Thursday, July 31, 2008

July Book Summary

Wow, July was a very good month for me as far as my reading went. It was my most successful month this year, with a total of 16 books. I know, I know, I am totally behind on my reviews, but I promise they are coming.

1. Carressed by Ice, Singh (Paranormal) Rating: B
2. MacKenzie's Magic, Howard (Contemporary) Rating: C
3. Sam's Creed, McCarty (Western/Erotic) Rating: B
4. Breaking Point, Brockman (Romantic Suspense) Rating: A
5. Tall Tales and Wedding Veils, Graves (Contemporary) Rating: B+
6. Highland Guardian, Mayhue (Time Travel) Rating: B-
7. The Last Hellion, Chase (Historical) Rating: A
8. Night Train to Memphis, Peters (Mystery) Rating: B+
9. Dime Store Magic, Armstrong (Paranormal) Rating: B+
10. The Loner, Nelson (Contemporary) Rating: D
11. The Sherbrooke Twins, Coulter (Historical) Rating: B
12. Death Angel, Howard (Romantic Suspense) Rating: B
13. Into the Storm, Brockmann (Romantic Suspense) Rating: B+
14. Industrial Magic, Armstrong (Urban Fantasy) Rating: B+
15. The Duke of Shadows, Duran (Historical) Rating: B-
16. Sleeping with the Devil, Marlow (General Fiction) Rating: C

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review – The Last Hellion

Title: The Last Hellion
Author: Loretta Chase
Publishing Date: April 1998
Genre: Historical
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

The Last Hellion begins when Vere Mallory, the seventh Duke of Ainswood spies two women in a physical confrontation. He believes that Lydia Genville is in trouble and in need of his rescue, since the area where this confrontation is taking place is in the worst sort of neighborhood, full of all sorts of shady characters. Lydia not at all appreciative of his efforts to rescue her and squarely delivers an upper cut to his chin, which lands Ainswood on his back. Dumbfounded by Lydia, he is determined to get revenge for the beating his pride takes. Unfortunately for Vere, he is no match for the “Dragon”, which he aptly nicknames Lydia.

Clever. If I could only use one word to describe this book, that is the word I think best suits it. There are just so many small details that add up to make this book the masterpiece that it is. Lydia is such a smart capable woman who does not need anyone, man or woman to come to her rescue. As a matter of fact, she has taken it upon herself to rescue others who aren’t quite so capable, such as runaway Miss Price.

Vere is completely fascinated by Lydia, because she is so unpredictable. Vere never knows how she will react to his jibes and can’t wait to see what outrageous, outlandish thing she will do next. Vere was a complicated hero. He is jaded. Life has not been kind to him with so many deaths in his family, all one after another. He hides his true feelings behind a brazen, reckless rogue. Some of the most touching scenes are when Lydia slowly uncovers the personality Vere keeps so carefully hidden.

Just when the reader thinks the story might get too sappy or sentimental, Chase turns the tables and explodes with a witticism so dry, it makes the reader smile or chuckle. The writing is beautiful, wavering back and forth between bold and direct at times, to subtle and poignant at others. The Last Hellion has a lovely cast of characters and several different plot threads running through the book that all coalesce at the end bringing everything together ingeniously. This was a thoroughly entertaining and charming story.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Review – Highland Guardian

Title: Highland Guardian
Author: Melissa Mayhue
Publishing Date: November 2007
Genre: Time Travel
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Sarah Douglas is a successful romance writer currently suffering from writers block. She has had this strange compulsion to visit Scotland. Since she can’t seem to make any progress on her book she finds a quant cottage to stay at for a few months. Maybe she will be able to write again if she scratches this itch. Sarah has always been able to sense other peoples’ feelings when she touches them. These feelings can sometimes incapacitate her. Sarah is unaware of the reason for her unusual “gift” is because she is a descendent of the Fae. After she meets the handsome Ian McCullogh, the owner of the quaint cottage where she is staying, she learns more than she ever wanted to about her gift. Ian is a guardian and half Fae himself. It has been his job for over 600 years to keep certain evil Fae out of the Faery Realm.

The plot may sound complicated but it’s really not. I felt that this was a light and fluffy story that was an enjoyable way to pass the time. It is not at all dark or heavy. Sarah is a very sweet heroine. For a 38 year old woman, she came across as very innocent (don’t worry, she wasn’t a virgin). It wasn’t over done where she seemed too perfect and therefore unlikeable. I actually liked her personality quite a bit. Ian was a good match for her. He realized what a good person she was right away. He was smart about Sarah for the most part. He does pull a bonehead move later on in the story, inevitably hurting Sarah. Thankfully it all gets resolved satisfactorily.

There are some interesting secondary characters. A little boy Will, who befriends Sarah, is a cute touch. There is also an interesting man Ramos, who the reader is not sure whose side he is on. Is he a good Fae or a bad Fae? I felt it made the conflict in the story more interesting. Sarah’s ex-husband was a little to over the top for me. He really says some nasty things to Sarah in front of other people that felt unbelievable to me. I really don’t think someone would say those things in public. Also, sometimes while reading this book I found my mind wondering. Now, I don’t know if it was me or the book. I don’t want to say that the book was boring, because it wasn’t. But maybe it just wasn’t that griping. Does that make sense? It flowed nicely but nothing really jumped out at me. Other than that I didn’t really have much of a problem with the story. If you want to take a time out from heavy novels and want something fluffy, give it a try.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Review - Tall Tales and Wedding Veils

Title: Tall Tales and Wedding Veils
Author: Jane Graves
Publishing Date: June 2008
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Tall Tales and Wedding Veils is loosely connected to Hot Wheels and High Heels. When I say loosely, I mean very loosely. The reader does not need to have read Hot Wheel and High Heels at all to enjoy the story. I only mention it because I was surprised to learn that the hero of this book Tony, was the employee of the hero in Hot Wheels. Tony recently quit his job as a repo man to buy his own local sports bar, something he has always dreamed of doing for a long time now. The only problem he is as he is about to close on the loan he learns that his friend Dave can’t loan him the twenty thousand he needs. On a crazy whim, Tony flies to Las Vegas to win what he needs by gambling. In Vegas he meets Heather, sweet sensible, CPA Heather. To make a long story short, she wins him the twenty thousand he needs and they end up married to one another after a drunken night of celebration.

This was a fun quick read, yet surprisingly it had some depth to it. Both characters do a lot of growing throughout the story and Graves develops their relationship very believably. Tony at the beginning seems very shallow and irresponsible. Heather seems judgmental with a stick up her butt. Over the course of the book, they learn about each other and come to appreciate their differences. There are a lot of secondary characters that could have come across as caricatures, but because of Grave’s talent they don’t. There are some funny moments and there are some tender touching moments. There were moments when I wanted to cry for both characters. I really enjoyed this story.

If I had to say one thing that I didn’t like about this story, I would say that in the beginning I didn’t really like Tony all that much. I thought he was taking advantage of Heather and he didn’t truly deserve her. That opinion changed over the course of the book and that is a true testament to Grave’s talent. I think that was exactly what she was aiming for and I gobbled it up hook, line and sinker. This is the second book by Graves I have read and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first one. I think it is time for me to look into her back list.

Here is what others had to say:

Ramblings on Romance
The Book Binge
The Good, The Bad, The Unread

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Superstars - Who are you missing out on?

I have been reading steadily for about four years now and nearly all of it romance. If I had an estimate, I would wager that I have read roughly 500 books in that time. Even though that is a lot of books, there are still some big name authors who I have yet to read. A few who come to mind are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, better known as SEP, Diana Palmer and Roberta Gellis. I just looked at Gellis's back list and she has a slew of medieval novels that I am very excited about. There is also Iris Johansen, Debbie MacComber, Jodi Thomas and Lori Foster.

Sometimes with these prolific authors who have hundreds of books in their backlist makes it a daunting challenge to figure out which book to start with. I know in the case with Diana Palmer, thumbing through her backlist almost all of the books are connected (thank goodness for fictiondb). This is were fellow bloggers and romance resources like RT and AAR come in handy. Whenever I want to try a new author, I usally head over there for recomendations.

What about you? Is there a big name author have you yet to read? Maybe it's Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Jayne Ann Krentz or Linda Howard? Have you wanted to try these authors out, but just didn't know where to begin? Maybe we could have a jam session and help each other out with suggestions!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review – Breaking Point

Title: Breaking Point
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: 2005
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

*Warning, You must read the books Over the Edge and Out of Control before reading this book!

Breaking Point is book nine in Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series. Finally, fans get to finish Gina and Max’s and Molly and Jone’s stories. At the beginning of the story, Max receives an email stating that Gina has been the victim of a terrorist bombing in Germany. He flies there to identify the body and bring it back, only to discover the body is not Gina. Thus begins an investigation that Jules and Max undergo to find out what happened to Gina.

Man, this book was so good. Right from the beginning it took a hold of me and did not let up one iota throughout the story. That surprised me too, because I was hesitant to start this book. It just seemed like I wasn’t going to like it and boy was I wrong. It is very intense. I am not going to lie to you. This is not a light romance. It is heavy and in some places, very dark. Brockmann does a good job of not letting the reader get too overwhelmed with the darkness and interjects with happier moments.

What I really enjoyed the most was the range of emotions Brockmann was able to evoke and the intensity with which I felt them. The joy and elation when Molly and Jones finally unite; the sorrow and regret when Max thinks Gina is dead and there are so many more ups and downs and twists and turns. The reader is in for quite a treat with this story. As harsh as the trip is for these couples to reach their happy ever after, it is all so much sweeter when they finally do reach it. I loved this book and I will be so sad when I finally catch up to the current book in this series. Brockmann is a genius.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Review – Mackenzie’s Magic

Title: Mackenzie’s Magic
Author: Linda Howard
Publishing Date: November 1996
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: C
Sensuality: Warm

Mackenzie’s Magic is the fourth book in the Mackenzie series. Maris is the daughter of Wolf and Mary Mackenzie who started the series in Mackenzie’s Mountain (one of my favorite books). Maris Mackenzie wakes up in bed with a man she doesn’t know. She has no memory of how she got there. She quickly learns that she stole the prize horse she has been training. She has to get her memory back fast because whoever hit her on the head is going to come back to finish the job.

This story was ridiculously short and a big disappointment. The whole dang story takes place over only a few measly little hours! I am not even sure if the story was 100 pages long. Maris’s personality was in keeping with an only girl growing up in a house full of Mackenzie men. It made since that she would be direct and know exactly what she wants – and knows she’ll get it. Alex MacNeil’s character, on the other hand, was not developed properly. I actually almost forgot his name. He has so little presence in the story. Also, there is none of the snappy dialog that Linda Howard is so well known for. Then, if that wasn’t enough, Alex and Maris’s relationship is completely overshadowed at the end of the story with the introduction of Zane’s little girl, Nick. I am not even going to try and put into words how annoying her baby talk was. All I can say is, don’t start with this one, only read it if you are desperate for a Linda Howard book and you have read everything else.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Review – Caressed by Ice

Title: Caressed by Ice
Author: Nalini Singh
Publishing Date: September 2007
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot

Caressed by Ice is the third book in Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. It features Judd Lauren, an arrow Psy who has defected with his family from the PsyNet and is currently living with the SnowDancer wolf pack. Brenna Shane Kincaid was the victim of the serial killer from the first book in the series Slave to Sensation. She has been trying to recover herself and heal from the incident, but she has been having trouble readjusting to her old life. She is drawn to Judd for reasons she is unsure of, after all, with Judd being a Psy, unable to feel emotion himself, he cannot comfort her. On top of all that, one of Brenna’s packmates is murdered and now it appears her life may still be in danger.

I had mixed feelings about this story. On the one hand, I really like the fact that each book in the series builds off of the one before it, keeping the series moving rather than becoming stagnant. I enjoy that the plot is new and fresh and very well developed. What I had trouble with in this story was that the pacing was uneven at certain times, usually when military tactics or Psy-silence was being explained. It seemed like this happened frequently.

In the beginning of the story, it was hard to understand Brenna’s attraction to Judd. Well, to be honest, I don’t think she understood it herself. Their relationship was difficult because Judd was in physical pain whenever he was physically touching Brenna. It was hard to get past Judd having a nosebleed every time he touched Brenna. Finally they do get past it and wow, let’s just say the wait was worth it. Judd wastes no time making up for what was lost. I also enjoyed the dynamics between the secondary characters. One in particular I am interested in is Judd’s niece Sienna. It seems she is always causing some trouble for Hawke. I wonder if they will eventually be paired up and get their own story. At any rate, this series is progressing nicely.

Here is what others had to say:

Dionne Galace
The Book Binge
The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Dear Author
Reading is Sexy

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Grand Finale - Into the Flame

Into the Flame is the fourth and final book of Christina Dodd's Darkness Chosen paranormal series and will hit the stores August 5, 2008. I really enjoy Christina Dodd's writing style and have read the first two books in this series. The story revolves around a family of shape-shifter siblings who have to find four icons in order to save their ailing father from eternal damnation. Each book revolves around of one of the siblings, their search for the icon and of course, true love. There are three brothers and one sister. The final book is the sister's story.

Here is the summary:

Roaming the Russian steppes a thousand years ago, a brutal warrior struck a terrifying deal. In exchange for being able to transform into a heartless predator, he promised his soul-and the souls of his descendents-to the devil.

Brutally handsome cop Doug Black is determined to find the birth family who left him with nothing but a terrifying inheritance: the ability to change into a savage golden cougar. His search leads him to a woman as dauntless and exotic as her name. Firebird Wilder is bitterly familiar with supernatural gifts, and flees on discovering his secret, leaving Doug alone once more. But no one can escape a wild cougar on the hunt. When he finds her, they both must decide which is more powerful ... the love that binds them together ... or the secrets that threaten to tear them apart.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Review – Sam’s Creed

Title: Sam’s Creed
Author: Sarah McCarty
Publishing Date: July 2008
Genre: Western (Erotic)
Rating: B
Sensuality: Burning

Sam’s Creed is the second book in Sarah McCarty’s Hells Eight series. Sam Macgregor, one of the rangers of Hell’s Eight (I am not sure, but I believe is the name of their ranch) is looking for Desi’s sister. Desi is from the first book and her sister was sold into prostitution. Sam is out scouring the west looking for a blonde prostitute. He hasn’t had much success. On his journey he encounters a band of wagons that were attacked and the people killed. Only not everyone was killed. Isabella Montoya was underneath one of the wagons. She is running away from a very bad, but influential man named Tejala. He offered to make her his wife and she refused. After being humiliated, he has all men in the countryside looking for her and once they find her he plans on raping and humiliating her.

What I really liked about Sam, was how protective he was. He’d soon cut off his own arm before ever laying a hand on Bella, or anybody unable to defend themselves against him. I also appreciated how he enjoyed Bella for who she was and liked her charisma and sass, of which Bella had plenty. She was a very spunky heroine, but without being overly so. What I didn’t enjoy was Sam constantly thinking he wasn’t good enough for her. I thought that was a load of crap. At the end of the story, I still wasn’t completely convinced of the happy ending. Sam didn’t sell it for me.

As long as the story was, the reader only received a very brief glimpse into the past lives of both Sam and Bella. I felt that it should have been more developed. This is Sarah McCarty, which means the sex is very descriptive and inventive. She still delivers on that front. What I liked most was that the sex was integral to the development of Bella and Sam’s relationship. It never felt forced, or that there was a scene thrown in willy, nilly for the sake of a sex scene. Sam’s Creed had a few issues, but overall I enjoyed the story.

Here is what others had to say:

Ahhhhh Romance
Ramblings on Romance

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Review – Taken by the Viking

Title: Taken by the Viking
Author: Michelle Styles
Publication Date: May 2008
Genre: Historical
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm

True to the title’s word, Annis of Birdoswald is taken by the Viking Haakon Haroldson. He was trading furs and amber with a Scotsman and was told he would be paid in gold at St. Cuthbert’s Abby. The monks refuse to give Haakon his gold and a battle ensues. One thing leads to another and Annis finds herself Haakon’s captive. He takes her back to his homeland in the hopes that he will be able to ransom her.

I generally enjoy captive stories and this one was no exception. Annis was a very strong woman. At one point in the story there is a misunderstanding between Annis and Haakon. I was worried that this would be a long drawn out affair. Fortunately this only happened once. Wonder of wonders, Haakon even apologizes to Annis. Haakon is a good hero with an honorable disposition. What surprised me too was Annis’s strength. These were situations where a normal woman might have given into fits of tears or despair; not Annis. When the going got tough, she sucked it up and got tougher.

The thing that holds me back from giving this story a higher grade, is not that this book was bad, it just didn’t really stand out from the crowd. It was just a tad bland around the edges, without that extra oomph to make this story really sparkle. I like a book that really stirs my emotions and makes me feel strongly about the characters. While I liked the characters, shortly after reading the book, they were easily forgotten.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Halfway through the year

Wow, can you believe it? We are halfway through 2008 already. I thought I would highlight my favorite reads so far this year. I will choose the top five books I have read that have been published this year. I have read a total of 80 books and of those 80, 24 of them were published this year.

This was a wonderful historical novel. I usually don't enjoy spy stories, but this one broke the rule. The heroine Annique had just the right balance of quick wit and vulnerability to make me love her.

Lisa Kleypas has done an incredible job with her latest contemporary. She takes the tragic subject of spousal abuse and weaves an incredible tale of self recovery. Plus, she writes some the hottest heroes in romance today and Hardy Cates is no exception.

Mary Margret Daughtridge is a newcomer to romance. She brings a fresh realistic look into the life of our military men. Jax Graham might be a navy SEAL, but he is just a man trying to do right by his son, scared to death he is going to do the wrong thing. I fell in love with him just like Pickett did.

I am a sucker for first loves reunited. Sophi and Marc have to over come what seem like insurmountable odds. The journey to their happy ever after is fraught with difficulties and this makes for quite a nail-biting read.

This book is nothing but non-stop-fun from start to finish. Cade and Holly are a hoot with their constant, lively conversations. There are so many classic one-line zingers in this book, it is hard for me to choose a favorite.

Honorable mention

I also want to point out the most recent release in the Mercy Thompson series. Even though this book isn't strictly a romance (urban fantasy with romantic elements), I do believe this book deserves a mention. Mercy Thompson is a great heroine. I love this series so far and can't wait to see what's heading Mercy's way in future books.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Review – Unleashing the Storm

Title: Unleashing the Storm
Author: Sydney Croft
Publishing Date: March 2008
Rating: C
Genre: Paranormal (erotic)
Sensuality: Burning

Unleashing the Storm is the second novel of the ACRO series. This book features the operative Tom Knight, aka Ender, whose mission is to bring Kira Donovan to ACRO before their enemy organization Itor captures her. Tim is an excedosapien, which means he is physically stronger and faster than the average man. He also has better than 20/20 vision. He was a former Delta force operator and will have no problem completing his mission. Itor wants Kira because she has the unique ability to communicate with animals. She has a weakness though and that is she comes into heat and this need for sex completely incapacitates her during this time.

I didn’t like this book all that much. Mainly it was because I had issues with Tom. He was a big jerk throughout most of the book. I couldn’t understand what Kira saw in him. Well, he did have a few redeeming moments, but most of the time he would say mean things to Kira to keep her at a distance. Kira though, could see through his gruff ways and just work around it. For all she went through, because of her unusual gifts, she was a very strong person. I admired her will to never give up. I just wish it could have been over a hero more worthy. That’s just me though.

There are a couple of side stories that continue from the first book, Riding the Storm. They involve the head of the corporation Dev O’Malley. He learns something shocking about his past that I am sure will play out in future books. Creed and Annika’s relationship continues in this book as well. It seemed like they didn’t have as much screen time as in the first book. There relationship is a mess. Annika has some issues that she is going to have to work through before their relationship can move forward. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Unread

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Review – Secrets of Surrender

Title: Secrets of Surrender
Author: Madeline Hunter
Publishing Date: June 2008
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Roselyn Longworth is in a bad situation. Out of sheer desperation she allows herself to become the mistress of Lord Norbury. In dire financial straights she thinks Lord Norbury is an honorable man whom she can turn to in her time of need. Unfortunately, Roselyn misunderstood what he wanted. She finds herself at a country party that is much more lurid and scandalous than she could ever have imagined. While there, she rejects Lord Norbury and he in turns publically insults her by auctioning her to the guests at his party. Fortunately for Roselyn, Kyle Bradwell is there to bid for her. He wins the auction and then honorably takes Rose home to her relatives.

I really enjoyed this story. Kyle and Rose do not have an easy relationship. When they first meet and then eventually marry they have a lot of baggage to contend with. They slowly have to work out their problems before they can magically fall in love. That in a nutshell is the beauty of this story. I loved the way Hunter shows us the evolution of their relationship. When they first start out in their marriage, the physical intimacy between the two is very vanilla. Both Rose and Kyle are holding back, not fully ready to trust each other with their true selves. Then halfway through, Rose calls Kyle on his holding back and he calls her on it too. Bam, now all the sudden the sheets are on fire. It was amazing to watch the transformation.

I loved Kyle’s character. He was noble without being a prig. He was authoritative without being controlling. I quite liked him. Oh, and I was completely sold when he ate a second piece of Rose’s pie. That was so endearing. Rose was a little bland in comparison to Kyle, but I did like her. A few times I wanted to tell her to get over her brother already, but I understood where she was coming from. This was another solid story from Hunter that I definitely recommend.

Here is what others had to say:

Dear Author Jane has quite a different perspective on this book than I did.
Cupid's Chokehold

Friday, July 11, 2008

Look what came in the mail today

My husband subscribes to the magazine Entertainment Weekly and it comes in the mail every Friday. I went to check the mail and low and behold the Twilight novels were the feature for this weeks magazine. Actually, it's not so much the books, but the new movie that they are discussing. I haven't read the article yet because I have not started the books. I am so deathly afraid of spoilers that I just briefly glanced at the article. I definitely plan on reading the books because of the crazy popularity they have been receiving. Plus, I happen to really dig that there is a love triangle.

Let's focus on the picture they chose for the cover of this weeks issue of EW, shall we? I just want to mention how crazy Robert Pattinson, aka Edward looks in this picture. Look at the intensity in his eyes and his pale skin and red lips. I am not sure what to think about him. Dare I say it but, (gasp) he looks DEAD! Oh, and what's up with his hair. I am not liking the do at all. I don't know if you can make it out from the picture, but his hands have grease or dirt on them. I have the magazine sitting in front of me and I can see it clear as day. Was he just out digging graves before the photo shoot?

Bella is gorgeous. I wonder what the apple she is holding signifies. It makes me think of Adam and Eve or Snow White. Of course, my opinion on all of this really doesn't matter at the moment because I have not yet read the books. Any thoughts from those of you who have? Are you looking forward to the books heading to the big screen? What do you think of the choice of actors for the lead roles; good or bad?

TWILIGHT'S CAST (From left) Rachelle Lefevre (who plays Victoria), Kristen Stewart (Bella), Robert Pattinson (Edward), Cam Gigandet (James), and Taylor Lautner (Jacob)

*On a side note - For those of you who have read the series, Is Breaking Dawn the last novel or will there be more?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Review – Dark Desires after Dusk

Title: Dark Desires after Dusk
Author: Kresley Cole
Publishing Date: June 2008
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

Dark Desires after Dusk is book five of The Immortals after Dark series, which features an alternate world inhabited by The Lore. The Lore is made up of all types of creatures humans thought were only mythical, only they really do exist. Humans just don’t know it. Holly Ashwin is a math professor who is abducted by demons on her way to class. Holly’s world is turned upside down when she learns that she is half Valkyrie and is The Vessel. It has been foretold that The Vessel with bear a child who will become the next warrior for the accession.

Cadeon Woede has vowed he will do what ever is necessary to win his brother Rydstrom’s crown back. That means he has to turn Holly over to an evil sorcerer who has forged a sword that is the only weapon that can kill the man who stands between his brother’s throne. Only the big complication is that Holly is Cade’s one and only fated female.

I fear I am going to sound like a fan girl in this review, I loved it that much. Cade and Holly are a hoot. I loved them dearly and they may possibly be my favorite couple so far in this series and that is really saying a lot. Holly has OCD and is as straight laced and uptight as they come. Cade, on the other hand, is ruled by impulse and passion. You can just imagine how the sparks fly between these two. The banter back and forth is top notch and the sexual tension just sizzles off the pages. Cade constantly kept Holly guessing, with his sarcastic repartee. Then, he would switch it up and do the sweetest, most thoughtful things for Holly. I had more than a couple ahhhhh moments.

Holly more than holds her own with Cade though, and manages several times to throw Cade off of his game. His self confidence takes a nose dive more than once. The playing ground was a fierce battle between those two, but they both come out the winners. Of course we had to have the big nasty betrayal though. I really hate that, but it all works out in the end. Although, I do think Cade should have groveled more. Cole is definitely on a role with this series. I can’t believe I have to wait until February of next year for the next installment – Rydstrom’s story.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad and The Unread
The Reading Spot
Ramblings on Romance
The Book Smugglers
Cupid's Chokehold
The Book Binge

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Review – The Bartered Bride

Title: The Bartered Bride
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Publishing Date: 2002
Genre: Historical
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Recently widowed, Alexandra Warren is returning to her family in England with her young daughter Katie when their ship is attacked by Pirates. Alex and Katie are separated and sold into slavery on an island in the East Indies. While on the auction block in a slave market Gavin Elliot notices Alex and is startled to see that a European woman is being sold as a slave. Gavin is an honorable man and is horrified to see Alex treated thusly and resigns himself to free her. Only Alex’s freedom doesn’t come easy and Gavin must make some tough decisions.

This story is told in two parts, the first part deals with Alex’s slavery and Gavin’s rescue. I really enjoyed this part of the book, especially the feats Gavin has to perform in order to win Alex’s freedom. The second part of the book was Alex and Gavin’s adjustment to normal life back in London. Alex has to come to grips with her captivity. It is affecting Gavin and Alex’s marriage on a physical level. There are also evil villains lurking in the corners to add suspense to the story.

Gavin is a Beta hero. He is very patient with Alexandra and allows her the freedom she needs to heal. I personally like my heroes more Alpha. This was a very sweet story. I like a little more passion to my romances. I was pretty impressed with Alexandra, though. She was a very strong woman who didn’t give up under conditions that would crush most people. I really enjoyed her character. The Bartered Bride has a lot of adventure and if you like Beta heroes this is a wonderful story. Putney is a master at her craft.

Here is what others had to say:

Reading is Sexy

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Laughter of Dead Kings - Upcoming Release

Elizabeth Peters was one of the first authors I fell in love with. I first read her books under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels and then moved on to her Elizabeth Peters novels. Of the many books she wrote (and their are over 60 of them) the Vicky Bliss mysteries are some of my favorites.

It turns out that Ms. Peters is releasing one more Vicky Bliss mystery after 14 years. I am just tickled pink. I devoured these books when I was a teenager. I don't know what it was about her writing style, but it just clicked with me. The books were always narrated by the heroine, who seemed to have the right balance of humor and naïveté. Because it was from her point of view, the reader was never sure who the hero was until the end, when he inevitably came to her rescue. Her characters always seemed so believable and human. I just couldn't help but relate.

A few years ago I started reading her books all over again. I wanted to see if they would still have the magic that they once held for me all those years ago and sure enough they did. Needless to say, I am very excited about this new release Laughter of Dead Kings, out August 26th of next month. Here are the five books in the series and their reading order:

Also, I just want to point out that Ms. Peters is 81 years old and is still publishing books. Is that not amazing or what?! Her first book The Master of Blacktower was published in 1966. She has been publishing books for 42 years. I hereby salute Ms. Peters and recognize what a wonderful, talented writer she is.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Review – Mr. Perfect

Title: Mr. Perfect
Author: Linda Howard
Publishing Date: 2000
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Hot

Jaine Bright and three of her female friends brainstorm a list of what requirements the “perfect” man would have to have over their routine dinner after work on Friday. By Monday morning the list is circling their work. The list ends up causing quite a stir and the ladies find themselves not only on local news but national news as well. Things take a turn for the worst when one of them is murdered and the rest are in danger for their lives. Janie’s next door neighbor Sam, is a cop who comes to her rescue.

In the beginning of the book Jaine thinks Sam is a drug dealer or a drunk. Sam works all odd hours and is scruffy looking. Jaine thinks the worst of him. When her neighbor informs her that he is a cop, needless to say Jaine is shocked.

So much of what I love about this book is the witty repartee between Sam and Jaine. Jaine’s mouth is left uncensored whenever Sam is around and those two can really go at it. They both are very evenly matched and it is so much fun to read. Jaine has what I like to call, “a large personality.” She tries to tone down this with everybody, but with Sam, he likes it and she can just be herself. That is what makes Sam perfect in my eyes. I loved Sam and Jaine and wanted more. Mr. Perfect is one of Howard’s best. I don’t think I have done this book justice with this review. It really is a great book; one that just flies by when you are reading it. Here is an exchange between Sam and Jaine that I posted earlier to give you an example of the fantastic dialog between these two.

I have just one small complaint. What I didn’t enjoy was the parts that were in the villain’s point of view. I realize they may have been necessary to the suspense part of the story but I don’t like reading them. Whenever I do a reread, I usually skip them.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July's Classic Challenge

The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase is July's Classic Book Challenge. A few of you might be wondering what this challenge is all about. Well, it was originally started by Jenny of Jenny's B(ook)log. Basically, it was a way to get readers to pick up the famous romance books from the past that are still talked about today. What you might refer to as a "classic". Will they stand the test of time? Jenny suggested a different book to be read each month. You can read my original post for more information.

With all the hoopla on Loretta Chase recently over her new book release, I am encouraging fellow bloggers to join me in this challenge. Ana over at The Book Smugglers has a wonderful tribute and interview with the famous Loretta Chase about her more recent work. I am curious to know if anyone is interested in reading one of her older books to see how it compares from her more recent work. Will her older book stand the test of time, or will it seem outdated? Dare I ask the question, of whether or not a bodice will be ripped? You betcha - hah!

Here is the synopsis for The Last Hellion:

She Needed to be Tamed...

She was a breathtaking firebrand, and Vere Mallory, the notorious Duke of Ainswood, had never seen anything quite like her. Although he thought he was rescuing Lydia Grenville from the clutches of a renowned wastrel he quickly discovers she is angry at his interference! Amused by the sultry hellcat's fury, Mallory vows to teach her some humility—in life and in love.

He Was Just the Man to Do It.

Lydia Grenville was fuming. She was determined to save womankind from disreputable rakes like the infamous Mallory, not succumb to his scandalous charms. She finds herself overwhelmed by the scintillating sensations he brings to her body, but when she discovers that he has bragged that he's going to tame" her, Lydia vows to fight his advances... but nothing prepares her for the surrender she finds in his arms.

I don't know about you, but that blurb sounds a little bodice-ripperish to me. I mean he - vows to teach her some humility - Yikes! She's in trouble now - finding herself overwhelmed by the scintillating sensations he brings to her body. Oh Boy, what's a girl to do?

Any takers?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Review - Nameless

Title: Nameless
Author: Debra Webb
Publishing Date: February 2008
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Vivian Grace is a rookie FBI agent on a mission to enlist the help of former FBI agent Ryan McBride. She is currently working a child kidnapping case and the kidnapper has said he will only work with McBride. Vivian has 24 hours in which to convince McBride to help the FBI with the case or the child will die. McBride was at the top of his game three years ago having never lost a child kidnapping case. Then one case went terribly wrong and the child was killed. McBride was blamed and his badge revoked. Since that fateful day McBride has been drowning his sorrows in alcohol and meaningless sex.

Ryan and Vivian make a very interesting couple. They both put up a façade to hide their true selves. Ryan does this through booze and bad language giving off an “I-don’t-give-a-shit” vibe while Vivian portrays just the opposite with her tightly controlled image. This makes for a fun interaction between the two and leaves the reader wondering how they will react to each other. McBride enjoys riddling the cool, zipped up Vivian with blatant sexual innuendos that constantly keep her off balance. Eventually they get wise to each other and realize that there is more than what is being offered on the surface. Both have a lot of baggage that they slowly uncover throughout the story. When McBride and Vivian do finally get together, boy do they sizzle!

The suspense part of the book was very well written. More than once I found myself hovering on the edge of my seat in nail-biting anticipation. The kidnapper, Devoted Fan leaves clues for each kidnapping that Ryan and Vivian have to unravel. The villain was very well developed – one of the best I have read, not only this year but in past years as well. He wasn’t just evil for the sake of being evil. There was a method to his madness the reader could almost relate to (I said almost). I really enjoyed this story and will definitely be looking into more of Debra Webb’s novels.

Here is what others had to say:

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

June Book Summary

Wow, I almost didn't meet my goal this month. I just barely made it with one day to spare. I think the reason was becuase of my lack of interest in what to read, but by the end of the month I felt like I had my old swagger back. Lover Enshrined and Dark Desires After Dusk, along with a reread of Mr. Perfect helped me tremendously. July looks promising too with all the great releases. I have updated my sidebar with all the books that look promising for July. So be sure to check that out.

Here are my reads for June:

1. Unlawful Contact, Clare (Romantic Suspense) Rating: A-
2. Visions of Heat, Singh (Paranormal) Rating: C-
3. Lover Enshrined, J.R. Ward (Paranormal) Rating B
4. Kushiel's Dart, Carey (Fantasy) Rating: B-
5. The Flame and the Flower, Woodiwiss (Historical) Rating: B
6. Nameless, Webb (Romantic Suspense) Rating: B+
7. Mr. Perfect, Howard (Romantic Suspense) Rating: A-
8. The Bartered Bride, Putney (Historical) Rating: B-
9. Dark Desires after Dusk, Cole (Paranormal) Rating: A
10. Secrets of Surrender, Hunter (Historical) Rating: B+
11. Unleashing the Storm, Croft (Paranormal, Erotic) Rating: C
12. Taken by the Viking, Styles (Historical) Rating: B