Sunday, July 31

Warrior's Rise by L.J. DeLeon - POSTED

Hey Everyone! This is a review I did for Siren's Song - so they got first dibs on the review! This is a post to remind you that the review is finally here on my website, and now it's up here: Warrior's Rise by L.J. DeLeon

Here's a TEASER of the review:

Book 1 in the Warriors For Light series


Throughout the course of this book I was annoyed, confused, stunned, offended, and I floated. Throughout the course of this review, you will figure out why. I even gave this review a special format so you could skip to the section you wanted to read most! Aren’t I kind? A real quick summary of the book: Deva Morgan was a simple bartender until Padraig comes into her bar, slaughters the demons hunting her, and tells her he’s her protector. She learns she is the Caidh Arm, sent by the Goddess and given lots of powers in order to save Earth from the Demon Lord in the upcoming war. Deva then goes on to fight many battles as she tries to get organized and learn how to control her powers, so she can be an effective leader.

Read on here: Warrior's Rise by L.J. DeLeon
or my Siren's Song review (shorter): Siren's Song: Warrior's Rise by L. J. DeLeon

Friday, July 29

Slave by Sherri Hayes

Book 1 in the Finding Anna series
 

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4496779.Sherri_Hayes

This book is, by far, my favorite BDSM story ever. Every page was emotional, filled with caring and compassion, uncertainty and thoughtfulness, fear and love. It was incredibly powerful, extraordinarily moving, touching and deep. So many times you go into a book expecting one thing and getting another – getting something more than you ever counted on or expected. I was looking for a good read when I pressed the ‘buy’ button on my Kindle. What I got transcended the realm of good books and transported me to the world of soul-searching, thought-provoking reading.

A quick recap of the plot before I once again decide to rave about the beauty of this book. Stephan is CEO of a non-for-profit, a caring friend, and a Dom – without a sub. Daren, a friend from college, asks to meet him for lunch one day to discuss ‘something serious’. A fellow Dom, Daren asks Stephan to help a girl in trouble - by buying her. The girl, Brianna, is a slave but Daren doesn’t believe she serves Ian (her current Master) willingly. Stephan is conflicted, but his desire to help a girl in trouble wins out and he goes and buys her immediately (*shudders* what a scary scene). Stephan has major issues buying a person, but knows there’s no other way to get her out of Ian’s clutches. He hopes, when he takes her away from Ian, things will be easier. However nothing is easy with Brianna. She hardly speaks and is emotionally damaged beyond belief. The question is – can this Dom help her regain any sense of self, and heal her tortured, battered mentality? He can, and will, try.

What I loved so much about this book was how it showed the true role of a Dom. Society focuses on the brutality of BDSM relationships, and the violence. They use that to label the subs as abused, insecure individuals with Stockholm syndrome or the like, and the Doms as cold-hearted, pleasure-seeking, power-hungry abusers. Anyone who reads this book and truly takes its messages to heart can clearly see how wrong that assessment is. Everything Stephan does, he does thinking of Brianna and how it will affect her - how he can help her. This book so clearly revealed the love, the caring, the tenderness involved in a healthy BDSM relationship. Stephan abandoned his own needs, wants, and desires throughout the entirety of the book, acting solely on what Brianna needed to heal. It’s very clear he doesn’t abuse her, and as her Dom is looking for her to heal, not for his own pleasure. That is what it means to be a Dom, and Hayes revealed that beautifully through Stephan’s patient consideration and thoughtfulness.

This book is written in first person, alternating between Brianna and Stephan’s POVs. Though I am not a fan of first person, it really worked for me in this book. I liked being privy to the thoughts of both so I could get a full, complete picture of the emotions and motivations of each character. It also gave further evidence to Stephan’s caring and to Brianna’s need for his kindness. Hayes writes a captivating, compelling tale as I watched both Stephan and Brianna struggle. A testament to Stephan’s love of Brianna is that he never gave up on her or lost his temper, even though I imagine it would’ve been very difficult not to. He ignored his own frustration in favor of helping heal her brokenness, and undergoes pain of his own for her as he watches her fear and mistrust. Used to trained subs that fully trust him, I’m sure dealing with Brianna was very hard on him and it made my heart ache that he worked so hard to make her happy. Brianna’s point of view was equally captivating, as we watched her go through nightmares, phobias, embarrassment, terror, confusion, apathy, hopelessness and hope. She was so sweet, so fragile and delicate, and so perfectly sad. It was heart-wrenching to read about her, all she went through, and all she keeps going through – the nightmares she has to relive. It made it all the more splendid to see how infinitely careful Stephan was with her.

 Hayes fully introduces the reader to the softer, kinder, sweeter side ofa BDSM relationship that society often disregards or refuses to see. I shall conclude my review by saying that I have never waited in greater anticipation for the next book of a series to come out (except perhaps Harry Potter?)  and I pray Hayes will write quickly.

Also, please read this blog posting, written by Ms. Hayes. It's a beautiful, yet fairly concise, explanation of how being bound can be freeing: Freedom

“Sexy”ness rating: Low (I know, it’s a BDSM but it’s low. They never went beyond kissing)

Overall Rating: A to A+

Bottom Line: This book was eye-opening, showing the beauty and love of a BDSM relationship and the gentle, thoughtful nature of a true Dom as he takes care of his sub.

Pages: 275
Published: July 28, 2011
Genre: BDSM ROMANCE (not erotica really)

Thursday, July 28

Sold to the Highest Bidder by Donna Alward



www.donnaalward.com

This book was great for so many reasons, the first of which is Alward’s talent for writing. Her emotion, her conflict, her descriptions were all concise, yet beautiful and dramatic. There was one page that really took my breath away, written from the hero’s perspective, as he and Ella made love. It wasn’t about the sex, really. I mean, he was still present in the sexual moment, but it was about how the sex made him feel. And it wasn’t just ‘she made him feel great’ or some BS like that, it was gorgeous, beautiful, poignant writing that showed how he craved her and needed her and was only at his best with her. She was his coming home, his dream, and his hope, and it was so clear on that page that it resonated within me for the rest of the story. It was unbelievable how Alward touched me with those words, how she got through the hero’s years of utter devastation without the heroine, his love for her, his anger, his need… I can’t even describe it for you. I would recommend this book on that page of writing alone. Luckily for you, there’s more than one page of goodness.

Devin McQuade and his wife, Ella Turner, have been separated for over a decade. They married young, a couple in a one-horse backward town where Ella felt the growing panic of being stuck in place and never realizing her dreams. Fearful of a stunted future, she leaves for college and never comes back. Several times over the years she sent divorce papers via courier but Dev always returns them unsigned. Now, Ella is a reporter assigned to return to the small town she grew up in and married Devin to cover a charity event. She brings the divorce papers with her – and isn’t leaving without his signature this time. It’s time for her to move on with her life, which can’t happen if she has a paper husband peering over her shoulder. As she begins to cover the charity event – a male ‘auction’ to help a local woman with cancer pay her bills – she sees her husband up on the block. Desperate to get her papers signed, knowing that can’t happen if he’s away for the next 48 hours with someone else, she bids for him and wins.

At the beginning of the story, both Devin and Ella are understandably angry, bitter, and scared. The majority of this book they spent talking, arguing, and I enjoyed reading about them talk to one another - trying to reach the other across the great divide of separation. Their fears broke them apart, and I loved reading about those fears because they made Devin and Ella so real, indisputably one of the realist couples I’ve ever read about. Each has a story of pain, loneliness and confusion, each blames the other – and each loves the other, but is afraid to let go of the fears and go with the flow. There's so much fear for them to overcome - fear of love, fear of failing, fear of losing their dreams, and fear of losing each other again, for another decade. They were both so practical in their fears, and so human. They each made mistakes and blamed the other, and when they talked it out they realized they shared the blame. It was such a sad story at times, to watch them struggle with one another and with their own phobias, and it made it all the more beautiful in the end when they got together.

The emotions were really so vivid in this story. The struggles were almost insurmountable, as they fought each other and themselves, each thinking they were right and each being wrong. I loved Dev especially, with all he went through. His messages about hope and strength were inspiring. Ella was also inspiring. I found I had trouble liking her at first (after all, she left Devin!) but I ended up liking her at the end because she was so real to me. She left him because she was scared, uncertain, and young and instead of being angry with her I sympathized with her and how she fought her fears so valiantly, even when it made her unhappy. She warred constantly between what the world would expect her to need to be happy and what she truly needed to be happy - Dev. Overall, this story was an incredible second-chance journey and I was so glad to be a part of it as these two beautiful, wonderful people overcame their fears to be together at long last.

Favorite quotes:

“I appreciate the coffee, but you don’t have to be nice to me.” (Ella)
“Is there some reason I shouldn’t be?” (Dev)
There was an edge to his voice she hadn’t ever heard before. She could easily list a dozen reasons and proceeded to name the top contenders. “Because I left you within two months of our marriage and I’m here for a divorce?”

A tiny drop of the ruby-red liquid stained the top of her lip. Before she could take a breath, he moved in, dipped his head and drew it away from her mouth with his tongue. She stepped back like she was on fire.
“What are you doing?” (Ella)
“You had some on your lip.” (Dev)
“Then give me a napkin!”

*SPOILER QUOTE*:“So you quit.” (Dev)
“I did.” (Ella)
His smile spread slowly. “That’s fantastic.”
The smile was contagious and she found herself answering with one of her own. “Sure. It’s always great to find oneself pregnant and unemployed.” *END OF SPOILER QUOTE*

“Sexy”ness rating: Really, really hot. And so beautifully written too

Overall Rating: A-

Bottom Line: This is a great book for people who love second chances, couples overcoming their mutual fears, and sweet, sinful heroes with hearts of gold.

Pages: 216
Published: February 1, 2010
Genre: Contemporary

Tuesday, July 26

Decadent Dreams by Ty Langston


Book 1 in a possible series about Foreign Affairs?


author's blog: http://shellmusings.blogspot.com

So this review is of an ARC provided, generously, by Langston for my review. This erotica, as most are, features a lot of sex. Just warning ya’ll, alright? With erotica there is a very delicate balance to be obtained. One can focus solely on the sex, which is fine. One can tone down on the sex and focus a bit more on the real life components, making it more like a really smutty romance. Unfortunately, I felt that Langston was trying to go for the real life components, and failed. Here’s a quick summary: Beth Mason and Yuri (no last name) met online at a multicultural dating site called ‘Foreign Affairs’. After e-chating and messaging for six months, Beth decides it’s time to take the next step – she invites Yuri (who lives in Belarus) to Stamford, NY for a visit. Yuri agrees, arrives, and the two enjoy a … ah… very good time. Right from the beginning. They continue to build their relationship, mostly through sex, until Yuri has to go home.

First – even in erotica (which is not to imply that erotica is less valuable or well written than romance - please do not flay me alive) - there are character standards to uphold. Langston’s characters are not at all who they say they are - which made what she was telling and what she was showing different. Thus the characters act inconsistently throughout the book. Take, for example, Beth Mason, our female protagonist. She claims to be always worried about her business, yet she doesn’t even check in or call once while she’s taking her vacation – even though she talks to friends and goes clubbing. My mother owns a small business, and even when we’re on vacation she checks in via phone every day and checks emails. Real people can’t let their businesses fall by the wayside for any reason, and that aspect of reality was missing from Beth’s personality. Also, Beth claims to be the cautious sort who doesn’t fall into bed with anyone upon first meeting them. While I understand that she’s known Yuri for months (over e-chats and stuff) the first meeting is still a first, and one of the first things they do is get him naked. Literally, they've said like 5 sentences to one another and then he's naked. It’s rushed, forced, and not consistent with what she claims is her character. I also wish we’d seen more of Yuri’s perspective. I lacked a true voice for him, even after finishing the book.

Second – Langston tries to infuse real world stuff into this erotica with discussions of jobs, marriage, a long-term relationship, etc. All of that reeks of a HEA which is more romance-y than erotica-y. That’s all well and good as well, as long as there is a relationship and discernible love under all the sex and lust - which there was not in this story. This left me concerned that this couple wasn’t going to make it (in life) after they, you know, finished 'making it'. Compatibility in bed does NOT equal compatibility in life. In most erotica, they don’t include plans for marriage for that reason – we don’t want to have to worry about the couple’s future compatibility and thus can focus solely on the sex and the here and now. Langston tries to write in a romantic HEA and future, and frankly that just didn’t work. She would’ve needed to write a lot more talking, compassion, and love into her story if that was going to work out. Other problems that should be mentioned include telling rather than showing and awkward phrasing which occasionally made me stumble as I was reading. The secondary characters were rather useless, I thought, as they didn't add much value and took away valuable time our protagonists could've been using to further their relationship. I didn't particularly like the external conflicts.

Now, who wants some positives? This erotica was refreshingly modern – a true contemporary. Langston uses terminology and technology that is totally ‘in’ right now. She talks about romance in life this very minute. Internet dating, the freedom of two mutual, consenting adults in a hotel room doing whatever they want… it was all very real and current which I found I really liked. I also liked that Yuri was unemployed (for the moment) and Beth is a competent businesswoman who owns her own bakery. That role reversal (and the idea that a woman can be the breadwinner in a relationship without the man getting all sulky and pouty) was also very modern. I liked that Beth got to pay for things and tip the room service. I thought it was a remarkable, subtle way for Langston to show women’s new and ever-growing independence in society and how men are becoming okay with that. Women and men in Langston’s erotica are closer to being equals than most any book I’ve read. Yuri isn’t a slacker, either, or a leech so I felt confident Beth wasn’t being taken advantage of. Finally, this book was a very fast-paced read, so it’s good if you’re on a short plane ride or need something to fill an hour or two.

Favorite quotes:

Beth loved his hardened cock against her thigh. She pulled away from him for a minute to marvel at what she only had seen glimpses of during their late night echats. It’s everything that she had thought it would be and more. (my note: This one just made me laugh. Hysterically. She sounds like she’s talking about a new toy. I suppose she is, in a way.)

“How about that ‘other’ thing you and I discussed?” Kelly wondered.
Beth scrunched her eyebrows, “Other thing? What other thing?”
“The bulge.” Kelly smirked. “Inquiring minds want to know.”

“Beth, the two of you email and chat all the time. If you had waited any longer, your vay jay jay would have started to grow cobwebs.” (Kelly)

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot – with kink included (anal)

Overall Rating: D

Bottom Line: This book is good, but not fantastic. I would recommend it if you’re looking for something fresh, unique, and current because it fits all three of those. Unfortunately, the poor writing and character development really ruined this book’s chances of getting more than a C, and other issues pushed this book down to a D.

Pages: 119
Published: July 26, 2011
Genre: Erotica

A shorter version of this review is posted on Siren's Song Reviews here:  Decadent Dreams by Ty Langston

Warrior's Rise by L.J. DeLeon

Book 1 in the Warriors For Light series


Throughout the course of this book I was annoyed, confused, stunned, offended, and I floated. Throughout the course of this review, you will figure out why. I even gave this review a special format so you could skip to the section you wanted to read most! Aren’t I kind? A real quick summary of the book: Deva Morgan was a simple bartender until Padraig comes into her bar, slaughters the demons hunting her, and tells her he’s her protector. She learns she is the Caidh Arm, sent by the Goddess and given lots of powers in order to save Earth from the Demon Lord in the upcoming war. Deva then goes on to fight many battles as she tries to get organized and learn how to control her powers, so she can be an effective leader.

The annoying:
I don’t know if it was just my copy, but there were a lot of errorscontent-wise and grammatical – in this book. Those always hamper my reading, and it really annoys me. The author also does more telling than showing. There several instances where DeLeon would tell me something I’d already gleaned from the conversation and I would just stare at my computer screen thinking, No shit. DeLeon also contradicts herself several times. The story was very drawn out. I would have been much happier if this book had been condensed and scenes/conversations hadn’t been repeated over and over without any resolution. Which was annoying. Hence why it’s under ‘the annoying’ subtitle.

The confusing:
There were so many small characters, so many different species, so many plots that I had a really hard time following what was occurring, to whom, by what. So many characters came into the plot only to be inconsequential or die that DeLeon confused me with all the extra names. There were also tons of different names for all the different demons and other non-human creatures. I had a hard time determining what Deva and Padraig were facing and what abilities the creatures had because each creature had different abilities, but I saw it only once or twice. Finally, there were so many plots to follow. DeLeon lets some of the mini-conflicts float about unresolved from the beginning of the book to the end which really didn’t work for me. I like my mini-conflicts to either build upon each other in an obvious fashion that leads up to the main conflict or be immediately resolved. Not so in Warrior’s Rise.

The stunning:
There were some really decent parts to this book. First, the humor. I had seven highlights for this book, which is more than most books get. There were many humorous lines that you just stumbled upon, blinked once or twice, and then had to burst out laughing. I liked that. Humor Stun Guns are approved weapons on my blog, and DeLeon wielded hers with finesse. Also, DeLeon uses her extensive military background to write some great action scenes in which I could almost, almost lose myself in the story again. I appreciated that her research and knowledge of the subject matter significantly improved my reading experience.

The offending:
Authors that stereotype the general population of Earth assume I’m too stupid to notice they’re taking it easy. The reality is, if Earth were informed tomorrow that half our neighbors were werewolves, there would not be mass lynching, mob, and murder activities occurring. Most of the world is civilized and sane, and would not react in such a fashion. That was what offended me the most about this book. The characters didn’t act true to themselves or their human nature - they acted in a way that made writing easier for DeLeon. They acted to further the plot – to push it in the direction DeLeon wanted it to go. It was all very cliché. Also, I'm pretty sure our main characters – Deva and Padraig – have multiple personality disorder. They act like completely different people on several occasions in this book, and there was no consistency to their character (other than Deva’s relationship with the goddess – that was pretty solid). Does the author think I’m too stupid to notice that the character is unpredictable in the worst way possible, and has no substance?

The floating:
The worst part about this book was that I was never grounded in it. The author has difficulty establishing time and place clearly, so we’re constantly floating around in this vast space of randomness. I really had a hard time understanding the team’s movements. It seemed they were in random places for random amounts of time for really random reasons. I had a really hard time with that – the author’s inability to ground me in her story with a realistic, clear time/place plan. Of course, with the rest of the plot being so confusing, I’m not surprised.

Oh. Right. You want to know about the romance. Well. Here it is:
There is no building of tension. Honestly, I don’t recall one good kissing/steamy scene before Padraig and Deva… mate. It’s like romance is put on the back burner until, BAM, they have sex and then it’s back to the back burner for the most part. Like, woah. As far as their marriage, we discover their getting married about three days before they do. No prior warning. Deva’s best friend/older brother figure, Steve, mentions it once to Padraig before Deva and Padraig announce to everyone they’re getting married. Totally hit me over the head. There was never any mention of it, neither Deva nor Padraig entertained thoughts of marriage. It was all this war, war, war stuff and then BAM marriage. Kinda like the sex. Here’s the basic romantic plot line: War war war SEX war war war MARRIAGE war war… end.

Favorite quotes:

This siren would be a nightmare to train, much less protect. Protect? He was the one who needed protection. (Padraig)

The Fomorii were once considered sea gods.” Padraig nodded. “During the Great War against the Dark Lord, we D’ Danaan sealed them beneath the deepest part of the sea.”
“Must not have done a very good job.” Deva stared at him. “They got loose.”

“To the WAR room.” Moira giggled. “It stands for ‘Wedding Apparel Readiness.’ I thought of that.”

“Sexy”ness rating: No tension. Sex included.

Overall Rating: F

Bottom Line: This book had so much potential, but it’s really not worth your time. With so many great Fantasy books out there, this one simply isn’t worth it. From a really rocky beginning, the book plummeted.

Pages: 335
Published: March 20, 2011
Genre: Fantasy

Monday, July 25

Lady of Scandal by Tina Gabrielle


Book 1 in the Scandal series

www.tinagabrielle.com

This book was a disappointment – especially because the first forty pages or so were decent, and I thought I was at least on the track to a C or C+ book. Unfortunately, the book went downhill instead of up. Blake Mallorey, our hero, comes back to England to claim his title (the Earl of Ravenspear) and gain retribution against Charles Ashton – the man he holds responsible for his father’s suicide, and mother + sister’s deaths as well as his own time in the workhouse. His plans include wrecking Ashton financially, by buying up all his loans and calling them in, and socially, by making Ashton’s daughter, Victoria, his mistress. Blake calls on Victoria’s father and explains he will give Ashton a year to raise the money to pay the debts (thus saving him from the poorhouse) if, and only if, Victoria becomes his mistress. Ashton reluctantly agrees much to Victoria's horror. And thus the journey begins.

I had several problems with this book, the first being that I didn’t see into the mind of Blake nearly often enough. In such a delicate situation where Victoria has gone with him unwillingly (he never forces her into bed, FYI) it’s important to see inside his mind to understand that he isn’t a villain, which I had a hard time seeing. I often felt like this was Victoria's fight to escape the clutches of an evil kidnapper, instead of a romance Blake felt terribly over-bearing, and without glimpses at his emotions (just at his ever-present lust) I couldn’t feel the love growing on his side at all. I also hated that he never felt bad about the situation he put Victoria in. He planned on ruining her future – making it impossible for her to marry and have a happy ever after of her own, condemning her to a life of loneliness. That lack of compassion and empathy, and his self-centered short-sightedness, really bothered me throughout the story. He was solely focused on his own revenge and didn’t care what innocents he hurt if hurting them aided his cause. That attitude was NOT okay, and I found myself disliking Blake immensely.

Victoria was mostly a solid, good character until the middle of the book – when she suddenly decides (and it is really sudden) that she’s in love with him and will get in bed with him after all instead of continuing to resist him. I didn’t understand her or Blake’s thoughts or motivations, and I especially didn’t feel their feelings for one another. There was NO love. Literally, zero. Zip. Nada. That was due, in part, to the fact that Gabrielle told most of the story instead of showing which was also infuriating. There were also plenty of character inconsistencies and rapid attitude changes (Victoria’s attitude about sex, Blake’s attitude about Victoria’s Father, Victoria’s brother’s attitude about Blake, etc) that annoyed me. I always feel like the author thinks I’m stupid when he/she writes characters that don’t act true to themselves and behave only to further the plot. Do you think I don’t care? Do you think I’m too stupid to notice? Arg!

There was also the problem of the surfacing of the dreaded… ‘mons’. *cringes* Yes, ladies, it appears. Gabrielle also makes use of the (is it even a word?) word “Yesss” during pleasure/sensual scenes, which frankly just made me laugh. What else? There were several over-reactions and under-reactions, which are part of the character inconsistencies mentioned above and were confusing to boot. Also one of the characters is called both Mrs. and Lady Taddlesworth. Granted, there are about 150 pages between the use of the two different names. But in historicals, where titles are everything, it irked me that such an easily fixable mistake was made. I mean, here I am picturing this well-bred, obnoxious, snobby lady of the ton and you’ve completely switched her character by calling her a Mrs. instead of a Lady. Which is it? Proper editing please! Overall, this book wasn’t good. Really, it was depressing. So much potential… wasted.

Favorite quote:

Force Blake Mallorey? Could you have gien me a more difficult task?” (Victoria)

“Sexy”ness rating: There are ‘mons’ and “Yesss”s included. Nuff said.

Overall Rating: D-

Bottom Line: Do not pick this book up. It starts out so good and then fails miserably. I hate false expectations.

Pages: 345
Published: September 1, 2009
Genre: Historical

Sunday, July 24

Heart of Honor by Kat Martin

Book 1 in the Heart Trilogy
 


Lief Draugr is a Viking. After leaving his home island in search of new and glorious places to explore, his ship breaks and he is left stranded, half-dead. The shepherd who nurses him to health sells the large, blond, ‘wild man’ to a traveling circus, where Lief is enslaved for nearly a year (the scenes Martin writes of his feelings and thoughts while he is in captivity are really heartbreaking – I felt like crying). Krista Hart is the publisher of a ladies’ gazette in London, Heart to Heart, which publishes very unpopular articles on things such as social reform. When visiting the circus, she discovers Lief in chains and demands his release. After that, the pair, along with Krista’s father, work to teach Lief how to be a gentleman while Krista faces threats on her life due to her newspaper’s outspoken views. At one point, Lief leaves with Krista's father for their country estate to work on his English and manners. When he comes back, the romance really begins.

What did I love about this book? Pretty much everything. So we’re going to start with the things I didn’t like, and get them out of the way so I can rave about how much I did like this book! First, the book was a little too long – like, 30 to 40 pages. It dragged a little at the end, and the length made me lose some of the anticipatory feel I should’ve had. Second, I disliked how long it took Lief to realize that he should stay in England for good. My HEA was far too delayed for my liking. Third, some events in the book were a little implausible – however not so implausible it wrecked my read. I’ve heard a lot of people say how annoyed they were that Lief learned English so quickly, but honestly it doesn’t surprise me (much, at least). Earlier this year, I went to Spain with two years of high-school Spanish backing me - nothing else. By the time I left my host family’s house three days later for France, I was talking rapidly and thinking more in Spanish than English. The human mind adapts amazingly well when no one around you speaks your language and everyone else speaks another one. Also, if Lief is as determined as he sounded, he would've spent every waking moment learning English and would've been far more successful than most readers seem to think he would be. I didn't find it annoyingly unbelievable at all.

Onto what I loved. I loved how funny this book was. Honestly, the first half of the book had me laughing at least fifteen times. I was having hysterics over Lief’s boldness. I also loved how beautifully Martin wrote Lief’s scenes of captivity – and later Krista’s ‘captivity’ as Lief drags her away to his island (it’s not as bad as it sounds, ladies. You’ll still love him). In the case of Lief’s captivity, every time I read about him in those early chapters my heart broke. Again and again. It was that powerful, and that sealed the book for me. I also loved how well I connected with Krista and Lief’s characters. I could feel and understand their motivation, their drive. I loved how Martin kept me with them every step of the way. I could feel their pain, their fear, their anguish. I was thoroughly involved in this story - completely invested in every scene and every move made by each character.

I also loved the unique premise of this book. In most Historicals, the male saves the female. However, in this case, Krista comes to Lief’s rescue before he comes to hers. It made them seem more like equals. I, for the most part, really enjoyed the plot. It was exciting, intriguing, and very distinctive. I have read books where you ‘turn the beast into a gentleman’ (The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen, anyone?) but none as well done as this one. Every time a doubt rose in my mind about something, Martin put my mind at ease, which is an incredible talent. She didn’t leave a single loop hole. I felt the pace was good throughout most of the book as well.

I, unlike others, liked that Lief didn’t remain chaste upon his freedom from his cage. Back where he came from, his old island, he was very used to having women all around him (the quintessential rake, but in a more barbaric and less refined fashion). It wasn’t part of his culture for him to be monogamous especially before even entering into a romantic relationship with Krista, and I liked that he was honest with her about his escapade with a maid while he was at her father’s estate learning to be an English gentleman. I liked that she didn’t make a big deal about it because, again, they weren’t in a relationship of any kind. I think that was my favorite thing, how true Lief was to his barbaric, Viking culture in the beginning. I really enjoyed watching him transform throughout the book, still retaining part of his wildness. It gave us some really great protective warrior scenes too – that fencing scene was delectable. Or maybe I just like the image of men waving around their swords…

Favorite quotes:

“I hope you are pleased with what you see, lady. You can see how much you please me.” (Lief)

The moment he set the plate on the table, he picked up his knife, stuck it into a hunk of meat and shoved the meat into his mouth.
Krista’s eyes widened as he grinned in pleasure and wiped away a trickle of grease with the back of his hand.
“This is very good,” he said.

A corner of Lief’s mouth faintly curved. “If you wish these new clothes to fit, lady, you will not stare at that particular place.”

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot, hot, hot!

Overall Rating: A

Bottom Line: This book is funny, heart-wrenching, sexy and charming – it’s an all-in-one package deal! Pick this up on your next trip to the bookstore and enjoy!

Pages: 416
Published: January 1, 2007
Genre: Historical

Saturday, July 23

Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter

Book 2 in The Rarest Blooms series


www.madelinehunter.com

This book had a very alpha male that came close to being too alpha for my tastes. With books where the hero is pretty much forcing the heroine to bend to his will and forsake her independent streak, the author must walk a very, very fine line between creating an arrogant, over-bearing, soul-sucking ass or creating an arrogant ass that grows to love the heroine, and thus compromises occasionally. Throughout this book, Hawkeswell (our hero) teeters on the edge until, at the very last second, Hunter pulls him back from the Abyss of Asses with a tender, heart-wrenching, absolutely poignant move that I loved. It was a delicious save – but a very close call nonetheless. 

The Earl of Hawkeswell, Grayson Bridlington, is broke. To get himself out of debt he agrees to marry the ward of some social-climbing idiots, Verity Thompson. Verity, a seemingly meek and timid bride, takes her wedding vows – and before the day is over drowns. But her body is never found, and thus Hawkeswell cannot access Verity’s fortunes nor marry another rich woman. For years he’s waited in limbo, watching his estate crumble around him. Then, on a trip with his friend Summerhays, he meets Lizzy – a woman who looks remarkably like his ‘dead’ bride. It takes mere seconds for Lizzy’s true identity to be revealed – and Hawkeswell makes it clear that his bride will not escape him again. However Verity is no longer the scared, obedient girl she used to be and is now accustomed to her independence – and she wants an annulment, no matter the cost. Hawkeswell sets out to seduce her and keep her by his side while Verity fights desperately to remember why she never wanted to be his wife in the first place.

The plot was about seduction, and the seduction was delicious - the sexual tension smoldering. It never let up and kept the book going at a good pace. But, unfortunately, under all that sex, I had a hard time feeling the love – from either Verity or Hawkeswell. Verity is definitely attracted to Hawkeswell, and vice versa, but behind the attraction I couldn’t find any love. I didn’t feel like they hated one another, just that they were not teeming with love and affection. But… if one looked closely enough, it was there. It was subtle, but Verity stops running and Hawkeswell turns from over-bearing and arrogant to protective and occasionally sweet. I would’ve liked the love to be more pronounced, as it was towards the end, throughout the story. But, looking back, I was satisfied. I also wished that Hawkeswell compromised more with Verity’s wishes. To me, it felt like ALL the changes were made by Verity. That was annoying.

Hawkeswell becomes more likeable throughout the book. There were times when I deeply disliked him for taking away Verity’s independence – but in context of an actual historical era, his actions were not unexpected or ‘evil’. It was just my feminist, contemporary point of view that made me dislike him so intensely at moments. However his actions at the end resolved all my issues with him. To me it showed that he realized Verity’s emotions and actions were not completely under his control, and thus he was recognizing her as a free-thinking, independent (in nature at least) woman instead of simply his wife. What’s more, it also indicated that he cared about Verity’s feelings. While their relationship was definitely rocky, Hawkeswell and Verity have a loving relationship at the end and it was a joy to watch the chase.

Favorite quotes:

“And you, Lord Hawkeswell? As long as we are on the topic - What has been the state of your virtue during my absence?” (Verity)

“I am not in a bad humor because of perceived insult. I am in a bad humor because I am wet.” (Hawkeswell)

“My answer was an effort to be polite. Actually, I am trying not to mind too much that you just implied that you’d rather see my head cut off than be married to me.” (Hawkeswell)

“Sexy”ness rating: Lots of hot seduction, mixed with a little provocative fun

Overall Rating: B

Bottom Line: There’s a lot to be said for this book’s historical accuracy in regards to Hawkeswell’s attitude, and his overpowering stubbornness with Verity. While Hawkeswell and his arrogance anger my feminist nature a bit, it seemed very realistic in regards to the time. I also liked that he was marrying her for money, but came to love her in the end. Good can come from such matches. Yay! A good, though occasionally worrisome, read.

Pages: 328
Published: February 23, 2010
Genre: Historical

Friday, July 22

Farewell Borders...

So I thought I'd post a farwell to one of my favorite bookstores. I believe Borders was where I picked up my first romance novel. Borders was where I picked up all my books for school, and review books for my AP classes. I used to go to Borders and blow 200 dollars on YA novels every three months (before I got my Kindle). It's sad to lose a place that has meant so much to you over the years, and I'm sad to see Borders go. Yesterday, my best friend and I went to Borders and 'stocked up' in tribute to their leaving. The worst of it, of course, is knowing that 11,000 employees are being let go. Some of them were clearly sad, others were making the best of it. But 11,000 book lovers are now going to be out of work. It's a disparaging thought.

This being said, I thought I'd include some interesting articles and links about Borders and their closing. The first is an opinion article from CNN: The lesson of Borders: Bookstores need to guide us that talks about the need for stores to not simply sell books, but become active social and cultural part of the community. He also talks about the need not to sell more books, but to play 'matchmaker'. I thought it was a fascinating article.

I also wanted to copy in this email I received from Borders (and everyone else who has long been on their spam list) called 'A Fond Farwell':
So ado, Borders, my friend and trusted pal! I'm sad to see you go. I hope this doesn't become a trend for bookstores everywhere. I think that CNN article has some really good ideas about how bookstores can improve to stay in business. I know I love shopping for physical books because I love having the cover and being able to peruse my bookshelf - which is way different than on my Kindle. I can only hope that books never completely disappear in favor of e-books. *crosses fingers*

Thursday, July 21

Booking Through Thursdays: Repeat (+ Virus)

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly bookish meme! This week's questions are:
1. What’s the first book that you ever read more than once? (I’m assuming there’s at least one.)

2. What book have you read the most times? And - how many?



1. The first book I remember reading over and over was The Bad Beginning, part of the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I loved that series so much as a kid.

2. The book I've read the most times is, without a doubt, Simon Says by Lori Foster. I read a chapter or two of it almost every night before I go to bed - it's one of my very favorites and it helps me get to sleep (not because it's boring. Nuh uh) because it's such a long-time comfort. I've probably read that book over 70 times over the years. I practically have it memorized. Huh.

Also, my computer got a virus so I'm on the library computers and my really, really old one that doesn't work so well. As all of my reviews were saved on my sick computer, I'm scrabbling to write some new ones! I hope you can all be patient as I attempt to get everything back up and running! Also, don't forget to check out the Giveaway (link in the upper right hand corner of the page)! Two lucky winners will get Anna Campbell books!!!

Monday, July 18

Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter

Book 3 in The Rarest Blooms series

(is this not the most beautiful cover you’ve ever seen?)


Miss Celia Pennifold is the daughter of famed courtesan Alessandra Northrope. Her mother, hoping to provide Celia with a future of riches and luxury, tutored her throughout her young life on how to be the best courtesan London had ever seen. Unfortunately for Alessandra, Celia ran away at 17, wishing a different life for herself. Now, several years hence, Celia has come back to London to settle her mother’s piddling, debt-ridden estate and attend the funeral when she discovers that - along with inheriting a house, she’s inherited a tenant, Mr. Jonathan Albrighton. Jonathan has his own reasons for staying at the house (though he is truly a tenant) that regard an investigation Alessandra’s past.

The writing in this book was fabulous. The dialogue, which can be especially difficult, was flawless. Each character had their own voice, and if you gave me a line from the story I could tell you who wrote it from the tone and syntax alone. Hunter moved herself straight onto my auto-buy list with this work. Good dialogue and prose is hard to write, and this book was exceedingly well written.

Celia is such a beautiful character. I was with her, sympathizing with her struggles, every step of the way. Although at times I felt her a bit too selfless for my tastes (she was practically saintly at times), I liked how realistic she was. It was sad but understandable that she never allowed herself to hope for much. I did love that she held high hopes for meeting her father (showed her last innocence), and wanted to cry with her when they met. I loved her passion for all she did, her realism, her pragmatic nature, and her thoughtfulness. Celia is definitely not rash in her decision making. I also liked that she considered becoming a courtesan when faced with a debt she cannot repay and the man offers to make her his mistress to repay it. I liked that she wasn’t one of those women who refused to even consider selling her body to put clothes on her back, a roof over her head, and food in her mouth. I could sympathize with that too, though I’ve read reviews where the reviewer hated that she would even considered selling her body. Especially since she grew up in a household where that wasn’t wrong, I thought it was consistent with her character. To me she was strong in a quiet, rather than fierce, way and she was very intelligent.

Jonathan is so sexy. From the moment Celia sees him in the attic (by far my favorite scene. Just picturing his naked back, shoulder muscles stretched taught, so defined, with the effort... *drools*) he is an enigma, and a really super hot one. I liked how guarded he was about his job, but how open he could be with her about his feelings. I loved how firm he was with the level of their intimacy. His internal battles made a lot of sense to me and I enjoyed reading about them. I liked that he didn’t make a huge deal about Celia’s virginity. He was understanding, a guiding force and support system for her in her times of trouble. I also loved how he defended her and stuck up for her, but wasn’t overbearing.

The plot that revolved around Jonathan and his heritage, and to a lesser extent Celia and her heritage, was intriguing but didn’t detract from the main romance. It lent an air of mystery to the piece, kept the story going, and gave the character’s purpose while they went about their daily lives. The secondary characters - Castleford, Daphne, Hawkeswell, Marian, etc, - were all amusing and they intruded often enough to remind us that there were more than two characters, but not so often as to be constantly interfering. They also each had excellent development and voice. Hunter does a great job with character development, and this book left me well satisfied. I can’t wait to read all the other books in the series, Dangerous in Diamonds especially. Castleford’s story is going to be a hoot and a half!

Favorite quotes:

“It was generous of you to allow the friendship to continue.” (Jonathan)
“Generous? Allow?” Hawkeswell laughed. “Hell, you don’t know much about marriage, do you?”

“Are you spying now, with me?” (Celia)
He had not expected that. Damnation, she was far shrewder than he had realized. He hid his surprise with a laugh. “You have found me out. The leaders of the nation’s horticultural societies petitioned the Prince Regent to send me to discover the secrets about your plants.” (Jonathan)

“Sexy”ness rating: Sexy and sinfully hot. What else would you expect from a courtesan’s daughter and her handsome, shmexy lover. With muscles. *drools*

Overall Rating: A-

Bottom Line: This book, and I’m guess the entire series, is a must read. Put Madeline Hunter on your ‘auto-buy’ list, Sinful in Satin was hot and deep, with internal and external conflicts that were realistic and impeccably written. Sinful in Satin was so good I couldn’t put it down - it was delightfully enchanting and wickedly sexy. A fantastic read!

Pages: 357
Published: September 28, 2010
Genre: Historical

Sunday, July 17

A Historic Giveaway: Anna Campbell

Yes, dearies, I'm doing a giveaway!!! *squee* It's my very first giveaway, so I hope you'll all be patient as I figure out exactly what I'm doing here!
I've decided to promote one of my favorite historical authors - Anna Campbell! Not only is she a great author, she's a real sweetie!!! Here is her page: Anna Campbell's Website


Now, here's the giveaway! I, personally, am sponsoring this giveaway and will be giving away one paperback copy of any Anna Campbell book to one luck commenter! She has six books, listed here on her website: Anna Campbell's Books and the winner can pick which one they want to receive! Personally, I would recommend 'Midnight's Wild Passion', which is my favorite book of hers.

Giveaway Rules:
  • You must have a valid email address so I can contact you if you win!
  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Sorry.
  • One winner is international or US, one winner in the consecutive 48 states
  • Winner will be announced here, on my blog, as well as on my twitter account
  • I am not responsible for lost/stolen packages. Sue Amazon. Or send Anna an email. Don't sue her. I'll be upset. Especially if it disrupts her writing schedule.
  • I am not responsible for what happens to the package if the winner gives me the wrong address. Check and double check, I say.
  • The winner has three calendar days to respond with their address or else a new winner will be chosen
  • All current followers, twitter and blog, will be entered - they do not HAVE to accept the win, however, in which case a new winner will be chosen!
  • Winner will be chosen by random.org, using their random sequencing thingy.
Giveaway:
  • +1 entry for commenting below on how much you love Anna and her books!
  • +1 entry for following my blog
  • +1 entry for following my twitter account (Romanticrosemay)
  • +5 entry for tweeting about my giveaway (just 'tag' me @romanticrosemay in the tweet so I can see it!)
  • Giveaway ends on August 3 at midnight, Eastern Time. The winner will then be chosen, and announced, on August 4th, my birthday. :) I know it's a long time to wait, but I will email the winner (that reminds me, make sure I have your email!) to remind them. My blog is currently so small, I want to give everyone a chance to enter this giveaway!
If you are the winner, I will buy the book through Amazon and have them send it to you as a 'gift' purchase. I'm very excited to be doing this giveaway, and I hope you all go out and pick up copies of Anna's books. She's really a great author, and she's just so nice. Really. I just love nice authors.

UPDATE 7/18/2011: Another Book - Another Winner!

Guess what everyone? Anna emailed me, and being the absolutely wonderful author she is, offered another book to contribute to this giveaway - this one is open to international followers/commenters/tweeters! YAY! THANK YOU, ANNA!

So, I will be choosing two winners on August 3rd! If one is international, I'll have Anna take care of that one(she laughs in the face of international fees, living in Australia). The other, I'll be sending through via Amazon! Can everyone say: THANK YOU, ANNA!

The Hellion and the Highlander by Lynsay Sands

Book 3 in the Devil of the Highlands series




Lady Averill Mortagne is a red-haired, apparently not-so-beautiful English woman (though it's a bit unclear throughout the book), who spends her life reading and nursing the sick back to health. Her father, desperate to get her married, has tried every trick in the book, parading her in front of many snotty English lords - however her red hair, birthmark, and stutter make her unmarriageable. After one attempt to marry her off goes very awry, Lady Averill’s patient offers to marry her - the fast healing Scot, Kade Stewart. Kade was a friend of her brother, Will, and they spent three years in a prison camp together (with a few other men) before making a bold escape that leaves them injured but free. The boat they're traveling on to get back to England, however, crashes into the rocks leaving Kade very badly hurt when they arrive at the Mortagne Manor. Averill, with her expansive knowledge of care-taking, has been helping Kade get well for weeks.

Kade, never one to pass up a good, kind woman offers to marry Averill himself. This was part of my problem with the book. I was hoping to see passion and affection building before the marriage, while Averill cared for him - which didn’t really happen. Kade got better much too quickly for my liking, and thus spent little time getting to know Averill. He practically avoids her before their marriage, and it's hard to see how he could even want to marry her with the little he knows of her. So I assumed I would see something developing after they married. But that also didn’t happen. So I was left floundering in this passionless relationship that seemed built on thin air. This was my first Lynsay Sands book, and I’ve heard she’s quite good, so I was a bit surprised by the lack of development to the relationship. Surprised and disappointed. Another thing I disliked was that Averill called Kade ‘husband’ and not his name throughout the story. To me that exemplified their lack of intimacy. One thing I will say I liked was that Averill acted like a virgin on her wedding night. Finally! A virgin who isn’t a natural sexual dynamo. A break in the cliche - well and humorously done, Sands!

I had a hard time identifying with Kade or Averill. Their internal struggles were hard to connect to and I never formed an emotional bond with their of them. Whiile I thought Averill brave at times and silly at others, I still never really grew to like or dislike her one way or another - and apathy is almost as bad as hatred in romance, when it’s all about feeling and emotion. I could, sometimes, identify with Kade but even then his struggles took on a rather listless and boring quality. Instead of worrying about the state of of the Stewart estate and his brothers with him, I was simply reading about his worries. It was like I was skimming the emotions instead of partaking in them. Sands was never able to get me into the story.

Laddie, a little boy, is adorable, but he was one of the only secondary characters I really connected with or found well-developed. Will was easy to connect with, but his character was lacking a depth necessary to make him a good character. The villain, at the end, didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t really feel the evilness in him, or the motive. It seemed unnatural to me, that he would be the villain after all he and Kade went through, and as a consequence I didn’t get a lot of closure out of the ending. I did enjoy the mini-story involving Kade’s father and brothers and Averill’s plot to get them to stop drinking. That was cute and light-hearted fun. But overall, the secondary characters weren’t an inspiration and the plot was dull and a tad unexciting. I just couldn’t seem to get into Sand’s story, and as such it was missing the suspense and action I was hoping to feel. Was it good? No. Was it funny? Yes. 

Favorite quotes:

What was wrong with these Englishmen that they would turn down a sweet woman like Averill? He wondered sleepily, then thought the answer might lie in the question. They were Englishmen.

“You cannot stand guard this time, my little friend. She needs to empty the dragon.” (Will)
Laddie’s eyes widened incredulously. “She has a dragon?”

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot – and funny.

Overall Rating: D

Bottom Line: While this book was humorous and entertaining, it wasn’t a great read. There were several unique things that set this book apart – an early marriage, an inexperienced heroine (finally, a virgin who isn’t a natural sex tiger) – but I couldn’t really connect with the characters or feel any tension building. It was good, better than average… but not great.

Pages: 373
Published: February 3, 2010
Genre: Historical

Saturday, July 16

Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) by Suzanne Tyrpak


http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4160544.Suzanne_Tyrpak

It was evening. I’d just worked all day, then gone to the dentist’s office for a filling. I was sweaty, gross, sore, tired, and my mouth hurt like a bitch now that the Novocain had worn off. I was in a sour mood. I needed something light and fluffy, but short and not real deep to help me out of my bad-mood depression. Preferably before I ate the entire carton of Chocolate Indulgence ice cream. I was perusing my twitter home page, annoyed and vibrating with tension when Beverly Kendall, a historical author and blogger I follow, mentioned this book – Dating My Vibrator. Should I buy it? She wondered. There was no wondering in it for me. The title alone had me.

This book was exactly what I’d hoped it would be. Fun, fast, and entertaining. It had me laughing. Crying. Relating. Yes, anyone who has ever dated will relate to these stories. Those who haven’t dated can only cross themselves and be glad. The stories were humorous and heartwarming, and I loved them. They weren’t great. They weren't the work of a writer extraordinaire. But they were very real, authentic stories of the trials of love, dating, and marriage. I think, for that reason alone, this is a book to pick up. So often we get lost in the hype of fantasy romances where every hero is sexy and every relationship works out beautifully and everyone, despite their heartaches, gets a HEA. This book was a reminder (a funny one) that real life relationships aren’t like that and that at least half the men out there are total losers. And the good ones never seem to come your way.

What did I think?  Tyrpak’s writing isn’t anything real special. But it was cute, fun, and definitely something to pass the time. The stories were a little too short for my tastes, and I would’ve like a little more embellishment or drama – but I respect that Ms. Tyrpak is sticking to the truth and the facts of her life experiences. This book helped me out when I was in pain and made me laugh, and I only ended up eating half that carton of ice cream. Ms. Tyrpak, my body thanks you for your humor and wit in my time of need. Pick up this book, everyone. It’s funny. Seriously.

Favorite quote (first two lines of the book):

 "You're gonna freeze your hooters off." (Barry)
"Don't worry about my hooters." (Suzanne)

“Sexy”ness rating: N/A: No kissing/sex here! Smutty title – not smutty book.

Overall Rating: C+

Bottom Line: A series of short stories for when you want something funny but not complex or long. I’d suggest you get to an unobtrusive location before beginning, because a few of the stories will have you laughing – and possibly sniffling – aloud.

Pages: around 50
Published: July 31, 2010
Genre: Romantic Comedy

OTR: Your Biggest Fan by Graylin Fox


So this book was given to me as an ARC ebook copy by the ladies at Siren's Song Reviews. I was very excited, and am still very excited, that I got the chance to read this novella because it was thrilling. However:

It was not a romance.
I would not recommend it as an OTR.
It was pretty good, though.

It was not bad. I gave it four stars on Siren's Song - about a B-. However it wasn't a romance, and it wasn't an OTR recommendation - it wasn't of that quality. Therefore, it has no place on this blog. Sorry.

However, for those of you who are just SUCH huge fans of my reviews (oh come'on, there are a couple of you, right? A girl can dream) that you want to read this one, here's the link to the review at Siren's Song: Your Biggest Fan by Graylin Fox

Friday, July 15

Book Reviews to Come!

So I thought I'd give you all a heads up on all the books I've got to read and review! So here's a fun little update - with pictures!

Books received from Siren's Song:


Warrior's Rise - LJ DeLeon (Not Started. Review expected by July 24)
Your Biggest Fan - Graylin Fox (Finished. Review written. Not romance - only review edition will be on Siren's Song)
Resurrection - Boone Brux (Finished. Review written. Will be posted on August 2nd)

Library Books:

Captive of Sin - Anna Campbell (Not Started. Review by July 21)
Much Ado About You - Eloisa James (Not Started. Review by July 21)
Pleasure for Pleasure - Eloisa James (Not Started. Review by July 21)
Dangerous Highlander - Donna Grant (100 pages in. Review by July 21)
Don't Tempt Me - Loretta Chase (Not Started. Review by July 21)
The Hellion and the Highlander - Lynsay Sands (Finished. Review written. Post on July 17)
Sinful in Satin - Madeline Hunter (Finished. Review written. Post on July 18)

Books on Hold:


Dark Lover - J.R. Ward (Will receive on July 21st)
Dragon Bound - Thea Harrison (Will receive on July 15... TODAY)

Books On Kindle:


A Well Favored Gentleman - Christina Dodd (Not Started)
Unlocked - Courtney Milan (Not Started)
How to Tame a Modern Rogue - Diana Holquist (Not Started)
The Golden Rose - Donna Oltrogge (Not Started)
His Lady Mistress - Elizabeth Rolls (Not Started)
Duchess in Love with Bonus Material - Eloisa James (Not Started)
A Hint of Wicked - Jennifer Haymore (Not Started)
The Duke and I - Julia Quinn (Not Started)
The Abduction of Julia - Karen Hawkins (Not Started)
The Fairy Tale Bride (Once Upon a Wedding) - Kelly McClymer (Not Started)
A Quick Bite with Bonus Material - Lynsay Sands (Receiving on 7/19)
Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) - Suzanne Tyrpak (Finished. Review written. Post on July 16)

Wow do I have a lot to read! Wish me luck!

P.S. I couldn't help it! I stopped by the library to pick up Dragon Bound and drop off Sinful in Satin and The Hellion and the Highlander - and I ended up grabbing two more books before I could forcibly remove myself from the premises! I picked up:


Isn't the book cover on the left one of the most striking ones you've ever seen? The fabric is so red against the pale skin and black background... Wow. So now I have even more reading. What am I, nuts?