Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seduction of A Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honer, and his deepest desires.
As a outcast from her own clan Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric's keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the women he loves??
This is the second book of Ms Banks Highland series, and I have to say I loved this book as much as I loved In Bed With A Highlander. As with the first book I finished this book in one day, could not put it down. So I had a very nice day with a wonderful book.
Poor Alaric is going to marry a girl that he really doesn't know very well, has only meet her once and knows he is doing it for the good of the clan. Keeley is a woman who has been betrayed by her clan and her best friend. She was banished from her clan for something she did not do. When Alaric lands on her door she is drawn to her warrior and knows she needs to help him.
When Alaric's family come looking for him they take Keeley back with them to the keep, even though she really doesn't want to go, but she really has no choice because Alaric's brother needs a healer for there keep and his wife is about to have their first child.
I loved the fact that even though Keeley was treated badly by her old clan that the McCabes took her in and reassured her that she is now part of their clan. Now she does push the fact until she is really sure about it, and she is very strong person.
Her love for Alaric grows and he feels something for her that he can't explain. He knows he has to marry another, but he can't stay away from Keeley. Keeley also tries to stay away but you know as well as I do what is going to happen.
I loved the part that happened the night before Alaric was to marry, what he said to her was very touching, but they both know he has a duty and has to do what is best for the clan even though they both love each other. This is just one of many wonderful parts of this book.
As I said I loved the first book, love this book and now can't wait for the third book Never Love A Highlander which is about the last brother Caelen. If it is anything like the first two books I know I will be reading t in one to!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster

In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster is the second book in Stephanie Laurens Cynster Sister Trilogy (the 17th Cynster Novel). The first book in this trilogy is VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE (the 16th Cynster Novel).
This story starts at the Engagement Ball of Heather and Breckenridge. Eliza who is 24 wants to find her hero just like her sister. Their cousin Catriona has passed down to each Cynster girl a necklace and pendent so each can find their own hero. Eliza receives a note from a footman to meet a gentleman in the back parlor. She thinks the note is daring and heads off to the back parlor in hopes of "meeting her hero." Instead she ends up being drugged and kidnapped. Eliza's adventure now begins!!! She is bound and determined to save herself and remembers some of the things that her sister Heather told her she did. On her way to being whisked off to Scotland, she finally gets a chance to try to save herself. On his way home back to London from Scotland, Jeremy is slowly passing a coach on the road and hears a thump on the coach's window and he sees a womans pale face and her lips moving when he hears a scream. Jeremy continues on but he can't get the girl out of his mind. He finally realizes who the young girl is and Jeremy, our absentminded scholar is off to the rescue.
After turning his horse around and following the coach, he meets with his friends and devised a plan to rescue Eliza. After rescuing Eliza the race is on to get her across the Border to Royce's house who is a family friend to both Eliza and Jeremy.
As we follow Jeremy and Eliza in their journey being chased not only by the mysterious laird who needs to parade a Cynster sister before his mother as "ruined" so his mother could give him back the ceremonial goblet or lose his castle andhis lands. His clan dsees the dispossessed and the original kidnapper who the laird fired after Eliza escapes.
Through their journeys we learn a lot about both Jeremy and Eliza and I grew to love them. Eliza finds out that she is the quite one and finds strengths that she didn't think she had. Jeremy being able to think like his brother-in-law and wanting to succeed in saving Eliza. Along the way they slowly fall in love with each other and Eliza realizes that Jeremy is really her hero.
As one of my favorite things about reading a Stephanie Lauren's book is she brings in other Cynsters and this book is no different....we get to enjoy Gabriel, Devil and Heather along with most of the Bastion Club.
I look forward to reading Angelica's story and I personally hope that this mysterious laird who must kidnap a Cynster woman is her hero. eBook received from Net Galley for a honest review.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Against the Storm, by Kat Martin

Rating:  B, Hot
Book # 4  in The Raines of Wind Canyon, presents us with a suspenseful story about professional photographer Magie O’Connell and Atlas Security owner and former Army ranger Trace Rawlins.  Maggie has a stalker who appears to be escalating, so she hires Trace to assist her in finding the stalker, since the Houston police department is not showing much interest in Maggie’ issue.  Trace is a bit baffled that the police are inattentive towards Maggie.  As he starts his investigation, he learns that when she was a teenager, she falsely accused a police officer’s son of rape.   However, Maggie didn’t share this information with Trace, and he is angry that she withheld this when she hired him.  

Trace goes to work, getting Maggie set up with a new security system in her condo.  As they spend more time together, they develop some serious feelings for each other.  Both are gun shy, Trace from his first marriage to Carly and Maggie from a past relationship gone bad.  The  investigation continues, as the stalker becomes bolder.  At the same time, these two are falling in love, although they each deny their true feelings, and blame it on their strong sexual relationship.

Maggie has a younger sister Ashley, whom she has never been close to.  However Ashley now has a three month old son, and is not getting along with her mom. The only person she feels she can turn to is Maggie, so she shows up on Maggie’s door step, asking her to let her and the baby stay with her.  Maggie is hesitant  because of her stalker.  But, she relents, so Ashley and the baby move in.  Not long after Ashley moves in, things really take a turn for the worst with the stalker. 

There are plenty of suspects for the stalker, and just when Trace thinks he is making progress, he is proven wrong.   I did figure out who the culprit was at about the halfway point.  But Trace really has to work to solve the stalker puzzle, and there was a time or two that I doubted that I really knew who it was!  The suspense, and solving the issues in both plot lines in this story was quite well done. 

The secondary plot in this book intertwines nicely with the main story. Trace is also working for wealthy Hewitt Sommerset, who has an employee embezzling funds from his company. Hewitt is found dead in his home, and Trace and Hewitt’s son Jason do not think his death was a suicide.  Jason really falls for Ashley, who seems like an unlikely girlfriend for the wealthy young man.  Jason is such a breath of fresh air that they really work well together.  

 One issue I did have was the heroine Maggie not giving Trace some important information regarding her past.  She lies to him by omission a couple of times, and if there is one thing I struggle with, it’s moments like this with the heroine.  Not only does she put herself in more danger, along with Ashley, the baby and even to a certain extent Trace.  The other issue was Carly, Trace’s x-wife.  I felt she was an unnecessary character in a story loaded with interesting characters.  I get that she is the reason Trace is doubting his ability for trusting women, but that came through loud and clear. 

Book provided by NetGalley for review. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Never Enough by Lauren Dane

Gillian Forrester spent most of her life running from who and what she came from...until Miles came along. The moment she held the tiny newborn her older sister didn't want, Gillian stopped running and began to build a life for herself and her adopted son. Now, thirteen years later, as Gillian's sister lies dying, she reveals the father identity and now makes Gillian promise to find him.
Adrian Brown is the epitome of the successful rock star. He's seen and done it all, with few regrets. It takes a lot to shock him--but the bombshell that he has a thirteen-year-old son rocks his world. And Adrian is even more surprised when the buttoned-up, elegant woman who's raising Miles snags his erotic and romantic attention.
The last thing Gillian expected was to find herself getting hot and heavy with a person like Adrian. But as much as she wants to open up and give herself fully to this amazing man, she's afraid the secrets of her past and Adrian's problems with trusting people may keep them apart for good. If love isn't enough, can they find the trust they need?
Let me tell you the sex in this book is hot!! Gillian and Adrian have a instant sexual attraction to each other and they do jump into bed right away. The love between them comes slowly, but I like how she builds up the relationship.
Now Adrian when he firsts finds out about his son is a real jerk and calls Gillian all sorts of names. He has some major trust issues with people and only lets a few people in his life. I like how his brother Brody tells him he really needs to check this out, what he could be missing if it was true.
Gillian only wants to do the right thing for Miles and if Adrian is his father felt he should know about him. When Adrian tells her off she says fine, his loss -- her gain and she did try.
After Adrian's talks with Brody he feels that he should really check this out and asks for a DNA test. Now Adrian's sister Erin can't wait for the test to come back and goes and meets with Gillian, once she sees the pictures she knows that Miles is her nephew. I loved it when she goes and gives Adrian a hard time.
Even though Adrian and Gillian sleep together right away, their love builds very slowly. Both of them have trust issues. Gillian because of her family and Adrian because of who is he. Gillian also has some issues because of Adrian's wealth and wants him to go slowly in buying things for Miles. She is trying to teach him to work and save for things he wants.
I like how Ms. Dane builds the love between Gillian and Adrian. I mean they don't fall in love overnight, it takes some time and I liked that. I did a little mad at Adrian when Gillian's big secret comes out and he was such jerk about it. I liked how Brody got in his face and Erin's face to set them right. I also liked how Adrian had to grovel a little to win Gillian back.
Over all a very good book. Lots of hot sex, but I enjoyed seeing all the members of the Brown/Copeland families.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Until There Was You, by Kristan HIggins

UNTIL THERE WAS YOU, By Kristan Higgins

Read:  9/19/2011
Release date:  10/25/2011
Rating:  B-, Warm                                                           
Liam Murphy is the school bad boy.  From the moment he rolls in to town, the girls swoon at his feet.  Poor skinny, bumbling Posey falls hard for the boy who works a few evenings at her parents’ restaurant, but pays little attention to her.  Posey’s friend Emma sets her up with a prom date with another popular boy named Rick.  Their night is a total disaster, as he dumps Posey they minute they arrive at the event.  To make things worse, Posey over hears Liam asking Rick why he brought that” bag of bones” to the prom?  So many of the kids make bad remarks about Posey during her younger years, that you have a lot of sympathy for her character.

Fast forward about 15 years.  Liam has moved back to Bellsford, New Hampshire with Nicole, his 15 year old daughter.  He married Emma, and she passed away from leukemia.  Her snooty parents live here and he wanted Nicole to be close to her only other living family.  Liam owns a motorcycle business, repairing and building custom bikes.    Posey finds out Liam is back in town, and as awkward as their past was, they become friends again in the present day.   There are some funny parts, but it was almost difficult for me to read some, where Posey grovels to become more to Liam than a friend.  They pretty much skip the friend part, and go from meeting one another again to bed partners.      

There are endearing cast members, such as Posey’s mom and dad who adopted her, along with some intense moments when Posey finds out that her birth mother had contacted her adoptive mom many years ago, and Posey was never told about this.  Her brother Henry is married to his same sex partner Jon, and they are adopting a daughter together.   Jon is a hoot, adding much needed comic relief to the story.  There is the evil cousin, and then good old Rick who was Posey’s prom date way back when, who hasn’t changed much over the years.  Posey owns a salvaging business, and is friends with an elderly lady who she hopes she gets the bid to tear down her old estate.

The difficult part for me was towards the end of the book, when Liam breaks up with Posey.  For all the years that she has loved him, he lost me as a fan at this point.  This poor girl has been hurt badly over her entire life.  There were parts that brought tears to my eyes, that people could be so mean to Posey, who never had done anything to warrant bad treatment from anyone.  I felt Posey really loved Liam, but I sure didn’t get the feeling that Liam really, really loved Posey.  The book has a marvelous epilogue that very nicely ties up all the loose ends.  It just fell a bit short for me in that I could not totally forgive Liam for everything.   

Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wyoming Tough, by Diana Palmer

I'm going out on a limb here, and posting the review for this book that releases on 10/25/11.  I see other bloggers posting their galley reviews way ahead of the release date, so in the spirit of getting the word out there, here we go!

Rating:  B warm
Mallory Kirk, along with brothers Cane and Dalton, own a huge working ranch in Wyoming.  The past few years have been financially difficult with the current economy, but they are getting by quite nicely.  Morie Brannt  is the daughter if a wealthy Texas rancher, who won’t allow Morie to have any kind of working relationship  with his ranch.  She is college educated, but wants to prove that she can make it on her own.  So, on to Wyoming she goes to hire on as a hand at Mallory’s ranch.  It quickly becomes obvious that she knows nothing about ranching, but the foreman Darby takes her under his wing and teaches her what she needs to know to get her jobs done.   

Morie is sick of men wanting her as a means to gain access to her father’s wealth, and Mallory has the same issues with women wanting him for his financial worth.  Mal has a socialite girlfriend Gelly,  who is constantly thinking up ways  to get Mal to fire Morie, as she comes to realize that Mal is very fond of Morie.  In addition to the romantic tension going on between Mal and Morie, there is an escaped convict on the loose, providing plenty of drama throughout the book. 

Everyone in this story is very well educated, and there is time spent on rehashing  our more modern era, and the benefits of inventions like the iPhone.  Mallory is very eco-conscious in his ranching.  The brothers have been approached about selling a small portion of their land for fracking, which they refuse to do, so there are discussions about oil drilling and bio fuels.  

One thing I look forward to in a Diana Palmer book is knowing what I am getting, and that’s  a good comfort read.  There were a few scenes in this book that took me back to one of my DP favorites, Once In Paris.    For most of you who are DP fans, you will recognize this when you stumble upon it!  One more thing, there is the usual age difference between the H/h, 36 and 23.  However, the age difference is not apparent at all.  Morie is not a dowdy heroine, and led a pretty well rounded life.

I only have two complaints – Gelly.  Where does she come up with these names?   The girl is a socialite – imagine calling Paris Hilton "Gelly".   I just couldn’t get by that name.  And…..she GASPED, she SOBBED, the SHOCK of it all…..and (saving the best for last) Mal says to his little bride Morie “As you may have guessed, I am better endowed than most men”…….ROTFL!!!!!!   Okay – it’s vintage Diana Palmer, and no book of hers would be complete without this byline. 

Book provided by NetGalley for review. 

Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes

All she wanted is peace and anonymity....Lady Sophie Windham has maneuvered a few days to herself at the ducal mansion in London before she must join her family for Christmas in Kent. Suddenly trapped by a London snowstorm, she finds herself with a abandoned baby and only the assistance of a kind, handsome stranger standing between her and complete disaster.
But Sophie's holiday is about to heat up...With his estate in ruins, Vim Charpentier sees little to feel festive about this Christmas. His growing attraction for Sophie Windham is the only thing that warms his spirits-but when Sophie's brothers whisk her away, Vim's most painful holiday memories are reawakened. It seems Sophie's been keeping secrets, and now it will take much more then mistletoe kiss to make her deepest wish come true..
This is the first book on the Windham sisters. And it was pretty good. Where you had a lot of emotion going on in The Heir and The Soldier, you have some here but not as much.
All Sophie wants is some time to herself. She is always surrounded by her family and she just needs a little peace. So she goes to London where her family thinks she is staying with friends. Instead she is staying in the London townhouse, where she thought she would be alone she ends up taking care of one of the servants baby after she is left with it a coaching inn.
Val is on his way to Kent to the family seat. He rally doesn't want to go there because he has some bad feelings about the place. But his Aunt and Uncle are getting old and they have asked him to come home.
Both Val and Sophie don't really have good feelings about Christmas, for Sophie it is when one of her brothers died and for Val it is something that happened at a party that has effected him his whole life. Val meets up with Sophie at a coaching inn and offers to help with the baby. You see Sophie has never been around a baby and has no idea what to do. Val help raise his younger siblings and is very comfortable around baby's.
Val takes up Sophie's offer to come back to her house thinking she is maybe a ladies maid to the head of household, you see Sophie doesn't tell him who she really is. They both get snowed in and Val is unable to leave.
You have two people who don't really tell each other who they are and this cute little baby bringing them together. Val shows Sophie what she needs to know about being with a baby and then of course more things happen. You see two people slowing falling for each other, but both have a secert that they aren't sharing.
When it clears a Val goes on his way but then feels he really can't leave Sophie and Kit and comes back. Imagine his surprise when he walks in to find that her brothers have come to collect Sopie to take her home for Christmas. And then he finds out that she is not some servant but a Lady.
Val does ask Sophie to marry him but she thinks he is asking her to be his mistress and she knows that is something she can't do. They all travel t Kent together and I loved watching the brothers try to bring Val and Sophie together. They see that Sophie is happy with Val, but she thinks he wants her as his mistress. I loved the brothers setting him straight on that one!!!
This book was very good, while The Solider was still my favorite , it was good to see the family still interfering with everybody lives. While I thought the reason for Val not going home was a little weak, I loved how it was resloved in the book.
I got this book as a ARC from my romance group and it comes out in October.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Good Girls Don't and Bad Boys Do, by Victoria Dahl

Good Girls Don’t
Victoria Dahl, author
Rating A-, Hot
Victoria Dahl is a favorite author of mine, and these books are another excellent offering of her work.  The Donovan siblings, Tessa age 27, Jamie age 29, and Eric who I believe to be 37 run the Donovan brothers brewery, which was founded by their late father. The parents were killed when Tessa was 13, making that event about 14 years ago. Eric returned to the homestead, and took over the brewery and raising his siblings.

This first book is about Tessa.  Eric is negotiating a contract with Roland Kendall, whose wealthy spoiled daughter accompanies him to Boulder for a tour of the brewery.  She has a few too many beers, so asks Jaime for a ride home.  She hits on him, and they proceed to her apartment where they have sex.   In Jaimie’s mind, he feels he did not have sex with her as he did not want to but was forced to by this woman. The same night a robbery goes down at the brewery, and Eric accuses Jamie of not locking up correctly, with Jamie saying he did.  Jamie, being the black sheep of the family, is accused of a lot of things, and has earned nothing but distrust from Eric.

Tessa is sure she can fix this, since she is the family peacekeeper.  However, she tells so many white lies to cover things up, that she forgets what she told whom.   Enter Det. Luke Asher to investigate.  Luke was a party boy like Jamie in his younger years.  Zing – there is an instant attraction between Tessa and Luke, and the brothers aren’t going to like this at all.  They think their little Tessa is sweet and innocent.  Haha!  Were they ever wrong, as Luke is about to find out. 

I really liked Tessa’s role of peace keeper, and thought her character was well drawn out.  She is a difficult person, who believes her family will leave her if she screws up any projects at the brewery.  The relationship between Tessa and Luke grows, as do the lies she ends up having to tell him.  Their liason is hot and intense,  given all the emotional baggage these characters carry around with them.

The setting is awesome too, all this taking place in Boulder CO.   A secondary mystery is Luke’spartner and her pregnancy.  She won’t tell anyone a thing, but one night Luke figured it out.   This was one of the more serious parts of the book.  

Tessa tells lies, and rationalizes it as keeping her brothers from getting angry, especially Eric.  Luke lies by omission and this drives him and Tessa apart.

The story is realistic and believable with a marvelous cast of characters. This was just a fun book that once started was hard to put down.  Bravo Victoria Dahl!    Moving right on to Jamie’ s story now .
Bad Boys Do, by Victoria Dahl
Rating:  A-,  Hot
From Tessa’s story, we learn that Jamie is really trying to clean up his act and become the responsible brother Eric and Tessa need him to be.  Jamie is enrolling in a class at the college to learn more about  the restaurant business.  He has his own dreams for the brewery that include more than just being the bar tender.  He meets the prim and proper Olivia at the bar, and low and behold, when he shows up for class the next day, she’s the teacher! 
Olivia is still reeling from her recent divorce, from a college professor who thought she was boring, and proceeded to have affairs with his students.  Jamie asks Olivia out, but since she sees herself as the older woman at age 35, and not fun, she declines.  Then there is a faculty party that her x-spouse Victor is sure to attend with his younger girlfriend, so Olivia invites Jamie to escort her to the party.  It doesn’t take long for Jamie to come to the conclusion he is being used, to put Victor in his place.  So after a heart to heart talk with Olivia, and the outcome is that he will teach her to have fun in return for her advice in starting up his restaurant.
Jamie takes his classes, and meanwhile he and Olivia become quite close.  He opens Olivia up to all kinds of different experiences, and Victor can’t stand it.  Olivia stands up to Victor, so he does not become a dominate part of the story, but just enough for the reader to always remember he’s just around the corner, if Jamie screws up with Olivia.  Olivia does kind of have an age hangup, but it was hard for me to see her as a 35 year old woman, because in some areas of her life she was a bit childish.  I do not like cougar stories, but in this book age really was not a factor at all. 
Jamie’s happy go lucky exterior hides how he really feels about himself,   which is being quite worthless.  Brother Eric constantly throws Jamie’s mistakes back at him, which adds to Jamie’s guilt throughout the book.   Even Olivia does this, though not as a conscious effort.  Jamie is always challenging her to try new things, while Olivia could never define their relationship enough to believe Jamie would be interested in her in the long run.  The one thing I did not care for was that Tessa and Eric were not able to see beyond Jamie’s exterior, and all the things he has done on his own, such as his house, yard and gardens, and the time he spent doing those things. 
However, through the entire story they grow as a couple and as individuals.  In the end, I wanted to stand up and cheer for Team Jamie and Olivia!  Honestly, the character growth was amazing.  And talk about steam quotient – this book has it in spades.  I never thought I would say this, but I can’t wait for Eric’s book and what wringer Victoria Dahl will put him through.  Nasty as his character has been through the first two books, Eric’s book should be nothing  if not amazing. 
Jamie's book was provided by NetGalley for review purposes.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Local Author Fair Chicago Western Suburbs

For those of you who live in the Chicagoland area and would like to meet some wonderful Romance authors. The Aurora Public Library is hosting a Local Author Fair this Saturday, September 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 at 555 Eola Road in Aurora, IL, 60504. Come meet: Sherrell Bodine Beth Kery Dyanne Davis Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons Patricia Rosemoor Annmarie Ortega Regina Bryant Blythe Gifford Patricia Guthrie Wendy Byrne and many more including Earl Sewell, Michelle Larks, Ophelia Julien, Sourcebook Publishing and Medallion Press.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

From This Moment On by Bella Andre

This is the second book in Bella's Sullivan Family series. This book can be read as a stand alone. The story starts out with our hero Marcus walking in on his girlfriend having sex with someone else. After words were exchange and the end of two year relationship, Marcus decides that he needs a one-night stand with no strings attached. Enter our heroine Nicola (Nico) a famous singer who is just getting over a bad relationship. She decides that she might as well live up to her "reputation" and goes looking for a one-night stand. After meeting in a club and deciding to hook-up they end up at Marcus's brother's house. One the way Nicola falls asleep and Marcus is taken by her beauty. The next morning she asks him for another night. Instead they both get more. At this point I do not want to give away what happens -- I have to say that I read this book in one night and I really enjoyed it. Both Nicola and Marcus have "baggage" that they both must overcome. The eleven year age difference did not bother me. Marcus fighting his feelings for Nicola and Nicola putting her heart on the line and learning to trust again. The sex scenes between the two sizzle when these two are together. What really tugged at my heart is the way that Marcus won Nicola back. I look forward to reading more books on the Sullivan clan and I can't wait for Gabe's story. I purchase this book from All Romance eBooks. ****** My thoughts on this book. I also read it in one day and really enjoyed it. I loved Marcus in the first book and really wanted to know more about him. I felt a little sorry for him and knew he needed somebody better in his life. Well, he got it with Nicola.
There were so many good parts in this book, and the sex is hot. I did not have a issue with the age difference, and I got a little made at Nicola pushing him away because of who she is. And I love how Marcus is such a support for his family, and the one part when they are all having lunch and his mother tells him she is happy he found someone more important to him then his family. I loved how Marcus won Nicola back.
All I can say is I loved the first book, I loved the second book and now I can't wait for the third book which is Gabe's story. Debra