Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: "Speed Dating" by Nancy Warren

Speed DatingSpeed Dating by Nancy Warren

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I only finished this book because I'm stubborn and kept hoping things would get better. Unfortunately, they never did and I just lost two hours of my life.

Dylan and Kendall were annoyingly stupid and had zero chemistry together. He spent the whole book as a pawn to his ex-wife's demands, to the point that he just let her sit on his lap and kiss him passionately, all the while finding nothing wrong with it - and that happened very close to the end of the book, not at the beginning or even at the middle of it! Kendall wasn't exactly a doormat but she was just too passive and forgiving. At one point, I really thought she should dump Dylan and hook up with his ex-wife's new husband because they would make a better match. If I cared, I'd still be wondering how I was supposed to believe Dylan and Kendall's HEA; as I don't, I'll just wish them luck and forget I've ever met them.

The only saving grace here was the fact that I didn't pay a cent for this book, since this was one of the freebies that Harlequin gave away in celebration of its 60th Anniversary. Other than that, this was a complete waste of my time.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: "Predatory Game" by Christine Feehan

Predatory Game (GhostWalkers, #6)Predatory Game by Christine Feehan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The 6th book in the GhostWalkers series, Predatory Game was a somewhat disappointing read for me. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't up to par with the previous books. It was nicer, sweeter and tamer, and I missed the fast paced and never-ending action typical of the series.

Jess Calhoun is a wheelchair-bound GhostWalker who was seriously injured in Mind Game and has been working "in the background" since then. To the world, he's just a retired Navy SEAL turned songwriter and radio station owner, but he's actually still deeply connected with the GhostWalkers, investigating a possible traitor within the Government. Saber Wynter is a deadly GhostWalker - she can kill with a simple touch - who has managed to escape from Dr. Whitney, and ended up working for Jess at his radio station and living at his house (as a housekeeper/housemate and nothing else). Jess knows Saber's on the run (from an abusive husband?) and she's hiding a lot of things - being a paranoid GhostWalker, he investigated her when she showed up on his doorstep one year ago, but couldn't find anything - and she knows there's more to him than meets the eye, but neither suspects the other is a GhostWalker because they're both "shielders", therefore able to hide their psychic powers from anyone. That was an interesting premise, having Jess and Saber develop a relationship without the pull of their powers and, seemingly, without Dr. Whitney's genetic manipulation too.

When this book begins, Jess and Saber has been friends (without benefits, poor guys) for almost a year, and she's starting to feel it's time she moved on because she's become too attached to him and it isn't safe to stay in one place for so long considering the Evil Mad Dr. Whitney's on her trail. But she can't find the strength to leave Jess and she ends up lowering her "shield" accidentaly and tipping him off about the fact that she's a GhostWalker. He doesn't say anything but he starts to wonder if she's a spy planted by Dr. Whitney. At the same time, he finds out there's someone stalking his house, so he calls his GhostWalkers team for help. When Saber meets them, she realizes Jess and his friends are all GhostWalkers, and she wonders if they're Dr. Whitney's goons sent to catch her. Jess and Saber love each other, even though she's not willing to admit it, but can they trust each other? And who's the stalker? Is Dr. Whitney really behind it all?

All in all, Predatory Game was a satisfying read, more focused on the romance than the previous books in the series. Jess had a charming sense of humor, which is unusual when it comes to the heroes in this series, and that gave this book a "lighter" feel. But while I enjoyed reading Jess and Saber's banter and seeing how well adjusted their lives had become in the months they had been living together, I got tired of it halfway through the story. I mean, nothing important happened in the 1st 8 chapters. I was ready to start shooting bullets myself just to get some action going, LOL. Fortunately, the crazy stalker made his move before I had to resort to that, and the story picked up its pace just the way I like it. As villains go, the stalker didn't scare much and I never saw him as a real threat, probably because he wasn't "enhanced". What normal human being could face a GhostWalker and survive?

Anyway, I'm still a devoted fan of this series and will definitely read the next book, Murder Game. I've been dying to read Kadan's story since his 1st appearance in Shadow Game, so it should be fun to see him fall in love and lose (some of) his control. ;)

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review: "Stolen by the Sheikh" by Marianne LaCroix

Stolen by the SheikhStolen by the Sheikh by Marianne LaCroix

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The setting (Morocco, 1912) was interesting, but I'm sorry to say that it was the only thing I liked in this very short read.

The "hero" was an asshat, the "heroine" was a wimp, and the story, as simple as it was, had two of my great pet peeves in Romancelandia: the forced seduction scenario and the secret baby plot device. I knew beforehand that the story contained forced seduction scenes, but I was willing to give the book the benefit of the doubt because likable characters and a good setup could make me buy the whole enchilada. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. :( As for the secret baby plot line, I just couldn't understand why it had to be included in the book. It happened near the end of the story and added nothing to it, as there was simply no more pages left in the book to deal with the subject in a proper way.

At the end of the day, I can't even recommend this read for the smut, because that didn't work for me. I'm not a prude, as I've read many smut-ish, PWP books before and I'm certainly going to read that kind of book again. However, one thing has to happen for me to enjoy them: I need to like the characters. That isn't much to ask, is it?

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Review: "A Kiss to Kill" by Nina Bruhns

A Kiss to Kill (Passion For Danger, #3)A Kiss to Kill by Nina Bruhns

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

Based on the previous books in the series, I had no doubt that suspension of disbelief was a must if I wanted to enjoy this read. As expected, this book had several eye-rolling moments, but I was braced for them so I had fun with all the OTT action. It was exciting and entertaining, so I won't complain about it. As I mentioned before, I like the suspense part of this series. Ms. Bruhns has the knack for writing thrilling action scenes, there's no question about it.

Unfortunately, it was the romance part that fell flat in this book - again... There were too many couples and storylines going on at the same time, and one got in the way of the other. I might as well repeat what I wrote in my review of the previous book (with a few adjustments, since some of the couples changed from one book to another): I'm sorry to say, the romance didn't work that well for me. It wasn't the lack of it; on the contrary, there were three romances going on in the book: Gregg/Gina, Alex/Rebel and Wade/Sarah/Rebel/Gina/a mysterious affair from his past. Wade's story was a mess, as I couldn't figure out who he cared for. It was all too much and none of them had enough "screen time" to be developed the way they should have been. Based on the book description, Gregg and Gina were the H/h, but that's not the impression I got while reading the book because the other romances had as many pages/scenes as theirs. The way it was, Ms. Bruhns couldn't make me connect with any of the characters.

Besides the three romances, there was also the "main" storyline that glued everything together: the search for the Government mole(s) who had betrayed the country and might be planning a new terrorist attack. That was the book's saving grace, as I really enjoyed the several plot twists and turns and the final showdown. Great stuff there!

Overall, this was a better than average read to me, but not enough to make me bump my rating to 4 stars. Like the previous books, it was too busy and crowded, which prevented me from getting to know and understand the characters well enough to love them, but it was fun.

Note on the series: These books must be read in order, preferably back to back because more than one storyline begins in the 1st book, is developed through the 2nd, only to end in the 3rd. You won't be lost if you start the series in the middle because Ms. Bruhns gives enough info to help you through the journey, but take it from me: I found it hard to connect with the characters and I knew them from the start; I can only imagine how I'd feel about them if I didn't.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: "Deadly Game" by Christine Feehan

Deadly Game (GhostWalkers,  #5)Deadly Game by Christine Feehan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another great story in the GhostWalkers series! I was really looking forward to reading this book since I finished Conspiracy Game, but some reviews warned me it wasn't going to be a "comfortable" read so I waited until I was in the right mood. I'm glad I did, because there are some very "disturbing" torture scenes in this book. Thankfully, forewarned is forearmed. :)

Ken Norton is a deadly sniper, member of the elite Ghostwalkers, and a very, very dark and tortured hero. He has scars all over his body - yes, even there - due to several nasty torture sessions inflicted on him when he was taken prisoner during a rescue mission that went wrong in Conspiracy Game. Deadly Game opens with Ken and his twin brother Jack on another mission, one that goes wrong the minute they realize there's another team of GhostWalkers in the area. Friend or foe? They can't afford the time to find out, so Ken doesn't hesitate to shoot the other team's sniper. But somehow the shot doesn't kill the sniper, and Ken soon finds out that the sniper is Marigold Smith, the long lost sister of his twin brother Jack's wife Briony. Not knowing if Mari is an ally or enemy, Ken and Jack capture her and take her with them.

Mari has worked with Dr. Whitney - yes, the Mad Evil Doctor is alive, no surprise here - all her life, trained since childhood to be the perfect soldier and subjected to all kinds of testings, exercises and procedures to enhance her natural psychic powers. She was OK with it, since she didn't know any other way of life, until Dr. Whitney stepped over the line and decided to start his "breeding program", making all "his" women prisoners and encouraging his male soldiers to impregnate them, with or without their consent. Now Mari just wants to stop Dr. Whitney's madness but knows she can't do it alone.

Ken and Mari are strongly attracted to each other from the start, due to Dr. Whitney's genetic manipulation, but trust is another issue. They don't know where the other stands, and Mari tries to escape from Ken more than once. It doesn't take long until he realizes he's falling hard for her, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. Ken knows he's extremely dominant and agressive, so he fears he won't be able to control his jealousy and temper around Mari. At the same time, he doesn't know if he'll be able to let her go. Obsession, thy name is Ken. And that's where I had a problem with this book...

I think Ken loved Mari more than she loved him. Maybe I need a psychiatrist, but I wanted to see her as desperate as he was when it came to their relationship. Up until the end, I got the feeling that he would kill himself if she left him, while she would be sad but OK. I know, obsession isn't the basis for a healthy relationship but, seriously, this is Romancelandia and Ken deserved to have his obsession returned.

As usual in any GhostWalkers book, this story was action-driven, fast-paced, and filled with several thrilling moments that kept me glued to the pages. CF does know how to write fighting scenes. The torture scenes and the almost-rape scene weren't easy to read but, like I said before, forewarned is forearmed.

I'm a big fan of the GhostWalkers series, so I was kind of preconditioned to love this book. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Make no mistake, I really liked Deadly Game and I'm still a fan of the series, but the overall story arc took a turn in this book I'm not particularly happy with. What I always loved about this series was the fact that it was PNR with a "realistic" vibe. I mean, I suspend disbelief completely when I read PNR, as I don't belive in vampires, shapeshifters, and the alike - no matter how much I enjoy reading about them :) -, but the psychic world built by CF in the 1st books of the GhostWalkers series wasn't that far from possible - at least, to my open and delusional mind, LOL - so I was a bit bummed when the concept of inserting animal DNA into human beings was introduced into the mix. Now the series isn't only about people with psychic powers anymore, and the "realistic" vibe is gone. While I'm all for an author introducing twists and turns to keep a series fresh and interesting, I was slightly disappointed with the path CF has chosen here.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: "A Kingdom of Dreams" by Judith McNaught

A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland, #1)A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Judith McNaught has done it again! This book has two major "pet peeves" of mine (#1- at the beginning, the hero beats the heroine not only once, but twice; #2- somewhere down the road, the hero and the heroine are torn apart by a Big Misunderstanding), but who cares? I don't know why, I don't know how, but I ended up loving this book! :)

Royce turned out to be a wonderful hero. After a less-than-thrilling introduction, he slowly (but steadily) started to grow on me, up to the point where I understood and forgave everything he'd done. That's not to be taken lightly, because I never - or should I say, almost never - forgive a hero who raises his hand against the heroine.

As for Jennifer, I had mixed feelings about her throughout the book - sometimes I wanted to hug her, sometimes I wanted to scream at her - but I ended up understanding and loving her too. (BTW, I think "Jennifer" is an unusual name for a medieval heroine but I'm not an expert in History, so I'm not sure it's not appropriate.)

As for the story, what an emotional roller-coaster! When I become so involved in a book that I find myself laughing, crying and even "talking" to the characters, I know I have a winner in my hands. I didn't always agree with everything Royce and Jennifer did but, in a sense, their actions were consistent and "right". And what they did in the end... What a scene! I still feel a tug in my heart remembering it. *sighs*

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: "Conspiracy Game" by Christine Feehan

Conspiracy Game (GhostWalkers, #4)Conspiracy Game by Christine Feehan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really, really enjoyed this book! It's my favorite in the series so far, and Jack is just too yummy for words. :)

Jack was a very dark and tortured hero. A true "killing machine", he really didn't feel any remorse for the lives he took. None whatsoever. Anyone who dared to threaten him, someone he loved or something he believed in, deserved to die. It was that simple. He had a code of honor of his own, one that hardly anyone understood. People respected him, but no one liked him - except his brother Ken, that is.

That changed when he met Briony, of course. She was an overall nice and nonconfrontational heroine, which was a departure from the other heroines in the previous books in the series. Considering Jack's obsessive and dominant behavior towards her, I think it was a smart choice to have someone like her paired up with him. Not that she was a doormat or anything like that, she just knew she didn't have to fight him all the way up to get what she wanted.

The story was packed with a lot of action and had me sitting on the edge of the couch right from the start. There was so much going on - Jack escaping the rebels in Congo, setting up the destruction of their camp, meeting Briony, almost getting recaptured by the remaining rebels, having Briony save his life, seeking shelter and hiding in her room, asking her brother Jebediah for help, having sex with Briony, and finally hurting her on purpose and leaving with no intention of seeing her again -, I could hardly breathe. I think I was panting by the end of Chapter 5, LOL.

Chapter 6 was especially "delicious" for me. I got to revisit Lily and the GhostWalkers team, had fun with the usual easy banter between Gator and Flame (the H/h in Night Game, the previous book in the series), and thoroughly enjoyed the computer science tech-talk that explained how Dr. Whitney had been able to keep track of them... Oh yes, I believe the good doctor is alive!

After that small "respite", Briony found out she was pregnant, and fists and bullets were back to the story with a vengeance. Sooner than later, Briony realized that she needed Jack's help if she wanted to keep herself and her baby safe. And once he got her back in his life, there was nothing that would make him walk away from her again. Unfortunately, Jack had to conquer his demons first and, to make matters worse, Dr. Whitney was still after her...

If I have a minor complaint about this book is, its ending is quite abrupt: bullet shells and dead bodies were still hot on the ground while Jack, Briony, Ken and the GhostWalkers rescue team were flying away to Lily's house. I'm going to assume they got there safely, even though one can never bet on that considering how many times Dr. Whitney had managed to trick and track them before. Anyway, it was one heck of a way to get me really anxious to read Deadly Game, the next book in the series. I hope Ken's story is as good as his brother Jack's.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: "If Looks Could Chill" by Nina Bruhns

If Looks Could Chill (Passion For Danger, #2)If Looks Could Chill by Nina Bruhns

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Based on Shoot to Thrill, the 1st book in the series, I knew I had to suspend disbelief to enjoy this read. I had no problem with that - in fact, this book wasn't as far-fetched as the previous one. :)

Ms. Bruhns knows how to write action scenes. As far as I can tell, she's got the military lingo right - but I'm no expert - and even though I knew the good guys would win in the end, she's kept me on the edge of my seat. The torture scenes were nasty but less cringe-worthy than the ones in the 1st book - not that I'm complaining. Overall, I really enjoyed the suspense in this book.

Now, the romance... I'm sorry to say, it didn't work that well for me. It wasn't the lack of it; on the contrary, there were three romances going on in the book: Marc/Tara, Quinn/Darcy and Alex/Rebel/Wade - the last one was a love triangle, not a ménage. It was all too much and none of them had enough "screen time" to be developed the way they should have been. Based on the book description, Marc and Tara were the H/h, but that's not the impression I got while reading the book because the other romances had as many pages/scenes as theirs. The way it was, Ms. Bruhns couldn't make me connect with any of the characters. Sure, I wanted them to find their HEA, but I can't say I was devastated when one of them didn't.

The love/sex scenes were hot as expected, but I skimmed though the last ones. Come on, with three couples doing it whenever they got the chance, there were times I wanted to tell them to stop and give me a break - after all, this isn't erotica/romantica, LOL.

Besides the three romances, there was also another storyline going on: Gina's. Her story started in the 1st book and it wasn't finished in this 2nd book, so I guess I'll have to read the next book to find out how it will end.

All in all, this wasn't a bad read. It was too busy and crowded, which prevented me from getting to know and understand the characters well enough to love them, but it has its fun moments.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review: "Summer Heat" by Jaci Burton

Summer HeatSummer Heat by Jaci Burton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

I like Ms. Burton straightforward writing style - not that I've read many books by her - and the premise of this book sounded very interesting, so I willingly chose it to get over my smut reading funk.

It started out well... Aidan, the hero, was one naughty, yummy bad boy who could raise up my temperature anytime, anywhere, and Melissa, the heroine, was a cool, controlled and seemingly no-nonsense woman who was most likely to melt under Aidan's pursuit. The sexual chemistry between them was off the charts and their intense foreplay was scorching hot... at first. When Melissa started going back and forth on the way she felt about Aidan, that foreplay became irritating and all I wanted to do was bitch slap her and tell her to stop being such a c*ck tease. She came to her senses eventually, but before I could sigh in relief, it was Aidan's turn to feel unsure about what he wanted. Man, what a turnoff! Then, to add insult to injury, a Big Misunderstand was thrown in the mix when Melissa, after overhearing bits and pieces of a conversation between Aidan and his mother, jumped to the wrong conclusion - obviously! - and refused to hear what he had to say. Oh please, just kill me, will you?

Now, you must be wondering why I gave this book 3 1/2 stars, considering how much the plot annoyed me... Well, I'm ashamed to say that it was for the sex, LOL. I really liked Aidan and Melissa's bone-melting foreplay, it was only when they weren't setting each other on fire that I was irritated. Since this is an erotica/romantica book, I think it's fair to give it a bonus point for the sex scenes.

And just because I can't help it, here's "my" Aidan:


If you read the book, you'll understand why he's so deliciously wet...

So, my recommendation is: read it for the smut and forget the plot. ;)

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: "Night Game" by Christine Feehan

Night Game (GhostWalkers, #3)Night Game by Christine Feehan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another great installment in the 'GhostWalkers' series! It was funnier than the previous books, thanks to Gator, the charming and sexy Cajun hero. That man could draw a smile from the most bad-tempered person. I loved the way he brought the tension down with his remarks, all the while keeping his focus on what was important. Flame was a bit "difficult to love" at first - alpha females aren't easy to take - but she grew on me and, in the end, I truly understood her reasoning.

The "conspiracy theory" that Flame brought to the table was a nice surprise and I wonder how the story arc will be played from now on. I don't like never-ending series - with one single exception, J.D. Robb's In Death series - so I hope Ms. Feehan isn't planning on dragging the GhostWalkers to the next generation.

The ending of this book wasn't your typical HEA and I was a little "uncomfortable" with the last chapter (for personal reasons), but it was very fitting. The book left some questions unanswered, and I hope to see them explained in the next book in the series.

The GhostWalkers series keeps going strong and I'll glady pick the next book up to read soon.

Note: My OCD couldn't help noticing that one character's name has been changed in this book: Kaden is now Kadan. It's a small detail, but it bothers me. I don't know who to blame: the author, for not keeping track of her character's name, or the editor, for letting it slide.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Review: "Not Quite a Lady" by Loretta Chase

Not Quite A Lady (Carsington Brothers, #4)Not Quite A Lady by Loretta Chase

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having enjoyed every book by Ms. Chase I've read so far, I'm always a bit wary when I start reading a new (to me) release. I mean, I can't possibly love everything she writes, so I can't help thinking the book I'm about to read is going to be "the dreadful one", the one that doesn't live up to my expectations... Well, I'm happy to say that this isn't "the one" yet. Phew! :)

This is the 4th book in the Carsington Brothers series, and it's youngest brother Darius' turn to find his HEA.

Darius Carsington is the Earl of Hargate's youngest son, the intellectual one, always ruled by Logic and Reason. He's one of the most highly regarded members of the Philosophical Society and he's well known for: (1) studying animal behavior, especially breeding and mating behavior, and (2) devoting his leisure hours to emulating this behavior. Item One gives Darius respectability but no income. Item Two gives him a reputation - not necessarily a bad one among the ton, but an aggravating one in his father's eyes. So Lord Hargate decides to "tame" his rakish son and gives him an ultimatum: Darius must either (1) take charge of Beechwood, a neglected property, and make it produce income in one year, so he can support himself and stop bleeding his father's purse, or (2) marry an heiress, so he can support himself and stop bleeding his father's purse. Darius chooses the lesser of two evils: Beechwood. However, Fate has other plans for him and puts an heiress on his way...

Lady Charlotte Hayward, Darius' new neighbor the Marquess of Lithby's only daughter, is a puzzle Darius can't solve. She's titled, wealthy, beautiful and seemingly placid - the perfect wife for any gentleman. Yet, she's still single at the advanced age of seven and twenty and, even though she isn't obvious about it, she isn't interested in marriage and deflects all her suitors' attentions with easy politeness. What's behind her "strange" behavior? Logic, Darius' best friend and mentor, can't rest until he solves that puzzle. Naturally, it doesn't take long until Logic abandons Darius and gives way to Feelings - like Lust and Love. Unfortunately, that's when this book lost one star.

What can I say? As always, I loved Ms. Chase's humorous writing, Darius and Charlotte were likable, their witty banter and playful tricks made me laugh, and their loves scenes made me sigh. But why, oh why, did Ms. Chase decide to throw coincidence after coincidence halfway through the story? Not to mention that unbelievable plot twist near the end of the story. All of a sudden, Logic left not only Darius, but the plot altogether. I can't say more because I don't want to give any spoilers away, but that almost ruined the book for me. Luckily, I'm a sucker for a HEA, so I just reminded myself how much I had enjoyed the story up until that point and decided to let it go. Yes, I can buy (almost) anything in Romancelandia when the author does his/her job and makes me care for the H/h and root for their HEA. :)

All in all, this was a very fun read. I'm still a devoted fan of Ms. Chase and can't wait to read the next book in the series, the most awaited Last Night's Scandal.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: "Shoot to Thrill" by Nina Bruhns

Shoot to Thrill (Passion For Danger, #1)Shoot to Thrill by Nina Bruhns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book required a huge suspension of disbelief on my part, but it worked because NB's writing is very good and the non-stop action kept me on the edge of my seat and didn't give me any time to think, LOL. What annoyed me in this read, and I can't believe I'm going to say that, was the sex: it just got in the way too many times and it didn't help to move the story along. So, 4 stars it is.

Note: I was going to write a full review, but I decided against it when I realized that the more I thought about this book, the more "critical" I became. Now that the adrenaline rush is over and I'm no longer enthralled by NB's writing, it's harder to keep my disbelief suspended. So I'd better stop before I drop my rating to 3 stars.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: "Savor the Moment" by Nora Roberts

Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet, #3)Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

Once again, NR proves how good she is when it comes to write friendship. Unfortunately, that got in the way of the romance and I didn't connect with Del and Laurel's love story. Del was a nice guy, but too smooth and perfect to raise my temperature. Laurel was a bit harsher than him, but her bouts of temper felt forced to me because they were irrational and came out of nowhere. Okay, that is known to happen in Romancelandia, but that behavior is usually associated with a character who's also irrational - and that wasn't Laurel's case.

So, all in all, this was a slightly better than average read to me, mostly because I enjoyed watching the friends' dynamics. Del and Laurel's romance was kind of meh. I was happy with their HEA, but I wouldn't be devastated if they had decided to stay just friends.

Now I have a long wait until Happy Ever After, the last book in the series. I really hope it's worth the wait and the series ends with a bang. :)

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: "Full House" by Carol Lynne

Full House (Poker Night, #5)Full House by Carol Lynne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Poker Night series features a group of 6 gay men (Zac, Bobby, Trey, Angelo, Marco and Kent) who have been friends for almost 4 years and get together to play poker, drink beer and have fun every other Saturday. As the series starts, they're all single, but it's obvious that each of them is destined to find their HEA as the series progresses.

The 5th and final book in the series, Full House, is Marco and Kent's story and picks up a short time after Different Suits ended. I'd been waiting to read this book since I started the series, as it was obvious that Marco and Kent were destined to be together - I mean, all those barbs they kept throwing at each other could only mean true love, LOL -, and I'm glad to say I wasn't disappointed.

If you haven't read the previous books in the series, you might think that the romance between Marco and Kent is too sudden. That's why I highly recommend reading this series from the start, because the relationship between them doesn't start in this book. Also, you don't fully see how strained it was and how wrong Kent was about Marco if you aren't with them all along the journey.

In an interesting way, this story follows a template that's very similar to a "classic" HQ novel (with the exception that this is a M/M relationship, of course): 37-year-old, successful construction business owner Kent is 24-year-old, down-on-his-luck Marco's boss and, due to some misconceptions, treats the younger man like crap until he finally finds out how good, responsible and worthy Marco is; then, they fall in love, work their way through some conflicts and live HEA. I'm not complaining, as that template has proven to be successful through the years and I happen to like it.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book - and the whole series, for that matter - but Marco's age and background came as a surprise to me. Not a particularly nice one, as that was inconsistent with his behavior. Let me explain:

1. If he had such a hard time making ends meet and supporting his younger brothers and sister, how could he afford losing money in the bi-weekly poker nights with his friends?

2. Poker night has been going on since he was 20 years old, which means that his brother Bruno was only 13, his brother Nicky was only 11 and his sister Maria was only 6 when he left them alone at home to hang out with his friends.

That didn't make any sense, considering how responsible and protective Marco was when it came to his family. Anyway, that wasn't bad enough to ruin the book for me, because I loved everything else about it. :)

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review: "Mind Game" by Christine Feehan

Mind Game (GhostWalkers, #2)Mind Game by Christine Feehan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The PNR aspect in this book was stronger than in the 1st book in the series, and it was better explained. Geek that I am, I just love the scientific "mumbo jumbo"! The romance aspect wasn´t too shabby either: Nicolas and Dahlia could really burn down the house - sorry, I couldn´t help the "bad" joke... ;)

I´m definitely hooked to this series and can´t wait to see all the remaining GhostWalkers finding their matches!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: "Different Suits" by Carol Lynne

Different Suits (Poker Night, #4)Different Suits by Carol Lynne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Poker Night series features a group of 6 gay men (Zac, Bobby, Trey, Angelo, Marco and Kent) who have been friends for almost 4 years and get together to play poker, drink beer and have fun every other Saturday. As the series starts, they're all single, but it's obvious that each of them is destined to find their HEA as the series progresses.

The 4th book in the series, Different Suits, is Angelo's story and picks up about a month after Pocket Pair ended.

Angelo Pilato is the odd man out among the selected group of poker buddies. He's a successful radio station's sales manager, he's always well-dressed in expensive clothes, drives a Mercedes, owns a beautiful house and only drinks "that flavored pussy beer" (as his friends call the Mexican beer he favors). He isn't a snob, he's just determined to live a life as different as possible from the one he had while growing up as a poor boy.

Police Detective Juan "Moody" Torrence is nothing like the type of man Angelo finds interesting, and vice versa. He grew up in the same kind of neighborhood as Angelo's, but he isn't as obsessed with financial security as the other man. Angelo and Moody met in the previous book, when Moody was assigned to Trey's rape case, and butted heads right from the start. It was obvious that there was something going on there, but neither acted on it... until a homophobic reverend starts harassing Angelo and threatening his life. Moody is called to the rescue, and the rest is history...

Angelo has never been a favorite character of mine in the previous books in the series, but that isn't why I had problems with this book. The thing is, Angelo and Moody were complete opposites and didn't fit together. I like opposites-attract stories, but I need to feel that the H/H complement each other and that didn't happen here. The sexual chemistry was there, but not the love.

That said, this was still an OK read, saved by the secondary characters. I love those guys' friendship and how they're always there for each other, no matter what. I wish they were my friends. :)

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: "Pocket Pair" by Carol Lynne

Pocket Pair  (Poker Night, #3)Pocket Pair by Carol Lynne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Poker Night series features a group of 6 gay men (Zac, Bobby, Trey, Angelo, Marco and Kent) who have been friends for almost 4 years and get together to play poker, drink beer and have fun every other Saturday. As the series starts, they're all single, but it's obvious that each of them is destined to find their HEA as the series progresses.

The 3rd book in the series, Pocket Pair, is Trey's story and picks up a few months after Slow-Play ended.

As the story opens, Trey Huggins is still recovering from what happened to him at the end of the previous book. Quiet, shy and very lonely, he'd agreed to have a date with a man he met on an online website. That became a nightmare when the man turned out to be a psycopath who left him to die after raping and stabbing him. Now, still trying to deal with the consequences of that event, Trey decides to act on his long-time crush on Cole Harding, the principal of the school where he and his friend Zac teach.

Cole is a handsome, confident, successful, closeted gay man. He's also had a secret crush on Trey for years, but he needs to keep his private and professional life separate. He isn't willing to risk his career for an affair with Trey, but when he learns what's happened to his favorite teacher (sorry, bad joke), he rushes to help. Soon, there's no denying their feelings for each other and what begins as a crush grows into love. But Trey is still too emotionally damaged by what happened and isn't ready to embrace a physical relationship with Cole. Will Trey ever be ready for that? Is Cole's love strong enough to endure a sexless relationship? And what about the public implications of their relationship? Is Cole ready to come out of the closet yet?

Wow, I really enjoyed this book. Despite its premise (a man recovering from a rape attack), this wasn't an overly dark and angsty story. Trey's issues weren't ignored, but they didn't took over the pages and I was glad. I loved, loved, loved Trey: he was so sweet, I wanted to cuddle him and help him get over his nighmare. Unfortunately (for me, not for him), Cole was there. ;) I liked the way they didn't jump into bed right away, as it would be too unbelievable considering Trey's situation. Cole was kind and patient, exactly what Trey needed.

Now, the "bad" part... I admit I was uncomfortable with the huge age difference between Trey and Cole: Trey was 29 years old and Cole was almost 20 years older. That was too much, especially because Trey was very inexperienced - he was a virgin, rape aside - and sometimes insecure. Theirs was not a balanced relationship, IMHO. Anyway, I'm choosing to ignore that and believe in their HEA, just because I love those guys and wish them the best. :)

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: "Lord Perfect" by Loretta Chase

Lord Perfect  (Carsington Brothers, #3)Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was exceedingly Difficult for me to write This Review. Nonetheless, I must bow to a greater Necessity: To Express how much I loved this Book. I know I risk failing to convey my Opinion as well as I wish, but be assured that I have tried to do My Best.

Benedict Carsington, VISCOUNT RATHBOURNE, is the Heir to the EARL OF HARGATE and an acknowledged Paragon. He is always perfectly attired, his manners are impecable and his behavior is above reproach. He lives by a set of Rules that has been instilled into his mind since the Day he was Born, and he is completely devoted to fulfill his Family's and Country's Expectations. He even takes upon himself the Responsability of raising his thirteen-year-old Nephew and Godson Peregrine Dalmay, EARL OF LISLE and sole issue of Benedict's deceased wife's brother, the MARQUESS OF ATHERTON. It is an indisputable Fact that Peregrine is better off with his Esteemed Uncle. Not that the MARQUESS and the MARCHIONESS OF ATHERTON do not love their offspring. They do, but they are too ghastly Emotional to deal with him. Peregrine needs Logic, Calm and Rules to thrive. All the things that only his Esteemed Uncle can provide. Benedict Carsington, VISCOUNT RATHBOURNE, never does anything wrong. He is LORD PERFECT... until Fate places Mrs. Bathsheba Wingate in his life.

Tragic Circumstances have made Bathsheba and, by consequence, her twelve-year-old daughter Olivia Lepers and Outcasts from the Great World to which Benedict belongs. Much to her dismay, Bathsheba was Born in the ramshackle branch of the respectable DeLucey family. The Dreadful DeLuceys, as those who are born in that branch of the family are known, are thoroughly Disreputable - and Proud of it. Bathsheba has never followed in her swindling parents' footsteps, but Society always visits the the sins of the Elders upon the Children. Her status as a Leper and an Outcast did not change when she married Jack Wingate, the younger son of the EARL OF FOSBURY. His parents cut him off when they failed to call the wedding off, but that did not prevent Bathsheba and Jack from living Happilly Ever After for twelve years, until a Tragic Accident took his life. Since then, Bathsheba has been struggling to support herself and her Cunning Daughter as best as she can, working as an artist and a drawing teacher.

When Fate makes Bathsheba cross paths with Benedict, their Meeting leaves a most Forceful Impression upon both of them - and their respective Children. Until the Family Curse is lifted Bathsheba is Aware that Nothing can come out of that Forceful Impression, since Benedict is a Respectful member of the Great World and she is one of the Infamous Dreadful DeLuceys, but Sweet Olivia is full of Ideas and has the Audacity of involving Peregrine in her Schemes. When an Unexpected Event takes place and Matters Reach a Crisis, Olivia decides that there is Not a Moment to Lose: she must Depart on her Quest AT ONCE and find the Hidden Family Treasure that will bring her Mama the Happiness she deserves. Stoic and Responsible Peregrine tries to stop Stubborn Determined Olivia but ends up joining her on her Mad Quest.

Needless to say, Benedict and Bathsheba run after their Reckless Children as soon as they find out what has happened. As Circumstances force Benedict and Bathsheba to spend time together, he takes the Liberty of telling her how greatly he admires her. In response, she reveals that she admires him too. Since a gentleman never contradicts a lady, Benedict has no option but to conclude that the admiration is mutual... and act on it. One day the Family Curse'shall be lifted, and then Unfortunately, there can be no future for their Affair. He is bound to the Expectations of his Family and his Country, and she does not want to be the cause of Dissent between him and his Family. Only a Miracle could give them the HEA they deserve. Or, perhaps, one of Olivia's Ideas...

Oh, this was such a Delightful Read! Everything was PERFECT: the (main and secondary) characters, the plot, the dialogues, the ROMANCE, the (HOT) love scenes... I must say that I usually dislike the presence of Children in Romance novels, as they are either annoyingly cute or unbelievably mature, but Peregrine and Olivia were Charming, Intelligent and, most Important, Essencial to the story.

As I mentioned on the Introduction of This Review, I fear I have not the necessary skills to convey the Greatness of This Book. Merely saying "I loved it" is too simple - and yet, it is the true Expression of my Feelings. I am much obliged to Ms. Chase for writing such a vastly interesting and entertaining book, and I am truly happy to add this Treat to my Keepers shelf.

I am most curious to learn about Benedict's youngest brother Darius and WHAT IS TO BE DONE ABOUT HIM. I don't know what needs doing, as I have seen very little of him so far. Olivia thinks of him as the Elusive Uncle, for he's never about. But then, he is a Bachelor, and they lead unsettled lives.

I also look forward to the day when Olivia becomes a Bachelor, as she should like to live an unsettled life. I know she has thought about the future a great deal and has several Ideas. I wonder if the Great World is ready for them her.

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