Friday, December 31, 2010

Review - Marry Me

Title: Marry Me
Author: Jo Goodman
Publishing Date: December 2010
Genre: Western
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I downloaded an ebook from Barnes and Noble for my Nook. The day I went to purchase the book, Barnes and Noble had it available for free. Lucky me!

Marry Me is the second book in Jo Goodman's Reidsville series. Cole Monroe finds himself accepting a position as town doctor for Reidsville, Colorado after his younger, mischievous sister sends the town his impressive resume. One of his first goals as the new doctor is to see all the patients in the town and that includes the recluses who live in the nearby mountains. Cole is escorted by the local deputy, Will “that no account Betty boy” to the Abbott's cabin in the woods. When he gets there he finds Runt Abbott in a very bad way. He stays to take care of her and then eventually offers her a position as housekeeper in his home.

Marry Me starts off at a very brisk pace with Dr. Monroe saving Runt or Rhyne Abbott’s life. I felt like the author started at the ending of the story and then slowly back tracked to allow the readers to figure out why Rhyne was in the situation she was in at the beginning of the story. This type of writing has the ability to just suck me right into the story and is one of the reason's I just love Jo Goodman. Not to mention that her characters are always fully fleshed out. In the case of Marry Me the situation was very unique and unusual.

Most of the book revolves around Rhyne and Cole, although Rhyne and her back story is the main focus. There are some secondary characters. I think Whitney, Cole's sister stands out the most to me. At sixteen she is a breath of fresh air. Most people think she has a strange way about her. I found her to be refreshing and her vibrancy was not annoying at all. She balanced Cole's staid personality very well. I wonder if she will get her own story down the road.

One little quirk in the book that sort of irritated me was that Will's character was always referred to as "that no account Betty boy". After a while that got old. Essentially, throughout the whole book he was ALWAYS referred to that way. But really, that aside, a Jo Goodman book is always a treat and Marry Me is no exception.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review - Fancy Pants

Title: Fancy Pants
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publishing Date: 1989
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased an ebook for my Nook from Barnes and Noble.

Fancy Pants is the first book in Susan Elizabeth Phillips Texas Wynette series. It tells the story of Francesca Serritella Day, an English socialite heiress who ends up penniless in the Southern United States with only the clothes on her back. It is a tale of a spoiled, self-absorbed woman who at the lowest point of her life faces self discovery to become one of the best journalists television has ever seen. Along the way Francesca meets Dallie Beaudine, a golf pro who seems to be the one man immune to Francesca's charms.

Wow! What can I say about this book? First of all, if you haven't read a book by the famous SEP, what are you waiting for? Ms. Phillips pens an incredible story. Now, granted this is not my favorite by her, but hot DAMN, what a story! The book starts out a little slow because it sets up Francesca's childhood and even goes into the details of her conception. Really, though it is all still quite entertaining, it's just that I know romance readers and they will want the author to get to the main romance right away. Be patient and you will be rewarded.

Don't worry though, once Francesca and Dallie meet - BAM it is like fire and ice. If you like polar opposites attracting then these two characters are right up your alley. Like cats and dogs these to fight with each other and their first encounter is especially memorable. I give Ms. Phillips and A+ for originality. That is for sure.

Now, this story is a little dated. It takes place in the eighties and some of the male perspective is definitely old fashioned. But these two characters are such strong personalities and the story is so entertaining I let a lot of the character's flaws go by the wayside. One thing that I really enjoyed about the story is that the characters GROW throughout the story. They are not perfect and because the story spans 15+ years Dallie and Francesca have time to learn from their mistakes. I really enjoyed this one. I wouldn't recommend this particular story to introduce people to SEP, but for those of you who have read her and liked her will want to read this one too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Upcoming January Releases!

It seems like with the turn of the new year things will be picking up in the new releases department. I am looking forward to a decent amount of books this January. Here they are as follows!

Book 3 - Succubus Diaries
Urban Fantasy
December 28, 2010

Book 1- Scandal Series
January 1, 2011

Book 3 - Skin Series
January 4, 2011

Book 5 - Fever Series
Urban Fantasy
January 18, 2011

Book 3 - Halstead Hall
January 18, 2011

Book 6 - Wynette Texas Series
January 18, 2011

What books are you looking forward to?


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review - The Bounty Hunter

Title: The Bounty Hunter
Author: Cheryl St. John
Publishing Date: 2005
Genre: Western
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from

Nick Harding after years of being a bounty hunter, finally decides that he would like to settle down somewhere and possibly start a family and become part of a community. He accepts a position for Sheriff in the mining town of Thunder Canyon where he meets Miss Lily Divine the owner of The Shady Lady. Lily insists that she is running a legal saloon and nothing else but the Sherriff is slow to believe her as he fights his growing attraction.

The Bounty Hunter is a touching story that explores the possibilities of love once trust is given. While Nick is very attracted to Lily it takes him a long time to trust her. This is one of the things that frustrated me with this book. He was willing to have a physical relationship with Lily and yet keep himself emotionally distant from her at the same time. It also bothered me that he couldn't see Lily for who she was right away. It took him too damn long, in my opinion.

I think that Lily was the stronger character. I really enjoyed her personality. She was very independent for a woman of that time period and she had a lot of confidence in herself and the choices she had to make due to life's difficult circumstances. The Bounty Hunter had good characterization and the town seemed like a character all on its own. Ms. St. John does a very good job of immersing the reader in Western town life. Overall, I enjoyed the story. However, Nick just needed to get a clue.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A December update: My Crazy Life!

December is a crazy time of year for most people. With the Christmas holiday celebrations and then New Year celebrations things can be quite hectic. I am experiencing the same. Today I was finally able to finish up my Christmas shopping, only one more day until Christmas. Now I have to worry about wrapping everything. Nothing like the last minute!

In keeping with the theme of "not enough time" I am behind in my reading. I haven't read this month's book choice for my new reading group, nor have I read the arc I received for Prelude to a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle. Delilah is a good friend of mine and I promised I would read her book, soon to be released in January and it is the first book in a new edgy, historical series. I am so excited for her and want to wish her the best well wishes for a successful launch of this new series. She even was featured in January's edition of the RT Book Review's Magazine.

Don't get me wrong, I love this time of year. But do any of you ever experience the pressure and expectation that comes with the holidays? Do you ever feel like you are three steps behind instead of just enjoying it from day to day?

This post is all over the place. Let's just chalk it up to my frazzled current state of mind because of this time of year. One other thing I would like to mention is that the RT Book Reviews Magazine is also hosting a Reader Survey. This survey is a great way to help the industry understand what romance reader's habits are along with their wants and needs. Please help to make sure the industry has a grip on what romance readers are looking for in the future. You can participate in the survey by clicking this link. The survey closes at the end of this month, so don't delay!

Happy Holidays to everyone from Romance Rookie!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review - Naked

Title: Naked
Author: Megan Hart
Publishing Date: August 2010
Genre: Contemporary (Erotic)
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Burning
Book Disclosure: I purchased an ebook from Barnes and Noble for my Nook.

Naked is loosely connected to Megan Hart's book Tempted. It continues with Alex Kennedy meeting Olivia Mackey the morning after a Holiday celebration. It turns out that Alex needs a place to stay for a few months and Olivia has an apartment she can rent out to him while he is in town on business. Both are attracted to each other but Olivia is very hesitant to become involved in a relationship with a man who might swing both ways. She was already hurt once by her former fiancé Patrick who finally came out of the closet.

Megan Hart's writing is so difficult for me to give a grade when reviewing. I think she is such a fabulous writer. Her characters are completely fleshed out and so human that it is hard not to be drawn in by them and have an emotional reaction. But at the same time sometimes the characters are so human, faults and all, that the very same thing that drew you in pushes you away. Am I making any sense at all?

Let's start with Alex. On the outside he seems so completely put together. All posh and circumstance, yet just past the surface the man is a mess. He thinks he knows what he wants, but I am not convinced that he does. Olivia's perception when it comes to relationships is very skewed and much of this is due to the fact that the only serious relationship she has had is with a gay man.

But despite all these obstacles it is obvious that these two when together are happy. They have baggage that they will have to work to overcome. I like that the author doesn't sugar coat things and faces the fact that for the relationship to be successful, Olivia and Alex will have to work for it. I really liked how Ms. Hart ties themes of acceptance throughout the book. She took religion, race and sexual orientation all without being preachy, and showed how these things can affect a person or people. I thought that was very well done of her and it gave the book quite a bit of depth.

I must admit the way the book was going I thought it was going to end badly. Fortunately, things were resolved in the end, but I felt that the ending was VERY abrupt. I wish that things could have been hammered out a little better and eventually this is what led me to lower the grade rating. I am not entirely convinced of the happy ever after.

Here is what others had to say:
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Thrifty Reader
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review - Warrior

Title: Warrior
Author: Zoe Archer
Publishing Date: September 2010
Genre: Historical Paranormal
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from

Warrior is the first book in Zoe Archer's The Blades of the Rose series. Captain Gabriel Huntley has only known the life of a soldier, but now that he has left the service he has plans to settle down in the English countryside. Not long after leaving the docks he witnesses a group of people attacking a man. Never one to stand an unfair fight, Gabriel comes to the man’s assistance. Unfortunately, the man dies and Gabriel makes a promise to go to Mongolia to deliver a message. When Gabriel gets to Mongolia, he becomes embroiled in a mission upon saving magical artifacts that must not get into the wrong hands. Never one to back away from danger, Gabriel takes it upon himself to protect Thalia Burgess, whose father is a member of The Blades of the Roses and is too sick to go on the mission himself.

For me the strength of this book is the unusual setting of Mongolia and the paranormal plot development. The scenery and customs of the Mongolian people is unique and interesting to read about. The history of the people and how magic is tied to the earth reminded me some of Native American culture. The fact that the story is told through an Englishman and woman makes it all the more different.

While I like both Gabriel and Thalia, I felt that the romance between these two seemed forced. Instead of showing me how the relationship developed, the author told me. At least this is how it was in the beginning of the book. By the time I had read half the book, I felt the writing had gotten better and the relationship felt less forced. For me though, I was more focused on the external conflict between the Blades and Heirs. I definitely see the potential in this series. It is unusual enough that I will be giving the second book Scoundrel a try.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Review - Play Dead

Title: Play Dead
Author: Harlen Coben
Publishing Date: 2010
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my co-worker.

Play Dead is Harlan Coben's first published novel. It has been rereleased this year. There is a letter from the author warning readers that if this is your first experience to reading one of his books he suggests that they stop reading, go and get another of his books and then come back to this one. I had to laugh because this book is my first by Mr. Coben and I couldn't read a different one because this was December's book club choice. So, I went into reading this book with an open mind.

I can completely see how Harlan Coben has been able to keep readers spellbound and why he has such a following. The story he weaves is one that makes readers try to figure out what the hell is going on. He gives the reader just enough information to keep them hanging on to find out what next little secret he is going to reveal.

Now having said all that, I can see why he was apologizing to his fans and telling new readers not to start with this book. It is painfully obvious to me that this is an inexperienced author. The story is rich with its twists and turns, but it is executed poorly. The book was 500+ pages and could have been told in 300 and I would have been satisfied. Often times the clues where all too stingily delivered to have them pounded into the ground over and over by different character view points.

I found Play Dead to be an entertaining read. But I thought the two main characters were slightly superficial and the book a little too long. Other than that, I felt that Harlan Coben has great potential and wouldn't be averse to trying something else by him. Do any of you who have read him before have recommendations?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Nice Surprise!

In the mornings I leave myself an extra twenty minutes in the morning when I am getting ready for work to have time to read while I eat my breakfast and drink my coffee. Last night I had just finished Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - really interesting book by-the-way, I can't wait to tell you my thoughts on it.

So this morning I was in the mood to read Marry Me, Jo Goodman's latest release. I don't have the book in my TBR pile, but lucky for me I have a Nook eReader and I can download the book in a heartbeat. To my pleasant surprise when I went to purchase the book I discovered that it was FREE!!!

Yep, for whatever reason Barnes and Noble is offering Marry Me in the Nook eBook format for FREE. If you have a Nook or the Barnes and Noble eReader app for your smart phone you can get it for free. Also, Amazon is offering the Kindle eBook for free as well. Be sure to check it out.

More Free Books

Also, I recently received an email from Sourcebooks letting me know that in honor of Jane Austin's birthday, certain books will be available for FREE.

Below I have posted the message I was sent. It looks like these books are only available for one day, so act fast!!!

Sourcebooks, the world’s leading publisher of Jane Austen fiction, is offering a unique deal to readers who want to celebrate Jane by reading special editions of all six of Austen’s beloved novels in a 21st century format.

Special e-book editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park will be available for free for one day only. These celebratory editions include the full novels, plus the legendary color illustrations of the Brock brothers, originally created to accompany the books in 1898.

In addition to the Jane Austen classics, readers can also enjoy these bestselling Austen-inspired novels. The following bestselling e-books will be free on December 16th in honor of her birthday:

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken
The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown
The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Available wherever eBooks are sold.

I downloaded Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll.  I loved that book.  Whew is it sexy!!  Ms. Austin would be rolling in her grave if she ever read that book.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review - Happy Ever After

Title: Happy Ever After
Author: Nora Roberts
Publishing Date: November 2010
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from

Happy Ever After is the last book in Nora Robert's Bride Quartet, a series that revolves around four twenty-something women who co-own a wedding planning company. Parker Brown's three best friends from childhood have found the loves of their lives and are soon to be married. Parker, Ms. Super-Organized, hasn't made time for herself. She is great at micromanaging everybody else’s lives but when it comes to dating she has let the ball drop. Enter Malcolm Kavanaugh, Parker's mechanic and brother’s friend. He is not intimated by Parkers cool demeanor. He wants to take their relationship to the next level. He just has to let Parker know that his intentions are honorable.

Happy Ever After is a good conclusion to a fun series. I feel like the women of Vows, Emma, Mac, Parker and Laurel are my girlfriends too. Nora Roberts is just good like that. She really excels at scenes with group action and dialogue, and there is plenty of that in Happy Ever After. Not to worry though, Parker and Mal get their one-on-one time too. Mal is my kind of hero. He knows what he wants and he is confident enough to go after it. He takes what he wants and asks for it after the fact. Uppity Parker doesn't have a clue how to handle Malcolm. He is completely unpredictable and the shields she keeps in place end up shattering in his presence.

I rather enjoyed Happy Ever After, however this book was not a WOW book for me. I feel that Mal and Parker were missing that magic ingredient, that certain something, to make it really shine. I don't know if the development of the relationship was too quick for me, or if I just wanted more scenes between Mal and Parker. I really don't know, but something was missing. All in all, this was a fun book to read and Happy Ever After was a satisfactory conclusion to the series.

Here is what others had to say:
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Touching Base

Hi Everyone. It has been a little while since I have touched base with you. I have some exciting news to share with you. I have joined a book club! A couple of ladies at my work belong to the same book club and have invited me to join with them. I went to the first meeting on Tuesday this week. We meet once a month.

This is not a romance book club per say, but these ladies are not opposed to reading romance. As a matter of fact, a couple months back one of the book choices was Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. This gave me a lot of hope that they might be willing to try books from the romance genre. Also, my co-worker A---, whom shall remain anonymous, loves historical romance and was reading a Christina Dodd book this week. Whoop! I recommended Jo Goodman to her (hee, hee).

The book club choice for this month was Play Dead by Harlan Coben. This is not a romance but I will be reviewing it shortly for those of you who are interested. It was very Sydney Sheldon-esq, not too bad for the first book.

There are eight of us in the book club and in alphabetical order each of us rotates choosing a book each month. The next book chosen is On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts. I haven't read this author before but on the cover Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs have quotes praising the book, both of whom are romance authors - again another good sign.

It is such a treat to discover that people I know read and read romance on top of it! I can't wait until it's my month to choose a book. I might need some of your help with the decision making process. I'll keep you posted on how the book club works out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review - A Virgin River Christmas

Title: A Virgin River Christmas
Author: Robyn Carr
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from

A Virgin River Christmas is the fourth book in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. I absolutely adore this series. The men are the stuff of legends and it is such a feel-good treat to read. Even though this series is so great, I feel that this book can stand on its own. You really don't need to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this story. However, I do highly recommend them, but this is a fine place to see if Robyn Carr is an author for you.

Marcie Sullivan decides that she must find Ian Buchanan, the man who saved her husband’s life. See a few years back, Marcie's husband Bobby was severely injured in Afghanistan. Ian managed to get Bobby to safety but was devastated to learn that Bobby was paralyzed and never came out of the coma. Bobby considered Ian his hero and best friend. Marcie and Ian were pen pals during the years Marcie nursed Bobby. Then Bobby passed away and Marcie feels that she can't move on until she finds Ian and gives him Bobby's collection of baseball cards.

I picked up this book because I was in the mood for a Christmas read to get me in the holiday spirit and plus I love this series and Robyn Carr's writing. It was a no brainer. I am very happy I chose it because it was such a sweet story. Marcie and Ian are great characters and it was a treat to read their story.

Marcie is a little fire-cracker who once gets an idea into her head cannot be distracted. A little pit-bull is our Marcie. Ian on the other hand is a self contained mystery who wants nothing but isolation. His world is tilted upside down when Marcie disrupts his quaint, or maybe a better word is rustic, existence. These two have a large obstacle to overcome - that being the death of Bobby - but work things out and they do. It is a heartwarming story to say the least. I highly recommend this series and this book. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review - Touch of Scandal

Title: One Touch of Scandal
Author: Liz Carlyle
Publishing Date: October 2010
Genre: Historical
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from the library.

One Touch of Scandal is the first book in a new trilogy by Liz Carlyle. The trilogy revolves around a secret society, Fraternitas Aurea Crucis. Lucifer, Lord Ruthveyn is one such member. He is surprised to find Grace Guathier on the front stoop of the clubhouse in search of help. Grace has been accused of murdering her fiancé. Her father now deceased had told her if she was ever in trouble to find Sergeant Welham. Instead of finding her childhood friend, Grace finds herself ensnared by the dark enigmatic Lord Ruthveyn.

There is a lot going on in One Touch of Scandal. Amongst the romance between Grace and Lucifer there is the mystery surrounding Grace's fiancé. There is also the secret society and its political intrigues and then there is a paranormal/psychic quality to Lucifer's personality. All of these different side-plots were very well thought out. I especially found the murder plot very intriguing. However, with so much going on in the book I thought the romance between Lucifer and Grace suffered some. This could be due to my lack of interest in the political parts of the book, when I would rather to get back to the romance.

I liked Grace's character. She was able to pull Lucifer emotionally out behind the wall he built up around himself. The trust between these two characters was crucial and for both characters. Grace is accused of murder and Lucifer intuitively believes Grace when she says she didn't do it. He never waivers in his belief of her. Similarly, Grace accepts that Lucifer is different and patiently waits for him to trust his secrets to her. I think if the external plot points had been toned down a little I would have enjoyed the story more.

Here is what others had to say:
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Access Romance - Come and visit!

It's my turn over at Access Romance. Today, I am asking the question "Does age matter?" Come on over and visit with us!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Book Summary

Hi Everybody! How was the month of November for book reading?! For me it was a pretty decent month, if I do say so myself. I am so lucky that my reading mojo has continued on as long as it has. Usually, I have a book jag at some point during the year and I have yet to experience one this year. Even though last month was tough as far as book quality - no "A" reads among the bunch. This month was a little better. My best book was Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie and my worst read was Bound to a Warrior by Donna Fletcher. I had two fun surprises with Demon From the Dark and A Virgin River Christmas by two of my favorite series.

1. Touching Darkness, Rush (Paranormal) Rating: B
2. Wicked Lovely, Marr (YA/Paranormal) Rating: B
3. Bound to a Warrior, Fletcher (Medieval) Rating: C-
4. Pleasure Control, Fox (Contemporary/Erotic) Rating: C
5. Demon from the Dark, Cole (Paranormal) Rating: B+
6. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, Kleypas (Contemporary) Rating: B
7. The Pirate Lord, Jeffries (Historical) Rating: B-
8. Maybe This Time, Crusie (Contemporary/Paranormal) Rating: A-
9. A Touch of Scandal Liz Carlyle (Historical) Rating: B-
10. A Virgin River Christmas, Carr (Contemporary) Rating: B+
11. Happy Ever After, Roberts (Contemporary) Rating: B