Monthly Archives: July 2013

Review (re-release)- Dancing With The Devil by Keri Arthur (book#1)

Title: Dancing With The Devil (book #1, Nikki and Michael Series)

dancing-with-the-devil-us1

Genre: Paranormal romance

Author: Keri Arthur

Publisher: Dell, re-release July 30, 2013(original, ImaJinn, 2001)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

BEYOND THE SHADOWS

Private Investigator Nikki James grew up on the tough streets of Lyndhurst and believes there’s nothing left to surprise her. But all that changes the night she follows a rich man’s daughter into the shadows and finds herself caught in a war between two very different men. One is a madman, intent on destruction. The other has his own heart of darkness.

For three hundred years, Michael Kelly has existed in life’s shadows, gradually learning to control his vampire cravings. He is convinced that no one can breach his formidable barriers—until he meets Nikki. With her powerful psychic abilities, Nikki swiftly invades both his mind and his heart. Nikki knows how dangerous love can be . . . but if she wants to survive, she must place her trust in this man who could easily destroy her. For only together can they overcome the evil threatening to destroy them both.

**

I didn’t read this book when it was first released in 2001, but I read and liked some of the author’s Riley Jensen series which followed.  This book #1, seemed more Urban Fantasy than the Jensen series, even leaning more toward the Horror genre.  That may have colored why I did not like it as much as the books in the Jensen series.

Keri Arthur is great at creating taut, suspense-filled scenes with liberal does of drama, action and creepy factors.  She can also hold her own in the romantic scenes.  I did become frustrated with the heroine’s repeated attempts to ignore the dangers to herself even when others pointed them out. This is often a trope used with kick-butt heroines and I’m not liking it because it makes the heroine look less intelligent.  We are often told that Nikki and Michael are attracted to one another but somehow the chemistry is just not there.

I recommend this book for those who like dark, very dark Paranormal Romance.  The writing is better than most and the creepy scenes are very well written.

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Review- Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory

Title:  Untie My Heart

Untie My Heart

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Judith Ivory

Publisher: Avon, 2002

Source:  purchase

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Stuart Aysgarth, the new Viscount Mount Villiars, doesn’t know he’s playing with fire when he inadvertently runs afoul of Emma Hotchkiss. True, the exquisite Yorkshire lady is a mere sheep farmer, but she also guards a most colorful past that makes her only more appealing to the handsome, haunted lord. Emma has come to him seeking justice — and Stuart is determined that she will not leave until she has shared her secrets … and his bed. Her clever revenge scheme must fail in the face of his soft words and tender caress — and then he turns the tables on his bewitching adversary, seducing her into a daring deception of his own …

**

Published 11 years ago, this Judith Ivory novel truly stands the test of time.  The writing here is captivating.  The characters are so well fleshed out.  The romance is breathtaking.  I always enjoy a book that gives me insight into something that I didn’t know.  This book gives that insight into the minds of con artists.  Each chapter is introduced with a snippet from a fictional book, a recipe or an actual quote.  Here is my favorite:

It well may be that in a difficult hour,

pinned down by need and moaning for release

or nagged by want past resolution’s power,

I might be driven to sell you love for peace,

Or trade the memory of this night for food.

It may well be.  I do not think I would.

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, “What Love Isn’t”, Lines 9-14)

This book is going on my ‘Best of 2013” reading list and I encourage all of you HR fans to read this fabulous author.

When I read Ms Ivory’s THE PROPOSITION I knew I would be reading her entire list.  Since she has not published a book since around 2005,or perhaps earlier, I am delighted that her back list is now becoming available for e-readers.  When I tried to find out why she stopped writing the only reason I found was that she had “back trouble”.  Truly our loss.

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Review- Big girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Title:  Big Girl Panties

big girl panties

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Author: Stephanie Evanovich

Publisher: William Morrow, July 9, 2013

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape…and winds up getting her groove back—and a whole lot more!

Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief.

Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals—and other men are noticing?

**

This is a story about self esteem, commitment and society mores…Okay… it is also about every fat girl’s dream of landing a hunky guy.

This debut novel from Stephanie Evanovich ( related to Janet? Some sources say “yes” she is a niece but others say “no” not a relation) is totally engrossing.  Holly is so relatable; she is just trying to overcome incapacitating grief and move on with her life.  Logan hands her a way of accomplishing her goals by getting her into shape.  Through their three times a week work-out sessions they become friends and start to hang out together. This evolves into a more sexual relationship.  But this author doesn’t just leave it there.  She shows how the past history of both of these lovers bears down on the relationship.  They are not just friends with benefits they have a genuine connection and they are both trying to come to grips with it.  Logan’s celebrity friends, with a Dom/Sub sex life, added some titillation to the story and surprisingly good advice to the couple.

The characterizations are spot on, the plot absorbing, the sex sizzling.  I look forward to more from Ms. Stephanie Evanovich.

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Review- Midnight’s Wild Passion by Anna Campbell

Title:  Midnight’s Wild Passion

Midnight's Wild Passion

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Anna Campbell

Publisher: Avon, 2011

Source: purchase

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description fromauthor:

London’s most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge…

The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister – now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas’s vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe’s unsuspecting daughter.

Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue – banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie – Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is, and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.

Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes

**

Nicholas is not very nice.  He is a calculating seducer, a rake and rogue of the first order.  He plans on bringing all of his skill to bear on the seduction of first Antonia and then her charge, Cassie.  But in his dealings with Antonia he is thwarted at every turn.  He is misguided and Antonia surprises him with her resistance since he is not used to any resistance.

This is 400 pages of seducing and lusting.  Not that bad if you are up for it.  Anna Campbell can write characters so that we believe in them and she can make their purpose, desires and personalities understandable.  This is my first read of this author and she kept me focused and into the story.  Even though I didn’t like Nick, I liked that she managed to redeem his character by the end of the book.

I recommend this book with this caveat; if you are squeamish about nearly forced seduction then perhaps you should skip this one.

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Deet’s Life- I watch Survivor on TV (Sexy Man Tuesday)

Yes, I know Survivor isn’t on TV right now.  This is to tide you over until the Fall. Do you think they can top last years hunks?

Survivor Caramoan Eddie Fox

Eddie Fox from last season’s Survivor-Caramoan

Photos credit: Monty Brinton/CBS© 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Malcolm Freberg also Survivor Caramoan

Survivor Malcolm Freberg

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Recent Release Review- The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand

Title: The Marquess of Cake

The Marquess of Cake

Genre: Victorian Historical Romance

Author: Heather Hiestand

Publisher: Kensington, July 2013

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream. . .Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel–and flash of ankle–she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction. . .

With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets–and for Alys–be his heart’s undoing?

**

Actually when I picked this book I thought it was going to be a Victorian version of Chik-Lit.  My oh my was I mistaken.  This is a wonderful Victorian Romance with a heroine longing to be let loose of the societal confines and a hero who has an illness that he is totally unaware that he has.  There are moments of sensuality and misunderstanding.  Most assuredly there are times when you will have to put this book down and search your kitchen for some cake.

Heather Hiestand has crafted a novel that is sexy and sweet with believable characters who demonstrate foibles as well as a willingness to change.  This is a really good read.  I highly recommend it for Victorian Romance enthusiasts.

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Recent Release Review- The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

Title:  The Heiress Effect (The Brothers Sinister Series)

The Heiress Effect

Genre: Victorian Historical Romance

Author: Courtney Milan

Publisher: Courtney Milan, July 15, 2013

Source: Free for review from the author

Rating: 5+

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com: Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When in company, she always says the wrong thing–and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.

And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances–and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.

The Heiress Effect is the second full-length book in the Brothers Sinister series. It is preceded by The Governess Affair, a prequel novella, and The Duchess War, the first book in the series. Each book stands alone, but those who prefer to read in order might want to start at the beginning.

**

I’m a huge Courtney Milan fan.  She does not ever disappoint in her novels and The Heiress Effect is another example of a superbly constructed and executed story.  This book starts off by bringing forth the heroine with terrific wit; Jane’s over-the-top shenanigans at a society dinner had me in stitches.  But beneath the laughs are the very real problems that plague her sister and herself.  The hero has his own problems to deal with but he is the only one at the dinner that can see through Jane’s ploy to the person beneath the disguise.

Ms Milan can breathe life into characters that resonate with purpose and she gives the reader the sense of being thrust into the Victorian era along with them.  She captures the societal concerns of the day from women’s rights to working men’s rights.  She has fashioned two outcast protagonists who are more alike than they think they are.  They both fight against their growing attraction knowing in their hearts that a union would be futile.  The romance is slow to develop and wonderfully realized. The side characters of Jane’s uncle and her sister are full of personality. There is a surprise that you won’t see coming. We are given brief looks at Robert and Sebastian from the first full length book in this series, The Duchess Wars. (Sebastian will be the hero in the next book of the series.)

This book is going on my list of best books of 2013.  I highly recommend!

The Brother Sinister Series:

1/2. The Governess affair (prequel novella)

1. The Duchess Wars (Robert and Minnie)

1 1/2. A Kiss For Midwinter (Lydia and Dr. Grantham, novella)

2. The Heiress Effect (Jane and Oliver)

3. The Countess Conspiracy(Sebastian)

4. The Mistress Rebellion (Free Marshall)

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Review New Release- Making It Last by Ruthie Knox (novella, Camelot Series#4)

Title: Making It Last (Camelot Series, book #4)

making it last

Genre: Contemporary Romance Novella

Author: Ruthie Knox

Publisher: Random House, Loveswept, July 2013

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating:  4

Sexy Rating:  5

Description from amazon.com:

A hotel bar. A sexy stranger. A night of passion. There’s a part of Amber Mazzara that wants those things, wants to have a moment—just one—when life isn’t a complicated tangle of house and husband and kids and careers. Then, after a long, exhausting “vacation” with her family, her husband surprises her with a gift: a few days on the beach . . . alone.

Only she won’t be alone for long, because a handsome man just bought her a drink. He’s cool, he’s confident, and he wants to take Amber to bed and keep her there for days. Lucky for them both, he’s her husband. He’s got only a few days in Jamaica to make her wildest desires come true, but if he can pull it off, there’s reason to believe that this fantasy can last a lifetime.

**

This is the romantic sequel to Ruthie Knox’s novella,HOW TO MISBEHAVE.  That one tells of Amber and Tony’s meeting and falling in love.  In this one, MAKING IT LAST, it is eleven years and three,  rambunctious kids later. This is the story of two people who love each other but are finding it difficult to go on with a marriage.  Knox has a deft hand at showing Amber’s utter exhaustion in caring for her family and her husband’s exhaustion with trying to keep his business afloat in tough economic times.  There are family burdens as well as economic worries.  All portrayed by Knox with a realistic modern day vibe.

I had already read HOW TO MISBEHAVE when I was offered this book and I was anxious to see how Amber and Tony faired eleven years later.  I was not disappointed.  I couldn’t put this book down.  I found their problems to ring true like so many married couples who are stressed to the max with kids and jobs.  Ruthie Knox can write a love scene like no other.  They are sensuous and filled with not only eroticism but they leave a feeling of true romance. This is a welcome addition to the Camelot Series that tells of the lives and loves of the Clark family.

Camelot Series:

1. How to Misbehave (novella, Amber Clark’s story)

2. Along Came Trouble (Caleb Clark’s story)

3. Flirting With Disaster (Katie Clark’s story)

4. Making It Last (novella, Amber again)

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, E-Book, e-reader, Kindle, Novella

Picking A New Winner For HUNTED by D.B. Reynolds

Our original winner did not respond so that means everyone who entered got a second chance to win HUNTED by D.B. Reynolds.   I’ve even taken a photo of my very scientific method of choosing a winner.  That’s me holding the basket with all the entries and hubby picking the winner.

winning draw 002

The Winner of the signed, limited edition of HUNTED is:

meliora13

meliora13 you have until Sunday July 21st to contact me at deetda2@yahoo.com with your snail mail address.

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Review- How To Misbehave by Ruthie Knox (Novella)

Title:  How To Misbehave (Camelot Series #1)

How To Misbehave

Genre: Contemporary Romance Novella

Author: Ruthie Knox

Publisher: Random House, Loveswept, Digital

Source: purchase, $.99

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

**

Woo-hoo! This is one hot novella!  If you like your stories with sizzle then you are in for a treat.  Ruthie Knox is really good at writing the sexy stuff.  She’s also good at snappy, witty dialog and she will have you grinning if not laughing out loud.  This is a welcome addition to the Camelot Series about the Clark Family.  We have previously met Amber and Tony in books #2 & #3 of that series as they attend family dinners with the Clark family but now we know how they met and fell in love. I suggest you start with this one and work your way through the series.

Coming Tomorrow: A review of Book #4 in the series, MAKING IT LAST, again about Tony and Amber.

Camelot Series:

1. How to Misbehave (novella, Amber Clark’s story)

2. Along Came Trouble (Caleb Clark’s story)

3. Flirting With Disaster (Katie Clark’s story)

4. Making It Last (novella, Amber again)

 

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