Friday, June 29, 2012

The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden

Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden
"Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he could be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentleman, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.
Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?" (jacket summary)

After enjoying Friends and Foes so much I decided to pick up another Sarah M. Eden novel. This novel has tie in characters with the previous novel that I read and it was fun to find out more about the characters in this book. Crispin ends up marrying Catherine, but plans to annul the marriage as soon as he can, but finds that the legal issues behind such an action to be more complex than he anticipated. Not being able to bring himself to drag Catherine through a very public and embarrassing trial against her uncle in order to obtain an annulment Crispin decides to hold off until he figures things out. Especially since he has started to enjoy his wife company and wants to learn more about her.

Catherine is at first just grateful to be away from the abuses of her crazy and controlling uncle and finds herself fortunate that Crispin is so kind to her despite the circumstances. Knowing that Crispin is looking for ways to annul their marriage, she must try to find arrangements suitable for a woman with a ruined reputation, which is what she will face one the entire marriage is over. Catherine finds herself depressed about the prospect of annulling the marriage as she grows more attached to Crispin. She fears that he does not feel the same and wonders if it would be better to live life ruined rather than unloved. Then her uncle come back in town, encouraging an annulment to the marriage he forced her into in the first place. This causes great confusion until they discover that Catherine was left a sizable inheritance by a relative.  With such a prize at stake her uncles actions become more desperate and dangerous.  

I really liked this book, but found myself really wanting to know what exactly Catherine’s uncle was after. He kept insisting that he was after more than just the money and I wondered exactly what he meant by that. I wanted to know more of his motivations but that plot line isn’t ever really followed up. Other than that I really liked the rest of the book and the interactions between the characters. I enjoyed Friends and Foes more but this was still an excellent story and a good read.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friends and Foes by Sarah M. Eden

Friends and Foes by Sarah M. Eden
"After five years of tracking and capturing spies on English soil, Philip Jonquil, Earl of Lampton, is in pursuit of his last quarry. But at a traveler’s inn, he encounters an unexpected and far more maddening foe: Sorrel Kendrick, a young lady who is strikingly pretty, shockingly outspoken, and entirely unimpressed with him. Indeed, Sorrel cannot believe the nerve of this gentleman, who rudely accuses her of theft and insults her feminine dignity. Doubly annoyed when they both end up at a party hosted by mutual friends, Philip and Sorrel privately declare war on one another. But Philip’s tactics, which range from flirting to indifference, soon backfire as he finds himself reluctantly enjoying Sorrel’s company; and, much to her dismay, Sorrel finds Philip’s odd manner to be increasingly endearing. In the midst of this waning war and growing attraction, Philip catches wind of the French spy he’s been tracking, and Sorrel inadvertently stumbles upon a crucial piece of the puzzle, making her indispensable to the mission. But can two proud hearts negotiate a ceasefire when cooperation matters most?" (dust jacket summary) 

 I am very happy to report that I really loved this novel. I adored the witty and funny dialogue between the characters, and found that I really empathized with both Sorrel and Philip. The novel for the most part takes place at an estate in the countryside in Suffolk, as Philip is invited there for an extended stay over Christmas. This is convenient since the French spy he is looking for tends to do his business in that area.

He quickly makes enemies with Sorrel, as he dreadfully offends her while teasing her that the cane she carries about is not very feminine. It is then revealed that the cane is more than just a fashion choice, but a necessity on account of her lame leg. Horrified to have made such a mistake Philip tries to apologize only to find himself entangled in a war of words.

I thought Eden did really well with showing how the characters came to like one another despite the fact they started their relationship out bickering with one another. I totally wanted the book to keep going after I finished reading it. I loved how Philip’s watched over his big family and the courage Sorrell had when facing her challenges with her lame leg. I would totally recommend this book to those that like a good regency or historical romance. 

Visit Sarah's M. Eden's Website

Friday, June 15, 2012

Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore

Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore

"Naiva, daughter of the dethroned King Jared II, lives in the shadow of her privileged elder sister, Asherah. But when Asherah develops a secret plot to return their father to the throne, Naiva’s resentment turns to fear. Thwarting the scheme becomes more complicated when Naiva discovers that Akish, the first man who has shown interest in her, is an integral part of the plan.

Asherah traps Akish in a ploy to make him marry her, breaking Naiva’s heart and leaving her feeling more alone than ever. Somehow Naiva must find the strength to stand against the encroaching evil in the kingdom and a sister who will stop at nothing to become queen. When Akish’s wickedness escalates and threatens to destroy the bonds of sisterhood, Naiva must decide between protecting her sister and honoring her new belief in the true God—a forbidden belief that could cost her life."

The Daughters of Jared is H.B. Moore's newest historical fiction. After writing a series of books that followed the chronicle of Abinadi, Alma the Elder, Alma the Younger, and Ammon, she turns to a another time period in the Book of Mormon. The book of Ether outlines the dramatic rise and fall of kingdoms and the wickedness of those who sought for power. H.B. Moore weaves a story from the life of Asherah.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that is was told from the point of view of Naiva, Asherah's fictional little sister. While Moore has shown herself adept at weaving tales from the point of those who make wrong decisions in their lives. It was nice to read the story of someone who while not a saint or even a believer in the gosple, hadn't set out to live a life of wickedness. In fact, I found Naiva's integrity and strength of character refreshing. When Akish decides to marry her elder sister, though he admits he is really in love with Navia. I really love the fact that Navia refuses to look at him as a romantic interest any longer, and builds her own life.

Once Asherah and Akish are married the consequences of Asherah's foolishness become more and more apparent. As times wears on Akish becomes more cruel and power hungry. Navia must decide whether providing her sister and her children with protection is more important than escaping to make a new life as a believer with  Akish's brother, Levi.

This is my favorite of H.B. Moore's books that I have read, and I really loved how she has improved at adding little historical details, which always added such a cultural ambiance and vivid details to her novels, in more nuanced and natural ways. I really felt like her skill in this arena has improved and made the reading of the novel more immsersive and smooth.

Visit H.B. Moore's Website


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
"Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she’s his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god." (summary from author website)

So, this was the best used book sale score ever! I found a basically new hardcover copy for two dollars and pulled every last quarter and dime out of my wallet to purchase it. I was so excited because I had really wanted to get into this series for awhile after I finished the last book in the Percy Jackson series. I heard the Lost Hero was a spin-off of the Percy Jackson series and wasn’t exactly sure how much the whole Percy Jackson crew would show up in the book.

What I loved the most was that this was a completely new set up for a new series, but that it felt like a natural continuation of the Percy Jackson series. So, when Jason gets to camp he finds that Percy is gone and has to make his own way in the camp. In fact, even cooler is that we discover that the gods have been hiding a huge secret from camp-half blood. The fact that their greek demi-gods have Roman counterparts in California. In order to keep down fighting between the two camps the gods hid them from each other, but now Juno wants to united the camps so that they can fulfill the Prophecy of Seven.

This book had everything that made the Percy Jackson series great, but also gave it a new twist, new awesome characters with interesting backgounds, and more great mythology. I totally loved this book and can’t wait to read more of this series.  
Rick Riordan's Website