Tag: Guest Reviews

Review: The Villa by Nora Roberts

Posted March 12, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Villa by Nora RobertsReviewer: Lexi
The Villa by Nora Roberts
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 19th 2001
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 496
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sophia Giambelli has never had to worry about competition. For three generation, the Giambelli wines have been renowned for their quality- from Napa Valley to Italy, and throughout the world. The pride of the Giambelli family, and a top PR executive, Sophia loves her job- and excels at it.

But things are about to change at Villa Giambelli. Tereza, the matriarch, has decreed that a merger will take place with the MacMillan family's winery- and Sophia will be taking a new role. As a savvy business-woman, she knows she has to be prepared for anything...but she isn't prepared for Tyler MacMillian.

They've been ordered to work together very closely, to make the merger as smooth as possible. Sophia must teach Ty the finer points of marketing and promotion- and Ty, in turn, shows her how to get down and dirty, to use the sun, rain, and earth to coax the sweetest grapes from the vineyard. But as they toil together, both in and out of the fields, Sophia is torn between a powerful attraction and a professional rivalry. At the end of the season, the course of the company's future- and the legacy of the Villa- may take an entirely new direction. And when acts of sabotage threaten both the family business and the family itself, Sophia's quest will be not only for dominance, but survival....

Hey everyone, Rowena here posting a review that a friend of mine, Miss Lexi was kind enough to write for us to test out her reviewing skills. She’s about to open up her own book blog and wanted to see how she’d do writing reviews for all the books that she reads. She reads plenty of books and now she’ll be writing about those books on a blog coming soon to a blogosphere near you.

Take it away Lex…


Hello, my name is Lexi and I’m here to write my thoughts out on a book that my good friend, Wena was kind enough to give to me to read and enjoy.

Totally enjoyed this one.

I haven’t read very man Nora Roberts books because I’m more of a chick lit kind of girl but my girl told me that this was a good one so I picked it up and read and read and read until I got to the end and could take that deep breath that let me know that I was going to be okay even though I just finished a book that I frickin’ love with all of my heart.

This book was sooooo good. I fell in love with that hunka hunka burnin’ Ty love and I thought that Sophie was a great female lead. With everything going on, I thought that it would take up too much of the story but I didn’t think it did at all. I enjoyed Nora Roberts writing before and I continue to bow down to her greatness with this book. It had everything one could ask for in a romance novel. It had lots of angst, intrigue and a steamy love affair between two very compatible characters. I enjoyed this book a whole lot and I know everyone else will too.

Thanks Ween, I loved this book!


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Secret Fantasy by Cheryl Holt

Posted March 10, 2008 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Melissa’s guest review of Secret Fantasy by Cheryl Holt

Orphaned at a young age and sent to live with selfish relatives, Margaret Gray has no dowry and no chance of ever marring. When her aunt invites Jordan Prescott, Viscount Romney, for a visit, hoping to entice him into offering for margaret’s spoiled cousin, the dashing war hero instead tempts Margaret into truly decadent decision. If Margaret cannot have a husband, perhaps she dares, just once, to tast the pleasures of the flesh?

Since his dissolute father squandered the family fortune, Jordan is required to marry an heiress in order to provide for his half-siblings. Yet no woman has ever aroused him as much as Margret. Her sedate exterior belies a bold spirit and tantalizing sexuality. A single illicit tryst becomes a month-long journey in carnal abandon, but with Jordan’s visit drawing to a close, can their passion survive the dangerous scheming that threatens to keep them apart?

Here we go….

This book is about Margaret, orphaned young, living with her Aunt and Cousin. Aunt Lavinia is arranging the match between the Viscount and her daughter Penelope, to get her daughter out of the house asap. Penelope can’t stand the Viscount. But Jordan desperately needs the money so he rolls with the punches, but falls for Margaret in the process. Margaret is broke, so he can’t wed her. Jordan feels he has to do his duty to protect his 1/2 siblings, and estates. Jordan’s father, the Earl comes to visit, with his mistress in tow. The Earl decides that he wants the virginal bride, and dowry, for himself. But not before sampling the Mother. Jordan has to snag Penelope before his father does, but at what cost?

This book definitely has a lot of sneaking around and secret trysts. The plot is pretty easy to follow, and there is enough suspense to keep you going. I found it amusing that Mother and daughter were fighting over the same man. Especially because he is a dog.

The thing is, I know this is not the first book I’ve read by Cheryl Holt with a snotty Penelope in it. Nor is it the first book I’ve read by her where father and son go for the same girl. The only other thing I really didn’t like is how it was all kept in the family. Just the idea of hooking up with a man old enough to be you grandfather is sick, but to know that your mother, the blow job queen, was with him….eeeewwww

I did enjoy it, however.

Grade: 3.5

You can buy it here or here.

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August Series by Lora Leigh

Posted February 19, 2008 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 8 Comments

I finally finished the three August Brothers books (I think there’s a fourth one but I’m not dying to read it) by Lora Leigh. In case you’re not familiar with the titles, here they are in sequential order: Marly’s Choice; Sarah’s Seduction; Heather’s Gift.

I know these are super old books, and I’m sure there are a ton of reviews already out there, but I was never brave enough to give these books a try until recently. Honestly, I’m very disappointed. I usually love LL’s cookbooks (that’s my code for ‘erotic books’) but these were just recipes of disaster.

The first one wasn’t so bad actually. Marly grew up under the protection of the August brothers (Cade, Brock and Sam); she loves all of them, but her heart belongs to Cade (LL hammers that thought your head throughout the series). Cade knows he shouldn’t be lusting after Marly, but finally gives in, after her life is threatened by a stalker. I guess he figured the only way to protect Marly was to make her ‘his woman’ so that of course means he finally gives into his lust for her. At the end of this book Cade talks Marly into screwing not just him but his other two brothers as well. Like a nice cozy family gathering.

The rest of the series is similar, each brother finding his own ‘heart’ and then sharing her with his other brothers. Since the men were physically and sexually abused when they were younger, they felt the only way to repair their brother bonds is to share their woman. Twisted huh? I mean, come on… if you wanna share your lover with your brothers, be my guest. I already read that in Colters’ Woman. But at least in CW, there was no bizarre reason for it; those brothers were just downright dirty.

I think I would’ve enjoyed the series much more if LL didn’t try to keep justifying the men’s behavior. Then when Sarah came along, she was all weirded out by the sharing thing (ok good that sounds normal)… only to later accept it and have sex with Cade while Brock was screwing Marly. WTF! That was so creepy reading about Marly and Sarah staring at each other while they were both being screwed by the wrong brother. Ugh. Wrong wrong wrong. Even I have my limits. And let’s not forget the side story of the killer/stalker in each book. Talk about lame.

You know what else bothered me? Why were the men always in sweat pants? I don’t know why but there’s something about sweatpants that makes me cringe and think of the perviness in another level. There’s pervy.. then there’s creepy pervy. That right there, is creepy pervy. It’s like hearing about men going to a strip club with their buddies at night…. versus a guy going to a strip club in the middle of the day in his sweat pants, and eating lunch there. Disgusting!

Anyway, I’m done rambling. After reading this series I’ve fallen out of the whole cookbook phase….for now. *wink*

Guest blogger – Daphne

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Guest Review: Back To School Contest Winner

Posted October 4, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Giveaway Winners | 3 Comments

Last month, Melissa won our Back to School Contest. She picked the first two books in Colleen Gleason’s vampire series. As part of the contest, Melissa was assigned homework. We asked that she review the two books she chose.

Melissa, thank you for getting these to us in such a timely manner!

The Rest Falls Away (TRFA) and Rises the Night (RTN)
Books 1 and 2 of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles
by Colleen Gleason
Signet Eclipse

I am not one to read vampire books. Never have been. But then someone shoved Stephenie Meyer’s books in my hands and I’m hooked. I’m not hooked on vampire books, per se — I’m still not sure if I’ll read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or the Anne Rice novels — but rather, I’m hooked on vampire romances. Those, I like.

And as far as vampire romances go, Colleen Gleason has written a couple of good ones.

In my humble opinion, a vampire romance must have:

Many dark situations where Our Heroine gets into and out of trouble. Check. I liked Victoria. Especially in TRFA She is headstrong, impetuous, devoted, and not willing to take no for an answer. In short, not exactly your typical Victorian girl. I liked the training passages, I liked when she went hunting the vampires (more on that later). I was impatient with her by the end of RTN, when she just had to stick around and be the uber-heroine. I was a little put off that a man had to generally come to her aid… but she is a new Venator, and learning, and probably would have ended up dead on more than one occasion. In the end, I was more than satisfied by the ratio of Victoria saving herself to someone coming and helping her out of situations. Which brings me to…

Swarthy Leading Men who help said Heroines out of (and sometimes into) said trouble. Check. I loved the leading men in these books. Philip was okay, as far as leading men go… loyal, honest, true, devoted (shoot, he sounds like a scout), good in bed… (well, maybe not). He lack a certain chemistry, though. He was nice enough, and I could see what drew Victoria to him, but he wasn’t…. Sebastian Vioget. Ah, Sebastian. (There’s a literary crush for you.) He was the best part of both books. The chemistry between him and Victoria was more than palpable; you could cut the air with a knife whenever they were together. I liked that you never knew whose side he was on. It amplified his mysterious nature, made him more alluring… possibly because he was more dangerous. I have to admit there was a small part of me that hoped he would turn out to be a vampire. I wasn’t too far wrong, and so I was pretty much mollified that he was just a mere human.

Loyal sidekicks and/or mentors who add interest to the story. Check. We do have to discuss Max. I liked him, generally, in TRFA. Yeah, he was the seasoned Venator, generally very dismissive of Victoria, but I think for the most part it was understandable. I actually missed Max for most of RTN (is that supposed to be him on the cover? If so, he’s quite ripped.). I missed his sardonic comments, his appearing just at the right moment. (Yeah, I wanted something to develop between him and Victoria, too.) And when he did appear in RTN, he wasn’t quite what I wanted him to be. He did redeem himself in the end, but… I just hope he’s back in full force in the next one.

Lots of vampire slaying. Check. Let’s just say that I dug the vampire slaying. I found it very exciting — Gleason does know how to write a fight scene — and intense and thrilling. What does this say about me?

Humor. Check. I loved that the vampires go “poof!” when you stake them. I giggled every time. I loved the chapter titles. (My favorite: “Our Heroes Commence with Much Poofing and Slicing”) There were possibly too many chapter titles that began “In which…” in RTN, but overall, there was just enough information to tantalize you at the beginning of each chapter. And they were generally very witty. As was the text. (Though it descended into the maudlin at several points, especially, again, in RTN; I read some out loud to my husband who just stared before bursting out laughing. But, obviously, award-winning writing isn’t the point of a vampire romance, is it?) My absolute favorite line: “It would be interesting to converse with Dr. Polidori. She wondered if he’d ever met a vampire. Quite unlikely, for he wouldn’t be writing romantic novels about it if he had.”

Something different than the average vampire book. Possibly check. I’m not exactly sure about this one, since I’m not well-versed on vampire lore. I am coming to realize that Meyer’s idea of an actual romance with a vampire is a very unique one. I missed actual interaction with the vampires in these books (maybe I’m more of an Edward fan than I claim to be). I did like how Gleason brought religion into the Gardella books, though. I don’t know if that’s unusual, but I haven’t come across it in the four other vampire books I’ve read (see? limited.). I liked that Victoria looked on her vampire slayings as a religious duty, a calling to rid the world of evil. I liked that the vampires were descended from Judas the Betrayer. I liked the religious overtones, the references to Biblical events. No, it didn’t add anything to the romance, but I thought it made the role of Venator more compelling. I also mostly liked the Victorian setting. I liked the challenges that Victoria had to deal with in being both a Victorian lady and a Venator: dealing with the skirts, the hairdos ( that was brilliant!), the propriety. I thought it added a unique and interesting angle to the vampire lore; all the other books I’ve read have been more modern. I did find it hard, though, to actually believe that Victoria was a Victorian lady. She was much too, well, modern for the time period. Not that it got in the way all that much. So Victoria would rather kill vampires than go to tea and worry about who to marry. Whatever.

And, yes, I’ll be picking up The Bleeding Dusk when it’s released on February 5. I’m dying to know what happens to Victoria next.

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I’m at The Good, The Bad and The Unread today

Posted September 7, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

I’m at The Good, The Bad and The Unread todayReviewer: Holly
Almost A Family by Donna Alward
Published by Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: January 9th 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 201
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Can a four year old girl, a snowball fight and a six-year-old diamond ring finally keep Molly and Jason together?
Prominent lawyer Molly Schaeffer rearranges her life to return home and take care of her niece after a car accident leaves Molly’s sister hospitalized. Little does she know that Jason Elliot, her ex-boyfriend-turned-hot-veterinarian, is her sister’s next-door neighbor.
Jason’s been burned by Molly before and has no intention of letting it happen again. He’s made his own success with a lucrative practice. But what he secretly wants is a family of his own, and he knows that a career woman like Molly is not the sort to give it to him. Since Molly turned down his proposal six years before and left town, he’s kept his broken heart under wraps. Can they forgive each other enough to make a new start? Or is this the final goodbye they never really had?

I have a guest review up at TGTBTU today. Check it out.

Jason was hurt when Molly disappeared so long ago, without even an explanation, so he’s determined to guard his heart now that she’s back in town. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to get over the past, and the more time he spends with Molly, the more old feelings come to the surface.


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