Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn

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I’ve slacked on the number of books I’ve been reading recently, partly due to the lack of time, and I’ve re-found a balance between my work, my reading and my yoga again! So happy! After almost 8 years of regular yoga, I do feel my hips very tight recently, due to the non-stretching. And these two weeks of re-establishing my regular yoga sessions do feel like heaven! It’s really uncomfortable walking around with a stiff back, and especially my tight upper thighs… all the stretching do loosen the muscles up heaps!

I’ve ordered ‘A Place to call Home’ and ‘The Arrow’ from Book Depository, and then one week later ordered 6 other books from Open Trolley, and you know what, I was planning to receive ‘The Arrow’ so soon that it was so disappointing I haven’t got them now! It’s been one month! Whereas the other books from Open Trolley had been delivered already. Anyway, Book Depository was awfully good about it, they had re-dispatched the same two books to me, and hopefully I can receive them soon, since my workplace is relocating like within the week. If I still don’t get the books before the relocation, they’ll probably be lost to me forever:( Fingers crossed! And in that event, I hope Book Depository will allow a refund.

Anyway, I’ve just spent three days reading Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn. Here, a group of terrorists had taken the White House and many of the high-elite politicians hostage, and while demanding things from the Vice President Baxter, who’s completely incompetent and indecisive, the terrorists have plans to secretly and literally bust the President from his safe place, for their final demand. Again, we witness how politics play a huge part in deciding whether or not to give in to the terrorists’ demands, and how Mitch Rapp together with a civilian Milt Adams got into the White House for reconnaissance— not a small feat at all,considering the layers and layers of bombs placed in the White House. I’m impressed with President Hayes— his decisiveness and his leadership. Being able to take charge in such an urgent situation, standing by his policies and trying to do the right thing when both choices may bring upon disastrous consequences are probably the essential skills to a great leader.

We also saw how Mitch met Anna, his future wife. I like Anna, she’s stunningly beautiful ( Is there ever a book which features plain-looking girls as heroines?), fiercely independent, brave, and yet will admit she’s in the wrong when she realizes her mistakes. Having read future books in this series, I’m sad that Anna and her unborn son will be dead at a terrorist’s hand further down the series. I mean, come on, Mitch deserves a good family to go back to after he accomplishes his heroic feats! Then again, maybe the author intended him to be lonely throughout his life (so sad right?) But I love Mitch and this series, and I will continue reading until I’ve finished all the books from the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn.

I’m also very in love with the young Mitch. I started reading Mitch Rapp books somewhere in the middle of the series, when Anna had died and he was older and more experienced, and it was so surprising to see the younger version of him here.

Altogether, a fully action-packed book..and thoroughly hard to put down! Will definitely re-read again!

Rating: 5/5

Keegan’s Lady (Keegan-Paxton #1)by Catherine Anderson

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I’m still awaiting my beloved books to be delivered from both Book Depository and Open Trolley Bookstore, and I have to say they’re seriously taking longer than I expected…especially when I couldn’t wait to get my hands on ‘The Arrow’– I was just hoping it’ll get delivered before today as I have the day off tomorrow, was going to use the whole of tonight for it. As it is, I managed to get a copy of Keegan’s Lady, and decided to read through it.

For some reason, I stopped reading in sequence after I reached the part of Ace Keegan’s stepfather being lynched and his mother raped when he was so very young. Probably because it was so sad, I skimmed through and started again at the middle of the book.

Ace Keegan had a stepfather who’s responsible, god-loving and a person who’s as far from violent as you have ever seen. He bought land with a lot of money which he wanted to give his children a good life with. Unfortunately, he was ultimately driven off his own land, and then accused falsely of murder by Connor O’Shannessy. I wouldn’t drive more on the details of this terrible night, except the fact that his stepfather was unjustly and horribly killed and his mother was raped.

Many years later, Ace came back to No Name with his brothers to seek revenge and cleared his stepfather’s name. What he didn’t expect was to fall in love with Caitlin O’Shannessy, Connor’s daughter.

There’s so many things I love in this book: Ace. He’s such an honourable person, and did so many tender things for Caitlin that he made me teary-eyed. Just because he promised her he wouldn’t lay a hand on her brother Patrick, even when Patrick was taking advantage of the situation, he let the latter beat him to a bloody pulp without even defending himself. He’s so patient with her retarded cat (although generally cats and dogs are innocent and so loving, I can’t imagine why people will want to hurt them), so patient with her even when she doubted him every step of the way. Even when he was going to be hung (again, for a crime he was falsely accused of), he wasn’t even thinking of himself. NO! All he thought about was he didn’t want Caitlin seeing this, didn’t want Caitlin to be hurt! There’s so many things that he’s done for her..I might have to start quoting the whole book if I’m going to describe everything.

Caitlin had suffered so much in her life that she couldn’t trust Ace for a long portion of the book. When her brother came up to them in a drunken stupor to accuse Ace of using her, without allowing him to explain himself, which the man was begging for a chance to, she wanted to leave him. I was so angry! After all Ace had done for her, how could she do that to him? Yet I had to remind myself that after what she had suffered, it is natural for anyone to have that kind of reaction. Although I was impatient with her for a better portion of the book, I felt her pain when she almost lost Ace at the end, and I admired her strength for standing up for Ace and standing up to her drunken brother.

I love all of Ace’s brothers; they’re all so supportive and loyal to each other! Joseph especially has captured my interest, I can’t wait to read more about him in Summer Breeze! Sigh…I’ll have to finish reading all the books I’ve recently ordered before I can allow myself to order more books I suppose… I’ve to remind myself I’m on a tight budget! Budget woman!

I disliked Patrick, Caitlin’s brother literally from the start to the end of the book. However, I supposed he’s a character needed to make Ace appear more heart-shatteringly kind, despite his tough physical outlook. Plus his courage to save Ace’s life at the end sort of minutely balances my negative impression of him.

Catherine’s characters are so human to me. Keegan was fearful for his life when he was arrested by the marshal and when he knew the ignorant town people were going to hang him, yet he did what he thought was right. Her characters weren’t just tough men who didn’t get hurt– they got scared, possessive, loving, they bled, they got vulnerable…

On a side note, this story took place in the 1800s, and I haven’t read too many stories from this era. I was surprised to learn they have condoms then (although they’re made from sheep gut)… it sounds weird…wouldn’t there be blood? And men from that era seemed hard, but honourable, polite ( as in they tipped their hats to people in greeting), but they didn’t draw the line at fighting. A contradiction, and a fascinating era to read about.

Rating: 4.5/5

Remember When by Judith McNaught

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Cole Harison was a stable boy for one of Diana Foster’s friends. They met when they were teenagers and I love to see them when they were young— Cole for being the mysterious, hard-to-get, ruggedly handsome college guy whom the other girls were trying all kinds of schemes to get his attention. He found Diana refreshingly different from all the other snobbishly spoilt and rich girls however. Diana was a beauty, a thoughtful, responsible and non-snobbish girl. As with her friends, she had a major crush on Cole but didn’t act on it, as she knew they were not meant to be together.

Due a hated misunderstanding, Cole was thrown out of the stables. He became a CEO of his own company through sheer hard work, his brilliance and his known cold hearted-ness. He was forced to take a wife for financial reasons and chose Diana as a temporary wife, which would benefit both of them, as Diana had recently been jilted by her fiance, and needed this marriage to keep her magazine’s subscribers.

As I mentioned, I loved them when they were young, but as the book progressed, the plot seemed to lose me, probably due to the cold tone of the words. In their adult lives, they married each other despite not knowing each other well. After a few conversations they fell in love with each other?

It’s an okay book, but not as riveting as I remembered. However, I recalled ‘Perfect’ as a memorable plot. I’ve ordered it in, and couldn’t wait to start reading. The only conflict will be upon the arrival of the books, should I start with ‘The Arrow’, or ‘A Place to Call Home’ or ‘Perfect’ or the other books I couldn’t resist purchasing lol. Hehe hopefully I can devour them slowly!

Rating: 3.5/5

Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard

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After the death of her parents in an accident, Ronna was brought up by her grandmother Lucinda. Ever since she could remember, she’s been an ugly, gangly thin child prone to clumsiness and her social ineptness. Overshadowed by her beautiful and bitchy cousin Jessie, she’s been made to feel unloved, inept and ugly all her life (her parents did love her dearly before they died though). Her distant cousin Webb Tallant was the one bright spot in her life who protected her from the spite and malice, especially brought on by Jessie. Her only talent as a child was horses— they loved her and her ideas about training them helped produce the most well-behaved ones they kept.

Webb was an ambitious man however, and when promised during his teenage years he could inherit Davencourt when he married Jessie, he and Jessie had taken it for granted that he would marry the ‘Crown Princess of Davencourt’. And he did eventually, although Roanna had loved him so much. Webb and Jessie did have their marital problems, and Jessie threw a spiteful snit when she caught Roanna kissing Webb one day (the latter did it impulsively—- she was still very young and gave in to her impulse). Jessie accused Roanna of doing it deliberately, which later led to Webb suspecting Roanna guilty of betraying him.

After the quarrel between Jessie and Webb, Jessie was found murdered that night, and Webb was the main suspect. He was hurt that Lucinda hasn’t defended him, and the whole town was suspecting him, plus he also thought Roanna was guilty by deliberately inciting the quarrel between Jessie and him, and Ronna hated Jessie enough that it was a possible option. Although the law deemed him innocent due to lack of evidence, he left Davenport, Alabama to Arizona where he built his own successful business using his own two hands.

10 years later, Lucinda was dying and she sent Ronna to get Webb back to Davencourt. Roanna was no longer the mischievous girl always in trouble, rather after the rejection of everyone around her, she had retreated into a quiet woman with a blank face, no longer wanted to be hurt by people around her. Despite that, she was still standing up for Webb, as she had done 10 years ago at Jessie’s funeral (although he rebuffed her efforts). Webb realised he’s loved Roanna all his life and tried his best to win her over and draw her out of her shell.

I know guys in Linda Howard’s books are supposed to be tough. Although I like Webb—he’s dangerous, good-looking and always been kind and protective of Roanna, after finding her guilty of betrayal, he’s been such a jackass to her. And suddenly pooh— he found himself loving her!

I loved Roanna— she’s so strong and she did so much to stand up for Webb even though she’s under suspicion before for Jessie’s death, and everything she did was for Lucinda and Webb.

‘I want you, period,’ He cupped her face in his hand, stroking his thumb over the soft curve of her mouth. His eyes were very serious.’I love you, Roanna Frances. Will you marry me?’

Her lips trembled under his touch. When she’d been seventeen, she had loved him so desperately that she would have jumped at any chance to marry him, under any conditions. She was twenty-seven now, and she still loved him desperately- loved him enough that she didn’t want to trap him into another marriage in which he would be miserable.

Rating: 4/5

Baby Love by Catherine Anderson

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Rafe Kendrick was a man destroyed after his wife and children were killed in an accident. He couldn’t function and almost tried to kill himself— so great was his grief. Instead, he started drinking heavily to numb himself and when he was at his lowest, he met Maggie, a young girl with a newborn son who was abused by her stepfather and had run away from him.

Rafe was a man who fell in love fast, but once he fell it’s a deep love and he would do anything to protect Maggie, her son and her young sister. He fell in love with her courage and her strength, and in order to protect them from her jealous and abusive stepfather, he had to pull himself out of it. He returned back to his family (the Kendricks were a very wealthy affluent family, and they were loving and honourable too). I love Rafe, his brother Ryan, his loving and protective father Keefe (who reminded me of Linda Howard’s Wolf McKenzie) and his mother Ann. I love how much Rafe loved Maggie—so patient with Maggie when she’s very traumatised about sex (she’s being sexually abused by her stepfather), how he almost died to keep her safe. In his heart, when his wife Susan died, he almost couldn’t go on with life, and when he found Maggie, he would rather die than let anything happen to her.

Again, another compelling hero created by Catherine Anderson, who’s very humanly loving and tough, but everything was so realistic— his love, his fears and his strengths. I love this book, and I can’t wait to read about his brother Ryan in ‘Phantom Waltz’.

Rating: 5/5

Seventh Heaven by Catherine Anderson

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Another beloved book of mine which I couldn’t forget about and had to re-read again.

Joe Lakota knew Marilee Nelson since they were young. Ever since he knew her, he’s teased her, loved her and protected her till she was eighteen. He was a football star, a warm and very protective person, and he would have done anything, even given up his career for Marilee. Unfortunately when Marilee was eighteen, in order to get back at him, Marilee was gang-raped by Stan and his friends. They wanted Marilee to run to Joe and being the hothead that he was, they expected him to physically retaliate against them. Trying to protect Joe, Marilee broke off the engagement with him and told him she didn’t love him anymore (so sad!), and he left town soon after.

Ten years later, Joe was divorced and wanted to bring his son back to Laurel Creek for its strong values and most importantly, he wanted to see the only woman he still loved after ten years— Marilee.

This is one of the rare books which the heroine didn’t need rescuing. Sure, Marilee after being gang-raped suffered from frequent panic attacks, and I really really loved Joe for his love and patience with Marilee. Even when he didn’t know what had happened all those years ago, he was still very patient with Marilee, and even when Marilee lost her temper with him, he’s never spoken a harsh word to her, just being his loving and patient self, trying to help her. All those years lost just because of a gang-rape masterminded by Stan! When Stan was murdered, Joe was the person suspected for his murder (Marilee told him eventually what had happened and although he did not physically harm Stan as promised, he made verbal threats against him). Evidence was sky-high against him and I loved that even during these stressful times, he still prioritised Marilee and his son Zachery above his own needs.

A book guaranteed to tug the heartstrings, I love Joe’s protectiveness of Marilee and his love ones, his love and patience for her. It really is a special kind of love— to love someone since childhood, even after he left town and got rich, he’s still the same man as he was.

Rating: 5.5/5

Annie’s Song by Catherine Anderson

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As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I’ve read this book more than 10 years ago, and I’ve recently splurged on a Book Haul which I will post more about soon..and I’ve gone crazy and got so many books online!

Catherine Anderson’s books are so much different to many romance authors, of course each author is different in her or his own genre, the style and the writing, and I love all Catherine’s books too, which I haven’t read all of, but I will try my best!:)

Annie, a deaf girl who had been misunderstood by the town as ‘simple’, ‘a moron’…simply put, just an idiot, was raped by Douglas, and got pregnant. Douglas’ brother Alex, tried to be responsible by marrying her, and in the process of living together, realised that she’s a very lovely girl, and not ‘simple’ at all, and fell in love with her. He gave her lessons, danced with her, made love with her…Most people, even Dr. Muir had advised Alex to send Annie away after the birth of her child so that she could learn to be ‘normal’, and to learn to read and write. Believing that he was doing so for her own good, although it broke both their hearts to part with each other, he did send her away to school.

Alex was a very responsible, sweet and handsome man. This book is not your typical manage-to-do-everything hard and possessive guy, rather a good man who tried to do what was right and fell in love with the town misfit. It was so tender and heart-aching, the way he wooed Annie, how patient he was with her, how he taught her sign language so they could communicate. It was also so touching and I felt so sad for him when he believed he made the right choice by sending Annie away to school, even though he realised she might make other friends and might meet and love another there. He did so because he loved her too much to try to restrict her. I love Annie too, she’s a very kind and strong person, she’s innocent but not annoyingly naive. She loved Alex very much, and moved me to tears when she tried to beg Alex to let her return home from school, in the letters she painstakingly wrote him (she learnt how to read and write in school). She loved mice and fed the attic mice, and when she was gone Alex did not want to capture and kill the mice even thought they are pests, as he feared he might capture one of her ‘favourites’.

In regard to school, only one difficulty had arisen thus far; when Annie spoke in sign, she was making many of the hand motions incorrectly.

Nothing serious, just slight variances. Annie’s teacher said that, given the situation, Alex had done a wonderful job of tutoring her. It was a simple case of his having misinterpreted the instructions in the manuals, a common enough occurrence, and one that was usually easily rectified. Annie, however, refused to cooperate, explaining to her teacher, over and over, that if she began making the signs differently, then Alex wouldn’t be able to understand her anymore.

That brought tears to Alex’s eyes.

A very tender and heart-warming love story.

Rating: 5.5/5 (If such a rating is possible! :p)