Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Vacation Book Report - part one

A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie M. Liu
This book was very, very dark and I liked it so much better than the first one in the series (Crimson City). Michael is very tortured and a rogue vampire (a human turned into a vampire about 300 years before) who has committed unspeakable acts and is feared and hated by the born and bred vampires. Keeli Maddox is a werewolf whose grandmother is the Grand Dame Alpha and leader of the werewolves. Keeli knows she is a future leader of her people and is trying to improve their plight. Vampires and werewolves live in completely different worlds; vampires live and fly far above the ground, and werewolves inhabit the underground tunnels and sewers. Vampires are wealthy and werewolves are barely surviving. There is such a huge gap between their two peoples that I just could not see any chance of a HEA for these two until the very end. The plot was fast paced and gripping. Michael and Keeli team up to try to discover who is behind a rash of murders whose victims carry the scent of both vampire and werewolf. The characters were well drawn and the atmosphere was dark and intense. I'm beginning to really like vampire romance but I'm a wimp about some things:) But one scene in the nightclub made me gag. (spoiler: Humans on tap? Yuk!) I loved how Michael falls in love with Keeli at first sight. She is much more wary of him and takes a lot of convincing so there was lots of sexual tension. The love scenes are hot when they finally get together. My Grade: B+

The Doctor's Wife by Cheryl St. John
Somehow every St. John book I have ever read makes me cry and this one was no exception. This book is an American historical set in Kansas in 1885. Ellie Parrish is very damaged from events in her past (spoiler: She was sold by her prostitute mother and raped at the age of 14 which leaves her pregnant. After delivering the baby herself, she leaves her on the doorstep of a couple who recently lost their child. ) and I really liked her. She is desperately trying to earn enough money to provide a stable home for her and her brothers and is barely scraping by. She is brought to the town doctor's office after falling and breaking her arm. The good Dr. Caleb Chaney is a recent widower with a small baby. He takes in Ellie to care for his infant son after realizing she is destitute with no place to stay since she can't work with her injured arm. Eventually they marry but Ellie holds back the secrets of her past and cannot consummate their marriage, but Caleb is a true beta hero and is almost unbelievably patient with her. Usually I dislike secrets and feelings of worthlessness by the heroine, but St. John makes her story believable without being overly melodramatic. St. John's prose is spare but she knows how to tell a good story. Being the slut I am, I really would have liked more and hotter sex scenes (the one scene was only subtle). But overall I gave the book extra credit for making me cry (I love that :) My Grade: B

Unmasked by C. J. Barry
This was my first book by this author and it was pretty good. A futuristic that takes place in space, Torrie Masters is captain of her own spaceship on her maiden voyage when she is set upon by pirates. Qaade Deter is captain of the pirate ship looking for drugs that heal the minds of brainwashed slaves who he has rescued from captivity. Torrie is a kickass heroine and I really liked her. I have this obsessive-compulsive problem about reading series books in order. It just makes me feel twitchy if I don't follow the plan. So when discovering about halfway through that this book must be part of a series, I wanted to cut and run. But I was too engrossed to take this thought seriously and I'm glad I finished. It stands alone just fine. It was very fast paced with some hot sex scenes. One quibble though... Torrie could kick some serious ass quite well but was afraid to stand up to her brothers who would like nothing better than to put her in a desk job. This just didn't sit well with my view of her. She could stand up to pirates but not her brothers? That part didn't work for me. My Grade: B-

Beast by Judith Ivory
This book is loosely based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and Ivory's writing is just incredible. Charles d'Harcourt's eye was injured and scarred at birth so he is blind in one eye. He suffered another injury to his knee when he was younger and it sometimes swells up and cripples him for days. Louise Vandermeer is a stunning beauty from a wealthy family. H/h meet on an ocean liner in the Atlantic around 1889. I loved the opening scene where Charles is thrown out of his cabin when rough seas toss the ship about. He is naked and in the middle of an argument with his mistress and she won't let him back in the room :) I liked the hero but I could never quite warm up to the heroine. She seemed to have the "don't hate because I'm beautiful" attitude at first, although I liked her better toward the end. Ivory writes with absolute sensuality. The reader feels as though they are right there inside every scene because she describes all five senses so completely; you taste, touch, see, hear and smell everything in each scene in luscious detail. Louise never actually sees Charles on the ship. They conduct a hot, steamy affair completely in the dark. When they eventually meet on land in the light she is turned off by his deformities, but they marry as planned by her family. There is a famous scene when he kisses her hand that sent shivers up my spine. How Louise comes to love him and figures out that Charles was her lover from the ship is amazing and beautiful. My Grade: A-

More book reports later...

7 comments:

Rosario said...

Great reviews, Renée! Do you think A Taste of Crimson can stand alone?

Alyssa said...

Sorry to interrupt, but I read A Taste of Crimson without reading Crimson City and thought it stood alone. Some things might been more meaningful to someone who had read the first book, but I didn't feel lost or like anything detracted from it.

ReneeW said...

I agree with Alyssa, the book stands alone. I wouldn't bother with Crimson City at all.

Kristie said...

Can't comment on A Taste of Crimson as I have it TBR, but I think I enjoye Unmasked a bit more that you did :) I have tried a couple of the earlier ones she wrote before this one and haven't been able to get into them at all so if it's any consolalation, IMO you didn't miss much by not reading the others first. In fact it may be a good thing. She might be an author who is getting better as she goes along.

ReneeW said...

Kristie, I think you may be right about Barry and I think I'll skip the previous ones. I did like Unmasked and will probably pick up the next one.

Avid Reader said...

Beast/Ivory - my first and favorite by her. I hope you liked Dance/Cuevas as well. I miss Ivory's voice in historical romance and hope she's feeling up to writing again - preferably sometime soon. Thanks for the book reports. I have Unmasked/Barry in my TBR pile now.

Tara Marie said...

I read Beast when it was first out, loaned it to someone and never got it back. I think I need to find a copy for a reread.

The only book of the 4 that I haven't read is The Doctor's Wife, I'll have to look for it, I've never read Cheryl St. John, but have heard good things about her books.

I agree with everyone that says skip Crimson City, not nearly as good as Taste of Crimson, too much world building in the first book.

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