Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eagerly Anticipating


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl

Too much of a good thing…

With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman—or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break–in at her family's brewery. He's got his own problems—starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he's the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother's playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight–knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their "baby" sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath. He's not who people think he is—and neither is she. 

After reading the (cliffhanger) short story "Just One Taste" in The Guy Next Door anthology, I was immediately ready for this series.  The wait was torture, I tell you. 

We're caught up in various lies when we are reintroduced to the Donovan clan.  Tessa feels the need to lie in order to keep familial harmony between her brothers, Jamie and Eric.  But the lies don't stop with the Donovans; Detective Luke Asher is experincing some heat as well from his department associates who believe he's gotten his partner of two years, Simone, pregnant.  When Tessa and Luke meet thanks to a robery at the Donovan Brewery, there's an instant spark, but Jamie and Eric still think of Tessa as their little (innocent) sister.  Plus, Jamie believes the lies he's heard about Luke. 

For all Tessa's "innocence," she's full-on potty mouth and eager to tell Luke what she wants from him in all aspects of their relationship.  Since this is Ms. Dahl, I know sexual tension and heat won't be lacking between the leads. 

Good Girls Don't was a quick read, as well as a fun and sexy one.  A great way to start a series!     

(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Good Girls Don't.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Annabelle, the American by Lavinia Kent

Regency England just got real(ity)

Episode 3: Annabelle and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad rumor

Annabelle, Marchioness of Tattingstong, always thought she was a good wife. She’s put up with all the titters and stares in the ballroom that go along with being a rich American married only for her wealth and looks. But, when it’s rumored that her husband has a secret family, one he is using her money to keep, Annabelle may have finally had enough. A proper English wife would grin and bear it, but playing by society’s rules hasn’t worked for her so far.

Will revenge be as sweet as American pie?

Another quick installment of The Real Duchesses of London series by Ms. Kent.  While I liked learning more about Annabelle, the token American heiress, I didn't feel as connected to her or Thomas as I did to the previous duchessess featured.  I also wanted to know more about how and why Mr. Swatts became involved in the publication of the cartoons.  Perhaps these are questions that will be answered as we continue the series.  I am most interested to learn more about Elizabeth and am pleased hers will be the next novella (September 2011). 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Storm's Heart by Thea Harrison

During the rule of her murderous Dark Fae uncle, Thistle "Tricks" Periwinkle found sanctuary among the Wyr in New York.  Her ethereal beauty and sparkling personality won the hearts of the public, but after her uncle's death, there are those who don't want to see her ascend to the throne...

Able to wield thunder and lightning, Wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries.  His massive build and thunderous power make him one of the Wyr's best weapons.  And he's the one sent to protect Tricks when she's almost assassinated in Chicago.

Soon, both Tiago and Tricks will fall prey to the stormy hunger that engulfs them--a passion that will shake the very foundation of all the worlds...

For as much as I loved Dragon Bound, I prepared to go into Storm's Heart on a high note, unable to put the book down until I'd inhaled it.  That didn't really happen.

Let me back up and say I didn't dislike Storm's Heart, not in the least; it was just a different book than Dragon Bound.  (I think I like the thrill of the chase, so to speak, and while Dragon Bound had that in spades, Storm's Heart is more upfront, like say, a kick to the teeth.) 

One aspect of Storm's Heart that I loved was not knowing who Tricks/Ninane could trust.  She's in the middle of her people, yet she doesn't know any of them; she's attended by various councilors and commanders, but she cannot be certain what they advocate or suggest is the correct course of action to take.  Talk about a rock and a hard place!

Storm's Heart was a very good addition to the paranormal world of the Wyr Ms. Harrison is creating.  I'm excited and anxious for the next installment, Serpent's Kiss (October 2011), and cannot wait to learn more about this universe and these characters. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Changing The Game by Jaci Burton

Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren't most people...

Win at any cost. That's always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she'll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She's had a thing for this player's moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.

Gavin's more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz's way to see just how far she's truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.

Last year, The Perfect Play was exactly the kind of book I needed to read at exactly the right moment.  When I discovered Changing the Game featured Elizabeth "Liz" Darnell, the antagonist of The Perfect Play, I was very skeptical on how Ms. Burton could redeem Liz.  

Oh ye of little faith. 

Ms. Burton does an excellent job making Liz Darnell human, feminine, and most importantly, apologetic (sometimes beyond the necessary realm of apologies). 

We learn a lot about what makes Liz tick, how she's been in love with Gavin for years, though she hotly denies it when confronted, and how devoted she is to operating a successful agency.  An evening that starts out as sex only quickly escalates into something more between Gavin and Liz, but Gavin's brother and Liz's former client Mick is always around to cast a negative shadow on the situation.

Changing the Game is a book about mistakes and how one makes amends after said mistakes.  Neither Liz nor Gavin are perfect -- we learned Liz's big mistake in The Perfect Play and Gavin makes one here -- but they are most certainly human and completely in love with one another.  Changing the Game is a super sexy addition to the Play-by-Play series  with more at its heart than just a romance.    

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cover Love

Cursed by a Druid millennia ago, Roan lives a bleak existence in the Shadowlands, desperately trying to retain his soul and not succumb to the goblin horde. When a beautiful human summons him to grant a wish, he sees a glimmer of hope. But will she ever agree to be his queen?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: Confessions of an Improper Bride by Jennifer Haymore


Serena Donovan left London six years ago, her heart broken and her reputation ruined by devilishly handsome Jonathan Dane. Now, with her family's future in peril, she reluctantly agrees to return to England and assume her late twin's identity. The price? Marry a man she doesn't love and spend the rest of her days living a lie.

Jonathan Dane, Earl of Stratford, has become an incorrigible rake, drinking, gambling-and trying to forget Serena Donovan. Yet the moment he's introduced to the prim and proper "Meg", he recognizes the sensual young woman who captured his heart. Haunted by his past mistakes, he refuses to lose Serena again. But convincing her to trust him is no easy task. Claiming his lost love means exposing the truth and destroying the life Serena has sacrificed everything to rebuild. With the future of all the Donovans at stake, and their undying passion capable of triggering yet another scandal, how much will Jonathan and Serena risk for a chance at true love?

Given that I've loved Ms. Haymore's three previous historical romances with such fervor, I was surprised to find I wasn't immediately loving Confessions of an Improper Bride.  Now that I've had time to reflect, I think the deception angle really affected my enjoyment.  It's the main plot -- how is Serena going to marry a man she doesn't love, especially when the man she does love is her intended's best friend? -- so it's unfortunate I had issues with it.  I felt that Langley would be a cuckold, and he didn't deserve such treatment because he is such a nice man. Serena and Jonathan, however, could not deny their attraction, the very reason Serena left London in disgrace six years earlier, yet their happy ending didn't leave me 100% happy. 

Heroines sacrificing themselves for the good of their siblings is not an uncommon trope, especially in historical romances (Seven Nights to Forever by Evangeline Collins comes to mind immediately).  Something about Confessions of an Improper Bride seemed off .  I could put it down with ease, which I'd never experienced with Ms. Haymore's previous work. 

Despite my lukewarm feelings about this novel, I am excited to pick up the next book in the series, Secrets of an Accidental Duchess (February 2012). 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Hachette Book Group and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Confessions of an Improper Bride.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Make Mine a Bad Boy by Katie Lane


Hope Scroggs is finally ready to get hitched. After years of sowing her wild oats, the former head cheerleader and homecoming queen has returned to Bramble, Texas, to marry her high school flame. But her perfect wedding plans are stomped to smithereens when her adoring cowboy two-steps down the aisle with someone else. Now Hope is stuck with the one man from her past she can't shake: Colt Lomax, an irresistible bad boy whose sultry kisses are hotter than the Panhandle in August . . .

Colt lives for freedom and the open road; he never gets attached, never looks back. Still, he can't forget the night of passion he once shared with Bramble's sweetheart—a night he wouldn't mind repeating. So, he piles on the Texas charm to tease the feisty beauty back into his bed, while she tries her darnedest to resist. But something unexpected is about to tie their fates together . . . and oh, baby, will it ever! 

Hope Scroggs returns to Bramble, Texas, from a five-year absence and thinks things will fall right back into place.  Her life in California is a complete mess, so what Bramble doesn't know won't hurt them.  Little does Hope know, Bramble's bad boy is on a beeline straight for her.

As with Going Cowboy Crazy, we're treated to small-town life that may be a little over the top.  Rumors fly about Hope being pregnant, and Hope is less than kind to Faith, her newly discovered twin sister.  What Hope doesn't want is to feel any kind of connection with Colt Lomax, but the pair are drawn together at every turn. 

Make Mine a Bad Boy isn't as sweet a romance as Going Cowboy Crazy, mainly due to Hope's and Colt's hot-hot-hot chemistry, but it's still a good way to lose yourself for an afternoon in Bramble, Texas. 

(A very special thank you to Love To Read for Fun, Forever, and Hachette Book Group who sponsored the contest in which I won a copy of Make Mine a Bad Boy.) 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden

A single lady in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a suitor

Margaret de Lacey has accepted her unmarried state with dignity, if not delight. She had no suitors when she was young and starry-eyed, though regrettably poor, and it’s unlikely any man will court her now that she’s older, wiser, and still just as penniless. Until, that is, her brother unexpectedly inherits the dukedom of Durham and settles an enormous dowry on her, making her the most eligible heiress in town.

No gentleman in London is more in need of a wealthy bride than Rhys Corwen, Earl of Dowling. He contrives an introduction to Margaret because of her dowry, but she swiftly sets him right: no fortune hunter will win her heart or her hand. Far from put off, Rhys is intrigued. Interested. Entranced. And soon the only thing he needs more than Margaret’s fortune…is her love. 

What I really loved about this novella was the ripe sexual tension between Margaret and Rhys.  I mean, it sprang from the page and hit you in the face.  There's just something about a woman who claims to hate a man, yet cannot stop thinking about him.

Margaret's brother, Francis, came into his title when he unexpectedly inherits.  She had been content to be a spinster for the rest of her life.  When Francis lists Margaret's dowry as 40,000 pounds, she knows only the fortune hunters will be after her.  The first time she meets Rhys Corwen, she gives him the "wherefore" about his assumed reason for plying her with favor.  The problem of this is that Rhys seeks Margaret out and manages to corner her at every ton event.    And like a splinter, he burrows under her skin so deep, she doesn't want him to ignore her.

That's not to say Rhys is annoying or unattractive, oh no.  Margaret thinks he's very fine, and once she sees the remains of his entitlement, she's able to let herself go and love him fully and completely.

I Love the Earl is a prequel of sorts for One Night in London, though I cannot figure out if Francis is the dying Duke of Durham or not.  That seems premature, given that Margaret discovers Francis's heart has been broken in I Love the Earl, yet we do not learn any further information, so I'm glad One Night in London is waiting for me on my e-reader to solve the mystery my mind has created. 

(A very special thank you to Avon, Harper Collins and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of I Love the Earl.)
Related Posts with Thumbnails