Tag: 3.75 Reviews

Dawn’s Awakening by Lora Leigh

Posted February 19, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments


Book description:

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’sfar 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 new found love, along with their lives…

I’ve been a long time reader of Lora Leigh. From when the Breed series started at Elloras Cave and LL’s writing was reminiscent of a train wreck, I’ve read her. She has gotten so much better, all the way around. So in addition to saying I’m a long time reader of Lora Leigh, I’m also a long time fan.

We first met Dawn Daniels way back when Callan and Merinus first mated. On the Breed timeline, it’s been over 10 years. Dawn is an extremely tortured heroine. As the “runt”, the evil Genetics Council soldiers enjoyed torturing Dawn more than usual. When she was rescued, the torture continued albeit different than it was when she was in captivity. She knew when she met Seth Lawrence that he was destined to be her mate.

Ten years later, Dawn has done an admirable job of suppressing the urge to mate with Seth. When she learns that a hit has been put out on his life, she responds as any Cougar whose mate is threatened would. It’s only when Seth comes to Sanctuary that Dawn realizes that while Seth might be her mate, she is no longer Seth’s mate. After 10 years of knowing that Seth is the only one for her, she learns that Seth has somehow rid himself of the mating heat. Furious, Dawn decides that she won’t accept it. If she has to go through the mating heat, he will too.

And that, my dear readers, is more or less how the book continues.

Though I really admired Dawn in the previous Breed books, I found myself hard pressed to even like her in this one. I’d say 90% of any dialogue exchanged between her and Seth was either “growled”, “snarled”, or “bit out”. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understood her bitterness as well as her fear. I completely understood the attraction to Seth. What I didn’t understand was what Seth’s attraction to Dawn was. She was a total bitch. While I understand the why of it, even accepted it to a point, Dawn didn’t seem to realize what Seth sacraficed by staying away from her. Yeah, it might have been better had he not stayed away. Still. This is a guy that has stayed away because he thinks it’s the best thing he can do for the woman he loves. He has tried to move on because he knows that she’ll never be able to let him give her what she needs. He never made it about himself, it was always about what was best for Dawn. Then when she thinks he’s found happiness with someone besides her, she decides she’s waited long enough.

As for Seth, he was a likeable hero. I’m always curious to see how LL will pull off a human hero. Mating with a Breed, he’d have to be an extremely strong willed man. I think she does such a great job of creating alpha heroes that are human. You could stand Seth or Lance (Harmony’s Way) right next to any Breed male and they would not be found lacking.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I think that’s because of the secondary stories that were happening, though. If it was all Dawn and Seth all the time, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. I’m especially curious to see where Lora Leigh is going to take Cassie. I just hope that her story doesn’t get dragged out for-evah.

3.75 out of 5

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Review: Compromisng Positions by Dara Edmondson

Posted January 11, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Compromisng Positions by Dara EdmondsonReviewer: Holly
Compromising Positions by Dara Edmondson
Published by Triskelion Publishing, The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: February 1st 2007
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three-half-stars

Meet Crystal, Patsy and Maureen - three friends in their forties trying to run the obstacle course of mid-life.

Crystal thinks she has the perfect marriage until she starts fantasizing about a handsome coworker. But when she suspects her husband is having more than fantasies about another woman, she digs in her heels and fights for what's hers.

Patsy discovers her Neanderthal husband Bud having sex with his bowling buddy and wearing women's underwear. When Bud tries to take more than his fair share in the divorce, Patsy sets out to humiliate him into submission.

Maureen has enough trouble trying to survive life with her rebellious tennaged daughter Rhianna. When she starts dating the teacher Rhianna has a secret crush on, the fur flies.

This review was originally posted at Sanctuary’s Finest, our old book blog. Since today is the digital release date, I decided to unearth it and re-post it here. I didn’t do a full re-read, but skimmed through my copy, and felt pretty much exactly the same way about it after just shy of a year since it’s original release. Oh, and I really like the new cover!

I truly enjoyed watching these three women struggle and grow through everyday life. The characters were believable and winning, and had me rooting for them right from the beginning. When I first started reading, I was dismayed to realize the women were all in their 40’s. Not that I have anything against older woman in romance novels, but it’s not my preferred reading choice. Before long, however, I was wrapped up in the story and anxious to see how it ended.

Compromising Positions is engaging and heartwarming. I found myself emotionally invested in Crystal’s marriage, Patsy’s fight for her self-confidence and Maureen’s struggle to connect with her daughter. To be honest, I was sorry it ended. I wanted just a bit more from each story, just a bit longer with each character. That doesn’t happen often to me these days, so it’s something for DE to be proud of.

There was quite a bit of humor wrapped up in the story as well. I found myself laughing out loud more than once. And though I realize it was devastating for Patsy, the image I had in my head of her husband in a peach teddy with his best friend in front of him will have me snickering for a week. Not that it was funny at the time, but looking back on it….you get what I mean.

Though the story itself turned out to be good, and I found myself enjoying it, there were times when I was pulled out of it, because something seemed off. I’m not sure if it was the writing style, or the pacing itself, but I had a hard time focusing on it, especially in the beginning.

There were a few other things that bothered me, but they’re of a more personal nature. For example, the characters had a habit of saying, “Alright? Okay.” Who does that? No one says, “Alright? Okay.” Without waiting for a response from the other party. Unless their confirming something, which wasn’t the case. And Maureen’s nickname was Mo, something else I didn’t like. But again, these are personal issues and not a reflection of the story. Just my personal pet peeves.

Overall, I enjoyed the characters and storyline very much. I’ll definitely be looking for more work from DE in the future.

3.75 out of 5 (mostly for the pacing)

You can buy it here in eBook format for the Kindle.

three-half-stars

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Review: Sweet Return by Anna Jeffrey

Posted November 16, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Sweet Return by Anna JeffreyReviewer: Holly
Sweet Return by Anna Jeffrey
Series: The West Texas Books #3
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Signet Eclipse, Self-Published
Publication Date: December 27th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 222
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three-half-stars

When renowned war correspondent and photojournalist Dalton Parker is dragged back to his hometown to face his past and handle a family crisis, the last thing he expects is to see a prime pasture of his family's Lazy P ranch taken over by hundreds of stinking chickens. There's an explanation for this and its name is Joanna Walsh, his mother's best friend.

While Joanna is a good-looking woman who's no dummy, she's the most uncompromising and infuriating woman Dalton has ever met. Still, he can't keep from admiring her caring nature and common sense. The dumbest thing he could do is try to lure her into his bed, but he's never been smart when it comes to women.

Joanna Walsh is known for trying to fix other people's problems. Believing the oldest Parker son could and should help his mother, Joanna is the one who called him to come back to town. And that turned out to be the biggest mistake she's ever made.

Once the rugged, self-assured Dalton sees her hens and her free-range egg operation, he's determined they have to go. Yet, through their daily conflicts, Joanna starts to see that while he's seen and photographed the worst of humanity and grown a hard shell, deep down he's a softie hiding a damaged heart. At the same time she dreads his abrasiveness, she can't keep from being drawn to him in a way she's never been before. Can she fix him, too?

I love the South. I don’t know why, but there’s just something so…Southern about it. The lazy Southern drawls, the laid back Southern life, the sexy Southern men. drool But even more than I love the South, I love Texas. Really. I love Texas more than cops love donuts. Yep, that much. Well, ok..let me clarify…I love romance novels set in Texas. I honestly can’t say why this is. I’ve never lived in Texas, so I can’t say I have some loyalty to it. I don’t like their football team, so I can’t claim that as a reason.  It’s just one of my quirks, loving Texas.

So when I was contacted by Ms. Jeffery and asked if I’d like an ARC of this, I immediately – upon learning it was set in Texas – said, “Yes!”. I can’t say I regret it, either.

Joanna is one busy woman. After leaving for college, her dream was to return to Hatlow, Texas, her hometown. Unlike most other people, Joanna loves the small town and all it’s residents. But to make a living in Hatlow, Joanna’s had to run several businesses at once. She owns and operates a Beauty Shop and Janitorial Supply store and also has an egg business. Yes, Joanna is in the business of chickens. Her good friend, and Dalton’s mother, kind of talked her into it, and she works hard to run both of her businesses.

When Dalton’s brother is involved in a car accident, Joanna calls him and asks him to come back home to help his mother. Dalton isn’t interested at all, but finally agrees because Joanna guilts him into it. He comes home and he and Joanna are immediately attracted to one another, but he hates her chickens and she thinks he’s a bad son with no morals…plus, do to a miscommunication, she thinks he has a woman waiting for him back home (in California).

I really enjoyed this story, despite the few misunderstandings. Right up until the end. Joanna was a good character, well developed with a strong work ethic and a good personality. She has a habit of “meddling” into other people’s lives, because she wants to fix things for them – or help them – whenever she possibly can. Although this can be an annoying trait, Ms. Jeffrey pulled it off brilliantly. Though Joanna “meddled” she wasn’t annoying or overbearing..she simply just wanted to help.

Dalton was also a well fleshed out character, though I wonder at his pigheadedness. He had very firm ideas about how things should be and that grated on my nerve a bit. For example: He hates that Joanna has chickens on his mother’s farm. So he constantly makes rude – and derogatory – remarks to Joanna about it. Plus, he thinks Joanna somehow swindled his mother and talked her into letting her have the land the chickens are on, even though both Joanna and her mother explained otherwise. He even helps Joanna care for them on more than one occasion, but still persists in calling them stupid animals and degrading Joanna for having them. There was just something inconsistent about his behavior.

That’s not to say I didn’t like him, or the part he played in this novel. I did, quite a bit. But something just seemed…off about his actions. Or perhaps I just read too much into them.

Watching him and Joanna circle around their attraction to each other – and eventual feelings – was at equal parts hilarious, frustrating and sweet. I feel they should have been more open and honest with each other from the beginning, but I think I understand why they weren’t, considering they didn’t get off on the best foot.

The secondary characters enriched the story rather from detracting from it and I felt they gave the story an extra kick just when it might have become boring or bogged down. There were a few things I felt were left unresolved, such as Joanna’s relationship with her mother, but it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t enjoy the story.

I guess my big issue with the book comes at the end. I think it was rather abrupt and not as well done as the story deserved. Towards the end middle of the last chapter absolutely nothing had been resolved between Joanna and Dalton, and had in fact gotten worse for them. As you can imagine, I found that more than frustrating. I like my HEA’s all tied up in a nice neat, tidy little bow and although the ending was Happy, it wasn’t tidy or tied up with a bow.

I don’t want to spoil it for any of you, but I will tell you the conflict isn’t resolved until the very last second and it was done well, if not quite to my satisfaction (again with needing it tied up in a bow).

Despite the ending, I truly enjoyed this book. It’s very character driven and something I’d say made me feel good, which is a powerful thing for a novel to do. For a contemporary romance, without a suspense plot to be found, it’s something I’d recommend.

3.75 out of 5

This book is available December 4, 2007 from Signet. Pre-order it here. Read an excerpt here.

three-half-stars

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I’m at TGTBTU Again Today…

Posted November 15, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

I’m at TGTBTU Again Today…Creation in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #25
Also in this series: Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 6th 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, General
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

The 25th In Death novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author

Eve has seen this crime scene before: the artfully arranged body of a young brunette, arms spread, palms up, body marked by the signs of prolonged and painful torture. Carved into her torso is the time it took her to die - in hours, minutes, and seconds. And on the third finger of her left hand has been placed a silver ring.

Eve is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier, when a man whom the media tagged “The Groom” put the city on edge with a killing spree that took the lives of four women in fifteen days. Eve and her partner Feeney, her friend and mentor, couldn’t stop him before he disappeared, only to resurface in other parts of the world to kill and kill again. But now The Groom seems to have come back to where he started.

When it turns out that The Groom’s most recent victim was employed by Eve’s billionaire husband, Roarke, she brings him onto the case. A move that proves fitting when it becomes chillingly clear that the killer has made it personal. The corpse was washed in products from a store Roarke owns and laid out on a sheet his company manufactures. With the Groom’s monstrous return, Eve is determined to finish him once and for all. Familiar with his methods, she knows that he has already grabbed his next victim.

But his sights are set on the biggest challenge of his illustrious career - an abduction that will test his skills and that promises to give him satisfaction as he’s never known. Time is running out on another woman’s life…and for Eve.


I promised two reviews a month, and my second review for November was just posted at The Good, The Bad and The Unread.

Check it out…

It’s not unusual for Eve to be an intended victim in these novels, but this is a different kind of case, a different kind of killer, and a different type of situation. Since the killer is someone Eve and Feeney tried – and failed – to capture nine years ago, this makes for an interesting storyline. The problem? There was a lot of stress on Eve and Feeney’s relationship, but I don’t feel as if it was fully explored, or fully resolved…

….read the rest at The Good, The Bad and The Unread

three-half-stars

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Review: Letters from Pemberley: The First Year by Jane Dawkins

Posted August 1, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Letters from Pemberley: The First Year by Jane DawkinsReviewer: Holly
Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins
Published by Sourcebooks
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Fiction, Historical, General, Literary
Pages: 224
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three-half-stars

In this continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, one of the best-loved novels in the English language, Elizabeth Bennet finds herself in a very different league of wealth and privilege, now as Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy and mistress of Pemberley.

Writing to her sister, Jane, she confides her uncertainty and anxieties, and describes the everyday of her new life. Her first year at Pemberley is sometimes bewildering, but Lizzy's spirited sense of humor and satirical eye never desert her.

Incorporating Jane Austen's own words and characters from her other works, the book is a literary patchwork quilt piecing together the story of Lizzy's first eventful year as Mrs. Darcy.

I love Jane Austen in general and Pride and Prejudice in particular, so when I realized this was a continuation of Lizzy and Mr. Darcy’s lives together, I jumped on the chance to read it.

Letters from Pemberley follows Elizabeth Darcy’s first year at Pemberley after her marriage to Mr. Darcy in the form of 25 letters sent to her sister Jane. Elizabeth describes daily life at Pemberley, and the goings on in and around the surrounding area.

While I enjoyed spending time with one of my favorite characters again, I was somewhat disappointed with Ms. Dawkins’ characterization of Elizabeth. Although it’s been some time since I read the original P/P, I’m surprised at how different Lizzy seemed. Somewhat subdued and doubting her own self-confidence.

I don’t feel like I gained any additional knowledge of Mr. Darcy’s character, either. He was mentioned, obviously, but mostly in abstract terms. I think if Ms. Dawkins had included return letters from Jane and/or perhaps Lydia, this may have been a more rounded sequel.

That’s not to say, however, that I didn’t enjoy it. Ms. Dawkins very cleverly introduced us to characters from other Austen novels, disguised by name change only. I think her writing, although not Austen herself – as no one could be – came as close to an Austen work as possible. I was entertained and very glad to catch a glimpse of life at Pemberley.

Naturally true fans of Austen are going to be disappointed somewhat – I feel that’s inevitable when the novel in question is written by anyone but the original author – but I would still recommend this as a way to once again visit the characters we so came to love in Pride and Prejudice.

Overall it was a quick, light read, entertaining and enjoyable, if not quite Austen herself.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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