Free books for May


Leave a comment, tell me which book you want and I’ll get the book to you for FREE either by mail or personally if I’ll see you soon.  The first one to request each book wins.  Once you’ve ‘won’ the book I can get your shipping address if I need it.  Also, you can come back and get a free book every month if you want. These have all been read a few times.

1. Paradise Lost by JA Jance  for Arthur

2. The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce  for Gautami

3. Intensity by Dean Koontz  for Suboo

4. The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner  for Bridget

Thanks for helping me clear my shelves.  And, as always, Happy Reading!

Wow!  That was my quickest sell-out ever.  Thanks for stopping by!

The Rival, by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished 3-6-09, rating 3/5, historical romance, pub. 1998

“Lionel was fourteen when he died.  It is impossible to say how he might look now, at the age of twenty-eight,” Garrick said

“Did Lionel die?”  The earl whirled from where he stood at a window.  It was raining yet again outside, and the gardens were shrouded in a wet mist.  “He vanished.  Without a trace.  Into thin air.  Or so you claimed.”

Chapter 12

It is 1760, West Sussex and Garrick De Vere  is a man set to become heir to his father, the earl of Stanhope.  As a child his older brother vanished and was long presumed dead.  After ten long years of banishment to Barbados, Garrick is summoned home to take his rightful place in society.  But society, and his fiance, view him as a murderer.

Lady Olivia Gray is married to hateful man and lives in seclusion at their country estate with her blind daughter.  They both have the gift of sight, able to see the future, see ghosts.  Olivia knows Garrick is innocent and the minute the two meet sparks fly.

After ten years, Garrick’s older brother and rightful heir, Lionel, returns home to take what is his.  But is it really Lionel?  Garrick doesn’t trust him although both of his parents welcome the prodigal son with open arms.

This is a different kind of romance.  First, the heroine is a married woman and the husband, although abusive, is still in the picture.  The typical sexual tension and falling in love pretty much takes place in the first third of the book.  The rest is about Lionel and finding a way to be together.  There are many subplots and characters that keep the story moving forward and they somewhat overshadow the love affair.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but unexpected.

I love Brenda Joyce, but this book fell a little short of her standard.  For me, the love story ended too soon and Garrick was not the greatest hero.  Also, there are many characters to dislike in this book, and none of them really get their due in the end.  I was excited to see who this Lionel really was and I really wanted Olivia’s husband and sister-in-law to be exposed for the awful people that they were. 

Overall, it was an interesting story, but not one I’d recommend.  Brenda Joyce has written so many books, but this may have been my least favorite so far.  But, to be fair,  I hold her to a higher standard.

My favorite books of 2008

Only one of these was published in 2008, but since I just read all of them this year it counts for the purpose of this list.  I’ve included the link my review.

5 Stars – Perfection

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen KingCover Image

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott CardCD Audiobook Cover

4 1/2 Stars – Very close to perfect

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

How Not To Write a Novel by Mittlemark & Newman

The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver

Splendor by Brenda Joyce

Fear & Trembling by Amelie Nothomb

A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

A Dangerous Love, by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished 11-14-08, rating 4/5, romance, pub. 2008

A book in the De Warenne Dynasty.  Cliff’s daughter from A Lady at Last is the heroine.

“God willed the Rom to be Travellers.  Yet in all of history, the Roma have never been able to travel freely.  You should be able to travel freely.”

“There have always been laws against us.” Stevan said resignedly.  “If you insist on leaving with us, so be it.  You are always welcome.”    – Chapter 15

It’s 1820 England and 24 year old Ariella De Warenne is living life on her own terms.  Her loving father, Cliff, is not placing any expectations on her, knowing that when she falls in love he will support her.  Viscount Emilian St. Xavier is a man with loyalties to two worlds.  He was born to a gypsy mother, but raised by his English father from the age of ten.  When Emilian and Ariella meet he is thirsting for revenge and she falls in love.

The story explores the truly ugly nature of prejudice and intolerance.  Emilian feels unworthy because he has always been treated a half-blood and his struggle to find balance was moving.  Ariella’s love for him and her desire to right the world’s ills make her a beautiful heroine.  Emilian and Ariella find they have much incommon and are very much a perfect match, but Emilian has many demons he must slay before peace can be found.

This was a very romantic story full of love and lust, but it also had something to say and was able to do it without being too in your face about it.  My only small complaint was that the DeWarenne men are an eclectic bunch, but they seemed a bit too good to be true in this book.  I am very much looking forward to the rest of their stories.

If you like historical romances there is no one better than Brenda Joyce.

Splendor, by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished 8-19-08, rating 4.5/5, romance, pub. 1997

Brenda Joyce’s historical romances are always top notch and this is no exception.  It’s the summer of 1812 in England and Napoleon is on the move across Europe.  The Russian Prince, Nicholas Sverayov, is in London to broker a treaty, but he finds himself the target of malicious gossip.  Carolyn Browne, the daughter of a bookshop owner, is the anonymous columnist that writes about the foibles of the powerful and Nicholas is her latest target.  Nicholas finds her out and begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Nicholas is married to a beautiful woman and while Carolyn knows this she is drawn to him and unable to stop herself from loving him.  Nicholas, for his part, is falling in love with Carolyn too, and offers her the job as companion to his young daughter which she accepts with trepidation.  As war continues, Nicholas must go back to Russia to lead his men to battle and the story moves to St. Petersburg and Moscow.  The setting and the history make the story all that more compelling.

There is no shortage of obstacles for the two of them.  Her father is embroiled in the war, but on the wrong side and her grandmother has entered her life after disowning her mother before Carolyn was born.  Nicholas and Carolyn are two great characters and I was sorry to see their story end.  Carolyn is smart, audacious and witty, while Nicholas is strong, powerful and smart.  If you like romances, especially historicals I think you’ll fall in love with Carolyn and Nicholas and their story.

The Third Heiress, by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished 4-12-08, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 1999

 Jill is a lonely woman who meets the man of her dreams and he asks her to marry him.  Ecstatic, Jill is unprepared for him to have second thoughts and the worst happens.  Hal dies because of Jill.  Jill flies his body back to London to his super wealthy  family and is greeted with disdain.

So, begins the mystery of what Hal had meant with his last words whispered to Jill.  She is obsessed with finding the truth and finds an ally in Hal’s cousin, Alex.  She packs up her life in New York to move to London to uncover secrets Hal’s family would rather leave buried.  Alex is the hero or the villain and Hal turns out to be no prince charming.  The pages turned fast because I wanted to know what was what.

I love Brenda Joyce, which should be evident by now since this is her third book I’ve read this year.  To me this felt like a departure for her and not her best work.  It was a bit disjointed, but with that being said I really did enjoy it.  The mystery will keep you reading even if you think you’ve got it figured out because there are so many little questions you need answered.  This is more mystery than romance, but if you are open to that I think you’ll like it.

The Fires of Paradise, by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished 3-12-08, rating 4/5, romance, pub. 1992

 This is the best historical romance I have read in years.  There is the beautiful woman born into privilege and there is the hardened escaped convict watching his back.   The two are thrown together at random, but stay in each others orbit through circumstance and lust.  Lucy is a proud woman who is used to getting what she wants and Shoz is a proud man used to getting what he wants.  What they both want is each other. 

Shoz goes to work for Lucy’s grandfather until he is shot in the back.  He is then thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit and he takes Lucy as a hostage to escape.  They travel from Texas to Death Valley, where Lucy meets his son and is forced to work for a woman who despises her.  Eventually Lucy and Shoz marry, but they are forced apart by her family after they are discovered.  There is more adventure in a Cuba on the brink of rebellion and in New York, where Lucy’s reputation is ruined.

While I’ve always known I like my romantic heroes manly and flawed, the first chapter in the book goes further than even I was comfortable with in introducing us to the hero, Shoz.  I wasn’t sure that he could be redeemed.  This is also not a book for the politically correct.  When reading I was jarred by the use of the word rape and had to keep reminding myself it meant to ravish or plunder.

If you  are a fan of historical romances then this book if for you.  It is also a part of the Bragg saga if you are familiar with Brenda Joyce.  I’m looking forward to reading more from the series.

The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished on 1-1-08, rating 3/5, romance, pub. 2007

 This is the latest in the The Dewarenne Dynasty and it is my least favorite so far.  This historical romance series if full of sexy, passionate brothers who all find the woman of their dreams.  This book was about Rex, the dark, brooding, crippled brother who met his match in Blanche, the prim and proper ice queen.  Both of these characters appeared in earlier books and I was looking forward to a match.  There was so much simmering beneath the surface with these two and I couldn’t wait for the explosion.

 Maybe there was too much beneath the surface.  I’m a sucker the mysterious hero, but Blanche was also mysterious and difficult to relate to.  I found the story of her ‘madness’ and retreat to the time of her mother’s death a bit boring and found myself skimming a page a time, which I never do.

I love Brenda Joyce.  Her Deadly series is my favorite.  I would recommend this series, but to appreciate it you must start at the beginning.