March 31, 2008

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Rhiannon Castle is a D'Anu witch whose Coven sisters know nothing of the Shadows that lurk within her. Rhiannon can't reveal the truth to anyone-least of all Keir, a rugged soldier who walks into Rhiannon's life and awakens her to a reckless desire.

Keir's Tuatha D'Danann brethren are the only real family he has ever known. He trusts no one-until he is sent to San Francisco and meets Rhiannon, the one woman with enough fire to tame him. Every seductive encounter convinces Keir that she belongs with him-even though Rhiannon knows her powers could put him in peril.

A new threat rises from the depths of Underworld. When a demon goddess unleashes her evil upon our world, Rhiannon's secret could prove the ultimate weapon in this epic battle-or forge a pathway to destruction for the only man she's ever loved.

Her parents abandoned Rhiannon Castle when she was a very small child and has only her fellow witches of the Coven to count as her family. She hides a dark secret knowing they will abandon her as her parents did, if they find out her secret. Keir, a bastard son of a D'Danann Fae has learned from early age that he can only count on himself and his fellow D'Danann warriors.
These two lonely and abandoned souls find each other and the connection is instant but before they can explore their feelings and allow the other one to enter their heart they must fight a battle to the death together with their friends and allies against an evil goddess and her army of demons trying to destroy both their worlds.

Rhiannon is Silver's (heroine of book 1) best friend and a witch with a hidden power that she tries to hide and keep hidden from her Coven sisters because she thinks it's a dark and evil power. That is what she was told as a child when she discovered this power. This and her abandonment-issues make her a character that only relies on herself. She is afraid to love because she has lost everyone she has ever dared to love. Like the heroines of the previous books Rhiannon is a strong, brave, determined and powerful gray witch. She is a stubborn loner with a mind of her own and very outspoken. Then she meets Keir, a man who goes after what he wants the way he trains and fights: head on.
Keir is fierce, arrogant and commanding. He too has abandonment issues. He is Hawk's (hero of book 1) the illegitimate half-brother. He grew up being told by his father and stepmother that his mother didn't want him. Their treatment of him was awful and because of this he has learned to protect his heart and his feelings, masking them with harshness and fierceness.
He is used to having his way with women. They can't resist him. But Rhiannon is different. She doesn't fall for him on sight and fights him on every occasion. Despite, or maybe because of her feistiness he comes to care about her and discovers he has a gentle side and is willing to open his heart to the vulnerability of loving another person.

Rhiannon and Keir have very much in common. They are kindred spirits though their first meeting is sizzling with hostility, especially on Rhiannon's side. Keir being the ultimate alpha caveman receives a bout of spell fire on his groin by Rhiannon the moment he hits on her. This sets the stage for a fast-paced, mind-blowing, magic- and action-filled romance.

The cast of secondary characters is a mix of the previous heroines and heroes, the witches of the Coven, the D'Danann warriors, the human Paranormal Special Forces-officers and a whole bunch of magical beings from the Otherworld (Faeries, Elves, Mystwalkers) and the Underworld (the evil goddess Ceithlenn and her army of Formorii demons).
The role of Darkwolf, the Balorite warlock and Junga, the Formorii leader is pushed to the background as Ceithlenn forms the main evil character in this book. Still at the end McCray treated me to a surprising twist concerning Darkwolf. One I truly didn't see coming and it offers interesting prospects for the books to come.

With each book Cheyenne McCray gives me more background, depth and insight in this magical world she's created. Every book has it's own feel and it's own twists and turns in the ongoing plot. Each main couple adds their own unique voice to the series with their love story and their struggles with their feelings, each other and the battle against the evil threatening them and their loved ones.
With each book the battle gets more intense. Answers to earlier questions raise more questions. Pieces of the puzzle fall into place little by little but more intriguing pieces are added at the same time, leaving me eager to read the next book to see how everything will play out.
In this book the evil grows stronger. The battle between good and evil continues and new alliances need to be formed. And in the middle of it all Rhiannon and Keir have to work through their pasts and resentments in able to have a future together.

This series is becoming one of my favorites more and more with each book I read. In every book there's a nice balance between the main couple's love story, the ongoing plot with the battle against evil in different forms and graduations and the erotic scenes. And I must say this balance was the best in Wicked Magic.

He gave her one of his supremely arrogant looks that made her want to slap him. "Your room," he commanded in that deep brogue. "Now."
"When witches can fly broomsticks, or Underworld becomes a theme park attraction, whichever comes last." (Rhiannon)

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March 25, 2008

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Surveillance expert Seth Mackey knows everything about the women that his millionaire boss toys with--and tosses aside. Raine Cameron is something different. Night after night, Seth watches her on a dozen different video screens. Her vulnerable beauty haunts him and her fresh innocence stirs a white-hot passion that he can barely control. Raine is pure temptation, but Seth has something more important to take care of first. He's convinced that his boss, Victor Lazar, is responsible for his half-brother's murder. He cannot put his secret investigation at risk, but he can't stop wanting her--craving her--and soon he knows he can't let Victor have her. For Raine may be Victor's next victim . . .

Raine knows she's being watched--but no one can see the secrets in her heart. She has reasons of her own to seek revenge on Victor Lazar, and she will, despite her fear--and the distracting presence of Seth Mackey. Though Raine has little experience with men, Seth's fiercely masculine good looks and animal sensuality stir her most erotic fantasies when she's alone . . .and lead her to a bold plan. Offering her body to him, surrending totally to his ruthless desire might well push her beyond all emotional limits--and beyond fear itself.

Once again a, for me, new author has gripped me in her claws and she's not going to let go anytime soon.
I've embarked on the Shannon McKenna tour with the first book of the connected books on the McCloud brothers (BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, STANDING IN THE SHADOWS, OUT OF CONTROL & EDGE OF MIDNIGHT). Although Seth Mackay isn't a McCloud, his book is part of the series because he works closely with the McClouds to bring down the criminal responsible for Connor McCloud severe injury and the death of Seth's brother. And it is in his book that we get to meet al the McCloud brothers and get a glimpse of what's to come.

Seth Mackey is cold and detached since the murder of his younger brother. His only goal is to destroy the three men responsible for the murder and he nothing will deter him from his goal. At least that's what he thinks until spying on one of the culprits puts Raine Cameron in his path.
Lorraine (Raine) Cameron is after the same men Seth is seeking revenge against. She lost her father to them and is determined bring them to justice. Even if she has to lie and cheat to get close to them.
Together they set out to execute their revenge and they find something that more valuable along the way: love

Shannon McKenna writes amazing characters. Lifelike and unembellished. She shows their strengths but also their weaknesses and flaws. The complete and elaborate picture of the main couple provided lots of background information on them both and the people surrounding them. Another thing she did excellently was giving several characters' points of view. I hadn't even noticed that not much authors do this, J.R. Ward is one that I can come up top of mind right now.
These multiple points of view give the book depth and substance.

Raine was a heroine who at first seems to be in way over her head but she shows some real fiery spirit, giving Seth a run for his money and not accepting his dominating and rude behavior all the time and it takes a strong woman to tame Seth Mackey. The battle of wills between them gives you insight in their characters and their development.

Seth made me shiver and I mean good and breathless shivers. He has the alpha attitude down to a tooth. His controlled savage passion waiting to surface when unleashed by the right woman. Raine is that woman. She slowly penetrates his cold shell and makes him feel vulnerable. Seth is ruthless, both in his quest for vengeance as in his passion and he may come across as rude or a jerk sometimes in the beginning but he has his heart in the right place. His upbringing and losing everyone he has ever dared to love makes him lash out at people, even at Raine sometimes but he does care deeply for her and would do anything to keep her save.

The secondary characters are intriguing to say the least. McKenna even manages to give one of the alleged bad guys a human side and really make it believable. Connor McLoud and his brother give the book that little bit extra and they also provide the bantering I love in my books...Connor McLoud is a very interesting secondary character and I'm looking forward to his story.

And then there is the plot. Like the characters the plot is excellently written. The reader has more knowledge/information than the characters and normally this endangers the unpredictable twists but McKenna manages to keep the suspense at an amazing high.
It's quite an erotic book but it wasn't the eroticism that kept me enthralled. It was the plot and the characterization. Seeing Seth push aside his coldness and distrust. Seeing Raine develop from a shy, timid woman into a strong one who knows what she wants and goes for it. Those were the things that got to me and made the book a keeper in my eyes. The love scenes are abundant but not annoyingly so. They weren't written to fill the pages but they underlined the development of the characters. Taking the characters' newfound insight in themselves to the bedroom also. They were very intense and sometimes Seth would really touch the boundaries of dominance and manipulation but again well done by McKenna because Raine would pull the brake and put Seth in his place.

McKenna kept me glued to the pages with Seth, Raine, a plot that was original and surprising in all its aspects and she topped it of with some scorching love scenes.

She wanted to writhe against him, crawl inside his skin, touch everything, taste everything. He was so strong, bursting with fierce energy, and she ached with hunger for it.

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March 21, 2008

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Reluctant Bride
By the king's order, Lady Tanon Risande is to be wed to a fierce Welsh prince. Headstrong Tanon has other ideas, and none of them involve submitting to Prince Gareth ap Owain. Yet she can't help but notice how the ladies of the court sigh at his mere glance. And when this rough warrior sets his penetrating gaze on her, Tanon, too, wonders what it would be like to bed a barbarian…

Lady Of Desire
Gareth is determined to prove to his delectable new wife that he saves his savagery for the battlefield, not the bedchamber. He will use far more persuasive methods to lure this lady willingly into his arms—and he looks forward to trying them all. But though Gareth is a prince, he cannot offer Tanon the finery she is used to, nor can he make sure she stays safe in his untamed land. What he can guarantee her is a love unlike any she has ever known…

Gareth ap Owain is a Welsh prince determined to have peace in his homeland. To achieve this he is willing to marry the enemy and sacrifice everything. But the enemy he marries is his childhood friend Tanon Risande for whom he's always had a weakness even when he was a boy. To achieve his precious peace he has to decide what he wants more...peace or the woman he has come to love?
Tanon had always loved the boy who stood up for her when she was a little girl and now that she has become his wife as part of a peace treaty she will do everything in her power to have her love returned. But will her love be stronger than his quest for peace?

From the first page to the last of this final book in the Risande trilogy it was Tanon who captured me. I loved Brynna and Gianelle in their books but Tanon for me was the proverbial "saving the best for last". The peek into her childhood at the beginning set the stage and throughout the book she crept into my heart little by little.
I loved her strength, her bravery, the way she didn't let Gareth intimidate her, the way she took everything that came in her path with courage and enthusiasm. She has become one of my favorite heroines.
Though I loved Gareth -who wouldn't!- he didn't enchant me as Brand and Dante did. I guess the Risande men are unique in their ability to entice women....
Still he was a great character and a perfect match for Tanon. The way he cared for Tanon from when they were kids to their marriage was admirable. He is a man who knows only battle and war but he was caring and patient with her.
Gareth made Tanon shed her mask of dutiful politeness and obedience and show her true and passionate self. Tanon gave Gareth the peace and joy he needed in his battle filled life. They were a couple worthy of closing a wonderful and amazing trilogy.

Again I was drawn to great secondary characters such as Madoc, Cian, Rebecca and Hereward. Of course it was wonderful to see the other members of the Risande family again too. To see how they had done since their own books. Paula Quinn knows how to surround her main characters with an entourage that supports them without taking the attention away from them.

I am sad that I have come to the end of this amazing trilogy.
From the first book to the last, it had everything I look for in the books I love to read: drool-worthy heroes, fierce, brave and outspoken heroines, great secondary characters, a wonderful love story, a well-written plot, sizzling passion and Paula Quinn has the ability to imbed historical facts into the story without them being disturbing, on the contrary: they make the story complete. She describes everything, from clothing and surroundings to food and traditions, with such flair and ease that it's not difficult to picture yourself in medieval England or Wales.

I can't believe I had this trilogy on my bookshelf for almost a year without reading them because if you want a rich medieval tale of love, betrayal, bravery, loyalty and passion...these three books will certainly provide that for you.
To me Paula Quinn is the undefeated champion of medieval romance and the battle to defeat her will be hard and nearly impossible for those who try.

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March 18, 2008

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Every Woman's Desire
Norman Lord Dante Risande never met a woman he couldn't seduce. Until a lovely slave named Gianelle refuses his bed and piques his interest. So when she's accused of murder, he can't sit idly by. As the King's right hand, it's his duty to investigate. But in order to save her, he must buy her.

No Man's Possession
A slave all her life, Gianelle wants nothing to do with men. Especially this silver-eyed, velvet tongued warrior. What she wants is her freedom, not to become another of Dante's conquests. But as the only suspect in the killing of her last master, she has no choice except to put her faith in Dante...a man who questions everything, including her innocence.

From the moment Dante Risande lays eyes on Gianelle, he's captured by her and when she's accused of murder he does everything in his power to protect her. But other than her well being he also wants her heart for she is the first woman able to tempt him into giving his own.
Gianelle Dejiat has never met anyone as enthralling and compassionate as Dante. But she trusts no man, certainly not one who has paid for her. Still Dante's is so very different from all the other men she's known. His compassion and passion melts her heart and defenses.
But before they can live happily ever after they have to battle their own feelings while fighting of a shared enemy who's bent on destroying them both.

Gianelle is not the subdued slave you would expect. She has learned to put up a meek front but underneath that mask is an outspoken and defiant woman. She is brave, spirited and lovely, with a strong sense of justice. Men have abandoned, betrayed or mistreated her so she relies on no man for her happiness.
Dante is a hero who is masculine, passionate and seductive. Until Gianelle he is what I would call a medieval playboy. But beyond the temptation incarnate there is a man who is loyal to the bone and when he learns true love he gives into it with all he has.
Gianelle is a challenge for Dante because she doesn't melt at his feet like all the other women he knows. She has a sharp tongue and doesn't hesitate to let him know exactly what she thinks. The dialogues between Dante and Gianelle are delightful. They are lively and between his seduction and her defiance they set the pages on fire.
They both touched my deepest emotions and the chemistry between them was utterly sensual and palpable.

Next to the hero and heroine who enticed and endeared me there are a number of compelling secondary characters that form the perfect addition to the story. It was lovely to see Brand, Brynna and their children, but Casey, James and Balin captured my heart immediately with their roles in the whole plot.

Again Paula Quinn delivers a captivating medieval tale that touched my every emotion. From laughter to anger, from pity to admiration. My heart throbbed and my breath caught. The love story and the plot were perfectly dosed and mixed, it was nicely paced keeping me reading long into the night, not wanting to put it down. Paula Quinn really knows how to pull her readers deep into the medieval times with the excellent plot, descriptions of habits and ways and historical facts. Add the love story with it's sensual, captivating love scenes and the characters that touch you deeply and you never want to leave this world again…

I can't get enough of Paula Quinn's Risandes and the people who surround them. These books are the perfect way to escape into a medieval paradise!

Gianelle: "I am helpless against my own emotions, held prisoner by a man who needs no locks or shackles to keep me, just his smile, (...) his kiss, his kind words. I'm a prisoner to this land that is also you. For I love it here, and even if I have to suffer your cold indifference, I never want to leave."

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March 16, 2008

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Clever and charming Roslyn Loring, the middle child of three beautiful, independent sisters, knows that true happiness lies in a marriage of the heart – and she has hers set on a love-match with a neighboring earl. Yet her sharp mind has observed an undeniable truth: Gentlemen lavish passion on their mistresses, not their wives. Roslyn realizes that to win her future husband's devotion, she must learn the secrets of kindling a gentleman's ardor. Fortunately, she finds a willing tutor in Drew Moncrief, the Duke of Arden, a notorious rake whispered to be London's most magnificent lover. If his searing kisses are any indication, the duke is the ideal man to teach Roslyn how to be the perfect mistress.

Drew begins schooling Roslyn while coolly guarding his heart. But as best-laid plans are thwarted by unexpected events – including a night of unforgettable passion – Roslyn and her wickedly arousing tutor discover how easily lessons in pleasure can become lessons in love....

When Drew Moncrief, Duke of Arden, agrees to teach the Roslyn Loring how to ensnare the man she wants to marry, he doesn't expect to discover he wants her for himself. After her parents' disastrous marriage Roslyn has vowed to marry only for love and never for convenience. She convinces Drew to teach her how to make the man she wants, fall in love with her but she never knew these lessons would become so enticing that she forgets her intended goal.

What follows is a lovely dance of seduction under the disguise of tutorship. A dance that ends with a love that is so powerful it turns both their worlds upside down.

Drew and Roslyn have totally opposite views of love and marriage. Roslyn believes one should marry out of love and although she is very smart and pragmatic, she also dreams of love, marriage and children despite the poor example her parents were for her. Drew on the other hand doesn't believe in love, being brought up by cold and distant parents who showed him no affection whatsoever, he has no way to know and acknowledge the feeling and he grows into a cynical, dispassionate man who's only goal is to avoid the marry hungry women. But neither Drew nor Roslyn is able to deny the powerful feelings they have towards each other. Drew is both intrigued and annoyed by Roslyn's dismissive behavior towards him. Roslyn is looking for true love and doesn't expect to find this with Drew who claims that true love does not exist.

The second installment of the Courtship Wars trilogy almost reached the intensity level I'm used to from Nicole Jordan.
Although the book began rather tame and sedated, the second half was steamy and intensely emotional. Something I always appreciate in my books.
The build-up of the sensual tension between Drew and Roslyn is delightfully done. Slow and tantalizing, leaving me eager to see the next move in the sensual dance.
In this book the focus is truly on hero and heroine and less on the surrounding characters and situations. I got to know Drew and Roslyn, their fears and dreams and their struggle to accept their feelings for each other. They both are examples of the fact that not everyone is what their outward appearance may lead you to believe.
Again the love scenes were steamy and original, the Nicole Jordan trademark but they also were complementing the story and feelings of the characters.

Still not reaching the level of the Paradise or Notorious Series it is still a book that can keep you entertained with wonderful and well-rounded characters and great sensuality

This was what love did to a man...made him a witless, drooling hound panting at the feet of his loved one in his eagerness to win her smile.

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March 15, 2008

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He Is Every Woman's Fantasy...
Darkly handsome and sensual, Lord Brand Risande--known as "The Passionate"--is temptation incarnate. But his prowess on the battlefield and in the bedchamber hides a bitter secret: the betrayal that has sealed his heart. Now as this most feared warrior rides out to possess the lands he has won in war, he engages his most formidable enemy ever.

And One Woman's Destiny.
Lady Brynnafar Dumont is prepared to do anything to protect her people--even seduce the savage Norman knight who defeated her father. Prepared to face down a cold-blooded beast, she instead confronts a wickedly attractive scoundrel who wants nothing to do with her. It's enough to sting a lady's pride...and strengthen her resolve. Innocent as she is, now she must use all her charms to defeat Lord Brand in the only battle worth fighting--the one for his love.

Brand Risande came to Avarloch to claim his victory and collect his winnings. What he didn't expect was to find the ultimate temptation in the form of a fiery and feisty Saxon lady determined to stay and protect her home.
Brynna Dumont awaited the Norman knight who defeated her father, determined not to give him an inch but she didn't expect him to be the man of her dreams, able to set her body and soul on fire.

I just loved everything about this book: every single character, the love story, the historical background, the love scenes...everything!
I was swooned by William, the brute but intriguing Norman duke. I was impressed by Brynna's father Richard who'd go through fire to protect his daughter and I was charmed by Brand's brother Dante with his perceptive and enthralling character. But being the hero and heroine of the story, Brand and Brynna were the ones who really captured my attention the most. Brynna is proud, stubborn, fearless, defiant and loyal. Prepared to fight for her home and her people. I loved the way she stood up to Brand and wasn't afraid of him or William. When she gives, she gives her fighting and in loving. Brand is a passionate and fierce warrior, He has once been betrayed and therefore distrusting of women and their love. Especially the woman he has to marry against his will. But despite his distrust he develops feelings for her from the very beginning.
Brand is the drool-worthy hero, making me wish I was a lady of those times, just to have a Norman knight like him to yield to. But he's more than just attractive and powerful. Behind the walls he has pulled up to protect his heart from betrayal and hurt, he is honorable and loyal. Once Brynna wins his heart, she has it forever.

This story grabs hold of you and doesn't let go. It has engaging and well-written characters that have so much depth to them they almost aren't two-dimensional anymore. It has a heart-wrenching love story that moves you deep in your heart. It's full of historical tidbits that are easily imbedded into the story, giving it more depth and background. And this all is delivered in an easy and fluent writing style, paced just right. The love scenes are nothing short of masterful, sensual and steamy.

It has been a long time since I indulged in a medieval tale of betrayal, passion, love and trust like this one. It was sultry and luscious and I was truly enchanted and captivated, lured by its brilliance and originality.

He was a beautiful, dark warrior. A warrior who could change his appearance with a simple smile and become an angel.

Brand: "I will take what I want like the demon-possessed savage that I am."

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March 13, 2008

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The last in a fabled line of otherworldly aristocracy, the Lords of Satyr are born to wealth, power, and a talent for sensual delight that mere mortals only dream of. Commanded to marry, these passionate men will travel to Rome, Venice, and Paris—and along the way will explore desires both shamelessly wicked and blissfully divine…

Middle brother Raine is both sensual and stoic. Scarred by a former wife who could not accept his carnal needs, he wants no part in another marriage. But duty commands that he fulfill his promise to wed King Feydon's second daughter, Jordan...

This loyal satyr begins a search that leads him from Tuscany to romantic Venice, where his beautiful bride awaits, unaware of what passionate delights fate has planned for her. Raine is careful not to reveal his powerful satyr sexuality, for fear of driving yet another woman away. But unbeknownst to him, Jordan is no ordinary woman and was born with an insatiable appetite for love. And as Raine's heart begins to melt for her, how long will he be able to hide his true nature when Jordan seems to want him so fiercely?

Giving heed to the wish of the Faerie King Feydon Raine goes in search of his destined bride after Nicholas has found and married the first half Human/half Faerie daughter, Jane. He finds her in Venice and is immediately attracted to her. Although he has vowed not to give in to his needs and keep his distance from Jordan, he finds out that he can't stay away from the brave and enticing Jordan.
Jordan has vowed never let any man rule or own her and she also tries, unsuccessfully though, to keep her heart save from the storm Raine ignites. Together they embark on a journey of love, trust and acceptance, fighting the obstacles that stand in the way of their happiness together.

Jordan is a character who is unusual but very likeable at the same time. I admired her strength. She is quick-minded, practical and brave. She accepts who she is and doesn’t let shame or propriety rule her feelings. It is Raine and her feelings for him that help her discover and accept who and what she is.

Raine surpasses the image I had of him in the first book and he does this beyond my expectations. I thought him remote and cold but he is anything but that. He cloaks himself in remoteness and has perfected keeping his distance from everyone in an almost obsessive way being the brooding, silent brother. He is afraid of getting hurt but his fascination for Jordan and his attraction to her overrides his fear and he learns that passion and happiness is within his reach.

The secondary characters both enemy and friendly are intriguing to say the least.
I loved reading about Nicholas and Jane again. The glimpse of Lyon certainly wasn't enough to satisfy me. I wanted more of him, but luckily in October we'll have all of him.

The book again was very sensual but the emphasis is more on the emotions. The situation with Jordan was a little awkward for me at first, I felt it was a little out of my comfort zone. But reading along I grew more comfortable with it, accepted it and was fascinated. This was mainly due to the skills of Elizabeth Amber. She was able to write a story around it that supported the unfamiliar concept, making it acceptable.
It fitted the whole picture and feel of the book, fitted the story as it was told.

This second installment of The Lords of Satyr trilogy is not for readers who are not open-minded or who are faint of heart. Elizabeth Amber takes some sexual concepts even further than in the first book and she treads upon the boundaries of what is known and familiar or comfortable. But she does this in such a believable and magnificent way that if you are open-minded, you will embrace the story in all its aspects.

In this book I learned a bit more about the ways of the Satyr. More background information was subtly mixed into the story in a way that you could take it in with ease. There was a plot but it was underlying the emotional story. That being said it was a good plot with a revelation at the end I didn't see coming.
I learned more about winemaking along the way but also new things in regards to the history of the Satyr, the Faerie and other mythical beings. And last but not least my sexual horizon has been broadened a bit more and I am surprised as to how open-minded I can be when the concept is being delivered in a masterful and functional way.

Elizabeth Amber enticed me with Nicholas and now she has surprised and captivated me with Raine. I wait in eager anticipation to see what she has in store for us with Lyon!

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March 9, 2008

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Jillian Greene is always getting caught in the act—it's her job! Working at Catch A Mate, Jillian gets paid by suspicious wives to smile, flirt and prove that no man can be trusted around the opposite sex. Her only ground rule? She never gets physical. Until a heart-stoppingly gorgeous male walks in…

Marcus Brody has just been hired as bait to test female fidelity. But the last thing Jillian needs is a partner…especially an infuriating, irresistible man who's got her fantasizing about tearing off his clothes.

Can a savvy modern woman find happiness with the most tempting man she's ever known? Is there such a thing as a totally monogamous male?

Gena Showalter did it again! I should have known but again she surpised and amazed me by taking a questionable concept and turning it into a wonderfull book that was beyond my expectations, which were set pretty high already. The concept of two people working for an agency to expose cheating spouses falling in love is a risky one but she pulls it of and even pulls of the "I-can't-stand-you-but-you-really-turn-me-on" attraction between hero and heroine.

Jillian and Marcus really start of on the wrong foot, taking each other on in a verbal fight that has no comparison. But underneath the animosity that seems to lie on the surface, there's an inmediate and smoldering attraction between them. All their bantering and verbal battles are a very stimulating and thrilling form of foreplay leading into a burning desire that combusts in a sensual climax, literally and figuratively.

Both Jillian and Marcus were amazing characters. Despite their fighting and their outspoken opinion on some things, they are both characters you can both relate to and identify yourself with. Not to mention that Jillian is actually a nice woman behind the walls she has pulled up around herself and Marcus...well suffice to say he's one hot piece of maleness who has his heart in the right place.

Now this was what I call topnotch entertainment combined with genuine emotions that made me swallow the lump in my throat a few times, especially at the end. It was refreshing, touching, sensual, moving and absolutely out of this world fun! Every chapter starts with a real bad come-on or pick-upline. Each one more cheesy than the next and just too corny for words but so funny you start every chapter with a smile plastered on your face. Just for collecting these lines Gena deserves a star.

This book just oozes with humor, wit, sarcasm and agressive banter. The quips fly around so fast it's dazzling, making it an easy and fun read.
It kicks into gear from page one and never slows down. Even without a real actionplot it was fast-paced and mind-blowing.

The secondary characters are as yummie and scrumptious as the hero and as fun and flippant as the heroine. Even one secondary character who annoyed me a bit in the beginning of the book, really got redeemed in the end and won my simpathy. There is also a secondary romance that's nicely mixed into the main story, lovely and complementing and never taking the focus of Jillian and Marcus.
Deep down I'm hoping for some sequel books featuring some of the other employees of the agency. I'm thinking Jake, Selene, Amelia, Matt....

This book kept me glued to the pages loving every page, every paragraph, every single letter! A contemporary romance of which I haven't encountered it's equal.
The combination of verbal fights, the intense underlying emotions and the passionate attraction is something that could have be totally unreal and not believable but it wasn't. With me it all went in like candy. And it was the combination that made the book great for me.
This book proved for me once again why Gena Showalter is on the top of my auto-buy, auto-read and auto-anything list and will certainly stay there.
I'm starting to sound like a broken record but I love, Gena Showalter's writing. It has this magnetic pull on me and I can't even pinpoint what it is exactly. It doesn't matter if it's paranormal, futuristic or contemporary, her writing style, worlds, characters and humor pull me in and keep me captivated throughout the books.

The door opened completely and those five godlike creatures entered the room. Peeping Tom, followed by a blond Adonis and a mocha-colored muscleman. After him was a redheaded guy who was burly and rugged.
Last, there was a dark-haired. blue-eyed platter of deliciousness.

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March 5, 2008

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Marcus Pierce, a strikingly handsome aristocrat with a wicked reputation, inherits guardianship of spirited Arabella Loring and her two younger sisters – and immediately declares his intention to marry them off. But enchantingly defiant Arabella sparks frustration – and something deeply erotic – in Marcus. After matching both wits and swords with her, the possessive nobleman concludes this beautiful and formidable foe must be his.

Having sworn off marriage and men, Arabella wishes to be left alone to run her finishing school for young ladies. To that end, she boldly accepts Marcus's intimate challenge: if he can woo and win her within two weeks, she'll take her place in his bed as his wife. However, if she can resist his considerable charms, the Loring sisters will be granted their independence. Thus an extraordinary game of seduction begins....

All is fair in love and war...and the stakes are high when this battle begins with a tempting wager....

Marcus Pierce inherits the title of the Earl of Danvers and with it three lovely wards who have no desire to have a guardian. His only goal is to get the wards married so they are no longer his responsibility. But one look at his eldest ward, Arabella Loring and he decides he wants her for himself. He is entranced by her beauty, intelligence and fiery spirit and lures her into a seductive wager dangling her and her sisters' independence in front of her.
Arabella can't back down from the challenge and takes him on, not knowing they will both win something they never intended to.

Both Marcus and Arabella have poor examples of marriage as their parents didn't have the happy versions of it. Marcus' parents were cold and dispassionate towards each other and Arabella's were bitter and spiteful. This explains their reluctance towards marriage but during the story their reluctance is replaced by passion and love one step at a time in a courtship that's endearing and enthralling.

It had been a while since I read Nicole Jordan and I must say the silence has been deliciously broken with a delectable story of love, trust and passion spiced with banter and romantic seduction. As always Jordan is a master in the sensual department offering luscious and spine tingling love scenes. But she also offers a lot of background information on both hero and heroine and the secondary characters who will have their own books in this trilogy: the other two Loring sisters and Marcus' two best buddies. Very carefully she sets up the stage for the two following books.

I enjoyed this book a lot but I must honestly say that it was less intense than her other series I have read. It was a light, playful and pleasurable read but that was it.
The reason for it was that I felt it was more of a set-up book, preparing for the books to come in the trilogy and I hope they will be provide a bit more of the intensity I like in Nicole Jordan's books. Still I have to say that I really enjoyed the interactions and the bantering between Arabella and Marcus. The battle of wits between Marcus and Arabella is sparkling and vivid. The attraction between the two of them is tangible and Marcus' game of seduction is very sensual. It's delightful to read how little by little he wins Arabella's passion and ultimately her love. They provided me with some nice reading hours.

The opening salvo of the Courtship War Trilogy has sounded with a delightful tale of love, wit and passion. I'm very curious as to how the rest of the war will unfold.

His blue gaze was sensual and very male. That, combined with the low, husky sound of his voice when he merely apologized for his tardiness, stroked Arabella's nerve endings with pleasure and turned her limbs to jelly.

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March 2, 2008

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Copper Ashcroft is an accomplished D'Anu witch, but the magic she wields is a potent force-strong enough to hurl her into a mysterious Otherworld when a spell backfires. Before Copper can escape, another being is pulled into her realm-Tiernan, a powerfully virile Tuatha D'Danann warrior. Blond, blue-eyed, and shamelessly seductive, Tiernan could be Copper's savior and his touch sets her body on fire.

Like others of his kind, Tiernan stands alongside the D'Anu witches to battle the demons of the Underworld. Obligation to his cause and his people cautions against any entanglement with Copper, yet each second spent with this beautiful, uninhibited woman stirs an insatiable hunger. Desire explodes into carnal bliss, but the visions that haunt Copper's dreams are growing stronger, and they foretell a terrifying evil waiting to be unleashed.

Saving the city will take more than brute strength, more than witchcraft. Only together can Copper and Tiernan find a way to overcome the dark forces-and seize a passion that has bewitched them both.

The book starts with Copper Ashcroft (Silver Ashcroft. the heroine from book 1 is her sister) ending up confined in a bubble in Otherworld after trying to send the evil warlock Darkwolf to Otherworld.
When she tries to spell her way out of Otherworld she spells Tiernan into her bubble, a Tuatha D'Danann Enforcer who fought the Balorites and Fomorii alongside Silver and Hawk in book 1. They are instantly attracted to each other but before they can be together they have a long way to go and many obstacles to overcome.

Copper is a vivacious and willful witch who has more control over her gray witchcraft than her sister Silver. She is brave and opinionated. She knows what she wants and she goes for it. But she also has a big heart and will do anything to keep her loved ones save. She tries to be tough but she does revel in Tiernan's affections and he represents everything she wants in a man.
Tiernan has always lived torn between two worlds: being a D'Danann warrior and also being a member of the D'Danann court (the highest nobility of Otherworld). He is dutiful and honorable and being the heir to his House, he has obligations to his family. Initially he seems a bit arrogant but he's is very tender and caring towards Copper.

Meeting Copper makes Tiernan want to forget his obligations in favor of passion and ultimately love. In the end he has to make a difficult choice between his feelings for and future with Copper and his strong feelings of duty, responsibility and obligation to his family.
The attraction between Copper and Tiernan is explosive and has a sort of clashing character as both of them have a tendency to dominate. They both give as well as they get. They are characters you both like immediately and you understand their motivations and choices.

There is a lot going on in this book but it's brought in such a way it's never chaotic or too much. Even though the plot is much the same as in the first book still this one has a unique and different feel to it. Plot, love scenes and characters are perfectly blended together and give this book it's own vibe that was able to captivate me. With much ease McCray makes magic and paranormal elements understandable and logical. What I absolutely liked about the book is that every action, however small it might be or seem has consequences for the big picture and the main story but you only discover that when everything is said and done. Even though you already know the main plot there are so many unpredictable and surprising elements and twists and that made it a more than agreeable read for me.

The battle of the witches and the Fae warriors against evil continues with a vengeance and an evil far worse than the warlocks and the demons makes itself known and this doesn't bode well for the witches and the warriors.
Many characters from book return and play a big part in the action as we see Silver, Hawk, Darkwolf and Junga locked in battle once again, this time joined by Copper and Tiernan.
New and crucial characters are introduced, both friendly and evil. It's inevitable that they will have bigger roles in future books.
Darkwolf remains an intriguing bad guy. His fascination for Silver and her fear of him continues right where we left it in book 1 and the feeling that there is much more to him than meets the eye grew stronger reading this book.

With the love scenes I had the same feeling as in book 1. They are powerful, explicit and graphic but they form a good addition to the story and a nice alternation with the action-filled plot. If you like your love scenes less erotic or explicit I do not recommend this series. Luckily I like my love scenes hot and steamy so I can this was right up my alley.
Combining urban, paranormal fantasy with erotic romance seems to be a combination that works perfectly in this series. The contrast between the magic and the raw and elemental passion was well written, complementing to the feel of the story. It kept me reading way into the night not wanting to put it down.

In this second installment of the Magic Series the battle between good and evil continues in the world of the D'Danann warriors, the D'Anu witches, the Balorite warlocks and the Fomorii demons. Again McCray demonstrates her thorough knowledge of witchcraft and magic and she combines it with a fast-paced, action-filled plot and erotic scenes that singe the pages.
With the first book in this series Cheyenne McCray captured my attention and with the second she has managed to entice me further and I crave the next installment to see if she'll be able to crack it up another notch.

He wanted to be gentle with her, but he could not. Just kissing her slammed him with more need and desire than he thought could ever be quenched.

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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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GR Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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