March 30, 2009
Back Cover copy:
A HIGHLANDER DRIVEN BY VENGEANCE.
A dark, ruthless Highlander, the Black Macleod has refused his destiny. His life is revenge for the massacre of his family. His enemies' insults—that he is a man of stone—only amuse him. But Fate is impatient, and when a woman from another time dares to summon him, he cannot resist her powers—or her…

THE WOMAN WHO WILL SAVE HIM.
A schoolteacher by day, Tabitha Rose uses her magic to protect others by night. When the vision of a dark Highlander, bloody and burned, appears to Tabby, she knows she has been called to help him, no matter how frightening he might be. But what Tabby doesn’t expect is to be taken against her will to his dark violent time. And when evil begins to stalk her, she realizes she must fight for far more than his destiny—she must fight for her love….


Guy McLeod lost his entire family due to a feud with the MacDougalls and ever since his quest in life has been revenge on that family. He even refuses to take his vows to become a Master of Time. Blind to anything but erasing the MacDougalls from the face of the earth he goes through life a ruthless executioner who knows no mercy. But as with everything in life, every action has consequences and in Guy's case the consequences lie in his future, in the form of witch Tabitha Rose.
Tabitha is a schoolteacher during the day and at night she fights evil to save the innocents, as her family had been doing for generations. When during a visit to an exhibit at the museum, she has a vision of a bloodied Highlander desperate for her help, she unconsciously summons him to her time and that's the start of a journey toward love and redemption throughout time and space.

Tabitha is the quiet, gracious and classic one of the Rose women. She is polite and kind but beneath her proper exterior lays a woman who is powerful, strong and brave. She's been burned in love by her arrogant and macho ex-husband and decided that only non-alpha men will do for her. But she didn't count on the ultimate Alpha male Highlander from the past to sweep her of her feet.

Guy is hot-tempered, stubborn, merciless and even barbaric at times. He has a vast amount of self-confidence that can easily be confused with arrogance. His only need for women in his life is a physical one. However, he didn't count on a prim and proper woman from the future to turn his world upside down. Guy is very set in his ways and his obsession with revenge but Tabby and his feelings for her do mellow him a bit.

Both Guy and Tabby were not only great characters individually but also together they brought the intensity and sensuality I missed with Brie and Aidan in the previous book. Guy is every bit the medieval, barbarian Highlander and Tabby epitomizes the elegant, compassionate witch. Guy triggers her inner sensuality and strength and makes her want to be less inhibited.

There are a lot of characters in this book. Next to the main couple, secondary characters as Nick Forrester, Samantha Rose and Kit play very important roles in the plot. I know that Sam is the heroine of the next book in this series (DARK LOVER) and Nick and Kit are definitely main character material too. For now though I'm really looking forward to Sam Rose and Ian MacLean's story which is coming next. I had a taste of their chemistry in this book and I want more!!
And then there's Nick. The tidbits on him continued from the previous book and they are enticing and mysterious enough to make me want to know more of him, even if in this book he already had quite a big part.

With this second book in the Rose Trilogy within the Masters of Time series of which it's the fourth one, Brenda Joyce gave me a novel filled with grief, love, loyalty and thirst for vengeance. I'll start by saying that I loved this book but I have to list the lesser things first so I can end it on the high I also finished the book on. The one thing that keeps puzzling me throughout this series, even after 4 books now, is the time leaping and I keep having difficulties with the chronology. Especially without an explanation of the rules I guess this is something that will run through all the books in this series. It is something that confuses me but at the same time Brenda Joyce keeps met enticed with the time-travel and the chronology in these books because in the end she always manages to tie everything together in a great and clear way, solving all the confusing and puzzlement created before. Because of the time-leaping these are books that you should read with a clear and attentive mind, otherwise you get lost in the back and forth between past, present and future. Next to the time-leaping thing there are a few small inconsistencies, but they were so minor it didn't influence my reading pleasure.

The above being said, I must say that for me this was the best installment of this series to date. Not only did I truly like the main couple, the chemistry between them and their contradicting personalities, the various little subplots and secondary characters also pleasantly surprised me. I'm still impressed by how this book captured me and kept me guessing as to where Brenda Joyce was taking me with the utterly unpredictable plot. The end was put together excellently. It gave answers to all the questions raised and brought closure to the few loose ends that were present earlier in the plot.

In this book I learned more about the Rose women and their destinies. Every generation has a Healer, a Witch and a Slayer and each of them have their destinies set long before they are even born in this world. What's more, the world of the Masters of Time is expanded with additional knowledge about the CDA (Centre for Demonic Activities) and the HCU (Historical Crimes Unit), the ones battling evil in the present day. Consequently, the book is set substantially more in the present day compared to the previous ones.

Every once in a while I read books that send my speculative senses to a high. This was one of those books. I was speculating about future stories, prompted by tantalizing information on and dialogues between secondary characters as Nick, Jan, Kit, Sam, Ian and the mysterious Lady of An Roinn Mor. I was even speculating about the outcome of this very book and the plot. This part of the series managed to evoke that enthusiastic feeling I had when I read the very first book of it. After two slightly disappointing books Brenda Joyce pulled me right back into the world of the Masters of Time and the Rose Women with this one.


Quote:
He caught her hair, using it as a leash, and twisted her head backward. Then he whirled her around, until her back hit the door. He shoved his huge thigh between hers, and Tabby moaned, throbbing wildly all over him. (...) She let him kiss her so hard he was probably drawing blood. It didn't matter. She was in a vortex, spinning toward that usually elusive brink, shaking wildly in his arms, her blood roaring in her veins, her brain. Every inch of her was on fire. Now, she clung and begged.


Rating: 8 out of 10
March 25, 2009
Back Cover copy:
It was just a little innocent research…
Romance writer Julia Martin is fine with her life, just the way it is. Her simple apartment, successful career and Thursday-night pizza dates with her too-hot-for-words editor Ross are more than enough for her. At least, that’s what she thinks until her cat dies.

Ross Philips has spent years lusting after his shy best friend, but fears his rather strong sexual desires will be too much for Julia. When she falls into a depression over the death of her cat and stops writing, Ross decides she needs a change.
His suggestion? Try a new genre—erotica. And, of course, being such a good friend and editor, he even plans to help her do a little research.

Warning: this title contains the following: explicit sex, spanking, anal sex, bondage, toys, graphic language and all sorts of fun stuff.


Historical romance novelist Julia Martin is in a bit of a rut. Personally because it seems like everyone she loves, dies or leaves her, most recently her beloved cat. Professionally she's experiencing a bit of writers' block. Her editor and best friend Ross Philips suggests a change of genre from historical to erotic to get her creativity back and offers to help her with the research. But soon the research takes on a serious character unveiling simmering feelings between Julia and Ross.

Ross is the ideal hero, planning Julia's seduction and demanding not only her sexual abandon but also emotional commitment from her. Since he knows her so well, he knows exactly how to get both. He's been in love with Julia for a very long time but has never acted on it, afraid that she won't accept his darker sexual needs.

Julia's fiery personality lies just below the surface waiting to be ignited by the right man, in her case Ross. Though she wants to protect her heart, she knows her surrender to him both sexually and emotionally is inevitable.

Ms. Carr's debut is a delightful, intense and solid erotic romance. With all the elements I require from an erotic romance she touched dark sensual desires and combined these with deep emotional dilemmas. The characters that have enough of a background and are very likeable complement the hot erotic love scenes. Even with the limited page-count (only 114 pages), she managed to write a fully and well-rounded story that contained more than just steamy erotic scenes. However, with such a small page-count little room is left for true depth in the characters or their backgrounds. Still I thought Ms. Carr did a good job in giving Julia and Ross a background that went beyond the story at hand.

I liked both the premise and the execution of the story. There are no secondary characters because it's just about Julia and Ross and the exploration of their (sexual) relationship. Right before the end the book dropped a bit in pace and intensity but she more than made up for that with the ending. It was heart breaking and beautifully done which earned this e-book an extra half star.

This was a purely character-driven book that had enough body to it to keep me interested from the first to the last page and in the vast amount of erotically charged romances Mari Carr has definitely captured my attention with a story that I found myself fascinated with to no end and I'm glad I have more of her books in my possession.


Quote:
Ross to Julia: “Oh, Jules, I can assure you nothing I plan to do to you tonight is going to be professional. It’s going to be hot and raw, rough and passionate—and extremely unprofessional.”



March 21, 2009

During a visit with fellow book-addict and friend Dream-Mistress more than a week ago of course we ended up talking about books (what else!! *grin*) and my attention was drawn to one of her books (Wicked Burn by Beth Kery). When we went searching for more books by that author we found a cover that portrayed a man with an open white shirt. We both remembered having seen this type of cover before and when I found a picture of the cover of Nalini Singh's next Psy/Changeling book ((Blaze of Memory) the other day, I decided to take a look on my bookshelves and my wishlist and discovered at least 6 other books with the same cover. 

What's up with this man in a white-shirt that's (partially) open? A new trend in bookcovers? 
Not that I'm complaining...




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March 20, 2009


Michelle Styles writes Regency romance as it is meant to be: moving, fitting the time-period in historical details, plotlines and emotional conflict. I was enthralled by her writing style that reads easily but is far from boring. A style that's supported by a solid historical background sending you back to the time she writes about [...]

Click HERE and go to the "Recently Updated" page to read the full review!
March 17, 2009


WOLF HUNT BY JENNIFER ASHLEY

Back Cover Copy:
Werewolf Logan defies his entire pack and everything he’s ever known to protect a demon woman. He must race to save the beautiful demon Nadia from his own pack.


Logan Wright's former Pack Leader, Matt Lewis, has a score to settle with him and blackmails Nadia into setting a trap for Logan. Matt and Logan have a history together and Matt is the reason Logan left his Pack, even though he was a respected and feared Pack Master. Now Nadia is put in the middle because of her connection to Logan, she doesn't want to betray Logan but the life of a loved one is at stake.

Logan was one of the secondary characters I hoped would get his own story, after reading THE REDEEMING. He is loyal, gentlemanlike but a true werewolf at the core.
Nadia also was a secondary character in Tain's book but a minor one. I was nicely surprised to see her paired up with Logan. She is brave and has a snappy sense of humor.

I loved the chemistry and dialogues between Logan and Nadia. They were representing the humor I like so much in Ashley's books. Along the way there was lots of information on werewolves, their pack law and rules. Of course Tain and Samantha made a small appearance but the story is focused mainly on Nadia and Logan and the plot, which was well executed. I did miss Amber and Adrian though.

This was a great novella and has the quality that's to be expected from Jennifer Ashley. It was complete, well rounded, a short but very satisfying nonetheless. The plot is excellent, it's mysterious, suspenseful, humorous and filled with different little storylines and angles that ultimately all link together. Not being too short but not too long either, it was enough to tell the story of Logan and Nadia and a perfect closure to the Jennifer Ashley installments in the Immortals series.

Quote:
Except now she'd kissed that mouth, felt his lips respond to hers, tasted his life essence. The magic of him has singed her primal core, tightening her body and making her crave more.


4 stars
1,5 flames


BLOOD DEBT BY JOY NASH

Back Cover Copy:
Jackson Cabot's bright future went dark in 1896 Paris, when he died and was turned vampire. After three decades of slavery in the service of Europe's brutal vampire master, Jackson discovered a secret that has allowed him to hoard power. Now, at last, his strength approaches that of his rival, and he exists solely to take vengeance on the two beings responsible for his eternal nightmare: the monster that turned him vampire -- and the beautiful Sidhe muse who killed him.


Because of Leanna's unreasonable and unjust fear of love Jackson Cabot was turned vampire and enslaved by Europe's vampire master, Armande Legrand. Jackson manages to escape Legrand and ever since he's has been plotting and planning revenge on Legrand. When by chance Jackson finds out Leanna is in the vicinity he decides to kill two birds with one stone and use Leanna to vanquish Legrand. But we all know what happens with the best-laid plans...

Leanna has come a long way since she was the evil love muse in THE AWAKENING. She has really grown up by suffering and has learned to be compassionate instead of self-absorbed. Her life has not been easy and everything has taken a toll on her: the abandonment by her Sidhe mother, the abuse by her human father and her imprisonment in Hell.
Jackson used to be a lighthearted and caring man. He was truly in love with Leanna when she used her powers on him and left him for dead, giving Legrand the opportunity to enslave him. Now more than a century later he has become a bitter and vengeful vampire with one goal and one goal only in his non-life: vengeance.
For a short story it had quite some secondary characters but they all fit in perfectly with the main characters and the plot. I enjoyed the glimpses of the two former main couples Kalen, Christine, Mac and Artemis.

This was an amazing story. The best of this anthology, one of the top stories in this whole series and by far the best by Joy Nash in this series. I never would have thought it after THE AWAKENING but this was truly a well written, compelling, intriguing and perfectly plotted story with the right amount of emotions, actions and hot love scenes. I loved the way the story between Leanna and Jackson was set up in the limited amount of pages Joy Nash had to work with. I really wonder what she could have done if she had a full-length book for this story. She mixed everything in the right way and delivered an excellent novella that is undoubtedly keeper material.


Quotes:
His mind blanked on a rush of white-hot lust. And red-hot anger. One hundred years might have passed but it would take much longer than a mere century to erase this particular redhead from his mind and his soul.

Seven decades of ruthless self-control, obliterated in one groan of ecstasy. Seven decades of hoarded power seeped through the rapidly widening cracks in the shield of death magic he’d constructed around his soul.

The wanting cut like a knife. It sliced at her soul, carving it into thousands upon thousands of yearning pieces. And more. It was as if Jackson had released every atom from her body, allowing them to float free, into the atmosphere. And then had recaptured and enslaved every particle of her being.


4,5 stars
2 flames


BEYOND THE MIST BY ROBIN T. POPP

Back Cover Copy:
Haunted by her past and reeling from her sister's murder, Jenna Renfield takes a cruise hoping to have a little fun – and escape the company of sexy, but obnoxious spirit walker, Dave Runningbear. Almost from the start, the cruise turns out not to be what she expected – prickles of death magic, ghostly wailing in the night and a creepy albino stalker. When Jenna realizes her life might be in danger, she’s more than happy that Dave followed her on board the cruise ship and turns to him for help, hoping they can both escape with their lives when the ship carries them "Beyond the Mist."


A deal struck between the goddess Sekhmet (Immortal Darius' mother) and the sea god Poseidon has now come back to bite Sekhmet in the behind. She thought to sacrifice her firstborn grandchild in order to keep Darius on Ravenscroft safe from earth's temptation (for more about this revert to THE DARKENING) because she never thought Darius would find love and have children. But he has and now Poseidon has come to collect on the deal. Out of desperation Sekhmet offers Poseidon a trade: Jenna Renfield, whom she knows through Mai and Nick, instead of her grandson.
Jenna Renfield has been going through the motions ever since she lost her sister to an evil genie (see THE HAUNTING) and lives with Nick, Mai and their roommate Dave. She's attracted to Dave but the parade of ladies passing through his bedroom is the reason she doesn't want anything to do with him. When an offer for a free cruise arrives, she grabs the opportunity to get away from Dave with both hands. But on this cruise nothing is as it seems and soon she's very glad Dave decided to come after her on it.

Jenna is a quiet young woman who has suffered many adversities in her life and every time she uses her magic it seems to get worse. So she has decided to go through life not using her magic ever again. She is intelligent and responsible. But after the loss of her sister she's also guilt-ridden and depressed. The only bright spots in her life at this moment are her roommates Mai, Nick and Dave. Even if Dave has a different woman in his room every night.
Dave is charming and flirtatious. He's what you would call a rake if this were a historical romance. He is interested in Jenna but since he thinks she won't give him the time of day, he continues with his amorous adventures. When Jenna received an invitation to a cruise he doesn't trust it and follows her on the cruise to protect her. His shape-shifting chameleon and spirit walker abilities sure come in handy when they end up in trouble.
Again an elaborate secondary cast fills the pages and like in Nash's story the two former main couples played their small part.

Since THE HAUNTING I was looking forward to Dave's story and I must say I'm glad it was included in this anthology but it kind of paled before the other two stories. This novella was kind of THE LITTLE MERMAID meets the LOVE BOAT, which on it's own wasn't a bad thing but compared to the other two novellas for me this was the lesser one. I missed intensity and where in the other novellas the stories were well rounded and compelling with this one it felt a bit rushed despite the great premise it held. Towards the end of the story it picked up a bit in intensity and plot so overall it ended on a satisfying note.


3,5 stars
1 flame


THE RECKONING

Sometimes there are books you read and you wish the secondary characters would get their own HEA too next to the main couples. The Immortals series consisted of these kind of books and I am very happy that the authors decides to team up an give the readers an anthology that provided to be both a delightful ending to the series as well as a great opportunity to give some beloved secondary characters their own stories.

Overall it was an anthology of solid quality, one with two excellent novellas and one that was good. They were three totally different paranormal stories with a bit less of the magical feeling the first four books in this series gave me but even so each story was unique and well-written and THE IMMORTALS is a series of which the books will stay on my keepers' shelf until they fall apart from old age.



March 11, 2009
Back Cover Copy:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OPPOSITES ATTRACT?
Free-spirited Zoey Adler is about to hijack a federal agent. And not just any federal agent, but very Special Agent Dante Torelli, a man whose designer suits and Italian shoes are more GQ than FBI. But when her baby niece, Pete, is snatched right in front of her eyes, Zoey doesn’t hesitate to scramble into Dante’s spotless BMW. She needs his help to rescue the baby . . . if only she can ignore his Lips of Sin.

OH, BABY!
Dante’s original mission is down the drain and he’s dodging bullets with a loopy redhead by his side. He likes quiet. She never shuts up. He likes to follow the rules. She throws the rules out the window. But these opposites do more than attract—they ignite. With a henpecked hit man running wild, cooking-obsessed matrons chasing down contraband spices, and a relentless killer tracking them all, Dante and Zoey will risk everything—for themselves and . . . FOR THE LOVE OF PETE


In the middle of an argument between Zoey Addler and Dante Torelli about a parking space the kidnapping of Zoey's niece Pete by a hit man, sent by a mafia to kill the federal witness Dante is protecting, propels them into working together to find the kidnapper and the child. They chase after the kidnapper, Neil Janiowski. But things get very complicated when Neil's car, containing not only Pete but also Neil's own son Neil Junior, is hijacked by two bickering Indian ladies wanting something back that Neil stole from them. Soon bullets are flying, old ladies are on the run, fights are fought, babies are tossed from one stolen car into another, hit man and traitors run in abundance. Everything leads to an eventful adventure with a happy ending in all aspects.

The main characters of this book, Zoey and Dante, are wonderful! They have such contradicting personalities you just can't believe there's a love match there. Zoey is spirited, colorful and artistic but she's also quick-witted, sympathetic and caring. Dante is the proverbial in-control male. He is serious, coolheaded and orderly but he is also compassionate, helpful and driven. Even their backgrounds and they way they were brought up are totally different. These contradictory characters do complement each other perfectly however. What lacks in one, the other has plenty and vice versa.

But Zoey and Dante weren't the only characters to catch my attention. The variety of lively secondary characters, that all had their unique contribution to the plot, truly complemented the main couple and stood out on their own. I even felt sympathy for Neil, the kidnapper and the two arguing Indian sister-in-law are just plain hilarious. Together all the secondary characters and their antics formed a perfect background for the love story between Zoey and Dante.

This book is one hilarious laugh-out-loud read. Julia Harper took a bowl, threw in a federal witness, FBI agents -one of which is crooked-, a poet, a mafia hit man, a mafia boss, two quarreling Indian sisters in law who own a restaurant, two adorable babies and finally she added the setting of a car chase with a bullet-ridden BMW convertible in the leading part. You would think with these ingredients the book is bound to be a bit chaotic and disorderly but nothing is further from the truth. Finally she stirred it a bit and out came a delightful contemporary romance.

She delivered a heart warming, fluent and funny story that keeps your attention from the first to the last page and managed to throw some satisfying romance in the mix as well. She made it funny, suspenseful and romantic without taking it over the top. It's a great contemporary romance with lots of good humor and not the slapstick type of humor I did find in Harper's first book (HOT), with thoroughly fleshed out main characters who had a nice kind of chemistry going and with a plot that was a pleasurable mix of the right amount of suspense, action, funny situations, romance with emotional depth and character development. She linked several storylines and POVs throughout the book and brought them together in the end perfectly.

I definitely liked this second book whole lot better than Harper's first contemporary romance. For me that one was a trial run and it couldn't compete with the historicals she writes under the penname Elizabeth Hoyt, but with this one she nailed it. What I really like about Harper/Hoyt's writing is her ability to think outside of the expected and come up with characters that are as surprising as they are strong. They quirks they have, make them human and easy to relate to which enriched my reading pleasure.

This book was funny, fast-paced, action-packed and touching. In short, everything I expect in a contemporary romance. After HOT, which I labeled an average read, Harper has amazed me with this second book, giving me a quality contemporary read that truly didn't disappoint. I unquestionably enjoyed myself reading this book. If you want uncomplicated, unadulterated fun, you can’t go wrong with FOR THE LOVE OF PETE!




March 10, 2009

This book was released on February 24th and I reviewed it for REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES


Back Cover:
Enter a world of sin, scandal, and the most forbidden pleasures. Enter the seductive world of award-winning author Sharon Page, whose new novel will take your breath away with a tantalizing blend of Regency romance and erotic thrills.

It is London’s most secretive gentlemen’s club—a place where no well-bred lady would dare to be seen. But Lady Jane Beaumont has no choice. Her friend Del has vanished, and Jane must enter into a dangerous charade to find her. Now, within the gilded walls of this erotic lair, Jane awaits the lover she has procured for the evening. But the man who enters her bedchamber is no stranger. He is Del’s brother and London’s most notorious rake—a man on a rescue mission of his own. Christian is intrigued by the innocent beauty who clearly does not belong in the notorious brothel. And as the two seek out the damning secrets of the club…as Christian initiates Jane into the ways of true sensual pleasure, she knows she has entered the most dangerous place of all—where the price of temptation could be her heart…


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When one of her best friends disappears without a trace, Jane St. Giles decides to start her own search-and-rescue mission. Her search starts at a brothel for couples known as "The Club". There she finds out that Del's brother Christian Sutcliffe, Lord Wickham, is also looking for his missing sister. Jane feels responsible, Christian feels guilty and after some heated differences of opinion they decide they can accomplish more by joining forces. The search for Del uncovers not only more mystery, but also feelings between Christian and Jane that will be thoroughly explored.

Jane is the widow of an abusive man. She is cautious with men because of her past experiences and doesn't give her trust easily. She is courageous, loyal and tenacious but there's also an air of vulnerability surrounding her.

Christian is hurt by his difficult childhood and guilt ridden because of his actions in the past. He may seem coldhearted or selfish but he has good motives for his actions and he has genuinely cares for his sister. He has the reputation of a wicked rake but he's honorable, protective and passionate. He’s a man of secrets with sides to him that he rarely shows to anyone. Christian's patience with and respect for Jane's delicate feelings and fears were truly endearing, especially taking into account his rakish past and his fiery nature.

Christian and Jane are both headstrong and don't avoid confrontation. The chemistry between them sparkles right of the pages. They are both characters that are rounded and believable. Their relationship develops in a realistic pace, taking into consideration Jane's abusive past. They both have been through a lot at of unpleasant things but find solace in each other.

The plot is set up excellently and it's credible. During the first part the search for Del is the driving force and focus of the book. About halfway through the book with the rescue of Del, the mystery plot seems mostly unraveled but that's where it really starts because more mystery is uncovered and Christian becomes determined to solve it all in order to protect not only his sister but Jane too. This is where the book picks up the pace, surprising me with twists and turns and where the real romance between Jane and Christian begins to develop.

Ms. Page has written a wonderful Regency romance. It is thorough and original in plot and has well-written, complex characters who will capture your heart immediately.
I must say that the plot did have to grow on me in the beginning as I was having trouble reconciling subjects as sex clubs, whipping and bondage with the non-explicit and historical setting. But once I got used to it and let myself be lured into unraveling the mystery, I was pleasantly surprised by an original and consistent historical romance that was both sensual and refreshing.
The love scenes are a bold a mix of tenderness, discovery and passion. Sensuality is embedded into the romance. It's enthralling without being too explicit or graphic.

Sharon Page's first mass market novel offers a historical treat with a thrilling mystery that needs to be solved and a well-developed romance that is rich in detail and background. She found the perfect way to create a solid, sensual and captivating historical tale of love and suspense. I for one am ready for her next mass market paperback.


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March 9, 2009
This novella is to be found in the anthology THE MAGICAL CHRISTMAS CAT.




Back Cover Copy:
Not available


Haley McQuire is a librarian in the small town near Sanctuary, the Feline Breed compound. When she unintentionally overhears a conversation in Sanctuary’s library that is not meant for her ears, this puts her life in danger.
Noble Chavin is a Breed Enforcer who has known deep down for over a year now that Haley is his mate but he chooses not to act on it because he can't bear to take her right to free choice from her. After an attack on Haley's life things change though and he takes on the responsibility of protecting her. Secluded in Haley's mountain home they wait for an assassin who is sure to come after Haley but while waiting the Breed mating heat can't be ignored despite both their efforts to do just that.

Haley is smart, tenacious and she is not unfamiliar with the Breeds and the issues that surround them. She has a fascination for Noble that she at first doesn’t want to acknowledge as love but all her actions contradict this.
Noble to me was a different kind of Breed than I'm used to. He was less commanding and truly did honor to his name because despite his need for Haley he lets her decide whether to answer to the mating heat. Although he was less forceful that didn't mean he was less dominant or less powerful. The way he puts Haley in control by some measure was truly touching and gave this Breed novella a very different vibe compared to the other stories in the series.

For a short story there's an abundance of secondary characters making an appearance here and there. Of course Jonas and the Vanderales once more leave their calling cards but Lora Leigh also opened a can of Breed Enforcers in this novella, along with a very intriguing human law enforcer: sheriff Zane Taggart. He's a character I wouldn't mind seeing a book about in the future.

Again, as with all the novellas in this series, this story was too short for my taste but even in the little amount of pages she had available Lora Leigh provides a lot of relevant information and expands the Breed world, adding to the ongoing plotline throughout the series. She managed to surprise me with the storyline about the assassin sent after Haley. First she let my mind go in one direction, speculating like crazy but then she ties the loose ends and comes with more intriguing information, taking it into a totally different direction. I should have seen it coming but I was too busy speculating.

Though this novella was definitely of more than average quality with the continued story arc and Noble and Haley as great primary characters, it was clearly a novella meant to tie some loose ends after DAWN'S AWAKENING and MERCURY'S WAR and a preparation for the next batch of Breeds and future developments in their ongoing story arc. Nevertheless it contained all the elements I love in this series including lots of fuel for speculation and anxious anticipation for what's to come.


Quotes:
Her touch was like electric pleasure. It shimmered over his flesh, dug talons of exquisite need beneath if, and left him tight, tense, torn between stopping her and begging her for more.

Haley felt her shoulders jerk from the bed. Her eyes opened, widened, unseeing, her senses dazed as the most exquisite feelings tore through her. Sharp and vibrant, a race of liquid flames, white-hot destruction and dark, primal pleasure.



March 8, 2009



Back Cover Copy:
...Torn between the love he has…and the love he’s always wanted.

Chassie West Glanzer hasn’t been a stranger to drama and tragedy. A year of wedded bliss to sexy-as-sin cowboy Trevor Glanzer has brought her the happiness and contentment she never thought she’d find, and mellowed Trevor’s rodeo wanderlust. Then Trevor’s old roping partner ambles up the driveway—and Chassie’s life changes drastically.

Trevor never expected to see Edgard Mancuso again, after it became clear he couldn’t be the man Edgard needed. Now Edgard is back from Brazil to sort out their tangled past, and Trevor is plagued with feelings he thought he’d buried over three years ago. Although Trevor is hat-over-bootheels in love with his sweet, feisty wife, the sense his life is missing a piece has always gnawed at him.

Chassie’s shock that Edgard and Trevor were once lovers turns to fear of losing her husband. Or worse, fear that Trevor will stay with her only out of a sense of duty. Yet as the three of them spend time together, the sins of the past blur and fade, leaving raw emotion—and unbridled passion.
Passion that could heal…or cause irreparable damage to their future.

Warning: this book contains unbelievably explicit sex, including multiple cowboy/cowgirl/cowboy ménage scenes, juicy, hot, male on male action, a bucketful of politically incorrect situations and true Western ideology.


What do you do when you find out your husband had a male lover he's never told you about?
That is the question Chassie West must answer when she finds out Edgard Mancuso is more than just her husband's former roping partner. Trevor Glanzer has made a new life for himself with Chassie whom he loves deeply even if he never totally forgot Edgard, but since Edgard left him more than 3 years ago, he has put it all behind him and focused on making Chassie happy. That is, until Edgard shows up for a visit. Edgard's leaving prevented closure on the men's relationship and this has to be sorted out now.
Trevor however, has never told Chassie about his complicated relationship with Edgard and soon they all discover that there is something between them that is unconventional but as strong as in any other relationship, even with and despite of the all the problems they have to fix along the way.

This is book 5 in Lorelei James' Rough Rider series and it dives further into the lives of two secondary characters from LONG HARD RIDE (book 1), Trevor and Edgard. From the way they ended things in LONG HARD RIDE we go ahead in time a few years and Trevor has married Chassie after a whirlwind romance. It's a happy marriage despite their individual hang-ups and familial troubles. Trevor has told Chassie about his sexual uninhibited past but he never mentioned what he had with Edgard. Now with Ed's return Trevor discovers his feelings for him rival those for Chassie and he realizes it's time to confess and face the consequences. Before he has the chance Chassie finds out and she is devastated. It adds to the lingering insecurities she already had. I truly felt for Chassie when she found out about Trevor and Ed. But she bounces back and after the first shock she decides to make the best of her marriage and the situation between Trevor and Ed.

Trevor and Ed are two characters who are alike and at the same time so very different. Both are stubborn, dominating and intense. But where Trevor has a short fuse and is hotheaded and blunt, Ed is quiet, gentlemanly and compassionate. The attraction between them is sizzling and profound. It’s the tough and non-too gentle attraction as should be expected between men.

Chassie is outspoken, feisty and perceptive. But her parentage, an unloving father and many difficult circumstances in her family also have made her self-conscious and a bit insecure. Once she accepts Ed into her marriage and she makes the best of the situation she handles both Trevor and Ed magnificently. She doesn't accept any crap from either of them and doesn't allow their past behavior to come back to haunt them.

The witty banter between Trevor, Ed and Chassie was a great counterpart for the intense emotional moments between them. This book took me through the entire scope of emotions. From laughter to sorrow, from arousal to sympathy and from endearment to anger.

There are many secondary characters. Most of them known from former books, some of them new, but all of them provide background and depth for the three main characters of this book. The way Lorelei James integrates the main characters with the relationship angle and the secondary characters with their own little side stories is nothing short of amazing. It gives the books in this series something unique and makes them more stand out from average erotic romances.

Prominent roles in the secondary cast were given to Colby and Channing, which was understandable because of the events and storyline with Trevor and Ed in their book. As with all the books in the series it's about more than just the romantic relationship between hero and heroine or in this case the three-way relationship. The story of Trevor, Chassie and Ed is the focal point of the book but there is so much more going on, for example a traumatic situation within the McKay family, the struggles of managing a ranch and how to deal with a family consisting of narcissistic, demanding and judgmental people.

Lorelei James writes strong, leap-of-the-pages characters that are fleshed out extensively. This way you really get to know the persons behind the sexually charged scenes through their actions and their past. In the first part of the book the focus is on the emotions rather than the hot sex. That comes later, after Chassie deals with accepting Trevor and Ed and their feelings. But anticipation is half the fun because when those love scenes eventually come to happen they are some of the hottest I've read and believe me, I've read my share of erotic love scenes. The three of them set the pages on fire in all combinations possible. From the moment all three of them accept each other and Chassie and Ed realize there is more between them than just their individual connection to Trevor, the book takes on a great vibe, showing so much more between them than first imagined. They are there for each other in every emotional way, they complement each other in characters and sexuality and Lorelei James works towards a HEA that is believable and perfect.

Like with the books preceding it, the book is a combination of interpersonal relationships, eroticism, ranching and family dynamics but once again Lorelei James has brought something new to the table in this series. For me this was the most complex installment to date because though threesomes aren't uncommon in this series, this permanent three-way relationship is in a totally different category. While she could have taken the easy way out and keep it light and erotic, she chose to make it a complex, emotional journey of three people to an ending that is happy but not without complexity.

I love the way Lorelei James puts different elements as characterization, eroticism and background together to create a layered and rich story. Her books are filled with both emotional intensity and rapturous love scenes that undoubtedly are able to warm up even the most frigid readers. And this book showed her writing skills at best with a complicated, tear-inducing and emotionally gripping story. It had me reaching for tissues after just a few chapters and searching for a fan when I got to the last few chapters.

With ROUGH, RAW AND READY, she has given me a story I could embrace and accept to the fullest and on top of that one superhot erotic romance featuring man love extravaganza with a side of sassy female. This is storytelling in a class by itself. Lorelei James has rivaled with my favorite erotic romance authors and won her top position fair and square. It will be hard to top this story with a next installment but I'm challenging her to do it.



Quotes:
It was heady stuff to be the focus of total sexual energy from a man such as Trevor; wickedly gorgeous, wickedly experienced and wickedly virile. Trevor pushed her boundaries and she trusted he’d never hurt her in his quest to bring her complete sexual satisfaction. Sometimes Chassie wondered what Trevor considered kinky.

“Chassie, baby, you weren’t my last choice; you were my first choice. My only choice. I wanted to give you everything that I’d never given another human being: my loyalty, my faithfulness, my love, and my name. I cannot imagine my life without you.”



March 7, 2009


Inspired by reading/tbr-challenges on other websites and blogs and compelled by my own mountain of books to be read I decided to set up a reading challenge of my own. I will start this challenge in April with:
THE UNSUNG HERO (Suzanne Brockman)

My main objectives are:
  1. Finish series I've started reading a while ago. Those series you've read the first one or two and loved but then you get distracted by other books and new authors and the rest of the series just stays there on the shelves, feeling neglected.
  2. Start reading some books and series that have been gracing my bookshelves for over 2 years now. Those books that screamed at you to buy them but turn very silent when it comes to reading them.

Before setting up this challenge for myself, I did some research to see what was out there and what form would work best for me. I think I've found the way but only time will tell if it really works and if I can stick to the schedule I've set up. I've decided to go by genre and will start with one challenge-book per month. I divided my books in the six genres you'll find below. 
  • Suspense (romantic suspense, mysteries & thrillers)
  • Paranormal (no further categorization needed)
  • Contemporary (contemporary romance & chicklit)
  • Romantica (erotic romance & erotica)
  • Fantasy (fantasy romance & urban fantasy)
  • Historical (no further categorization needed)

Every genre will have a challenge-book read twice a year and in every genre I'll read one from objective 1 (Catch Up) and one from objective 2 (New). I decided to divide the genres throughout the year as follows:

January 
Romantica - Catch Up

February 
Fantasy - New

March
Historical - Catch Up

April
Suspense - New

May
Paranormal - Catch Up

June
Contemporary - New

July
Romantica - New

August
Fantasy - Catch Up

September
Historical - New

October
Suspense - Catch Up

November
Paranormal - New

December
Contemporary - Catch Up




Of course anyone who wants to join in is welcome, If you wish to join just post your own challenge on your blog and let me know. I will then put up a link to your blog in my sidebar in the challenge section. I have created a small version of my own challenge image as on the side bar, which you are free but not obligated to use and/ore link:

Reading Challenge for 2009, starting in April
  • THE UNSUNG HERO (Suzanne Brockman)
  • PRIMAL DESIRES (Susan Sizemore)
  • KNOCK ME OFF MY FEET (Susan Donovan)
  • WOLFTALES (Kate Douglas)
  • LORD OF THE FADING LANDS (C.L. Wilson)
  • SECRETS OF A SUMMER NIGHT (Lisa Kleypas)
  • HIDE AND SEEK (Cherry Adair)
  • MY DEMON'S KISS (Lucy Blue)
  • NOBODY'S BABY BUT MINE (Susan Elizabeth Phillips)


Finally, there's no need to say that reviews will be made of the challenge-books too and to distinguish them from the ROOB-reviews and my own regular reviews the challenge-image will be included in the post and challenge reviews are posted every last day of the month.
March 3, 2009



It's another compelling book with remarkable plotting in which everything clicks together and into place seamlessly. The book keeps the reader engrossed in it with the way it is thorough, fast-paced, superbly written and captivating.

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

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