Thursday, January 31, 2008

2007's Top Three Books for Contemporary Romance

Title: All or Nothing
Author: Claire Cross
Rating: A

All or Nothing is an all around fantastic book. It has everything you could ask for in a romance. It has a very entertaining cast of characters. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. When you read a romance, you are looking to experience a wide range of emotions and Cross delivers. Jen is a recovering cancer patient and Zack is a trouble-maker and goof-off trying to improve himself. Their journey and growth through the story is a delight to read. Cross excels at intermingling witty and poignant prose. Don’t miss out on this one.

Title: The Winter Lodge
Author: Susan Wiggs
Rating: A

I read The Winter Lodge before reading the prequel, but this did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. If you don’t know, I will fill you in… I absolutely love, love, love childhood love stories. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are my favorite. On top of that, have the kids meet at camp and just forget-about-it. Oh, and if you want a tortured hero, Rourke Mcknight is the man for you. It takes a long time for this couple to finally come together but it is so worth the wait.

Title: Hot Wheels and High Heels
Author: Jane Graves
Rating: B+

I have already reviewed this book which you can read here.

Title: Catch a Mate
Author: Gena Showalter
Rating: B

I would like to include the book Catch a Mate as an honorable mention. This was a really fun book to read. The cast of characters was very fun. Once you get past all the mental lusting in the first part of the book, Showalter's talent really shines through. Marcus is the perfect match for cynical Jillian and I just loved the dynamics between the two. A bonus is the secondary love story that was just so endearing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Review - Demon Angel

Title: Demon Angel
Author: Meljean Brook
Publishing Date: January 2007
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: C
Sensuality: Hot

There was a lot of buzz in blogland over Meljean Brook’s book Demon Moon. But before I could get to Demon Moon, I needed to read Demon Angel first. Lilith is a Demon and, yes, she is straight from Hell. Her job is to tempt humans into committing suicide, so Lucifer can have their souls. Hugh is a Guardian and, yes, he is straight from Heaven, (or in this book Caelum). His job is to protect people from losing their souls to Lucifer. This gives new meaning to the phrase “opposites attract”.

It is really difficult for me to give this book a grade. There were things that I really loved about this book, and then there were things that really bothered me. On one hand, I really liked the originality of the plot. I have to say, I have never read a romance novel where the heroine actually spends time in Hell and has a relationship with the Devil. Brooks has created a whole different Biblical history and its kind of fun to see the Devil portrayed as a “friendly, unassuming, middle-class retiree” complete with a blue cardigan and grey slacks.

On the other hand, I found this book at times completely confusing. I felt like I had the reading comprehension skills of a second grader. Many times, I found myself re-reading passages to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. There were a wide variety of characters and I found myself getting them mixed up. Another thing is that as the story developed, I found myself not understanding what had just happened. As a matter of fact, if you asked me to explain the book to you, I am not certain I would get it right. Nope, I definitely wouldn’t; it’s just way too complicated. I am still not certain how Hugh and Lilith triumphed in the end.

I will say that Lilith is a really fun character. She is mischievous, deceitful and just plain ornery at times. I loved it. It seems like it would be a lot of fun to be Lilith (except for being tortured in Hell). Hugh on the other hand, was a bit of a stick in the mud. I don’t know about you, but I like my hero’s to have a little of the “Bad Boy” in them. Hugh was a little to goody-goody for my taste, but for Lilith though, he was perfect. I think I will have to give this one a C; right smack dab in the middle.

Here is what others had to say:

Monkey Bear Reviews

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Preeeecious… book choices for February

Title: Untamed
Author: Hope Tarr

This book is book three of Men of “Roxbury House” Trilogy. I have been anxiously awaiting this one, Patrick O’Rourke’s story. I just love a Scotsman. (God, what a ridiculously, silly book cover.)

From Tarr’s website:

Former Roxbury House orphan, Patrick O'Rourke is a rough and ready Scotsman as well as a successful self-made businessman. Lady Katherine Lindsey--Kate--is a beautiful English spinster, a gentlewoman. When she finds herself blackmailed into accepting a marriage of convenience with the handsome Scot, she lets Rourke see another side of her. Following a hasty wedding, Rourke sweeps a seething Kate from the elegant and refined drawing rooms of west London to his crumbling castle in the Scottish Highlands. The only guide he has to wooing and bedding the stubborn spitfire he's taken to wife is a copy of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew." But as passion sparks between them, Rourke finds he may well be in danger of being tamed. Excerpt

Title: Extreme Danger
Author: Shannon Mckenna

I just love Shannon Mckenna. She writes such erotic love scenes and her heroes are always big alpha men.

From Mckenna’s website:

Nobody's home at the millionaire's estate on remote Frakes Island. And nobody seems to be watching. Becca Cantrell dives in for an illicit midnight skinnydip--and gets hauled out by a towering, hard-muscled guy with burning dark eyes. He seems to be in charge. Good. The man is the embodiment of her most intense fantasies. And she's up for risky thrills . . .

Nick Ward can't tell her that he's spying on a vicious Russian crime boss. Becca could be his worst enemy: an assassin sent to kill him, a call girl sent to distract him, or the worst scenario of all--a clueless innocent. Anyway he looks at it, she's trouble: beautiful, bare, dripping-wet trouble. The kind he can't resist.

She's not scared. After one taste of his hot mouth, Becca soon discovers just how fearless she can be. She'll need it, too--because things are about to explode on Frakes Island, launching Becca and Nick into danger they could never have imagined--and a passion that could destroy them both. Exerpt

Title: No Control
Author: Shannon K. Butcher

Shannon K. Butcher debuted last year with No Regrets. I was one of my top reads for 2007 and I am definitely coming back for more.

From Butcher’s website:

Lana Hancock knows all about danger -- and betrayal. Eighteen months ago, she was captured by a terrorist group known as the Swarm while one of its member, a rugged man with sinfully dark eyes, did nothing to help her. Now when she’s freed and desperate to put it all behind her, the unthinkable happens. The Swarm is targeting Lana once again and the man who stood silently by has become her protector. But can she trust him?

Delta Force operative Caleb Stone will never forget the hatred shining in Lana’s eyes. Ordered to take down the Swarm by infiltrating its ranks, Caleb couldn’t blow his cover to save her -- no matter how much it haunted him. Now, gifted with a second chance, he vows to move heaven and earth to protect her…and fulfill her every desire. But the Swarm has reorganized. It’s more powerful than ever and hell-bent on revenge… Exerpt

Monday, January 28, 2008

Review - Dirty

Title: Dirty
Author: Megan Hart
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Contemporary (Erotic)
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Burning

I decided to read Dirty because so many people have been talking about how good it is. Wendy, Super Librarian, reviewed it; which you can read "here".
I am not sure I would categorize this book as a romance. Yes, it does have the requisite HEA (Happy Ever After) but it does have a very dark and disturbed heroine, and reaching that HEA is a very painful trip with one unusual, haunting woman.

This story is told in first person by Elle, which means we only see her perspective of things. I don’t mind the first person narrative, I happen to enjoy it, but I know that a lot of people don’t. Elle meets Dan in a candy store and he immediately asks her to join him for a drink at a bar he knows. Elle accepts his invitation, which becomes the start of their relationship. What kind of relationship will they have? Elle has a lot of problems with intimacy because of her screwed up past. This leads to the book being not just the story of her falling in love with Dan, but also the story of her internal struggle to forgive herself, for something that has happened in her past.

The one drawback to this book is that we don’t learn a lot about Dan. Actually, we receive very little back story on him. Having learned a little more about Dan would have made the story better for me. But what I did know about Dan is that he is a wonderful man and really great for poor, messed-up Elle. Dan was patient with Elle, and really paid attention to all her little quirks. He was quite the hero and very likable. I would have liked to read a more in depth ending between Elle and Dan, but all in all, it was a really beautiful story.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

2007’s Top Three Books for Historical Romance

Title: If His Kiss is Wicked
Author: Jo Goodman
Rating: A

If His Kiss is Wicked is the first Jo Goodman book that I have read. There have been discussions about this book over at the Romantic Times message boards and many have picked this book to be their favorite for 2007. I hadn’t heard of it before that, but if everyone is singing its praises, then I need to see what all the fuss is about. I am really happy to say this book did not disappoint. What I thought was refreshing about the book was that the characters were genuine to the period. They were not twenty-first century people immersed in a nineteenth century story. There also was a nice mystery that the story focused on, as well as a passionate romance. I will definitely be looking into Goodman’s other works.

Title: Lessons of Desire
Author: Madeline Hunter
Rating: A

Lessons of Desire is the second book of the Rothwell Series, featuring Elliot Rothwell and Phaedra Blair. What I loved about this book was the character Phaedra. She is not like any other heroine I have encountered in a historical romance. Her philosophy on women’s lib is before her time. She doesn’t understand all of society’s many rules and doesn’t follow them. She relishes her independence from MEN. It cracks me up because, throughout the whole book, she keeps ending up in one scrape after another, and as much as she hates it, Elliot is the one she has to depend on the get her out of these situations. I thought it made for a jolly good read. Elliot was a great match for Phaedra every step of the way.

Title: Mine Till Midnight
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Rating: A-

Yes, I have jumped on the Kleypas bandwagon. For a deliciously light-hearted romance, chock full of fun, interesting characters, she can’t be beat. This book is no exception and both Cam and Amelia are a delight. Each is a very likeable character. Amelia is the glue trying to hold her (sometimes selfish) family together against the odds. Cam whisks into the picture to rescue her and solve all her problems. Sigh, I am such a sucker for this type of story line. The story moved along at a brisk pace which kept me turning the pages quickly, and I can’t wait to read about Merripen and Winnie in the next book of the series.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Review - Into the Night

Title: Into the Night
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: December 2002
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: C
Sensuality: Warm

Into the Night is book 5 of the Troubleshooter Series. Mike Muldoon, with a face like an angel and a body of a warrior, is Joan DaCosta’s SEAL liaison for a presidential visit. Joan, who is a White House staffer, is seven years his senior and quite hung up on that fact, even though it doesn’t seem to bother Muldoon. Mike wants to impress Joan and see if he can take their relationship past the “friend” level. This is a challenge for Mike because he has never had to pursue a woman before. Usually they, proposition him and he says either “yes” or “no”.

I am having a really hard time rating this one. I am not sure how I feel about it. The first four books in this series are really top notch. They are excellent stories with compelling characters that are so hard to put down once you’ve started reading them. This book, on the other hand was difficult for me to get into. I was more than halfway through the book before I really felt enticed to finish reading it. Part of the problem for me was that I don’t particularly care for stories where the heroine is older than the hero. Call me old fashioned, but I get hung up on that. It’s silly. Yes, I know.

Another reason is that the side stories were not all that interesting and dragged a bit. Mary Lou Starrett, Sam’s wife, has a large roll as a secondary character. I have mixed feelings about this part of the book. Her story is very depressing, and has no true closure at the end. That was very frustrating for me, but I did like her growth as a person. I went from not liking her at all, to feeling sorry for her, to wanting her to get her “happy ever after” too.

Also, we don’t really get much background on Joan or Mike. A lot of time is spent focusing on their hang-ups (mainly the age difference). It is not until the last quarter of the story that we start to get a glimpse of Mike’s background. There were some issues with Joan’s family (mainly her father) that were only scratched on the surface. I would have liked for there to have been more about their backgrounds.

Even with all these problems, Brockmann is still a top notch writer and I still can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I do hope it’s a little better than this one.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

2007’s Top Three Books for Romantic Suspense

I will be posting my top three reads in various categories over the next few weeks to help me decide how I will vote in the AAR Annual Reader Poll. Romantic Suspense is the first category I will be posting.

Title: Night Echoes
Author: Holly Lisle
Rating: A-

Have you ever read any books by Barbara Michaels? If you haven’t, her books have a gothic feel to them and most often have some paranormal element, usually, but not limited to ghosts. Lisle’s book reminded me of Michael’s style because of the dark, haunting mood she created for her story. It also features a ghost story with the requisite haunted house. Her book was actually two stories in one. One was the ghost story that had happened in the past and the other was amodern story that was taking place in the present. I liked how she wove the two stories together.

Title: No Regrets
Author: Shannon K. Butcher
Rating: B+

No Regrets is my idea of a guilty pleasure read. Big, strong, tough alpha hero comes to the rescue of nice, normal, smart heroine. If you like Linda Howard’s Kell Sabin books, then I think you will like this book as well. The hero is not a jerk; even though he is tough. The heroine doesn’t pull any of that To Stupid To Live crap. I wouldn’t say that, as far as plot goes, that there is anything ground breaking; but it is definitely well written and, need I say, a guilty pleasure. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. On a side note, there is a wee bit of torture at the end of the book. If you are squeamish, here is your heads up.

Title: Count to Ten
Author: Karen Rose
Rating: B+

Karen Rose has a unique writing style that is a pleasure to read. She has the wonderful ability to create realistic, in-depth characters that revolve around a well thought out mystery. Count to Ten is no exception. Even though her book was over 500 pages, I couldn’t turn them fast enough. She spends a lot of time on the details of the mystery. So if you are a fan of mystery, as well as romance; then I would definitely check this one out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Review - Beau Crusoe

Title: Beau Crusoe
Author: Carla Kelly
Publication Date: March 2007
Genre: Regency
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

I usually don’t read category romances because they are too short for my taste. I decided to give this one a try because over at AAR, Robin Uncapher recommended it as her top choice for this year’s buried treasure. Also, when this book was first released, a lot of people had a positive reaction to it. After reading the book, I too have to agree with them.

Susannah Park, a widow who has been shunned by society, has been asked by her Godfather Sir Joseph to escort James Trevenen, a ship wreck survivor during his stay in London. During the two weeks in which James is awaiting his award for his paper on fiddler crabs, he somehow manages to land himself, multiple times, in unusual circumstances where he ends up playing the hero and becomes known as “Beau Crusoe”. All the while, he is being haunted by a ghost and feels more like a coward than a hero.

Kelly’s writing style reminds me somewhat of Georgette Heyer; the way the characters converse most especially. I am no history expert but, it seems to me, that’s how they would talk if I was to go back in time. This makes the book seem more genuine, but it can also be difficult to understand. For example, some of the subject matter seems so subtly expressed. This is an interesting book though. The internal struggle that James has with himself throughout the book could have made for a very dark story, not to mention the horrors James went through when he was shipwrecked. Yet Kelly manages to keep the book from feeling too oppressive with more light-hearted escapades interspersed throughout the story. Susannah and James are well suited to each other and Kelly does a wonderful job of developing their relationship. Susannah has her own issues that she has struggle with too. They make a well balanced pair. I liked this story. It is subtle yet still poignant. I didn’t rate this story an A because I like a bit more passion in my romance. It was still a very enjoyable read and would I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

AAR 2008 Annual Reader Poll - Part 1

It's that time of year again to head over to All About Romance to vote in their Annual Reader Poll. I, myself, have yet to vote because I want to try to squeeze in a few more books from last year. A few that I really want to try an get to are:

1. Demon Moon, Meljean Brooks
2. Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night, Kresley Cole
3. Lard of the Mist, Paula Quinn
4. Untouched, Anna Campbell
5. Arousing Suspicions, Marianne Stillings
6. Dirty, Megan Hart
7. Beau Crusoe, Carla Kelly

I really want to read Demon Moon, but I will need to read Demon Angel first. Luckily, this is the only book that has a prequel I haven't read. Whew! I am really going to be cutting it close. The polls close at midnight on February 17. It will be my goal to read these seven books in the next three weeks.

As far as voting goes, I will only be choosing books that I rated a B+ or higher. I know I won't be voting in every category either, because there are a lot of them. Here are the ones I think matter most:

Best Romance
Favorite Funny Romance
Best Buried Treasure Romance
Guiltiest Pleasure Romance
Best European Historical
Best American Historical/Frontier Romance
Best Contemporary Romance
Best Romantic Suspense Romance
Best Paranormal Romance
Best Chick Lit/Women's Fiction

I haven't decided who to vote for yet. In some categories, I have more than one book that I really liked. In those instances it will be difficult to choose. In other categories; I got nothin! Silence... I can hear the crickets chirping. This is one of the reasons for me rushing to finish those seven books. I am hoping that one or more will be good enough for me to vote on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Review - Hot Wheels and High Heels

Title: Hot Wheels and High Heels
Author: Jane Graves
Publishing Date: July 2007
Genre: Contemporary
Sensuality: Warm
Rating: B+

Darcy McDaniels comes home from a posh resort in Cancun to find that there is a new family living in her house. It turns out that her husband of fourteen years has sold their home, maxed out all their credit cards and cleared out their bank accounts while she was on vacation; leaving her with just her clothes from the trip and her car. Actually, she doesn’t even have her car for long because here comes John Stark, the repo man, who has come to take her beloved Mercedes away. Darcy is used to the good life, designer clothes, expensive meals at only the nicest restaurants, a big fancy home filled with big fancy things. So what is Darcy going to do now that life, as she has always known, it has been turned upside down? She does what anybody would do, run home to Mom and Dad (who, by the way, live in a trailer park) and gets a job as a receptionist for Stark.

This book has a lot going for it. First of all, Graves does a wonderful job of getting us to relate and really feel for Darcy. It would be very easy not to like this woman, because basically, she is a vain and materialistic trophy wife. But as we get to know Darcy, we realize that she is so much more that what she seems. This brings me to my second point. I really like the character development. It is a lot of fun to watch Darcy and John grow throughout the story. From the first time they meet, to the first time they are physically intimate; they are constantly pushing and challenging one another. The conversations between them are so brutally honest. That makes this book so much more than just a bit of fluff.

Another thing that really made this book enjoyable for me was the witty and clever writing style that Graves uses to tell her story. There were many times I laughed out loud. Here is just one of the many passages that had me rolling. It takes place at the beginning of the book between Darcy and her parents:

“No. I mean, what did you do to make him leave you?”
Darcy drew back. “I didn’t do anything!”
“Of course you did. It’s not hard to hang on to a man once you’ve hooked him, even a rich one. You had to have done something.”
“I’m telling you, I didn’t do anything! Everything was fine when I left, and then when I came home--“
“Oh, God. It was the sex, wasn’t it? You stopped giving him sex.”
Darcy groaned. “Mom--“
“Haven’t I told you how dangerous that is? If you don’t give a man sex, he’s out the door. Haven’t I told you that?”
“If it’s so damned dangerous,” Clayton muttered from the living room, “how come I don’t get any?”
Lyla hurled a look of disgust over her shoulder. “Because I’m hoping you’ll leave.”

The only little quip I had with the book was the whole issue that Darcy is still technically married to Warren. Should I let this one tiny detail detract or ruin my enjoyment of the story? I don’t think so, but it would have been nice to have that pesky, little problem resolved. All in all, this one gets a B+ from me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Classic Romance Challenge 2008

Jennie started this challenge over at her blogspot Jennie's B(ook)log and I am going to take the challenge. Mine is going to be a little different because I have already read some of the books on her list. I have heard so much talk about Sweet, Savage Love and Whitney, My Love that I had to include them. I have been meaning to get around to reading them but never have. Hopefully, this challenge will give me the proper motivation! My list is as follows:

1. To Love and to Cherish, Patricia Gaffney
2. The Shadow and the Star, Laura Kinsale
3. Thunder and Roses, Mary Jo Putney
4. Whitney, My Love, Judith McNaught
5. Sweet, Savage Love, Rosemary Rogers
6. The Flame and the Flower, Kathleen Woodiwiss
7. The Last Hellion, Loretta Chase
8. Bliss, Judy Cuevas
9. Years, LaVyrle Spencer
10. Annie’s Song, Catherine Anderson
11. As You Desire, Connie Brockway
12. The Secret Pearl, Mary Balogh

Friday, January 18, 2008

Review - Out of Control

Title: Out of Control
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: March 2002
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Out of Control is book four of Brockmann’s Team Sixteen Navy SEAL series. Let me tell you what a wonderful series this is. The first three books in this series are very hard to top, but this book, I am happy to say, lives up to my expectations. Savannah von Hopf, a lawyer back east, who is a bit of a control freak, has to deliver a ransom for her Uncle Alex. Alex is being held hostage in Jakarta. She gets the name Ken “WildCard” Karmody from Adele, with whom she knew back in college, in the hopes that he will come with her to drop off the ransom. This is a road romance with opposites attracting.

Out of Control is actually not just Ken and Savannah’s story, but three other stories as well. First, there is the continuation of Alyssa Locke and Roger “Sam” Starrett’s story. Then there is Savannah’s grandmother’s double spy story. Finally, there are the two new characters: Molly and Jones. The previous SEAL books in this series were written the same way; stories within a story. Brockmann’s ability to tell a story and grab the reader by pulling them deeply into the story is phenomenal. Normally during a book if I am pulled away from the main story line I get irritated and immediately want to skip the boring parts and get back to the good stuff. I don’t know how she does it, but this doesn’t happen when reading a Brockmann novel (out of the 4 that I have read). Reading her book is sort of like watching a soap opera with all the different storylines. As soon as you are engrossed in so-n-so’s story they up and flip over to someone else. Brockmann’s books are the same way. The beauty of Brockmann’s book is that I am equally engrossed in all of the aspects. I can’t seem to turn the pages fast enough.

There was one small part of the book toward the end that made me want to throw the book at the wall. This is why I rated the book a B+ instead of an A (which is what I rated the three previous books in this series). One of the characters (I’ll not be naming names) really just had one of those special bonehead moments. They did something that I felt the author would really be hard pressed to resolve. She did resolve it, but I felt it was more or less quickly skimmed over and so it was a let down for me in the end.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ratings, Ratings and More Ratings!

These are the books I read that were published this past year and how I rated them.

A Rating
If His Kiss is Wicked - Jo Goodman
All or Nothing - Claire Cross
The Winter Lodge - Susan Wiggs
Lessons of Desire - Madeline Hunter

A- Rating
Night Echoes - Holly Lisle
Mine till Midnight - Lisa Kleypas
Bloodfever - Karen Marie Moning

B+ Rating
No Regrets - Shannon K. Butcher
The Stranger in her Bed - Janet Chapman
Lover Revealed - J.R. Ward
A Highlander for Christmas - Sandy Blair
Ashblane's Lady - Sophia James
Sizzling - Susan Mallery
Chain Reaction - Dee Davis
Witch Fire - Anya Bast
Night Life - Elizabeth Guest
Count to Ten - Karen Rose
Tongue in Chic - Christina Dodd
The Survivors - Dinah McCall
Obessesion - Karen Robards
If you Deceive - Kresley Cole

B Rating
Bride of Shadow Canyon - Stacey Kayne
Dangerous Lover - Lisa Marie Rice
The Dream-Hunter - Sherrilyn Kenyon
Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband - Melissa Mayhue
A Reason to Believe - Maureen McKade
Beyond Breathless - Kathleen O'Reilly
One with the Night - Susan Squires
Scandalous Lovers - Robin Schone
One Real Cowboy - Janette Kenny
Klondike Doctor - Kate Bridges
The Hourglass - Barbara Metzger
Caine's Reckoning - Sarah McCarty
Touch of Darkness - Christina Dodd
Dark Rival - Brenda Joyce
Tanner's Scheme - Lora Leigh
Beloved Warrior - Patricia Potter
Catch a Mate - Gena Showalter
Edge of Midnight - Shannon McKenna
Scent of Darkness: Darkness Chosen - Christina Dodd
Beware of Doug - Elaine Fox

B- Rating
Midnight Confessions - Bonnie Edwards
Atlantis Rising - Alyssa Day
Wolf River - Jill Gregory
The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell - Samantha James
Dark Seduction - Brenda Joyce
Lover Unbound - J.R. Ward

C+ Rating
The Sword - Jean Johnson
Passion for the Game - Sylvia Day
Intimate Danger - Amy J. Fetzer
Kiss of Death - Meryl Sawyer

C Rating
Too Wicked to Tame - Sophie Jordan
Pretty Bad - Shirley Jump
Commanded to His Bed - Denise Lynn
Kisses to Go - Irene Peterson
Raintree: Inferno - Linda Howard
My Lady's Treasure - Catherine Kean
Code Name: Bikini - Christina Skye
Abandon - Carla Neggers
Chosen Prey - Cheyenne McCray
The Lords of Were - Bianca D'Arc
Dead Shot - Annie Solomon
If you Desire - Kresley Cole
Shadow Hawk - Jill Shalvis
Up Close and Dangerous - Linda Howard
The Sorceress - Lisa Jackson

C- Rating
Captured - Helen Kirkman
Enslaved - Hope Tarr
Draw Down the Darkness - Naomi Bellis

D Rating
Wolverton Blood - Brenda Williamson

F Rating
Hot For It - Melissa MacNeal

Did Not Finish (DNF)
Release - Jo Leigh
At the Edge - Cait London

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Review - Midnight's Bride

Title: Midnight’s Bride
Author: Sophia Johnson
Publishing Date: October 2007
Genre: Medieval
Rating: DNF (Did Not Finish)
Sensuality: DNF

Netta is the daughter of Baron Wycliffe, who is a cruel father who wants to marry Netta off to the first husband he can find. Netta has been doing a good job of scaring away her suitors by any means possible. Meet Mereck of Blackthorn; who is a Welsh barbarian, nicknamed Baresark. It is said he becomes an animal when enraged on the battlefield. Mereck comes to castle Wycliffe, and meets Netta. She ends up on a trip to Caer Caldwell with her friend Elise and Mereck is their escort.

This is all the summarizing I am going to do because it is very confusing and, ultimately, I did not finish this book. I only made it half way through before I finally gave up. It is very hard to follow this story with all of the characters involved. I could not keep track of who was from where and how they all were tied into the story. On top of all that, the characters all seem very one-dimensional. Netta is sickeningly sweet and naive. Mereck is the typical dominant male, walking around thinking “mine, mine, mine” when it came to Netta. Also, Netta has the stereo-typical “Eeevil Father”. You know the one who beats her and is willing to marry her off to another “Eeevil Villian” just so he can be rid of her and have more wealth. My overall impression of this book is boring, boring, boring with confusion mixed in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2007: A Year in Review

Total number of books I read: 216 (Holy Cow! I read A LOT!)
Books I read that were published in 2007: 73

Here is a ranking of the books I read and how many fell into each rating.

A or A- = 29
B+, B or B- = 149
C+, C or C- = 35
D = 2
F = 1
DNF = 3

I bet you are wondering what book I read that I gave a F rating. It was Hot For It by Melissa MacNeal. I hate to be mean, but trust me when I say, "Steer clear."

Now here are the same books but categorized by genre.

Contemporary = 27
Erotic = 14
Frontier = 8
Historical = 60
Medieval = 26
Paranormal = 37
Suspense = 47

I am surprised to see just how many historical novels I read, and by historical I mean a historical that takes place during the Regency, Georgian or Victorian period. This really isn't my favorite genre, but it has by far the highest number of books read. This is interesting. I wonder if this is because, proportionally more of this type of romance is written.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Review - A Highlander for Christmas

Title: A Highlander for Christmas
Author: Sandy Blair
Publishing Date: October 2007
Genre: Time-Travel
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Over the past two Christmases, my husband gets a big kick out of shopping for romance novels for me. He gets quite a chuckle from the silly titles and the semi-naked people on the covers. So, this was one of the books that apparently made him chuckle (It had both the requisite silly title and half naked male on the cover). I have never read anything by Sandy Blair before, but I love time travel novels so I was excited about reading it. I am happy to say that it did not disappoint.

Claire MacGregor owns an antique shop in Boston. An old friend of hers passes away and bequeaths his meager belongings to her. One thing leads to another and all of the sudden Cameron Macleod is standing in her bedroom naked as the day he was born. The story is very fast paced right from the get go. Both are instantly attracted to one another. Cameron winds up in lots of trouble trying to assimilate to this new place and time. I found these parts to be rather endearing and funny at the same time. Cameron really steals the show in this romance. Cameron has a very unique outlook on the present day that had me cracking up.

Blair takes the time to slowly form a relationship between Claire and Cameron. There is no jumping into bed at first sight here (even though they like what they see). I like this. It makes the book more believable, considering the premise (how believable can it be….a highlander travels through time). I felt that the ending was a little drawn out, but overall it didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the book. If you are interested in a light-hearted romp with a sexy highlander; give this one a try.

Sandy has also written A thief in a Kilt, A Rogue in a Kilt and A Man in a Kilt. I don’t know if these are connected or not, but I’m definitely going to look into them.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Review Archive


Bitten By Cupid
His Fantasies, Her Dreams
Partners in Crime
Playing Easy to Get
What Happens in Vegas


Lara Adrian
Kiss of Crimson
Kiss of Midnight
Midnight Awakening

Ann Aguirre
Blue Diablo
Hell Fire

R.G. Alexander
Lux in Shadow

Louise Allen
A Most Unconventional Courtship

Marsha Altman
The Darcys and The Bingleys

Elizabeth Amber

Catherine Andersen
Annie's Song

Jessica Andersen

Ilona Andrews
Magic Bites
Magic Bleeds
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes

Sara Angelini
The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy

Kate Angell
Sliding Home

Zoe Archer

Kelley Armstrong
Dime Store Magic
Industrial Magic
Living with the Dead
Men of the Otherworld
No Humans Involved
Personal Demon
Tales of the Otherworld
Waking the Witch

Lyn Armstrong
The Celtic Witch and the Sorcerer

Keri Arthur
Full Moon Rising

Jennifer Ashley
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Pride Mates


Mary Balogh
A Matter of Class
The Secret Pearl

L. A. Banks
Bad Blood

Maya Banks
Coulter's Woman

Jill Barnett

Anya Bast
Witch Blood
Witch Heart

Jo Beverley
Lord of Midnight

Jessica Bird
An Unforgettable Lady

Anne Bishop
Daughter of the Blood
Heir to the Shadows
Queen of the Darkness

Jaid Black
The Empress' New Clothes

Sandy Blair
A Highlander for Christmas

Toni Blake
Tempt Me Tonight

Joanna Bourne
The Forbidden Rose
My Lord and Spymaster
The Spymaster's Lady

Kate Bridges
Klondike Fever

Patricia Briggs
Blood Bound
Bone Crossed
Cry Wolf
Hunting Ground
Iron Kissed
Moon Called
Silver Borne

Suzanne Brockmann
All Through the Night
Breaking Point
Dark of Night
Force of Nature
Gone Too Far
Hot Pursuit
Hot Target

Connie Brockway
As You Desire

Meljean Brook
Demon Angel
Demon Blood
Demon Bound
Demon Forged
Demon Moon
Demon Night

Shannon K. Butcher
Burning Alive
No Control


Anna Campbell

Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel's Dart

Liz Carlyle
One Touch of Scandal
Tempted All Night

Robyn Carr
Shelter Mountain
Virgin River
A Virgin River Christmas
Whispering Rock

Susan Carroll

Dianne Castell
Hot and Bothered

Loretta Chase
Last Night's Scandal
The Last Hellion

Maureen Child
Seduced into a Paper Marriage

Pamela Clare
Naked Edge
Unlawful Contact

Harlan Coben
Play Dead

Kresley Cole
Dark Desires After Dusk
Dark Needs at Nights Edge
Demon From the Dark
Kiss of a Demon King
Pleasure of a Dark Prince
"Untouchable" in Deep Kiss of Winter
Wicked Deeds on a Winters Night

Catherine Coulter
Lyon's Gate
The Scottish Bride
The Sherbrooke Twins

Carolyn Crane
Mind Games

Sydney Croft
Riding the Storm
Unleashing the Storm

Jennifer Crusie
Agnes and the Hitman
Bet Me
Maybe This Time
Wild Ride


Portia Da Casta
In Too Deep

Victoria Dahl
Crazy For Love
Lead Me On
Talk Me Down

Lauren Dane
Taking Care of Business

Tessa Dare
Goddess of the Hunt

Mary Margret Daughtridge
SEALed with a Kiss
SEALed with a Promise
SEALed with a Ring

MaryJanice Davidson
Undead and Unappreciated
Undead and Unemployed
Undead and Unpopular
Undead and UnReturnable
Undead and Unwed

Sylvia Day
A Passion for Him
Pleasures of the Night

Claire Delacroix

Jamie Denton
Remain Silent

Delilah Devlin
Down in Texas

Helen Kay Dimon
Your Mouth Drives Me Crazy

Christina Dodd
Into the Flame
Into the Shadow
Thigh High

Susan Donovan
Take a Chance on Me

Kate Douglas
Wolf Tales
Wolf Tales II

Jocelynn Drake

Meredith Duran
The Duke of Shadows


Cynthia Eden
Hotter After Midnight

Barry Eisler
Fault Line
Inside Out

Janet Evanovich
Hot Stuff
One for the Money
Four to Score
Eleven on Top
Hard Eight
High Five
Hot Six
Seven Up
Three to get Deadly
To The Nines
Twelve Sharp
Two for the Dough
Wicked Appetite


Christine Feehan
Conspiracy Game

Charlotte Featherstone

Donna Fletcher
Bound To a Warrior

Gaelen Foley
My Dangerous Duke
My Wicked Marquess

Lori Foster
Simon Says

Cathryn Fox
Pleasure Control

Jeaniene Frost
At Graves End
Destined For an Early Grave
Eternal Kiss of Darkness
First Drop of Crimson
Halfway to the Grave
One Foot in the Grave


Patricia Gaffney
To Love and To Cherish

Colette Gale

Julie Garwood
The Bride

Roberta Gellis
Bond of Blood

Rachel Gibson
Nothing But Trouble
True Love and Other Disasters

Colleen Gleason
The Rest Falls Away
Rises the Night

Jo Goodman
All I Ever Needed
Everything I Ever Wanted
Let Me Be the One
Marry Me
Never Love a Lawman
Only in My Arms
The Price of Desire
Wild Sweet Ecstasy

Eva Gordon
Werewolf Sanctuary

Heather Graham
Deadly Night

Jane Graves
Hot Wheels and High Heels
Tall Tales and Wedding Veils

Ava Gray
Skin Game

Amelia Grey
A Marquis to Marry

Laura Lee Guhrke
And Then He Kissed Her


Dawn Halliday
Highland Obsession

Julia Harper
For the Love of Pete

Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead
Club Dead
Dead as a Doornail
Dead to the World
Dead Until Dark
Definitely Dead
Living Dead in Dallas

Megan Hart

Kristan Higgins
The Next Best Thing
Too Good to be True

Joey W. Hill
Beloved Vampire
The Mark of the Vampire Queen
The Vampire Queen's Servant
A Vampire's Claim

Sandra Hill
Viking in Love

Tami Hoag
Dark Paradise

Linda Howard
Blood Born
Death Angel
A Lady of the West
MacKenzie's Magic
Mr. Perfect
To Die For
Veil of Night

Elizabeth Hoyt
The Serpent Prince
To Beguile a Beast
To Desire a Devil
To Taste Temptation
Wicked Intentions

Crystal Hubbard
Mr. Fix-it

Madeline Hunter
Provocative in Pearls
Ravishing in Red
Secrets of Surrender
Sinful in Satin
The Sins of Lord Easterbrook

Larissa Ione
Desire Unchained
Pleasure Unbound

Judith Ivory
Black Silk


Lisa Jackson
Wicked Games

Eloisa James
A Duke of Her Own
A Kiss at Midnight

Julie James
Just the Sexiest Man Alive
Practice Makes Perfect
Something About You

Sabrina Jeffries
The Pirate Lord
The Truth About Lord Stoneville

Elizabeth Jennings

Carolyn Jewel

Sophia Johnson
Midnight's Bride

Joan Johnston

Lisa Renee Jones
Lone Star Surrender

Brenda Joyce
Dark Embrace
Dark Lover
Dark Victory


Samantha Kane
The Courage to Love

Robin Kaye
Romeo, Romeo

Karen Kelley
Earth Guys are Easy

Carla Kelly
Beau Crusoe

Eve Kenin

Kris Kennedy
The Conqueror
The Irish Warrior

Beth Kery
Sweet Restraint
Wicked Burn

Laura Kinsale
Lessons in French
The Shadow and the Star

Lisa Kleypas
Blue-Eyed Devil
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor
Love in the Afternoon
Married by Morning
Sugar Daddy
Only with Your Love
The Wallflower Christmas
Seduce Me at Sunrise
Smooth Talking Stranger
Tempt Me at Twilight
Where Dreams Begin

Angela Knight
Jane's Warlord

Deidre Knight
Red Fire
Red Kiss

Jayne Ann Krentz
Trust Me


Stephanie Laurens
On a Wicked Dawn

James Lear
The Back Passage

Lora Leigh
Marly's Choice

Cathy Linz
Mad Bad and Blonde

Marjorie M. Liu
Shadow Touch
The Last Twilight


Noelle Mack
Nights in Black Satin

Sarah MacLean
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake

Michelle Maddox

Susan Mallery
Sunset Bay
Under Her Skin

Jill Mansell
An Offer You Can't Refuse

Vanessa Marlow
Sleeping with the Devil

Delilah Marvelle
Mistress of Pleasure
Prelude to a Scandal

Melissa Marr
Wicked Lovely

Cathy Maxwell
Bedding the Heiress

Melissa Mayhue
Highland Guardian

Laurie McBain
Chance the Winds of Fortune

Erin McCarthy
Flat-Out Sexy
Hard and Fast
Hot Finish

Amanda McIntyre

Maureen McKade
Mail-Order Bride

Sarah McCarty
Sam's Creed

Shannon Mckenna
Extreme Danger

Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Nobody's Baby but Mine
This Heart of Mine

Christopher Pike

Michelle M. Pillow
Maiden and the Monster

Caridad Pineiro
Sins of the Flesh

Robin T. Popp
Out of the Night
Seduced by the Night

Tracey Cooper-Posey
Red Leopard

Patricia Potter
The Heart Queen

Mary Jo Putney
The Bartered Bride
Loving a Lost Lord
Thunder and Roses


Julia Quinn
The Lost Duke of Wyndham
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume
Ten Things I Love About You
What Happens in London

Paula Quinn
Laird of the Mist


Lisa Marie Rice
Dangerous Secrets
Midnight Run

J.D. Robb
Loyalty in Death

Nora Roberts
Angels Fall
Bed of Roses
Happy Ever After
Savor the Moment
The Search
Tears of the Moon
Vision in White

Sheila Roberts
On Strike for Christmas

Rosemary Rogers
Sweet, Savage Love
The Wildest Heart

Karen Rose
Don't Tell

Olivia Rupprecht
Date with the Devil

Jamie Rush
Out of Darkness
A Perfect Darkness
Touching Darkness

Hank Phillippi Ryan
Air Time
Face Time
Prime Time


Roxanne St. Claire
Kill Me Twice

Cheryl St. John
The Bounty Hunter
His Secondhand Wife
Joe's Wife

Glenda Sanders
A Human Touch

Lara Santiago

Robin Schone
Cry for Passion

Jill Shalvis
Get a Clue
Slow Heat
Smart and Sexy

Sidney Sheldon
Rage of Angels

Gena Showalter
The Darkest Kiss
The Darkest Night
Nalini Singh
Carressed by Ice
Mine to Possess
Slave to Sensation
Visions of Heat

LaVyrle Spencer

Marianne Stillings
Arousing Suspicions

Anne Stuart
Heat Lightning
Angels Wings
Prince of Magic

Michelle Styles
Taken by the Viking

Katherine Sutcliffe
A fire in the Heart


Karin Tabke
Master of Surrender

Sherry Thomas
His at Night


Lisa Valdez

Elizabeth Vaughan

Silvia Violet
A Carnal Agreement


J. R. Ward
The Black Dagger Brotherhood
Lover Avenged
Lover Enshrined
Lover Mine

Joss Ware
Beyond the Night

Debra Webb
Anywhere She Runs
Everywhere She Turns

Heather Webber
Truly, Madly

Sasha White

C. L. Wilson
King of Sword and Sky
Lady of Light and Shadows
Lord of the Fading Lands

Linda Wisdom
50 Ways to Hex Your Lover