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Ramblings of a Romance Junkie

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Mistletoe Magic ~ By Carlysle, Holt and Pape

Posted by Jenn on December 21, 2008

For me Christmas is always hectic time of year, filled with endless days of shopping, baking and cleaning. That when I do finally sit down to take a break I find myself looking for a good book to relax with. Aside from all the novels and novellas I have accumulated over each Christmas since discovering eBooks I always treat myself to a few new ones.
This year I chose (for now, I’ll buy more I’m sure) the three Mistletoe Magic books from EC. These three novellas; BREATH OF MAGIC, TOUCH OF MAGIC and WHISPERS OF MAGIC can be read as stand alone books I found that reading them in order only enhanced the storyline.
The first novella BREATH OF MAGIC by Regina Carlysle is the story of Liza Woodward. Liza is the oldest of the Woodward girls, she is successful, beautiful and the most driven of all the sisters.
Book 1 in the Mistletoe Magic series.

 

Powerhouse attorney Liza Woodward knows a little something about losing control and it’s been her life’s mission never to do it again, especially when it comes to small-town lawyer Tyler Blackwell.

 

Ty takes one look at the woman he’s always loved and knows it’s way past time he seduced away the control she wears like a suit of armor. It will take a steady hand, a bit of dominance, and a little breath of magic from a Christmas Elf to win this sassy Texas woman.
Click here for an Excerpt
Click here to Buy
Click here for Regina’s Website
The second novella TOUCH OF MAGIC is the story of Maddie Woodward. She’s the middle sister and the one that is the most intune with the ranch the girls were raised on. Determined to leave her career behind she’s ready to come home permanently.

Book 2 in the Mistletoe Magic series but may be read as a stand-alone story.

 

Maddie Woodward is in a pickle. The last person she expects to see when she returns to the family ranch for one last Christmas is her former lover, Zach Brennan.
He’s hotter as he ever was, all male and determined to get her naked. She’s just as determined to show him she’s over him—until she ends up in his bed, enjoying the wildest sex of her life. A night of uncontrolled, erotic sex shows her that Zach is far from out of her life. Now if she can just get him to help her convince her sisters not to sell the ranch…
Click here for an Excerpt
Click here to Buy
Click here for Desiree’s Website
The third novella WHISPERS OF MAGIC is that of Jenna Woodward, she may be the youngest of the Woodward sisters but she’s living proof that size doesn’t matter when in your heart lives the soul of an adventurer. Her return home is just the balm her wounded heart needs.
Book 3 in the Mistletoe Magic series, but may be read as a stand-alone story.
Hoping to get back in Santa’s good graces, Sparkle the elf takes on a difficult assignment—arrange a merry Christmas for photojournalist Jenna Woodward. Jenna has just lost her parents, her job, and her cheating “fiancé”.
Rancher Mitch Sterling doesn’t want his face on a book, but he does want Jenna back in his life. He offers a deal—he’ll sign off, if she agrees to be at his mercy for one day. Jenna left him once because she was afraid of his Dominant lifestyle. Now, with help from a magical snowstorm, Mitch has twenty-four hours of tempestuous passion to convince her that she’ll love being his sub.
Click here for an Excerpt
Click here to Buy
Click here for Cindy’s Website
BREATH OF MAGIC starts the series with a brief prologue that sets up the series and explains the circumstaces that lead all three Woodward sisters back home to Texas. Liza returns determined to settle her parents estate and to leave just as fast as she arrived, but her younger sister Maddie has other plans, ones that have Liza coming face to face with the one man she’s tried to forget.
Attorney Tyler Blackwell has never forgotten the one that got away, Liza was all he was looking for in a woman and a wife, but a large misunderstanding had Liza running from him faster than a Texas tornado. He knows she’s back in town he intend to settle their differences and pick up where they left off. He wants it all and this time he playing for keeps.
No pretences and no BS these two square off and heat up the pages from the moment they meet again. You can feel the passion and sadly the tension as they see each other at Tyler’s Office/Home when Liza comes over to begin settling her parent’s estate. Both are equally likable and stubborn, making it hard for me to decide who I related to or liked better. As these lovers reunite you can’t help but wonder what drove them apart in the first place, a question I am please to say Ms Carlysle does manage to answer for us. They just seem so perfect for one another.
Neither of them put up much of a fight and when Will, the Elf charged with aiding in Ty and Liza’s reconciliation, turns up the heat and the snow. All bets are off when these two give in to temptation. Explosive and sexy, BREATH OF MAGIC is guaranteed to have you feeling warm, festive and dare I say frisky this holiday season.

TOUCH OF MAGIC is the story of Maddie Woodward, the middle sister and the one who doesn’t want to let the ranch be sold. She returns to Texas fully intending to take over the Ranch and to finally live the life she’s always wanted. She is the one who wanted to follow in her parent’s footsteps even though they encouraged her to see a life outside of the Flying W.

Zach Brennan has one regret in life, letting Maddie Woodward go, now that she’s back and they both want the Flying W he’ll do whatever it takes to make Maddie his again, even if it means swallowing his pride to do it.
Again you can’t help but like these two characters, Maddie has spirit and a spunk that can only be described as ornery. She’s a homebody; she loves to cook and is as fiery as she is sweet. When she clashes wills with Zach look out cause the sparks will fly.
Zach by his own admission has made mistakes but he’s man enough to admt them and fight for what he wants. He’s a cowboy through and through and I just love that. TOUCH OF MAGIC is passionate and sexy, yet it still sows us that the power of love can overcome all.

WHISPERS OF MAGIC is the story of the last and ironically the youngest Woodward sister, Jenna is a free spirit with a wanders soul. She finds herself coming home as she faces a crossroads in her life. What she discovers is home may very well be where the heart is.

Mitch Sterling knew he scared Jenna away with his dominate ways and he’s been kicking himself every since. When he realizes she’s coming home for Christmas he knows that he has to turn up the heat to get the one woman for him.

Jenna is like many women she believes she lives in the shadow of her sisters, not really seeing how much she does shine. She’s adventurous and open-minded which makes her the perfect woman for Mitch. She let her fears get the better f her, yet she faces them head on as she reconnects with Mitch and it’s this bravery that endears her to me.
Mitch is the embodiment of the saying Long Tall Texan. These two teat each other boundaries and along the way find the one thing they’ve both been missing, each other. Sexy encounters and ultimate trust make WHISPERS OF MAGIC a holiday tale not to be missed.
I loved all three of the Woodward sisters; each one was endearing and believable. If pressed I don’t know if I could choose one as my favorite, but because of them I will be adding Regina Carlysle, Desiree Holt and Cindy Spencer Pape to my must have authors list. I can’t wait till ELVEN MAGIC releases on 12-24 to find out what happens with Santa’s Elves; Will, Glimmer and Sparkle, but I will say this I’m sure it will not disappoint.
Bravo ladies you managed to tell three distinctively different stories, yet they flowed like one person could have written them all.

 

8 out of 10 for each novella.

Posted in Carlysle, Christmas, ebooks, Holt, Pape, Reviews | 3 Comments »

Dawn’s Awakening by Lora Leigh

Posted by Jenn on November 5, 2008

I am woefully behind in my purchases of books from some of my Auto Buy Authors, Ms. Leigh being one who sits firmly in my top five must haves. So the other night thanks to the Internet and the book gods/goddess’ at fictionwise I was able to purchase and download her two most recent Breed series books in under five minutes.

So a great big WOO HOO to instant book gratification.

With that out of my system on to my thoughts and feelings on DAWN’S AWAKENING!!

New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh takes us on an erotic thrill ride with her series about genetically altered Breeds with feline DNA—and the humans who arouse their lust…

The runt of the lab she was created in, Dawn Daniels endured years of torture by her pride brother and the council soldiers. Finally freed from her torment, she’s now a Breed Enforcer, in control of her own life. Until she’s assigned to protect the one man destined to be her mate—and realizes it’s far too easy to lose total control…

One of the Breed’s most important supporters, Seth Lawrence has spent years trying to forget Dawn, knowing that her lost innocence has made it impossible for her to get close to anyone. But suddenly neither of them can find the strength to fight the overwhelming passion between them. At least until the most brutal tormenter from Dawn’s past reappears—and threatens to destroy their newfound love, along with their lives…

Dawn’s Awakening is one of the titles that fans of Ms. Leigh have been waiting for since her epublishing days. Dawn is one of those secondary characters who helps to move a series along and intrigues the reader forcing you to want to know more about them. So powerful are the feelings that I developed for this character over the years that anticipation of reading her and Seth’s story was almost overwhelming and had me a little fearful that the build up would never match the actual story.

Ms. Leigh, however, once again show her fans old and new why so many of us come back again and again for her novels. I know that when I open a Lora Leigh novel that I will become emotional invested, that her hero and heroine will be strong and independent yet vulnerable and weak when it comes to love.

Dawn Daniels is that heroine that finds that place in you heart, she rests in that corner that never lets you forget her and when you see her appear again you can’t help but smile. Her character is deep and in a word damaged. While arguably all breeds have suffer the injustices of the genetics counsel, Dawn it would seem, like many of her Breed sisters, suffered on a far greater scale. Yet even though I know Sherra (Kiss of Heat Breed Book 3) suffered at the hands of soldiers just as Dawn did, Dawn always seemed so more lost to the pain as she molded herself into something stronger, letting her move past the label of victim to survivor.

So how does one convey the pain and horrors of this proud creation without minimizing her strength? I’m not sure I could do it, but Lora Leigh seems to know how. In Dawn she has a woman of incredible strength, who has beat the odds and is able by the end of this novel to “AWAKEN” as the title implies and allows her find her wings and fly.

As I read this novel it was like coming home, Seth and Dawn are characters that are well known and not surprisingly meant for one another. But aside from knowing the HEA is in the cards for them it was their journey and growth that makes DAWN’ S AWAKENING the BEST BREED NOVEL IMO thus far.

Dawn faces the threat of losing her mate with all the tenacity we’d expect from her, she never backs down and forges full steam ahead to fight for Seth and her chance at love. Even though she knows that she may not be able to overcome the nightmares of her past, one that many would probably not have survived. Brutalized and traumatised in ways that I can’t even fathom yet amazingly she fights for love, for Seth and ultimately for herself.

Seth is just the kind of man she needs, he has faults don’t get me wrong, he makes some choices about his and Dawn’s attraction that may infuriate some readers, but his ALPHA male heart was in the right place. He doesn’t back down when his back is against the wall and he is willing to take that leap of faith and manages to help heal not only Dawn’s damaged heart as well as his own.

Together that make a bond stronger than steel. Along the way as Dawn and Seth move beyond the past and it scars to build their futures we learn that the strength of the human heart is immense. If your ready to cry and rage, sigh and scream, if your looking for that one of kind love that is emotional and sensual then this is the novel for you.

DAWN’S AWAKENING is in a word AWESOME. It’s romantic, passionate and erotic in one powerfully written package.

9.5 out of 10

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Review: Met By Chance Lynne Connolly

Posted by Jenn on February 16, 2008

Met by Chance Lynne Connolly

Title: The Triple Countess Series: Met by Chance

Author: Lynne Connolly

There’s more to this man than satin and lace.

After a serious riding accident, Perdita Garland is back in society. Unfortunately the first man who catches her interest, Charles Dalton, Marquis of Petherbridge, turns out to be a popinjay with a spoiled daughter in tow. And his equally spoiled sister is flirting with the same fortune-hunting suitor who almost cost Perdita her life. What’s a lady to do? Warn the marquis of the danger, of course.

Charles knows that English society finds his manners and dress astonishing, but they cover a man broken by a disastrous marriage to a faithless wife. Now a widowed father determined not to be fooled again, he is nevertheless charmed by Perdita and the steely strength of will under her fragile exterior. If only the lady would mind her own business.

But when his impulsive sister elopes and kidnaps his daughter, he finds himself wishing he had listened to the little busybody. And Perdita, feeling partly responsible for the disaster, boldly sets out to help him put things right.

Alone in a strange city with his lordship, plunged into danger, Perdita discovers there is more than meets the eye under the pampered skin of the marquis. There is strength, power…and passion beyond her wildest dreams.

What worked for me: In a word Perdita, she is everything I want in a heroine and more. She managed to get past her injuries and her overprotective family to make decisions for herself. She took chances and shook off the conventions of her life and went for it. Whether it was her pursuit of Charles or her courage when faced with finding Charles’ missing sister she did it. With grace and most of all intelligence. She knows she let her accident hold her back, yet she is strong and she’ll let no one label her weak and fragile any longer. She is a inspiration and she made this novel for me.

Charles is a strong hero who hides behind a mask literally and figuratively, yet as Ms. Connolly uncovered the truth of his life and removed his facade he came across as extremely likable. He does however have his flaws especially when it comes to his daughter and it was as frustrating for me as it was for Perdita, yet he still managed to make up for it in the end.

Why did I buy the book: After reading the first two of the series and reviewing them for Romance Junkies I had to have this third installment. I can’t wait to see who is next in the wonderful series from Ms. Connolly.

Keeper?: Most Definitely!!

Rating 1 to 5: 5

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Hunting the Demon by Jaci Burton

Posted by Jenn on August 17, 2007

Hunting the Demon

IN A WILDERNESS SEETHING WITH SIN AND

SEDUCTION, THE CHASE IS ON.

Hunting demons for a living can have its moments. Especially when Shay Pearson’s latest quarry is the gorgeous bronzed surfer who just stepped out of the sea. Uncovering Nic Diavolo’s devilish side could prove Shay’s toughest assignment yet. Because while she’s acting as bait to snatch this sexy bad boy, Nic’s got a plan of seduction no woman—earthly or otherwise–can resist.

Caught between two warring realms, Nic needs to stay alive long enough to figure out who his enemies are. That includes the beautiful hunter who won’t let him out of her sight. And something far worse: A force of evil with an almost unimaginable goal – possessing Nic’s very soul. But the hunt really heats up when a guy who’s hotter than Hades and a woman who’s afraid to love join forces, igniting an inferno of lust and longing that could send them into mortal danger…or straight into each other’s arms…

Jaci Burton’s second installment of her Demon Hunters Series is as hot and action packed as it’s predecessor.  We rejoin the members of the Realm of Light as they continue to battle the Sons of Darkness. Knowing that she will do anything to fight the demons Shay Pearson sets off to bring back  Nic Diavolo so that she and the Realm can decide whose side he is on.

As I expect with any novel by Ms. Burton I was completely engossed in the story and emotionally invested in it’s characters after reading just a few pages. I sat down to read this book thinking that I’d read some now and finish today or tomorrow, but I couldn’t go to bed until I’d finished every page.

The action in this book is fast paced, easily followed and had me on the edge of my seat. Her descriptions of the demons are so vivid that I could close my eyes and see them. Even now as I write this I shudder a little when I picture them in my mind.

Shay is a heroine I can totally get behind, she is the right mix of strength and vulnerabilty. I found myself on more then one occassion wanting to reach out into the pages and help her. She’s a woman more than capable of holding her own and even after personal set backs that could hinder a person she was still putting herself out there. Like Gina from SURVIVING DEMON ISLAND she is one tough cookie, but unique in her own right.

Dominic “Nic” Diavolo is man of privilege and heir to a sizable forturne yet he is so down to earth I found that I quickly forgot that small bit about him.  He comes across as approachable and very much like every other guy you might stumble across on the beach. Like his brother Derek he is strong and definitely in charge of all he controls. Throughout the story he struggles with the truth versus what he has known his whole life. His vulnerabilites are there beneath the surface yet he faces each challenge head on and with a confidence that makes him exteremly attractive.

Once HUNTING THE DEMON has you in it’s grasp you will be hard pressed to put it down until your done reading. I found myself interupted a few times yesterday as I read and was more then a little annoyed by it. Things like dinner and the wash were quite a nussance and as far as I was concerned not as important as finishing this book.

All in all this book is one of the best I’ve read from Jaci and that is saying a lot. I’m with out a doubt a huge Jaci fan and I love everything I’ve read from her, but HUNTING THE DEMON may be her best work yet and it is definitely one of top five books I’ve read all year.

Hunting the Demon release August 28th from Bantam Dell.

You can learn more about Jaci Burton and her Demon Hunters here.

You can preorder HUNTING THE DEMON at Amazon.com or at B&N.com

Posted in Raves, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Hidden Agendas by Lora Leigh… As usual Possible Spoilers

Posted by Jenn on July 13, 2007

Hidden Agendas

SAVING LIVES IS HIS MISSION.

Tough-as-nails Navy SEAL Kell Kreiger is the best there is at searching, rescuing, and taking no prisoners…yet even the rush of ever-more dangerous missions isn’t enough to
 
satisfy him. Haunted by a tortured past, Kell seeks distraction in a secret world of dark intimacies. But when Emily Stanton, the one ray of light in Kell’s shadowy existence, is pursued by a ruthless drug lord, the rules of the game suddenly change—and Kell will have to go deeper undercover than he ever imagined…

SAVING HER IS HIS PASSION.

Emily has loved Kell ever since her father, a prominent politician, rescued him from a brutal life on the streets. They were kids then, too young to act on what was growing between them…but now that Emily is ready, the handsome, headstrong SEAL has decided he’s no good for her. Ever since he rescued her from Diego Fuentes’ compound, Kell’s only duty has been to keep Emily safe. But Fuentes isn’t finished with Emily—or Kell. And to protect Emily, Kell has no choice but to lay himself—body, soul, and secrets—bare…and fight against evil with all his heart.

 

I really need to start getting these reviews out faster or I need to read slower. I think I may have to start making little notes to myself after I read each of my books so I remember what I want to key in on when I review them. That or I need to switch to a format either way here we go.

I do love a good romantic suspense and I openly admit to be facinated with mobster and criminals in the fact that I wonder how there minds work and what lead them to where they are in life and as usual Ms. Leigh delivers a book riddled with all the good suspense elements.

Kell is the Alpha hero who has been wounded emotionally before. He a Navy Seal and a good one at that. The Drug lord he and his team are going after in this series is quite the bad guy and he has taken from Kell more than any of the others. What I really liked about Kell was the balance he had, he was Alpha sure, he wanted things his own way, but he knew he was that way and eventhough I bet it killed him he tried very hard not to cage and limit Emily’s involvement in her own protection. He is a well written and surprisingly open minded Alpha Male. I really liked him, not more than Reno mind you. I Love RENO, the most, sorry Kell.

Emily is a heroine that lives on the edge, she’s a senators daughter and a previous kidnap victim. She had vague memories of her abduction and for all instensive purposes should probably be scared of her own shadow, yet she is living her life the best she can. She refuse to allow anyone to clip her wings, including the string of Bodyguards assigned to her by her father.

Her relationship with the Senator is one that the reader sees as both good and bad. He is a former Seal and very much the Alpha, his actions stiffled his wife and now his only concern is protecting his daughter. Oh yeah did I mention all her guards are potential son in laws for the Senator, a point of contention for Emily and her Dad.

Emily is strong and very likable. She is someone you would want to be friends with and you would definitely want her on your side in a fight. She is not above protecting herself and she stands up to Kell and all the other seals. She is someone I can respect, she knows that she is in danger and she is willing to do what she must to protect herself. She has one scene where she cave and does plead a little with her father, but her reasons were justified and if I were in the same position I would have been begging too. 

Some more secondary characters were highlighted in this book and I’m anxiously awaiting their books. These books have the HEA that I require in my romances, but the criminal element is never fully taken care of and carries through the series book from book. I’m pretty sure Ms Leigh is planning on books for Ian and Macey, but I’m not sure after that. I was hoping she would tell Nathan’s story, but who knows. I could and will probably as on her forum. Hidden Agendas was a good read full of characters I liked and is definitely a keeper.

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Safe Harbor by Christine Feehan… Possible Spoliers

Posted by Jenn on July 8, 2007

Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor is book 5 of the Drake Sisters Series by Ms. Feehan and one I admit I was looking forward from the minute I met Jonas in Magic in the Wind.

One of seven daughters in a line of extraordinary women, Hannah Drake has been the elusive object of affection for Jonas Harrington for as long as the young man can remember. If only the stunning super-model was driven by a passion other than her career. But Jonas isn’t the only one with desires for Hannah.

From the shadows has emerged a vengeful figure who stalks the beauty with one terrifying purpose: to strip her of all she is and destroy her. Only one man was destined as her protection. Now, out of a storm of danger, Jonas must guide the woman he loves from a sinister darkness that threatens not only Hannah, but the entire Drake family.

This is one of those stories where you know the H/H before you even open to page one. Reading this book for me was like going home. Over the course of the four previous books I have come to love all the Drake Sisters and Hannah Drake is no exception. Hannah is the sister I find I went to protect right along with her sisters. She is a model yes but so unaware of her beauty that it is at times heartbreaking. What she doesn’t fully realize until the end of the book is that she has always been beautiful, on the inside, where happily it counts the most.

As for Jonas, well it was painfully aware to all who have read this series that he loves Hannah, what was not so apparent though was how much he truly gets her as person, not as the model or as the sister, but as a woman. Watching as the two of them finally fall in love was quite rewarding. Jonas has always been the one for Hannah we all knew, shoot they knew, now finally they admit it. Hallelujah!

What I found surprising was the twist and turns the story took. The crime that was so horrible and life altering for Hannah was vivid and very real. As a reader I could almost picture the scene and just imagination had me shuddering in fear. What I did like though was the intigrating and story weaving in which Ms Feehan brought to life Hannah’s would be tormentors. I admit to thinking at one point that it was a certain individual or individuals, only to be steered another way all together. I had my suspicions about 3/4 of the way through and they did enf up being correct.  I blame my ability to figure out the criminal in the book on Nora Roberts/JD Robb. I read so many of her suspense and In Death books that I swear I’m starting to think like a cop.

Regardless of figuring it out, she sure did have a plethora of evil and twisted villians to choose from. There were Russian Mobster, Religious Cult Leaders, Animal Rights Activists, who weren’t so animal friendly (UGH), and of course the garden variety starkers/crazed fans you’d expect a model to have. The creep factor was off the charts in this one.

I was also glad to see Ilya make his return, as I suspect he is the man for Joley and watching Elle interact with Jackson is always fun and entertaining. Even with the threat of danger Ms. Feehan still weaves in the threads that will continue her series and I wonder how some seemily temporary characters will effect the subsequent books. ie.  The Reverend RJ, that man brings a whole new meaning to the word Pervert, and the fact that he heads up a Cult is far from surprising.

All in all this book was more that I could have ever hoped for, the ending was well written and emotional. I can’t wait for the next book, but than after it all we have left is Elle. maybe Ms Feehan will right the stories of her Seven Daughters, that way we never have to let the Drakes go.

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Forbidden Pleasure by Lora Leigh… possible spoilers

Posted by Jenn on July 7, 2007

Forbidden Pleasure

The Club is private, exclusive and only for those men whose fantasies run to the more forbidden side. . .

People have heard only fleeting rumors about The Club. Located just outside Washington, D.C., only its members know where men go when they want to indulge the desire to share their women with a carefully selected male partner.

Former FBI agent John ‘Mac’ McCoy resigned his membership from The Club when he married Keiley Hardin. Tempting and innocent, sweet and sexy, she would never accept Mac’s desires to share her with another man. However, Keiley’s growing curiosity and Mac’s own fantasies of sharing his wife haunt his dreams. And his passions.

Unable to wait any longer, Mac invites his best friend Jethro Riggs, to their home with the intention of drawing Keiley into the pleasures that can only be achieved when two men love the same woman. But there’s more going on in Mac’s neck of the woods than a little additional pleasure. A past case involving a
stalker who likes to play games has shown up again, but now Keiley is in the middle of it all. Passion and pleasure, danger and desire combine as the forbidden becomes an addiction none of them can escape.

This is one story I feel like I have been waiting for forever to read. My first foray into the Erotica/ Romantica publishing at Ellora’s Cave was with Ms. Leigh.  To this day I vividly remember Cole and Tess like I read their story yesterday and not almost 3 Years ago. Ever since opening the pages of Surrender I’ve been hooked. Devouring each book as qucikly as I could get them. Then the day came that Ms. Leigh moved from Ebook to Print. I wondered, as I’m sure others did, what would happen to the series we’d grown to love from her. Lucky for us her Breeds and now her Trojans have gone with her as she moved to New York publishing.

So let’s talk about what works for me in this novel, honestly everything, I mean what’s not to like. Not one, but two Alpha Males and as usual a Heroine I like and don’t want to strangle. Nothing worse, in my, than a Heroine with no back bone. I mean I’ve been know to grow to love one that starts out weak and unsure, but then evolves to a tough, take no crap woman in her own right.

Mac is the husband, and while I felt the need to yell at him for hiding his true self from Keiley I could certainly understand his reasoning. And to be honest I was also glad that Ms. Leigh had him somewhat reserved with Keiley, seeing as she had never been with a man other than her husband. Letting her get used to him and her sexuality was most likely the right thing to do, but dang I hate to see an Alpha like Mac stiffle his sexuality, even if the circumsatnces call for it.

Keiley is a force to be reckoned with. She knew about her husband and the club when she met him and at the time it scared her. Can’t say I blame her, sleeping with two men is a BIG step. So her caution and then her growing curiosity rang true for me. Her gradual acceptance and then her embracing of the life style were believable and like I said before she was a character I could really like and respect. Her life prior to meeting and marrying Mac had been tough and riddled with scandal, yet she found a way above it and is all the more stronger for it now.

Jetho Riggsis tough strong and very likable. With a name like Jethro however, I had to wonder how I would react to him. Not that it’s a bad name, but it does bring to mind images of a man that may be a little behind the times. Plus I admit to thinking he should be a farmer or some other similar occupation, completely stereo-typing of me and I’m not proud of it. Of course one should never judge a book by it cover or in this case a man by his name. After reading this story I’ll never underestimate Mr. Jethro Riggs again. I went into this book thinking Mac would be the man for me, but dang Jethro snagged my heart. The man is HOT, I kid you not.

As for the storyline I would have liked a little more from the stalker aspect, in the beginning the clues and hints that something was amiss were very subtle and well done. At first I didn’t catch them. As the story progressed I was like DUH. I’m a big romantic suspense fan so more danger and intrigue would have been okie dokie with me, but the lack of it did not take away from the story’s impact.

The whole small town dynamic is always interesting to me and the way in which it was woven into the story was perfect. I have always been intrigued by the idea of living in a town where everyone knows everyone and there business. As some one who grew up in a town just outside of Philadelphia, that dynamic is some what lacking. This book did give me a glimpse of that small town living I’m not that familar with and I admit that because of the that I liked some of the ladies in town, others however, I wanted to smack really hard repeatedly. If you read the book than you know who I’m talking about.

As for the relationships between Jethro, Mac and Keiley it was one that I was unsure I could embrace fully. I guess I expected Jethro’s involvement to be more secondary and less permenant that is apparently will be. So this of course raises the only problem I have with this book… Jethro will never get his own book. SOB!!!

So to summarize, Forbidden Pleasure is one hot read, overflowing with hot sex,passion and a lot of emotion. It has one heck of a HEA and is definitely a keeper. I do have one question though, who from the club will be the next to get his book? Since this story takes place away from the setting of THE CLUB there is really no secondary character that could be the next Trojan to fall in love.

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Woven Dreams by N. J. Walters

Posted by Jenn on July 5, 2007

Woven Dreams NJ Walters

Woven Dreams by N.J. Walters

Book Three in the Tapestries Series from Ellora’s Cave

In Javara, women are scarce and brothers must share a woman, although only one can claim her as a wife. Scarred and maimed from a battle fought almost a year ago, Jarmon Bakra is afraid chances are slim that he and his twin brother, Garrik, will find a bride.

While on a hunting trip, the brothers stumble upon a woman in the forest claiming to be a tapestry bride. Now that fate has dropped a beautiful, courageous woman in their path, they will both use all their sexual skills separately and together to convince her to stay.

But Genny has secrets of her own and they have only three days to uncover the truth.

I have to admit that I was very suprised yesterday when NJ Walters emailed me an advance copy of this book that releases July 11th at Ellora’s Cave. I’ve known NJ for over three years now and I can say without prejudice that she is a kind and genuinely nice person.

*I may have mentioned in my contest entry for this particular book that my Birthday was coming and poof NJ comes through with the best gift ever.*

I also admit freely that I’m a Big NJ Fan, her writing is always hot, always emotional and her world building is phenominal. I have thought this from the very beginning and being her friend now hasn’t changed that.

So what about this next installment of the tapestry series, does it live up to the two previous books? I would have to say yes and  then some. I recently reread Christina’s Tapestry and Bakra Bride since I got them in the Print Duo “Tapestry Dreams”  from EC last week. I think that whenever you can read the previous books in a series before reading the next one it’s always a good idea. Trust me when you read as much as I do, you can tend to forget pertinent information.

In this book Jarmon and Garrick finally get there shot at a bride and I’d been wondering for sometime how NJ would tackle the rules she had created for the arrival of a Tapestry Bride. In this as well as previous books she writes that a bride arrives once in every generation. She does however admit that it has occured more than once in the past.

First up is our heroine Genny. She is suprisingly different from Christina and Jane, but just as likable and real. She has suffered and just like the previous heroine’s has nothing to lose and everything to gain by staying with the brothers, but of the three she is the one I felt the most emotion for. I’m not in anyway belittling Jane and Christina and what they experienced before beoming a Tapestry Bride, but OMG the things Genny  had to endure. I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Aside from her pain she has still managed to survive. She is strong and brave  yet she can be fearful and is very much in need of love.

Our Heros (Lucky Genny) are the remaining two Bakra Brothers. Garrick is the older of the twins by a few minutes and since the battle with the Craddock brothers he has been supporting and trying to reconnect with his twin.He is described by Jarmon as the Handsome and Whole brother. Outside he may not be scarred like his twin, but down deep he is riddled with them. Aside from suffering the near death of his self described other half, he has also had to stand by and watch as Jarmon struggled and worked his way back from injuries that should have left him crippled and weak. He has assumed the mantle of making his brothers smile and has worked side by side with Jarmon to make him better and stronger than before his injuries. He is very real and likable. I felt the urge to huge him and to give him comfort.

Jarmon on the other hand is the Bakra brother who has to overcome the biggest challenges. After his sword fight with Leon Craddock he now bares scars and walks with a limp. His recovery is one that is amazing and had my heart bleeding for him. He had come to terms with the fact that if he and his brother every did find a bride that she would choose Garrick as her husband. He is convinced no woman would choose him over his twin. Jarmon is that type of hero romance fans love, scarred and tortured yet so deserving of love that you wish you could be the one to do it.  He reminds me a JR Ward’s Zsadist from Lover Awakened and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Zarek  from Dance with the Devil. I have always been a Marc fan in this series, but Jarmon is seriously fighting for the top spot.

As the story unravels and Genny’s secrets are revealed I found myself falling a little more in love with Jarmon after every page. He may be marred on the outside, but inside is a heart so big and full that just thinking about him makes me a little teary. Typical to NJ’s writing style she had me weepy and sad, but then I expect that from her. The story is fast paced and vivid in it’s descriptions and interestingly takes place mostly in the wilds of Javara. It allows the reading to learn even more about the world in which these characters dwell.

Toward the end she had me guessing as to how the story would end. The final scenes were rich with detail and had me holding my breath. I felt a deep satisfaction at it’s conclusion and also wondering if other Javarain men may be getting books in the future. I can’t say to much as I would be giving key plot points away, but dang it NJ I have to know? Do you the you know who guys get a book too and what about MARC?

All in all this was a very enjoyable book, one I would reccommend to anyone interesting in far off lands full of sexy warriors. I would also like to know where I can get a Tapestry of my own and then I could go claim Marc for my own, but alas only NJ has that power I’m afraid.

So run don’t walk or in this case Surf the Net to EC on July 11th and buy this book, you won’t regret it.

Lastly, a great big thanks to NJ for the gift, it really did mean a lot.

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Lover Awakened and Lover Revealed by JR Ward… Spoilers Below

Posted by Jenn on June 30, 2007

The other day I mentioned that I would be writing up a review for my thoughts on Zsadist and Bella. The other night however, I managed to finish reading Butch and Marissa’s book as well. So since my thoughts are so mixed together now from reading these books back to back I figured I would tackle both in one post.

I find myself now days after reading both books thinking a lot about the brothers and the other characters in the story. What should have been my thoughts about two very compelling books has now grown into me questioning all that has happened and what will be coming in the next books from Ms. Ward. One thing that seems to constantly be circling in my mind and won’t let go is the part that Darius plays in all that is unfolding. Not so much how it effects or doesn’t effect the brothers finding their mates, but more about how the secondary characters seem to build on this one event. If you have not read the books and wish to do so I would advise you not to read any further as I may reveal things you don’t want to know.

Take for example Beth, would she have been in Wrath’s life had Darius not died? On that I’m not sure, but by meeting Wrath and needing his help she brought a world of change to the brotherhood. Wrath’s acension and his release of Marissa is all hinged upon his relationship with Beth. I wonder where he would be had this event not occured.

Look at John, here is a boy who has been traumatised and now he is embraced by the brotherhood. Poised on the change that will take him from man to warrior, only to find out that he too is the son of Darius.

As for Marissa she was waiting for Wrath to take her as his Shellan, but Darius’ death change this and in doing so allowed Butch and Marissa to meet, starting the snowball effect that would reveal his true heritage. His ultimate tie to the brotherhood, the fact that his father is somehow related to Wrath is amazing to me and has garnered the brothers with an invaluable weapon against the lessers. His blood tie to Wrath had enabled him to join the brotherhood and become the warrior he is today.

I know they say every writer had in their mind where and how a series will progress and I wonder how the events in these last two books will effect the events of the next books. After each installment I find myself more and more involved in this world and with a boat load of questions. I’m sure Ms. Ward will answer them as we progress through the books, I for one can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I’m going to keep my eyes open to see if Darius continues to play a role in their lives even after his death and I for one hope that Ms. Ward has a well written way for this intriguing character to return. I would love to see him have a book of his own, of course Ms. Ward would have to reincarnate him, but a girl can dream can’t she.

Now on to my thoughts on the books.

First for me personally, the book I most wanted to read was that of Zsadist, he is by far one of my favorite brothers. The tortured hero, fully deserving of redeemtion and love is always a winner with romance fans, this one included. This story was engossing and as with all Ms.Ward’s novels completely consuming.

So you may be wondering why I took so long to read this book. To be honest I made a typical reader mistake, I read other reviews of the book that contained spoilers and then the compulsion to read the story just kind of faded a little for me.

I already knew key pieces of the storyline and I was afraid, to be honest, that my knowledge of these events would lessen the story’s impact on me. Of course had I known then what I know now I would have read it immediately.

So many things ran through my mind as I began reading Lover Awakened. The first being a genuine fear for Bella as she was held captive by the lessers. I can’t imagine the pain and fear she felt, thinking that no one was coming. Of course she would have never guessed that Zsadist was on a rampage to find her and that he was not going to stop until he did. Bella abililty to survive is proof she is destined to be the one for Z. Just as he has managed to survive and live, although it is somewhat of a half life, he has found his place in the world.

His care for Bella after her rescue from the lessers grants the reader a brief glimpse of all he can be and in it I found myself loving his character even more than I did before. The same of course can be said for Bella, she never shys away from his darker more tortured side. In all that she does in this book you can feel her love for Z. There were times in the book I felt like knocking him over the head where Bella was concerned, but all of his actions rang true for me and what I would expect from his character. Reliving with his the flashback to his days as a bloodslave were difficult, but it did let us the reader understand more about Z as a man and not the warrior we know him to be.

The other dynamic I found interesting was that of Phury and Zsadist, Ms. Ward in her previous installments hinted and revealed vaguely the reasons why Phury suffered so for his brother and why Zsadist is the was he is. I would never have imagined how horrid it was for Z as a blood slave and all that Phury endured to save him. What I found the hardest to to do was watch as Phury was falling for Bella as his brother did. Of course it makes sense now that I read it, they are of course twins. Just because tragedy seperated them, they are still very similar. It makes perfect sense that they would covet the same woman. I actually had a hard time rooting for Zsadist in this book and found myself falling a little for his brother along the way.

Another of the plot elements that had been revealed to me was the death of of Torhments shellan Wellsie. This was one of the main reasons I was hesitant to read this book. The thought of her dying had me weeping inside and I was so afraid to read what had been done to her. So as I finally found myself so engrossed in the story I put her death in the back of my mind. Of course I knew it was coming, but I let the story unfold and tried to keep thoughts of it as bay. Then BAM all of a sudden I am at the pivotal part of the story, the part I had been dreading to read. While the section of the book was short and less graphic then I thought it would be, I still found myself crying. It was so sad and then the part when they tell Torhment was beyond painful. Reading as the part unfolded was awful, but so well written. I mean it stinks BIG TIME and now I have to sit with her other readers and wait for Torhment to return to the fold of the brotherhood.

Ultimately Bella and Zsadist find there way through the maze of Z’s past and embark on a future together. By the end of the book Zsadist is slowly becoming the warrior he was meant to be, and is in the truest sense of the word Awakened to all he could and can be.

All in all Lover Awakened was all I expected it to be. Well written and emotional it left me more than satisfied, but yet wanting more as well.

Lucky for me I had more to dive into. Eventhough I had yet to read LA I purchased Lover Revealed when it was released. I knew that I would read LA and wanted to be prepared. Trust me when I say I was damn glad I did.

Lover Revealed is the story of Butch and Marissa, if ever there was a pair you wanted to root for you would find it in them.

Marissa has always been a bit of a fascination for me, she is beautiful and part of the Glymera, yet after Wrath so called rejection of her no one attempted to sweep her off her feet. I guess I can see where others may find her lacking since the King chose Beth over her, but really not one male among her kind didn’t see that is what not that she lacked anything, just that she was not meant for Wrath. This of course is irrelevant because had Wrath not chosen Beth over her, Butch would not have his chance with her. See more of Darius’ influence.

Butch is a very likable character and I love so many thing about him, from his clothing to his attitude and everything in between. For me he was and is the perfect choice for Marissa. It was hard for me to read as he dealt with what he felt were his short comings, but I never doubted his love for Marissa.

Of course I wanted the brotherhood to string Havers up by his finger nails for the way he treated his sister when he saw her with Butch after he recovered. And the fact that he kicked her out made me want to stake him through the heart, but he gets his just deserts in the end.

What I really loved about this book was how this event began to bring Marissa in to her own as a woman. She goes to the brotherhood fearing they will turn her away to beg a place to stay before the son rises, knowing full well that in doing so she is swallowing her pride. This for me was the beginning of her transformation to being happy with herself and I applaud her for it. This first true interaction with Beth is the engrossing and I wanted to cheer Ms. Ward for how she handled it. I was glad to see the two woman moving away from the past and moving toward a friendship. By the end of the book they were friends and with that friendship Marissa came into her own.

The dynamic between Marissa and Butch is one as old as time, I compare to a guy from the wrong side of the tracks fall for a woman he considers out of his league. Butch’s treatment of Marissa in some cases was harsh for lack of a better word, but Marissa stepped up to the plate and went for what she wanted.

Watching them fall in love as they tried to deal with what seemed to be insurmountable odds was wonderful and I was more than happy with the outcome.

Butch’s abduction was hard to read and what came of it was truly amazing. I would have crapped my pants if I came back from that like he did. He was almost like a GPS for lessers and yet he took it in stride. The connection he had with Vishous in this book was very intense and so very necessary. There is a part toward the end of the book when he and Vishous are at his penthouse and you realize that the vision V had is about to revealed to them was amazing. I found myself in tears when Vishous tells Butch how he feels and that his is his friend. You can finally understand more about the brothers suffering through this passage. Here they are the most feared members of their race, sacrificing and fighting to save their people yet they have so little for themselves in truth.

I read a few places, I can’t recall where ,that it felt as though their friendship was more and I get that I think, but for me it wasn’t a sexual thing.It was more of a “I want something for myself thing” than a “I want you bod thing”. Either way I was glad to see that they had devloped this bond and then when it was revealed that Butch was related to Wrath and that he could be converted as well as made a member of the Brotherhood I wanted to stand up and cheer. Of course I was sitting in my living room with my sons, so I had to control the impulse.

Marissa reaction to all this was one I found to be one that I may have had myself. Knowing the man you loved was going to risk death to join you in eternity is tough, but how it had to be done was even harder. Reading as his conversion took place made my stomach knot up. I knew the book would have it’s HEA, but damn if I wasn’t still scared for him. I had a real OMG moment when the Scribe Virgin told them to send for Beth, talk about taking Characters full circle. I really though Wrath was going to kill them all when Beth volunteered to feed Butch when Marissa was unable to keep doing so. Talk about full circle.

In the end Butch not only survived, but he joined the Brotherhood and Marissa got her man. It was a long a harowing journey for all of them and when push came to shove Marissa was able to stand on her own and find the love she so richly deserved.

I will admit I felt bad for Rhevenge he had been starting to fall for Marissa as she used him to feed, but I knew she was meant for Butch. Plus according to the message boards over on Ms Ward’s website he will be getting his own book and I for one can’t wait for it.

Next up is Vishous, September can’t get here fast enough. I just have to make sure I don’t read any reviews of the book before I read it this time.

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On the Edge by Shannon Stacey

Posted by Jenn on March 29, 2007

 On the Edge ~ Shannon Stacey

When an explosion rocks the Devlin Group, two agents must risk everything to save them all.  Book 2 of the Devlin Group series.

Tony Casavetti emerges from an undercover assignment only to be summoned to NYC by Charlotte, the Devlin Group’s executive administrator. When he arrives, he finds out she may be ruthlessly efficient, but his assumption about her being matronly was dead wrong.

Charlotte Rhames has it all-looks, wealth and the respect she craved. But an attack on the Devlin Group throws her back into the pit of sex, money, and murder she’d crawled out of.

With Tony’s life at stake, how far is she willing to fall?

I admit I’m a Romantic Suspense Junkie, I love them. If I know one is coming out I mark it on my calendar and then anxiously await it’s release. This was the case with Shannon Stacey’s Newest release. I must have read the excerpt and stalked her site over and over again. As soon as she said that she was writing the next Devlin book I was ready to read it. So since I managed to read it today in one sitting after owning for all of an hour I thought I might type up this little review.

Like the previous installement of this series we jump right into the action. Which for me is key especially in Romantic Suspense. Jumping right into the action lets me know that this author is going to provide the suspense half of the genre.

As On the Edge opens we find Tony embroiled in a shootout involving a man that IMO get s exactly what’s coming to him. From the very first sentences I was drawn into the action and I could see it as is played out through Ms. Stacey’s words. I found myself cheering Tony on and applauding him for his quick thinking that made an extremely difficult situation end in the best possible way.

However, as the action unfolds we get a peak at the relationship between Tony and Charlotte. One that has been taking place over the comm link for the last eight years.  Tony and Charlotte are nothing but voices to one another , but soon the agent and the admin are going to meet in the flesh.

I found Tony’s interdialogue about what Charlotte looks like to be funny and if I didn’t know better I may have agreed with him. His surprise when he sees her in the flesh was comical yet laced with sexuality that left me feeling as though it was an honest reaction.

 Charlotte of course knew what he looked like, but even she admits that he is better in person then in his company file. Their conversations and dialogue are very well written, I found myself chuckling a little at some points and I definitely felt the sexual tension between them.

 Charlotte is what I look for in a herione for this type of book, Like Grace in 72 hours, she is strong and knows what to do and when to do it. She takes risks and when she and Tony are thrust into bad situation after bad situation she holds up. She defends herself as best she can and she fights for herself as well as Tony’s survival.

 As for Tony he fits the bill of action lead to a T, but yet he is still human. There is a small piece of dialogue in the book that sums up his humanity for the reader. I’m paraphrasing here since I don’t have Ms. Stacey’s permission to post her work.

While discussing the last mission Tony was on Charlotte mentions that the young girl he saved, Rosa is OK and back with her family. His response to this is that then everything that happened was worthwhile for him. He does what he must to get the job done , but he still manages to feel for those he saves and or has to destroy. Tony Casavetti is definitely a stand up guy as well as a great agent. Plus he’s a cowboy, who doesn’t love a cowboy, but that’s a topic for another post entirely.

What I really liked about this book was that overall it was believable, the characters and their plans were slightly flawed and in turn makes them all the more human. Both of them throughout the 200 pages of the book are faced with choices that at times are far from easy and yet they continued to persevere and fight back against some really tough odds.

While many may disagree with some of the choice they have to make in the end it worked for me.

I’m not one who usually rates a book , but this one is so well written and believable that I would give it 5 Gold Stars.

I’m sure I will be rereading this as well as the previous installment in the future while I wait for Ms Stacey to write Gallagher’s Book.

 If you are interested in buying this title you can do so here. To learn more about Shannon Stacey and her books, please visit her website.

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