September 24, 2010
At the crossroads of death and desire, a woman tastes a pleasure no mortal is meant to survive . . .

In the frozen Alaskan wilderness, former state trooper Jenna Darrow survives an unspeakable breach of body and soul. But with her narrow escape comes an even greater challenge. For strange changes are taking place within her, as she struggles to understand--and control--a new hunger. To do so, she will seek shelter in the Boston compound of the Order, an ancient race of vampire warriors whose very existence is shrouded in mystery. Perhaps the most mysterious of them all is Brock, a brooding, dark-eyed alpha male whose hands hold the power to comfort, heal . . . and arouse.

As she recovers under Brock's care, Jenna finds herself drawn to the Order's mission: to stop a ruthless enemy and its army of assassins from subjecting Earth to a reign of terror. Yet in spite of their resolve, a purely physical relationship without strings soon binds Brock and Jenna together with a desire fiercer than life and stronger than death itself--until a secret from Brock's past and Jenna's own mortality challenges their forbidden love to the ultimate trial by fire.

Title: Taken by Midnight
Author: Lara Adrian
Series: Midnight Breed, book 8
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Dell Publishing (Random House)
Year of release: 2010, September 28
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received from author for review
First line: Life . . . or death? The words drifted at her through the darkness.
Memorable Scenes:
- Scene where Brock comforts Jenna after upsetting news about her blood works > starting point of the romance story line
- when Jenna does something (can’t divulge for fear of spoilers) to Brock during the first love scene > wow...
- shower scene > wow x 2!

After a terrifying captivity in her Alaskan cabin with a creature straight out of any horror movie, Jenna Darrow is taken to the Order's compound in Boston because she could prove pivotal in the next step in their battle with their enemy. When she, reluctantly at first, involves herself in their battle she becomes the focus of more attention she signed up for as the Orders enemy gets her in his sight. Brock, who's been there for her from the beginning, calming and caring, has to do everything in his power to get her back to safety and keep her there. Amidst the battle with evil another battle rages between Brock and Jenna as something deeper develops between them that's hard to deny yet they both fight to not give into it. It's Jenna's stubborn clinging her need to be in control and independent against Brock's instinct to protect and soothe. When they ultimately do, their HEA is closure to a turbulent and emotional journey.

Jenna Darrow, like most of the other Midnight Breed heroines, is a heroine I really, really liked. She is fearless, strong and resilient. She thrives on having everything under control and seems unbreakable. She’s also tough, tomboy-ish and stubborn. Shrouding herself in an armor if toughness and anger she hides her vulnerability, loneliness and inner softness. Her need for approval and affection and always having to prove herself worthy makes her suspicious of the compassion and help Brock offers her. She doesn't want it because it makes her feel weak and needy and she abhors weakness. This also plays a big part in her reluctance to give into the feelings she's starting to have for Brock.

There were things that were disclosed about and happening to Jenna that I can’t name in this review because I know several people who read my reviews haven’t read the series yet and I would be spoiling but to me there were things that made me go: Wow...that's an unexpected twist...and there were things that I saw coming a little.

Then there’s Brock. He never really caught my attention in the other books other than the occasional banter with the other warriors, especially Kade and Chase, until SHADES OF MIDNIGHT where his and Jenna’s story is set up in the end and I totally understood that his book was coming next. Well, he definitely did make up for his low-profile in the previous books because I totally noticed him now, boy did I ever…
Brock is calm, soothing and steady. He’s honorable, sweet yet passionate and ruthless when people he cares about are hurt. His calm and laid-back demeanor hides an explosive and intense male. His unique extra-sensory ability/ESP talent is absorbing human pain and suffering. Because of something that happened in his past with a woman he’s is reluctant to admit to his growing feelings towards Jenna

The romance in this book was great! I loved how the relationship between Brock and Jenna built up slowly yet intensely and how their romance developed throughout the book. It fitted their characters perfectly. My additional thoughts to the first memorable scene I mentioned above is that it was a perfect display of Brock's compassion, tenderness and feelings towards Jenna and in-depth look into Jenna's character. They were both so undeniably drawn to each other and at the same time so reluctant to give in to their feelings but it never got angsty or whiney. I just can’t express how much I loved the romance in this book. And the love scenes just took my breath away…and make me wish for my own Brock!

I really can't wait for Sterling Chase's story, as Brock puts it: antagonistic, aggressive, volatile...unpredictable hothead *sigh* This member of the Order, formerly an Breed Enforcement Agent, caught my attention from the moment he set foot in the series, in MIDNIGHT AWAKENING (if I recall correctly), in most series I fall for a secondary character who hasn’t gotten his own book yet and in the Midnight Breed series it’s Chase.

But I must also admit that Hunter gets more and more intriguing too! Again in the Brocks words: "Impassive, inscrutable, unsociable, unflappable, stoic, detached, Hunter. Flesh-and-bone machine" and in the villain’s words: "Chillingly efficient. Coldly intelligent. Relentlessly disciplined, yet far from submissive."
The word that comes to mind every time I read about Hunter is emotionless, but I have also seen tiny, very tiny glimpses of emotion and compassion in Hunter, both in this book and in VEIL OF SHADOWS so I'm eager to meet the woman who's going to get under his skin! And his book is next! YAY! Though I'd love to have Chase's book first a little revelation in this books really made me look forward to Hunter's now!

I also desperately hope there'll be a story (full-length, e-novella, anthology short, I don't care...something please) on Gideon and Savannah. They are such a great couple and so wonderful together!

One thing I really loved in this book is that each and every member of the Order and their significant others made an appearance, some just in passing or only mentioned but some had a more prominent role in the plot and that was what I truly missed in the previous two installment and was so happy to see in this one again as it gave me the vibe of those early Midnight Breed books that I loved. I appreciated that this installment takes us back to Boston and the Order compound after the 2 previous books were set in Germany and Alaska. The strong point in this series is the Order and I loved going back to that base.

Now let’s talk about the plot! To me it was awesome! I suspected as much when I read the ending of SHADES OF MIDNIGHT but Lara Adrian really hit it out of the park with this one. As she's consistently done in the course of this series, she weaves a thrilling plot with twist and turns that are simply mind-blowing, answering some questions but to keep the balance she raises more questions at the same time, questions you know will be answered too eventually and not necessarily in this book.

I found one itty-bitty tiny thing weird in the plot and in the editing thereof. There’s a point early in the book where Brock overhears two Albanian guys talking about Jenna. They are not aware of him there and talk to each other in broken English. This didn’t make sense to me because why would 2 Albanians talk in broken English to each other when there's no one who can hear them? But this is really a very minor thing that has no bearing on my overall opinion of this book, which I loved and which is my favorite of the series so far.

I know many people compare Lara Adrian's books with Ward's BDB and find it falling short in comparison. I am not one of those people. To me the Midnight Breed series tops the BDB for several reasons and the most important ones to me are the Breedmates and their role in the overall story arc. Contrary to Ward's heroines the Breedmates don't quietly slink into the background after their book, never to be heard of again except for the occasional passing mention (don't blink because you'll miss it) in future books. No, Adrian's heroines stay in the fray of things and have an equal role in the ongoing story arc throughout the books. I love that they form a substantial part of the Order and are important in the battle against evil.

I loved that Lara Adrian picked up right after SHADES OF MIDNIGHT from the start, and praise her for not starting with a rehashing recap and diving straight in the new installment. Nonetheless, she offers enough background info to pull new to the series readers in and yet at the same time she stays away from repeating too much and keeps it moving forward for loyal followers of the series. Her way of recapping the events prior to this book within the storyline is excellently done. Without info dumps or lots of rehashing at the beginning of the book but cleverly incorporated in dialogues between known and new characters, adding small fresh nuances to it. This way she not only makes the series easy accessible for new readers to pick up on the plot but it’s also pleasurable for the loyal followers of the series. Thank you, Ms. Adrian!

If you haven't discovered and read this series yet, you're really missing out. It's a hidden gem amongst the avalanche of paranormal series on vamps that has a unique and refreshing premise and Lara Adrian is an author who in my eyes definitely holds her own in comparison with authors like Ward and Kenyon. With TAKEN BY MIDNIGHT Lara Adrian definitely proves worthy of the following she has and I hope she'll rake in some more. She's a talented storyteller who delivers books that are a perfect combination of romance, plot, character depth and action.

With TAKEN BY MIDNIGHT Lara Adrian had me at the edge of my seat with the plot, had me swallowing a few lumps in my throat and even made me cry a little with the characters and their emotions and had me sighing with the wonderful romance. Bring on Hunter, please!

Favorite Quotes:
Brock blew out a low curse under the punishing deluge of the shower. "If you're trying to make me feel better about all of this, feel free to stop anytime."
Kade chuckled, clearly enjoying himself. "I don't expect you'll be having any heart-to-heart talks with your new roomie, so this is me, showing you I care."
"I'm touched," Brock muttered. "Now, get the f#ck out of here and let me scald myself in peace."

He moaned against her wetness, a long purr of blatant male enjoyment that vibrated through her flesh and bone, deep into the heated center of her. Jenna's climax roared up on her like a storm. She shook with the force of it, crying out as the pleasure seized her and flung her skyward. She broke apart, sensation shimmering over her like stardust as she spiraled higher and higher, tremors of pure bliss shuddering through her, one after the other.
She was boneless as she floated back down to reality. Boneless and drained, even though her body was still pulsing and alive with sensation. And Brock was still kissing her. Still stroking her with his fingers, wringing every last quiver from her as she clutched his thick shoulders and panted with pleasurable little aftershocks.

She writhed beneath him as he moved atop her, slow thrusts of his pelvis that made her body weep with the need to feel him naked against her. Buried inside her.
"Brock," she gasped, all but lost to the passion he was stoking in her. "Gideon knows we're in here. There's probably a security camera trained on us right now."
"Tinted windows," he rasped, glancing up at her with a sexy grin that bared the gleaming tips of his fangs and made her stomach flip. "Nobody can see a thing. Now, stop thinking about Gideon and kiss me."

He wanted to shout his love for her, but the depth of his feelings had devoured his voice.

September 21, 2010
Briefs are Elena Thomas’s life, whether they’re legal at her day job or on the men in the erotic novels she writes. She’s just fine with saving her imagination for her books until temptation appears in the form of Nunzio, the smokin’ office IT guy. When he discovers one of her scorching books shooting out of the printer, Elena’s not sure if he wants her because she’s inventive or because he thinks she’s desperate. That doesn’t stop her from taking advantage of his “services”.
On her desk. On the copier. And, oh yeah—in her boss’s chair.

Nunzio’s shocked to learn Elena’s wall-hugging persona hides a wildcat of a woman with delicious fantasies and an enticing wit. She’s exactly what he’s been looking for in an adventurous lover—and girlfriend. He knows she enjoys their sexual research. Now he just has to convince her that sizzling sex is only the first chapter of their blazing-hot romance.

Title: Personal Research
Author: Cari Quinn
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Year of release: 2010, September 17
Format: eBook, 84 pages
Source: Bought via Jasmine Jade Enterprises
First line: C#ck. Manroot. Penis. Phallus. Hard-on. Shaft. Dick. Elena Thomas smiled and settled back in her office chair as she scanned the list of synonyms.
Memorable Scenes:
- Opening paragraph > it hooked me right away!
- boss' chair/office smex scene > oh yeah, even hotter than the desk smex, *where is my cooling pack?*

After a steamy encounter with the IT-guy following his unintended discovery of her writing legal secretary by day and erotic romance writer by night, Elena Thomas, embarks upon a search for the hot vixen, hiding deep within and Nunzio gladly accompanies her from affair to something lasting.

Nunzio McGinty went straight to my favorite heroes list! He’s a sweet, romantic, dirty-talking, smokin'-hot Italian/Irish IT-guy. He’s definitely not a pushover and hot-tempered when he needs to be. I loved his little outbursts when Elena would do or say something that made no sense or when Elena was burying her head in the sand.

Elena Thomas is a contradiction if I ever read one. The juxtaposition of conservatively raised, almost shy Elena and the naughty stuff she writes, works really well in this story. It was difficult for me to get a firm grip on her character as she had such contradicting stuff going on but in the end she figured it out and so did I. In her job and daily life she tries not to attract attention, not to stand out and she is a wall-hugger who is obsessively organized. Hot-blooded and spontaneous Nunzio sets her world upside down but she does every effort to resist him for fear of giving into something that doesn’t fit in the plans she has for herself. However, at the same time she craves what he can give her, both sexually and emotionally.

I really liked Elena and Nunzio's chemistry and dynamics as a couple. I also appreciated how Elena took a step back after the first sex scene and questioned some things instead of mindlessly diving into a sexual relationship with a virtual stranger. Admittedly she could have been a little less bitchy about it as Nunzio didn't deserve her snappy attitude there, but still I liked it. I also loved the way Nunzio didn't accept Elena's bitchy attitude quietly and answered to it adequately, putting her in her place and showing her that there’s a line she cannot cross. But I also have to point out that both Nunzio and Elena are characters with a depth to them that blew me away and they were so much more than you'd think reading the blurb and at first glance.

Once again I was enthralled and unable to tear myself away from the book so it was one of my rare one-sitting reads. I adore Cari Quinn's voice. It’s intense and arousing, crisp and clean, smooth and so, so hot! With it she delivers another scorching hot read that was awesomely written and with a trope that's one of my favorites: office romances. And for the sex scenes alone she deserves an extra point. I gobbled it up! Everything meshed and clicked perfectly: the characters, even the few secondary ones, the sex, the romance, the pace, the writing, the little conflicts and their resolution.

I really don't know how to adequately express my love for Cari Quinn's writing. It's gutsy, sexy, smooth, and addictive from the first page to the last. Just because I'm greedy for more of her work I'd love to read a full-length and bask in her talented writing for longer than 80-100 pages but she doesn't need full length to wow me as her novellas are sublimely written and pack more punch and are more layered than some full-length books I've read.

In short: Cari Quinn has left a lasting impression on me and I hope she'll keep giving me more of these awesome reads for a long time!

Favorite Quotes:
Score two for Tall, Dark and Sinful. Zero for chastised sex bunny.

He didn't know her name, which was why he'd taken to calling her Bella in his mind. Bella for beautiful, for absolutely magnificent. Bella for I'd love to f#ck you senseless in a closet, on your desk, hell, even on the floor in the middle of the department.

"Looking for something?"
Him. The voice. Oozing sex and Italian charm and arousing her in ways she'd given up thinking she could be aroused.

She clung to him, floating away in a slumberous kiss full of tongue and sleepy passion.

September 9, 2010
Don't get even. Get everything...

Even before her bad marriage ended, Lauren MacDonald lost everything—her job, her friends, her self-esteem, and her sexual appetite. Now that she’s finally free, she’s struggling to regain control of a life her ex did his best to destroy.

The plan: sex with Justin Scott, her ex’s business partner. The man her husband invited into their marital bed, forcing her to realize it was time to get out. Justin was the star of the fantasies that helped her endure her marriage, so she can’t deny she wanted him—but not like that. She wants him like this—alone. In her bed. For exactly three nights.

Justin screwed up with Lauren, and in the past she’s made no secret of the fact she loathes him. So when she walks into his office flashing miles of long, lean legs, his brain cells misfire. Three nights of meaningless sex? He’s all over it. Not only does he have the chance to unleash his desire for her, it’s the opening he’s been waiting for—to convince her to give him more.

Title: A Proper Seduction
Author: HelenKay Dimon
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Year of release: 2010, May 18
Format: eBook
Source: Bought via My Bookstore and More
First line: “I was surprised to see your name on my schedule this morning.” Justin Scott eased into his oversized desk chair, careful not to tip over backwards. Having his ass hit the floor in front of Lauren MacDonald…well, that was just not going to happen.
Memorable Scenes:
- Opening scene > real attention grabber

Quick & Dirty-review:

Lauren MacDonald is out to take back the reigns of her life through a sexual encounter with the man she has secretly been craving for. Justin Scott has seen his business partner’s ex-wife go through hell in her marriage and divorce and was unable to do something about it until now so he accepts her proposition because it offers him the opportunity to show her a glimpse of the happiness she deserves.

Justin is not comfortable with Lauren's demand for cold, meaningless, businesslike sex but is so eager to be with her that he grabs on to the opportunity. He is patient yet firm. He doesn’t take everything Lauren dishes out and subtly tries to steer their agreement into something more permanent. He also shows Lauren that she is the only one with the power to stand up for herself.

Lauren seems very cold and clinical about sex. It's associated with bad memories of being powerless and controlled by someone else. For Lauren it's time to grab back the power, regaining control and rediscover her sexual appetite but underneath there's a craving for Justin that makes it hard to stay as detached as she'd like to. It would've been easy to dislike Lauren because of the way she treated Justin but I didn't because I understood where her behavior came from and her internal thoughts showed that she wasn't the coldhearted woman she was trying to portray.

This is the second shorter story I've read by HelenKay Dimon and going by them I really need to read her full-length books because the shorts are great and the full-lengths will satisfy my need for more. I love her clean and crisp writing style and with A PROPER SEDUCTION she demonstrates she’s got the erotic part covered quite well too.

- Loved the quotes about sex at the beginning of every chapter:
Ch 1: “There is nothing safe about sex. There never will be.”
~Norman Mailer
Ch 2: “Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.”
~Billy Crystal
Ch 3: “Lead me not into temptation—I can find the way myself.”
~Rita Mae Brown
Ch 4: “Sex is hardly ever just about sex.”
~Shirley MacLaine
Ch 5: “Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it.”
~Woody Allen
Ch 6: “Although humans tend to view sex as mainly a fun, recreational activity sometimes resulting in death, in nature it is a far more serious matter.”
~Dave Barry

- My usual complaint: too short.
- There was no desk scene that was hinted at in chapter 1 or the robe stuff promised in the warning.

A PROPER SEDUCTION is another ebook I inhaled in one sitting. Lately I've been reading some mighty good ebooks and A PROPER SEDUCTION fits right in with its unusual yet not unknown premise, scorching sex scenes and lovely, well written characters.

Favorite Quotes:
Lauren to Justin: “I’m not looking for a commitment or a promise of any kind. This is about the act and bodies, heat and chemistry, not romance or feelings.”

“Why, Ms. MacDonald, are you asking me to go down on you?” On any other man, the remark might have sounded crude. Delivered by Justin, it made her toes curl.

September 6, 2010
The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super elite, top secret, family-run business.

Qualifications: High intelligence, rock hard body, military background.

Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the US government can’t…

It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.
His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he's built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond… until he receives anonymous information claiming Rachel is alive.
To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.

Title: The Darkest Hour
Author: Maya Banks
Series: KGI Series (Kelly Group International), book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Year of release: 2010, September 7
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Source: Received an e-ARC on request from author for review
First line:He'd hoped if he drank enough the night before he'd sleep right through today. Instead his eyes popped open at eight A.M., and sunlight promptly fried his retinas.
Memorable Scenes:
- bathtub scene > heartbreaking
- first time they make love after Rachel returns > so beautifully written

Ethan Kelly is grieving for the wife he lost in a self-destructive way: drinking, holding on to everything that reminds him of her, consumed by guilt over his role in the rough time his marriage went through before she died. Then, on the 1-year anniversary of her death he receives a message that she is still alive and is being held captive in a South American hellhole. Grabbing this second chance with both hands, he enlists his brothers' help for a save and rescue mission.

Ethan is an ex-SEAL, he’s a little rough-around-the-edges and blunt yet he’s also sensitive and has a heart of gold. He’s tough, protective and stubborn. However, he is not afraid to admit his mistakes and own up to them. He knows he screwed up with Rachel before she disappeared and is now determined to make things right.

Rachel is quiet, shy and calm. The ordeal she’s gone through leaves her damaged but not broken. Fear and pain have ruled her world for a year and now she needs to build up trust from scratch and built on a few hazy memories. With her memory returning she also discovers that the Ethan she’s getting to know now, is not the Ethan she knew before her disappearance.

Ethan and Rachel were the main characters of THE DARKEST HOUR as they were the couple the story centered on but reminiscent of Suzanne Brockmann’s and Stephanie Tyler’s romantic suspense I’ve read, there are much more POVs in this story than just Ethan and Rachel’s. There are 9 in total (if I counted them right). Of course the more important ones were those of Rachel and Ethan but Marlene, most of the other Kelly siblings and some other brief POVs are used in this book. I don’t mind multiple POVs as it gives me a fully rounded story from different angles but I know there are readers who are not a fan of this type of storytelling. Those readers I’d want to warn in advance and at the same time urge them to take a chance on THE DARKEST HOUR if they love to read romantic suspense novels, as the POVs all serve a purpose and it’s excellently done by Maya Banks.

Ethan’s brothers, each and every one of them, made a lasting impression on me and I can’t wait to read their individual stories in the future. Next up are Sam and Garrett, consecutively and I am already looking forward to what they will bring to the table. But there are more secondary characters that sparked my interest. Some non-family members of KGI were just as intriguing: female sniper P.J., and team leaders Steele and Rio. I doubt it will happen but would love it if these secondary characters got their own books in the future.

Attached to the multiple POVs are a few distinct and separate plotlines being Ethan and Rachel’s romance, the how and why of Rachel’s disappearance and there’s a storyline about Ethan’s parents and a girl they take in their home. This last storyline was a bit lost on me. I enjoyed reading it but did wonder what the actual point of the story line was as it didn’t really tie-in with the rest. As for the other two plotlines, Maya Banks executed those masterfully. While reading some questions popped up in my head about the romance and the suspense and all those questions were gradually and satisfyingly answered along the way, working towards a climactic ending that was a perfect and made me sob with emotion.

Maya Banks pulled me in from the very first sentence and didn't let me go until I finished. Though I would have liked to see a little bit more suspense in the middle part, she kept me at the edge of my seat with a fast-paced first installment of the KGI series where she didn’t waste time or pages on a lot of background information. I liked that because there was enough information and background provided intertwined throughout the story without taking away from pace or suspense.

The romance in this book was subtle and beautiful. There weren’t many love scenes but Maya Banks definitely made the ones that were in it count! They were sweet and pretty hot and exactly right for romantic suspense. And when you have me sobbing at the end of a book, to a point that your husband wakes up from it, that makes you an author that is high on my favorites list, because emotion gets me every single time, no matter how suspenseful, hot or exciting a book is, if it doesn’t affect me emotionally, to me it hasn’t done its job.

With THE DARKEST HOUR Maya Banks brought me the beginning of something very promising. It was a story of second chance, family bonds, personal struggles and forgiveness brought through brotherly banter, easy and fluent writing, great suspense and characters who aren't perfect but make it right in the end.

Favorite Quotes:

A peculiar prickle shivered up her spine, leaving a warm glow in its wake. Her chest fluttered, and something inside her long dead awakened and unfurled.

"First rule of seduction. At least one of us has to get naked. Preferably you," he murmured.

He wasn't going to survive this. He was trying to be good. Patient and understanding, when every instinct screamed at him to take his woman and make love to her until she forgot both their names.

He looked at her, knowing that in this moment she could ask him for damn near anything and he’d tell her yes.
“Would you mind too terribly if I made love to you?”
He swallowed and swallowed again. Here was this beautiful woman, a woman he loved more than anything. The woman he’d married and lost. Now she was here, like a dream, asking him so sweetly if she could make love to him.
Dear God, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
“I’d love nothing more,” he managed to croak out. It sounded better than oh hell yeah, even if that was what his c#ck was screaming.

September 4, 2010

To most people, the realm of magic is the stuff of nursery rhymes and dusty libraries. But for Capt. Gabriel Huntley, it’s become quite real and quite dangerous…

The vicious attack Capt. Gabriel Huntley witnesses in a dark alley sparks a chain of events that will take him to the ends of the Earth and beyond—where what is real and what is imagined become terribly confused. And frankly, Huntley couldn’t be more pleased. Intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman in distress—just what he needs.

Raised thousands of miles from England, Thalia Burgess is no typical Victorian lady. A good thing, because a proper lady would have no hope of recovering the priceless magical artifact Thalia is after. Huntley’s assistance might come in handy, though she has to keep him in the dark. But this distractingly handsome soldier isn’t easy to deceive…

Title: Warrior
Author: Zoe Archer
Series: The Blades of the Rose, book 1
Genre: Action/Adventure Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Zebra Books
Year of release: 2010, September 7
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: received a digital copy from author for review
First line: Gabriel Huntley hated an unfair fight.
Memorable Scenes:
All the scenes where Gabriel and Thalia got it on:
- Their first time...on a rock! > original and hot!
- The scene at the pond in the oasis in the Gobi Desert > If I still smoked I would've lighted a post-coital cigarette

Gabriel Huntley is a former captain in the British army. He has been all over the world serving Queen and country and is on his way back to England to leave the dangerous and adventurous life behind and find himself a nice, ordinary wife to settle down with. However, fate has something else in mind for him and soon he finds himself in Outer Mongolia, captivated by a woman who is anything but quiet or ordinary. Gabriel abhors unfairness or injustice. He is gruff commanding, intelligent, confident and persistent.

Thalia Burgess is an anthropologist who was raised by her father in Outer Mongolia after her mother died. When her father is unable to perform his duties as a Blade of the Rose after Gabriel’s news demands urgent action from the Blades, she offers to take his place. Her mission puts her together with this captain she is very attracted to but hesitant to pursue those feelings as she has been burned by her attraction for a man before. However, she soon learns that love is not to be dictated by fear or reasonable thinking. Thalia is independent, sharp, smart, courageous, tenacious and protective (of her father).

Both Gabriel and Thalia stole my heart in this first installment of the Blades of the Rose series. There is subtle humor in both of them and their banter that made me smile throughout the book and even in the sometimes-hazardous situations they never lost the humor.

WARRIOR starts the way I love action-adventure to start: with a fistfight! When I read the first page, I just knew I was going to love it and boy, did I love this book! I hope to give you all a fairly coherent review of WARRIOR but can’t guarantee anything because all that’s in my head is: Loved, loved, loved, loved it and I want more and ooooh hot sex scenes. But let’s give it a try shall we.

First off WARRIOR is every bit as Indiana Jones-y as I expected it to be and an extra point goes to Zoe Archer for not including snakes…my biggest fear in the universe! Instead of icky snakes there were mysterious clues and puzzles, mythical objects and magical artifacts, secret societies and the battle between good and evil and she gave me a bit of paranormal, a chunk of historical, a tad of adventure and a pinch of lovely romance all rolled into one in an unusual setting that was as enchanting and captivating as the plot was.

Zoe Archer has a way of describing scenery, whether in England or Mongolia, that --all by itself-- just pulls you in and keeps you immersed into the story. And next to that she also pens down a great adventure and a beautiful romance. I loved how gradually the world she created, unfolded. In the beginning you know very little about the how and why of the Blades, their adversaries: the Heirs of Albion and the battle that rages between them. And instead of overwhelming the reader with extensive world building she weaves the information little by little into the rest of the story, next to the romance and the actual action.

As you may have noticed I haven’t told anything about the actual plot and adventure. That’s more on purpose than I normally do in my reviews because I don’t want to tell anything that would spoil the fun for other readers of going on this adventure together with the characters. It was so much fun to discover stuff and see the plot unfold that I wouldn’t want to do anything to spoil that.

Zoe Archer’s writing fascinates, captivates and holds the attention just as much as the intriguing story does. Her wonderful writing style worked for me on all levels and the fact that this was a slow read for me had nothing to do with the writing or the story but more with external factors, because it was fast-paced, action-packed and moving full-speed ahead thanks to some excellent writing skills. I was holding my breath through the action scenes with the villains and the adventure, had a big smile on my face at the humor and banter and funny tidbits that showed the characters' playful sides and was fanning myself at the love scenes.

WARRIOR is a delicious and adventurous read that combined myth with history, magic, adventure, suspense and romance and I am so ready to start SCOUNDREL and find out if Bennett (definitely a candidate for my favorite heroes list!) and London are as awesome as Gabriel and Thalia were.

Favorite Quotes:
Thalia heard a mewl as it arabesqued from her throat. She'd never made that sound before. A deep rumbling from low in his chest responded, like a feral creature calling from another nighttime mountain

The words that came out of the captain's mouth were words Batu had never heard before in all the years he had served Franklin Burgess and his daughter. They involved something that had to do with the offspring of unchaste female dogs, and some actions that Batu was quite sure were physically impossible, even for a circus contortionist.

There was no point denying it. The wild creature of her soul had finally yielded to the calloused hand of one man. .

Note from reviewer: Stay tuned for a Quotes-Post of WARRIOR soon! I have so many quotes marked that I had a heck of a time choosing the three you see above and wouldn’t want to withhold some lovely examples of Zoe Archer’s style and humor.

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

2011 Reading Challenge

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

On My TBR Shelf

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

Digital TBR Next

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

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