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Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Silver-Tongued Devil by Jennifer Blake

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated   
ISBN:1402238509 
Pages:320 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/American  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb


Summary from publisher:

Angelica Carew awakens after a boating accident to find herself married to her rescuer. Renold Harden is the stepson of the man who lost his Louisiana plantation to her gambler father and is bent on revenge. Angelica begins as a pawn in Renold's vengeful plans, until he discovers her hidden depths...


My Review: 

Jennifer Blake is one of my favorites. She is. I will always read her books when I get the opportunity. So, really, I am a little perplexed as to how this one found it way into the muddle that is my bookshelf to be forgotten till now. But nevertheless it has been read, albeit a bit late, and it has been enjoyed quite thoroughly.

Renold is possibly one of my favorite heroes. He is bad. He’s not nice. He uses Angelica as a pawn. He’s a bit of a sneaky snake. Yes yes, in real life that’s not so good but, at least for me, in a hero it’s a big bunch of wonderful. Angelica started out a bit weak and wimpy but, she grew in strength as the book went on. They both change each other and that is lovely to see because they both really needed it at the start of the book.

There is one thing I really love about Jennifer Blake’s books and that is her use of historical detail. She never skimps on it and sometimes she even overwhelms you with it. The history geek in me loves that. But I also love how the historic detail never inhibits the story or the development of her characters. I think this one is my favorite of all of the Jennifer Blake books I have read but I do wish it was a bit more bodice-rippy but other than that, I loved it.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Events (January 27th)

Reviews Posted this week:

  1. Dylan by C.H. Admirand
  2. All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson

 

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Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

Hmm. I hate to say it but there are many that I avoid like the fricken plague. The list is so big that a corresponding bulleted list is necessary:

  • Political books-especially ones related to conservative politics. It does nothing but make me mad and I don’t want to be mad.
  • Religious books-I am not religious. At all. So there really is no purpose in me reading a religious book other than to put me to sleep.
  • Self Help-I don’t need someone I don’t know telling me what to do with my life. Plus all the hokey language makes me cringe.
  • Celebrity books (both fiction and non-fiction)-If Snookie can “write” a book, anyone can. Nothing good can come of these people writing books and there are few celebrities that I care enough about to read books written by them. Maybe if Jennifer Aniston wrote a book. Maybe. If I was having a slow reading week.
  • Science Fiction-I tried and I hated it. My brain just doesn’t work that way.
  • Fantasy-Same. My ex tried to get me to read LOTR and I had to give up. I felt like a failure for weeks.
  • Tearjerkers for no point other than to be a tearjerker…mainly Nicholas Sparks. I can’t deal with them.

I think that’s it! I’ll probably think of more later.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson

imagePublisher: William Morrow Paperbacks   
ISBN:0062081608 
Pages:352 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/China  
Challenges-TK
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Summary from publisher:
All the Flowers in Shanghai is Jepson's stunning debut novel. Set in 1930s Shanghai,the Paris of the East, but where following the path of duty still takes precedence over personal desires, a young Chinese woman named Feng finds herself in an arranged marriage to a wealthy businessman. In the enclosed world of her new household-a place of public ceremony and private cruelty-she learns that, above all else, she must bear a male heir. Ruthless and embittered by the life that has been forced on her, Feng seeks revenge by doing the unthinkable. Years later, she must come to a reckoning with the decisions she has made to assure her place in family and society, before the entire country is caught up in the fast-flowing tide of revolution.


My Review: 

I have to admit that I have never been very interested in fiction about China. Nonfiction—yes. Fiction---not so much. It was one of my concentrations as an undergraduate and I think I overloaded myself. But I couldn’t seem to resist this one. First of all, the cover is beautiful and just calls out “Read me now, woman!” and it an epistolary novel—I live for them.

I had some trouble with this one. I did. It took me a couple of tries to get into the book. I tried to think of reasons for this and the only one I can come up with is my near passionate dislike of Feng. I had moments of liking her in the beginning but through the book she transforms into someone I couldn’t even begin to understand. But I do like that I had such a strong reaction to her. I also like that for every reason I didn’t like her, there was a justification. She wasn’t unlikeable because she was just a bad character but her circumstances made her that way.

There was much to love about this book. The descriptions and language were simply amazing. Even in epistolary format, the descriptions were vivid and interesting. I loved how the theme of flowers wove through the plot. I may be one of the few but I love how the single point of view we get from the letters provides you with a kind of tunnel vision. I personally enjoy being confined to one person’s perceptions when reading a novel especially if I find that person a bit difficult to like to begin with.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Dylan by C.H. Admirand

dylanPublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca  
ISBN:1402258070 
Pages:384 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Western  
Series-The Secret Life of Cowboys 1 
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb


Summary from publisher:

Second in a hot contemporary cowboy romance trilogy featuring three brothers desperately trying to save their ranch, and their pride.

Sexy rancher Dylan is temporarily covering his brother's shift at the Lucky Star ladies club when he meets Ronnie DelVecchio, a darkhaired beauty with snapping green eyes. Sparks and tempers fly and Dylan can't resist the urge to see what it would be like to kiss her senseless.


My Review: 

I absolutely loved Tyler. I have a thing for stripping heroes. I don’t know why. I have been looking forward to Dylan and Jesse’s stories and Dylan definitely lived up to my expectations of total awesomeness.

Ronnie was amazing. Finally, I have found an Italian American heroine without any corresponding mob plotline. It’s so very rare that it happens and I love it when it does. It also helped that Ronnie was immensely likeable. I loved Dylan as well. He was a scamp. He was adorable. His chemistry with Ronnie was playful and fun yet intense. I have never come across a couple that could combine those two so well.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved the small town feel of it. I could easily see myself living in this town and hanging out at the Lucky Star. The chemistry between Ronnie and Dylan was also quite compelling. I do wish that there had been a bit more drama—like Dylan’s ex coming back. I am a bit dramatic and I love when the dramabug appears. I also think the ending was a tiny bit rushed. There was very little build up to it. But that does not even compare to how much I loved this book. I cannot wait for Jesse’s book—and I hope he does not end up with Lori.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Destiny’s Fire by Trisha Wolfe

imagePublisher: Omnific Publishing  
ISBN:1936305984 
Pages:224 pages
Genre: YA/Fantasy   
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Barnes and Noble, Omnific Publishingclip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

It’s the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind—part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven.

As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, but she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez’s newfound power rockets out of control, it’s a Narcolym who could change her fate… if she can trust him.

Dez’s guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she's forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she's feared her whole life.


My Review: 

I have to admit that I was a bit tentative with this one. I am not a fantasy reader most of the time. Actually so rarely that whenever I come across a fantasy of any kind that I actually like I find it completely flabbergasting. I found this one to be one of those completely flabbergasting ones.

I really loved Dez. She was strong and kick-ass. It’s very rare that you find a heroine this awesome so I savor it when I do. She’s not one of those wishy-washy girls and I loved that. I also loved her circle of friends Nick, Jace and Lana. Their characters were all very well developed and not reduced to merely a plot point in the midst of a larger story. They all played a role.

I am not one to get involved with love triangles. I always pick the losing team—Jacob, Eric (I have a feeling he will lose), Gale etc. But I absolutely love Dez with Reece. Yes, I am declaring myself Team Reece. He is the mysterious and hard to figure out one yet he is so caring towards Dez. It’s difficult not to pick him. I do like Jace but totally not for Dez. Now I am not going to ramble on about the romance---that would be wrong, I also loved the world building. It was seriously good. It’s a world I can see myself jumping into over and over again—and I will be when the next book comes out.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Sins of the Highlander by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca  
ISBN:1402261829 
Pages:368 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Highlander  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:
Even with her gift of the Sight, never had Elspeth Stewart imagined her wedding would be interrupted by a dark-haired stranger charging in on a black stallion, scooping her into his arms, and carrying her off across the wild Scottish highlands. With two clans against them burning for battle, they must find a way to join together—body, breath, and soul. Or both will be made to pay for the Sins of the Highlander.


My Review: 

Connie Mason is one of those authors that I would love if I ever read them but have strangely never picked up a book by. I do have many of her books on my romance shelf but have never read any of them…until now that is because I really loved this one.

Elspeth was one of those characters that you waver between mild dislike and borderline like. She tended to do things that made me want to strangle her. But for most of the book I really loved her strength and found her to be quite the charming heroine. Rob was just as awesome…maybe a little more. He was not really “mad” but terribly grief stricken. And we all know how great a grief stricken hero is. I loved Rob. He was the right mix of vulnerability and strength.

I absolutely loved the chemistry between Elspeth and Rob. It was intense and there was this great push/pull type of tension between them. I especially loved the jealousy over Fiona, Rob’s dead wife. It brought me to tears in some places. And tears don’t come so easy to me.  I also loved the kidnapping plot. Whenever a bride gets stolen by a Highlander on her wedding day, I know the book is going to be good—and this one definitely was.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Wandering Stars by Marlon Pierre-Antoine

imagePublisher: World Castle Publishing  
ISBN:0312605889 
Pages:230 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Alice Valdez is a normal seventeen year old girl living a mundane post high school life that consists of work, sleep, hanging out, and more work - but it all changes when a chance encounter on the beach one night leads to a series of haunting dreams that bring her face to face with the most ancient evil the Universe has ever known.
What do you do when the man you care for is none other than the Devil himself? Wandering Stars follows one girl's journey into the arms of darkness and into Hell itself - all in the name of love.


My Review: 

I haven’t broken out my Nook in a while so I was very happy to do so with this one. It sounded like just the perfect book for me as I have found myself reading more and more romance and neglecting my YA reading.

First of all, I loved the premise of Wandering Stars. A girl falls in love with the Devil himself. Immediate win. I mean, he’s the ultimate bad guy and I always like the bad guy. I liked Alice quite a bit. She was quiet, smart and was generally a very likeable character. I did, however, not like that when she fell in love with Lucas everything about her became consumed by him. I did love Lucas as I knew I would. He’s quite mysterious (you know as the Devil usually is) and professes himself to be evil(he’s really not) but he is also very sweet and kind. 

I was expecting so much from this one when I started reading. I had been looking forward to it. I mean it had to be borderline perfect considering that the main dude was the Devil. I love saying that I am right and I was definitely right about this one. I did love most aspects of this book. I was sucked into this story from the very beginning. I stayed up until way past my 3am bedtime reading this book with a flashlight. I loved the chemistry between Alice and Lucas—and I genuinely cared about both characters. I also loved how we got point of views from Lucas and Leo as well as Alice. The extra POVs definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

By the way, if there isn’t a sequel coming in the soontime, I might have a rage moment.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas

imagePublisher: St. Martin's Griffin  
ISBN:0312605889 
Pages:336 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Fantasy/Magic  
Series-Friday Harbor 1 
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington.  She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal:  her fiancé Kevin has left her.  His new lover is Lucy’s own sister.   Lucy's bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life.   Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.


My Review: 

I am not going to lie, Lisa Kleypas is my favorite romance author. She is the one I compare every other author to. If they can live up to the example set by Lisa, they must be good. I was lucky enough to be selected as one of Lisa’s Divas and even luckier to be selected to receive a copy of Rainshadow Road. I admit, I happy danced. It’s been on my wish list and it lived up to every expectation.

Lisa is the absolute best at creating a heroine that the reader can both like and identify with. I loved Lucy. I was protective of her because her family was terrible and I absolutely loved her banter with Sam. Sam was simply an amazing hero. Even with his commitment phobia and his reasons for getting involved with Lucy, I couldn’t help but love him. He was sweet, funny yet, at the same time, the typical hard to figure out hero that I love.

Lisa Kleypas is a genius at creating a believable romance story about a couple that had both intense chemistry and easy likeability. Seriously, she is the best. I keep trying to find better but very few can compare. I will always prefer her historical romances because they are just soo good but if Lisa continues to write amazing contemporaries like this one, I will be a very happy girl. I also really loved the addition of magic even though I really did not get it until close to the middle of the book. It really added something different to the plot.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blog Tour: Fall of Rain by Renee Vincent

tfortourbanner

Summary:
Leif Dæganssen, an archeologist from Norway, is determined to trace back his Scandinavian roots as far as the Dark Ages and find proof of their existence on the Emerald Isle. After several years of living off the west coast of Ireland, he finally uncovers an ancient artifact—an intricately decorated chest with pagan carvings—buried beneath the very porch of his coastal cottage. Knowing it only confirms the presence of a glorified Norse-influenced settlement on Inis Mór, he’s determined to establish a link between himself and those who once inhabited the rugged isle.

For as long as she can remember, Lorraine O’Connor has had dreams of a Norse warrior kissing her. And even though she’s never fully understood the reason for her vivid subconscious imagination, she welcomes the meaningless and wanton pleasure of being in a Viking’s protective embrace—until the day she meets that brazen Northman on an impulsive vacation trip to Ireland.

Though blindsided by the relevance of her dreams and the strange familiarity of the man within them, Lorraine can’t help but feel a deep-seated intimacy toward Leif. And the more she gets to know him, the more she’s convinced they’ve shared a life together in a time long forgotten.

Are the clues to their ancestral past hidden within the contents of the chest or buried deep within their hearts?

FallofRainCoverExcerpt:
Leif laughed inwardly as he heard the lock engage. Lorraine was definitely an odd sort of female, with all her outlandish outbursts and peculiar reactions, but no less interesting. She had this way about her that made him pay close attention, made him want to pay close attention, else he might miss something. No woman had ever been able to do that to him.

He was not a man easily beguiled. ‘Exceedingly picky’ were Kristoff’s words on many occasions when they could’ve had a few choice opportunities with several of the women who entered Tí Joe Mac’s Pub in Kilronan. But he always found a way to stay clear of them. Either their hair was too short, their fingers too long, or they were excessively giggly over anyone who spoke Gaelic to them. No matter how beautiful they were to the eye, Leif always managed to find some flaw, an imperfection he couldn’t get passed.

The only imperfection Lorraine possessed, if he could call it that, was being unreadable. Even then, he couldn’t rightfully hold it against her. He was glad that she left him guessing, left him wondering what she’d say or do next. Every time he spoke to her, he had no idea what would come out of her mouth.

And what a pretty mouth it was.

Her lips were a delicate shade of rose and looked just as supple as the petals from which its color derived. He imagined they felt as soft and delicate in a kiss, and longed to taste them, to press his lips against her and savor every blessed moment of it while watching her eyes close in automatic response.

Oh, those eyes…

Their exquisite brilliance utterly entranced him. He couldn’t look away no matter how hard he tried. They shone as bright and vivid as the intrinsic color of an emerald, with flecks of lighter green pigments fissuring throughout.

Though he’d stared at them as if they were rare jewels tucked within the hilt of a Viking warrior’s ceremonially-bent sword, uncovered from a sacred burial site, he couldn’t help but feel he was gazing into something he’d known and seen before. Words could not describe what he felt, except that his longing was innate—as if her eyes and all its wonders had been engraved on him from years past.

Again, he laughed inwardly, reminding himself that his entire week had fallen into the epitome of the absurd. Between finding the carved chest of treasured antiquities buried beneath his porch to having a gorgeous woman bathe in his home, he could hardly believe his bizarre stroke of luck.

He quickly left the hallway and entered the kitchen, flipping the nearly burned fish in the pan. The unrelenting vision of her slick wet body clung to him like a wet blanket, drenched with his own lustful musings of what she’d feel like if he dared to touch her. At least, he was glad to know he was still a red-blooded man. As many times as Kristoff had ridiculed him for his lack of interest, tonight he didn’t have to ponder his gender. It was as plain as the nose on his face, and stuck out a bit further than he cared to admit.

Reaching down, he shifted himself, trying to award his erection some more room in his jeans, while cursing it all the same. “Now is not the time.”

“Not the time for what? Dinner?”

Leif turned at the sound of Lorraine’s voice, not expecting anyone to be behind him, and almost knocked the pan off the stove. He caught it by the handle, fortunately, steadying it before it slid off the edge.

“I take it you’re not used to a woman in your home,” she stated discernibly.

Heaving a sigh, he smiled. “How was your shower?”

“Exhilarating.”

I’m sure it was. “Good.” He rallied his best casual voice and turned back to the fish, still simmering on the stove. As he resumed cooking, he secretly regarded the way the small swell of her breasts put curves in his oversized T-shirt that her raincoat had once hidden. Though her dainty figure had been virtually swallowed up by his cotton drawstring sweats, he knew somewhere beneath all that fabric was an enticing set of feminine curves.

“Since my clothes were still damp, I hung them over the shower rod to dry,” she confessed. “I hope that’s all right.”

His grip tightened on the handle. The image of a lace-lined bra and delicate panties, hanging in his bathroom flashed in his mind and he could do little about the smile teasing the corners of his lips. Without facing her, he shrugged his shoulders, pretending he hardly cared and changed the subject. “I hope you’re hungry,” he replied, fisting a quartered lemon above the pan-seared cod and dousing it with lemon juice. “I’ve made enough for the whole village it seems.”

He thought he heard a slight chuckle, regretting that he’d probably missed the first opportunity to see her smile. But he kept to his mission of transferring the food to the two plates sitting on the adjacent counter. That little feat required more of his attention given he wasn’t much of a practiced chef.

“It smells delicious.”

Adding the final touches to the plate with a few island flowers he’d picked days ago—only because he heard from the more experienced chefs in Dublin’s pricey restaurants that presentation was everything—and a slice of soda bread on top, he turned around and caught her looking at him. Her eyes, however, did not meet his until they jumped up from a lower direction.

She cleared her voice and looked away, feigning that she had ever been looking at his arse. Leif was not a stupid man, nor did things often get passed him, but for her sake, he acted as if he were none the wiser.

“Please. Have a seat.”

She did as he suggested, wringing her hands in the extra T-shirt cloth at her waist.

She’s still nervous.

For that reason, he sat in the seat directly across from her instead of next to her where they could share the same corner of the table. Disappointed as he was, he refused to show it, keeping a keen eye on her facial expressions and body posture. At the present, she sat stiff-backed in the chair, her eyes fixed on the bounty of food he placed in front of her.

A quick grin teased her lips when she saw the white and yellow daisy garnishing the corner of her plate. She never said a word in regards to his makeshift embellishment, but the smile that hung about thereafter was enough for him.

She didn’t waste any time taking her first bite, closing her eyes as she pulled the fork from her mouth. Her shoulders melted and a slight hum reverberated from her lips.

“Does that mean it’s good?”

“Are you kidding?” she asked, her eyes nervously diverting from his the moment they met. “This is the best pan-seared fish I’ve ever had.”

He shook his head, forking his first bite. “Now I’m convinced you have a concussion.”

“I’m serious. I’ve never had fish like this before. Most times it’s fried to a crisp or bland as hell.”

“Well, I don’t know much about Kentucky, but I believe they’re known for their horses, not herbs.” He took another generous bite and waited. “That wasn’t funny?”

She mildly smiled and stuffed a piece of bread in her mouth. “You make a better cook than a comedian.”

“Ah, look at that. Give the small town Kentucky girl a hot shower and some food and she’s as good as new.”

Another smile. That one he was sure to catch.

“I don’t know about all that,” she replied uncertainly.

“Well, you’re gaining a bit of confidence. It’s good to know you’re less fearful of me.”

Her hand froze, her fork stuck in another cut of fish. “I don’t fear you, Leif. I just don’t know you.”

He set his utensil down and crossed his arms, eager to finally delve into a meaningful discussion. “What is it you’d like to know?”

I shied from his intrusive eyes, feeling the heat of his stare setting me ablaze.

He leaned in. “I know you are avoiding me because you feel ‘tis right. ‘Tis moral. ‘Tis safer. But you needn’t fear me.”

I took a deep breath. “I fear you not, Dægan. I simply know not enough about you.”

His face recoiled slightly as if my choice of words had stunned him. He released me and crossed his arms in front of him. “What would you like to know?”

“Rain?”

Leif’s voice caught her off guard and she looked around, confused, the name Dægan echoing in her ears. She blinked, staring at the man across from her, his face illustrating as much bewilderment as her own.

“You all right?” he asked, reaching for her hand.

Instantly, she pulled away, trying to gather her wits. It seemed she’d hear Leif’s words in the same minute she’d hear the exact same thing from a man by the name of Dægan.

What the hell was wrong with her? Why did she keep seeing things that weren’t really there or hear conversations from an unknown past, which were so akin to what she was talking about now?

“You blacked out for a moment,” he explained.

“I did?” The question came out of her mouth even though she knew she had gone somewhere else, somewhere that seemed like memories. It was as if she were having personal recollections of long ago, which involved her and a Norse warrior in some uncanny fashion.

“Yeah, you did. I asked you what you wanted to know about me, and suddenly, your eyes glazed over. You stared straight forward, but focused on nothing. Are you sure you’re all right? Perhaps we need to wake up the good doc.”

She fidgeted in her chair. The thought of a doctor looking her over and determining she was categorically crazy was not in her vacation plans. She tried to go back to her normal routine of eating, forking another bite of fish to prove to him, if not herself, he was overreacting. “Really, I’m fine. You shouldn’t worry. I just need to finish eating and get some rest. I’ve had a long day.”

Again, he didn’t look convinced. But what else could she say? She was as lost as he was when it came to her “blacking out” and no amount of pondering it could procure a logical explanation.

For the rest of the meal, they both lost their tongues for small talk and the only sound heard was the casual clinking of silverware on their plates. It was just as well, since neither seemed to know what to say anyway. Despite the great food and warm hospitality Leif had provided her, Lorraine wanted nothing more than to be alone. To lie down with her thoughts and hopefully be exhausted enough to sleep.

She prayed for sleep. Sleep without dreams. Somehow, as she glanced over at Leif looking at her in the most concerned way, she didn’t think she’d get her wish.

About the Author:

I am an author with a passionate interest in Irish and Norse history. I live in the rolling hills of Kentucky with my husband and two children on a beautiful secluded farm of horses and hay fields.

When I am not writing, I love to spend my time on the back of a horse, whether with my family or with my friends. There is nothing like feeling the sunlight on your face, the wind in your hair, and the power of the animal beneath you as you enjoy the beautiful scenery. Seeing the world from a saddle is, by far, the best view and the best therapy for a heavy heart or a troubled mind. My therapist's name, or my horse's, rather, is "Statues Suddenly Lucky", a full-blooded Tennessee Walker, and of course, he goes by the name of Lucky for short.

I am a sucker for a good cup of coffee (lots of cream and sugar...and whipped cream if I can get my hands on it), great conversation, and a lilting Irish accent. I love to read and I can't resist watching great epic historical movies.

Links: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon, Kindle, Nook, Turquoise Morning Press, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, Bookstrand

Review: Warrior’s Redemption by Melissa Mayhue

imagePublisher: Pocket Star  
ISBN:1451640870 
Pages:384 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Fantasy/Highlander/Time Travel  
Series-Warrior
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:
Will the magic of modern romance help him defeat an evil ancient power?
MALCOLM MACDOWYLT sees himself a failed warrior, haunted by the death of the woman he married to become laird of Clan MacGahan. Neither his Viking heritage nor his claim to descend from Norse gods can restore his confidence in his ability to protect his people. His sister is held captive, her life in jeopardy, and his Magically powerful half brother wants him dead. The last thing he needs is more responsibility, but that's exactly what he gets when his Faerie mother-in-law arrives seeking justice for her daughter in the form of an enticing woman from seven hundred years in the future.
DANIELLE DEARMON has waited fifteen years to discover the life she is supposed to live. She just never dreamed she'd end up in the thirteenth century with a handsome Scot bent on saving everyone but himself.
With the lives of those most dear to him hanging in the balance, Malcolm sets out to battle a powerful evil Magic, only to learn that the redemption he seeks exists only in the arms of the woman he loves.

My Review: 
Melissa Mayhue is one of my favorite Highlander romance authors. I also happen to love time travel romance so I was very excited for this one.

I really liked Dani. I am often a bit skeptical about how in time travel romances, the heroines are always so quick to adapt to life in the past but I really liked how Dani’s adjustment to the past was as realistic as a completely unrealistic situation could possibly be—if a bit too short. Malcolm is the typical Highlander laird hero. He was strong, protective and, of course, stubborn and hard-headed. All things I love in Highlander heroes.

Fairies are usually an either “I love them” or “I hate them” kind of a thing with me. This one was an “I love them”. They were perfectly integrated to the plot and they were quite interesting. The chemistry between Malcolm and Dani was also really great. I loved the angsty moments when Dani thought that Malcolm would have to marry another woman. I do wish that the period of adjustment to the past would have been a bit more difficult for Dani. It may be too much to ask for in an already packed plot but I like the details. 
Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Review: Night Swim by Jessica Keener

imagePublisher: The Fiction Studio  
ISBN:1936558262 
Pages:284 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb




Summary from publisher:
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kunitz lives in a posh, suburban world of 1970 Boston. From the outside, her parents’ lifestyle appears enviable – a world defined by cocktail parties, expensive cars, and live-in maids to care for their children – but inside their five-bedroom house, all is not well for the Kunitz family. Coming home from school, Sarah finds her well-dressed, pill-popping mother lying disheveled on their living room couch. At night, to escape their parents’ arguments, Sarah and her oldest brother, Peter, find solace in music, while her two younger brothers retreat to their rooms and imaginary lives. Any vestige of decorum and stability drains away when their mother dies in a car crash one terrible winter day. Soon after, their father, a self-absorbed, bombastic professor begins an affair with a younger colleague. Sarah, aggrieved, dives into two summer romances that lead to unforeseen consequences. In a story that will make you laugh and cry, Night Swim shows how a family, bound by heartache, learns to love again.

My Review: 
I have been reading mostly romance lately so it was nice to get a break with this one. This is easily one of the reading highlights of the new year.

It is not often that I come across a protagonist that is so amazing I can find so few flaws with as to render me speechless. Sarah was one of the rare ones. I loved her. I read this one while I was watching Shameless (the best show on TV) and couldn’t help but make mental comparisons of Sarah to Fiona. Both are such strong characters in such crazy families but there was a quiet strength about Sarah that set her apart.

I loved just about everything about this book. The language was beautiful. It was lyrical and flowed so well. Keener captured the painful story of the Kunitz family so well while not being over dramatic. It was painful but it was real and I really loved that. It’s not often that I admit to this…but I did tear up during this book. I did. It was that good. Sarah’s story and the story of her family is so heartbreaking that it is difficult not to have some emotional reaction to it. Also, that cover is gorgeous.
Overall, this one was near perfection…and I very rarely say that. This is an author I will be following.
Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Scrumptious by Amanda Usen

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca  
ISBN:1402259824 
Pages:368 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb





Summary from publisher:
Sparks between love 'em and leave 'em pastry chef and poker sharp Marlene Bennet and traveling chef-for-hire Joe Rafferty when the two culinary perfectionists are forced to share a kitchen. But several suspicious accidents at the restaurant convince Marlene and Joe to work together to uncover the saboteur. Maybe a little intrigue and high-stakes poker will be the perfect ingredients for these commitment-phobic foodies to whip up a happily ever after.

My Review: 

I’m a huge foodie. I love food and I love cooking. I am immediately attracted to books about food, chefs or even ones with food on the cover. This one immediately appealed to me because of the equally yummy man and cupcakes on the cover. Based on those lofty expectations of foodie greatness, Scrumptious was definitely equat to the task.

I loved Marly for some reason. I identified with her. She was easy to like. I also NEED her recipe for crème brule—mine needs some help. Joe was a bit difficult for me. Not in the “I hated him” way but in the “I often wanted to hit him” way. He spent most of the book basically bad-mouthing Marly—calling her everything from a slut to easy. I spent the other half of the book wanting to smush his cheeks. I always did have a weakness for mama’s boys.

I loved the chemistry between Joe and Marly. I did very much. It was intense but it was not easy and I liked that. But every time Joe used Marly’s reputation as a crutch and excuse not to enter into a relationship with her I wanted to hit him with something heavy and metal. I also did not like the bit of mob at the end--but I never like books with mobsters in them. I was irrationally afraid of mob movies until high school (the horse head scene in The Godfather--something no 4 year old should see). But I do have to say that Amanda Usen turned it into something that not only made me like the book more but made me squee and giggle like a schoolgirl. Who wouldn’t want to read about a 70 year old grandma sitting on the lap of a big bad mafioso who also happens to be her long lost love? Plain old adorable.
Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.
 

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