Monthly Archives: July 2012

Review- Fury of Ice by Coreene Callahan

Title: Fury of Ice (Dragonfury, bk#2)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Author: Coreene Callahan

Publisher: Montlake Romance, 2012

Source: Free for Review from Amazon vine Program

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5 not explicit

Description from amazon.com:

Homicide detective Angela Keen thrives on the city’s rough streets. But when she becomes the prize of all prizes in the dragon-shifter world due to her “high-energy” status, she gets more than she bargained for. Kidnapped by Lothair of the Razorback clan, Angela barely survives captivity before managing to escape. Hurt and alone with nowhere to hide, she faces certain death when Lothair uses the trace energy she leaves in her wake to hunt her down. But before he can reach her, a mystery dragon-shifter intervenes and saves Angela’s life.

Now a guest of the Nightfury clan, Angela regains her strength as her rescuer, Rikar, the last living frost dragon, gradually breaks down her mistrust. Surrendering to her desire for Rikar, but still uncertain of her feelings, Angela goes against his wishes and agrees to be used as bait to lure Lothair into the open. As the battle commences, the true struggle comes from within: Will Angela return home to the life she loves, or forsake it all to be with Rikar

**

If I had not previously read J.R. Ward’s BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD or Lara Adrian’s MIDNIGHT BREED, I might have thought this was an okay novel.  But having read and enjoyed both of those other series I’m afraid I was annoyed by the derivative nature of this book.  Although the plot is original the dragon shifters were other species images of the Breed and Brotherhood (and possibly of Kenyon’s hunters).  The immaturity of the warrior dragons was also rather annoying. And I had trouble wrapping my mind around a woman who is so thrilled with weapons. Although, I might even have excused this trait if I could have understood her attraction to the immature Riker.  I cannot recommend this book.

 

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Review- Royal Weddings: An Original Anthology by Laurens, Foley and Chase

Title: Royal Weddings: An Original Anthology

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Stephanie Laurens, Galen Foley, Loretta Chase

Publisher: Avon

Source: Kindle $1.99

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5 behind closed doors

Description from amazon.com:

You are cordially invited
To help celebrate the Royal Wedding of
Prince William to Catherine Middleton
As we present a 77 page original anthology
Written by three utterly wonderful authors!

Stephanie Laurens’ The Wedding Planner: Lady Margaret is proud plan the ton’s most important nuptuals—including that of a prince. But it’s Lady Margaret who falls in love . . . with dashing Gaston Devilliers!

Gaelen Foley’s Ever After: How scandalous! Eleanor Monford, Countess of Archer, is in love with her own husband. And as Princess Charlotte of England weds Prince Leopold, Eleanor’s “secret” is about to come out.

Loretta Chase’s The Jilting of Lord Rothwick: On the eve of Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert, the Marquess of Rothwick learns his fiancÉe, Barbara Findley, has broken their engagement! So he desperately rides out of London to seek her out . . . and to win her back.

**

I enjoyed each of these delightful stories.  They are quick and perfect for when you only have a short time to read.  Each of these authors can write lusciously romantic plots and they bring to life these heroes and heroines vividly.

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Review- Playing For Keeps byR.L. Mathewson

Title: Playing For Keeps (A Neighbor From Hell series)

Genre: Contemporary Romance (Chick-Lit)

Author: R.L. Mathewson

Publisher:

Source: Kindle, $.99

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Done with being the world’s biggest pushover, Haley decides that things are going to change starting with the aggravating neighbor who has too much charm and not enough restraint. What she didn’t expect was to sucked into his world, but Haley has a game plan and she won’t let herself forget just what the bad boy next door is capable of.

The last thing Jason expected was for his little shy neighbor to go Rambo on him over some ruined flowers. After he decides to take her under his wing he can’t help but that notice that she fits very nicely in his life. Now the only left is to convince her that this is anything but a game.

 

**

For me, this novel was just disappointing.  The writing was good.  As far as this chick-Lit genre goes, it would appeal to many.  It just wasn’t for me.

 

The humor was often forced and the characters were stereotypes of snobs, bullies, womanizers, catty bitches and immature grown-ups.  I found it hard to get behind a male protagonist who was so immature and a female who wasn’t much better.  She was saving herself for the man she would marry but proceeded to indulge in a brothel madam’s list of sexual indulgences.  As in so many stories, here we get the misunderstandings that compound the difficulties between the two main characters, but all is resolved for the happily ever after end.

 

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Review- Out of Time by Deborah Truscott

Title: Out of Time

Genre: Time Travel Romance

Author: Deborah Truscott

Publisher: Amazon digital

Source: Free Kindle

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Kathleen Findlay is married to a cad, her mother is driving her crazy and her life is falling apart. Then her uncle dies, leaving her the family’s Revolutionary-era home and, she believes, an escape from her chaotic marriage. But one afternoon, while searching for a rake, she discovers a man in her garden shed — and a free fall through the centuries.

As her life spins wildly out of control, Kathleen finds her heart and in the process, her own place in time.

**

This is a self published novel.  I have been reading quite a few of these lately and the quality varies from awful to fabulous.   This one is a bit better than okay and does border on a very good read.  It starts out a bit pedantic (yup, I’m throwing in the big words today).  There was so much teaching to the 18th century guy, Robert, about what has happened since that time that I really almost threw in the towel or closed my Kindle.  I’m glad I hung on for after all the “instruction” this book got interesting.  Truscott can plot a plot and pull this early snore out to a really fab conclusion.  Some things seemed a bit unnecessary, like moving the action from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and back again.  Not really necessary at all.  The ending was satisfying.

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Review- Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt (Bk 3, The Maiden Lane Series)

Title: Scandalous Desires (bk 3, The Maiden Lane Series)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, Oct 2011

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5+

Description from amazon.com:

Can a pirate learn that the only true treasure lies in a woman’s heart?

Widowed Silence Hollingbrook is impoverished, lovely, and kind–and nine months ago she made a horrible mistake. She went to a river pirate for help in saving her husband and in the process made a bargain that cost her her marriage. That night wounded her so terribly that she hides in the foundling home she helps run with her brother. Except now that same river pirate is back…and he’s asking for her help.

“Charming” Mickey O’Connor is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London’s criminal underworld. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be manipulated. And yet he’s never been able to forget the naive captain’s wife who came to him for help and spent one memorable night in his bed…talking.

When his bastard baby girl was dumped in his lap–her mother having died–Mickey couldn’t resist the Machiavellian urge to leave the baby on Silence’s doorstep. The baby would be hidden from his enemies and he’d also bind Silence to him by her love for his daughter.

**

Just when you think this series can’t get any better it does.  This is not the usual “debutante ball and marriage mart” style of Historical Romance.  Hoyt deals with the lower classes of the eighteenth century in the seedier sections of London known as St. Giles and Whitehall.  Of course, we do have a smattering of aristocrats and some gentry. The love story is mesmerizing, sensual and very sexy.  The action and suspense is gripping and emotional.  Hoyt skillfully tweaks our interest in the stories of many of the side characters; the next book is to explore the relationship of Winter and Isabel.

This series has flowed flawlessly from the first book.  We know the protagonists well before they get their own story which makes for a very satisfying read.  For this reason I suggest you start with the first book in the series WICKED INTENTIONS.  I look forward to the remainder of this series.

(My reviews of other books in this series can be found by entering the author’s name in the search-box in the left column on this page.)

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Extra News- Outlander novel to be a Cable TV series

Blogger friend Diana over at Paranormal Romance had this big news.  Check out her blog.

http://paranormalromance.wordpress.com/

It’s true. We’re gonna get a cable TV series for OUTLANDER! Let the casting calls begin. OK — it’s a little too early for that but here’s what Diana Gabaldon posted on her Facebook page today:

WELL, ALRIGHTY, THEN… Yes! It _is_ true; while final contracts aren’t yet signed, we do have a deal with Sony Pictures for development of a cable-TV (as in HBO, Netflix, Starz, Showtime, whatever…that kind of thing) series.

Want more deets? Deadline Hollywood reports that Ron Moore   — developer/executive producer of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA will write the series adaptation. Sony Pictures TV bought the rights. The project, according to Deadline Hollywood, will be taken to cable networks this week. The complete story from Deadline Hollywood is HERE.

Here’s what Ron Moore (@RonDMoore) and Diana Gabaldon (@Writer_DG ) are saying on their Twitter feeds about the deal:

Big fan of @Writer_DG’s Outlander books for many years, excited for the opportunity to do a FAITHFUL interpretation!

@RonDMoore Now go tell that to the 10K people going nuts on my Facebook page. <g>

 *********************************
Here is a video that will give you an idea of the story.  I don’t view the characters quite this way but it is a good overview of the story.
Who do you see as Jamie and Claire?  I see me as Claire….okay…maybe not.
Now this is my idea of Jamie Fraser, Gabriel Aubrey:

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Review- Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe

Title: Can’t Buy Me Love

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Molly O’Keefe

Publisher: Random House

Source: Free For Review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Tara Jean Sweet knows that opportunity will never knock; she’ll have to seize it. Elderly Texas rancher Lyle Baker has a dying request: He will give Tara Jean a stake in his leather business in exchange for a little family subterfuge. All Tara Jean has to do is play the part of a gold-digging fiancée to lure Lyle’s estranged children home. The mission is soon accomplished.

Now Lyle’s gone—and his ridiculously handsome son, Luc, an ice hockey superstar sidelined by injuries, is the new owner of Crooked Creek ranch. He’s also Tara Jean’s boss. But being so close to sinfully sweet Tara Jean does crazy things to Luc’s priorities, like make him want to pry her deepest secrets from those irresistible lips. But when Tara Jean’s past demands a dirty showdown, will Luc stay and fight?

**

I never got into the characters.  I just couldn’t find much to like about Tara, and Luc was in denial about everything for the entire book, made me just want to smack him.  Vicki was screwed up and, just in case we didn’t have enough melodrama, Vicki’s sick son Jacob is there to have an asthma attack at dramatic moments. I found the authors way of presenting most dialog, without indicating the speaker, to be confusing.

Okay…it is safe to assume this book was not my cuppa tea, too much whining, too much drama, too little common sense and hard to believe a million dollar business came out of that greenhouse. It was a Soap Opera.

 

 

 

 

 

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Review- The Key by Simon Toyne

Title:  The Key (bk 2, The Sanctus Trilogy)

Genre: Religious Conspiracy Thriller

Author: Simon Toyne

Publisher: William Morrow, June 2012

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from amazon.com:

Hunted. Hounded. Haunted.

She is the most important person in the world. She is The Key

Journalist Liv Adamsen has escaped from the highly secretive Citadel at the heart of the ancient city of Ruin and now lies in isolation, staring at hospital walls as blank as her memory. Despite her inability to recall her past, something strange is stirring within her. She feels possessed by a sen-sation she can’t name and plagued by whispers only she can hear: “KuShiKaam,” the key.

To others the meaning is clear. For a mercenary operating in the Syrian Desert, a man known only as “the Ghost,” Liv may hold the key to one of history’s most powerful secrets. For the brotherhood of monks in the Citadel—now cursed by a terrible plague—her return to Turkey may be the only way to ensure their survival. And for a powerful faction in Vatican City, her very existence threatens the success of a desperate plan to save the church from ruin.

At the center of events that defy explanation and hunted by someone she believes might be trying to kill her, Liv turns to the only person she can trust—a foundation worker named Gabriel Mann. Together they must elude capture and journey to the place where all life began. From New York to Rome to the deserts of the Middle East, worlds collide in a race to uncover a revelation dating from the creation of man in this electrifying follow-up to the international bestseller Sanctus.

**

Woo-Hoo! If you read my review of the first book in this trilogy, SANCTUS (here), then you know I’m hooked.  This, the second book in The Sanctus Trilogy, did not disappoint. There is heart pounding action and suspense on every page.  Where there is power there is corruption, the fate of the world rests with one woman and those willing to help her.

Toyne’s style is the short chapter, never more than a few pages long but each leading to interplay of international characters.  There are surprises and twists and, of course, a cliff hanger at the end leading us to the final book of the trilogy.  In spite of the cliff hanger, this novel is wrapped up quite satisfactorily.  I do suggest that you read SANCTUS first because it is such a good book and it will give a better foundation for THE KEY, although the author is quite adapt at bringing us up to date in THE KEY without the much dreaded info-dump.

Anyone who enjoyed THE DAVINCI Code will definitely enjoy this trilogy from Simon Toyne.

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Review- Wallflower: Book 1The Old Maids Club by Catherine Gayle

Title: Wallflower (Bk 1, The Old Maids Club)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Catherine Gayle

Publisher: Night Shift Publishing

Source: Kindle Free

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

The choice between adhering to a long-held pact and finally accepting love could prove Lady Tabitha Shelton’s unhinging. She is plump, plain, pleasant . . . and thoroughly unappealing to any of the men of the ton—apart from fortune hunters. A self-appointed wallflower, she has every intention of remaining one. Tabitha made a vow of spinsterhood with her cousins when they were girls, and she refuses to go back on her word. So far, she’s proven herself quite adept at warding off the blasted fortune hunters’ pursuits.

Noah deLancie, Marquess of Devonport, would prefer to marry for love and companionship—he’s a gentleman through and through—but circumstances have forced his hand: he needs money as badly as he needs a bride. When Noah’s brother-in-law suggests pursuit of his sister, Tabitha, a woman with a dowry large enough to cause even Croesus to blush and who is tantalizingly good company to boot, Noah stumbles into the future he hopes to secure. He’ll stop at nothing to convince Tabitha to marry him.

Nothing, that is, except perhaps the barrel of a dueling pistol, held to his face by his ladylove.

**

I loved this book.  It was filled with a feisty heroine (often misguided but certainly sympathetic), a hero to die for and a scrappy, loving family.  It reminded me of the delightful Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn.  The villain was smarmy and evil and we longed for his comeuppance. Ms Gayle created these delightful characters that engaged me from the first page. I highly recommend this well written historical regency novel.

 

 

 

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Extra- James Joyce Quote on a Poster by Evan Robertson

This is so romantic I had to repost from, Evan’s Esty site.

Poster from Evan Robertson, Graphic artist, for $24 on Esty:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/99736219/original-illustration-fine-art-prints?ref=pr_shop

Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from the end of Ulysses by James Joyce.
For anyone that believes that James Joyce wrote Ulysses as an intellectual exercise designed to torture English majors, I appeal to you to re-read the last lines of this incredible story, which in my illustration form the wings of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. The additional details of the illustration (the body, hindwings and the cocoon below) are formed from the dominant word in the monologue, “yes.”
The entire quote reads:

“I was a flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

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