Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: "Touched by Fire" by Kathleen O'Reilly

Touched by Fire (Seduction Romance)Touched by Fire by Kathleen O'Reilly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a lovely story! Colin was adorable (even though I wanted to shake some sense into him a couple of times), Sarah was wonderful, Giles (Colin's butler) and Iris (Sarah's maid) were charming and funny, and Ms. O'Reilly's writing had a fairy tale vibe that made reading this book a very pleasant experience. Julie(Mom2lnb) and Rane have already written wonderful reviews, which you can read here and here, and I have nothing new to add. So I'm just going to share a small passage from one of my favorite scenes in the book:

"I won't make you stay with me."

"This is difficult for you to understand, isn't it?" Sarah walked toward him and pulled his head down to whisper quite loudly in his ear. "You are the most wonderful man I've ever known. I told you that several times and I'm tired of repeating myself because you're too stubborn to believe it. I love you, Colin. Why should I turn my back on the very best part of my life?"

Colin should get down on his knees and be forever thankful for having a woman like Sarah in his life. She had the patience of a saint. :)

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: "Lover Revealed" by J.R. Ward

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4)Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Considering how late to the BDB party I am, I'm not going to write a review on this book. This is just a "collection of my random thoughts" so I can keep the story straight in my mind, and therefore it's bound to be full of spoilers. If you haven't read this book yet and don't like being spoiled, stop reading this "review" now. I'm not kidding!

Okay, here I go...

When I finished Lover Awakened, the previous book in the series, I didn't feel much compelled to keep going with the BDB books. I mean, I really liked the 1st 3 books, but I didn't think that Butch and Marissa belonged together and wasn't that interested in reading about them. Eventually, my curiosity couldn't stand it any longer and I had to find out how Butch, Marissa and, well, Vishous would "untangle the web" of their messed up lives.

Now that I read Lover Revealed, am I happy with Butch and Marissa's bonding? Yes, absolutely! Ms. Ward changed my mind about them and I ended up being very glad to see them together. I so wanted them together that I started disliking V for his "crush" on Butch. I already had to suffer Phury pining for Bella in Lover Awakened, and I wasn't in the mood for a repeat performance featuring V and Butch. At one point, I started to think that V was just pathetic, and that isn't a good thing considering his book is the next one in the series.

Anyway, back to Butch and Marissa... I loved Butch and the way he was completely devoted to Marissa. I never doubted his love for her. When I thought they didn't belong together, it was only because I didn't think she was worthy of him. In this book, Ms. Ward did a good job redeeming Marissa. Even though Marissa grated on my nerves a couple of times, especially when she resorted to her cowardice due to her inability to deal with Butch's joining the Brotherhood's fight against the lessers, she came a long way from the wimpy spineless doormat she'd been in the 1st books. So I ended up liking her, but she was far from becoming a favorite heroine of mine.

As for having Butch turned into a vampire and being inducted into the Brotherhood, I loved it! Halfway through the story, I began to worry about his future as I thought Ms. Ward was going to turn him into a "good" lesser but, thankfully, that didn't happen. It was nice to see Butch with a new purpose in life because, frankly, he deserved being more than a BDB pet whose sole job was to drive the Brothers around. I have to say that I'm a bit wary of Butch's future, though. All that "inhaling business" left the door opened for bad things to happen, and I don't trust Ms. Ward not to pull something "nasty" unexpectedly. After all, this is the same author who didn't hesitate to kill Wellsie in Lover Awakened...

A BDB book isn't only about the main H/h, so Lover Revealed wasn't only about Butch and Marissa. As usual, there were other storylines running along the main love story and, even though I don't particularly like it, I'm getting used to it. I still can't stand the scenes with the lessers, mainly because they all seem pretty much the same: the lesser du jour (pick any letter from the alphabet) hatches an evil plan to kill the Brothers, recruits a new "apprentice", the evil plan fails, the Omega gets p!ssed, and the lesser du jour is killed. Lather, rinse, repeat, and you're ready for the next book.

As for the other storylines, V had some major scenes in this book - as expected - and I can't say I was happy with them. Besides his pining for Butch, which I already said it was annoying, his kinky side was a bit disturbing because I'm not into BDSM. I'd better brace myself for a bumpy ride next... *drags her feet to get Lover Unbound*

On the bright side, I enjoyed getting updates on John and I'm looking forward to his transition, even though I feel it isn't going to be an easy one. If only Tohr was around to help the boy get his act together... Thankfully, Wrath and Z stepped up to the plate and knocked some sense into him.

All things considered, I enjoyed this read better than I had expected. I haven't become a die-hard fan of this series yet, but I'll keep reading it... Well, I'm going to read Lover Unbound and see how it goes.


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Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: "Flashpoint" by Jill Shalvis

Flashpoint (Harlequin Blaze, #410)Flashpoint by Jill Shalvis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book proves that you can tell a very good story with a somewhat limited number of pages. Well-drawn characters (the hero, the heroine and some interesting secondary characters) and compelling plot involving a series of suspected arson fires, what else do we need? Zach and Brooke got their HEA, but there were some things left unsolved in the arson investigation. I guess everything will be explained in Flashback, the next book in this miniseries.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: "Catspaw" by Anne Stuart

CatspawCatspaw by Anne Stuart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the book blurb:

It was like a scene from an old romantic movie...

Ferris Byrd didn't know what to expect when she first met Patrick Blackheart. Aside from reading that he was one of San Francisco's most eligible bachelors, she really didn't know too much about his background. While he ran a respectable security business, there were all those nasty rumors about his past life on the other side of the law...

But the Von Emmerling emeralds were Ferris's responsibility and needed protection during the Puffin Ball. She had to choose a security agency that would be reliable, and Patrick Blackheart had a certain irresistible charm...


Like the book blurb says, Catspaw has that "old romantic movie" feel and I happen to love that, so it's no wonder I ended up loving this book.

Blackheart and Ferris were wonderful characters, sparks flew the moment they met and the chemistry between them jumped off the pages. There was some mystery surrounding the identity of the third bad guy in cahoots with the villain couple, who were unveiled to the reader rather early in the book, to steal the famous Von Emmerling emeralds, but it didn't take the attention away from the central focus of the story - and that was Blackheart and Ferris. Have I mentioned before how wonderful they were? ;)

Note: This book has a follow-up, Catspaw II (Harlequin Intrigue, No 103), with the same H/h. I can't wait to read it!

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: "Cinderman" by Anne Stuart

CindermanCinderman by Anne Stuart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the book blurb:


Suzanna Molloy was trailing top-secret Dr. Daniel Crompton-a man reputed to be as hot as his experiments with chemical fusion. But even Suzanna didn't expect their meeting to be so explosive!


A suspect lab accident gave Daniel fantastical powers-and threw Suzanna right into his arms. Now she was on the run with a man whose fiery gaze could reduce objects--and her resistance--to cinders.


With his newfound power of invisibility, Daniel kept catching--and kissing--Suzanna unawares. She'd found her fantasy man, but the only way to keep him was to keep him alive!


Nice characters, great story with the right touch of scientific stuff to satisfy the geek in me, and there you have it: another winner by Ms. Stuart! I really like her oldies and I'm more than happy to having found this one.

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Review: "Lady with a Black Umbrella"

Lady with a Black Umbrella (Signet Regency Romance, AE 6222)Lady with a Black Umbrella by Mary Balogh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a delightful book! There's really no other adjective to describe it. This was one of the funniest reads I've had, and I found myself smiling, chuckling and laughing the whole time.

Giles and Daisy were both adorable. Giles didn't know what to do with her at first but, little by little, she made a place in his life - and his heart - and, before he realized it, he couldn't see himself living without her. Ms. Balogh has done an excellent job showing Giles and Daisy's slow but steady growing affection, and then love, towards each other, and I can easily see them living happily ever after. I'd go as far as to say that I wouldn't mind reading about them even after their HEA. It would be one heck of a funny read, considering Daisy's "talent" to get herself in trouble - not that she ever acknowledged that "special gift" of hers, of course. :)

The secondary love story involving Arthur, Giles's brother, and Rose, Daisy's sister, was also very charming, though more "serious" in tone, and added to my overall enjoyment. While Giles's marriage proposal to Daisy cracked me up, Arthur's proposal to Rose was sight-worthy. I felt lucky, as if I had landed a two-for-one deal. Not bad, considering this was a short novel.

This was only my 3rd book by Ms. Balogh - I know, where have I been living all these years?!? - and she's yet to disappoint me. Considering how huge is her backlist, I'm in for a long, long treat!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: "Lover Awakened" by J.R. Ward

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars

"Everyone" has already read this book, so I'm just going to rant a bit...

Zsadist had me intrigued since I read Dark Lover, because he was pretty much an outcast within the Brotherhood and I knew there had to be something "good" inside him. I also knew that his story would be "scary" (for lack of a better word) and, boy, I was not mistaken! I thought Sin MacAllister from Kinley MacGregor's Born in Sin was the most tortured hero in Romancelandia but, compared to Z's, Sin's life was a merry walk in the park. Z's mind was so twisted that, for a moment, I doubted the possibility of a believable HEA for him. I shouldn't have, though. Can I just say I loved the epilogue? :)

Bella was everything Z needed. She had been attracted to him since they first met in Lover Eternal and, for reasons he couldn't understand, he also felt a strong connection to her. When presented with the chance to be with Z, Bella was honest and direct about it - and I congratulated her for it. But then, Z told her to go away in the end and, instead of fighting for them, she just complied!?! Not what I expected from a woman/vampire who had just killed her kidnapper, but that gave room for the wonderful scene with Z writing her that sigh-worthy note, so I guess I can excuse that.

Now, Phury... Call me insensitive but, at this point, I almost despise him. I was probably supposed to embrace him as a larger-than-life, altruistic man/vampire, but he just came across as a pathetic loser - not to mention, drug addict - to me. Get a life, my brother!

And Tohr... Why, oh why did Ms. Ward feel the need to do that to him? Didn't we have enough wild and wrecked Brothers? Couldn't we have at least one "normal" guy among them? Based on some comments I'd heard before reading this book, I knew Wellsie was going to die, but that didn't make me less unhappy when the time came.

As it happened in the previous book, Lover Eternal, I didn't care for the scenes with the lessers in this book either and I wish Ms. Ward stopped giving them so much "screen time". I know I don't stand a chance of seeing this happening, so I guess this series will never get a 5-star rating for me. Oh well, it isn't like that would make any difference, because these books have already a gazillion rabid fans and I won't be missed, LOL.


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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: "Lover Eternal" by J.R. Ward

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #2)Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm so late to the BDB series, that there's really nothing left for me to say about this book, LOL.

Anyway, here's my two cents...

I loved Rhage, and that's saying a lot considering that he had sex with another woman even though he was already in love with Mary. That should have made me yell "cheater" at the top of my lungs but, due to some miraculous writing by Ms. Ward, it only made me feel sorry for him. I think I even forgave him before Mary did. What was "wrong" with me??? And he actually made me cry - twice! He was just wonderful! *sighs*

On the other hand, Mary didn't wowed me that much. She was nice - even too nice sometimes - but I didn't connect with her. Maybe that was intentional on my part, because I had a hard time reading about her dealing with her leukemia and I ended up skimming through most the scenes where that subject came up. As for her easy acceptance of Rhage's beast, it was unbelievable. Okay, she went through a lot since she'd met Rhage and the Brotherhood, but only a lunatic would pet a spitting-mad dragon. But she truly loved Rhage, so I guess that was okay.

Regarding the overall story, the UF vibe that I first felt in Dark Lover was present in this book too, and it's starting to bother me. I just don't care about following too many storylines at the same time. I know all that stuff will lead to something important in future books but, by the time I read the next books in the series, I won't remember most of it. Rhage and Mary's love story was beautiful though, and that's what really matters to me. :)


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: "The Famous Heroine" by Mary Balogh

The Famous Heroine (Signet Regency Romance, AE 8773) (Dark Angel, #3)The Famous Heroine (Signet Regency Romance, AE 8773) by Mary Balogh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ms. Balogh herself says this book is a farce, so I knew beforehand I couldn't take it seriously if I intended to enjoy it.

I did have fun reading it and even laughed out loud a couple of times, but there was something missing... and it was the fact that I couldn't believe that the hero and the heroine were truly in love with each other. I didn't doubt they loved each other - as friends, not as lovers. I just couldn't shake the feeling that their marriage was more like a "friends with benefits" relationship than a "love match". The fact that Francis spent the whole - and I mean, the whole - book pining for Samantha, his former love interest, didn't help matters. He only realized that he had fallen "in love" with Cora in the last chapter of the book! Sorry, but I didn't buy it.

Regardless of that, I did loved Ms. Balogh's writing. She's got a knack for "transporting" me to Regency England and bringing her characters to life and, in this particular book, she kept me hooked even though I wanted to smack Francis for his constant mooning over Samantha. All things considered, Ms. Balogh's writing saved the book for me and made reading it a very enjoyable experience, despite the lack of a strong romance to support the plot. Good stuff! :)

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: "Saving Sarah" by Lacey Thorn

Saving Sarah (Lottery Brides)Saving Sarah by Lacey Thorn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2 1/2 stars

So, what do we have here? Sarah - no last name because, really, who cares? - is found in a very compromising situation and has two choices: go to jail or put her name in the bride lottery. She chooses the latter, of course.

(The bride lottery was very common in a west where women were far and few. Often considered the more delicate sex, men had started objecting when women were brought to trial with the intent to serve jail time. All a woman really needed was a firm hand from the man in her life. She couldn’t be held responsible for actions that could have been prevented by the right man. Thus the lottery was created and religiously adhered to in some small western towns. Sarah’s being one of them.)

Luckily for her, the man who "wins" her in the lottery is Deputy Riley James, who happens to be the man of her dreams and, you guessed it, has had the hots for her since forever.

And that's all the plot you'll get from this book, because what follows is one sex scene after another until they confess they love each other and live happily ever after.

As smut goes, this wasn't a bad one. Sarah and Riley were nice, knew how to set the sheets on fire, and the setup was believable. However, Ms. Thorn's writing didn't do it for me this time. There was too much info dump in the first chapter and too much (vanilla) sex scenes in the remaining ones, when she seemingly decided to ditch any attempt at storytelling and focused on sharing the intimate details of Sarah and Riley's thirty-six-hour wedding night with the readers. Hmmm, why am I complaining? *grins*

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: "Angel's Master" by Sandra Sookoo

Angel's MasterAngel's Master by Sandra Sookoo

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I must be a glutton for punishment, because I keep reading freebies from unknown-to-me authors in the distant hope of finding a hidden winner. I'm sad to say Angel's Master wasn't one.

Ethan Williams is a pirate - a romance book pirate, that is. He bathes and shaves regularly, his teeth are perfect, his sweat smells wonderful and, if that isn't enough, he's an anonymous philanthropist. Of course, his men are another story altogether, but who cares about smelly, toothless secondary pirates, right? LOL!

Jacqueline Massey is a reluctant American Navy spy, whose job is to uncover suspected pirates. She feels guilty about tricking those "poor men" and sending them to the gallows, but a girl's gotta do what her father demands - or so she's been told.

When Ethan and Jacqueline meet, the attraction between them is undeniable and before she knows it, she finds herself as a captive on his ship. Does he want to bed her? Duh! Does she put up a fight? Not really. And so it goes... until the unexpected twist near the end of the story comes and leaves utterly speechless. I don't think I'll ever understant what that was all about.

Naturally, the "crazy" ending had some influence on my 2-star rating, but that wasn't the only thing I didn't like in this book. Ethan and Jacqueline were okay - I mean, they had likable traits - but I didn't connect with them. Their interactions didn't ring true, their dialogues were unrealistic, their love scenes left me cold and I didn't see how they could have fallen in love in such short notice.

So, where did all that leave me? Pretty disappointed and unsatisfied, and the best thing I can say about this read is, I didn't hate it.

Note: This ebook was a gift from All Romance Ebooks. That had no influence on my review/rating.

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Review: "A Summer to Remember" by Mary Balogh

A Summer to Remember A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! Right from the start, Ms. Balogh's writing enchanted (there isn't another word for it) me and, before I knew it, I was in love with both Kit and Lauren. :)

This was not a story full of action, escapades and mysteries to be solved. It didn't take me into an emotional rollercoaster that ended up leaving me happily drained at the end. It was, pure and simple, a love story about two people who, at first, seemed ill-suited but couldn't have been more right to each other. The characters, the setting, the romance, the pace, everything was just perfect and I truly enjoyed it.

Note: This book introduces the Bedwyn siblings, who are the "stars" of Ms. Balogh's bestselling Slightly series. I must confess I was less than charmed by the Bedwyins - especially Freyja, who was utterly hateful in every single appearance she made in this book - and I really don't see them as hero/heroine material. But I'm curious, so I guess I'll have to find that out how Ms. Balogh has managed to turn a bunch of rude and ill-manered characters into worthy heroes/heroines...

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: "Ravished" by Amanda Quick

RavishedRavished by Amanda Quick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars

I like Beauty and the Beast tales and Ravished is many reader's favorite Amanda Quick novel, so I chose it as my introduction to her work. I'm glad to say I was not disappointed. :)

I loved Gideon from the start and he was everything but The Beast of Blackthorne Hall, the nickname he received due to his "shady" reputation and his sinister appearance. I was expecting to meet a dark, tortured hero, but he was actually quite funny. Harriet was a different matter and it took me some time to understand her. She came dangerously close to becoming a TSTL heroine when she put herself in danger by refusing to listen to Gideon's reasoning, not only once but twice. Her redeeming point was her never-faltering trust in Gideon, jumping - at one time, literally! - to his defense whenever someone dared to speak ill of him.

As for the story, it was entertaining, funny and fast paced. Some events and, particularly, Harriet's reaction to them were "unusual" (for lack of a better word) but, in the end, I thought that quirkiness was fitting. I wasn't too surprised with the identity of the master villain, even though I spent most of the time thinking it was someone else. Considering this was a romance and not a mystery-thriller novel, I have no complaints. And the ending... Ah, I love closing a book with a smile on my face! :)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: "If You Deceive" by Kresley Cole

If You Deceive (MacCarrick Brothers, #3)If You Deceive by Kresley Cole

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I felt a bit uneasy at the beginning of the book, as the idea of having the hero almost having sex with the mother of the heroine wasn't something I thought I could easily overcome. Well... I should've known better than doubt Ethan! Way before I was halfway through the story, I was already in love in him. :) Obviously, that event would have to come back from the past to "bite him in the arse", and that was the only "fault" I found in him: he really should have come clean and told everything to Maddie, instead of playing the odds and hoping that she would never find that out.

Maddie was a breath of fresh air: very straightforward and honest about her feelings, she was what a man as callous as Ethan needed to "settle down". Unlike the heroines in the first two books in this series, Maddie wasn't coy and didn't play silly games in the pretense of being "feisty and daring", and I really loved her.

Before I read the MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy, I'd thought that the ongoing theme was the curse that haunted the brothers and how they would get rid of it. In a way, it was... But the funny thing is, the curse didn't play a major role in this book, which ended up being the best in the series! Without the curse hanging over Ethan's head, I was saved from the push-pull behavior that plagued his brothers in the previous books, and that was a relief.

As I've noticed before, Ms. Cole's writing sounds too "modern" sometimes and that can be a little distracting. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this book.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: "If You Desire" by Kresley Cole

If You Desire (MacCarrick Brothers, #2)If You Desire by Kresley Cole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy and I'm sorry to say I still don't get how easily those brothers dismiss their curse after letting it dictate all their lives before "surrendering" to the heroine. I mean, I'm all for the HEA, but I thought things were wrapped too quickly. Not only in this book, but in the first book in the series too. I guess the saying "love conquers all" is really true...

I really liked both Hugh and Jane, the hero and the heroine in this book, even though I was less than thrilled with her at the beginning. Her "escapades" were not something I expected to see from a 27-year-old woman, they looked more like something a teenager would do. Anyway, she stopped that nonsense soon enough and eventually tried to work things out with him. Her reaction to Hugh's finally explaining why they couldn't be together was just right and, rational being that I am, I think I would have done the same thing.

Now, I need to read the last book in the series, just to know what happened to Ethan. Obviously, he's alive - after all, he's the hero! - but I wonder how he's managed to survive Grey's attack.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: "If You Dare" by Kresley Cole

If You Dare (MacCarrick Brothers, #1)If You Dare by Kresley Cole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd heard some "bad" things about the heroine of this book before I started reading it, so I was "prepared" to sigh and roll my eyesballs a lot while going through it. As it turned out, I only did it once! :) Yes, Annalía was obnoxious towards Court and did some stupid things, but I understood her reasons and, quite frankly, he was partly responsible for her acting like that.

Court wasn't one of the best heroes I've ever met either. I didn't really connect with him, and I thought he was quite disrespectful with Annalía at first. I mean, she saved his life and he repaid her by taking over her house as if it was his right!?!

All of that happened in the first third of the book and, thankfully, the story (and Court and Annalía) got better after that. I like love/hate stories, but Court and Annalía's initial bickering wasn't working for me. It was too snarky to be fun. But once they started acting like civilized people, I enjoyed following their story.

This was my first read by Kresley Cole and I liked her writing. It sounded too modern sometimes, but I'm not neurotic about historical accuracy so that didn't bother me too much. All in all, I wasn't wowed by this first book in the MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy, but I had fun reading it and I'm curious enough about Court's brothers, Hugh and Ethan, to read their books. That's good enough for a first book in a series, don't you think? ;)

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: "Checkmate" by Annmarie McKenna

Checkmate (Mates, #2)Checkmate by Annmarie McKenna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another good story by Ms. McKenna, even though there wasn't really any conflict in Eli and Nikki's relationship (everything went very smoothly between them) and I didn't care much for the scenes with the killer (he was too cliché). Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this read. I guess I was in a good mood, LOL.

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Review: "Seeing Eye Mate" by Annmarie McKenna

Seeing Eye Mate (Mates, #1)Seeing Eye Mate by Annmarie McKenna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Things happen really, really fast in this book: boy meets girl, they have sex (or mate, to use the "right" verb), she gets pregnant, they catch a killer and fall in love with each other. All that in the space of three days! It was a little out there, but it worked for me. :)

The killer's identity was pretty obvious to me, so there wasn't really a mystery to be solved, but that didn't prevent me from enjoying the story.

Note: There was a lot of puking in this book, and that was just gross. I could have lived without it.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: "Texas Destiny" by Lorraine Heath

Texas Destiny (Texas Trilogy, #1)Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love tortured heroes, and Houston was as tortured as one can be. Slighted (to put it mildly) by his father since childhood, he was forced to fight in the Civil War at the tender age of twelve, only to lose half his face, his eye, and hearing in one ear three years later. The way he saw it, his life was over by the time he was fifteen years old. Now, thirteen years later, he still wonders why he didn't put an end to it. Houston had all the markings to make me want to cuddle him and never let go but, unfortunately, it didn't work that way. The problem was, I love tortured and strong heroes who, once they realize they're in love with the heroine, at least try to overcome his fears and fight for her. Houston pretty much hid in the corner and let Amelia go.

As for Amelia, she was practically a saint but, like Houston, she wasn't one to fight for what she wanted. She accepted her marriage to Dallas, Houston's brother, with such calm that I grinded my teeth in frustration. And her asking Houston about what would happen on her wedding night with his brother?!? That was so insensitive! The worst thing was, he answered her question and even tried to reassure her! I still wonder how those two ended up together, since both were so intent on letting the other go. I guess it was their destiny.

This was my first book by Lorraine Heath and I liked her writing style. But I'm sorry to say, I was disappointed with the story. A friend of mine gave me the whole Texas trilogy, along with high praises about the books, so I'm already bracing myself to let her know I'm not too thrilled about reading the next books in the series. I'll probably read them because I'm curious about Houston's brothers, but that won't be happening soon.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: "The Rake" by Suzanne Enoch

The Rake (Lessons in Love, #1)The Rake by Suzanne Enoch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I avoided reading this book for some time because I wasn't too keen on the idea of a hero ruining a heroine's reputation for a wager and going away without a care. Well, I should've known better than trust a book blurb!

The general idea is there, but events don't fold exactly like that... On the contrary, Tristan was a very likeable hero, who'd never meant to hurt Georgie and did everything he could to save her reputation - and succeeded! And that led me to question Georgie's actions: Why did she hate Tristan? How could she not know that he let everyone think he lost the wager when he had the means to prove otherwise? Was she blind and deaf? Ack!... Anyway, Georgie's care for his aunts and, especially, his brother Bit made me "forgive" her irrational feelings towards Tristan - and one can always argue that we're not completely reasonable when we're in love. ;)

The plot is basically centered around Georgie's quest for revenge and, considering how weak I think her motivation was, I can't say it was very believable. However, I did enjoy Tristan and Georgie's banter and the way they were constantly on their toes, trying to secondguess each other. It was fun and entertaining, if even for the "wrong" reason.

So everything was going rather smoothly until Enoch decided to put Tristan and Georgie in an "escapade" (I really don't have another word for it) near the end of the book. Oh boy, it was so out of context that I'm still trying to figure out where that came from.

This is the first book in Enoch's Lessons in Love series. I usually try to read series in order but, in this particular case, I'm glad I read the other (very good) books in the series first, because I'm not sure I'd have read them if I had stumbled across this one first.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: "The Perfect Rake" by Anne Gracie

The Perfect Rake (The Merridew Sisters, #1)The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! It was funny and endearing at the same time. I don't remember when was the last time I laughed so much with a book, and I "blame" Gideon for that. :) He played the role of the charming rake to perfection but, wow, when he fell for his beloved "Miss Imp", he really fell hard and fast! I cheered out loud - in my mind, that is! - with his final act of bravery and heroism.

Prudence, Gideon's beloved "Miss Imp", was a hoot too. Her failed attempts at resisting his charms had me smiling throughout the whole book. Her loyalty to her "fiancé" Phillip seemed a little exaggerated at first, considering how young she was when she made her vow to him and how long had been since they were separated, but it was all explained when she revealed her "secret" to Gideon. That was a very sad moment and I really hated Phillip for what he did, and the sentiment only got worse with his further actions. Thankfully, Gideon was there to save the day and love Prudence as she deserved!

Some of the antics performed by Gideon and Prudence were almost silly and did not have any resemblance to reality, but I really didn't care because I was just having too much fun. Kudos to the author for writing scenes and dialogues so entertaining that you find yourself immersed in her storytelling and forget everything else!

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: "Dark Lover" by J.R. Ward

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had this book sitting on my TBR for a while, but I wasn´t too compelled to read it because, quite frankly, vampires were always a bit too creepy for me. Anyway, I was finally convinced to give it a try and, thankfully, I was not disappointed. :)

I confess that the whole bloodsucking stuff is still kinda creepy to me - I know some people find it sexy, but I just don´t get it -, so I thank J.R. Ward for toning it down and not making such a big deal out of it. These BDB vampires are completely different from what I was used to see and read "everywhere" else, and I feel like those humans Wrath mocked when he explained to Beth how wrong our beliefs were, LOL.

I really liked the world and the story arc created by J.R. Ward, but some things were a bit over the top. Since it´s PNR, I could let it go more easily, but there were one or two moments where I found myself sighing - and not in a good way.

I also thought that there were some moments that would have been best served by showing instead of telling. Some scenes were "interrupted" in the middle, never to be picked up again. Instead, I was told what happened by one of the characters musings or, worse, by the "narrator". I don´t know if this was the author´s choice or if she was "forced" to do it in order to reduce the lenght of the book, but the end result is, this writing style didn´t work too well for me.

As for the characters, I really liked Wrath and Beth, both strong and deeply in love with each other - I LOVED their mating ceremony! -, but it was the whole ensemble that attracted me: the Brotherhood (Tohrment, Rhage, Vishous, Phury and Zsadist), Butch and Marissa - I got the feeling that they had almost as much "screen time" as Wrath and Beth -, Havers, and even Mr. X. I know Dark Lover is labeled as a romance novel - and there is a good romance story in it - but it´s more than "just" that, IMHO. And that´s not a bad thing... :)


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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eye Candy: Ben Lewis - "Heart of Fire" by Linda Howard

Heart of Fire Heart of Fire by Linda Howard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've yet to write a review, but I found this pic today and couldn't help thinking of this book yummy Ben...


... and this particular scene:

He had stripped down to the skin with an utter lack of modesty that told her he was accustomed to being naked with a woman. Why would any woman in her right mind want him to wear clothes anyway? He was tall and lean and superbly muscled, and his buttocks were so round and taut that her hands instinctively curled into fists in an effort to resist patting them. He had the shoulders of a stevedore and the legs of an athlete, long and powerful. She had never enjoyed looking at a man more.

He stepped under the waterfall and let the water splash over him while he tilted his head back and shook his hair. Sunlight dappled on the flexing muscles of that marvelously strong body, and the water droplets spraying through the air glittered like diamonds. His genitals hung heavily between his thighs, and he was so perfectly, utterly male that her chest constricted, making it difficult for her to breathe.

Then he looked straight at her, the blue of his eyes so intense that she could see it even across the forty feet that separated them. He stepped forward a little, so that the main force of the water was hitting his back; he was right on the edge of the rock shelf above the pool of water. He was totally exposed to her, without the stream of water to blur the powerful lines of his body. As he stared at her, his shaft began to stir, to grow thick and long, to rise fiercely toward his belly.

Damn him, she thought feverishly.

Damn him, indeed! ;)

(To be true to the story, the guy on the pic would have to naked, but I'm too shy to post something that wicked... Yeah, right! *grins*)

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: "Fantasy Lover" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunter, #0.5)Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first book by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I've read (and liked) some of the books she wrote under the name Kinley MacGregor, but I didn't know if I could use them as a reference because authors who change their pen names usually do it to establish different writing styles.

Well... I liked this book but didn't love it. I had some laughs - which weren't always from laughing with the story, but from laughing at some of its "silliness" - and one heartbreaking moment when Julian told Grace about his past and all the events that caused him to be cursed. Julian was a wonderful hero, a true "fantasy lover" - sorry, I couldn't resist saying it :) -, but his "perfectness" annoyed me. All those allegedly mature women drooling all over him and acting like horny teenagers... Please! *rolls eyeballs* Even Grace didn't act like a 29-year-old woman sometimes. And don't get me started on her being a "born-again virgin" who worked as a sex therapist, LOL.

Anyway, it wasn't all bad and I even had some "awww" moments, like when Julian "restored" Grace's personal library. But those moments were too far in between and there was little else truly engaging to keep me hooked to this book.

If this book is a good sample of what I should expect from the Dark-Hunter series, I can't see what the fuss is all about and I'm not jumping to get the next books. We shall see...

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: "The Lady Most Likely.." by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Connie Brockway

The Lady Most Likely...: A Novel in Three PartsThe Lady Most Likely...: A Novel in Three Parts by Julia Quinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I keep reading Julia Quinn's books hoping to find the lovely, sweet magic that made the Bridgertons series great and has been gone (to only the gods know where) since then. Sadly, The Lady Most Likely...: A Novel in Three Parts was a huge disappointment in that regard... Ms. Quinn is still true to her fluffy writing style - which can be fun as she's already proven before - but I couldn't find myself caring for her H/h, Alec and Gwendolyn, in her contribution to this uneven anthology. They were blah, had no chemistry, and their falling in love was too sudden to make their HEA believable. :(

Thankfully, Connie Brockway's story was better - most likely because her H/h, Neill and Katherine, shared a past that made their HEA less abrupt and more believable. Ms. Brockway's writing was too descriptive at times, but not enough to bore me. Plus, it allowed me to "know" Neill and Katherine better. I liked how honorable Neill was and how spirited Katherine was, and liking the main characters is very important when it comes to short stories. Ms. Brockway got it right there. :)

Now, Eloisa James's story... What can I say? I loved it! Her writing style, her characters, their playfulness and hot chemistry, the story itself... What's not to like? It's funny how I can't find anything else to say about this story. Oh well, "I loved it!" will have to do, LOL.

All things considered, this was "only" a nice anthology. All the stories are connected and I think you get more of the overall plot if you read all of them, but that isn't a must - especially if you find yourself bored by the first stories. After you read the first chapters of the book and get a grip on the plot, you can skip ahead anytime you feel like it. Just don't skip the last story! That one is a winner. :D

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