June 28, 2008

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Due to a well-deserved vacation I won't be online from June 28th until July 14th.
We're heading off to Tuscany, Italy. Hopefully towards sun, fun, relaxation, beautiful villages, lots of wine and of course I'm hoping for plenty of reading time to read the pile of books I'm taking with me!

See you all in two weeks!



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June 27, 2008
June was a good reading month and it was also Lora Leigh month! I started with Lora and almost ended with Lora.
I read a bunch of the Breeds: books 2 through 6 (THE MAN WITHIN, ELIZABETH'S WOLF, KISSING HEAT, SOUL DEEP and THE BREED NEXT DOOR) and the next two books (MEGAN'S MARK and HARMONY's WAY) are going with me on vacation, but more about that later.
I also read books 2 and 3 in the Bound Hearts series (SUBMISSION and SEDUCTION). I can't praise Lora Leigh enough and she is the first person ever to make an idolizing fangirl out of me.

But I read more than just Lora Leigh. I know it's hard to believe if you look at my reviews but I really did :-)
I read a very disappointing LOVER ENSHRINED by J.R.Ward. Despite the low expectations on the romance front I had no connection whatsoever with Phury and the other plots that were supposed to spice up the story were just disturbing to the build-up of that connection. Still I'm looking forward to Rehv's story coming out next year. If just to know how things in the Black Dagger Brotherhood-world will evolve now.

I also read DARKEST KISS (Gena Showalter) and LORD SCANDAL (Kalen Hughes). Both books I was waiting for in eager anticipation and both books didn't disappoint!

It was a slow month in purchases. I had a small order with Proxis but mostly books that are coming out end of this month so they will come in beginning of July, and I was expecting an Mbag from the US with some paperbacks and hardcovers from my seller over there.
NIGHTKEEPERS by Jessica Andersen and the mentioned Mbag came in just before the holiday.
In the Mbag were the first two LORDS OF THE UNDERWORLD (THE DARKEST KISS and THE DARKEST NIGHT by Gena Showalter) hardcovers, so I was ecstatic! My first Gena Showalter hardcovers and I will treasure them and protect them with my life!!!

In the ARC departement I only read MASTER OF SURRENDER by Karin Tabke for REALMSONOURBOOKSHELVES. This was a book I was glad to review. I loved it and after my holiday the review will be posted here. In the meantime you can find it on the RECENTLY UPDATED-page of RealmsOnOurBookshelves

On to the new discoveries and interesting tidbits on known authors...
I did order books from two totally new authors to me: HER ONLY DESIRE by debut author Kimberly Killion and PLEASURE UNBOUND by Larissa Ione (one of the authors behind the pen-name Sydney Croft).

There are some names I want to dive into and see if I can add their books to my orderlists but due to preparing for the holiday and a few very busy weeks they will have to wait for next month. I'm talking about Roxanne St. Claire (romantic suspense) and Christine Warren (paranormal).

Lara Adrian gave a peek of the cover of VEIL OF MIDNIGHT and the backcover blurb..loved them
but have to wait till December 30th for the book to come out!

Titles for Monica McCarty's new trilogy coming back to back Spring 2009 were announced on her blog. Love the titles!! I Can't wait for the covers..or the books for that matter...

In closing I'm posting early this month, June 27th in stead of July 1st because of my vacation from June 28th till July 14th
I made a list for the books I'm taking with me to read on vacation and these are the books that survived the cut:

Playing with Fire - Gena Showalter
Shadow Magic - Cheyenne McCray
Megan's Mark - Lora Leigh
Harmony's Way - Lora Leigh
Hot Night - Shannon McKenna
Nightkeepers - Jessica Andersen
To the Limit - Cindy Gerard
To the Edge - Cindy Gerard
Visions of Heat - Nalini Singh
Slave to Sensation - Nalini Singh
Lord of Ice - Gaelen Foley
Lord of Fire - Gaelen Foley


I'm finishing the month June with OUT OF CONTROL by Shannon McKenna...
June 26, 2008
This story is part of the anthology HOT SPELL.


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Lyra’s neighbor can’t be for real. A man that stares at home baked bread like he’s never tasted it. Who chops his lawn up with the powerful weed eater and lawn mower he has. A man that makes her hormones stand up and scream every time she sees him. He cut down her rosebush, and he’s breaking through her reserve to invade her dreams at night.

But Tarek Jordan is much more than he seems. A Breed Enforcer with a plan. First, find the Council Trainer he’s tracked to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and second, claim the woman he knows belongs to him alone. Until the danger that shadows his life begins to shadow hers as well, and then Tarek knows, he can’t wait to claim the woman his heart and soul burns for. His next-door neighbor will have to accept him as he is, and now on his terms, rather than hers.


Lyra is the perfect Breed heroine. She's feisty, headstrong, passionate and doesn't take any crap from Tarek. She's used to handling arrogant and dominant men like Tarek, having three brothers who meddle in her life constantly.
Tarek is a Lion Breed on assignment for the Feline Pride. He's a bounty hunter and assassin on the hunt for a Trainer who used to work in the Council's Labs. He is scarred both physically and emotionally, almost broken by his upbringing in the labs, but that doesn't prevent him from wanting and longing for "human" things like love, affection and happiness. Tarek is unpolished and not the social type but still he possesses the code of honor all the Breed males have naturally.

As with most of the anthology-stories there is no real room for many secondary characters. In this one Jonas (head of Feline Enforcer Affairs) makes a brief appearance and Braden is just mentioned but I know he is the hero of the next Breed book (MEGAN'S MARK). Lyra's father and brothers also make a brief but impressive appearance.

This story gripped me emotionally from the prologue down to the last chapter. The opening sentence was enough to launch me into the emotional world of Breeds and their mates I have come to know and love. After the prologue it starts right away with fireworks between the neighbors Lyra Mason and Tarek Jordan arguing over landscaping skills. Their bantering is fast, fun and hot, laced with sexual undertones you know will be explored before half of the story is reached.

This installment in the Breeds takes us a bit further in time, taking place seven years after the end the first book. But Lora Leigh also takes it a step further plot wise with a Breed World that's getting more self-sufficient and powerful with rules, leaders, enforcers and political power to go after the scientists and trainers who tormented them in their labs. There is a first real confrontation, be it a very small one, between Breed and Council in the form of Tarek and the Trainer he's after. It was very intriguing and left me wanting more of these scenes, more insight into the conflict between them.

Even if I hadn’t known I could have guessed the change in publishers for this story. In comparison with the Ellora's Cave installments (which all the previous books were), the sex is subtler. Don't get me wrong because it's still explicit but the focus is a bit more on the emotions and the more intricate plot developments. Next to the intense emotional and sexual moments there were plenty of dialogues that put a smile on my face. Lora Leigh mixes humor effortlessly with intensity and sexuality, creating a nice vibe to the whole story.

Within the Breeds Series I really have a strong preference for the Felines over the Wolves, with the exception of ELIZABETH'S WOLF (that was the best one in the whole series so far for me). The character and plot developement of the Feline-books are immensely appealing to me, at least until this 6th part. I still have some Wolf Breeds to read further along in the series.

For me this story was just too short. I would have loved a full-length book on Lyra and Tarek but I had to make due with the about 90 pages it had. I can say Lora Leigh made the pages count, delivering another great installment of the Breeds. I can't wait to start with the full-length books that I have ahead of me in the Series. I suspect these short stories were just the appetizers and I'm in for a meal fit for kings!

The following two quotes show exactly the perfect blend of eroticism and emotion Lora Leigh masters like few other authors can.


Quotes:
"Now is not the time to be nice, Tarek," she snapped, infuriated at him. "But I want to be nice to you." (...)"I want to be very nice to you, Lyra. I want to lay you down on that couch, spread your pretty legs, and show you just how nice I can be to you. Wouldn't you like that, baby?"

Velvet darkness enclosed her as the words whispered free, her heart expanding as her soul seemed to lift, shudder and open to accept a part of him that she knew not even death could steal.



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June 25, 2008

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A SHOCKING SCANDAL. . .
The last thing the Portrait Divorcée needs is to have her name connected to that of the equally infamous Brimstone. But the infuriating rake has made it very clear that he’s bent on nothing less than her complete surrender. Rich widows take lovers. Poor divorcées become mistresses. And those with powerful families tread carefully, lest they incite their family’s wrath, a tragic outcome she’s all too familiar with . . .

IS WELL WORTH THE PLEASURE. . .
Gabriel Angelstone, the handsome scourge of the ton, has taken one of life’s lessons to heart: Love ruins everything. But the irresistible challenge of seducing Imogen Mowbray, a woman whose past is every bit as scandalous as his own, quickly has him rethinking that conclusion. Perhaps the only women worth loving are the fallen ones . . .


A “scandal”, as always blown out of proportion by the Ton, leads Imogen Mowbray to a life in poverty when her husband divorces her and her family wash their hands from her. Meeting Georgianna (George), Lady Somercote, changes her life in many ways she never could have imagined.
Gabriel Angelstone (love that name!!) has scandal written all over him. He is the great-grandson of a Duke and grandson of a Turkish Pasha. Combined with his exotic charisma and his loose behavior with women this makes him a welcome subject of the Ton's gossip and now he finds himself adding fuel to the fire by pursuing the epitome of scandal: Imogen.

Gabriel and Imogen are drawn to each other but they are both reluctant to acknowledge their feelings. Their attraction is instant and their love grows slowly but deeply. However they are not willing to give in to it, Imogen because she fears scandal will be tied to her name again now that she's trying to get her life back together and avoid any more scandal. Gabriel is reluctant because he's content with his flirtations and affairs and he's not the marrying kind.

Although I enjoyed both the main characters I do have the feeling they could have been fleshed out a bit more in terms of background and depth. I would have liked to see them more rounded. Both Gabriel past and Imogen's so-called scandal relied a bit too much on the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks.
But overall I liked their characters and their story. I loved it when Gabriel stood up for Imogen and confronted first her brother and then her ex-husband. A true knight in shining armor.

Again there's a multitude of secondary characters: family, friends, society-members and children. They definitely give the book more body and provide reference for the main characters but it's hard to keep track of them all throughout the book and it's a bit confusing trying to get the connections between them and the main characters. But this is really minor point since despite their great numbers they don't take the focus away from Gabriel and Imogen.
Imogen's family (her parents and brother) are just horrible, they are cold-hearted, society-ruled snobs.

One prominently present secondary character is George (the heroine from book 1, LORD SIN). She not only plays a crucial part in both Imogen and Gabriel's lives but also in their decisions towards each other. I did not expect her to have such a big supporting role after her own book and it was a nice and pleasant surprise. She was as wonderful a secondary character in this book as she was a heroine in her own. It was a bonus to see how her life continued after having her HEA (happily ever after).

With LORD SCANDAL, from the first scene I was thrown back into the sentiment I had when I closed LORD SIN: a sentiment of satisfaction, enjoyment and recognition. Though the overall story didn't have the impact on me that the first book had, I still indulged in a beautiful historical love story. Rich in detail and description, pure and simple in characters and plot.
There were some very little errors (if I can call them that) but the only one worth mentioning is that Imogen's brother is called Richard at one moment (p. 146) and later in the book his name is Robert (p.236).

The love scenes are original and refreshing in a simple way. In this case the phrase "less is more" certainly applies. There's a lot of variation in them and they absolutely fit Kalen Hughes' writing style that is equally refreshing and unique.
She has a keen eye for historical detail and the habits and ways of the time-period her stories take place in. This is something you notice in her books immediately and is the reason I hope there will be more wonderful installments in this Rakes of London series. It's certainly not a question of finding heroes because in George's environment there are enough intriguing bachelors left who need the firm hand of a lady to keep them straight. I have my suspicions as to who will be the main characters in the next book, but I'll have to wait till it comes out to see if my guess is right.

Kalen Hughes’ LORD SCANDAL provided me with a rich and great written novel of acceptation, redemption, soul mates and subtle matchmaking that kept me entertained and enthralled to the very last satisfying page.


Quote:
After years on the town he could tell when a woman was ripe to fall en when she wasn't. Miss Mowbray had already fallen. She was just lying there, waiting for someone to pick her up.




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June 23, 2008

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SUBMISSION (book 2)

In her desperation to repair the rift between herself and her daughter, Ella moves back to Virginia, and agrees to allow the ghost of her past back into her life.

As a favor to her daughter, she allows James Wyman, Jesse's twin, to stay the week in her new home. James. Dominating. Sexy. Younger. The man that has filled her most secret fantasies, her most forbidden desires. And James is determined Ella won't escape him again. This time, she will submit…


Ella Delacourte has moved from her familiar surroundings to be near to her daughter (Tess from book 1) and friends. She has also moved back to the danger called, James Wyman. The only man who can make her fantasize and who can make her lose her self-imposed control. And to make matters worse she has volunteered to let him stay at her house, waiting for a house he has bought. How can she resist temptation when temptation is determined to break her control?
James has waited five years to break Ella's control, to have her admit to her deepest desires and now he has the chance. A chance he is definitely going to take. A chance to share his feelings with the woman he has loved for five years. The only woman who has the power to make him lose his own control.

Ella has always controlled, denied her inner desires. Knowing that she would not be able to handle losing control she has kept them under a tight leash. She has always condemned her ex-husband and daughter's sexual tastes but deep down she has those same tastes, she just doesn't want to give in to them because she can't reconcile them with her concepts of love and marriage. This inability was fed by her own marriage. She and her husband were not compatible sexually and this has had a big impact on her. They married out of obligatory feelings. The divorce left Ella bitter and lonely. When James makes her lose her precious control she lashes out to him but in fact she is fighting herself.
James is a bit younger than Ella but he's determined to show her that he is the right man for her. That what her ex-husband wanted from her is not the same as he wants from her. James is confident and dominating, he doesn't let Ella crawl back into her safe little hiding place. He taunts her, tempts her, and challenges her.
A turning point toward acceptation of her feelings and her needs is reached when Ella tries to get James to lose control and she unleashes something in him, something she wants from him without consciously knowing it.

Another "pack" of men is thrown my way with this book. They are called the Trojans, known for their dominance and their sexual habits. Their need to give their women the ultimate pleasure in the form of a ménage but only until the third in their play finds his own woman.
The third with Ella and James is Saxton (Sax), his role in the book was purely being the third but he will have his own story further along in the series.

Once again I'm starting to sound like a broken record but I really like Lora Leigh's style. She writes in a lively, humorous way and still it's intense and emotional. She is a master in the erotic parts of the book but even if I would leave those parts out of the overall story I would have an enjoyable read. But combined with her dialogues, the interaction and connection between the main couple, the secondary characters, they all strike the right chord with me.
I must mention that the erotic parts are really explicit. More than in her Breeds series. They include ménage, toys and bondage so if you are not into these kinds of reads, don't start this series because the sex takes a more prominent place. It forms a big part of the story's dynamic, next to the strong emotions.
I'm not as much in awe of this series as I am with the Breeds but Lora Leigh stays on my favorite author-list because of her ability to write stories that mesmerize me and keep my attention at all times even when some of the concepts aren't as much in the comfort zone as some would like. To enjoy this series you must be open-minded to some of the things that happen. Things that aren't weird but they also aren't found in mainstream romance.

This is a story of mutual needs and desires, of controlled determination and defiance and ultimately of a very passionate bond of trust and love.


Quotes:
She was out of control. She, who had kept her control wrapped about her like a mantle of protection, had fallen as easily to this man as a virgin with no knowledge of the heartache awaiting her.

“No, Ella. I would never put you in the middle of an orgy,” he promised her smoothly. “What I will put you in the middle of is more pleasure than you’ve known could exist. Pleasure I know you want. Need. Even now, after the past three days, you aren’t satisfied. You climax until you nearly pass out with the pleasure of it, but you need more. And, by God, tonight I’ll make sure you have what you need, or I won’t bother trying anymore. I love you, Ella. Love you until my heart breaks with it, but I won’t beg you, and I won’t let you deny either of our needs. Now think about that.”



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SEDUCTION (book 3)

Jesse Wyman knows Terrie’s reluctance to accept the desires that are a natural part of him. Desires he sees lurking in the darkest depths of her eyes. But Terrie must accept those needs herself. In a bold and risky turn, Jesse dares her to seduce him. Challenges her to accept her needs, to push her own boundaries. She must convince him. She must be willing to risk her heart, her very soul, for the ultimate prize. But is Terrie more daring than even Jesse knew?

Jesse Wyman has had his eye on Terrie for years. He decides he's waited long enough and sets things into motion by daring Terrie to seduce him.
Terrie chose to deny her inner desires and her fear of Jesse's sexual needs lead to her marrying the "safe" Wyman brother, but now, 3 years after his death, her deepest, hidden desires have come back to haunt her in the form of a challenge put out by Jesse.

Jesse was the third (the addition to the couple in the ménage) in book 1 and he's is James' (hero in book 2) twin brother.
Terrie is Ella's (heroine in book 2) best friend and the widow of James and Jesse's older brother Thomas. Her marriage to Thomas left her broken and insecure. He left no opportunity unused to point out her faults and sexual deficiencies. Her fear for Jesse's sexuality and needs drove her to a man with a cruel side that was far more dangerous to her than Jesse's need for sexual dominance and submission. Someone who almost destroyed her zest for life and its pleasures. Almost because she despite her insecurities, certainly where Jesse is concerned, she still has enough fire in her to give Jesse a run for his money. Taunting and defying him every chance she has.
I liked the chemistry and interactions between Jesse and Terrie a lot. For me it was better than with Ella and James in book 2. They flash from anger to sexual tension, to caring, to comfort, to passion, to dominance. It sizzled and sparkled and Jesse definitely has a personality and demeanor that appealed to me on every level. Terry is bold, despite the insecurities, imposed on her by her husband, this shows in small things but it's definitely there.
Jesse is as drool worthy as any hero can be. Masculine, self-confident, exuding raw male energy and ready to take the woman he has loved and wanted for years, head on.

I truly liked Tally, Terrie's friend and Jesse's secretary. She's as defiant and fiery as Terrie is. She is the heroine of the next book and if her part in this one is anything to go by, it's going to be fireworks all the way. The third in this book was an intriguing character I'm looking forward to reading more about. And my wish will come true because he and Tally are main characters of the next book. As in secondary characters this was it and it fitted the book. The story doesn't give way to secondary characters and they are not needed. The main focus is Terrie and Jesse's emotional connection and their sexual journey.

In every next installment of this series LL has had a bigger page-count and it shows in the stories. They get more elaborate and there is more depth next to the sexual plot of ménage and the emotional love story.
What made this book even better for me was that the relationship between hero and heroine is more equal. Terrie gives as good as she gets and is more on the same level with Jesse than Tess and Ella were with Cole and James. I loved a little twist in the story I really wasn't expecting, a twist that shows just how much of Terrie's fiery self survived her husband's cruelty.
I kept on reading their sensual byplay with breathless anticipation. Eager to know what would happen next in their challenging game of seduction. For me there was a big difference between this book and the two previous ones. With this book I connected with the characters and story much more than with books 1 and 2. The series is taking form on an emotional level that's very intense and with every book I am more fascinated and intrigued to know more. I have good hope that Lora Leigh will continue this upward spiral and keep me captivated with this unconventional series.
Readers should take in account that these books are explicitly and graphically erotic. If you don't like to come out of your comfort zone in that aspect, it's better to pass these books by. But if you are open to it and don't mind the explicitness there is a wonderful emotional story of need, mutual pleasure and true bonding and love that enriches the sexual part of the book. For me it's kind of yin and yang, they complement each other and neither would be as good without the other. This trademarks and attracts me in Lora Leigh's writing. It puts her on my A-list and makes her one of my favorite erotic romance authors.


Quotes:
“You think you’re so brave,” he said, his voice gentle. So gentle, so filled with obvious affection, that she felt her throat tighten with emotion. He could do that to her so easily. Have her furious, ready to flay him alive, then turn so soft, so incredibly tender she wanted to melt into a puddle of arousal at his feet.

His cry was torn from his very soul as the pleasure rocked him, shuddered through him, left him gasping in an aftermath so intense he wondered if he would ever truly recover.



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June 22, 2008

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He is Death, destined to be her executioner.
Ordered by the gods to escort the tempestuous Anya’s soul to hell, Lucien is an immortal warrior torn between duty and desire. For Anya sparks the flames of passion inside him as no one else ever has.
She is Anarchy, as beautiful as she is deadly.
There is nothing Anya wants more than to be Lucien’s lover. His half-hearted attempts to kill her are exhilarating. His kisses – electrifying.

They should have been enemies but they become allies, traveling the world to find and destroy an ancient relic of the gods before it can be used against him -- separating them for eternity.



Against a background of the battle between the Lords of the Underworld and the Hunters who want them destroyed, a story of an unlikely romance and love unfolds while the search for Pandora's box intensifies and takes a new turn. In this second installment of the Lords of the Underworld Series, Lucien and Anya will not only battle their own demons and curses, but also an arrogant King of Titans, Cronus, Hunters who are trying to find Pandora's box in order to get rid of the Lords for once and for all and they have to overcome the issues they have with love and affection.

Lucien was a character who snuck up on me. Before reading this book and in the first half of the book he was an enigma and it was hard for me to figure out what kind of character he really was. He and Death were so different from the other Lords and their demons. In the first book he didn't appeal that much to me but in this one, his own, he really grew on me and I loved him as the hero and in the way he dealt with Anya and his feelings for her.

Anya was a character who rubbed me the wrong way in the other books but she totally and utterly redeemed herself in her own book. Getting to know her background and her motivations I could sympathize with the way she had to deal with life in order to live and survive in the independence she craves so much. She was the breeze of humor that kept the book entertaining and funny. A true counterpart to Lucien's intensity and seriousness.

Lucien and Anya are two ultimate opposites, I have hardly read about two characters more different than these two, but still Gena Showalter makes it work between them in a wonderful way. Anya is the embodiment of Anarchy. She is fiery, chaotic, cheeky and lively. Lucien is disciplined, contained, brooding and serious.
Anya is witty and vibrant where Lucien is scarred, both inside and out. Anya is life to Lucien's death in multiple ways, both literally and metaphorically. I really enjoyed the interactions between Lucien and Anya.

Again strong secondary characters that played their part when needed, enriched the story and though they were crucial in some parts they never stole the spotlight from Anya and Lucien.
I was treated to a powerful, manipulative and arrogant King of Gods, Cronus, whom I loved to hate but still even he intrigued me. I can't shake the feeling that Cronus has some ulterior motive that doesn't necessary have to be an evil motive. I think it's something totally different than what his actions are leading the reader to believe at this moment. Behind every demand or order from him there is something that drives him, but what? This will probably (and hopefully) be disclosed further in the series.
I loved the camaraderie and bantering between the Lords.
The tidbits of the other Lords like Paris, Reyes, Aeron and Gideon are very interesting and I know that when the whole series is complete I will be one happy reader.

Gena Showalter has written an enthralling, endearing and touching installment in a series that is at the top of my favorite list. Every book has it's own vibe, it's own feel and still the recurring plot that is taking on a solid form links them all together to form a great whole. In every book just enough information on the plot is revealed to answer some questions the reader has, but at the same time provides a non-spoiler set-up for the next book or even books after that.

This book was perfectly dosed, mixing heart-stirring romance, fast-paced action, fascinating mythology, great humor and amazing characters in a way only Gena Showalter can do it for me.



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June 15, 2008
This book was released on May 27th and I reviewed it for REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES


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Dedicated, driven real estate agent Julie Ferris is enjoying a day at the beach with her sister Laura when a strange, almost undetectable charge fills the air. Then under the hot Malibu sun, time stops altogether.
Neither sister can explain their "lost day" --nor the blinding headaches or horrific nightmares that follow-- but Julie chalks it up to the stress she's been under since her boss' son took over Donovan Real Estate.

Patrick Donovan would be a real catch if not for his notorious playboy lifestyle and matching attitude. But when a cocaine-fueled heart attack nearly kills him, Patrick makes an astonishingly fast --and peculiar-- recovery. Julie barely recognizes the newly sober Patrick as the same man she once struggled to resist. Maybe it's the strange beach experience fueling her paranoia, but she can't help sensing something just isn't...right.
As Julie's feelings for Patrick intensify, she's about to discover how that day at the beach links her newfound happiness with her wildest suspicions...



Julie Ferris has always been attracted to Patrick but because of his destructive way of life and his playboy behavior she has never given into those feelings.
One day when they are on the beach, aliens abduct Julie and her sister Laura without being aware of it. The only consequences of the experience are their nightmares, Julie's migraines and Laura's paranoid behavior.
Not long after their abduction Patrick Donovan has a heart attack and his body is taken over by Val in order to investigate why Julie resists the alien tests and examinations
Julie discovers that with the "new and improved" Patrick, she has more and more trouble resisting him.

It was interesting to see how Val deals with Patrick's memories, sensations and experiences and at the same time it's difficult at first to discern what feelings are Patrick's and what are Val's. Reading I was wondering how Val was going to pull it of and how he was going to explain everything to Julie and what twist Kat Martin was going to give it. The way everything came out was a little predictable but still a very believable one.
For me Val was the most engaging character of the book. The other characters were rather kept on the surface. I didn't get to know and understand them as much as I would like. There is background information that hints about certain things but it didn't go far enough for me to truly empathize or relate to them as much as I wanted to.

The book started quite slowly paced and didn't pull me right in, but gradually I did get into the story and I learned to appreciate the writing style even though the subject wasn't one of my personal favorites.
The book was not intense as some other paranormals or suspense books, but in retrospect it didn't need intensity to keep the reader interested in the outcome of the story. There is some minor suspense plot and some romance but the focus is on the paranormal, the extraterrestrials and alien abduction plot
In the beginning it wasn't able to keep my attention and had a bit of trouble getting into the first few chapters.
I think this has mostly to do with my personal taste because it was well-written with an original concept but I’m not really into the whole alien abduction thing and that is what the book basically came down to.
But after the first half the story started to grow on me more and I really loved last few chapters of the book, where emotions and feelings came more into the story and gave it more of what I like in my books, the stirring of my own emotions.

This paranormal was more realistic than what I'm used to and it was a nice change for all the fantasy escapism I'm used to and which I prefer in the paranormal genre. It focuses more on the realistic possibilities of the existence of otherworlders and the skepticism believers in alien existence have to deal with.
While reading I noticed Kat Martin did extensive research into UFO's, close encounters, alien abduction and space travel. I have to applaud this because it gave the book that realistic feel.

For me it's difficult to rate this book because although the subject/concept isn't to my personal taste, the writing, the characters and plot are quite good.
The alien abduction plot is the main plot and for me the characters weren't strong enough, with the exception of the last few chapters, to carry the story without the need for a plot more to my personal taste with a bit more action or suspense.

When a writer knows how to intrigue me with a subject that is not to my taste I can't but applaud her and her writing. Kat Martin was able to do this with Season of Strangers and I can recommend this book to everyone who is interested in a well-written and well-researched romance novel in this genre.


Quote
But of course his heart wasn't fine at all. It was broken. He had read the term and now he understood it, and it was even more painful than the words implied. His heart had been sliced in two by a fiery little redhead with the courage to confront him with the truth.



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June 14, 2008

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Mother Nature has a way of making the most unlikely couples ‘fit’. And what could be more unlikely than a sassy, independent President’s daughter who doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut and a loner Coyote Breed with a hunger for a cute rosebud mouth that he’s determined to still.

The vote for Breed Law is coming down the pike. Kiowa’s job is to watch Amanda, the President’s daughter—look, but not touch. Just make sure the Goof Troop, the Secret Service detail assigned to protect her, do their job until the law is passed.
But when they don’t and the bad guys move in to take her out, Kiowa reluctantly slips in to the rescue, snatching her away to safety. But she isn’t going to come easy and it takes more than smooth talking to make her see his point of view.

For a man who’s had nothing, Amanda Marion is food for the hunger that has tortured him, the reality to every dream Kiowa never dared believe in. What he feels for her is more than heat, more than love. She breathes life into his hardened heart, melting the icy chill that has protected him all his life, and touches a part of him that he thought had died—his soul. And now he’ll kill anyone who tries to take her away from him.
But the one person he can’t fight is Amanda, and when she wants to leave…



When the President is about to pass the Breed Law, a law enforcing the Breeds to take action against the attacks on their compound and ensure safety for themselves and their mates, the Purists try to influence him by attempting to kidnap his daughter, Amanda Marion. But they didn't count on Kiowa, a Coyote Breed, assigned to keep an eye on her just because the Breeds suspected this action by the Purists.
Little does Amanda know that her savior will pose a different kind of danger to her, a danger for her emotions and her independence.

Kiowa is who he is. What you see is what you get. He is not gentle, direct, blunt and exudes raw masculinity. But he grew up to be this way. His past is heart wrenching, growing up all by himself, with no one to take care of him or to give him the love and guidance a child needs. Everything he knows and has he has procured by himself.

And then there's Amanda, a young woman who's strong, smart and headstrong. She craves independence, the freedom to do as she pleases and to live her dreams. She's happy with her life and the way she's used in as a pawn in the "war" between the Purists and the Breeds combined with the freedom of choice being taken away from her by Kiowa and the mating frenzy (or the mating heat as it is called in this book), spikes her anger.
She needs this freedom and that's why she fights the mating heat and doesn't want to accept the relationship with Kiowa.

In this fifth installment of the Breeds a new Breed is introduced: the Coyote Breed. This is the Breed that is said to be ruthless, without any conscience or soul; the ones who came the closest to the ideal killers the Council intended the Breeds to be.
They don't fit the picture of the Felines and the Wolves; they were created to be jailors to the other Breeds, aiding the Council scientists in the labs.
But Kiowa doesn't fit in this description, he does have a conscience and a soul, even when he was a little boy, all on his own, but he realizes it only when he meets the woman who touches his soul.

First I want to say I again I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Breed story with glimpses of former main characters and their lives, the Breeds' struggle for acceptance and the way a new community is created. But...there is a little point of criticism.
Kiowa and Amanda didn't touch me emotionally as much as the main characters in the previous books did. They each individually had their emotional baggage I could empathize with but their interactions weren't as sparkling as I'm used to in this series and the development of their relationship felt a bit rushed and forced. They were more tuned into their own personal emotions than into each other's emotions and this was what mesmerized me in the previous books.

This installment for me wasn't as mind-blowing as the previous ones. Where in books 1-4 there was a lot of intensity and emotional rollercoaster, this one was focused a bit more on the eroticism than the other ones. Where in the other books the sex fitted smoothly into the emotional storyline, in this one it seemed like it were two parts of the book that were just combined together, especially in the first part of the book. Towards the end it got better and the emotions and the erotic scenes were more in sync, so for me it's another great Breed book. Even though it was a bit less intense than the others it still was a story of rejection and acceptance, freedom of choice and passionate desire.

One other thing that kept bothering me was that the mating heat in Amanda seemed to be so much stronger than in the women mated to the Felines (Merinus from book 1 and Roni from book 2). Nowhere in the book is explained why and I really would have liked to have an explanation for it. They did discover some other, intriguing things considering the mating heat. The whole Breeds World is getting more interesting with every book when many discoveries are made and the Breeds community grows in number and power.


Quotes
Kiowa: "I can smell your heat, Manda," he whispered then, causing her eyes to fly open in alarm. "It smells like honey syrup. And I'm really partial to honey."

Amanda: "I'm supposed to be resisting you." she whispered huskily. "You aren't supposed to be the answer to all my sexual fantasies and make my heart ache at the same time, Kiowa."



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June 13, 2008





If you enjoy the kind of captivating, historically well founded and thoroughly researched medieval romances like Paula Quinn's or Monica McCarty's (as I do) then you can add Karin Tabke to your list!

Click on the cover and go to the "Recently Updated" page to read the full review!
June 11, 2008

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In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now, a dutiful twin must choose between two lives...

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself- she sees the emotionally scarred male behind all his noble responsibility. But while the war with the Lessening Society grows more grim, and tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, Phury must decide between duty and love.


I am truly at a loss for words and not in the positive sense. To say I'm feeling ambiguous after reading the sixth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series is putting it very, very mildly.
For every good thing I have to say about the book there is a contradicting but... and in every bad thing I have to say about the book there is a slightly positive undertone. And even then I can't truly pinpoint the why, or give arguments that explain this ambivalence but I will try to explain as well as I can.

The first few chapters of the book had me irritated, annoyed and the feeling of emotional numbness took the upper hand over any excitement I had before starting the book. I missed the lively, humorous exciting vibe Ward's books always have had for me. I missed the emotional, intense connection with both the supposedly main characters and the secondary characters in the subplots. The most important reason for this is that there actually were no real main characters. The distinction between main and secondary characters was totally gone in LOVER ENSHRINED and none of the characters had the ability to speak to my emotions.

I saw a depressing Phury, an addict with a voice in his head, pining after his brother's mate. This was so not the Phury I had gotten to know in the previous books. I never had any real fascination with Phury, other than seeing him as the perfect gentleman; always ready to put other's needs before his own. This little connection I had with him was completely wiped away in about 4/5 of the book. Same goes for Cormia, true there were some scenes were she endeared me with her discovery of the world and her wish for individuality but she was not a heroine I could indentify myself with emotionally. The Phury-Cormia match also didn’t convince me; I didn't feel any connection to or even between them until the very last part of the book. I missed chemistry and intensity and I missed the strong bond, which has been there in previous books. Even in LOVER UNBOUND I had the feeling V and Jane had a thing going, even if it wasn’t the thing I would have liked to see.

After the first few chapters I started to get into the story better, mainly because of the subplots, they were fascinating and interesting but not even these could give me that emotional attachment I was looking for. The Rehv plot, the Omega/Lesser plot, the Blay/Qhuinn/John Matthew plot, none of them gave me that feeling I want in the books I read, that feeling I did have in the previous BDB-books, be it in various degradations: being swept into the story to the point of distraction, almost inhaling the pages just to get to the next twist in the story.
And still it was hard to let go of the book. I wanted to keep on reading. This is something I must applaud J.R. Ward for, her writing style, even without the emotional connection, has the ability to keep you reading until the end.

One other thing that kept bothering me throughout the book was how Phury was being portrayed: a hardcore drug addict. There were some things that just didn't add up in his development as a character. Things that just didn't stroke with the picture given of Phury in previous books. Had I been prepared for some things they would have been easier to accept in this book. I had the feeling that, because of these inconsistencies, Ward had to give his story the swirl she did in this book and it didn't feel good and some things just weren't believable. In my opinion if you choose to insert a certain concept, such as drug-addiction, in a book, take it all the way and don't just brush only the aspects than come in handy for the story.

There was a point in the book were I just felt that Phury has to be the most tormented brother of them all, more than Z, more than V. He has suffered the most without the support of others to pull him through it. And still he cares for others and tries to put other's need above his. This was where the hope of some kind of connection kindled, but it died down soon enough because of the inconsistent drug addict thing and the distractions of the other (sub)plots making Phury's story take the backseat in this book.
Every time I thought Ward was going to close the deal on Phury and Cormia, finally focus on them and their story and give me that scene I was waiting for, she switched POV and went to other characters/storylines. Breaking the momentum, leaving me empty-handed because when she would return, scenes later, the moment would be lost and she had to start over again. This happened too often for my taste. The switching of POV’s is no problem when there is one strong plot arc that carries the book, be it a romance or another kind of plot, but that was missing in this one and that's my biggest problem with this book.

Now that I've commented on what bothered me in LOVER ENSHRINED I will wrap this review up on a positive note and recite what I did like about it.

The shift that began with LOVER UNBOUND has taken definite form. A shift towards a new generation of Brothers. A shift in leadership within the Vampires and the Lessers. A shift in the war with the Lessers, which is becoming more challenging, more dangerous and more gruesome.
This is something that J.R. Ward is setting up in a way I have to admire. I just hope that if she is turning away from the romance, she will make-up for it by sticking to this new road she has taken.

Oddly enough the last 100 pages or so gave me a glimpse, be it a small one, of what I needed in the book. There I found a shimmer of emotions, a hint of intensity in the characters and a lot of intriguing set-ups for the next phase in this series. A phase that has a totally different touch and feel. A phase in which the foundations and known facts from the first 4 books are altered.
The game has changed, more players and a whole new set of rules are introduced and I really can't tell if this is a good or a bad thing. Time and future books will have to tell.

I can't say the book was bad, but I also can't have a truly satisfied feeling having read the last page and closed it. On the contrary, for the first time I closed a J.R. Ward book glad to have finished it so I can move on to other books on my TBR-pile.

I am sad to say that I can only describe this book with the explanation of the amount of stars I rated it with: Interesting, but not quite there yet!



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June 8, 2008

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They’ve waited a decade to come together. Long years filled with unbearable pain, and soul-wrenching torment that have changed them both. Left wounds that have laid their souls bare. Wounds that stand one chance of healing — if only they could stop fighting each other long enough for the truth to work its healing balm.

Kane, a relentless warrior, lost more than his heart to Sherra in a night of mating passion that marked them both for life. But news of her death ripped his soul apart. For years he has fought to avenge the death of the woman he loved more than his own life, by revealing the deceit and cruelty of the Council that created the Breeds.

But Sherra didn’t die. In a cruel and evil twist she was convinced by her sadistic handlers that the man she had given her body, heart and soul to had betrayed not only her, but the child she carried - and lost.
Amid the rapidly escalating violence against the Feline Breeds, Kane and Sherra learn that there’s more to mating than just the “heat”, just as there’s more to love than just the sex…


Kane Tyler is very familiar with the Council and the Breeds. He was once a soldier in the Council's labs. In one of those same labs he found his mate, Sherra. But scientists and a Breed traitor on a power trip betrayed them both, causing a separation that has left Sherra hating Kane for what she thinks he did to her and Kane thinking he had lost Sherra in the destruction of the labs.
Now circumstances and fate have brought them back together. Kane is unknowing of the tragedies Sherra went through since he left her and must now face her hatred. Sherra has no knowledge of the tortures Kane went through and the pain he suffered thinking she was dead. But no pain, anger or hate can be more powerful than the bond between two destined mates or the Breeds' mating frenzy.

The scenery for Sherra and Kane's story is the hunt for the Breeds and the attempts on their lives and attacks on their compound, Breed Sanctuary. Attacks by the Council as well as the Purist Society, a group of fanatics who believe the Breeds are not to be considered human and are abominations that have to be eliminated. But the Breeds will tolerate it no longer and there will be a shift in how they react to the attacks. Where they would hold back and go to the authorities for justice, they now make a decision to put Breed Law into action and fight back when needed against both the Purists and the Council.

Sherra is torn between her resentment (she believes he betrayed her) and her passion (he is her destined mate and she is in heat) for Kane. She wants to hate him and really tries to, but fails miserably because of their strong emotional bond. She knows she loves Kane but will not admit it because she fears admitting it will be a sign of weakness and leave her defenseless and vulnerable, open to be hurt if she ever lost him again.

Kane is a hardened soldier; he has no need for the emotional rollercoaster Sherra has him in. He fights his emotions and feelings with snappy, provoking insults and tough behavior. It is his defense mechanism against vulnerability he doesn't want to feel but he knows deep inside he eventually will have to admit and submit to his feelings. There's a contradiction in Kane. On one hand he's arrogant, strong and tough. On the other hand he needs and wants Sherra and her love so much, he almost seems desperate in his need for it. These contradictory feelings do make him into the deliciously dominant and protective alpha he is, as fierce and compelling as any Breed male could be.

Both of them have suffered a lot because of the deceit and betrayal. They individually fight their hunger and attraction to each other, hoping to escape a fate that has been set from the beginning but they also both know it's undeniable and inevitable. They struggle with themselves, they battle each other for dominance, and even their kisses are battles. I thought I'd read intensity between the mates in the previous books but that was nothing compared to these two.

The Feline Pride from the first two books again plays a big part as secondary characters. Though the focus stays on Sherra and Kane, the other characters do enrich the story and complement the relationship between the main couple.

There are some fascinating and intriguing revelations made about Cabal (briefly mentioned in book 2) and Tanner (Callan's Pride brother), causing me to have speculating thoughts about Tanner's book now. This marks a great author in my eyes. Lora Leigh knows how to build up a series in a way I haven't experienced before, revealing provoking tidbits on future main characters at precisely the right time, causing a need to read that character's book. It happened to me with Kane/Sherra and now it's happening again with Tanner and Cabal (Cabal's book is not on the radar yet, unfortunately but hopefully will be in the near future). Another set up for a future book is made with a scene/some scenes of Dawn and Seth Lawrence who is Roni's half-brother (Roni is the heroine of book 2) and turns out to be Dawn's mate.
Cassie from EW makes an appearance too and that little girl again pulled at my heartstrings, despite her age she's wise and knows so much. She has also taken a liking of Kane and is very protective of him, even against Sherra.

Sherra and Kane's story has been taunting and tempting me from their first hostile but passionate interaction in TEMPTING THE BEAST. They have a history and I was eager to explore this history and see how they would deal with their future. I must say I was not disappointed. Definitely not disappointed...I would recommend this book if just for the dialogues, spiced with innuendo and provoking insults, between Sherra and Kane. And I'm not even talking about the sexually charged dialogues between them.

After a slightly different approach in the previous book (ELIZABETH'S WOLF), in this book we go back to the original Feline Breeds and the hormone-induced mating frenzy, with the only difference in the change of gender, the Breed being female instead of male like in the first 2 books. This difference gives a whole other dimension to the concept. I knew the effect of the hormone on human females but the effect on males...that's something else!

Lora Leigh has the talent to write intense stories, both in the emotional and the sexual aspects. She combines this intensity with a writing style that reads like a hot knife going through butter, smooth and easy. She has created an interesting new world of humans with animal DNA and all the problems that go with it in a perfect mix of fast-paced action, a little suspense, lots of great dialogues, and amazing sex scenes that only underline the intensity I mentioned before.
She also manages to keep you coming for more of her books by giving teasing and very intriguing tidbits of future main characters. Revealing just enough to make you yearn for the full stories to come.


Quotes:
"I’m a strong man, Sherra," he whispered, his breath caressing her neck as she felt his head lower toward her. "I’ve lived when I wanted to die without you. I fought for you, even when I thought you were dead. (...) His voice echoed with the building, blinding lust she could feel ripping her insides apart. (...) "Kane, please…" she whispered the plea, desperation thickening her voice.
"I’ll please you, Sherra," he growled. "I’ll please you until you beg me to stop. I swear. Here. Now . Wherever, however you want me.

“Dammit, Kane.” She drew herself up straight from the boxes she had been going through. “I have work to do here. I don’t have time for this.”
(...)“Snapping and hissing as always,” he said mockingly, allowing his lips to tilt into the sarcastic grin he knew she hated. “I prefer that sweet little purr you make when I touch you.”
(...)“I do not purr.” She looked horrified by the thought.
“Oh, yes you do.” He watched her instinctive need to retreat, hiding his smile as she halted it, fighting to stand up to him, to best him. “You have the sweetest little purr when I touch you, Sherra. I remember it. Low and soft, resonating with pleasure.”



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June 5, 2008

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She brought him back from death and made him live again.
Dash thought himself alone, a soldier, a fighting machine and no more.
Elizabeth made him realize he was a man.

Danger surrounds the woman his soul marked as his mate, death and blood and a treachery that goes beyond even his worst nightmares. But he will protect her and what she claims as her own. He was created to kill, trained to do it efficiently, and only a man bound to her, heart and soul, will have the strength to save Elizabeth and her prized possession.

He is a lone wolf. A man alone. No pack, no family, no one to call his own until one single, innocent letter awoke Elizabeth’s wolf.


Wolf Breed Dash Sinclair is with Special Forces, but a missile-attack brings his whole team down and he ends up in the hospital recuperating for months. During his hospital stay he starts receiving heartwarming letters from a little girl, Cassie, who tells him of her and her mother's life. Her letters are the incentive he needs to hang on to life and they stir his will to live. Then when he's almost recovered he receives devastating news of their deaths and he sets out to exact revenge and find justice for the only two people he's ever let get under his skin. But he soon learns that they live and that Cassie is the target of a powerful drug dealer. He rushes to find them and protect them against the people after them.

The beginning of this book had me in a gripping emotional knot immediately and I didn't come out of it until I read the last page. It's a book of unconditional love, loyalty and passion.

Not Dash, not Elizabeth, but Cassie starred in this book! Her letters to Dash were heart-wrenching honest and pure. She was the glue that kept this book together from start to finish
Cassie's interactions with Dash are endearing and heartwarming. She's such a true little girl, devious and mischievous. She has been through so much but never loses her spirit or her childlike enthusiasm despite all the horrors she has witnessed in her young life. Horrors a little girl shouldn’t have went through.
I cried at a certain part of the book...an erotic romance and I actually cried...cried for a little girl in fear, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment. This little girl really touched a place in my heart and made this book unforgettable for me. One moment she had me teary-eyed, the next smiling at her childlike logic and accurate reading of people.

Elizabeth has been through so much protecting her child. She is on the verge of a breakdown, not being able to trust anyone for fear of betrayal. She can only rely on herself. In Dash she finds a strong protector whom she can lean on but she has to learn to trust him first.
Dash is such a fierce and honorable hero in this book! His hunger for Elizabeth is eating away at him but he keeps it on a tight leash, first ensuring Cassie and Elizabeth's safety. But there is no doubt in his mind that Elizabeth is his mate and he will convince her of that.

Both the story and sexual tension are built up along the same line. Feeding me little bits at a time, giving me small amounts to process before going to the next stage. The sex-scenes again are explicit and graphic but very in sync with the whole story and the relationship developing between Dash and Elizabeth.
I've said this before about Shannon McKenna and now I'm also saying it about Lora Leigh. Her way of describing feelings and sensations, both emotional and physical, both of the heart and sexually is truly outstanding.

There are some great secondary characters in Dash's friends and the infamous Simon (I heard about him even before I started reading this series) makes an impressive entrance in this book. He's mysterious, he's a smooth talker, he's gorgeous and he has a harem of female soldiers whom he calls "his Ladies".... Need I say more?
Brooding and intriguing Kane Tyler also makes an appearance. With every book he intrigues me more. He and the Feline Pride play a small but important role in this Wolf Breed book, tying books 1 and 2 of the Breeds to this installment.

This story had some more plot and body to it than the previous story and not just because it had a slightly higher page count. There was a bit more suspense and a little less focus on the Breeds mating frenzy...certainly in the first part of the book.
One thing bothered me a bit in the beginning: Everything I learned in the previous books on the mating frenzy didn't come back in this book.
Dash kissed Elizabeth but there was no hormone induced mating frenzy as with the Lion Breeds. I didn’t get that. Wasn’t this a given for Breeds and their mates or didn’t this go for Wolf Breeds? Later in the book fortunately it’s explained, partially by the characteristics of Dash specifically...and the Wolf Breeds have a unique specific twist concerning the mating thing but it is totally different than the Feline Breeds.


Again Lora Leigh managed to surprise me with twists and turns...not only in the story of Cassie, Elizabeth and Dash but also in the whole Breed storyline. Giving me more thing to ponder and more questions popping in my head, questions I wanted answers to and luckily I found most of the answers in this book, but I know some will be answered in future books.
The impact of certain disclosures in the plot and concerning Cassie had my mind reeling and I really didn't see them coming. I'm truly amazed at how authors, in this case, Lora Leigh, not only have the imagination to come up with great plots and storylines like this, but also are able to give them shape in a perfect, well-dosed, mind-blowing way.

With every book I learn more about the characteristics, origin of these fascinating Breeds and still I hunger for more...more knowledge to satisfy the craving started with the first book of this series.


Quotes
"When I get you beneath me, I'm going to devour you," he told her harshly as her finger slid from his mouth. "Every inch of your body, Elizabeth, I'll make burn for me."

“Elizabeth.” He caught her against him as she moved to step beneath the spray, staring down at her with those golden eyes that never failed to make her breath catch. “I love you because you hold my soul,” he told her simply. “I’ve always loved you. I just haven’t always known you.”



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June 2, 2008





The plot is intricate and compelling and Gena Showalter did a great job in carefully and meticulously building up the world and the plot. She interlaced several subplots with the main plot, offering a promise of intriguing things to come.

Click on the cover and go to the "Recently Updated" page to read the full review!

And...Don't miss the fabulous interview with Gena Showalter on the "Authors, Up CLose and Personal" page
June 1, 2008

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He had protected her as a child, filled all her teenaged fantasies and stole her womanly heart, only to break it.

Now, fifteen months later, the news has released. The man she loves is one of the genetically altered Feline Breeds who have shocked the world with their presence. He’s also her mate. The mark on her neck attests to that. The fire that rages in her heart and in her body further proves it. But he hadn’t wanted her then; does he really want her now?

Deceit and treachery, born in the past, now haunt the present as Taber and Roni fight to make sense of a sudden bonding. The mating of heart, body and soul as the man and the beast within merge; both battling the forces raging against the union and dominance over the woman he claimed.


Veronica (Roni) Andrews has loved Taber Williams since she was a girl, not able to fully understand what loving someone entailed. When she thinks she has him where she wants him, he leaves and she is devastated, crushed with the knowledge that Taber doesn't want her.
Roni is a real spitfire, taking life in stride, until her love for Taber almost brings her down, but she picks herself up and goes on. More than a year later he reappears in her life to once again rescue her, only now from the mess he got her into and even though she can't forget or forgive him his betrayal she knows she can't deny the attraction between them and the love that never really went away. What they do not know is that their separation is a caused by deception outside of their reach.
Since the Breed came forward and made themselves known to the world in book 1, many more Breeds than just Callan's group were discovered and rescued from the Council. This has only angered the Council and they have upped the ante, hunting and murdering them more openly and aggressively than ever before.
But not only the Council is after them, there are more players who have joined this hunting game with the purpose of annihilating the Breeds, their mates and their future children.

The dynamics between Roni and Taber are very different from Merinus and Callan's. Where Merinus fought the frenzy in the beginning out of unfamiliarity and soon gave into her feelings for Callan, Roni has a hard time with the Taber's alleged betrayal and abandonment which really fires up her resistance, rejection and defiance both toward Taber as toward the frenzy and the consequential conception. But the more Roni pushes Taber away, the more protective and possessive he becomes, determined to prove his feelings and worth to her.

In the supporting characters we get reacquainted with some of the characters from book 1: the Feline Breeds Callan, Sherra, Tanner and Dawn and Merinus and Kane from the Tyler family from book 1 and introduction of new characters: there is mention of the Wolf Breeds, Feline Breeds Cabal St Laurens and the intriguing Mercury and some non-Breed characters who have much more in them than this first glance allows us to see.

I found out more about the mating frenzy in this book. It does not have to be triggered by kissing alone. A love bite also does the trick, though in a less intense way than a kiss does. It's nature's way of ensuring survival of the Breeds.
Again the snappy interactions, this time between Taber and Roni, in contrast with the fierce sexual attraction and the submission to the mating frenzy hit the right note with me! And not only their interactions were fun to read, Lora Leigh has the talent to combine fun bantering with intense and explicit passion, giving me two things I like to read in erotic romance.

The intensity levels of book 1 and 2 are pretty much the same but still this second book has its own unique feel. The basics are the same but there is new information added to the initial excellent world building of book 1. And even though the mind-blowing effect of learning about the Breeds for the first time had dimmed down a bit it was still it was just as intense, emotional and passionate.

I know these stories qualify as erotica because of the explicit language in the love scenes but in my opinion they lift this genre to a high level, if only for the intriguing plotlines and the intense emotions portrayed in both the main and secondary characters.

The last chapters provide answers to some questions that were raised in the few chapters before but at the same time other questions pop up, setting up the next storyline in the series. The book ends with another tantalizing tidbit about Sherra and Kane, leaving me even more desperate for their story. Just one to go and then I'll get to them. I’m also really looking forward to the moment I'll be diving into the full-length books since I met some of the main characters who will be featured in those books now and they look so very promising!

After reading three stories now of the Breeds Series I'm truly hooked. Lora Leigh has me dangling and with each installment she pulls me in a bit further and I'm very willing to be reeled in.


Quotes
Taber: "Cats love cream, Roni," he whispered wickedly. "And I bet you have the sweetest cream in the whole damned world."

Roni: "I swear to God, Taber. I may not be woman enough for you, but if you leave me after this, I'll make you pay. I'll cut your black heart from your chest myself and I'll carve your c**k into so many pieces you'll never find them all."



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Again it was a good reading month with lots of wonderful books, almost all by familiar authors.
I finished the Kresley Cole's MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy, I read Kenyon's DREAM CHASER, caught up with McCray's Magic Series right up to SHADOW MAGIC which will be read next month and I started Elizabeth Hoyt's new series with but the big bang was at the end of the month with an overdose of delicious and dominant alpha men when I started Lora Leigh's Breeds Series with TEMPTING THE BEAST and Shannon McKenna's Anthology ALL ABOUT MEN

This month I also started an experiment with reading both a printbook and an e-book at the same time. Maybe this way I can somewhat reduce my enormous TBR-pile of printbooks and the big TBR-list of e-books. I only started this towards the end of the month but it's definitely working out for me.

I also had a fun month of buying books, found the two last installments of Rebecca Hagan Lee's Free Fellows Series I had been looking for for a very long time so I now have the series complete. I read this series in Dutch and enjoyed them so much I wanted to have the original English versions on my shelves.

Since reading the Anthology SHIFTER last month and having had a taste of Lora Leigh's Breeds I started collecting the whole series, part in print, part in e-book and I only have one to go: AIDEN'S CHARITY

I also found a new hardcover books seller to replace the purchases made with I seller I don't use anymore and received the first shipment of hardcovers within a month of ordering so now the Lara Adrian's Midnight Breeds and Monica McCarty's McLeods grace my bookshelves in hardcover. And I have also ordered Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld in hardcover

In the ARC-department there was a lot of activity, not neccesarily so much in the reading as in the posting and publishing. THE DARKEST NIGHT (Gena Showalter) and SEASON OF STRANGERS (Kat Martin) were both published on the REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES website.
I received, read and reviewd THE DARKEST PLEASURE (Showalter) and received MASTER OF SURRENDER (Karin Tabke) but the latter will be read the coming month.

New books, series or authors were not found in abundance this month but new to me was the Legend of the Four Soldiers Series by Elizabeth Hoyt. The first book, TO TASTE TEMPTATION, was great in my eyes, a very promising beginning of a new series by one of my absolute favorite authors, it didn't dissapoint and I thorougly enjoyed the book, needless to say I'm looking forward to the second book in the series, coming this fall!
And let's not forget Lora Leigh's Breeds. I really wish I had started this series sooner!

I wrap this summary up with an author to keep your eye out for (I certainly am) is Jessica Andersen with the debuting novel in a new paranormal romance series. NIGHT KEEPERS is the first book in the Final Prophecy Series by this author who is highly recommended by J.R. Ward

I leave you with the blurb of NIGHT KEEPERS

As a Miami narcotics detective, Leah Daniels never knows how her day will turn out. But she certainly never expected to be strapped to a stone altar, the human sacrifice in an ancient Mayan ritual meant to coax up a demon from the underworld. Or that she'd be saved by a handsome warrior-priest king who claims to recognize her from his visions...

Jaguar Strike wishes he hadn't made the mistake of reuniting his fellow warrior priests, or broken the law by saving their chosen human sacrifice. Now, he has no choice but to join forces with Leah and invoke dangerous magic in a death-defying race against the end of time.


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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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2011 Reading Challenge

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

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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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