26 September 2008

Review: Delilah Marvelle - Mistress Of Pleasure


Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra (September 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420104489
ISBN-13: 978-1420104486

Summary:
REAL PLEASURE CAN'T BE TAKEN.... Granddaughter of a renowned courtesan, Maybelle de Maitenon has no interest in her grandmother's school in London where gentlemen receive instruction -- in the art of seduction. Her only desire in life is to remain indepedent, free from men and the shackles of marriage. But when Maybelle lays eyes on Edmund Worthington, the Duke of Rutherford, at a soiree, and hears of his scandalous reputation, she decides he's the perfect person for her to have a tryst with no strings attached...

IT MUST BE GIVEN... Unbridled passion has again muddied Edmund Worthington's family name. After his very public dalliance with the strikingly beautiful and sensual Maybelle, his mother insists he marry her. But much to the duke's surprise, Maybelle scoffs at his proposal. Never has he encountered such a brazen - and maddeningly irresistable - woman. But when Maybelle's grandmother falls ill, forcing Maybelle to take over the operation of the school, Edmund devises a plan to make her his. He enrolls in the school, where no one other than Maybelle must give him expert lessons in carnal pleasure...

Review:
When your grandmother is one of the demimondaine and in the process of realizing her dream of a School of Gallantry what is a granddaughter supposed to do when she has a seizure? Maybelle reads Voltaire and wants to visit Egypt. She has no aspiration to join her grandmother in the demimondaine and stir the Ton wherever she goes with her attitude. Until she meets the man that makes her aware of everything that is woman inside of her.

Maybelle promises to be the headmistress of the School of Gallantry for two months, no more, no less, before she takes the trip to Egypt. Upon introducing herself to the 5 men in her class she finds out that Lord Rutherford, the man she met at the ball and in the garden, is also one of her students.

Temptation has never been so irresistible.

Mistress Of Pleasure is Regency with a twist. An utterly seductive and wicked twist. While the formula of this story is encountered in many Regency novels Delilah Marvelle makes it her own with various elements. One of them is the School of Gallantry, teaching men the art of seduction gives this story a mischievous nature. Then there are the five men, upon meeting them I instantly was triggered to delve into their past. Each has a reason to be there and of course the tidbits of information was nearly not enough to satisfy my curiosity. And last but not least Maybelle and her grandmother, they both add such a distinctive voice to this story that it was a joy getting to know them.

Maybelle is a woman who wants to go places, reads work of authors like Voltaire but has to deal with the wisdom gathered by her grandmother in her years as a courtesan. Two very different women and still in the core they are very much alike, they both want the freedom to do what they want, regardless of what the Ton says or does. When Maybelle meets the Duke of Rutherford it is instant attraction and they both want to act upon it.

The Duke of Rutherford, Edmund, is ruled by one act of his father and there for can’t seem to find a suitable woman to become his wife. He is from the Ton but doesn’t seem to be a part of the Ton. He hides his true nature with an “I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks” attitude combined with a natural arrogance which gives him the freedom to do many a wicked thing.

This is something I enjoyed very much in Mistress of Pleasure, the almost carnal freedom in writing that isn’t explicit in any way but remains to be an ever present simmer throughout the pages, waiting to be ignited full force. The chemistry between Maybelle and Edmund is accentuated on the sensuous side but never forgetting that at the core it is the heart that needs to open up, the heart that needs to find love and the heart that needs the emotion reciprocated. Combine it with a humor that is evident through the lessons and various characters and Mistress To Pleasure became a read where the pages were easily consumed.

Next to the tangible chemistry of Edmund and Maybelle I got to know 4 other – equally intriguing – men. Lord Caldwell, Brayton, Hawksford and Banfield, the inevitable group of Lords that paint a picture of true male variations in looks and character. While this is something that is regular Regency novel 101I feel that also in this, Delilah Marvelle did an remarkably good job. Each Lord is different, delectable and has issues of his own. Each has a story to tell, each is there with a reason and I just wanted to know more then what the author gave me. If I have to say out of the group that vary from the flirtatious type to the brooding silent type it is Lord Brayton that captured my heart from the moment he introduced himself. I’ve got a weak spot for the brooding, silent type and my female inquisitive side itched to know more about him.

The plot speaks of human issues, trust, betrayal, acceptance of oneself and aim to do exactly that in life which you want to do. With the vibrant and colurful personalities it becomes interesting to see how, where and when things unfold themselves and keeping me bound to the pages. I feel that all the pieces of this story smoothly fit together, allowing the reader to be a part of this tale with very little effort.

All in all I believe Mistress To Pleasure is a debut that radiates with humor, passion and a cast of characters that makes you want to return to the wicked delights of the School of Gallantry.

24 September 2008

The creative side of Leontine:

If - next to me always reading - was something I spend my time on doing was getting creative. A few years back my brother got me introduced to the delights of the program photoshop and I gave free reign to my creative side. It resulted in wonderful creations after a whole lot of practice!

Now with websites like photobucket I can cultivate it even more with my creations and have found a wonderful new feature named: scrapbook. Now somehow I think one day I will make myself a real one but until then I can create ones with my banners, pictures and such via photobucket having a blast. It is a very fun way for me to work with my own creativity and this scrapbook feature on photobucket has many little perks that can add so much to the image. While the one below is my first attempt at this I can assure it will not be my last!

As I’m always a very visual person I like creating banners with a quote or lyric on them. Hence you can find many little things on my blog that is created with photoshop, covers which are framed in my All-Time favorite reads, scroll banners that indicate various section and my head-banner is created by myself too.

If I have to say what makes my heart pound faster is the old fashioned look fonts, images and items can have, I prefer a quill over a pen. I love leather bound books over cardboard ones and I love the calligraphic fonts yet I’m using it in a very 21st century way with Photoshop and the computer.

Alongside my book talk, my reviews and such I will on occasion put my creations on display, as my first scrapbook:







15 September 2008

Welcome to all booklovers!

Photobucket





Past:
As long as I can remember I’ve been that dreamy girl staring out the window, visiting wonderful worlds full of adventures in my mind. I never developed the connection between my mind and my hand to write those adventures down and so I read and read and well, read. I loved those author’s that could take me away and let me experience it all through their writing talent. One of the earliest books that I’ve read as a 7 year old were by a few of the top notch Dutch children’s author’s like Annie M.G Schmidt, Thea Beckmann, Arja Peters, Anke de Vries, Ellen Tijsinger and Yvonne Brill.



One that I devoured and was also an international published author was Enid Blyton, if I was in the mood for adventure it was “The Five” or her “Pitty” series that I read. I especially treasure my “Pitty” series for my mother gave them to me, she read them at the same age and nowadays
I still see some of my childhood series in print and I feel they are timeless with universal theme’s. From the moment I read Thea Beckman’s - Crusade in Jeans I fell a bit in love with the historical setting and as my teen age years arrived I took my first careful steps into the historical romance genre. I don’t think I ever left it since then…..

Present:
In many way’s I’ve grown up, went to college, got a job, got married and I’m now 32 years and every now and again I still catch myself dreaming of other worlds…still my mind wonders: What if…? I don’t know if I will ever take a pen - or in this day and age - a keyboard to hand and start writing but I will always love to read. In my realm you will find books that I’ve read and reviewed. What I liked, loved or disliked about it. I love to discuss the hunk-a-liscious men in those books and who make my heart flutter upon thinking of them, the plot that kept me up way past the midnight hour or the romance that soared to greater heights.




I also enjoy getting creative and photoshop has been an outlet for me in that way. From time to time I will place a blog containing my thoughts on various subject - as chaotic as they may be - and I hope you will have fun reading them.

There are many romance genres I enjoy to read but if there is one that fits me like a glove and appeals to my sense of “what if…?” it is the Paranormal/Fantasy genre! Though Karen Moning and Sherrilyn Kenyon started it for me I’ve read many author’s since then that have written books that became treasured reads on my shelves. Just to name a few (which are well known within this genre) Nalini Singh, C.L. Wilson, Kresley Cole, J.R. Ward and Kathryne Kennedy. There are many more but I’d say: ‘Check out the rest of my blog’ LOL

This month I also received my very first Romantic Times magazine and though the reviews are different from what I’m used to it also packs a bunch of information that has me adding a few more books to my: To-Buy-List *like that one isn’t already long enough* Especially the new trilogy of Heather Graham about the Flynn brothers got my interest.



I’ve just got a weak spot for New Orleans and many times it just enhances or adds to the overall vibe of the novel. One day I hope to walk there with my DH and get al wide eyed with wonder and feel that vibe first hand.


Future:
What the future holds for me, I don’t know and I would say to the powers that be: ‘Surprise me…*in a good way that is* sometimes what you wish for is exactly what you get’ *eek* I believe books will always be a part of my life and there for the book-talk an eager subject for me ;-) I have recently read a few outstanding romance novels and my reviews are already up for reading at Realm On Our Bookshelves.


Click here for the review: Kathryne Kennedy - Double Enchantment




Click here for the review: Nalini Singh - Hostage To Pleasure



Click here for review: C.L. Wilson - King Of Sword And Sky






So after more then a week of hard work I’m finally just about finished with my corner of the World Wide Web and I hope you will come in from time to time and see what I’m up to! Feel free to leave a message, whether it is in my guestbook or in a comment, I just enjoy getting in touch with kindred spirits!

Hugs,
Leontine

Review: Jennifer Donnelly - The Tea Rose

~click on cover to buy a copy~

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (December 10, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312378025
ISBN-13: 978-0312378028


Summary:
East London, 1888 - a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger's son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.But Fiona's life is shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit propels her rise from a modest West Side shop-front to the top of Manhattan's tea trade.


But Fiona's old ghosts do not rest quietly, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.




Where to start when there is so much to say about The Tea Rose! This dynamic story engages the reader on so many levels that the world of Whitechapel comes alive through the pages in the mind’s eye. First of all it is the opening of this story; the murder of a prostitute by Jack the Ripper wich immediately grabbed my attention and never let it waver. For me, Jennifer Donnelly has given Jack the Ripper a realistic face, dark, almost sadistic and perfectly intertwined within this story, adding depth and true feel to the world of Fiona. This is also something I felt when I was reading this novel; I was there in Whitechapel, England anno 1888, through Fiona’s eyes I was a part of the alley’s, the buildings, houses and the river Thames. With the author’s fantastic painting of scenery it made the district come to life so vividly, but above all it is her outstanding character development that enthralled me to keep on reading.

The family Finnegan are living in changing times, when the low class workers try to unite themselves within the Union it clashes with the owners of the factories. Let me say that the situation will become worse before it remotely even shows signs of getting better. Fiona is a young woman of her class, working 10-12 hours a day for a few sixpence so she can help support her family and finance everyday life. Still she dreams of owning her own store someday and shares these dreams with the love of her life, Joe. Both of them work hard and whatever they can save to make their dream of a store become real they will set it aside. But the moment Fiona’s father decides to become the leader of the Union division in their area he alters the destiny of so many….

This is what the story is about, one man’s choice that puts events in motion for his family and Fiona’s life and dream is at the center of it, her strength, her will, her life force will lure you into a captivating novel that gives you the feeling of an emotional rollercoaster ride as page after page unfolds it all before your eyes and it reverberates through your heart. The way of life was brutal in those days, no job…no money. No money, no food or shelter. Life was hard back then and I guess that is what grabbed me so much, regardless such dire circumstances, Fiona's dreams are as vivid as a rainbow, magically alive within her heart. Yetvrarely do those dreams become more than just that, dremas, and against all the odds she still manages to work hard and full of hope to get those dreams realized, that is what Fiona is all about.

Fiona's journey from England to America speaks of a boldness that I adore to read about. Still it is out of pure necessity that Fiona and her youngest brother travel to New York. It is there that they meet new family and friends, with a different venue Fiona blossoms and this part of the book speaks of new love and triumph. Still the characters from part one aren’t forgotten and all their lives are so interlaced with each other by Jennifer Donnelly that I attached myself to them, needing to know how each character would fare and in the end I got what I wanted. The book is divided in three parts and this is, in my opinion, a great addition to the flow of the story with every time a change that catalyzes a new part in Fiona’s life.

With all that is happening in Fiona’s life, it is her love for Joe and their relationship that makes the romance breathtaking in this tale, what happened between them ripped at my heart and through the story my desire had almost a one-track-mind. Through murder, loss, affairs and misunderstandings they each separately make something of their lives and in the most secret place of their heart they both still hold that bright and never ending love for one another.

Besides the well crafted plot which is filled with darkness, despair and revenge, it is love that is vibrant throughout this story, the love of a mother for her child, the love between siblings, the love between friends and most of all of course the love between a man and a woman. I think Jennifer Donnelly demonstrates the best and the worst what the world had to offer at that time in history. With a deep touching tale, dynamic and engaging characters, an incredible world building and a plot that holds a few twists in the end Donnelly has surprised me. Moreover she has me eager for the second installment in this trilogy!

I started The Tea Rose at night, curled up in bed just wanting to read a few chapters before going to sleep and I did go to sleep…three hours later. The next morning I grabbed the book again and spend a lazy Sunday with a novel perfectly suited for the day. All I can say is if you love a thoroughly set up epic historical and are not thrown off by the 700 pages then this is the novel for you!

Review: Jennifer Donnelly - The Winter Rose

Hardcover: 720 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (January 8, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401301037
ISBN-13: 978-1401301033

Summary:
When India Selwyn Jones, a young woman from a noble family, graduates from the London School of Medicine for Women in 1900, her professors advise her to set up her practice in London's esteemed Harley Street. Driven and idealistic, India chooses to work in the city's East End instead, serving the desperately poor.

In these grim streets, India meets--and saves the life of--London's most notorious gangster, Sid Malone. A hard, wounded man, Malone is the opposite of India's aristocratic fiancé, Freddie Lytton, a rising star in the House of Commons. Though Malone represents all she despises, India finds herself unwillingly drawn ever closer to him, intrigued by his hidden, mysterious past.

Though they fight hard against their feelings, India and Sid fall in love, and their unpredictable, passionate and bittersweet affair causes destruction they could never have imagined. Sweeping from London to Kenya to the wild, remote coast of California, The Winter Rose is a breathtaking return to the epic historical novel, from a masterful writer with a fresh, richly vivid, and utterly electrifying voice.

Review:

India Selwyn Jones is driven to become a doctor, to make a difference in the world, to heal those who cannot afford medical care but need it desperately. Upon receiving her degree she is eager, full of ideals and passion as she is to start her job as a doctor in the Whitechapel district. It is on her very first day that nurse Ella teaches her something new: the way of medical care for the people of Whitechapel. So much for India’s ideals. Still they die hard and India will do anything to make healthcare for the woman and children in this part of London of better quality.

But India is circling in a men’s world and it is men that sidetrack her from her goals or make it almost impossible for her to achieve them. Sid Malone enters her life as a patient but triggers something deep and hidden within her. No conversation goes without India lecturing him and Sid as a criminal speaks the language and wisdom of the street in return. There is also her fiancé Freddie Lytton, he comes from the same background as her namely, the aristocracy. They are engaged for two years now and Freddie as an MP in the House of Lords has great aspirations for himself that clashes with the dreams of India.

Political conspiracy, murder, the people of Whitechapel, one woman’s dream and a man’s road to redemption... Sid Malone and India Jones will embark a journey of the heart. The question is: Will the rest of the world agree with that?

This summary is a mere glimpse of what is to come as Winter Rose took me on such an epic journey, all the separate threads weave a magnificent story and it had me enthralled for 700 pages. The time period of the early 1900’s is superbly brought to life through the writing skill of Jennifer Donnelly. With painstaking reality it is the people in Whitechapel that stir the scream for justice in me. With an eye for detail and knowledge of the district it bares the foundation for this story and it is the circumstances of the inhabitants, their way of life and language that gives emotion and color to an already grand tale.

India is a woman that has an inner strength, she wants to lead her life on her own terms, practice medicine in her own way and both her senior doctor as her fiancé don’t get that. It is with Freddie Lytton that the author introduces a character whom unfolds such a talent for devious planning, such selfishness, just so he can obtain what he thinks is rightfully his. Freddie is just one of those characters that will add the layers of mystery and tragic events to this story, yet in a different way Sid Malone is another. For me he was the ultimate rogue, a bit of a villain with at the core his heart in the right place. Sid’s past is one of survival and starts in The Tea Rose and now we meet him again as he has build up an empire for himself in the East of London.

India and Sid together are like black and white, two opposites of each other that makes you wonder if they will ever have more than a distant politeness. It is in their conversations together that I find passion, a wisdom of the street versus wisdom of the mind and this creates such vibrant discussions which all together left me convinced it would lead to more, to something bigger. For me Sid Malone turned out to be a complicated man but one that also proved to be very interesting to unravel! It is a gradual romance that in the end will touch your heart and will always let you remember their story.

Sid and India are the core of this novel but there are so many more characters that add their own voice. I enjoyed myself with nurse Ella whom became such a dear friend to India, together they defy the boundaries of conventional medicine practiced by the male counterparts. They each touched each other’s lives and made them a better person for it. The thugs working for Sid, the aristocratic friends of India and Fiona Finnegan with her husband and children just enriched this tale even more.

With a background that speaks of politically changing times it completes the picture of an England at the beginning of a new era as the Labor party demands more, wants more and will take nothing less than a voice in Parliament. The plot is vastly set up with various sub plots going on and it lures you even more to turn the pages and read until the early morning hours. It took me from drab and cold London to a warm and colorful Africa and it is there that events unfurl for Seamus, the brother of Fiona, that ripped at my heart and I instantly knew that his story commenced here at the mountain of Kilimanjaro.

It is again, as with the Tea Rose, that this novel is divided in to three episodes and it is the third that explains it all. Revealing all the information that held me so captivated in the desire to know and if there is one minor flaw to this novel it is the absence of an epilogue. The romance soars high at the ending but it also ended a bit abrupt leaving me with a few questions I long to see answered and I can only hope that the author will do so in the third and final entry to this trilogy.

Jennifer Donnelly is the kind of author that bares such a quality in her novels that it will prove to stand the test of time. In a hundred years they will still be reading Winter Rose. This is just awe inspiring romance!

Quote:
He’s been there again, materializing out of thin air like a guardian angel, when a group of drunken first years from Guy’s had surrounded herself and Harriet outside the school’s entrance. The men exposed themselves, demanding to have their members examined. “Unfortunately, gentlemen, my students cannot comply with your request.” He said, “as they are not permitted to take their microscopes out of the building.”

Review: Sydney Croft - Riding The Storm


Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Delta (August 28, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 038534080X
ISBN-13: 978-0385340809


Summary:
A storm’s rage. A woman’s desire.



A man with the power to set them both free.



He can summon lightning at will. Emerge unscathed from the center of a tornado. Strip a woman down to her barest defenses through the sheer force of his sexuality. He’s gorgeous, dangerous, and the target of parameteorologist Haley Holmes’s latest mission. Haley has been dispatched to the Louisiana bayous to investigate the phenomenon known as Remy Begnaud–a man with a gift he never wanted: the ability to control a storm’s fury. But even a woman trained in bizarre weather phenomena has no defense against the electrifying power of the ex—Navy SEAL...a power his enemies would kill to control.



With her agency monitoring their every move, Haley’s job is to seduce Remy, gain his trust–and help him harness his extraordinary gift. But who will protect her from this voracious lover who’s introducing her to a new world of erotic thrills—a man who grows increasingly insatiable with each new weather event? Haley knows a big storm is approaching—and with it will come unexpected delights. But so, too, will the storm unleash her greatest fears: an enemy bent on destroying Remy. And her worst fear of all—falling in love with this magnificent man, then having to betray him.


Review:
There are people out there with talents, not like acting, painting or a feel for money. No, there are people with talents like ghost hunting, second sight or even creating electricity. This is the story of a man whom through his whole life was accompanied by extreme weather, on the day he was born a hurricane traveled by and this was just a promise of what was to come…


T-Remy has quit the Seal’s and is now of to see his father in the Bayou but the storm, as always, is playing havoc with his libido and in his father’s home he stumbles upon the lovely Haley in the shower. Haley is send by Devlin to recruit a potential ACRO operative with an affinity for the weather and as their company has a select group of people with extraordinary talents she has to determine if T-Remy fits the bill, the ACRO bill.


I am swept away by this duo writing team whom call themselves: Sydney Croft! For me RIDING THE STORM is a divine mixture of erotically charged scenes burning up the pages, suspense that provides the thrills which is needed to keep me on the edge of my seat and paranormal very intriguing characters that made me want to know all about ACRO.


With very little warning the authors plunge the reader in to a fast paced story with T-Remy and Haley as the driving force behind it all. From the moment they meet it sizzles and crackles with physical want and their desire becomes a force of nature to be reckoned with. Though this binds them at first it is evident that something else is between them, at the core of it all, waiting to be acknowledged. T-Remy with his abilities feels like a freak of nature and had a tough childhood because of it. In result he is very reluctant to open up about himself and his abilities, not knowing that Haley knows there is much more out there and in no way surprised. With Haley’s own affinity with the weather they strengthen each other as new feelings blossom.


I love they chemistry between Haley and T-Remy, the road they take to realizing they fit together, the gradual revealing of information concerning ACRO and the first sign of evil called Itor. They all kept me entranced to reading the pages! Who also made a lasting impression were Annika and Creed as secondary characters. Creed is the kind of man that immediately draws a reader to his very devilish nature, wanting to explore his very soul and what makes him tick. Well let me tell you that Annika is an incredible person who does that for the reader. Annika is a woman whom always stands on her own two feet and will let no one tell her to do things differently. No need to say that I would love to see their relationship progress, their interactions light up like a bonfire and I didn’t get enough of them in this novel.


As Creed and Annika are on an operation together it speaks of trouble within ACRO and Devlin as the head of ACRO proves to be a formidable secondary character! He makes me hunger to get to know him more, more of his past, present and his preferences. With trouble brewing within ACRO it leads to an inevitable confrontation where choices must be made and the plot thickens. Where certain things will lead to is a question the authors leave unanswered and makes me wish I already had the second entry in the ACRO series on my bookshelves.


I feel that Sydney Croft has created a new series that speaks of an inventive and talented writing skill. A graceful balance between what is important in my book for a good story: well fleshed out characters, a good and intriguing plot with a sensual passion that enhances the impact of the emotions from the main couple….and of course the unnamed threat that rises at the horizon that wets the appetite for more to come!


With RIDING THE STORM the author duo provide the reader with a riveting read, packed with the good stuff from the romance genre of nowadays.

4.5 stars

Review: Bertrice Small - Lara


Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (May 1, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373771541
ISBN-13: 978-0373771547

Summary:
Welcome, dear reader, to the world of Hetar, a realm of Forest Lords, of Shadow Princes and Coastal Kings. A land of passions, both civilized and savage. Where the social classes know their place, but where anyone can, under the right conditions, advance to the highest pinnacle. This is a place where pleasure is never censured, but encouraged, and where deception and desire may be intertwined. The orderly, elegant veneer of refined Hetar can no longer ignore the rebellion brewing in the Outlands, a dangerous place of both magic and mystery.

From the city that is the very center of Hetar, Lara, the beautiful half-faerie daughter of John Swiftsword, ventures forth on a journey that will awaken her, both body and soul, as she learns the true meaning of love that will last an eternity -- and a searing passion that will change the destiny of Hetar forever.

Review:

Lara is going to be sold to the Master of Merchants, Gaius Prospero, so her father can join the tournament that gives him a chance to become a member to the Order of Crusader Knights. Lara knows there is no dowry for her, no real future, and if this gives her father a chance to become higher in rank and rewarded all its benefits it is the last thing she’ll do before leaving her home.

The Master of Merchants almost can’t keep the eager and greedy gleam from his eyes as he looks at the stunning Fey beauty Lara already is at such a young age. The auction will become a huge success and the bidding out of this world. Or so he thought… for it is Lara’s beauty that causes riots in the pleasure houses and twenty four hours later there were still no bids.
Now Lara is going on transport to other sections of the country, perhaps there someone will pay the price which makes up for Gaius losses. His cousin is a traveler merchant and takes Lara along with him. Arriving at the Forest Lords unprecedented events occur and now Lara is up to facing her new masters…

LARA is the debut novel in The World Of Hetar serie from Bertrice Small and it eats, breaths and hums with the unique writing signature of this author! A young woman starts her journey of experiencing various sides of carnal pleasure. But most of all, Lara searches for a place of her own in the Hetar world and she possesses enough backbone to walk the path of her destiny. It is all given to the reader with that which we come to expect from Bertrice Small. Well described passionate scenes, vivid elaborations of food, clothes and customs and this all enriches the story.

The World Of Hetar was a joy for me to wander in, The Desert Realm with the Shadow Princes, The Midlands with their guilds and orders, The Forest with their Forest Lords, The Coast province with the Coastal Princes and the Dark Outlands. Each had unique customs and surroundings, keeping me intrigued enough to where Lara would end up. The world adds to the lush and sensuous romance-fantasy story that is well written and easy to read. Of course Lara also has her destiny to fulfill and this is no different from many other romance-fantasy stories.

Though I feel at times it was over stipulated that Lara had a destiny to fulfill it is the journey that captivated me. With the Forest Lords, Enda and Duga, it is their brutish ways that made me root for the survival instincts of Lara. The Forest Giant Og was a secondary character that added details of the Forest Lords past and offered a much needed friendship to Lara. Prins Kaliq is a Shadow prince who teaches Lara much in the passion department and of course this vibrates Bertrice Small all the way. He also gets her in touch with her Fey family and they all get Lara ready for the next step of the journey. A horse, sword and staff are given to her by friends and family and are magical. I love details like this and makes it all feel more authentic, every heroine with a destiny to fulfill needs to have weapons that can defend her but also give a certain guidance.

Do not expect a beginning, middle and end, plot and romance wise. Though the final pages give a lovely conclusion it is the mere beginning for Lara then that it provides a satisfying ending. Where Lara ends up is something that makes me say: go read the book! I feel that she is exactly where she needs to be at this point and I enjoyed the romance that blossomed there knowing full well that the beginning is only made. The world of Hetar is heading towards new times and intrigue is lurking from dark corners. It all makes me eager enough for the second novel in this series: A DISTANT TOMORROW.

LARA is a compelling start of Bertrice Small’s venture in to the romance-fantasy genre and makes a satisfying read for its readers.




Review: Veronica Wolff - Master of the Highlands

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425218996
ISBN-13: 978-0425218990


Summary:
A modern woman finds true love across the ocean-and across time.


Lily Hamlin is making a pilgrimage to Scotland with hopes for some direction in her life. There she discovers an overgrown maze and a strange stone map-and lands back in time, in the Lochaber of 1654. Ewen, Chief of the Clan Cameron, must save his people from the brutal redcoats. But then he meets a saucy lass with a peculiar accent, no regard for his title-and an arousing body. Drawn to each other despite their differences, they both realize that they don't want her to go back to her own time. But with battles brewing, staying is a gamble.

Review:
Present day


Lily is getting back in touch with herself and her art, after years of working her creativity at an art department for an internet magazine she hits rock bottom after the death of her grandmother. In honor of her grandmother she has taken a vacation to Scotland. There, with its brilliant lochs and dramatic mountains, it provides enough inspiration to invoke her talent for the traditional art. Upon walking across the countryside she discovers a labyrinth, curiosity gets the better of her and she entered it and gotten utterly lost in the maze of passages. Still Lily admired the garden statue with its intricate lines and following this with her finger she felt the earth tremble…

1654 Scotland:
Ewen Cameron, Laird of the Cameron clan, has some red coats to deal with. He and a few members of his clan meet with General Monk of the British army. There is trouble brewing but General Monk wants to deal with it in his own way which means bribing the highlanders in to submission. Perhaps this would work with some highlanders but a Cameron would not be put on an English leash! Their meeting was short, brisk and very clear on the subject if the Laird of the Cameron clan would stand down. On their way back a lass, lithe of body, an interesting face and with an abundance of curly hair captured Ewen’s attention, the closer he got to her the more he realized she was hurt.


Two time periods meet, two hearts respond and two bodies answer. However, a song in the back of Lily’s mind reminds her of the violence that is to come…

Master Of The Highlands is a debut novel for Veronica Wolff and she immediately gave me a sense of reading a richly set up historical Scottish romance. The feel of Scotland that Veronica Wolff invokes with her writing, both in present as in the past, managed to make me wander through the lush green hills and see the crystal lochs glisten in the sun. In a gradual but slow pace I was taken along the journey that Lily needed to take for her to find that which her heart so longed for.


From the moment Lily and Ewen meet there is an attraction which simmered but does not become a full blown passion until the story is well on its way. What made them so very likeable is the fact they both seem so very real, Lily is a confused woman of the 21st century trying to find herself again, Ewen is a Laird of his clan with all the responsibilities that comes along with such a title. He is serious, strong, with being so very aware of his duties as a Laird that with the appearance of Lily he does his utmost best to make her fit in to the clan and everyday life. Carefully Ewen and Lily tread on the path of mutual affection, taking their time to act upon it but there’s always an underlying simmer of unfulfilled passion. It was like watching a slow but intense dance between two hearts and persons, each baring a past to overcome in order to find each other.

Lily’s adaption to a new time does not go without some bumps in the road, her new job is to be the governess of Ewen’s son and with that another relationship unfurls itself with a heartwarming grace and a bit of devilish attitude. Kat as a maid and secondary character enhances the feelings coursing through Lily’s heart, with her own wisdom she guides Lily and I just enjoyed her roll in this tale very much. The romance has also a few challenges to deal with and Rowena is one of them, she enters the keep with a plan all of her own. This made me root for Lily and Ewen in their fragile but irrevocably blossoming feelings. The complete cast of secondary characters made life more vivid in the keep, whether they were good or bad, they each played their role.

The time period is envisioned with a thorough knowledge of Scottish history adding a quality to Master Of The Highlands that many will enjoy. It starts with an image of Ewen getting himself ready for war. The armory, the clothes, I could see the methodically preparations of a man accustomed to war and defending that which he believes in: his clan…his freedom and his pride as a highlander. The plot is easily to follow but still fundamental to the story and provides some emotionally gripping moments in the end.

The charm of this novel lies in the fact that Veronica Wolff creates a lifelike feel of the characters, romance and world which made me a part of this love story, and I left Ewen and Lily with a content feeling!

11 September 2008

Leontine's book quote's:


Over those few years I’m reading English now I’ve acquired quote’s that bring a smile to my face or give that butterfly feeling in the stomach. Sometimes good quotes will always make you remember the book, the character or the feeling you got when reading that book. I always love to add those quote’s to my review and these have made the cut:

Karen Moning - The Highlander's Touch:

Quote Circen:
He'd sternly reminded himself of rule number four - no physical intimacy. But it had done him no good. Rule number four seemed to have become quite friendly with rule number one - never break an oath - and was cozying up nicely to rule number two - do not lie. What a crowd they were becomming, his broken rules.

Quote Adam:
Once he walked on a California beach, nude in the full glory of his true form. Thousands of Californians had been stricken by high fevers that had erupted in public displays of eroticism. He loved being Adam.

Spell Of The Highlander:

Quote:
"He looked - she got wet,
He touched her - she melted,
He kissed her - her clothes started coming of.”

Quote:
"After having wickedly erotic dreams about him, in which they had sex that would have made the author of Kama Sutra sit up and start taking notes."

The Dark Highlander:

Quote:

"If aught must be lost,
twill be my honours for yours,
If one must be forsaken, twill be my soul for yours,
Should death come anon, twill be my life for yours,
I am given…"

Sherrilyn Kenyon - Fantasy Lover:

Quote:
Oh, but he felt good, smelled good and tasted even better!

Night Pleasures:

Quote:

"What are Daimons?" she asked.
"There vampires on steroids with a God complex

Quote:
Artemis doesn't want to waste her time or ours by picking someone incapable of hunting. I guess you could say we are all mad, bad and immortal.

Night Embrace:

Quote:
'You know, Talon, killing a soul-sucking Daimon without a good fight is like sex without foreplay, a total waste of time and completely un...satisfying.

Quote:
'We did it on the backgammon table a couple of times. And on the couch, the kitchen counter, the floor, the coffee table and ---' 'Oh my God, way to much information, tell me your joking about this.' 'Nope not a bit. I'm telling you, Selena, forget the energizer bunny, this guy had it all.'

Quote:
Ash - 'Then, just when I could relax and do my job, I find out there are Daimons in the swamp and no Talon to kill them. And why wasn't Talon there? Because Tarzan was swinging off a balcony to save Jane from cheetah.'

Quote:
'What are you?' the Daimon asked when he failed to scare or intimidate him. Zarek quirked his lips. 'Oh, please, let me give you the job description. Me dark-hunter. You, Daimon. I hit, you bleed. I kill, you die.'

Kiss Of The Night:

Quote:
"It's not his natural hair color. Trust me. Striker discovered L'oréal a while back.

Night Play:

Quote:
Vane: Around her, he had a raging hormonal surge so profound it made a tsunami look like a toddler's wave pool.

Quote:
Vane:Press one and it rings Wachovia. Ask for Leslie Daniels, she's the bank president.

Quote:
a bit later: "You're crazy. I'm swearing out a warrant for you." Vane smiled tauntingly. "Please try it. All I have to do is press two on my phone for my attorney."

Quote:
Vane:Fury flashed into human form. "Put some clothes on Fury. I'm going blind here."

Winter Born:

Quote Simi:

"The man downstairs done said that the Simi can't charge nothing else until I'm not over my limit no more. I don't know what that means, but I don't like it. Fix it Akri, or else I might eat him. The Simi gots needs and I needs my plastic to work."

Seize The Night:

Quote:
Acheron held an aura that was dangerous and wild: and by his slow, languorous moves, it was obvious that he would be incredible in bed. it was something you just knew the instant when you saw him and it rippled through your body like hot seductive chocolate. He was sexy in a way very few men were.

Quote:
Yes, it was good to be a goddess. Tabbitha couldn't imagine how great it would be to command all that delectable testosterone. And Valerius was prime Dark-Hunter material as he sat with one divinely carved arm braced on the mattress while the rest of him was all but bare to her sight. He looked like some coiled, wild beast ready to strike.

Unleash The Night:

Quote:
"We can help you, Wren, "Vane said calmly. "But you have to trust us." Wren sneered at the wolf. "I'm not putting my faith or life in anyone's hands. All that ever got me was screwed, and my ass is currently sore from it." Fury curled his lip in repugnance. "Nice imagery there, tiger. Graphic. Ever think of writing children's books?"

Dark Side Of The Moon:
Quote:
Ravyn: How he wished he had enough juice to summon clothes for himself. But that, too, would have to wait, so instead he retrieved the evil pink blanket from te floor an wrapped it around him. He grimaced as he realized the word puff covered his cock - yeah, he was fealing really manly at the moment.

Susan: He had de deepest voice she'd ever heard - the kind that just trippled down her spine like a hot caress. Truly the man was sex on a stick.

Ravyn: "You don't knock on the devil's door, boys, unless you want him to answer,"he said, his voice deep and evil. Quote Susan: No, Ravyn was more than she'd hoped for. How could Mr.Wrong, be so wright?

Acheron:

Quote: friend of Tory to Ash
"I've never had a man pick me up before and not grunt like he's dying. I'm in heaven. Marry me, Ash, please!""I would say yes, but I come with more baggage than even samsonite can cover."

Quote:
He gave himself to her and for the first time, he understood the difference. He understood what it meant to make love. To share his body with someone not out of obligation or fear, but because it made them closer. In this one heartbeat, he was hers and she was his.

The Dream-Hunter:

Quote:
Zebulon scoffed at the twins. “Did you miss my job description? Or were you just not paying attention the day I busted heads on Olympus? Fucking with you people is what I do. It’s what I live for and I’m really tired of you now.”

Susan Mallery - Sweet Talk:

Quote:
Claire to a construction worker:
“I’m new to Seattle.”“Need someone to show you around?”Was this flirting? Was he flirting? […] She didn’t want to say the wrong thing or feel stupid.“I have a GPS system,” she told him. “I do okay.”

Michele Hauf - Seraphim:

Quote:
“I can still feel my toes,” she offered wiggling the appendages in question to be sure. “But I shouldn’t wish my squire stumbling about like a drunkard if he loses his to the cold.”“He will not,” Dominique answered confidently. “Just think warm thoughts. Great bonfires and hot August days.”“If I wasn’t an icicle I’d knock you from your horse, "I cannot conjure a single warm image to my bechilled brain. My bonfires are frozen over, and my Augusts are rainy and gray.”

Quote:
“I’ve been thinking. Why do I have to go in first?”“I’m no knight!”Dominique swung around and slapped the squire across the cheek. “What the hell?”Baldwin mumbled. “I dub thee knight,” Dominique casually offered.

Lisa Valdez - Passion:
Mark: Passion held him in the paradise of her bodily embrace. He’s never been to paradise.

Kathryne Kennedy - Enchanting The Lady:

Quote:

Terence and Felicity: “I’m usually in control of my animal impulses. It seems that is not the case when I’m around you.” “Oh.” Goodness, what could she say to that? “Are you saying that my presence brings out the animal in you?” His brows lifted in complete astonishment and then leaned back his head and roared with laughter.

Quote:

“I should have been more attentive. A girl of your innocence shouldn’t have seen all of that.” “I read books,” Felicity said in here defence.

Double Enchantment:

Quote:

He pulled his head back, staring at her passion-glazed eyes, her flushed face. “I need you,” he whispered. “And here’s what you’re not going to like. You need me too.”

J.R. Ward - Dark Lover:

Quote:Wrath:
Welcome to the wonderful world of jealousy, he thought. For the price of admission, you get a splitting headache, a nearly irresistible urge to commit murder, and an inferiority complex. Yippee.

Beth:
Whoa. Fangs. She had fangs.She leaned in, prodded them a little. Eating with those puppies was going to take some getting used to, she thought. On impulse, she brought up her hands, turned her fingers into claws. Hissed. Cool. Halloween was going to be real kick in the pants from now on.

Zsadist:
eyes glittered. The smile on the vampires face was greedy for sin and ready for evil.

Lover Eternal:

Quote:
Rhage sucked in a breath. In all his adult life, no female had ever called him a friend. Or valued his company for something other than sex. In the Old Language, he whispered, "I am barren of words, my female. For no sounds from my mouth are worthy of your hearing."

Quote:
His free hand dipped under her butt, tucked her closer, and then his erection pushed into her, hitting the right place. She could feel the head of him probing through his pants and her pajama bottoms. Say it, Mary."He surged forward again and she groaned. "You want me.""And let's just make sure you remember that, shall we?"

Lover Enshrined:

Quote:
Rhev to Lassiter:"What brings you onto my property?" Rhev said cradling his mug with both hands trying to absorb its warmth."Got a problem.""I can't fix your personallity, sorry."

Jacquelyn Frank - Jacob:

Quote:
The idea of another man touching that precious skin, kissing her sweet, delicious mouth, was more than he could stand. What she was suggesting this time was too much. Beyond too much. “Over my dead body…over my obliterated soul will I ever allow such a thing?” The declaration was a cross between a growl and a soft roar. Bella could see him shaking from head to toe, could feel it vibrating through the door behind her. In all of an instant, the cool, sophisticated Jacob disappeared and a possessive beast reared its head in his place. Now that is more like it,Isabella mused, with a mental smile.

Gena Showalter - The Nymph King:

Quote:
There, rising from the water like primitive sea gods, were six glorious tall and muscled barbarians.

Christine Feehan - Dark Desire:

Quote:
“What we need, Mikhail, is raven’s calming influence. You look as reassuring as a Bengal tiger. Oh, and you look like a bunny rabbit, Mikhail scoffed.”

Dark Melody:

Quote
Corinne to Dayan:"There's such beauty all around us, Dayan. Everyone has to cope with everyday problems. Finances, sickness, even death, loving someone who doesn't love us back." But we can still live life, see the beauty all around us. it's there for the taking. [....] Hope in the midst of heartache. Joy in the midst of pain. Exerpience life - don't watch it passing by."

Anna Campbell - Claiming The Courtesan:

Quote:
When surrender was so equal. What shame was there in defeat?

Untouched

Quote Matthew in thoughts:
You’re a scientist: Approach this with your brains, not your balls.

Another Quote of Matthew:
"Only you make my heart sing, Grace,” he said with every ounce of conviction he felt.

Jennifer Ashley - The Calling:

Quote:
Adrian: "Sweetheart, when vampires tell each other scary stories, they're about me."

Sandra Hill - The Outlaw:

Quote:
Rain to Selik: "I can reach an orgasm as wel as any woman. After all, there are fifty-seven erotic spots on a woman's body. If a man can't find one of them, he needs a flahlight and a sex manual."

Emma Holly – Luisa’s desire:

Quote:

"Luisa," he said, his thought-voice as rich as velvet spice. "In all my lives, I have lost and found more treasures than I can count. But none of them, none, ever meant as much to me as you. There is no Nirvana without you, there is only an empty night."

C.L. Wilson - Lord Of The Fading Lands:

Quote:
Bel to Elly: "The gift is more than what it appears. As with all Fey courtship gifts, it is also a symbol. The deeper and more layered the meanings, the finer the gift. Rain has given you his magic Kem' falla, the essence of himself. An eternal fivefold weave of it, embraced forever in a fragile Celeirian vessel. Strenght wedded to vulnerability, magic to mortal craft, him to you. it sings so many different songs. It is a very fine gift, indeed."

Quote:
Bel toElly: "And you, Kem' falla are the greatest gift of all. You breathe fire back into the dying ember of our king's soul." Rain tegen Elly: <<>> Rain tegen Elly: "I had forgotten the two rules. Rule one: in any dispute between mates, the male is always to blame, even when he is clearly blameless. Rule two" - his middle finger joined the first - "whenever in doubt, refer to rule one."

Quote:
Elly tegen Rain: Elly: I want. I need. I ache. I burn. Rain: <<>>

Anne Stuart – Black Ice:

Quote Bastien:

“If this were a different time, a different place, I would take you to bed with me and make love to you for days,” he said, his voice slow and deep and intent.“I would use my mouth on you until no part of your skin went untouched, and I would make you come over and over until you can stand no more, and then I’d let you sleep in my arms until you were rested and the I would start all over again. I would kiss your wounds, I would drink your tears, I could make love to you in ways that haven’t been invented yet. I would make love to you in fields of flowers and under starry skies, where there’s no death or pain or sorrow. I would show you things you haven’t dreamed of, and there would be no one in the world but you and me, between your legs, in your mouth, everywhere.

Gena Showalter – The Darkest Night:

Quote:
Maddox - "I've seen a few romance novels." Paris had left a few lying about the fortress and Maddox had - maybe, perhaps, might have, would never admit it aloud - picked them up. "Had I read them - "cough, cough"- I would probably think they were - "sexy, fun, enlightening"- interesting."

Quote:
Sabin - Sabin cast a glance out of the French double doors that had opened onto a comfortable balcony with a romantic view of the city. Not that he had room for romance in his life. Women tended to run screaming from him - if he didn't run screaming first.

Shannon McKenna - Behind Closed Doors:

Quote:
Seth - Having a gorgeous woman stare at his cock as if it were one of the seven wonders of the world did great things for his ego. A man's cock could never get enough female apreciation.

Kresley Cole – Dark Desires After Dusk:

Quote:
Holly:Anytime someone askes Holly what she'd done the night before she answered: "Studied, went to the library, swam."Occasionally she varied the first two by doing them with Tim. Tonight's activities?"Slew demons in horrific bloodbath, got shot by vampires with machineguns, had a mad car chase through a swamp.Learned about a secret world existing side by side with our own...."

Nalini Singh - Slave to Sensation:

Quote:
Lucas tegen Sascha in een droom:" If you want to fantasize about me, don't try and turn me into something else. Take me as I am, rough edges, dominance and all." Trailing his lips across her jaw and back he kissed her. Hard. Fast. His way. Lucas - Only his hunger for vengeance had kept him going when no one thought he'd survive. That bloody day and the ones that followed had shaped him, scarred him, and strengthened him. No one hurt the people Lucas cared about. No one took those who were his. He's proven that he'd kill anybody who tried. Anybody

Visions Of Heat:

Quote:

Vaughn en Faith together:"How do you know it'll be pleasurable?"He got on the bed and lay down."Because just looking at you gives me the most extreme pleasure I've ever felt.""Christ, baby, tie me up before you start talking like that." He wasn't joking. Heknew his beast, knew its limits, knew its demands.

Quote:
I'm a cat. Soft silky things make me purr." He nipped at the vulnerable skin of her thigh and smiled at her shudder.[.......]One eybrow rose. She shook her head. "You're a pussycat." Nothing could have prepared her for the blush that streaked across his cheekbones.

Patti O’Shea – In Twillight Shadow:

Quote:
After a heated moment in the kitchen between Creed and Maia:As she pulled up her shorts she said, "You believe in heading straight for the goal, don't you?""I can do foreplay. Join me in the shower and I'll show you how good I am with a bar of soap." "That offer is so tempting, but I think I'll make dinner instead." She zipped her shorts. "You might want to go heavyon the cold water, though, when you get in the shower."Creed smirked. "Cold shower, my a$$, Angel, I'm going to stand under some nice warm water and fantasize about you bent over the kitchen table while I have you from behind." It should take me less than half a dozen strokes to come, then I'll wash up and rejoin you." He took a couple of steps forward, brushed his lips over hers, and headed for the hall. "Think about it," he said over his shoulder before he excited.

Jean Johnson – The Sword

Quote:

Kelly – “Diplomacy is the art of saying, ‘Nice doggy,’ while reaching for a big stick.
Saber to Kelly – “All that I have, I give into your hands. All that I am, I lay at your feet, for I am yours, Kelly, and yours from this day forth.”

Jeaniene Frost: Halfway To The Grave

Quote Cat:

I cleared my throat and tried to slow my heartbeat. No need to keep ringing the dinner bell for him.

Quote:
“Be good only if being bad ain’t more fun!”

This was it for now, hope you had a few laughs, giggles and utter feminine sight...I know I had

Hugs,
Leontine

Review: Cynthia Eden - Hotter After Midnight


Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Brava (May 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758226020
ISBN-13: 978-0758226020

Summary:
Dr. Emily Drake's patients tend to be a little unusual. Instead of the typical therapist's caseload of midlife crises and mother fixations, Emily treats vampires with blood phobias and sex-demons looking for meaningful relationships. But her gift for recognizing and healing the Other--those creatures of the night that most humans don't even know exist--requires a few house rules. First: Never trust a shifter. Especially not one like Detective Colin Gyth whose gold-flecked eyes and predatory air make Emily realize how much she's been longing to lose control...

Colin can't believe the doctor he's been assigned to work with on the Night Butcher murder investigation is the one person who could expose his true identity as a wolf shifter. Smart, sexy, and stubborn as hell, Emily brings out the alpha male in Colin, unleashing a wild, heady desire that takes them both over the edge.

But in the shadows, the Night Butcher waits...eager to spill Emily's blood and taste her terror. And he'll use any means to destroy her, including the one person she has grown to trust.

Review:
With a shrink, a cop, a medical examiner, a police department on the hunt of a serial killer and a whole “Other” world to discover Cynthia Eden gives plenty for me to sink my teeth in! Dr. Emily’s ability is making her a bit of an outcast but is perfect for the population of the “Other” world. She’s a psychiatrist who has a vampire with a serious case of blood phobia on the couch, a succubus who wants more than sex and many more that fill her day. In those first pages it is the compelling writing style that made me ease into reading this novel.

When a killer leaves a body with a slashed throat Captain McNeal sends Colin to Dr. Emily so she can profile this murderer. With Emily’s talent to recognize “Others” she immediately perceives something about Colin he desperately tries to hide. The last person that knew what he was ended up attempting to kill him. So he wasn’t all that eager to share his most inner secrets or thoughts. Together they have to reveal the identity of a very disturbed person but get so much more than they both bargained for…

Cynthia Eden knows how to engage the reader in an all out delicious paranormal suspense read! I smoothed into this story so easily that before I knew it I had read one third of this book. Emily and Colin instantaneously create a scorching vibe which is more the result of Colin’s nature than anything else. It felt like infusing the story with liquid desire and I just happen to have a weak spot for this! It makes me feel the romance more, it makes the interaction snappy and laced with ‘under-the-surface’ emotions and I flipped the pages in anticipation of what would happen.

Emily is, due to her ability, a woman that bears a past but I couldn’t help to laugh as I “saw” her in a conversation with a succubus that has serious intimacy issues. The contradiction of it just appealed to my humor. Emily is all business as a psychiatrist, sure of herself and very competent. Putting her opposite of Colin was a master move by the author, though I felt his secret was a bit predictable. For me Colin is the kind of male character that brings the spice to the story, all hot and flammable joined with, all possessive and wild. Colin is a man that with his nature steps into the personal space of a woman and never leaves. Moreover challenges her to push him out of it. Along with the raw energy that he radiates results in a friction with Emily nerves, hence the snappy interactions where they are both equal and together they deliver an incredible scorching romance story.

There is a tight circle of secondary characters that play a vibrant part. I only have to think about Brooks, the partner of Colin, who with his own thought pattern is trying to solve the mystery. Or another is Smith, the medical examiner, who joins the group with her expertise. Of course the bad guys are present with demon Niol leading the group and he’s one you don’t want to mess with. They all create the world and background for the serial killer to spread a vengeance and death. The plot has a subtle but irrefutable effect on the overall story and while midway I had my suspicions it isn’t until the very end it got confirmed and Cynthia Eden definitely threw my off the wagon a few times. She ups the stakes and the tension, mixed with the thoughts of the killer which Emily caught a few times and it all spirals to a conclusion that made me rapidly read the pages.

HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT definitely raised my temperature with a read that once started will demand to be finished. Romance and plot infused with a hefty dose of sensuous undertones lets me nurture all that I love in a good paranormal suspense.

Review: Jeaniene Frost - Halfway To The Grave


Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (October 30, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061245089
ISBN-13: 978-0061245084

Summary:
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Review:

Catherine Crawfield a.k.a Cat is an anomaly. A half breed vampire, born from a human mother and a vampire father she spreads her avenging menace from her teenage years. She is raised by her mother who has her reasons to hate vampires and she is the driving force behind the hunting habits of Cat. One night it is “business as usual” for Cat when she encounters another kind of vampire. He makes it very clear to her that she has been staking green horn vampires and is in no way a match for him. Bones is a master vampire and has an agenda of his own in to discovering what is behind the disappearances of many women.
Now they team up in a joined venture and Cat is educated in Vampire 101…

They say there is a first time for everything and I experienced one upon reading Halfway To The Grave. It is the first time that a book has made me feel such strong emotional contradictions. The first hundred or so pages I got acquainted with two people that irked me for various reasons explained later on in this review. Then in the middle of the book I was captivated by a plot that reveals so much more than I initially expected. To finish it off with such a bittersweet ending it tugged at my heartstrings leaving me with the immediate urge to find the sequel in this series and dive right back into the mind and life of Cat.

Cat is tough-as-nails and tries to rid the world of all evil called vampires and in doing so she tries to make amends for the pain her mother has suffered. Cat, with her acerbic thoughts takes you in to her life very easily and from page one I thought: ‘Ok, a 21 year old young woman, hunting vampires, at times vinegar thoughts and kicking ass. Am I enjoying this kind of characterization?’ Still she intrigued me beyond what logics can explain. Especially when Cat and Bones engage themselves in each other’s lives. Bones is the kind of vampire that has lived to long and cuts right to the chase but still reveals his own agenda in due time. He is English, has the accent to prove it, has an arrogant nature to boot and packs the powers to match the Master Vampire he is.

The match of Cat and Bones delivers great dialogues, it is sharp as a razor, laced with quirky humor and a bit of salt and vinegar to spice it up. It is Bones that rubbed me the wrong way with his luv and pet endearments, it is not something I can relate to and I perceived them as a bit sarcastic while it wasn’t probably intended to. That, combined with the youth of Cat is what made it slightly harder for me to relate to her, had me riding a two sided feeling. But I was getting to know two people and I stuck to it for as much as the story irked me it also made me revel in it plot and dialogue wise! What was going on, what entailed the past of Bones, who was he, where was Cat going with her independent nature but most of all who were they after and what was the identity of the villain?

Once I succumbed to the pull of the story I got fully invested in the relationship of Bones and Cat. They surprised me, irked me, endeared me, enthralled me and the ending, which is a mere cliff hanger to the sequel: One Foot In The Grave, had me all teary eyed as my heart reached out to both of them. I did not get any closure romance or story wise but with Cat and Bones I did not want it too! Halfway To The Grave is just an introduction to a tale that cannot be told in 350 pages. Cat and Bones will demand more and I’m glad that Jeaniene Frost is giving it to them. In the end I am more than willing to see Cat grow from her starting point in this novel.

The passion is unmistakably present between the main characters and it all starts with the verbal seduction as it slowly extends to touch each other, taste, feel and express. Because it was slowly build up it gave more depth to their relationship but also to their characters. Bones but mostly Cat, needs to go through her own process of finally discovering her feelings and it just gives this story another punch. Add the emotions that drives them, the challenge Bones presents for Cat as he asks her to look beyond the black and white of: humans are good, vampires are bad. He ultimately stirs the foundation of Cat’s world with his wisdom and point of view, trying to teach her that what is important if she wants to survive.

The plot and romance is well balanced with the character development and for me it all blends half way in the story to a mix that will bring rapture to the reader of Urban Fantasy novels. I can honestly say that when I read the first few chapters of Halfway To The Grave I didn’t expected to close this book and realize I had myself a winner in the Urban Fantasy genre.
Jeaniene Frost gets a rise out of me and stirs my reading world with mesmerizing but flawed characters and a plot that screams for a continuance, both in story as for me to read it! All in all it turned out to be an eventful first time.





Review: Sherry Thomas - Private Arrangements



Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bantam (March 25, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0440244315
ISBN-13: 978-0440244318

Summary:
Love has designs of its own.…
To all of London society, Lord and Lady Tremaine had the ideal arrangement: a marriage based on civility, courteousness, and freedom—by all accounts, a perfect marriage. The reason? For the last ten years, husband and wife have resided on separate continents. But once upon a time, things were quite different for the Tremaines….When Gigi Rowland first laid eyes on Camden Saybrook, the attraction was immediate and overwhelming. But what began in a spark of passion ended in betrayal the morning after their wedding—and now Gigi wants to be free to marry again. When Camden returns from America with an outrageous demand in exchange for her freedom, Gigi’s decision will have consequences she never imagined, as secrets are exposed, desire is rekindled—and one of London’s most admired couples must either fall in love all over again…or let each other go forever.

Review:

When a lie turns into betraying all that he holds dear their marriage becomes: a private arrangement. It epitomizes a perfect marriage of London's society but not of the heart as they live on separate continents.

I have been incredibly surprised by the debut novel of Sherry Thomas, PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS. This is not escapism romance written by a talented author, no, this is right in your face romance noir so intense I could only flip the pages in bated breath of what would happen next. Sherry Thomas gives the reader a couple that shows us how wrong everything can go in a relationship and yet the longing for one another remains and is an overwhelming presence in the most hidden corners of their heart.

This is a story that has a past and present storyline and takes a minute to adjust to but in the end enhances the overall understanding of these two strong minded characters superbly. Gigi and Camden are kindred spirits and have a bite to their character. When emotionally hurt they act upon it, not always in a nice way but nevertheless very human and it makes them a very believable couple. I cannot think of one without the other though events will lead up to a perfect acceptable society marriage...one that exists only in name.

Gigi is smart as a whip and has the money to back it up while Camden is a man of blue blood but almost penniless. For them both applies the saying: There is more than meets the eye. When the two of them meet Camden wants to finish his school to get his degree and is elsewhere engaged. However, the mutual intrigue for one another's nature draws them together. It is the intensity of those few courting weeks that holds the seed of their further relationship and every emotion that comes along with it. I was consumed by their feelings, the progress of attraction and rejection as this is intertwined with a passionate desire that simmers under the surface.

PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS contains the classical elements of a London's society structure which is accompanied by its etiquette. With the elegance and prose in Sherry Thomas' writing it only contributed to the feel of the world in the late 19th century. It fills the pages with blooming scenery, colors, sounds and smells that makes the imagery leap of the pages and adds a rich splendor to this tale. Suffice to say that I feverishly turned the pages as I wandered in the world of Sherry Thomas and meeting the characters she created.

Each character became near and dear to my heart, especially the mother of Gigi, Victoria Rowland. She adds a secondary love story that also speaks of second chances, of a love found again, of being bold and a bit wicked to top it off. If there in one thing which an author can please me with is when I am allowed to become a part of the emotional struggles of a couple. I went through the motions with Gigi and Camden, in all their stubbornness I could feel the love and longing radiate from the pages.

I can talk about every aspect in this historical romance novel but it is Gigi and Camden that enthralled me and stole the show, the rest made it possible to enhance that feeling to even greater heights. If I have to say what was bit of a flaw in this novel it is that the conclusion between them as a couple. The resolution of their issues fell a bit short and lost a bit of its impact. The ending itself is wonderful but I would have liked the emotional closure of certain aspects to have been more fleshed out.

Sherry Thomas has made an impressive statement with her debut novel PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS. I would recommend it to all who wants to dig into a historical novel with a bit of a different vibe and intricate, multi-layered emotions. Gigi and Camden's story should sustain your every desire!