Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Recent Reads

Soldier on her Doorstep by Soraya Lane

Why this one: I read Wendy’s review and her review and the book called to me. Being unable to refuse to answer when a book calls me, I downloaded the eBook

Steam Level: There is no steam with this book but since we are in the middle of one of the nastiest heat waves I can recall in years, that’s OK with me.

Blurb: Soldier Alex Dane promised his dying comrade he'd make sure his wife and daughter were okay, and so he finds himself on a doorstep with his heart in his mouth.

Lisa Kennedy loved her husband, but she must focus on her daughter, Lilly, who hasn't spoken since her daddy's death. Still, the least she can do is offer this battle-weary hero a place to rest.

When Lilly's little hand reaches for Alex's big, strong one, for the first time Lisa feels her buried emotions begin to stir.…

My Thoughts: First off, read Wendy’s review. She does a great job as evidenced by the fact that she made me want to read this book.

As for my thoughts here goes. This is another line of Harlequin’s that I hadn’t tried before. I gather it’s more of a kisses only line. I’ve really run the gamut when it comes to sensuality levels of books. I used to like the real hot oh so many years ago when I was reading the likes of Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jennifer Blake and the like. Then I was turned off romance for a number of years and when I came back, it was kisses only. Then I slowly entered the sensuality pond until I wouldn’t read kisses only. Now I’ve completely confused the circle as I’m now reading and enjoying both. So despite the fact that there are no explicit sex scenes, in fact no real sex scenes at all, the author manages to convey a great deal of longing both the hero and heroine feel for each other.

My heart broke for Alex, the hero and I love when I experience that kind of feeling for either of the main characters. He’s so alone and needs Lisa and her daughter Lilly so bad. And they need him too. His family were killed when he was very young and he grew up in foster care. He has great feelings of guilt for both their death and the death of William, Lisa’s soldier husband. He died saving Alex. Alex is following up on a promise he made to William and delivering some personal items to Lisa in Alaska. He has left the services and as the army was his family, he is at very loose ends. When Lisa picks up on this and offers to let him stay in a small cottage on her Alaskan lake property, he is reluctant but agrees anyway. He is drawn to her daughter Lily; understanding the loss Lily if feeling. He is also very attracted to Lisa.

And in return, Lisa is very attracted to Alex though she is torn between her growing feelings for him and the feelings she still has for William. To be honest, I was kind of wondering how I would feel about this as William hadn’t been gone for that long. But the author wrote the story in such a way as it was very believable. William and Lisa hadn’t spent much time together as he was so often deployed on missions. And both men are complete opposites of each other so there is no comparison between them. I truly bought how she could develop such deep feelings so quickly.

And with troops returning, I think it’s a very timely book too. And I love the setting. As a heat hating reader going through a heat wave like I can’t remember, somehow reading a story set in Alaska made me feel just a little bit cooler – that and the fact that I have my air conditioning set way lower than the hydro people want me too. I am a heat hating reader after all.

This book was a wonderful surprise and thumbs up to Wendy for helping me find this heartwarming story. It was a win/win/win – new line, new author and very good book.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

Why this one: I remember when the cover of this book was held up and one of the best and hawtest covers going – deservedly so. I’ve read and enjoyed her books in the past and have had the chance to meet her in person a few times now. So when I saw her signing this book at the publisher signing in NYC- the signing where the books are free – I picked it up.

Steam Level: While the above book made me feel cool – in a good way, this one had the opposite effect. This one was hotter than the abnormally hot weather outside!

Blurb: The last thing event planner Tara Lincoln needs is the jet-set lifestyle of a football pro like Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand proved that Mick is an all-star-both on the field and in the bedroom.

Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn't intend to put herself out there again, especially with a certified heartbreaker. But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind to catch this sultry vixen.

My Thoughts: I liked this one – I really did. But since that’s not very helpful, I’ll going into why *g*

Mick was a great hero!! A star quarterback, he’s sowed a lot of wild oats in his day, but when he meets Tara Lincoln in the bowls of the stadium, as she is trying to find a way to a meeting, he’s smitten. And then when he sees her again at a social event she has planned, he’s even more smitten. They spend a wild and a very hawt night together, but Tara scoots out as she doesn’t think she can handle any kind of relationship due to fairly new company and her role as a single mother to a teenage boy.

But Mick isn’t one to give up on something he wants and what he wants is to see more of Tara despite the barriers she’s putting up. Mick has done the dating scene with Hollywood actress and super models and he’s very drawn to this ‘real’ woman. He makes for one dreamy hero – hawt, handsome and really wanting the heroine.

Tara I found a bit harder to relate too. I never did understand her reservations in getting involved with Mick. I get that she had a lousy childhood and after the father of her child was a young teenage thug, she was a bit hesitant. But dudette, this guy is a dream come true!! Guys like this don’t come round every day. Thank goodness her friends saw this and did what they could to convince her to get it together!! I did have some reservations about how quickly they ‘got together’ but that’s me and my morals. I would have preferred they spend more time getting to know each other before they ‘get it on’.

What I really liked about this book is the relationship between Mick and Nathan. Nathan has no significant father figure in his life and so when this NFL quarterback enters his mother’s life, he is over the moon. And Mick makes for a great friend. Though he is after Tara, he treats Nathan very well.

I catalogue my books and some I have a hard time determining. I wavered on how to classify this one but ended up going with erotica for this one.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

Somewhere in Time by Merline Love lace

Why this one: Someone was looking for the book at AAR and being the curious sort, I looked it up. I’ve enjoyed Merline Lovelace in the past and the thoughts of a time travel where the heroine is an air force pilot who is transported back to the time when Rome ruled the world just sounded appealing. So I decided to try this unusual setting and storyline

Steam Level: Warm

Blurb: Long ago and far away.

Air force pilot Aurora Durant was lucky to be alive. It hadn't been easy to bring her jet down in the bizarre windstorm, but the savvy captain had managed. Now she had to figure out where she'd landed -- and when.

Lucius Antonius, senior centurion of the Roman Empire, couldn't believe his incredible fortune. A beautiful woman had literally dropped out of the sky. But before Lucius could claim the willful, impertinent creature, he had to tame her.

Soon Aurora discovered the true test of her spirit wasn't learning to live in a time two thousand years in the past, but resisting the powerful allure of an ancient warrior. Her agenda could only be returning to her own time, and falling for Lucius could make that mission impossible to accomplish.

My Thoughts: I’m glad I decided to try this unusual setting and storyline. It wasn’t a perfect read, but it was very entertaining. And I did like the setting. I watched a bit of Spartacus – God’s of the Arena until I blushed so hard and it was an interesting time period. I also watched a bit of the series Rome, but not that much.

Aurora had herself a good job flying the muckety mucks around in her air force jet before she flew into a sand storm one evening over the Iraqi desert. Her plane crashes and her team member is hurt. She is discovered by a dude in a leather breast plate and skirt – I’m thinking think Brad Pitt in Troy for a nice visual. For a while she thinks he and his men are some kind of desert tribe, but she can’t be sure and they don’t have a common language. This dude and his men take her back to a small desert city, bring in a scholar and Aurora slowly begins to realize she’s not in Kansas anymore. Instead she has been transported back when Rome ruled the universe and the skirt dude was, in fact, a Roman general in charge of the city.

As you can imagine there is quite the culture clash. Aurora is a woman raised and living in 2003 who’s met her match with a commander of the
Roman Army who is used to command and used to owning slaves and used to getting his own way and used to women being of lesser importance. So one can imagine the clashes between the two.

Often I get cranky with this kind conflict – they hero being a ‘know it all, me Tarzan, you Jane’ type attitude and the heroine being kind of a ball busting bitch. But it worked with this book for me. I think in part Lucius didn’t hold negative views per se; he was a product of his time. He was autocratic because he was a commander and that was what he HAD to be. He didn’t hold a lot of respect for women because that’s the way it was. He didn’t hold them in disrespect, it was more that women held very few position of power. When Jane got carried away in a fit of imperiousness, she really did need to be punished according to the times, but Lucius recognized that there was something very different about Aurora and despite getting frustrated with her lack of respect, he did get kind of a kick out of her nerve. And of course once he started getting a kick out of her, he started developing deeper and deeper feelings for her; to the point where he takes her punishment as his own. Gotta love a hero who will do that for his heroine.

So, in conclusion, I quite enjoyed this rather unique storyline. I check out Kindle to see if she wrote any more along this line but I didn’t see any. Though I think I will check and see if I can find any more books set in Ancient Rome – all suggestions welcome

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


Wendy said...

Oh yippeee! I'm glad you liked the Lane book. She has a new one out this month and ::cough, cough:: my review of that one is posting tomorrow (Wednesday).

I just discovered the HR line a year or so ago. I used to read Silhouette Romance to get my "G-rated" reads, and when that went bye-bye, I sort of dug in my heels. I had this idea that HR was "old-fashioned" - which just really isn't the case, as you just witnessed by reading this timely lil' book. I've discovered some fun reads in this line, and keep shamelessly devouring them.

Oh, and there can be sex in the HR line, but yeah - it's VERY G-rated. When there is sex in the story, it's very much behind-closed-doors :)

Kristie (J) said...

Wendy: I'm so glad you reviewed this book otherwise I never would have tried it and it was such a wonderful book!!! And thanks too for the heads up that she has a new one. I got my Sarah Mayberry and Karina Bliss books but it didn't even occur to look for another book by this author. I'll be sure to check tomorrow for your review.
You 'know' how much I love a wounded hero and as I said in the review, and Alex makes for a deliciously wounded hero!

Marg said...

I recently read The Perfect Play and agree that Mick was definitely a great hero, and that cover...woah!

I am planning to read the next book in the series although I am not sure about Liz as the heroine.

Kristie (J) said...

Marg: I like a good redemption story and Liz can use it. And as Liz and Gavin have history, I think I'll be able to accept it better than I did with this one when they end up in bed - which of course they will :-)
Because it's not my way at all, I was a bit uncomfortable with how soon Mick and Tara did the deed.

little alys said...

Yes, our Super Librarian tends get me addicted to many more books than I should. That last one sounds interesting. I don't think that many historical romance gets set in Rome.

nath said...

Hmmm, Ms Lane is definitively getting some good buzz :) I told Wendy I would check it out... and now you, adding your two cents in :) Definitively a must :)

Like you, I enjoyed Perfect Play. I think Mick was a great hero and I agree with you, didn't so much see Tara's reservation... especially, after she realizes Mick is not a player and really wants her. When it doesn't work for me though is after Nathan's drunk incident. That was really meh, and both Mick and Tara's reaction to it.

Glag you enjoyed the Merline Lovelace... perhaps that's what I need. Time traveling.