Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bewitching the Duke by Christie Kelley

Bewitching the Duke
Only Her Desire…

After losing his wife in childbirth, Colin Barrett, Duke of Northrop, does not trust healers. So when he discovers Selina White cleansing his home, he is livid. As duke, Colin is accustomed to his charges taking orders from him. But the fiery Selina has the audacity to defy him when he asks her to leave his lands. More infuriating, he cannot stop thinking about the seductive sway of her hips when she walks.

Can Heal His Heart…

The sick tenants of Northrop Park depend on Selina, and she’s not about to let a man tell her she must leave her village—even if he is a duke. And while Selina does not fear Colin’s temper, she is afraid of the secrets she keeps from him and of the desire he sets off in her every time he is near.



Absolutely lovely! Bewitching the Duke was so sweet and perfect, I just adored it. Definitely a winner.

Selina is different from most historical romance characters you come across. She's no society lady. She's a wise woman who is more or less exempt from society's rules. And she was took full advantage of that. But she was also very loyal to the people on the duke's estate that she took care of. She's determined to continue caring for them no matter what happens and no matter what Colin says. She was definitely an admirable heroine, one that anyone could like.

Colin was also different from most historical romance heroes. He lost his wife and infant son years before because of a wise woman's mistake and he's held a grudge since. (BTW, about that situation, there is a huge secret about it, one that will knock your socks of when you find out). Because of his grudge, he automatically holds Selina in dislike. Their first encounter in the book isn't the most illustrious start, though it is enormously funny and an exciting way to start the book. But, their feeling gradually change, while sparks are flying between them constantly. Their relationship was sweet, and it definitely had a lot of passion ;)They were really adorable together.
 But, my favorite  part about Colin is that he deviates from the usual man-whore hero. Usually, the love interest in a historical romance is promiscuous and an almost sex-addict, yes? Well, Colin isn't like that. He loved his first wife and has been celibate since her death all those years ago. I know, a huge change from the usual, but one that I really liked and admired. It made me adore Colin all the more. He was wonderful, a truly delightful hero.

The plot line moves quickly, starting off with a bang and keeping my interest all the way through. There are a few surprises along the way that I didn't see coming. The ending was perfect for the lovely couple. 

Bewitching the Duke is a top notch historical romance. It's officially one of my favorites. If you like some romance, you should check out this book.

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tales of the Macabre

Tales of the Macabre
A luxurious edition of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s best works, lavishly illustrated with macabre style by Benjamin Lacombe. From The Black Cat and the Tell Tale Heart to The Fall of the House of Usher, along with Charles Baudelaire’s essay on Poe’s life and works.

Okay, I know my blog is a romance book review blog, but I just have to rave about this compilation. 

So this is going to be a short review, since there isn't a whole lot to say about Tales of the Macabre.

This compilation is brilliantly done. Just spectacular. The choice of Poe's stories fit well together and the extras were a wonderful addition.

And the pictures were just fantastic. They fit the short stories perfectly. They had that same delightfully, spine-chillingly creepy edge that all of Poe's stories have.

If you want good compilation of Poe's works, this is the book for you. And if you don't, just look through this book. It is wonderful. Just brilliant.

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winners!

Time to announce the winners for the Wicked Romances Giveaway Hop!
Congratulations to:
Levina G.
Yvette Ganoe
Loupe Duffy
Melissa

Winners, I will be sending you an e-mail soon. Please confirm your e-mail as soon as possible so that I can send you your Nook copies. If you don't reply withing 48 hours, I'll have to give your prize to someone else.
Thanks for participating in my giveaway and congrats to the winners!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Heart of the Tiger by Lynn Kerstan

Heart of the Tiger
Miranda "Mira" Holcombe has only one goal in life: To destroy the Duke of Tallant, Jermyn Keynes. Simply for the pleasure of it, he ruined her life, robbed her family of their land and valuables, and now threatens to destroy them entirely. How can a young woman caring for her disabled father bring down a powerful aristocrat? Only her father knows her deepest secrets, and he hopes that in London she will find a kind and gentle man to wed. But Mira is focused only on vengeance, whatever the cost. As she devises a plan to kill the duke, she discovers that Tallant's dark-souled younger brother, Michael, is bent on the same course. Can she believe he'll help her? Dare she trust him?

Michael Keynes once burned with dreams and goals, but all have been consumed by his determination to rid the earth of his tyrannical brother. After meeting the irresistible Mira, his mission changes. He resolves to protect her at any cost, and when the duke is found murdered, Michael deflects suspicion onto himself. But can he save Mira from her worst enemy . . . herself?

Neither can deny the electricity between them. Mira bewitches him with her sharp tongue and quick wit. Michael captivates her with his rakish brand of honor and his brilliant scheming on her behalf. Will she be able to escape the past and dare to reach for a better future? Will Michael see beyond the family's despicable heritage and make a new start in his own life? Can they redeem each other?



Heart of the Tiger was an okay book. It wasn't amazing, but it was okay. It just got kind of...boring.

All the characters were okay. 
Mira is fueled by revenge and we don't get the full reason why until close to the end of the book. She was okay. She was strong and determined, but she didn't take it too far. She was perfectly likable.

Michael was a good character as well. He is bent of revenge as much as Mira is. But he also had a sweeter side that revealed itself when he was with Mira. Though their common goal brought them together in the beginning, they stayed together later out of a newly grown love. It was sweet, especially in the face of the all the horrible things that are going on while their relationship grows. But, I didn't really connect with either of them. And I thought it was really bizarre that, after Jermyn does die (I won't reveal the circumstances of that) they fight about who should take the blame and be hung for it. Never mind the fact that neither of them did it. They truly got into a full fledged fight about who would be hung for a murder neither committed instead of trying to find out who actually did it. It was just bizarre. I just didn't get the two main characters.

The plot was fine. But it was so slow. If the plot had moved faster, I might have liked this book. But it got boring. It just didn't move quickly enough to keep my attention. If you notice, every word I use to describe my opinion about the book is lackluster, which is how I felt the book was. You'd think with a murder scheme going on, things would be more exciting. But they were just...not. I wrote this review 3 days after I read the book, and it was so unmemorable, that I had to strain to remember anything about it. It makes me feel terrible to write such as negative review, but this book just wasn't the greatest book I've ever read.

Heart of the Tiger is just an okay book. If you need a fast paced book that keeps you hooked, this isn't the book for you. But if you have greater patience than I, you should give it a try. Maybe you'll like it better than I did. 

2/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser

An Infamous Marriage
Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he's back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife's love may be the greatest battle he's faced yet


Loved this book! The romance was sweet and passionate and the characters felt so real. The emotions that each character felt were so well depicted that I feel every one. And Infamous Marriage is a spectacular historical romance.

Elizabeth and Jack promised to marry for a deathbed wish. Elizabeth's husband, who was one of Jack's closest friends, made Jack promise to marry her so that he new she would be taken care of. Of course, being married on those terms wasn't the most promising of beginnings. Though resentful of each other at first, they strike a tentative friendship. But, then Jack goes off to war. And, during those years he is at war, rumors of his affairs leak back home to Elizabeth. That leaves her understandably bitter. But, now Jack has returned and wants to resume their marriage. Obviously, it wasn't going to be that simple.

Elizabeth was a very realistic heroine. Her grief at her first husband's death made her understandably reluctant to a new marriage. And, though it starts off very well, it goes down hill about a year in. Why? Well, I don't want to give away that sordid story. There's a lot more to it than you may think, but I'll let you have the pleasure of finding out. But, when Jack returns, she is...fair. Though she is angry with him, she doesn't let that blind her completely. She proves to be a strong, clever, compassionate heroine that is very easy to root for.

Jack...I though I wouldn't like him. But I ended up adoring him. You'd think that his infidelity would make him an automatic fail of a hero. But, I understood why he did it. It actually was realistic and made sense. The whole collapse of their marriage wasn't just Jack's fault and finding that out put the issue of his affairs into a different light. Though I didn't exactly like that he had affairs, I got why he did it. And once I got past that, I saw how sweet and charming and adorable he was and fell for him. If you decide to read this book, you'll see what I mean. He is a delightful hero.

The story begins with Jack going back home, then jumps back to the very beginning of the story, with the death of Elizabeth's husband. The first quarter of the book recounts the story until we arrive back at the main tale of their reconciliation. It was well-paced and interesting throughout. The ending was nice and sweet, a perfect romantic ending.

An Infamous Marriage is a wonderful book. Any historical romance lovers, you should definitely read this!

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for a copy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Lady Who Broke the Rules (Castonbury Park #3) by Marguerite Kaye

The Lady Who Broke the Rules
'Your rebellion has not gone unnoticed...'

Anticipating her wedding vows and then breaking off the engagement has left Kate Montague's social status in tatters. She hides her hurt at her family's disapproval behind a resolutely optimistic façade, but one thing really grates... For a fallen woman, she knows shockingly little about passion!

Could Virgil Jackson be the man to teach her? A freed slave turned successful businessman, his striking good looks and lethally restrained power throw normally composed Kate into a tailspin! She's already scandalised society, but succumbing to her craving for Virgil would be the most outrageous thing Kate's done by far...



The Lady Who Broke the Rules is a different historical romance, but in a good way. It was a lovely book, as well as a breath of fresh air from the usual historical romances.

Just the fact that the love interest in this book is black gave it points. It immediately set it apart from the usual. Though, I did raise my eyebrows at the historical accuracy of an English lady falling for a black ex-slave-I mean, the probably wouldn't have happened in reality-I was immensely pleased with this book.

Obviously, Kate is not your average society lady. She broke off an engagement, leaving her reputation ruined, and now she has fallen in love with an ex-slave. Clearly, she is a remarkably strong heroine to go against every social rule of the time. That was really the distinguishing trait about her. Though she was also kind, clever, and sensible, I will remember her character most for her strength. And that made me very fond of the rebel.

Virgil, needless to say, has a horrifying past. I mean, he was a slave to a cruel overseer before he was sold to a kind man who freed him. Of course his past is full of horrors. But he never let his poor beginnings bring him down. After he was freed, he worked and worked until he became one of the richest and successful men in America. But, the past still scarred him, both physically and emotionally. As I saw him fight his demons, he earned my sympathy. And a soft spot in my heart. His relationship with Kate really helped him past his troubles. It was very sweet. Of course, some spicy is mixed in, just enough to keep things interesting :)

The book stays fairly true to the time period. The author wasn't shy about showing other characters' disdain for Virgil. He may have been successful and rich, but, to society, he was still considered inferior. Ms. Kaye shows this, though she does it tactfully, so it doesn't offend. It was true to the times and had me rallying even more support for our society defying couple.

The plot kept me interested all the way. And the end was sweet and left me smiling. I was sad to say goodbye to Kate and Virgil. I got attached to them throughout the story, which is really high praise for a romance, for me.

The Lady Who Broke the Rules is a brilliantly done historical romance. Anyone and anyone who likes romance should read it.

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for a copy! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

What an Earl Wants (The Redgraves #1) by Kasey Michaels

What an Earl Wants (The Redgraves, #1)
Gideon Redgrave, eldest child of the late Earl of Saltwood, refuses to be humbled by the scandal that once tore his family apart. He's built his life in London society around one rule: trust no one. So the last thing he wants is to play guardian and role model to a headstrong boy . . . or to engage in a battle of wills with the boy's spirited half sister, who is fighting Gideon for custody. 

Beautiful and bold, young widow Jessica Linden proves to be a formidable and passionate adversary. But the more they lock horns, the more Gideon realizes he'd prefer to have Jessica on his side . . . and in his arms. Especially now that a new threat—sprung from his father's supposedly defunct secret society—is poised to destroy the Redgraves once and for all.



What an Earl Wants was a lovely historical romance. Full of passionate romance and scintillating mystery, this romance is bound to thrill.

I loved how independent Jessica was. But I also liked that she new when she needed to swallow her pride and ask for some help. She held her own in the midst of a murder mystery of a horrifying scale. My one with her, and the entire book, was that she was kind of a shrew at first. She was really mean to Gideon. At first, it was understandable. But then, it got a little to ridiculous. That lasted about the first quarter of the book before Jessica warmed up to Gideon and decided to trust him. Then she was perfectly nice and likable. It was a minor problem, but it did irritate me a little. Otherwise, I found Jessica to be a strong, capable, kind character.

Gideon didn't have the best first impression. His first impression made him seem conceited, arrogant, and, quite frankly, unpleasant. But, withing a couple of chapters, he completely turned that around and charmed me thoroughly. His tendency to throw out sarcastic comments was hilarious and, when he wanted to, he could charm anyone until they were wrapped around his finger. His family's past isn't very pretty, but he doesn't let that get him down or allow himself to follow that unsavory precedent. And, when people's lives were in danger, he didn't hesitate to work toward taking the criminal down. Add to all this that he was magnificently handsome, and you have yourself a perfect hero. 

The relationship between Jessica and Gideon was a perfect balance between sweet and spicy. Though they definitely had sparks flying, they were also a very sweet, tender couple. It was a well done portrayal of romance that will please those who prefer either flavor.

Of course, we get an introduction to the rest of the Redgraves throughout the story. And they already have me charmed. I can't wait to see how things go for them.

The plot was a constant roller coaster. It starts out as a conflict between Jessica and Gideon over Jessica's brother (who is so ridiculous, it's hilarious), then becomes a high stakes game where you don't know who to trust. The sinister aspect let in by the Hellfire club was positively spine-chilling. The mystery had me in the dark right until the big reveal. Which was a huge shock. I was blown away when I found out who carried out all the murders. The ending was a nice, sweet closure that tied up all the loose strings.

What an Earl Wants is a fantastic romance. To any historical romance lovers, you'll want to check  this out.

4/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for a copy!

Halloween Giveaway!

Check out the My Life With Books blog. Currently hosting an international 2 winner giveaway. Go one over and enter :)
My Life With Books Button by Parajunkee

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Return of the Border Warrior (Brunson Clan Trilogy #1) by Blythe Gifford

Return of the Border Warrior
Word in the Royal Court has spread that the wild Scottish borders are too unruly. Upon the King's command, John Brunson must return home….Once part of a powerful border clan, John has not set eyes on the Brunson stone tower in years. With failure never an option, he must persuade his family to honor the king's call for peace.

To succeed, John knows winning over Cate Gilnock, the daughter of an allied family, holds the key. But this intriguing beauty is beyond the powers of flattery and seduction. Instead, the painful vulnerability hidden behind her spirited eyes calls out to John as he is inexorably drawn back into the warrior Brunson clan….



Return of the Border Warrior was a very emotional historical romance. I think that is the best way to summarize my reaction to the story. It was full of real emotion from the two main characters. I liked the book. It was worth a read. However, it wasn't the most engaging story I've ever read. 

Cate was tough. In every definition of the term. Not only could she wield a sword with deadly skill, but she also survived a very difficult past. So, right away, I liked her just for that. But, she was also so real. Her father was killed by her clan's enemy. That same enemy also did something very wrong to her, if you catch my drift. In response, she walled herself up and made revenge the sole purpose of her life. I felt that her reaction was very realistic. Especially when John comes in. Despite their budding romance, the author was true to Cate's emotional state. Cate didn't miraculously get over her past. She and John had to work together slowly to overcome her demons. I really loved Cate's character. She was very admirable.

John was as emotionally complex as Cate was. As a child, he was sent by his father to the court of the Scottish king. For most of his life, he felt abandoned by his family, hurt by the fact that he was sent away. So, he turned all his family loyalty into loyalty to the king. Or at lest, he thought he did. He was hurt by his family and was always on guard with them. But, at heart, he was still a Brunson. Loyal to his family and in love with the Border land. Just as Cate had to overcome her past, John also had to fight his demons. But, despite that, he was a thoroughly likable character at all times. He was so sweet to Cate. I mean, he had to be to help her overcome her past. Their relationship was more sweet than charged. Not that it wasn't charged. It definitely was, though the sparks usually showed themselves in arguments. But their relationship was more tender, sweet. Its sweetness is what made their emotional healing possible. And I really liked that about their relationship.

So, why do I say that I didn't adore this book. I just never felt truly engaged. Even though I loved the characters and the story, I was never swept up in the plot. Even during the high intensity scenes, I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I really liked this book. It was definitely worth a read. But it just wasn't entirely engaging. It didn't sweep me away.

Regardless, I would still recommend this book to those who like a good historical, Scottish romance. Return of the Border Warrior is definitely worth a read.

4/5

Thanks to Negalley and Harlequin for a copy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wicked Romance Giveaway Hop

sign up wicked romances giveaway hop
  Sharing My Favorite Read Giveaway Hop was organized by Reading Romances!
Welcome to my post for the Wicked Romances Giveaway Hop! My wicked book is The Wary Widow by Jessica Knight-Catania. Why is The Wary Widow wicked (like the alliteration there)? Well, let's see. The hero is already engaged when a certain chaperone catches his attention. And that chaperone's charge just happens to be his betrothed. Problem? Yes. Does that stop the two from getting it on? Not one bit. So you see the wickedness, yes? And it's what makes the book so fun :) 
What you can win here: Nook copies of my four favorite wicked romances: The Wary Widow by Jessica Knight-Catania, The Wild One by Danelle Harmon, The Malorie Phoenix by Janet Mullany, and Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell (P.S. Another of my favorites, Undeniable Rogue is currently free everywhere) 
Number of winners: 4, each winner recieves one of the prize books
Open to (INT, US or US/CAN): International
How to enter: Fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway
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Hop and enter the other giveaways!

To sign up, please add your link bellow:

Of Blood and Bone by Courtney Cole

Welcome to my post for the Of Blood and Bone blog tour! I am so excited to be part of this tour. I adored the book and I'm eager to let others share in the awesomeness.


Synopsis:
 As a little boy, Luca Minaldi was told he was a monster.

As an adult, he knows it is true.
He lives in Malta, a fairytale-like place filled with sunshine and sea, beauty and secrets. And Luca’s darkest of secrets is the best kept of them all.
Eva Talbot arrives in Malta for the summer to finish up her doctoral dissertation. When she meets Luca, a mysterious and handsome shipping tycoon, there is an instant attraction, a disturbing and beautiful energy that she has never felt before. But she senses the darkness that lives within him. Eva is hired to care for his mother, who suffers from dementia, but it is Luca who Eva will eventually risk everything to save. Her life becomes a swirling chaos of darkness and romance, of secrets and mystery. And the question that emerges will become the most important answer of all.
Can she save Luca from the darkness that plagues him without losing herself?
The answer is a matter of life or death.



I LOVED Courtney Cole’s YA book, Dante’s Girl. So when I heard about a new adult book she wrote, I was all for it. And it didn’t disappoint at all. Courtney, you’ve completely wowed me again.

The setting of this book, Malta, was gorgeous. The descriptions were a sensory delight. I truly felt like I was in this lush, beautiful location. I really have to applaud Courtney for the fabulous job she did creating the setting. It was magnificent.

Eva was a strong lead. She was smart and strong, the epitome of the independent woman. Her career as a psychiatrist gives her the ability to read a person like a book. It was really interesting to see. She’s also very compassionate, determined to do her best to help people. She was a lovely heroine, one that anyone would like.

Luca was a total enigma. On one hand, he’s sweet and passionate and a total dreamboat. But on the other hand, he has so many skeletons in his closet and a hell of a dark secret. But despite all of that heaviness, it isn’t hard at all to fall for him. He’s a complex character, one that has so much to him that he feels real. His situation tugs at your heart and his sweetness gets you wrapped around his finger in no time. Needless to say, I was enormously fond of him.

The relationship between Eva and Luca was…explosive to say the least. It’s dark and passionate, but tempered with a true love. It was paced well, not too fast but not unbearably slow. Their relationship was well drawn out and, though it is far from perfect, it was real and tangible.

The plot line was excellent. The twists in this book are crazy. I never saw any of them coming. When the whole situation was revealed, I was in total shock. My jaw literally dropped. The pace moved quickly and the ending was magnificent, complete with a cliffhanger that will leave you dying to find out what happens next.

Of Blood and Bone is a spectacular book. It has romance, mystery, suspense, and paranormal elements. If any of that appeals to you, you’ll love this book.

5/5

About the Author:
Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could.
She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. Every Last Kiss is her debut novel and she followed it with the rest of The Bloodstone Saga (Every Last Kiss, Fated, With My Last Breath and My Tattered Bonds).Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.

If you didn't get to see my previous post that included an excerpt, you can find it here.

Kismet_BookTouring_sig.jpg 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some Like It Wicked by Carole Mortimer

Some Like It Wicked
DEVIL BY NAME… 

Rupert Stirling, Duke of Stratton, has long since acquired the nickname Devil. and with outrageous exploits both in and out of ladies’ bedchambers, my, has he earned it!

Risqué behavior is beyond Pandora Maybury, widowed Duchess of Wyndwood—although with her dark secret she’s far too well acquainted with being the subject of ribald gossip for her liking. If only the Ton knew just how innocent she really was...including Rupert who, after rescuing her from a compromising situation, seems intent on wickedly compromising her himself



I REALLY loved this book. It was fantastic, full of delicious romance, suspense, danger, mystery, and secrets. What's not to love?

I really liked Pandora. She was an admirable heroine. Though she has had a difficult past, she has risen from it stronger. And she is enormously kind, as her actions involving her scandal reveal. She could be prickly sometimes, though I didn't mind. She had every reason to be wary. Someone had been breaking into her house for something and she didn't know who it was and what that person wanted. That would put anyone on edge. But, she toughed it all out. She really was a remarkable heroine.

Rupert was so adorable. He was so charming, it took me no time at all to adore him. Our first impression of him isn't the best, as he's trash-talking Pandora at the time. But he  makes up for it quickly. He was the perfect hero, so sweet and protective over Pandora. Their relationship was full of passion. They would be furiously arguing one minute, than on each other the next, sparks flying between them constantly. But there were also some sweeter moments that proved how in love the two of them were. 

The plot was lovely. It had plenty of surprises and never a dull moment. The reveal of who was responsible for the break-ins was a huge surprise. I never saw that coming. And, of course, we had the perfect historical romance ending.

Some Like it Wicked was a wonderful book. To all who love historical romance, you will adore this book.

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for a copy! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Surrender (The Spymaster's Men #3) by Brenda Joyce

Surrender (The Spymaster's Men #3)
A DESPERATE WIDOW

Once a penniless orphan, Evelyn D’Orsay became a countess and a bride at the tender age of sixteen. But the flames of revolution forced her to flee France, with the aid of a notorious smuggler. Recently widowed and without any means, Evelyn knows she must retrieve the family fortune from France so she can raise her daughter in Cornwall—but only one man can help her… the smuggler she cannot forget.

A DANGEROUS SPY

Jack Greystone has been smuggling since he was a small boy—and he has been spying since the wars began. An outlaw with a bounty on his head, he is in hiding when he becomes aware of the Countess’s inquiries about him. He is reluctant to come to her aid yet again, for he has never been able to forget her and he wants to avoid her intrigues. But he soon realizes he’ll surrender anything to be with the woman he loves.

Being together is dangerous—being apart is impossible.



Surrender had a very interesting story, mixed seamlessly into the political and military setting of the time. I loved the plot and the romance was on fire. However, I had a problem connecting with the characters.

Let me first discuss the heroine, Evelyn. She was a fine heroine. She weathered tragedy after tragedy and always landed on her feet. She would do anything to help her daughter, even if it meant going into a dangerous country. But, for some reason, I couldn't connect with her. I sympathized with her, but I couldn't muster up enough sympathy to become emotionally invested. Maybe the problem was that she was a crier. She cried all the time, about everything. I could understand why she was upset, but I also wanted her to be able to toughen up and face her problems head on without breaking down into tears. Also, she would claim to love Jack, then believe the worst of him a minute later. She didn't even give him the benefit of the doubt. And that carried on into the entire second half. She would say that she loved him, then curse him for what she believed of him, then say she just couldn't believe that of him, then start over again. It became very frustrating.

I had a similar issue of connecting with the hero, Jack. He was a perfectly fine hero. He cared for Evelyn and did whatever he could to protect her. He was sweet to both Evelyn and her young daughter. And he had a whole dangerous thing going for him. But, it was so frustrating how he would constantly pushed Evelyn away. Mixed messages doesn't even begin to cover his tendency to run hot and cold. I knew why, but it didn't feel like a valid justification. He would say he didn't want to put Evelyn in danger, then go to meet her, then make a dramatic goodbye, saying that he had to protect her, then meet her again. It wasn't terrible, but it was a bit of a peeve. 

Now, after making it sound like I hated Surrender, I will assure you that I did like the book just fine. The plot was interesting. The political and military secrets kept me interested and on the edge of my seat to find out the truth. And the ending was sweet. But, because I had trouble connecting with the two main characters, I couldn't say that I loved the book. I definitely liked it. I just didn't adore it.

So, a solid 3/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for a copy!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English

How to Tame a Willful Wife
1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don't get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers...

Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempted by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.

Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and...ridiculously handsome.

It's a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. But the question is...who's taming whom?



How to Tame a Willful Wife left me a bit conflicted. I liked the story and the heroine. The hero, I had a more difficult time with. 

The Taming of the Shrew causes a bit of irritation on my part from the treatment of women. So, reading a book that was influenced by the play was bound to be tricky. It turned out well, if not perfect, but I did enjoy the book.

Caroline was a fantastic heroine. She was tough and didn't let anyone run over her. Whenever Anthony would try to control her, she pushed right back and let him know that he had met his match. My only issue with her was at the end. She gets very angry with Anthony, for good reason. But she ended up shouldering some of the blame and forgiving him easier than what fit her characterization. But, I could kind of understand, so it wasn't that big of a deal. 

Anthony was tricky. On one hand, I hated it when he would act domineering. It drove me as crazy as it drove Caroline. On the other hand, he could be so sweet when he wanted to be. And, if we're being historically correct, his treatment was pretty lax to what the time period dictates. So, I let that offer some consolation. Despite his high-handedness, he was actually accepting of Caroline. He accepted that she fenced and eventually accepted that she rode astride, so long as she took a groom for protection. But, on the other hand, he was a total ass several times, especially in that situation at the end, the one I mentioned Caroline got angry at. If you haven't noticed already, I'm quite conflicted about his character. I liked him, but I didn't love him. When he finally came to his senses at the end, I was appeased and accepted Anthony, flaws and all. He may not be my favorite hero, but I liked him fine.

The relationship between Caroline and Anthony was explosive. They were either screaming at each other or throwing themselves at each other. After their relationship became deeper as they got to know each other better, some sweetness came in. But their relationship was still bursting with passion, whether it came from their time fighting or their time in the bedroom.

The plot was well-done. It moved quickly and, while there weren't any major surprises, the tension between the two main characters will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat. The ending was satisfying, especially with Anthony coming to his senses so that a happy ending could actually take place. How to Tame a Willful Wife was good, quite lovely. It wasn't perfect, but it is worth a read.

4/5 

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Alternity by Mari Mancusi

Alternity
Imagine waking up in a post-apocalyptic, nightmare world--and being told your whole life is but a dream. Skye Brown thought she was your typical teen--good grades, hot boyfriend, and an afterschool job that pays her to play videogames. But then she started having the dreams.

In her dreams, there is no Earth. Only Terra, a bleak, underground wasteland where people live in squalor and oppression. In her dreams, there is no Skye--only Mariah, a rebel leader fighting against a vile, dystopian regime. And then there's Dawn, a handsome, but haunted solider who sees her as but an empty shell of the girl he once love--a betrayer he vows to hate forever, despite what she sees deep in his eyes.

Now, ripped between Dark Siders and club kids, the mundane and the mystic, Skye finds herself in a fight against time--to learn who she really is, where she belongs..and why. The shocking truth will have her questioning her own reality...and her heart.


Um...wow. That was only completely epic!! Mari Mancusi is officially one of my favorite authors. I read her book, Tomorrow Land, and adored it. Alternity was just as amazing!

The concept of this book is a mindbender. A girl wakes up to find out her whole life was a lie. Literally. I love that kind of mind twister, so when I found out an author I liked was writing a one, I was thrilled. And, after reading it, I'm even more ecstatic. 

Skye was a confusing character. But not in a bad way. She just didn't know who she was. And just when you think you've figured it out, something comes up and changing this up. She was understandably befuddled. At first, she wanted nothing to do with the world she woke up into. And that was a little frustrating to read through. But I can't fault her, because, if I was in her situation, I would want to deal with the strange world I was suddenly thrown into. But, later, she proves herself. She was brave, selfless, and clever and she assimilated into her new world and the situation she inherited. And, damn, she could handle herself in a fight, with her beast katana skills. She really was an admirable character.

I LOVED Dawn. Oh, how I adored him. Despite believing that he was betrayed by the girl he loved, he still loves her completely, mind, body, and soul. His love for Mariah/Skye was an all-consuming, epic-love-story kind of love. It just warmed by heart. Even when he's angry with Skye for Miriah's betrayal, after finding that she doesn't remember anything, he is so sweet to her and so determined to protect her from the dystopian government. And when he finds out the truth about Sky/Mariah (no, I won't tell, no matter how much I want to), he still stands by her. And, btw, the truth about his as surprising as the truth about Skye.

The plot was a thrill ride. There were so many twist, so many surprises, that I was positively winded by the time I finished the book. I kept me hooked all the way through, on the edge of my seat. And the world Mari created was just amazing. With the world-building done meticulously, the world of Terra felt vivid. A dark and barren place controlled by a corrupt government. Truly fantastic setting. The ending, much like Tomorrow Land, was a perfect ending that wrapped up the book nicely. 


If you like dystopians, or just books that never cease throwing surprises at you, you will adore Alternity. I certainly did :)

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wolfishly Yours by Lydia Dare

Wolfishly Yours (Westfield Wolves, #6)
Accustomed to running wild with her Lycan brothers in the swamps of Louisiana, Miss Liviana Mayeux is shipped off to London where Lady Hadley offers to sponsor and assist her. Before she knows it, Vivi finds herself in the middle of a pack of English wolves who are all vying for her attention. But Lady Hadley's handsome son Grayson is determined to keep her out of trouble. If only he knew how...


I adored Wolfishly Yours. It was a brilliant book. Sweet and steamy romance with a pinch of paranormal elements. A recipe for greatness ;)

I don't read many paranormal historical romances. I read paranormal romances and I read historical romances. For some reason, it never occurred to me to find a book that was a mix. So, Wolfishly Yours was a bit of an experiment for me. But I am oh so glad I went for it. 

Livi was a wonderful heroine. She is unconventional, to say the least. After being raised with werewolf brothers, she's not exactly the perfect lady. Her mishaps is society were hilarious. She's also very strong, another part of being raised with werewolves. When she set her mind to something, there was no convincing her out of it. That did bite her in the butt, later on. Usually she's smart, but she made a rather stupid decision and her tenacity refused to let anyone convince her otherwise. That decision is the one part of the book I didn't like. Yes, she's impulsive and stubborn, but this particular instance was over the top. 

But, otherwise, Livi was a lovely character. I was quite fond of her.

Grayson was just amazing. He was so endearing, it didn't take longer than a few pages for me to adore him. He's just so adorable. His antics, especially with his brothers, made me laugh quite a few times. And he was so sweet to Livi. He starts falling for her immediately and the way he acted with her was so sweet. Their relationship was perfect. Sweet with a mix of some spicy. They were just perfect together. But, damn, I wish I could find myself a sweet, gentleman of a werewolf. If only ;)

Livi's brothers were hilarious. They don't show up until later on in the book, but I adored them. Despite their smaller roles, they tended to be scene stealers. The other characters were all well-drawn out. 

The plot was well-done. Fast paced, it kept me interested the whole time. The ending was lovely. It left me with a smile on my face. 

Wolfishly Yours is a lovely book. I adored it. To any romance lover, this book will be a delight. 

4/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight by Grace Burrowes

Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight (The Duke's Daughters, #3)(Windham, #6)
No one would ever guess that Lady Louisa, the most reserved of the Duke of Moreland's daughters, had published a book of racy poems under a pseydonym on a dare. Before she can buy and destroy all of the copies, a dastardly fortune hunter seeks to compromise her reputation by revealing her secret identity at a holiday ball.

Before she can be publicly ruined, close family friend Sir Joseph Carrington saves the day by offering to marry Louisa. As he recites poetry to her, waltzes with her by starlight, and showers her with lovely kisses, they both begin to discover that their match may be the best Christmas gift either has ever received...



I'm a little conflicted about this book. I liked it. I definitely liked it. But I didn't love it. It was good, great even, but not amazing.

I liked the main characters. Louisa was a heroine who refused to change in order to please Society. She does things her own way, much like her sisters. She's very smart, which is partly why she hasn't yet been married. She can do all kinds of math in her head, memorize anything, and understand the most complicated sciences. It made her different than most heroines you encounter. And she was accepting of Joseph, even with the secret she finds out later. She was just an all-around lovely character.

Joseph was also a lovely character. He's very...restful, peaceful, calm. It's not something that is applied to romance heroes very often, but I think it was just what was needed in this case. Louisa needed that kind of man, so Joseph was absolutely perfect for her. He was very sweet and very accepting of Louisa's eccentricities. Even when he finds out about the racy books she wrote, he still stood by her and loved her. Their relationship wasn't explosively passionate. It was soft, sweet, the kind of love that is peaceful. It was very nice to see, a change from what you usually see in romances.

The one problem of this book was that is was rather slow. The story was great, but it moved too slowly. It wasn't boring, but it did detract from my enjoyment. If the plot had just been a little faster paced, I would have adored this book. But the pace kept me from becoming completely riveted. Now, I still liked the book and would recommend it to all romance lovers. But I would have loved it if the plot has moved faster.

Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was sweet and lovely. It was very good. Not amazing, but worth a read.

3/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wyoming Bride: A Bitter Creek Novel (Mail-Order Brides #2) by Joan Johnston

Wyoming Bride: A Bitter Creek Novel
CAN SECRETS AND SECOND CHOICES EVER LEAD TO LOVE?
 
After three months in a mail-order marriage, Hannah Wentworth McMurtry is a widow—pregnant, alone, and near death in the Wyoming wilderness. Though she is saved by a man with a face cut from stone, she still grieves the husband who died on their journey west. Hannah needs a husband, but does she dare marry another stranger?
 
Flint Creed has also lost someone he loved—when the woman he hoped to marry chose his younger brother instead. Now he must find a ranch wife of his own. But every female in the remote Wyoming Territory is too old, too young, or already married . . . until he discovers Hannah on the prairie. Flint doesn’t pretend to love her, but he doesn’t tell her he loves another woman, either. Hannah doesn’t pretend to love him, but she doesn’t tell him about the child she carries. Though danger surrounds them on the Wyoming frontier, the greatest threats of all are the secrets within—revelations that could destroy the new life Hannah and Flint have begun to cherish



Before I say anything, I am going to rave about the cover. The man is so freaking gorgeous, I stare at him for a minute every time I see the cover. And he actually looks like the character he is supposed to be, Flint, which really doesn't happen all the time. But, seriously, where do guys that good looking hide?

Now that I've made myself sound weird, let's move on to the actual book. Wyoming Bride is an excellent Western historical romance. I don't always go for Western romances, so the fact that I liked this one says a lot about it. It would have to be very good for me to actually like it. And I definitely did.

Mail order bride is something that is done fairly often, but this one has a little twist, since the original husband died and the love-interest turned out to be someone else. And I rather liked the arrangement.

Hannah was an excellent heroine. She tough, determined, smart, and caring. She survived being out in the wild by herself, so that in itself shows that she's strong. But she's also strong in that she didn't let anyone bully her. For one thing, she doesn't let Flint run right over her. Flint is a man used to ordering people and having them obey, but she refused to be ordered about. And, at one point, she jumps in front of a gun to save someone. Yeah, she's a tough one. I really liked her. She was an admirable heroine. 

Flint was less easy to pin down. I adored him, but I got so frustrated with how he put Emaline on a pedestal. Emaline is his brother's wife, but he is infatuated with her. No, this didn't become a drama explosion, but it was the biggest impediment in Flint and Hannah's relationship. He had to let go of his infatuation with Emaline and realize his love for Hannah. But that was really just a minor issue. Even when he though he loved Emaline, he was still really sweet to Hannah, which shows that he's just naturally a nice guy. And afterwards, he proved to be sweet, devoted, protective, and just adorable. He'll get a lot of hearts pumping, especially with the model of him on the front that a totally raved about (seriously, that's the best looking cover model I've ever seen).

Despite the length of the book, the plot moves fast. It never drags. It begins with Hannah meeting her original husband, through to his death, then to when Hannah and Flint first meet. From then, it moves swiftly before ending on a sweet note that leaves a neat opening for the next story, Hettie's, I believe. 

Wyoming Bride is an excellent Western historical romance. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good romance.

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Heart of the Dragon's Realm by Karalynn Lee

Heart of the Dragon's Realm
Princess Kimri is used to betrayal. Her brother sold her to a king in exchange for swords to defend his lands. King Tathan's reputation is as fierce as that of his mountain kingdom—where dragons are said to guard the castle walls—but the realms are unstable enough without angering the mountain-king, so Kimri reluctantly agrees to the union.

When she arrives in Helsmont, the king promises her a year of courtship before marrying—or parting ways. Before long, Kimri thinks she may find comfort, and perhaps eventually love, with the stoic king.

But the realms are more unsettled than Kimri realizes, and she soon finds herself caught in the middle of a war between the kingdoms. Can she count on her betrothed to take her side? Or will his loyalty to his kingdom come before his loyalty to her?



If I could sum up my impression of Heart of the Dragon's Realm, it would be "sweet and surprising." This book was good, a sweet story if love, mixed with magic and the cutthroat world of politics, betrayals, and alliances.

The characters were well done. Each one was dynamic and interesting to read about. Kimri was a good lead. She was strong and independent, and very clever when she wanted to be. The one thing I had to complain about was that I couldn't believe she just took off when she found out that her brother was in trouble. It was admirable that she didn't hesitate to help him but it seemed really stupid that she just ran off despite the fact that she had virtually no chance of succeeding. It was just irritating to me. Otherwise, she was a great character. Very admirable.

King Tathan was an enigma. He's the strong and silent type. He doesn't really talk much and, when he does, it holds great gravity. Whenever he was on the page, he exuded a restful presence. And he was very sweet in his devotion to Kimri. At the end, we find out a shocking secret about him. Seriously, my mind was blown when I found out. Tathan wasn't the kind of hero that is passionate and that you get the hots for. He's more the sweet one that makes you grown fond of him. And I definitely did.

As I said, the plot is a mix of soft romance, twists, and political intrigue. It moves quickly, keeps a few surprises in store, and ends on a sweet note.

Heart of the Dragon's Realm is the perfect book to read when you want something to make you feel good. Despite the dark side brought in by all the political games, the romance just makes you smile. If you like a sweet romance or a vivid fantasy, you'll  love this book. 

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!