November 23, 2007





Louisa Shelby's carefree life of elegant balls and beautiful frocks ended when her father died, leaving her penniless. With no hope of securing a proper marriage, the vivacious young miss accepts a position as a companion to an elderly viscountess. But temptation in a most unexpected guise awaits Louisa in the dowager's home...

Once, Simon Wade was London's most eligible bachelor and most able seducer. But a tragic accident forced him into seclusion, away from prying eyes and questions. He thought he'd never again experience the tender touch of a beautiful woman. But while he yearns to hold the enchanting Louisa and taste the intoxicating nectar of her kiss, he will accept no woman's pity.

Louisa never desired a man the way she burns for Simon. And now her chance at happiness may rest in her ability to convince the stubborn viscount that her passion is real...and her love is true


This is the third and final book in the Sisters of Willow Pond-trilogy and tells the story of Louisa Shelby and Simon Wade.
Louisa is the youngest Shelby-sister and Simon is the friend of David Thurlow who is the hero of book 1 and now married to Louisa’s eldest sister Victoria.
This book contrary to book 2 gave me the same vibe as book 1 did.

I can't say I didn't like the book, because I did like it and that was because of the characters, both hero, heroine and secondary characters.
They were well written, having depth and their development throughout the story was very nice to read.
I liked Simon because of the way he tried to deal with his blindness. His independence and his way of trying to protect the people he loves.
I liked Louisa's compassion and her desire to help people she cares for with their problems and difficulties.
They are both genuine and very loveable characters you can easily relate to and have sympathy for. They learn to trust each other with their fears and doubts caused by actions of their parents and peers
The tentative flirtations between Simon and Louisa lead to deeper feelings and they slowly fall in love. This is written in a very believable way and as a reader you grow into the relationship with them
Of the secondary characters I loved Manvil, Simon's valet. He was witty and impertinent, not afraid to tell his employer what he thinks. His sense of humor matches Simon's and was very refreshing. I also loved Georgiana, Simon's sister. She grew as a character throughout the book.

The story did lack a plot, which was something I really appreciated in book 2. It gave that book that little bit extra. Unfortunately in this book there was too much focus on secrets, lack of trust, misguided assumptions, hiding true feelings and lack of courage to be open and honest. It all lingers too long in the story and causes unnecessary misunderstandings.
This bothered me in book 1 and now again in this book, but the characters and character-development did make up for this.
The recurring element was the effect parents and their actions have on their children and how their outlook on other people turns out to be.
This is a wonderful theme and I can't but think that it could have been brought out even better with less focus on the misunderstandings and assumptions.

In conclusion I thought this an average but enjoyable trilogy with an average start, a better and lovely second installment and an endearing last book.
For me book 2 was the best one if you look at the plot and book 3 was the best one if you look at the characters and their development.
The theme throughout the trilogy is trust: trust in yourself and others, especially the ones you want to love and the ones you think you can always trust, in this case: parents.
Even though the books weren't very exciting or thrilling they each suited the different sister's personalities, as did the heroes. The combination of the characters was done in a great way.
This made it an acceptable trilogy. Uncomplicated and simple, with no intricate plots but genuine people overcoming their insecurities and issues by finding true love and the ability to trust their feelings in the hand of others.



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November 15, 2007





The Duke of Thanet may have hired her as a governess to his six-year-old son, but there is something…different about the devilish rogue standing before her today. He seems to study her with intensity she never noticed before, and he is certainly more charming than the last time they encountered each other. Was there always an alluring glint in his dark eyes? But the duke has a notoriously scandalous reputation, and Meriel will not let herself succumb.

Masquerading as the duke was not the simple solution Richard O'Neill had envisioned. When his ailing half-brother, the real duke, asked him to protect his young heir from a greedy enemy, Richard agreed. But he never thought he'd be attracted to the inquisitive governess, or that each moment in her intoxicating presence would tempt him beyond all reason. And letting down his guard could prove dangerous…especially to Richard's own heart.


This was the second installment in the Sisters of Willow Pond-trilogy.
I found it a lovely story of finding love when least expecting it. I certainly enjoyed it more than book 1 in the series.
Maybe because there was a real plot involved where it lacked in book 1 but I also think the characters of the hero and heroine were more appealing to me.
Meriel is practical and logical, forcing herself to lead her life by her intellect and not her emotions after her parents' betrayal and lies.
Then she meets Richard and nothing she's caught changing her views on love and trust.
Richard is not happy impersonating his half-brother since his personality and behavior are so different from his own but he does it regardless for his nephew's safety and future.
The chemistry between Meriel and Richard is apparent from the beginning and the development of their feelings is very nicely written.
The nephew Stephen is an adorable boy and a very loveable character in the book, providing endearing parts in the book with his regular six year-old mischievous behavior and the plain honesty and simple look on life all children have.

Even though the plot seemed a bit far-fetched in the beginning Gayle Callen pulled it of by focusing on the feelings and emotions between Meriel, Richard and Stephen.
The betrayal of Meriel's parents linger in the back of her head and makes it hard for her to completely trust Richard and his motives. And Richard is so concerned for the well being of his nephew it takes a while for him to confide in Meriel.
But it's all worked out in a nice way. Especially after Meriel discovers Richard's true identity and confronts him. They start working together after that to accomplish his task.
But that is also when the difficulty in resisting each other starts. And this is where the book really grabbed my attention.
I liked the regular change of perspective so you have both Meriel's and Richard's point of view on the evolving love-story and the plot. This made it easy to relate to both their characters.

Gayle Callen has provided an easy and enjoyable read with a well-written plot and genuine emotions and feelings. It was not very intense, fast-paced or action-filled but still it strung a cord with me being wonderful in it’s simplicity.


Quote:
Again he said, "Resist me, Meriel, because God help me, I don't want to resist what you make me feel."



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November 9, 2007





Love slave...
Saba Watanabe’s enslavement to the black dragon Malcolm left the powerful witch shaken and vulnerable. But when she's assaulted by a white dragon in human form, the only one who can help her is the dangerously seductive Malcolm. With his attraction for Saba still a feverish high; Malcolm agrees to help her track down the white dragon terrorizing the San Francisco streets.

Dragon warrior...
But Malcolm, too, has become vulnerable -victim of a spell cast to drain him of his strength- and Saba may be the only one who can rescue him. The key to their survival is in a mysterious book hidden in the world of Dragonspace. When its profound secrets fall into the hands of the enemy, the life of every dragon in existence is threatened, and Saba must not only battle her desire for Malcolm but learn to use her rising powers to save his kind.


The story of Malcolm and Saba started in Dragon Heat as a subplot but one with a real potential and this potential was certainly met beyond expectation in their own book.
I just love it when expectations created in a first book of a series are adequately met in the following installment and Allyson James did just that with this book.
In book 1 of the series we meet both Malcolm and Saba and you just feel the have a story between them that, if well-written, will have a great impact on you.

Despite the fact that there is a lot going on in the book like the introduction of a new "type" of dragon (the white dragon), murders, magic and a lot more it was never chaotic or hard to follow.
It was action-packed, magical, sensual with humans, witches, dragons, both good and evil. And next to a wonderful love story full of sensuality that survives time, space and species, you also receive a vast amount of knowledge on Japanese and Chinese traditions and culture, computer programming and database knowledge.
This combination of both mystical and mundane things at the same time was perfectly balanced which made it a pleasure to read and a real keeper for me.

Both Saba and Malcolm are complex and layered characters. The connection between them is very intense and strong and one they both can't escape as much as they try to.
Especially Malcolm who is an extremely powerful and intelligent dragon. So mathematical and dispassionate to the point he analyzes and calculates everything including his love for Saba, which is something that can't be analyzed. He is used to everyone obeying him without difficulty or questions and he is fascinated by Saba who resists his mark and control.
Saba is a witch more powers than she would imagine and she is much stronger than she thinks. Her insecurity leads her to doubt herself and her love for Malcolm shows her that she is powerful in her own ways.
The secondary characters are a special and nice addition to Saba and Malcolm. There is a distinction between more and less important secondary characters. This distinction leads my speculations to new heights wondering which characters will have their own book in future installments of this series. I'm really hoping for a book for Axel, the intriguing, witty demon-god with a great sense of humor.
Of course Lisa and Caleb make an appearance and have an important role in the unraveling of some subplots. It was lovely to see how they were doing after their own book. The interactions between Malcolm and Caleb were as witty as in book 1. They are both territorial dragons and their bantering shows this in a real funny way. But still when necessary they will work together to save their loved ones.

Allyson James has a way with plots that are able to draw you into a world so life-like and realistic despite the magic and fantasy. Almost making me believe these worlds she creates are really out there somewhere.
The plot kept me glued to the pages. Fast-paced, fascinating and well written. Every turn in the plot stirring up more angles and questions leading up to a climax in which every piece of the puzzle falls into the right place. Entwining several subplots into one major plot with ease and simplicity.
Her writing style is a delight to read, making complicated and unfamiliar concepts clear and easy to take in.
Her skills in world building are amazing were dragons and witches are concerned. With The Black Dragon she has layered and deepened the series and I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment in this enchanting dragon-series.

Allyson James is masterfully skilled in creating this world that takes you away for many enjoyable hours, regretting it when the book comes to an end because you want to stay in this magical and mystical world of witches, dragons, humans, gods, evil, sacrifice and love. All I can say is: sit back, relax and enjoy this magical ride to the fullest!


Quote:
Malcolm raised his head and found her smiling at him. Smiling at him for punishing her for using his true name. Smiling at him for losing himself in her. He’d snarled at her, shouted, mistrusted her and made love to her to regain his power over her – and she smiled.
Her smile was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen in his long life.



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November 7, 2007





Cole has wanted Tess for years. And he's warned her of this several times. He's also warned her HOW he wants her. Tied down in his bed, under his domination, surrendering to his desires...

Tess Delacourte is the daughter of Jason Delacourte and Ella James.
Jason and Ella are divorced and the bitterness of her mother and guilt trips by her father have Tess stuck in the middle.
Her father has remarried and her stepmother’s brother, Cole Andrews, is the man who stole a kiss the last time she was at her father’s house.
Now Tess has to go back there for a party and she knows she will see the man again who rocked her world with just one kiss and ruined her for other men.

Cole is determined to show Tess that she is the woman for him and he the man for her. He is very sure of himself and dominating both inside and outside the bedroom.
Tess is feisty and outspoken. She wants what Cole wants but is afraid to give into it. Eventually she can’t resist Cole and her love for him.

In the span of a short novella containing only 62 pages Lora Leigh manages to write a story with strong characters and super hot erotic scenes.
It lacks a plot but that’s to be expected and understandable because it’s too short to be able to mix a real plot into it.
The story mainly covers the way Tess and Cole give into their feelings, the emotions between them and their sexual desires.
The content and language are very in your face erotic, not for the faint of heart. Use of toys, ménage a trois and light BDSM are involved and there is quite some use of explicit language. But it served the intensity of the story, making it vivid and lively. Because despite of the story being very short it really did have potential.
Prior to this novella I hadn’t read anything by Lora Leigh but if this is an indication, she is definitely on my list in the erotica department.
Nothing too complicated but just hot and raw eroticism nicely combined with a powerful emotional journey.
I know the next stories in this series are a bit more elaborate and recently Leigh also released a full-length novel in this series, so I’ll be looking out for that one to see if she can fulfill the lingering expectations created in this first story when she has more pages to do it in.



Quotes:
She was burning, inside and out, a wave of fiery lust tormenting her loins as she fought the depraved pleasures of the spanking.

Tess was everything to him. His heart, his soul, the happiness he had always believed he would never find.



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November 5, 2007





As a writer, Lise Barton is used to coming up with wild scenarios for her characters, but the one that’s playing out for her right now is no fiction—it’s frighteningly real. Someone is stalking her, someone who knows where she lives and what she does. Someone who has even threatened her family—her brother, his wife, and their precious baby girl. Lise isn’t about to let someone hurt them, so she packs up and leaves Texas for the anonymity of Seattle. And then the threats start again…

Joshua Watt’s mission is simple: Go to Seattle and bring Lise home for Thanksgiving or he’ll never hear the end of it from his sister. It’s not like “Aunt Lise” to stay away from their adorable niece, and Joshua’s pretty sure he’s the reason for it. He’s spent months trying to forget the taste of her lips, the feel of her soft hair in his fingers. Yeah, okay, he wants her—badly—but family comes first. But the minute he sees the fear in Lise’s eyes, his survival instincts kick in. The former Army Ranger isn’t about to let some creep terrorize an innocent woman—not on his watch. He’s going to do what it takes to protect Lise and try to keep his personal feelings out of it. Because if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that sex and work don’t mix. Not ever. So far…

They’re the good guys fighting the bad guys. They’ll get the job done—if the price is right and so is the cause. And what cause could be nobler than the heart’s desire? Rough and ready, tough and tender—when it comes to love and security, these hunks are definitely for hire...


And this is the first tough guy that has been gunned down by a love that conquers all! Even a hardened mercenary, nicknamed "Wolf" determined to never let himself fall into the trap of romantic love. He's been burned once and isn't ready to be trapped into the claws of betrayal ever again.
But he didn't count on Lise Barton. A heroine you just have to love for her bravery, her sassy comebacks and her pure loving heart. She first comes across as demure and shy but under the influence of her love for and the protection from Joshua she turns out to be his equal in every way, his own she-wolf.
Joshua is to die for! He's a tough soldier turned mercenary but with a heart of gold and when he finally admits how much he feels for Lise he's absolutely adorable.

I really think I'm starting to repeat myself where Lucy Monroe is concerned but her writing just gets to me on a level I really haven't encountered in any writer of contemporary romance so far.
Even in this book, where the focus is more on the suspense (finding the stalker is the main focus of the story) than on the romance.
It didn't bother me because the suspense was killing and Monroe did an amazing job of building up the suspense and gradually luring you into the mystery of the stalker and his motives.
And next to that there was the love story between Lise and Joshua flowing of the pages and effortlessly mixing with the suspense.
If I must mention something that was less satisfying it was the capture of the stalker. I would have liked that to have been more elaborate since it was a bit wrapped up quickly after the superb build up. But this did not affect my opinion in the least because Monroe more than made up for that with the love-scenes. They were every bit a breathtaking as the suspense was.

Two important secondary characters in the book were Nitro and Hotwire. They are Joshua's buddies who help him protect Lise and find the stalker.
The three of them can really knock a girl of her feet...Nitro is intense and brooding, Hotwire is all charm.
They are also the hero's of the other two books in the Mercenary trilogy and I can't wait to read their stories. If they are half as exciting as Joshua's...I'm really in for a treat!

Lucy Monroe wrote a delightful book that keeps you on the edge of your seat with the suspense and warms your heart with the romance.


Quote
Lise to Joshua:
But most of all, I love the man your past has made you to be, the man who looks at the present with the eyes of a protector and the heart of a warrior



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November 2, 2007





Highland warriors sworn to protect Innocence through the ages….
A golden man, he is called Black Royce—a battle hardened soldier of the gods. His vows are his life—until he is sent to New York City to protect a Healer from those who would use her powers for themselves. The moment Royce sees beautiful, feisty Allie Monroe, he knows she will be his only weakness—and he is right.

Destiny is a dangerous thing.
Allie Monroe is more than an heiress. She is a Healer, willing to do anything to save victims of the evil that lurks in the city at night. But alone, she can do only so much—until destiny sends her the darkest Highlander of them all. Then evil strikes and Royce is destroyed before Allie's eyes. Now Allie will do anything to save Royce—even if it means going back in time to a dark, dangerous world to be with him. And confronting their enemies could cost not only their lives, but also their love—for all eternity.


This installment of the Masters of Time brings us the story of Black Royce, Malcolm's (from book 1) uncle.
After failing to protect his wife from a demon Royce vows never to trust or love a woman again, but that is until he meets heiress and healer Allie Monroe. She doesn't want love or a man interfering with her healing and the hunting down of evil, which is her calling in life. And then she meets Royce who has come from the past to protect her, as is his task as Master of Time. In a great plot they hunt an ancient and evil demon but also fall in love. A love Royce fights with all his might but eventually has to give in to in all the time-periods he and Allie are together. This is all I'm going to say about the plot and the story because more would spoil the story.

The little information you get on him in Dark Seduction doesn't even scratch the surface of the complicated and intense man Royce is. He is not called Black Royce for nothing.
He was a fascinating and compelling character in the book and for me he saved the book from being a true disappointment.
The heroine Allie, starts of as a lovely, pure and innocent person but when she gets to Royce's time I just couldn't shake the feeling of her being used to getting her way and when not getting it, she became a bit annoying and thus less sympathetic to me.
Where I did connect with Royce and his feelings I just couldn't totally connect with Allie. On one page I found her easy to identify with but on the next she would annoy the daylights out of me. I just couldn't combine the selflessness of her healing and her want to heal living beings with her at times selfish behavior.
This combined with the lack of intensity I did find in the first book that started the series in a magnificent way leaves me a bit disappointed.

Brenda Joyce delivered a tale with a gifted heroine, a delicious alpha hero and a wonderful plot but she lost me with the chronological chaos with the time leaping and the inconsistencies in the heroine's character.
Do not get me wrong I loved the book and eventually the chaotic time leaping makes sense when the plot is unraveled but it still was something that bothered and confused me throughout a major part of the book.
I really liked the secondary characters, the other Masters, especially Aidan. I think he’s going to be my favorite Master next to Malcolm.
Claire and Malcolm also make a guest appearance and I loved seeing them back.
But Allie's friends Brie, Sam and Tabby were equally fascinating and in the book it's clear that there is a bigger role for them in the future.



Quote:
He stared at her now, as if enchanted.
This one could tempt the Pope and seduce the devil



Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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Pearl
Netherlands
39, married to my real life romance hero, addicted to TV shows, reading romance novels and Twitter. I'm a chronic (e)book hoarder and my absolute favorite genres within romance fiction are contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but I don't shy away from historical, paranormal or erotic romance either. Even the occasional (urban) fantasy romance, futuristic and sci fi romance may make it to my Mount TBR. This is my corner of the world wide web where I let you know what books I'm hoarding, reading and reviewing.
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  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
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  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
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  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
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  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

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  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
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  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
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  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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