31 December 2009

My bookish view on 2009


Christmas has come and gone and I had a blast with hubby and family, had good conversations, good food and saw Hugh Jackman nekkid in Wolverine…it was definitely a cherry on a wonderful day. Now that I’m am sitting in front of pc I’m trying real hard to reflect on 2009 and my mind is going blank. Now of all times, when we are so close to greeting 2010 *headdesk*


So I’ll wing it and just talk about what comes to mind. Personally 2009 has brought me the good and the bad but my reading and books have been a source of positivity for me. I love the romance community, the conversations but most of all I just love reading. This year I had me a few firsts; my first blog interview by Erotic Horizon, my first guest post at Cecile’s, my first blog award given to me by Randi, my first BBAW nomination, my first Beefcake night with Lord Of The Underworld, Sabin. I followed my first brouhaha about blogging, I received my first e-reader and I’ve come to the realization that my blog will always have small changes in look. I thought that once my template was set I wouldn’t change one bit about it. Well, I can honestly say to myself in the mirror; “Forget it hon, you’ll always have minor adjustments to blog, you love playing with photoshop too much!”

So now I’m sitting here thinking of the new authors that have reached my shelves. I always think at the start of each year that I’ll stick with the authors already on my shelves, that there is no room for any new author/series/trilogies or novels. Let me start 2010 different and say I already have a few new authors who captured my attention and they will be happily added on to my shelves. But let me keep it with 2009. Who got themselves a place on my precious shelves?

In random order:

• Ilona Andrews ~ Leanna Renee Lieber ~ Elisabeth Naughton ~Livia Dare

• Erica Hayes ~ Judi Fennel ~Rhyannon Byrd ~ S.J. Day ~G.A Aiken

• Hope Tarr ~ Chris Owen ~ Erastes ~Maya Banks ~ Joey W Hill ~Erin Quinn

• Susan Kearney ~ Linda Howard ~ Suzanne Brockmann ~Kim Lenox

• Judith James ~ Jo Davis ~ Stephanie Tyler ~ Megan Hart ~ Chloe Neill

• Pamela Clare ~ Tessa Dare ~Anne Marsh ~ JoAnn Ross ~ Lauren Dane

• Denise Rossetti ~Jacqueline Carey ~ Amanda McIntyre ~ Charlotte Featherstone

• Ann Aguirre ~ Lavinia Kent ~ Dawn Halliday ~ M.L Rhodes ~ Josh Lanyon

• Mychael Black & Shayne Carmichael ~Jennifer Haymore ~ Margaret Mallory

And some more I can’t remember or discover on my shelves right now. Like above new authors with their releases aren’t enough to keep my other authors and their releases company : ) I decided to explore my 2009 folders and came to the following realizations….

I lurve me some statistics:

I’ve read: 96 books of which 19 were ARC’s ( I really would like to read more in 2010 – New years resolution #1)

I’ve bought; dead-tree; 200 books – 41 e-books – and won 26 books. (I would like to promise to my CC that I will not use it so much in 2010 but know thy self, that ain’t going to happen!)

My best reading month was January with 12 books read, my worst month was August with only three books read 0-o (I was really shocked that I could have a month where I only read three books, THREE!)

I’ve reviewed: 82 (Which means 14 books were not reviewed and for the life of my I can’t remember the titles of the books…perhaps that would be clue #1)

Rated reviews:

1 star; nothing

2 star; nothing

2,5 star: 2 books

3 stars: 11 books

3,2 stars: 14 books

4 stars: 34 books

4,5 stars: 18 books

5 stars: 3 books Lora Leigh – Nauti Dreams – Shannon McKenna – Edge Of Midnigh and Joey W Hill – A Witch’s Beauty

My five ultimate heroes of 2009 are:

Raphael from Angels’ Blood

Tor from Bareback

Sean McCloud from Edge Of Midnight

Natches MacKay from Nauti Dreams

Cain and Abel from Eve of Darkness/Destruction & Chaos (and can’t think of one without the other somehow)

The most remarkable heroine’s of 2009 are:

Mina from A Witch’s Beauty

Sabine, Queen Of Illusion from Kiss Of A Demon King

Erin from Laid Bare

Beauty from Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

Meli Galdes from Silent Blade

When I started my blog I created an award for authors to indicate they were my Top Guns on my shelves. They’ve added such a high quality story to it that I would treasure for the rest of my life, so that is what my award is named; Book Realm Treasure.



Lauren Dane with Laid Bare; the magic she created in this triangular relationship is not something I’ve encountered many times. I instantly held the Brown family & co very near and dear to my heart.

Joey W Hill with A Witch’s Beauty; nothing could prepare me for the impact of this story. The intense, extraordinary characters and emotional depth of this tale is only equaled by the outstanding and lyrical writing of this author.

Chris Owen with Bareback; This author brought two men together and made them feel it all, live it all and conquer it all, including me. Tor and Jack are one of the best M/M stories out there!

Annette McCLeave with Drawn into Darkness; For setting up a world, a battle and introducing characters that had me at hello, I could only want more after book one.

Pamela Clare with Surrender; The MacKinnon’s Rangers enamored my with the blurb but I got so much more. A true historical romance story like they are meant to be told. Full of dangers, high-risks, passion, romance on a backdrop of a war.

S.J. Day with Eve of Darkness; Not only did I get Eve who I loved with her quirky attitude and humor, I also got Cain and Abel. This author took a biblical story further and made it so incredibly good that it became a replacement for my chocolate craving.

Diana Hunter with Secret Submission; I was baffled by this author and how she developed a D/s relationship via her characters and writing that mesmerized me in their dynamics. This is a novel that instantly became a classic on my erotica shelf.

Last but not least, Suzanne Brockmann with The Unsung Hero; This is an author who keeps my flame for the romantic suspense burning. Multiple romances that are heart tugging good and a suspense that is edge-of-your-seat exciting. The Troubleshooters are here to stay on my shelves.

That were my books for this award this year but I could not keep you from getting confronted with my cover hussy side.

These are my top 5 covers;






















To be honest, I have got no clue, for the first time in many years, what 2010 might bring me. It is both scary as it dares my adventurous side but I know one thing for sure, I’ll keep reading, blogging and talk to you all about my book life! I wish you all a healthy, blessed and romantic 2010, let’s have a blast with one another next year!

My top 20 books of 2009 will be revealed tomorrow :)

~HUGS~


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28 December 2009

I haz joined some more challenges

I found me two new challenges. First of all when I found out Pearl would be holding a challenge I was certain of it that I would never have 10 contemporary romance novels on my shelves. Oh, she proved me wrong but when I rediscovered my Nora Roberts on the shelves I was like; Hhmmmm, I could re-read some of my all time favorite like Carolina Moon, Birthright etc and I have Erin McCarthy with Flat-Out Sexy, Maya Banks with her Sweet series and suddenly 10 books wasn’t all that hard to find. So now I am off to add my name to the list of participants and look forward to reading these books!

List so far:

1. Maya Banks – Sweet Surrender
2. Nora Roberts – River’s End
3. Erin McCarthy – Flat-Out Sexy
4. Susan Elizabeth Phillips – What I did For Love
5. Nora Roberts – Sanctuary
6. Jo Davis Under Fire
7. Nora Roberts – Homeport
8. Maya Banks – Sweet Persuasion

( I will add as I go along)



Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

This is what Pearl has to say about the rules and challenge: By contemporary romance I mean straight contemporary, so without paranormal, fantasy or time-travel elements. Sexy, steamy contemporaries are eligible and so are category romances. (i.e. Harlequin Blaze, Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Super Romances, Silhoutte Desires, etc.)

Details:

1. Read at least 10 contemporaries between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010

2. You don't have to pre-select your books, you can just add them as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed. Nothing is set in stone! Also, the books you choose can crossover into or from other challenges you are participating in.

3. Feel free to grab the button below for the sidebar of your blog. It would be great if you would link it back to this post so others can find their way back to this post and join the challenge.

4. If you decide to join this challenge be sure to create a post telling others and feel free to add a link back to this post so others can join in the fun.

5. I will be creating review posts where you can link your own reviews, but reviews are optional.


Photobucket

~link to Royals Fantasy Challenge~

Now with already quite a few challenges I said to myself in serious voice; Leontine, you just can’t handle anything more! You will have various things on your plate next year and a TBR pile to consider as well. (Yes, I talk to myself) Still, when I saw a post on next challenge it practically screamed my name, a genre I hold so dead AND it has various subgenres in which I read quite a few books. I’m guessing Urban Fantasy is included as well and I gots me some Ilona Andrews, Erica Hayes and Chloe Neill. I’ve also got Elizabeth Vaughan, Anne Bishop, and Suzanne Collins I’ve got waiting to be read. All books I can add for this challenge so I’m going for the full 20 books to be read.

1. Anne Bishop – The Invisible Ring
2. Chloe Neill – Some Girls Bite
3. Erica Hayes – Shadowfae
4. Elizabeth Vaughan – White Star
5. Ilona Andrews – Magic Bites
6. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games
7. Laurell K Hamilton – Kiss Of Shadows

(there will be added to the list as I go)

The rules are as followed:

The Fantasy Reading Challenge can include YA Fantasy or Historical Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy or any other sub genre of Fantasy. There really are no limits to this challenge as Fantasy is such a wide and varied genre. Just enjoy and have fun! I'm planning on reading the Katherine Kerr Deverry series if anyone would like to join me in a read along.

Challenge Guidelines:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

2. There are four levels:

-- Curious – Read 3 Fantasy Fiction novels.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 Fantasy Fiction novels.

-- Addicted – Read 12 Fantasy Fiction novels.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 Fantasy Fiction novels.

3. Any book format counts.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

6. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to the post about the Fantasy Fiction Reading Challenge. Include the URL so that other participants can find join in and read your reviews and post.

I was skittish in 2009 to join challenges but I guess 2010 will be a challenge rich year *grin* It will be a fun way to add some structure to the reading :)
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24 December 2009

ARC Review: Lauren Dane - Coming Undone

Buy
Website Author

COMING UNDONE
Berkley Heat
Published: 05 January 2010
ISBN: 978-0425232705
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance: Related to Laid Bare
Length: Novel

Cover Summary:
KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Brody Brown has always been responsible for others. After his parents’ death, he gave up a promising artistic career to care for his younger brother and sister. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, has a nice house, makes a nice living, and for the first time in years he’s on his own.

Elise Sorenson has come to Seattle with her young daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina—(and just as many years in a marriage-gone-bad)—she’s looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

More than friends, Brody and Elise discover in each other what they need—wild, physical passion without commitment. But it’ll take a shadow from Elise’s past to make them look beyond what they need—to what they truly desire.


My Review; Lauren Dane delivered romance with the capital R in COMING UNDONE! A romance that was saturated in a true-to-life essence, one where there was room for anguish, angst, loss but most of all there was room for the beauty. Beauty in a passion shared between a man and a woman. The beauty of friendship, family and community. The beauty of a love development between a man, a woman and a child that carried a strength which will make you a believer of ‘Love concurs all’. COMING UNDONE has a totally different vibe then its predecessor LAID BARE, but enamored me all the same with larger-than-life characters who have a powerful story to tell.

From chapter one I was ready to sink my teeth in Brody; a bad-boy, a tattoo artist and riding a Harley. While Brody fits this description he is anything but a bad-boy when push comes to shove. He bleeds his personality in to his story with a zest for life, with a virile passion but he’s also a touchstone for his family that made me fall for him. He is flawed with his sometimes ‘take charge’ attitude but in the end the kind of guy any woman would pine for.

The Sorenson ladies exists out of the ex-ballerina Elise, and her daughter Irene a.k.a Rennie. You can’t talk about one without talking about the other. Elise is first and foremost a mother, with all the doubts and fears of a single mother. Coming from a difficult period in their lives Elise wants to pick up the pieces and move forward. She is resilient and strong as a woman can be but there is more to her then being a mother! I watched Elise bloom back to life as the passionate woman in her got attention and a friendship took root between her and Erin. Elise is a mix of determination and vulnerability. At first you get a piece of her determination that she uses to shield herself with but when there is trust she lowers those shield and her vulnerability is there to see.

Next to the more complex adult woman Elise is, there is Rennnie, who is just a likable, talented, exuberant kid you can’t help but love. She brings an innocent charm to the story that I will always enjoy. She is innocent but in her innocence she has a wisdom and an outlook on life that is endearing. Next to that she brings out the tiger in her mother, the overwhelming love a woman can feel for her child and do anything to protect her. Rennie, with her mother Elise and Brody just interconnected together and over the course of this story grew closer together and became this tight knit unit where I knew they were just right for each other.

It is perhaps a homey picture I’m painting but Lauren Dane has got this knack for creating great family dynamics and this is emphasized in COMING UNDONE. It isn’t to say there wasn’t enough sensuality to be found, also one of Dane’s strong suits! There was a moment where she knew how to move me with music, dance and Brody watching Elise. I could feel Elise absorb the music, making it her own and letting her body translate it into dance movements. The music, the dance, Elise and Brody created an erotic vibe that was palpable. Slowly I got to witness that scintillating burning passion between two people develop in to the much stronger emotion of love.

Brody and Elise push each other buttons, both the good and annoying ones. Their romantic development was spread over almost two years which gave it a true feel of growing towards each other, getting to know one another and delving into the painful issues as much as the other would allow. While nothing overly dramatic happened in the present I was encompassed by the way this twosome grew closer as a man and a woman. Brody, Elise and Rennie are the center of this novel but an extensive cast of characters fleshed out the family and community they lived in. Of course Erin, Todd and Ben are a part of this novel and I was over the moon in getting a glimpse of their ongoing relationship. Cope makes a brief appearance and Adrian is getting more interesting by the minute. The parents of Elise, Martine and Paul DuLac provide another support system for their daughter. There is also Mina, BFF of Rennie and her mother Maggie who were among the people that added a nice touch to the story. If there is one secondary character who stood out for me and truly intrigues me in her actions, reactions and attitude it is Raven. She is a sort of anti-heroine and I can’t help it but wanting to know what’s up with her. 

COMING UNDONE is again a title that holds meaning to the story where Lauren Dane shows that she owns this genre with style, depth and class. An erotic passion blends with a deeper meaningful romance and as Brody and Elise are coming undone there is the bond of family and friends that will support you no matter what. I love the characters Lauren Dane breaths to life and the stories they need to tell. I can’t wait for more!

Quote Brody:
Brody pulled up into his driveway a week after that incredible afternoon, and as always, his gaze moved to the house across the street and he caught sight of her through the front window. Hugging a man. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot? (<- and I thought reading this; “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot”. Huh?...WTF – and I laughed so hard, it was typical Brody!)

Quote Elise:
He also looked hot. Smoking, ridiculously drool-worthy hot. She wasn’t sure how he did it, but he simply emanated sexy effortlessly. Shorts and T-shirt, sexy. Jeans and turtleneck? Holy crap sexy.


Quote Brody:
“Shorty. I’m bossy. I can’t help it. It’s who I am and what I do. I’m pushy and I like to take over. But I’m going to work really hard not to do it too much, and you’re going to try and accept me the way I am. Flaws and all. Because I’m good in bed, and I can carry heavy things and reach high shelves.” (Again a quote I felt was typical Brody)

4 stars

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22 December 2009

Leontine got revamped

The last few months I have been working on changing my avatar as I thought it was a bit..well, uhm, goody two-shoe. I’ve been lurking at images, fired up photoshop program trying various things and it was all meh. The virtual trash bin overflowed with failed attempts and at times I felt I lost my mojo, so I set it aside for a month to give it a new try two weeks ago and it still didn’t work *scream* Normally my avi’s and banners etc work like clockwork and I love to be working the creativity vibe with a dash of eye candy and structures. I was contemplating all sorts of things when I walked in to HAWK’s revamped blog (a wonderful gift by Cecile) and saw her avi. I instantly was all ooeee and aaahhh and me likes that. So I read the post and found out JennJ from Sapphire Romance Realm has been working her magic and that is where I thought; ”Should I or should I not?” I mean, I always do my own handy-work, but just like going from two to three column template I had to admit defeat for once and just ask for some help. So I e-mailed Jenn…

I explained the general idea/image I had in my head and she was all happy to go work on my new avatar. I believe it was the same day or perhaps the next morning where I found two new avatars in my e-mail box…one was a normal avi and the other an xmas pressie, an avi in xmas style. I was amazed how she nailed the vibe of what I wanted, all naughty and with man-candy, so I was going; “Oh yes loving it” and that is when I got a link where I found a style of female images I digged from the moment they popped up on the net. Inside I was going; “eek, how am I going to tell Jenn?” but she is Jenn and I mailed her with my request and it got quiet for a while. That next morning I received an e-mail with various images and Jenn told me she had been working precious time to find me the desired curly brown hair, glasses, green eyed female image. Out of the four I instantly fell for the one that became the revamped Leontine. I'm in love with the new avi and from the moment I said: “I haz me a wishlist Jenn” we e-mailed back and forth for about thirty times and she was incredible and patient to listen to all of my wishes. So a very big thank you Jenn!

Are you all eager to see my revamped and nip/tucked face and body? Jenn did the revamping but she had help with the nip/tucking, they were non other then Sean McNamara and Christian Troy *grin*



Christian gives me a wink and a dazzling smile as Sean is a gallant gentleman, I take both their arms as they escort me to the spotlight.



Heart thumping in chest I walk on my heels between them and ready to say; Here I am guys *twirls around*






















You'll see me dance around the net with my new look from January 2010 YAY

I think it is safe to say that for all your creative needs you can go to Jenn and her Sapphire Dreams Design website : )



Sapphire Dreams Designs

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21 December 2009

ARC Review: Liz Maverick - Crimson And Steam


Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Love Spell (December 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0505527790
ISBN-13: 978-0505527790

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Main Characters: Jillian Cooper and Marius Dumont
Book origin: Copy provided by author

Cover Summary:
Named for the angels, Los Angeles is a city of demons, a crucible of souls. It is Crimson City. Here vampires and werewolves vie for dominion, humans build soldiers of flesh and steel who seethe with fury. But alongside strife can be love--a love that cares nothing for species or origin.

Yet, love doesn’t always conquer. Marius and Jill have long been kept apart. Bound by destiny yet forbidden true union, he is vampire; she, human. And a marriage alliance that promises peace for all others shall separate them forever.

As if peace might be achieved so easily. Darkness is rising: a mysterious plot shall force every inhabitant of Crimson City to take sides. Deliverance exists, but first must come a tale of impossible passion and discovery, of Marius and Jill in a race against time leading back to the city’s paranormal beginnings, to Victorian London, to an era of invention and a world of CRIMSON & STEAM.


My Review: CRIMSON AND STEAM is one of those stories that made me want to glom the whole series at once. What I thought would be a wonderful story turned out to exhilarate me to no end. First I must say that this is book seven in the Crimson City series and I strongly urge everyone to read this series in order. While I loved every page of this novel I missed underlying nuances between characters and back story that could have added to an even higher reading pleasure.

It is from the very first chapter that I got thrust in into a highly imaginative world where the desperation of a soul mate love that cannot be tore at my heartstrings. Even though I didn’t have the full knowledge of their back-story the love between human Jillian Cooper and vampire Marius Dumont was palpable in everything they did or say. I love my romance to be high-stake, the more that is at risk for the hero and heroine, the more impact their emotions have and I take it in like the veracious romance reader that I am.

As Marius and Jillian continued to have this edgy push-pull attraction going on, the mystery started to come in to the picture with the death of a vampire. To answer all of Marius and Jillian’s questions they have to go back to the past, back to where Vampire and Werewolves originated. This is where a parallel storyline begins, we have the present and we have the storyline of London, England 1851. It felt like I was sandwiched between two impossible romances as 1851 held a different cast of characters with Charlotte Paxton and Edward Vaughan smack in the middle of it.

The sheer thrill of these two storylines working together to create a complete picture was fusing my eyes to the pages. At one hand I got the world how it is, with deaths and mayhem causing havoc between the current factions, and at the other hand I received a history lesson regarding vampires and werewolves in 1851. Every bit of info was important and found its place in the larger story that was told. I reveled in how the romances mirrored each other, how certain actions rippled its consequences in to the future and how a rose found such heart shattering meaning. Everything was multi-layered and yet worked as one to build towards a climax that I was waiting for with bated breath.

Though there was a plethora of characters as there were essentially two casts, the main characters were distinctive and formed the foundation of this story. Marius as a vampire is a leader of his house; full of responsibility towards his family as he lives and dies by his honor. There was a restrained essence in his character that I found appealing and triggered the need to find out who would get under his skin. Of course there was no surprise that this would be Jillian with her independent spirit and passionate nature. She was headstrong in her love for Marius and she empowered the romance with this attitude. I considered the sensuality to be very mild but that did not bear down on the strength of their feelings, on the contrary, it made their impossible love all that more realistic.

Now there was another romance going on that equally captivated me; that of Charlotte Paxton and Edward Vaughan. Divided by social status they frequently met at the exhibits in the Crystal Palace and there an attraction blossomed. What they don’t realize is that they are on the eve of the historical turbulent beginnings of Vampire and Werewolf Lore as Crimson City knows it. This story thread contained it all too; the star-crossed lovers, the suspense and a world changing fast with technology and inventions.

There are many supporting characters who further flesh out the world in their innate good and bad personalities. I’m highly curious about Hayden Wilks, is he a true enemy or a bad-boy who can be redeemed? Also the sister of Tatiana Asprey, Jolie, is one that makes me wonder how she will fare after this episode. More play their role like I-Ops Max Horschaw and Bridget Hathaway, but also the time period of 1851 has interesting characters and they enrich this tale like no other.

If there is one thing that fuses all separate elements together then it is the mystery that needs to be unraveled. From the moment I got inside Gregori Bell’s head and felt alongside him what he experienced during his death I wanted to know it all. What was at work here? Why and most important, how? It connects the time periods and two love stories together, and gave meaning to even the smallest things. At the edge of my seat I read on and got it all with CRIMSON AND STEAM. The ending is satisfactory in almost every way as it also felt like a beginning. A beginning I wanted more of and would have appreciated a small preview with an epilogue.

Liz Maverick delved deep in to her world and Lore with an exhilarating plot and two couples who charged this novel with a romance that is above and beyond. I am craving to backtrack the overall story arch to its origin in CRIMSON CITY.

4 stars

20 December 2009

From the Netherlands, with love; Father Winter


I know I have been a bit absent last week but I promise, I’ll be around the coming days to check with everybody what they’ve been up to! I woke up this morning and with a still sleepy face I opened the door to take the dogs out for a walk when a freezing cold hit my face and it was snowing like I haven’t seen in quite a while. Parents plowing through the snow with kids eager to take a ride on the sled and go to the ponds near my apartment building to do some ice skating. The dogs danced in the snow but I huddled deeper in to my coat for some warmth. What a wake-up call this weather was and when I got back I had red frozen cheeks, ears and nose. I couldn’t resist shooting some pics from my balcony to share this atmospheric view.


At the moment the central heating is snoring, I have a cup of tea at hand and a blanket covering my legs as I’m ready to read more in THE UNSUNG HERO by Suzanne Brockmann. Tell me, has father winter arrived at your doorstep too?
















Enjoy your sunday everyone!!





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14 December 2009

Review; Ilona Andrews - Silent Blade

~Purchase a copy here~
“Silent Blade” by Ilona Andrews
Genre: Romantic SciFi-Futuristic
ISBN: 978-1-60504-574-0
Length: Short Story
Price: 2.50
Publication Date: June 2, 2009

Main Characters: Celino Carvanna and Meli Galdes
Book origin; won e-copy at The Bookpushers


Cover Summary:
Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.

On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport—in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.

Kill the man who ruined her life.

Celino Carvanna’s razor-sharp business acumen—and skills with a blade—won him the freedom to do as he pleases. There’s only one thing he can’t seem to control—his reaction to the mysterious woman who tantalizes his senses. Her eyes alone set his blood simmering, stirring ridiculous adolescent fantasies about breasts and honey. With a few words she dissects his soul. Who is she? And how does she slide so easily under his well-guarded skin?

It’s almost too easy to draw Celino within the kill zone. Meli plans to revel in him. Drink him in. Wring every drop of pleasure out of every moment.

And when she’s sure he belongs to her, she will finally repay a decade’s worth of pain—in a single, brutal dose of reality.

Warning: Contains a heroine who excels in moving targets, a hero who can’t get into her pants fast enough, and implant-enhanced sex (no, not that kind of implant…).

 
In my love for the fantasy genre as a whole it is hard not to be confronted with the name Ilona Andrews yet sometimes I need a nudge to start to read a new author. That nudge was provided when I transferred SILENT BLADE to my e-reader, I opened the file and I read; Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder. Sometimes it only takes one sentence to be instantly compelled to read on and this one did it for me. Love and hate are two very strong emotions and I wanted to find out what was behind that sentence, curious what triggered both.

As I read on I discovered the power in Ilona Andrews writing abilities. Within a few pages I was ensnared by the world she was leading me into and the romance of an arranged marriage that didn’t happen. The love and the hate were born and from there two people, Celino Carvanna and Meli Galdes, went their own way in life. Their character development and conflict was swift but oh so very good. Both of them have a personality that leaps of the pages and grabbed my attention. I could do no more than hungrily click the next button.

Celino Carvanna is this driven, take-charge kind of man who doesn’t want to be bound to the confines of an arranged marriage. He is unapologetic for his behavior but with the right woman his personality thaws and a passionate man is revealed. If I could have a hundred more pages about this man it wouldn’t be enough. I loved Celino’s almighty attitude and how that changed by the effect Meli had on him.

Now Meli isn’t a woman who is a subdued or has a bland personality. She is bold, courageous, with the right dose of femininity and she doesn’t sit and watch life go by. Emotions and backbone make for a great heroine and Meli was such a leading lady. I empathized with her, rooted for her, as her plan was set in motion.

SILENT BLADE contains all the important elements for amazing storytelling only I got it in a smaller dosage. There was sultry sexual tension, enough conflict and both POV’s received enough attention to give a well-rounded story. Due to the length of the story I was baffled by the gratification I received as a reader, while I felt the ending could have been a little more elaborate it was a good place to leave this couple. I can only applaud Ilona Andrews that with a fabulous set up and emotion driven dialogues she has the ability to deliver a short story that has depth.

All I can say is; If this author duo can whisk me away and deliver the good stuff in a short story, I am eager to discover the effect of Ilona Andrews’s imagination in a full length novel. To be continued!

Quote:
"Let me go."
He growled his frustration. "You're sentencing us both to misery. In the name of what, Meli? Haven't you been miserable enough? Wouldn't a more fitting punishment be sentencing me to a lifetime of making you happy?"
"Let me go, Celino."
"I can't," he whispered and kissed her hair.

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13 December 2009

Contest winners galore *woohoo*
















The Beefcake Preview Night was a blast, thanks for everyone who joined us! Joey W Hill and co had so much fun here that she added a second prize; a book of your choice from her backlist *woohoo* So no.1 will receive A MERMAID’S RANSOM and no.2 will have to lurk at said backlist and give me the title of her choosing ;)


There were 16 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. Allison('s)Reads
2. elaing8

Timestamp: 2009-12-13 07:43:24 UTC

Congratulations to you both Allison and Elaing8, I will be contacting you tonight *woohoo*

Edit 12-16-2009: Allison already had a copy of A Mermaid's Ransom and has graciously said to pass it on to the next one on the list, this lucky, lucky lady is: s7anna. Congratz Anna, I'll be in contact with you :)

At my first; From the Netherlands, with love – post Sinterklaas brought three copies of Anna Campbell’s CAPTIVE OF SIN. So let’s click the randomizer button again:

There were 20 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. chelleyreads
2. Ladytink_534
3. Pearl

Timestamp: 2009-12-13 07:50:58 UTC

*Throws confetti in the air* Congratz Chelley, Ladytink and Pearl!


And now the final giveaway is a sexy read written by Teal Ceagh titled; BETH'S ACCEPTANCE.

There were 14 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. Cathy M

Timestamp: 2009-12-13 07:56:39 UTC


*claps hands together* YAY Cathy, congratz :D

I’ll be contacting you all today for further information and details!

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11 December 2009

Pimping The Dark Crescent Sisterhood



Hi everybody, it is Friday and while doing my bloghopping I stopped by Fiction Vixen's place as she has this fantastic giveaway going on by an author who is rocking the UF book world; Three Days To Dead by Kelly Meding. Fiction Vixen asked the question; what's your favorite Urban Fantasy book or series? Of course many authors were mentioned I have on the shelves so I looked at said shelves and found me a trilogy of which I read book one and two but haven’t heard many other book bloggers about. Perhaps because her books were released in 2008 but I just had to grab the opportunity and pimp her out to you guys. 

I stumbled on to Anna Windsor while doing some research and don’t ya all just love it when you click on a link, get to another place and find the notification of new book releases that sounds right up your alley? I took the info of Anna Windsor’s upcoming releases; BOUND BY SHADOW – BOUND BY FLAME and BOUND BY LIGHT to the ROOB message boards, there it was picked up a the members including Pearl. I put releases on my list and then something happened that is a total Leontine trait, I forgot to hit the pre-order button *headdesk* In the excitement of other releases and reading they slipped to the background until Pearl came with her review of the first book; BOUND BY SHADOW. After reading said review I got all *scream; needs me this book* Which upon Pearl’s reaction was something like this; “Uh Leontine, you pimped them out like months ago…”



So after that I started reading I instantly fell for Anna Windsor’s characters, world and romance.

Here is my review of:

~Bound By Shadow

~Bound By Flame

Pearl’s reviews of: BOUND BY SHADOWBOUND BY FLAME and BOUND BY LIGHT.

Are you already curious what the books entail, I’m hooking you up with the info right now:


Bound By Shadow

Purchase a copy here

(The first book in the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series)
 
Falling for a demon can be hazardous to your heart.

Riana Dumain is a fully trained Sybil, a warrior priestess battling evil whose practical magic keeps her grounded in earthly science - and desires. She knows that gorgeous NYPD detective Creed Lowell is dangerous, and possibly a foot soldier of the evil Legion cult, using his badge and drop-dead looks to consolidate demonic power.

Creed's low-profile Occult Crimes Unit pulls Riana and her two sister Sybils into the case of a politician's son, murdered in a ritualistic sacrifice. Soon, Riana's instincts prove true. Creed, the hottest half-human she's ever known, a demon in bed and out, is guarding a trapdoor to hell. And unless Riana can find a way to tame her mystery man's treacherous inner self (and her heart), all of Manhattan may be enveloped by darkness.


Bound By Flame

Purchase a copy here

(The second book in the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series)

When Cynda gets hot and bothered, things start to sizzle.

Gorgeous flame-haired Cynda Flynn knows fire-its heat, its power, its magic. A fully trained Sybil warrior priestess, Cynda's weapon is flame. But she's unprepared for the passion ignited by Nick Lowell, an undercover cop in the NYPD's Occult Crime Unit. He's half human, half demon, and hotter than hell, with fathomless black eyes that ignite something buried deep inside Cynda, making her melt in all the right places.

Luckily, Nick has found a way to control his dark side, but he's done it old-school-through steel-willed self-control. And after five years working secretly within the deadly Legion cult, he's unbreakable. Or he was, until Cynda came along. Now it's personal-and even his big bad love may not be enough to halt a terrible new evil snuffing out fire Sybils like Cynda. It's nasty. And if it can't be stopped, they're all going to fry.


Bound By Light

Purchase a copy here

(The third book in the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series)

The night holds endless pleasures . . . and hides nameless terrors.

As the broom end of her Sybil triad, Merilee Alexander has the sacred duty as a warrior witch of taking out the trash. Lately, though, she's been a little overwhelmed: Manhattan is a mess. And her prophetic end-of-the-world nightmares aren't helped by the waking fantasies of love. Or the fact that the object of her affections, gorgeous Jake Lowell of NYPD's Occult Crimes Unit, is playing it so cool.

Actually, Jake wants Merilee desperately, every luscious inch of her. Still, he's holding back. He's got secrets. Dark, dangerous, demonic secrets. But as Jake and Merilee trawl the city's supernatural underbelly to out a demonic kingpin who, disguised as a charismatic leader, is amassing dark power, it's make-or-break time. For their lives, their love, and the world are about to be sucked into the undertow of the tides of an unstoppable evil.


Captive Spirit

pre-order a copy here

(A book in the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series)

The night holds endless pleasures . . . and hides nameless terrors.

Bela Argos has suffered too many losses to count, and she's determined to keep her new fighting group safe. Manhattan is under siege by a new and deadly pride of demons, and she'll do whatever it takes to defeat the evil band of murderers and protect her new family--even kill the sexy, wounded police officer she's hiding in her basement.

Duncan Sharp never believed in the supernatural. A war veteran with many years of service in the NYPD, he prefers to solve his problems with badge, cuffs, and bullets. When he wakes to find himself hostage to a gorgeous bunch of women in leather--women who command earth, air, fire, and water--he doesn't know what to think, and when Bela's around, thinking is damned hard, anyway. Never mind the supernatural infection threatening to end his life and turn him into a creature he can't begin to imagine.

The demons are coming, and they're coming for Bela and Duncan. To save each other and everything they value, they just might have to sacrifice everything.


Captive Heart

by Anna Windsor

A Novel of the Dark Crescent Sisterhood

Release Date: TBA

Blurb and ordering info coming soon!


Captive Soul
A Novel of the Dark Crescent Sisterhood (Paperback)

Anna Windsor's website
A great character interview with the SYBIL'S and I had a hoot reading that one!
 
Are you all enticed yet? I was when reading all this info and interview. I hope you pick her novels up or if you read her, tell me; which was your favorite up till now? Mine was BOUND BY FLAME.

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09 December 2009

Guest Post: Teal Ceagh on romance and sex.



Sera’s Gift is out – today! – and I’m so pleased that Leontine was kind enough to host me on this special day.

I’m madly typing at sonic speed actually, because I boobed – I overlooked actually writing my guest post until Leontine gently nudged me this morning and pointed out I hadn’t written my post. I was so laid back, thinking I had everything under control...that’s the problem when you have two books coming out virtually on top of one another – things tend to go to pieces a little and get flaky around the edges.

So as soon as I opened up her email and got that awful stomach drop (you know that sensation?) I opened up a Word file and started typing, and now you’ve caught up with my cursor, and my thoughts.

Believe it or not, I do have something useful to say. There was a gentleman, Alan Elsner, who declared on the Huffington Post on December 2nd that the romance genre was a woman’s right to pornography, but his books elevated romance to high art. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books were given the opportunity to rebutt, so I won’t get into how stupid I think he is here, but he does give me the chance to point out that I think romance – and sex -- is hard wired into everything we do. It’s what drives us as a species to keep regenerating, when you get right down to the genetics of it, so even when you think you’re just doing business, you’re probably not – somewhere in there sex and romance is on your mind. I heard – and this is years ago now – that men have a sexual thought every three seconds.

For that reason I found it impossible not to marry (there’s another sex-ladened term) together my two favourite genres: erotic romance and urban fantasy.

And that’s how I arrived where I am today, the third and last instalment of Destiny’s Trinities, Sera’s Gift.


Mia’s Return and Sera’s Gift are being released so close together, I’m doing a double-header book tour.

Mia's Return by Teal Ceagh

Ten years ago, Alexander hungered for Mia Menendez and for a single day they had indulged that passion before tragedy struck. Now Mia is back, but she thinks Alexander died ten years ago and no man has been able to stir her heart since. The truth could kill her.

Wyatt Whitacker, demon hunter, hates Alexander and all his kind. But one look at Mia and her pulse-stopping curves and his scarred, angry heart begins to melt and his body to rouse in ways he’s long forgotten.

The bonding has begun…

Click ~here~ for an excerpt

Click ~here~ to purchase a copy



Sera’s Gift by Teal Ceagh

Letting go is sometimes the only gift love has left to give.

Release date: December 9, 2009

ISBN 9781419925511
Outline

Sera arrives in New York to help Lindál, but a vampeen attack brings her face to face with two men and changes her life forever.

Diego Savage lives up to his name. Cynical, rebellious and a womanizer, he doesn’t believe in the trinities at all. Only a handful of people know the truth about his scarred heart and terrible past, and it would take a miracle for him to change. A miracle, or someone like Sera with her special gift.

Blake Harvey, dedicated NYC police lieutenant, takes one look at the tall, supple woman with the crystal blue eyes and glowing skin and knows his life is about to change in ways he can’t even define, but his body is already responding to with a power that is hard to deny.

The bonding has begun…

Click ~here~ for an excerpt
Click ~here~ to purchase a copy

Teal Ceagh’s website.

Visit Teal on Facebook.

Follow Teal on Twitter.

I’ve been reading Leontine’s blog for nearly a year now, and watched it grow from a single column jumble of eye candy mashed up with reviews (ah, bet she thought I didn’t remember!) to a three column blog that is one of the most popular on the net. I see her logo everywhere. (<- talk about a surprise when reading this rofl. I'm so embarrassed right now, that you witnessed all these changes from the beginning *eek*)   

Giveaway:
Teal Ceagh has generously offered up a copy of BETH’S ACCEPTANCE. I'll pick a winner from the comments on December 12th. (Provide e-mail address if this is not part of your profile)

ROOB review; Marliss Melton - Show No Fear

~Purchase a copy here~
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Forever (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446509272
ISBN-13: 978-0446509275

Genre: Romance Suspense
Main Characters: Lucy Donavan and Gus Atwater
Book Origin: Send by author to ROOB

Cover Summary:
FEAR HAS A WAY...

Lucy Donovan always gets her man. As a fiercely independent CIA agent, she's survived hundreds of death-defying missions. But her latest may just get her killed. Weighed down with a secret she's desperate to keep, the last thing Lucy needs is to be sent undercover with a man who brings out the best--and the worst--in her.

OF GETTING YOU KILLED

Navy SEAL Gus Atwater never turns down an assignment, even if it means working with the only woman he's ever loved and lost. So with a volatile mix of desire and distrust, Lucy and Gus confront their tangled past. Pretending to be man and wife is risky enough, but now the clock is running out. As their mission escalates from desperate to deadly, will Lucy's secret expose them both?

When teenage sweethearts Lucy Donavan and Gus Atwater meet each other again it is to save Mike Howitz and Jay Barness from FARC rebels. As a CIA agent and a Navy Seal they will go undercover as a married couple within the UN liaison who will negotiate the release of Howitz and Barness. They travel with the UN group to Bogotá, Columbia where a political game is played that has more twists and turns than a labyrinth.

My Review;In Show No Fear Marliss Melton uses a hot topic rooted in reality of a rebel group taking hostages in exchange for the freedom of their own people. This topic is something that always piques my interest as the stakes of whether or not they will be rescued are not always in favor for the hostages. So with the debriefing of Lucy and Gus I was quickly put up to speed with what was going on and the story easily picked me up from there.

Gus Atwater is an even tempered Navy Seal, a reliable and competent man which makes him all you want in a partner during a cover-Op. He is also a man who has never stopped loving Lucy and is taking his chance to revive what was lost eight years ago. Lucy is a battle-honed CIA agent who has seen and survived much. Struggling with the emotional repercussions from her last Op she thinks she is ready for another assignment. But is she ready for Gus?

The romance factor is not the main focus yet it still has an undeniable effect on the story. Gus and Lucy are dependent on each other for survival in the jungles of Columbia as they need to uncover the location where they keep Howitz and Barness captive. This makes the plot a central element and flavors the depth of emotions and struggles between Gus and Lucy. I welcomed this effect because otherwise their emotional connection would’ve faded more in to the background and simply would have became a physical connection between two people. The character development was present with the necessities like motivation and growth that kept me involved but nothing as elaborate as I would’ve liked. I think that the character development would’ve benefitted from more page space than the 292 pages it contained, creating more balance between the romance and the suspense. I received a sympathetic picture of a man and a woman together who shared a history and were nowhere near closure. External issues created the circumstances for them to break up so many years ago and now there’s a situation where those old feeling resurface full force.

The plot is what captivated me from the start, it is where Marliss Melton provides a dramatic backdrop of the Colombian jungle and it adds a whole range of new dangers to an already risky operation. The political unrest in Columbia is giving it an urging feel for the UN group to retrieve the two hostages and just get out of their pronto, before something bad happens. Of course this wouldn’t be a good romantic suspense if that trouble doesn’t escalate. The pages were easily read, the story flowed nicely along until Melton delivered another twist that had me hook, line and sinker. While I was on my qui vive with the FARC there is a twist that ups the stakes considerably and what made the ending so worth my while.

Lucy and Gus are not the only characters to tell this tale of course. There is the UN group with Fournier, Sukrye, Bellini and Carloss who make the UN mission believable. The FARC Comandante Marques and his second in command, Buitre are exuding lethal danger incented by a power games. Now Buitre really had a sadistic edge that made him so unpredictable and upped the suspense factor in Show No Fear. In the end the Navy Seal team of Gus comes to the rescue and gives this story a wonderful conclusion. Each played their part the way they were meant to and carried their weight in the overall story.

Show No Fear was a solid romantic suspense read where the threads seamlessly intertwined together for a good read where I genuinely cared for the outcome. Marliss Melton and romantic suspense are a match that always equals enjoyable hours of reading!

Lucy and Gus’ first night in the middle of the Columbian jungle:
“It’d take me a while,” he admitted. “It’s too late to change your mind now, Luce,” he added. “I haven’t,” she assured him. “Good. Try to sleep,” he urged in a voice too quiet for anyone else to overhear. “Tomorrow I’ll search you for leeches and jungle ticks.” Lucy’s breath caught. “You’re kidding right?”

“Sadly, no.”

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08 December 2009

Review: Teal Ceagh - Beth's Acceptance

~Buy a copy here~
Book Length: Novella.
Book Type: eBook.
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing.
ISBN: 9781419925245
Our Cover Price: $4.45
Genre: Erotica.
Main Characters: Beth, Lindál and Zachariah.
Book Origin: e-book provided by author

Cover Summary:
Book 1 in the Destiny’s Trinities series.

For weeks, the darkly sinful Zachariah, her favorite customer at McGinty’s, has been raising NYC student Beth Siegel’s pulse, driving her crazy with need.

Neither can she keep the tall, blue-eyed mysterious Luke, who haunts the library stacks at her day job, out of her mind or her sweaty, desperate fantasies.

Fate hands Beth a startling destiny, a chance to bond with both of them—a bond formed via sex. Sex with either one of them would have been fabulous. Together? Irresistible.

Reader Advisory: This book contains hot, sexy scenes of M/M interaction.



For months now Beth has a serious distraction at her work in the library and another one at her job as a waitress in the bar Mcginty’s. Their names are Lindál and Zachariah. It was a day that started like any other but when Beth is attacked the three of them are thrust together and it doesn’t take long for passion to ignite.
The passion goes hand in hand with the discovery that something more is going on and nothing will ever be the same for any of them…

BETH’S ACCEPTANCE is a novella of ninety-five pages and it quickly ensnared me in the attraction Beth is feeling for two utter delicious men. With the description of a 6ft 3” male with blond hair, stormy blue eyes and a serious demeanor, joined by a dark haired, charming and vigorous male, Lindál and Zacharaih instantly perked my interest. The flirtatious attitude started months ago between the three main characters so all was in place to erupt full force when I was only a few pages in to the story.

Now due to the length of this story there are no intricate plots at work here but it does have an interesting angle of a prophecy going on to keep me interested at all times. The main focus lies in the significance of their bonding and the unraveling of its meaning in the greater scheme of things. Because of this Teal Ceagh manages to pack BETH’S ACCEPTANCE with a good dose of raw sensual heat which all participants are more than willing to explore.

Beth is an average woman with a study to finish, a part time job and is attracted to two men. Perhaps when the story unfolds a bit too easily accepting of the Elvish and Vampire world, but she steps up to the plate and shows spine at the right time and at the right place. I liked her and the effect she had on Lindál and Zachariah. Now I could totally relate to Beth’s fascination for these two men. Though Zack may be the more outgoing and dominant male, Lindál has power and a natural supremacy that makes him take the lead in stressful situations. When it came to Beth they had a nice male banter going on that enhanced the overall sensuous vibe of the story.

For a novella this story contained all the right ingredients to keep me scrolling down the pages. Three characters who created a scintillating solid relationship together and where a plot angle infused it with a bit of excitement and fast paced changes. The erotically charged scenes are hot and covers enough variety to remain interesting.

All in all I can say is that BETH’S ACCEPTANCE is a quick sultry interlude during those boring work days or when you want a quick fix in the erotica genre.

Quote;
Lindál was barefoot but wore black leather pants that fit him surprisingly well, as they must have been borrowed ones. His shirt was a white silk and seemed to float against his chest and shoulders. Zack wore black denim. Designer, Beth guessed by the cut and shape and a sleeveless black shirt that glowed red when he moved and emphasized the rounded caps of his shoulders. He walked a full circle around her while Lindál just studied her.

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