Friday, August 21, 2009
Sensuality Rating: Sizzling
Trade – Available Now
Rating: 4 Enchantments
Alan, a Scottish laird, and Cam, the Earl of Camdonn, have been best friends since boarding school, wreaking havoc with each other and guarding each other’s back. Alan is handsome, serious and noble, whereas Cam is gorgeous, wealthy and out to have a good time. The one thing they do have in common is their love for the same woman.
Sorcha is a beautiful, sensuous woman, who above all else believes in honor. She had a fling with Cam in her youth, but once she marries Alan she becomes devoted to him.
Although Alan and Cam have been friends for years, that doesn’t stop Cam from deciding he can’t live without Sorcha and kidnapping Alan’s wife on their wedding night. Alan believed his bride was pure, but learns that she had a love affair with Cam before they met. While Cam struggles with his obsession with Sorcha, Alan must deal with his mixed feelings over his wife and best friend. Meanwhile, Sorcha is torn between two men she cares deeply for.
This book is hot, hot, hot! Sorcha, Alan and Cam burn up the pages with their passion for each other. Ms. Halliday definitely knows how to keep the sex scenes exciting and fresh. Sorcha isn’t the typical shy virgin heroine as portrayed in many historical romances. She’s a sensual woman who isn’t afraid to experience the carnal pleasures that await her.
All of the characters are struggling to come to terms over their feelings about each other, and Ms. Halliday does a good job of making the reader feel their angst as they try to do the right thing. Although at times I found Alan to be a little too self-righteous and Cam to be very selfish and it made me wonder how they would have become such good friends in the first place. Sorcha, on the other hand, was a very believable character who grows and learns about herself as the book progresses.
Overall, this is a sizzling read that leaves me wanting more. I can’t wait to read Cam’s story in HIGHLAND SURRENDER coming out in 2010.
Ms. Halliday lives in California with her husband and three sons. She also writes under the penname Jennifer Haymore. You can visit her website at http://www.dawnhalliday.com/
Sensuality Rating: Sizzling
Trade: Available Now
Rating: 3 Enchantments
When Edmond Dantes finally escapes the prison walls which encased him for years, he returns home in disguise, on a path of revenge, as the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo. Nobody is quite sure where the Count is from, but one woman sees through the facade, as she gazes into the eyes of the man she once loved.
When the man Mercedes Herrera Mondego she loved vanished without a trace, she was sure her life was at an end. Married to a man she despises, she has never found a glimmer of the happiness she once cherished. Now her beloved has returned, though only she seems to realize it. But instead of a joyful reunion she discovers he is out for vengeance, and not just against the men who betrayed him, but also against her.
Will Edmond be content with the destruction of the lives of those who ruined him? Will he be the master to Mercedes, as he enslaves her in his passionate pursuit and retaliation efforts?
Honestly my biggest problem with this book was I was expecting a romance, but what I got out of it was an erotic novel, the romance just didn't work for me. The Count of Monte Cristo has always been one of my favorite books and movie adaptations, so I was eager to see how Ms. Gale wove one of my favorite classics into an erotic romance. Maybe my expectations were too high. While there was an unmistakable chemistry between Edmond and Mercedes, I just felt he was to cruel in his revenge to be a romance hero, okay that probably sounds silly especially with all the “revenge” themed romances out there, some of which I really like, but what I mean is that I never really felt him warm up to her, he always held himself aloof. I felt bad for Mercedes as she tried to regain her lost love, but never seemed to quite succeed. As erotica this was a fair read, but still not something that I was enthralled with. The story was peppered with many scorching hot and sometimes rather kinky sex scenes, but just great sex scenes doesn't make a good book for me, I need more plot that I can get into.
Colette Gale is the nom de guerre of a popular historical author. You can learn more about her and her books on her website: www.colettegale.com.
Sensuality Rating: Sexy
Paperback: Available Now
Rating 3.5 Enchantments
Lady Leigh Strachan has crossed France dressed as a boy, seeking the skills of The Prince of Midnight, a legendary highwayman, believing he can train her to kill the man who destroyed her family. But what she finds is a shell of a man, crippled by illness.
Living in a deteriorating castle, with his pet wolf, S.T. Maitland yearns for the company of a woman. He can't hear out of one ear, and is plagued by dizziness and nausea with every quick move he makes. Now he struggles to live life as an artist.
Circumstances force them together on a quest back to England, where he once again gains his health, strength, and stamina. Soon Leigh sees the ominous and invigorating man behind the legend. Can he melt the ice around her heart?
I found the first half of THE PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT to drag for me. It took me a while before I was able to warm up to Leigh and S.T. Leigh was just too cold and stubborn, while S.T. was almost ridiculously mushy. But once S.T. regained his vitality and health, and stopped letting Leigh walk all over him, I felt the story pick right up. Leigh had a long way to go before her heart healed over the tragic murders of her family, but she finally rediscovered her emotions, unable to lock them away any longer. The transition of S.T. from Beta to Alpha hero was intriguing. I am definitely a fan of the Alpha romance hero. I loved the complexity of the characters, even if they didn't appeal to me immediately, they were well developed, and eventually won me over.
I enjoyed THE PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT and look forward to rediscovering more of Ms. Kinsale's books.
Laura Kinsale, a former petroleum geologist, is a New York Times bestselling author. Who is working a new and highly anticipated book to be published in February 2010. She and her husband divide their time between Santa Fe and Dallas.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Avon Paranormal Romance
Sensuality Level: Sexy
Rating: 4 Enchantments
Jack is the son of the legendary Casanova. He’s not a legendary lothario like his father and at times, just wishes to blend in amongst the other vampires. But when the bachelor party gets out of hand and two police officers come to the door, he does his best to wipe their memories and get them out of the room as fast as possible. The man is easy to control, but the woman, Jack can’t control her at all. There’s something about Lara, besides the fact he can’t alter her mind, that Jack finds interesting. But is it going to end up being his downfall? The last thing a vampire needs to do is get entangled with a mortal whom he can’t wipe away their memories if things go bad.
After a horrible car accident left her injured, Lara Boucher picked up and moved to NYC with her hospital roommate and became NYPD. Now on the way to making detective, Lara finds herself investigating the case of disappearing girls off university campuses. But there’s one thing that disturbs Lara, other then her attraction to Jack—the girls’ disappearances all seem to have a theme to them, and that theme shares something with Jack.
I loved Jack in SECRET LIFE OF A VAMPIRE but I have to say it took me a good while to like Lara. Up till around their first date, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted these two to end up together at all. As the son of Casanova, Jack should have the same skills with women as his father, but if his past has taught him anything, it’s that women usually can’t accept who he is. But with Lara, he’s willing to risk more then he thought possible. The chemistry between these two characters was almost instantaneous and continued like that throughout the book. One of my favorite scenes is when the two first meet and Lara is horrified at what she finds in the hotel suite, deciding that Jack’s attacked the two women in the bedroom (who are really nothing more than plastic dolls filled with blood) and that a passed out and blood stained Laszlo is in need of paramedics. It’s hilarious to see Jack try to get rid of her and her partner while she keeps discovering everything he doesn’t want a mortal to see.
A good addition to the series, SECRET LIFE OF A VAMPIRE will keep readers of this popular series happy with Jack’s story. I look forward to seeing which of the vampires we get to read about next.
Ms. Sparks lives in the greater Houston area with her husband, children and a houseful of garlic. Visit Ms. Sparks online at her website, http://www.kerrelynsparks.com/
St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 5 Enchantments
Ryden Malby’s had her whole life planned out, do well in high school, get a great scholarship and graduate, thereby moving into the next phase of her life, a gorgeous place and her dream job at the city’s best publishing house. Graduating from college was one thing, but when her plans for her life are quickly disintegrating she’s forced to do the unthinkable—move back home with her parents, her crazy grandmother and strange little brother till she can find a job and figure out what to do with her life.
POST GRAD is a hilarious, entertaining read. There wasn’t a single chapter where I didn’t either laugh or lament the thought of having to eventually put the book down. I loved Ryden instantly, it’s hard to not like a girl who’s dealing with a family as crazy as hers, and her nemesis in Jessica Barde, the ‘perfect’ girl who seems to always show up when Ryden would least like her to, especially during one truly horrific moment when working at Luggage World. Her best friend Adam who’s hopelessly crushing on her. Ryden’s family is truly one of the best, most outrageous families I’ve ever come across. Her father is beyond hilarious and her grandmother is a scene stealer. It’s so hard to pick a scene to mention in the review, but the first one that pops to mind is when her grandmother takes them shopping for her own casket and the chaos that ensues. Ryden’s already embarrassed enough at times by her family, but to have her grandmother actually trying out the caskets is enough to give the poor girl a meltdown.
If you’re looking for a great read, POST GRAD is one book you should definitely pick up.
Check out the first chapter online at http://us.macmillan.com/postgrad
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
J. R. WARD
Paranormal Romance Fiction
Sensuality Rating: Sexy
Available April 2009
Rating: 5 Enchantments
Rehvenge is an attentive son, a protective brother, a member of the Glymera and an exceptionally shrewd businessman. He wears his purple eyes and mohawk like a weapon and does not hesitate to make an example of people who cut into his business. His club is the hottest place in town and the women who solicit there are very well cared for. He is a drug dealer extraordinaire whose personal addiction is literally a matter of life and death. When a member of the aristocracy thinks Rehvenge makes the perfect pawn, he couldn’t be any more wrong. Rehv is ever the opportunist, although never at the expense of his family. And there’s the small matter of the princess who blackmails him with a secret that could bring the whole house of cards tumbling down.
Once upon a time Ehlena belonged to the beautiful world of the Glymera. An aristocrat by birth until an unfortunate change of circumstance saw her family lose their wealth, status, friends and home. These days she lives very modestly on the income she earns as a nurse. Her father’s illness leaves very little time to socialise and, from habit, she maintains a protective air of aloofness. Her contact with Rehvenge to date has been minimal, that of patient and nurse, until one day his conversation forces her to notice him as a man.
Secrets have a power, and Rehvenge’s secrets are a little bit different than those belonging to anyone else. They have the power to hurt his mother and sister, see his family cast from their home and have him imprisoned for the rest of his life. Not all as a result of his own actions. Up till now Rehv has kept his distance from the Brotherhood, in spite of his sister having married one of their warriors. His secrets cannot help in the war against those that would slay their kind, otherwise known as the Lessening Society. When members of the aristocracy seek him out as a possible candidate to kill their king, it’s not a total surprise when they add blackmail to the mix. In the middle of a regular visit to the doctor, Rehv makes his attraction to Ehlena very clear. While everything around them begins to unravel at an alarmingly fast pace, their feelings for each other seem to be the only bit of stability either of them can find. And even that seems uncertain when Rehvenge’s secrets are made known to Ehlena in the most terrifying way possible. When Ehlena starts to question what is and isn’t real it seems it may be too late.
“The king must die.” This eye opener of a statement kicks off the seventh novel in the darkly romantic Black Dagger Brotherhood series. And also manages to set the tone for the rest of the novel. While Rehv’s lifestyle may seem morally bankrupt, his own personal code of honour is deeply ingrained and, ironically enough, more honest than that of any of the aristocracy, and they’re the people who make the laws that everyone else abides by. Rehvenge and Ehlena’s story takes precedence over all else but, over and around that main theme, are other smaller supporting stories unfolding in their own way. Just when things begin to get interesting between Rehv and Ehlena the story would switch to John on a self-destructive streak, or to Xhex and her personal pain, or to Wrath and his deteriorating vision, or to Lasher and his perverted grab for power. While I found this extremely frustrating I couldn’t help but admire the way in which Ward very cleverly kept me on the edge of my seat. The sub-plots gave me hope that there would be other novels, if only for Xhex and John Matthew.
At no time did I think a happy ever after moment was a given. In fact, even when you think you’ve got a happy ending it comes with more food for thought. That’s not a bad thing – in fact it’s fantastic. I felt I had earned the ending because I had sweated blood and tears and nerves right along with the characters. My only regret is that the novel is finished and book 8 in this fantabulous series cannot come fast enough for me!
J. R. Ward lives with her husband and golden retriever in the American south, and spent years working as the Chief of Staff for an academic medical centre. For more information on the author and her books visit http://www.jrward.com/ where readers can choose to read the message boards or send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org