Archives for: November 2010
Review: The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel
Blog post courtesy of the Graphic Novels blog...
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon
May's Review: So the growing trend these days is to take a highly popular work of literature and adapt to the graphic novel/manga format. We have already seen a number of this year with Sherrilyn Kenyon's urban fantasy/romance novels, Patterson's Maximum Ride books, and Meyer's Twilight series. I suppose these graphic novels/manga are done to appeal mainly to the author's fans because in some cases, I don't necessarily find the new adaptions to be as interesting as the original.
Mind you, I have to have read the original which brings up the whole Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Romance blog readers will know that I am largely a historical romance reader while some of my close friends, like JC, also know that I also happen to like my romances set in Scotland. But for some unexplainable reason, I have never managed to read Outlander, the first book in Gabaldon's hugely popular romance series. The book which won the 1991 RITA award for Best Romance novel, centers on a nurse, Claire Randall, who is vacationing with her husband in Scotland sometime in 1940s. While exploring, Claire inadvertently is transported back in time to 18th century Scotland where she meets our red-headed hero, Jamie Fraser, a fugitive with a complicated past. The rest of the story basically involves Claire trying to get back to her own time while trying to fight her immense physical attraction to Jamie.
The graphic novel picks up this complicated storyline by telling it from Jamie's prospective. I suppose that this was a new way to retell the familiar story but I admit that I wished it had told it from Claire's point of view instead. I felt Jamie's characterization wasn't quite as well developed and had difficulty following the rather convoluted plot at times. I assume that Claire develops very strong feelings for Jamie prior to being forced to marry him in the book because in the graphic novel, she just grudgingly seems to "go along" with everything and as a result, I don't find her all that compelling at times. It probably doesn't help that the illustrator likes to focus on Claire's buxom figure especially in the later half the of the novel making Claire more of a 1950s pin-up model rather than the intelligent and highly-compassionate heroine she is suppose to be portraying.
Fans of the series will likely flock to this graphic novel and fall in love with the series again. As for me, I just thought this novelization ranked a "Meh". Kinda mediocre as far as I'm concerned.
Yahoo!!! More New Paperbacks...
The Surrender of a Lady by Tiffany Clare
Summary: Sold. With one word, Lady Elena Ravenscliffe’s destiny changes forever. Forced into Constantinople’s slave market to pay off her late husband’s debts and save her son, Elena reinvents herself as Jinan—a harem girl adored by the rich lords who bid on her favors. But one man instantly sees through her façade. Griffin Summerfield, Marquess of Rothburn, let Elena slip through his fingers years ago. When he recognizes her on the auction block, he pays an outrageous sum to possess her even if it is for a short period of time.
Santa in Montana by Janet Dailey
Summary: Montana winters are harsh, but bad weather won't get in the way of the Calders' Christmas reunion. Patriarch Chase Calder is determined to make this holiday the happiest yet-especially for his daughter, Cat. It's high time for widowed Cat to have a man in her life again, whether she'll admit it or not. Chase has been thinking long and hard, and he's got a plan--one he's far too wise to reveal to his stubborn little darling. And as the magical season begins with a glorious snowfall, the Calders share a host of surprises--including a mystery solved, a special visitor, and the greatest gift of all: love, the forever kind.
Marked by the Moon by Lori Handeland
Summary: Julian Barlow was once a Viking. Then he watched his brother fall in battle, shouted his fury to the heavens and changed. He became the berserker of legend, a warrior who, in the heat of combat, transforms into a wolf. Centuries later, he's settled into his own Alaskan village full of werewolves; he has a wife he adores. Until Alexandra Trevalyn, werewolf hunter, kills her. Dying is too easy for the woman who murdered his wife, so Julian devises a better way for Alex to suffer. He'll make her just like him.
Season of Seduction by Jennifer Haymore
Summary: Although the widowed Lady Rebecca has sworn off marriage, men are another matter. London's cold winter nights have her dreaming of warmer pursuits-like finding a lover to satisfy her hungry heart. Someone handsome, discreet, and most importantly as uninterested in marriage as she is. Someone like Jack Fulton. A known adventurer and playboy, Jack seems like the perfect choice. There's just one problem: Jack isn't interested in an affair. He needs the beautiful, mysterious Lady Rebecca to be his wife!
When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer
Summary: Dashing Lord Harry Traemore is perfectly content to live out his days in the pursuit of pleasure. But when he's named by the Prince regent as one of society's 'Impossible bachelors', Harry is drafted into a ribald romantic wager. The rules of engagement are scandalously simple: the bachelor whose mistress wins the title of 'Most Delectable Companion' gets to remain unmarried. Harry is utterly unconcerned about his status...until his latest lightskirt abandons him. Enter Lady Molly Fairbanks. Harry's childhood friend - actually, 'foe' is more like it - is the most unlikely companion of all.
You're All I Need by Karen White-Owens
Summary: Making it as a hotshot legal eagle takes smarts, savvy-and acceptance to a prestigious law school. That's exactly what independent beauty Tia Edwards has when she's hit with a thunderbolt on her way up the professional ladder-a request from her boss to help Christophe Jensen, a charismatic new attorney from France, feel right at home.
Review: Knock Me For a Loop
Knock Me For a Loop by Heidi Betts
Linda's Review: Hockey and knitting, both in one romance – what’s not to like? I guess I could say I liked it, but when all is said and done, it’s not really hockey and there isn’t much knitting either. What’s even worse is that the hero, the goalie for an NHL team, refers to his sport as “ice hockey” – is there another kind? Certainly not one that you’d attempt to put in a romance novel.
The hero, goalie for the Cleveland Rockets, is surprised on a road trip by his fiancée, a popular talk show host. The surprise is greater than either of them expected: she finds a woman in his bed and he denies knowing how she got there.
Needless to say, fireworks ensue. She goes on a rampage that includes vandalizing his Hummer, bashing his walls with hockey trophies and stealing (and re-naming) his Saint Bernard.
Months later, he is seriously injured in a game and it seems the only person who can motivate him to stick to his diet, keep his doctor’s appointments and go to physio is his ex. She moves in with him to oversee his recovery at the request of his best friends and – well, you can guess where this is going.
I would say I found this book mildly entertaining, but it features no hockey action, aside from the story of his injury and not much knitting chat. If you want either of these, there are better places to look. And I’m showing my age, too, when I say that I found a lot of the language offensive, but perhaps that comes under the heading of “keeping it real”.
Scoundrel by Zöe Archer
Summary: London Harcourt's father is bent on subjugating the world's magic to British rule. But since London is a mere female, he hasn't bothered to tell her so. He's said only that he's leading a voyage to the Greek isles. No matter, after a smothering marriage and three years of straitlaced widowhood, London jumps at the opportunity—unfortunately, right into the arms of Bennett Day!
When Pleasure Rules by J. K. Beck
Summary: Seven innocents have been brutally murdered in Los Angeles, yet the Shadow Alliance has no suspects and no leads. As the body count mounts, the age-old feud between vampires and werewolves threatens to explode. Lissa Monroe—a strong-willed, ravishing succubus who entices men to surrender their souls—agrees to go undercover for the Alliance. Her mission: infiltrate the mind of werewolf leader Vincent Rand, a ferociously alluring enemy who exerts a powerful hold over her. As the City of Angels teeters on the brink of apocalypse, these two adversaries must join together in order to survive an even more lethal enemy hidden in plain sight.
Mad About the Duke by Elizabeth Boyle
Summary: Level-headed Lady Elinor Standon will not allow her greedy stepfather to wed her younger sister to the highest bidder! The only way to stop this evil plan is for Elinor to to gain control of her sister’s guardianship, but to do that she needs to get married. Convinced that nothing less than a duke will do, she hires Mr. St. Maur, Esq. to help her land her lofty lord...However her plans go awry as she discovers that beneath her solicitor’s rumpled coat and haughty demeanor is a man all-too-desirable to ignore and she finds herself falling for more than his unconventional legal advice.
Renegade by Lora Leigh
Summary: As a bridal shop owner, Mikayla Martin helps make women’s wedding dreams come true. Her own life, however, has become a nightmare since she witnessed a murder. But the police, after doing an alibi check, don’t believe her. Elite Ops agent Nikolai Steele, code name Renegade, is asked to pay an old comrade a favor. This friend swears he’s no killer—and Nik believes him — even though he’s been mistaken as one by Mikayla. So Nik goes to set her straight...
Kiss of the Rose by Kate Pearce
Summary: Desperate to defeat King Richard III and gain the crown, Henry Tudor made a pact with the Druids binding him and his heirs to the Druids' struggle against vampires. Ever since, the Llewellyns, a vampire- slaying family, have been in the king's employ. Now Henry VIII reigns, and his father's bargain has been almost forgotten-until bloodless corpses turn up in the king's bedchamber. To save the king, Vampire hunter Rosalind Llewellyn must form an uneasy alliance with Druid slayer Sir Christopher Ellis. But soon, Rosalind must face an unthinkable truth: that her sworn enemy may be her soulmate...
Recommended Reading List for "C"
"C", a good friend of mine, recently asked me for a list of suggested book titles. Now normally one conducts a more formal interview to find out what she has read before, what she liked or disliked about the books, etc. However, I know "C"'s taste tends to run more towards the historical side since she did once remark that she has read and re-read a number of Georgette Heyer's books.
Hence, here are a couple of historical romance authors & titles that I think "C" might enjoy:
A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
May's Review: Since "C" is quickly working her way through Balogh's Huxtable series, I definitely want her to check out this title. This book starts off as a typical Regency with the hero forced by his father to find himself a wife while the heroine is similarly forced by her parents to marry because she has socially disgraced herself. Needless to say, the couple has known each other for years and appear to dislike each other. Yet appearances are deceiving and Balogh throws in a twist that just proves how intelligent her heroines typically are and how noble our heroes can be.
Bride in the Bargain by Deanne Gist
May's Review: Although this book could be classified as Historical-Inspirational, I found myself drawn into the story of a lumberjack living in 1860s Washington State who desperately needs to find himself a wife so he can retain his land. However, nobody told his intended bride-to-be who thinks she is coming to be his cook and housekeeper! Based on an actual historical event, this book was simply delightful with wonderful written characters and a setting that just seems to jump off the pages.
It Happened One Autumn and Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas
May's Review: Although Kleypas just recently finished her Hathaway series, my all-time favorite is still the Wallflower series and while I wasn't a huge fan of the first & fourth books, I simply adore books two (It Happened One Autumn) and three (Devil in Winter). Both books follow a similar formula: take a very handsome but extremely arrogant man and have him cross paths with a uncommonly beautiful, intelligent and highly stubborn female. Throw in societal pressures, less than desirable in-laws and/or relatives and mad-cap adventures that include kidnapping & an assassination attempt, you got a terrific pair of books that are simply two of my all-time favorite romance books.
Barely a Bride and Merely the Groom by Rebecca Hagan Lee
May's Review: I am currently reading this series which centers around a Free Fellows League--a band of rich and highly educated lords who decide to risk everything for king and country but not their hearts. One by one, the men realize their folly and succumbs to cupid's arrow. Book one (Barely a Bride) deals with war and marriage while book two (Merely the Groom) deals with a forced marriage thanks to an impostor.
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
May's Review: Julia Quinn is another must read Regency author and while there any number of books I can recommend, the main reason I'm recommending this book to "C" has a lot to do with the fact that we both watched the movie Red this past weekend. Remembered how we were secretly thrilled that Bruce Willis was reading romance novels? Well what do you think would happen if the hero wrote them? Throw in witty dialogue, a disdardly uncle, and a spunky heroine, you end up with yet another terrific Quinn novel.
Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson
May's Review: A RITA nominee for best Regency romance, Tempting Fate tells the story of childhood rivals, Whittaker Cole (Earl of Thurston) and Mirabelle Browning, who fall in love as adults. From the very start, all of the females in Whittaker's household have taken a likening to Mirabelle and already regard her as a "daughter" and "sister". Unfortunately, the head of the household, Whittaker, still sees her as a "annoyance" but his opinion of her gradually changes when he realizes how important she has become in his life, especially after she tumbles down a hill and is somehow implicated in a somewhat ridiculous sub-plot involving counterfeit bills and a brutish uncle.
Personally, I think Johnson could have skipped the subplot involving spies and an assassin which I found to be the weakest element, and solely focused on Whittaker's and Mirabelle's romance instead. Still this was a good story with strong romantic elements with totally likable characters. A good choice for those Regency romance fans seeking a new author.
Note: Tempting Fate is the second book in Johnson's Providence series. The books in the series include:
* As Luck Would Have It (book 1)
* McAlistair's Fortune (book 3)