30 June 2009

Bar Cynster Challenge: A Rake's Vow

~click on the cover to buy a copy~
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (October 1, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0380794578
ISBN-13: 978-0380794577

Summary:

He vowed he'd never marry:
Vane Cynster always knew which way the wind was blowing, and it was headed in a marrying direction. The other Cynster men might not mind stepping up to the altar, but Vane never wanted to be leg-shackled to any woman, no matter how comely. Bellamy Hall seemed like the perfect place to temporarily hide from London's husband hunters. But when he encountered irresistilbe Patience Debbington, Vane realized he'd met his match and soon he had more than seduction on his mind.

She vowed no man would catch her:
Patience wasn't about to succumb to Vane's sensuous propositions. Yes, his kisses left her dizzy; his caresses made her melt; but he was arrogant, presumptuous...and, despite his protests, bound to be unfaithful, just like every other man. Patience had promised herself that she'd never become vulnerable to a broken heart. But was this one vow that was meant to be broken?

Introduction:
Eleven years ago Vane’s story saw the light of day and I was still unaware of the Cynsters at that point in my life. The world kept going, I got up to start the day, went to work and read in the free hours I had. That did not all suddenly change with the discovery of A Rake’s Vow at my local library. I remember falling for Vane and Patience and the mystery they had to unravel together and the memory of this novel was imbedded with a glowing sentiment. Now I am re-reading the first few Cynster stories, enjoying myself but with this entry in the series I was confronted with the fact how I changed and grew as a reader…

Beware of thunderstorms and beautiful ladies for it is proving to be disastrous to the marital status of any single Cynster man. This is something Vane is discovering while he is stranded at his godmother’s estate and with mysteries to uncover he decides to stay and investigate…

My third encounter with the Cynster family was a charming one but had a few hordes for me to take. The two most prominent ones were the plot and the pace of the story. The plot never gave me that impertinent drive to uncover the wrong doers, it felt a bit simplistic and only there for background purposes only.

With this the story failed to pick me up in the mystery, it made me hover at the edge instead of diving head on in the adventures and it slowed the pace. While I was occupied at the country it kept me invested with an intriguing cast of characters, only then I was taken to London. With its inevitable Cynster family balls and etiquette it gave me another horde to take as I am not a fan of this kind of setting. What was there plot wise faded even more to the background and lost more ground with me to be picked up in the end for the conclusion of it all.

It feels much of the story reveals itself on the estate of Lady Amarinta Bellemy, aka Minnie. There the supporting cast of characters are consumed by the mystery of disappearing items ranging from worthless jewelry to needle cushions and it gave me the feel of joining in a game of cluedo. One thing’s for sure, the butler didn’t do it. Instead of a detective we get a smart Cynster who offers to investigate and in the mean time puts a seduction scheme in motion for a beautiful, strong-willed lady of the house. Because from the moment Vane crosses paths with Patience he knows she will be his. And when a Cynster man knows, come hell or high water, he will do anything in his power to make it a reality.

Patience is a woman who is protective of her younger brother Gerrard, has an iron will and pride to match. Most of all though she has a deep rooted aversion to handsome and charming men. So upon meeting Vane all her red flags go up and is in no way going to succumb to his charm.

Vane is instinctive, easy going, the certainty of his victory gives him an inborn arrogance he carries well without becoming over bearing. It is both seductive and aggravating for any woman and so very Cynster. Yet like any of his family he also values family, home and hearth and will do anything to protect that.

A Rake’s Vow is spiced up with some erotically charged scenes, which contributed to the vibrant chemistry between Vane and Patience. Add wonderful back and forth retorts between them and the romance became the best asset in this story. Because the heat does burn between Vane and Patience, and it ignites a classic seduction scheme that was just juicy to read. They bicker, they kiss, they argument some more, they try to match each other in intellect and passion and gave me a good time. One particularly scene in the greenhouse made the pages go up in flames, a step up in sensuality for Laurens and what I was used to in the previous two novels.

There is a tight group of additional characters, from Minnie who charitably took in various family members like the General, Agatha Chadwick , Edmund Montrose, Whittecombe and the young Angela and Gerrard. They provide the story with amusement and a hint of mystery but none, except Gerrard, truly stick out. He still has that young exuberance and combined with his artistic talents I will not be surprised if Laurens gives him his own story someday. Of course there are the Cynster family members and I liked to see Devil and Honoria again.

A Rake’s Vow proved to me how important the characterization is of the leading romantic male and female. Vane and Patience carried the entire story with an abundance is chemistry, sensuality and Vane’s proclamation of his I love you was just the cherry on the cake for me. It rounded the romance to a full bodied experience that lingered after I closed the book. It also made me realize how I changed as a reader, what is important to me now and what was important to me in my mid-twenties. With every Cynster novel I seem to discover something that turns this challenge in to a diverse and interesting one. I am looking forward to Richard aka Scandal who is next and will take me to Scotland.

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29 June 2009

Beefcake Preview Club proudly presents: TRISTAN


Hi everyone,

I’m guest blogging over at ~Erotic Horizon~ today and at the very end of the post I said that if cocktails need to be provided I could call my bar-tender Tristan. And then I thought, you gals don’t know him yet? Of course not, how could you! He and I have been working hard on our project which will have an announcement of our Grand Opening on July 5th. He’s been working up quite a sweat, which has been very distracting on my part, to get it all done before opening day.

Tristan walks into the room while he stretches his body, working the kinks from his muscles after a lóng night. I ask him if he wants to work his magic hands and whip up something for us. ”Hello ladies, there’s nothing more I look forward to then to see you all on opening night of the Club. Flashes a wicked grin, “I think the leading lady over here refers to it as Monday night, ladies night.”

*I’m scowling a bit…”well we girls need some after a stressed out weekend and starting another week full of work, kids and more work!”

“And let’s make sure you ladies get that, me and my team are more than ready to have the Club packed.” Tristan starts to dictate a recipe to me:

For all the ladies who come by today, feel free to ask me questions and this cocktail is on me:

Double Dirty Chocolate Orgasm

½ oz Sky Vodka
½ oz Hersey’s caramel syrup
½ oz Hershey’s chocolate syrup
¼ whipped cream
1 pinch chocolate shavings

He walks to his office in that maddening male confidant swagger of his and closes the door to work on whatever he does there.

Come over to ~Erotic Horizon~ for some book and hunk talk, I wouldn’t mind to start my week like that!

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27 June 2009

Column: "The Wait."



The Wait

With the beginning of each new year it stretches before me like a blank canvas, everything is still fresh and full of expectations. My wish list of books is still controllable and I believe I’ll be actually reading on all the acquired books this year. Oh how I can still fool myself in believing that after three solid years and I should know better. Every year, upon my reflection of my spreadsheet, there are those novels, those few…okay perhaps more than just a few, novels who challenge my patience. Just by thinking of such a novel increases my heart rate, butterflies spread out in my belly, my addiction starts to hum in my blood and I get that urge to do crazy things just to get my hands on a copy of the novel.


Patience is just not my forte, I fool myself in believing I am civil in this matter, that I have evolved beyond the cavewoman of me.want.now. But the fact remains that there is no stopping of my inner cavewoman. It would be the same as in trying to stop Dr. Bruce Banner from becoming the Hulk. One of those authors who evoke such a response from me is C.L.Wilson. The quote: “You had me at hello.” is definitely applied to her. On a fine day I was walking like an online Indiana Jones from website to website, looking for a grand adventure but nothing really happened. Until I discovered the website of C.L. Wilson and found myself a treasure trove of information while I absolutely and immediately fell in lust with her Tairen Soul series. Two books with covers that made me drool and yes, I had to lick them, a compulsion I have since receiving Moning’s Immortal Highlander. I e-mailed her how excited I was and lo and behold I got the nicest answer back and if ROOB was interested in an ARC. Uhm, well let me think now…did we have interest and time to read Lord Of The Fading Lands…hhhmmm, such difficult questions one sometimes has to ponder on…for like two seconds. I was very excited that ROOB received this opportunity and raised my hand up big time for reviewing this novel.

Two weeks later ROOB received LotFL and from page one I felt the potential of C.L. Wilson which was met, conquered and set the bar very high for any and all following novels. Since then “The Wait” for more Tairen Soul novels has been a challenge all on its own. As of yet Queen Of Song and Soul has a pending release date which will be announced when C.L. Wilson has turned in her manuscript and the news made me shake a bit from withdrawal. Now C.L. Wilson is one of the nicest authors out there, funny, always in for mischief and I love it when she comes out of hiding to play. I don’t know if you’ve heard but the story of Queen has been a challenge for Cheryl to write and on Tairen back I want to send her inspiration and my reader’s joy for this series when the writing hits a rough spot! (((hugs))) to Cheryl!! But my inner cavewoman is pouncing my sophisticated side, growling is involved also and it is restlessly pacing…perhaps Steli is rubbing off on me *wink*


However, I did come up with 10 ways to make “The Wait” bearable.

1: Stalk Cheryl for more information or excerpts *devilishly grinning*

2: re-read Lord,Lady & King, something I always love to do so not hardship there *gg*

3: Make a list from now until then what is released and you have got to read or go insane.

4: Stalk Cheryl some more

5: Dream about Belliard, always time well spent LOL

6: Do some summer cleaning, I know, why oh why does one spent time cleaning?? But then all that restless waiting energy needs to get out of your system.

7: On those hot, hot, hot summer days, find some gals, go to the beach and do some hunk-a-liscious men scouting. *why won't you save me?*

8: and let's get really creative....stalk Cheryl some more. Find her at a convention and look with your best puppy dog eyes and say she is truly...really....absolutely... gods-to-honest-truth in your top ten of favorite authors.

9: If that doesn't work...bribe

10: and when that doesn’t do the job…bother your friends in blogosphere with a post about how anxiously you’re waiting for Queen and in dire need of some mental support.


Of course if anyone else wants to give me some advice on how to make “The Wait” bearable, please, come forth and speak!

Have you never heard of this series? I am in a state of shock…you haven’t heard the Tairen roar? Feel a fivefold weave of magic? See the Fey march in full regalia? Okay, perhaps these quotes can whet your appetite to step into this awesome world of C.L. Wilson.

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. Strength 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 to Elly: "And you, Kem' falla are the greatest gift of all. You breathe fire back into the dying ember of our king's soul."

Quote Rain:
"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 to Rain: I want. I need. I ache. I burn.

For oodles of info and embracing the magic of the Tairen go to ~C.L. Wilson's website~

You want to put together your perfect Lord Of The Fading Lands cast together? Go to ~HERE~ have some fun!
Let’s have a Tairen Soul powwow and tell me what you love so much about this series!
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25 June 2009

Shout out for my contest over @ Erotic Horizon


Yes you heard it right! Erotic Horizon, adventurous as she is, invited my over for a guest blog and since I enjoy her blog so much with all that hot and bothering posting of her about various erotic novels I decided to juice up my Guest Blog with a sinfully good contest.

I had everything a woman could want. My husband James. The house on the lake. My life. Our perfect life. And then Alex came to visit.

The first time I saw my husband's best friend, I didn't like him. Didn't like how James changed when he was around, didn't like how his penetrating eyes followed me everywhere. But that didn't stop me from wanting him. And surprisingly, James didn't seem to mind.

It was meant to be fun. Something the three of us shared for those hot summer weeks Alex stayed with us. Nobody was supposed to fall in or out of love. I didn't need another man, not even one who oozed sex like honey and knew all the secrets I didn't know, the secrets my husband hadn't shared. After all, we had a perfect life. I loved my husband.

But I wasn't the only one.

Now merged together in one paperback volume, readers can enjoy the first two parts in the sizzling Under My Skin series!
In Under My Skin:

Sebastian Keller’s been called “the smart guy” most of his life. Though he hasn’t always appreciated the label, and it hasn’t exactly made him a man magnet, he’s put his intelligence to work building his store, Great Escapes Travel Book Shop, to the point it’s now the favorite recommendation of travel agents in the St. Louis area. His customers love him for his extensive knowledge and his amiable personality.

He doesn’t feel very amiable, however, when Rad Tattoos moves in next door to Great Escapes. Its owner, Dylan Radamacher, rubs Sebastian the wrong way from the get-go. The man’s insufferable, stubborn, and worse, a bad boy. Everything Sebastian loathes! And yet, much to his annoyance, the teasing sparkle in Dylan’s eyes, his hot, inked body, and come-hither voice set Sebastian’s libido on fire. Sebastian’s been there, done that with the bad-boy type before, though, and almost lost everything because of it. There’s no way he’s going down that road again. Yet when Dylan sets his sights on Sebastian and is determined to take him for a walk on the wild side, Sebastian knows he’s in big trouble. It’s going to take all his smarts and a whole lot of willpower to resist the sexy tattoo artist before the man finds a way to burrow deeper under his skin...

And the story continues in Under My Skin II:

For two months things between Sebastian and Dylan have been sinfully spectacular, and Sebastian hates to rock the boat. But the truth is, in spite of his own commitment issues, he’s fallen in love with the sexy tattooist. Dylan, on the other hand, seems determined to avoid the “L” word at all costs.

As their relationship shifts toward the serious side, can the guys overcome their fears and take the steps that will bring them the kind of love that lasts a lifetime? Or will their old baggage come back to haunt them and tear them apart for good?

Want to know how to get your hands on these erotic romance novels? Go to Erotic Horizon for more contest details!


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23 June 2009

Review: ROOB Nalini Singh - Branded By Fire

~click on the cover to buy a copy~

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley (July 7, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425226735
ISBN-13: 978-0425226735

Summary:

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man—before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by fire…

I have had the privilege to review BRANDED BY FIRE for Realms On Our Bookshelves and thought I would give you a teaser on my blog and for the full review ~CLICK HERE~

Branded By Fire is the sixth full length novel in the Psy/Changeling series of Nalini Singh and after I finished reading it I wondered; “Why should I be surprised to, once more, bring a serenade to this series?” After 5 novels it is not only the imagination or writing skill of an author that weighs heavily in how a story is experienced. It is also the fact that I care so much about the DarkRiver and SnowDancer pack, the recurrence of beloved characters who shape, form and give such a distinctive feeling to these novels. It is difficult to keep a series on such a constant level for the reader, but Nalini Singh pulls it off and she delivers another incredible tale with Branded By Fire.

Quote Mercy:

“But Riley, I’ll only bend so far. You can’t meet me halfway, this will end. It wasn’t a threat. No, it was something far more important. And he understood. I’ll try, Mercy. I’ll give it everything I have.” It was a raw promise, from the heart of a wolf, from the soul of a man.

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22 June 2009

ARC Review: Alyssa Day - Atlantis Unmasked

~click on the cover to buy a copy~

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (July 7, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425223221
ISBN-13: 978-0425223222

Summary:
Poseidon’s warriors swore an oath eleven thousand years ago to protect humanity from those who stalked the night. Yet when a woman with an ancient Gift dares to claim the heart of one of Poseidon’s fiercest warriors, the world teeters on the knife’s edge between desire and darkness . . .

A warrior scarred…Alexios survived two years of unspeakable torture at the hands of a vampire goddess. Now he’s been ordered to team up with a beautiful warrior and take on the most dangerous mission of his life: to retrieve the Vampire’s Bane. Without it, Atlantis can’t ascend to the surface and take its rightful place in the world. But when evil threatens, will Alexios be led by duty—or his heart?

A descendant of Diana…Grace is part of the rebellion against the vampires and shape-shifters trying to take over her world. She is deadly with her bow, because when she takes aim, she never misses her target. But suddenly she’s focused on a damaged Atlantean warrior who sees her as a weapon, not as a woman. When thousands of lives are on the line, will passion overrule, or will her aim still be true?

When two worlds collide…Atlantis is unmasked.


One morning, about six weeks ago, I opened my e-mail box and there I found a wonderful surprise. An e-mail from Alyssa Day, if I wanted to review Atlantis Unmasked. Well, I didn’t have to think twice about that question and I enthusiastically replied back that I was more than willing. So about ten days later I received a package with not only an ARC of Atlantis Unmasked but also a copy of Atlantis Unleashed and a bag, all signed! Now this maybe normal for everyone else but where I live it is a rare commodity to have a signed edition of a book on your shelves. I have been spending a lot of time in Atlantis the last few weeks, preparing myself for the latest edition in this series and then it became time I cracked the spine of Atlantis Unmasked…

With the events of Atlantis Unleashed still fresh in my memory I was swiftly emerged again in the ongoing plot of the series. The battle was increasing and more warriors were called to fight for their believes and alliances were forged between various groups. The Rebellion and their cause stepped in to the spotlight and it embarks the reader on a new adventure. Not only did the plot found a quick take off, there were also moments in Atlantis that went from petrifying to heart rendering and the romance, oh how Alexios and Grace endeared me to no end.

Grace Havilland is independent, possesses a keen intellect, is quick witted, a descendent from the Goddess Diana and a warrior woman to the core. Her tough attitude is born from loss and she gripped me in how she dealt with it all. Grace is the kind of woman who is part fighter, ready to carry her share in the war against the vampires but at the same time is still feminine enough to appreciate a male such as Alexios. Not only for his looks, she also sees beyond the beauty and scars to find a man that triggers all her personal buttons.

Alexios, how to explain Alexios? He is earnest and sincere but there lives a fear inside him that he is twisted, broken and wrong and it festers inside him like an infection. At first I thought his past would play an important function with many flashbacks, and while both his body and psyche are left scarred it is the here and now that is the most important. Alexios is a warrior to the bone, pure primitive male, deeply committed to protect others, secure in his own strength and never loses control. Yet confronted with Grace he can go from clumsy and charming to complete neanderthal in a heartbeat and in this he effortlessly wrapped me around his finger. The two extremities make him approachable and all I wanted was that happily ever after. That his life would hold something worth living for besides fighting for the human race.

In the early pages Grace was the classic example of the forbidden fruit for Alexios. Or was she really that forbidden? When they are placed together in a fort to train new soldiers there is no escape. Alexios made a vow yet he also had very much sex on the brain when it came to Grace. A ravenous sensuality is build between the love duo and it increased in to a tangible force as the story continued. A push-pull motion that nurtured a cadence which became a tantalizing rhythm. There is nothing more seductive to see a man in complete control over himself and to see him loose it and watch as he struggles how to deal with it all. It is like all of the senses are in a round-the-clock state of torturous pleasure and that single woman can bring relief as something eternal blossoms between the love-set pair.

Atlantis Unmasked is very much plot and character driven with the romance like a glowing thread throughout it all. The soul-meld gives the romance impact and depth between Alexios and Grace. They form the heart of this story while everything around them goes amiss. With the plot advancing not only do I get to meet up with previous characters, there are also a few new ones introduced. Like the Fae brothers of the High Seelie court, the go-to second in command of Grace named Sam and a mountainous man named Tiny. The cast gets expanded with intricate characters but never does Alyssa Day forget those who were there from day one. Especially Aleric and Quinn as secondary characters have an impact. Not that they are overly present in the story, but what was picked up by me made a lasting impression, and I wonder - keep waiting and devour every bit of information revealed.

The acerbic bantering is, as always, present between the warriors and after 5 novels it is as much a trademark of Alyssa Day as the wonderful world building. There is a rich display of emotional wrought scenes alternating with quirky humor and witty banter keeping it intense to read but at the same time the pages flew through my fingers. I mean, how does Alyssa Day come up with terms like “Undead People magazine” it just appeals to the humor reflexes! It is with comments like these she elevates sometimes precarious situations and has me laughing out loud.

There were tears, there was laughter, there were moments my heart soared and there were moments my heart feared for what was to come. There is much in store for the future of Atlantis, both good and bad but I know what I will be doing on the next release day of a Warriors Of Poseidon novel!

In Atlantis Unmasked Alyssa Day goes all out, steering this series to new possibilities, old fuses with the new and I had a blast reading it.

Quote Alexios:
“I know you’re my prince and all, but if you’re going to start reciting poetry about her eyes, I’m out of here,” Alexios said, pulling an exaggerated grimace. “There’s only so much a self-respecting warrior can take.”

Quote Grace:
“Can you read minds?”she blurted out. A slow sexy smile spread over his face and every nerve ending in her body wanted to sing and dance. Somehow, those sexy eyes and that sinful smile, combined with the sheer virile presence of the man, caused the scars to fade into insignificance.

Quote Alexios:
She laughed, and the sound rang in his ears like Atlantean shell chimes. Liquid, melodious, and so rich in tone that he wanted to instantly become a funnier man so he could make her laugh all the time.
He was in seriously deep trouble.

Quote Grace:
If a poem could dance off the pages of a book and wield daggers and a sword, the sight of it might come close to describing Alexios in motion.

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18 June 2009

Column: Urban Legend? Reality or Dream? To Be, or Not To Be…?


Urban Legend? Reality or Dream? To Be, or Not To Be…?

And I’m talking about Lisa Valdez’s ~PATIENCE~.
Once upon a time there was an author who made furore with her debuting novel titled; ~PASSION~ and after that…nothing, nada, zilch. I want to take you back to a road trip…yes, I can tell you some of my most wonderful discoveries have been made during road trips.

One: My husband can't drive and talk at the same time…or better said, he can talk and drive but then his attention is less on the traffic signs and such, so once upon a time we were headed towards my home but ended up in another province rofl.

Two: I cannot sing lyrics from the top of my head…I am a music illiterate, their, confession number one for you to hear from my lips LOL

Three: I can read while car is driving…very niiiice!

Four: One of my very first road trips with a friend, as in another book-addict friend, she talked about ~PASSION~ and the story behind this story revealed itself to me. Nothing can get you more up to date than a few gals and the same passion *wink*

What was I supposed to know at that time about Lisa Valdez, it was like January 2007, I was reading English like a year? I believe I was still at the time in my Ward/Kenyon/Moning etc phase, I gorged on paranormal romance at the time. But, she spoke so enthusiastic about this novel that I knew I had to give it a go soon...so back to the conversation. She told me about the bashing of some people via the e-mail and online about the novel ~PASSION~ and how this could have effected Lisa Valdez ‘s groove as a writer. How the eroticism and language was unique and most definitely an acquired taste. I firmly believe that you can have issues with a book, you can explain the why of it all but to take it out on the author, nah, not cool IMO. Anyway, girlfriend and I talked about it some more and it only teased me and I promised myself to read it quickly. Because this conversation brought to my attention that I was so caught up in my own world I forgot their were many more sub genres around...it took me a while but I got back on track with each of them.

Since that fated roadtrip I think I have come across various discussions regarding this topic and the pending release of ~PATIENCE~. In the meantime I had read and reviewed ~PASSION~ and was completely in love with the leading characters; Passion, Mark and their story. It turned out to become one of my all time favorite historicals, she rocked me to my core and reestablished the historical romance on my radar. So I joined the raving voices and the countdown to the release of ~PATIENCE~ only to wait…wait some more, find a new release date. Get all hot and bothered about it, but release date came and went without actual release and finally we get to hear there is no release date as of yet *pulling my hair out* Lisa Valdez makes a statement on her website saying that she has all but to write three chapters. This was in December 2008...

I know that by now this topic has been much discussed, so much even that it has probably lost it flavor. But when I sauntered off to amazon.de (probably mistake number one) I stumbled upon the cover of ~PATIENCE~ and memories of ~PASSION~ surfaced again and I couldn’t with hold the reflex of clicking on the cover (mistake number two) and then I noticed the release date…

Now I don’t consider Amazon.de to be the most correct resource for information but this date pops up on various sites. The date is: April 6th 2010…one might wonder, is this going to be THE DATE? Do you even care if this is going to be the date of publication? Did Lisa Valdez burn up all your loyalty you once might’ve felt? I have got a hard feeling this is truly going to be the date, I will buy the novel, I most definitely want to know how Matthew is doing after that enticing scrap of an excerpt I read but I have this strange feeling ~PATIENCE~ is going to become an Urban Legend, a myth, a Dream, a Not To Be…

Yet, with all this doom and gloom thoughts on my part that spark of hope still flickers *damnit, it should've been extinguished by now*... because when I re-read my review of ~PASSION~ I fall in love all over again with this novel, I remember the feelings I had regarding this book and hope that Lisa Valdez's new historical finds the light of day. Do you want a reminder why you loved this book and why you were so enthusiastic for ~PATIENCE~? Or do you think: “Stuff it somewhere where the sun don’t shine?”

My Review of Passion ~click here~

Excerpt ~PASSION~

Excerpt ~PATIENCE~

PS: You think with all the times I wrote the titles ~PASSION~ & ~PATIENCE~ I would be sponsored but no, this blogpost and all its written content is a product of my mind and my mind alone LOL Are you bored yet *wink*

PPS: Vote on my poll in my sidebar what you think the verdict is going to be.

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Column: What's your wall paper topic continues….

The wallpaper topic continues….


KristieJ started a topic on: What's your wallpaper?


During my morning latte and blog rounds I found a few blogs talking about their wallpapers. Since my dad gifted me with my computer I always had the “sound of music” background of hills and valleys of windows. I never though much of it, it was just a background, not the most important thing on my computer. I was either lurking in my e-mail, on the internet or doing my thing with photoshop. So why bother adding something that I can stare at for like 2 minutes while my computer boosted up? For a creative person like myself who loves to play with hotties, banners and creative text I was very boring in my wallpaper. For the life of me I can’t remember why that suddenly changed…perhaps inspiration finally struck me LOL Asked my brother how I could change the background on my computer and found this was very easy.


So I hooked myself up with photoshop and started, it wasn’t like I didn’t have myself a whole lot of pictures and though this is version 1.0 and I know for sure it is gonna change in the future, this is my wallpaper at the moment:


The version as how I created it:




You want more inside information on what wallpaper graces their computer go here:

Romance Book Wyrm

Cindy Reads Romance

Erotic Horizon

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16 June 2009

Review: S.J. Day - Eve Of Destruction

~click on the cover to buy a copy~

Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (June 2, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076536042X
ISBN-13: 978-0765360427

Summary:

When you're learning to hunt demons, homework can be hell...

Class is in, but Evangeline Hollis is far from being the star pupil. She's struggling to get through the required training to be a full-fledged Mark -- one of thousands of sinners forced to hunt demons for God. When her class goes on a week-long field trip to an abandoned military base, passing the course suddenly isn't just a matter of pride... it's a matter of life and death. There's a demon hidden among them, killing off Eve's classmates one by one.

As the body count rises, a ragtag team of ghost hunters from a cable TV program unwittingly stumbles into the carnage. Now keeping the Mark system secret competes with the need to keep the "paranormal researchers" alive. With Cain on assignment and Abel investigating a new, terrifying class of demon, Eve must fly solo on her hunt to stop a killer before he strikes again.


When Heaven and Hell cross swords everything becomes possible…

S.J. Day is rapidly making a name for herself in the urban fantasy genre with her Marked series! Not only is Book #2, Eve Of Destruction (TOR/June) occupied with dynamic characters, it also holds a fresh edge-of-your-seat plot within the good versus evil element at its base. At first I got to meet various new characters and the author established an atmospheric backdrop at the military base. It was with each chapter that the pace increased, holding my undivided attention with Eve, Cain and Abel forming the epicenter of this action packed episode. S.J. Day masterfully plays the reader with ongoing revelations that implicates upcoming tribulations for various key characters. A balance is maintained between the revelations and things to come which makes my hands itch for the third novel; Eve Of Chaos (July).

With Eve Of Destruction the story continues and the next chapter in Eve’s development as a new Mark turned out to be an exhilarating one. After the conclusion in Book #1, Eve Of Darkness S.J. Day doesn’t waste any time in Eve Of Destruction and took me right back in to Eve’s world of Heaven and Hell. The agnostic, Eve Hollis is a Mark and has to work for her redemption while two infamous brothers, Alec Cain and Reed Abel will not let her go unless they decide to do so.

Eve is getting Mark education with a not so friendly group of classmates. Gadara, Archangel of their firm, decides to take them on a weeklong fieldtrip for some experience in defeating Infernals. On a deserted military base Eve and her classmates are meant to bond together as a group but when someone starts to murder them one by one this fieldtrip suddenly becomes the real deal…

Eve is a “speak your mind” kind of woman with an anal side and a quick witted tongue. Though the novels are not told from the first person narrative I am very much involved with Eve and how everything has an effect on her. She fell smack-dab in the middle of this new world and she keeps herself standing with self reflection and humor and the latter is very important to me. She has the kind of characterization that leaps of the pages and becomes synonymous with female resilience and strength.

To talk about Eve is to think about her two wingmen, Cain and Abel. Cain is a take charge kind of man who bends the rules to make the outcome of a situation a positive one. Abel on the other hand is one who follows the rules in the hope to achieve his own dream. Both men hold their appeal to me. They ooze mystery combined with power and an innate sensually charged energy which will turn them into many readers’ favorite. Both men are opposites of each other in sibling rivalry and yet they have a similar side, connecting them in an important way and her name is Eve. Separate they are formidable men but together, in their full glory, they create a stunning picture of male virility.

Eve Of Destruction’s emphasis is on the action and Eve’s growth as a Mark. Still, Cain and Abel take a very prominent place within the story as their triangular relationship shifts and changes. Choices are made with great repercussions which create enticing options. I loved the way S.J. Day showcased the individual storyline, growth and emotional conflict of Eve, Cain and Abel. How it affected them personally and as a connected treesome, taking their relationship to the next level.

There are also fascinating secondary characters, who are Eve’s antagonists. The Prince of Hell, talk about a fiend enemy! I can’t wait to find out his diabolical plan. Gadara, an Archangel, who puts distance between himself and others is not to be underestimated. Also, there are more intriguing Archangels to meet and the classmates of Eve have a huge impact on the story. From Holland to New Zealand, there are many countries and personalities represented in this group and each individual added a distinctive voice.

EVE OF DESTRUCTION is just about as good as it gets in the Urban Fantasy. As the plot thickens, tidbits of new information are revealed and the ending left me breathless and in dire need for Eve Of Chaos (July/Tor).

Quote, for no other reason than that my native language is used:
Molenaar yelled from the kitchen, “You attacked me, Krankzinnige vrouw!”

Quote Eve:
Eve growled. “Of course I’m scarred! Why wouldn’t I be? Four weeks ago the most stressful thing I faced was fitting a client’s wish list into her budget. Now I’m lucky to survive the day, between the Infernals that Cain pissed off in the past and the ones I’m annoying right now.”

Quote Cain:
There was more than sex and love involved in his feelings for Eve – respect and admiration, affection and nostalgia. The best days of his life had been spent with her.


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15 June 2009

Column: Birthday's ~ Wishlist ~ Help Wanted & Giveaway



Last weekend we were all summoned to the family mansion in order to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Now that she is a career woman my parents decided they wanted to celebrate big taking the kids out to dinner. Hubby and I packed up early Saturday morning and headed up north to battle with road blocks, traffic jams, four nervous dogs in the back and a hubby high on red bull. It is about a three hour drive, what for most is probably peanuts but in the Netherlands it is quite a drive. I packed Alyssa Day with Atlantis Unmasked and I quickly set myself up for some reading time. Now I never read in the car before but wanted to use these three hours well and with my notebook on my lap and with the book in my hands I started reading. I was quickly submerged in Alexios’ tale and with the second chapter I already found my first quote. Now I tried to pen it in my notebook but writing and driving isn’t the greatest combination. Every time I attempted to scribble something down it looked like some preschooler’s handy work LOL The ultimate moment was when hubby had to break for some a$$hole who cut in front of us and the pen drew a vertical line over the complete page. Glaring at the racing car I focused on Alexios again and by the time we drove up my parent’s driveway I was 90 pages in to the story. YAY for me and working my TRP!

Due to all the traffic jams we were a bit on the late side but in time for candles to be lit on the b-day cake. Now there comes a certain age for a woman not to have candles on her b-day cake anymore and my mother has reached that point. Still, the firefighters who came to the rescue formed one hunk-fest to behold –

I was already flipping my 5 euro bills when my mom elbowed me and apparently I was still high on car fumes, but what a mirage it was LOL

The whole family pitched in for the gift, because when my mother asks for a present you can bet it costs top dollar. Not that she isn’t simply happy with all of her kids dropping by but when it comes to her wish list she has expensive taste. We got her the best gift ever…an envelop with spending money. She has her eyes on a mall in Germany which exists exclusively out of interior design shops where she can go from dark emerald green accessories to burgundy red accessories in the house. A day of carefree shopping, now what woman, on any given age, doesn’t want that? I wouldn’t object for sure, give me a Barnes & Noble’s or Borders and a bucket of money and I am a very happy camper *wink*

Now going home means suddenly ancient rules go in to effect. I absolutely abhor doing the dishes, this is something that has become the task of hubby ~spoiled witch that I am~ but at home it is a golden rule; No one does the dishes just by him or herself, a rule born from the fact of eating with 7-9 peeps LOL. So when dad was doing the dishes I offered my help – I’m still shaking my head in disbelief - like I don’t have enough siblings to take care of that. And as oldest, you can pull rank, yes you can, I’m serious. No revenge of the middle sister going on in our family, no brother pulling pranks, nah-ah, I’ve got them all obedient and in awe of me….well, okay, in another lifetime perhaps LOL Rules like; Shoes go at a certain place, bed is made up in the morning and bathroom etiquette is maintained at all times. After living with my hubby for 13 years now my parent’s house rules are still golden and go in to effect from the moment I step over the threshold of their mansion.

Of course we had a blast during dinner, a little too much to eat, some men drank a little too much and of course stories as old as time got dragged from a past so long ago they are probably written in stone. I tried to be the family's photographer but unlike Ken, Barbie and their friends in my childhood times they do not sit, position and smile when I want them to…it is a nightmare to take a decent shot but I still luurve them all *wicked grin*

So as the birthday rush of my mother subsides the realization hits that my own birthday is about ten weeks away. Ten weeks when I hit the thirty-three years marker and my body cringes a bit…thirty-one and thirty-two years was like: Hey, I’m a young and hip gal in my early thirties but now thirty-three comes which isn’t all that far from thirty-five *eek* I made a promise to myself to love any age and see the challenge in each year but I have to get used to being thirty-three *cheeky grin* So in the upcoming weeks I have to establish a wish list for my family and friends to use but as a reader with about 700 books it becomes harder and harder to find new treasures, aside from keeping up with current series on the shelves….

So this is where you all come in with a HELP WANTED add from my side:

~Are you a voracious reader of any given age?

~Are you familiar with the historical/fantasy/suspense/paranormal/erotica romance genre?

~Is your secret identity that of a P.I. when it comes to finding wonderful (debuting) authors?

~You have knowledge of where the dark brooding, neanderthal like gentleman, uber hunk with bulging muscles and a bedroom athlete congregate?

~You think you can add something new to my bookshelves?

~You have qualities like; being susceptible to bribery. Because in return for your effort I will give a copy of an upcoming release of one of my favorite romance authors up as prize for any who can give me leads on new books and authors.

Please, feel free to leave me a message with your author and title who you think isn’t supposed to be missed on my golden-edged wish list *wink*

TIP: Historical romance novels demand an unusual storyline in the tradition of Anna Campbell, Sherry Thomas & Lisa Valdez. Ballroom display to a minimum for I have the Bar Cynster’s who keep me occupied there more than enough LOL

TIP: Fantasy needs a romantic element in them since my body demands that chocolate bliss in the end of a HEA, whether it takes one-two or five books!



The prize – which makes me feel like: come over to the dark side, we’ve got cookies – is: Nalini Singh – Branded By Fire (Berkley Sensation July)

The winner will be drawn on June 30th and a copy will be send upon release date. I look forward to all of your recommendations!

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12 June 2009

Contest: Royal Blood contest @ ROOB


Rona Sharon – Royal Blood Contest:


Did you know ROOB is holding a wonderful contest with an equally wonderful interview? No? I’m shocked! Really, haven’t you heard of this wonderful historical romance author who has brought the luscious Tudor court to life in her latest historical fiction novel ROYAL BLOOD?

Thanks to Dream-Mistress I have read her first two books: My Wicked Pirate & Once A Rake and loved each of them. They are definitely historical romance novels in which I can sink my teeth in, in-depth historical background, exotic destinations, bold characters, and a writing style that holds both classic elements as a soaring romance. I don’t know about the rest who might have tasted this author already but I have fallen head over heels in love with Rona Sharon’s historical romance’s.

When I made inquires if she was willing to give ROOB an interview she was warm, welcome and more than went out of her way to give us an interview that rocks with loads of extra’s and…three copies of her latest historical fiction novel: ROYAL BLOOD. Yes you heard me correctly *grin*, three signed copies to giveaway and I just wanted to give a shout out to all who haven’t entered yet.

Rona Sharon is the kind of author who brings history back to life in all it splendor. Court intrigues, plot twists and romance lies ahead for you as you'll read ROYAL BLOOD. I'm enthusiastic about this author...can you tell? LOL


Decide for yourself and read the interview with an excerpt of ROYAL BLOOD which was exclusively given to ROOB, read the character profiles of:


Michael’s secret chamber:
Favorite clothes - No clothes (this damnable constant burn I got when they turned me...)

The Viper's Cabin:
Turn on - Naked blond nymphs

Lord Ashby's Townhouse:
Ballroom or Boudoir - Boudoir, naturally!


Above is just a taste of what’s been answered in the interview. Rona Sharon gives a wonderful insight in the author and person she is. I hope you’ll pay ROOB a visit @ Realms On Our Bookshelves click on the sidebar: Author, up close and personal and there at the top you’ll find the interview. If you would like to enter the contest send an e-mail to contest@realmsonourbookshelves.com to enter!


Contest is open to all and closes at June 14th 2009.

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09 June 2009

Review: Alyssa Day - Atlantis Unleashed

~click on the cover to buy a copy~

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Berkley (June 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425220419
ISBN-13: 978-0425220412

Summary:

Poseidon’s warriors swore an oath eleven thousand years ago to protect humanity from those who stalked the night. Now those powerful forces are uniting. So are two souls who are all that stand between justice and the eternal darkness…

A warrior prince…Lord Justice made the ultimate sacrifice for his brother and paid for it with an unimaginable torture. Now he’s back, rescued from death, his sanity shaken, and his mission inescapable—the search for the lost Star of Artemis. But the beautiful human female whom he has sworn to protect is shadowed by an evil that could destroy them both…

A woman of science…The archaeological artifacts of Atlantis speak to Dr. Keely McDermott, sharing visions of life long ago. The ancient revelations have cast her into a world between past and present, between reality and illusion—and, when she meets the fierce Atlantean warrior assigned to guard her, between terror and temptation. Now as their two worlds collide, so too will danger and desire…

A quest for a lost star… Atlantis is unleashed.

With the ending of Atlantis Awakening I don’t think there was one reader out there, loving this series and who didn’t scream for Justice’s story. I count my blessing in that regard that I didn’t read Atlantis Awakening upon release but only just this month, with Atlantis Unleashed already on my shelves. With reading the final pages I can say that Justice left its mark all over Atlantis Unleashed and took me on his journey of the heart and soul. For all of you who have been on edge for the continuation of this series the time has finally arrived for Justice to step up to the plate and deliver his tale in all its glory.

Justice is a warrior of Poseidon with his distinctive blue hair and sword strapped to his back. He nurtures a defying attitude and inborn arrogance which makes him the embodiment of a warrior who knows his strengths and knows what he can do. I enjoy sinking my teeth in to a hero who is as complex as he is delectable, and Justice fits the bill like a glove. I fell for Justice his Nereid side, a bit provoking and taunting, a bit dark and reeking of undiscovered power. These kind of character traits are my chocolate on any day, but moreover, it brought out his Atlantean side of protectiveness, of honor and of righteousness. Alyssa Day created the kind of page space to convey his story in-depth, allowing Justice to come alive via the pages and this ultimately made the ending so emotionly steeped for me.

Usually in any given story I enjoy the heroine in various degrees but my focus always seems to be drawn towards the hero. Not so with Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Poseidon stories, twice now she dished out a heroine that shined equally as the hero. In Atlantis Unleashed Keely and Justice were no different at the core, they became a one-two punch as they set each other emotionally reeling. With Keely McDermott I got presented to another heroine who is not only fiercely intelligent, she is also gifted and has an independent mind but for the first time I felt my focus shift slightly more towards Justice.

This did not diminish the fact that I reveled in the impact Keely had on the story, or Justice for that matter. She, as an archeologist, receives an opportunity of a lifetime and with her gift she spins the overall plot arc in to new directions. Her passion for history, artifacts and the hunt for discovery is something I could sympathize with and I can’t wait to see what the future of this series has in store for her.

What I think is superbly done by Day is that with the first chapter I got to witness the final events in Atlantis Awakening from Justice’s point of view and immediately sets the tone for Atlantis Unleashed. The author evoked the image of those final moments and thereby refreshing the memory of the readers. From the start there is a different vibe to this tale and it is because Justice bleeds his essence all over this story. He is a darker, grittier and his Nereid and Atlantean side are warring with each other for dominance. Via Keely I got to see some heart breaking moments in Justice’s life and combined with the presence it delivers an in-depth portrayal of a man, shaped by the past and unsure about his future.

The romance of Keely and Justice is gradually increased up to a point where I just wanted to have them go all hot and heavy with each other but the story refrained from such actions. Alyssa Day taught me patience and after many chapters of character and romance development I was rewarded with some hot loving scenes where the background and the situation enhanced it and brought it all together for a delicious release. I gobbled it all up from start to finish, I was so in to their story that the last third of it hurled me in to romantic bliss. Every time I think of that smooth stone my heart cries out and it is a real defining moment in the story.

As the romance and character development took my attention the plot thickens and was wreaking havoc in the background. I was introduced to two new characters of whom I can’t wait to hear more about; the journalist Tiernan Butler and the Poseidon warrior Liam. The plot centers on the Trident and its jewels and I got more information that enticed me as it took me from Atlantis to the cemetery in St. Louis, to the jungles of Guatemala. Plot wise Atlantis Unleashed felt like a story that is forming a bridge to something major which will perhaps happen in Atlantis Unmasked. Something is happening and I can’t really pinpoint it in this novel, it is more of a vibe containing certain events than anything else.

The group of secondary characters like Conlan, Ven, Riley, Brennan, Aleric and Quinn all deliver moments where they accelerate the overall plot as well as their own individual story threads. There is a high-risk battle in the end, yet with various things going on at the same time I feel much still needs to be explored. The events partaking at the cemetery of St.Louis especially held my attention and is one of the reasons I can’t wait to read Atlantis Unmasked, the other one is Alexios. In each book Day delves a bit deeper in the individual character development allowing the full cast to thrive in this series. With such an extensive cast of characters there isn’t one that doesn’t appeal to me or doesn’t hold my interest as his or her storyline continues.

In Atlantis Unleashed I found moments of desperate and dark emotions, events of high-octane action, where the romance led up to a battle where it exploded in its entire splendor and where Atlantis readies itself for another chapter. Justice and Keely delivered a riveting read that will rock within the paranormal genre. Way to go for Atlantis and way the go Alyssa Day!

Quote Keely:
Where Conlan had given the impression of royal command, and Ven was all rough-and-ready warrior, something in this one’s eerie green glowing eyes and the harsh lines of his face spoke of dark deeds whispered in shadow alleys. This one would draw blood before you even knew you’d been cut, and he enjoyed doing it.

Quote Aleric:
Ever instinct he possessed screamed at him to go after Quinn. Logic dictated that he assist Alexios.
Emotion battled reason.
Longing warred with rationality.
Emotion kicked logic’s ass.
He was going after Quinn.

Quote Justice:
He was undone. He, who conquered thousands of enemies and survived countless bloody battles, was shattered by the gentle words of a human. She wanted to risk herself for him.

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08 June 2009

Movie: The Notebook

How I got my hands on a copy of The Notebook:


Two weeks ago I was strolling in a mall where I went in to a shop for some pots and pans and there I saw it, a limited edition of:




I couldn't resist its lure and had to buy it. At home I stumbled on to photobucket and found me some quotes of the movie that put me back in the vibe of it. I read those quotes and wanted to taste the exuberance of a southern first love that seasons all the way to old age. It is a true coming of age romance that spiraled in adulthood as the story is told from the presence via a Notebook.



Now when, way back when, I was still only reading Dutch translation and I loaned my books from the library Nicholas Sparks was an author I frequently read. The Rescue was my first Nicholas Sparks {read my review HERE} and from there I read: A Bend In The Road - Nights in Rodanthe – The Guardian – The Wedding {which is a sequel to The Notebook} and At First Sight. I loved the bittersweet edge Sparks romance novels contains. It is soaring romance with that twist or edge of pain that can come from life’s events. The Notebook was never read by me but was one of those rental movies my hubby brought along for me and I was swept away by Noah and Allie’s romance and the ending had me balling my eyes out.

It is a movie that I can now see every time I am in the mood for some down time, when I am in the mood for chocolate and just hunker on the couch and wallow in an uber romantic movie where larger than life emotions are displayed on my hubby’s new flatscreen tv. If there is one defining moment in the movie that evoked many responses by readers and lovers of The Notebook movie then I think it is this one. I cannot think of Noah and Allie’s story without seeing this in my mind’s eye.





Have you ever watched this movie and what was your favorite scene. Do you abhore or love Nicholas Sparks as a writer and what is your favorite book?


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