Publisher: Silhouette

Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard

Posted May 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Series: Raintree #1
Also in this series: Raintree: Sanctuary
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: 288
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three-half-stars

Two hundred years after the Raintree clan defeated and abandoned them on a small Caribbean Island, the Ansara wizards are rising again to take on their bitterest foes. Despite their extraordinary powers and supernatural origin, the Raintree have largely blended into the modern world. They are bankers, cops, husbands, wives and lovers in the society of humankind.

But now, from Nevada to North Carolina, the rejoined battle will measure the endurance of their people. It will test their loyalties and relationships. And it will force upon them all new lives they could barely have imagined before.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I think about this series every now and again. I may have to go back and re-read it at some point. Just to see if my opinion of it still stands. 

This review was originally published May 14, 2007

I’ve been hearing a lot about this book the last few weeks, most of it not so good. Jane at Dear Author and Rosie both reviewed it and neither had very good things to say about it. I’ve been a LH fangirl for years now, but her last few releases, with the exception of her Blair Mallory books have left a lot to be desired, so I wasn’t too keen on reading this before I read the bad reviews. After? Yeah, so wasn’t going to touch it.

But then last week I read Tara Marie’s review and changed my mind. You see, there are some things I find I can’t stomach in a novel, and brain rape is one of them. From what Rosie and Jane said, I was under the impression there was quite a bit of that in this novel. But Tara Marie shed a bit more light on the subject and I decided to see for myself how bad it truly was.

Side Note: Spoilers below. I don’t think I can say what I truly felt about this book without them. :End Side Note

Lorna Clay has been spending a good amount of time in Dante Raintree’s casino. Normally that wouldn’t be cause for concern – quite the opposite in fact – but she never loses. Never. She’s not winning massive amounts of money at one time, but she’s walking away with enough to make Dante and his main casino dude a bit skeptical. They can’t seem to spot how she’s cheating via video, but they’re sure she is. So they drag her upstairs to “question” her and both she and Dante seem to have a rather…electric connection to one another.

Now, Dante is a Raintree, which is a psychic type of people that have been around for hundreds of years. They have a feud going on with the Ansara clan that’s lasted for centuries, and as soon as Dante figures out that Lorna has psychic abilities, he starts to wonder if she’s Ansara.

To quote Lorna about the Raintree/Ansara situation:

“You’re the weirdo equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys?”

She’s not. Lorna doesn’t even realize she has powers. She just thinks she’s really lucky. While in Dante’s office, a fire breaks loose in the main part of the casino, 19 floors below them. As one of Dante’s powers is the ability to control fire, he immediately heads down to help fight it, dragging Lorna along with him.

Now, this is where Jane and Rosie seemed to start having major issues with the book. I’m just going to tell you what happened. This is still relatively early in the book (the 2nd or 3rd chapter, I think) so you probably won’t be hurting yourselves if you read this part, but beware, major spoilers below:

Dante goes down to the main part of the casino to fight the fire and he can’t. He isn’t sure why – if it’s because his powers have been depleted trying to help the guests get out, or if it’s the fire itself – but he can’t get it under control. At this point, he and Lorna are pretty much surrounded by the fire. There’s no way for them to get out alive. He’s placed a protective “bubble” around them, but it’s starting to crack and he knows they don’t have much time left. Plus, the hotel that’s attached to the casino is at full capacity and he’s afraid of how many lives will be lost if the fire spreads that far.

He knows if he had another Raintree there to connect minds with he’d be able to pool their power and contain the inferno, but there’s no one but him and Lorna. That’s when he realizes – duh – she has powers and he could use them to boost his own. That’s when he “brain rapes” her by pushing himself into her mind and combining her powers with his.

I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. When weighing a situation like that, your death along with possibly hundreds of others, or forcing yourself into the mind of another for the greater good, well…I just can’t say I blame the guy. No, it wasn’t pleasant for Lorna and yes it was a gross invasion of her privacy, but he didn’t do it to find out if she was Ansara, or to purposely cause her pain. He did it to save her life. And his. And possibly hundreds of others. No big deal.

What comes next is a bit harder to swallow. He uses a mind “compulsion” to keep her from running once the fire is under control and they’re out of the building. Basically, if he tells her “Don’t move” she’s literally stuck in one spot. Because he’s not convinced of her innocence – in either the gambling or the fire – he binds her to him and forces her to remain against her will. At one point he even orders her to silence.

I had a hard time with this. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fairly independent woman and I would hate to have all control of myself taken away. Or perhaps that has nothing to do with being independent or a woman, but simply a human being. In any case, the next chapter or so was hard for me to get through. The way Dante pretty much forced her home with him and then checked her out to see if she was Ansara left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I persisted and you know…I ended up really liking the book. Really liking it. I can’t say it’s LH’s best work, but it more closely resembled the classic LH I fell in love with than anything else she’s produced in recent years.

Lorna was a fabulous heroine. She suffered numerous shocks in a short period of time, but rather than bowing under them, she kept her chin up and her sense of humor. She was sassy and sarcastic, and though I thought she forgave Dante a little too soon for his mind control of her, her reasons for doing so made a lot of sense.

As for Dante, he was a typical Howard Alpha and I thought he was great for what he was. For those of you who enjoyed some of her earlier category type books and works like Dream Man, you should enjoy him.

The ending was a major cliffhanger, but the relationship aspect of the story was all wrapped up. Since this is the first of a trilogy, I wasn’t too upset with the ending. I am annoyed that I have to wait for the next 2 installments, but otherwise? I highly enjoyed it. Well, once I got over being pissed at Dante, that is.

I’m giving this a 3.5 out of 5.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole 3 author trilogy, though. Having never read the other 2 authors, I can’t say for sure how excited I am to read them. On the other hand, I am anxious to see what happens next, so I’m sure I’ll purchase them.

The series is as follows:

Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (to be released June 1, 2007)
Raintree: Sanctuary by Beverly Barton (to be released July 1, 2007)

This book is available from Silhouette Nocturne. You can purchase it here.

three-half-stars


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Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh

Posted May 3, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh
Series: Zulheina #2
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: July 1st 2005
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 184
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four-half-stars

Marc was dangerous to her in the way that only a strong, sexy male could be to a woman. Even knowing that, she'd agreed to marry him.

Hope blossomed in Hira's heart. Perhaps she'd married a man with whom it might be worth building a life. Her mother had worried that he was scarred, but the lines on his face did nothing to lessen his raw masculine appeal. If anything, they gave him an even more dangerous male air, enticing the feminine core of her to thoughts that shocked her.

What did a man's face matter anyway? She had no use for handsome men.

But for a man with a heart? For such a man...she might risk everything.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on October 5, 2007.

Harlequins are one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I love how I can pick up a book that is less than 200 pages long and be completely immersed in the story almost immediately.

Though I’m a huge Nalini Singh fan, this is only the 2nd series romance I’ve read by her. This book makes me want to run out and hunt down the rest of her OOP Silhouettes.

When Marc went to Zulheil on business, he never expected to return home w/ a foreign bride. From the first moment he laid eyes on Hira, he was captivated not only by her flawless beauty, but also her smile. When given a choice between being married and having her as his own or not having her at all, Marc did not hesitate.

Hira was used to being looked at as nothing more than a pretty face. When she first saw Marc, she hoped that he was different and would see her as the intelligent and capable woman that she was. Unfortunately that was not to be and Hira soon found herself married to Marc and leaving the only home she’d ever known.

It sounds like a simple enough plot, no? In a way, it was. There was no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING in this book. Both Hira and Marc agreed to the marriage for reasons that were not at first clear to them. Marc soon learns that his wife is far from the icy beauty he first assumed her to be. However, having been burned once by a beautiful woman, Marc has no desire to repeat the experience. Under Marc’s loving care (doesn’t that sound all Harlequin-ey?), Hira realizes that not all men are controlling tyrants like her father. Given freedom to pursue her own desires, Hira finds herself falling in love with her husband more as each day passes.

As in every romance novel, there is conflict between the characters. These are two very strong willed people who have been hurt in the past. Marc by a woman and Hira by watching how her father treated her mother. This is a classic story of the Beast trying to tame his Beauty, soon learning that taming is the last thing he wants of his wife. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that can find it.

4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Guest Reviews up at TGTBTU

Posted November 8, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Reviews up at TGTBTUReviewer: Holly
The Daddy Audition by Cindi Myers
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: July 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Contemporary
Pages: 224
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two-stars

Tanya Bledso couldn't wait to leave Crested Butte to chase dreams of Hollywood stardom. Now the single mom has returned to run the local theater and raise her daughter. But the peaceful, charming town she took for granted has exploded into a bustling tourist attraction, thanks to one man.
Jack Crenshaw. Property developer extraordinaire…and her former high school sweetheart.
Ten years hasn't cooled the heat between them. Worse, Jack is bonding with her daughter and giving her the crazy idea he'd make the perfect family man. But is he ready to forgive and forget the heartbreak of the past for the role he seems born to play?

I have three reviews up at The Good, The Bad and The Unread.

The Daddy Audition by Cindi Myers

Tanya Bledso couldn’t wait to leave Crested Butte to chase dreams of Hollywood stardom. Now the single mom has returned to run the local theater and raise her daughter. But the peaceful, charming town she took for granted has exploded into a bustling tourist attraction, thanks to one man.Jack Crenshaw. Property developer extraordinaire…and her former high school sweetheart.

Ten years hasn’t cooled the heat between them. Worse, Jack is bonding with her daughter and giving her the crazy idea he’d make the perfect family man. But is he ready to forgive and forget the heartbreak of the past for the role he seems born to play?

 

I enjoyed the basic premise of this story: heroine leaves to pursue her dreams and leaves high school sweetheart behind. Now she’s back and so is their attraction.

I liked both characters up until a certain point, but then the way they refused to talk to each other and their personal insecurities started to annoy me. I understood Tanya’s reasons for leaving, just as I understood Jack’s for letting her. But as the story progressed, I became frustrated with both of them.

 

3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin American Romance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Book CoverTaming the Texas Tycoon by Katherine Garbera

For Texas Cattleman’s Club member Lance Brody, marriage is about gaining the right connections. But one plain-Jane personal assistant is about to change his mind…For years Kate Thornton had dreamed of becoming Mrs. Lance Brody. Then her boss became engaged strictly for business and Kate had had enough. Giving her two weeks’ notice should have released her, but Lance’s eyes had finally been opened. Kate couldn’t be allowed to walk away from the business, or him. And if it meant taking her to bed to keep her…well, that was one job he would gladly do himself!

I liked this story on a superficial level. If I start examining the motives or actions of the main characters I have major issues. As a fluff story – something quick to pass the time – it was good, but there were a lot of flaws.

My main gripe is the heroine’s complete lack of identity away from the hero. Also, the fact that the hero was engaged to someone else for the entire length of the novel really turned me off, even though the circumstances were explained well enough.

2.5 out of 5

This book is available from Silhouette Desire. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Book CoverTexas Wedding by Kathleen O’Brien

The days of Susannah Everly dreaming about white dresses, churches and Trent Maxwell are long gone. So it’s more than a little funny that she finds herself actually married to the guy. But she’s determined to save the family ranch by any means possible, and if Trent is those means…Still, they both know the deal. This is a business arrangement and there are rules. Rules that do not include rekindling those old feelings or surprise midnight seductions. So what’s Susannah to do when Trent seems determined to break their agreement? Especially when what he offers is way too tempting.

I’m still formulating my thoughts about this one. I generally enjoy the reunited lovers plot line, but this couple was bitter and angry.

Susannah especially rubbed me wrong. She was bitter and angry, and her actions throughout didn’t speak well of her. She did her level best to treat Trent like shit, then complained when he didn’t fall all over her. Basically she was a complete and total bitch. This was explained away because of Trent’s actions in the past, but that was 11 years ago. I really felt like there should have been more growth on her part.

2 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin SuperRomance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

two-stars


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Guest Review: Inherited: One Child by Day Leclaire

Posted September 30, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Inherited: One Child by Day LeclaireInherited: One Child by Day Leclaire
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: July 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Contemporary
Pages: 192
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four-stars

Billionaire businessman Jack Mason had devised the perfect strategy for keeping custody of his orphaned niece. He'd hire the right nanny and seduce her into marrying him. It should prove easy enough. He was, after all, irresistible.
Annalise Stefano was ideal. The attractive new nanny had quickly bonded with the little girl. And Jack was anticipating their wedding night more than he'd imagined. Even so, he couldn't have predicted that Annalise wouldn't want to become his wife. Or that the secret she was keeping could jeopardize his plans for creating the perfect family….

 

I have a review of Inherited: One Child by Day Leclaire up at The Good, The Bad and The Unread

I’m always looking for new authors to try when I browse eHarlequin.com and the blurb for this one caught my eye. I’m glad I picked it up, because it turned out to be a good read. This story is told almost completely from the hero’s point of view. That was kind of refreshing. Too often I think we spend too much time in the heroine’s head speculating about the hero.

This book is available from Silhouette Desire. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Magnate’s Make-Believe Mistress by Bronwyn Jameson

Posted September 17, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Magnate’s Make-Believe Mistress by Bronwyn JamesonReviewer: Holly
Magnate's Make-Believe Mistress by Bronwyn Jameson
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 186
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four-stars

Her new client was devilishly handsome, superbly charming…and absolutely hiding something. Why else would a man as rich and powerful as Cristo Verón have any interest in the cleaning services of lowly Isabelle Browne? Her suspicions were confirmed when she discovered his real reason for hiring her. And suddenly, she was agreeing to a preposterous proposition….
Cristo would protect his family at any cost—and keeping Isabelle close was key to his plan. Having her pose as his make-believe mistress was step one. But he hadn't counted on wanting to make the pretense a reality.

I have a review of Magnate’s Make-Believe Mistress by Bronwyn Jameson up at The Good, The Bad and The Unread

I don’t believe I’ve read many (if any) book by Bronwyn Jameson before. The name sounds familiar, but I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve heard it from others (most likely Wendy) or from my own experience. Either way, I’ll be looking for more in the future.

I wasn’t sure about Isabelle when the story first opened, but I was won over as we learned more about her. She seemed kind of wishy-washy at first, but it wasn’t long before we were given more insight into her character. I like that she was a family-oriented person and wasn’t willing to compromise herself or her morals for anyone. That really showed strength.

This book is available from Silhouette Desire. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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