Review: Island Flame by Karen Robards

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Pirate, Book 1
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Jonathan Hale
Heroine: Lady Catherine Aldley
First Published on: September 8, 1998
Started On: August 29, 2009
Finished On: August 30, 2009

As usual, I seem to be deviating a LOT from my ‘currently reading pile’ and the ‘to-be-read pile’ which seems to be mounting. This was a book that caught my eye whilst searching for a book on FictionDB. There is a section on the website that displays a book by a featured author. Since I have read books by Karen Robards, my favorite book of hers being Wild Orchids, which I recommend for everyone who loves a good bout of romance, I couldn’t resist but read this one, which sounded exactly like the kind of romance I would love.

Lady Catherine, a lady of immense wealth and gentle breeding, (though she is not so gentle herself), the ship she is traveling on, en route to Portugal, gets attacked by the notorious pirate Jonathan Hale. Crude, cynical beyond most heroes I have encountered and jealous to a fault & possessive as much, Jonathan claims Catherine as his own. Catherine hates Jonathan with a vengeance for treating her like common trash, ultimately making her his mistress, and fears the passion that Jonathan could invoke in her with a single glance.

Her last and final attempt to escape Jonathan lands her in a perilous situation, from which Jonathan risks his life to save her. Nursing him back to health, and falling in love with Jonathan which was a foregone conclusion from the moment they laid their eyes on one another, Catherine vows that she would bring this notorious pirate to heel and make him fall for her.

However, fate had different plans in store for these two, when suddenly their idyllic life on the pirates retreat found them under attack by the British soldiers, thirsting for revenge, thinking that Lady Catherine had been done away with.

Eventually wed, though her father had different plans in store for both of them, leads the reader on an enthralling ride, which I assure you, wouldn’t make you want to put this book down, even for a second.

And the interesting tidbit to this romance is that there is a second book which features these two strong characters, (which is rare for a romance), which I would start on most probably today. Although the second book Sea Fire didn’t get as raved about as Island Flame did, I would form my own opinion about the book in due time.

Until my next review, which most probably should be of Sea Fire by the same author, happy reading everyone!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

Caliber SEAL: GOOD READ!

Review: Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-book
Read with: MS Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bantam Books
Series: Standalone
Hero: Leo Marsden
Heroine: Bryony Asquith
Published on: May 19, 2009
Started On: August 23, 2009
Finished On: August 28, 2009

I have never before read a story by Sherry Thomas and this one proved to be a delightful find with the sensations that coursed through all of me when I lost myself in Leo and Bryony’s story. I decided to give this delectable read a try, or rather grabbed the chance to read this book upon reading a thread on Amazon’s Romance Discussion forum which helps me to separate out my books into the “must-read, read-if-you’ve-got-nothing-else & do-not-read” piles.

This book proved to be worth my while and then some and I was instantly hooked to Sherry Thomas’ style of writing and her vivid characterization which you can’t help but fall head over heels in love with.

One of the most interesting factors in this story is the fact that Leo is younger than Bryony. This story is told from the viewpoints of both Leo and Bryony and is gut and heart wrenching tale with obviously a happy ending that put a smile to my face when I went to sleep tonight.

This story begins where others usually end with the story of how Leo and Bryony gets married up to the point of annulment of their marriage. Bryony, a surgeon by profession which was hardly in fashion during the Victorian era for a woman, leaves England and goes traveling halfway around the world to soothe her broken spirit and to get away from all the gossip that surrounds her in London. Thinking that Leo never did love her when in fact the truth is from the beginning of his life Leo had in fact being fascinated with Bryony and loved her and never had a clue why his Bryony remains so cold and aloof towards him during their short-lived marriage, ends up in a remote little village in India where Leo finds her to inform her that her father with whom Bryony has always had a strained relationship with, is on the deathbed and needs her back home.

The journey that these two take across the tiny villages scattered across India wrought with danger, and the ultimate realizations and truths about their marriage and enlightening insights into both Bryony and Leos past weaves a breathtaking tale of romance, love and passion that is guaranteed to keep any true romantic hooked from the beginning to end. I have to warn all the ladies though — Leo is lethal, he will stake and claim your heart from the very beginning of the story and never let go!

Highly recommended for all historical romance lovers out there. This is a MUST read!

Looking forward to many more great tales by Sherry Thomas.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Warner Books, Incorporated
Published on: December 1, 1992
Started On: October 2006
Finished On: October 2006

This is a book that I reviewed during 2006 on an old blog of mine. Just thought that I would post it here since a visitor to the blog requested for a review of one of Sidney Sheldon’s novels. This is one of my absolute favorites from the author.

The story was written at a time where U.F.O sightings were becoming a common occurrence throughout the world and where stories of government cover ups were becoming quite the norm. The story centers on such an incident where a U.F.O craft crashes into Switzerland and is witnessed by a busload of tourists.. The main character of the book a trained official of the CIA is given the task of finding all who witnessed this crash on the pretense of “warning” them not to talk about what they have witnessed. The official who is handed over the task has no idea that the what they had witnessed had been a U.F.O crash but rather a highly secretive military aircraft of some sort.

So thus begins his journey in locating all these witnesses.. as soon as he finds them and reports them to his superior they are killed in mysterious ways.. so as not to arouse any suspicion… The story continues with snippets from the past to show to the readers that the hero was so in love with his ex-wife that he hadn’t been “whole” ever since she left him for another man.. the reason being that the agent didn’t have any time for “them” anymore..

The story does make an interesting read… and leads onto a climactic ending that leaves the reader stunned with disbelief..

The author ends this book by giving a whole lot of information on the extensive interviews and research that he had carried out before writing the book… It hints of the possibility that such an incident is not so far from being the truth.. He further goes onto such “coincidental” deaths of scientists who were involved in the investigation of such actual incidents that had taken place all around the globe..

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Then Came You By Lisa Kleypas

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Romance
Series: Gamblers, Book 1
Hero: Alex, Lord Raiford
Heroine: Lily Lawson
Published on: June 1, 1993
Started On: August 17, 2009
Finished On: August 22, 2009

My first book from Lisa Kleypas was the second and last book in the Gamblers Series where I fell in love with Lisa Kleypas’ style of writing and her vivid characters that are quite different from most of the characters portrayed in historical romances. Even when I was reading book 2 of the series i.e. Dreaming of You (let me take a breather here to remember Derek Craven *sighs*), I was curious to read the story of Alex and Lily who play minor secondary roles in the story. So here I go!!

Lily Lawson, portrayed as a woman who can live up to anything in a man’s world (she hunts as good as any lord/marquess or whatever & gambles  better than most men) and basically gets away with being notorious because she is such a daredevil. But behind this facade lies endless heartache and pain. Betrayed by the man she was betrothed to at the altar, fleeing to Italy with her eccentric aunt to Italy, finding a man who Lily thinks is the one and surrendering to one night’s passion which is not so passionate for her in the end leaving her pregnant. No one back in England except Derek Craving who secretly yearns for Lily but wants better things for her than he could ever be and shares as close relationship with a woman as he ever would, knows that Lily had Nicole out of wedlock and that her child at the age of 2 years was kidnapped by her father who fled to London with Nicole upon facing various criminal charges. Lily who is left off with a comfortable inheritance by her aunt, spends most of it trying to get her daughter back from her father by paying him off in huge lump sums until finally she is left destitute.

Enter Alex, Lord Raiford’s world. Grieving for his American fiance who had died in a tragic hunting accident and betrothed to Penelope Lawson, Lily’s younger sister for all the wrong reasons  that she would never make him vulnerable enough to hurt him like the death of his previous fiance did portrays Alex as a deeply private man who is immensely wealthy.

The story that unfolds is at times hilarious and heart wrenching too. Penelope who is in love with Zachary, who has a lesser title to present than Alex, desperately seeks the help of Lily to prevent Alex and Penelope from getting married. Lily intervenes, turns Alex’s world upside down, and eventually detains Alex long enough at her home by tying him down to her bed to allow Zachary and Penelope to elope together. Alex who had been keeping the feelings that Lily evokes in him in check, lets them loose and hunts Lily down, wagers 5000 pounds for one night with her and wins Lily over.

Taming Lily who has never wanted to bow to a man and let him lead her life ever before finds herself enchanted when instead of offering her to be Alex’s mistress as she thought he would, finds herself married to him. Lily afraid that the news of illegitimate daughter would drive Alex and his love away keeps it a secret from him until he finds his wife and her daughter’s notorious father in a supposedly compromising position which finally propels Lily to spill the beans.

Though I didn’t love this story as much as I did Derek’s story, this one still had its moments of passion, laughter and love all packed into one.

Purchase Links: Amazon | ReaderStore | Kobo | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Sad day indeed!

Last night found me and my sister shopping for a birthday present for our dad. Since our dad too is an avid reader like us, it is always a gift option to purchase a book or two as a birthday present. So we trudged on our way through the muddy and congested streets of Male’ towards Asters on Majeedhee Magu, where everyone was driving/walking in all directions possible to get the last minute shopping done for Ramazan.

To my utter delight, I found that Asters had renewed their stock recently. It is always a disappointing factor with Asters that even if you keep going back there for like even four months in a row, you would always find the same books lining the shelves. So imagine me drooling all over the new titles to be found, and then the mother of all shockers, the price tags on the books had been taped over with new prices and believe me books aren’t cheap to come by in Maldives as it is.

I found myself so disappointed because a book that had recently cost Mrf 120/- was now priced at Mrf 140/-. I asked the salesgirl whether the prices had been upped and her reply was yes they had been. I asked for a reason, fully knowing one would never come forth and found myself muttering about the damn recession and its implications. I know, I know, it doesn’t even come close to signifying the full effects that a recession such as the one we are going through could really impact the way of life of Maldivians. But as an adamant book lover who always manages to over spend when it comes to books, I can’t help but feel sad about the price hike.

And to make things worse, I found a response to my order from Barnes & Noble that they had cancelled the order for whatever reasons, that at the moment God and only the respective Barnes & Noble personnel know of. This was a real blow because I had been salivating the last couple of days on getting my hands on those titles and that stoic email just helped to worsen things along!

But on the bright side, I did manage  to place the same order on Amazon, and am keeping my fingers crossed for the moment. And about the price hike, I plan on hitting the Asrafee book shelves soon, to see whether they have got any new titles in AND whether they too have wreaked havoc on the price of the titles!

So till my next review which should be up pretty soon, happy reading everyone! xoxoxo

Review: Blue-eyed Devil By Lisa Kleypas

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Series: Travises, Book 2
Hero: Hardy Cates
Heroine: Haven Travis
First Published on: March 25, 2008
Started On: August 16, 2009
Finished On: August 17, 2009

Yep, I have been bitten by the Lisa Kleypas bug that’s been going round! I guess it’s been going round only in the areas that I tend to move around.  But ladies, if you do start reading this fascinating novel, I assure you that you wouldn’t want to put it down and miss even one delicious bit of the novel. I think this is the second contemporary romance that this author has written. And unlike other authors who tend to mess things up by foraying into contemporary romance after writing historicals, I would say that Kleypas has clinched the deal well. Although I am not much of a fan for stories written in the first person, I would say that this novel didn’t present any such difficulties when reading.

Although I never read the first book in this series of sorts, Sugar Daddy, which I aim to rectify asap, Kleypas doesn’t make it too difficult to understand the Travis’s (heroines) family and the conflicts as well as the complex relationships within. Hardy the hero, too was first introduced in Sugar Daddy, when he won a business deal that could have benefited Travis’s family business. Hardy grew up in the slums, with an abusive father who was in and out of jail during his childhood. Growing up, wanting to be something more, he worked from the ground up to become a self-made millionaire whereas Haven grew up in the luxurious lap of family money. However, all was not roses in Haven’s life. Haven gets married to her first boyfriend Nick against her father’s wishes who cuts her off his will reasoning that Nick was only after her money. Haven moves to Dallas with her husband Nick who turns out to be a narcissist, who abuses her emotionally and at last physically throughout the marriage, until at last Haven leaves him.

Getting a divorce and moving on seems harder than Haven thought after the abusive relationship she had gone through. Then she meets Hardy once again, whom she had met at Greg (Haven’s brother) and Liberties wedding where Haven had accidentally made out with Hardy mistaking him for Nick in the wine cellar at her home. Fate brings these two people together again and both struggle with the demons of their past to conquer the feelings that they have for one another and at long last find love that could last forever.

This ain’t just a love story. This book details the horrifying circumstances a woman has to face in an abusive relationship and the strength and love it requires to overcome such scars in life. I believe that Kleypas has done a splendid job with this story. I will try and get my hands on the 1st and 3rd book in this ‘series’ and write down a review as soon as I can.

Sadly, there is only one more unread Kleypas novel in my collection at the moment. Better sink my teeth into it!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | MacMillan

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Series: The Hathaways, Book 2
Hero: Kev Merripen
Heroine: Winnifred Hathaway
First Published on: September 30, 2008
Started On: August 16, 2009
Finished On: August 16, 2009

I sort of hit a reading frenzy and addiction for another Lisa Kleypas novel that needed a quick fix. Since I had ordered a couple of her books from Barnes & Noble a few months ago, I found myself with this heart touching novel from her that I couldn’t put down until I had read each and every bit of Kev and Win’s story.

Kev Merripen is half gypsy, half Irish, who as a kid led a  brutal life, where he had to fight, and I mean literally fight for survival. His uncle who was his guardian, made him fight with kids his own age to earn money. Never knowing any love while growing up, Kev was found by Win’s father lying on the road with serious injuries left to die. Thus begins this heart wrenching tale of two people who from the very start had eyes literally for one another only.

Win’s family being a pretty eccentric family with 5 siblings who weren’t materiallistically rich by any means, was the first time that Kev experienced life with a family that wanted him and cared for him. Even from the beginning a special bond forms between Win and Kev. Tragedy strucks Win’s happy family when her father dies of a heart attack followed closely by the death of their mother who just gave up  the will to live after her husband died. The story doesn’t just focus on Win and Kev, but rather on tids and bits of Win’s whole family mainly Amelia and her husband Cam (who later turns out to be Kev’s younger brother), Leo (whose girl friend dies after succumbing to scarlet fever), Beartix and Poppy. (I would really love to read their individual stories as I am sure it would make an engrossing read!)

Win too gets the scarlet fever and later develops a condition of the lungs that hinders her from participating in any strenous physical activity. Determined to get better in order to be a proper wife to Kev (even though he would rather die than admit he wanted Win to be his wife because he felt so unworthy of her), Win journeys to France with her brother Leo and returns back after two years with her doctor (Dr. Harrow) in tow.

Thus begins the battle between Win and Kev. Win who tries to convince Kev that he is the only one that she has ever wanted, and Kev trying to convince Win that she deserved much better than what he had to offer. Kev makes for a strong, brooding and enigmatic hero that any heroine would swoon over. I feel that Kleypas did justice with the heroine as well. She is beautiful and strong and makes a worthy opponent in the battle to let Kev find that he really did belong with Win no matter what.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

Caliber Seal: GOOD READ!