Review: Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter

Ever since I picked up Madeline Hunter’s medieval romance, By Arrangement, set in 14th century London, she has kept me spellbound to her writing with the breathtaking attention to details she imbues in her description of the period setting. In this, her latest romance series, she introduced four independent women who live together communally just on the outskirts of London, and they all contribute to the household funds, helping to garden and harvest the flowers for enigmatic widow Daphne’s trade, The Rarest Blooms.

Here’s a quick review of the first book in the series, which I read late last year, and re-read early this year for the 2011 Reading Challenge.

Review: Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter

Title: Ravishing in Red
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Jove Books/ The Berkley Publishing Group
Year Published: February 2010

Stand alone or series: Book 1 of The Rarest Blooms series

On the Back cover:

The Domino requests that Mr Kelmsley meet him at The Two swords in Brighton two nights hence to discuss a matter of mutual benefit.

Hoping to clear her dead father’s name, Audrianna Kelmsleigh decides to respond to the advertisement placed by the mysterious “Domino”. Armed with her cousin’s pistol, she takes a room at the two Swords Coaching Inn. But the handsome man of commanding sensuality who shows up is not the Domino at all, but Lord Sebastian Summerhays – one of her father’s persecutors – who has been lured by the same advertisement. When Audrianna’s pistol accidentally fires, the situation becomes mortifyingly public …

There is only one way out of the scandal that erupts, and so these two passionate and headstrong adversaries find themselves joined in a marriage of necessity. Expecting a practical alliance, Audrianna quickly discovers she is helpless to resist Sebastian’s seductive persuasions as he teaches her the meaning of erotic desire. But she remains determined to exonerate her father, even if it means risking her life, her marriage – and her heart …

In my books …

I’ve always have a soft spot for heroes named Sebastien (or Sebastian). The few I’ve come across, in books of course, are rather intense, impassioned man of action. And Summerhays is no exception. In fact, this book works primarily because of him, even though the series revolves around the women.

Audrianna comes across as naive, and impetuous most of the time, and although she grew up a little towards the end of story, it was Summerhays and his circle of friends, and his brother, who captured my attention and held my interest in the development of the story. I already liked the Duke (Tristan) and the mystery surrounding Hawkswell’s missing bride promises to be an intriguing second installment.

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Review: The Blackstone Key by Rose. A. Melikan

Read this for the Historical Fiction reading challenge, and enjoyed the unusual heroine, and the crime mystery set in 18th century England.

Review: The Blackstone Key by Rose. A. MelikanTitle:
The Blackstone Key

Author: Rose. A. Melikan

Genre: Historical Suspense

Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown)

Year Published: March, 2009

Stand alone or series: Book 1 of  the Mary Finch (?) series

On the Back cover:

Mary Finch is a young woman of wit, courage, and straitened circumstances. When invited to meet her wealthy uncle and end a family estrangement, therefore, she sets off immediately for White Ladies, his estate on the Suffolk coast. Yet soon she is embroiled in an adventure beyond any she could imagine, for the year is 1795, and England is at war with Republican France. When she arrives at White Ladies she learns that her uncle has died, leaving behind evidence of a treacherous plot. Enemy agents have obtained military secrets that would give France a decisive advantage, but who is the source of this information, and how can he be stopped?

Mary is not alone in her quest to solve the mystery, but the men who profess to help her are not quite what they seem. From Suffolk the traitor’s trail moves finally to London. There Mary learns the true meaning of the Blackstone key, but has the treasure it secured already been lost?

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Book Review: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

I’m on a roll where YA Fiction is concerned, so let’s bring on the next book that had me glued to my seat.

Book Review: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks Title: The Last Song

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book group
Year Published: 2009
Stand alone or series: Stand alone novel

Why I read it: Same thing, I read this as part of the list for both the 2010 Reading Challenge hosted by Bart and the TBR Challenge 2010 hosted by Keishon in June. On the Back cover:

Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Resentful and rebellious, Ronnie rejects her father’s attempts to reach out to her and threatens to return to New York before the summer’s end. But soon Ronnie meets Will, the last person she thought she’d ever be attracted to, and finds herself falling for him, opening herself up to the greatest happiness – and pain – that she has ever known. In the tradition of his beloved novel A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks brings us a deeply moving story of a young girl’s first encounter with heartbreak – and love.

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Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The reason for the silence … my hard disk crashed.  To cut the long story short, here I am again, attempting to catch up on lost posts and reviews that were saved but not posted.  Pray my memory serves me well.

Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: YA Fiction

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Year Published:

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Why I read it:

I read this as part of the list for both the 2010 Reading Challenge hosted by Bart and the TBR Challenge 2010 hosted by Keishon in June. Yes, that’s how backlogged I am!!!!

the graveyard book

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TBR Jan Book Review: Dear John

If I were asked to name one great male romantic fiction author 2 years ago, I would have said “None comes to my mind.”

Book Review: Blinding Light and A Walk to RememberHowever, having read A Walk to Remember and watched the movie (on YouTube, no less!), and recently followed that up with the heart-achingly sweet war romance (well, sort of), I can confidently name Nichols Sparks as a favourite male author now. I gladly recommend Dear John to all die-hard romantics.  Here’re the reasons why …


A rebel in his younger days, John Tyree joined the army “because he needed to” and to make something out of an aimless life with an uncommunicative father. While on home leave one summer knowing he’s ready to turn over a new leaf, he met the lively Savannah Lynn Curtis, the girl of his dreams. The attraction is mutual, and the budding romance quickly turned into a serious vow, on John’s part to marry her when his tour of duty is over, and on Savannah’s part to wait for him.

However, none of them could foresee the great change that 9/11 would wrought to their lives and their love. Faced with the choice of country or love, John made a decision that changed their future. Now, finally returned, he would finally learn the transformational power of  love.

Stocking Stuffers

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Twenty Ten Reading Challenge

While surfing the web and reading Kailana’s latest post, I stumbled across this interesting challenge that I’ve decided to join up.  Hosted by Bart, the aim of the Twenty Ten Reading Challenge requires the reader to read a total 20 books, over ten categories (details here), in 2010.

The good news is crossovers with other challenges are allowed. The only thing that may make this a little tricky is that each book can only qualify for one category. So, as it sounds do-able, and fits in with my resolution to be more disciplined, and thus more well organised, I’m up for it. I haven’t made concrete plans yet, but for the TBR category, it ties in nicely with Keishon’s TBR Challenge.

These books have been sitting in my TBR pile since 2009 (some from 2008!), so hopefully I’ll be able to tell you that I finish reading them this year!  I’ve created a dedicated page to keep track of these reading challenges I’ve entered into this year — yep, another nod to staying well organised.


October TBR Challenge:First You Run, Then You Hide, Now You Die

The theme for October’s TBR chal­lenge was a hor­ror book, which is a real challenge for me, as I’ve not picked up a horror book since V C Andrews nor watched a horror movie after Poltergeist 3 and Omen 3.

Ever since reading Keishon’s guest post at Borders True Romance blog, I had a craving for some mysteries, thrills and spills.  So as an alternative to horror, I decided to dedicate October to romantic suspense thrillers, and one of the authors I most wanted to try is Roxanne St. Claire. I was introduced to her when she guest blogged at True Romance, where she talked about her inspiration behind the hero in her latest Bullet Catcher book.

Hitting the 50 Books TargetThe synopsis of the series hint at an adrenaline-filled roller coaster ride with a melting pot of pulse racing intrigue, heart thumping action, in and out of bed. Boy, did Rocki deliver the goods. Well, since I started with book 4, First You Run , and realized that it’s a linked trilogy, I automatically bought Then You Hide and Now You Die, and enjoyed all three tremendously. Without further ado, here’s my review of the three books:

“I need to find a woman. I don’t know who she is or where she is. And when I find her, chances are I’m going to get her naked, rock her world, and then make her wish I were dead.” Bullet Catcher Adrien Fletcher (Fletch) told his boss, Lucy Sharpe, in First You Run .

With lines like that, how could you resist the rest of the book?

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