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Sunday, October 28, 2012

More Great Fall Books.....

Hello to all of you out there. I have a few reviews to post as I sit here waiting for this hurricane to come up the East coast. Hope you enjoy these books!

Susan Mallery Harlequin
HQN ISBN: 978-0373777020
October 2012
Contemporary Romance

 This charming holiday romance gives us Evie Stryker’s story. A dancer, she was introduced in previous stories as the Stryker sibling who felt like an outsider. Conceived during her mom’s brief affair, she has been estranged from her mother and brother for years. When she's injured, she is forced to come home to recuperate. Evie is not going to succumb to her brother’s best friend, Dante Jefferson.

Dante is a jaded cynical lawyer who has reluctantly come to Fool’s Gold to manage Rafe Stryker’s business. When Evie begins teaching in a dance studio above his offices he finds his attraction growing to the beautiful dancer with a tinge of sadness under her scrooge-like attitude. These two delightful characters have a lot of emotional baggage between them. While the story is formulaic and somewhat predictable, it is still a heartwarming holiday tale told in true Mallery fashion. In other words, well-plotted, with excellent character development, and an emotional pull that will delight.

Reviewed by Jeri Neal
Rating: 4

Roxanne St. Claire
ISBN: 978-1-455-50827-3
October 2012
Contemporary Romance

This second Barefoot Bay novel is Jocelyn Bloom’s story. As a “Life Coach to the Stars” she has become embroiled in a scandal in which she is accused of having an affair with one of her client’s husbands, a famous movie star. Her Los Angeles business in shambles, she has come back to her home to try and escape the media. Jocelyn returns very reluctantly and only because her best friend Lacey is building a resort there and offers refuge.

Jocelyn dreads seeing her aging father, a former deputy sheriff who in his younger years, was physically abusive to his wife and daughter. Jocelyn also dreads the childhood and high school memories of the only boy she ever loved, Will Palmer. Will, formerly a professional baseball player, now works as a carpenter at Lacey’s new resort. Little does Jocelyn know that he is now in the unlikely role of caretaker for her dad, who has developed Alzheimer’s. He recognizes no one from his past.

This is a terrific story, even better than the first in the series. It has so many themes including long term friendships, disorders of aging, childhood trauma and abuse, and domestic violence. In spite of these very intense issues, at the heart this is a romantic love story between Jocelyn and Will. Their story returning them to each other is heartwarming and lovely. I am really enjoying this series.

Reviewed by Jeri Neal
Rating: 4 1/2

Olivia Gates
Harlequin Desire #2183
ISBN: 978-0373731961
September 2012
Category Romance

In this second book in the Desert Knights series readers are introduced to Prince Jalal Aal Shalaan who wants to be the king of Azmahar. His affair with Lujayn Morgan, which lasted for several years, has ended some time before and Lujayn has married someone else. Now a widow, she is startled when she once again encounters the handsome, enigmatic prince and finds that their attraction to each other has not wavered.

For Jalal there is really only Lujayn, even though he seems to be quite good at making a mess of their relationship. Filled with contradictions and misunderstandings this book is also passionate, complex, and one very hot romance. There is something to be said about the writing style of this very talented author. I’ve said it before: she has found her groove and these stories just keep getting better and better. We still don’t know who will be the new king of Azmahar! While we wait for this Jalal and Lujayn were certainly interesting to watch as they negotiated their relationship.

Reviewed by Jeri Neal
Rating: 4

Luann McLane
Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 978-0-451-23780-4
September 2012
Contemporary Romance

This novel takes place in Cricket Creek, Kentucky. Part of an ongoing series about this small town characterized by friendliness, good eats, and the Cougar Creek baseball team, this books focuses on Mia Monroe and Cameron Patrick. Mia is on the run from her pampered life as the only child of a very wealthy businessman, who happens to be a silent owner of the baseball team. Cameron is one of the their star players, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a tendency for fighting and getting arrested. Now his job is to play good ball and avoid trouble.

Mia’s car breaks down and she ends up working as a waitress in the Wine and Diner. Forced to make due with no money she quickly learns that waitressing is not her forte. At the same time she and Cameron are drawn together like metal shavings to a magnet. As their relationship progresses and it becomes more and more important for Mia to reveal who she really is, the plot gets interesting. A secondary story involves Mia’s father and his secret relationship with a woman in Cricket Creek.

Other characters from past books are described and readers are quickly drawn into the drama and fun of this small town. The early scenes of this book were laugh out loud funny. While I thought the relationship between Mia and Cameron could have been deepened, this is a very entertaining book and sure to please fans of this author.

Reviewed by Jeri Neal
Rating: 3

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DESTINED TO PLAY - Bloome Review

Indigo Bloome
ISBN:  0-06-224347
October 2012

Erotic Romance

In DESTINED TO PLAY, psychologist Alexandra Blake travels away from her family to deliver a series of lectures; when she reconnects with old flame Jeremy Quinn, Alexandra spirals into an exploration of sexuality that surprises her.  Told in first person, the novel flashes between the present and the past, showing the reader the depths of Alexandra’s attraction to Jeremy.

I want to make it clear that I am a huge fan of the Erotic Romance genre, and the BDSM sub-genre in particular; check out my Goodreads page, and you’ll see I keep myself stocked in erotic romance!  With that said, I had a very difficult time getting through DESTINED TO PLAY.  I had some real problems with the text, from the adultry that the main character seemed to have planned before she ever left home to the BDSM-style elements that are in no way true to those who live in the lifestyle. The concepts of safe, sane, and consensual are thrown out the door with this book.  I also felt that while there was plenty of sex, there was a lack of romance; I think the author intended the romance between Alexandra and Jeremy to pick up from where it left off years ago, despite the fact that Alexandra is a married mother of two.  The scientific elements of the story did spark my interest, though they made the sex act a little more clinical than I prefer.  It also seemed that Alexandra resolved the problems in her marriage just a little too easily.  DESTINED TO PLAY is the first in a trilogy, so perhaps the next book addresses some of these issues.

Reviewed by Angela Etheridge
Rating: 2

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paranormal Pick

Dark Mission-Book 4
Karina Cooper
October 2012
Simon Wells isn't your average everyday man, he is so much more. Simon is dangerous and everything that Parker Adams should avoid, especially when she starts to realize that he is a witch. Parker is the Director for the Mission and her job puts her in charge of those who hunt down and imprison witches, usually with a death sentence. Simon is an agent, and it appears he has ulterior motives and Parker just can't seem to figure out what he is up to. What makes things worse is his sexuality. She is drawn to the man and that is just to damn bad, because the last thing she needs is a sexy bad boy in her life. All hell is breaking lose in her world and agents are dying right and left and it looks like she just might be next in line. But, if said bad boy has anything to do with it, nobody will touch what he is quickly becoming to think of as his! Karina Cooper's Dark Mission Series puts a totally new spin on the world of witches in the post apocalyptic world and leaves you begging for more. My only criticism in this latest release is that she left us hanging and now I will have to wait to see what happens next!
Reviewed by Lori Sears
Rating: 4

My Scandalous Viscount - Foley Review

Gaelen Foley
ISBN# 978-0-06-207593-2
October 2012
Historical Romance

As a "Lady of Information", when Carissa Portland tries to help out Sebastian, Viscount Beauchamp, otherwise known as "Beau", from a compromising position, she unwillingly becomes involved in one of her own. Having known Beau, and loathing him for a long time, Carissa is now forced to marry him! While Beau can't believe he is married to Miss Busybody herself, he's willing to make the best of it until he realizes that he can't trust her. She has secrets, one that could threaten her life, but then so does he. Will they be able to trust each other and forge ahead, or will they be undone by the danger that lurks in the shadows?

Foley writes great characters, and even better heroes. Beau and Carissa should be engaging and fun to read, especially with their past, so while they were entertaining, given their past, they could have been so much better. The secondary characters of the other members of the Inferno Club, Trevor, and even the mysteriously "gone bad" Nick, will be eagerly awaited.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 3

The Lady Risks All - Laurens Review

Stephanie Laurens
Avon Publishing
ISBN# 978-0-06-206863-7
October 2012
Historical Romance

The world believes that Lord Julian Delbraith, Duke of Ridgware, disappeared twelve years ago. In truth, in order to save his family, he turned into Roscoe Neville, king gambling lord - straddling the line of the real world and the world much more shadowy. When Miranda Clifford followed her brother into one of Roscoe's den of iniquities, she set out to rescue him. What she discovered was something quite different. Meeting Roscoe proved much more than Miranda imagined, and when her brother went missing, she enlists the help of Roscoe to find him. The two embark on a journey of dangerous proportions. Roscoe can't believe he let Miranda into his private life, but their attraction is deep and mutual. Julian knows to have Miranda would be subjecting her to a life not fit for respectability. Will he be able to let Miranda go, or will he have to choose between his two very different worlds?

Laurens superbly wields her magic in this intriguing romance, filled with danger and passion. Julian/Roscoe is a complex hero, with serious problems that force him into a virtual world where he hides his true identity. Miranda is a head strong heroine, who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go and get it. Another gem from a great author!

Reviewed by: Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4

Great Historical Romance Reading With Alissa Johnson's PRACTICALLY WICKED

Alissa Johnson
Berkley Sensation
ISBN 978-0-425-25803-3
October 2012
Historical Romance

Miss Anna Rees desperately wishes to escape her life. Her mother is an infamous courtesan who views her daughter as an object and one to enhance her own reputation as a kind and generous mother. Anna lives a solitary existence with only a former governess and a well-stocked library for friends. Lonely with no social experience and little contact with the male sex, she engages in conversation with a drunken and newly designated viscount in mourning, Lord Dane, who lost his way one night attending one of her mother's riotous parties. That conversation changes both their lives when both sense the uniqueness in the other and that they could be friends and much more. Dane promises to call on her the next day...but unbeknownst to Anna, her mother repeatedly turns him way and refuses to deliver his notes to her. Four years pass...and Anna learns she is the bastard daughter of the late Marquess of Engsly and he had promised money for her upkeep. Anna determines to visit the new Marquess and make their connection known and hopefully he will honor his father's debts. All Anna wants is a country cottage and a dog of her own all away from her mother's type of life and the gossip rampant in the demi-monde...the Marquess and his family welcome Anna with open arms and claim her as one of their own...but the family's good friend, Lord Dane is suspicious about Anna's motives and he vows to get to the bottom of the matter without letting his heart and his past rejection by her get into the way...but as they both intuited four years previously, their encounters show that they belong together. Can Dane convince Anna that he loves her as she is, practically wicked, and that she is the perfect wife for him forever?

PRACTICALLY WICKED is a lovely, delightful and touching Regency historical that evokes laughter and tears throughout. Ms. Johnson's writing and voice make PRACTICALLY WICKED  a rich reading experience . Anna and Dane are indeed perfect for each other and the reader will fall in love with Dane as he courts her. This is a book to savor and enjoy!

Reviewed by Debora Hosey
Rating: 4 1/2

Merry Christmas Reading with Victoria Alexander's WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS

Victoria Alexander
ISBN 978-0-7582-5568-6
November 2012
Historical Romance

In 1897, widowed Camille, Lady Lyndingham, seeks to provide a  Dickensian English Christmas for Prince Nicolai Pruzinksy of some minor European country, in hopes it will provide the perfect ambience for him to propose. Because most of her somewhat eccentric family will be elsewhere for the holiday, she employs an odd assortment of a down on their luck acting troupe to stand in for them and the household servants. Camille convinces her twin Beryl to go along with the plan and all goes well until Grayson Elliott returns to England and visits after a decade or so abroad. Best friends since childhood, each was secretly in love with the other, but Grayson never declared his feelings until the day before her wedding to another man. Each waited for the other to do something to stop the marriage but to no avail so Camille continued with the wedding to the suitable, affable, well-connected and rich older man. Now Gray has returned rich as Croesus and wanting to win his heart's desire...once he learns of the farce about to begin from a too talkative actress, he wants in because it will keep him close to Camille and give him a chance to persuade her of his love. What seemed like a brilliant idea goes wildly awry and mayhem ensues as actors forget their parts and horrors upon horrors, the real family unexpectedly arrives home...and then to Camille, the prince seems less and less like a prince while Grayson seems more and more like the prince of her dreams.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is real and proves it by gifting us readers with the sparkling,  effervescent and scintillating WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS. This book thanks to the writing magic of Victoria Alexander has everything to make your holiday reading merry and bright, including if I may say so, Christmas Carrolls...prepare to LOL and smile and enjoy the various oddball characters and welcome all the surprise twists and to cheer Camille on to get on with it and listen to her heart and Gray! Whether it is your Christmas list or your To Buy list,  WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS belongs on them all! 

Reviewed by Debora Hosey
Rating: 4 1/2