Thursday, June 30

Friday Following Fun - #3

I'm totally loving this Friday Follow/Blog Hop! It's a great way to meet new people who are insanely interested in books - like me! So thanks in advance for stopping by my blog this week for more Follow Friday Fun!

Every week, parajunkee features a book blog, with some information about the blogger and why they started the blog. Then, everyone who's part of the FF system follows that person. There's also a beautiful linky list below that with links to hundrends (literally) of other book blogs. What a wonderful way to get connected to others who share a passion for books and for blogging!

Our Feature - Erika @ Let's talk about books

Hello wonderful PJV readers,
My name is Erika and I have an addiction to books. Oh sorry, wrong place…

I am addicted to reading and just like any person with a passion for something, I love telling people about the books I read. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone that loves reading as much as I do. My lack of reading buddies forces me to talk my fiancée's ear off with all of my book talk. I am not sure if he processes what I say but at least he nods and smiles in the right parts. Realizing that my fiancée can only take so much, I decided to start a blog. I’ve been Blogging since 2010 but I decided to dedicate more time and commitment to Let’s talk about books about 3 months ago.

Let's talk about books is a blog dedicated to reviewing and talking about... well, books. I love reading just like you (I am assuming since you are reading a blog about books) and began this blog to keep track of what I read, inform others about it and to meet fellow readers and talk about what we read. I read books from different genres as you can see from my posts, so this blog may include contemporary fiction, YA fiction, romance, historical fiction, non-fiction, etc... I'm a lame romantic girl, so you will see that most of the books I read will have some romance. I have many favorite books but it would take hours to list them. I will just name a few that come to mind, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare, My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

I am always doing emergency runs/visits to my nearest Barnes & Noble,, and local library. So if you have any suggestions on what I should read next, just let me know. Do not hesitate to say hello, the reason for my blog is to make friends and discuss what we read.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about me and joining me in talking about books.

Thanks a million to Parajunkee for featuring me. Now I owe her cookies but it’s worth it. J
Sound like a cool blog? Just click the @Let's talk about books above and get directed to Erika's fabulous book blog! And remember - FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW!!!
The linky list:
Weekly Question (answered by yours truly!): ACK! Your favorite book/movie character (example Hermione Granger played by the Emma chick) just walked into the room! Who is it and what would be your first reaction?

Huh, well, I don't watch that many movies so I guess it'll have to be a book! My favorite book character ever is the heroine, Scottish, in Jill Barnett's Bewitching. She's funny, smart, with a fire in her soul and some wicked magic. She turns the Duke's world upside down and rights it for him again and again - but only when SHE wants. I love her strength, her magic, her charm, and her wickedly humorous temper. If she walked into the room right now, my reaction would be to give her a hug and then jump up and down as I asked her to do a magic show! (I'm sure she'd just LOVE that... not)

See you next Friday!!!

Book Through Thursday: Size Matters

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly bookish meme! This week's questions are:

1. What’s the largest your personal library has ever been? What’s the greatest number of books you’ve ever owned at one time? (Estimates are fine.)

2. Is your collection NOW the biggest it’s ever been? Or have you down-sized?

3. What’s the fewest number of books you’ve ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?

My library is currently at it's biggest - with around 500 books, I'd say - 650 if Kindle books count too. I have three small shelves of books that have grown dusty since I got my Kindle in August of 2010.  Until a few years ago I only borrowed books from the library - so having books of my own is new to me. Back then, when my library was at its smallest, I only had about... 100 books in my room. This year I've been buying up books like crazy (much to the chagrin of my fashionista friends who wonder why I suddenly no longer have any shoe money) and my library has really exploded.

How about you? Comment or leave a link to your book blog with the answer to this weeks Booking Through Thursdays!

Wednesday, June 29

Savor the Danger by Lori Foster

Book 3 in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Series

Lori Foster writes another stunner with the third book in her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. The characters are well-developed, fun, and sexy. The suspense builds from page one, as does the heat and love between our fantastic hero, Jackson Savor, and our wonderful heroine, Alani Rivers. This book was wonderful from its funny beginning to its HEA ending.

I knew I’d like Jackson after watching him interact with Priss in Trace of Fever (book two in the series). He’s funny, with a bunch of wacky phrases and quirks that make him (is it possible?) even more charming. His character was so completely, utterly believable and so well-developed I felt like he was a real person. I loved how he interacted with Alani – 100% honesty. Honesty about his desire and honesty about his feelings. Honesty about his life and honesty, when he could, about his job. He was sweet, sensitive, and caring despite his sometimes crude charm, and he came through for Alani in all ways. I also loved how he interacted with Trace and Dare – he scowled at their ribbing, but didn’t take major offense. He stood his ground in his pissing contest with Trace to be Alani’s lover (and eventually husband). He was a delicious and yet the best part of his character wasn’t his sexy allure, but his kind, caring, sensitive interior.

For her part, Alani was a perfect fit for Jackson. She wouldn’t let him push her around with his Alpha orders. At one point I even wrote the note ‘You go girl!’ after she stood up to him yet again. I loved her strength and her sass, her spunk and her perk. I loved how she trusted Jackson with her heart and her body, and even though he was her first, she wasn’t at all afraid to tell him what she liked or experiment with him. She was courageous in and out of the bedroom. I loved how she was firm, insistent, and honest as well as strong but smart in the face of danger. No rushing moronically into danger for Alani. She trusted her macho man to handle the threats, and I thought that spoke for her intelligence big time.

The romance was exceptional. In the very beginning, Jackson wakes up with Alani in his bed – and no memory of what happened. There was clearly already a firm bond between the two, demonstrated by Alani’s tender concern later when she finds out. But watching them grow in their love for one another, even as the sexual heat and passion simmered, burst, and exploded, was wonderful and heart-wrenching in a beautiful way. Jackson needed Alani to help him really enjoy life instead of living by routine, never satisfied, and Alani needed Jackson to grow into the strong, sexy woman she was at the end. Jackson’s teasing lent the whole romance a light-heated, sweet, fun edge, but there were still poignant serious moments. I also liked how free he was in touching her, even in front of the protective Trace. I loved how they loved each other – every sexy second of it. 

The suspense and action were well done and had me biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my seat – especially when Arizona... ‘came up’.  I loved ***SPOILER ALERT*** that the way Jackson got drugged was when the female villain, Chandra, took advantage of his kind, considerate nature. I thought that really fit for his character, and it was a testament – once again – to his undeniable kindness. ***END OF SPOILER ALERT*** I would’ve preferred a little less direct explanation from the villain at the end – but it was still a wonderful climactic ending scene. I liked how Jackson handled the danger and I really liked seeing the team in action this time around. In the previous two books, it felt like the hero was doing most of the work alone, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in Savor the Danger I enjoyed watching the ‘Studs’ (Jackson, Trace and Dare) work together. It added another element to the story that was well-researched and well-developed. All in all, Foster wrote a wonderful, exciting romance from its light-hearted start to its satisfying ending.

Favorite quotes:

…typical personalities for lethally honed mercenaries. (there are typical personalities for lethally honed mercenaries?)

“Things did happen sort of…fast.”  (Alani)
Dare’s mouth quirked. “Not something Jackson would want you to share, hon.”

“No one thinks you’re an idiot. That’s just dumb.” (Jackson)

 “Sexy”ness rating: Smokin’

Overall Rating: A-

Bottom Line: This book contains a sweet, sassy heroine and a sensitive, caring Alpha hero. Watch out for burned fingers – yeah. The book is that hot.

Pages: 416
Published: June 28, 2011
Genre: Contemporary

Monday, June 27

An Indecent Proposition by Emma Wildes

This was a beautiful love story – or rather two love stories. Lady Caroline Wynn had a terrible husband who has left her feeling as if she were frigid in bed – and she wants to find out once and for all if she is. The opportunity comes when London’s two most infamous rakes (the Duke of Rothay, Nicholas Manning, and the Earl of Manderville, Derek Drake) make a drunken bet as to who is the better lover. With a secret note, Caroline communicates with them and agrees to be the judge of their wager if they promise not to reveal her name - and the fun begins.

Nicholas whisks her away first to his Essex estate for a week of sexual pleasure. I won’t tell you too much about the specifics of their days (or nights) together there – but Nicholas is heartwarmingly sweet, sensitive, and romantic. He’s also sexy and sensual – but more important he listens to her, and is impressed by her bluestocking tendencies. He loves all of her and is searching to discover all of her, beyond the physical their original wager implied. When their time is over and he remembers it’s Derek’s turn to take her, he’s overcome by a strange melancholy and possessiveness (and we know what that means). The rest of their time together, leading up to the eventual HEA is just as sweet and tenderly romantic. I loved it.

Derek, meanwhile, is not terribly interested in the wager or bedding Lady Wynn. He has his eyes set on his Uncle’s ward – Lady Annabel Reid. Growing up with her, he’d always known of Annie’s infatuation, but not until a stolen kiss in the library did he realize he returned her affections. Scared, running from the prospect of love, he turned to another woman and was caught in the act by Annie. Now she’s betrothed to someone else, and he’s determined to win back the only lady he’s ever loved. Derek is sweet, helpful, kind, and very lovable. As he works to regain Annie's trust, you can feel the depth of his love for her through his desperation. Annie, meanwhile, is not fool enough to trust him immediately just because she still loves him - but is smart enough to give him a second chance.

What is there to say about this book? It was two beautiful stories of how love can sneak up on even the most hardened of men and women. The characters were all convincing, true to themselves, strong and undeniably wonderful. The heroes were incredible, especially Nicholas. The heroines were compassionate and understanding – and smart enough to not turn away from a good thing. The plot was focused solely on the romance –and the theme of how love can heal old wounds was poignant and strong. The book moved at a great pace. It was a beautiful, sweet, romantic journey that spoke to my heart and left me laughing, crying, and undeniably happy.

Favorite quotes (there were oh so many to pick from):

The Northern ice cap was rumored to be warmer than Lady Wynn.

“If you are willing to give me credit for the weather, I’ll take it. I ordered this gorgeous evening just for you.” (Rothay)
“And if anyone could coerce the elements into compliance with his wishes, you could, Rothay.” (Caroline)

“To best Lord Manderville? You know him better than I do, but I would guess since he is part of the wager, he will put his best foot forward.”
...He muttered, “His foot isn’t what I’m worried about.”

“Sexy”ness rating: Really, REALLY hot. And tender and sweet.

Overall Rating: A

Bottom Line: This book was, without a doubt, excellent. The heroes are amazing, the heroines are beautiful, strong, and true to themselves… it was just a beautiful story of the healing powers of love. Seriously. 

Pages: 336
Published: February 20, 2009
Genre: Historical

Friday Following Fun - #2 (Late)

Guess who forgot it was a Friday three days ago??? Just as I thought I would, I totally forgot to put up the Follow Friday post - but hey, better late then never, right? So here goes!


Every week, parajunkee features a book blog, with some information about the blogger and why they started the blog. Then, everyone who's part of the FF system follows that person. There's also a beautiful linky list below that with links to hundrends (literally) of other book blogs. What a wonderful way to get connected to others who share a passion for books and for blogging!

Our Feature - Mickey @ I'm a Book Shark

I'm A Book Shark 
Welcome to the world of Book Sharks!
Mickey is the blogger behind I'm A Book Shark. She really wishes there was a better explanation for why she's a book shark. A new twitter name was needed, and it had to be about her favorite hobby: reading! For whatever reason, sharks also came to mind and a book shark was born.

Mickey has been reading for as long as she can remember. It's her favorite pastime, her go-to activity, her escape from any bad reality. Reading is so awesome that her last name is even Reed! (Spelled wrong for irony of course.) And her first name is actually Michelle, so her name is quite like Richelle Mead. It never gets old!

Her goal this year is 200 books, and she's already 59% there. That's mostly because she reads almost every genre in any age range. She enjoys a good romance, perhaps a comical mystery, or a YA novel with angels and vampires. And audio books are a staple in her life! Mickey has a job where she can listen to books at work, and that makes up a big amount of her reading.

Besides reading, Mickey is a natural reddish-headed mid-twenties entertainment-of-all-kinds lover, girlfriend of boyfriend, mother of reptiles (and a cat), and addict of dessert. Anything chocolate is a welcomed gift in her life. Oh yeah, and she likes to blog. :o)

Sound like a cool blog? Just click on the @ I'm a Bookshark and you'll be directed to Micky's page where you can follow her - I know I will be!
The Linky List:
Weekly Question (answered by yours truly!): In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer...let's talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?

A: There was this series by Holly Black I read when I was into YA books - Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside - that are about the fae. That's definitely my favorite story about the fae. As far as fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite - that was the musical my high school put on when I first did stage crew and it was a magical production.

Book Blogger HopI have also discovered the Crazy-For-Books Blog Hop, So here's there weekly Question and Answer!

Question: “When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?”

Answer: Wow. That's a really tough question. I've always been a huge reader - I was devouring chapter books before I hit first grade and I read the first Harry Potter book (filched from my brother's near-nonexistent bookshelf) in second grade before moving on to other 'big kid' books. Reading has always been an escape and a comfort to me. I went through varying stages of fantasy, YA, and then finally romance (first contemporary then historical) where I discovered reading would always be (no pun intended) my passion. Reading has always been a huge part of my life - I don't know what I would do without it. Probably be very sad. All the time.

See you next Friday with more Friday Following Fun!

Sunday, June 26

Trace of Fever by Lori Foster

Book 2 in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Series


I think part of the reason this book got such a low rating (D+) was that I’ve come to expect so much from her books. There are so many excellent Lori Foster books out there that giving this one a higher rating would be doing an injustice to the others. So even though this book is getting a low rating, keep in mind it’s because Lori Foster is such an amazing author that I’ve set incredibly high standards for her books – ones that she usually surpasses without qualm.

That being said, this book still had one of my favorite Lori Foster elements done really well – The Hero. Trace Rivers (or, if undercover, Trace Miller) is a sexy, smart, sinful, delicious, hard, uncompromising Alpha from his head to his toes (and thank God, everything in between). I LOVE a Lori Foster hero because they are so alpha, so unrelentingly strong and sexy it fires the blood. If you love Lori Foster heroes, if you love strong alphas in action, you will LOVE Trace. *Fans self* Wow. Smoking.

Unfortunately, Priscilla (Priss) Patterson was a little off. She was contradictory in her motivation and behaviors. I couldn’t get a clear sense of who she was, why she did what she did, where she was coming from – even after having her past explained. She was all over the place, and was one of those characters that seemed to act only to further the plot in the way the author intends. From an author who is always so true to her characters, I was disappointed. Also, her virginity was something that bothered me, what with her owning a porn shop. I'm not saying that I think women that own porn  shops are whores - I'm saying someone who is sexually knowledgeable will likely have had sex by the time they're in their twenties. So her virginity was kinda a questionable thing for me. Priscilla was also occasionally TSTL too, and that was an annoyance. I also disliked her nickname, Priss. It just gave the wrong impression. In general however, she was just unlikeable.

As for the plot, it wasn’t one of my favorite LF’s either. I liked it very much at the beginning – but then it seemed that there was no place to go and we simply wallowed in and waded through small, climactic elements that lead nowhere. I didn’t feel the build-up of the plot or the build-up of the romance. It was all too chaotic and messy for my tastes. Nothing seemed to tie into anything else, it was just one action scene after another with no real reason or resolution for any of them. It was a very strange blend of too much going on and not enough meaning assigned to anything.

As far as the villains go, they were well-developed in their vile evilness. Helene, appropriately named Hell, was frickin’ insane, which I thought made for an interesting story even if she wasn’t completely believable all the time. Murray Coburn, our big time villain, was evil and insane and sickening - overall, a very well done villain. At times, however, I had trouble understanding his motivation for his actions too – which made him seem like another character Foster was simply using to further the plot. That was the unfortunate thing with this book – the people were not caught up in the events and reacting to them. Rather they were creating events of little consequence so that there would, somehow, be a plot.

In the end, my favorite thing about this book (besides Trace’s delicious physique) were the lies told by Trace and Priscilla to Murray. Their quick thinking was astounding and gloriously fun to watch. It was a definite tribute to their cool-headed nature, dedication to catching the villain, and intelligence. Loved it. The rest of the story… not so much.

Favorite quotes:

“God, nothing in the world tastes better than that first drink of coffee.” (Priss)
 Trace looked over his shoulder, his attention zeroing in on her mouth, then her chest and finally down to her bare legs. “Oh, I don’t know about that.”

“Does Priss know how you handled it?” (Chris)
“No.” (Trace)
“Then maybe you ought to tell her before she murders Matt.”
 Trace started on his way again, this time taking the lead. “She’s five-four and weighs less than one-twenty. Matt can handle himself.”
“Says the man with the black eye.”

“That sounds like some adolescent bullshit or something.” (Jackson)
“You have a very limited vocabulary.” (Priss)
“My balls still hurt. It’s affecting my brain.”
“Your brain is located a little low, isn’t it?”

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot. Even when they weren’t having sex. Trace is just… hot. All the time.

Overall Rating: D+

Bottom Line: If you love Lori Foster there’s a high probability you’ll love this book just as you love the rest of her work. Trace is our very loveable, extremely sexy Alpha LF hero, but Priss and the storyline just weren’t working out for me this time. But When You Dare was awesome, and I’m expecting great things from Savor the Danger – so don’t give up on the series!

Pages: 400
Published: May 31, 2011
Genre: Contemporary

Saturday, June 25

The Barefoot Princess by Christina Dodd

Book 2 in the Lost Princesses Series

This book started out great… and got progressively worse, which was terribly disappointing. In the beginning, when our princess-in-hiding, Amy Rosabel, kidnaps our hero, Lord Northcliff (Jermyn Edmondson), with the intention of making him take notice of the poor way his tenants are living, the scenes are sarcastic, humorous, and witty. Dodd subjects Jermyn to Amy’s tough love treatment, and it’s hysterically funny to watch him rage and rage to no avail. He’s kind of (okay, definitely) a jerk in the beginning, which makes it doubly fun.

From there, the book goes downhill. Amy becomes too docile for my liking, and I missed her fire. Jermyn undergoes a radical change of character that isn’t well explained. The plot becomes silly, with too many small elements (that are even occasionally contradictory) thrown in to try and keep our interest in a story that’s less exciting by the page. The plot was downright boring by the end, and I struggled to continue reading as it was pretty predictable. After one explosive scene where Jermyn ties Amy up, and she fights to get free (which I loved), even the romantic plot goes downhill – especially with Jermyn’s TSTL tantrum.

 Jermyn has trust issues because his mother ‘left’ when he was a kid and has a TSTL temper tantrum when he discovers Amy left her sister because ‘no female can ever have loyalty when they leave their happily married sister to go off in search of their own destiny. Please. That would be too normal. Die, ye evil wench, and be vanquished from my life forever as my soul is ripped out of my chest by the terrible nature of your betrayal – which by the way was not even to me personally, but I shall take it that way so that I may forgive thee nevermore for thy non-sins.


I hate those stupid temper tantrums. They don’t make sense – and who wants to be married to an unreasonable jerk who has stupid snits like that? ***** REALLY REALLY BIG SPOILER ALERT***** Who, by the way, is okay with you leaving him and has all his trust issues resolved when he discovers that his mother didn’t leave him when he was little to be with her lover, but was actually murdered by his ass of an uncle. Yes. That would make me trust people again, too. WTF? ***** END OF REALLY REALLY BIG SPOILER ALERT***** So, really our hero – despite some good scenes where I like him – is an unreasonable, reformed-for-no-apparent-reason good guy.

One more thing – Jermyn’s attitude toward women started out as really superior and breathtakingly annoying, and it was hard for me to see definitive change in his thought process. It was clear it did change I was just left wondering as to why. In fact it was hard to see the reasons for Jermyn’s behavioral change at all, which was annoying. You could tell it occurred, but you weren’t quite sure when or what specifically triggered that change as Dodd never writes about any epiphanies that Jermyn has. There’s one time when he starts to have a revelation – but it’s really a rather insignificant moment. On the whole, he was not a good hero and Amy was only a great, unique heroine until she fell in love with Jermyn. That was perhaps the most disappointing part of the whole story for me – the loss of her fiery spirit.

Some other problems - in the ton, being a Princess would be a huge deal, but when Amy is introduced as a princess it's like they meet princesses every other day. Also, why is she so blasé about everyone knowing she's a princess when she's kept it a secret all these years? You'd think with assassins purportedly after her, she'd be a bit more worried. Finally, there appears to be a gay earl towards the end of the book. Now, please don't think I'm discriminating against gays. I live in NY. We have legal gay marriages as of yesterday. Half of my best guy friends are gay. I support everyone being sexy in their own way, so don't take this as a homophobic I-hate-gays statement because I LOVE ALL PEOPLE EQUALLY REGARDLESS OF SEXUALITY. Okay? But truth be told, people in historical times did not love or respect gay people and there were very few open gays. And people certainly never joked about it. I mean, come on, it's barely acceptable in our times. It certainly wouldn't have been acceptable then. It was little nuisances like those mentioned above that really wrecked the ending for me and annoyed me. I'm not a stickler for historical facts, but when an author blatantly ignores the historical culture it pisses me off. I bought a historical, not a contemporary - and the characters should act accordingly.

Finally, in the Kindle edition (which may not be true of other print editions) there were some grammar mistakes. There were also a few contradictory statements – for example, Miss Victorine (the adorable old lady who is an accomplice to Jermyn’s kidnapping) is described as bony when Jermyn holds her – and a few pages later, her face is described as plump. Hmmm…. But those mistakes were minor, and did not impede/influence my enjoyment (or lack thereof, towards the end) of the novel which went from breezy and fun to stilted and boring relatively quickly.

Favorite quotes:

“I rather like my house.” (Miss Victorine)
“The roof leaks.” (Amy)
“It has atmosphere.”
“Miss Victorine, that’s not atmosphere, that’s rain.”

“That is a manacle.” (Jermyn)
“So it is.” (Amy)
“Around my ankle.” His chest constricted.
“You’re a bright one.”

I would kiss you anywhere you instructed—on your lips, on your breasts, on your—” (Jermyn)
“My lord, please!” (Amy)
“—shoulders. Really, Amy, what did you think I was going to say?”

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot

Overall Rating: C

Bottom Line: Starts out great but is pretty average and unexciting by the end. A unique principle for the beginning, what with the kidnapping of the heroine done by Amy. Hero is damn annoying in the beginning, just as a warning…

Pages: 380
Published: January 31, 2006
Genre: Historical

Thursday, June 23

My Lord Scandal by Emma Wildes

Book 1 in the Notorious Bachelors Series

This book was unique. The hero, Lord Alexander St. James, and heroine, Lady Amelia Hathaway, communicated with each other for the entirety of the book. Whenever an obstacle arose to their love, they discussed it. Whenever one was insecure about something, they discussed it. When they fell in love, they didn’t wait until the end of the book to tell one another. I liked that they were so open and honest - it speaks well for their HEA. They asked one another’s opinions and thoughts. The sensitivity on Alex’s part was astounding. Also, neither felt they weren’t good enough for the other, or that the other would be happier with someone else who was ‘better’ than they were. It was refreshing to see a romance about two reasonable, open, honest adults who just fell in love.

The romantic plot was adorable, but comfortable. Unfortunately, without that angst, the passion was a little less intense. But I liked their romance just because it was soft and sweet and tender. It was like they’d known each other for years, were best friends, and could share everything. It was like the comfort of an old relationship infused into the romance of a new one. I loved it. The secondary romance was adorable too, with Aunt Sophia being another example of a well-written, strong, intelligent female like her neice, Amelia.

The characters were well developed, especially Amelia. You could really feel where she was coming from, what her motives were, why she acted the way she did. There were only a few characters that seemed off to me, and they were minor characters. The plot, unfortunately, was rather boring and not at all suspenseful. The key, the secret affair, the letters, the sapphire necklace… none of it was all that intriguing, so I’m glad that the plot was mostly focused on the romance. Overall, this book was sweet and fun, the characters and scenery pleasant, and the lovemaking sensual.
There was only one thing that really annoyed me throughout the book, enough that I made three notes about it. What is the color of Amelia’s hair? My first note says, ‘is it blond, or amber?’. My second note, ‘okay, blond, dark gold or amber?’. And then finally I gave up and wrote, ‘The color of the hair… such a mystery.’

Favorite quotes:

There was seduced, and there was seduced. Hathaway had apparently done an admirable job of it.

“Even I never ruined the daughter of an earl. I didn’t think you had it in you, little brother.” (John)
“Yes, well, she can be very persuasive,” Alex muttered.

“Fame is nothing but an empty name,” Alex said softly.
“What?” Gabriella looked at him in blank question.
 “It’s a quote,” he said.
 “A what?”
“Quote. From a book. I occasionally read,” he supplied wryly.

“If I flung myself to my knees and pledged my undying love for you now, you possibly might have to help me get back up. That’s hardly romantic, and the blow to my dignity would be immense.” (Richard)

 “Sexy”ness rating: Sweet and tenderly sexy

Overall Rating: B+

Bottom Line: I loved this book. The characters were open and honest, communicating with each other about everything that could be an obstacle to their romance. It was a unique romantic plot, to have two open, honest non-angsty characters – and for that I would recommend this book.

Pages: 336
Published: September 7, 2010  
Genre: Historical

Tuesday, June 21

Lady of Seduction by Laurel McKee

Book 3 in the Daughters of Erin Series

Caroline Blacknall is the youngest sister in our trio from the Daughters of Erin series, and she’s the adorable bookish bluestocking. Marriage to her first husband at seventeen was for totally practical reasons (a.k.a. the use of his extensive library), but he died two years later leaving her a lovely young widow. Now, at age twenty, Caroline is ready to take on the world of history (her preferred subject) by writing her own book on the history of Ireland – but the source she seeks to complete her work is in the hands of a half-enemy/half-love from the past who lives on a remote island – Sir Grant Dunmore.

When we first meet Grant in book two of the series, Duchess of Sin, he comes across as a rakish, obstinate villain. It was interesting to see how McKee changed him – and how Caroline forgives him for past atrocities as they save one another’s lives again and again. Grant was everything a good romance hero should be – though he does have scars on the side of his face and chest from a fire that occurred at the end of book two. He is still devilishly handsome to Caro, which I think is cute. I found it a little unbelievable how Irish Grant was in this book, given how ‘snobby, glittering English aristocrat’-like he was in book two. But he was brave and caring and loyal, once he got past his bitterness.

Unfortunately, I expected more out of both Caroline and the plot. Caroline was brave and cute at times, but her bookishness got shoved out of the way in this story and I felt she was no longer the bluestocking girl I was hoping to read of. While brave, she has occasional idiotic moments where I just shook my head in disbelief. Her thoughts and actions often contradicted one another and I felt that McKee didn’t take enough time getting to know her – which was unfortunate because she had a lot of potential.

The plot was confusing. There were events, people, and places that I didn’t understand and were never fully explained. What Grant was doing/involved in I never understood. There were so many unanswered questions and unnecessary details included and there were never any main climaxes or resolutions. It was a mess – everything was all over the place like a series of vignettes thrown together before a deadline. Also, some of the questions I’d been hoping to see answered from the previous books never were, so that was disappointing. It seems McKee has issues keeping all of her story in her mind at once so that she can answer all of the foreshadowings and questions she strewn about so haphazardly. It was annoying the way I kept searching for answers and found none. Also, what was the significance of The Chronicle’s secret? There’s some big secret revealed that, to me, didn’t seem all that important. Overall, the plot was a flop.

The romantic plot was a little… underdeveloped. I was hoping there would be a little more ‘lets-get-to-know-each-other’ and less ‘love-at-first-sight’ from the practical bookworm, but they got together about a quarter of the way through the book. I felt they never had any really meaningful conversations – they were just in love and that was that. It didn’t bother me immensely, but the romantic plot definitely could’ve used more build-up. As for the Gaelic endearments, they felt false from Grant’s lips. In book two, Conlan was the Irish one and Grant was as English as could be. I was expecting change in Grant – but maybe not that much change.

Favorite quotes:

“I take care of myself.”
 He smiled at her. “Not doing a very good job of it, are you?”

“I doubt I would be able to teach children anything at all. I can’t embroider worth a damn, either.” (Grant)

“With lye soap and hot water? I may be only a quiet scholar, but I’m sure I could come up with a more efficient way to kill you than this.” (Caroline)

“Sexy”ness rating: So… so hot

Overall Rating: C+

Bottom Line: A great hero, a shaky heroine, a confusing plot, and a rushed romance. Hmmmm… well…

Pages: 352
Published: May 31, 2011
Genre: Historical (Ireland)

Monday, June 20

Duchess of Sin by Laurel McKee

Book 2 in the Daughters of Erin Series

We’re going to start off, first, with what I was… miffed by. I didn’t like some of the obvious ‘detail’ mistakes – for instance during a balcony scene when McKee writes that the coat slipped from Anna’s shoulders and only a few pages later describes her taking it off her shoulders and giving it back to our hero, Conlan McTeer (the Duke of Adair). I was also annoyed by the fact that there were occasional time line issues, where the author doesn’t quite have her story straight. But those issues were minor and will really only bother you if you’re a super-close, nit-picky reader like me.

I loved our heroine, Anna Blacknall. She was adorable, strong, and restless in an energetic, enthusiastic way. I’m hoping to see a lot more of her in the third book, Lady of Seduction (which I will be reviewing shortly. I really like this series) because I don’t feel she’s quite done yet. She’s sweet and sassy and can stick up for herself (and her man) like nobody’s business. She’s a wonderful heroine because the reader can identify with her yearning and searching for more as well as her complexity and many different faces. She's also tender and understanding, without losing her backbone - which is exactly what Conlan needs. Again, McKee has developed her heroine excellently.

Our hero, Conlan McTeer was deep, rich, dark, and soulful. I liked him most because he was Irish. Points. I wish I could’ve known a bit more about him – his past and even his present was left sorely lacking in detail. But he was passionate, fun, sensitive, and consistent. He took care of Anna, and cared for her deeply, just as he cares for the people he’s duty-bound to protect. He was compelling.

Unfortnately, there were so many loose ends and things left just floating in the air, that the book was actually a little confusing. Conversations took place that led nowhere, encounters occurred that never seemed to meet resolution. It was strange because there were all these mental notes I’d made about characters and plot devices… that never came to mean anything and were simply left hanging. Anna’s role at Adair Court is also left hanging, and I thought there would be some meaningful ending where she finally discovered her usefulness – a theme throughout the book was her desire to be useful – but that never came to be. I’m wondering if perhaps everything will be resolved in the next book, but in the meantime I’m frustrated that I have to wonder at all. Even when my books are part of a series, I like each to have its own separate, fulfilling conclusion. This was a tad abrupt for my tastes.

The romantic plot was good between Conlan and Anna for the first two thirds of the book, after which it grows a little stale. The secondary romantic plot between Katherine (Anna's mom) and Monsieur Courtois was so underdeveloped I would’ve preferred it not be wasting word count space. The larger plot was decent and suspenseful – and I really enjoyed how the actual events that were occurring in Ireland are woven in to McKee’s story. The thrill of reading a story that is a retelling of what someone imagines it was like to live through a portion of history that can be marked by specific events and dates is really cool – to me at least.

Overall, unfortunately, I felt the ending lacking spice and conclusion – despite the wonderful characters. The book had great build-up – but fizzled right before the explosion. Was it a good book? Yes. Do I want to read the next one? Yes. Do I wish there had been less unanswered questions? Definitely. Could it have been better? A lot. This book was delightful… but rather ordinary.

Favorite quotes:

“As do I,” Grant said grudgingly. “I should not have allowed you to be exposed to a private family quarrel, Lady Anna.”
“Oh, I am sure her ladyship has been exposed to far worse,” Adair said.

“My heavens, Anna,” she heard Jane say from across the table. “I do hope that chicken fricassee has not mortally offended you.”

 “Sexy”ness rating: Explosive

Overall Rating: C+ to B-

Bottom Line: Great characters, a good love story, excitingish plot, but the ending fizzles sadly. Delightful… but nothing extraordinary.

Pages: 351
Published: December 1, 2010
Genre: Historical (Ireland)

Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee

Book 1 in the Daughters of Erin Series

Eliza Blacknall and William Denton were childhood friends, and over time their childish tricks slowly blossoming into an adolescent crush. But Eliza is pressured into marrying Lord Mount Clare and Will, a younger son, leaves their Ireland home for the English army, hoping to make his way in the world. Eliza is heartbroken at his decision to wear that infamous red coat, which has long symbolized Ireland’s oppression in her mind.

Years later, Eliza is a widow writing patriotic letters to United Irish papers. William is returning to the island as a Major, sent to squelch any Irish rebellion. When he discovers Eliza’s patriotic papers, he is torn between his duty and his love for her that has never died. Eliza finds herself similarly torn, between her love for her blessed Ireland and her love for William Denton. As sparks fly between rebel and English forces everywhere, the flames of Eliza and Will’s love ignite into a dangerous passion (yes, ladies, I did write that).

What did I like about this book? Every single character was completely true to themself, all the time. Eliza was passionate about Ireland, and Will was passionate about her – and his duty, leading to a bit of confusion on his part. Their love was comfortable but intense. There was no passionate build-up or chase, but I was alright with that seeing as they had been best friends. It was a story of love unrequited getting a second chance amidst a bloody war.

The romantic plot, I thought, was well done. It was, admittedly, very predictable – they got together about a quarter of the way through the book and then kept getting together afterwards. But I thought it was very sweet, and despite the lack of a ‘chase’, thoroughly enjoyed their romance. As far as the war plot, I thought McKee did an excellent job making the reader understand the horror and violence of the time, which was key. The only thing that could’ve been better is if Eliza had done a few more patriotic things at the end of the book. She started off with patriotic writings and meetings and all of a sudden everything she’d been doing seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.

The book could’ve used a better resolution, though I think that might come with the ending of the series (after the second and third books, which I’m now desperate to read). Overall it was a decent book and a great second-chances love story that was tender, sweet, and romantic.

Favorite quotes:

There was little to distract him in that barren space—a few chairs and some unsmiling portraits of past government officials. Their painted images still looked most disgruntled at being asked to control this wild, barbaric land. Or perhaps they had just encountered a stubborn ancestor of Eliza Blacknall’s.

“And now that I’m a rogue Irish duke, everything is safe and well?” (Duke of Adair)

“Are you trying to kill me?” (a wounded Denton)
“Yes,” she answered. “But first we dug out the bullet and stitched you back up again. Just for the merriment of it.” (Eliza)

“Sexy”ness rating: Sweetly tender and fiercely passionate

Overall Rating: B

Bottom Line: I loved this story because of the character development. Each character was unique and true to his or herself. The plot was intriguing and well-developed with good set-up for the next book, as long as you’re okay with violence in the plot (it is a war, after all). I loved the best-friends-now-lovers romantic plot. *Sighs* How sweet.

Pages: 326
Published:  February 2010
Genre: Historical (set in Ireland)

Friday, June 17

Friday Following Fun - #1

Hey everyone and welcome to my first Follow Friday post! I just discovered this Feature and Follow Friday host, parajunkee, last week, and wow is this cool. Every week, parajunkee features a book blog, with some information about the blogger and why they started the blog. Then, everyone who's part of the FF system follows that person. There's also a beautiful linky list below that with links to hundrends (literally) of other book blogs. What a wonderful way to get connected to others who share a passion for books and for blogging.


Since I think this is such a cool thing I'll be posting every Friday (or at least all those I remember) with the little blurb parajunkee has provided on the featured author and that week's linky list. So here it goes:

Our Feature - Rhiannon Paille

Once upon a time there was a pretty little girl, she was psychic but she didn't know it yet. Then she met a boy who died of leukemia and she knew. The rest is history.

When she was growing up she read a lot of books and she wrote a lot of stories. She used to eat books for breakfast, and lunch and dinner. She used to read in the fading light of dusk, squinting to see the words until they blurred into inky nothingness. And then she would dream about the boy that died. She imagined an entire life with him that included white roses, lilacs, blue houses and busy streets. She never thought she'd see him again.

And then one day her life turned into an urban fantasy. She could hear people's thoughts, and see the future, and feel people's emotions. She saw ghosts and demons and angels. She saw Ferrymen and she talked to Flames, and didn't know what any of it meant. They told her she was important, that one day she would save lives with her mind. She tried to make it go away because she thought she was crazy.

And then she moved into a blue house on a busy street and fell in love with a man she had dreamed about countless times. She had white roses and lilacs at her wedding. The pretty little girl awakened, she read minds, she fought demons, she saved lives, she helped people find their way in life.

Today she's known as Rhiannon Paille. She reads a lot, and writes a lot of stories. During the day she reads minds, heals people, and fights demons. During the nights she writes about the Ferrymen and the Flame, a boy who follows death and a girl who could destroy the world and their tragic love story. It might get published one day, but that day isn't today.

Her blog is mostly about books, writing, psychic reading, and awesome things happening in the publishing world. She's thought provoking and absurd, she's like a chinese buffet, she's not omnipotent but some people think she is, she's an over qualified over achiever and she thinks Ferrymen are sexy.
The linky list:

Weekly Question (answered by yours truly!): Genre Wars! What's your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite?

A: Well, I think it's pretty obvious that romance is my genre of choice... but currently I'm going through a huge historical phase. As far as favorite books I have a list provided here: Top Ten Favorite Books. Happy reading!

Book Blogger HopI have also discovered the Crazy For Books Blog Hop (WHOOT WHOOT), so here's their weekly Q and A:

Question: How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) pile?

Answer: You know, I do a pretty good job keeping my TBR pile to around 30 books. I go through them pretty fast, although there's always three or four that stay in the pile for a year... or two... if my tastes have changed.

See you next Friday with more Friday Following Fun!

Thursday, June 16

The Secret Desires of a Governess by Tiffany Clare

(love the cover, as a side note...)

Oh my. Where to start? This book was confusing and awkward with poor writing and terrible character development. I struggled to continue reading, even in the beginning. The awkward sentence structure and unusual word choices made the book difficult to read. Each time I began to become absorbed into the plot or romance some uncomfortable phrasing or word would jar me and pull me straight out of the book. The poor writing was also seen in the several inconsistencies that ANY editor worth his or her salt should’ve caught. For instance, on page 153 Clare writes:

      “He looked down at her as he opened her chamber door. Kicking it closed behind him…”.

Then, two pages later, when the door should STILL be closed, she writes:

      “With a deep sigh, he walked over to the door and shut it.”

Ahem?!?! He already shut the door. I was paying attention, being the astute, observant reader I am – and any author or editor should have noticed that obvious mistake. And there were other mistakes just as bad as that in this book. The same kind of stupid, stupid, STUPID, incredibly annoying mistake.

That alone could’ve killed it for me. But there was more, dear readers, than just the lack of knowledge of the English language and awkward, jarring sentences. The heroine is inconsistent – she’s all 'preachy' and moral one moment, claiming there more intimate attractions are ‘wrong’ and then the next moment proclaims she has no ‘maidenly reservations’ about getting undressed in front of him. Right, Miss Abigail Hallaway. Clare also makes our heroine’s first accident into a really big deal, and consequently the heroine is pretty concerned (rightfully) that someone is trying to kill her. But then Clare writes about how the heroine is confused that Elliot Lord Brendall (our hero) is so concerned about something so ‘insignificant’ as her injury. There were so many times I wanted to shake Abby, who is frankly annoying and almost TSTL, that I ended up just putting the book down. Our hero’s character was no better. He was boring, one-dimensional, with too many weird insecurities and strange thoughts for my taste. He also almost never talked to the heroine (about anything), for the first 61% of the book – which is all I made it through. I'm all for silent, gruff, and brooding (totally my type) but this was NOT a well done silent hero.

The plot was really no better than the characters. It’s confusing and hard to follow - a collection of small snippets of strange scenes that don’t stimulate the reader’s imagination or create a feeling of suspense. The ‘catch the would-be-killer’ plot was not intriguing or well-written. The whole book had a sadistic, paranoid feel to it that was infused in every character except Thomas, be they major, minor, living, or dead. It’s hard to sense anyone’s motivation for… well… anything. The characters just don’t have the depth necessary for the reader to connect. The romantic plot was terrible, not enticing, and just as confusing as the rest of the book. I almost stopped reading because, their first official time together, he says ‘I’m sorry’ before taking her. You know, if you were really sorry you wouldn’t be doing it. I understand this will probably work its way into the ‘my mother and wife and every other woman I’ve ever known or loved has gone crazy’ part of the plot, but it was so ridiculous. About two pages later the heroine throws a temper tantrum over discovering that the hero, while sharing her bed, has not entrusted her with every little embarrassing detail of his life and is now deeply hurt. TSTL. Really. Come on. I hate little, immature snits like that, which are unfortunately a very common device in romance.

Finally, let’s talk about creepy words that romance authors use to describe the male and female anatomy that get so much viewing in the genre. I’m sure we’d pretty much all agree that ‘mons’ is a really awkward word to use, right? However Clare takes it one step further – she doesn’t use mons, she uses ‘cunny’. CUNNY?? Like bunny? Great, now I’m thinking of a fluffy white thing with a bushy tail and fur. If that’s what your girl’s hoo-ha looks like, you need to get her to the doctor, stat. Or find her a better razor. And why on earth would you call the lady’s cum ‘dew’ or her clitoris a ‘little pearl’. NO! STOP! Please, stop using creepy and unnatural words to describe our va-jay-jays and the other various things that go on down there, and call them something attractive. Lord. Cunny.

 I really have nothing positive to say except that the little boy, Jacob, is abso-frickin-lutely adorable. I read the last hundred pages of this book just to get to see more of him. Best character of the book. By far.

A Quote:

“I’m the youngest of three.” She smiled at him, hoping he’d return the gesture. “My main objective as a child was to see how much I could get away with before my father reprimanded me.”

“Sexy”ness rating: Has sex. Not hot. Unless you like ‘cunnies’ with dew and a pearl.

Overall Rating: DNF

(completed 65% or to page 221 – I stopped when our heroine threw her first temper tantrum over the hero not telling her he couldn’t read or write. Gee, maybe that embarrasses the man a little – especially since you’re his son’s teacher and are exceptionally literate – and so he kept it from you? Why are you making this into some huge ‘I opened myself up to this hurt’ moment???)

Bottom Line: Poor use of the English language, creepy phrasing, and terrible character and plot development make this book a never-to-read. Ever.

Pages: 341
Published: 24 May 2011
Genre: Historical

Saturday, June 11

Mercy by Annabel Joseph (BDSM)

So this week I decided to review a book that could get me in trouble with feminists and non-kinky romance lovers. Mercy, by Annabel Joseph, is really one of the kinkiest BDSM books out there. Behold, the following list of the kinkiness of Mercy:

Kinks: explicit scenes of dominance and submission, discipline & training, bondage, group sex, oral sex, anal sex & double penetration, menage a trois, and both harsh and loving bdsm scenes

If you’re not a fan of even light, playful BDSM don’t keep reading. You won’t like this book, I guarantee it. For those of you uncertain about whether you like BDSM, have BDSM fantasies, or know you like BDSM continue on.

Mercy is the story of Lucy Merritt and her relationship with Matthew Norris. Lucy starts out the book defiant, and a bit afraid, of Matthew, who is a patron at her dance studio. He’s into BDSM and, over coffee, asks Lucy if she is too – and if she would consider being his partner. She agrees, intrigued and curious, and the relationship begins with the safe word ‘Mercy’ – a word meant to keep a submissive safe from their master. What follows is a journey involving her training and willing participation in the pleasure that comes with pain, and the sexual freedom that comes (no pun intended) with the use of one’s body for another’s pleasure.

Matthew makes Lucy his own, in body and mind, however in turn he becomes hers completely. She is his submissive, he her master, and neither could change it if they tried. I liked that Lucy did not become submissive in all areas of her life just because she was sexually submissive, and I liked that she kept dancing until the bitter end because it fit who she was. There were a few things Matthew did that made me squirm (in unhappiness rather than... well... the other squirming), upstanding feminist that I am, but for the most part the book was really well done.

Mercy was a good read because it showed that love and a normal life with kids can coexist with BDSM relationships. It was definitely an eye-opener, and just for that I’d recommend the book to anyone with an open mind. The book also showed society’s outright disapproval of BDSM relationships, and how Lucy is shunned by people for her sexual preferences. Shame on us for judging anyone for what turns them on – we all have a right to be sexy in our own way, and Annabel Joseph definitely points that out.

 “Sexy”ness rating: Intense.
Overall Rating for a BDSM kink: A- 

Bottom Line: If you don’t like BDSM then this is not a book for you. If you only like light BDSM this is not a book for you. If you’re unsure about BDSM I’d give it a go, and if you like really intense BDSM – here’s a book for you!

Pages: 225
Published: 2009
Genre: BDSM erotica

Monday, June 6

Summer Running...

So today I took my first run of the summer (a scary thing, I assure you) and found I wasn't nearly so bad as I thought. I did my standard 'starter' loop of 1.29 miles... in 11 minutes and 20 seconds which is around an 8:41 pace.

My goals for this summer are really rather varied. I'd like to get into shape for XC season this fall (which I may or may not be doing) which means distances of at least 3.2 miles are in order. However I should also like to get farther than that. So here are my goals.

By the end of the summer I would like to be able to:
  • Run at least 6 miles without stopping each week
  • Run a 5K in less than 21 minutes
  • Run a mile in less than 6 minutes, 20 seconds (just one!!!)
  • Take one or two REALLY long runs sometime. Like... ten miles or something outrageous
  • Run at least 5 times a week, no matter what.
Anybody thinking of taking the challenge with me and whipping their body into shape? I'm hoping to get a nice pair of abs to go with my new legs (and some sleek, toned arms could be an added bonus). Of course the added fitness benefits will be nice too.

... Right.

Sunday, June 5

Taken by the Prince by Christina Dodd

Book 9 in the Governess Brides Series

First, let me just say I have never wanted to cry for a little boy more than I wanted to cry for little Saber-Raul Lawrence. Even Dain in Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels didn’t evoke such sadness and pity in me. I wanted to sweep up the child and hold him in my arms and shelter him from his evil, cruel father and those terrible letters he read in that emotionless voice. I loved that Dodd could write so well as too evoke such powerful emotion in me in the first two chapters - I knew that would bode well for the rest of the book. She did not disappoint. What I also loved was that it did affect Saber-Raul, but not so much that he became forever embittered like so many of our dark, angsty heroes.

Saber, also known as Raul Lawrence, is the rightful heir to the Moricadian throne and he intends to leave his English home (where he’s resided for years under the cruel influence of his English father) and start a rebellion in his home country to reclaim his title. He meets our heroine, Victoria Cardiff, at the last ball he attends before leaving for Moricadia and shares a passionate kiss with her. The story really takes off, however, three years later. The rebellion is about to take place after much careful planning, when Victoria arrives (as a governess to English tourists) in Moricadia and, unwittingly, threatens to ruin everything Saber has worked so hard for these past three years. Women. Can't be trusted with any secret. *shakes head* Consequently he does what any sane person would do in this situation. He kidnaps her. Which is really amusing.

What follows is a fight between Victoria’s English sensibilities and her growing passion (and love) for the delicious, decadent Saber as she meets his people, participates in his customs (again, unwittingly) and learns his language. I loved Victoria because she was logical, sensible, and very, very strong (which leads to some excellent stand offs). I loved Saber because he was understanding, tender, compassionate, decisive and a fierce warrior. He loved his people with the same passion he loved Victoria, even if it was hard for him to admit at times. Altogether their love-and-seduction story was one of my favorites, especially because the plot was excellent, exciting, and somehow not overwhelming. I could not for the life of me figure out how Dodd balanced the romantic and strategic elements of her story so well – but the plot and romance were as perfectly matched as our hero and heroine. This was my first Dodd novel – and I am definitely looking forward to more. 

Favorite quotes:

“Lord Meredith was window-shopping in your store.” (Saber-Raul)
“I’m too smart for both of you, which is not a large enough accomplishment of which to boast.” (Victoria) 

 “Sexy”ness rating: Smoldering.
Overall Rating: A

Bottom Line: Excellent plot, strong heroine and smolderingly sexy hero, a prime read for any historical lover.

Pages: 400 pages (but for its length, this book flew)
Published: February 23, 2011
Genre: Historical

Saturday, June 4

Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell

This book was incredible. I’m going to keep this review short so that I don’t waste precious time you could be using to rush to the store and pick up a copy to read – immediately. Our heroine, Antonia Smith/Lady Antonia Hilliard, is strong, passionate, sweet, loyal, caring, and bold. I mean, she's really got guts to match her sarcastic, flippiant tongue and I loved it. Reminiscent of everyone’s (or at least my) favorite Lord of Scoundrels she even points a pistol at our hero (and hits him with a large metal object). Speaking of our very compelling, atrociously rakish hero, Lord Nicholas Challoner - the Marquess of Ranelaw, who is in desperate need of reform and lovin' – is a darkly conflicted, deeply emotional, wonderfully sensual, sinfully sexy hero who I fell in love with before the first forty pages. The hero and heroine in Campbell’s novel are simply stunning - dazzling - they will leave you breathless and heady, waiting in pure, unadulterated anticipation for their next move or encounter.

As far as the rest of the book, Campbell writes beautifully. It was a pleasure to read a work by such an eloquent writer – of course, I knew I was in for an excellent read when the first sentence compared the ton ball Nicholas is attending to a whirling snowstorm. The flowing language added to the wonderful reading experience. As far as momentum, when I started this book everything appeared to be moving too fast. I thought to myself, “she’s going to lose steam. The book’s going to be a boring flop at the end. Damn”. I was wrong. Completely and utterly. The book, if anything, picked up speed and suspense as it wore on. The characters did not lose my interest, rather steadily gained it with their complexity, charm, and wit. There was nothing boring or unemotional anywhere in this book; it was choke-full and teeming with passion and love of all kinds and Campbell pushes us all the way through to the very happy ending.

The plot was focused almost solely on the passionate love developing between our characters. It was a gorgeous journey of love and lust, emotion and heat. Campbell sweeps us all off our feet on a daring, bold, romantic journey through both Nicholas and Antonia’s point of view. Overall, I felt their characters and the romantic plot were extremely well developed. I don’t want to tell you too much about the delightful chase and challenge of this book because I want you to go out and read it! Seriously. Right now.

Favorite quotes:

“And surely you don’t rely on some sparrow of a spinster to circumvent me. I eat chaperones for breakfast.” He ate courtesans and widows and other men’s wives for lunch and dinner, with much more pleasurable result.

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. I doubt anyone would credit it anyway. The rakish Lord Ranelaw in a lady’s bedroom for an entire hour without undoing a single button? Incredible.”

“Poor things were probably struck dumb by the size of your conceit.” (Antonia)
“By the size of something at any rate.” (Nicholas)

 “Sexy”ness rating: … *fans self vigorously* Wow. Nicholas has really learned the tools of the rakish trade

Overall Rating: A+

Bottom Line: This book has a beautiful, compelling hero, a strong, willful heroine, explosive passion, glittering balls, and a wonderful happy ever after. What else could you wish for – besides Nicholas all to yourself?

Pages: 400
Published: April 6, 2011
Genre: Historical