Monday, August 31, 2009

Review - Bet Me

Title: Bet Me
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Publishing Date: 2004
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

Minerva Dobb's boyfriend David has just broken up with her in a trendy local bar. The thing is Min is not really upset about it other than the fact that now she won't have a date to her sister's wedding. Min's two best friends Bonnie and Liza insist that Min needs a real man and scope out the bar for a potential candidate. Liza zeroes in on Cal Morrisey, a handsome man who exudes testosterone. Min usually avoids these type of men, but with Liza's insistence she heads over to him. When she gets close enough she overhears David making a bet with Cal that he can't get Min into bed in a month. Min leaves when she thinks she hears Cal accept the bet. Only Cal accepts the bet to get her to leave the bar with him, not sleep with her. What ensues is a humorous romantic case study of human behavior.

This is my second time reading Bet Me and I believe I enjoyed it more the second time than I did the first. The dialogue is outstanding. It's fast and snappy, clever and honest. Not just between Min and Cal but between Min and her friends and Cal and his friends. Also, Cal and Min's families have a large share of interaction as well. All of this leads to wonderful character development. Here is an example from a short passage between Min and her girlfriends:

"He wasn't the one," Bonnie said from below Min's shoulder, her hands on her tiny hips.

"Diet rum too," Min told the bartender, who smiled at her and went to get her drink.

Liza frowned. "Why were you dating him anyway?"

"Because I thought he might be the one," Min said, exasperated. "He was intelligent and successful and very nice at first. He seemed like a sensible choice. And then all of sudden he went snotty on me."

Bonnie patted Min's arm. "It's a good thing he broke up with you because now you're free for when the right man finds you. Your prince is on his way."

"Right," Min said. "I'm sure he was on his way but a truck hit him."

"That's not how it works." Bonnie leaned on the bar, looking like an R-rated pixie. "If it's meant to be, he'll make it. No matter how many things go wrong, he'll come to you and you'll be together forever."

"What is this?" Liza said, looking at her in disbelief. "Barbie's Field of Dreams?"

That's sweet, Bonnie," Min said. "But as far as I'm concerned, the last good man died when Elvis went."

"Maybe we should rethink keeping Bon as our broker," Liza said to Min. "We could be major stockholders in the Magic Kingdom by now."

Min tapped her fingers on the bar, trying to vent some tension. "I should have known David was a mistake when I couldn't bring myself to sleep with him. We were on our third date, and the waiter brought the dessert menu, and David said, 'No, thank you, we're on a diet,' and of course, he isn't because there's not an ounce of fat on him, and I thought, 'I'm not taking off my clothes with you' and I paid my half of the check and went home early. And after that, whenever he made his move, I thought of the waiter and crossed my legs."

Even though Min is such a cynic when it comes to finding love, as you can see from the above excerpt, her and Cal's story is a very romantic one. It is romantic without being sappy. Both of them have their issues. Meg has a chip on her shoulder about her size since she is a healthy woman and not a stick figure. Cal's friends refer to him as a serial dater, since he can't seem to commit. But in spite of all their flaws they realize that they will love each other regardless. Reading about them as they work through their differences is truly a treat. Theirs is a relationship that you know will last long after the last chapter is read.

This book was part of Nath's Re-Read Challenge 2009. You can read the other partipants' reviews here.

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format at Amazon.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review - Burning Alive

Title: Burning Alive
Author: Shannon K. Butcher
Publishing Date: May 2009
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C-
Sensuality: Hot

Helen Day has lived her entire life in fear of fire. She repeatedly has this one vision where she sees herself burning to death while a man stands by idly watching her and to top it all off he has a smile on his face. As she is dining in a local diner she recognizes the man from her vision. He is sitting in a booth across from her with two other men. She is certain her time of death is near and that her vision will come true.

Drake is a Theronai warrior who is fighting a losing battle against the Synestryn, animalistic beasts in order to save the human race and his own people. When he sees Helen looking strangely at him he is compelled to figure out why. As he approaches her and they make physical contact Drakes power transfers to Helen and she eases his pain that he has carried for centuries. Somehow these two are linked and Drake is determined to find out why.

Where to begin? I had a lot of problems with this book. First, of all the whole story takes place in two or three days. Helen goes from being a normal woman who brings meals to the elderly, to fighting battles alongside of Drake. We are not even talking about a normal battle, but a fight to the death with inhuman demonic creatures. Ummm, no I don't think so. Helen is a huge scaredy-cat, not a kick-ass fighting machine. I just didn't see the connection. It all felt so out of place for her character. Granted she doesn't want to fight and Drake is forcing her too, but still that aspect didn't work for me.

This brings me to my second dislike, Drake. I did not like his character at all. He took to many liberties with Helen, first by practically kidnapping her and then by withholding pertinent information from her that would effect her for the rest of her life. He was basically a selfish bastard. I honestly didn't see what Helen saw in him. Top that off with repeated mental lusting and I felt annoyed with the story.

The reason why I am so worked up over it is because while reading the story, I really felt like Butcher had something here with this new series. I could see its potential to become a really great series. She has interesting world building with the variety of different inhuman races. She also incorporated interesting side plots with various secondary characters, many of which I found exciting. It's just that all of this was overshadowed by the negatives. I am not sure if I will read more in this series. I will play it by ear when the next book is released.

Here is what others had to say:

The Book Lush
Darque Reviews
Babbling About Books, and More
Book Binge
Michelle's Book Blog

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

September Releases!

Wow, September is a slow month for me. I am only looking forward to three books this month. I tell you, this is a nice change of pace from the last two months when I wanted over eight books. Now, I might actually be able to make a dent in my reading pile!

Alpha and Omega Series - Book 2

Mated to werewolf Charles Cornick, the son—and enforcer—of the leader of the North American werewolves, Anna Latham now knows how dangerous being a werewolf is, especially when a werewolf opposes Charles and his father is struck down. Charles's reputation makes him the prime suspect, and the penalty for the crime is execution. Now Anna and Charles must combine their talents to hunt down the real killer—or Charles will take the fall. Chapter One

WHO’D BEEN SLEEPING IN KASON RHODES’S BED? The left fielder for the Richmond Rogues had returned from six weeks of spring training in Florida to find someone had moved into his mobile home. That person was presently in his shower. And no matter how sexy the squatter might be, Kason wanted her out. He had his trusty dobie, Cimarron; he didn’t need anyone else in his life. Not even a stubborn tomboy who roused all kinds of wild reactions in him, then soothed his soul with peace offerings of home-cooked meals and kindness. The bad boy of baseball was ready to play hardball if need be, but with Dayne Sheridan firmly planted between his sheets, he found himself. . .SLIDING HOME Chapter One

USA Today bestselling author Jo Goodman delivers a thrilling tale of small town greed that may have big time consequences-unless two strangers open their hearts to a highly unconventional arrangement…

Rachel Bailey may seem like just a beautiful newcomer to most of Reidsville, Colorado, but Sheriff Wyatt Cooper knows she's much more. Through a twist of fate, Rachel is the inheritor of a very valuable commodity: control of the railway that keeps the isolated mining town connected to the world. That is, she will be, if she agrees to the surprising stipulation in her benefactor's will-that she marry Wyatt.

Rachel has no choice: refusing the marriage could put all of Reidsville in the hands of an outsider-and not just any outsider, but the cruel tyrant she has come here to escape. Yet living with Wyatt will be her greatest challenge. For he has a tempting way about him that makes Rachel forget theirs is a marriage in name only-until her frightening past shows up to remind them exactly how much they have at stake…

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review - Tempted All Night

Title: Tempted All Night
Author: Liz Carlyle
Publishing Date: March 2009
Genre: Historical
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot

Phaedra Northampton is on a mission to bring back her maid's sister, whom she believes has been mixed up with some shady people. As Phaedra begins her investigation she witnesses the death of a man. This man is a possible Russian spy and Tristan Talbot, Lord Avoncliffe is investigating his death. He eventually involves Phaedra in his investigation. Tristan has a reputation as a wastrel and a rake and he is only investigatign this murder as a favor to his father who is on his deathbed.

Tempted All Night is my first Liz Carlyle book. I have heard a lot of good things about her writing and I jumped at the chance to get this book when AAR classified it as a DIK (Desert Isle Keeper). In other words a great read and one worth keeping. So my expectations were fairly high from all the praise circling around Ms. Carlyle. While I did find her writing to be exceptional with fully fleshed out characters, I did think the story and the characters were a tad mundane.

The big standout for me was Lady Phaedra. She is a good woman who has had some unfortunate things happen to her. It is very easy for the reader to be moved by her past. And I loved how her past was revealed in slow pieces, foreshadowing a larger reveal halfway through the book. It keeps the pacing moving and the reader curious.
Tristan has his own set of problems to deal with as his father is dying and they haven't ever gotten along well. There is an animosity between the two that never really gets completely resolved and this saddened me for Tristan. As far as his rakehell ways... ho hum, bor-ing. I wasn't impressed and could have done without that aspect of the story.

When it is all said and done, I really wanted Phaedra to get her happy ending and boy does she ever. There is an absolutely, lovely epilogue at the end of this story. Will I give Liz Carlyle another try? Yes, you can count on it. Are there any that you would recommend?

Here is what others had to say:

All About Romance
Dear Author
Romance Reviews by Alice

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format at Amazon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Post at AccessRomance

Hey! Come visit me at AccessRomance Readers Gab. I have a post up and I need some advice :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review - Hard Eight and To the Nines

Title: Hard Eight
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date:
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

My dear sweet friend Dana, who works at a Barnes & Noble in southern Florida was kind enough to send me a box of books. In it were several of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. Seeing as I have been in a reading slump these past few weeks, Stephanie and the gang were looking rather darn appealing. Evanovich has a great thing going with this series and it was fun reading about Stephanie's penchent for finding herself in the midst of trouble.

This time Stephanie is looking for Evelyn Sodor who has run off with her little girl. Evelyn's Grandmother and her ex-husband are looking for her. Stephanie suspects there is more going on than meets the eye when she runs into Eddie Abruzzi, who all but threatens her to mind her own business. Of course Stephanie is never one to shy away from a case.


Stephanie and Joe are on a break in this story and Ranger calls in his marker. I'll tell you straight up, I am a Joe girl, myself. It is obvious to me that Joe and Stephanie love each other even though they can't seem to work out their differences. So when Ranger called in his marker and Stephanie and he had sex, I was actually surprised. For some reason I didn't think that they would ever do it. Then, to top it all off after all the sexual tension and leading up to the big event - it was so uneventful. I mean it was like wham, bam... see ya, Babe. I was expecting there to be fireworks and well... maybe a few more details than I was given in the bedroom. I mean, jeez - three's a crowd? I guess it didn't seem in keeping with the way the rest of the books flowed. But I do think it was necessary for Stephanie to explore her interest in Ranger, otherwise wouldn't she always wonder? Plus, THEY WERE ON A BREAK (I am channeling Ross from Friends).

Title: To the Nines
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date:
Genre: Mystery
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

In To the Nines Stephanie is investigating a missing man, Samuel Singh who is in America on a temporary visa. Stephanie quickly discovers that there is fowl play involved and she becomes a target in a sociopaths game of murder. Ranger and Joe team up to protect Stephanie from this creep. Meanwhile the case takes Stephanie and Lula to the Vegas strip and more mayhem and hi jinks ensue.

Aside from Four to Score, which had my favorite secondary character, the cross dresser Sally Sweet, I think To the Nines is her best yet. The mystery part of the book was very tight and extremely well executed. I figured out who the killer was, but the suspension was still gripping. There was an urgency to Stephanie's situation and I felt like something bad could really happen.

The laughs were just a good, if not better. Lula has some shining moments in this book. She was dieting to be "supermodel thin" and there were some hilarious scenes with her and a pork chop, or her and a rotisserie chicken. There is also a really fun scene when she is in Vegas at a Wayne Newton concert. It is really priceless. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at some of the antics.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Re-Read for August

Thank you to every one who participated in my re-read poll. The big winner is Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. I am excited about this book as it is a fabulous choice (LOL, they were all good choices)! So now I will concentrate on reading it and then post a review for it the last day of this month.

*On a side note* Sorry this post is so short. I am completely fed up with my internet provider. I have terrible service and it keeps going out. This short post took me 30 minutes to create. *Pulling my hair out*

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review - Dreamfever

Title: Dreamfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publishing Date: August 2009
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

Dreamfever is the fourth book in Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. This series is one story told over five books. There is one main protagonist MacKayla Lane or Mac as she refers to herself who narrates the story. This series absolutely must be read in order. That is the fun and charm of the series.

I debated over what kind of review to write. Would it be possible for me to review this book without giving away spoilers? Karen Marie Moning has been very diligent in making sure that no spoilers are leaked prior to the release of a book. I happen to HATE spoilers and feel that they take away the fun and enjoyment of reading a book. So with that in mind this review will be SPOILER FREE!

Boy, saying I wouldn't give any spoilers leads me to a real challenge on how to sum up the plot of this book without giving away anything that happened in the previous books. MacKayla Lane is a 22 year old from Southern Georgia. Her life flips upside down when her sister is murdered while at College in Dublin, Ireland. Mac unsatisfied with the way her sister's murder is being investigated flies to Dublin to get some answers. When she gets there she discovers that she is from a special line of women who can see the Fae. While there she meets Jarricho Barrons who is an enigma and Mac is sure not quite human. Barrons needs Mac's help in to locate a very important book. Mac needs Barron's help to stay alive and find out what really happened to her sister.

Dreamfever is the fourth book so we are in the later stages of the story. Mac is finally getting some answers. In the last book she hit rock bottom by getting herself into a very bad situation. She has to recover and pick herself back up and it is not going to be easy. Barrons helps to bring Mac back to herself. He helps her recover. Barrons is still mysterious in this book and Mac still doesn't know exactly what he is. But Mac is persistent and she discovers some new powers and is given small glimpses into who Barrons is. The pull between Barrons and Mac is unwanted by each of them, but they can't seem to help themselves. The tension between the two just leaps off the pages and in certain moments is very bittersweet and poignant.

Mac has had a lot of growing up to do. When she first comes to Dublin she is a naive girl. She has her whole world flipped upside down and just when she thinks things couldn't get any worse, they do. Mac becomes faster, smarter and harder, yet at the core of her is still a woman who maintains a deep hope. This series has been a fabulous ride. Moning had a vision and it shows. Her plot and world building are tight. Dreamfever leaves the reader at a HUGE cliffhanger. Fans will be DYING for the conclusion of Shadowfever. Moning couldn't write it fast enough to suit me. In the meantime, I suppose I will have to satisfy myself with re-reading my favorite passages.

Here is what others had to say:

Jessica's Book Blog and Other Stuff

This book can be purchased in hardcover or kindle format from Amazon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just Popping In

I will be brief in this post. Dreamfever was released in stores today. Anybody who follows this site regularly knows that I am a huge fan of Karen Marie Moning and that I have been anxiously awaiting the next installment of her fever series. I went on my lunch break today and picked up the book. I am reading it right now, which is why this post will be brief. Once again, Moning has sucked me into the story.

On a side note - I will have failed to meet my TBR challenge this month. I was supposed to have read Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood for Keishon's challenge. I just started it yesterday, but there was no way with the release of Dreamfever that I was going to finish it in time. I just had to get started on Dreamfever right away. Seriously, how could I resist?

Anyway back to Dreamfever...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Review - Undercover

Title: Undercover
Author: Lauren Dane
Publishing Date: December 2008
Genre: Futuristic (Erotic)
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Burning

Sera Ayers walks into her commanding officer's office only to be confronted with a man she vowed to forget, Ash Walker. Their love affair ended abruptly after she found out he was engaged to be married and he wanted to set her up as his mistress. See in this Universe, Ash is from one of the founding families and as one of the first sons he is expected to marry for political ties. Keeping a mistress or two on the side is perfectly acceptable by society's standards. Only Sera has more pride than that and was unable to accept the arrangement. Now ten years later she finds that Ash wants to use her in an undercover operation. She with Ash and his partner Brandt are to infiltrate the Imperialists in an attempt to find a traitor, by posing as two wastrel playboys and their concubine. What first begins as a ploy to fool others turns out to be the real thing between Ash, Brandt and Sera.

As I was reading the first chapter of Undercover, I got a little worried about the heroine of the story. When she makes her first appearance it's a violent and explosive one and these are not characteristics which I find appealing. She is bitter and accusatory towards Ash and with good reason, yet I was praying she wouldn't continue to act this way through the whole story. Fortunately, Sera is one of those characters that once she has expressed her opinion she is able to move on and make the best of a bad situation and so my opinion of her went up several notches.

Usually, a certain amount of disbelief is required when reading a romance between two men and one woman. I felt that Ms. Dane did a good job at explaining why and how the emotional pull between Ash, Brandt and Sera worked. Brandt was needed to sort of smooth out the conflict between Ash and Sera and was the glue that helped hold it all together. However, I do feel that much of the emotional development especially between Brandt and Sera was rushed or happened much to quickly.

While I enjoyed the story and the characters, I felt that the reader was only exposed to it at a superficial level. I wasn't as emotionally connected to the characters as I could have been. The world building itself had lots of potential, but for the most part only scratched the surface. More depth from both the characters and the world building would have made an enjoyable book an outstanding book. I would recommend this book for those readers who enjoy a book more focused on the characters instead of the world building.

Here is what others had to say:

Book Binge

This book can be purchased in print and kindle format from Amazon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Poll for Re-Read Challenge

If you will recall, I had several books I wanted to read for Nath's Re-Read Challenge, but alas not enough months in which to read them all. I came up with (what I thought was a clever solution) to have a poll and let you readers decide on which book you would like for me to review. This month I choose a contemporary theme and have the following books to choose from. Help me decide on what to read by selecting the book you would like to see reviewed. The poll has been placed on my sidebar and I will keep it up for a week. Thanks for participating!

Baby I'm Yours, Susan Andersen
Bet Me, Jennifer Crusie
Men in Kilts, Katie MacAlister
Heiress for Hire, Erin McCarty

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review - SEALed with a Promise

Title: SEALed with a Promise
Author: Mary Margret Daughtridge
Publishing Date: April 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Warm

Mary Margret Daughtridge has done it again with her second novel SEALed with a Promise. I read her debut novel SEALed with a Kiss last year after I won it from Book Binge and I fell in love with Jax and Pickett. Jax and Pickett are now getting married and Caleb "Do Lord" Delaude and Emmie Caddington are their best man and maid of honor respectively. After Caleb observes Jax and Pickett's happiness with each other, he can't help but feel a little jealousy he never thought to expect. He finds himself interested in Emmie even though she is a mousy, plain little thing. But after he aids her in a wedding cake switcheroo he discovers there are unique interesting layers to Emmie that captivate him.

There are so many things that I love about Ms. Daughtridge's writing. First and foremost are her strong characters. The are fully fleshed out with lots of layers and depth. The reader is fully immersed in their heads. She completely walks you through their thought processes and learning how a SEAL thinks is absolutely fascinating. Caleb and Emmie are very smart and tend to think outside the box. For most of their lives they have felt like outliers in society. Emmie hasn't had many relationships with men and is more logical when it comes to relationships. When she starts to feel attracted to Caleb she doesn't even realize that is the emotion she is feeling. It is really great to read about her discovering this attraction and dealing with it.

I also love the sense of connection I get when I read the scenes with Emmie and her family or Caleb and his SEAL brothers. Daughtrigde is able to capture a family dinner perfectly. I can sense the chaos of so many different personalities together and the baggage that comes with being around family, the people who think they know you and yet sometimes don't. You can sense the loyalty and love among these people too. The dialogue is fabulous. The characters actually TALK about their issues and it moves the story beautifully.

I did think the delivery with the ending was a little clunky compared to the rest of the story. The pacing and the passion all flowed so smoothly. Then when the big reveal happens at the end the book stumbled a bit. But this is just a tiny little detail in the big scheme of things. I really enjoyed reading SEALed with a Promise. It is a fun, clever and emotionally gripping story. Mary Margret Daughtridge is an author to keep on your radar.

Here is what others had to say:

Romance Love Passion
Long and Short Reviews
Alpha Heroes
Random Romance Reviews
Confessions of a Romance Book Addict
Book Reviews by Bobbie
The Book Girl

This book can be purchased in print from Amazon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Review - Surrender

Title: Surrender
Author: Pamela Clare
Publication Date: 2006
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Iain MacKinnon has been forced into service for the British army during the French and Indian War taking place in the New World. His family left Scotland after they were exiled as Jacobite's. Since he was a young boy he has farmed and learned how to live off this wild and fierce land. His tracking skills are unmatched by many and when shooting, he never misses a target. As he is spying on the French troops he comes across a woman in danger of being raped and killed.

Annie was once a Lady from a noble Scottish family and has been indentured in the new world. The family who bought her indenture are murdered by the French while she is in the barn milking a cow. She runs for her life but doesn't get far. Iain sees her and going against military orders he rescues Annie, because he would not be able to live with himself otherwise. He fights his attraction to Annie, but this is one battle he will not win.

The whole time while reading this book, I kept thinking to myself that this would make a great movie. There is a lot going on in this book. You have the war between the British and French. There are intense battles being fought. There is a conflict between Iain and his rangers with the official British army and their leader Lord Wentworth. Annie has a mysterious past. She dresses like a poor uneducated woman and yet she can quote Shakespeare and has superb table manners. Of course you also have a wonderful love story between a rough Scotsman and a delicate Lady.

Iain is larger than life. He is the fastest, strongest and smartest among the men. He is capable of just about anything. He is an exemplary hero and lives with the strictest code of honor. Sometimes this walked a fine line in being too exceptional in that it becomes cheesy. But, I admit I like cheese, so this book was a lot of fun to read. One of my favorite characters was Lord Wentworth. Ms. Clare did an excellent job of creating an interesting opponent for Iain. Wentworth, wasn't necessarily a bad man, but he made bad choices based on his own personal wishes. He could definitely be described as selfish and morally ambiguous at best.

In summary, I found Surrender to be a highly entertaining read and recommend it for fans of historicals who are looking for something other than those that take place in the typical regency period.

Here is what others had to say:

Leontine's Book Realm
Love Romances & More
Leslie's Psyche
Heather's Books
The Way I See It

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Review - One Foot in the Grave

Title: One Foot in the Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publication Date: May 2008
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

One Foot in the Grave is book 2 of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress Series. Four years has past since book 1 and Cat has kept herself busy hunting down paranormal creatures for a covert branch of the US Government. Cat has made a name for herself in the undead community for her prowess with a stake. She has been dubbed the "Red Reaper" and there is a price on her head. A series of events leads Bones back into her life and they must come to terms on how to make this work, because Bones plans on staying in her life. Permanently.

I am really loving this series. Cat has a very snarky sense of humor that makes her so much fun as a narrator. She never takes herself too seriously and I love that about her. She is totally bad ass, but she still has some vulnerability to her and readers can't help but love her for it. Of course there is also Bones who wants to give Cat the world and is willing to do anything for her. He is just so dee-lish! The world building is integrated so nicely into the story, I never feel inundated with huge info dumps. Everything is very organic and I find myself unable to put the book down! Which is really outstanding considering I have been in a reading slump.

One thing that did surprise me was the four year gap between books 1 and 2. I was kind of hoping to see a little of Cat's transformation into team leader. I would have enjoyed seeing the dynamic of her working with the new team members that she hand picked. It would have been good to see her develop a relationship with them as she trained them. Instead the reader has to take the relationships at face value and go with it. But really this is just a minor complaint and only bears mentioning because I wanted more - which in the end is really a good thing. Right?

Here is what others had to say:

Urban Fantasy Land
Romance Novel TV
Iron Inklings
Not Enough Books and Other Things
Vampire Romance Books
Ticket to Anywhere

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review - To Taste Temptation

Title: To Taste Temptation
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publishing Date: May 2008
Genre: Historical
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

To Taste Temptation is the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt's Legend of the Four Soldiers Series. To learn a little more about this series visit my Series Sunday post. Samuel Hartly has made a name for himself by expanding his Uncle's trade business in Boston. He travels to London in the hopes of securing an exclusive partnership with a new pottery company founded by none other than Mr. Wedgwood.

Secretly there is another purpose to Samuel's visit to London. He hopes to find the traitor that caused the slaughter at the battle of Spinners Fall during the French and Indian War. Samuel was a soldier that fought in that battle, which haunts him to this day. In London, he moves in next door to the widowed sister of one of his fallen comrades, Lady Emeline Gordon. Under the pretext of needing Emeline's help to instruct his sister in the proper ways of comportment, he insinuates himself into London Society where he can fox out the traitor.

To Taste Temptation is a story about opposites attracting. Emeline and Samuel are about as different as the come. Emeline is from the upper crust of London Society, was married to an Earl. She at all times expects herself and others to act with the utmost decorum and propriety. She is flabbergasted and annoyed by Samuel the first time she meets him. She thinks him an uncouth barbarian who can barely contain his baser animal urges. Samuel goes out of his way to not conform to society's wishes. He could care less what anyone thinks of him. He feels a man is defined by what he accomplishes, not by how he dresses.

I hate to admit it, but I did not like Emeline. At first I could accept the way she acted, always arguing with Samuel - snipping and griping at him. As the story continued though, I was hoping to see more growth of her character. She had some issues that kept her from allowing people to get close to her - thus her prickly disposition, but towards the end I was hoping for some likability. I never got it. Samuel, on the other hand, was attracted to her sharp edges and that was the biggest reason for him to pursue her. He liked sparing with her and because of it Emeline felt she could be herself. So, in that aspect I felt the attraction was believable.

I really did like that Hoyt did not gloss over the atrocities of war and how they can affect men differently. She explored Samuel's emotional recovery after the effects of the war. This gave quite a bit of depth to Samuel. I would have liked to have seen more of this with Emeline's character. It's possible I would have been more sympathetic to her. Which brings me to the ending. It was rushed. Everything seemed to get wrapped up all to quickly. Emeline who had been so standoffish the whole book finally gets some clarity in the last few pages. It was all to pat for my tastes.

Here is what others had to say:

Royal Reviews
Dear Author
Riley's Reviews
AnimeGirl's Bookshelf
The Book Smugglers
Book Binge
Ramblings on Romance, Etc.

This book can be purchased in print and kindle format from Amazon

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

July was a total bust for me. I don't know what my problem is, but I haven't been in the mood to read. Instead, I find myself playing computer games or watching TV. *GASP* Nath suggested it could be summer vacation and I think that she might have something there. I have been hanging out at the pool with my kids every chance I get. I did manage to read 11 books, but I missed out on Nath's reread challenge. Let's hope August is better!

1. Halfway to the Grave, Frost (Paranormal) Rating: A
2. Lip Service, Mallery (Contemporary) Rating: D
3. Loving a Lost Lord, Putney (Historical) Rating: B
4. Burn, Howard (Rom. Suspense) Rating: B
5. The Conqueror, Kennedy (Medieval) Rating: A-
6. Angels Fall, Roberts (Rom. Suspense) Rating: A
7. A Vampire's Claim, Hill (Paranormal/Erotic) Rating: B
8. Bending the Rules, Andersen (Contemporary) Rating: C-
9. To Taste Temptation, Hoyt (Historical) Rating: B-
10. One Foot in the Grave, Frost (Paranormal) Rating: B+
11. Surrender, Clare (Historical) Rating: B+

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Series Sunday - Vampire Queen

Joey Hill's Vampire Queen Series immerses readers into the BDSM world where the vampires are dominant and their servants are, well... subservient. The first three books in this series feature a twist to the D/s relationship where the female, in this case a vampire, is the dominant, controlling force in the relationship. The male is the servant. But the key to this relationship is the male's willingness to submit to the female. His instincts rule him to be the protector, yet he is compelled to please his female by submitting to her wishes. This is an unusual dichotomy for a romance and one that I think Joey Hill has done well.

I have read the first three books in this series. The first two books are really one story broken into two separate books. They feature Elyssa and Jacob and should be read in order. Then the third and fourth books feature two new couples and can be read separately. So depending on where you want to jump in with this series, the third or fourth book could be read by itself without hindering the reading experience, if books one and two haven't been read.

Series Reading Order:

1. The Vampire Queen's Servant (Elyssa and Jacob)
2. The Mark of the Vampire Queen (Elyssa and Jacob)
3. A Vampire's Claim (Dani and Dev)
4. Beloved Vampire (Jessica and Mason)

A really nice interview was posted recently at The Good, The Bad, The Unread and if you scroll down about halfway is very informative on this series.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Review - Bending the Rules

Title: Bending the Rules
Author: Susan Andersen
Publishing Date: July 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: C-
Sensuality: Hot

Poppy Calloway is a free spirited artist with impulse issues and has the tenacity of a bulldog. She has the brilliant idea to have the three teens clean up their mess when they are caught vandalizing local businesses with graffiti. Being a local community volunteer, she agrees to work on this project with the teenagers. Detective Jason de Sanges has been assigned to oversee the project, as well. He is the exact opposite of Poppy with his surely disposition and dour countenance. His and Poppy's personalities clash as they struggle with their physical attraction. Meanwhile, there has been a string of robberies and one of Poppy's teenagers accidentally witnessed it.

Bending the Rules was just an average read for me. I thought the set up had true promise, as I really enjoy the opposites attract theme. I did like Poppy's spirited personality and I loved that she drove a battered station wagon, but she did have some TSTL (too stupid to live) moments. At one point Poppy even refers to what she is doing as "too stupid to live". Just because she admits to it, doesn't make it any less stupid. As a matter of fact, it makes it even dumber because she knows she shouldn't be doing it! On a positive note, I did enjoy Poppy's interaction with the teenagers and her two girlfriends Jane and Ava (who each will have their own books).

Jason was stuffy and he kept harping on his family's background in which all the de Sanges men seem destined for a life of crime. Even though Jason has led an exemplary life, keeping to a strict code of conduct he still thinks that he is one step away from slipping up. This means that Poppy, who he deems a "good girl", is not for the likes of him. The whole book he tries to keep Poppy at arm’s length. He tries to keep emotionally distant from her and continually lies about his feelings for her. Only external conflicts keep him moving his relationship forward with Poppy. This bordered on the annoying side. I wish he could have come to the conclusion of his feelings for Poppy on his own terms instead of forcing them on him as a result of the danger Poppy faces. As it currently stands, I found the ending trite and unconvincing. To make matters worse the ending/epilogue was super sappy.

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