Friday, June 29, 2012

Eagerly Anticipating -- July 2012


Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Hot Under Pressure by Louisa Edwards

Prepare to turn up the heat with the final book in the sizzling "Rising Star Chef" trilogy from romance author Louisa Edwards.

Henry Beck thought he’d already faced the toughest kitchen challenge of his life. After all, what could top sweating it out as a Navy cook on a submarine? But when he learns his competition for the title of Rising Star Chef is the sweet hippie girl he married…and left…ten years ago, the heat is on.

Now Beck and Skye Gladwell are going head to head in the finals…and sparking up old flames every time they touch. But Skye wants more than a win over the man who abandoned her when she needed him most—she wants a divorce! Then her sexy almost-ex makes a deliciously dangerous proposition. He’ll give in to her demands, but if his team wins the RSC, he has a demand of his own…one last taste of the only woman he ever loved.

Picking up immediately where Some Like it Hot left off, Hot Under Pressure completes the Rising Star Chef trilogy on a romantic high note.   

Henry Beck, known simply as Beck to his fellow Lunden's Restaurant employees, is the newest member of the Lunden family.  He keeps things close to the vest and has secrets in his past he's never shared with his co-workers, so they are all in for a shock when Beck's wife, Skye Gladwell, is a competitor in the Rising Star competition.  

While I loved Beck and Skye's reconnection, I'm not sure I completely bought the reasons behind their ten-year estrangement, especially when we see via their reminiscences how in love their younger selves were.  I was happy to see Beck fully realize he is the kind of man he has always wanted to be, someone who felt worthy of love in general and of Skye's love specifically.  

I'm sorry to say good-bye to these characters, but I feel they've come full circle in wonderful ways.  Thank you, Ms. Edwards.        

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:
The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:
ladies would die to wear it . . .
and gentlemen would kill to remove it!

Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are . . . not.

The prize seems well worth the risk—but this time Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . . and a blazing scandal.

And now both their futures hang by an exquisite thread of silk . . .

Silk for Seduction is the first book I've read by Ms. Chase.  I decided to take a chance after seeing multiple nominations, and I'm so very glad I did.

Marcelline Noirot is unlike any heroine I've met thus far.  She's intriguing, driven, determined, single-minded, yet also loving, sensual, crafty, and devoted.  Despite coming from what could have been a wealthy background, Marcelline and her sisters use their dressmaking talents to take London by storm.  And what Marcelline wants is to dress the Duke of Clevedon's intended. 

She sets her sights on seducing Clevedon with her creations in the hopes he'll facilitate a meeting between she and the future duchess, Alice.  Clevedon makes good on his word; however, he cannot stop thinking about Marcelline. 

The dance ended, but still he held her. "You tease and provoke and dare and infuriate me," he said.

"Oh, that I do for fun," she said.

What transpires between Marcelline and Clevedon begins innocently enough but quickly erupts in a blaze of passion.  They simply cannot stay away from one another, and I loved every moment.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis

Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . .

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.

Returning to Lucky Harbor is like going to visit old friends: you're excited to get there and you know you'll have a great time.

The first three books dedicated to Lucky Harbor introduced a trio of sisters striving to learn more about one another, then to live peacefully together.  With the next three books, Ms. Shalvis introduces three girlfriends, Mallory, Amy, and Grace -- the Chocoholics -- and Lucky in Love features Mallory, a nurse with a "yes" problem, meaning she says "yes" to everything.  Except for romance.

When Lucky Harbor's "Mysterious Cute Guy" crashes into the Eat Me Diner where Mallory, Amy, and Grace are waiting out a storm, Mallory administers first aid, and as "Mysterious Cute Guy" is taken away via ambulance, Amy blackmails him into being Mallory's date for the hospital fundraiser.  Mallory is surprised when he shows up -- and is a little embarrassed about not knowing his name, though he doesn't know Mallory's name either until he overhears it.  Turns out, "Mysterious Cute Guy" aka Ty Garrison cannot remember agreeing to be Mallory's date, though that doesn't stop the two of them from becoming very, very acquainted.

 The romance between Mallory and Ty may be a bit formulaic at times, but I think the secondary cast of characters more than makes up for it.  I cannot wait to read what Lucille posts on the Facebook page about Amy and Grace.     

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