Saturday, August 13, 2011
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Why this one: I mostly love this author's books and the first in this series, The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie totally blew me away so it's a no brainer I'm continuing to read this series!!
Steam Level: Wowzers! She writes good steam
Blurb: Cameron MacKenzie is a man who loves only horses and women - in that order - or so his mistresses say.
Ainsley Douglas is a woman with a strong sense of justice and the desire to help others - even if that means sneaking around a rakish man's bedchamber.
Which is exactly where Cam finds her - six years after he caught her the first time. Only then, she convinced Cam she was seeking a liaison, but couldn't go through with it because of her husband. Now a widow, she's on a mission to retrieve letters that could prove embarrassing to the queen. Cam has no interest in Ainsley's subterfuge, but he vows to finish what they started those many years ago. One game, one kiss at a time, he plans to seduce her. And what starts out as a lusty diversion may break Cam's own rules - and heal the scars of a dark and damaging past....
My Thoughts: I'll be honest here and say when I read the first two books of this series, Cam didn't make that big an impression on me. And my main thought was that I would have to read his story before I got to Harts' the one I wanted most after reading all about Ian and the rest of his MacKenzie brothers. So going into this one I wasn't expecting a whole lot.
I don't know if that's the reason or what it might be, but this one turned out to be, as Tony the Tiger says, GREEEEAAAATTT!! I LOVED it - almost, but not quite as much as Ian and Beth's book.
It starts out with a bang when Ainsley is scoping out Cam's bedroom for some missing letter stolen from the queen when in walks Cam and the thieving woman who is using the letters to blackmail the queen. She has hidden them with Cam, though he doesn't know it and as one of the queens lady's, Ainsley is trying to find them and give them back. Cam of course, discovers Ainsley's hiding place and is wickedly delighted. You see, they had a similar kind of meeting six years previous when Ainsley was trying to find something in Cam's room. They had an immediate attraction to each other though Ainsley refused to act on it as she was married and while not in love with her much older husband, respected and cared for him a great deal. But neither has forgotten the other over the year and now that Ainsley is a widow, Cam is determined to 'get in her skirts' this time 'round.
For not being a character who made me sit up and take notice in the previous books, with his own story it was an entirely different matter when reading it. Cam is a man who was betrayed beyond belief by his first wife. Not only did she take many, many lovers over the time they were married, but she also tried to kill both Cam and their son Daniel and indeed ended up taking her own life. She was clearly mad but that didn't keep her from leaving deep, deep scars on Mac, both physical and emotional. He uses his gift with horses and meaningless sex to try and escape his demons. But when he's with Ainsley, he feels a deep sense of peace though it takes him a while to recognize it as love he is feeling. I just loved this poor tortured man to pieces and pieces. He loves his son deeply, and Daniel is a wonderful secondary character by the way who will be getting his own story, but doesn't really understand how to be a father. His own father was a monster and all the MacKenzie heroes have a lot to overcome with their horrific childhoods.
Once he gets Ainsley into his orbit again, he is so gone for her. I've said on many occasions I love a hero who is so gone for the heroine.
And Ainsley is exactly the kind of heroine I enjoy. She's sharp and she's funny and she's intelligent. No false miss is she. After a bit of hesitation and then consulting with friends, when Cam wants to take their relationship much further, she goes for it, with no second thoughts. She has very fond thoughts of her first husband and admired him even though he was much, much older than her.
I love that the author didn't go down the cliched route and make her first husband evil. Even the character that was blackmailing the queen didn't turn out to be evil, evil. She just wanted the money to desperately escape an unhappy marriage. The most evil person in the book was Cam's first wife Elizabeth and her evilness was needed to turn Cam into the kind of person he was.
I finished this book in a very short amount of time as I couldn't bare to put it down. I, um, ah, may have taken longer breaks and lunches than I'm allowed as work since I really didn't want to stop reading this Very Enjoyable Book. I still like the first one better, but just by a shade. But this one also is getting very high marks!
Grade: 4.95 out of 5
Friday, August 12, 2011
Bound by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon
Why this one: I have been LOVING this series
Steam Level: The story takes place in New Orleans and let’s just say the steam in the story and the steam in the city match!
Blurb: POLICE DETECTIVE CHARLOTTE CAISSIE AND HER SHAPE-SHIFTING PARAMOUR MAX SAVOIE THOUGHT THE PAST WAS BEHIND THEM. BUT IN NANCY GIDEON’S IRRESISTIBLE NEW ROMANCE, THEY DISCOVER IT MAY NEVER LET THEM GO. . . .
THEY SWORE THEY’D BE TOGETHER FOREVER.
Detective Charlotte Caissie is suddenly sharing drawer space and making local news with her shape-shifter lover, Max Savoie. He’s determined to be accepted by her peers—so how can she ask him to return to his criminal roots to help her solve a complex case?
BUT THOSE THEY TRUST THE MOST . . .
Working undercover with her partner to find the serial killer who’s kidnapped a colleague’s daughter, Cee Cee is caught between her job and her fiercely possessive lover. And when she calls on Max’s preternatural talents to aid his hated enemy, she crosses a line that strains their relationship to its limit.
. . . WILL DO ANYTHING TO TEAR THEM APART.
With his secret spreading, Max is forced to protect his family and his clan. The only certainty is his love for his human mate . . . unless the loyalties that define them divide them forever.
My Thoughts: As I said at the beginning, I LOVE this series. The hero Max Savoie is like no other hero I’ve read before and he just leaps off the page with his presence. A bit of background for those who haven’t read the first few books. Max was the ‘enforcer’ for a very influential, very bad crime lord. Jimmy Legere ‘rescued’ Max when he was just a child hiding in the swamps of Louisiana after his mother was brutally murdered. But Max wasn’t an ordinary child; he was a shape shifter who because of circumstances didn’t know anything about his heritage. Jimmy used Max, aimed him, pointed him, and sent him after anyone in Jimmy’s way and Max was so grateful to Jimmy, he would have done anything for him.
This was the situation at the start of the first book, Masked by Moonlight. It begins when Max meets up with Charlotte Caissie or CeeCee, a detective with the NOPD. Max’es loyalties are tested. The first three books are wonderful and CeeCee and Max try and work out a relationship with both of them on either side of the legal fence.
Max is, well, Max is unique. He’s a criminal with a strong sense of right and wrong and a sense of loyalty that won’t quit. And he is so totally wrecked for the heroine. He doesn’t see how she can love him as he considers himself part monster and in some ways he is. He breaks the readers heart with his damaged soul. When he is in his animal form, he almost repulsive, but so broken up by who and what he is when he’s not. The author never really explains what animal he is, but whatever it is, Max has powers that no other has; powers that even he isn’t aware of. He is so lost as to what he is considering his mother died when he was very young before having a chance to explain what he is and his father is a mystery.
CeeCee comes from an equally horrific background. Second generation cop, she was captured, held prisoner and tortured when she was young and it was in fact Max who saved her, though she hadn’t been aware of it until after the start of the first book.
In some ways, these books can be compared somewhat to the In Death books by JD Robb in that both heroines are cops and both heroes are or were part of the criminal element. But in other ways they are vastly different. Unlike Eve Dallas, CeeCee doesn’t have the same moral code when it comes to police duties. She’s a rule bender with an attitude that the ends justifies the means and Max, unlike Roarke, is still involved in the criminal element. And he’s not a cultured or suave as Roarke. And unlike Roarke he is very conflicted about everything except those he is loyal to.
All this so far and I haven’t even got to this particular book. But I’ve very enthused about this series and background is needed. As this book opens up, CeeCee and Max are finally taking their relationship to a more open level. They have shown up together at a charity event. As one can imagine, this sends shock waves throughout both the criminal and cop element. CeeCee is called away to work on a case where women have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered. When the daughter of a rather bully of a cop disappears, CeeCee fears she has been taken by the serial killer and races to find her. Because of some of Max’s supernatural powers and his more than willingness to bend rules and out and out break the law, he helps CeeCee in unobtrusive ways. But he has history with the bully cop. Which makes for some wonderful conflict.
Unlike the other books in this series, we don’t learn too much more about Max’s mysterious background. Rather this is more concentrated on solving the case as well as CeeCee and Max trying to establish the boundaries of their relationship.
There is a real shocker of a twist towards the end that I did not see coming and I think will have huge ramifications in future books. Books I will be reading.
For me, this is a great addition in a great series and it gets a real thumbs up from me for a very unforgettable hero. I just noticed she has a number of books written for Harlequin. I’m going to see if they are available as ebooks so I can get my fix until the next book comes out.
Grade: 5 out of 5
Stand-in Wife by Karina Bliss
Why this one: Karina Bliss burst onto my radar with the wonderful What the Librarian Did last year and I’ve bought all her books since then.
Steam Level: Warm
Blurb: Playing with dynamite, a girl could get burned…
What does he know about love and marriage? And exactly how did he, Ross Coltrane—a special forces elite soldier and demolitions expert—end up playing middleman to his kid brother and the estranged wif And most important, why is he suddenly noticing how beautiful his sister–in–law is? He's never thought about his brother's wife…that way…before.
Then he figures it out and everything makes sense. This tantalizing woman is the other twin! The identical sisters have pulled a swap and duped everyone around them. Furious much? Oh, yeah. Poised to bring down their plan, Ross hesitates. Something about Vivienne Jansen's courage and zest for life gets to him. Except, he's not a man who has feelings. Everyone calls him the Iceman. He doesn't know how to be anything else…
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I read it a week or so ago now and need to read the blurb to remember it, but that’s more of a case of declining short term memory retention then the book not being memorable.
Ross Coltrane, our hero, was first introduced in Here Comes The Groom. He is part of an elite Special Forces group – think Seals – only a New Zealand company, who were attacked and lost two of their own in Afghanistan. Each surviving member has reacted differently. In Ross’ case, he is hell bent on getting himself back into fighting shape and avenging his lost friends. He hasn’t time for anything else and holds all feelings in to the point that his nickname is Iceman. His plans are thrown into turmoil though when his step-mother perishes while exacting a nasty revenge on him. He’s had a ‘fractious’ to say the least relationship with her for years, though he is very fond of and close to his younger step brother, Charlie.
The heroine of this book, Vivienne, is walking a fine line. She is a designer in New York, but has taken time out to help out her twin sister, Merry a wife and mother to the nth degree, who has broken her leg and needs surgery. Her twin is married to Ross’s step brother but they are currently separated. Ross is taking his brother’s side and Viv, her sisters. In order to help, it’s too complicated to go into detail, Viv impersonates her sister and I had a number of laugh out loud moments while reading this book with the complications that come along with this deception. Ross is decidedly angry at his sister-in-law for what he considers a betrayal of his brother and when he thinks Viv is Merry is not the warmest cube on the block. It doesn’t take too long though before he realizes it’s not Merry he’s dealing with, but her twin Viv. Viv, the sister he’s lusted after for years.
Viv pleads with him to go along with her plan and he reluctantly agrees to – for a short while.
This book, as I said is delightful and I’m so very happy I discovered this author. She writes believable characters, people you wish were real so you could meet them. I liked this book better than the first one, Here Comes the Groom.
One thing I have to add, please, please, please do not judge this book by it’s completely horrid cover. I never would have read this one if I based picks on covers alone. The cover of this one is a real eye sore. So IGNORE it. Please!
Grade: 4.25 out of 5
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
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
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
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