Sunday, June 28, 2009

Apologies, Awards, and Announcements!

First of all, I would like to apologize to everyone who reads this blog, since I haven't posted in ages. As I have mentioned in past posts, I am still reading, I am just tremendously behind on posts. But I have a good reason, which I will come to in the announcements!
Second, I have received another award! This one is from Gwendolyn, at A Sea of Books. It is the True Fairy Tale Award.
The award is for the hopes that one day all your dreams will come true!!
Because we all are still Cinderella's at heart!

How lovely - and Cinderella always was my favorite.
And, speaking of dreams coming true, I am now ready to make my announcement! I mentioned a few months back that my husband and I were planning a family, and we didn't have to wait long. I have just completed my first trimester, and I am right around 13 weeks pregnant!! I got to see my little baby on the ultrasound this week, and at some point I'll get the picture scanned and posted. I have created a blog specifically for updates on the pregnancy, so if you would like to check that out, you are welcome to! It is The Baby West.
Thank you for reading, and I will be continuing to post, although it's tough to say how reliable I will be. I have given up on challenges, although I will still track them. So I apologize to all of those lovely challenge hosts that I am ditching! I did complete two more for June, although I haven't caught up enough to post them yet, so I will try to get to that.
So anyway, that's what's going on over here in my life! Thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Royal Blood by Rona Sharon

I am really behind on my reviews right now - I just don't seem to have time to post! So I'm focusing on ARCs for the next couple of reviews, just to make sure I get those done. I may create another sidebar post for books I've read but haven't yet reviewed, like I did last summer. It seems that I slow down the pace of reviewing in the summer, even though I'm not reading any less.
Royal Blood is the story of Michael Devereaux, a young man who is the heir presumptive of the Earl of Tyrone, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The story takes place at the court of Henry VIII, where Michael hopes to make a name for himself, and make his benefactor proud. There he meets Princess Renee, sister to the Queen of France, and daughter of the previous King. She is at the court on a mission of her own, one that is slowly revealed to the reader over time. There is romantic tension between these two main characters, but neither can let their guard down, not while assassins and even vampires are roaming the court. As they each attempt to reach their own goals, they also test each other, never knowing who they can trust.
It took me a while to get into this book, though I can't really say why. There was a lot of story set-up, and I found myself not caring much about the main characters. However, it did pick up around the middle, when the first vampire attack happens, and from there the story was more compelling. I was surprised by the continued revelations - either I was not paying very close attention, or some of the twists really did come out of the blue (I suspect the former). There was a tremendous amount of historical detail, almost too much, as I sometimes did not even know what it was the author was describing to me. Overall, this book would be enjoyable for readers of historical fiction or historical romance, who like a thriller twist.
This book covers a whole bunch of my challenges, so I'll just briefly mention them. For obvious reasons it qualifies for RYOB 2009, the New Author Challenge, and the Pub 2009 Challenge. It also qualifies for the Suspense & Thriller Reading Challenge, as it is a Romantic Thriller. And as a romance, I also read it for my fourth book in the Romance Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle

This book is the first in the series about the MacInnes werewolves, of which I read the most recent book first, Wild Highland Magic. They can be read as stand-alone books, but I could tell that there was definitely a history to these books that I would really enjoy reading, so I picked up the first two.
Call of the Highland Moon is the story of Gideon MacInnes, the next Alpha of his Pack. He has always been the reliable one, but for once he decides to give that up, and he takes off to America (his Pack home is in the Scottish highlands, naturally). There he realizes that he has been followed, by enemies he suspects were sent by his traitorous cousin. After a fierce battle he is left terribly wounded, and shows up on the doorstep of a romance bookstore in a tiny little town in New England. That bookstore is owned by Carly Silver, who takes him in, convincing herself that he is someone's overgrown pet. In the morning she wakes up with this "pet" in her bed, but in his sleep he has turned back into a large naked man. This makes for some very uncomfortable explanations. But Carly and Gideon are drawn to each other, and now Gideon must figure out not only how to protect his Pack from his cousin's treachery, but also how to protect the woman he loves.
I think that my favorite thing about these books is the love stories. The Pack werewolves mate for life, and they know instinctively when they have met that mate, no matter how bad the timing. And of course, the timing is never good. But knowing that the couple is meant to be together adds a level of romance that I love. Castle creates terrific, three-dimensional characters that you would love to have as friends. And the fact that Carly owns a bookstore that caters specifically to romance lovers cracks me up. These books are very funny, with pop-culture references that are just perfect. Really, I love these books, and for paranormal romance lovers, I would recommend them whole-heartedly.
This is the second book that I have read for the Love Bites Reading Challenge, which is all about paranormal romances. It also qualifies for the Romance Reading Challenge.