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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: A Howl For a Highlander by Terry Spear

A Howl for a Highlander (Heart of the Wolf, #10)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402258933
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Shapeshifter
Series:  Heart of the Wolf-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

A Highland Wolf on a Mission...
Duncan MacNeill is hell-bent on catching the thief who's stolen the clan's fortune and run off to Grand Cayman Island. Duncan has rarely left his homeland and he couldn't care less about an island paradise. He never expected to find a beautiful distraction who will show him just how appealing paradise can be...

Meets a Dangerous Distraction...
Lone wolf and botanist Shelley Campbell headed to the island to study the old growth forests. She didn't count on meeting a handsome Highlander who can't keep his paws off her.

 

My Review:

Terry Spear has been one of my favorite paranormal romance writers for a while but for some reason her latest books just haven't worked for me. I felt much the same about this one. I liked the concept but I found myself wandering while reading and it took me forever to get through.

For some reason, I was never able to make a connection with either Shelley or Duncan. I think that's part of the reason I had trouble getting through this book. Shelley was an okay heroine. I liked her. She was smart and interesting but I just couldn't seem to make a connection with her. I did like Duncan quite a bit. He was such a strong character and I always love my Highlanders...and my shapeshifters.

I have been reading this series on an off from the beginning. I don't know why but the latest ones I've read haven't really worked for me. They come with so many aspects that I love, like Highlanders and shapeshifters, but somehow fall a bit short. I did like the progression of the romance. It wasn't insta-love but paced very well and the writing, as always with Terry Spear, was excellent. I think my disconnect with this series lately stems from my jumping around with this series. I may have to go back and reread.

 

Review: Cowboy Tough by Joanne Kennedy

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402265522
Pages: 373 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Western
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

She's hardly a cowgirl...

Cat Crendall left a successful advertising job in New York to teach art workshops in the wild west. The Boyd Ranch is hardly her dream destination, but if the outing's a success, the company will send her to more exotic locations.

But once a cowboy...

Mack Boyd was in the middle of the best bronc-riding season of his life when his mother asked for help with an artists' retreat at the ranch. Mack might be able to ride a wild stallion to a standstill but he can't say no to his family.

Cat and Mack are complete opposites...but when the ranch is threatened financially, can they set aside their differences and work together?

 

My Review:

One of the constants in my life is that I will love Joanne Kennedy's western romances. That is no different with Cowboy Tough. I loved it.

Cat was one of those characters that I made an instant connection to. She was smart, independent and very easy to relate to. She's also quite strong. I've been reading a lot of weepy heroines lately and she was such a nice departure from that. Mac was equally as amazing. He was tough as you would expect a rough and tumble cowboy to be but he also was very kind and sweet. And he's a mama's boy which this Italian girl loves.

I loved this book. It's a pretty standard western contemporary romance but it's done very very well. It almost broke me out of my reading slump...until I got the flu and went right back into slumpage. The chemistry between Cat and Mac was amazing. I really wasn't expecting them to have such great chemistry but they did. They were perfect. I also loved the bits of humor. I've had a bit of a rough month so any chuckle I could find was welcome and appreciated.

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: The Earl in My Bed by Sophie Jordan

The Earl in My Bed (Forgotten Princesses, #2.5)Publisher: Avon Implulse
ISBN: 0062222465
Pages: 100 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Novella
Series:  Forgotten Princesses 1,2
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Intended for one man…

All her life, everyone assumed Paget Ellsworth, the vicar’s daughter, would marry the Earl of Winningham’s youngest son. And when he left for war with his older brother, Jamie, words and promises were not necessary. She would wait.

But destined for another…

Four years pass, and the death of his father forces Jamie home to take up the reins as the new earl, leaving his brother fighting on the front lines a world away. Maddening, infuriating, sexy Jamie makes Paget question her feelings. One glimpse, one word from him awakens desire in her heart. When a simple kiss spirals out of control at the annual Valentine’s Day ball, she realizes the man she never wanted is the man she needs…but will Paget cast aside all she’s ever thought to be true to win the man of her dreams?

My Review:

I am not one for reading novellas or short stories. I've never liked them. Since they used to make us read anthologies of them in school. But if Sophie Jordan is writing it, I'm reading it. I have to admit I'm a little bit of a fangirl and I am not ashamed at all.

Paget was such a great heroine. She was very easy to relate to and, even though this is a novella, I really felt as if I really got to know Paget. I also disliked Jamie almost as much as Paget for much of the book. I loved Jamie too. Even though I wanted to throttle him for how he treated Paget in the past. But, then again, I empathized with him because the reasons for his treatment of Paget are so heartwrenching.

I loved this book. A part of me wished it was longer but then the realistic part of me realized that any book about these two would be almost too long and too drawn out with the angst. This novella was the perfect length. Long enough to tell the story and get to know the characters but short enough to be satisfying. I was also pleased at how three dimensional Jamie and Paget were. I really felt as if I got to know them. I am really looking forward to Owen's book and I hope that Paget and Jamie feature in his story.

Also check out Sophie Jordan's Top 5 Heroes.

Review: Once Again A Bride by Jane Ashford

Once Again a BridePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402276729
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

She Couldn't Be More Alone

Widowhood has freed Charlotte Wylde from a demoralizing and miserable marriage. But when her husband's intriguing nephew and heir arrives to take over the estate, Charlotte discovers she's unsafe in her own home...

Alec Wylde was shocked by his uncle's untimely death, and even more shocked to encounter his uncle's beautiful young widow. Now clouds of suspicion are gathering, and charges of murder hover over Charlotte's head.

He Could Be Her Only Hope...or Her Next Victim

 

My Review:

This is my first Jane Ashford book and I can't tell you how much I loved it. Well, I can because I'm reviewing it but you know what I mean.

I loved Charlotte. I empathized with her. Her husband was a nodcock who used all of her dowry to bu artifacts and historical junk. But I really loved that she was so strong. She was not one of those “cry all the time” heroines. Her journey throughout this book is heartwrenching. She had a bit of the Jane Eyre feeling to her although perhaps not as maudlin. Alec was a bit of a conundrum. He was so duty driven. He wasn't cold really but he was very “by the book.” His interactions with his sisters, and later Charlotte herself, really gave us a nice glimpse into his softer side.

The chemistry between Charlotte and Alec was borderline perfect. They started very distrustful of each other. It was a slow burn and I love that when the author takes time to develop the love story. The secondary romance between Ethan and Lucy was almost as interesting as the Charlotte and Alec. I adore great secondary romances. I also loved the Upstairs/Downstairs—and yes Downton Abbey---feel to it.

I loved this book. I will be looking forward to Jane Ashford's books. I have a feeling she will soon be a part of my auto-buy list.

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Guest Post: Sophie Jordan's Top 5 Heroes

The Earl in My Bed (Forgotten Princesses, #2.5)Hi, everyone! To celebrate the release of my latest novella, THE EARL IN MY BED, I thought I’d feature my favorite romantic heroes … aside of my hero Jamie, the hero in THE EARL IN MY BED, of course, who is a bit like a combination of Rochester and Darcy (two other awesome heroes). You can fall in love with him yourself in my novella. Now…ready?

Sophie’s Top 5 most romantic heroes!


Captain America. Need I say more? He’s a super hero and hot and incredibly noble … and I can’t wait until his upcoming movie, The Winter Soldier, when he gets to meet the love of his life. I’m assuming he will, of course. Because he really, really needs one.

Bourne in Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue By Any Other Name. Why? Yummy factor aside, he’s the perfect alpha hero. Jaded, baggage-ridden, there’s this scene where he and the heroine come face to face after years apart (they used to be best friends), and she sees how hard he’s become. Instead of her old, dear friend, he’s shockingly harsh with her … and he does this one thing that makes you gasp (and yes, I reread that part a few times), and you’re like, “wow – I want to see this guy on his knees later”. And Ms. MacLean delivers on that promise. GREAT hero! A must read!


Gannicus in the TV series, Spartacus. Gladiator hotness aside … the guy laughs in battle. Seriously! Gotta love that. He’s always smiling and has this devil-may-care attitude (except when he goes all intense). He drinks too much and acts like he doesn’t give a damn (but he does, of course – you see it in his eyes) and suffers from having lost the woman he loved long ago, but he’s honorable to the core. He’s got a revolving bedroom door, but when he meets this sweet wide-eyed innocent woman (in the current season of the show), he tries to keep her at arm’s length. He warns her off of him and doesn’t take advantage of her. Of course, you know he’s met the love of his life and these two are destined for each other. Sigh. Here he is:

http://www.themortonreport.com/Spartacus12.jpg
Image courtesy of The Morton Report

Aaron Cross from The Bourne Legacy. Yes, I love a hero who can fight (I sorta keep coming back to that trait, don’t I?). He mesmerizes me in those fight scenes. A genetically-enhanced soldier/spy, of course he’s the total package – even if he’s always running for his life. He’s honorable to the core (notice how that is a common requisite?), smart, always there in time to save the girl, and oh-so swoon-worthy.

Reece, the hero in my current WIP, Foreplay (set to hit shelves this November). Foreplay is the first book in my new adult trilogy. Reece is a twenty-three-old bad boy bartender who rocks my heroine’s world (a shy, never-been-kissed 19 year-old wallflower). He screams bad boy with all his tats and muscles and a sexy eyebrow piercing, but of course there’s more depth and layers (and yep … honor) to him, as my heroine quickly realizes.

I had to cut this list to five because really, I could go on and on.  Now your turn! Who are some of your favorite heroes?

Happy reading,
Sophie

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Lady Eve's Indiscretion by Grace Burrowes

Lady Eve's Indiscretion (The Duke's Daughters, #4) (Windham, #7)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402263805
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series:   Windham-1,2,3,4,5,6
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Lady Eve's Got The Perfect Plan

Pretty, petite Evie Windham has been more indiscreet than her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Moreland, suspect. Fearing that a wedding night would reveal her past, she's running out of excuses to dodge adoring swains. Lucas Denning, the newly titled Marquis of Deene, has reason of his own for avoiding marriage. So Evie and Deene strike a deal, each agreeing to be the other's decoy. At this rate, matrimony could be avoided indefinitely...until the two are caught in a steamy kiss that no one was supposed to see.

 

My Review:

On my list of favorite authors, Grace Burrowes is very high on the list. She has never disappointed me. Not once. Each of her books gets better than the one before it. I was really looking forward to Evie's book and it lived up to every one of my expectations.

I really liked Eve. She was easy to identify and empathize with. Her recovery from her traumatic riding accident was truly heartbreaking. I thought she may have had PTSD but I'm not in any position to diagnose anyone with anything so that's just my gut. Lucas was perfect. He was the combination of strong and sweet hero that just works so perfectly. Eve and Lucas bicker a lot but Lucas also seems to be very in tune with Eve and her needs.

I may just have to declare myself a Grace Burrowes fangirl now. I don't think she will ever write a book that I don't love. This one was no exception. I loved Eve and Lucas. They had such amazing chemistry. They bickered like an old married couple but there such a sweet connection between them. The romance was also perfectly paced and there was, as always, a nice bit of drama. As always, Grace Burrowes can write circles over most romance authors. I love her writing style. It's crisp and clean and borderline perfect. Yeah, I'm a fangirl. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Interview with Michelle from Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks

Ugh. I missed the Book Blogger-Love-A-Thon (hosted by Katelyn at Kate's Tales of Books and Bands and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books). I had to bring my computer in to Best Buy because the wireless card went and died and my ancient iPad is barely capable of tweeting. But anywho, here is my interview with the lovely Michelle of Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks.

When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in 2009 after I graduated from college. It was summer and I was trying to find a job and I was worried unemployment. To keep my mind off my worries, I read a lot and after each book I looked online for book recommendations. I kept finding book blogs and I thought "how awesome to have a blog all about books?" So, I started my own blog, invited my sister Leslie to be my blog partner and our blog was born.

What was one of the best blogging days you've ever had? One of the worst?
I don't have one particular best blogging day, but days when I can type out a book review in 30 minutes because I know just what to say and how to say it are always the best blogging days. 


The worst? When I had a blogging slump for over two weeks in December last year. I didn't feel like reading the pile of review books I had (I just wanted to read for fun, which I did) and blogging felt like a chore. Fortunately, I got out of my blogging funk.

Do you have a blog post that you are particularly proud of?
Umm... I'm not proud of it per se, but I do like the post I wrote about "switching to the dark side" and buying an e-reader. When I wrote that post, I was still a bit on the fence about e-readers and I said I might eventually love reading on my Kindle. Well, less than a year later, I love it, my e-book collection is rapidly growing (much to my wallet's dismay) and I even upgraded to a Kindle Fire earlier this year.

If there is one piece of advice you could give a new blogger, what would it be?
Book blog because you love books and you love sharing your opinions about the books you read or books you're excited about--don't book blog for any other reason beside that.

Lightning Round:
Favorite Book- For romance: Something About You by Julie James. For YA: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (a recent favorite that made me cry like a baby and feel all the **feels**)
Favorite TV Show- Modern Family
Pet Peeve- People who spit in public or in public spaces. Gross.
Coffee or Tea- Tea.
Paper book or ebook- Both.
If a genie granted me three wishes, they would be:
-My student loans to disappear.
-Find a good-paying, full-time job right away after I graduated from library school.
-For my parents to be healthy and happy in their old age.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Hot Ticket by Olivia Cunning

Hot Ticket (Sinners on Tour, #3)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402245858
Pages:400 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Erotica
Series:  Sinners on Tour-1,2,4,5
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Where's the Fine Line...
Between darkness and desire
Need and oblivion
Pain and pleasure

A man as talented as Sinner bass guitarist Jace Seymour needs a woman who can beat out his self-doubt...
A woman as strong as Mistress V needs a man she can't always overpower...
And in each other's tight embrace, an escape from harsh reality is always a welcome diversion...

 

My Review:

This series started off very strong with Backstage Pass and quickly landed on my favorite series list. The last book, Double Time, was a bit iffy for me but I really loved this one.

I wondered about how much I was going to be able to identify with Aggie based on Trey's book but I was completely surprised to find that she was one of the most relatable heroines in the series so far. She was smart, strong and the perfect match for Jace in every way possible. I loved Jace, too. I am not exactly sure what I was expecting from him but I was not expecting the emotional depth. His story was heart-wrenching. I thought Trey would be my favorite of the Sinners but it's definitely Jace (or Eric).

I really did like this book quite a bit. I loved Jace and Aggie together. They had the most sweet of connections even with their kinks and I think they had the most chemistry out of all of the couples in the series so far. I do wish that the books had been released in order. It was jarring to read Jace's book that was released after Trey's book which happens later. It would have been lovely to meet Aggie when Jace does instead I am left with the knowledge of who both Jace and Eric will end up with without reading their books. It was quite jarring and left me feeling off kilter. I'm not against spoilers by any means but releasing books out of order in a series is problematic, at least for me. I highly advise readers to read the series in chronological order—Brian, Sed, Jace, Eric (to be released--and is very high on my wishlist) and Trey.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday (February 15th)



I am sorry I have been so out of book blogging lately. I think I just needed a bit of a break but I am back now with no reading slump to accompany it.

ACTIVITY:  Write a letter to your favorite character. Rant, rave or gush…just pretend like they are real and you just want to let them know a “few things”. – Activity courtesy of author, Kelly Walker 

Dear Severus Tobias Snape,

You are not my favorite character by any means but I know enough to respect you. How are you not sitting in a corner of a cell in St. Mungo's talking to a hand puppet while rocking back and forth? You were by far the most interesting and, while not likable, complex characters in the whole of the Harry Potter series and had to deal with a cast of dunderheads-excepting Hermione Granger-- but I just have to ask you one question---antivenin? Why not? You are supposedly really smart and quite the potions master. Did you not think Big Giant Snake Death was a possibility?

So anywhoozerwhatzits...Thanks big bunches,

Grace

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: Waking Up With a Rake by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe

Waking Up with a Rake (The Royal Rakes, #1)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402272405
Pages: 346 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series: The Royal Rakes
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

The Fate of England's Monarchy Is In The Hands of Three Notorious Rakes.

To prevent three royal dukes from marrying their way onto the throne, heroic, selfless agents for the crown will be dispatched...to seduce the dukes' intended brides. These wickedly debauched rakes will rumple sheets and cause a scandal. But they just might fall into their own trap...

After he's blamed for a botched assignment during war, former cavalry officer Rhys Warrick turns his back on "honor." He spends his nights in brothels doing his best to live down to the expectations of his disapproving family. But one last mission could restore the reputation he's so thoroughly sullied. All he has to do is seduce and ruin Miss Olivia Symon and his military record will be cleared. For a man with Rhys's reputation, ravishing the delectably innocent miss should be easy. But Olivia's honesty and bold curiosity stir more than Rhys's desire. Suddenly the heart he thought he left on the battlefield is about to surrender...

 

My Review:

I will read just about any book Connie Mason writes. She has been one of my favorites since I was a kid--yes, I was reading romances as a kid--and her collaborations with Mia Marlowe are no different. I loved Waking Up With a Rake.

Olivia was such a great heroine. It was very easy to relate to her. She was a genuinely nice girl. So many times, the heroines come across as women I would not want to meet in real life but Olivia seemed like someone I could have a friendly chat with. That sounds crazy but it's true. Rhys was such a rake. And that is not a bad thing, folks. It's very good. His transformation throughout the book was quite remarkable. He started out as this borderline slimy rake with not so nice intentions and ended up honorable if a bit scampy.

I breezed through Waking Up With a Rake. It's quite an accomplishment because I have been in an epic reading slump since Christmas and nothing, not even my favorites, has been able to break me out of it. But I finished this one in an hour. The chemistry between Olivia and Rhys was epic amazing. Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe also injected the perfect amount of angst into this one. It's not too much angst but just enough to keep me happy. I loved this one and will definitely be reading any books this duo writes.

 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: The Ambassador's Daughter by Pam Jenoff

The Ambassador's DaughterPublisher: Harlequin MIRA
ISBN: 0778315096
Pages: 336 pages
Genre:Fiction/Historical/WWI
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:


Paris, 1919.

The world's leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbors dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.

Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.

Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.

Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.

My Review:

It's been a long time since I've read a straight historical fiction. It's been mostly historical romance lately and I do find myself missing plain old historical fiction. This one seemed like the perfect book to bring me back into historical fiction.

I spent much of the time reading this book wanting to shake and/or slap Margot. Does this woman ever make a decision for herself based on her own wants and desires? She is lead around by everyone else's expectations. She becomes engaged to a man based solely on the expectations of others. It was frustrating mainly because I liked her and wanted her to be a bit stronger. She was also a bit static. Nothing that happens to her has any sort of effect. I was hoping for some growth with her but I don't feel as if I got any.

There were many things about The Ambassador's Daughter that worked for me. First of all, I had no idea when I picked up this book that it was a prequel. I found that I was able to pick this one up easily without having read The Kommandant's Girl. I also loved the France post-World War I setting. Jenoff captured the setting well and I loved the detailed descriptions. There were, however, some things that did not work well for me at all. I was never really able to make a connection to Margot at all. I wanted to like her and I tried to but I couldn't and I can't even put my finger on why. I also wish there had been more historical detail. Much of the focus was on Margot and her relationship with Georg. Being a historical romance reader, I never thought I would say that but I did want more historical detail with this one. 

If you're looking for a historical fiction about World War I with a nice romance storyline, definitely give this one a try. 

 

 

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