Monthly Archives: May 2013

Advance Review- Lover Be Mine by Nicole Jordan

Title: Lover Be Mine (Legendary Lovers Series, Bk #2)

Lover Be Mine

Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Nicole Jordan

Publisher: Ballantine , May 28, 2013, preorder is Available

Source:  Free for review from The publisher

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

As the wickedly seductive Wilde cousins seek true love by taking a page from history’s legendary love stories, Lord Jack Wilde plays a determined Romeo courting an enchanting Juliet.

The last thing Sophie Fortin expects at a masquerade ball is a dazzling kiss from a pirate. Her desire quickly falters when she learns that her masked gentleman is devilishly scandalous Lord Jack, a member of the captivating Wilde clan—and a man she’s forbidden to acknowledge. But when Jack begins a breathtaking seduction, Sophie can barely resist.

Jack never imagined that the daughter of his family’s mortal enemy would awaken such fierce passion within him—until one unforgettable kiss changes his mind forever. Soon, Jack is hell-bent on winning Sophie’s hand, going so far as to abduct her to save her from marrying a rival nobleman. Determined to woo Sophie and her unyielding parents, Jack is faced with the one decision he’d sworn never to make. The secret heir to a prince, Jack has spurned his royal heritage for years . . . but for Sophie he’ll risk all to turn a legacy of heartbreak into love ever after.

**

This is the second offering in the Legendary Lovers series and owes its theme to that of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

LOVER BE MINE is a very sexy novel.  But so much of the sex was one-sided with the Hero “pleasuring” the heroine more than having a mutual experience.  Oh yes, they do get it on before the book is over.  With all that pleasuring the heroine still did not consider herself compromised. Sophie seems to be just a rather ordinary girl even though she is spoken of in glowing superlatives.  Because she was so nondescript I had trouble relating to her.

Jack, the hero, has a tortured history which makes him rather sympathetic. The Wilde cousins are fun and supportive of the hero. It was not completely understood why this rake so suddenly became totally enamored of the heroine.  He did speak of how kind she was but we are only privy to her kindness in one instance when she helps her maid through a difficult time.

The plot was interesting and this was a quick and easy read.  I was compelled to read all the way to the end to find out how Jack was going to win the hand of the not so reluctant Sophie.  There are some twists and turns that add to the suspense.

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Non-Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Ever After

Dead Ever After

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Author:  Charlaine Harris

Publisher: ACE, Berkley Publishing Group, 2013

Source: purchase

My non-review Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

THE FINAL SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVEL

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart….

Sookie Stackhouse  finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.
But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

**

This is a non-review.

“Huh?” You say.

I can’t review a book I have not read all the way through.  I read this book, chapters 1-6, but I was so bored that I skipped to chapters 21&22 (the last two chapters)to continue the boredom.  I have to confess that I haven’t been much onboard with this series since around book 6 or maybe book 7 but I have continued to read each one hoping that the next will be the one to get the story back on track, it never happened for me. (I watch Trueblood hoping for the same thing and each season since the first I’ve been disappointed.)

I agree with some reviews that say Charlaine Harris has every right to end the story the way she wants.  I also think the readers have every right to say that they feel like they have been insulted by the way she has gone about her ending.

I rated this book a “2- OMG! Did I pay for this?” and yes, I coughed up $18.00 at Target to buy this disappointment. So I guess this non-review is a review since I’ve given my $.02 worth of opinion.  I will welcome your $.02 worth of opinion in the comments.

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From Deet to You

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May 12, 2013 · 8:42 am

Review- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Crown, 2012

Source: Library

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

**

This was undoubtedly the most hyped book of 2012.  So I knew that sooner or later I would succumb to its lure. My one sentence reaction: It definitely deserves all the hype.

The book starts out, appearing to me, like a fictionalized version of that real life California case.  You know the one with that guy named Peterson who killed his pregnant wife.  At least that is how it was playing out to me.  But Flynn had more surprises and twists to deal out in this novel.  Was it a bit over the top at times, you bet, but it was definitely a can’t-put-it-down read.  It is scary to think that there are people in this world like Scot Peterson but Gillian Flynn gives us some ideas about how a psychopath operates as she lays out the story of the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne.  I recommend this one to all mystery, suspense and thriller lovers.

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Why Read Romance?

Susanna Kearsley, author of The Firebird, The Winter Sea, Mariana, etc, kindly gave me permission to reblog this very interesting blog on the question “Why Read Romance?”.  I totally agree with her conclusion, do you?  Your comments are most welcome.

Why Read Romance?

(reblogged  from Susanna Kearsley’s Blog http://womaninjeopardy.blogspot.ca/ Feb. 14, 2013 )

Today being Valentine’s Day, there’s a hashtag that’s trending on Twitter and picking up speed—#WhyReadRomance—wherein people share all the reasons they read romance novels. I love this, and yet I can’t help but wish there was no need for that hashtag; no need for those readers to have to explain why they read what they read.
After all, you would never see hashtags for #WhyReadMysteries, or #WhyReadLiteraryFiction, would you? No one’s ever going to be teased for reading modern poetry, or picking up a thriller. And no one’s ever asked me, ‘Why on earth would you read Vonnegut?’

Choose a romance novel, though, and eyes will roll, the implication being romance is a lesser form of fiction, not deserving of a place at the big table of ‘real’ writing.

When I disagree—when I point out I write romantic fiction, and that I have friends who write for Harlequin, and that the genre is a broad and varied one, like any other genre, filled with writers who are brilliant at their craft—I only get the rolling eyes again. And if I name specific books as evidence, I’m often told, ‘That book transcends the genre.’ (If you want to set my teeth on edge, just tell me that a book “transcends the genre”. What that tells me, plain and simple, is you haven’t read enough books in that genre).

Still, at that point, I just tend to bite my tongue, and end the argument. I do this because I remember my first year Philosophy course, at university, in which the professor explained to us why it was pointless to argue with someone who was starting from a fixed and different point of view. You’ll almost never change that point of view, he warned us, and they won’t change yours, and so the two of you will argue in a parallel dynamic with no end, that looks like this:

                       

But I’m an optimist, you see. And I believe a lot of misconceptions can be changed, or challenged, by a little education.
So last weekend, in the middle of a day-long course that I was leading with a great, enthusiastic group of local writers who were wanting to explore how to use love stories within their work, I gave them all a sheet of excerpts taken from four books I owned, that I’d read and enjoyed.

One book, I told them, was a Harlequin Romance. One was a literary novel. One was written by a man. And one I’d put in as a wildcard.

Here are the excerpts:

Lorenzo sat at his desk, idly toying with the orrery. It was a mechanical model of the solar system, showing everything in its relative position. There was something soothing about watching how the moons and planets followed their own unwavering path, each one taking its own specific place in a dance so intricate it was almost beyond human comprehension. Galileo had understood it, even though it went against everything he’d been brought up to believe.

The courage of that, the audacious brilliance never failed to impress Lorenzo. Galileo had had a vision, and he had been unswerving in his pursuit of it. But even he, with his towering intellect, had never fully got to grips with the complexities of women.

With a flick of his finger Lorenzo made the earth spin on its axis, and then slowed it right down again as he thought back to last night. That was how it had felt in the temple, in the candlelight and the silence. As if he had slowed down time. Stopped the world, for a little while.

**********

 He put his hand out to assist her on the last high step into the villa grounds. She looked at his hand in front of her and wondered if he meant to stop her.

Signorina. May I take your hand?’

She could feel her face reddening, warmth upon warmth encroaching. She placed her hand in his palm and took the last step, breathless. He smiled again and turned her hand over. Her open palm was warm from the climb. Dante stroked the skin, none too soft, that he held in his own fine hand, stirring the blood underneath to quickness. He kissed the white inside of her wrist, quick and light, and held her hand for a few minutes more as they walked through the shaded gardens.

**********

 He grabbed her to him and stood for long minutes kissing her and kissing her, dragging his hands over her, skating over her curves, enjoying her. Even through the thick cloth of her coat, the feel of her was something wonderful and the smell of her perfume was filling him. The kissing went on and on, his hands grew more and more insistent until she was pressed against him and moaning deep in her chest, rubbing herself on him, grinding against him with his hands on her as her coat rose up over her hips and her skirt followed it, sliding over her thighs.

**********

 As he said his goodbye, it occurred to him that maybe, just maybe, he meant something to her. Too bad he had so much to do. Too bad armies were on the march. Too bad Laura Brittle stood in the doorway, watching them.

He wanted to clasp Polly Brandon in his arms. He had watched over her on the Perseverance and he was uneasy about leaving her without his protection. Yes, I am proprietary, he wanted to shout to Laura Brittle. Why is it your business?

He did nothing of the sort. ‘Stay off the water, Brandon, and you should be all right,’ he said gruffly, then turned on his heel as smartly as any Marine on parade, and left her standing alone in the courtyard.

 

Nearly everyone guessed that the first excerpt was from a literary novel.

Nearly everyone guessed that the last excerpt was written by a man.

And nearly everyone thought that either the second or third excerpts were from the Harlequin Romance, with a large margin choosing the third excerpt over the second.

Want to know where they were really from? From the bottom up, then…

The fourth excerpt is from Marrying the Royal Marine, a Harlequin Historical Romance, by Carla Kelly.

The third excerpt is from The Good Mayor, a literary novel by Andrew Nicoll.

The second excerpt is from Dante’s War, a literary novel by Sandra Sabatini.

And the first excerpt, the one most of the writers in that group felt sure was from a literary novel, is from Powerful Italian, Penniless Housekeeper, a Harlequin Presents Romance, by India Grey. It’s a beautiful excerpt, a lovely piece of writing, and the hero is remembering a night that he spent talking to the heroine. Just that, and nothing more.
Surprised? If you already read romance, I’m sure you’re not. Most romance readers judge a book by what’s inside it, not what’s printed on the cover, and they know the titles of these books aren’t chosen by the authors—they’re a construct of the marketing department of the publisher, and often have no actual connection to the story.
And the story, in the end, is why I read a novel. Any novel. Literary, Science Fiction, Mystery, or Romance. Good writing is good writing, and no genre, in my optimistic world view, is a lesser form of fiction.

That’s why India Grey’s novel sits alongside Andrew Nicoll’s, on my bookshelves. And that’s why I read romance.

Posted by Susanna Kearsley

http://www.susannakearsley.com/

 

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Advance Review- The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Title:  The Firebird

Firebird

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Fantasy

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks, June 4, 2013 (Kindle edition pre order available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5+

Sexy Rating: 5(steamy but not explicit)

Description from amazon.com:

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird-the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

**

FIREBIRD weaves well researched, historical fact with a riveting, fictitious historical plot and an intriguing and beguiling contemporary subplot.  If you have read any of Kearsley’s previous novels you will recognize some of the characters in this one.  Rob the psychic boy from THE SHADOWY HORSES and Colonel Grahame, Thomas Gordon, John Moray and Sophia from THE WINTER SEA. That said, this is a stand-alone novel.

Rob is all grown up and had a university fling with Nicola but now it is two years later and Nicola seeks his help because Rob has higher psychic abilities than she.  They set off together to St. Petersburg to unravel the mystery of the Firebird carving.  As they delve, with their abilities, into the early 18th century and the Jacobite uprising they uncover the story of Anna, the child who grows to womanhood to hand down to her heirs the Firebird carving.

This is a story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, a story of faith, trust and romance.  There is dangerous adventure, simmering sexual tension, a fairytale introduced that relates to the plot and some surprises.  It is also a story of being true to yourself and acknowledging who you are.

Five stars are not enough for this wonderful book.  I give it a 10.

Every so often I come across an author or a book, or one is recommended to me, that is just off-the-charts good and I want to get up on a soap box and shout  to the world “Buy this book” or “Read this author, I insist”.  That is what I’m doing here.  Susanna Kearsley is just too good and you must read her books. All of them!

  1. The Rose Garden
  2. The winter sea
  3. Mariana
  4. The Shadowy Horses
  5. Firebird (coming June 4, 2013)

(Deet’s reviews of the above books can be found using the search box in the left hand column)

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Advance Review- The Lady and The Unicorn by Iris Johansen

Title:  The Lady and the Unicorn

The Lady and the Unicorn

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Author: Iris Johansen

Publisher: Random House Digital, May 13, 2013,preorder available

Source: From the publisher for review

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Rafe Santine is under doctor’s orders: He needs to stay put in his coastal California mansion for two months to recuperate from the pneumonia that nearly killed him. Despite a retinue of mistresses to keep the powerful tycoon occupied, Rafe struggles against boredom—until a stunning woman literally drops onto his estate. She has high demands of him, but Rafe has even greater demands of her. He knows instantly that he must possess every facet of the enigmatic Janna. But the only thing she’ll give him is her body—and for the first time in his life, that is not enough for Rafe.

Janna Cannon is willing to risk it all to save the endangered animals of the wild animal reserve where she works as a game warden. With the land they depend on pulled out from under them, Janna must take a gambit to convince billionaire Santine to give the reserve the real estate they need to keep the animals free. And she’ll need to sneak onto the man’s vast, highly protected property to do it. Much to her surprise, Santine agrees to grant her the land—if Janna agrees to give him herself in exchange. And what begins as luxurious captivity soon turns into an emotional awakening she never expected.

**

Originally published in 1983, this book is being re-released as a digital book by the publisher.  I mention this fact because the characters are most definitely in the mode of the 1980’s romance novel.  Rafe is an uber-Alpha male and Janna is about as submissive as heroines come.  The actions of Rafe are very often politically incorrect by today’s standards.  He is verbally and physically abusive.  Janna not only accepts his treatment but excuses it continuously.  Even though I couldn’t like either character very muchl the writing is very good.  I found it fascinating to read this book from the past in light of the romance novels that are written today.  I do recommend The Lady and the Unicorn for an eye opening look at the evolution of the romance novel.

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Review- Finding Laura by Kay Hooper

Title:  Finding Laura

Finding Laura

Genre: Mystery/romance

Author: Kay Hooper

Publisher: Bantam, 1998

Source:  Loan from a friend, this book is still available for purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
who’s the deadliest one of all?

It’s an antique mirror that can reveal secrets…or tarnish the truth. And for struggling artist Laura Sutherland, buying it is only the first step into a dark maze of lies, manipulation—and murder. It brings Peter Kilbourne into her life and makes her the prime suspect in his fatal stabbing. Determined to clear her name—and uncover Peter’s reason for wanting the mirror back—Laura will breach the iron gates of the Kilbourne estate. There she will find that each family member has something to hide. Which one of them looks in the mirror and sees the reflection of a killer? And which one will choose Laura to be the next to die?

**

My friend, Julia, handed me this book with “I think you will like this one.”  She was correct.  This was a good whodunit with a couple of surprises.  I was studiously following every red herring all along the the 370 pages.  Just when I thought I had it all figured out another possible solution would pop up.  For a novel where the major focus is on the mystery there was a lot of hot sex going on.  The romance involves several couples with Laura’s romance the main focus.  This book reads a bit like an updated, sexy Agatha Christie novel, where at any moment Hercule Poirot  will walk into the drawing room for cocktails and solve the crime.  There is some paranormal suggestions scattered throughout and their meaning is revealed at the end.  If you like a good mystery with lots of sex and a satisfying ending then I highly recommend this one.

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