to talk about with the historical details, the large cast of intriguing characters, and the overall experience that I don't want to overdo the gushing.  The last time readers saw historian and witch, Diana Bishop, and her vampire husband, Matthew, they were off on a journey to 16th century England.  The reason for this time travel adventure is to find a witch to help Diana learn about her unique powers and to find clues to the location of the missing manuscript, Ashmole 782.

Like with A Discovery of Witches, Diana and Matthew are the center of the book and they pretty much control the success of the story.  Thankfully, both of them are interesting characters who are a great combination of likable and flawed.  They each have their own journeys to complete and do so with a unique spin.  I will admit that I had a few issues with Matthew's overbearing nature and Diana's recklessness, but these instances were rare and they did always learn from their mistakes.
  The romance (while not the main storyline) is interesting and fun.  These two may have declared their love for each other in the first book, but it becomes obvious that their relationship is still new and continues to grow.

Most of the book takes place in the 16th century which is a fun difference than the first book.  Readers get to meet a ton of historical figures and see them interact with Diana and Matthew.  Some of my particular favorites were Christopher Marlowe, Edward Kelly, Emperor Rudolf II, Mary Sidney, and, of course, Queen Elizabeth I.  Diana and Matthew travel from England to his father's keep in France and even to the Holy Roman Empire.  I am a history geek so this was an absolute blast for me.  I also enjoyed the introduction of Matthew's nephew, Gallowglass, and that we finally got to meet Matthew's father, Philippe.  Some of the book does take place in the present-day with Ysabeau, Marcus, and others finding hints of the time travel in the current time which was interesting.

As I mentioned, there is a lot going on in this book and I don't want to give much more to avoid major spoilers.  I will say that it takes some time to get used to the writing style and readers do have to go through quite a bit of detail, but the story is so well-crafted that it is worth the time and effort.  I also will say that this would not make a good stand-alone story due to the worldbuilding and character development.  I was impressed though with how easy it was to slip back into the series after going more than a year between books.  I highly recommend this series and can't wait to see how it ends with The Book of Life which was just released this month.


4.5 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Glow -- Implied or subtle descriptions of lovemaking.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. A Discovery of Witches
2. Shadow of Night
3. Book of Life

CHALLENGES READ FOR



Thursday, July 17, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (35)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.

THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

Texas Destiny (Texas Trilogy, #1) 

Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath
Originally published in January 1997

She was his brother's wife...

Arriving on the Fort Worth train, Miss Amelia Carson, mail-order bride, had never met Dallas Leigh, the Texan she promised to marry. The tall cowboy at the station wasn't Dallas. He was Houston, Dallas's brother, sent to escort her on the rugged three-week trek to the ranch where Dallas waited. Brought up in war-ravaged Georgia, Amelia thought Dallas's letters made Texas sound like heaven, a place for her dreams to grow with the right man beside her.

And his only love...

By all appearances, Houston Leigh would hardly be considered the "right man." The war he survived had scarred him inside and out, and he was little competition for his handsome brother. But from the moment Houston met Amelia, he knew she possessed the courage this wild land needed. She had eyes that could see past his wounded face to his soul. And he would fight any man—except his brother—for her heart. Now he and Amelia were riding down dangerous trails, sleeping under the stars, and God help them, they were falling in love.


************
I'm not usually into western historicals, but Lorraine Heath always grabs me with a great story and unforgettable characters.  I loved the mail-order bride scenario and the drama with Houston falling in love with his brother's intended.  Houston was such a fabulous hero...tortured, sweet, and hard-working.  I also enjoyed Amelia's character and how brave it was for her to make the journey to Texas.

He pulled her mirror out of his other pocket. “You left your mirror on my table.” He extended it toward her.
“You can keep it,” she said quietly. “We have lots of mirrors here.”
“I’ll keep it, then.”
“Good. I’m glad.”
He’d never rushed headlong into a battle, but he figured this time, it might be the best approach. “I spent a lot of time studying it. The back is real pretty with all the gold carving. Took me about an hour to gather up the courage to turn it over and look at the other side.”
“And what did you see?”
“A man who loves you more than life itself.”
Closing her eyes, she dropped her chin to her chest.
“I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me. I haven’t held your feelings as precious as I should have.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

REVIEW: "Highlander Most Wanted" by Maya Banks


Highlander Most Wanted (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, #2)
Highlander Most Wanted by Maya Banks
(Montgomerys and Armstrongs #2)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Violence, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Medieval Scotland

Ballantine Books -- Published in March 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Read in June 2014
Purchased from Book Depository

THEMES
Highlands, Tormented Heroine

SUMMARY
In Highlander Most Wanted, a reclusive woman content to live in the shadows shows a Highland warrior the true meaning of love.

Genevieve McInnes is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting.

Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.



FIRST LINE
"Do you ever wish but for a moment to go back in time?" Genevieve McInnis whispered as she stood in the window of the tiny tower room that had been appointed to her more than a year past.

MY THOUGHTS
Warning!  This review contains minor spoilers for the first book in the series, Never Seduce a Scot.

Maya Banks's Highland-set historical romances have been one of my favorite discoveries in the past few years.  I love this era and appreciate the refreshing view that Ms. Banks puts on it.  The Montgomerys and Armstrongs series focuses on two rival clans who are forced to cooperate (through marriage, of course!) in the first book, Never Seduce a Scot.  That book ends with a bit of drama associated with the heroine and the villain.  During that ending scene, readers are introduced to a woman who helps the heroine escape while she remains behind.  Highlander Most Wanted allows that woman, Genevieve McInnis, to take center stage and get her own happy ending.

Genevieve has been held captive at McHugh Keep for over a year and has been raped and beaten by the laird's son and his soldiers.  When the Montgomerys and Armstrongs lay seize to the keep, she knows this is her one opportunity to leave and find some sort of peace in her life.  Things don't really go as planned when she meets Bowen Montgomery, the man who has been assigned to keep an eye on the McHugh clan.  Bowen, for his part, admires Genevieve for her strength and finds himself wanting to protect her in anyway he can.

For me, Genevieve was the star of this book.  The torments that she had to deal with while being held captive are truly horrific and sometimes hard to read about.  And it wasn't just by the laird's son since the other members of the clan saw her as being nothing better than a whore and treated her as such even after the Montgomerys and Armstrongs arrived.  What I liked the most about Genevieve was her subtle strength and will to live.  After the keep is taken over, her only goal is to find a reclusive abbey so that she can live her life in tranquility and she is willing to do anything to achieve that ideal.  The real joy of Highlander Most Wanted is her journey to recognizing her own power and that she deserves to be happy again.

Bowen is a fairly typical Highlands romance hero with his handsome looks, overprotective nature, and lack of tolerance for lazy, disrespectful clan members.  I did find him to very likable if not the most developed hero I've seen Ms. Banks write.  My favorite aspect of his character was his lack of judgment when it came to Genevieve.  Even when he discovered something unsavory about her involvement in the kidnapping of his sister-in-law, he still waited to hear her side of the story before developing an opinion and revealing the truth to his brothers.  I also liked that he was the first one to really fall in love and he spent a significant amount of time pursuing Genevieve and then trying to make her happy.

All in all, I found Highlander Most Wanted to be an entertaining and heartbreaking read.  Genevieve and Bowen are adorable together with their romance being a nice combination of endearing and steamy.  I can't wait to read the next book in the series which I think will focus on Genevieve's only friend, Taliesan, and the adorably sweet Brodie Armstrong.


4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

FAVORITE QUOTE
There were worse things than death, as she'd discovered. Sometimes living took far more courage. Facing another day. Enduring. Those things took strength. Far more than dying.


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Never Seduce a Scot
2. Highlander Most Wanted
3. Highland Ever After (Coming 2014)

CHALLENGES READ FOR