The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies Series) by Jennifer Ashley

         At first I was hesitant to read this book because while I know that people can fall in love more than once, I really don't like books where one of the lovers is still pining after a lost husband or wife. It's fine if they have had lovers or spouses before, because that is just the way of life, and I'm even ok if they still love their lost love, because once you love someone a part of you always loves them. But I hate it when people are presented with a new love and they claim to be falling in love but they let loves from the past get in their way. That is why I am usually pretty hesitant to read book sthat have widows in them.

        The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family--rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn't be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them--of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

         The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He's also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

         Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama--an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.
Click to view on Amazon: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
         This book really surprised me. Beth was an amazing widow. She wasn't weepy and had taken her time to grieve her husband and now looked upon her time with him fondly and did not allow him  to haunt any future relationships. She thought he would, but it turned out he taught her to love well enough that she could love Ian.

         Speaking of Ian, Oh. My. Goodness. I really loved his character. I don't know if he was autistic or what, but he was an amazing character and Ashley really did a good job. I liked everything from his inability to make eye contact to his abrupt almost rude attitude towards everyone. They had such a charming story and I love the way he acted towards Beth and I thought it was hilarious but at the same time really touching when he would inspect the Ming bowls.

         This book had been on my to read list forever and I am so glad I finally read it. I love series that have crazy big families in them and I almost wish that Ian's book had been the last in the series because that would have ended the series with a bang. I haven't read the other books in the series, but this book has definitely turned me on to the author so hopefully I will be able to read more soon!

Now, read the book! Then come back!

         Okay, on to the meat of the story! There was the whole murder mystery thing going on here and for the first third of the book I thought that Ian had killed the two prostitutes. I never really thought that Hart did it, though it was set up for us to think that. I also didn't suspect that Lily was the one who killed Sally. I thought that Mrs. Palmer was the one who did it once they told us about her obsession with Hart. Which I also don't understand, but I have never understood the dynamic between a cougar and her catch, but who knows... maybe that will be me one day... a cougar, not a killer. And while Mrs. Palmer was the one who killed Lily, at first I wanted to hate her for it and for Hart for wanting to comfort her while she tied, but then I thought about how she was trying to protect him and how she stood by him for 13 years and realized I was being unfair to her.

         Something I didn't understand though was the reason for Ian going to the asylum. Because he seems like he has a disorder, but then we are told that he was sent into the asylum because he saw his father kill his mother and was put in there to be shut up. So would he have eventually been declared insane and put in there or did being in there make him seem more crazy, or if he had never seen his father kill his mother he would never have been sent to any asylum at all. Either way, it was unfair for him to be in there at all, he is different, but not crazy. And it really rubbed me the wrong way when Hart really thought that Ian was crazy.

         My favorite moments were when they were all at dinner in Scotland and Beth made a joke and Ian's brothers heard him laugh for the first time. And when at the end when they are welcoming the inspector into the family and Ian hides in Beth's hair. I really liked this book! A definite 5 out of 5!


Lilith Enraptured (Divinity Warrior) by Michelle M. Pillow

         I know I said I had been reading YA and I will get back to that soon, but I read this book pretty quickly and thought I would do a review since I have been seriously slacking.

         Sorin of Firewall lives in a land forever at war. In fact, the Starian men are so busy fighting, their marriage ceremony has been reduced to a "will of the gods" event where they simply pick a woman out of a lineup and claim her as a wife. With women becoming scarce, it's necessary to trade the off world Divinity Corporation for brides. Duty-bound to attend the ceremony, Sorin has no intention of picking a bride, let alone one from another dimension. That is, until he sees Lilith, the bewitching woman sent by the gods to reward-or punish him?.
         Lilith, a data analyst for Divinity, is betrayed by the Corporation and wakes up in a primitive, uncharted dimension filled with warriors who know only war and duty. Her fear of becoming a sex slave to a big, beefy knight becomes all too real when a warrior of god-like proportions claims she's his new woman. As Lilith discovers, there are worse fates than being the focus of Sorin's skillful and earthy seduction.
Click to view the book on Amazon: Lilith Enraptured
         This story was a pretty standard "kidnap woman" story. Lilith gets kidnapped by her corporation and sent to this world that is stuck at war in the middle ages and she gets selected by this giant warrior to basically be his baby maker.  Usually the heroine would put up more of a fight,  but she gave in pretty quickly and of course there were plenty of misunderstandings before they finally had a happily ever after.

         Go read the book then come back.

         I know this post is a bit short, but I kind of felt that the plot was lacking, but I mean I guess most people don't read the book for the plot. The sex scenes were okay, but I have definitely read better. I do like the idea of the constant war, that is a cool concept, because most places are looking for an end to a war but this one didn't want to stop the war and had purposefully stayed in the middle ages so that they could have more control over what their enemy can do to hurt them.

         I also kind of liked the idea of Having the wife's room inside the husband's, I mean, one way to look at it is that she has to get past her husband to get out, but on the other hand the idea of a room within a room seems really cool to me. I know it's silly, but now I want to do that in my house.  I know this was a short review, but I feel like there wasn't much to talk about. They met disagreed about her staying, got over it and fell in love. Though, I do wish that Sorin had gone more in depth about his first wife Bianka. We know she tried to cheat then ran off to be with his enemies who then killed and ate her, but every time that Lilith brought it up he would get super pissed about it, which is understandable. I just wanted to be able to get a better picture of this first wife so that I could compare Lilith to her.

         I would give this book a three out of five stars. A quick read, but the story doesn't really grab you.


The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

         Ok, I have been on a bit of a YA binge here and I can see it continuing in the future, but a few years ago I went through this really creepy book phase and read a ton of books about ghosts and zombies and murderers and stuff and I read the Summoning then, but then I went through this phase where I got really scared of everything and could only read happy books after that. But! I gave it another try and I don't know how I could stop reading this series
          My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

         All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.

         Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? it's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House...before its skeletons come back to haunt me.
Click to view the book on Amazon: The Summoning
         The story starts with Chloe as a normal, if slightly underdeveloped, high school but on the day she gets her period she gets bombarded by a ghost at school, and this ghost being particularly gruesome sent her into hysterics, and so the school restrained and sedated her and sent her off to the hospital where they tested her and then sent her off to Lyle House. Lyle house has 2 other girls and three boys living there and all have problems.

         I thought it was a bit boring leading up to Chloe getting to Lyle House. I understand the importance of those first chapters, showing her life before, setting up the fact that the powers occur at the onset of puberty and all that, but I just wanted to get to the part where she meets the other crazy kids. I also didn't like Chloe as a character in the beginning, I thought she was a bit judgmental but as the book (and series) continue I started to like her more and more. As for the other characters, I liked Simon and Liz from the start and, of course, I really didn't like Tori, I thought she was a total bitch. As for Derek, I had mixed feelings about him but it is such a good book, and it is really interesting how she sees and interacts with the dead, especially when she raises them.

          Read the book, then come back and read the rest of this!

         Favorite character would have to be Derek, because as mean as he can be, he still has the best at heart for those people he considers as a part of his pack. Like how he tricks Simon into escaping by using Chloe as an excuse. It was kind of a dick move on his part to manipulate them like that but they both did need to get out of Lyle House and as you find out they were going to be moved to possibly be terminated when they didn't prove as obedient as the scientists who are experimenting on them want them to be. What really changed my mind about Derek was when it was obvious that he knew what all the girls in the house thought about him and that he was embarrassed by it. And then when he went through his first partial transformation, the poor guy. It just seemed like such a horrible thing to go through, but I am happy that he did because I really like a lot of the traits that his werewolf genes give him, but I am glad it happened because it allowed Chloe and him to bond in a way that they hadn't done before.

         Rae kind of annoyed me. I thought she was nice and I liked how close she and Chloe became, but she seemed kind of fake. And I really didn't like how she bad talked almost all of the other characters, and for some reason it really rubbed me the wrong way when she was all "I have the power of fire." I know she actually did, but it seemed like she was jumping on the bandwagon and I feel like as a character she didn't really deserve a power.

         I really liked Simon. Maybe that was why Rae bothered me so much, because she kept saying that Simon was really stuck up, but he didn't seem that way and when I read about him. He seemed like a nice guy who just happened to fall into the wrong situation and because he was out of his element and alone he stuck by his foster brother. If I was in that situation I would cling to my brother too.

         I thought this was really interesting and a great start to a series. After finishing this I went to amazon and bought the other two in the series right away and finished them that same night. I am scared of zombies and dead people and death, but Chloe was too and that made me more comfortable with the subject matter. It was really good. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars!