Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Asher's Invention by Coleen Kwan

Asher's Invention (2012) (novella)
Coleen Kwan
Grade: C-
Genre: historical romance / steampunk
Sex scenes: no actual sex, but a little steamy
Source: NetGalley

Minerva Lambkin’s father has been kidnapped and she has nobody else to turn to but Asher Quigley, the brilliant inventor who had been her father’s apprentice several years ago, and the man she was going to marry. When Asher discovered that Silas had been passing off his apprentice’s inventions as his own, he was convinced that Minerva had been a party to Silas’ transgressions and despite Minerva’s plea of innocence, he didn’t believe her and they haven’t seen each other since.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Kidnapped by Nicola Cornick

Kidnapped (2009)
Nicola Cornick
Grade: C+
Genre: historical romance / ship
Sex scenes: doesn't hit mild
Source: library

The death of eighteen-year-old Catriona Balfour’s father just short months after it took away her mother has left Catriona numb. Her parents never resented the fact that she was a girl and their only child, and her father never thought that her lack of a ‘Y’ chromosome meant that she couldn’t be educated to the highest level in astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. She loves the small Scottish village that is her home but her newly orphaned status and almost-penniless state means that she can stay no longer. Fortunately, her Balfour relatives have taken her in, but as Catriona later discovers, this is a mixed blessing.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Running Wild by Linda Howard & Linda Jones

Running Wild (2012)
Linda Howard & Linda Jones
Grade: A-
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own

Carlin Reed is on the run – again. For the past year, she’s been moving from place to place, working cash-in-hand, keeping her head down so she can stay off the radar and out of the hands of Brad Henderson. What was two innocent if slightly boring dates on her part became a fully-fledged obsession on Brad’s as he becomes convinced that Carlin belongs to him. When a friend dies in her place, Carlin knew that no matter where she ran or where she hid, Brad, the cop and computer-expert, would always find her.

Zeke needs a new cook – again. Libby moved out several months ago after years of service and ever since, none of her replacements have been right. He has laundry up to his ears, no clean underwear and the chilling prospect of Spencer’s cooking three times a day – only marginally better than his own, which is the only reason that Spencer has been saddled with that burden. Zeke needs a new cook and housekeeper fast – before they all get food poisoning.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

Key of Knowledge (2003)
Nora Roberts
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Key Trilogy: (1) Key of Light

It’s Dana Steele’s turn to step up to the plate. She’s been given 30 days to find the next key that will unlock the box containing the souls of the Daughters of Glass. She’s part of a centuries-old curse that saw the three souls of half-mortal princesses trapped until their modern counterparts can find the keys that will free them. Malory has succeeded with the first – further than any other has gone before – and Kane, the sorcerer who trapped said souls has upped his game in an effort to stop the two remaining keys from being found.

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Last Honest Woman by Nora Roberts

The Last Honest Woman (1988) (Mills & Boon)
Nora Roberts
Grade: B-
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
O'Hurley: (1) The Last Honest Woman

I really should stop reading books that I own and start cracking on my NetGalley backlog, but when these are NR books, I really can’t help it, especially since Waiting for Nick gave me a tantalising glimpse of the O’Hurley family that I just can’t get out of my mind.

Abby O’Hurley Rockwell has put off offers to write biographies of her late, infamous husband’s life for a long time, but now that a few years have passed and she desperately needs the money, now is the time. She’s letting accredited biographer Dylan Crosby into the farmhouse she shares with her two sons while he gets his interviews with her and she must be careful to not reveal too much of the truth …

At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

At Grave's End (2009)
Jeaniene Frost
Grade: B
Genre: paranormal romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library
Night Huntress series: (1) Halfway to the Grave, (2) One Foot in the Grave, (3) At Grave's End 

With the man that she loves by her side and doing a job she loves, Cat Crawford (aka the Red Reaper) should be in heaven, but not everyone wants her blissful happiness to last. When Bones’ grandsire Mencheres invites him to do a power-sharing, people-sharing bonanza, that’s the first sign that shit is about to hit the fan.

As if Cat didn’t have enough going wrong in her life already: she’s been recognised for the third time in a row whilst on a job, thus putting innocent civilians at risk; Tate, her second-in-command, just won’t stop coming-on to her despite the fact that he knows that she isn’t interested and Bones might just rip his head off; oh, and Cat’s vampire father is back in town. Add a certain Egyptian vampire called Patra into the mix, and Cat’s got a recipe for potential disaster …

Coffee and Walnut Loaf

This is a fantastic cake/loaf. I'd call it a cake, but it's a loaf shape and so my instinct is to call it a loaf. Call it whatever you think best - it's still the same thing.

My dad wanted something with walnuts in it for his birthday, and so I took a look through my limited number of cake recipes, mostly taken from Recipe Rifle, as always. I'd already tried the Carrot cake and while it was fantastic, it just takes too long to make. The Coffee and Walnut cake was the only thing left and it's so straightforward it should be criminal.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Underworld by Meg Cabot

Underworld (2012)
Meg Cabot
Grade: B-
Genre: YA paranormal
Sex scenes: classic Meg Cabot fade-to-black
Source: library
Abandon series: (1) Abandon, (2) Underworld 

Pierce Oliviera is stuck in the Underworld and there’s no going back. At least she won’t be bored, with her boyfriend John Hayden for company. He might be King of the Underworld (and thus she’s his Queen Consort) but someone’s got to do it, right? Besides, Pierce has got bigger things to worry about, like the Furies that are after her and want to see her dead …

Pierce’s transition into her new life hasn’t been as smooth as she’d hoped. Her departure from Earth was captured by CCTV and to the world (along with some help from Pierce’s over-exaggerating, Fury-possessed Grandmother), it looks as if she were kidnapped. With a £1million reward on her head (really, was that all her dad could afford?) and so many loose ends to tie up back on Earth, Pierce must be very careful during her return visit not to draw too much attention to herself. And whatever she does, it must be fast. Terrible consequences are suffered in the Underworld when the balance is upset and its residents must not spend too long in the land of the living.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox

Ride With Me (2012)
Ruthie Knox
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary romance, road romance
Sex scenes: HOT
Source: own, eBook

Of the 135 rejections I got from NetGalley in 2012, Ride With Me is probably the one that hurt the most, and I hadn’t even cracked open a Ruthie Knox book before. I’m not sure whether I first saw it on NetGalley and it caught my eye, or Heroes and Heartbreakers did a feature on it, but either way, I previewed it on Amazon and with less than two chapters, I was HOOKED. Ten minutes into a 4000 mile bike ride from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia, Lexie has a flat that Tom finds with his tongue. Yes, that’s right. Unbelievably hot. Read below if you don’t believe me. Frustrated is a good word to describe how I was feeling when my request was rejected!

My Best Of 2012

This is a rather delayed round-up of 2012, but better late than never. I'm sorely disappointed with my reading statistics for 2012 (102 books) and while it's understandable that I hardly had any time to read, I'd like 2013 to be better. Can't see how that's going to happen, but I've set myself a more manageable goal of 100 books for 2013 and it would be a tragedy if I couldn't even manage that.

I found some fantastic authors in 2012 and there's a number of books that have made it to my keepers shelf, so I wanted to take some time to share these with you all. These are by no means all books that were released in 2012, just my favourite of the year, so here goes my top eleven of the past year in the order in which they were reviewed:

1. Sweet Revenge by Nora Roberts (1988) (reviewed 29-4-2012 grade A+)
Given the sheer quantity of books that NR has published (over 200), the fact that I'm close to reading three-quarters of them and her genius at storytelling in general, there's a lot to choose from when picking my favourite. For a long time, Honest Illusions occupied that coveted spot but Sweet Revenge has by the tiniest margin knocked it off - at least, until I can get my hands on the former again for a re-read. Fantastic cast whose protagonists have possibly my all-time favourite occupation for fictional characters (thieves), brilliant writing, dialogue and just a wonderful feel-good story.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Merlin 5.13: The Diamond of the Day II

If you're about to click on the 'Read Now' link on this post without having watched this episode or any of the others of series five (or the entire show, for that matter) then you really are asking to have your heart ripped out, trampled on and sewed back in by a five-year-old. It's bloody sacrilege to carry on reading if you've neglected to watch the episodes of which I've spoken and I really do advise that you go away and watch them for your own good health.

As always, recaps of the previous episodes here: Arthur's Bane Part 1, Arthur's Bane Part 2, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, Another's Sorrow, The Disir, The Dark Tower, A Lesson in Vengeance, The Hollow Queen, With All My Heart, The Kindness of Strangers, The Drawing of the Dark and The Diamond of the Day II

We're back where we left off two days ago, in the midst of battle and Arthur really is carrying his weight. He looks invincible as he cuts his enemies down in a fell swoop, but of course we know that that won't stay true for long. Just as Arthur is faced with a good half-dozen Saxons ready to end his life, a bolt of light flashes through the dark sky and knocks them down. It's Emrys! He's standing on the top of a mountain with a staff in hand, the source of his power. Yay for Merlin! Morgana, as you might expect, is horrified and really, what could she expect when she didn't take the time to kill him properly?