Category: Reviews

Review: When Strangers Marry by Lisa Kleypas.

Posted May 6, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins


Rowena’s review of When Strangers Marry (Vallerands #1) by Lisa Kleypas.

Lysette buried her face against Max’s throat. “But he’s going to take me away. Don’t let him, don’t — “

“You’re not going anywhere,” Max interrupted. “Calm yourself, Lysette. It’s not good for you to become excited.” His possessiveness made her strangely giddy. As far as he was concerned, she was his, and no one was going to take her away from him.

Max stared at Etienne. His voice was soft, but it contained a note that chilled Lysette’s blood. “If you so much as disarrange a hair on her head, I’ll tear you apart.”

Lysette couldn’t believe it, but she didn’t care about her ruined reputation. The only thing that mattered was that she wouldn’t have to marry Etienne.

I must admit, Lisa Kleypas knows how to tell a story like no other. Her stories are always refreshing, sweet and passionate. I enjoyed this book very much, so much so that I finished it in one sitting, which is a feat for me. I get really antsy in the middle of a book and no matter how good a story is, I’ll have to put the book down after a couple of hours and “rest my eyes” before returning to the story but this story just zipped right through for me and I enjoyed it very much.

Is it my favorite story? No. It was a great story and I enjoyed the characters but in this book, I enjoyed the secondary characters more than the main ones.

Max Vallerand was a good hero, I really enjoyed reading him and Lysette’s little journey to love, but for me it was all about his younger son, Justin Vallerand. No, not like that you crackheads out there with your minds in the gutter (yeah, that’s directed to you Holly, LOL) but I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Lysette and Justin evolve. It was really great to see Justin’s character find out for himself that his father was innocent and I loved that as soon as he did, he threw himself into being a better man for everything that he’s gone through. I was more drawn to Justin than Phillippe, not because he was the better son but because he was the one that needed love more.

He was so lost and having to grow up the way he did, couldn’t have been easy for him and it was so easy to see how much he needed guidance and just a serious “sit down” with. I think Lysette had the right way of thinking when she told the family that he needed to quit being compared to Phillippe and I loved Phillippe’s constant defense of his brother.

The bond between Phillippe and Justin was what I enjoyed a great deal and then toward the end, the bond between Justin and Max was what I enjoyed the most. It was great that they got to that place at the end because all of the hurt that these guys went through in their lives, they deserved a bit of unconditional love and happiness.

I’m so glad that this is a romance and LK gave it to them! =)

As for the villain in this book, he was a dispicable punk ass that I could not friggin’ stand but I knew, I knew something was off about that one so it wasn’t a great big surprise when I found out that he was the big bad wolf in this book.

One thing that annoyed the hell out of me, which is of no fault to the author was that Max didn’t make Alexandre grow the hell up and be his own man, work and just have a backbone. Alexandre was okay with letting his big brother take care of everything and I don’t like that kind of spineless crap from my men…I don’t understand how Henriette was okay with Alex letting Max take care of everything from talking to her father to orchestrating their whole courtship thing. It annoyed me that Alexandre didn’t want to take more charge of his own destiny and make things happen for him the way Max did.

This book was a great story to read on the weekend, it made my weekend fly by and I really enjoyed it, just like I do all LK’s, I swear she’s fast becoming one of my top auto buy authors, I haven’t read an LK book that I didn’t like yet and I’m glad for it.

Great great stuff, the reason this book didn’t get a smashing A was because I wasn’t as engrossed in the main characters as I was in the secondary characaters and I felt like for me, the sons stole Max’s thunder…because this story has me hoping that there’s a story either out or in the makings for Justin Vallerand. =)

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can purchase it here.


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Review: Something Sinful by Suzanne Enoch

Posted May 3, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins


Isabel’s review of Something Sinful (Griffin Family #3) by Suzanne Enoch.

It was lust at first sight . . .

She was a vision, an exotic goddess who floated across the ballroom, conjuring images of warm nights and silk sheets, and Lord Charlemagne Griffin felt lightning shoot straight to his . . . well, he was definitely interested. So the lady isn’t exactly the sharpest knife on the rack, as Shay soon discovers, but the generous bosom just above her low neckline more than makes up for it. Before he knows it, Shay is bragging about an impending business deal to impress her . . .

Lady Sarala Carlisle may appear naÏve, but too late Shay realizes her unconventional beauty masks a razor-sharp intelligence and flawless instincts-and she’d just bested him! Well, two can play at this game, and one of Shay’s many skills is the fine art of seduction.

But in this contest, the only thing to lose is one’s heart.

This is the third book in the Griffin Series.

Charlemagne “Shay” Griffin is a business man. He can bargain with the best of them and he enjoys it. While at a ball he spots Lady Sarala. He’s smitten with her and dances with her. For some reason, he tells her about some silk bolts he’s going to purchase thinking she’s not really understanding what he’s talking about. Little does he know.

The next day, he’s with the seller and asks for the silk. Seller says sorry, someone beat you to the punch. Lady Sarala. Turns out she’s a pretty good business woman. Now Shay’s pride is hurt and he wants those bolts back. Sarala is asking for 6,000 pounds. Shay says no. Now he must try and figure out a way to get those bolts from her. One which includes wooing her.

Lady Sarala was born in India. Her parents moved there and never planned on returning to England. Now that they have returned, her mom is insisting Sarala be English and make a match. She shortens Sarala’s name to Sarah, tells her to wear certain colors and gowns. Sarala’s mom is basically one of those dreaded title hungry, match making mammas.

Sarala and Shay are forced into marriage because they were caught in a compromising position. She was about to sell the silk to him and was sealing the deal with a kiss. And wouldn’t you know someone walked in on them.

The rest of the story was ok. You have Shay learning the bolts of silk were stolen so now Chinese henchmen are after them. Turns out the silk was for the emperor of China. Shay has to get them back from Sarala so she isn’t hurt. When Shay tells her what’s going on, she doesn’t believe him. She thinks it’s another ploy for the silk so she ups her price. She slowly starts to believe him when he says fine. Then Sarala figures she should call off the wedding so Shay doesn’t put his life in danger for her. She of course doesn’t.

The biggest thing that bothered me was when Shay found out Sarala is not a virgin. Now why is it ok for men to have tons of lovers but a woman has one and he goes ape shit. Shay is annoyed and Sarala calls him on it. When Shay demands the name of the man Sarala responds, “Not unless you’re prepare to name every woman you slept with.” Which shuts him up.

So yeah, there you. I wasn’t really impressed with the book. I didn’t feel a connection between Sarala and Shay. Her mom got on my nerves. Ugh. But I will read the last book in the series though.

Grade: 3 out of 5

The books in this series:

Sin and Sensibility
And Invitation to Sin
Something Sinful
Sins of a Duke (out next month)

Ps. Pardon my crappy review. I’m extremely tired and the coffee and Pepsi are just not doing it for me today.

This book is available from Avon. You can purchase it here.


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Weekly Reread: Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood.

Posted May 3, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 12 Comments

Weekly Reread: Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood.Reviewer: Rowena
Honor's Splendour by Julie Garwood

Publication Date: April 30, 1991
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

In the feuding English court, gentle Lady Madelyne suffered the cruel whims of her ruthless brother, Baron Louddon. Then, in vengeance for a bitter crime, Baron Duncan of Wexton—the Wolf—unleashed his warriors against Louddon's main. Exquisite Madelyne was the prize he catured...but when he gazed upon the proud beauty, he pledged to protect her with his life. In his rough-hewn castle, Duncan proved true to his honor. But when at last their noble passion conquered them both, she surrendered with all her soul. Now, for love, Madelyne would stand fast...as bravely as her Lord, the powerful Wolf who fought for...Honor's Splendour


Rowena’s review of Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood.

In the feuding English court, gentle Lady Madelyne suffered the cruel whims of her ruthless brother, Baron Louddon. Then, in vengeance for a bitter crime, Baron Duncan of Wexton—the Wolf—unleashed his warriors against Louddon’s main. Exquisite Madelyne was the prize he catured…but when he gazed upon the proud beauty, he pledged to protect her with his life. In his rough-hewn castle, Duncan proved true to his honor. But when at last their noble passion conquered them both, she surrendered with all her soul. Now, for love, Madelyne would stand fast…as bravely as her Lord, the powerful Wolf who fought for…Honor’s Splendour.

A goal of mine is to eventually write a review for all the books I’ve ever read and so each week I plan on doing a Weekly Reread post so that I can revisit all the books that I’ve read and loved from way back in the day.

This weekend’s reread was Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood. Holy hell it was just as great this time around as it was the first time I read it.

Duncan of Weston is one sexy beast.

So the story is about Duncan and Madelyne. Duncan wants to get under Madelyne’s evil brother Louddon’s skin, so him and his men breach Louddon’s castle and they burn it down and kill his men and steal his sister. The same sister that saves Duncan’s life by cutting him down from the post and warming his feet in the nearby Church. Duncan is amazed that she would dare save him from her evil brother and when she turns out to be totally different and unlike anything he ever imagined to find in Louddon’s sister, he can’t help but be taken by her beauty, her honesty and just everything about her.

Then he takes her home.

And things just heat the hell up from there. There’s the immediate reaction of Duncan’s family to Madelyne, the crush that Duncan’s brother Gilard has on Madelyne, the intense dislike that Edmond has toward her and then the whole ordeal with Duncan’s sister.

All that drama makes for one frickin’ heart warming and funny as all get out story.

Some of my favorite scenes are the scene with Duncan’s beard? sigh When she asks him if he’s gonna shave and he tells her, “After, love” Ooh, I get goose bumps everytime I read that scene and then the scene where Madelyne warms Duncan’s feet at the beginning, it was so unexpected and she was so scared of getting caught and getting in trouble but she did it anyway and it made me like her all the more because it was such a great way to begin the story.

I loved watching Madelyne’s interaction with Duncan’s family. When she got really sick and took to calling Duncan Odysseus and when she punched Edmond in the eye? Yeah, I was rollin’. I loved how Duncan wouldn’t leave Madelyn alone with anyone but him while she was sick, he didn’t want anyone but him offering her comfort or being the recipient of her passionate nature….HA! I loved how her relationship with Duncan’s sister, Adela blossomed. When Madelyne tells Adela about herself and then makes her wake up and face life again, I just absolutely loved it. It was great how as soon as the fight ran out of Adela, she was able to get herself together and marry Gerald.

I loved how throughout all of the crap that Madelyne went through, she leaned on Duncan throughout it all and Duncan shouldered her burdens for her and took such good care of her. I loved seeing the both of them falling in love with each other and I loved how Madelyne was such a paradox to Duncan. She was a fantastic heroine and she made the story a great reading experience for me.

This book totally rocks my socks, for real!

Grade: 5 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Books. You can purchase it here.

five-stars


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Bring on the Sexy Lairds Please…

Posted April 27, 2007 by Rowena in Discussions, Reviews | 18 Comments


It’s been a long while since I’ve been swept away into a world where handsome Scottish Lairds wed and protect their damsel in distress heroines from the harsh winters of the Highlands and the danger that awaits them around every corner, because you just know that in these novels, the heroine or the hero have to fight to protect each other from their enemy clans to the south who want to kill the Laird so that they can have his land and rule over all of the clans in the Highlands.

It’s funny how some of my favorite books are set in the Highlands and last night as I was browsing through my bookshelves, I came across a lot of books that I have read and loved over the years. Most of them are about macho lairds who’s wives are starting wars with all of the nearby clans, while others are running off with men that they’ve foolishly asked to marry them when they were too young to know any better which sets off other wars with the jilted fiance’s clan. So many of these books were funny, filled with great characters, a great sense of family and loyalty and I really miss reading those kinds of books, I want to read another one of these kinds of books…these kinds of storylines seem to be missing from my life right now and I want those storylines back dammit!

I’m almost done with my TBR Challenge with Ames over at Thrifty Reader and I’m in the mood to read about some horse hung, kilt clad hunks from the cold Scottish Highlands with their overbearing attitudes and thick scottish brogues.

Bring on the Scotsman, ladies (and gents if you’re out there and know of any good ones! =P) …I’m looking for some great romance novels that take place in the Highlands, way before my great, great great grand daddy was even thought of.

I enjoy the likes of Karen Marie Moning, Julie Garwood and I’m sure there are others but my silly mind is drawing a blank here, so please…step up and pimp some great highland romances!!!

And while we’re talking about this, I’d like to pose a question to you lovely readers. Who in your opinion writes the best Highlander stories? Are you a straight up KMM fan who loves the virginal and too smart for their own good heroines and the horse hung, dead sexy heroes that are over the top yummalicious? Or are you more of a Julie Garwood type, the alpha males that are sexy and funny and everything ooey gooey delicioso?

How is Janet Chapman’s Highland series? I’ve heard conflicting reviews on this series, some love it to pieces while others don’t care for it at all? What do you think? There’s also the Hannah Howell books, would anyone recommend those and if you do, please leave the titles in order to be read when you comment so that I can put it on my list of books to search for.

Are there any authors that I’m missing that you’d like to pimp to me? Please, help a sister out! I’m imaging sexy Gerard Butler in a kilt and well, it’s what triggered all of this must find new highlander books to read mindset.


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Review: Demon Moon by Meljean Brook

Posted April 27, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Demon Moon by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Demon Moon by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #2
Also in this series: Demon Night, Demon Bound, Demon Forged, Guardian Demon, Demon Angel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 5th 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General
Pages: 480
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

No one would call vampire Colin Ames-Beaumont kind, but they would call him unnaturally beautiful. For two centuries his tainted blood has kept him isolated from other vampires, sustained only by his beauty and vanity—bitter comforts, since a curse has erased his mirror reflection, replacing it with a terrifying glimpse of Chaos.

Savi Murray's insatiable curiosity had gotten her into trouble before, but she'd always escaped unscathed. Then came Colin. In the midst of Heaven, he gave her a taste of ecstasy—and of Chaos. Deadly creatures from that realm herald the return of an imprisoned nosferatu horde, and Colin and Savi’s bond is their only protection—and their only passion…

 

Side Note: There’s no way I can review this book without including spoilers from the first one, Demon Angel. If you haven’t read DA yet, you may want to skip this review. I’ll try to keep the spoilers for this one to a minimum. :End Side Note

As I’ve mentioned several times now, I won an ARC of this on Sybil‘s blog. I was really excited to read it, especially after Demon Angel (and who doesn’t love free ARC’s?).

Although I enjoyed DA, my biggest issue with it was the pacing. It seemed bogged down with info dumps and was often so slow going I felt like banging my head against the wall. Although it took me ages to read this, it wasn’t because of the pacing. It was just my own busy life intruding on my reading time. The pacing issues were totally cleared up. Way to go, Meljean.

When I heard Colin the Vampire was set to be the hero of this book, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Though I truly enjoyed his character in Demon Angel, I thought he seemed shallow and vain and…almost immature? But MB did an amazing job of showing us the different sides of him. Yes, he was shallow and vain about some things, but the truth is, he was just as tortured as Hugh. Watching him struggle to battle his personal demons and his attraction to Savi was just..amazing.

As for Savi, well, I loved her. Plain and simple. Like, I totally have a girl-crush on her. Where Lilith was in-your-face strong, Savi’s strength was more internal, but no less amazing. I think she was a more personable heroine. The kind you’d like to be friends with. I loved her wit and humor and her general approach to life.

We saw the same characters. Michael and Selah, the Guardians. Lilith and Hugh. Auntie. Sir Pup. And we were introduced to several new characters. Mostly vampires. But they stayed in the background and the main focus was on Colin and Savi. We learned more about their time together in Caelum, Colin’s past and his link to Chaos, Savi’s family and just who they were period. In DA I often felt like, just when the exchanges between Hugh and Lilith were getting intense, the focus would shift to something else. It didn’t feel that way at all in this novel.

Although there are other things going on around them. A rogue demon, a cult of vampires and pressure for Colin to lead the vampire community. I love the world she’s created. This isn’t your typical vampire story. There’s still the battle for good vs. evil and the different realms. Plus, Chaos. That was creepy. And different.

The conflict between Savi and Colin, and the major thing that threatens their HEA was perfectly done. I don’t want to spoil it, but it was very believable. A lot of times authors don’t create a credible reason for why the H/H may not end up together. I was on the edge of my seat with this one. And the end? Awesome. I even cried a little.

I think the only issue I had with the book was…the sexual tension. Normally I lurve me some sexual tension, but this went on WAY too long. I mean, come one. Every single time they were about to get it on, something would happen. I was about to pull my hair out. Luckily once they finally get to doing the dirty it makes up for all the previous tension. But I have to tell you, I was hurting there for awhile. g

One last thing. On her blog, Meljean mentioned someone else reading this book and saying it could standalone. I completely disagree. I think had I not read Demon Angel first, I’d have been completely lost. As it was, there were several times I had to go back to DA to reference something. IMO, they should be read together.

I’m anxious to read the Wild Thing anthology, which contains Selah’s story. If you’re interested, Gwen from over at Sybil’s blog reviewed it. It sounds great.

Overall this book was amazing. Savi and Colin were wonderful characters and I can’t wait for the next installment.

4.5 out of 5

This book is out June 5, so be sure to bump it up to the top of your wish list. In the meantime? Go visit Meljean’s site. I really like it. And BONUS! She has excerpts up. 😉

four-half-stars


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