30 April 2010

The love for Jamie Fraser: Diana Gabaldon - The Outlander


~purchase~
~website author~

Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Delta (August 10, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385319959
ISBN-13: 978-0385319959

Genre: Historical Romance
Main Characters: James Frasier & Claire Beauchamp Randall
Series: Book one in Outlander series
Book origin: Personal Library
I read it for The Outlander Challenge hosted by JennJ

Cover Summary:
The year is 1945 and Claire Beauchamp Randall, a former British combat nurse, is on holiday in Scotland with her husband, looking forward to becoming reacquainted after the war's long separation. Like most practical women, Claire hardly expects her curiosity to get the better of her. But an ancient stone circle near her lodgings holds an eerie fascination, and when she innocently touches one of the giant boulders, she's hurtled backward in time more than two hundred years, to 1743.

Alone where no lady should be alone, and far from the familiar comforts of her other life, Claire's usual resourcefulness is tested to the limit. The merciless garrison captain so feared by others bears an uncanny resemblance to the husband she has just left behind. Her own odd circumstances expose her to accusations of witchcraft. And the strands of a political intrigue she doesn't understand threaten to ensnare her at every turn.

But of all the perils her new life holds, none is more disquieting than her growing feelings for James Fraser, the gallant young Scot she is forced to marry for her own protection. Sworn by his wedding vows to keep her from harm, Jamie's passion for Claire goes beyond duty. As she struggles with the memories of another lifetime, she is forced to make an agonizing and fateful choice, and learns ultimately that a man's instinct to protect the woman he loves is as old as time.

My Review: How can I easily summarize a tale that is so grand, so intricately set-up, that I lost myself for three whole days and actually will make sense to you all? I wonder how I might express myself for words do not come easily right now to tell you the wide range of emotions I felt during reading this novel. My inner drama queen has been evoked by this story and wants to lyrically speak of the epic romance pairing and of the vast and realistic historical setting. I want to tell you about the vivid characters, the author’s voice who ingrained every page with emotions and the details that really brought all aspects of THE OUTLANDER come to life.

The Outlander is told in seven parts and I started in Inverness 1945 where Claire and Frank Randall try to reconnect during a second honeymoon. In part two I traveled back with Claire to Scotland 1743, spent time at Castle Leoch – home of the MacKenzie clan – escaped with Jamie and Claire to Lallybroch – home of the Fraser clan. I traveled the Scottish roads, visited Wentworth prison and ended up in a French abbey where I had to let Claire and Jamie go. Day to day life in this time period is not without its dangers, secrets and scheming, for a new uprising is eminent. I got to figure out the underlying currents between Colum and Dougal MacKenzie, a Laird who is crippled with his brother who is his right hand, and many wonder to what extent. There was a witch trial, a Clan gathering and then there was the ever present danger of the Dragoons. There isn’t one page that didn’t reflect a historic setting that is done with a realism that provides a stark contrast between both the good and the bad things. The good things are most definitely the romance blooming between Claire and Jamie, and the epitome of the bad became Jonathan Wolverton Randall.

When Claire travels through the standing stones she is confused and quickly meets a group of Scotsmen, including the wounded Jamie. Her nurse routine kicks in to gear as she tries to help them and from that moment a beautiful, gripping romance gradually blooms through the pages. Jamie and Claire married to avoid difficulties for Claire with the Dragoons but it is by choice of the heart they fell in love together. Claire’s voice protrudes immediately from the first chapter. She has a humor, fieriness and inner strength that instantly appealed to me. Jamie however wooed me every time he opened his mouth as he tried to explain his feelings, or himself, to Claire. On his wedding day he didn’t ask for love, he didn’t dare ask, but what he did ask for is that Claire would always tell him the truth. In the spirit of this promise gradually Claire and Jamie confide in each other, Jamie has quite a back story since he no longer resides with his own clan and home, as Claire has got some secrets of her own to reveal.

Jamie is a Scot who is a man of his time; battle-worn, vigorous, loyal to his Clan and country yet with an insight and wisdom that belied his twenty-three years. He understands the dangers of life but still feels everything with a force that made him a hero, that made him a man who is in a league of his own. Jamie Fraser simply commanded my heart just by the man that he is:

Quote Claire:
Jamie though, was something different. His extreme gentleness was in no way tentive; rather it was a promise of power known and held in leash; a challenge and a provocation the more remarkable for its lack of demand. I am yours, it said. And if you’ll have me then…
He is a man whose character includes traits like endearing, fierce, brave, wounded, gentle and still I would not have told you all who Jamie Fraser is. He is also a man with a nemesis who is unrivaled and his name is Jonathan Wolverton Randall.

Jonathan Wolverton Randall, he made me glare at the pages in hate with his every action. It isn’t very often that I physically respond to an innate bad character but Jonathan really pushes the hate button. From the moment Claire arrived in 1743 he created havoc with his dark, twisted mind and he thrived on it. He was every bit as real to me as Jamie, Claire, the Mackenzie brothers and many more characters. It is the strength of this novel, everything became so vividly real to me, the Scottish scenery, the customs, the celebrations, the fighting, the fear, the joy and that ever present highlander pride and resilience. A rich and extensive cast of characters pass the different venues, each kept me in this story, traveling along with Jamie and Claire.

I was endeared with the winking style of Jamie, I was aroused by the passionate side of their relationship, eagerly read all the dialogues that deepened their connection and I feared for them both in all the dangers that were so realistically portrayed and reached its pinnacle in Wentworth prison. I don’t think I adequately get to explain what this novel did with me, I think this is a novel that should be experienced by each reader to fully understand the magnificence of it and the compelling nature of its characters. For once I’m just in silent awe, knowing that The Outlander left an irrevocable mark on me with Claire and Jamie being the embodiment of a romance that will last through the ages.

I wonder if this series gets any better than THE OUTLANDER!

5 stars

Quote Jamie:
“Does it ever stop? The wanting you?” His hand came around my breast. “Even when I’ve left ye, I want you so much my chest feels tight and my fingers ache with wanting you to touch ye again.”

Quote Jamie:
“Thank god,” he said smiling, “and God help you.” Then he added, “Though I’ll never understand why.” I put my arms around his waist and held on as the horse slithered down the last steep slope. “because,” I said, “I bloody well can’t do without you, Jamie Fraser, and that’s all about it. Now, where are you taking me?”

“I prayed all the way up that hill yesterday,” he said softly. “Not for you to stay; I didna think that would be right. I prayed I’d be strong enough to send ye away.” He shook his head, still gazing up the hill, a faraway look in his eyes. “I said ‘Lord, if I’ve never had courage in my life before, let me have it now. Let me be brave enough not to fall on my knees and beg her to stay.’ “ He pulled his eyes away from the cottage and smiled briefly at me.

“Hardest thing I ever did, Sassenach.” He turned in the saddle, and reined the horse’s head towards the east. It was a rare bright morning, and the early sun gilded everything, drawing a thin line of fire along the edge of the reins, the curve of the horse’s neck, and the broad planes of Jamie’s face and shoulders. He took a deep breath and nodded across the moor, toward a distant pass between two crags. “So now I suppose I can do the second-hardest thing.” He kicked the horse gentle, clicking his tongue. “We’re going home Sassenach. To Lallybroch.”

Quote Jamie:
“I was crying for joy, my Sassenach,” he said softly. He reached out slowly and took my face between his hands. “And thanking God I have two hands. That I have two hands to hold you with. To serve you with, to love you with. Thanking God that I am a whole man still, because of you.”
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28 April 2010

Seal sexiness: Stephanie Tyler - Hard To Hold


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~website author~

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Dell; Original edition (November 24, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044024434X
ISBN-13: 978-0440244349

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Main Characters: Lt. Jake Hansen and Dr. Isabelle Markham.
Book one in trilogy
Book Origin: Personal Library

Cover Summary;
The Special Ops hero feared nothing - until he met a woman too hot to hold…

Lt. Jake Hansen has survived some of the riskiest missions known to man. But now the wounded Navy SEAL faces his toughest job yet: Smuggling Dr. Isabelle Markham out of Africa without triggering an international incident. Not easy to do when the gorgeous hostage happens to be a senator’s daughter —and about as easy to resist as an oasis in the desert…

If it weren’t for Jake, Isabelle would still be halfway across the world, where rebel forces left her for dead. The Special Ops warrior may have saved her life, but she doesn’t need him to protect her now. Tell that to the ruggedly handsome hunk in full battle fatigues who’s just been assigned Isabelle’s personal bodyguard. Close quarters aside, Isabelle won’t let Jake anywhere near her heart — until danger throws them together again…and nothing in the jungles of wildest Africa could prepare them for a passion this wild. This crazy. This hot….

My review: “We want to be in a situation under maximum pressure, maximum intensity, and maximum danger. When it is shared with others, it provides a bond which is stronger than any tie that can exist.”- SEAL Team Six Officer.

I read this quote at the beginning of the prologue and instantly was taken to Africa where a situation unfolded that was maximum pressure, intensity and danger. It was where Jake rescued Isabella from her captor and instantly a connection is formed. From the moment I read her “confession” to Jake and Jake in return revealed a secret of him I wanted to dig into their motivations. What had happened with Isabella prior to her rescue? What was her connection to her captor? And where was this all going? The prologue was one where my curiosity was triggered and the suspense was already anchoring me to the story. The other thing I immediately was drawn to in HARD TO HOLD was the characters Stephanie Tyler brought to life, yet it is the numbers of that group of characters that initially threw me off.

After the rather intense prologue there were many set-up of storylines; Jake, Nick and Chris with their past, Jake and Isabella with their romance, Jeannie, mother of Isabella, with the general Cal, Clutch and Sarah, and then there’s also Rafe McAllistar who has his role to play out too. While it all was interconnected it initially tempered my connection with the story until I was firmly adjusted to the writing style and got more in sync with the characters. Besides the fact of the many POV’s I had a bit of trouble surrendering to the fact Jake was so very young when he entered the army. At one hand I could believe that due to his past he had the emotional maturity to go through army training, and after that, SEAL training. Yet at the other hand I saw a 15 year old in front of me that didn’t fuse with the needed expertise of an extreme tough soldier.

Even though I had some issues with HARD TO HOLD Stephanie Tyler hit the bulls’ eye for me with Jake, Nick and Chris as men. They are an addictive combination of male toughness, attitude, vulnerability, virility and skills. They are a tight unit together that will stick by one another through the good and the bad. In their teenage years their bond as brothers by choice began and through all those years it never wavered, leading up to a point they now know each other like the back of their hand. So Nick and Chris knew when Jake offered Isabella a place to stay at their house that there was more going on then Jake just protecting Isabella.

While I tried to get my grip on the several storylines the romance was heart rendering beautiful. Isabella’s emotional healing process spoke of resilience, overcoming fears, courage and uncovering the naked truth of the past and the present. I think Isabella’s road to recovery was done in a believable way; it was an internal sparring of the strength to get her life back and yet feeling the fear and the pain of what was done to her. Jake is a great opposite for Isabella and they emotionally fit together like white on rice, still their strong personality’s clash where they create a fiery friction and have passionate dialogues. Neither is willing to back down easy but the underlying hunger for each other is evident in many choices, gestures and conversations. I loved how Jake restrained his libido to a certain level so that Isabella held the power yet at other area’s Jake is all take charge and a man not to be messed with.

Another romance that caught up with me is that of secondary characters Clutch and Sarah, who reside in Africa. They have their own romantic battle to fight but by pursuing an enemy are connected to the larger picture. Stephanie Tyler gave me another intriguing set-up with an organization named; GOST, and as I didn’t get a conclusion regarding this supporting storyline I am fiercely hoping I will get to meet Clutch and Sarah in book two again.

By the second half of HARD TOO HOLD past secrets, the present dangers, the romance and the characters worked together in a way I finally could feel the full effect of this author’s voice. The plot was in full swing and gave some more time for Chris and Nick and while I really liked all the characters Chris sealed his fate with me with his offbeat attitude and his two different colored eyes. What can I say; the man had me at hello. Now that I was firmly hooked I read the chapters, one right after the other, to deliver an ending that was nail biting good.  

HARD TO HOLD had a somewhat rocky start but it only got better and better that by the end I could feel the eagerness for book two humming through my veins.

3,5 stars

Quote:
Chris was good-looking – but in a much different way than either Jake or Nick. For one thing, the man’s eyes made it impossible not to stare at him. His jaw was strong, his mouth wide and he towered over the other two, no mean feat in itself. He had to be over 6-foot-5.

Quote Isabella:
He stood, knocking her hand off his shoulder by his movement. “Not now, Isabella. It’s not the time.”
“It’s the best time to tell you that I’m in love with you, Jake. Not with the SEAL who saved me, but with the man who, little by little, made me whole again.”
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26 April 2010

Researching can be hell for the CC

This afternoon I was lurking on the net to research the new releases for ROOB which I hadn't done in a while but dang, I think I've added eight books total to my wishlist. Books I just need to have, it wasn't "Hhhmmmm maybe I'm going to buy them" or, "Well, book budget is spend, better luck next time." Oh no, it was looking at cover, reading the cover blurb and I went all possessive; MINE.MINE.MINE!! Really, envision the cookiemonster but then with books.

A few books among those that made me go book feral:


CARNAL SIN by Allison Brennan

Release Date:

June 22, 2010

A coven of witches well versed in the black arts unleash the Seven Deadly Sins on earth - as incarnate demons with an agenda. When straying men are murdered, Moira and Rafe Cooper, an ex-seminarian battling demons of his own, confront a succubus who's far more deadly than they imagined.

~website author~

This cover is doing it so much more for me than ORIGINAL SIN, but then, I love my man candy on the covers and love the bold feel of it. I hope this indicates we get more of Rafe Cooper.



RED DEMON by Deidre Knight

Release: June 1, 2010

After assuming the power of life and death for the immortal Spartan brotherhood, Aristos Petrakos still hasn’t mastered his unpredictable, newfound abilities. And now a medium brings him a message from the other side—a romantic message Ari doesn’t want to hear…

A century ago, the love of Ari’s immortal life, Julianna Tiades, drowned herself in the Savannah River—after she learned about Ari’s shapeshifting abilities. Desperate to reveal the truth about her death, Julianna makes a bargain with a Djinn demon, who offers to give her physical form. But as Julianna and Ari are reunited in passion, the debt must be paid—in souls and spirits…

~website author~

I have yet to start in this series but every time i get to see a new cover for this series along with a tantalizing scrap of cover blurb my inner PNR junkie is going mental. it is something to do with the Spartan brotherhood that makes me break out in delightful shivers.

FORGED BY SHADOWS by Jessa Slade

release date; June 1, 2010

After surviving the Irish Potato Famine, Liam Niall was possessed by a demon in search of redemption. Now, he heads the Chicago league of taylan in their fight against evil. Jilly Chan is a mentor to the local homeless youth-and warrior against the criminals who prey upon her charges. She's already half-taken by a demon, so Liam reluctantly tries to guide her into full power.

Even as the proudly independent Jilly tries to remain true to her own soul, Liam's fiercely passionate touch leaves a mark on her desirable flesh as enduring as her new demonic tattoo...
 
 ~website author~

I still have to try this author but I have her debut book; SEDUCED BY SHADOWS on the shelves and I've heard good things about her. Besides the fact that I love a good PNR?UF, the back on that cover...it makes me want to take out the honey and whip to entertain my gutter fantasies LOL

My inner cover hussy had a field day today but the blurbs sound so very promising that I've got them in my basket, I wished for a stronger will but alas my addiction is weak. Did anyone else have an episode recently where a cover/blurb/release they just couldn't resist? Join the campfire tonight and let's talk good releases :)

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25 April 2010

My book work-out...

Can we all say "Awh...sooooo cute!" I'm afraid I wasn't so cute this morning when then sun was up at six yet I was all in the mood for some spring cleaning. Now I still had my bookcases and books to organize in the guest bedroom and with a sunny spirit I started after a hearty breakfast. The first half hour of ladder up and ladder down to reach the top shelves was all good but then my muscles started to protest, I could 'feel the burn' so to speak! But I wasn't made of yello, with a bit of music I picked up the pace and my books got sorted into two houses...I found my Potter books again, can you tell? :)

Anyhoo, I had my 'one-day-I-will-want-to-read-this' pile of books and my 'oh-gawd-what-was-I-thinking' pile with a dash of  'girl, that was sooooo 1980'! I knew I went rampant with my book buying habbits in the early days when I was reading english but the pile of books that are going to be sold and stashed for another great giveaway was bigger than I expected. I'm looking at the pile, now neatly stashed in rows on the bed of my guest bedroom, and I think it is safe to say I'm saying goodbye to my Historical Romance period. Goodbye to Alexandra Benedict, Johanna Lindsey (yes she was still there with a few books I hadn't read *eek*) Julia Quinn, Sophia Nash, Lisa Kleypas, Nicole Jordan and Suzanne Enoch. I'm waving off Jacquelyn Frank with JACOB, DAMIEN, ELIJAH & NOAH. Lynsay Sands with her Argenau vampires, Julia Garwood with her Buchanan-Renard heroes, Nora Roberts with the Circle Trilogy and so many more. Some I've read, some I've not read, but I need to let go of some books because else my appartment is going to be covered wall to wall by them in a few years. Somehow I think that future image will make my hubby's eye twitch LOL

So after three and a half hours of this book work-out I have my bookcases organized, my heart knows it is still alive and kicking, my muscles feel lose and a bed full of books that I need to get rid of. It will most likely be a joint venture of selling them, donating them to my library and pick a stash for a giveaway in the summer. Let me give you a visual of the books on my bed...


~click on the picture to enlarge it~

It is nearing one o'clock in the afternoon and hubby has made lunch for me *grin* So that leaves me with saying to you all; Have a great Sunday everyone! I'm going to spend some quality time with Mr. Leontine now that the sun is out and about, warming up the air and letting the birds and the bees sing in full tune :) 

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19 April 2010

My push-pull with the Dark-Hunter series - review Bad Moon Rising


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Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (August 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312369492
ISBN-13: 978-0312369491

Genre: Paranormal
Book 18 in Dark-Hunter series
Main Characters: Fang Kattalakis and Aimee Peltier
Book Origin: Personal Library
!!WARNING!! Can contain spoilers for those not familiar with the series or hasn't read the book yet!

Cover Summary:
Fang Kattalakis isn't just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. And when the woman Fang loves is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.

My Review: Ever since NIGHT PLAY I wanted to find out what was up with Fang but it wasn’t until this weekend that he finally yanked my chains in demand to be read. BAD MOON RISING begins with a brief history lesson how the animal Katagaria and the human Arcadians came to see the light of day. After this prologue Bad Moon Rising overlaps the time frame from NIGHT PLAY to recent events in the series arc. I received Fang and Aimee’s POV on various events like the death of Fang, Vane and Fury’s sister, Anya, the comatose state of Fang and Nicolette Peltiers accusation of Wren’s inferiority in front of the Omigrion.

While these events weren’t knew to me the reason for Fang’s comatose state was, add a revenge scheme going on against the Peltiers and I was kept pleasantly intrigued throughout this story. What Fang’s reason was for his physical state I won’t reveal but what caught me off guard was the fact that now Archangels and Lucifer’s son were present on the New Orleans playground. How far have I come from the time where I thought Dark-Hunters and Daimons ruled this playground. Of course this new angle and accompanying characters piqued my curiosity but it also furthers to dilute the strength in the cast of characters. There are very few characters who really stick out for me these days in this series as each and every character is interesting, bears secrets to be revealed, and has a large chip on his or her shoulder.

The first hundred pages or so went in to the back story of how Vane and Fang got to a point where they were attacked by the Daimons in the swamp and the budding attraction between Fang and Aimee. I instantly liked the feel of Fang and Aimee together and since much information of the events were already known I could really focus on them both together. Fang is all wolf, has a big mouth, an ego and a macho attitude but will do anything for his pack, his family and will protect females from any harm. With Aimee I got a good dose of Peltier family loyalty, their sibling interaction and she has secrets to hide from her family that were very interesting yet not fully explored what impact it had on her. Since Aimee has so many brothers Fang doesn’t scare her one bit and when he opens his mouth she has comeback’s full of attitude of her own. Still most of all Aimee has a big heart, she has a capacity to love though she knows pain and fear too.

The romance in Bad Moon Rising is sweet, endearing, charming and it speaks of coveting each other while knowing it is impossible. Fang and Aimee have a chemistry that is warm and sizzles at the right times though the outright passionate scenes are not all that frequent. It is the situation they find themselves in that press certain decisions which speaks loud and clear of their feelings for each other. There was no doubt in my mind they wanted and needed each other but the Fates are fickle creatures and will deem them mates or not in the end. Of course when all odds are against a pair I’m the kind of reader who wants it all the more and keeps reading, not for the when, but for how they will overcome all the odds and get to be together.

The romance and plot worked in an even pace that made the story very easy to read. While I missed the acerbic humor at times to counter the suffering with various characters and Fang suddenly figured out all Aimee’s carefully guarded secrets I had a very enjoyable time reading Bad Moon Rising. The story really revolved around Fang, Aimee, Sanctuary and the Peltier family and they pulled me in with quick-witted dialogues, in the moment action and far stretching consequences. It was good to be back in New Orleans with the old and new that headed towards an ending that made me say goodbye to a few characters I did not expect. 

BAD MOON RISING is a story that gave me a pleasant buzz, nothing over the top but a story that had me clamoring for more nonetheless.

*I was shocked I didn't have any quotes :(*

3,5 stars


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18 April 2010

Contest winners galore *woohoo*


With a social busy weekend I have to make this a quickie but wanted to thank each and everyone who came out and celebrated the romance with me. of course the 20+ book giveaway is still in the running but Lisa Hendrix, Dee Davis and Lisa Valdez have also donated a book to celebrate their kind of romance, thank you for your generosity!! I let the numbers roll via random.org and here are the winners:

A choice in book from Lisa Hendrix backlist:
1. Heather (DarklyReading)

A signed copy of Lisa Valdez’s PATIENCE:
1. Stella (Ex Libris)

A copy of Dee Davis DARK DECEPTIONS:
1. The Book Pimp Blogs

Congratz and contact me via navigation bars contact button to send me your addy's :) Enjoy the swag winners *woohoo*

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14 April 2010

Holding up my 'I love PATIENCE' banner proudly


~ Book Depository Store~
~Website Author~

PATIENCE
by Lisa Valdez
ISBN: 0425210545
Publisher: Berkley
On sale date: April 6, 2010

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: book 2 in The Passion Quartet
Main Characters: Matthew Morgan Hawkmore and Patience Emmalina Dare
Book Origin: Personal Library

Cover Sumary:
A WOMAN CALLED PATIENCE. A DESIRE THAT WOULD PUT HER NAME—AND HER LOVE—TO THE TEST.

Known for her exceptional beauty, Patience Emmalina Dare has been pursued by admirers ever since coming of age. But suitor after suitor fails to inspire her love – or her desire. Certain she will never find a man who touches her deeply, she decides to forgo marriage in favor of pursuing her music. But just when Patience thinks she has her life well in hand, a passionate kiss with her enigmatic brother-in-law awakens a powerful need in her. How will she reconcile her desire for him and her desire for a life that's her own – and what will she do when he shows her a deep and hidden part of herself that she never knew existed?

When the secret of his illegitimate birth pushes Matthew Morgan Hawkmore from his place in society, the darkly handsome half-brother of the Earl of Langley plots his resurrection and his revenge. Betrayed and abandoned by the women he believed loved him, he swears to never again be controlled by love. But despite his vow, he is unable to resist the beautiful Patience, whose strength and self-reliance hide a need that he is perfectly suited to fulfill. Can he have her without loving her? What will he give up to keep her? And will her passionate surrender be the one thing that can stop him from making a tragic mistake that could destroy them both…

My Review: Archibald Benchley was a man bend on the ruination of Matthew now that scandal touched upon his good name. His daughter, Rosalind, had to forego on her engagement with Matthew now that he has been deemed a bastard by birth and all good society had turned a cold shoulder to him. It was revenge that raged in Matthews heart for his once, future father-in-law. Nevertheless, it was meeting Patience that stirred something else, something primal, and not to be ignored. It was the instinctual recognition of a Dominant for his submissive…

I think if I ever had one question regarding PATIENCE then it would be if it could deliver that same emotional rush as PASSION gave me. So the minute I held my copy of PATIENCE in my hand was the minute I signed off on real life and immersed myself in the time of England anno 1851. There, Matthew Morgan Hawkmore and Patience Emmaline Dare, tell a story where their deep sated needs and desires awaken to complete and heal their heart, mind, body and soul. I found out that, once again, Lisa Valdez equals pushing the envelope with formidable characters and a potent, extraordinary and erotically charged storyline!

The back story of Matthews’s revealed parentage provided a back and forth maneuvering of power play between Matthew and Benchley. Yet it is from the very first chapter that I was mesmerized by the acute attraction flowing between Matthew and Patience. Their budding relationship is at the heart of PATIENCE, it is one where a Dominant uses his carefully yet adamant ministrations to see to the emotional maturing of a woman coming in to her own. It is with a poignant elegance that Lisa Valdez captured the image of two people who completed each other, but for them to reach that destination they had a lot of soul searching to do.

I couldn’t get enough of the internal warring of emotions with Matthew. At one hand he wanted to re-claim his honor and make a statement that he was still a man of worth, at the other hand he was completely absorbed by his new feelings towards Patience. Her view on life, her intellect, her personality and her submission were answers to all his dreams he ever had of a loving future. He uses all sides of Domination; from wrapping up Patience in gentle caring, to swatting her ass in punishment. From gentle persuading to simply commanding and always, always teaching and reassuring Patience of the strength that lies in her submission.

Patience is a woman on a crossroad in her life and she boldly chooses Matthew, only what that included is something she only felt on an instinctual level. She comes with boundaries and wounds buried for years that need to surface before she can be whole again. Patience is a high spirited woman, one who is wooed by one and all for her great beauty and all she craves is a man whose arms are strong enough to hold her, nurture her in all her needs, even if she doesn’t know exactly what they are. Alongside the courage also doubts and fears coursed through Patience veins about her deepest desires and sense of self, while through Matthews coursed a burning need for revenge that was alternated with his deeply ingrained need to Dominate, love and take care. They are flawed, have their quirks, but for every man there is a woman and Patience was Matthews.

It is safe to say that Matthew and Patience enraptured me in their chemistry, emotions peaked for me with them playing the cello, with a simple act of Matthew dressing Patience, when boundaries were breeched and old pain surfaced, or upon the first time I love you’s were said. These moments, and many more, were steeped with such an underlying meaning and feelings that I couldn’t get enough of it and created a depth that took a life of its own in this story. This isn’t a simple love story, it is layered and complex and I took my time with unraveling these two formidable characters. As I was immersed in the romance I felt the “revenge” part was taking a back seat and there was even a moment in the story, towards the end, where I thought the solution was too easy. Only then did I get an ‘all or nothing moment’ where I had to take out my tissues for perhaps the second or third time. Lisa Valdez doesn’t do easy for her characters, she stays true to their nature and Matthew had to go rock bottom to realize a few truths all on his own. If there is one thing that makes the romance intensely experienced by me than it is a couple that has to overcome great struggles and I feel Matthew and Patience had to go through deep valleys to come up at the other end with a love stronger then oak.

There is also a moment between Passion and Patience that rattled me and conveyed their tight knit family bond as sisters. While there isn’t actually much dialogue going on between Passion and Patience throughout the story it is the ones that they have that speak of a deep caring between them. While there are family and friends surrounding the main couple, and the Bon Ton is ever present, there are two characters who stood out for me; Fitz Roy, somehow this male persona intrigues me with his observations and actions. And then there’s aunt Matty with her own life’s wisdom and obtaining what her nieces need. She was definitely a fun note in an otherwise intense story.

While I feel like I’m upholding my “I love PATIENCE banner” proudly there was the bible quoting of Patience that irked me at times. She is a vicar daughter but for me it was simply something that wasn’t needed, Patience morals already made me believe she was a vicar’s daughter, made her believable that way. No need to smack me with the quotes. Of course the distinct erotic descriptions were also evident with the regular use of words like prick, cods, quim and cunt but for me it is part and parcel of reading a novel from Lisa Valdez’s hand.

PATIENCE, though so very different in story, erotica theme and characters had one common denominator with PASSION, and that is the beautiful writing voice of Lisa Valdez. I am an avid reader of the Dom/sub relationship and I felt the commanding voice of Matthew and the need quivering in Patience for submitting. Lisa Valdez created a D/s relationship with raw emotional moments alternated with tender ones, passionate ones, defiant ones and the moments where a love grew that could heal the souls of two people who come to mean so much to me by the end of this story. 

In its own unique way PATIENCE delivered the same bold, emotional and sensuous story as its predecessor, PASSION. Now I await Lisa Valdez’s writing once again with Primrose story.

4,5 stars

Quote Matthew:
Matthew’s chest filled with a deep contentment. This was what he wanted – to wake up beside her forever. He drew a long breath and released it slowly. He wanted to dance a thousand dances with her. He wanted to play alongside her at a hundred musicales. He wanted to stand at her side as her acknowledged mate and care for her, so that she never had to fear that he would ever leave her.

Quote Patience:
“It’s not like that, Matthew.” Her voice was soft and low. “I’m not surrendering because I feel vulnerable. I’m surrendering because I feel strong.” She laid her hands against his cheeks and her eyes looked brilliant. “I’m surrendering because I’m in love.”
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12 April 2010

Blast from the past: Wrath finds his way to me.

Sometimes I get lost in my own folder system on my pc and find things again that has me rolling my eyes at myself, or has me laughing out loud how inexperienced I was. Yes, you may be surprised but even I was a young grasshopper once when it came to the romance genre ;) So today I was scouring my folders to find some info, ended up in my 2008 review folder and found my first experience with a book titled; DARK LOVER...does anyone know it?? It's a vampire novel of some kick ass warriors in case you're wondering *wink*

There was a time when I didn't know of the BDB warriors and it was in the spring of 2006, on a German romance convention, where a fellow romance addict told me; "Girl, if you're a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon - who ruled my days back then - you should read J.R. Ward's DARK LOVER." So yeah, I got home, and that piece of info got lost in the abyss of my memory.

Until it was time to do some book shopping that fall for a friend back then. I stumbled upon DARK LOVER again and ordered it along with the book presents for my friend. I actually shelved it until I believe it was October, November when I picked up the book, read page one and was whisked away, blown away and left dazzled at the final page. Oh yes, the Black Dagger Brotherhood had made its entrance on my shelves with a very big bang. To this day Wrath still holds my heart ;)

So of course I had to write me a review back then to rally up my sister book-addicts. But today, as I re-read my own review of DARK LOVER, I suddenly remember so crystal clear how much I fell in love with this series, with these vampires, and how far this series has progressed since then. For me it feels like a blast from the past and now I’m all nostalgic about it...LOVER MINE be quick to reach my door. Does anyone remember the shock when Darius got blown up...my heart was in my throat!

Anyway, here is my review of DARK LOVER, of course I had to share this one with you all too *grin*

My Review: Let me introduce you to the Black Dagger Brotherhood of J.R. Ward, we have: Wrath - Phury - Tohrment - Rhage - Vishous and Zhadist. Those names alone entices the fantasy wanting to know more!

This is the story of Wrath and it starts with Darius asking him for a favor. His only living child is nearing her transition and knowing it will be a painful process he asks Wrath to guide her through it. Wrath declines but on that same faithful night Darius' life is taken by a lesser (vampire slayer). <- Yes I had to explain it back then!

As a reader you're drawn into the story from the very first page, eagerly devouring (<- Did anyone do it any different I wonder now?) every shred of information. Although a lot is explained in this book it somehow doesn't take the pace out of the story. Your seduced by six incredible warriors, the vampire world and their rules are stirred up into something new.

Beth has an average life with a normal job, but the last few weeks her hunger can't be sated with food and her eyes become vulnerable to sunlight. Now a ferocious man introduces himself and his world to her when all Beth wants to do is tear the clothes of his body and sate an entirely different hunger. (<- I was so in tune with that kind of hunger, the first time they went at it *shivers* So good!)

Beth as a heroin is a joy to read, her confusion, loneliness, strength and of course the effect she has on Wrath is sizzling form the pages. The passion between the two can light up even the darkest night and the fire of their love destroys everything within their path. (<- uhuh uhuh, yeah, upon re-reading DL I feel this every time)

Of course the lesser are planning their evil plot with Mr.X as their leader, this gives the story a thrilling pace for you only hope that the Black Dagger warriors get their ultimate revenge as they lost an honoured member. But as evil rises and love blossoms it collides into an ending that still leaves me dazzled.

I just couldn't tear myself from this book as a complete new vampire world is introduced. J.R.Ward has placed herself in a league of few like: Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan. They have altered the vampire genre and so has J.R.Ward! I can't wait for the other two books to find their way into my hands!

J.R. Ward combines all we want to have in a vampire novel, two thumbs up!!

Quote Wrath:
Welcome to the wonderful world of jealousy, he thought. For the price of admission, you get a splitting headache, a nearly irresistible urge to commit murder, and an inferiority complex. Yippee.
Quote Beth:
Whoa. Fangs. She had fangs.
She leaned in, prodded them a little. Eating with those puppies was going to take some getting used to, she thought. On impulse, she brought up her hands, turned her fingers into claws. Hissed. Cool. Halloween was going to be real kick in the pants from now on.
Zsadist:
Black eyes glittered. The smile on the vampires face was greedy for sin and ready for evil.
And the quote that made me fall head over heels for Wrath:
Wrath was six feet, six inches of pure terror dressed in leather. His hair was long and black, falling straight from a widow's peak. Wraparound sunglasses hid eyes that no one had ever seen revealed. Shoulders were twice the size of most males. With a face that was both aristrocratic and brutal, he looked like the king he was by birthright and the soldier he became by destiny. And the wave of menace rolling ahead of him was one hell of a calling card.

5 stars


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09 April 2010

Guest Post: Lisa Hendrix talks romance & Immortal Warriors

It was one of those days where Marissa and I had a phone conversation of hours talking about all things in life and of course, books. Marissa directed me towards a series that instantly grabbed my attention and I'm so very happy that Lisa Hendrix is here in my Realm today talking about romance and her Immortal Warriors series. So I'm giving the floor over to this wonderful author and hope you all have a fantastic friday with her in my Realm :)

Hello, everyone. I’m delighted that Leontine invited me to come celebrate romance with all of you—and glad I get to write in English instead of Dutch. Before I get on to the bit about the books, I wanted to share something fun I wrote just for you:

Five Things I Learned While Writing Romance Novels

1) That my husband can’t proofread for me.

He gets too wrapped up in the writing to remember to pay attention to silly things like spelling, grammar, punctuation, and story logic. The good part is that he thinks I’m brilliant—but that doesn’t count once the manuscript goes out the door.

2) That animals are easier to train than children.

Both of mine are old enough to drive now, but as soon as I’m immersed in something and that last bit of my attention goes off them, they’ll interrupt me just like when they were five. The cat (and formerly, the dog) will just lie down beside me and leave me alone.

3) To set timers.

Otherwise, I forget my children. Forget to bathe. Forget to eat. No, not that one; I never forget to eat, but I do forget the food on the stove. And those other things. My kids learned early on that if they didn’t see me by the time the other kids had been picked up, they should go back in to the school and have the office lady call me. Bad mommy. Now that I think of it, this is probably the reason they feel they need to remind me every few minutes that they’re around...

4) It’s not just about the chocolate.

It’s also about the readers, the friendships, the stories, the pride of seeing a finished book on the shelves, and the fascinating characters who live in my head, especially those brooding Viking heroes. And the chocolate—the darker, the better.

5) That my sister romance authors are the most generous writers out there.

I’ve been flip up to now, but this one’s serious.

One of the only major writers organization that allows unpublished writers full, voting membership is Romance Writers of America. That says a lot right there. But then you go to an RWA National Conference (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/conferences_and_events) (as I will this July) and discover 2000 women sharing their best writing secrets, introducing each other to agents and editors, brainstorming, banding together for promotion, and partying till the sun rises and you realize you’re a part of something extraordinary: a true sisterhood that flows from the hearts of the writers to each other and thence to the readers.

And that’s something to celebrate.

Giveaway: What have you learned from reading or writing romance? Share you answer in the comments to be entered to win your choice of my books. Open to anyone, anywhere.

Now the bit about the books and me:
I’ve written western romances and contemporary romantic comedy (including Runaway Bay, which was published in Dutch under the title “Alles Voor Een Miljoen?”), but these days, I’m busy with a series of paranormal historical romances about a crew of Vikings cursed to be immortal were-beasts. Each man in the Immortal Brotherhood takes form of his fylgja, or spirit animal companion, switching back and forth every dawn and dusk. It’s a lonely, painful, miserable existence, made more so by the vindictive scheming of the sorceress Cwen, intent on punishing them through the ages for killing her son. I do love to torture my heroes.

The first two books, IMMORTAL WARRIOR (set in 1096, about Ivar the eagle) and IMMORTAL OUTLAW (1290, Steinarr the lion) have been out a while and will soon be published in Thai and German. The third, IMMORTAL CHAMPION, arrives in the US in January 2011. It’s set in the years just before Agincourt (1415) and follows the wretched love-life of Gunnar, who spends his nights as a very sexy red-headed warrior and his days as a bull—perhaps the first were-bull in mainstream romance (and don’t go there, ’cause I didn’t ). The fourth book (no title yet) will follow in October 2011 and will be set in Elizabethan England.

I live in southern Oregon in a household made up of computer geeks, theater-kids, and a variety of animals who all think I’m a pain when I’m on deadline. You can email me at lisa (at) lisahendrix.com (please include one of my book titles in the subject line to avoid spam filters), and you’ll find my blog, contests, information on past and future books, and an ever changing collection of surprises and freebies, and miscellanea, including special information and programs for readers groups, all on my website.

I ran on a little too long to include excerpts here, so jump directly to an excerpt of Immortal Warrior or Immortal Outlaw And be sure to sign-up for my newsletter to find out when the excerpt for IMMORTAL CHAMPION is unveiled in all its juiciness. 

08 April 2010

Guestblog & Giveaway: Dee Davis introduces her A-TAC characters

Leontine: Through web-hopping I found the website of Dee Davis and her new and sizzling A-TAC series. When I read about a black-ops CIA unit masquerading as Ivy League faculty who included; covert operations expert Nash Brennon, the extractions expert for A-Tac, Drake Flynn and As the demolitions expert for A-Tac, Tyler Hanson I was so sold :)

As I always have a weakspot for doing something fun with the characters I asked if Ms. Davis was ready, willing and able to introduce us to these highly intriguing men. I was psyched when she said yes and without further ado...here is Dee Davis introduction to her characters...

My newest romantic suspense series, starting with Dark Deceptions, features the American Tactical Intelligence Command (A-Tac), an off the books blacks ops division of the CIA. Hiring only the best and the brightest, A-Tac is made up of academicians with a talent for espionage. Working under the cover of one of the United States’ most renowned think tanks as a part of Sunderland College– A-Tac uses its collegiate status to keep its activities ‘eyes only’.

In developing any book, but particularly a series, the characters are crucial elements. And characters can come from anywhere. They can be an amalgamation of people a writer knows. They can spring fully formed from the imagination. Or at times, they have to be coaxed into existence tidbit by tidbit. Like real life people, some characters will tell you anything about themselves, while others have no interest in indulging your curiosity about there past. But most importantly, every character in a novel firmly believes that the book is about him.

The characters that inhabit the world of A-Tac have already become some of my favorites. So if you’ll indulge me—I’d like to introduce you.


A-Tac’s Key Players:

Avery Solomon: A native of Baltimore, MD, Avery Solomon is an ex-marine with pentagon experience and the close friend of three presidents. Currently the Dean of students at Sunderland College, Avery serves as A-Tac’s commander. He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and highly selective when it comes to personal relationships.

Nash Brennon: A-Tac’s second in command, Nash Brennon is independent almost to the point of being a loner. He hates technology and often questions authority. Hailing from Austin, Texas, he is an expert in covert operations and a recognized political historian. His one attempt at love was shot down in flames when his lover left him to die in the middle of a crucial operation.

Drake Flynn: Originally from Redlands, CA, Drake Flynn is a noted archeologist with a penchant for extracting people from difficult situations. Recruited by the CIA after thwarting a terrorist attack, Drake doesn’t tolerate fools and uses humor to hide emotion. Fiercely protective of the people he cares about, he’s not a man you want to cross.

Tyler Hanson: Tyler Hanson loves things that go ‘boom’. A senior member of A-Tac, she graduated from Sarah Lawrence and joined the Army and later the CIA. A ordnance and demolitions expert, she is also a tenured professor of literature at Sunderland. A firm believer in calculated risk, she’s thrown for a loop when a one-night stand suddenly seems to turn into something more.

A-Tac’s Persons of Interest:

Annie Gallagher: Annie Gallagher is ex-CIA, a loner who doesn’t trust easily and forgives even more rarely. A trained sharp-shooter, she fell off the grid after a mission gone bad, cutting off everyone she knew from before. Settled now in Colorado with a new life and son, she has no interest in resurfacing to face the only man she ever loved. But when her son is kidnapped, she is forced to face her past in an effort to preserve her future.

Madeline Reynard: Born in Cypress Bluff, LA, Madeline Reynard followed her sister to Colombia where she murdered a man to save her sister’s life and wound up incarcerated in a Colombian prison. When her release is arranged by a local drug lord, she is forced to work for him to secure her sister’s safety. Angry and afraid, she reaches out for help only to find that the solution may be worse than the problem.

Owen Wakefield: The son of a fisherman, Owen Wakefield was born in Cornwall. After studying physics at university, he joins MI-5. But after his wife and child are killed in an explosion, he goes off the reservation, finding work wherever it surfaces. Keeping secrets for whomever asks. And when his new CIA partner turns out to be the woman from a steamy one-night stand, his secrets become more than just a liability.

To find out more, you’ll have to read Nash and Annie’s story in Dark Deceptions, Drake and Madeline’s adventure in Dangerous Desires, and Tyler and Owen’s tale in Desperate Deeds. And along the way you’ll also get to know Hannah Marshall, Jason Lawton, Emmett Walsh, Lara Prescott and Harrison Blake (who will be familiar to those who read my Last Chance series). Characters who’ve all come to hold a special place in my heart.

Giveaway: To have a chance at winning a copy of DARK DECEPTIONS answer Ms. Davis following question:

What are some of the most memorable characters you remember?

(Contest ends at 4/15/2010)

07 April 2010

Romance Spotlight: Monica Burns

~author website~
~pre-order Assassin's Honor~

Doesn't this cover immediately grab the attention? It did with me, but when I read the blurb all bells and whisteles went off; it contains all the markers for a story that has my panties in a twist of excitement!

1. ancient relics
2. ancient order of assassins—the Sicari
3. a sinfully dark stranger
4. an ancient Roman bloodline
5. revenge. Love

Heck, let me give you the whole blurb so you can all go nuts with me:
Assassin's Honor by Monica Burns

Book 1 in The Order of the Sicari series
Penguin/Berkley
ISBN - 978-0-425-23416-7
Available June 1, 2010

COVER BLURB

Archeologist Emma Zale sees the past when she touches ancient relics. It’s how she uncovered evidence of an ancient order of assassins—the Sicari. When a sinfully dark stranger shows up on her Chicago doorstep demanding an ancient artifact she doesn’t have, he drags her into a world where telekinesis and empaths are the norm. Now someone wants her dead, and her only hope of survival is an assassin who’s every bit as dangerous to her body as he is to her heart.

Ares DeLuca comes from an ancient Roman bloodline of telekinetic assassins. A Sicari, he’s honor bound to kill only in the name of justice. But when the woman he loved was murdered, Ares broke the Sicari code and used his sword for revenge. Love cost him dearly once before, and he’s not willing to pay the price again. At least not until hot, sweet, delectable Emma walked into his life. Not only does she hold the key to a valuable Sicari relic, she might just hold the key to his heart.

Is everybody in the same salavating spot as I am? Good! At least I'm not the only one feverishly counting down the days for the release of this novel. So when I read this info and got my fix of the second book cover in this series I just knew I wanted to know what Monica Burn's view on romance was, so I contacted her and even though her time was precious she gave me the 411 on her kind of romance. So  please welcome Ms. Burns to my Realm, have something to drink, something to nibble on and get comfy...

What does romance mean to Monica Burns?

Romance for me is real life mixed with a healthy dose of fantasy. When I write, I know that real life doesn’t always have a happy ending. I also know that not every woman is drop dead gorgeous (I love looking at pictures of Elizabeth Taylor and Jean Simmons in their heyday). And I don’t know about others, but I’ve never had any hawt guys like Brad Pitt or Hugh Jackman give me a second look. But in my books, I can visualize all of that for my heroes and heroines. I get to mix real life themes of love, hope and empowerment into my fantasies so that I see a HEA every time. That’s what it’s all about for me. The fantasy, the HEA and a little bit of real life mixed in.

What does romance mean to Emma Zale and Ares DeLuca?

Romance to Emma and Ares…hmm…that’s a tough question. These two characters have to go through some tough changes before they can be together, but the bottom line is acceptance. Emma has to accept all the changes in her life and learn that things will never be the same no matter how hard she wants them to go back the way they were. Ares has to accept that he’s not perfect, and that he can’t control things no matter how hard he tries. But in the end, the HEA these two enjoy is pretty special, and I love how they come together.

A delicious taste of what is to come....UNEDITED EXCERPT

He studied her long and hard for a moment. There was something about the intensity of his gaze that stole her breath from her. Something dark and sensual crossed his face, while a storm brewed in his dark, mysterious blue eyes. He slowly closed the distance between them. With only inches between them, she knew she should run like hell, but she didn’t. The man mesmerized her. His fingertips lightly stroked her cheek.

“You’re trouble of the worst kind, carissima. Smart, brave, a good sense of humor, compassionate, beautiful, and incredibly sexy. Life was complicated enough before you came along. I knew getting involved with you would cloud my judgment, but it’s too late. I can’t stay away from you.”

The husky sound of his voice made her heart skip a beat and then another. Naked desire crossed his face and it sent her senses reeling. It threatened to drown her in a sensually wicked heat. No. She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t just forget the fact that he’d brought her here under false or near false pretenses.

“Stop it, okay,” she said in a low voice. “Just stop.”

“What do you want me to stop, dolce mia? Stop craving you? Stop dreaming about touching you?” His words were a gentle caress on her senses. “I’ve tried, carissima. I’ve tried hard to forget how you feel against my body. I’ve tried to forget because I know being with you is the worst thing that could happen to both of us. There are things I need to tell you, and yet every time I get near you, I lose my head. You slide into my senses until I can’t think straight.”

She drew in a deep breath. Oh God, if she were a piece of ice, she’d be completely melted by now. Definitely time to leave. With as much aplomb as possible, she turned away from him and headed toward the door. The sooner she got out of this cottage, the safer she and her heart would be.

“Look, let’s just say we had some hot sex and let it go at that. Okay? There’s no need to repeat it.” She casually tossed the words over her shoulder as she headed for the exit. Almost to the door, she flinched as a hard, sinewy arm snapped down in front of her to block her way out of the bedroom.

“If I want hot sex as you call it, I know women who can give me that and they understand it’s just that—sex,” he ground out in a fierce tone. “You are not one of those women, carissima.”

There was a primal note of possession in his voice, and it made her heart slam into her chest as she absorbed his words. The tension in him was easy to see by the way his hand gripped the doorjamb. It was a beautiful hand, strong and masculine. She slowly ran her gaze over the length of his muscular arm. An arm that had held her close on a number of occasions. And every one of those times, she’d enjoyed it far more than she should have. She turned her head to look up at him. The hunger she saw on his face sent her pulse racing, but she was reluctant to give in to the need slowly spiraling its way through her.

“What are you saying?” she asked in a breathless voice.

“I’m saying you’re special, cara. It will never be just sex with you.”
CRITICAL ACCLAIM
“Monica Burns writes with sensitivity and panache. Don’t miss this one!” —Sabrina Jeffries, New York Times bestselling author
“[Monica Burns’s] excellent love scenes and bold romance will have readers clamoring for more.” —Romantic Times
“No one sets fire to the page like Monica Burns.” —eCataromance
“The love scenes are emotion-filled and wonderfully erotic . . .Enough to make your toes curl.” —Two Lips Reviews
“Wow. Just Wow.” —Fallen Angel Reviews
“A satisfying read complete with intrigue, mystery, and the kind of potent sensuality that fogs up the mirrors.” —*A Romance Review  

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06 April 2010

Romance Spotlight: Lisa Valdez & giveaway

~author website~

I remember the roadtrip where Pearl and I discussed Lisa Valdez and her debut novel; PASSION. The impact this novel had with its emotional soaring romance, and of course the unleashing of all that passion through the pages struck me dead center in the heart. Historical Romance is the genre of my teen age years, it is a genre where fewer and fewer authors demand my full attention but I can tell you that Lisa Valdez is one of the authors that reignited a burning torch with me for this genre.

Today PATIENCE hits the shelves and I just had to invite Ms. Valdez to my Spring-Fling week to share her kind of romance. Graciously she accepted the invitation and she is here in my Realm today.

So without further ado, here's Ms. Valdez, grab something to drink, something to nibble on and snuggle in your favorite chair or couch...



What does romance mean to Lisa Valdez?
To me, romance is two people who are uniquely suited to one another. Romance is two people who risk being vulnerable because there is something in the other person they intuitively trust. Romance is those same two people learning that they are entirely safe with each other. Romance is also eroticism. For me, there’s no disconnect between romance and eroticism because, for me, eroticism doesn’t exist outside of a romantic framework. And that framework is two people who are destined to love one another forever. Their brains may not know it, but their bodies and hearts do—and this is demonstrated in the most moving, soul-wrenching sex they’ve ever had—it’s never, ever “just sex” in my books. If it’s happening, then it’s happening because that man can only be fulfilled by that woman. And that woman can only be fulfilled by that man. Their romance wouldn’t happen with any other person—the things they do together, they wouldn’t do with any other person—and the things they reveal to one another they wouldn’t reveal to any other person. Romance is also demonstrated in small, intimate ways. Mark tying Passion’s bonnet in the very way she likes it. Passion making Mark hot chocolate. Matthew bringing Patience her breakfast, and Patience making scones for Matthew because she knows he always wakes hungry. All these “small” things (and there are oh, so many) are actually demonstrations of love. And, finally, romance is two people who make each other better individuals—two people who would never be their best selves if not for the other person. …satisfied sigh… Yes, that’s what romance is to me.

What does romance mean to Matthew Morgan Hawkmore and Patience Emmalina Dare?
Well, for all my characters, romance is what I’ve already said. But specific to Matthew, romance is dominance and giving. If he can give Patience what she needs, if he can fulfill her and make her happy, then he will be fulfilled himself. He is constantly looking to her—constantly seeing to her—constantly gauging what she needs. This is the dichotomy of dominance. Many people think dominance is about control, and in many ways it is—but it is also about giving. As the one in the dominant position, Matthew is responsible for Patience’s pleasure. Everything he does is for her. Even when he denies her, it’s for her. He tells her there is no pleasure for her but through him—but the other half of that is that there is also no pleasure for him but through her. He is the giver; she is the receiver. And if he can prove himself worthy of her—then he will be a worthy man. The “small” things: Romance is Patience’s calm voice in the moonlight, reassuring him that everything will be all right. Romance is the way she defends him and stands by him—the way she always assumes the best of him. Romance is the way she trusts him with herself. And romance is sitting with her in a warm kitchen over tea and scones that she’s made for him.

For Patience, romance is trust and submission. She trusts Matthew and, through her submission, she begins to feel things that give her hope for the dreams she put away long ago. She is not weakened by her submission, she is strengthened by it. Indeed, she is saved by it. Her relationship with Matthew is a romantic partnership—a romantic partnership in which she has an equally important, but divergent, role. A role that is more than it seems. Everything is by Patience’s leave, so who, really, is the one in control? She is. And this is the dichotomy of submission—and the romantic beauty of it. So if Patience can truly and completely trust Matthew, and if he can prove himself worthy of that trust, then she can have a kind of happiness that she never even knew existed. The “small” things: Romance is dancing with Matthew. Romance is the safety of his arms. Romance is found in all the beautiful, reassuring things he says to her. Romance is the way he helps her to dress and the way he always rises to her challenges. Romance is in his dark eyes which seem to look inside her and see all her hidden need. Romance is Matthew himself for he awakens Patience from a dreamless and hopeless walking sleep.
A brief taste of PATIENCE:
Patience’s mouth curled back into a smile as he withdrew to finish his scone. It was such a sweet and endearing smile—one he hadn’t seen before. His heart beat a little faster. Ah, Patience, your walls are crumbling.

“If you keep smiling at me like that,” he said, “I will soon be robbed of all my wit, and you will have naught in me but a dumb and drooling mute who trails incessantly at your heels in hopes of the smallest favor.”

Patience laughed. “Somehow, I doubt that.” She leaned close and would have kissed his cheek, but he turned to catch it on his mouth instead. Her lips were soft and warm. She lingered a moment before withdrawing with a sigh and a smile. “In fact, if anyone is in danger of such a fate, it is I.”

“Are you?” Matthew swallowed the last of his tea. “Excellent.”

Patience laughed lightly. “Oh, you’d like me witless, would you?”

“No. Witless would be boring. But I wouldn’t discourage you from trailing incessantly at my heels. Of course”—he traced his finger along her collarbone—“you couldn’t do that from London, could you?”

Patience grinned and shook her head. “Were I constantly in your presence, you would become bored with me.”

Matthew felt a surge of hope. She hadn’t voiced a flat refusal. “Patience, I would happily spend my every waking moment with you.”

Her smile faded but her eyes were soft. “Never having spent your every waking moment with me, how can you know that?”

Because I love you. Because we are meant to be together—forever. “I just know. But why don’t we put it to the test?” Mat¬thew gently fingered the thick curl that had fallen forward from her upswept hair. “Agree to stay with me, and I’ll prove my point.”

Patience regarded him for a long, silent moment. Her beautiful gaze was tender.

Matthew’s heart quickened. Slowly, he closed the small gap between them. “Say yes, Patience,” he murmured against her lips.


Giveaway: Lisa Valdez was generous enough to offer a signed copy of PATIENCE to one lucky commenter, how awesome is that! :)  Winner will be anounced on April 12th 2010.

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05 April 2010

Romance Quotes which made my heart beat faster & 20+ book giveaway

First of all let me give you all the agenda of this week. I hope you will all join me as these authors celebrate the romance with us.

Monday April 5th: My top ten romance quotes & 20+ book giveaway.
Tuesday April 6th: Romance Spotlight on Lisa Valdez's PATIENCE & giveaway.
Wednesday April 7th: Romance Spotlight on Monica Burns' ASSASSIN'S HONOR.
Thursday April 8th: Dee Davis talks about her A-TAC characters/series & giveaway.
Friday April 9th: Lisa Hendrix comes by with her immortal Warriors.

Now for the swag you can win:

Ilona Andrews – MAGIC BLEEDS (To be pre-ordered for winner via Book Depository Store)
Brenda Joyce – DARK EMBRACE (PNR)
Kerrylyn Sparks – BE STILL MY VAMPIRE HEART (PNR)
Shana Abé – THE SMOKE THIEF (PNR)
Jacquelyn Frank – ECSTACY (PNR)
Anna Windsor – BOUND BY LIGHT / BOUND BY FLAME / BOUND BY SHADOW (PNR)
Ava Gray – SKIN GAME (PNR)
Shayla Black - TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS (PNR) / WICKED TIES (Erotic Romance)
Sharie Kohler – MARKED BY MOONLIGHT (PNR)
Victoria Dahl - A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE (HR)
Leslie Parrish – BLACK AT HEART (Romance Suspense)
Laura Griffin – ONE LAST BREATH (Romance Suspense)
Brenda Novak – STOP ME / WATCH ME (Romance Suspense)
Sara Reinke – DARK THIRST (PNR)
Jennifer Haymore – A HINT OF WICKED (HR)
Joanna Bourne – THE SPYMASTER’S LADY (HR)
Anthology; Maggie Shayne/MaryJanice Davidson/Angela Knight/Jacey Ford – KICK ASS (?)

If for some reason you already have lots of books in this giveaway you can chose between accepting the books or pick books at The Book Depository Store worth of twenty euro’s or twenty five dollars.

RULES of Engagement: What do you have to do to enter for this giveaway? Just leave a meaningful comment in the giveaway post on Monday April 5th, no – enter me for this giveaway comments please – the shipping fee to make this giveaway internationally is severe and I would like to make it as much of a celebration as possible ;)


While the Spring Fling will be the week of April 5th - April 12th, the giveaway will close at April 31st and a winner will be chosen in May 2010. I'll anounce the winner in a blogpost upon which it is the responsibility of the winner to contact me via the contact button!!

Over the years' that I am reading  english romance novels I have gathered quite some quotes that made my heart soar. In random order I wanted to give you ten:

1. Karen Marie Moning - The Dark Highlander:

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

2. Sherrilyn Kenyon - Acheron:

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

3. JR Ward - Lover Eternal:

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

4. Anna Windsor - Bound By Flame:

Quote:
Just Cynda and Nick, Nick and Cynda, casting of heat like a star going nova.

5. Shannon McKenna - Standing In The Shadows:

Quote:
Passion fused them together. All the truths of their hearts were known to each other. Nothing could be hidden, nothing held back. No boundaries, no borders. One being.

6. Lauren Dane – Undercover:

Quote Sera:
She loved them both achingly, deeply, and totally. The wondrous part was that she loved them both in completely different ways, and yet between them, they occupied the space inside her mind, inside her heart and soul.

7. Chris Owen – Bareback:

Quote Tor to Jake:
“This time…this time I’m offering Jake, if you want me, I’m yours. Do anything I can for you, be everything you need. Give myself to you forever.”

8. Lauren Dane – Laid Bare:

Quote Todd:
I love you and I’m not leaving you. I love that you see me, all of me, and you embrace it. I’m free to be what I am. You get me Erin. In a way no one ever has. I love you, all of you. I want you to share with me because you trust me to protect you, to take the pain and bear part of it.

9. Lora Leigh – Nauti Dreams:

Quote Natches:
And she had changed him. In that short time, she had erased the man he had been, and shown him the man he wanted to be. A man who was worthy of a woman that strong.

10. C.L. Wilson – Queen Of Song And Souls:

Quote Rain:
Spirit spun from his fingers in wild waves, and the river around them blazed with fiery light. Hands, teeth, tongues, lips, wings, talons, spirit bodies – both fey and Tairen – caressed and tormented her, claimed and plundered. Gone was the gentle lover. He poured out upon her his magic, his essence, the blazing need of his soul, the primal core of him that existed when all else was stripped away; pure, dominant, male energy, unyielding and fierce, aggressor and defender, protector and conqueror, the darkness to her light. Ours, his Tairen hissed. She is ours. Our mate. Our female. Our pride.

Now, who would you take to the Spring-Fling Ball to celebrate some hot sizzling romance?

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04 April 2010

Winners SHADOWGLASS & Choice from backlist, Shelley Munro


Winner of a copy of SHADOWGLASS:

1.s7anna

Timestamp: 2010-04-02 07:27:51 UTC

Winner of a download from my Ellora's Cave or Cerridwen Press - the winner can choose which title they'd prefer.

1.Smokinghotbooks

Timestamp: 2010-04-02 07:30:43 UTC

Congratz to both winners!

 
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02 April 2010

Column: A funeral, a road trip, a party, an invitation, one awesome surprise & a wedding anniversary

Join me for some coffee and pastries – well, I’ll do without the pastries – so I can do some talking. The week of April 20th – 27th was one funky week for me that started with a funeral…

My sister called me all panicky that her car broke down on the highway and that the AAA would come to her rescue. Still she was worried about the costs because her car wasn’t one of the youngest anymore and the engine was definitely a senior citizen. So I told her to call me ASAP with, hopefully, good news. So forty-five minutes went by and the phone rang, my sister, bad news, the car was in a coma and the AAA would make sure she would arrive at the car mechanic. The car mechanic told my sis it looked bad and would cost around 500-600 euro’s to fix. Can we say OUCH! So now the discussion was; fix it or buy a new car…but my sis is on welfare and buying a car is creatively working with the savings. Later that night, when my sis was pondering her options she heard that her car was DOA, that the engine couldn’t run for another fifty meters. So the car of my sis was dead…we had so many good memories. Me and sis in car riding through the country singing along with ABBA – MAMA MIA, hey, that’s like a classic, I’m not ashamed to admit doing that :) A certain road trip with the ROOB girls, a flat tire and me having to go bush-bush as my bladder went tinkling *eek* Such good times with the car but alas, it was time to let go.

A road trip; Now with my sisters car out of commission Marissa’s birthday party was in danger as sis didn’t have transportation. That is when Pearl came to save the day, she would pick up Natascha (my sis) and bring her back on Sunday. We are talking about roughly a 1000 KM in 3 days…so I went with Pearl on Friday to pick up Natascha. As always our vocal cords got quite the work out and before we knew it we parked in front of Natascha’s home. We returned that same day and that night I curled up in bed and slept like the dead.

A party; So Saturday arrived, I woke up, turned to my other side as a sleepy voice inside me said; no, I don’t wanna wake up…just five more minutes…please. Still, I know myself, when I go somewhere I want my hair tamed yet curly, I want my face to look decent, slap on some make up, dress good, and the older I get the longer it takes *sigh* So at ten in the morning Natascha, me and hubby went on our marry way to Marissa for a wild birthday party. So we were fifteen minutes on our way when Marissa called, when we would arrive at her place? Well, girl, like in thirty minutes. Going by Marissa’s reaction I didn’t think she expected us this early LOL Still the day went by in the blink of an eye and then I got a little queasy, I was running on coffee and diet coke since we’re all on a diet. As I had a slumbering headache I didn’t think anything of it but as we got ready to go out that night my stomach really protested…apparently I had to add a second bush-bush experience as my stomach heaved up all the fluids content *slaps forehead* So it was definitely bye-bye to a fun filled evening :( My Sunday was somewhat crap, my Monday was a little better and Tuesday was back to my old self…a bug? bad food? Who knows but next time we’re going to rock gals, I promise :)

An invitation: A month ago some might remember the book faery dropping by and I promised a 20+ book giveaway, well the time has come to invite you all to: Spring Fling – celebrating the Romance. I have a few things set up with authors who I will confirm when I have the required word documents back. I can say is that Dee Davis will come by with a guest post introducing her characters from the A-Tac series. Monica Burns talks romance about her new series novel; ASSASSIN’S HONOR. But the news you’ve all been waiting for, the books in the 20+ book giveaway are:

Ilona Andrews – MAGIC BLEEDS (To be pre-ordered for winner via Book Depository Store)

Brenda Joyce – DARK EMBRACE (PNR)

Kerrylyn Sparks – BE STILL MY VAMPIRE HEART (PNR)

Shana Abé – THE SMOKE THIEF (PNR)

Jacquelyn Frank – ECSTACY (PNR)

Anna Windsor – BOUND BY LIGHT / BOUND BY FLAME / BOUND BY SHADOW (PNR)

Ava Gray – SKIN GAME (PNR)

Shayla Black - TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS (PNR) / WICKED TIES (Erotic Romance)

Sharie Kohler – MARKED BY MOONLIGHT (PNR)

Victoria Dahl - A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE (HR)

Leslie Parrish – BLACK AT HEART (Romance Suspense)

Laura Griffin – ONE LAST BREATH (Romance Suspense)

Brenda Novak – STOP ME / WATCH ME (Romance Suspense)

Sara Reinke – DARK THIRST (PNR)

Jennifer Haymore – A HINT OF WICKED (HR)

Joanna Bourne – THE SPYMASTER’S LADY (HR)

Anthology; Maggie Shayne/MaryJanice Davidson/Angela Knight/Jacey Ford – KICK ASS (?)

If for some reason you already have lots of books in this giveaway you can chose between accepting the books or pick books at The Book Depository Store worth of twenty euro’s or twenty five dollars.

What do you have to do to enter for this giveaway? Just leave a meaningful comment in the giveaway post on Monday April 5th, no – enter me for this giveaway comments please – the shipping fee to make this giveaway internationally is severe and I would like to make it as much of a celebration as possible ;)

While the Spring Fling will be the week of April 5th - April 12th, the giveaway will close at April 31st and a winner will be chosen at May 1st 2010.


An awesome surprise; Are you tired already of my ramblings? Well, just this last announcement. When Pearl picked me up for the road trip she told me she had a surprise for me. She handed me a MMP copy of Alyssa Day’s ATLANTIS REDEEMED and asked me to look inside. I had no idea what to expect so as I opened the paperback I read the following:


Oh yes, I got quoted in print YAY I always read those quotes and see the familiar websites and blogs, never did I expect to one day be quoted in print. I was stunned actually and it didn’t sink in until later, but there it was, Leontine’s Book Realm got printed and I had a cheesy grin on my face when that info finally hit home ;)


PS: I woke up this morning with Mr.Leontine, a long, free weekend stretching in front of us, the sun shinning and the realization that today, eight years ago, we said our I-do's. Mr.Leontine still knows how to romance me after fourteen years but the day we said our I-do's was the day we said; You and Me, Forever. Our wedding rings reflect that with the infinity symbol, that through all the good and the bad our love is infinite. I'm getting all mushy here....

So there you have it A funeral, a road trip, a party, an invitation, one awesome surprise and a wedding anniversary, thanks for spending this moment with me ladies!!

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