30 November 2009

Show And Tell; November

The month November went by in a blink of an eye, really can those months go by any faster? I promised myself I would read more and I did but not as much as I would’ve liked and hoped for. My hubby is counting the weeks until his four week-long winter break and I’m counting with him. I’m thankful he has plans because otherwise by the time we reach week four I would be counting the days until he goes back to work again! Anyway, let’s kick this Show and Tell off with how good the mailman was to me this month. Speaking of the mailman, I had a first this month, normally I have three different mailmen who deliver but this month I got postie from a new service and a new mailman…

Let me tell ya I could barely refrain my mouth from dropping as I saw the personality walking up to my door. He was dressed in knee high leather boots with a 4 inch heel. Long flowing dark brown hair, his face was artistically made up with eyeliner, powder, lipstick, mascara, the whole shebang, his nails were a gothic black, he got a long leather overcoat and skin tight jeans. As I was seeing him/her (drag queen??) strut on those 4 inch heel boots all I could think of was; “Damn, now why can’t I strut on heels like that?” Anyway, he stopped, gave me a bright smile and said: “Someone is in for a few nights reading, enjoy it!” I could only smile back and say that I will.

Of course he wasn’t the only one who brought me books, here's the loot of November:

Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of Fire ( Syn!!! I really look forward to reading this one!)

Patricia Briggs – Dragonblood and Dragon Bones ( SarahT pimped them out good and I clicked the buy button faster than lightning can strike)

Nalini Singh – Blaze Of memory (The moment this book hit my mailbox I read it – review)

Anna Campbell – Captive Of Sin (I love the historicals of this author)

Erica Hayes – Shadowfae (I read an excerpt and was sold at the spot, one of those books I really crave to read)

Diana Gabaldon – The Outlander (I entered The outlander reading challenge and this is the first book I need to read)

Stephanie Tyler – Hard To Hold (Pearl has a monstrous rave review on her blog)

Joey W Hill – The Vampire Queen’s Servant / The Mark Of The Vampire Queen & A Mermaid’s Ransom (My precious *drool*)

The Books I’ve won:

Donna Grant – Mutual Desire (at author’s blog)

Jane Odiwe – Willoghby’s Return (won at Mandi – Smexybooks)

The books I’ve read and reviewed in November;

Anthology – A Highlander Christmas (Sophie Renwick – Dawn Halliday & Cindy Miles)

ROOB ARC; Clare Willis – Once Bitten

C.L. Wilson – Queen Of Song And Souls

Erastes – Transgression

Keri Arthur – Bound By Shadows

Nalini Singh – Blaze Of Memory

Why do I hear the soundtrack of the movie Never Ending Story bleating in my mind *sigh* At least it was more than the month October ;)

And now for some more Book Realm news:

*Insert jingle here*

Leontine: Today at Book Realm a joyous occasion occurred that needs to be shared first and foremost. I can proudly say I have become the godmother of Roy; 2285 grams and 47 centimeters, and Mandi; 2280 grams and 46 centimeters. Sister-in-law did a great job and is currently resting so proud brother-in-law called me up to tell the news. I can’t wait to see SIL/BIL and new niece and nephew, I don’t know if they will allow me to post pics but if they do I will introduce you all with visuals!

Reporter; Now on to other news. On November 20th Leontine celebrated her 20th anniversary of reading in the romance genre and her one year anniversary of this blog. Her mind is forever corrupted by visuals of peeps having hot and heavy sex, she has survived more adventures alongside the H/H of the stories then she can remember and has met various mythical species. Is she ready to call it quits? I quote: Leontine; “Hell no, with a TBR pile of hundreds I am a more voracious reader of the romance genre then ever!”

We found proof on her statement with the evidence of two new challenges; The outlander Reading Challenge from JennJ and the Erotica Romance challenge from Erotic Horizon. For more info on that, click here.

Now our undercover reporter has some juicy news to share about a M/M meme. 007 over to you. Hello, listeners of all things secret and forbidden, 007 checking in with the monthly undercover report. I have stumbled on to a large group of M/M reading hussies trying to convert the innocent. You have heard me, it is true, I have investigated it thoroughly but apparently these M/M hussies have been spewing their propaganda via an M/M meme about all that is hawt regarding male/male smut and romance *shudders in abhor* I have followed the trail back to the instigator of it and revealing this class A M/M felon here before you today;

It is Kris from Kris ‘N’ Good Books

Statements have been made by several figures who cry to the Virgins to go in hiding for these hussies are relentless, have no morals and once infected you’re lost to the greater good called literature! As more news will come in I will report again. This is 007, signing out.

Leontine’s Book Realm also received some more award love as no less than three peeps(LarissaCecile & Jaymzangle) awarded her the Kick-Ass Blog award.

Larissa’s kick ass award

I decided to create and give and Award to some Blogs I think are truly Kick-Ass...

The Rules;

• Accept this award, add the badge above and post about it on your blog with the name (link) of the person who granted it to you.

• Name 5 Blogs you think are Kick-Ass and write why. Don't forget to let them know that you have Awarded them.

Though I couldn't come up with 5 these are my choices:

I’ve recently found a fellow country girl who reads smut, is a voracious reader and has so much eye candy on her blog I’m in a perpetual state of feminine bliss. In my opinion that is so kick-ass! Meet and greet ErotRomanceReader here.

H.A.W.K – because she has the best weekend posts that make me go out on a mission to steal a summoning book from Cecile, or where I had my first jelly bean taste from and she has the coolest contests ever. They are a challenge all on its own. And did I mention she is all round wicked fun, IMO that is kick-ass!

JennJ – Because she has wonderful interviews, always fun to chat with and who set up a great challenge with fabulous badges. They will be badges of accomplishment, her heart for the genre is just kick-ass!

Next to all this uber-kewl kick-ass awards Kindle Vixen gave Leontine’s Book Realm the One Lovely Blog award.

Now it is time to reveal a new feature here at Leontine’s Book Realm titled; From The Netherlands, with love.

Because Leontine always love to see where people live, what their culture is all about and how they experience it all, she is going to give you the Dutch side of her life and she’s going to kick off with an item on “Sinterklaas” A national holiday for the kids on December 5th.

Now that November has come and gone Leontine’s Book Realm has been revamped for the holiday season and we are ready for December’s Beefcake night which is all about Joey W Hill’s Dante from A Mermaid’s Ransom.

Now I’m going to leave you all to enjoy the Cover gallery!

Untill next month’s Show And Tell, take care :)
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28 November 2009

Two new challenges; Erotica Romance & Outlander Reading Challenge

2010 hasn't even begun or new challenges everywhere are popping up in blogoverse. I love challenges and though my Bar Cynster one is going with ups and downs I feel the next two challenges are so up my alley I just can't go wrong!

The first one popped up on Erotic Horizon's blog and I look forward to the challenge of reading more smut, how could I resist on that one!

Here are the rules:

Timeline: 01 Jan 2010 - 31 Dec 2010

Rules: To read TEN(10) Erotica Romance in 2010


You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront then you can change them, nothing is set in stone! (<- this really was the rule that did it for me ;)

The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

If you decide to participate in this challenge please use the links I have set up below with the buttons to post on your sidebar, this way others can find their way back to this post and join in the fun.

If you decide to join this challenge be sure to create a post telling others, please make sure you add a link back to this post so others can join in.

If you decide to join and don’t have a blog and would like to join – Please leave details in comment.

You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.

You must be 18 years or older to join.

Another post will be created at the beginning of the year for completed reviews to be posted.

Another challenge I couldn't resist is The Outlander Reading Challenge. One that is hostet by JennJ from Sapphire Romance Realm. When she gave her shout out I had to think hard...these books aren't light weights but Jamie and Claire so make it worth while and I want to read them all. The first few novels will be re-reads but there are also releases I haven't read yet. I can't wait to join Jamie and Claire in their journey again!

The Rules:

(oh don't worry they are easy!)

1. Anytime between Nov. 17th, 2009, and Nov. 17th, 2010, read the entire Outlander series. ((You do not have to start on Nov. 17th you can start the challenge anytime in the course of the challenge you like there is not any right or wrong way to do it.)) Read Outlander through the latest book An Echo in the Bone. (Any format is acceptable - be it paperback, hardback, ebook format, or audio *the unabridged audio is best as you will miss a LOT of the stories if you get the abridged versions, but is not strictly required*.

**There is also a companion book to the series called The Outlandish Companion this is a fun and informative look at the series, but is NOT required to be read for this challenge. However if you would like to add it to your list feel more than free to do so. It is a lot of fun and there are a lot of things that Diana explains in it from her point of view think of it as a behind the scenes look at the series.**

2. Sign up here by leaving a comment to this post telling me that you would like to join. Please include your blog address as well if you would like to blog about the challenge, so that I can link to your posts. *Please note that you do not have to have a blog or website to participate.*

3. Come back and leave a post at the seperate book posts here *see the list on the right side of the blog here there is one for each book* and I will link your progress and your posts to the books as you complete each one.

4. Enjoy yourself don't stress and have fun with it! That's all there is to it now see that was pretty painless wasn't it. :)

If you want to join the Outlander lassies -> click here

I already have the first book on my shelves to be devoured because up till now my reads of these Outlander releases have been in Dutch. Of course I had to grab the oppertunity and read them in the original language ;) I think I have enough challenge homework for 2010!

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25 November 2009

M/M Meme - Tagged by Fiction Vixen

I have been tagged by Viction Vixen to do this M/M Meme, you know how to keep a gal busy VF!


1. Answer all the questions below in either the comments here or post it on your own site. If you post it on your own site you have to come back and give the link here so I can mosey on over and see if you have a sticky beak.
2. You have to tag two other people once you’re done and pester them relentlessly until they do the meme too.
3. Instead of a meme image thing you have to post a cookie, preferably a twofer. It is an m/m meme after all.


1.How long have you been reading GLBTQ fiction? Since spring this year, I blame it on the bird and the bees…

2. What was the first book you read in this genre? How could I ever forget…I picked up a copy of Chris Owen’s BAREBACK to acquaint me with man love and oh boy, did they [Tor and Jack] introduce me to man love. Did you all know what a daisy chain is? Well I didn’t until I read that book.

3. Are you ‘out’ as a reader? Oh yes, I had smoke signals going on to alert every one, you didn’t notice?

4. Ebooks, print or both? *sigh* Still flirting with Santa to give me an e-reader so up till now it has been print. I think my thirst for man love will be all the more quenched when I have an e-reader ;)

5. Do you buy direct from publishers or from secondary sellers? I have bought everything shiny new so that all the “stains” on the pages are my own. TMI? Take it like the kick ass chicks I know you are cause I’m in a sharing mood!

6. Prove you’re a Book Slut. How many books would you say you buy a week? Didn’t y’all know that Leontine is an encrypted code for book-slut? No, you really need proof?! Ye of little faith *wink* As some on twitter might’ve read I bought a grand total of 14 paperbacks and 1 TPB on Tuesday. I did the damage in one day…one! ‘s all I’m sayin’.

7. Are you a cover, blurb or excerpt buyer? I’m such a cover hussy and can drool at the sight of such visual candy but when blurb and /or excerpt trigger something in me then I’ll hit the buy button.

8. Yeah, you read reviews, but do you actually take notice of them? As a good hussy I go to my pimps, it’s a compulsion I can’t deny. So yes I take notice of what they’re saying ;)

9. Who’s your fave publisher? I haven’t gotten myself a favorite dealer for M/M though LooseID/Torquere Press/Samhain and Ellora’s Cave have provided for me and my addiction.

10. What about authors? Your top two only!! I haven’t read that much yet but one – who I try to pimp out at just about every ocassion – is Chris Owen. I would be shocked if you didn’t hear me ramble about Tor and Jack at one point in some ongoing conversation.

11. Is there a sub-genre you particularly dis/like? Nah, I’ll pretty much try anything, haven’t come up with particular tastes.

12. Short or long?? *rolls eyes* And, no, I’m not talking about cocks. Long, definitely, they give me that full flavored experience I crave. Yet, I am learning to enjoy the short as a fast in-between-er to instantly still my appetite.

13. Anything turn you off about m/m or is all just glorious smut to you? I haven’t read anything that turned down my bodies thermostat below sizzling warm.

14. Finish this sentence. You know it’s m/m twu wuv when… I’m all hot and bothered at the sight of two men lovin’ each other up like there’s no tomorrow…yeah, that pretty much does it for me every time.

15. What trope or theme are you heartily sick of in m/m romance? Still to fresh to the genre to get heartily sick of anything…

16. If you could choose any 3 characters for an m/m/m who would they be? Daemon (Black Jewel trilogy) Raphael (Guild Hunter series Nalini Singh) and Belliard (Tairen Soul series C.L. Wilson) I would be in for such good times…*pants a little at the thought*

17. What new GLBTQ release are you most hanging out for right now? I’m still in exploration mode as a M/M reader.

18. What GLBTQ book has completely blown you away this year? Okay, now this is easy and every frequent visitor can chant it with me…Chris Owen – Bareback. Sorry to be so singular minded guys!

19. What do you think we’ll see more of in m/m romance in 2010? I’v to got no idea but I’ll be there researching it with passion!

20. Don’t you agree that author Josh Lanyon should kill off arsehole character Jake Riordan? You do understand I have to find out now who Jake Riordan is don’t ya.

I've got no idea as who to tag so I'll be back with that wisdom later on!

PS: I just tagged ErotRomanceReader, have fun with the meme!

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23 November 2009

M/M review: Erastes - Transgressions

~buy a copy here~
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Running Press (April 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0762435739
ISBN-13: 978-0762435739

Genre; M/M Romance
Main Characters; David and Jonathan
Book Origin; Personal Library

Summary cover:
1642, England David Caverly's strict father has brought home the quiet, puritanical Jonathan Graie to help his dreamer of a son work the family forge. With war brewing in Parliament, the demand for metal work increases as armies are raised.

The indolent and deceitful David Caverly is bored by his father's farm and longs to escape, maybe to join the King's Army, mustering at Nottingham. David finds himself drawn to Jonathan, and after a passing cavalry trooper seduces the beautiful David and reveals his true nature, he determines to teach Jonathan what he's learned.

When David is forced to leave the farm, and the boys are separated by mistrust and war, they learn the meaning of love and truth as they fight their way across a war-torn country, never thinking they'll ever see each other again.

If there is one genre I discovered this year (2009) then it is the M/M Erotica so when I read about RUNNING PRESS was going to release a M/M romance line I was more than a little intrigued. I carefully looked at the two offerings they had at the time and went with Erastes’ title; TRANGRESSIONS. I had no clue what was in store for me but I was more than willing to find out how this romance would affect me. Well, I can tell you it affected me alright! It was a bit of a different approach to the romantic progress but one that delivered all the same.

The two leading males in this novel are; David Caverly, a blacksmith’s son, a pretty boy and one who wants to get everything out of life as he possibly can. This doesn’t only mean work, responsibilities, work, church, prayer and more work. This also means enjoying a sunny day at the creek, swimming naked and enjoying time with friends. When his father brings home an apprentice he meets Jonathan Graie. Jonathan is a Puritan, a hard worker, devout, eager to learn and respectful to those around him. He is focused on his daily tasks and has little need for anything else. I don’t think Erastes could have created two more opposites then these two men and she told their stories in three parts.

The first part was all about David and Jonathan as young men, about a developing camaraderie and bonding of two very noticeably different men. I instantly took to the way David and Jonathan reacted and interacted with one another, full of youthful exuberance and vigor. Of course other feelings are budding besides the camaraderie and because this part encompasses a longer period of time Erastes created a believable and gradually increasing of intimacy. It also portrays the difference of personalities and how they handle this deepening of intimacy. David is introduced to man love via a soldier and suddenly gets more grip on his feelings for Jonathan and wants to explore this new side of their bond. As opposed to Jonathan, who shares the connection with every profound emotion but there is also a fear instilled in him by his religion and simply by the person that he is. While Jonathan has more inner conflict going on, David has outward conflicts pressing down on him to make certain choices.

As their relationship grows events occur and as a result their paths separate and this is where I was surprised by the author. The story evolved in an entwining of singular storylines regarding David and Jonathan. Their characters undergo a growth they need to become seasoned men and while I was reading about their separate trials and tribulations I still felt they were connected at the core, that neither was truly complete without the other. While they were divided they did both develop feelings for another man and valuable lessons were learned. It is here where Michael Giddings and Tobias become intricate to the story. If there is one man that rubbed me the wrong way but in a good way for the story, then it was Michael Giddings. He belongs to a group of Witchfinders, is fanatically devout and does not shun from violence and torture. His indoctrinating ways, his double standards of what is sinful and his ways of how to purge a person got a rise out of me like no other element in this story save the romance.

As I followed these two leading men through the years of their lives I got a fabulous background of war torn England, of fanatical Witchfinders executing women for practicing witchcraft and worshipping the devil. The old English tongue of Jonathan with thou, thee and whilst enhances the feel of the time period even more. In the historical detail I noticed the competent knowledge of the author and with that it gives TRANSGRESSIONS a lifelike feel of what England must’ve been like in the seventeenth century and has her characters act like it accordingly. As the story is very much focused on the progress of David and Jonathan it has more the feel of a life’s story than anything else. There is also a good deal of male lovemaking that adds a certain pizzazz to a sometimes grim background of war. It is given in the right amount and emphasizes on the emotions of the male protagonists to create a lasting bond of love between them.

I was bound to the two men telling their ‘coming-of-age’ stories, giving up their most inner thoughts, desires, secrets, happiness, doubts and fears. And with that Erastes won me as a reader. I had no doubt that David and Jonathan were made for each other, that while they had to go their own way they would also find each other again. Part three, the conclusion of this story, surprised me, touched my romantic beating heart and while it could’ve been more elaborated it was emotionally very satisfying.

The journey of David and Jonathan is steeped with everything a romance should have; star-crossed lovers, passion, love, obstacles and perseverance. TRANSGRESSIONS holds out on nothing!

Quote Jonathan:

His suppressed emotions tore to the surface like bubbles trapped underwater, the love he felt emerging, suffusing his soul, and joining him to David as surely as if they were manacled together. He would do anything David asked, anything. But how can this be love? Yet how could this be anything else? How could he be so sure of one thing, but be so very confused at the same time?

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20 November 2009

Blogoversary of Leontine's Book Realm

When I created my blog, picked the basic template and filled my profile with interesting tidbits about me I never knew it would take me about 4-5 months to actually make it my home. This is why I have picked the date of my actual first post of HOME SWEET HOME as my blogoversary date. I can still remember the victorious feeling I had that I had conquered everything HTML…which kicked my butt various times later on proving me wrong. Between that post and now many things has changed; the content and look of my blog, the friends I have found in Blogoverse, I have opened my Beefcake club and found me some hunk bartenders.

It was only 6 weeks back when I had to do me some scouring in my blogposts where it hit me; though I placed every review I had before November 20th I actually opened the gates to my realm on November 20th. That’s when I started to ponder on what to do since I’m already doing a monthly giveaway, character interviews, author interviews and hhmmmm a guest post from somebody else didn’t ring true to me for a blogoversary. So I thought, why don’t I tell you more about me as a romance reader and a person. Perhaps that could be interesting, right? Right!

Leontine ‘The Romance Reader’…and that’s when it struck me. The very first moment I read a romance novel was when I was thirteen. My parents had subscribed themselves to a map folder full of magazines and there was also a romance story included, one that included a handful of kisses and the oh so familiar “the next morning” sentence. How my hormone raging body and my romantic beating heart fell for those stories. I was thirteen years old and a world opened itself for me…and this year I turned thirty-three. Unknowingly I almost passed by on another anniversary; The one where I have been a romance reader for twenty years. So let me take you on a journey through my years;

1989; Via our Dutch school system I was a freshman in highschool, LOOK WHO’S TALKING was one of the movies I loved that year and I put up my first Patrick Swayze poster, I considered myself officially a fan. Music of Paula Abdul – Rick Astley – Milli Vanilli – Roxette etc filled my room at night and my romance world existed solely out of that one romance novel from the map and it contained a handful of kisses and the oh so familiar “the next morning” sentence.

1990; THE year I completely, head-over-heels, fell in love with the bad boy from the class, he was set back a year, he had a “fuck-you-all” attitude and could kiss like nobody’s business. I saw Ghost and cried a bucket of tears at the ending. I also got a bit of money by working on the side, got my first perm and that is when my romance world took a leap with the Candlelight Historical Romance line from AUDAX Publisher. I did some grocery shopping for my mother and saw this cover:

I instantly fell for the rock hard and muscled thighs and his abs gave me butterfly feelings in belly, even then I was a junior cover hussy ;) In those days FABIO ruled as a cover model, he never got me all that hot and bothered though. It is also the year where I read my first Bertrice Small, that was quite the experience I will never forget. I think I was flustered throughout the entire book.

1991; Bad-boy and I were still a set and he was setting my world ablaze. It’s also the year I was pissed at prime-minister Kok for a reason I can’t remember anymore and my father encouraged me to send him a letter. I did and lo and behold I got a letter back…what did it say; Thank you for your interest in this matter. Prime-minister Kok always appreciates the involvement and opinions bla bla bla, at that moment I was flabbergasted. Now I know it’s just about a standard reply as they can come.

1992; I was a book junkie and discovered a variety of authors like Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey. I saw the movie SISTER ACT I actually had 2 shelves in my closet where I put all my Candlelight Historicals, even then I loved the sight. It was THE year I broke up with bad-boy (cried myself a river full of tears) the year I had a school trip to London and we resurrected our “relationship” it still didn’t work and on the trip home I flirted and danced with a guy from a football team. Little did I know because how was I supposed to have recognized the name; Manchester United?!

1993; It was the year of JURASSIC PARK (scary!!)and I read my first Elizabeth Lowell, I instantly loved her medieval vibe, unknowingly I was up for more fabulous stuff with her 2nd and 3rd books in this trilogy; FORBIDDEN and ENCHANTED. No one I knew of my age read these books so my sister was victim of my rants and raves on all things romance. So she danced in her room to the music of Take That as I talked about the books I’ve read. I graduated from High School and went to study for my nursing degree. I sunbathed topless that summer, I felt so confident and didn’t care one bit who saw me.

1994; I turned eighteen, made new friends at my new school, danced, flirted, studied. I was on top of the world and life was good. It was the year I watched THE LION KING. Ever since my sister got the video of THE LITTLE MERMAID we were hooked on the DISNEY vids and in the winter there were many Sunday afternoons where we watched them. It was the golden era of DISNEY and I have all my favorites on DVD now. I still read of course but somehow it took a bit of the backseat.

1995; I remember having an assignment for class where we had to read 5 books in each of the 8 different age categories and while fellow students had to work their ass off I already read a lot, made book reports and aced it. I had an internship as a neonatal nurse and I absolutely loved it. By that time reading was a second nature and re-read many favorites, I loved my thrillers and mysteries as well along with my first attempts in the Fantasy genre. BTW, I still was a Patrick Swayze fan and watched TOO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING JULIE NEWMAR. Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo were a couple of drag queens, hi-la-rious!

1996; I graduated for my study and it was the year I got my job at the children’s daycare center and through a contact ad I met hubby and fell in love again. Is was 19, almost 20 and he was 28, it was a stormy romance and by Christmas that year he proposed to me. I was over the moon and of course said yes. In that year I also read one of my all time favorites: Catherine Anderson – ANNIE’S SONG.

1997; Hubby and I got ourselves an apartment and I made the big move from my large and noisy family to a two peeps household. My parents saw the original wallpaper in my room again after a handful of years and they were shocked. To say I had to adjust was an understatement, I cooked in quantities that could feed us for the whole week. I got my membership card of our local library and each Saturday I scoured the shelves for books I might not have read. If I couldn’t find something new then the golden oldies I read a dozen times before would do too. My first shih-tzu Romy was born in December of ’97 she walked into my heart and never left.

1998; I loved my job. Hubby and I had passionate disagreements and we made up in just the same way. I discovered Stephanie Laurens with Devil’s Bride and my shih-tzu Esmé looked at me and I was sold. I had two pups to take care of. At the end of the summer my parents went to a breeder in Belgium and shih-tzu number three Jasmijn peed all over hubby, he said: “She’s mine.”

1999; I watched TV series like Profiler – the X-Files – Millennium - HERCULES: the legendary journeys - XENA: warrior princess etc. Then one day I did grocery shopping and I noticed a paperback in the super market, it turned out to be BORN IN FIRE, book one in the Concannon Sisters Trilogy. When I bought it I sealed my fate and became an utter Nora Roberts junky and read it all. From the Stanislaski Family - Donovan Legacy – MacGregor family - Three Sisters Island to her suspense novels. Two Alpha’s walked in to my life; Luka and Eros, both shih-tzu’s and I had my first litter of pups. Nothing beats seeing those little pups squirm and grow and play and I loved every second of those 9-12 weeks they were with me.

2000; OMG, the earth did not stop, crash or any apocalypse happened at the turn of the century so we all could sleep peacefully again. I discovered Reiki, Tarot cards and Rune stones…I was intrigued. I discovered Lynn Kurland at my library and Susan Carroll with THE NIGHT DRIFTER, loved the supernatural elements in them and they still sit on my shelves.

2001; How can anyone forget? I waited on the bus when a woman came to me and said in a shocked voice; “ A plane crashed in America.” I didn’t think any of it at the time, plane’s sometimes crash, it’s bad enough but not uncommon. I got home prepared dinner with hubby and told him I wanted to watch the news that I heard about a plane crash. What I saw horrified me and I was glued to the TV for the entire evening. 9-11 is a date no one will forget and the ripples of that day are still felt to this day.

2002; Due to a new law couples could get a license that made them official partners or they could get married, yet it was going to be one or the other. Hubby and I discussed it and he said he asked me to marry him so many years ago, he was old fashioned, he wanted me to carry his name. So we got married on 4-2-2002, it was a small affair with just parents and siblings and after the ceremony I bowled in my wedding dress and had dinner. The shoes were to die for and so incredibly hawt underneath my dress, it was hilarious to see. I still read in my spare hours and discovered Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witch’s trilogy. I think I was succumbed to that story for about a week, I could not get enough of this world, plot and characters.

2003; My love for the genres started shift as I read Katherine Neville’s THE EIGHT and Juliet Marillier’s Seven Waters series.

2004; I became an Aunt for the first time of a nephew. I was getting interested in internet and entered some chatrooms, change was coming.

2005; I quit my job to focus on IVF procedures, I got myself a computer and hooked myself on to the World Wide Web. I found a message board crawling with ladies like me and that is where I met Marissa and Pearl. A new world opened itself to me, I wasn’t some nerd who loved to read romance and I don’t want to count the times I said; “you too!” I felt at home and when a fellow reader talked about Sherrilyn Kenyon I hooked myself up with the www and found the Dark-hunter creed. I was sold at the spot and my love for the paranormal genre was born. I actually received the books of Karen Marie Moning sooner and when I read THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER I had to rave about it…little did I know I wrote a “review”. Old habits die hard and I had to infect my sister with the Dark-Hunter virus LOL

2006; I went on a complete book buying binge in a time where M-Bags were still the cheapest method of shipping large amounts of books. Basically I O.D.-ed every time such an M-Bag was delivered by the mailman. The first time is still carved in hubby’s memory. I had bought many Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters, Karen Moning and Kinley Macgregor’s in hardcover and a few more I vaguely remember. The bell rang downstairs and Henry buzzed the mailman in – which I didn’t know at the time – he came walking in the living room with this utter puzzled frown on his face; “Leontine, this came in for you from the mailman.” I looked, I saw the M-Bag and gave this high pitched squeal of delight and practically ripped the M-Bag out of his hands. Hubby still looked at me like he saw an alien while I was grabbing scissors to cut open the M-Bag and box and petted all my precious hardcover books. I got rosy cheeks and a gleam in my eyes of pure satisfaction. When I unwrapped all the books I had a grin from ear to ear. Then hubby carefully approached me again saying; “Erm, Leontine, do you have more of those on its way here because I’m going to buy ear plugs if you do.” I don’t think he will ever “get me” with packages but by now he is a weathered book-addict hubby LOL It was also the year that I met Sherrilyn Kenyon and when ROOB was founded.

2007; The addiction got worse, I got me all the books I wanted but I was discovering much more, it was so different from when I was just reading the Dutch releases. I had an ocean of authors to pick from. Something new entered my world too, ARC reading, I didn’t have a clue what it was in the beginning but ROOB got some ARC’s and I loved it, loved reviewing a book and getting my opinion out there.

2008; In the early fall of that year I created my blog and started to dig in to all things HTML. I read as much as I could; Nalini Singh, Elizabeth Vaughan, Jennifer Donnelly, Paulina Simmons, Anna Campbell, Kathryne Kennedy and so many more. My father also build me my floor to ceiling bookcases and I can tell you #2 is already in the making. I really thought it would take time to fill it but my inner book-addict proved me wrong.

2009; I am thirty-three now, I have a TBR pile of approximately 600 dead tree books, I’ve written about 225 reviews and I have held five beefcake nights. My first erotica novel was Shayla Black’s WICKED TIES and I was oh so reluctant to read in the genre but found amazing reads I would’ve missed otherwise. My first commenter on my blog was Mieke. My first author commenting on my blog was Alyssa Day, If I knew she would be coming I would’ve rolled out the red carpet because I was going something like this; “OMG OMG, an author actually commented on my blog, this is sooooo uber kewl!” My first blog interview was at Erotic Horizon’s place and she opened my erotic horizon even further with her blog ;) My first header of my blog looked like this:

My top 10 search words – everybody has the weirdest things coming up but I’m so vanilla LOL

1. a highlander Christmas, sophie renwick, review
2. shadowfever release date
3. tairen soul
4. the notebook movie
5. geoffrey knight the riddle of the sands
6. anne rice sleeping beauty
7. cl wilson tairen soul book 5
8. karen moning shadowfever release date
9. movie the notebook
10. karen moning highlander series

My top 10 visited pages:

1. / <- whatever that entails is beyond me but it does tickly the curiosity.
2. /2009/10/in-memory-of-kathleen-winsor-my-top-16.html
3. /2009/01/smutty-society-members.html
4. /2009/08/cover-discovery-cl-wilsons-tairen-soul.html
5. /2009/01/rockin-blog-block.html
6. /2009/09/review-karen-moning-dreamfever.html
7. /2009/01/hero-heroines-hall-of-fame.html
8. /html?blogID=5474270223537658903
9. /2009/11/stephanie-laurens-untamed-bride-column.html
10. /2009/06/movie-notebook.html

Twenty years of romance, going from a kiss and “the next morning” to reading M/M romance and man having wrist thick cocks and women actually “swallow”. Times sure have changed as have I and my shelves will reflect that, from the early Bertrice Small’s and Jude Deveraux’s to the newly found authors like Joey W Hill, Lauren Dane and Ilona Andrews.

I love to celebrate my blogoversary and being a romance reader for twenty years so I’m going to pay it forward with an awesome 20-book swag giveaway for the followers of my blog (if you’re not you’re one click away from joining :) I have decided to give the winner a choice; I can ship you the 20 books or the winner can pick his/her own books at bookdepository.co.uk / bookdepository.com (if it ships to your country for free) for the amount of 25 euro or 35 american dollars. I'll pick a winner on December 5th.

1. Sherrilyn Kenyon – One Silent Knight

2. Sherrilyn Kenyon – Dream Warrior

3. Meljean Brook – Demon Night

4. Christine Feehan – Wild Rain

5. Christine Feehan – Ocean’s Of Fire

6. Chistine Feehan – Twilight Before Christmas

7. Charlaine Harris – Dead Until Dark

8. Annette Blair – My Favorite Witch

9. Gena Showalter – Heart Of The Dragon

10. Jeanne Adams – Dark And Dangerous

11. Donna Kauffman – The Legend Of MacKinnon

12. Melanie Jackson – The Selkie

13. Brenda Joyce – A Dangerous Love

14. Margaret Mallory – Knight Of Desire

15. Jennifer Ashley – Penelope And Prince Charming

16. Delilah Marvelle – Lord Of Pleasure

17. Melissa Marr – Wickedly Lovely

18. Jaid Black – Deep, Dark And Dangerous

19. Lora Leigh – Menage A Magick

20. Lili Feisty – Bound To Please

Aidan has dressed up and I'd say; Grab a champagne flute and a piece of cake and tell me, do you remember your very first romance novel you’ve ever read?

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17 November 2009

Nalini Singh - Blaze of Memory

~Buy a copy here~
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Berkley (November 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425231119
ISBN-13: 978-0425231111

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Main Characters: Devraj Santos and Katerina Haas a.k.a Katya
Book Origin: Personal Library

Nalini Singh returns to the Psy/Changeling world and its “breathtaking blend of passion, adventure, and the paranormal”* as a woman without a past becomes the pawn of a man who controls her future…

Dev Santos discovers her unconscious and battered, with no memory of who she is. All she knows is that she’s dangerous. Charged with protecting his people’s most vulnerable secrets, Dev is duty-bound to eliminate all threats. It’s a task he’s never hesitated to complete…until he finds himself drawn to a woman who might yet prove the enemy’s most insidious weapon.

Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor, and programmed to carry out cold-blooded murder, Katya Haas is fighting desperately for her sanity itself. Her only hope is Dev. But how can she expect to gain the trust of a man who could very well be her next target? For in this game, one must die…

There hasn’t been one book by Nalini Singh that failed to give me sheer reading pleasure. And I’m almost afraid I’m jinxing myself with this statement but Nalini Singh is one of those rare authors on my shelves who have yet to write a book that is a letdown for me. If I thought I knew what to expect within the Psy/Changeling series she dishes out a story like Blaze Of Memory to prove me wrong. The different point of view I was presented with delivered an exquisite read with all I came to treasure within this series and then some.

Blaze Of Memory delves deeper in to the Psy past with The Forgotten and how Silence came to be. I always considered myself a changeling kinda gal until Devraj and Katerina a.k.a Katya. Until their story with its undeniable potent feelings shred the cold of Silence. It picked me up, took me in to an alternate world and three hundred and seventy three pages later I was oh so reluctant to leave. I was stunned that the Psy could rattle my emotions like that. It was a masterful entwining of the romance story, a Psy history lesson and new plotlines accelerating the overall story arc.

Dev and Katya are the beating heart of this story and the set up is something I will never get enough of; the impossible romance. Everything that Katya is should repel Dev but the instincts she awakens in him are his Achilles heel. From day one their constrained emotions are a flammable essence waiting for its first chance to fully ignite. Add the lush writing style of Singh and it feels like it only emphasizes on that blatant sensuality simmering between Dev and Katya. It is a heady mix of yearning for something that goes against everything you know and have been taught, and at the same time knowing that it will be the greatest thing you ever experienced. I couldn’t get enough of the romance or of the information that came to me at a steady pace. It worked together as it gradually succumbed me to the mesmerizing pull of this story.

Dev is Psy and director of the Shine foundation. His powers and position make him distant, shouldering the responsibility of many who depend on him and often he has to make tough decisions for the good of The Forgotten. Everything about him screams rigid control until Katya comes along and bares another side of him. The vigorous side, the humorous side and the side that feels so deep you wonder how he is able to hide it.

Katya is all Psy and conditioned by Silence. Her circumstances take her to the Shine foundation and to the doorstep of Dev. She is a woman where vulnerability is fused with strength, innocence is dallying with a smart attitude and where Silence is warring with the uncovered need to touch, feel, love and tease all the senses. Her psyche is as intriguing as her personality and she fueled this story with a wide range of sensations.

Dev and Katya are not right for each other, mostly due to matter outside their control, it’s forcing them to always keep the risks in mind. The intensity of their dialogues made me feel that maddening sense of desperation, at one hand romance was blossoming and at the other hand they knew it was never going to be. Nalini Singh created one hell of an obstacle where there was no way out for Katya and Dev. I could see no way out as I read the chapters and the consequences of that obstacle fully came to be in this story. It was emotion in its purest form, drama bled from the pages and I was in shock for a few moment as I reached that nerve wrecking but beautiful conclusion.

There's something else that I realized as I closed this book and that is that though the point of view is given from the Psy, and it made some things a little bit more understandable, it didn’t affect my overall sense of right and wrong in this world. It can happen when an author gives a perspective from, what I consider to be the evil doers, boundaries fade and things can get kind of confusion. Nothing of the sort happened in Blaze Of Memory, The Forgotten achieved a special place and became a more visible part of the Psy/Changeling world. But there is more that fleshes out this world like vividly drawn secondary characters, they speak to me, both newly introduced and recurring ones. Apparently there is a new pack on the horizon named RainFire with pack leader Remington. The nani of Dev was also a hoot to meet, but more of The Forgotten like Jack and Will, Tag and Tiara flavored this story. Not to mention we’ve got a plethora of Changeling with their mates and children adding to the plotline. Sasha, Lucas, Dorian, Ashaya, Noor, Keenan, Judd, I got to meet them all and through them I received small slivers of information that is casually mentioned but intrigue me nonetheless.

I love being in this world! Each character matters to me and when the romance, the tightly plotted scheming and overall story arc, along with the information seamlessly flows together, all of my hot buttons are pushed to experience an outstanding paranormal romance. Blaze Of Memory is unadulterated reading pleasure!

Quote Katya:

Something shifted between them the previous night – she could feel it deep within: a subtle tug, a bond barely formed.
But that wasn’t the change that distressed her.
Dev walked beside her, but gone was the man who kissed her with a passion that seared her soul. Only the director, hard, focused, unreadable remained.

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16 November 2009

Did I just discover a pet peeve?

I have heard the term pet peeve drop a few times around the blogosphere but never consciously thought about it or that I could have one. Shame on me but I thought I was perfect *coughcough* Initially I thought it was just a reader’s twitch, an involuntary reaction on my side but it has happened a few times now and…*eek* it became a reaction I recognized from a few previous books. This wasn’t a good development in my opinion. Let me tell you how things came to be…

On a stormy night about two weeks or so ago I started in an ARC; Clare Willis - ONCE BITTEN for ROOB. For the second time in a short while I noticed I had issues regarding the genre labeling of a book in relation to the story content after I finished it. Now this novel is labeled a paranormal romance and as I read this story my eyebrows started to rise in my increasingly burning question; “where is the romance?” The romance was so paper-thin in my opinion that the only thing I got from it was that there was an attraction going on between the two main characters. What I got were a handful of encounters, one smutty scene, and at the end they unravel the plot together and…that’s it!

I read those final pages and my eyebrows where so far up my skull people might've wondered if I had a facelift gone wrong. I was going WTF? This is it? Really? Grabbed the flatcover that was provided by the author, thinking perhaps I got it wrong and that it was Paranormal Suspense but there on the spine it said: Paranormal Romance. This is what a publishers deems romance? Paranormal; yes. Romance; Since when does a “kind of” happily ever after constitutes as romance? Is that all it took; a sense of an HAE between two people? I was irritated because when other elements so prominently get the attention I wondered what the minimum demands are of romance.

I had a somewhat similar reaction to Ava Gray’s Skin Game, you all know I loved that book but did that one paranormal accent in Kyra’s characterization deserve the labeling Paranormal? Did I just volunteered for a can of whoop-ass here? So you know, I’m a fun submissive so make me laugh about it!! But back to my thoughts; It made me wonder if every publishing house has a different definition of labeling and why the hell it irks me so much. I think what it boils down to is that the lack of attention a certain element is receiving in a book but does get the label slapped on for whatever reason the publisher deems necessary that throws me off. It makes me ponder on if it’s just me and my requirements to fully experience a genre element in a story, is it a bit promo oriented by the publisher or is it their guidelines for publishing a certain book in a particular genre?

If it is me and my requirements I would say: Girl you’ve got yourself a case of pet peeve going on!

If it is the promo mind of the publisher I would say: From an objective side I can understand it, you want to sell your book but from a reader’s side I cry foul! Give it straight to me, that’s what I want and need from you!

If it is within the Publishers guidelines of a genre then I need to suck it up but I will sometimes be surprised, whether good or bad depends on the author then.

Whatever the reason is, all of the above or none, there are books that will provoke this irritation with me. If I buy an Erotica I want bouts of sex in every imaginable variation that sets me on fire, not a kiss, some magic finger action and then read; The next morning…

So did I just discover my very first pet peeve? I think so. Please, tell me about yours so I don’t feel like a weird alien from outer space.

PS: Still interested in reading my review of ONCE BITTEN? ~click here~

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11 November 2009

Review: Sherrilyn Kenyon - Born Of Night

~buy a copy here~
Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (September 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312942303
ISBN-13: 978-0312942304

Genre: Futuristic Romance
Main Characters: Nykyrian Quikiades and Kiara Zamir
Book Origin: Personal Library

Cover summary:
In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption . . .

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League—and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father’s political alliance has made her a target.

As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

The last year I had to do some inner debating on why I still religiously keep buying every novel of various series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. What kind of hold does this author have on me? Is it my need to experience that excitement again that I felt upon reading those very first Dark-Hunter novels? Was it the acerbic humor of her characters or the sometimes fabulous dialogues and one-liners I had become addicted to? Whatever Kenyon’s mojo is it keeps me invested in her series, albeit at times by a thin thread. I heard about The League trilogy in my early days of reading Kenyon’s work but with the staggering OOP prices I set my curiosity for them aside. Now, as they are being reissued and were written back to the original stories I was intrigued if I could be swept off my feet by something pre Dark-Hunters.

The League is an institution for the finest, the toughest and most skilled assassins doing the bidding of The League’s council. You didn’t quit The League, The League quit you in just one way, and you would end up 6 ft under. So when their top assassin walked away from all he’d ever known hunting season was open and Nykyrian Quiakides instantly became an outlaw.

Kiara Zamir has been the target of many assassinations but she has survived them all. Still, enemies kept trying and almost succeed if not for the Nemesis a.k.a Nykyrian who saves the day and returns her to her father. In that moment their lives become entangled and new threats darken both their lives now. Two people who do not trust easily are thrown together to defeat their enemies once and for all.

Let me just start by saying that while the blue print of the hero is very hallmark for Sherrilyn Kenyon; tortured in every way possible and then some, Born of Night has more depth of character then anything I have recently read from this author save ACHERON. Though I was annoyed at times by the sameness in all the heroes background and at times it took the moral high ground, I also reveled in the amount of time that was spent on character building. For the first time, in a long time, I really felt I was getting to know the characters in every way possible.

Nykyrian is a lost and tortured soul doing what he does best and makes quite a bundle with it. He and his Sentinel group have no trouble killing people but it has to be justified in their eyes. Nykyrian’s inner turmoil shows a man with a past void of any affection or is allowed to show any emotion. Throughout the five hundred and thirty-four pages his background is intertwined in manageable portions so I didn’t feel overwhelmed but got a good overall picture of what he was like in the days of his past and what he had to endure. I would almost say that he was raised in a very Spartan way.

Kiara is neither a kick-ass heroine nor is she a spineless coward, she’s rather a mix of courage and fear that comes through as genuine and believable. A flawed woman and with compassion and curiosity she challenges Nykyrian which often delivered vibrant interaction. The dialogues are often saturated with acerbic comments, dry sarcasm or a gritty tone among the assassins that matches their personalities. Still, Kiara entwines a femininity to it without becoming overly girlish or naïve. In a testosterone rich story she keeps herself standing and demanding a place of her own.

The romance was a slow-burn one, ready to erupt at the right time and at the right place that touches on some powerful emotions between Nykyrian and Kiara. Kenyon took her time to add nuances to the romance which made it a gripping, dark and smoldering story to begin with. Add some enigmatic secondary characters to it and I was excited to meet each new character. Syn whom I got to know the best is a charmer but just as ruthless and feral as Nykyrian. Darling Cruel is an explosive expert, Dancer Hauk nurtures a savage strength and is a brilliant tech expert and along with the more mysterious Jayne they are a threesome who flavor this story with their more than interesting backgrounds. Between them all there is also humor to be found yet the focus remained on the motives that drive each individual.

With the intensity of the story I was surprised at how easily I read this meatier book. Every character, even the archenemies in Born Of Night was compelling in some form or another. The world of The League and its assassins is harsh, brutal, power-driven and has its own code of conduct. This darker, edgier tone is perfectly voiced by Kenyon, sometimes it is even gruesome but never out of proportion or something that I couldn’t read. The ‘defeating of my archenemies’ plot contained great visual fight scenes and barely survived escapes and added another thrill for me to keep reading.

Born Of Night delivers Kenyon’s most familiar issues like trust, betrayal, torture and how two emotionally scarred people find a love to call their own. The greatest asset in this first League novel is the insightful, heart tugging emotional and in-depth characterization of a group of outstanding characters who pull you into the world of Ichidian Universe. A romance that blossoms with endearing moments and grows from a simmering sensual tension to a full blown passion that delivers on a high-stake ending. I am loving the League characters that Kenyon breaths to life, with the familiar issues ranging from their pain from the past and their salt-and-vinegar attitudes. Some become larger-than-life as push comes to shove in admitting their deepest and truest colors.

Though Futuristic Romance is not a genre I read many books in I am glad to have given The League a chance.

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09 November 2009

Review: Joey W Hill - A Witch's Beauty

~Buy a copy here~
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (January 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425225674

Genre; Erotic Paranromal Romance
Main Characters: Angel David and sea witch Mina.
Book Origin: Personal Library

Mina is the daughter of an unholy union-a mermaid taken by one of the malevolent Dark Ones. While helping to rescue Prime Legion Commander Jonah, she exposed herself as a potentially dangerous weapon, susceptible to the darkness in her own blood. Now, for the general good, Jonah has angels watching over her...

Though Mina is resistant to being protected, her attitude begins to change when David, the human-born angel, is awarded the duty. Looking into his eyes, she can sense that he too knows what it means to fight the darkness within. But-as their passion threatens to take over-will it lead them to Heaven or Hell?

I have been pondering a few days on what to say about this novel and sometimes words cannot adequately describe or express the reading experience you’ve had and this is the case for me with A Witch’s Beauty. I am baffled, awe-struck and swept of my feet in a story that is brimmed with diverse, enigmatic and colorful characters who voiced an erotic romance that I cannot define as simply erotic or as a romance. Nothing is simple in A Witch’s Beauty; not the characters, the choices they needed to make, the love they feel, or the events that take place. Joey W Hill gave me two characters, the angel David and the sea witch Mina, and in the mere few days this story encompasses it felt like I’d spent a lifetime with them.

In the very first chapters it became evident there was so much more going on that I instinctively slowed down my reading to absorb as many character nuances and details as possible. I wouldn’t classify A Witch’s Beauty as an easy read. The emotional dilemmas are not black or white, good or evil, right or wrong and it seeks a unique balance between all facets because Mina is such a unique character. She is born from a sea witch and a Dark One, and because of that she is born with a natural evil and good side. It is by her own moral sense and sheer willpower she doesn’t tip over to her Dark One side. Complexity is Mina’s middle name with her scarred beauty, her powers, her sea witch body and often Dark One’s attitude which is rooted in pain and darkness. It would be an understatement if I say that she is an extraordinary heroine.

Opposed to Mina is David, a relatively young angel by their standard but one who is inexplicitly drawn towards Mina. As result of certain events Mina has angels guarding her and when the last one comes back with bat wings David pleas with Jonah to give him guarding duty over Mina. David has a contemplating personality, can be pensive at times, he is serious and has an earnest intensity about him. His quiet resolve throws Mina off balance but with his former life as a human David has his share of memories to deal with, memories that speak of dark heinous acts.

Because this novel is so character driven every single character is fully fleshed out and lots of pages went in to unfolding Mina and David’s past and present story. I could feel their separate and combined inner turmoil. I absorbed each shred of emotion between them. The heart tugging and endearing first times, the beautiful cadence of trust given by one which is treasured by the other, a love and eroticism blossoming between two very unlikely characters who fit each other at the core. It is also a story of sacrifice, of pain and loss that screams for healing and acceptance. The loneliness and inner strength that hides behind Mina’s salt and vinegar attitude is at times heart breaking. It is also exceptionally well captivated by the author that despite, or perhaps because of Mina’s tendency to lean towards evil, what makes her such a fascinating character. The synergy of David and Mina delivers a contrast of good and evil which is done with such an understanding of the concept that actions become understandable. But most of all, it shows how the emotional sides can war inside the soul, providing such conflict that on many moments my emotions were triggered in answer.

I feel like I should include a warning for other readers that A Witch’s Beauty can be an acquired taste due the physical description of Mina, in sea witch form her lower body exists out of tentacles, and I can imagine this could be too much for a reader to handle in the erotic department. I feel like I should tell you all that if you don’t “get” either Mina or David then a lot of this story will be lost to you. But I didn’t mind the tentacles of Mina’s sea witch body as it is such a defining part of her, and I “got” their personalities and issues. Their passion feels so natural, so fierce and sensual that I accepted it for what it is; a sea witch and an angel falling in love with every up and down that they needed to experience to fully come together in heart, mind and soul. I had no issues regarding the character development, which is a rarity all on its own. From A to Z it has been done with a fabulous perception and understanding of both David and Mina, of the world this author created with heaven and hell, and the oceanic world was one I loved to be in.

The dialogues sizzle with each character’s personality, be it Mina, David, Jonah, Raphael or anyone else the author conjured in this story. One of the greatest pleasures in reading this novel is getting to unravel and understand the characters, their pros and cons, their doubts and fears and most of all, how their joy and love soars. Also, I need to mention Dante, if there is one character who was introduced in this novel and caught my immediate attention then it was this cross between a vampire and Dark One. The romance gradually builds to a cresting intensity, each struggle, tender or erotic moment, each fight or emotional battle of wills, each holds a meaning and each event shares a piece of the protagonists personality with the reader. I was completely succumbed to this world, these characters and their story. Hubby could call me, I wouldn’t answer. Dinner preparations were forgotten and TV series held no appeal to me. For three days my mind and imagination was occupied by this novel and I didn’t mind it one bit.

The plot holds a minimal of action but when it happens it is formidably displayed in aggressive splendor. The primary focus of A Witch’s Beauty remains on the progress of the personal journey though and it speaks of various choices to make and maintaining a balance. If the right choices are made and a certain balance achieved, ultimate love is the reward. If they would fail a barren emotional abyss would be awaiting them. I always love this kind of high-stake romance and makes the read increase in its intensity. As I continued to read the chapters all minor and major things interconnected together. It created circumstances where I would think a happily ever after wasn’t going to happen. Emotions soared for me in those final chapters like only a few authors have the ability to do so with me. Joey W Hill made that list of authors!

As the author led me towards the ending I was already jubilating about the awesomeness of this novel but then there was the epilogue. I always enjoy an epilogue but then there are those very few that add something more to the story, something that suddenly becomes unique to the tale. There only comes one to mind that shares the same impact as the one in A Witch’s Beauty and that is the epilogue of The Immortal Highland by Karen Moning. I already had that five star feeling but with the elaborate epilogue it was hard to come down from that place I call ultimate reader’s bliss.

A Witch’s Beauty is a story that was a rare read of perfection and poured emotions from each page. It held out on nothing, not in the good nor the bad side of life, nor the powerful passion, or the romance. I will savor this story for the rest of my life.

I will not hold out on any of the quotes I written down:

Quote Mina:

“I don’t love anyone. I don’t laugh. I don’t hope for anything, and you’re the only one who imagines I might have a soul.”

Quote David to Mina:

“Forgiveness is something given by someone who sees all of you, every dark and light corner, who knows where you’ve been, where you’ll walk, where you’ll misstep again, sees it against what everyone else is or has done, and knows it’s going to be okay. That things are the way they were meant to be, that everything has a reason, even those that can’t be explained. That it’s just okay to just be, to take that precious moment of stillness and hold on to it, use it to give you the strength to fuel everything else.”

Quote David:

Mind-shattering orgasm, a violent argument, a harrowing revelation, and now food. Mina would never be a dull companion. (<- when I read this all I could think was: “That’s an understatement of the year!”:)

Quote Mina to David:

She tilted her head. “I don’t think you have to worry so much. He’s a little psychotic for me.”

“Oh sure, that’s what girls always say. Then they go for the bad boy. Look at me, I’m an angel. Harps, haloes, purity and goodness. What chance do I have?”

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06 November 2009

Stephanie Laurens: The Untamed Bride column & giveaway

For me, it once all started with six incredible men known as the Bar Cynster, since then Stephanie Laurens has delivered quite a few historicals in this series to appease the Cynster appetite. Earlier this year I've been challenged by Marissa to read the entire series *eek* and I'm doing my best! If there is one thing that I noticed upon reading those first Cynster novels is how I have changed as a reader, what I wanted and needed from a Historical Romance in the late 90's and early 2000 years and what I want and need now. When I was presented with the opportunity to read THE UNTAMED BRIDE, a brand new novel from Stephanie Laurens' The Black Cobra Quartet, I jumped to the opportunity.

Before I go pimp out this book I just want you to ride the nostalgia with me as I ask you;

~Which Cynster is your favorite and why?~

And now to talk The Black Cobra Quartet. I don't know about you but this blurb gets me very excited. Especially the - They're battle-hardened, sinfully wealthy, completely unstoppable—and all male. I can go for that, I have no issues in reading about such men *grin*

The first book in a brand-new series, The Black Cobra Quartet, from New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author...

The Untamed Bride

by Stephanie Laurens

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens presents a brash, bold new series.

They're battle-hardened, sinfully wealthy, completely unstoppable—and all male: Four officers of the Crown, fighting against a deadly foe known only as the Black Cobra.

He is a man who has faced peril without flinching, determined to fight for king and country.

She is a bold, beautiful woman with a scandalous past, destined to become an untamed bride.

Together they must vanquish the ruthless enemy, while confronting the dangers of the heart…

The Untamed Bride trailer:

An interview with Stephanie:

My review will follow later this month and to give you all the cherry on the cake I have 2 copies to giveaway of THE UNTAMED BRIDE *woohoo* Because it is a sponsored giveaway there are geographical restrictions: This is open to US, Canadian, and UK residents okay, and we will handle shipping.

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