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1. The Hawk: A Highland Guard Novel
2. The Chief: A Highland Guard Novel
3. Highland Outlaw: A Novel
4. Highland Warrior: A Novel
5. Blackwork (Needlecraft Mystery)
6. Highlander Unchained: A Novel
7. Highland Scoundrel: A Novel
8. Highlander Untamed: A Novel
9. Monica Bellucci
10. Highlander Unmasked: A Novel
11. The Ranger: A Highland Guard Novel
12. Buttons and Bones (Crewel World
13. Thai Die: A Needlecraft Mystery
14. Breaking All the Rules
15. Assassin's Heart
16. Knitting Bones (Needlecraft Mystery)
17. Sew Far, So Good (Needlecraft
18. Getting a Grip: On My Body, My
19. In the Kitchen: A Novel
20. Cutwork (Needlecraft Mystery)

1. The Hawk: A Highland Guard Novel (Highland Guard Novels)
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2010-08-31)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345518241
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Handpicked by Robert the Bruce to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule, the elite warriors of the Highland Guard face their darkest days. When Bruce is forced to flee, his bid for freedom rests on the shoulders of one extraordinary warrior.
Erik MacSorley is a brilliant seafarer who has never encountered a wind he could not harness or a woman he could not win—until he drags a wet, half-naked “nursemaid” out of the waters off the Irish coast. Ellie’s ordinary appearance belies the truth: She is in fact Lady Elyne de Burgh, the spirited daughter of the most powerful noble in Ireland.

Worse, this irresistible woman is determined to prove herself immune to Erik’s charms—a challenge he cannot resist.
Her captor may look every inch a rugged warrior, but Ellie vows that it will take more than a wickedly suggestive caress to impress her. Yet Erik will sweep away Ellie’s resistance with a desire that resonates deep within her heart. Still, he is a man driven by loyalty, and she is a woman with secrets that could jeopardize Bruce’s chance to reclaim his throne. As the battle for king and country sounds across the shores, will Ellie’s love be enough to finally tame the legend known as the Hawk?
Surrender to the pleasure of this novel from the Highland Guard series ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hawk
The Hawk was not surprisingly just as great as The Chief.The depth of character was beyond wonderful.I look forward to the rest of the series.

4-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book
I loved the chemistry between Erik and Elle. While Erik struggled with his attraction to her with both his sense of duty and the honorable thing between right and wrong, Elle was seeking adventure and love from someone who could look past her title and position. I found Erik's character to be adventureous, fun loving, and reckless, but he was also loyal to a cause, serious when he needed to be, and fearless when it was required. But, like all men, he also has his pride and was often at times arrogant. Definately, the sexy alpha male hero who had a good heart.

I felt Elle's character was strong and independent. While she was innocent, she wasn't naive. She was intelligent enough not to mention her true identity....As time went on, she fell in love with Erik, even when he was being an arse. He had issues with many of her actions, yet she always had a reason for them and I liked her for it.

I think the author did a wonderful job with the historical detail when describing the world within the book. I have always been fascinated with the highlanders and their power struggles to keep Scotland. I also enjoy the cultural differences between the Highlanders and the English regency. I find the politics of it all to be very intriguing, the different mannerisms to be funny, and the romance of it all to be enthralling.

Overall, I found this book to be more engaging than it's predecessor, The Chief. I enjoyed the intrigue, but in truth, I would have liked a little more action. I had fun getting to know the characters better and it was nice to see a couple of returning characters. But, I would have loved an update on Tor and Christina. That being said, this story is a real page turner and I look forward to reading Monica McCarty's next installment in the Highland Guard Novels, The Ranger.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Hero
Hawk is a great hero - larger than life - and Ellie, while endlessly referred to as plain, is at least a mature heroine (unlike in the Chief).It's a good read. The history is meticulously researched and the story woven around it is good.

I do wish the author would choose either the guard member's real names or the warrior names - not both - for the secondary characters. It's annoying and jars the flow of reading to constantly have to read Ewen "Hunter" Lamont, Eoin "Striker" MacLean, Gregor "Arrow" MacGregor every time another guard member is mentioned in the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-written addition to the series
Monica Mccarty is one of my favorite romance authors and this story didn't disappoint.

A solid addition to the Highland Guard series, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Ellie and Erik. Great banter and steamy romance, the only point that could make this story better would be tightening the storyline a bit more towards the end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Acceptable.
This writer has a long history writing fanciful action-romances set in/around Scotland.Her mastery of this setting is superb and many times it's like you can feel the cold mist off the North Sea.Like so many writers in this genre, her male characters are memorable.Highly skilled warriors and military strategists, handsome and an obvious hit with many of the local ladies--considering the time period--it's impossible to find an equally matched female lead.This happens--again--in this book.Historically it is accurate that women had little to do but create children and their biggest "selling point" was the size of their dowry.Still we can bend so many rules in the service of story, can't we improve the female characters?Worthwhile use of time, but not close as a keeper. ... Read more

2. The Chief: A Highland Guard Novel (Highland Guard Novels)
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (2010-03-23)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345518225
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western Isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline of warfare. And to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all.
The ultimate Highland warlord and a swordsman without equal, Tor MacLeod has no intention of being drawn into Scotland’s war against the English. Dedicated to his clan, the fiercely independent chief answers to no one—especially not to his alluring new bride, bartered to him in a bid to secure his command of the deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen. The treacherous chit who made her way to Tor’s bed may have won his hand, but she will never claim his heart.

Although her husband’s reputation is as fierce as his manner, Christina Fraser believes that something softer hides beneath his brutal shell. But the only warmth she feels is in their bed, in glorious moments of white-hot desire that disappear with the dawn. When Christina’s reckless bid to win her husband’s love goes awry and thrusts them into danger on the eve of war, Tor will face his ultimate battle: to save his wife and to open his heart—before it’s too late. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun and sexy!
Great, fun, sexy book.Loved that theme and the idea of a secret elite guard.Really enjoyed it.Can not wait for the other books in the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best love story I had read in a long time!
The story and characters make this a very good book!The character develop between Tor and Christina just draws the reader into their lives.Tor's strong views slowly change as Christina is able to wedge her personality and love into Tor's narrow-minded thought processes.I simply could not wait to read the next page! I can't wait for the next book in this series, the Highland Guard.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I am glad I bought the book. Great Author. I am excited and anxious to have the next one in this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great beginning to a new series
Monica McCartney does not disappoint her readers with her latest novel The Chief, the opening tale in her new Highland series.This book goes beyond just the feuding between clansman and the English; it is a tale about brotherhood, clan loyalty and romance.

Set during the time of Robert the Bruce, Tor Macleod is chief of his island home and he wants to stay out of international intrigue, therefore he takes no sides in the English Scottish feud.He is a great warrior and a smart one; he doesn't go looking for useless fights.

Lovely Christina Fraser is fiercely loyal, so when she discovers that her father plans on marrying one of his daughters off to Tor she volunteers to wed him so that her sister can follow her dream of entering a convent.

Tor is against marrying anyone and he doesn't like being pushed into marrying Christina even though he is attracted to her. He finds himself however married to Christina and training in secret a crew of elite fighters (kind of an early special ops unit) at the behest of the Bruce.

What makes this novel so refreshing is the hero and the difficulty he has in keeping all of his secrets and trying to juggle his duties of clan loyalty, his fighting force and Christina.Like the modern man he sometimes cannot get his priorities in order and this causes conflicts on many levels.

Christina is young, a bit naïve but very appealing.She is honest and expects it of others.Her spirited attitude with the right touch of humor makes this story zip along at a nice pace.Her romantic interludes with Tor are sweet but also passionate.

The amount of pages dedicated to the fighting unit was the only drawback to this novel, sometimes it overwhelmed the story between the leads, but since this is the first novel in the series it is expected Ms McCarty needed to introduce the reader to this band of brothers, and they all are intriguing. All in all, this is an excellent romance between a hardened warrior and a sweet heroine.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hard to Believe this is Monica McCarty
I have read all of Monica McCarty's previous books and love every single one and have looked forward to her next book. I found it really hard to believe this was the same author. The heroine was very immature and whiney to the point of annoying. The hero was just as annoying because he blamed her for everything wrong in his life. About 2/3 of the book was the h/h rambling on and on about the same concerns and fears. Not until the end of the book did it start to move and become interesting.

I might wait to read her next book from the library instead of automatically buying. ... Read more

3. Highland Outlaw: A Novel
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2009-02-24)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345503392
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Handsome and dangerous, Patrick MacGregor is a wanted man, possessing the tough, tenacious spirit of his outlawed clan. He will stop at nothing to save his people from destruction, even if it means marrying Elizabeth Campbell, the daughter of his worst enemy. Yet the flaxen-haired beauty disarms him from the start. Her sweet, unspoiled softness touches the cold depths of his ravaged soul–and makes him want much more than revenge.

Inside the shy and dutiful Lizzie is a passionate woman longing to emerge, a woman ready for love. So when the piercing emerald eyes and searing kiss of a stranger spark in her a desperate hunger, she surrenders to Patrick’s glorious seduction–unaware that his daring deception has just found its one and only chance for redemption: a love more powerful than hate. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great new Highlander book
Great story. Written with originality and not the common theme in Highlander books. A great love story with a twist. A Laird unlike any other his insight, His insight, extreme intelligence, compassion and lack of medieval thinking brings us a character with a extreme fighting skills and who's dislike of brutality and unfairness makes it a delightfully different read.

Finally a book about the McGregor clan . Mild in comparison to the truth, it does gives the reader a glimpse into the history of how they were treated, and all because of a misplaced or stolen land deed. Highland Outlaw: A Novel

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite couples yet!!! Love this book!!
I LOVE THIS STORY!!! Love this author! Patrick and Lizzie are one of my FAVORITE couples in romance. Couldn't put this book down and have reread it a few times. I will say what makes this story even better is if you read the books that come before it. Then you get a better sense of the tension and problems surrounding this couple. IMO that makes the story line even deeper/better. Thank you to Monica for giving us such great stories to read!! Just LOVED IT!!! :)

5-0 out of 5 stars the best so far............
This story was exceptional. i don't want to spoil this for other readers and give the story away, so i won't go into detail.
Ms McCarty has done it again withwell rounded characters and good well mapped out theme, you could almost feel that you were there, living the lives of Lizzy and Patrick. It was nice to see secondary characters develop as well and perhaps at a future date Ms McCarty could expand on this.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down

4-0 out of 5 stars Monica McCarty Delivers A Good Read Again
This is a good book.Even though I read this book out of sequence, it totally stood on its own.It was a good read and one will definitely fall in love with the hero; the fact that he hit the bull's-eye target with two arrows in order to win a bet and prove his love for the girl totally sold me. The heroine seemed down to earth and good hearted/natured despite the cruelties she had faced while growing up with a stammering problem.

Because this book was a delightful and refreshing read, I was prompted to research the author and later read the remaining books of the trilogy; naturally in its proper sequence.Even though the hero in this book comes across as being highly noble and caring, my favorite hero was Highland Warrior's Jamie Campbell (the heroine's brother and clan henchman).

The author reunites all leading characters in the final installment of the trilogy (Highland Scoundrel), and I was disappointed that the hero (Patrick MacGregor) in this Outlaw saga came across to me as extremely sheltering and wimpy.This was totally contrary to his character traits exemplified in his very own book.Surely the author's excuse for this overbearing behavior is attributed to his wee-little wife's pregnancy, but both characters grew brave with one another and their love conquered over their never-ending clan feud, where a simple pregnancy totally diminished our hero's noble and warrior-like image set in his very own book.These are the faux pas to saga books.

4-0 out of 5 stars As good as the first.
I liked the story and enjoyed reading. The characters were amazing. She really knows how to part personalities together. I liked that this time the heroine was quiet, shy and damsel in distress like, not as equal as her hero counterpart. I couldn't get enought of this book. ... Read more

4. Highland Warrior: A Novel
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2009-01-27)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345503384
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The ruthless enforcer of Scotland’s most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell will use any means necessary to vanquish lawlessness and unrest among the feuding Highland clans. Seduction is a game as easily played as subterfuge, but when Jamie poses a as suitor to a rival clan’s daughter in order to expose treason, the line between duty and pleasure is suddenly blurred. Ebony-haired, ruby-lipped Caitrina Lamont defies him, denies him, and arouses him like no other woman.

Caitrina has no intention of forsaking her beloved father and doting brothers for a husband–especially a hated Campbell. But Jamie’s raw, sensual strength and searing kiss melt her resistance. When her idyllic world is shattered, Caitrina’s only hope to save her clan lies in the arms of Jamie Campbell, the enemy she holds accountable for its ruin. Can their tenuous truce, born in the velvet darkness of passionate nights, forge a love as strong as the sword that rules the Highlands? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 and 1/2 stars --First in the wonderful Campbell Trilogy!
I have read all three in this series (Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw and Highland Scoundrel) and loved them all.I did not find the same weaknesses that I did in the MacLeod Trilogy (see my other reviews).All three of these are strong Highlander reads.They take place in early 17th century Scotland.This first story is that of Jamie Campbell, who is cousin the the Earl of Argyll and his "enforcer" strong arm of the law.Jamie's all about bringing criminals to justice and current assignment is to hunt down the MacGregor outlaws.That is why he travels to Ascog Castle on the Isle of Bute where the Laird Lamont is believed to be harboring MacGregor fugitives.Jamie intends to pose as a suitor to the Laird's famously beautiful, willful and outspoken daughter, Caitrina, while he searches for the MacGregors.He did not plan on falling for the girl when he claimed a kiss as a boon to rescuing her from a tree where she is stuck in her underwear (long story).Caitrina has no plans to marry at all, preferring to stay with her father and brothers where she is happy.But the ravages of the war between the Argyll and the MacGregors will change her life and to save Ascog and her people, it seems the only option for her will be Jamie Campbell. This is a great story of how love can come from tragedy and resentment for wrongs done can be forgiven where there is love.McCarty develops the characters and back stories well and has great sexual tension between the characters.My only negative on the three books in this series is that her love scenes all seem the same, well described but a bit too measured when one might like to see passion overtake control once in a while.After all, couples don't go through the same moves every time.Still, it's an enthralling Highlander romance.I recommend this one--and all three in this series!

5-0 out of 5 stars This book got me hooked on McCarty
This was the first book of Monica McCarty's that I read and it got me hooked.Now I have read all her books and am eagerly awaiting the release of the The Hawk at the end of August.I love her hero's and herione's.I like that she loosely bases her characters on true historical figures.I have been reading romance novels since I was eighteen (you know...last year...lol [I wish] and she is by and far my favorite author.If you like a good historical romance, with some racy sex in it, then start with this and read all her books.She made me want my very own Scottish laird.:)

3-0 out of 5 stars Had a tough time getting over certain events in the book.Just OK...
I had a very tough time getting over the precipitating event in this book ...

Jamie Campbell is your typical strong, powerful, highland hero, right hand man and fiercely loyal to the unpopular but powerful Earl of Argyll.He pretends an interest in Caitrina Lamont, pampered, beautiful daughter of the Laird of Lamont, to investigate the possibility that the outlawed MacGregor Clan is sheltering on Lamont lands. Lamont is hosting a week of highland games partially in hopes of finding a husband for his daughter.Old family ties require Lamont to offer refuge to the MacGregors, but Argyll has passed laws making anyone who shelters a MacGregor a traitor.Jamie sees this in black and white -- the law is the law, but the fact that the law is in conflict with traditional highland honor is a problem.

The events that happen after the games are brutal, and the rest of the book never quite redeems them.I can perfectly understand why Caitrina cannot "trust" Jamie.It's not that she doesn't trust him, but that she cannot trust Argyll or his brother.She has good reason NOT to trust them as their handling of events are vicious and dishonorable.Anyway, I never felt that justice was adequately served in the book, which detracted from it.

2-0 out of 5 stars JAMIE DESERVED BETTER!
I'm giving this book two stars instead of one because the first encounter between the hero and heroine was simply awesome. That being said, with the exception of that first scene between the two of them and the lovescenes, the heroine was so darn ANNOYING!I finally stopped reading when I got to page 292 because I couldn't take her issues with trust anymore. Monica McCarty writes some of the best male characters ever and Jamie, our hero is mouthwatering. Then she pairs him with Caitrina. Jamie has always been honest with her even if he has to tell her things she doesn't want to hear. He's done nothing but help her including saving her butt twice from nearly being raped, rebuilds her family home which was destroyed, and the dumb woman still can't trust him when he has done her no personal harm. Her trust issue goes on and on until it becomes unbearable. Meanwhile she lies to him when she finds out her brothers are alive and oh yeah...she expects him to be understanding. Talk about hypocrisy!

4-0 out of 5 stars MCcarty Knows Her Highlands!
I absolutely enjoyed this book.It was full of suspense, action and romance within one of Scotland's terrifying times; the pillaging and obliteration of clans.The characters were woven into a brutal historical event that occurred in the highlands and with McCarty's writing, readers can actually sense and feel as if they're there living it through with the characters.It was an enjoyable read; you see the characters grow and develop their love for one another despite all the odds and hardships due to their opposing clan responsibilities.I read this book out of sequence because I had actually read Outlaw (the second book) first and was intrigued by McCarty's vocabulary and writing style at that time.When I compare the two books, I much rather enjoyed Outlaw than Warrior.I started reading the third book in the series (Scoundrel) and the first chapter will totally get you hooked into the book, as most of her books do.I can't wait to see how Highland Scoundrel unfolds and ends because the hero is the outlaw in the first book Highland Warrior.However, McCarty totally outdoes herself with her Highland Chief, the first of her upcoming Highland Guard Series.This author is magnificently brilliant.

... Read more

5. Blackwork (Needlecraft Mystery)
by Monica Ferris
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2009-10-06)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$4.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003L1ZXDO
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The beloved USA Today bestselling Needlework mystery series continues.

It's Halloween-and Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth, is haunted by murder...

In the town of Excelsior, Minnesota, Leona Cunningham, owner of a popular microbrewery, is a practitioner of Wicca, the nature-based religion often mistaken for black magic. But that doesn't bother the thirsty crowds. Then, after one too many pints, a local blames Leona for the series of "accidents" that have happened throughout town. When he ends up dead without a mark on his body, Leona's the main suspect. But Betsy's on the case, and that spells trouble for the killer.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Blackwork by Monica Ferris
A decent read but not one of the best in the series. Would like to have seen more character involvement with Godwin, Jill, Lars, etc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another needlecraft mystery
I dolike Monica Ferris' mysteries.Yet sometimes she tries to put all of her characters into her stories & they don't need to be. This mystery was very easy to figure out. I'll continue toread her books but hope the next book is more interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars Betsy Devonshire of Crewel World solves another mystery
Monica Ferris does it again. I love her needlework/murder mystery series. In the latest installment we find Excelsor getting ready for a Halloween parade. There is a local wiccan that creates her own microbrews and her newest brew is called Not afraid of the Dark Brew. There is also a superstitious alcholic that winds up dead after taunting the wiccan at her restraunt. Now the mystery is who done it? The wiccan asks Betsy, who owns Crewel World Needlework shop and also is a part time sleuth, to help solve the murder because all of the talk about her possibly putting a curse on the dead man is hurting her business. The author throws in several subtle clues as to who the murderer is.I had it figured out long before the author reveals it in the book. I find this series a great read and look forward to reading the next installment.

2-0 out of 5 stars Blackwork doesn't work
Betsy Devonshire, the main character, is the owner of needlecraft store Crewel World.

When a man dies after taunting a Wiccan (who after all, must have cast a spell on the poor man), ta-da!, Betsy must investigate.

Now, there is absolutely no reason for Betsy to become involved in the crime.However, Betsy and the townspeople (and it seems, some of the local police, rather frightening), feel that Betsy is The Only One who can solve the crime.Betsy goes around asking people for alibis, and people talk to her instead of telling her to get lost.What's up with that?

In addition to the unappealing smugness that Betsy is the Only One who can solve the crime, Betsy is a rather bland character.The characters surrounding her are rather bland.There really is nothing to this series.I don't think I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment.Hopefully the Wiccan won't put a curse on me for saying that :)

1-0 out of 5 stars Blurb is better than the book
This is my first, and last, foray into this series. I was so excited when I read the blurb. Ohh...needlework...oh...wicca... oh ... brewing. All right!! Bring it on! Unfortunately, the characters were so generic I kept having to refer back to the blurb to remember who the main character was supposed to be...ugh!

It didn't help that I didn't care for her writing style. It is more literary in that she kept telling the reader what was going on rather than showing it to them. Even that wasn't in an interesting enough fashion to keep me reading.

Thankfully, I got this from the library.
... Read more

6. Highlander Unchained: A Novel
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2007-09-25)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345494385
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Lachlan Maclean will do whatever it takes to protect his clan–even if it means abducting the most willful woman in the Highlands with the secret intention of wooing her for marriage. A born searing sensual leader possessing brute strength, and an imposing command, Lachlan is unprepared for the beautiful spitfire Flora MacLeod, who jeopardizes his plans to save his clan, and digs beneath his hard, chiseled exterior to expose a tenderness that may be his undoing.

The greatest marriage prize in the Highlands, Flora is determined at all costs to avoid her mother’s fate of being bartered away as a political pawn. Vowing to make her captor pay for his ruthlessness, she boldly engages him in a battle of wills, sweetening the challenge with dangerous passion–even as the lingering curse and deadly ghosts of a past tragedy reach out to thwart a tender love that has yet to be spoken. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars 3rd in the MacLeod Trilogy - Better than the First Two!
This is the third in the MacLeod Trilogy (Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked and now Highlander Unchained) and it is by far the best.I reviewed Highlander Untamed and gave it only 3 stars as it (and Highlander Unmasked) dragged with too much repetitive narrative and some issues with the characters and story.However, I persisted in reading the rest (because I'd bought all three) and was rewarded with this one.(I have since read McCarty's second series, the Campbell Trilogy and found all three of those quite good so she's apparently overcome the problems with the first two in the MacLeod Trilogy).This story takes place in early 17th century Scotland. The featured MacLeod is the blue-eyed, golden haired sister, Flora--the bonniest heiress in Scotland--the "prize" desired by many suitors for the wealth and lands she'll bring to a marriage.Her mother, married four times to men not of her choosing, wanted Flora to marry for love, but headstrong Flora's main desire is to make her own choice, love notwithstanding.So, rather than be forced into an unwanted marriage, she chooses to marry a friend and a Lowlander, Lord Murray, who has his own wealth--and they decide to secretly elope.On the way, their carriage is set upon by Highlander brigands, or at least she thinks so.Actually, her handsome and dominating captor is Lachlan Maclean, the Maclean of Coll whose castle has been taken by her relative and whose clan is impoverished.He takes her to a lesser keep of his where his plan is to woo and marry her.But there is a curse on the MacLean clan imposed by one of Flora's female ancestors who was left to die on a rock by the husband she loved.No Maclean can prosper without a Campbell by his side and a MacLean's life must be given in love for a Campbell to lift the curse.Lachlan's ancestor had been the man who'd left the Campbell woman to die on the rock.And, Flora's mother was a Campbell.So the story begins...This one worked well and McCarty does a good job of character development, believable story, interesting dialog and great sexual tension and suspense.The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is that the action is slightly slower than those I rate as 5 stars and I'm not sure I'll read it again.But that doesn't mean I didn't find it throughly enjoyable and great Highlander fodder.And, I recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars VERY ENJOYABLE
Unlike Highland Warrior where the female lead annoyed the heck out of me with her non-stop trust issues, I liked the heroine in this book much, much better. Monica McCarty gives us the most delicious heroes in all of her books and they deserve worthy mates. Flora was fiesty and yet sweet when she needed to be. I loved how even after being kidnapped and held against her will in the beginning, she was still kind to Lachlan sisters. She didn't take her anger out on them or the others in Lachlan circle. Only time she ticked me off was towards the end when she ran from Lachlan straight to evil Hector. But don't worry...she learns real fast what a huge mistake that was so all's well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it Loved it Loved it!
The men in MM's Novels are hot hot hot, I love the entire series and have become a true fan! This one is a dont miss!

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved This Series
I was very surprised, by this author, never heard of her, till Amazon recommended her.Her books were great.Way to go Amazon!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Worn Plot Devices, but the novel has charm
Flora MacLeod swore to herself she would never be forced into marriage like her Mother had so many times in the past to her eventual heartbreak. When she discovers her distant half-brothers are plotting to do just that, she takes matters into her own hands and plans an elopement.

One Laird Lachlan Maclean will stop at nothing to ensure his marriage to the most sought after woman in Scotland- even by thwarting her quickie elopement and taking her hostage. He desperately needs this marriage, not only for the sake of his clan who have labored under a destructive curse all these many years but to save a beloved brother.

Upset beyond belief at Lachlan's interference, Flora is determined to make him pay. She battles him at every turn even as a burning passion for the handsome Laird begins to take root inside her heart

When the dust settles both are shocked to find a deep affection for each other. Will the love between them, desperate to be unchained, survive the secrets Lachlain has kept hidden from her or will it forever remain unspoken and crash apart under the crushing tides of political machinations of men?

Although this, the third book in McCarty's Highlander series, follows closest to many excellent Highland Historical Romances out there, I found it to be the least engaging.

Don't get me wrong, the hero is one hunky Scottish Highlander and you can't ask for more in the way of strength, nobility and kindness in a romance novel hero. Even the heroine appealed to me with her grit, feistiness and determination- plus these two burn up the sheets when they get together!

I also liked the curse and the overcoming of it by the h/h in Highlander Unchained, even though that has been done before in too many other historical romances out there- especially the ones with Celtic settings.

The overwhelming burden this novel labors under however, is the "big misunderstanding" plot device. If "the curse" is tired and too "done before", then "the big misunderstanding" is the mother of all worn out hooks, even if plotted believably- which it was in this novel.

Plentiful sizzling bedroom scenes and likable h/h's withstanding, HU gets a 4 out of 5 from me. ... Read more

7. Highland Scoundrel: A Novel
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2009-03-24)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345503406
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Framed for a crime he did not commit, Duncan Campbell, the illegitimate son of a chieftain, has returned to the Highlands determined to clear his name after ten years in exile. He is drawn to the unforgettable sensual beauty of Jeannie Gordon, the headstrong girl who once pledged him her love, gave him her innocence, and then betrayed him. Now, in the glow of the moonlight, she defiantly shows Duncan the bad end of a pistol.

Jeannie is stunned to discover that the broad-chested brigand she just shot is the rogue who broke her heart years ago. No longer a starry-eyed girl but a woman with dangerous secrets, Jeannie cannot forgive Duncan’s shattering mistrust of her–nor can she sign his death warrant by turning him in. Soon passion flares hotter and bolder than before, sealing a fate the onetime lovers can no longer deny. Caught up in a deadly game of murder and intrigue, Jeannie is willing to risk everything for a man and a love she vows never to lose again. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing
What a wonderful and enjoyable story. Both the characters of Duncan and Jeannie were woven together extremely well, Ms Mccarty has done it again.

I enjoyed this book and stayed up very late, captivated by each page.

This is the third book i have read by Ms Mccarty, and i have not been disappointed. i am a massive fan of Ms mccarty and can't wait to read the rest of her books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite to end the Highland Trilogy
This book grips your attention right from the start.Once the author reunites the hero and his love years later in a very compromising position for both characters, she goes into a lengthy flashback from the starting point of the relationship to the circumstance that led to their separation.

In my opinion, we have a hero that although his youth, was very mature and responsible, unlike his romantic interest. The heroine is extremely naive and cosseted by an overpowering father, and although she witnesses/encounters questionable conversations that will assist her hero in his quest for finding out some truth to his dilemmas, decides to remain self sheltered and comes across as lacking not one ounce of bravery.Even when she is faced with evidence of the betrayal executed by her father years ago, she maintains her emotional blinders on and her personal excuse for doing so was rather lame; she sends her son to be fostered by his biological uncle and hopes to guard her secret from his true father (the hero) and his family.The heroine did not seem to match her hero both ten years ago when they met and later on when they reunite.The heroine claims that she matured and grew up, but her lack of loyalty and faith in her hero down to the very last chapters of the book was extremely trite.

It was refreshing to have all the main characters from the prior two books of this saga come into the picture towards the end of the book, but they seemed to eliminate the suspense of what could've been a great ending; they kept revealing their suspicions on which the ultimate villain was. The hero exiles himself ten years ago due to the fact that one of his brothers is the clan's henchman, yet in this later reunion said henchman provides him with shelter and protection at its fullest and acts contrary to his personality traits portrayed in Highland Warrior.With this said, this particular turn of events seemed a bit farfetched.Finally, other than sibling jealousy it did not seem realistically convincing why the villain betrayed his very own family or what the actual gain of his actions would've accomplished.The wrap up of the ending felt a bit rushed and did not seem to close well for me, but the hero really held this book together, as well as the author's excellent writing skills and why the read is a bit more than average.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite by far.
This one was my favorite of the series. I could not put the book down at all. Finished it in one day!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Highland Scoundrel
I have been collecting all of Monica McCarty's highlander books;this series is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
Monica McCarty is among my new favorite authors.Her weaving of the romance with the historical content and complex characters make this series a delight to read anytime. ... Read more

8. Highlander Untamed: A Novel
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2007-07-31)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345494369
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Rory MacLeod is a bold and powerful Highland Chief with only one allegiance–to his clan. He vows revenge against the rival MacDonald clan, though duty demands a handfast marriage to Isabel MacDonald–a bride he does not want and has no intention of keeping. But Rory couldn’t have anticipated the captivating woman who challenges his steely control, and unleashes the untamed passion simmering beneath his fierce exterior.

Blessed with incomparable beauty, Isabel MacDonald is prepared to use every means possible–including seduction–to uncover her husband’s most guarded secrets. Instead Rory awakens Isabel’s deepest desires and her sweetest fantasies. Now Isabel has found the happiness she’s always dreamed of with the very man she must betray, and discovers that passion can be far more dangerous than revenge. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

3-0 out of 5 stars Frustrating read...at times enjoyable
This is a difficult review to write as I think this author really does have talent.On the good side, she paints excellent historical pictures that capture the time period, she can develop an interesting tale and she can write witty and enthralling dialog.But in between pieces of dialog she has long, often repetitive narratives and back stories that are disruptive and frankly boring.When this persisted in the book, I found myself skipping some of those passages to complete the dialog.That is never a good sign.And as I began the book, by page 20, I'd decided it was a "slow read."Not my favorite thing.This particular story also has problems in the characters themselves.Isabel and Rory are from waring clans (the analogy to Romeo and Juliet is drawn by the author).Rory is the handsome Scottish laird who wasn't looking for a wife but the King orders him to wed or at least hand fast with the Isabel MacDonald.Isabel is painted as a sweet, unselfish--too perfect--young woman who is content to enter into a deceit that is designed to bring Rory to his knees.What?A bit contradictory you say?That's what I thought, too.It was hard to like her.Sickly sweet and deceit...a rare combination.And Rory's actions are a bit bizarre.What man in his right mind would agree to sleep in the same bed with a beautiful woman he finds attractive for a year while remaining celibate?Right, I didn't think so either.I don't like having to suspend rational belief in a romance.Hence this one tried my patience.I'm giving it 3 stars because there were times it was truly enjoyable (the last 1/3rd of the book) and I think the writer has talent.I waited to do this review until I'd read the next book of hers, Highlander Unmasked, which I'd purchased with the first.It is better than this one--I'd even give it 4 stars perhaps, but it also has the same flaw of too much unneeded and repetitive narrative and back story between segments of dialog that make it a slow read.She really needs to get a good editor.

1-0 out of 5 stars LIES in one BREATH and LOVE on another....ARGH!!!
this was the most frustrating book i have read in a long time...Rory and Isabella are deemed physically perfect beyond belief and while Rory has been given more depth of personality in the beginning of the book as the Chief of his clan, Isabella is about as vanilla as you can get...I wouldn't think this except that she cries and LIES on one breath to Rory and then tells him she loves him in the next...it is so redundant and drags on and on and on and on and on with the same LIES and issues that i got fed up half way through the book...love should be truthful and trust that the truth will set you free, how can she say she loves him and sleep with him with so many lies in her heart...don't bother with this book there are sooooo many other Highlander books that are better!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars McCarty is magic.
I enjoyed this series.Anyone interested in historical romance with great twists and characters will enjoy this book.McCarty also know her history and is writes for woman who want the whole package.

3-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Yet Forgettable Highlander Book
I was torn between three and four stars because although I found the story formulaic and it reminded me of too many other Highlander/Clan dispute romances I really enjoyed Ms. McCartys writing style.Albeit Ms. McCarty uses some of the same phrases one too many times all in all she paints a vivid picture of the time and characters.The sex scenes were good but didn't overtake the whole story as sometimes they can.What ultimately made me decide on the three stars was I don't think I will remeber any details from this book a year from now to set it apart from other Scottish romantic historicals.There was nothing unique or particularly creative about this story or Rory and Isabelle's relationship.You've read this before.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent Highlander Romance
As an enthusiastic convert to the Highlander romance subgenre, I would place this work in the solid center of my reading experiences. The characters are well developed and the plot is absorbing and fun to follow. The romance is steamy and it is interesting to watch the developing love between the two main characters; the story has a rousing conclusion that doesn't disappoint.
The quality of the writing was only fair; there were many cliches and trite phrases thrown in at the expense of thoughtful imagery, such as one would find, say, in a Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series) novel. 'Highlander Untamed' does its job as a romance novel, but is nothing spectacular. ... Read more

9. Monica Bellucci
by Monica Bellucci
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2010-11-30)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$37.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0847835073
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An exquisite tribute to Italy’s most important contemporary model and actress. As a model, Monica Bellucci graced the covers of magazines such as Elle and Esquire before achieving success as an actress whose notable appearances include roles in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Matrix Reloaded, The Passion of the Christ, and The Matrix Revolutions. This glamorous volume features 150 of the most exquisite, sensual photographs of Bellucci throughout her twenty-year career taken by the world’s most important photographers, including Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton, Fabrizio Ferri, Richard Avedon, and Ellen von Unwerth. Monica Bellucci will appear in the 2010 Disney film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Nicolas Cage. ... Read more

10. Highlander Unmasked: A Novel
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (2007-08-28)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345494377
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Alex MacLeod’s virile physique, fearsome reputation, and renowned fighting skills have helped him master to perfection the role of a hardened mercenary. On a secret mission to protect his clan, he must keep his true purpose well hidden. But his dangerous endeavor is threatened by a beautiful woman he saves from outlaws, never dreaming she will appear at court and put his plans in jeopardy.

Meg Mackinnon needs a strong husband by her side to defend her clan’s holdings, but her search has been hampered by burning fantasies of the midnight rescuer whose smoldering blue eyes and raw sensuality left her breathless. Alex pretends to be a mercenary with no loyalties, yet he is clearly much more. As Meg challenges Alex to reveal all his secrets, the stakes grow perilously high, especially for the bold woman who dares to unmask a highlander. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Highlander. Maybe Unmasked. Not sure.
I was in the mood for an exciting, chivalrous highlander romance and picked this one up. I must say, I was thrilled with the beginning of the book. The rescue scene was very exciting- the intro was extraordinary. I was intrigued with Alex MacLeod- his story, his history, his personality. He was the perfect alpha male at the start- hard, focused, driven and proud, but still took a moment to rescue a damsel in distress while on his quest. Sighs!

However, after such a fun and interesting introduction, the book just neverpicked-up-and-went. The heroine, Meg (she's the strong, intellectual ugly swan cliche), arrives at court with her mother in search for a husband. She goes over and over and over in her mind as to who the man should be. He needs to be strong, so he can fight along with her clan. But not too big, because even though Alex saved her his size frightens her. He needs to be intelligent and have the ability to lead the clan, but cannot be overly ambitious, like a suitor she has at home. He needs to be this, but not that, he needs to be that, but not that, he needs to be this.... Obviously, the entire time the best suitor is Alex.... The two spend the entire novel in their minds thinking of why they should or shouldn't be together and who they would rather be with or not be with.

The plot of the story is a sorta summary of the famous Campbell - Argyll- Mackinnon connection. If you've read a lot of highlander historical romances, then like me, you have this story memorized already. "Highlander Unmasked" sorta strayed on the edge of this scenario, only mentioning it here and there to further the "story." Basically the "plot" has something to do with the filthy Lowlanders moving into the Highlanders land. I found this novel to be anticlimactic at the most. After a promising intro, it dragged for several hundred pages. You could basically read the first two or three chapters of this novel and then skip to the end and be just as fulfilled.

Last observation and only because it's a pet peeve of mine-- If you're writing a historic romance novel just using large synonyms for otherwise suitable words doesn't make up for lack of brogue or time-appropriate lexicon. For example, at one point Meg thinks to herself, "Then why was she vacillating? It wasn't like her to procrastinate." Vacillating? The word choice is awkward. Just because the word is larger does not make for historic lexicon. Besides, it made these particular characters sound more like British Regency types than a Highlander and his lady in the year 1606.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a surprise!!!
Her books are a true surprise.Her writting is very similar to Hannah Howell's heart racing and excitting.Loved it!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Highlander Unmasked
This was a suggested purchase by a fellow reader and I have now purhased all three in this series.My love of all things Celtic has not been tarnished but enriched with this series.Would highly recommend to any reader of period romance!

4-0 out of 5 stars Surpasses the original!
Not too many historical are hitting my list about now, but this is one series I do enjoy.

The second in Mccarty's Highlander series, Highlander Unmasked follows the family of Macleod who are dead set on defending their little patch of Scotland from the Scots English King James and his greedy noble lowlanders.

On his way to King James Court to suss out some key information that will help protect Lewis & the isle of Skye, Alex Macleod comes across a band of knaves attacking a party of nobles also on their way to court.

Alex is a warrior of the first order and when he and his men dispatch the thugs rather easily, Meg MacKinnon can't help but wonder who the handsome Highlander is that came to her rescue so effectively- and disappeared just as quickly.

Meg too is on a mission. An oddity in her time, Meg is strong willed and intelligent. However, her beloved brother who is due to inherit her father's lands, is not. Meg is determined to find a man for herself, not for love, but to help support her brother when he becomes Chief. With her father fallen gravely ill, Meg has taken it upon herself to go to court to find just such a man.

Unfortunately not a single man at court has impressed her as the one to fill the position and she doesn't trust a one of them.

Until Alex suddenly appears at court.

Of course she's instantly attracted to the tall foreboding Highlander, but for some reason the stubborn man is denying he is the one to come to her aid that day in the woods, when she knows darn well it was he. Something is up with Alex Macleod and Meg won't be deterred from finding out.

Alex is frustrated. The wily Meg Mackinnon will not take him at his word when he says he was not the man to rescue her. She is right, of course, but if people know that he was in the area of Skye, when he supposedly was off to other lands as a mercenary and on the outs with his brother, Laird Macleod, he will not be able to get the information he needs to defeat the king's men arming themselves to take over Lewis.

In addition to saving his homeland from colonization, Alex must fulfill his purpose and exact the revenge he's been thirsting for, but how can he when one Meg Mackinnon is proving to be a huge distraction and he finds himself helplessly drawn to her beauty and courage?

If you're still a fan of a good old fashioned romance novel, this one hits the mark. I loved Meg. She's clever and strong and I could see why a noble man such as Alex Macleod would fall for her. Alex's character has developed into the epitome of dark brooding male since Highlander Untamed, the first in the series. I loved these two together and the story flowed seamlessly from scene to scene as the characters make their way through the intrigue of court and ... falling in love.

Highlander Unmasked is good romance read, that delivers heat, romance, and an exciting storyline. I believe this is one sequel that surpasses the original!

2-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Book one
I read this book because I really liked Highlander Untamed. I had a hard finishing it, it was so boring. I ended up just skipping to the end. ... Read more

11. The Ranger: A Highland Guard Novel
by Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2010-12-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345518268
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Chosen to help Robert the Bruce in his quest to free Scotland from English rule and claim his crown, the legendary team of warriors known as the Highland Guard battles on.

Embedded deep behind enemy lines, Arthur “Ranger” Campbell is prized for his razor-sharp senses and his ability to blend into the shadows. But when Arthur infiltrates the clan of the chieftain who murdered his father, his heart is locked on revenge. Inside he faces unexpected resistance from the sweetest of obstacles—a honey-haired siren who is his enemy’s daughter.

Intrigued by this ruggedly handsome newcomer to her father’s forces, the vivacious, enchanting Anna MacDougall is a woman whose skill at uncovering deception rivals Arthur’s own. Though yearning for a quiet life with a good man to love, Anna is drawn to this mysterious knight whose eyes devour her but whose words push her away. As danger, treachery, and the threat of looming war draw them closer into each other’s arms, a warrior made of steel must make a choice from the heart: love or revenge. ... Read more

12. Buttons and Bones (Crewel World Needlework)
by Monica Ferris
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2010-12-07)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425237044
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A new Needlecraft mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Blackwork.

Owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth Betsy Devonshire heads for the Minnesota north woods to renovate an old cabin. But beneath the awful linoleum is something even uglier- the skeleton of a Nazi. Betsy's investigation yields the site of a former German POW camp, a mysterious crocheted rug, and an intricately designed pattern of clues to a decades-old crime. ... Read more

13. Thai Die: A Needlecraft Mystery (Needlecraft Mysteries (Berkley Hardcover))
by Monica Ferris
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2008-12-02)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002BWQ5AY
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The USA Today bestselling Needlecraft mystery series returns to pick up another deadly stitch—includes a free needlepoint pattern!

As full-time owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth, Betsy Devonshire has become skilled at weaving suspicious threads. But when one of her regulars unwittingly becomes involved in a deadly delivery of exotic antiquities, Betsy fears something is seriously warped. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great fun, and education in one book
There are twists and turns in all of the Ferris books, and the casts of characters are always interesting. Ferris always adds information on subjects in her stories that educate the reader, and Thai Die is no exception.I didn't realize I knew so little about silk until I read this book.Well worth reading, and I truly look forward to her next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thai Dye
Monica Ferris always writes exceptional books. This one is be best so far!!
I hope she keeps up the good work! I love the fact that she has so many different types of needlework in her writtings. I let all my friends know of her books and when the are released. Waiting for the next one in Oct.

5-0 out of 5 stars Monica Ferris getting better all the time!
I love this series of books.In this one Ferris takes you to Thailand and never once leaves MN.She expands the world nicely ... and I think there's a little romantic intrigue being set up too!

3-0 out of 5 stars JUST O.K.
This is only the 2nd book of this series I've read, so maybe one needs to start at the 1st one and meet all the regulars of Monday Bunch Needlework group.Has the character Doris been in other books?Her personality didn't make sense.She was brave enough to go on her adventure to Thailand by herself but then made an abrupt change and turned extremely shy and frighted of everything.Alot of events happened after her return, such as a murder & other things but the change didn't seem in character for how she behaved in the beginning. As another reviewer mentioned the name going from Doris to Dorie and also the character of Godwin to Goddy. Was that editing or were those nick names? As Joy Behar on 'The View' would say, "So what....Who cares!!!" It's no big deal to the story line just something to wonder about.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable diversion
I've read several (but not all) in the Crewel World series--it's never the first set I think of when browsing a bookstore looking for a quick mystery but is one I've enjoyed in the past.This installment is no different.

The mystery is not outstanding--the clues are not obvious enough to be caught the first time through and the killer is not particularly well fleshed out.But that's pretty much what you expect in these books--a good stable of regulars (who have been detailed in the past and continue to grow with this book) and some cardboard cut-out types who apear only in the current installment.

The background information on needle crafts and, in this case, Asian silks, make for fascinating reading and help carry the plot along.

All in all, this book is worth the price of a paperback and the few short hours that you will spend in the Minnesota setting. ... Read more

14. Breaking All the Rules
by Monica Robinson
Paperback: 240 Pages (2008-11-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$5.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1599989913
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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What happens when the rules we create for ourselves end up being the ones we most want to break? Between flying tequila bottles and auctioning off body shots, Allie McAllister knows how to work a crowd. When she isn't mixing drinks at The Guild, she devotes her spare time to teaching aspiring authorsnamely, male authorshow to make women melt with nothing more than a pen and paper. The Mistress of Seduction has only three rules for her students: 1) Six months is the limit; 2) When she speaks, they listen; 3) Never, under any circumstances, are her students allowed to fall in love with her. Her newest student has a lot to learn when it comes to putting his passion to paper, but there's nothing Allie craves more than a challenge. Criminal defense attorney Adam Carlton is well aware he doesn't have a creative bone in his body. Just the same, after taking a body shot off the most beautiful spitfire he's ever seen, he has to see Allie again. But how? Then it hits him. He'll write a book.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Breaking all the Rules
Alacia McAllister, better known as Allie Cat, might be bartending, but she's really a writer. At least if she can get over her writer's block and finishes another book she can continue to call herself that. In the meantime she mentors, usually male aspiring authors, on how to write stories. She has specific rules she set in place after getting burned, and hasn't broken them for any man.

Adam Carlton knows about Allie's rules. He's not above pretending to want to write so he can get in her pants. He's even more than willing to go along with all her rules. But when he falls hard and fast for her, and everything crashes around him, he finds himself caught in a struggle to win a court case, win Allie back, and not lose his job, while trying to stay sane and figure out what his ex is up to before she can wreck more havoc in his life.

Breaking All the Rules is an intense read that will have the reader wondering, what next? Allie and Adam are fun characters. Adam won my heart much faster than Allie. Some parts of the story made me want to sit her down and talk to her. Understandable, since she'd been hurt in the past, but I felt she got more upset than she should have considering all the signs had been evident. I didn't like the incidences where we were given scenes from the evil ex's view point. I really didn't care for Ericka, and didn't need those scenes. Her actions would have been obvious the minute they happened, and it only pulled me away from Adam's delicious story. Yes, Adam is the reason I read this from start to finish. Kudos to Monica Robinson for crafting such a delicious hero, I truly hope all her heroes are as wonderful as he is. I did like Allie for the most part, and her interactions with Adam. I hope Charlie gets a story because he certainly deserves one for losing the woman of his dreams to his best friend.

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed ... Read more

15. Assassin's Heart
by Monica Burns
Paperback: 368 Pages (2010-09-07)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425236528
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The past and present collide in a thrilling new paranormal romance from the author of Assassin's Honor.

The half-angel, half-demon face that telepathic Lysander sees in the mirror is a reminder of the monster he must keep hidden to avoid expulsion from an order of assassins. His dreams of ancient Rome hint at a destiny with a woman he loves, but can never have.

When the gifted healer Phaedra travels to Rome in search of a legendary artifact, she works alongside a man who once rejected her love and healing touch. But her dreams of Ancient Rome tell of an irreversible and possibly dangerous future. For the distant past and present are about to collide-with the one man she is destined to love. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Action-Packed Swoon Worthy Romance (B+ Grade)
Assassin's Heart (Book 2 in the Order of the Sicari) by Monica Burns is filled with incredible world building, strong, warrior type characters and an amazing romance. Assassin's Heart stars Lysander, a facially scarred and brooding Sicari fighter. The beginning of Assassin's Heart takes place a year before the events of the first book, Assassin's Honor. Lysander has been taken captive by his enemy, the Praetorian. He is tortured horribly by one of the Praetorian who scrapes away the skin on part of his face and blinds him in one eye. Even though Lysander is in incredible pain and expects to die, he has no regrets, especially since he had an amazing night of lovemaking with the healer Phaedra (Sister to Ares, the hero in Assassin's Honor). He loves Phaedra with everything he has inside him, but his torturer tells him something that will destroy him. Lysander's mother was raped by the Praetorian torturer and from that violent act, Lysander was conceived. Everything Lysander thought he knew was a lie, and now he feels dirty and less of a man. He is saved by his fellow Sicari, and Phaedra wants to heal his face, but he rejects her healing powers and her help. He wants to live with the scars his father has given him as punishment. And he knows if Phaedra finds out he is part Praetorian, she will hate him because the Praetorians murdered her parents.

Now a year later, the Praetorians are still out to get the Sicari. Phaedra suffers silently because of Lysander's harsh rejection, while Lysander longs for Phaedra, but turns way from her because of what he is. Phaedra wants to get to the bottom of Lysander's grief. And even though he acts cold and uncaring towards her, she notices the heated stares he gives her. Also, both are having strange dreams where they come to the conclusion that Lysander is the first Sicari Lord and Phaedra is his wife that have been reincarnated. Not only do they have to deal with the Praetorians upping their attacks, but they must learn to work with one another no matter how hard it is. Phaedra is not one to have a man like Lysander walk away from her. She refuses to let him wallow in his despair, and won't rest until he tells her the truth. And when he does, it's just as explosive as the passion they have for one another.

Monica really knows how to bring out the yearning, angst and smoldering lust two people can have for one another. Assassin's Heart has wicked fighting scenes with nasty, powerful villains and more than enough hot love between Lysander and Phaedra that almost had me grasping for air. Everything is explained in such detail that I'm simply amazed by how Monica could do it all.

I'm usually not one for flashback scenes, but the ones with Maximus and Cassiopeia, both Lysander and Phaedra dream about are very well written and fit in the story. I also loved how Monica had me aching for two characters whose story must be written because they made such an impact on me. This deals with Atia, one of the heads of the Sicari Order. She is the mother of Cleo, another Sicari. Atia hides many secrets. One being of Cleo's father who has no idea that Atia gave birth to her. He is Marcus, a Sicari Lord, who had to give up Atia decades ago because of his important role. Now he's back and wants Atia. He won't allow her to walk away from him as he did before. But there's another man who protects both Cleo and Atia, who also wants her as much as Marcus does. Their relationship is filled with mistrust and hurt. And there's a major shocking twist with their son that Marcus took away who could possible destroy the Sicari after all these centuries. At times I was more interested in Atia and Marcus, versus Lysander and Phaedra, and can't wait to see what Monica has in store for them.

Assassin's Heart is very rich and descriptive. The men are full of smoldering sexiness and their women are their equals in every sense of the word. If you're lacking an action packed, swoon worthy type romance, do give Assassin's Heart a read. You will definitely enjoy the masterful talents of Monica Burns who never fails to disappoint.


Assassin's Honor (Order of the Sicari Novels)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hot New Paranormal Book
From the back cover..

The truth of the soul.
Lysander Condellaire never understood why he had telepathic and telekinetic powers until the night his Praetorian father tortured him and left him for dead. Now, the half-angelic, half-demonic face he sees in the mirror is a reminder of the monster he must keep hidden or face expulsion from the order of assassins know as the Sicari. But his dreams of Ancient Rome hint at a destiny he finds hard to accept, especially when it involves the woman he loves, but can never have.

The consequences of desire.
A gifted healer in the Order, Phaedra DeLuca witnessed her mother's murder when she was just a little girl. The haunting memory makes her loathe everything Praetorian. When she travels to Rome in search of an ancient artifact, she must work alongside a man who once cruelly rejected her love and healing touch. But her dreams of Ancient Rome tell of an irreversible and possibly dangerous future. For the distant past and present are about to collide--with the one man she is destined to love.

My review:
I read a lot and read this book in one sitting! I just couldn't put it down after I started reading, I was so enthralled. The story that Ms. Burns weaves together was one of tragedy, torture, sorrow, adventure and love. Anyone who likes paranormal romance is going to love this book. I just read Assassin's Honor the day before reading this book and couldn't wait to see what Ms. Burns had in store for us.

Lysander's story is so tragic and sad it made me want to cry for all he's had to endure. He was tortured by the Praetorians and they sliced off part of his face, but later we find out he has even more to endure and it seems like it might be too much for him. He has secret's and he's sure that if anyone finds out about them they won't trust him or love him.

Phaedra is a healer for the Sicari and she's been in love with Lysander for over a year, but he's keeping her at arm's length because he doesn't trust her to love him if she ever finds out his secret. They both have to get past the hurt of the past year when they are thrown together much to the dismay of Lysander, when they go in search of The Tyet of Isis. An ancient artifact they want to get before the Praetorian's get their hands on it.
Neither Phaedra or Lysander know that the other have been having dreams of the first Sicari lord and his wife and we get pulled into another heart breaking story as their dreams get more vivid and we find out they are dreaming about their own past lives.

As well as the past life story there is a romance story from other characters in this book that comes alive in a shocking way. Atia the Prima Consul and Marcus a Sicari Lord have a secret past and Atia has been keeping a huge secret from Marcus as he is about to find out. Their history and romance that barely conceals itself under the surface is sure to explode in the coming books from Ms. Burns. I liked this second book in the Order of the Sicari series even more than the first one if that's even possible. I think this series can only get better and more exciting as time goes by and we read stories about the rest of the characters.
This story within a story could have been so confusing if a less talented author had tried to write it, but Ms. Burns is incredibly talented and has found a way to bring a whole new world to the paranormal genre that fans are going to be talking about for years.

If you liked Assassin's Honor, you'll love Assassin's Heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enchanting
The story
The Sicari are deadly enemies of the Praetorians. The praetorians are evil murdering religious zealots. Lysander get caught in a praetorian trap and ends up finding out his father is a praetorian, that's why he is a telekinetic and telepath. The praetorian raped his mother. Crushed and scarred for life Lysander won't let his love, Phaedra, heal him for fear of her finding out what happened. Phaedra's parents were killed by praetorians. To protect her he won't let her near him, he shoves her away for a year. Phaedra is recruited for a mission in Rome - praetorian territory - to find the Tyet of Isis. Phaedra and Lysander must work together where neither is able to ignore their feelings.

I really liked the plots in this book. I enjoyed the story line. There are glimpses of the past with Maximus and Cassiopeia. Lysander has dreamt of Maximus since he was a child. I liked reading their story line. This book is filled with mystery, betrayal, love, sacrifice, unity and family. It was intriguing to read Atia's story, her love and her love lost. I can't wait to read more, especially Atia's and her daughter Cleopatra's story. There is a lot of push/pull between Phaedra and Lysander. At one point I thought enough is enough, but that was the end of it.It was interesting to read where the Sicari and the Praetorians came from and more of the inner workings. I can't imagine the pain of being tortured by your father, awful. Lysander grows in this book, Phaedra as well. I can't decide if I liked this or Assassin's Honor more. They were both great. THe only complaint I have is throughoutthe book cuss words and terms of endearment are in Italian? Anyway, I had to look up the translations, curiosity got to me.I would have been nice if they gave the translations in the book so we the readers could know what they're saying.

5-0 out of 5 stars Second in the series just gets hotter!
It is fabulous! This is the second in the series by Monica Burns. You don't have to read the first to love this one, but you will want to. Hot, sword carrying heros, a link to the ancient past, steamy love scenes... it has it all. Did I mention paranormal powers? Hot, Hot, Hot! Read Assassin's Honor or Assassin's Heart and you will be hooked on the Sicari.

5-0 out of 5 stars super romantic urban fantasy
One year ago the Praetorian Guard captured Sicari assassin Lysander.They tortured him, but that is not what disturbed him the most about his captivity.He learned to his horror that he is half Praetorian; every time he looks in a mirror he sees the monster he is and hides from his peers.After escaping, feeling less then worthy by not being a purebred Sicari, Lysander ended his promising relationship with healer Phaedra DeLuca.

He has successfully avoided her until now.Lysander and Phaedra travel to Rome together to search for the ancient artifact, the Tyet of Isis.The pair shares a dream about an ancient Rome couple Maximus and Cassiopeia whose lives ended tragically.As they struggle with their attraction and the strange nightmare, a Praetorian, aware of Phaedra's skills, plans to snatch her.

The second Order of Sicari romantic urban fantasy (see Assassin's Honor) is an exhilarating second chance at love suspense thriller.The keys to this fine tale are the fully developed lead characters, the Burns world that enhance the growing feelings that the heroes are in deep trouble and the dreams of the Ancient Rome star-crossed lovers.Assassin's heart is terrific mostly because of Lysander who psychologically feels unworthy of Phaedra as he fights against half his nature and, his love for his companion who desperately wants to heal him though he says no.Monica Burns provides a fabulous fantasy.

Harriet Klausner
... Read more

16. Knitting Bones (Needlecraft Mystery)
by Monica Ferris
Paperback: 304 Pages (2008-08-05)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425223019
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

FREE knitting pattern included!

The stitchers of the Embroiderers Guild raised over twenty thousand dollars for charity—but the representative who accepted the check at the annual convention disappeared with it. It turns out that he’s the husband of the local chapter president, Allie Germaine, who insists on his innocence. But if Bob Germaine didn’t pocket the check, who did? And where is Bob now? Since needlework shop owner Betsy Devonshire has broken her leg horseback riding, solving the latest crime will have to be a group project. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars not enough research
I am a member of the Embroiderers' Guild of America and found many inaccuracies in Ferris's use of the organization as a plot device. Only one vendor at a major gathering of the EGA? Never! Even with Betsy's large inventory of various needlework supplies and patterns. The introduction of the crow seemed very strange, but before long I knew exactly how it was going to figure in the ending. This book could have used some strengthening in both plot and facts. Sorry I couldn't like it more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun fun fun to read!
Monica Ferris' books are a delight!The characters are real and absolutely adorable and the mysteries keep me turning the pages.The setting is great (now I want to go to Minnesota!) and even though I know nothing about needlework I love that the "backdrop" is a needlework shop!

4-0 out of 5 stars Easy reading
I like to read something light and entertaining at night and this book is just that. Pleasant, easy reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Once again Monica Ferris delivers a first rate mystery.
I was disappointed with the last 2 novels in the Needlecraft Mystery series and was hesitant to even try this one.But, I'm glad I did.Monica Ferris delivered a first rate mystery in Knitting Bones.I enjoyed reading about what Betsy and Goddy "thought" as they worked at solving the mystery.I enjoyed even more reading about what the chief suspect "thought."

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best in the Series
Ferris just keeps getting better and better. Though I figured out "whodunnit" early on, I still enjoyed the antics of Betsy Devonshire and friends. All the series regulars are back and true to form. Goddy must take over sleuthing and store management duties as Betsy is laid up with a broken leg (and an unusual house guest). He gets off to a slow start investigating a theft from the Embroidery Guild of America but soon gains his sea legs. There's plenty of small-town happenings to keep the reader interested... but where did I miss the disappearance of Betsy's beau? I thought I had read all the previous books, but I must have lost track... ... Read more

17. Sew Far, So Good (Needlecraft Mysteries (Berkley Paperback))
by Monica Ferris
Paperback: 448 Pages (2009-12-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425232751
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Available for the first time in one volume: three mysteries from the USA Today bestselling author of the Needlecraft series...

Shop owner and part-time sleuth Betsy Devonshire has a knack for stumbling upon dead bodies-and it's entangled her in more than one knotty situation. Here in one volume are three of Betsy's adventures as a not-so-seamless investigator.

Includes Unraveled Sleeve, A Murderous Yarn, and Hanging by a Thread.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great stuff!!
I do prefer Female central characters and especially if they are around my age; 56 and single. This is the second omnibus that I have bought of this Monica Ferris series. I am sad that there arent more. I love that Betsy is a flawed person; with faults and odd moments. She reminds me of most of us. Not always confident.
Ferris does a great job of providing our herione with a support cast of different folk; ages, interests, and marital status.

I am just sorry that now I will have to purchase the rest of the series singly. I waited a long time for this book to reach a price I could afford and do not regret it's purchase one iota.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three excellent stories!
Yes, it's three 'old' stories, but they are the usual Monica quality. So a great buy if you don't have them already.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sew Far, So Good
I was very disappointed when I realized that this is not a new story, but three old books in one.Yes, they are listed on the front cover, but I missed that! ... Read more

18. Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self
by Monica Seles
Paperback: 304 Pages (2010-04-06)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$5.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0043RT8S6
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
For those of you tuned into this past season's Dancing with the Stars, it's hard to believe that spectacularly fit former tennis champion Monica Seles struggled with binge-eating and depression.

Getting a Grip chronicles Monica's success on the tennis circuit where, at age sixteen, she became the youngest winner in French Open history. For three years she dominated the tour, racking up eight Grand Slam titles, and charming the media at post-match conferences with her trademark giggle. She seemed unstoppable until a deranged Steffi Graf fan plunged a knife into her back during a match in Hamburg and turned her life upside down. Her injuries healed but the emotional trauma was deep. With no support from the WTA and her number-one ranking falling, Monica sunk into a depression. Hiding from the media and disappearing from the tennis world, she turned to food for comfort. She spent more than two years in seclusion, trying to fight off the fog of despair.

Back in the public eye but far from recovered, she continued the battle against herself--grueling six-hour workouts were sabotaged by secretive late-night binges--and she was assaulted with criticism about her weight from her trainers, nutritionists, and, most brutally, the press. Playing with an extra thirty pounds and devastated after losing her father/coach to cancer, she was never able to regain her former dominance on tour.

After an excruciating injury forced her to take time off from tennis in 2003, Seles embarked on her own journey. She abandoned the arduous workouts and the punitive diets. As she uncovered the painful emotional reasons that had been the trigger for her binge-eating, she finally found the peace and balance she had been searching for.

Monica Seles's determination, amazing talent, and touching vulnerability make her story both incredibly human and inspiring. By sharing her own narrative, she hopes to motivate other people to take control of their lives and their own happiness. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars gave me a good hangover after reading
When I was a kid I used to see her play on Television. My sister was a big fan of her and hence it rubbed on me too to some extent. After her stabbing she slowly went out of the headlines. Recently on our trip to India, my wife bought this in airport to read in the flight, and after she read, she recommended me also to read. It was lying for last 4-5 months at home and finally over the last weekend when I fell ill, I picked up this book to just kill some time.

I did not read a book for many months now and this book just kept me going. So nice and so honest. At many instances I could also connect my life with her struggles.

Amazing lady and the best things I liked about her was Never-give-up attitude and recently acquired attitude to treat the body more respectfully (basically to hear and do what body says or is screaming to say). After reading this book I read lot more about her online and saw most of her interviews. It was very heartening!!

I am now going to recommend this book to my sister and father also.

4-0 out of 5 stars Could be a bit depressing, but uplifting at the same time
If you want to get to know Monica at a deeper level, this book is for you. There is a lot beyond the surface. Her struggle after the stabbing, how hard for her to climb back after that. If you read Agassi's Open before this one, I think you might be disappointed. The flow, the tone and especially the mood are totally different. Since the book contains a great deal (90% of it) of her struggle after the incident, it might seem repetitive to some (part of it because she was dealing with the same issue!). However it gives you a more understanding of how she has become. You will learn about her very close relationship with her dad and how much it affected her personally and specially professionally. So overall if you want to get to know Monica more as a person, pick up the book. But if you want a fun read on a tennis athlete, this book is not for you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Very POOR service by Amazon
I ordered a 'new' book and paid for it, but you send me an 'used' book. I sent 5 complaint e-mails to Amazon and Beanie Books (attn: Jean Beard, who shipped it) but my mails have been neglected by you all.

After I started to reading it, I found somebody marked with lines and circles in the book.
I have got so disappointed because I ordered a 'new' book. What I got is an used book.

I cannot understand why you have kept neglecting my complaint.

Please send me a "new" book .

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Honest, Inspiring
I had read Andre Agassi's "Open" -which I loved and decided to find another tennis bio to read. I saw the reviews for Monica's book so I got it. This was such an inspiring story. I didn't know anything about her before hand. She was so honest about body image issues and how she conquered them. She shares a lot of wise advice. Women especially should read this book. I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Get a Copy!
Talk about a great read!Getting a Grip?Monica Seles has done more than that with this book.........it was so interesting, I read it within 3 nights!Get a copy! ... Read more

19. In the Kitchen: A Novel
by Monica Ali
Paperback: 448 Pages (2010-05-11)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$2.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416571698
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Monica Ali, nominated for the Man Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has written a follow-up to Brick Lane that further establishes her as one of England’s most compelling and original voices.

Gabriel Lightfoot, an enterprising man from a northern English mill town, is making good in London. As executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial Hotel, he aims to run a tight kitchen. Though he’s under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberantly multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own, all Gabe’s hard work looks set to pay off.

Until, that is, a worker is found dead in the kitchen’s basement. It is a small death, a lonely death—but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe’s life.

Enter Lena, an eerily attractive young woman with mysterious ties to the dead man. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which strip him naked and change the course of the life he knows—and the future he thought he wanted.

With prose that "crackles with verve and vivacity" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and "a truly Dickensian cast of characters" (The Buffalo News), Ali’s "portrait of a middle-aged Holden Caulfield wandering the streets" (The Plain Dealer) is a sheer pleasure to read. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

4-0 out of 5 stars Slow to Start, Preachy, but Overall Worth it
Gabriel Lightfoot is the executive chef at the Imperial Hotel on Piccadilly. The kitchen, well, if you've seen Hell's Kitchen on TV, you have an idea, it's not only a kitchen, it's part nuthouse, too. The staff Gab presides over are immigrants of every stripe and there in lies part of the problem of the first part of this book. The author, IMO, spends too much time on their back story, too much time preaching about the plight of immigrants that it slows the first couple hundred pages or so down.

But that this turns into a whale of a novel, so it's worth it, wading through those pages, or maybe you'll just want to skim them, speed read, whatever.

Gab is 42 and dreams of opening his own place and it looks like his dream is about to come true, but there is a body in the cellar that puts a damper on things and sets Gabs life on a course he couldn't have foreseen. He loses his jazz singing girl over a skinny hooker and now we have a bit of preaching against trafficking, but that's necessary for the story, I guess.

Ms. Ali is a gifted writer, to be sure and I know that fiction is supposed to mirror real life, but perhaps those mirrors are a bit too reflective here. Still, the second half of the book held me in my chair like a magnet.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not quite good enough
Gabriel Lightfoot is a 42-year-old executive chef putting in his time trying to revive the less than stellar restaurant at the Imperial Hotel in London, while waiting for the financing to finally make his dream of opening his own restaurant come true. The book begins with an interesting premise, but the more I learned about Gabriel's life both in and out of the kitchen, the less I cared what happened to him. His life seems "not quite good enough' in all aspects...and then the body of one of his kitchen staff is discovered - an accidental death or not? Just when it should have become more interesting, it got bogged down. Reminiscent of a meal that wasn't good enough to even finish."

3-0 out of 5 stars Highs and Lows
Monica Ali's novel In the Kitchen describes chef Gabriel Lightfoot's dramatic midlife crisis. Gabriel is confused when it comes to his professional, romantic, social, and familial roles, and must hit rock bottom before he can begin figuring out what truly matters to him.

What I Liked:
- Ali creates interesting, multi-faceted characters, no matter how minor their role. Each has a purpose in Gabriel's life and helps guide him along his journey of self-discovery, whether good or bad.
- Ali provides an interesting perspective into the hotel and restaurant industries, romanticizing neither.
- The perspective into sex and labor trafficking was an interesting twist.

What Prevented Greatness:
- Nothing about this novel made me want to keep reading; I didn't feel that urge while I was doing other things during the day to stop and read In the Kitchen.
- There are half a dozen times or so where Ali's characters launch into diatribes about their political and social agendas, which I found quite boring. I have nothing against this sort of messaging, as long as it is done correctly.
- So often I was frustrated with where the text was going- meandering can be enjoyable, but in this book it is not.
- The ending (I won't say anymore).

I really feel that this text could have been tightened up; at 436 pages it could have been condensed to 350 or so to be made into a smoother, more cohesive story.

1-0 out of 5 stars I wanted to buy this book
This book was recommended to me. I would have liked to read it. I read all my books on an iPhone and I cannot afford to pay 14.83 for an electronic copy. Today I searched for and bought a book for a third of the price from an independent publisher.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I hadn't read "Brick Lane" Brick Lane: A Novel which was highly acclaimed, so I was looking forward to Monica Ali's new novel. After reading it, I wonder what the hype was all about. An executive chef, Gabriel Lightfoot (?), runs a fancy hotel restaurant while hoping to break into the big time with a restaurant of his own. He struggles with the business of running the place, unsympathetic bosses, and clueless potential investors. Then he compounds the mess by shooting himself in the foot--several times. He is less than truthful about a murder he had no involvement in, inexplicably starts cheating on a wonderful fiancee, and generally self-destructs. Why? One of the problems is that Ali doesn't give us a character we understand.

There are many supporting characters here, but they became hard to keep striaght, especially the characters in the kitchen. They're caricatures, not real people, and part of the story for no apparent reason.

Ali has a great eye for details, and I found the many intricate aspects of running a restaurant sort of interesting. But all in all, I was pretty disappointed, and found it hard to finish. ... Read more

20. Cutwork (Needlecraft Mystery)
by Monica Ferris
Mass Market Paperback: 272 Pages (2004-01-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425193896
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
After an artisan is murdered at the Excelsior, Minnesota, art fair, everyone is on pins and needles. It's up to needlework shop owner Betsy Devonshire to figure out who had designs on the dead designer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars I love all of Monica Ferris' books! This is the best so far
Excellent cozy reading. I just love this series! This one kept my attention very keenly and I enjoyed watching Betsy unravel the mystery. Very believable. I love all the characters in this series, and it is like visiting with old friends. This is the best one so far in her series (it is the latest one I've read, any way!).

5-0 out of 5 stars a light mystery
I was able to solve the mystery early, but that didn't take away my enjoyment of reading this book.The motive behind the killing was quite interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Multi-layered satisfaction --
As a needlework person, I've truly enjoyed the previous books in this series. Compared to this one, however, they're appetizers. This book is so meaty, so inclusive, it's like a huge Medieval tapestry in comparison.

Medieval tapestries usually have one central theme, but if you look carefully around the edges, you'll find numerous little episodes featuring other characters and scenes. So it is with this book. Central to the plot is Betsy Devonshire's needlework store, Crewel World. Since she owns the building that houses her store and her apartment, readers come to feel at home wherever she is. We've also come to know her employees and customers, and several of the local (Excelsior, Minnesota) town folks as well, including the local police persons.

This time, Betsy finds herself in a non-needlework-based mystery. Rather, it's in the field of art; specifically an Art Fair, in which one of the exhibitors is murdered. Artists are all a little nutsy, I think, and while finding it difficult to accept criticism, can also easily find justification for their own motivations in many directions. While Betsy is sorting out the various clues and non-clues, she gets an education into what is-and isn't-`true' art. Chapter 18 should be required reading for anyone with an interest in any of the Arts. It is illuminating, fascinating, and I think, sensible, all at the same time.

Still, however, this is a mystery novel, and I found it excellent on all levels: the writing is engaging, the characters are fully-fleshed out and appealing, while the plot was very realistic. Some erudite folks may have known `who-dun-it' way before the end of the book, but the killer's motivation surely came as a surprise.

4-0 out of 5 stars Engaging protagonist, interesting setting, good dialog...
...so why not five stars?

Simply, the "mystery" solved itself far to early in the story. I want to guess about the villain, not be able to finger him half-way through. Because of some fine descriptions of the background against which the tale is told and because there are some red herrings about the murderer's real motive, maybe this is more of a "why-dunnit" than a "who-dunnit".

Still, it was an enjoyable diversion. Various subplots weave through the story and some of the characters, such as the victim's teenaged daughter, come to life in spare, but tremendously evocative descriptions. Kudos to an author who summons stereotypes apparently to help readers look beyond appearance and cliché.

And cheers, too, for taking on arts and crafts beyond the series' "specialty" of needlework. Metal sculpture, wood carving, and the interminable tension between art and craft receive broad play here and offer readers a glimpse at theworld of so-called public art.

This was an interesting book and I enjoyed reading it: hence, four stars. But it was not exactly a mystery.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good mystery of particular interest to hand sewers
This is the first book I've read by this author, and I quite enjoyed it, although I've read better mysteries.I found the information about handwork (embroidery of various kinds) informative and interesting -- and not too much or too little.

The plot involves an artist found stabbed to death at a lakeside art fair.The police quickly arrest a teenager who is a likely suspect, given his record, demeanor, and the physical evidence involving cash stolen from the booth.Betsy, who owns a needlework shop, has a reputation for solving crimes, and his parents (unbelievably) unlist her help in proving his innocence.Betsy has a hunch he's innocent and begins investigating the artist and any possible people with a motive to kill him.THis could include the man's estranged wife and even his son -- not to mention various other characters.

The perpetrator was pretty easy to guess, I thought, and it would have been a better book with more red herrings.The charm and cosiness of the characters and setting were sufficient to offset this, at least for me. ... Read more

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