Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

This is the third book in a series that started with The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. This series does not follow a family so much as it follows a character from the prior book. In this case, the book follows Sebastian Grey who was the cousin of the romantic hero in the second book. Sebastian is handsome, charming, well-liked and the presumptive heir of an earl. If Sebastian's uncle, the current Earl of Newbury, has anything to say about it, he will never inherit the title, however.

After the unexpected death of his only son, the earl has been trying to find a new bride in order to produce another heir. The earl thinks he's found the perfect bride in Annabel Winslow, what with her wide hips and large family. It also does not hurt that her family is low on funds and getting desperate. Annabel does not want to marry a man old enough to be her grandfather and who probably had relations with her grandmother. Things get even more complicated when Sebastian and Annabel meet and become attracted to each other before they learn each other's identity. It's one thing to spurn an earl for another man and something else entirely when the other man is the earl's much-despised nephew. Sebastian does not care if he ever becomes an earl, but in the tug-of-war over Annabel, he intends to be the winner.

I really liked the plot in this story and Sebastian's character stole all of his scenes in the last book so I had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately, the book fell a little flat. Even though it was still a good read and it reveals a secret about Sebastian that I was not expecting, something was missing. Sebastian was an outstanding supporting character, but when the spotlight was on him alone, he didn't shine nearly as brightly.

BEST FEATURE: Sebastian's secret and no, I'm not going to tell you what it is.

WORST FEATURE: The incredible shrinking Sebastian. He wasn't half the man he was in the book that introduced him. What a pity.

PARENTAL WARNING: sexual content that is not overly explicit.

MY RATING: 3 - The Bridgerton Series is a tough act to follow.

Married By Morning by Lisa Kleypas

Married By Morning is the 4th book in the Hathaway series which itself is a companion for Lisa Kleypas' wallflower series. With three of the five Hathaways happily married, it's older brother Leo's turn. After losing his fiance to a fever when he was younger, Leo swore he would never fall in love again and marriage to have an heir was not high on his list either.

However, there are a couple of obstacles in the way of Leo's permanent bachelorhood. Due to a bizarre twist in his inheritance, Leo has to marry and produce a son within five years of inheriting his title or the manor house that he and his family had lovingly remodeled into a home would revert back to his predecessor's widow and daughter. That would leave them the manor house that was originally part of the estate. Uninhabitable would be an understatement. But the biggest obstacle is his younger sister's companion, Catherine Marks. Leo and Catherine have fought like cat and dog since the day they met, but lately, there has also been a growing attraction that has been difficult for both of them to deny. Leo does not want to give in to it because he's afraid to love again and Catherine is afraid that a secret from her past will damage the Hathaway family. Will love overcome their fears?

This is another favorite series of mine. Lisa Kleypas writes some of the best Romance dialogue. I was really looking forward to this book because the antagonizing banter between Leo and Catherine was always one of the highlights in the other books they appeared in. Although I knew this day was coming, it was a little sad to see the verbal battles slowly being replaced by romantic interludes. All good things must come to an end I guess... even this series. There is only one Hathaway sibling left so savor this family while you can.

BEST FEATURE: The dialogue between Leo and Catherine... especially before they admitted to themselves that they were in love.

WORST FEATURE: The premise behind Leo having to get married to save the family home. It was complicated and confusing and, since it was not the reason Leo wanted to marry Catherine, it was ultimately unnecessary. This plot device only works when the couple marries for convenience and then discovers they love each other.

PARENTAL WARNING: sexual content explicit enough to be considered adult only.

MY RATING: 4 - Another great book in a must-read Romance series.

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead


The fifth book in The Vampire Academy series begins where the last book left off. Rose is back at St. Vladimir's Academy to complete the trials for becoming a guardian. Although she managed to escape Dimitri, her former lover and now enemy, he has stayed in contact via letters threatening that when Rose graduates and leaves the academy's protective wards, he will hunt her down and kill her. Dimitri has reached the conclusion that they can't be together as he had hoped, but despite Dimitri's death threats and her feelings for new boyfriend Adrian, Rose still has hope. A slim beyond-a-longshot hope. Rose has heard that the brother of the man she put in prison is a spirit user who has brought a Strigoi back to life. She intends to find this man and learn the secret of restoring a Strigoi to life so she can do it to Dimitri, no matter how many lines she has to cross. Rose's best friend, Lissa, has agreed to help even though she has a few concerns of her own.

This book is about Rose's obsessive journey to do the impossible. This girl needs to get herself some impulse control. I won't ruin it by telling you if her plan succeeds, but I will say that, in the end, she ends up in the world's biggest mess. Now I can't wait for the next book to find out what happens. Things do not look good for our heroine.

BEST FEATURE: The ending. Talk about cliffhangers. The wait for the next book is going to be excruciating. Release date December 7, 2010 people!

WORST FEATURE: The agony of the love triangle. Most of the time, I have a clear favorite. Since I can't choose between Dimitri and Adrian, I don't know how Rose will manage it.

PARENTAL WARNING: Violence and minor sexual content; appropriate for teens.

MY RATING: 4.5 - The hits just keep on coming.