Tag: Contemporary

Review: Key of Valor by Nora Roberts.

Posted May 14, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments


Rowena’s review of Key of Valor (Key Trilogy #3) by Nora Roberts.

From Publishers Weekly:

This book concludes Roberts’s Key Trilogy, in which mortal women quest to unlock the spellbound souls of ancient demigoddesses. The third and last woman to make the attempt is hairstylist Zoe McCourt. Like her friends Malory and Dana-heroines of the previous installments (Key of Light, Key of Knowledge)-Zoe has a single month and a cryptic set of clues with which to find her key. The angry sorcerer Kane fights her efforts as friends both mortal and immortal lend their support. As she searches, Zoe is courted by Bradley Vane IV, the sexy heir to a home improvement empire. She’s not sure which is more difficult: accepting that she’s magically linked with Brad or trying to quell her suspicions long enough to accept his love in the here and now. When she finds the courage to do both, the souls of all three goddesses are finally released. Smart but struggling single mom Zoe is an appealing heroine whose working-class grit finds a perfect foil in Brad’s patrician confidence. Scenes involving her feisty son, Simon, temper the story’s mysticism with humor, and the joining together of the trio as a family is genuinely moving. When it comes to combining sweetness, sexiness and the supernatural, Roberts proves once again that she is the most powerful spellbinder of all. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

I think this one is my favorite of all the Key books.

I really think so.

I fell right in love with Brad and was frustrated right along with him where Zoe was concerned. I fell in love with Simon right alongside Brad and before the story began, I was already in love with Brad.

He’s just one of those heroes that you want for your very own. He’s one of those heroes that you want to fight your demons and hold you close at night. The kind that will make quick work of anyone that would try to hurt you. He’s the kind of hero that is quiet and intense and just all around the bomb.

I loved his wealth of love that he had for both Zoe and Simon. Almost right from the very beginning, he had that thing for Zoe. And I loved how he explained his feelings to her. He knew that she was unsure of if he loved her face from the painting or if he truly did love her. And the way he explained it all to her was just oh so sweet and made my insides tingle with delight. I loved the way he was with Simon and I loved the way Simon loved him as a friend and then as a Dad.

The only thing that would have made this book even better for me was if NR would have brought James back into the picture so that Zoe could have told him what a weenie he was for not standing by her when he got her pregnant. I wanted James to see what he missed out on and how great a son Simon was and the woman that Zoe grew up to be without his help. I wanted him to see it and regret that he never stood by her. I wanted him to see her happy with Brad and I wanted Brad to be smug about it all…but well, that’s just what I wanted to see but I was content with what NR wrote in for us to read.

Zoe and her hesitation sort of got on my nerves but not enough for it to ruin the book for me. I really enjoyed this series and I really enjoyed reading this book in particular. I loved seeing Zoe come into her own and see the goodness that other people see in herself and I loved how she was finally able to accept Brad and his love. It got annoying how many times Brad had to jump through hurdles to please her but she always put Simon first and I couldn’t be mad about any of that since she was only trying to protect what was hers.

So all in all, this series was a sure winner for me and this book was a pleasant ending to another fantastic series done by NR.

Great, great books!

Grade: 5 out of 5

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

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Review: Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale

Posted May 14, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 10 Comments


Isabel’s review of Shadowheart (Medieval Hearts #2) by Laura Kinsale.

Allegreto, the charismatic young assassin from For My Lady’s Heart, takes center stage in this much-anticipated follow-up by New York Times-bestselling author Laura Kinsale. Known for her compelling, complicated characters, thrilling love stories, and rich historical background, Kinsale outdoes herself in Shadowheart. The dangerous and dashing Allegreto wants nothing more than to regain his rightful place in the rich Italian principality of Monteverde. Happily, the means to do so have just emerged — in the form of the young Lady Elena (also known as Elayne), newly discovered to be the long-lost Monteverde princess and sole heir to the kingdom. Though she is promised to his rival, Allegreto seizes her ship, takes Elena prisoner, and weds her, thus beginning their battle of wits and passion. While Elena is a naïve young woman when the book begins, by journey’s end she becomes Allegreto’s equal and, sometimes, master, reuniting the kingdom in the process.

I tried people. I really tried to finish Shadowheart but I can’t.

It started off really slow. I was on chapter 3 and I was ready to close to the book but I didn’t. It started to pick up once the hero of the book made his entrance but it wasn’t really enough to keep me interested in it. It was just really dry and slow going.

Elena finds out she’s a princess. Her guardian ships her back home to marry some guy. On the way, her ship is taken by pirates. Enter the hero. Turns out he smuggled her out of her homeland in the first place. She has faint memories of him and because she dreamed about him, she thought he was her guardian angel.

She tells Allegreto she does not want to marry the guy who is waiting for her, that she’ll do anything to not marry him. She wakes up with an awful headache and spots of blood on her sheets. A maid tells Elena she is now married and it was consummated. Elena is furious but tells everyone that yes, she wanted the marriage. It’s that or become soiled goods. Turns out the marriage wasn’t consummated. He made it seem like it was. Ok…

But the first time they do have sex, is not pretty. He doesn’t exactly force her but she fights him. She bites him and struggles. He doesn’t do anything to really soothe her or make it nice. It’s like it turned him on even more. And what I mean when I say he didn’t force her, he started off by kissing her and she realizes she likes it, that she is wanton. That’s when she struggles.

So I don’t know. I wanted to give this book another week to read but I’m just kind of tired of forcing myself to read it. Ames and someone else said the book is really good so I’ll try again later to read it. So for now, it’s upgradeable.

Grade: DNF

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can purchase it here.

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Review: Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts.

Posted May 13, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments


Rowena’s review of Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts.

From Publishers Weekly:

Following hot on the heels of the first installment in Roberts’s Key trilogy, this second book (following Key of Light) continues the story of three contemporary female friends chosen to free the souls of ancient demigoddesses called the Daughters of Glass. This time, the heroine is Dana Steele, a librarian who is sure that the key she’s seeking lies in a book. As she begins her search, Dana renovates Indulgence, the gallery-cum-salon-cum-bookstore she is opening with her friends Malory Price and Zoe McCourt. She also spends sometimes passionate, sometimes vexing time with Jordan Hawke, the thriller writer who broke her heart years earlier when he abandoned her and their small Pennsylvania town of Pleasant Valley to seek fame in New York. Dana slowly realizes that the love they once felt for each other has not died-and that Jordan’s writing is inextricably entwined with her supernatural quest. In the end, Jordan must join with Dana to fight the spells of the sorcerer Kane and fulfill the terms of her quest. Despite lots of special effects, Kane isn’t powerful enough to create much suspense, and Dana is a surprisingly inefficient detective for one so bright. But Roberts’s zesty characterizations and fresh, energetic style succeed in drawing readers into this far-fetched tale. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Book Two in this trilogy follows Dana Steele through her journey of finding the key of knowledge that will free the second daught of the glass. It follows her while she finds her destiny and deals with her past, her present and prepares for her future.

Dana is straight up and takes no bullshit from anyone. Most especially her exboyfriend, Jordan Hawke. The man who walked away from her and what they shared in the two years that they were together with no backward glance.

His up and leaving left her very bitter with him and men in general. She doesn’t trust him farther than she can throw him which isn’t at all. And with him back home and mixed up in this key business right along with her makes her madder than all get out. She hates that he’s back and in her life again because the last time he was in her in life and in her heart, he crushed it. She doesn’t trust herself to keep things light and friendly with him and she gets all pissed off when she finds out that in order for her to find the key that she needs to find, she needs to make things right with Jordan because Jordan is part of her quest in finding the key.

Dana needs Jordan in order to find her key and she needs to get to the bottom of why he left and see things from his perspective in order for her heart to survive another encounter with Jordan Hawke, who is the only man that she has ever loved.

This book was the bomb.

I’m serious, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about this story, I loved Dana’s hardheadedness where Jordan was concerned and I understood it. It did get on my nerves a bit but more over, I just plain understood why she was with the way she was with him but she wasn’t playing stupid over why she was acting unreasonable where he was concerned. She didn’t deny that she was still in love with him which made her the way she was around him, all surly and bullheaded.

I loved Jordan and all of his issues, his sense of humor and just everything about him. Jordan was a fantastic hero and I hella enjoyed reading about him trying to make things right with Dana. I loved reading his reasons for leaving and I loved reading how he wooed Dana back into his corner, I loved that he didn’t try to breeze right over what he did to her before but really wanted her to understand and forgive him for what happened between them before.

I loved his writing, I loved his role in all of this, I just plain loved Jordan Hawke. He was my most favorite thing about this book, maybe this series. He was my favorite hero in Key of Light and I really enjoyed him in this story but I have a feeling that Brad is going to be my favorite hero in this series…there’ s just something about Brad that I’m looking forward to reading in his book.

I loved how Dana and Jordan fought to overcome the evil bastard in this series, I loved how they fought together and their love was what got them through, corny as all get out but I was diggin’ it.

This book was another definite winner from Nora Roberts, although I’m having a hard time believing that Nora Roberts will write something that I don’t like. I just like her writing style, it’s the bomb diggity for me! She knows just how to rock her stories to get the most out of them and make me love the characters, the storylines and just everything about them!

One thing I didn’t really care about in this story was Jordan’s nickname for Dana, which was Stretch. That’s no fault of the author though since it only reminds me of a harsh nickname that a woman that I know was called when she was younger. They called her Stretch for an entirely different reason that Jordan called Dana that and so everytime Jordan called her Stretch, I cringed because I kept thinking about poor Amy.

But aside from that, the book was fantastic!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

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

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Review: Rock Star by Roslyn Hardy Holcomb.

Posted May 11, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments


Rowena’s review of Rock Star by Roslyn Hardy Holcomb.

How does a hedonistic, hellbound L.A. sophisticate like bad boy rock star Bryan Spencer woo young, gifted and black sweet home Alabama belle Callie Lawson? What type of magical voodoo draws him to her magnolia-scented bosom. Bryan, a guitar god extraordinaire, is compelled to a small town when he is devastated by the loss of his best friend and band mate. The peaceful tranquility, not to mention unaccustomed celibacy, is slowly driving him mad until he meets Callie Lawson.

Far from the cloying adulation he is accustomed to, Callie is totally focused on her own career goals and is reluctant to have anything to do with a ‘long-haired rocker from California. Bryan overcomes her misgivings with an old-fashioned courtship that belies his L.A. rocker origins. He introduces this Sunday School girl to some truly high-powered sex and decadence. The question is which one wins: Southern Sunday School or L.A. sin? Just when they’re certain everlasting love is firmly in their grasp; they are rent asunder by treachery and betrayal of the most staggering kind. In the end, they must defy stereotypes and false perceptions to embrace their own sweet Alabama love.

I won this book over at Is That a Stake In Your Pocket? and would like to thank Devon for being so kind as to send it to me, THANKS DEVON!!! =)

Now on to my review…

I really wanted to like this book, I read all sorts of great reviews on this book and had such high hopes but I don’t know what went wrong because I just couldn’t get excited about the story, the characters and the storyline. The plot was just too sugary for me.

It started out really slow for me. I mean, I liked Callie right from the very beginning but I wasn’t as wowed with Bryan as I usually am with heroes of any book. I kept hoping that the book would get better and though it did get better, I still wasn’t wowed over it.

I couldn’t get passed the one dimensional characters, neither Callie or Bryan spoke to me, I couldn’t really relate to them. I didn’t feel that connection with their characters that I do when I’m reading a book that I really love.

There wasn’t really anything wrong with the book though, it was a pleasant enough book but it just didn’t grab me the way other books do. I can’t really bad mouth the book or say that it really sucked because it didn’t. It just wasn’t my thing I guess.

Although, there were a lot of times where I wanted to punch Callie in her nose for just all the crap she put Bryan through. Yeah, I get that she was embarrassed after what happened and I even get that she needed a bit of space to evaluate just how important her relationship to Bryan was but after she was over all of that, after she knew that the people around her supported her and didn’t think any of what happened was true, when she saw Bryan’s declaration of love for her and everything he did to try to fix things with her, she knew she still loved him and still she played dumb with him…the whole she’s black and he’s white thing got on my nerves a bit but that’s not the author’s fault because that gets on my nerves in real life too, it’s real and it happens so it’s right.

But by the end of the book, after Bryan is back and is trying to make things right with her and she’s still holding him at arms length, even though she loves him with all that she is, it just sort of rode my nerves and I ended up liking Bryan a whole lot more than I liked Callie and overall I thought the book was just, good. It was a good story but it just wasn’t my thing.

Sorry Devon, I really wanted to like this book but it fell short of that for me. I’m not giving up on Roslyn Hardy Combs though, you readers should try the book out, you might like it. Lots of other people did.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Genesis Press. You can purchase it here.

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Weekly Reread: Seaswept by Nora Roberts.

Posted May 10, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments


Rowena’s review of Sea Swept (Chesapeake Bay Saga #1) by Nora Roberts.

From Publishers Weekly:Roberts’s Dream trilogy involved three women living in a palatial Big Sur mansion. This, the first volume of the Quinn Brothers trilogy, revolves around a trio of strapping, lusty guys in a comfortable home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Cameron Quinn, the eldest of three abused boys adopted by Ray and Stella Quinn is an adventurer who likes fast boats, fast cars and undemanding women. After Ray is injured in a car accident, Cam flies to his father’s deathbed where he promises to look after 10-year-old Seth, for whom Ray has just started adoption proceedings. Anna Spinelli, Seth’s social worker, is taken with both Cam’s incomparable body and his big heart. Anna brings her own history of abuse to steamy encounters and the reader knows that Cam’s pedal-to-the-metal days are numbered. Roberts is one of the great propagandists for family values, home, hearth and children, making them goals that are rewarding and desirable.

Hands down, this book is my favorite Nora Roberts book.

I saw this book sitting on my dresser and thought, wow it’s been a long time since I read this book. I remember taking it out because I was supposed to read it a couple of months ago for a discussion on a board that I post at but I never got around to reading it again.

Well I fixed that this past weekend (long after the book discussion is done, mind you, LOL). Being wrapped up in the Quinn’s world again was such a great walk down memory lane. Throughout this series, I love how Nora Roberts was able to capture each story and tell it in the personality of the main characters in it. Like Cam Quinn is an action loving man who lives his life in the fast lane, a man who races through life with all the speed and agility that racers tend to have. His story was told in that fast paced, action packed way that had me engrossed right from the very beginning.

Not only are the characters rich and charming in this series but the sense of family is strong and that is one thing that I’m such a sucker for.

I love stories, series that revolve around families and this series is most definitely one of my favorites from any author.

The way that the Quinn brothers came together and were formed into the family that we read about in this series warmed my heart and made me giddy to read each and every one of their stories.

In this book, we’re gifted with the eldest Quinn brother, Cam’s story. He was the first boy to be adopted by Ray and Stella Quinn and together, Ray and Stella changed Cam’s life for the better. They gave him a life and a future to look forward to. They gave him a sense of worth and a sense of purpose and Cam grew to be a man who appreciated them and their love.

So when disaster strikes and the man that Cam has known as Dad dies, he rushes home to the family that is left.

His brothers.

Plus one.

Rumors are flying all over the place about his Father’s faithfulness to his Mother and together, as a family, the Quinn brothers need to sift through what happened to their Father and find out just who this little boy that Ray Quinn left behind is and they have to deal with keeping their promise to their Dad about sticking together and keeping the boy with them, no matter what they’ve got going on in their personal lives and no matter what misgivings they have.

The stories that unfold from this book are so great that this is a book that I revist at least once a year just because I love the stories and these characters.

Cam Quinn is my favorite Quinn. He’s tall, dark and handsome, he’s brash and flashy and just everything a celebrity would be and it’s great to see him come to grips with his father’s death and the rumors surrounding his death and it’s absolutely wonderful to see him try to keep his family together, no matter what he has to do. He’s the funniest housewife EVER and one of the bestest brothers ever too. I loved the way he fell for Anna Spinelli and I loved his confidence and arrogance and really, I just loved him. He made this book so much more fun and memorable.

A great hero.

Anna Spinelli was fantastic herself. She was fun, sexy and smart. She had a way with people that made me smile and she was witty and vibrant, everything that Cam needed. She complimented him well and she fit right in with the other Quinns. I loved how she took to Seth and cuddled him close and did everything in her power to keep him where he belonged.

The journey and the adventures these guys go through to find themselves, to find love and to stay together was a great treat for me and continues to be, long after I’ve finished reading this book for the first time.

If y’all haven’t read this series, I totally recommend that you fix that pronto because you won’t be disappointed, these guys are great!

Grade: 5 out of 5

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

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