23 December 2008

REVIEW: GINA ROBINSON - SPY CANDY

Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Zebra (November 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420104721
ISBN-13: 978-1420104721


Summary:
LIVE AND LET SPY
From her sensible shoes to her dating choices, bank officer Jenna Jarvis has always played it safe. But her fantasy life is a whole other story. And now Jenna's got a golden opportunity to play a real-life secret agent, courtesy of her generous best friend and a fantasy spy camp set smack dab in the red-hot center of the Arizona desert...

The stay starts off with a bang—literally—as a car explodes to greet Jenna and her fellow covert trainees, each of whom have a spydentity based on an iconic undercover agent. But it's the real-life operatives who capture Jenna's attention, particularly super-buff ex-CIA agent-cum-instructor Torq Toricelli. Confidence boosted by playing a bold-as-brass hot babe, Jenna might just have a fighting chance with Torq—if she can make it through camp in one piece...

A few near-misses have made it frighteningly clear that someone is taking this fantasy way too seriously. Jenna's mission: find out who's gunning for her fellow spies—and live to die another day...

Review:
Perhaps it is a bit of misfortune for Gina Robinson to get me as a reader of her story, Spy Candy. I stumbled upon her debut novel and on impulse ordered it along with the rest of my books. I was teased upon reading the summary: woman (Jenna) is going to a fantasy spy camp where she meets hunk-a-liscious ex CIA agent annex instructor Torq Toricelli. In real life Jenna is an ordinary bank officer who gets to play the vamp every man notices and starts howling at the moon for. I was in the mood for light hearted and fun filled adventure and thought I was set for it with Spy Candy.

Okay, it is light hearted and it definitely had some fun filled moments but there were a few things so off for me it rapidly diminished my reading pleasure.
Reason 1 - Though this has nothing to do with the author or her novel it is a reflection of my interest. From page one the referrals to Bond movies missed its effect on me, I can place the “shaken, not stirred” comments but who the heck is Money Penny, Octopussy or 006. Referral to certain actions of characters or events in the Bond movies also was lost to me as a reader. It created a distance between me and the characters of this novel simply because of the fact I never seen a Bond/007 movie.

Reason 2 - The story heavily leaned on the spy business and the author was very descriptive about a multitude of aspects. It made me feel like I was volunteering for a spying 101 and though it made the Spy Camp aspect more realistic the only thing I truly wanted was to get more of the vibe between Torq and Jenna. With the plot that comes and goes it quickly became hard for me to keep on reading and invested enough to care about the outcome of this story. I even had to refrain myself from starting to skim the pages, impatient as I got to just be finished with this story! Perhaps it was due to the high octane of “Bond vibe” that it just completely missed the bull’s-eye with me.

Reason 3 was something that took a while for me to figure out but I suddenly realized that I was reading a story with a first person narrative. Now I can say it is due to the smooth writing style of the author but it is more likely that I was so distracted that it took me a while (100 pages or so) to notice it. With a first person’s point of view it is always a gamble. Do you like this person, does his/her emotions pull at your own strings and can you relate to him/her? Well to make an understatement: It felt like I came from Mars when Jenna came from Venus. Her love for Bond is so alien to me it literary alienated me from the story.
While this review emphasizes on the Bond gap it created between me and the story I feel that the plot was okay but not generating any sense of urgency to find out how it will all end. Robinson was definitely going for playful fun! The cast of camp characters was diverse with nerds, buff and tough wannabe heroes, and true to the core gentlemen. Along with the camp combat instructors who were all ex army, ex Special Forces, ex CIA and stuntmen to top it off.

The two who got the most attention were Torq and Fry, Torq as the mysterious, hot male whom radiates danger but also knows how to flirt. And Fry as the Texas drawling Casanova, whom mostly had a laid-back attitude of sensuality. Jenna seriously tries to be a sensuous Bond-girl and her side-kick in her camp adventure is Emma. They both wield their alternate persona’s into the hot guy zone of Torq and Fry to find out about the final test to solve a kidnapping. In the meantime someone is taking the spy camp thing a little too seriously and starts creating havoc with some dangerous accidents.

The characters were all nice but besides Jenna and perhaps Emma no one particularly leaped of the pages. While Jenna and Torq had their moments where a spark was actually created it didn’t reach more than vanilla sensuality. And while some scenario’s breached a smile on my face - mainly when Jenna attempted to be the cool and sensual Bond girl - it could not elevate the pleasure of reading. In the end what really made my mood plummet is the lack of conclusion in the romance department. The romance was already paper-thin and though it had a spark and even chemistry between the main couple there was no true scorching desire and the ending retained no real closure or real sense of a future for them as a couple. Heck, he didn’t even reveal his true name and there was no declaration of feelings. In the final pages she went down on him with her Bond fantasy in mind!

While I feel I’ve penned down a review that leans toward the negative I will say that if you enjoy a fun filled suspense romp with a rich “007 energy” this might be an entertaining read. Or if you are an absolute Bond-lover whom is in search for a light humorous read I would say: “Give it a try!” It just couldn’t rock my boat with so many things off for me and in the end it just missed its mark!

Quote Torq:
“But the real world of spying and special ops is no Bond fantasyland. You’ll have no special gizmos, no rocket-launching bagpipes, piano-wire garrote watches, laser-firing cameras, or machine-gun-firing BMW’s to get you out of the scrapes.”


21 December 2008

REVIEW: ELIZABETH AMBER - RAINE

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia (March 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758220405
ISBN-13: 978-0758220400


Summary:
As A Lover, His Skills Are Legendary...

The middle brother, Raine, is both sensual and stoic. Scarred by once taking a wife who could not accept his carnal needs, he wants no part in another marriage. But duty commands that he fulfill his promise to wed King Feydon's second daughter, Jordan...

But In Matters Of The Heart, He Has Much To Learn...

The loyal satyr begins a search that leads him from Tuscany to romantic Venice, where his beautiful bride awaits, unaware of what passionate delights fate has planned for her. Raine is careful not to reveal his powerful satyr sexuality, for fear of driving yet another woman away. But unbeknownst to him, Jordan is no ordinary woman and was born with an insatiable appetite for love. And as Raine's heart begins to melt for her, how long will he be able to hide his true nature when Jordan seems to want him so fiercely?

Review:

If there is one author who has the ability to broaden my horizon in the Erotica genre than it is Elizabeth Amber! She sets the stage formidably as Jordan is being put on display for a group of physicians in a theatre. There I found out that Jordan is no ordinary woman and has to endure this kind of treatment on a yearly basis. Instantly I knew it would take an exceptional man to accept and love the sum of all Jordan’s parts.

And that exceptional man was found in Raine, if I would say he is a bit aloof it would be an understatement but shallow waters can hide such deep and surprising currents. He made a lasting impression with his serious perseverance of protecting Jordan and in what he feels is right. But he is no goody-two-shoe in any way, the first moment he set his eyes on Jordan his body stirred to life and almost instantly acts upon it.

Jordan has been different all her life and it’s the world’s perception of her difference that creates an internal emotional struggle that divides her sense of self. After diverting even more cruel intentions she bumps into a man that stirs her body to life in many ways. A bold proposal speaks of the indomitable spirit Jordan possesses and I was intrigued by this woman. Though life’s difficulties can weigh down on a person’s shoulders Jordan seems to have retained a certain sense of humor and eagerness to experience life to its fullest.

The interplay between Raine and Jordan was both invigorating as it revealed much of their inner nature. The commencing of their relationship is one of earthly eroticism but they also hide certain aspects of themselves. With Jordan it is not so much as that she does not accept herself, it is her environment that reacts and acts in a way that would humiliate any woman. And Raine, well, he has a bit of the same problem only experienced it in a somewhat different manner. Throughout the story there was a natural acceptance between the central couple and the gaining of trust was beautiful to witness.

The plot causes appropriate nuisance here and there that tests Jordan and Raine separately and as a couple. They both just fit each other so well but their hearts need to open up and amend to their true feelings before any kind of happiness can result from it. In this, Raine is like other erotic-romance stories. It is the extensive knowledge of myth, time period, exuberant characterization and most of all her unique theme’s laced within her novels that Elizabeth Amber makes such a distinctive impression on me.

In the essence what grabbed me the most about Raine is the acceptance between the leading couple of their differences. The courage to open up leaves either one vulnerable, it gives both the power to make the other reach the heavens or plunge in the abyss of being spurned. They did not only accept but also celebrated and enjoyed the uniqueness of one another and my heart leaped in response. Because is this not what we all want in the end, to be completely accepted and loved all the more for it? I know I do!

Along with the heat that singes the pages I was firmly set in the Satyr world. One scene included a wooden barrel filled with wine grapes, Raine and Jordan that contained a sensuality that made me reach for the ice cubes. I got to meet Nicholas again with his wife Jane. Lyon and his panthers just emanated a wicked picture of pure male delight and I loved to wander in the vineyard of the Satyr brothers again. Anything seems possible there as magic permits the very air and is a barrier between Earthworld and Elseworld.

Various erotic situations, between various genders are explored in Raine and I feel the explicit nature of it is done with emotion and is done quite tasteful. Raine and Jordan’s story stuck with me long after I closed their novel and my Erotica shelf isn’t complete without the novels from this author. I can only compliment Miss. Amber for delivering another scorcher of tale that gives depth to the genre!

4 stars

REVIEW: MARLISS MELTON - TOO FAR GONE

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Forever (November 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446509264
ISBN-13: 978-0446509268


Summary:
Ellie Stuart's life ended the day her children were stolen from her. Driving on a Virginia backroad, Ellie was ambushed by two men who violently pulled her from her car and drove off with her three sons inside. Devastated, Ellie begs the police to bring her babies home. But the authorities wonder if this stressed-out single mom may not be telling the whole truth about what happened that day...

Navy SEAL Sean Harlan agrees to help Ellie find her children, but vows to keep their relationship professional. He's got no room in his life for a woman and her kids--no matter how beautiful she is, or how desperate their situation. But when a sinister organization begins pulling strings behind the scenes, the investigation suddenly targets Sean. Can he and Ellie rescue her children and save themselves? Or are they already...
TOO FAR GONE

Review:
Ellie Stuart and her three sons, Caleb, Christopher and Colton are getting some much needed structure and peace in their lives. After a fluke marriage and struggling years of getting by she finally has a chance to settle down. From the get go Sean Harlan has taken an interest in the three boys but is refusing to acknowledge the attraction he feels simmering between him and Ellie. He is a player and has one strict rule, a single mother is hands off…

Ellie has a good place with her three boys now and she even picks up on studying again but the Navy Seal who drops by stirs up an interest she can well live without! Until her three boys get kidnapped and a chase against the clock begins…

When I opened Too Far Gone and started to read the first pages I didn’t expect that I would remain on the couch for an entire afternoon to read this novel in one sitting. Marliss Melton effortlessly stirred my emotions as I followed Ellie and Sean’s journey with universal themes like family bonds, motherhood, love and survival. Add a secret society and a conspiracy to it and my eyes never wavered from the pages save to get something to drink.

Ellie and Sean met in the previous book: Don’t Let Go (Book 5 in the Navy Seal series) so they are already acquainted with each other. This book picks up after Sean Harlan a.k.a Harley comes back after a tour of 6 months as a Navy Seal. Melton vividly describes the divided emotions of a mother thinking first and foremost of her sons and a man who doesn’t want to get involved romantically with a single mother. However, he enjoys being with her sons and can’t deny the heat they both generate in each other’s presence.

While the romance carefully casts its first tendrils between the central hero and heroine the suspense lock and loads when the three boys get kidnapped and a desperate Ellie is left behind. After that Harley and Ellie are single-minded to get them back, no matter the costs. This is where the author introduces a character with such a calculated mind the chills caused goose bumps all over. The introduction of a sinister organization hit the interest button with me. Characters are wrongfully accused and I felt the injustice and the powerlessness of it all emanating from Sean and Ellie. It only added to the urge to keep reading, turning the pages in the single desire to find out if the bad get punished and if Ellie gets reunited with her sons once more.

Ellie has an indomitable spirit of a mother willing to go the distance but needs a shoulder to lean on and Harley is more than willing to provide it. This is where the romance gradually builds up and crests into passionate moments between them. The feelings of growing love, anguish and strength are very believably portrayed between the leading couple. While getting her three sons back is the no.1 issue it also ignites the feeling of seeking a release of all those pent up emotions. Of allowing yourself to rely on another person, to know you’re not alone in this.

A secondary cast of Navy Seals, FBI agents and a journalist trying to help, play their part. They form a supportive backdrop that sets off both the romance and the heart-in-throat moments that exudes from the plotline. In addition to the primary love story a seemingly secondary one is blossoming between Skyler and Drake, it also captured my attention as their part is a key element in the story. I hope that Marliss Melton will continue this at some point in her Navy Seal series! There was definitely a sparkle and sizzle there!

In conclusion I feel that the romance and suspense storyline are executed with finesse and it makes Ellie and Harley come alive for the reader. The plot is a wonderful example of multiple character angles that enhances the sense of urgency to solve the kidnapping. It gradually ups the pace and kept me hunkered down on the couch.

With an attention-grabbing story Marliss Melton has hit the bulls-eye with Too Far Gone!

REVIEW: ANN WARNER - DREAMS FOR STONES


Paperback: 265 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599989743
ISBN-13: 978-1599989747

Summary:
It takes courage to be human. And it especially takes courage to love, knowing that love inevitably opens the door to loss. But what is fascinating about this human conundrum is the hopefulness with which most of us manage it.


So we live forever saying farewell.

But we also live with the possibility of wonderful new beginnings. As an author, that's what pulls me in for closer examination. Come with me then and meet Alan, a man who has given up on love, and Kathy, a woman who has learned to let go of love too easily. It will take all the magic of serendipity, old diaries, and a children's story to heal these two.


Review:

Alan is a professor in his early thirties who tries to live a steady life but the loss of his wife has a firm grip on his emotional balance. He is up for tenure at the USD, where he teaches, but is told in a very blunt way that if he doesn’t write a work of fiction he might as well give up on the tenure. In that same time frame he is told that his writing class will be taught by an editor of a small publishing house and he needs to share his office with her.

This is where Alan meets Kathy and while they don’t have an instant vibe of attraction there is still something beneath the surface that demands exploring. After her break up with her fiancé Kathy slowly allows herself to get wrapped up in the life of Alan. They become friends while under the surface feelings try to arise…

But Alan comes with a package and her name is Meg. However, for feelings to become acknowledged the heart must heal and for that to happen one must find the courage to accept and let go.

The first thing that comes to mind after reading Dreams For Stones is that it is a multi faceted heart wrenching story and it reminded me of certain novels from Nicholas Sparks. At first it felt like I got a prelude into the life’s of both the main characters, Alan and Kathy. Both of them have endured emotional pain and are gradually picking up their lives again. This is where they meet and I wondered how they would come together when they both have issues of the heart that still needs time to heal.

In a languid pace the story unfolds because Dreams Of Stones covers a longer time span and this is something I don’t get to read often. It covered about 18 -24 months which makes the growth of new emotions as old ones heal very authentic. They did not immediately fall in love but the author portrayed beautifully how two people can still feel but are hesitant to act upon it. How pain and angst of something new can disturb progress in a relationship. And then in the end when Kathy is ready to acknowledge her feelings she collides with the reserved attitude Alan has in exposing his feelings.

The reader in me also wanted progress, wanted the butterfly feelings of falling in love but that is not the case with this novel. The author’s gift is in appealing to the reader’s emotion with heart breaking events and thereby showcasing the resilience of the human spirit. It made me empathize with not only Alan and Kathy but also with Grace, Frank and their young daughter, Delia. I understood how it must feel for Alan’s family to see him suffer so much and the excerpts from the diary of Emily Kowalski is effectively intertwined with the main story.

Without realizing it I became a part of both Alan and Kathy’s life’s. The day to day rhythm along with the tribulations of their heart got to me. There is also a solid secondary cast. Charles, as a best friend, is a solid antagonist to the serious Alan. Elaine, the sister of Alan, gave a different perspective of her brother. But also Grace and Delia, Kathy’s co workers at the publishing house: Jade, - Columba and Polly, they all add their voices, deepening and complementing the overall story of the main couple.

Though I needed to get used to the perception of the romance development between the hero and heroine in Dreams For Stones the author still manages to make me care about the outcome of this story! A significant other story line is the diary excerpts of Emily Kowalski and what at first seems to be just coincidental becomes so very important near the ending. The last chapters made me fill a bucket of tears and while I felt the ending was more of a new beginning for Alan and Kathy I was satisfied to leave them where they were, knowing they would be okay.

A moving story that will touch your heart as two people find the courage to grab a new chance at a lasting love. Ann Warner has the ability to stir my emotions with a true to life novel.

19 December 2008

COLUMN: MY TV WATCHING HABITS




The month December so far has been a road trip of new and old TV series and the revival of an old love named: Knight Rider. First of all this month I’ve seen more of my bed than any other month this year due to a heavy case of the flu and a mind splitting headache this week. What does one do if one listlessly lies on the bed…right, out come the DVD’s and I vegetate before the TV. Thankfully I have a brother who has shelves upon shelves full of TV series on DVD and a trip gotten me CSI, House, CSI Miami, Transformers The Movie (nostalgia on my part) and NCIS. As my mother got me a sister and brother only 21 months and 40 months younger than me we grew up just about in the same era of toys, cartoons and TV series.

So when my brother told me Knight Rider raced itself into the 21st century I was all game and my oh my KITT got a facelift *big grin* Because, let's face it, this series is all about the car and the interaction of Michael with KITT. In coincidence I saw David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight again on a local network and let’s say the technology is definitely improved. I saw Haselhoff do a spin kick with his mile long legs and he missed his enemy by also a mile…it was short of hilarious.


Knight Rider intro text:
"Knight Rider. A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade, to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless. In a world of criminals who operate above the law..."























KITT tribute 80’s: Click HERE or for the new Knight Rider intro: Click HERE

The new Knight Rider is more of this day and age with nowadays enemies we can relate to again and the intro is just as addictive as the Knight rider of the 80’s. I’m sure going to follow the adventures of KITT with the voice of Val Kilmer and Justin Bruening as Mike Traceur. Cast link click HERE

So while I was fighting a flu bug I got reacquainted with Knight Rider, got my dose of CSI again and that sarcastic doctor named HOUSE is one I still have to catch up with. What really blew my cap off was the fact that the teenage series everyone talked about the next day at school, and yes, I’m talking about Beverly Hills 90210, also got vamped.


In Jan. 2009 this series is going to be broadcast on a Dutch network and of course I’m going to watch the first episode, just to satisfy my curiosity if it still has the same vibe. Though I have received a grey hair and a wrinkle at the eyes here and there since then, a big part of its attraction to me in the 90’s was the fact that every episode had a concluded teenage dilemma or problem to solve. I’m not really in sink with what troubles the teenagers of this day and age and I wonder if it will hit it off with the targeted audience. As I got hooked up on the World Wide Web I ended up on a site where the original cast of 90210 has pics of then and now….if you want to watch a horror in stills, be my guest and click on the link. This is so NOT how they were embedded in my memory LOL Also a rumor caught my ear that Jason Priestley, Shannon Doherty, Jenny Garth and Tori Spelling are going to return in the vamped 90210…one has to wonder in what capacity.

The flu slowly got beaten down and not 2-3 weeks later I’m back in the sack with the "mother of all headaches" as hormones rage through my body. I tossed and turned but of course I rode it out and took a get well day and hooked the DVD player up with Transformers, also nostalgia but IMO the movie has done right by the cartoon series! I loved then and still love now the voice of Optimus Prime ”Autobots….roll out!” Now we’re six days away from Christmas and I'm busy doing some major shopping, thank the Lord my body is cooperating again and hope 2009 will health wise be a much better year…the crew of BH 90210 isn’t the only one who gotten a bit older ROFL

One might think now that I spend quite some time in front of the TV but when I look at my weekly TV average it is not so much as one might think. I love the new series Eli Stone, still love to watch Law & order SVU and Criminal Intent 3 times a week before I go to bed and Grey’s Anatomy. I sometimes catch an episode of Men In Trees, though Ugly Betty was fun I can’t seem to catch the episodes on time. Samantha Who seems fun too but again, can’t seem to get a hold of when it is broadcast. Series that I’m totally done with are Desperate Housewives, Pushing Daisies got canned after the first episode, totally not my humor. On Saturday I try to watch Cold Case and The Closer if my agenda allows it. And on Sunday Supernatural is also something that I try to watch though the last 4-5 Sunday’s I have been a no-show LOL




My All-Time favorite series is Nip/Tuck, I can still remember my sis calling me from Ireland telling me about this new series. I saw the advertisement in the guides but I had other things to do. Until I zapped on the right network and an episode just started, I can still remember Christian Troy and Kimber in the shower….*hello, good morning and goodnight* Hubba hubba what a view and I'm not referring to the female in this screenshot LOL After that episode I called my sister and it remained a weekly affair for the both of us. When Sean McNamara went down on the Kimber doll all I could think was: “no you’re not, nah ah, not happening. Oh Gawd, he’s going for it, do I want to watch this!!” and all I could see was the dolls head bumping up and down. One of the moments my free spirit was actually a bit in shock. Another moment was when Christian Troy gave a voloptues woman the option: “Hey if you want to have sex with me you have to wear the grocery bag over your head.” I would have put that bag somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine but hey, each his own in the bedroom department *wink*

But also with this series I have to catch up on a whole season since the Dutch networks have decided to cancel it *prudes, all of them I tell ya –evil grin-* I have my eye set on buying the 5th season and catching up on some Christian Troy moves and seeing if Sean McNamara is going to have a midlife crisis with a barbie doll young woman *so cliché of the writers*


Well, December really was a TV month for me oposed to reading but I'm Baaaahaaaack as one freak said in a movie LOL The books on my TRP are: Once A Rake - Rona Sharon / Elizabeth Amber - Lyon / Lora Leigh - Nauti Nights and after that we will see what catches my attention ROFL To wrap up this column with a final tip from me, if there is one series I’m eager to see in 2009 it is The Mentalist.



Info:
THE MENTALIST stars Golden Globe Award nominee Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. Within the Bureau, Jane is notorious for his blatant lack of protocol and his semi-celebrity past as a psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he feigned. Jane's role in cracking a series of tough high-profile cases is greatly valued by his fellow agents. However, no-nonsense Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon openly resists having Jane in her unit and alternates between reluctantly acknowledging Jane's usefulness and blasting him for his theatrics, narcissism and dangerous lack of boundaries. Lisbon's team includes agents Kimball Cho, Wayne Rigsby and rookie member Grace Van Pelt, who all think Jane's a loose.

Until next time, have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends close to you!

Hugs,
Leontine


18 December 2008

REVIEW: RONA SHARON - MY WICKED PIRATE


Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Zebra (November 1, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0821780573
ISBN-13: 978-0821780572

Summary:
First he gave her a wicked kiss…
Azure–eyed Alanis was by far the most exquisite treasure ever claimed by the black pirate known as the Viper, but his motives went deeper than his silken promise to ravish the feisty Yorkshire heiress. Commanding the waters of the Caribbean was his means to an end: reclaiming his birthright—and his blood debt against those who had betrayed him.

Then he gave her nights of wicked pleasure…
Comfortably betrothed to a nobleman, Alanis never imagined the heady emotions involved in the true games of seduction–games this blackguard seemed to thoroughly enjoy playing with her. Swept up into an adventure that soon revealed a gentleman and kindred spirit beneath the ruthless veneer of a privateer, Alanis began to soften towards her enigmatic captor, as her pride and her heart fell under his erotic spell…


Review:

For any Historical Romance reader, My Wicked Pirate is one you’ll love to sink your teeth in and receive full satisfaction upon closing this historical treasure! And this is why:

The characters are diverse and distinctive from one another with Alanis and Eros leading the story. While Alanis is hungry for adventure, seeking the freedom to pursue this and see the world, Eros “The Viper” is a complicated, pensive, remote, multilayered man that deems himself irredeemable. He taunts the vested leaders of the world as a Pirate and when their paths cross a plot is set in motion that runs deep and will keep you focused on the desire to unravel both Eros and the plot. Because Alanis is very transparent in her wants and needs but is confronted with a man that intrigues her, makes her feel, provokes her but above all let’s her experience life in all its facets.

While Eros intercepts the ship Alanis is on it is evident from their first encounter that they set each other on fire, their very nature’s creating a vigorous spark set out to consume. The verbal sparring between them is quick, sharp and full of whit only adding to their incredible dynamic as a couple. Though Alanis is set for her fiancé a situation unfolds that gives her a choice, as her choice is made we get to visit Jamaica, Isle de la Tortue, the Kasbah of Algiers, Agadir in Morocco and Italy. The author easily conjures images of exotic places creating a fascinated canvas of an interesting time period. It does not distract from the plot or the personal trials and tribulations of the crucial characters but it adds a backdrop that enhances the feel of Eros’ turbulent past and Alanis’ desire to see the world.

Secondary characters like Giovanni, Niccolo and Greco from the crew aboard Eros’ ship, Alastor, prove to be a welcome addition with their somewhat playful side. Moreover, they have been with Eros for a long time as well as Sanah, whom I got to meet in Algiers. Though Eros calls himself a loner, it is friends in many places that refute this and speak of more to this man then the harsh cold inner nature he displays at times. All the characters had meaning and purpose in this story, from the grandfather of Alanis, to the fiend Cesar. It is with Rona Sharon’s elegant prose and poignant writing style that gives the characters an emotional-laden charge that reaches out to the reader and it did not miss its effect on me.

While the conspiracy thrives and drives Alanis and Eros to new directions, My Wicked Pirate is above all a Romance novel. And though this story is gradually set up the growth of feelings benefits from this, it feels natural, real and in the end delivers on the promise of all consuming feelings that blaze from the pages. I slowly savored the journey of this amazing couple. I emotionally empathized with them creating a stupendous final that had me tearing up and finally feeling like I conquered it all right alongside them.

The plot entails various courts, that of The Sun King of France, Queen Anne of England and torn up Italy with its Princes. Without revealing more then I already did Rona Sharon managed to give this time period a lush, vibrant feel with political intrigue and at the same time making it all about Eros and the woman who chose to love him. The intertwining of the past and present gave both Alanis and Eros a chance to grow and to overcome obstacles. It made me root for them every step of the way!

When I pick up a Historical Romance novel then this is the kind of story I love to read. Complicated characters that reveal a mysterious layer at a time and a complot that holds me spellbound to the pages with intrigue and madcap adventures. With the grandest adventure taking place in this tale is the journey of Love with the capital L. The one that makes hero’s out of men when they forsake all goodness and what makes women courageous and bold when the heart speaks so clearly.

With 400+ pages of historical delight Rona Sharon has set the bar high in this genre!

Quote: Eros “The Viper”
He glimpsed at his bed, then recaptured her gaze. Humor and challenge twinkled in his dark eyes. “What exactly did you have in mind – rough ravishing or prolonged pleasure? I’m game for both diversions.”


Quote Eros “The Viper”
“Don’t make me chase you,” Eros whispered softly in her ear. “I’m endeavoring to behave like the perfect gentleman. Do not tempt the beast in me.”


Quote Alanis about Eros
The man fascinated her. He had the mannerism of a Lord, the reputation of the Monarch of Hell, the body of a Greek god, the handsomest face, and when he was not pillaging – he attended balls at Versailles.

25 November 2008

COLUMN: BOOK-ADDICT AT THE OB/GYN




Now this actually happened last year but it still makes me roll my eyes just thinking about it LOL

Last year I had to go to the hospital and as experience taught me you better have something to read with you cause there might me a slight waiting period *said in sarcastic voice*. Without really looking or feeling odd about it I threw a novel in my bag and got going. So there I was early in the afternoon, reporting with the assistant and she told me to take a seat. So I looked around and the waiting area filled itself with round bellies in all shapes and sizes as time went by. The assistant came, the OB/GYN had an emergency so it might take a bit before she could go ahead with the appointments. In my head I thought of all the things I could have done in the mean time but hey, the woman had to look at my womb, tubes and ovaries if my x-chromosomes were still doing the thing as it's supposed to…or not LOL

So the pregnant ladies started buzzing about 3-D ultrasounds and how it was THE thing to do these days, what were the best products to use and what had to be in the nursery. They looked at me…then at my belly, gave me a smile and went on with their conversation, I laughed and took out my novel to combine pleasure with the necessary waiting period. It was Angela Knight with her Master Of The Moon and well, anyone who has read her knows she can write hot...
scintillating hot, and I had a wicked smile on my face that rivaled a true she-devil. *insert evil laughter here* The leading lady, Diana London is one of the Direkind and was going into heat and at page 10 the main couple already lit up the pages like a bonfire. *hello* I was sitting in the waiting room of the OB/GYN with mothers-to-be in front of me ROFL So I got as comfortable as I could and read a few pages more. So the wicked smile remained and suddenly the buzzing of voices quieted down and I looked up and 4 ladies where looking at the cover of Master Of The Moon.



Well I couldn’t call it flat out looking at the cover but more like stealing glances now and again. She-devil that I was, I put the book at eye level so they could *cough cough* look there fill. I could almost hear certain thoughts invade my mind, “jeez, how can a woman start reading that porn at the OB/GYN?” or “who is that guy on the cover, *yummy* can he extinguish my raging hormone fest going on right now?” or ”Is she a 100% in the head department, who reads that stuff in a waiting room?” Ok, it might not have been THAT bad but the condescending vibe was there as they oogled the cover LOL At that moment I just kept on reading and the ladies went back to the kiddy talk and 20 minutes later I got called in.

I remembered this for I had a new appointment at the OB/GYN yesterday and took Anne Bishop with me. Saetan, Daemon and Lucivar are a threesome I just can’t get enough of *heart beats a bit faster just thinking about them* Apparently I made a sighing noise or something for the guy sitting across of me had this smirk on his face like he caught me with a vibrator or something and all I did was squint my eyes a bit in anger, *pervert!* At that moment my name got called. Many people read at the OB/GYN, magazine’s of modern parenting, birth cards, information on pregnancy, birth and the weeks after…the targeted magazine’s of parents or parents to be. I wonder what is so freaking weird if one takes a book out of her bag and starts reading something else, does it make me the spawn of the devil for not catching up on the latest formula for babies?? Is it just the curiosity of people that makes them look and often judge or is it just me that has a “weirdo vibe” around myself?

I have never been embarrassed of the genres I read, I read in many and I just love the Romance genre. You will not catch me with a fabric cover that hides the bookcover from everyone’s view, you don’t like it?? Bad luck! When service men come to our house to fix things they see 2 big bookcases in my living room with many books in the historical, paranormal, suspense and contemporary genre, they sit right next to my Fantasy and Thrillers and well Nathan Kemp is well represented in my covers, half naked most of the times for my personal pleasure of course *VBEG* And those guys look at it too, they always make non-verbal comments with a look or a smirk…HATE that, it makes me want to scream: “ For the love of the Lord above, speak your mind!”


Hhmmmm, I think my inner Amazon speaks today ROFL I’m just wondering if I will ever strike up a conversation with a woman that will say: “Hey, I read {fill in blank with an author name like Angela Knight} and liked/loved her. Have you read…?” That will probably happen when pigs fly or something but hey, I can keep my hopes up and as for my trip to the OB/GYN, my womb is still there, as for my fallopian tubes and ovaries LOL

Until next Column {which will be about my TV watching habits}, have wicked fun reading and take care!

Hugs,
Leontine


REVIEW: LORA LEIGH - KISS OF HEAT

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc. (November 1, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1419953400
ISBN-13: 978-1419953408


Summary:

Sherra and Kane - Snow Leopard Breed
Sherra has kept the natural mating heat breeds and their mates experience under control for far too many years. Its been ten years since the lover she was torn from in the labs returned. Ten years that’s she’s been forced to confront him nearly on a daily basis. And the heat is growing out of control. The woman’s emotions and fears are tearing through her. Now, she won’t be able to run from her mate much longer as old fears and deceptions begin to fade away beneath the love and aching need she never forgot for one man.


 
Review:
Kiss Of Heat with its 236 pages brought me sheer reading pleasure again in the Romantica genre. Though I haven’t read much within the Romantica [yet], I consider Lora Leigh one of the characteristic authors of this genre. The sultry blend of an erotically steeped bond between a male and female, along with a continuity in world and plot development provides a heady effect for the reader. I feel like a CD on replay of the same tune but up till now Lora Leigh has delivered enticing Breed stories!

Sherra has survived soul shattering events, like all the Breeds, but the loss she had to endure is something that will probably resonate with many female readers and from the moment this slice of information was dropped in a previous Breed novel I wanted to know so much more. Now in Kiss Of Heat Sherra and Kane step up to the plate and reveal their story. Stubborn pride and strong minds clash together in every way possible until buried emotions well up again and reveal another truth….

Sherra is a Feline Breed, an Amazon with the attitude to match and she is going into heat, desperately needing the touch of her mate. So many years ago she shared one night with Kane and in that night she unknowingly claimed him as her mate. So much has happened since then and all she gets from Kane these days is a pain in the ass. Nevertheless, her body burns for his touch, his scent and stamina.

Kane has a natural arrogance which makes people instantly sit up and pay attention. He needs Sherra with a ferocity that borders on insanity and now that Sherra is in heat it might provide him with an opportunity to get intimately acquainted again. Still, there is one incident that stands between them like the Grand Canyon and they both need to work on building the bridge!
Though I sometimes
 wanted to pound some sense in both Kane and Sherra I let the story capture me in all its facets. The profoundness of their emotions gave a two sided view of what happened. To see Sherra and Kane grow towards an overall understanding was a touching experience that left me with a full heart and a trembling lip. Of course with the progress in emotional awareness comes the mind blistering eroticism and though Kiss Of Heat emanates quite a bit of sexuality it stays well within the norm of acceptable. It is one on one, male with female and though the scenes were explicitly described it only heightened the emotional state of the starring couple.

While Sherra and Kane are dallying around each other with bared teeth there is also a sniper on the loose within the compound and has everyone on edge. Moments of close calls pump up the adrenaline, both with me as with the characters. And there are many recurring characters with Seth and Dawn who raised my interest, along with Tanner and Cabal in there indulging threesome’s. The courageous girl from Elizabeth’s Wolf, Cassie, is also a member of the group and it felt as though Kiss Of Heat and Elizabeth’s Wolf overlap each other in time frame.

All in all the Breed novels are an enticing interlude between the other genres I tend to read. With around the 250 pages I can easily go through a Breed novel in one sitting or afternoon and it provides a satisfying, in-depth novel to sustain my craving for a well rounded reading experience. As always Lora Leigh delivers plot wise an ending that only triggers the hunger for the next one.

Kiss Of Heat is another worthy episode to the Breed series that rapidly is becoming a cherished series on my shelves.

4 stars

REVIEW: JORDAN SUMMERS - RED


Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Paranormal Romance (November 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765359146
ISBN-13: 978-0765359148

Summary:
Gina Santiago is a member of an elite tactical team in charge of protecting the world. She’s devoted her life to apprehending the most heinous criminals that prey on society—and now she’s after the worst one yet.


On her own, with no backup, the trail takes her to a dusty, tight-knit town on the fringes of society, where everyone’s a suspect. Even the sexy sheriff, Morgan Hunter, isn’t telling her everything. Gina knows he’s trouble, but she’s inexorably drawn to him.

The closer Gina comes to finding out the secret of this sleepy little town and its big bad sheriff; the closer she comes to catching the predator, the more scared she gets—because she’s beginning to realize that she has a secret too. A secret that will change Gina’s life… and make her the killer’s prey.


Review:

It is with the very first chapter that the author, Jordan Summers, gives one helluva calling card by throwing me into the mind of one very dangerous usurper. Chills crept up my spine as the usurper had his way with his victim and it instantly obtained my undivided attention.

After a war of gigantic proportions life as we know it is over and the government has new rules with its newly formed republics. The author took me into an alternate future world that feels both authentic and provides a thoroughly set up background for the characters. And what I feel is just as important, it is all explained with a natural and fluent writing style that makes it easily accepted and understandable.

Red a.k.a Gina Santiago is a tough and hardened member of the International Police Tactical Team (IPTT) but also a bit of an outcast within the force due to her quirks. Unknowingly a discussion leads her to the road of self discovery and brings her to the town of the Sheriff, Morgan Hunter. War and responsibility for his town makes Morgan a rough around the edges but essentially a good guy. The heat they generate together adds another kind of spice to this tale. If the suspense didn’t already kept me spellbound to the pages it would be the raw attraction Red and Morgan feel for each other. The instantaneous combustion of wills add a fiery vibe and that in combination with the appealing suspense creates a potent story that inevitably draws you into this world. The cast is completed with a few well drawn secondary characters like Red’s grandfather, Robert Santiago, Mike Travers, Raphael Vegas and the M.E. Jim Thornton. Each bring their own voice to telling this tale and I gradually wanted to learn more about a few of them.

The whodunit concept kept me on edge throughout the complete story and though I got a fairly good hunch in the last third of the novel I couldn’t help myself but flip the pages in anticipation of getting it confirmed. From early on Jordan Summers introduces characters to this story that make you wonder if he or she would be the one. While the Paranormal suspense takes up better part of this tale there was no doubt in my mind of the attraction Red and Morgan feel for each other. The emotions sizzle under the surface, biding its time to erupt full force and staking its claim! It is even further enhanced by the secrets that lie between them, waiting to be shared so that a greater understanding of things can occur. This is where the careful growing of trust, the personal insecurities and the usurper who reeks havoc of blood and menace play their part. This is also a thing I would like to mention, this novel contains a bit more details on the violence but this is what makes the villain so creepy and what makes chills and thrills a part of the reading experience.

Certain things will get closure in this first book of the Dead World trilogy and then there are a few things that in the overall story arch is still ongoing. I feel that this will undoubtedly be pick up in the sequel of this trilogy, Scarlet, and I for one am looking forward to the release of this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed the first taste I got of Jordan Summers in the Paranormal Romance genre! She manages to provide the reader with realistic world building, nail biting suspense and a vibrant romance between a hero and heroine one can only root for. To do this in a crowded published genre is an accomplishment al on its own. Kudos to Jordan Summers.



REVIEW: SHANNON MCKENNA - OUT OF CONTROL

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Kensington (April 1, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758205635
ISBN-13: 978-0758205636


Summary:

In Behind Closed Doors and Standing in the Shadows, Shannon McKenna introduced the McCloud Brothers: intense, rugged, super-sexy, and deliciously sensual. Now, Davy McCloud is about to meet a woman he can't trust--or live without . . .

Disillusioned P.I Davy McCloud has learned the hard way not to follow blind impulse when it comes to women. He'd rather play it safe, and keep his life simple, calm and uncomplicated. But he's prepared to make an exception when Margot Vetter shows up to teach at the gym next door. The luscious, mysterious woman stirs a hunger he hasn't felt in a long time, as well as a fierce protectiveness he can't quite explain, expecially when her background check reveals she's hiding secrets--secrets of the ugly, deadly kind.

Margot is at the end of her rope. It's bad enough that she's broke and on the run, framed for a murder she didn't commit. Now, she's being terrorized by a malevolent stalker. The only person she dares to turn to is buff, scarily gorgeous Davy McCloud, a man who seems like nothing on earth could intimidate him. But Davy has questions of his own, and the closer she gets to him, the more Margot discovers that she can't hold herself back from this enigmatic, sensual man in any way.

Neither of them expected passion to flare this quickly--or to drag them into a danger as real as their love. Margot's past has finally caught up with her. And for Davy McCloud, life is about to get more than complicated . . .
It's turning deadly . . .


Review:
Davy is the oldest of the McCloud tribe, he is righteous, honorable and poised…until he met Margot Vetter.

Margot Vetter is an aerobics instructor, the days when she had a career in web design, a two hundred dollar haircut and quality clothing caressing her skin felt like a life time ago. Thanks to her former boyfriend she witnessed torture and death and was now on the run from the law. In a spurt of the moment she walks up to Davy and asks for advise on her stalker problem and from that moment on Davy was lost in the chaos of Margot life.

From the moment I met Davy in Behind Closed Doors I wondered what kind of woman would make him loose his balanced attitude and now I know. A “stubborn as hell”, “doesn’t accept crap from no one”, but still needs somebody to lean on woman named Margot. I witnessed a colliding of two control freaks that also hold on to a level of stubbornness that could aggravate them and me in the process. Though, I must say, it never failed to deliver fireworks, both verbally as physically.

After the death of his parents his extraordinary youth is filled with the responsibility to take care of three younger brothers and Davy is now a poised, in control man. He allows himself few attachments and he doesn’t reserve them for women. What he wants is mutual gratifying sex and just leave without the strings of emotions attached. What he wants with Margot is a civilized, sensible arrangement between two consenting adults.

Margot on the other hand just wants to survive. She is a “tell it like it is” woman with a down-to-earth attitude and humor. She tries to remain strong, a survivor but deep inside her, in a place where not many reach her, she is desperate and in need of a partner. Someone who’s right alongside her in this heap of trouble she’s in.

Davy and Margot bring the best, and sometimes the worst out in each other while a seriously twisted enemy is on the hunt. From the get-go Davy is invading Margot’s personal space and the more she push/pulls him, the more Davy has the need to get under her skin. But whenever Margot hits a personal string Davy retreats and shuts down. Obviously he has a few barriers of his own to battle with as Margot crowds his thoughts and feelings.

The vigorous banter between Davy and Margot was at some points off the charts enthralling, and it often led to a push-me-pull-you seduction of bodies. Nonetheless, it sometimes felt like the communication was a constant battle between them, many actions and opinions that needed a constant explaining and it sometimes tipped the scale to become annoying. What I really missed in the end was Davy sharing his feelings regarding the death of his parents because throughout the novel it is quite an issue between them as a growing couple. Other’s inform Margot of past events or circumstances and while this is fine I missed Davy opening up a bit about his past towards Margot. In my opinion a missed opportunity to create even more emotional depth between them. In the end I understood that Davy was more a - let my actions speak for them as I cannot find the words to express myself - kind of guy and the conclusion of the story left me fulfilled.

There are more things which protrude in this story, besides the vibrant characterization, it is Faris. There is a mind who is leading him that is so twisted, bend on power and deliberate in causing death and pain, that at moments it chilled me to the core. But most of all it was the skill of Faris and the enjoyment he took out of it, what kept me flipping the pages. The suspense is top notch again and delivered in a pace that completes the story as a whole.
Recurring characters like Raine, Miles, Connor and Erin play a part in this novel but it is Sean and Seth who have a larger secondary role to play and I did not object to this. Seth is my ultimate favorite coarse guy of the lot and the intention of Sean with the bridesmaids is forever branded in my memory. Also there is one scene in the end with Sean and Margot that again intrigues me to no end and makes me wonder what makes Sean truly tick. The male bantering is there again and adds to a certain familiarity in McKenna’s novels of the McCloud series. Pure male magnetism dripping from the pages and it is something I lapped up as a reader and can’t get enough of.

The romance had a bump here and there, the suspense fits the story like a glove and the characters unique in their diversity. Again I enjoyed to read a McCloud novel!

Quote: Margot and Davy:
She looked him straight in the eye. “Most guys don’t propose to a woman before they express their feelings for her.” Davy stroked the hair away from her cheekbones. “I figured all that gooey emotional stuff was automatically implied in a formal proposal of marriage.” His voice was low and cautious.

Quote Margot and Davy:
He rolled his eyes. “Tone of voice is subjective. Another way for women to whip themselves into a frenzy over significant issues.” She shoved him until he rolled off. “Welcome to Planet Female,” she said sweetly. “Enjoy your stay. The first stop on our tour will be Insignificant Issues. Please open your guide books to page 317.” He clapped his hands over his eyes. “Oh, God, why me?”


Quote Sean:
Sean shook his head. “This is the last time I try matchmaking.” He muttered. “That shit can get you killed.”


Quote Faris – He isn’t supposed to be funny but this quote just made me smile:
Bridesmaid: Romantic isn’t it?” She gestured at the newlyweds.
Faris: “Terribly, I keep looking for Disney birds and butterflies.”


20 November 2008

COLUMN: HOME SWEET HOME




I’m blowing on all my horns and whistles cause finally….FINALLY my Blog fits me right here *pounding on chest* Ten months or so ago a dear friend, Pearl, transferred herself from Weblog to Blogspot and I thought, nah, not going to happen. Leontine, I said to myself, you haven’t got all that much time left to set up a whole new Blog next to Myspace, Livespace and Weblog! But I did see possibilities for a new addition for our ROOB website, blogging is a hot thing to do with authors and we didn’t want to miss out on the fun. So in June Pearl gave me a Blogging 101 and I got going for Realms On Our Bookshelves, added a splash of color, a header, pimped the sidebar and we got rolling. As I was playing with the Blog of Realms I saw lots of opportunities to release all my inner creativity and then, many months ago on a Saturday, I was in an impulsive mood and deleted my Weblog with one click. A window pops up: Are you sure you want to delete your Blog??? “Yes” my mind roared. So gone were all my lists, my reviews, images and so on…and then I started thinking, did I just erase a year of energy in cultivating this Weblog to do what? Start a complete new one? Well, by that moment I didn’t have any choice left, I had deleted my Weblog and went to Blogspot.com. opened a new blog and got going. Now thankfully I already had a header just about finished, I knew how to work the page elements so my first draft was quickly created. I wanted something new and different though and started to work with my banner.

Now anyone who works with photoshop knows how much time it can take to create something like a banner. Do I choose to do something easy? Heck no, it always needs to link back to the passion for reading & books, also exude my personal flair and I loved those handwritten backgrounds I saw somewhere. So I thought why not add all the authors that are on my shelves…so I opened up another background layer and started to add the names of authors, each time adding another layer to my Header banner. But then I wanted certain author names to pop out of the banner with a shadow, stroke, outer glow and gradient overlay, in short…the whole package. I had the names in different font sizes too, so it would look more playful. I think I had myself about 40 layers or so and I practically got crazy from looking up the author names in all the layers. About two and a half hours later I finished up and added the header as you now see it to my Blog. In the mean time I started to add my reviews and let me tell ya adding a 115 reviews is a lot of work…I had a window open for amazon.com as I needed product information. My photoshop was open to do some last minute tweaking of images or shrinking covers to the right size. I had photobucket open and of course Realms On our Bookshelves website too since I have a lovely overview of my reviews there. I was dancing between many internet pages and programs to get the look of review posting as I have today LOL

That is when I started to read my reviews of waaaaaay back when I started and had multiple eek moments or a blush of embarrassment would glow my cheeks warm. Oh how far have I come *ROFL* I solemnly promised myself right there and then that if I would re-read Moning’s Highlander series and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series and a few more that I would re-review them! Anyway, I got crazy for a week and added just about every review I got and then thought, ok, reviews are check. That’s when my attention focused on my side bar, it needed some images, I’m just a visual kind-a-gal. My All-Time favorite novels needed to be showcased in a frame, so for a while I had my All-Time favorite novels displayed in a central line going down and demanded another 2 hours in photoshop. But last week I thought, nope, it ain’t working and had myself a creative moment again and added them in a gif flash element. This way my scroll finger got some more resting time. As I wanted all my page elements to have a self made header I got to work again on a Saturday and I think I had myself 4 different styles of headers. *Banged head to wall* I wanted the text to come out smooth and with a transparent background. I think I totally spent 2-3 days on the subject and then brother dear comes in, looks at want I want and says, “look sis, you can save them in PNG, that way you get what you want.” That was when my eye started twitching…

Have I already told you about the background of this Blog?? *scrolls back to read* nope…well I found this awesome Blog: http://gayabo.blogspot.com/ and this became my guru on all things HTML and how to pimp your Blog!!! This is how I found out how to adjust the background of the Blog with an image…well, I think I switched about a dozen times in images and the flow from header to background was just not to my liking. So after the, god knows how many tries, I decided to create one on my own. I wanted to do with the background what I did with my banner, but IMO text upon text is not the best of ideas. I just went for it, I think I added about 70 layers of author’s names to the background and worked for 5 hours straight, safe to say I was pooped by then. While the background worked for my Myspace it didn’t do the trick for my Blog and I was ready to pull hairs! So I left it for a day or two and started with a fresh look. That is when the opacity option finally blinked into existence and my current background, which I still love to bits, is at an opacity of 10% which gave the whole look I wanted and at those times I pound my chest in sheer rapture of accomplishment LOL

As I visited my round of other review Blogs in those months I noticed that they had a line with links added beneath the header, I wanted it too and went to my guru Blog again and though I had a few mistrials it was rather easy to do, along with adding a page element above the blog posts, adding an avatar to the post title and many other tiny things you can do with the HTML template version of the Blog. So the days turned into weeks, weeks into months and now I am ready to open a virtual champagne bottle to toast the final outcome of it all. I don’t want to know how many hours I spent in photoshop, looking for images on google, I don’t need to replay my own thoughts when things went south and I learned to save my HTML template as a backup if things DO go wrong.

I love to add my reviews to this Blog but I vaguely remember that a Blog is kinda like an online diary so I have three things I like to post regularly about: of course my reviews, and next to that I’m hoping I can frequently place a column/diary post on my ups and downs of life as a book addict. Also I have a thing in mind called reviews/books from the old box, there are so many books that I have read in Dutch but haven’t reviewed yet, if only to think on all my Nora Roberts books, Elizabeth Lowell with her Medieval trilogy, Anne Rice with her Witching Hour trilogy, Dan Brown with the obvious titles, Katherine Neville with The Eight and recently the sequel got published, and my old time favorite historical novels that I read as a teen-ager. Many will know the symptom: Too much to do, so little time but I hope to shape it all into the fact where I frequently post on this Blog and keep you all updated on my personal thoughts and feelings!

In the meantime birthday's has come and gone, I added another year to my age, America has elected another president, a financial crisis has hit the Netherlands, The euro/dollar balance tipped the scale like 30 cents, in favor of the dollar, I have read dozens of books and reviewed just as much, we had a meeting with Realms and celebrated ROOB's 2nd anniversary. Yet, here I am, in my new Blog home. I thought that after the first two weeks I could say hi and hello to everyone but I proven myself wrong, it took me five months but I finally can say: " This is truly The Realm Of Leontine!"


Hugs,
Leontine

REVIEW: SHAYLA BLACK - WICKED TIES

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (January 2, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425213617
ISBN-13: 978-0425213612


Summary:
She didn’t know what she wanted until he made her beg for it…

Morgan O’Malley has seen a lot of kinky things as the hostess of a cable sex talk show. But she’s never met a man like Jack Cole before. A self-proclaimed dominant, he’s as alpha as a male can get–and good for Morgan to have around when an obsessed stalker ratchets up his attempts to get to her.

Though Jack is a bodyguard, Morgan feels anything but safe in his presence. Because slowly and seductively, Jack is bringing her deepest fantasies to the surface. And when he bends her to his will, what’s more shocking than her surrender is how much she enjoys it–and starts to crave his masterful touch. A willing player in Jack’s games, Morgan knows that his motives aren’t pure, but she has no idea how personal they are…

 
Review:

I would like to give a shout out to all women out there who want a touch of the wicked, the forbidden and the enticement of a man named Master J. If you’re in the mood for a scintillating hot Romantica story then Shayla Black will give it to you like no other in Wicked Ties. It is with the very first sentence in her book that she hit a home run with me.

Quote:
Have you ever wanted to put yourself in the hands of a man whose sole purpose is to give you pleasure?


Upon reading this sentence my fantasy went into overdrive only to have it rivaled by Shayla Black’s writing skill and her astounding imagination! To conjure up moments of high voltage erotic scenes that still contains enough emotion is what gives this novel its depth. Morgan is confronted with her deepest hidden carnal secrets and it is the gradual process of acceptance that takes the reader into the world of Dominant/submissive. It allowed me to come familiar with the Dominant/submissive dynamics and it forged a bond between me, the reader, and the main characters, Jack Cole and Morgan O’Malley.

The journey of Jack and Morgan is not only one of erotic pleasures but the emotionally charged backdrop is just as well fleshed out. Jack as Master J is a bodyguard with his own company and he is contacted by the talk show Morgan hosts. When Morgan meets Jack to discuss the Dom/sub scene she is attacked by her stalker and before she has any idea what to do Jack has taken control over the situation. He takes her to a cottage in the swamp of Louisiana so he is on familiar territory to protect her.

Jack dares Morgan in such a way it becomes imperative for Morgan to answer the call, to finally reveal her most inner sensual desires and accept that what gives her pleasure. It is the step by step earning of trust between them that amplifies the impact of reading Wicked Ties. Both Morgan and Jack need to come to term with certain issues before they can truly become a Dominant and a submissive in every way possible. It is a delicate balance the author creates, the starring couple needs to hit rock bottom before the bond that is forged will gain in strength and a HAE is possible. With the combustible energy that is created between them it will scorch the fingertips as you’ll turn the pages. The dynamics of a Dominant as well as a submissive is portrayed beautifully and came across as life-like. All the elements of erotic driven scenes, romance, suspense attribute to the complete joy in reading this novel and I for one will be forever treasure this story.

Jack won me over by a land slide but there were two secondary characters that add something of their very own to this story. Brice, as Jack’s grandfather, just made me smile with his wicked gleaming eyes full of humor and then there’s Deke. As I write this review for Wicked Ties I know his story is told In Decadent and I’m clamoring for it! He adds a sharp edge to the relationship of Jack and Morgan but will also tug at your curiosity what he is all about.

While the erotic scenes are vividly described with equally erotic words they never are perceived as crude. Though this is of course a matter of personal taste and speaks to each reader’s comfort zone! I think that if you desire a read that takes the sensuality a big step further then you’re average romance novel but still contains romance, Wicked Ties is the way to go. The very sub-genre Romantica is created for luscious stories like this one!

Praise for Shayla Black in her high-octane lascivious read, Wicked Ties. Morgan O’Malley and Jack Cole are unforgettable together!

Quote Jack:
Do you want a man to see inside you, all the way to your fantasies, the darkest ones you don’t even tell your friends about, and make every one come true?


4.5 Stars

19 November 2008

REVIEW: DEBORAH SMITH - GENTLE RAIN

Paperback: 345 pages
Publisher: BelleBooks (November 15, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0976876078
ISBN-13: 978-0976876076

Summary:

Kara Whittenbrook is an unlikely heiress. Down-to-earth and lovably quirky, she’s never fit in with the stodgy Whittenbrook clan of Connecticut. Growing up at her parents’ rainforest preserve in Brazil, she has a quaintly off-beat view of life. Now her beloved parents have died in a plane crash, and Kara’s learned a stunning truth. She was adopted.

Her birth parents are Mac and Lily Tolbert, and they’re mentally handicapped. They live and work on a backwater cattle ranch in northern Florida. The ranch owner is a handsome, part-Seminole cowboy named Ben Thocco. He’s running out of time and money to save the ranch and care for the likable bunch of handicapped ranch hands he employs, including his own baby brother, Joey.

Kara, using a fake identity on the advice of her lawyer, arrives in Fountain Springs, Florida, and meets Ben and her birth parents under some very unusual circumstances.


Review:

My praise for A Gentle Rain goes beyond words as it left me with a rainbow of emotions when I closed this book.

When Kara stumbles upon secrets of her past it is up to her if she wants to find out more. And Kara does find more….when she arrives at a ranch in Florida owned by Ben Thocco she gets acquainted with its colorful people. In a matter of days Kara is a part of this new world, with a new job and new people to get to know. And a mare that has taken a liking to her and proves to the rest of the world what Ben Thocco, his brother Joey and Ben’s crew: Mac, Lily, Miriam, Bigfoot, Roy, Dale, Cheech and Possum all along knew. Still choices need to be made to uncover the secrets of the past or to let it remain in the past as love and family are found in an unexpected place…

I’m still pondering on words as this emotionally gripping story leaves me with blurry eyes, a warm heart and a grin on my face all at once. I believe this to be the strength of Deborah Smith’s writing, she’s able to tell a story of the heart, of people that I can meet just by stepping out into the world. The romance soars high in A Gentle Rain but it is the characters that Deborah Smith portraits that drew me into their lives and emotions. Ben had me from the moment he appears in the story! It’s just his down-to-earth behavior with a sense of humor that is purely his own and his loyalty to those he cares for that just had me at his hello. His past reveals itself in layers throughout the story and gives a reaction with Kara that just keeps me on the edge of my seat wondering when it all will be in the open, how will they react and above all, will love prevail!

This book is told from two perspectives, from Ben’s side and Kara’s and it took me a moment to feel the rhythm of it, but then it adds a dimension, a depth to it that I highly appreciated. I do feel that Kara was the center of this story and her growth as a person was one I enjoyed from start to finish. I could relate to Kara so easily and there for felt her journey as she felt it, with all the high and low points and many endearing moments. Those moments were often related to the crew on Ben’s ranch. Mac and Lily paint a beautiful picture of two people who simply love one another and that love has nothing to do with how smart you are but is just plainly something you feel in the heart. Joey, in all the trials of life he gives the lesson that all things should be savored in life, even the smallest pleasures can reward you with the brightest of smiles. Each character there on the ranch has such an outspoken personality that they, in their own way, make a lasting impression. From shy and quiet to brash and bold they possess a zest for life that teaches Kara to embrace life in all its possibilities.

What I truly was in awe of was how Deborah Smith gave voice to challenged characters who want to live life on their own terms making me fall for each of them. A Gentle Rain is told with a love for the contemporary romance genre and that though it holds moments of true pleasure, humor and love, it also is a story with moments that are painfully real which gave some blurry eyed moments. This gave a true feel to this tale and a human face to the emotions of the characters but also swept me away in all their thoughts and feelings that particularly reverberate with me. The love between Ben and Kara is simmering, carefully testing the strength of it and shines when they each come to know one another making me curl up on the couch with another cup of tea, knowing I will not close this book until I read the very last page.

With A Gentle Rain Deborah Smith gives us a novel where the background of Florida is a canvas for a breathtaking romance story between a man and a woman. Each has a past that entwines them in the present and gives them and their family a chance for a love filled future.

REVIEW: JENNIFER ASHLEY - THE CALLING

Mass Market Paperback: 357 pages
Publisher: Love Spell (May 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0505526875
ISBN-13: 978-0505526878

Summary:
Created at the dawn of time to protect humanity, the ancient warriors have been nearly forgotten, though magic lives on--in vampires, werewolves, the Celtic Sidhe, and other beings. But now one of their own has turned rogue, and the world is again in desperate need of the IMMORTALS.

He burst into the battle, his leather jacket billowing and his huge silver sword flashing. Amber had no idea why this windswept warrior would rescue her, but there he was--fighting the same demon who'd killed her sister. Though he was a stranger, she immediately sensed he'd come to protect her. And with the first touch of his lips on hers, she knew he was bound to her, his body meant for her. Yet the shadow of evil is spreading quickly, and more death will follow unless they can discover the secrets of...THE CALLING.



Review:

I highly anticipated the first novel in the immortal series and after finishing the last page I was glad that it answered to all my expectations. Jennifer Ashley gave a grand opening with her novel in the immortal series! After been fed bits and pieces waiting for the release you dive right into the action with this novel as Amber and Adrian meet through a vicious demon. Jennifer Ashley creates a world that you’re immediately a part of, trying to find out what the hell is going on, when the main characters are doing the same. With each chapter I irrevocably got drawn into the Immortal world and I loved being there!

There is an evil rising, which is not very spectacular, but the fact that it’s emotionally tied to Adrian is what gives an epic and dramatic feel to it. You just don’t want it to be so and if it has to be so the reader in me wants it to be saved. Adrian to me was an incredible character, everything I wanted a Immortal demi-god hero to be: all powerful, arrogant, sensual and almost tortured to the soul! Amber was a joy as a heroin but next to Adrian lost a bit of her strength as a character, her wiccan powers just didn’t have that kick-ass bite to them. But the passion that simmered between Adrian and Amber blew away any doubt about them not belonging together.

There were also very strong secondary characters in this first novel, Ferrin as a snake/ sword / magical attribute of Adrian, loved there interaction. Valerian as one of Adrian’s best friends…he added a flair of humor that was much appreciated by me and Sabina with her sharp comments as Ambers best friend added a bite to it. Of course there was also Septimus as an evil vampire with elegance and long forgotten rules of etiquette, he almost gave evil a decant face…..hey, I said almost!

Jennifer Ashley made a statement with her talent as passion, action, good and evil whirl into a tapestry of a novel that shines a bright future for this series. The end answers to my romantic heart in a heroic way and leaves an interesting cliff hanger for Robin T Popp to develop a second novel on that I’m very eager to read!

Adrian:
“ Sweetheart, when vampires tell each other scary stories, they’re about me.”