Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eagerly Anticipating


Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale

He's always been trouble...
Trevelyan and Callie are childhood sweethearts with a taste for adventure.  Until the fateful day her father discovers them embracing in the carriage house and in a furious frenzy drives Trevelyan away in disgrace...

Exactly the kind of trouble she's never been able to resist...

Nine long, lonely years later, Trevelyan returns.  Callie is shocked to discover that he can still make her blood race and fill her life with mischief, excitement and scandal.  He would give her the world, but he can't give her the one thing she wants more than anything -- himself...

For Trevelyan, Callie is a spark of light in a world of darkness and deceit.  Before he can bear to say his last goodbyes, he's determined to sweep her into one last, fateful adventure, just for the two of them. 

I'll admit it, the jodhpurs made me read this book.  It's shallow, I know, but when I saw the cover on Twitter, I knew I had to read it.  Regardless of the buzz or the recommendations and agreements that yes, this is a good book.

It was the jodhpurs.

I've never read Ms. Kinsale's work previously, had never heard of her, in fact, until the cover started making its rounds.   Now, I'm glad I took a chance.

Lessons in French is artfully crafted and meticulously researched, that much is obvious.  A heroine who breeds bulls?  A hero who sends letters home which are full of lies?  Callie and Trevelyan are unusual in their quirks, but it is these quirks, their ordinary-ness, that drew me in and kept me engaged.  And their various hair-brained schemes?  Well, what's more ordinary than plots and plans which go awry?

Above all, Callie and Trevelyan are human -- they are real.  Callie daydreams; Trev lies; Callie feels alone; Trev feels alone; both of them are smart-asses.  Their believability makes them that much easier to connect to, and I loved learning about their history, both shared and individual, because it made their ending that much sweeter.

I promise to be more easily swayed by jodhpurs in the future.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: Hot Under Pressure by Kathleen O'Reilly

Boutique owner Ashley Taylor hates flying. Especially when there's a sugar-fueled little hellion on board. But then David McLean (sexy!) sits next to her, and suddenly Ashley finds herself hoping the delay will last forever—and that David won't notice her comfy pink bunny slippers (sadly, the opposite of sexy).

David does notice Ashley, and when the flight is delayed overnight, they can't get to the airport hotel fast enough. Off with the slippers and in with the zing! Fortunately, America is filled with cities—L.A., New York, Miami—and nothing says "smoking-hot passion" like an intercontinental affair!
There's a reason Kathleen O'Reilly was recommended at Save the Contemporary -- she writes great contemporary romances!

There's so much to this book -- it's not just a romance; there's character development, actual emotion, depth, and real connections, both between Ashley and David and between the reader and the characters. 

[I should note I didn't like the next book in this non-connected series, Midnight Resolutions, as much as this one.  I can't really put my finger on why, though my gut instinct says it's Rose's fault.]

Ms. O'Reilly is on my auto-buy list.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cover Love

I wanted to spotlight some books I'm looking forward to.  Here's to hoping what's between the covers is as amazing as what's on the cover. 

Rose Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee" she's trapped in a marriage that's thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting "Ro" make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy---one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Rose's beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Hot-blooded Rose Mae escapes from under Ro's perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she's been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti and behind paintings, Rose and her dog Gretel set out from Amarillo, TX back to her hometown of Fruiton, AL, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate---death by marriage---and become a girl who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best.

BACKSEAT SAINTS will dazzle readers with a fresh and heartwrenching portrayal of the lengths a mother will go to right the wrongs she's created, and how far a daughter will go to escape the demands of forgiveness. With the seed of a minor character from her popular best-seller, GODS IN ALABAMA, Jackson has built a whole new story full of her trademark sly wit, endearingly off-kilter characters, and utterly riveting plottwists.

Super-charged erotica from the award-winning author of Show and Tell.

Josie doesn't need a man-unless it's for a night of no-strings-attached sex. And Kyle Perry is perfect for that. Except that Josie soon finds they have a professional tie that will bring them together again. And again.
Now, Josie and Kyle engage in a battle of wills in business and in pleasure. What begins as a hot diversion of domination turns into an intimate game, where the role of slave and master shifts with each erotic move. But as the games escalate, they find themselves becoming bound by something stronger than they ever imagined.

Fielding Grey is the second son of the Marquess of Eldon and fortune hunter by night. He's on a mission for the Legend Hunters—a group of wealthy, titled, and heart-breakingly gorgeous men, each of whom are after the find of the century—he has his eyes set on obtaining the illustrious Pandora's Box. But before he finds it, he encounters an equally alluring treasure—the woman bold enough to look inside.

Esme Worthington can't resist taking the tiniest peek inside when fate drops the real Pandora's Box in her lap. Thus, she unleashes one of Pandora's irresistible curses: the curse of lust. Now, both Esme and Fielding must deal with this passionate curse—or blessing?—before unknown implications of Pandora's Box overpower them both.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee

As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess.
Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.

When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.

I expected more from this novel.  It wasn't bad -- I've certainly read much worse -- I just felt a little disengaged from Eliza and Will the majority of the time.  Eliza is writing pamphlets for the Irish Rebellion; Will's task is two-fold: keep Eliza safe from and attempt to quash said Irish Rebellion without his commanding officer (or higher-ups) discovering he's in love with Eliza.  Should be ripe for passion and tension and intrigue and drama, right?  I didn't think so.  At least it fell flat for me.  

Duchess of Sin (December 2010), featuring Eliza's younger sister Anna and the Duke of Adair might be more to my taste.  Anna experienced bloodshed, death, and personal violence in Countess of Scandal, which I fear may have changed her forever.  Plus, she's awfully attracted to the wild, mysterious Duke of Adair...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review: Double Play by Jill Shalvis

Pace Martin is the ace pitcher for the Pacific Heat.  He's got the arm, the experience, and the wins.  He's also got the pain, the pressure, and the possible end of his career looming over him.  The last thing he needs now is a distraction, even if it comes in the form of a tough, beautiful, tell-it-like-it-is writer who sees past his defenses. 
Holly Hutchins knows a good story when she sees one, and the tall, dark, and slightly attitude-challenged Pace Martin fits the bill.  But when she realizes there's more at stake than just a win, she starts to see the handsome, broad-shouldered jock in a different light.

Pace and Holly begin a seductive game, but in the face of unexpected betrayal and challenges, they'll have to find the courage to swing for the fences...

[Please note I typed the back cover copy here.  The Amazon/Barnes and Noble description was sorely lacking, in my opinion.]

I've seen buzz about this novel everywhere.  Having only read Smart and Sexy by Ms. Shalvis -- and being left with a lukewarm feeling once I'd reached the end -- I was a bit skeptical of all the gushing for Double Play.  Now I know readers have their favorite authors.  If other readers are anything like me, they'll keep buying or reading these favorite authors until something happens to turn their attentions elsewhere. 

Well, allow me to jump on the gushing bandwagon.

I simply loved Double Play.  A good, believable story solidly placed firmly in reality; strong characters who are easy to love and identify with; an amazing balance of sexual tension and romantic spark.  And when Holly and Pace have to kiss each other prior to the games because of superstitions and streaks?  Yeah, okay, what a sacrifice!

Being a baseball fan isn't necessary to enjoy this novel.  Baseball is simply part of the package, the "meet cute" for Holly and Pace.  That the reader is given an insider's view of the sport (again, believable because of Pace's distinct voice) is a bonus.  Plus the cast of characters that make up the Pacific Heat -- those boys are having a lot of fun, and they're a lot of fun to interact with in both Double Play and Slow Heat, which I'm reading now.
Related Posts with Thumbnails