September 28, 2008

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The forces of survival and destruction swirl in the darkest corners of men’s minds. The nature of the beast cannot be harnessed, and survival is the purest of all instincts. Survival of the species itself goes soul deep.
But can the human heart accept and adapt as easily? Can Charity bestow the love and the acceptance that has always been a part of her, to the man whose very survival depended on the hardening of his heart, of his soul? And can Aiden maintain that cruelty now, in the face of the sacrifices she made? Only time and nature can tell…


Aiden has fought not to give the depraved scientist who created him, what they wanted, his ability to breed a child they can mold better than the original Wolf Breeds. With sheer willpower and self-control he has managed to feign impotence, even given powerful aphrodisiacs, so he wouldn't be able to service the women brought to him. He was succeeding until a new Lab tech starts in the Lab where he was created. She is his mate and he is barely able to hide and suppress his reactions to her. What he assumes is her betrayal causes a deep-felt hatred in him and he vows she'll pay for it, even after 6 years.
But Charity had no evil motives for her actions, her aim was to save Aiden and help the Breeds and she paid dearly for it. What she went through after Aiden escaped and left her behind in the Labs, no one should go through, but she has survived and is ready to confront the Breed mate who she loves and hates at the same time. But this is the least of their worries. The Council is after Charity and they'll do anything to get her back.

Though Charity seems timid she is strong and stubborn and when provoked she can lash out as fierce as any other.
Charity has a scientific mind and is determined to approach her attraction to Aiden just like that. She believes her need for him comes from the drugs she was forced to take and that this need is just a virus that can be diminished and even cured in a scientific way.
It's up to Aiden to convince her otherwise and Aiden has a lot of anger towards Charity in him but the more time he spends with her the less his anger becomes and the more he is determined to prove to her that there is no cure for their mating and they belong together. She triggers an unknown tenderness in him, something he thought he was incapable of.

Charity and Aiden feed and build up their mutual anger and unwanted attraction towards each other to an intensity that's impossible to ignore and their dialogues cause enough sparks to singe the pages. Charity taunts and tempts Aiden almost to insanity and it's amusing to see how Aiden deals with it and how long he can resist her tempting defiance.

The supporting characters are mainly the Wolf Breed couples from former installments but there are some new characters added to the mix, one of them is Dr. Nicole "Nikki" Armani, she's a doctor helping the Wolf Breeds. To say the least she is an interesting character and I hope she'll star in her own story someday. I see lots of potential and fireworks if she's paired with an alpha Breed.

In the previous book a new Breed species is introduced, one that's very intriguing and in this book a bit more information is disclosed on them. I really hope Lora Leigh will write their stories, starting with the elusive and mysterious Keegan.

I wasn't fond of the Wolf Breeds stories with the exception of ELIZABETH'S WOLF but with this one Lora Leigh has again created a story that’s worthy of my praise. The twists and turns in the plot are surprising and in hind side were beautifully set up in previous Wolf Breed installments in this series. But in this one I found the fireworks and intensity I have grown used to in the Breeds series and I was longing for in the Wolf Breed installments.

She does a great job of building up the sexual tension between Aiden and Charity and providing a satisfying climax to round it off. This is what I missed in the other Wolf Breeds. There was no build-up; they went straight for the bottom of the barrel right away, leaving me with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

I'm very glad with AIDEN'S CHARITY this has been rectified, proving that Wolves can make this reader's heart pound in anticipation just as hard as the Felines.
Again there are more titillating tidbits of information on the Mating Heat and the future of the Breeds, especially where the Wolf Breeds are concerned.
Of course Lora Leigh's tempting and addiction-feeding lure is present in this book too: she reveals small portions of information surrounding the Breeds that make you eager to know more and she introduces future main characters with just enough information to spike curiosity and anticipation to a high.

The erotic scenes, characters and plot were very well balanced. Neither takes precedence over the other. Nonetheless the way Lora Leigh describes the erotic scenes are imcomparable with other erotica writers, she knows how to describe actions and emotions so explicitly and vividly, the images and sensations form automatically in your mind.

The battle between the Council and the Breeds is threatening to become a full-blown war and Lora Leigh has managed to pull me back into the Wolf Breeds world with a great story.


Quotes:
As though her body had instinctively recognized its sexual master, it began to hum in joy. A joy her mind rejected, the intellectual part of her aware that she may have well escaped the physical pain, but the emotional agony to come could well be worse.

She wouldn't have believed lust could have its own unique flavor, but Aiden's did. It tasted of a summer thunderstorm, quenching her thirst for his passion but only driving her hunger for his touch higher. The taste filled her, intoxicated her, made her desperate for more. It made her as wild as his taste.



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September 27, 2008

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They call him The Devil, but his kiss is heaven.

Protecting Her Was His Passion
High-born though she is, Kate Campbell isn't afraid to draw her sword. When raiders strike, she rushes into the fray…and is lucky when a mysterious Highlander shields her from a deadly blow. Swept onto his stallion, she soon discovers that her rescuer is her clan's most hated enemy: Callum MacGregor, the man they call The Devil. Yet she can not ignore his achingly tender touch or the way his fiery gaze leaves her breathless…

Possessing Her Would Be His Pleasure
Callum MacGregor has taken many Campbell lives, but he's never saved one—until now. Mesmerized by this spirited lass, he wants her by his side—even if it means holding her ransom. As his fingers graze her sumptuous curves and tangle in her unruly tresses, Callum realizes Kate Campbell is his most dangerous foe of all. For he can't make love to her without betraying his kinsmen and his honor…and surrendering his heart forever.


A family feud has been tearing the Campbells and MacGregors apart for centuries but when Callum MacGregor saves Kate Campbell's life this feud takes a new turn.
Kate has been fed scary stories about "Devil" MacGregor ever since she can remember but when he saves her life, she finds out things aren't as she was told. He shows her compassion and mercy her family never bestowed on him. Callum abducts Kate in order to lure her uncle into his trap and dispose of her afterwards but he soon realizes he has encountered the first Campbell he has no desire to kill.

I loved all the characters in this book. Callum and Kate were the proverbial star-crossed couple that captured my heart. Callum is a hero to die for. The torment and anguish inside him cover a compassionate and loyal man who despite his suffering and reputation has a big heart, even if he doesn't always show it.

But it was Kate who truly won my heart in this book. When she gives, she gives it all. She is saucy, brave and headstrong and she gives Callum a run for his money. She has a big heart and is devastated when she finds out what was done to the MacGregors by her family.

The secondary cast surrounding Kate and Callum is an impressive, witty and endearing bunch. Graham, Robert, Jamie and Maggie warmed my heart, Angus and Brodie put an indulgent smile on my face and Duncan repelled me.

This book seeps into your sense until it takes over! The more pages I read the more I became utterly enthralled by this beautiful story. It was a journey of two people towards truth, love and trust. Paula Quinn has created a perfectly blended mix of historical facts and romantic fiction. She gave me a wonderful tale that's filled with love, hate, betrayal, passion and hope. It was a story that touched my heart and left me missing the characters when the book was finished.

In short, I’ve enjoyed another splendid book by Paula Quinn. Few authors in this genre can create the stir of feelings I experience when I read her books. She prepared me with the Risande Trilogy and now she has stoked the fire up with LAIRD OF THE MIST. I am ready for A HIGHLANDER NEVER SURRENDERS.


Quotes:
Kate and Callum:
"If you dare touch me, I will rip out your heart."
"How might ye do that?" he asked, sounding somewhat amused. "With yer teeth?"

He stared down at her for a moment, long enough to make her insides melt. He possessed the confidence to conquer, the intoxicating power to thoroughly seduce her, and the strength to resist doing either.




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September 26, 2008





The suspense plot was original and surprising. The romance was refreshing and subtle. There were multiple plotlines, each with their own pace and satisfying conclusion(...)

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September 21, 2008

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As the broom end of her Sibyl triad, Merilee Alexander has the sacred duty as a warrior of taking out the trash. Lately, though, she’s been a little overwhelmed: Manhattan is a mess. And her prophetic end-of-the-world nightmares aren’t helped by the waking fantasies of love. Or the fact that the object of her affections, gorgeous Jake Lowell of NYPD’s Occult Crimes Unit, is playing it so cool.

Actually, Jake wants Merilee desperately, every luscious inch of her. Still, he’s holding back. He’s got secrets. Dark, dangerous, demonic secrets. But as Jake and Merilee trawl the city’s supernatural underbelly to out a demonic kingpin who, disguised as a charismatic leader, is amassing dark power, it’s make-or-break time. For their lives, their love, and the world are about to be sucked into the undertow of the tides of an unstoppable evil.


Merilee Alexander is the air Sybil of her triad. She is the broom, the one who keeps an overall view of things and is the source of knowledge, research and archiving within the Sibyls. She has elemental control over wind and air and she has a bubbly personality, she's witty and intelligent but also accurate, thorough and confident. Though she may seem gentle and angelic because of her kindness, she is a fierce warrior, ready to do battle with anyone or anything threatening those she loves and cares about.

Jake Lowell is different from his brothers in a very elementary way. Where Nick and Creed are half-demons, Jake is an Astaroth, a full-blooded demon and he doesn't want to be. After he helped the Sybils and his brothers in their fight against an enemy of the Sibyls he turns to the Motherhouses to help him find a ritual to reverse the process that turned him into this demon he is forced to be, a ritual to make him permanently human.
The only Motherhouse that doesn't turn him down right away, saying it's impossible, is Motherhouse Greece but not even mother Anemone and her extensive archives and libraries can help him.

Jake is a smart and a take-charge kind of guy. He has a hard time accepting that he's a demon and not human and therefore not able to give Merilee what a he thinks she needs in a man. His desperation is palpable. It shows both his determination and his vulnerability. It's heartrending to see how he deals with his dilemma of being a demon and wanting to be human.
Merilee accepts all aspects of Jake quicker than Jake can. Her acceptance helps him overcome his fears and insecurities about himself.

Where in the other two books it was the triad sisters and Motherhouses fighting and disapproving the attraction between the Sybil and the (half) demon. In this one it's Jake. Mother Anemone of Motherhouse Greece actually approves and thinks he would be a good match for Merilee but he disagrees and doesn't want Merilee risking everything to be with him when he can't be everything he wants to be for her. Merilee luckily sets him straight early in the story.

Due to special circumstances Riana and Cynda aren't able to fully perform their triad duties so Merilee has to rely on the OCU, Andy and Jake for back up in the fight against evil in this book and if you thought evil was bad in the previous books, think again! The bond between the Sybils is still strong and very much present but the change in the dynamics gives a different vibe to the book compared to the previous two. A good one because with the triad not being able to work in full capacity it gives room for Merilee and Jake's relationship to develop in a very strong way and fitting their romance perfectly and effortlessly into the plot.

I couldn't wait to get my greedy hands on this third book of the series and my anticipation was met in a most satisfying way. Again Anna Windsor deepened and expanded her already astounding world filled with magic and intrigue. Voodoo gods and a very ancient evil demon now join the Sybils, demons and OCU-officers.
And again she created characters that have conquered an everlasting place in my book-loving heart. Again she gave me humor in different forms and in unexpected places: from brotherly teasing and sisterly banter in the midst of thrilling action to sarcastic self-views and witty intelligence in during heartfelt emotional moments.
Again the love scenes excel in quality over quantity. There aren't many hardcore love scenes but those that are there are magical, intense and erotic, exuding the mutual attraction between Jake and Merilee.

I'm probably repeating myself but the plotting is exquisite again. Storylines from different angles come together to explain mysteries and answer all questions.
Anna Windsor has a one-of-a-kind and unique way of setting up plotlines and bringing them together in a culmination that takes your breath away and almost makes your heart stop! I really didn't want this book to end because I knew it would be the end of something really, really good and who knows how long it will take until Anna Windsor will blow me away again with a story of these proportions. She has kept me enthralled, spell-bound and captivated throughout these three books with a perfect mix of characters, plot, action, romance, magic, humor and emotions. I went through the whole scope of grief, fear, doubt and pain but also laughter, trust, love and determination.

Just when I thought I'd seen it all in the previous two books I was confronted by a new kind of evil in the mix to embody the Legion, giving the plot some surprising twists I really didn't see coming. In this installment I discovered who (or what) was the driving force behind the Legion and its motivation comes down to the mother of motivations for evil: power and world domination, obtained by causing chaos and anarchy.
Cohesion runs both through each book separately as throughout the set of books. Plotlines that seemed completed in books 1 or 2 are deepened out in books 2 or 3, creating a coherent whole that's perfectly dosed and layered throughout all the books.

There's nothing she doesn't tackle the right way in both this book and the other books of this trilogy. Her writing is truly compelling and addictive. She kept me glued to the pages and totally absorbed in the story with another action-packed plot and a sensual and emotional love story.
For me there just aren't enough words to praise Anna Windsor's imagination and writing skills. She is one of the best I've come across since I've been reading in this genre and I hope she'll grace my bookshelves with many more books to come because I know I want more of this!


Quotes:
I want to taste you, his mind whispered to the beautiful woman he had once vowed never to touch. I want to take my time with each slow, delicious bite.

Jake demanded trust and surrender with each thrust of his tongue, his hips, and Merilee knew she would never be able to resist him. She wanted him so badly, and she didn't think the desire screaming and bellowing inside her would ever be satisfied.


Rating: 10 out of 10
September 16, 2008

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As Samantha Taylor investigates the abduction of young demon women in gritty Los Angeles, she encounters Tain, the Immortal she hasn't seen since his enslavement to a powerful demon the year before.
Now Tain needs Samantha's help, and Samantha wonders if she can hide the fact that she's in love with him while they work together. Tain spent years being tortured by a demon--the last thing he'll want is a half-demon woman longing for him . . . or so she thinks.

Haunted by his past, Tain seeks peace by healing others, but he's not sure if the madness that trapped him has completely gone away. And he's never been able to get the dark-eyed Samantha Taylor out of his mind.


It's been more than a year since Samantha Taylor was involved in Tain's rescue from the Old One (ancient demon) who was holding him captive for over seven centuries. She fell in love with Tain that night but after his rescue he leaves without looking back, to heal from the torture he went through. Samantha has moved on and finds satisfaction in her work for the paranormal division of the LAPD.
More than a year after his brothers and Samantha freed him from Kehksut Tain is still a long way from healing and he wonders if he will be able to enjoy the pleasure of being with a woman ever again.
But Samantha isn't just any woman, when he needs her help to solve a case of missing demon girls, he finds it more and more difficult to resist his attraction to her beauty both inside and out, even if she is part demon and a demon kept him imprisoned and tortured for centuries.
Tain seems healed and sane again but is he really safe from the pull of the darkness deep inside him? Is he truly restored enough to keep away the darkness that once ruled his actions?

Tain is scarred both inside and out and Samantha is the only one who can soothe him, not even his brothers are truly able to do that. She soothes him with her presence, both mentally and physically but her demon-half scares him because of his torment under a demon's hand. He’s also afraid of succumbing to the darkness that remained inside him and because of his fear he tries to stay away from family and friends, afraid he will do something that will hurt them. Since his capture he has associated women and lovemaking with pain and suffering but Samantha shows him it can be different and love is something he is capable of.

Samantha is utterly fascinated by Tain and like him she’s scared of her demon-half. She has a hard time accepting that part of her and everything that comes along with it because she was brought up by her human mother to embrace her human side. Tain helps her to accept and embrace both parts of who she is and in the end that in turn helps Tain overcome his own fears and tribulations. In this story hero and heroine represent each other’s salvation.

As secondary characters there are some characters from the previous books, like Hunter, Leda and Septimus. But of course there are some intriguing new ones in the form of Logan, Samantha's werewolf partner who is very interesting. I hope he'll get his own story in this series too.
Like in the other books the love his brothers have for Tain is heartfelt and I loved the way it is shown in the books, this one included.
Again an Ancient demon fills the part of evil in this series but in this book he has a surprising lackey to do his bidding.

After THE GATHERING it was a long wait for Tain's story but it was worth every minute of it. Jennifer Ashley swept me right back into that world of Immortals, demons, vampires, and werewolf shape shifters. The only group missing this time was the witches but the others held me captivated enough not to miss them that bad.
Each book in the series has its own unique plot fitting each Immortal and his heroine and this book was a beautiful closure of Tain's story that ran throughout the previous ones linking them together.

I loved the plot; it was intriguing, surprising and original. It is incomparable to the previous Immortals books. After THE GATHERING I thought it couldn't be that much of a surprise but I was wrong. I was enthralled by another sublime installment in this series by the talented Jennifer Ashley.
I love her writing style. It's fast-paced and action-filled.
The romance is sensual and beautifully written. The plot is perfectly set up and well rounded. Hero and heroine are well matched and the secondary characters are compelling and complementing.

For me this was an excellent way to give Tain the closure he was looking for since the first book of the Immortals and I'm really looking forward to the next storyline in this series.


Quotes:
Who wouldn't fantasize about a hard-bodied male with intense blue eyes and hair she longed to run her fingers through? A man who'd made her feel so incredible when he healed her she'd almost jumped his bones right there in the club?

She flicked on the lights, noting that Tain had done the dishes.
"What a dream man." she murmured as she closed the door. "A one-night stand who cleans the house before leaving."



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September 10, 2008

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Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day—they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy. Though no longer trapped in exile, their growing family faces new problems. The sixthborn son must find a way to trust his Destined bride…

First, his most heavily guarded refuge is breached. And now, the worst of all crimes against Rydan of Nightfall: Rora, a pesky, privacy-invading foreigner, likes him and won’t leave him alone! Rydan knows he’s as appealing as a rosebush stripped of its blooms, so why does she persist? Any normal maiden should be seeking less thorny company than his.

But Rora isn’t normal. She alone sees the secret of what torments Rydan. And only she can persuade him to put it right before it destroys him. But Rora has her own secret as well—one of such vast power that other mages have killed in order to possess it. It once drove Rora and her sisters into exile, and, in the wrong hands, its power could annihilate their world. In the right hands, it could change her and Rydan’s fate forever.



Rydan is the brother who has been keeping to himself ever since they arrived on Nightfall. He secludes himself from the rest for reasons only he knows and they are finally explained in his book. The self-imposed isolation is not of his free will. He has to because he can't be around others too long without their emotions causing him excruciating pain. That is why he lives at night and sleeps during the day. That way he's least likely to come into contact with others.

After Rora and Amara end up on Nightfall Rora discovers Rydan's "lair”, where he isolates himself from the others and sets events into action that will determine her and Rydan's future. They both have their secrets to keep and their reasons for not trusting each other with said secrets and while Rydan fights his Destiny, Rora embraces it with both hands, just as she does everything else in life.
Little by little Rora starts to grow on Rydan and together they have to overcome many obstacles before they can both enjoy the pleasures of their entwined Destinies.

Rora is Amara's twin sister. She is the reason Amara had to leave her life behind, for Rora is a living Fountain and mages covet her powers. Though she looks plain and uncomplicated on the outside Rora is anything but that. She is a sweet and open woman and pleasant to be around. She's the absolute opposite of dark, reclusive and brooding Rydan and still they are more alike than you would think. They both have this link with other people’s feelings even if Rydan's is a bit more negative than Rora's.

Rora "sees emotions displayed in colors and Rydan feels emotions through what he calls "the beast". Rora literally sees Rydan suffering and stands up for him against the others. She protects him and enjoys being the one protecting and helping instead of being the one needing protection.
Rydan tries to push Rora away, knowing she could be his downfall if she is his Prophesied Bride, but he can't resist her for long.

I loved the roles the secondary characters had in this book. Serina and Dominor were prominently present which was logical considering the Fountain storyline. But Morganen also provided some intriguing contributions to both current and future storylines. I enjoyed the interactions between the brothers, their wives and how they are all making an effort to fulfill their destinies and help those who aren't paired up yet. There is teasing and bantering but you can feel the harmony between all the people on Nightfall.

Rydan and Rora's story takes place in roughly the same time as Trevan and Amara's and that's the only similarity both stories have. As different as both twins are physically and emotionally, so were their stories.
With THE STORM I found the romance and sensuality I missed in THE CAT. And next to the romance there was still this fantastic magical world building Jean Johnson has displayed in the other books. I got to know more about the Fountains/Fonts, their origin and how they work.

Rydan's character turned out very different from the image I had of him reading the previous books. And this was in a very positive way. Normally reality doesn't meet the expectations but with Rydan reality rose high above my expectations. Yes he was dark and brooding and isolated himself, but he had good reason to and he had some really endearing moments that melted my heart.

If you like emotional stories, as I do, THE STORM meets your needs. It's an emotional read in many ways, from beginning to end. It has a main couple that approaches emotions in their own way and only when they combine their efforts, will they find solutions for their problems, relief for their suffering and love.
Next to this fabulous love story Jean Johnson still takes everyday things, like stone carving and house building, and wraps them in a magical veil using her phenomenal writing talent.

In the fantasy genre she has become one of my favourites. With THE STORM she has truly consolidated that position, giving me a well-balanced combination of plot and romance and a nice mix of emotion and action. I enjoyed this book immensely and am waiting with eager anticipation for the last set of twins in this series.


Quotes:
Rora and Dominor about Rydan:
"I know what I See...and I will do something about it. In my own time, and in my own way. You're not the one Prophesied to court him."
"And for it, I thank the Gods every single day," Dominor retorted.

One of Rydan's thoughts:
Just because Fate weaves the overall tapestry doesn't mean we cannot embroider our own Destinies over whatever was originally designed for us.



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September 9, 2008

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Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day—they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy. Though no longer trapped in exile, their growing family faces new problems. For the fifthborn son, it is getting his Destined bride to trust him…

Amara of the Shifterai has good reason to be wary of mages, when mages were responsible for chasing her and her sister out of their homeland. Being on the run for so long hasn’t put her in a trusting mood, yet there is something about Trevan of Nightfall—mage or not—that Amara finds difficult to resist. But can he be trusted with her most fiercely guarded secret?

Courting such a pretty yet prickly outlander won’t be easy, but Trevan is determined to try. She may be fierce, proud, and from a different culture, but he is the Cat, and none but the most fascinating and challenging of women could satisfy him. Of course, it would help if she stood still long enough for him to court her properly…


Trevan is the charming women-expert of the Sons Of Destiny and he's is getting frustrated with his forced abstinence, certainly now that four of his brothers have found and married their Destined Brides. He and Koranen have tried to come up with a solution for their celibacy but are failing at it. When their brothers offer no support Trevan starts feeling more and more resentment at their happiness.
But when his Destiny finally arrives Nightfall he discovers that the frustration over his abstinence is not solved with her arrival.
Amara is a Shifterai shape-shifter with a huge chip on her shoulder. She is on the run with her sister from mages who covet what she protects. What she's given up her future for to protect. She doesn't trust mages as far as she can throw them so earning her trust is hard work for Trevan. Besides that, her people’s way of courting is very different from Trevan’s.

Though they seem very different at first glance, they do have a lot in common and that is what brings them together. They both want to protect the ones they care about and they both want to be loved for who they are, not for what they can do.
Trevan is the one who never had any problems with women and charming them, but now he has to deal with a prickly, resentful, stubborn woman who will not make it easy for him to embrace his Destiny. But he has enough determination to make it work.

Amara is a practical, apprehensive and no nonsense kind of woman, she is cautious and protective, especially of the ones dear to her.
Her bitterness comes from not being able to fulfill the purpose she was supposed to. The purpose she spent her whole life preparing for. This inability comes from forces outside her power and that frustrates her to a point where she chafes at everything and everyone. When she finds a new purpose on Nightfall she softens a bit and her better traits come to the surface. Even if she isn't very likable in the first half of the book I did understand where her animosity came from and the love for her sister always seeped through the annoyance and resentment she often felt.

With THE CAT I embarked on the third set of twins in this series and I enjoyed going back to Nightfall and getting reacquainted with Saber, Wolfer, Dominor, Evanor and their wives.
I learned about the ways and habits of Amara's people and loved seeing Kelly meet her match in Amara when it comes to willpower. Neither of them gives an inch and tries to establish their own supremacy. There was only thing I could think of when reading their scenes: "catfight"
Like in the previous books I was taken deep into this magical world where ordinary and known concepts like central heating and house building are cleverly imbedded into an imaginary world. Jean Johnson makes normal and practical things seem magical and does this in a very fascinating way.
Her world building and characters are great and she knows how to make a magical fantasy world come to life with her writing skills. She also manages to keep secondary characters interesting without taking the focus away from the main characters. The supporting characters have important and crucial roles in the plots but never take the attention of the couple at hand.

Both Amara and Trevan were characters I enjoyed reading but the rest of the book was a bit too descriptive for me. Too many scenes on how to plan cities, how to build houses, how to set up central heating and not enough sparkling sensuality between Trevan and Mara. Their love story got lost in the building of the new Kingdom of Nightfall and that was something that had its influence on my opinion of the book. The development of Nightfall as a new Kingdom and with it, the problems that arise takes up a big chunk of the plot, leaving little room for an intensive courtship between Trevan and Amara.
My hopes were high because knowing Trevan was the womanizing twin I expected lots of romance. But unfortunately these expectations weren't met entirely. Only the second half of the book came close to what I expected Trevan's story would be like. For me the second half was also much better because that's when Amara became more aware of her ill behavior towards the people on Nightfall and Trevan in particular. That's when the real courting began and that's where I started getting what I wanted in the first place.

But even if my expectations weren't met all the way, I still enjoyed this fifth installment in the series and without it this series wouldn't be complete.
All Sons of Destiny will always have a place on my keeper-shelf, representing the fantasy genre.


Quote:
She had to admit her twin had been right all along, though; this was the right place for them to be and not just for her twin's sake. One glance at Trevan was enough to reassure Amara of that. He made her cheeks heat and her heart race. He challenged her mind to think and her heart to feel.



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September 8, 2008
I reviewed this book for REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES at the author's request


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LILLIAN'S LOVE, located in the small town of Stony Point, is a concrete symbol of Lillian Baxter's new life and new hope. Physical proof that life goes on despite her nearly fatal past.
Until two New Jersey detectives show up. They are on the hunt for a man responsible for two separate murders and Lillian knows their suspect well.

Detective Michael Fields works for the Sheriff's Department and their BCI Unit. Michael understands and accepts Lillian's reservations and he vows to protect her, make her see that she is not alone this time despite Lillian's refusal of help. Her persistence to handle things on her own may cause the destruction and death of those around her, Lillian's own life as well as LILLIAN'S LOVE a symbol of hope, freedom and one woman's enduring sacrifice.


Lillian Baxter, bookstore-owner, has a past of domestic violence and her trust in men is damaged severely because of it. She has made a new life for herself, picking up the pieces one by one and she's done well. When she's attracted to her best friend's brother, Michael Fields, she doesn't want to act on it because of her past and because frankly their first encounter didn't go to well. Besides, Michael is too dominant and too bossy.

Michael, detective for the sheriff's department, is non-commitment kind of guy until Lillian. In his own charming way he woes Lillian into a relationship. He does this slowly and gently and determinedly, despite his own insecurities about commitment.
Michael's relationship with Lillian and his transfer, after being shot, to the BCI Unit (Bureau of Criminal Investigative Unit) as a homicide investigator, puts him in the middle of it all when a serial killing stalker gets closer and closer to Lillian.
The way Henion describes these blossoming feelings and relationship is a great counterpart to the imminent suspense surrounding the serial killer stalking Lillian.

Just the prologue was enough to send shivers down my spine. It was the perfect introduction to this novel of romance and suspense.
Henion's style is accessible, easy and fast-paced. You can tell by the story that she has extensive knowledge of law-enforcement and this book gives the reader a good taste of how police-departments and murder-investigations work.
It was very descriptive in the beginning which had it's influence on the pace of the story but this was just in the very beginning, as soon as the story got going it read very smoothly. In some parts I was even reminded of the CSI television series I love to watch.

The people surrounding Lillian and Michael, friends, co-workers, family, formed a nice secondary cast. Complementary to both the main couple and the plot they all played their respective parts to make it a well-rounded story. Even the killer/stalker had his own point of view without betraying his identity. This made the suspense that bit more exciting, knowing his thoughts and motivations but having to guess who he was.

The plot was set up in a great way, leading the reader into a certain direction and then totally unexpectedly giving it a believable conclusion.
After reading numerous romance novels where the couple does the dive-in-head-first thing with their attraction and relationship I thought this was a refreshing and endearing love story of two every-day and easy-to-relate to people, complete with a first date and really getting to know each other, all embedded within the span of the 200 something pages. It was a traditional and original romantic suspense with the perfect mix of heartfelt romance and nail biting suspense.
It was the perfect combination of the love story and the terrific suspense that makes me want to read more by Laura Marie Henion.



Quote
Michael and his uncle Phil about Lillian:
"You think she's out of my league?"
"You said that, not me!"
"But you were thinking it. I have had a few serious relationships in my life. I know about commitment."
"Long weekends shacked up with some coed is not a commitment."



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The dialogues are sparkling and vivid and they portray the overall feel of the book. I was just as entranced by them as by the suspense plot, the characters and the emotional avalanche which poured out.

Click on the cover and go to the "Recently Updated" page to read the full review!
September 4, 2008

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Back Cover:
Miss Grace Banbury was in shock. Her mother put her up as a prize in a high stakes card game, and now the gentleman who won is ready to claim her! But Grace has other plans. She just needs the dastardly rogue to go along with it...

A notorious rake from a scandalous family, Daniel Throckmorten has no use for blushing virgins. Yet there's no denying the attraction for the beauty standing before him, proposing an enticing wager: He will use all his charm and wit to seduce her into his bed...and she only has to resist. If she succeeds, she wins enough funds to secure her own future. If he wins...she'll be his. Daniel has never been so tempted--and has no intention of losing...



Grace Banbury's mother has a gambling habit but when she gambles away her both family homes, Grace sets out to London to salvage what she can for her brother and herself. The man who won the stakes in the card game with her mother is Daniel Trockmorten, cousin to the Duke of Madingley.
When they meet she finds out her mother not only gambled the houses away but also the right to court and marry her own daughter. But Daniel isn't looking for a wife and Grace isn't looking for a husband. He wants a mistress and she wants back what her mother foolishly gambled away: their homes and their father's precious violin. They decide to make a wager for themselves.
If Daniel can seduce Grace in two weeks, she will willingly become his mistress, if he doesn't he will hand over the violin and the homes back to Grace.
This wager is the start of delightful game that neither wants to lose. But soon it's not about winning any longer and they are fascinated by each other.

Grace is feisty, independent and smart, but she does have a somewhat tainted past. Her attraction to handsome, dangerous men almost ruined her so she is determined to resist Daniel. She will not mistake lust for love again. She feels responsible for her mother's faults and her brother's future and is willing to sacrifice her own reputation for them.

Daniel is seductive, roguish and the epitome of a rake. He underestimates Grace at first, thinking he can easily seduce her
There is more to Daniel than his roguish charm and rakish behavior. He uses his reputation for scandal to mask his loneliness and the pain rumors about his parents causes him. He tries to avert the attention from his mother to him with his scandalous conduct.

The dialogues between Daniel and Grace are sparkling and vivid. They challenge each other both sensually and intellectually and they soon fall for each other even when they keep denying it.

The plot is mainly the wager between Daniel and Grace. There is a very small but predictable secondary storyline but that doesn't take away the attention from the main couple and their seductive game.

The romance is build up gradually with love scenes that slowly work up to a sensual high point. The way to that point is written beautifully but the completion was a bit lacking. The scene where Grace finally gives in seemed rushed and brushed away. This was a bit disappointing after the nice set-up towards it.

As in the other Gayle Callen books I read, the influence of parental behavior plays a big role in the book. Both Daniel and Grace's parents' actions determine their respective courses in life. I would have liked to see Grace's mother appear as a secondary character to explain herself but she didn't.
The secondary characters were mostly family members of both Grace and Daniel and they didn't have a very big part in the book except for Grace's brother, Edward.

I must say I liked this first book of Gayle Callen's new Sons of Scandal Trilogy better than the first book of the Sisters of Willow Pond trilogy. It was a nice, easy to read and enjoyable story. Callen's writing style is pleasant and fast-paced. I did miss a bit of intensity but the main couple's dialogues and their chemistry made up for that.
I know the next book in this trilogy is about Daniel's cousin Chris, the Duke. I'm curious as to who will be his heroine and what their story will be.




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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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