Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quickie reviews

All my best intentions about long, meaty reviews over the holidays did not come to pass. So, here are quickies on the books I've reading the last couple of months:

Title: The Thief
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Published: 2005, HarperCollins
Category: Young Adult/Fantasy
Rating: 8/10

A young thief named Gen is offered freedom from prison if he can accomplish the impossible: steal Hamiathes's Gift, a jewel made by the gods that will give the wearer the undeniable right to rule the country. I read this book months ago, but it really stuck with me because it's beautifully written and has a really ingenious plot. Fabulous ending. There are two more books in the series, which I hope to get to soon.

Title: The Runaway Duke
Author: Julie Anne Long
Published: 2004, Warner Forever
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 7/10

This one is Long's debut book – I've read several of her books and always enjoyed them. Tomboy Rebecca Tremaine runs away from home rather than marry the dreadful man her parents have chosen for her. She is helped by Connor Riordan, who has been acting as Rebecca's family's groom, but is in fact a duke in hiding. I like Long's books because they are very traditional romance novels, but I think the quality of the writing is higher than many.

Title: Demon Bound
Author: Meljean Brook
Published: 2008, Berkley
Category: Fantasy Romance
Rating: 7/10

Next installment in one of my favorite series. (Backstory huge, see Brook's website if you're not familiar with the series.) Novice Guardian Jake assigns himself to help Alice, a Guardian who years ago made a bargain with a demon that she would kill Michael. Jake and Alice must figure out a way to break the bargain, or Alice is doomed. Enjoyable with some excellent scenes, but not my favorite of the series. I just couldn't warm up to Alice, who, though an interesting character, never quite managed to be much besides creepy. The best part of this book were the new twists we got in the series-long plot arc – I am intrigued.

Title: When the Duke Returns
Author: Eloisa James
Published: 2008, Avon
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 7.5/10

Fourth in the Desperate Duchess series – I always love Eloisa James for a solid, smart romance. Isidore was married by proxy to the Duke of Cosway when she was 12. She's been waiting for years now to meet him, as he explores Africa. He finally comes home and doesn't know quite what to make of his feisty wife. Very good read.

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Published: 2002, Simon & Schuster
Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 8/10

I've had this in my TBR for years. Twin read it a while ago and was enthralled, and I agree it is definitely one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let you go until the end (even though you know pretty much what happens already). Mary Boleyn was sister to the famous Boleyn. She was a mistress of Henry VIII before Anne, and bore him two children. After she's set aside, she must help Anne insinuate herself into the king's affections and the English crown. Intensely readable, the book portrays Henry as the most spoiled man in all the world, and the English court as a ridiculous masquerade where everyone is focused on keeping this petulant man happy. Mary is a likable heroine, especially when compared to her bitchy sister.