Monthly Archives: November 2012

Review- Chilled by Kendra Elliot

Title: Chilled

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author: Kendra Elliot

Publisher: Montlake Romance, 2012

Source: Free for Review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

As a forensic nurse on a search and rescue team, Brynn Nealey braves a dangerous blizzard to find the survivors of a plane crash in the Cascade Mountains. Joining her is Alex Kinton, a former US marshal with self-destructive tendencies. Alex lies his way onto Brynn’s team to find the man who killed his brother—and then return the favor. But once the team members reach the plane’s wreckage, they discover everyone aboard has perished…except for the man Alex is hunting. Alex will do whatever it takes to track his target through the vast, snowy wilderness.

As the temperatures drop, however, so do Alex’s defenses. His contact with the sharp, kindhearted Brynn makes his lust for vengeance difficult to reconcile with his growing feelings for a woman who risks her life to help others. What will happen to Alex’s savage instincts when he finally has the opportunity to confront his brother’s killer?

**

From the beginning Kendra Elliot makes you feel the cold and wet of the icy rain and snow.  She reveals and embellishes on the personalities of each of the members of the search and rescue team so that we know them as if they were our friends.  Alex’s story unfolds slowly as the tension and terror heightens.   The villain is smart and diabolically scary.  A taut thriller that keeps you turning pages into the wee hours.


 

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Review- A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Title: A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon 2012

Source: purchase

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is . . .

But she’s managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge—in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy—no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith Might be in mortal danger . . .

But that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she’s a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending . . .

**

The beginning is interesting; a rake with a past and a governess who has secrets.  Well of course, the rake wants to woo the governess and now the story falls into all kinds of silliness with this man frolicking with the governess and her three precocious charges.  I’m sorry but this is just not very likely.  I forge past this unsatisfying part and toward the end there is actually some drama and danger which pulls this novel out of the two star to the three star rating.  I found this book just an “okay” read and  it is definitely not up to the standards of her Bridgerton Series.

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Review- To Seduce A Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

Title: To Seduce A Sinner (book #2, The Legend of The Four Soldiers Series)

Genre: Historical Romance/Georgian Era

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Forever, 2008

Source: purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale, has a problem: he needs to marry and produce an heir to the title. All Jasper wants is to find a lady who will put up with him long enough to wed so he can retreat to his life of debauchery–a life that keeps the haunting memories of his past at bay. Knowing that Jasper is under pressure to marry, Melisande Flemming grasps her fate with both hands and volunteers to wed him. Although Jasper is initially only interested in producing an heir, he soon becomes entranced by his wife–prim and proper by day, wanton by night– and vows to learn her secrets.

Melissande, however, is determined to keep her husband at a distance. She has loved, and lost, before, and will do anything to keep him from learning her terrible weakness: she’s secretly been in love with him for years. But to her chagrin, her husband pursues her, wooing her as if she were a paramour, not his lady wife. As Melissande and Jasper embark on a passionate game of cat and mouse, secrets from the past begin to resurface…. threatening to tear them asunder.

**

Once again Hoyt has master crafted a tale that grows from a marriage of convenience to sublimely sensual devotion, at the same time intriguing us with a mystery and secrets that could prove disastrous.  For the hero, Hoyt crafts a character study in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as it might appear in the Georgian Era.  It is also a glimpse into the social mores of that era.  There is action and pathos and sizzling sensuality.  There are references and some  graphic description of torture and violence that some may find disturbing although integral to the story.

The ending was a bit of a letdown.  I thought it could have been handled differently although it did fit in with the story.  Elizabeth Hoyt is a master story teller and although I have read this book out of order in the series, It was not necessary for me to have read what came before in order to enjoy the read.  I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

The Legend of the Four Soldiers Series:

1. To Taste Temptation (Smauel Hartley’s story)

2. To Seduce a Sinner (Jasper Renshaw’s story)

3. To Beguile a Beast (Alistair Monroe’s story)

4. To Desire a Devil (Ranaud St. Aubyn’s story)

 

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Review- The Rake by Mary Jo Putney

Title: The Rake

Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Mary Jo Putney

Publisher: Kensington Publishing,1989/2012

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

…Disinherited and disgraced, Reginald Davenport’s prospects cried for a dire end. But fate has given him one last chance at redemption – by taking his rightful place as the heir of Strickland, his lost ancestral estate. Davenport knows his way around women, yet nothing prepares him for his shocking encounter with Lady Alys Weston. Masquerading as a man in order to obtain a position as estate manager of Strickland, Alys fled a world filled with mistrust and betrayal. She was finished with men – until Strickland’s restored owner awakens a passion she thought she would never feel. A passion that will doom or save them both …if only they can overcome their pasts…

 

**

Both protagonists have scandalous pasts that they are trying to overcome.  This is one of the first books written by Mary Jo Putney and the book is so overwhelmingly realistic that I’m sure she was channeling a member of the aristocracy of that era.  Her scenes are vivid and the emotions of her hero and heroine are heartfelt.  The author skillfully draws us into their lives so that pages of this book turn swiftly for we must find out their fates.

This is a long book, 396 pages, and I do think it could have been a bit shorter but then I wouldn’t want to be the one to edit out one word of copy.  I enjoyed this book and recommend it.  It is a reprint of an earlier published work so you may want to look for the original.

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Review- No Place for a Lady by Jade Lee (Regency Rags to Riches Series, book #1)

Title: No Place For A Lady (Book #1, The Regency rags to Riches Series)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jade Lee

Publisher: Createspace, 2003/2012

Source: Kindle, $.99

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

The London rookeries are slums, rife with criminals, and shunned by the upper crust.
But someone there intends to murder one of England’s greatest leaders, and Marcus Kane, Lord Chadwick, will follow every clue, even into the bowels of London’s underground. But he can’t find his way alone.

A partner is required.
Fantine (Fanny) Delarive is perfect. She knows the slums better any, has survived its labyrinth alone for years, and knows every criminal lurking in every dark corner.
Then, the investigation detours the pair into the bright ballrooms of the ton.
And Fantine fits in here, too.  Which changes everything.

Lord Chadwick knows a woman of Fantine’s ilk is entirely unsuitable for him. But she’s infinitely more exciting than any well-born lady he’s ever met.
Now much more than an acquaintance with the independent, self-reliant Fantine is required… and it must end with nothing less than marriage.

**

I seem to be on a kick where I’m reading books about the seamier side of Regency England.  Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series is like that and now I’ve discovered Jade Lee’s  Regency Rags to Riches Series.

In this, the first book of the Regency Rags to Riches Series, we are treated to the fantastic Fanny who has grown up in the London slums where she has learned how to survive by her wits and ability to be an actress and disguise herself as a boy.  She is also a spy and works for the crown at the behest of a Lord of the Realm.  She is so fiercely independent that we wonder if she and Lord Chadwick, a fellow spy, can ever find romantic happiness across the social and economic divide.

Jade Lee has created two characters that are personality personified.  They are so deliciously developed we can feel that each of them is an actual person not merely born of the imagination of a superb writer.  Of course, a future Earl is not likely to fall in love and marry a slum girl back in Regency times but we can certainly love the idea that it might have happened.

The sexual tension is sizzling along with the satisfying conclusion.  There is enough action in this book to thrill the adventure loving reader and even some delightful laugh out loud moments that although a mite bit farfetched are none the less delightful and welcome.

 

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Review- Thief of Shadows (#4, Maiden Lane Series) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Title:  Thief of Shadows (Book #4 Maiden Lane Series)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Grand Central, 2012

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

MASKED MAN . . .

Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he’s the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles-protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide.

A DANGEROUS WOMAN . . .

Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she’s asked to tutor the Home’s dour manager in the ways of society-flirtation, double-entendres, and scandalous liaisons-Isabel can’t help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar-and his lips so tempting.

A PASSION NEITHER COULD DENY

During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything-the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.

**

Not only is Winter leading a double life in this installment of the Maiden Lane Series but I am led to think he has a serious split-personality disorder.  He seems to divide his personality into the bookish, mild mannered Winter Makepeace and the roguish Ghost of St. Giles.  Perhaps I’ve got it wrong and he is more a Georgian Era Batman. Any way you look at it he makes for a good read.

Others have liked that Winter was virginal and Lady Isabel was the experienced lover.  I wasn’t as fond of this aspect.  Just personal preference I think.  Lady Isabel was the aggressor and seducer but Winter was long overdue for sexual ruination historical style.

I enjoyed this installment of the series as well as those that came before.  Elizabeth Hoyt has given us a superbly constructed series that creates  a feeling of historical accuracy as well sizzling romance in each book.

I  recommend this book and each in the Maiden Lane Series. (Reviews on this blog, insert “Elizabeth Hoyt” in the “Search” box in the left hand column.)

Maiden Lane Series:

#1 Wicked Intentions

#2 Notorious Pleasures

#3 Scandalous Desires

#4 Thief of Shadows

#5 Lord of Darkness (coming Feb. 2013)

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Review- A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long

Title:  A Notorious Countess Confesses (Pennyroyal Green Series)

Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Julie Anne Long

Publisher: Avon, 2012

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

She rose to spectacular heights . . .

From Covent Garden to courtesan to countess, beautiful, fearless, shamelessly ambitious Evie Duggan has riveted London in every role she plays. But the ton never could forgive her scandalous—if shockingly short—marriage, and when her star plummets amid gleefully vicious gossip, the countess escapes to the only legacy left to her: a manor house in Pennyroyal Green.

He never expected to fall so hard . . .

He has the face of a fallen angel and a smolder the devil would envy, but Vicar Adam Sylvaine walks a precarious line: resisting temptation . . . and the wild Eversea blood in his veins. Adam’s strength is tested when scandal, aka the countess, moves to Sussex. But when a woman who fiercely guards her heart and a man entrusted with the souls of an entire town surrender to a forbidden desire, will the sweetest sin lead them to heaven . . . or make outcasts of them forever?

**

Prepare to fall in love with a man of the cloth.  Vicar, Adam Sylvaine is a hunky hero of the first order.  He is handsome, muscular, kind and of impeccable morals until he can’t resist fallen woman Evie Duggan.

Evie is a courtesan who became a countess when an Earl won her in a card game.  He died of heart failure from too much Evie so she had to move to the country and start anew.  She wants to put her infamous reputation behind her but of course there are many obstacles.

Julie Anne Long can write stunning characters that we feel we know intimately.  All of her books are first rate in the character development department.  In this book we don’t so much long for Evie’s redemption as we long for Adam finding true love.

There was a noticeable lack of editing but I refuse to let that detract from what is a very good story about characters that stay with you after the last page is read.

 

 

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Extra-Fifty Shades of Chicken video trailer

If you thought Monday’s video was funny then you will surely like this one.  Yes it is a cook book you can buy. So here is some chicken and skin.  YUM!  To further whet your appetite I’ve included an excerpt after the vid.

Excerpt:

Oh, chicken, did you just cluck at me?”   Crap.    “No,” I squawk hoarsely.    “I believe you did. Yes, you did. You remember what I said I’d do to you if you clucked?”    Aw, jeez. “Yes.” I pause before I add, “Yes, Chef.”    “My word is my bond,” he crows. “I’m going to spank you. And then I will cook you, very hot and hard.”    I know what his hard cooking is like.    “I’m not sure I can take any more quite yet,” I whine.    “Stamina, Miss Hen,” he says brightly.    My inner goddess has donned a tiny cheerleader’s uniform and starts to chant.    Give me a B!    Whack.    Give me an L!    Whack.    Give me an A!    Whack.    Give me a D! E! S!    Whack whack whack.    What does that spell?    Control freak poultry-beater, that’s what it spells. But I don’t fancy another swat, so I manage to keep the thought to myself for once.    He roasts me gently until I reach sweet doneness.    “You are a most beautiful sight,” he says, pulling me out of the Wolf. “And your smell is intoxicating.”    Afterward, everywhere he spanked me is stinging and warm. The experience was humiliating and mustardy and unbelievably hot. I definitely don’t want him to do that to me again. But now that it’s over I have this warm, safe, golden brown afterglow. I feel contented, and totally confused.    I must remember to cluck at him more often.
Mustard Spanked Chicken roasted chicken with mustard, fresh basil, and garlic  
Serves 4 1 (3½- to 4-pound) chicken, patted dry with paper towels 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, more to taste ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Rub the chicken all over, including the cavity, with the salt and pepper.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, basil, and garlic and slap it hard onto the bird everywhere you just rubbed the salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 1 hour so it can recover.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack in a roasting pan.
4. Carefully lay the bird on the rack, breast down. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Roast for 30 minutes. Thrust a wooden spoon into the chicken cavity and flip the bird over so the breasts are up; drizzle with remaining oil. Continue to roast until the bird is golden brown and quite done, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Enjoy.

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Review-Charlotte: Pride and Prejudice Continues by Karin Aminadra

Title:  Charlotte- Pride & Prejudice Continues

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Karin Aminadra

Publisher: Carriage Publishing, 2012

Source: Kindle purchase

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Description from amazon.com:

When Charlotte Lucas married Mr Collins, she did not love him but had at least secured her future.
However, what price must she pay for that future? She once said she was not romantic, but how true is that now after almost one year of marriage?
Mr Collins is submissive in the extreme to his patroness, and his constant simpering, fawning and deference to the overbearing and manipulative Lady Catherine de Bourgh is sure to try the patience of a saint, or at least of Charlotte.
As Charlotte becomes part of Hunsford society, she discovers she is not the only one who has been forced to submit to the controlling and often hurtful hand of Lady Catherine.
She feels trapped and realises her need for love and affection. She is not as content as she once thought she would be. The easiest thing to do would be to maintain the peace and do as she is told. But as Charlotte witnesses the misery around her due to her inimitable neighbour, she must decide to remain as she is or to begin a chain of events that will change not only her life but also the lives of those around her in the village of Hunsford forever.
But…after all, doesn’t every girl deserve a happy ending?

**

I’m still a sucker for P & P sequels.

I was disappointed in this rendition of Charlotte Lucas’ life after Pride and Prejudice. I could never quite get over the fact that Charlotte was trying to make a “go” of her marriage to Collins.  I have always seen him as a simpering fool and the author describes him as such in this Austen spin-off.  I can’t see him reforming, evolving, changing or becoming admirable husband material and the author does not help him along in this direction.  Merely remarking that he has seen-the-light of his misapprehensions does not turn him into a laudable character.  In fact a suitable substitute is introduced, and then his character is trashed,  which is another upset.  I cannot recommend this book.

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Extra- Deet’s 18 month blogoversary

Yes, I’ve been at this for 18 months.  For all that time I’ve read hundreds of books and told you all about most of them.  I confess that I have been on a Historical Romance kick for most of that time.  Oh, yeah, I throw in a thriller or mystery now and then, even some literary fiction  but those Regency Era aristocrats really do it for me.  I love the authors that can introduce sophisticated, witty humor into their romance novels, I don’t love authors who try too hard to be funny.  But that is just me,  I read and review books that interest me so that means I’m not reviewing books that are foisted on me by publishers or authors.  I choose what I review and that often means I like the book, not always.  But to celebrate my blogoversary I thought this video from Samhain Publishers had just the right amount of champagne and skin. I hope you laugh as hard as I did.

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