Sunday, May 31, 2009

Review - A Kingdom of Dreams

Title: A kingdom of Dreams
Author: Judith McNaught
Publishing Date: 1989
Genre: Medieval
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Warm

Headstrong, seventeen year old Jenny Merrick has been living in a convent for the last two years. After causing her father one to many headaches, he shipped her off in the hopes that she would learn some discipline. Meanwhile the Scots and English have been waging war against one another. Many fierce battles have been fought and won by Royce Westmoreland in the name of the English King, Henry. He has been ordered to take the Scottish Earl of Merrick's keep. Stephan, Royce's brother happens to be in the right place at the right time and utilizes the opportunity to kidnap Jenny and her sister Brenna.

Judith McNaught is well known for her sweeping sagas rich with angst and passion. A Kingdom of Dreams is no exception. It happens to be one of the most memorable medieval stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Jenny and Royce are extremely vivid characters with larger than life personalities. Jenny is prideful and headstrong, but loyal and clever. Royce is presumptuous and stubborn, but intelligent and compassionate too. These two personalities ignite passionately against one another - first in anger, then eventually with love. Oh, but the journey is fraught with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

This is actually my second time reading A Kingdom of Dreams. I wondered if I would still enjoy it now, as much as I did a few years ago when I first started reading romance. I am very happy to say that it still holds the same magic it once did for me. As I was reading it again, there were some things that bothered me about the characters. I hated how Royce so quickly jumps to a conclusion about Jenny, when there wasn't any evidence. I could understand later on, once some things came to light, but not right away. Jenny annoyed me with how long she clung to her loyalty to her family even though they didn't deserve it. I will say that even though these things might bother a reader, McNaught does a beautiful job of getting the reader to empathize with her characters' plight. The dramatic ups and downs of the book are what make it so memorable and special. It is a true testimony to her talent that she can write flawed characters and still keep them lovable.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review - True Love and Other Disasters

Title: True Love and Other Disasters
Author: Rachel Gibson
Publishing Date: May 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Faith Duffy's husband and owner of the Seattle hockey team has recently died, leaving Faith as the owner. Faith is only 30 years old and has a stigma attached to her as a gold-digger since her former husband Virgil was 80 years old and a billionaire. With all the negative buzz surrounding her, the hockey team doesn't want to be caught in the middle of it, especially Captain of the team, Ty Savage. He wants to win the Stanley Cup and nothing is going to make him loose focus, not even a beautiful bimbo like Faith Duffy.

I had trouble relating to Faith. Faith being a former stripper and playboy bunny, I have very little in common with her. She is unashamedly a gold-digger. She totally owns up to the fact that she married her former husband because he was rich and would provide her with the security she has always longed for. I don't really agree with this kind of marriage and not knowing anything about her, I would probably be one of those people who would judge her. So I kept thinking there was going to be a catch as to why she married a man 50 years her senior, but there wasn't. Honestly, she was a gold-digger. Okay... so not exactly heroine material in my book.

Having said that however, there was an innate honesty and conviviality to Faith that does work. When interacting with Ty this playful side to her comes out. She rediscovers herself, because Virgil molded her into this polite, proper woman for the upper crust society she had to be around. That really wasn't who Faith is and so she is rediscovering herself. Occasionally, there were these odd references to Faith's wild side that she dubs "Layla". A few times the references bordered on creepy, like Faith has a multiple-personality disorder. I could have done without that part of it.

I did like Ty. He comes across as a man's man, but not overly so. I would say it's a good balance. He wants to focus on winning the Stanley Cup, but he keeps finding Faith distracting. Ty and Faith have some good interaction to build up the sexual tension. I love how the author shows the process of how he perceives Faith. She goes from being a hot body to have sex with, to a woman he cares about and enjoys spending time with. I felt that the pacing of Ty and Faith's relationship was appropriate and believable, but the ending came much to swiftly. I could have used a few more pages tacked onto the end of the book.

Here is what others had to say:

Breezing Through
Romance Novel TV
Romance Reviews Today
Book Binge
The Romance Bookworm

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review - Cry for Passion

Title: Cry for Passsion
Author: Robin Schone
Publishing Date: March 2009
Genre: Historical (Erotic)
Rating: C
Sensuality: Burning

Cry for Passion is the second book in Robin Schone's Men and Women's Club Series. Rose Clarring seeks out Jack Lodoun to help her divorce her husband of twelve years. Jack refuses to aid her in a divorce, because the law does not support it. Jack and Rose begin an affair to ease their loneliness and grief and guilt. What began as passion quickly turns to love.

Cry for Passion was a most unusual book, in that it seemed like it had a split-personality disorder. The first half of the book was written in the most unusual prose. The writing was short and choppy and it flowed more like a poem, than a novel. It was jarring and unusual, which left me struggling to follow along with the story. The second disconcerting thing about this book, were the sexual metaphors constantly interspersed with normal everyday life. Common items were constantly described in sexual terms. It was as if everything was sexual; a hairbrush, a cup of tea, even a button on a coat. It was too much. That leads me to the next issue I had, which was the prose. I don't think I have ever read a book where the prose was so purple. Good Lord. I lost count of how many times a vagina or a cock was weeping in this book.

Even though the first half of the book was a train wreck, there were some redeeming qualities that were more prominent in the second half of the book. The prose was less choppy and purple and the focus was less on the sex and more on Jack and Rose's struggle with the law. The subject matter of women's rights at the turn of the century was very well researched. Robin Schone was meticulous in researching this era and was accurate down to the last rich detail. Cry for Passion was based on an actual court case that had happened and was one of the catalysts for changing the laws specific to married women. It really was eye opening to legally see just how little the law was on a woman's side. It is very sad to think what lengths had to be taken before the law could be changed.

Because of the extreme differences between the first and second part of the book, I had difficulty giving it a grade. Had I not finished this book I would have rated it a D-, and believe me it crossed my mind once or twice to put it down and not pick it back up. Yet, had I done that I would never have imagined that the second part would have been as strong as it was. Honestly, it was like two different books. I would have given the second part a B+. So that leaves me to rate it somewhere in the middle with a C.

Here is what others had to say:

Happily Ever After

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lover Avenged Contest Winner!

Congratulations Gaby317!!!

You have one a copy of Lover Avenged. Please email me with your mailing address and I will send it to you right away!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review - Under Her Skin

Title: Under Her Skin
Author: Susan Mallery
Publishing Date: May 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Under Her Skin is the first book in Susan Mallery's Titan Series. Lexi Titan owns her own day successful day spa. Unfortunately for her, the lender of her loan is calling it in and she has three weeks to come up with two million dollars. In walks Cruz Rodriguez with a proposition that will benefit both of them. They both agree to to a fake engagement for the next six months. He will give Lexi the two million she needs and she will introduce him to all her family connections that will give Cruz the 'in' he needs into high society. Cruz and Lexi have a past history and both are determined to guard their hearts, as this is only a business deal. Bet you can't guess where this leads!

Here is another classic case of me getting my hopes up for one thing and the book delivering something different. I was expecting more romance, and while it was there, sometimes Lexi and Cruz's relationship felt overshadowed by Lexi's problems with her family. Much of the plot of this book revolved more around Lexi's interaction with her sisters and her mysterious lender, than with Cruz.

Lexi quite clearly has daddy issues. Jed Titan is the type of man who is incapable of showing affection or love to anyone. Lexi all her life has been desperately trying to win his love, by being a successful business woman. When she starts falling in love with Cruz she panics. This is because she sees he shares similar qualities with her father. Knowing she has never had her fathers love, she believes she won't ever have Cruz's either. So there is a lot of denial between Cruz and Lexi, which brings a lot of angst to the table. However, I felt there was something missing. Maybe it was that the romance with Cruz felt more secondary in comparison Lexi's problems with her family and her spa.

The relationship between Lexi and her sisters Sky and Izzy is complex. Lexi and Skye are in direct competition for the inheritance, because Jed won't choose who will get it. He wants them to constantly be proving they deserve it. Really, Jed is a complete ass in this book. I liked the interaction between Lexi and her sisters. Despite their father, they do get along for the most part.

Susan Mallery has back to back books coming out from this series. In June Skye's story Lip Service will be released and then Izzy's story, Straight from the Hip in July.

Here is what others had to say:

The Pink Heart Society
Monkey Bear Reviews

Monday, May 25, 2009

Access Romance - May Post

I am now a part of AccessRomance. They had an opening and I was asked if I would like to fill it. I said "Sure" and the rest is history. This is my first attempt at group blogging so we shall see how it goes, eh. I have decided to do a post about all the bru-ha-ha that was stirred up over the Avon interview conducted at AAR. Go forth and read, if you so dare!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Review - Heir to the Shadows

Title: Heir to the Shadows
Author: Anne Bishop
Publishing Date: 1999
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: B+
Sensuality: nothing explicit

Heir to the Shadows is the second book in Anne Bishop's Black Jewel Trilogy. This book is all about the healing the characters need to do before the real political battle begins. Jaenelle has the most healing to do and fortunately she is surrounded by people who love and care dearly for her. With the help of her closest friends and her adopted father Saetan, she slowly comes back from Twisted Kingdom to the realm of Keeler.

The memories of the tragedy which sent Jaenelle spiraling into Twisted Kingdom remain elusive until Jaenelle is strong enough to remember them. In the meantime, Jaenelle continues to learn craft as she grows into womanhood. She reestablishes her childhood friendships. Karla in particular, another young witch, a black widow and healer was a hoot to read about. Her introduction to Saetan, in particular was a riot.

Another favorite character of mine is the High Lord, Saetan himself. Most people see him as one of the most powerful, ruthless men in all the realms, if not the most powerful. He is feared by all. All except Jaenelle that is. She treats him as an exasperating Papa who is tired and needs a nap. She even at one point, gifts him with a sweater because he is too formal and needs to slouch. The relationships between characters with the emotional currents between father and son, father and daughter, sister and brother, friend and friend are just beautifully written.

One of my favorite characters from the first book was noticeably absent from this book. It was a disappointment, but there were many alluring facets of Heir to the Shadows to keep my interest peaked. Queen of the Darkness is the next book in the trilogy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Upcoming Harlequin Event!

As most of you know, Harlequin is celebrating 60 years of romance in the publishing industry. The Openhouse Gallery in New York will be displaying of 100 pieces of cover art from 1949 - 2009, FREE to the public. Covering the shifting shape of desire and fantasy, as well as the social meaning and context of these images, this event will be open for two weeks starting May 30 - June 12. Some of this cover art was on display at the Romantic Times convention in Orlando. If you get the opportunity, it would be a real treat to see it.

Celebrating 60 Years of Cover Art
May 30 - June 12, 2009
Openhouse Gallery,
201 Mulberry Street, New York NY 10012

Friday, May 22, 2009

Review - Lover Avenged

Title: Lover Revenged
Author: J. R. Ward
Publishing Date: May 2009
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot

Lover Revenged is book seven in J. R. Wards Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. For a brief synopsis of this series and a reading order, check out my series post on the Brotherhood. The Reverend or Rhevenge runs the night club Zero Sum in Caldwell. He is half vampire-half sympath. He injects himself with dopamine to suppress the sympath side of himself - his murderous, raging, mind-controlling self. He frequently needs to go to the clinic for a steady supply of dopamine. Most of the nurses are afraid of him, except for Ehlena. Rhev is drawn to Ehlena because of how pure and innocent she seems, which is so different from the tainted life Rhev lives.

I just finished Lover Revenged last night. I have to be honest here... I couldn't really get into it. I think it was Rhev. I sometimes struggle with books where the characters are less than human, ie they have demon in them or in this case sympath (and sympaths totally creep me out by-the-way). I mean he was a pimp, a drug dealer, a murderer and to top it off a half-psychopathic lizard creature. One of those things I could have handled, maybe two. But all of them together was too much of a stretch for me. Plus, for some reason with the mohawk, the big coat, fancy designer suit and cane, I kept picturing him as the rapper Flavor Flav with the over-sized gold watch around his neck and gold caps on his teeth. Okay, so because of Rhev I had a big disconnect, but I will say that I still thought the romance between Ehlena and Rhev, was good. I especially liked the scenes with them talking over the phone. The scene where they are intimate the first time is a great one too. I just wish I would have liked Rhev more.

Onto the John Matthew saga... Well, I have always liked John Matthew and his buddies. I don't really get his interest in Xhex though. I think JR wanted to make John seem more edgy, so she created this angst with Xhex to achieve it. I am not sure how I feel about it yet. She definitely hooked me with the unresolved ending surrounding these two. Lash was also featured and I don't know why, but I like him. I mean, I don't like him per say, but I like what he brings to the stories. He is completely sick and twisted, but dare I say it, he entertains me. I don't know why, but I was amused by his relationship with the Princess. It seemed fitting with their similar personalities.

Wrath and Beth (first book, Dark Lover) play a prominent role in the plot of Lover Revenged. Wrath and Beth are having trouble with thier relationship and they have some things they need to work through. I thought it was good to revisit with these two and see how their relationship has progressed.

Here is what others had to say:

Lovin' Me Some Romance
Maryse's Blog
Book Binge
Babbling About Books, and More
Anna's Book Blog
Alpha Heroes
Michelle's Book Review Blog
Darque Reviews
The Way I See It
Dear Author
Penelope's Romance Reviews
Romance Novel TV
Happily Forever After
Pearl's World of Books

Anyone who comments on this post will automatically be entered to win my copy of Lover Avenged! Contest will end Tuesday May 26th at midnight. Winner will be announced the next day. The contest is open to anyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Contest winners!

Maija P.

Delite Alex


Congratulations to the winners! These are the winners from my contest held last week. Please email me with your address and the prize of your choice: What Happens in Vegas, Wanderlust or June issue of RT Magazine. Please remember - first come, first serve because I only have one of each, so everyone will be getting a different prize. Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Review - Curveball

Title: Curveball
Author: Kate Angell
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm

Curveball is the second book in Kate Angell's Richmond Rogues Series. The Rogues are a major league baseball team and Curveball is a fun romantic comedy of three romances that revolve around Psycho, Romeo and Chaser, Rogue teammates better known as the "Bat Pack". Psycho develops a relationship with his interior decorator, Keely Douglas, when she unexpectedly shows up on the front porch of his historical colonial home. Romeo has it bad for Emerson Kent, the sports reporter for the local newspaper whom he accidentally mows down in a sideline brawl. Chaser finally notices the girl who he has lived next door to since they were kids is now a woman.

Curveball is different from most romances that I have read in that instead of featuring one hero and heroine there are three. Each romance gets about the same amount of billing time in the book. My favorite thread was the romance between Psycho and Keely. Psycho is from the wrong side of the tracks. He grew up with practically nothing and made something of himself by sleeping, eating and breathing baseball. He right away notices how threadbare Keely's clothes are and how desperately she needs this job as his interior decorator. On the outside he is abrasive and cutting, but on the inside he is a big softy and he definitely has a huge soft spot for Keely.

I had a little trouble getting into Romeo and Emerson's romance. Emerson is very controlling and stand-offish. She continually holds Romeo at bay and I just didn't like her personality. It seemed to me that Romeo was too good for her and I didn't understand what about Emerson appealed so much to him. Chaser and Jen's romance was a friends to lovers theme and I always enjoy reading about that.

Curveball was a very fast read. The characters were enjoyable and the plotting was simple. The drawback to having three romances was that I didn't get to spend enough time on each one. I really enjoyed Psycho and almost wish that he could have gotten his own book. Really, the author is just scratching the surface of these characters. The writing and storyline was definitely good enough to draw me in and make me want more. I would recommend this book to those who want something light and funny when they need a quick read. At just under 300 pages, I was able to read this in less than a day. You might want to bring it to the beach!

This review was part of Keishon's TBR Challenge. This month the theme was friends to lovers or unrequited love. You can view all the participants of this challenge here. Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review - Scandal

Title: Scandal
Author: Carolyn Jewel
Publishing Date: February 2009
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Sophie Evans was once married and deeply in love with Tommy Evans. She eloped to be with him when she was a young girl. It turns out he only wanted her for the inheritance she would bring him. He was a rake and a libertine, yet she loved him anyway. Her husband Tommy was friends with the Earl of Banallt. The Earl's reputation for womanizing was legendary and it was no surprise that Tommy would be friends with him. The Earl after taking one look at Sophie was fascinated by her and wanted to have an affair with her. Sophie, with her upstanding morals, refused to be seduced, which only made Bannalt more fascinated. Fast forward to present time and she is now a widow. The Earl is convinced he has changed his ways and wants to make Sophie his wife.

Scandal is an excellent historical. This is my first book by Carolyn Jewel and I really enjoy her writing style. There is not a lot of external action to this book. It is much more a progress of the the characters emotional debate within themselves and each other that move the plot along. Usually, these types of books tend to bore me, but because the characters are so strong in this book, it works in this case.

Scandal first starts with Sophie currently living with her brother after her husband Tommy has died. The reader knows she has a past history with Bannalt, but it is not clear exactly what that relationship entailed. A few chapters alternate between present and past and eventually the whole story in all it's gory detail is revealed. (It's really not that gory!)

The real strength to Scandal is that these characters really felt as if they were truly nineteenth century people. So many times you read a historical where the characters could be replaced in any time or setting and there would be nary a difference in their behavior. You don't realize it until you read a book like Scandal and can see the difference. I read this book based on the Smart Bitches review and I am certainly glad I did. I definitely plan on reading more by Ms. Jewel.

Here is what others had to say:

Love Romance Passion
The Romance Bookworm
Dear Author
My Thoughts on Nothing Much at All
Phyl's Quilts and Books
Cindy Reads Romance
Renee's Book Addiction
Nobody Asked Me
Book Binge

Monday, May 18, 2009

Linda Howard's New Book - Burn!

This is the first I have heard that Linda Howard has a new book coming out!! I just thought I would pass this information along to you. Unfortunately, it's not much. All I know is that the new book is titled Burn and that it is a romantic suspense. Here is what was posted on the publishers website:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Death Angel, Linda Howard, comes her most electrifying work of romantic suspense yet—an unforgettable novel of mesmerizing action and powerful emotion. Expertly blending action-packed suspense with matters of the heart, Linda Howard once again pens an exhilarating tale that will keep her loyal readers guessing until the explosive, utterly unpredictable climax.

I wish they had a summary of the plot. Does anyone know anymore than this and would you like to share your Intel?

Leontine found this summary for me. Yay, Leontine!!! You go girl!

It’s true what they say: Money changes everything. And in Linda Howard’s red-hot novel Burn, the changes come fast, furious, and filled with the kind of sexy suspense, heart-stopping romance, beautiful people, and risky business guaranteed to give you the most bang for your buck.

Money certainly changes Jenner Redwine’s life when she wins a lottery jackpot. But it also costs her plenty: Her father rips her off and disappears, her fortune-hunting boyfriend soon becomes her ex, and friends-turned-freeloaders give her the cold shoulder when she stops paying for everything.

Flush with new money, Jenner can’t imagine ever finding a place in the world of the wealthy. Seven years later, though, she’s rubbing elbows with the rich, despite the fact she still feels like a party crasher. Luckily she finds an ally–and a guide to the rarefied realm of privilege–in shy, kind-hearted heiress Sydney Hazlett, who quickly becomes Jenner’s confidante and surrogate sister.

When Sydney invites Jenner on a charity cruise aboard a luxury liner, Jenner reluctantly agrees. But while she’s expecting–and dreading–two weeks of masquerade balls, art auctions, and preening glitterati, what she gets is more like a Hitchcock movie than a Love Boat episode. Taken hostage by a menacing stranger, Jenner must cooperate in a mysterious cloak-and-dagger scheme–or else. With nowhere to run, and with Sydney’s life as well as her own at risk, Jenner is drawn into a game of dizzying intrigue and harrowing danger. But as her panic gives way to exhilaration, and fear of her captor turns to fascination, Jenner rediscovers feelings she hasn’t had in years–and realizes she’s found a life worth living. If she survives.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Review - Daughter of the Blood

Title: Daughter of the Blood
Author: Anne Bishop
Publishing Date: 1998
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: A-
Sensuality: It varies. For the H/h I would say mild/kisses. There are however, various scenes of disturbing sexual acts with other characters. Sometimes, it is plainly described other times the reader is left to their own imagination.

Daughter of the Blood is the first book in Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy. It tells the story of a young girl Jaenelle Angelline, who will grow up to become the most powerful witch the world of Terreille has ever known. She actually is Witch. Untrained in the most basic craft, Angelline seeks out the High Lord of Hell for training. Intrigued by her vast power and open innocence, the High Lord welcomes the distraction and hope Angelline brings to his realm. There are two other powerful warlord princes who have waited for centuries for Jaenelle. In their bleak, tortured existence Jaenelle has been the only hope keeping them alive and sane.

Daughter of the Blood is a fascinating read. It is cleverly crafted with plenty of hidden pockets of information, with innuendos and double entrees. The most noticeable are the names of the main male characters. Saetan is the High Lord of Hell and his two sons the warlord princes, Daemon and Lucivar. The story is set in an alternate world where the women rule and the men are subservient. They ride horses and use knives instead of guns, so it is not a modern world, although they do have indoor plumbing.

The world building is detailed and intricate. More importantly, the reader is not inundated all at once with information. As the story unfolds, so do the pieces of the puzzle the reader is given. Slowly, piece by piece the whole picture begins to form. This is uniquely done by, instead of narrating the story through Jaenelle's eyes, it is narrated through mainly Saetan and Daemon's point of view.

This makes everything about Jaenelle a mystery; what she knows, where she goes, why she does the things she does. The reader gets to experience Jaenelle through Saetan's and Daemon's eyes. Jaenelle is very intriguing. She holds more power than any other Blooded person, including the High Lord himself. She is constantly surprising him and everyone else with what she can do. She is amazing and alluring, yet something very dark lies within her and it is not until the end of this book that the reader understands the cause of that darkness. The clues are there, so an astute reader will pick up on them.

Daughter of the Blood is true fantasy, not romance and ends with certain problems unresolved. Jaenelle's story will continue on in the second book Heir to the Shadows. Be prepared to want to have the second book on hand right away, as to avoid a wait!

Here is what others had to say:

All Booked Up
Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews
Giraffe Days
Better Off Read
Monroe with a Twist

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Contest Time!

It's contest time!! I have a couple of extras from the Romantic Times convention that I would like to give away. All you have to do is comment on this post, telling me what is the latest and greatest book you have read. Simple! I will pick three winners on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at midnight (Eastern time). Anyone is invited to enter the contest. You will have your pick of:

What Happens in Vegas/Bast, Dane, Copeland and Tunstall

Wanderlust/Ann Aguirre

June issue of Romantic Times magazine

After I announce the winners on Wednesday, the first person to email me with their address will get first choice on which prize they win. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review - Hard and Fast

Title: Hard and Fast
Author: Erin McCarthy
Publishing Date: May 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

Imogen Wilson is struggling to develop a research project for her PHD thesis in Sociology. Taking a break she finds herself spending time with her good friend Tamara, who is married to a race car driver. Readers first met Imogen in Flat-Out Sexy, the first book in the Fast Track Series. Imogen made quite an impression on one of the other drivers Ty and he could never understand her name and from then on repeatedly referred to her as "Emma Jean". They meet up again at a party Tamara is throwing and Ty acts on his attraction to Imogen. Imogen who had been secretly harboring her own crush on him, takes him up on it.

I had a few reservations going into this book. I felt that Ty was kind of an ass in Flat-Out Sexy and I wasn't sure how that would relate to Hard and Fast. But....I freaking loved this book!!!! I think Erin out did herself with this one. Imogen and Ty are a riot! By page 90 I had laughed out load so many times my husband and daughter were wanting to know what in the world was so darn funny. Well, my daughter is only seven and I couldn't very well explain the adult humor that I was finding so hilarious. As for my husband, I have dared him to read it. At least the first few chapters. After that I am sure he would be sufficiently hooked and will want to finish it.

Imogen is such a refreshing character. She is completely open and honest about everything. At first Ty is intimidated by her. She seems so out of his league, classy and intelligent. Ty by nature is a risk taker and immediately acts on his attraction to Imogen. He has enough confidence to engage her in conversations and what a hoot they turn out to be! I was completely swept away by Imogen and Ty's courting process. They have the most lively, entertaining conversations and the sex, whoa baby, was off the charts! *Fans self*

I highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance, opposites attract, great dialogue and romantic comedies. Don't miss out!!

Here is what others had to say:

Nora Roberts is my Queen
Romance Novel TV
Lurv a la Mode
Babbling About Books, and More
Stacy's Place on Earth
Leslie's Psyche

Monday, May 11, 2009

Review - Red Fire

Title: Red Fire
Author: Deidre Knight
Publication Date: Nov 2008
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot

Red Fire is the first book in Deidre Knight's Gods of Midnight series. Seven Spartan warriors were given the option to live eternal life as protectors of mankind. They will be destined to fight any and all evil in its various forms for the rest of eternity. Ajax Petrakos is one of these warriors. But immortality has taken its tole on him and the only thing keeping him sane is a prophecy that foretold of his destined mate. For many years he has been searching for that one woman and he finds her in present time New Orleans, Louisiana, being threatened by a powerful demon.

Red Fire started out slow for me. It took me a while to get into the rhythm and cadence of the book. I felt like the narration was a little unusual, in that we mainly get the hero's perspective as the story is being set up. At times his "voice" came across as more feminine than masculine. Occasionally, it would strike me that Ajax's thoughts or feelings might be more true to how a woman would react than a man. Once the back story was in place, the plot started to pick up this became less noticeable.

I especially enjoyed the first meeting between Ajax and Shay. Ajax is a most unusual character in that he can shapeshift into a hawk/man creature. Shay at first takes him for a demon. With good reason, because his form is very scary to behold. The other demons are well described and just as interesting. Ms. Knight very craftily creates a creepy mood and setting among the graveyards in New Orleans. I could easily picture the sweeping oak trees with their limbs draped in Spanish moss.

There are some very interesting secondary characters. I think my favorite was the Oracle. She had quite the personality and I loved her interactions with the King. I hope at some point they will get their own story. Even the demon, Sable was shrewdly crafted and was engaging to read about. I am going to go out on a limb and say I think that people who enjoy the author Nalini Singh would enjoy this book.

Here is what others had to say:
Errant Dreams Reviews
Ashley's Booktopia

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Review - Lone Star Surrender

Title: Lone Star Surrender
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Publishing Date: January 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Constantine Vega has been working as a cop deeply undercover for a powerful drug lord for last few years. Finally, he has acquired enough dirt to put him away for a long time. Before he exposes his cover, he needs to make sure that the lawyer for the state, Nicole Ward isn't crooked. Constantine agrees to meet covertly with her and during their meeting they end up on the run. Constantine's cover is blown and the drug lord is onto them. Nicole and Constantine will have to hole up together in order to stay safe.

The problem I seem to have with category books is that they are just too short for my tastes. It really is a catch 22, because I picked this book specifically because it was short. Lone Star Surrender flowed smoothly along and was an enjoyable read. Constantine and Nicole were pleasant characters, albeit somewhat predictable. I will admit, I was a little surprised that the first sexual encounter between Nicole and Constantine took place on page 25, after they had barely met. I wasn't quite expecting that level of steam, but then again, this is a Blaze.

I think for those readers who like category romances will enjoy this story. Those readers who tend to shy away from shorter novels because they need more depth won't exactly find that here. But if readers are ever in the mood for a quickie that is entertaining with some steam then I would recommend it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

RT - My Most Memorable Moments

I bet some of you thought I was done with RT. Nope, not yet. There is one more post I have been wanting to put together for you and that is a memorandum of my favorite moments at RT.

Here are my best experiences at the 2009 Romantic Times Convention in Orlando, Florida in no particular order!

1. Meeting the fabulous author Megan Hart. I was completely floored and awed to be in the wonderful presence of Megan Hart. She hosted one of the reader sessions and I had an opportunity to tell her how much I love reading her books. I told her that Dirty is a particular favorite of mine and when I started talking about Elle and Dan, I got tears in my eyes. Then Megan herself, started tearing up because she was so moved that someone understood and "got" what Elle was all about. That was just amazing. I get chills still, when I think about it. This picture of me and Megan she took and then emailed to me after the convention. I also told her about my blog if she ever wanted to check out my reviews and she promised to send me a copy of her upcoming July release of Deeper!!!

Me and Megan Hart

2. I sat in on an author panel with Piers Anthony, L. A. Banks, Catherine Asaro and Carole Nelson Douglas. It was an informal question and answer session between these authors and readers. The only author I have had the pleasure of reading out of this group was L. A. Banks. Carole Nelson Douglas has written numerous mystery books and Catherine Asaro and Piers Anthony are famous for Science Fiction/Fantasy. Piers was asked by a fan to explain who Jenny is to him. He went on to tell the story of a young 12 year old girl who was hit by a drunk driver on afternoon when walking home from school. She was in a coma. Now, when a person is in a coma they are conscious and can hear. Jenny's favorite author was Piers Anthony and when he heard this he wrote Jenny a letter, which her family in turn read out loud to her. Upon hearing the letter Jenny awoke from her coma only to discover that she was paralyzed from the neck down. Jenny is now 20 years old, still paralyzed and receives a letter from Piers once a week. I was touched and moved by this story. You better believe I will be reading one of his books in the near future.

3. Meeting Mary Stubbs and Linda Yakey, two sisters from Rhode Island. We met in the very first reader panel on Wednesday and they we so very friendly and nice to me. Since we seemed to keep bumping into each other on Wednesday, they took me under their wing and made me feel like they had adopted me into their family. Linda and Mary both attended RT in Pittsburgh last year and the year before that in Houston, so they were old pros at this and showed me the ropes. Linda had a very nice camera and was very generous and sent me some pictures. I am trying to talk Linda into writing some reviews. Hopefully, she will feel adventurous and start writing!! RT wouldn't have been what it was without them. Thank you so much Linda and Mary!!!

Me and Linda at the Intergallactic Bar and Grill Party. It looks like I have had one to many drinks already, he he heeee!

Linda, Mary and I at the Ellora's Cave Jungle Party on Wednesday night. You'll notice Mary's skirt and my shirt match. That was not planned and I actually didn't notice that until I saw this picture.

This was me and Linda at the Vampire ball on Friday night.

Too Be Continued....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Review - Smooth Talking Stranger

Title: Smooth Talking Stranger
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publishing Date: April 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot

Ella Varner has carved out a niche for herself after cutting off family ties from her mother and sister. After two years of not speaking to either of them, Ella gets a call from her mother that changes her life. Her sister Tara has abandoned her one week old baby and her mother wants Ella to come and get it or she is taking it to social services. Ella doesn't want to lose the the baby so she takes responsibility for him on her shoulders. She is determined to get the baby's father involved, as well. Once she suspects that Jack Travis is the father, she confronts him about it.

After reading Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy and loving both of those books to pieces, I was really looking forward to Smooth Talking Stranger. I'll admit that my expectations were pretty high. Let's be honest here, they were tremendously high! I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like Smooth Talking Stranger, because I did, very much so. I started reading it at 11:30 at night and next thing I knew it was 2:00 in the morning! But, I didn't think it was as good as Blue-Eyed Devil or Sugar Daddy.

Jack Travis is just the type of hero that I love in my romance books. He is strong and smart and confident enough to know what he wants and go after it. He doesn't let a smart woman scare him away. After taking one look at Ella, he knows she is exactly the right woman for him. In no uncertain terms he bulldozes his way into her life, whether she likes it or not. Oh yeah, baby! *waggles eyebrows*

Where the book stumbled a tiny bit for me is with Ella and her problems with her family. In Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy, much of the focus of the book is centered on the heroine and her growth throughout the story. As a matter of fact, Blue-Eyed Devil dealt with spousal abuse very heavily. With Ella, she too suffered from a tramatic childhood. She never really confronts these problems head on and they get pushed to the side as an after thought. Even the resolution of the book was very quickly done and not very satisfactorily at that.

Here is what others had to say:

Avid Book Reader
I Just Finished Reading
Musings of a Bibliophile
The Book Smugglers
Dear Author
Ramblings on Romance
Stacy's Place on Earth
The Happily Ever After...
Good Books, Bad Books & Everything in Between

Monday, May 4, 2009

Review - Master of Surrender

Title: Master of Surrender
Author: Karin Tabke
Publishing Date: July 2008
Genre: Medieval
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Master of Surrender is book one in Karen Tabke's Blood Sword series. Rohan du Luc, also known as the Black Sword has been assigned the task of holding the castle Alethorpe in the name of William the Conqueror. When he arrives he meets the beautiful and fearless Isabel, whom has been left in charge of the castle in her father and brothers' absence. Rohan seeing right away what a treasure Isabel is decides to lay claim to her, as well. However, Isabel has other ideas and swears to keep her heart to herself.

While Master of Surrender doesn't necessarily bring anything fresh to the classic romantic medieval tale, it does follow the adage, "If it ain't broke, then don't fix it." Spirited and bold Isabel is determined to remain free from Rohan. She might be his captive, but she will never willingly give him her heart. But as the story unfolds she realizes what a good man Rohan is. His bark is always worse than his bite. He blusters and bluffs, but when it comes down to it, he is quite the chivalrous knight.

Isabel and Rohan were nice to read. I wouldn't say that anything in particular stood out about them. The villain did come across as a little flat, evil for the sake of being evil. I didn't understand his motivation. All in all, I would say Master of Surrender was an enjoyable, if somewhat predictable read.

Here is what others had to say:

Book Binge
Queue my Review
Pearl's World of Books

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Review - Shelter Mountain

Title: Shelter Mountain
Author: Robyn Carr
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

Shelter Mountain is book two of Robyn Carr's Virgin River Series. Paige Lassiter is on the run from her abusive husband. She takes her three year old son and one little suitcase and drives away hoping to never set eyes on him again. She has a plan to change her identity and start a new life. As she is headed to Spokane, she gets lost on the back mountain roads and finds herself in Virgin River. She sees a light on at a bar and pulls over to get something to eat. After Preacher, the co-owner of the bar takes one look at her, he knows she is in trouble. He wants to do what he can to help her and offers her a room with a lock, if she wants to stay.

Shelter Mountain is a wonderful read. Robyn Carr captivates the reader with a deep emotional connection to richly drawn characters. Paige has a ton of baggage coming from an abusive marriage. Her relationship with Preacher slowly grows as they get to know each other. Paige and Preacher couldn't be more perfect for each other. Paige needs someone who is strong, yet patient and Preacher is exactly this. He is slow and steady and somehow anticipates exactly what Paige needs.

The story doesn't just focus on Paige and Preacher, it also tells the story of the other town folk. Mel and Jack play a large roll in this story as do Rick and Liz, whom readers met in Virgin River. Also, there is the new addition of Mike, a former Navy buddy of Jack and Preacher. Ms. Carr is an awesome storyteller and I love reading about these characters. This is one series I will definitely be sticking with.

Here is what others had to say:

Books, Books and More Books
Reading Romance Books
Dev's Good Reads
Good Books, Bad Books & Everything in Between

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Reading Roundup

Whoohooo! I was able to read 12 books this month. That is four months now where I have consistently met all my reading goals; twelve books a month and Keishon's TBR challenge and Nath's Re-read challenge. *doing the happy dance* I'll admit I cheated a little bit by throwing in a category book at the end, for fear I wouldn't have enough time to read a longer book. But hey, it's still a book, even though it was only 200 pages long!

1. The Serpent Prince, Hoyt (Historical) Rating: B+
2. Bite the Bullet, Banks (Urban Fantasy) Rating: C
3. The Sins of Lord Easterbrook, Hunter (Historical) Rating: B
4. Kill Me Twice, St. Clare (Rom. Suspense) Rating: B
5. Trouble, White (Contemporary/Erotic) Rating: B+
6. Out of the Night, Popp (Paranormal) Rating: A-
7. Desire Unchained, Ione (Paranormal) Rating: C-
8. Shelter Mountain, Carr (Contemporary) Rating: A
9. Master of Surrender, Tabke (Medieval) Rating: B-
10. Smooth Talking Stranger, Kleypas (Contemporary) Rating: B
11. Spell of the Highlander, Moning (Time Travel) Rating: A
12. Lone Star Surrender, Jones (Contemporary) Rating: B-