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Tackling The TBR Part Three…

Friday, December 2, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Well it’s Friday again folks, where does the time go?

I read quite a few books in November, so I thought I’d write up some reviews for your benefit. There are some books missing from this list, but I’ll get to those when I can be arsed.

So, let me start with Linda Howard’s Son Of The Morning. How freaking fantastic was this book?

Basically, our heroine, Grace St John, specialises in ancient manuscripts, and she comes across some old documents which turn out to be the missing link to a lost Celtic Treasure.

Grace soon discovers the legend of the Knights of the Templar, a bunch of blokes who apparently knew the secret to time travel. Keen to translate the documents, Grace rushes home to make a start on them. She is outside when she notices that her boss, Parrish Sawyer, is at her house questioning her husband and brother about the very documents that she has been researching. Puzzled as to why he should be in her house, Grace is hesitant to enter, which was just as well, because she then sees Parrish, shoot her brother and husband in cold blood.

Grace has no choice but to go on the run, and with the help of her friend, Kris the computer genius, manages to escape from her boss, who in the mean time frames her for the murder of her husband and brother.

The story then unfolds into Grace’s survival as she runs from both the law, and the murderous villain, who is determined to kill her for the documents she has.

I LOVED this book. When we first meet Grace, she’s a fat lass, who’s basically known love and security all her life. Her and her husband have a very happy, and fulfilling marriage, but in the space of a few hours, all that is shot to shit.

Grace has to come to terms with losing her whole family in the blink of an eye, and once she does (ish) she’s determined that Parrish must be made to pay for his crimes. The bastard.

The transformation that Grace goes through is incredible, but at the same time believeable. I spent the majority of the book feeling really proud of her achievements, and I didn’t even notice that she didn’t physically meet the hero until much later on in the story. I wont talk about him, because as far as I was concerned Grace was both the heroine and the hero in so much of this book, that it’s hard for me to even introduce Niall into this review. Overall, if I had to rate this book, it would definitely be an A!

The next book (ok it wasn’t the next book, but for the purposes of this review, we shall pretend it was the next book) that I read was Linda Howard’s Cry No More. (hey, she does good work).

Once again, she didn’t disappoint.

Milla, her husband David, and her 6 week old baby live in Mexico. One day, Milla goes to the local market, when suddenly from out of nowhere, some assailants try to grab her baby, she fights back, but she is viciously stabbed and left for dead. When she comes to, it is to the devastating news that her baby is gone.

I wanted to start crying right there.

Anyway, ten years later, Milla and David are divorced, and have been for a number of years. Milla now runs a charity organisation called Finders. Finders basic function is to help people find loved ones who have gone missing.

For ten years, Milla has never stopped looking for Justin, a fact that has alienated her from her family, and was mainly the cause of her divorce.

One night, Milla receives an anonymous tip telling her that the people involved with her child’s abduction were due to meet that night. Milla of course goes along, and whilst her and her colleague are waiting, some men pull up to the designated spot.

Milla recognises one of the assailants who attacked her that fateful day. For a moment, she loses her professional focus, and is about to shoot the man, when somebody jumps her.

Anyway, it turns out that the fellow who jumped her was James Diaz, a man well known in those parts for his ruthlessness and helpful assasination skills. Milla cautiously join forces with Diaz in order to find out what happened to her son.

I started crying at page 10, and continued on and off for the duration of the book.

Cry No More was such a moving story, that I suspect anybody who reads it, would find it very difficult to not cry.
Howard pens a beautifully poignant book, which is emotionally compelling, yet at the same time, manages to retain a fast and furious pace of mystery, danger and excitement.

I was most impressed with Milla’s character, she was a strong woman who’d gone through a lot, but was still determined to persevere. Her emotional journey was such that you couldn’t fail to be impressed by her.

Diaz’s character was my ideal hero. He was tall, dark and brooding, and just an absolute walking witch’s brew of all things sexual, rrrrrrr!

Towards the end of the story, Diaz does something that is totally unforgiveable, followed by the most delicious piece of grovelling, I’ve ever read in a book. Howard handles the closing scenes so well, that once again, I had to reach for the Kleenex.

Overall, a bloody brilliant read, and one that I would happily recommend to anybody and her dog. Cry No More will forever retain its keeper status on my book shelf.

Next on the list was Loretta Chase’s satirically brilliant Lord of Scoundrels. Once again, how f*cking fantastic was this book?

Jessica Trent’s brother’s an idiot. An idiot who happens to be consorting with Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain.
Jessica, who’s quite adept at getting her knobhead of a brother out of various scrapes of his own making, is determined to free him from under the influence of Lord Dain.

At the beginning of the book, we learn about Dain’s upbringing, and this helps the reader understand his motivations later on in the book, especially when he’s being an arse.

When he was born, his father was horrified by him, and called him an abomination. He was disgusted by Dain’s big nose, and his ill-proportioned limbs. (I think that means he was a bit of a bruiser)

All through his childhood, Dain is reminded of how ugly he is, and after his mother runs away, and leaves him with his cruel father at the age of eight, things become much worse. His father sends him away to school, where he is bullied by his peers. One day he decides that enough is enough, and he fights back. Dain then descends into ADHD territory, and basically becomes the biggest rogue in the school.

Dain has an aversion to proper ladies, and thus mostly consorts with tarts and whores, but to his consternation, when he meets Jessica Trent (the one who obviously got the brains in the family) he finds himself wildly attracted to her.

Dain is determined to forget her, but alas, the wench is forever in his face, and every time they meet, he manages to make an utter fool of himself.

Dain’s reputation being as it is, most of Paris start placing bets on how his relationship with Jessica will pan out.

Whilst they are at a ball, (thrown for the soul purpose of getting these two ticking-time bombs together) Jess and Dain indulge in a little sucky-facy and touchy-feely liaison, out in the garden. As Dain’s hands are trying to undo her knickers, they notice that a crowd has gathered, and is watching them in fascination.

Now if this were to happen these days, nobody would care, what with the copious amounts of drugs and alcohol that would invariably be involved, but this is the 1800’s, so this was about the most scandalous thing that could happen to a lady of virtue.

Dain and Jess end up getting married in order to protect her reputation.

Little by little, these two head strong characters learn to compromise, and discover a deep and abiding love for each other.

What I loved about this book was just how goddamned funny it was. It was absolutely hilarious. Jess was such an amazingly feisty heroine, and Dain was such a loveable rogue, that you couldn’t help but like him.

Once again, a fantastically written book, helped along by Jessica anhd Dain’s clever one-liners. I would heartily recommend Lord of Scoundrels to anybody venturing into the world of historicals for the first time!

Next on my list was Annie’s Song, written by Catherine Anderson (my new fave writer).

Annie’s Song was just a beautifully bewitching love story book. It was one of the recommendations from Sarah McCarty and a few others, in response to my Blind heroes and heroines post earlier this month.

Annie Trimble is a deaf woman shunned by a town that mistakenly thinks she’s mentally retarded.

Her ignorant and overprotective parents hide her away from the rest of society, and Annie grows up in a solitary world that she inhabits alone.

One day, Annie is playing in the woods, (as was her usual habit) when she is captured and raped by Alex Montgomery’s younger brother.

Alex of course is horrified to learn that his brother has done such a thing, and throws him out of the house. He feels so guilty about the rape, that he goes to Annie’s parents and offers to help them in any way he can.

They initially refuse his help, but months later when they discover that Annie is pregnant, they tell Alex, who decides to marry her, and raise the baby that she carries as his own.

Alex marries Annie and takes her home to live with him. Annie doesn’t understand why her parents are abandoning her to this stranger who looks remarkably like the man who rapes her, and she erroneously comes to the conclusion that it must be because she’s getting so fat (she has no idea that she’s pregnant).

Alex initially hires a nurse for Annie, but after he discovers the bitch being cruel to her, he sacks her, and starts spending more time with Annie himself.

Alex accidentally discovers that Annie isn’t mentally retarded, but is in fact deaf. He never dreamt that he would fall in love with this woman/child, but fall he does, and his head-first descent was wonderful to behold.

I love what Anderson did with this book, it was just an amazing piece of writing. I like flawed characters, and as you read this book, you’ll see that she wasn’t afraid to create an imperfect hero, a hero with the same prejudices that the rest of the town has when it came to Annie.

As much as I loved Alex, my favourite thing about the book has to be Annie’s character. She was absolutely amazing. There was a scene in the book where she’s finally told she’s pregnant, and because for all intents and purposes, she has the mind of a 6 year old, she thinks that she will be laying eggs, so every morning she looks round her bed to see if her eggs have appeared. Utterly charming.

Needless to say, when she finds out what giving birth will actually be like, she’s not too happy. Who is?

I thought that Catherine Anderson handled Annie and Alex’s relationship really well, although I gather some readers were a little put off by the fact that she was so child-like, and naïve.

I must say, it didn’t even occur to me to be bothered by this, so I wonder what that says about me? Hmmm…

Annie’s Song was disarming and captivating, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody looking for a break from the norm. Fabulous darlings!

Next on my TBR list was Linda Howard’s Sarah’s Child, and After The Night, and Jeanie London’s In The Cold, all of which I enjoyed immensely, but seeing as the Tall Guy just got home, I’ll leave them for another time!

Have a nice weekend y’all!


  • Tara Marie
    December 3
    12:00 pm

    What a great list of books. The only one I haven’t read, Jeanie London’s In The Cold. I’ll have to look for it.

    Son of the Morning is one of my all time favorites. I keep extra copies to loan out to friends and family without the risk of not getting mine back.

    I cried all the way through Cry No More, and it’s probably the only LH I haven’t reread.


  • Sam
    December 3
    1:28 pm

    I liked the first books – the last book made me cringe – it sounded too much like a paedophile plus rape plus I don’t know…Ewwww!
    Eggs? Ewwww!!!Sorry – got to pass on that one.
    I mean – how did they explain the girl’s first period? Or in the countryside there are lots of animals having puppies and mating and such. She was deaf, not blind.
    And for having the mind of a six year old and starring in a romance novel – OK – I’ll say it again.
    (This is why I rarely read reviews, lol, if I read the book I might have have enjoyed it…)


  • Rinda Elliott
    December 3
    4:03 pm

    I loved Son of the Morning. Just loved it. I felt the same about Cry No More, but like tara above, I haven’t been able to reread it. It sits on my keeper shelf and I consider trying it again because yeah, Diaz gets to you. But I cried so much!

    It’s been so long since I read Annie’s Song, I can barely remember it. I don’t remember being putt off by her personality, but I do remember that she didn’t have the mind of a six year old, only some mixed up ideas since no one bothered to teach her anything. I remember liking it.


  • ReneeW
    December 4
    5:55 am

    I love CNM too and cried and cried. I remember someone mentioning that their husband saw them crying while reading this book and said “Why are you crying when it’s called Cry No More”. Men! Wasn’t Diaz wonderful? LH is a goddess. I also loved Son of the Morning and After the Night. Sarah’s Child was pretty good but I know some people hated it.


  • Chelsea's Mama
    December 4
    6:28 am

    I must say I love the layout of your blog. Nice.


  • Rosina Lippi
    December 5
    4:41 am

    I just have to jump in here and ask: isn’t anybody here bothered by the wholesale historical inaccuracies in SON OF THE MORNING? And not just historical. Somebody with a PhD in ancient languages, an academic historian, does not go to an encylopedia to do research.

    There are some wonderful things about SofM, but I could not get past the lack of basic research. It’s still a good story, but for me it was ruined.


  • Dawn
    December 5
    9:28 am

    The only one of these I’ve read so far is After the Night. A fantastic read. The hero was a tosser in the beginning but redeemed himself by the end.

    And I’m only going to add, Karen. Where do you expect me to get the dosh from to buy all this stuff that you’re recommending? Huh, huh??!!!


  • Rosario
    December 5
    2:37 pm

    Karen, oh, wow, I absolutely adore those Linda Howards and Lord of Scoundrels. Annie’s Song, not so much, but the other three are among the the top of the top of my favourites!


  • azteclady
    December 5
    3:45 pm

    Sam, regarding Annie’s Song I wanted to butt in and say: Annie does not have the mind of child (in the sense of being “retarded” – apologies for the politically incorrect term), even if she’s relatively young.

    What she is, is deaf and, then and there, deaf people were often considered idiots incapable of thought. They were treated as such – things were not explained to them, as it was assumed they couldn’t understand language, let alone abstractions. Annie is intelligent enough to come up with explanations for what she sees and experiences, but these explanations are all within her own frame of reference, i.e., her own imperfect observations.

    Personally, I really liked this book – was the first by Catherine Anderson that I read, and I liked it enough to get most of her backlist.

    I love Linda Howard – there are only two I haven’t cared for: “All that glitters” and “To Die For.” The first… well, just UGH. In the second, the first person narrative didn’t quite work for me, so I doubt I’ll be re-reading it anytime soon.


  • Karen Scott
    December 5
    8:14 pm

    Tara, I hear lots of people felt the same way about Cry No More. Too sad to re-read.

    Sam, honestly, it wasn’t as bad as that, saying that she had the mind of a six year old may have been slightly misleading. There was nothing eww about it at all for me personally.

    Rinda, Son of The Morning was an amazing book! And no, I think Annie was just mixed up, there was nothing yucky about it at all.

    Renee, I can’t imagine anybody reading Cry No More and not crying. It was just so damn sad, and you knew that there couldn’t really be a satisfying resolution in the end because it was too improbable.

    Thanks Chelsea’s Mama. Welcome to my world *g*

    Rosini, I can’t say it even occurred to me, if I was bothered by half the innacuracies in fiction books, I’d never read again, besides, I think it is perfectly feasible that she would have used an encyclopaedia, regardless of her PHd. It didn’t strike me as being odd at all.

    Dawn, After The Night was a tremendous read. In fact, I’ve done pretty well on books since reading Thea Devine’s abomination that was Sensation. I’m still pissed about the freaking $14 that I spent. I really need to learn to buy more used books, but these days, I can’t be arsed. Anyway, I only do one book review per week, I only do a Tackling The TBR towards the end of the month-ish. *g*

    Rosario, Lord of Scoundrels was just hilarious, I’ve ordered a couple more Loretta Chase books from Amazon. I love books that make me laugh.

    Aztec Lady, you put explained that just perfectly!
    I liked To Die For, that’s what got me hooked on LH’s books!


  • Jane/FabDame
    December 13
    4:34 pm

    Ok Karen – Thanks to you I awoke this morning gritty eyed and aching. Why? Because I stayed up most of the night (and early morning) reading all the way thru “Cry No More”. I couldn’t put it down. It was awesome; Gutsy heroine, strong, believable motivations, deliciously dark, flawed hero. Thank you for your on-target reviews and recommendations. Next on the list, “Son of the Morning”.


  • Karen Scott
    December 13
    7:04 pm

    Jane, CNM, was just such an emotionally charged book, I can’t think of anybody who’s read it who didn’t bawl their eyes out. I cried my heart out when she made the ultimate sacrifice, an I thought Howard handled the grovelling scene beautifully. No big scenes, just quite remorse, which was in keeping with the heroe’s character. Yes, it was one in a million!

    As much as I loved Son of The Morning, one thing I would say is be patient with the first few pages as the story unfolds.


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