Category: Features

Hero of the Month: Valek

Posted June 4, 2007 by Rowena in Features | 8 Comments

This is coming a little late and I apologize but this was very hard to do because I haven’t gotten my Magic Study back from my friends yet and so I had to do everything from memory. We’ve gotten our first request for the Hero of the Month post and so I thought it’d be cool to spotlight, a hero that’s new to me but hella dear as well.

Two books deep and Valek from Maria V. Snyder’s Poison and Magic Study books sure knows how to hook a sister and reel her in.

In Poison Study, he drove me batty with all of his tests and the constant need to keep Yelena (and my damn self) on our toes was enough to make me want to karate chop him in the neck but even while he was exasperating me with all of his undercover tests and just all around bullheadedness, there was no denying this man was friggin’ sexy.

There was an air of power surrounding him that drew my attention (and I’m sure yours) to him. All the while he was being a jerk to Yelena, you wanted to get to know this enigmatic man and I can promise you that even after the second book, the questions you had about Valek still apply and still make you want to dig deeper to find out all of his secrets.

Why is he immune to magic and nobody else is? Why can only Yelena reach him through magic? Why? Why? Why?

So many questions go unanswered and the longer we have to wait for those answers, the more anxious we get to find out just what secrets Valek holds.

There’s so much to like about him too, I mean when we first meet him, he’s teaching Yelena all about poisons and his study is littered with books and seriously, like Ames told me in an email recently, “Who doesn’t love a smart guy?” His brain was a total turn on for me because he was highly intelligent and though you don’t know much about him, you don’t get the sense that he’s evil or bad, underneath all of the lies and secret business he’s got going for him, he’s still innately …good. I liked that a lot about him.

I loved how when he falls in love with Yelena, he didn’t try to keep her hidden and protect her from everything, he let her go but he was always there to help her. He didn’t try to fight her battles for her and he just loved her enough to trust that she’d do the right thing and his unwavering trust in Yelena once he did fall in love with her, the way he understood her like no other person ever could was just oh so romantic and loving and just outright great! He’s one of those heroes that is cloaked in mystery and just so hot that the more we don’t know about him, the more we love him.

And you’ve gotta love a man who can hold himself against ANYONE and is the person they’re talking about in the next quote:

“It’s become a sort of graduation from basic training for the soldiers to fight Valek at least once, although you can try as many times as you like. The Captains watch the matches and recruit the more promising soldiers. And if you manage to impress Valek with your skills, he may offer you a post in his elite intelligence corps.”

For a man to be the person soldiers have to beat in order to get a good place in the soldiers rank, yeah he’s gotta be fit and strong and all muscly and just yummy enough to lick, swoon That’s Valek for you.

You’ve also gotta love a man who can fill out a uniform and make you all gooey inside, like Valek does:

He came downstairs decked out in full dress uniform. Red braids draped his shoulders; medals were lined up six deep over his left breast. He oozed dignity, a man of stature….The uniform enhanced his athletic body, and my thoughts drifted to how magnificent he would look with his uniform puddled around his feet.

A man of stature and dignity…yeah I’m already standing in a puddle of drool, goodness but that man is sexy and what I loved most about him is this scene:

“…And there’s been no one in this world that I care for more. Until now.”

I held my breath. It had been a simple, innocent question. I hadn’t expected such an intimate response.

“Yelena, you’ve driven me crazy. You’ve caused me considerable trouble and I’ve contemplated ending your life twice since I’ve known you.” Valek’s warm breath in my ear sent a shiver down my spine.

“But you’ve slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.”

“That sounds more like a poison than a person,” was all I could say. His confession had both shocked and thrilled me.

“Exactly,” Valek replied. “You have poisoned me.” HE rolled me over to face him. Before I could make another sound, he kissed me.

And then when they have this conversation:

“Is there anything else you haven’t told me?”

My head spun. So much had happened and we still needed to stop a powerful magician. Death was a real possibility. I wanted Valek to know how I felt.

“I love you.”

Valek wrapped me in his arms. “My love has been yours since the fire festival. IF those goons had killed you, I knew then that I would never be the same. I didn’t want or expect this. But I couldn’t resist you.”

Awww. I love it and that is only a small fraction for why Valek is this month’s Hero of the Month, if you want to find out all the ways Valek is the bomb, you’ll have to read his book! Seriously…


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Our Best Reads for the month of May.

Posted June 4, 2007 by Rowena in Features | 8 Comments

May’s Best Reads

It’s that time of the month where I take stock of what I’ve been reading, what my favorites of the month are and what I’m looking forward to reading in the next month.

May was a good month for reading, not as good as the previous months but still, a good read. And there’s a two way tie for my favorite May read. I’m having a hard time picking one over the over so I think I’m just going to go with choosing the both of them. They’re different from each other but still oh so good.

Last month I read a total of 10 books, which puts me at having 5 more books to read before I complete my TBR Challenge with Ames and since we have until June 30th to get the books read, I know that I’ll finish it hopefully as early as next week. Ames, we totally did it…do you think we can do it again for the remainder of the year? Ohh let’s do it, Ames!

Here’s a rundown of the books that I’ve read this month:

  • Key of Light by Nora Roberts
  • Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts
  • Key of Valor by Nora Roberts
  • Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber
  • Sugar and Sin by Stella and Audra Price
  • Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen
  • White Lies by Linda Howard
  • A reread of Kindom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
  • Hawk O’Toole’s Hostage by Sandra Brown
  • Crazy Cool by Tara Janzen

And my favorite reads of the month are: Key of Valor by Nora Roberts and Crazy Cool by Tara Janzen. Both books had me enraptured and so lost in the world that the authors created for us readers to enjoy and I will forever pimp their goodness out for all to see and love for themselves. The Key Trilogy is already in a bag, getting ready to be shipped to the great city of Compton, California for a dear friend of mine to enjoy as she’s reading The Circle Trilogy soon and I know she’ll enjoy these books as well.

I’ve also got to give a honorable mention to Morning Come Softly by Debbie Macomber because this book was really good as well, I loved it to pieces but I loved the other books just a tiny more right now…=)

Izzy Says

All right, I’m a bit slower when it comes to reading. Sigh, sucks being a slow reader. Here are the list of books I read:

  • Something Sinful by Suzanne Enoch
  • Shadowheart (DNF) by Laura Kinsale
  • Sugar and Sin (DNF) by Stella and Audra Price
  • Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

Ok, so after looking at this list I realize I suck. My best read was Two for the Dough. This book was funny! I’ll say it again: I love Grandma Mazur.

I’ll try and do better next month. I promise!!!!!!

Holly Says

The month started out pretty slow for me (I couldn’t even participate in this last month because I hadn’t read crap) but picked up towards the end of the month. I didn’t keep track of everything I read, but I think I remember most of them:

  • Miracle by Deborah Smith
  • Muse by Adra Steia
  • No One To Trust by Iris Johansen
  • Wife by Contract, Mistress by Demand by Carole Mortimer
  • Natural Born Charmer by SEP (a re-read)
  • Beyond Breathless, Beyond Daring and Beyond Seduction by Kathleen O’Reilly
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed by Lucy Monroe
  • The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
  • A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber
  • Virgin River by Robyn Carr
  • Three Weddings and a Kiss (anthology)
  • Blame it on Paris by Laura Florland
  • Taken by Barbara Freethy (DNF)
  • Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard

I think that’s it. I may have done a few more re-reads, but if so I can’t remember which ones. Being sick last week was a blessing in disguise, because I was able to read, something I haven’t been able to do much. Of course, I still haven’t reviewed most of the books, but I’ll get around to it eventually. 🙂

Anyway, I’d have to say my favorite reads for this month were Muse by Adra Steia, Virgin River by Robyn Carr and Miracle by Deborah Smith.

Muse was dark and scary, and just what I needed to help get me out of my slump. Virgin River and Miracle were just straight up romance. No suspense plots, no paranormal elements. They were both very well written and kept me entranced. I even cried a little while reading both. Miracle was a heavy, drama filled read, but was still fabulous. Virgin River was also heavy, but still had a lighter side. I laughed out loud a time or two while reading it. Reviews for both to follow, but don’t wait on me to buy them. I promise they’re great.

I also want to give honorable mentions to The Shop on Blossom Street and A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber. Both were excellent and I gobbled them right up.

Alright, that’s what we read last month and our favorite picks. What about you?

What did you read last month? What were your favorites? Anything we can’t live without?

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Mr. May: Ian Thornton, Marquess of Kensington.

Posted May 2, 2007 by Rowena in Features | 10 Comments

Every once in a long while there comes along a hero that makes you forget all the other heroe’s you’ve read about before.

You know the hero that comes to mind when the author is mentioned. Like, if someone were to say Karen Marie Moning, Dageus MacKeltar instantly comes to my mind, not to mention certain scenes from his book that include plane rides to Scotland, you know what I mean? hehe…Julie Garwood? Yep, I’m thinking of Connor MacAllister and his sexy scottish brogue and stubborn as a mule attitude. It’s just the way things are sometimes.

Well, if you say, Judith McNaught, two names instantly come to my mind. One, I’ve already featured as a Hero of the Month on Sanctuary’s Finest, but the other hero that I can’t get enough of is Mr. Ian Thornton turned Lord Ian Thornton, Marquess of Kensington, heir to the Dukedom of Stanhope from Judith McNaught’s Almost Heaven.

If you’ve read the book then you’re already knowing why I love this man so much. You’re already knowing what an intensely sexy and swoonworthy hero Ian Thornton is, but for those of you, like cough cough Ames who hasn’t taken the time to read this book, I can’t tell you enough how much you’re missing out by not reading all about sexy studmuffin, Ian Thornton.

I shall try, very earnestly to tempt you to give his book a go, by listing all of the reasons why I, and so many other women love Mr. Thornton.

When we first meet Mr. Thornton, we see him in a garden, smoking a lil somethin’ somethin’ .

…he was startingly tall, more than six feet with powerful shoulders and long, muscular legs. His thick hair was not blond, but a rich brown-black that looked as if it had a tendency to curl. Instead of wearing the customary bright satin coat and white breeches that the other men wore he was clad in raven black from head to foot, with the exception of his snowy shirt and neckcloth, which were so white they seemed to gleam agains tthe stark black of his jacket and waistcoat. Elizabeth had the uneasy thought that Ian Thornton was like a large, predatory hawk in the midst of a gathering of tame, colorful peacocks. ..White cuffs peeped from beneath his black jacket, and in the bright orange glow of the flame she saw that his hands and face were deeply tanned.


Seriously, YUM!

Grace and I had a great conversation last week where we discussed exactly why we loved Ian Thornton and the reasons were plenty. We loved his passion for life and the woman he loved. We loved his devotion to Elizabeth while they were married. We loved the lengths to which he went to save and marry Elizabeth from ruin. We loved his amber eyes and the way he looked at Elizabeth with those very eyes when she had company over and made her blush because she knew what he was thinking about and what they were going to do just as soon as he could get her alone.

Hehe, I’m telling you, Ian Thornton is a fox!

In this scene, Ian is just finding out that the woman Jordan has to go and support at this ball is in fact, Elizabeth.

“Care to join us?”

Ian shook his head and accepted his drink from the footman. “It sounds boring as hell.”

“I don’t think it’ll be boring, precisely. My wise has taken it upon herself to defy the entire ton and sponsor the girl back into the ranks. Based on some of the things Alexandra said i nher note, that will be no mean feat.”

“Why is that?” Ian inquired with more courtesy than interest.

Jordan sighed and leaned his head back, weary from the hours he’d been working for the last several weeks and unexcitd at the prospect of dancing attendance on a damsel in distress–one he’d never set eyes on. “the girl fell into the cluthches of some man two years ago, and an ugly scandal ensued.”

Thinking of Elizabeth and himself, Ian said casually, “That’s not an uncommon occurrence, evidently.”

“From what Alex wrote me, it seems this case is rather extreme.”

“In what way?”

“For one thing, there’s every chance the young woman will get the cut direct tonight from half the ton–and that’s the half that will be willing to acknowledge her. Alex has retaliated by calling in the heavy guns–my grandmother, to be exact, and Tony and myself, to a lesser degree. The object is to try to brave it out, but I don’t envy the girl. Unless I miss my guess, she’s going to be flayed alive by the wagging tongues tonight. Whatever the bastard did, “Jordan finished, downing his drink and starting to straighten in his chair, “it was damaging as hell. The girl–has been a social outcast for nearly two years.”

Ian stiffened, his glass arrested partway to his mouth, his sharpened gaze on Jordan, who was already starting to rise. “Who’s the girl?” he demanded tautly.

“Elizabeth Cameron.”

“Oh, CHRIST!” Ian exploded, surging out of his chair and snatching up his evening jacket. “Where are they?”

“At the Willingtons’. Why?”

“Because,” Ian bit out, impatiently shrugging into his jacket and tugging the frilled cuffs of his shirt into place, “I’m the bastard who did it.”

An indescribable expression flashed across the Duke of Hawthorne’s face as he too, pulled on his evening jacket, “You are the man Alexandra described in her note as an unspeakable cad, vile libertine, and ‘despoiler of innocents?”

“I’m all that and more,” Ian replied grimly…

Goodness, the urgency Ian showed when trying to make things right with Elizabeth was just about the sweetest thing since sliced bread. I loved the way he barged right into that ball and spinned stories to confuse everyone so that he could win Elizabeth’s hand in marriage with her reputation in tact.

So effing sweet, I tell you. Just like this scene…

Behind her, where Tony had been standing, shadows moved, then a hand gently grasped Elizabeth’s elbow, and a deep, husky voice said near her ear, “Dance with me, Elizabeth.”

Shock stiffened her body, slamming against the barricade of numbness that Elizabeth was trying to keep intact. STill gazing straight ahead, she said very calmly and politely, “Would you do me a great service?”

“Anything,” he agreed.

“Go away. And stay away.”

“Anything,” He amended with a solemn smile in his voice, “but that.”

She felt him move closer behind her, and the nerves quaking she’d conquered hours before jarred through her again, awakening senses from their blissfuul anesthesia. His fingers lightly caressed her arm, and he bent his head closer to her. “Dance with me.”

I’m telling you, if you don’t like Ian by now, you’ll love him by the end of my little teasing glimpses into Ian’s book. This next scene is a scene that warmed my heart, it’s at the same ball where he’s trying to make things up to Elizabeth….read on dear readers…

“Come inside with me,” he urged, increasing the pressure on her elbow, “and I’ll begin making it up to you.”


You can see just how determined Ian was to put Elizabeth’s reputation back to rights with how hard he worked to spread tales throughout the ball at how wrong everyone had it back then and this is definitely a man you want loving you because what woman doesn’t love when their man gets all pissed and dangerous when someone dares to smear your name around a party you’re attending?

And what woman doesn’t love a man who can turn your words back on you and make you cry buckets at just how awesomely romantic he is? Like in this scene?

“If you would take one step forward, darling, you could cry in my arms. And while you do, I’ll tell you how sorry I am for everything I’ve done–” Unable to wait, Ian caught her, pulling her tightly against him. “And when I’m finished,” he whispered hoarsely as she wrapped her arms around him and wept brokenly, “you can help me find a way to forgive myself.”

double sigh

This book is fantastic and Ian Thornton, the man of the book is even better…I could count the ways that I love this man, but you have to see for yourself and all these reasons are why Ian Thornton is Book Binge’s Mr. May.

Presenting Mr. Ian Thornton.

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Best Reads of April!

Posted May 1, 2007 by Rowena in Features | 25 Comments

Rowena here and it’s been a good month of reading for me, I didn’t read anything that I absolutely hated and there were just a few DNF, but I’m not going to give up on my DNF’s, I’m just going to get back to them at a later date.

In the month of April, I read:

I’m reading, Rock Star by Roslyn Hardy Combs which is the book that I won over at Devon’s blog and I’m really digging it, I’ve read two great reviews from both Devon and Bam so I was really excited to read it and I’m totally agreeing with what they both said in their reviews, it really is fresh and witty and just everything good.

My favorite read of the month has to be Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder because I just loved being all wrapped up in Yelena’s world, seeing the world that she should have grown up in, the adventures she gets herself into with trying to do what’s right for her. It was a great second novel by Mrs. Snyder and I am anxiously awaiting the release of Fire Study, bring on more of sexy hunky Valek please!!!


In April I read:

The Rest Falls Away
Ps I Love You
Lord of Scoundrels

These were all good books but my favorite read was Lord of Scoundrels. I heard nothing but good reviews on this book so when I finally read it, I was not disappointed. I loved Dain and Jessica and their love story. Right now I’m reading “Something Sinful” by Suzanne Enoch.

So there’s what WE read last month, what did you guys read?


What was YOUR favorite read in the month of April?

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