I've been waiting for a continuation to this world ever since I read and loved the first novella Silent Blade back in 2009, and the Ilona Andrews team...moreI've been waiting for a continuation to this world ever since I read and loved the first novella Silent Blade back in 2009, and the Ilona Andrews team rocked it! I love the world building, the characters and the stories they've created for this science fiction romance set so far.
In Silver Shark they continued as they began, with a strong female character who is equal to the male protagonist in strength, excellent plot, pacing and sci-fi details with romance and a passionate interlude that fits in with the story. In this second installment the only weakness for me came with the rather abrupt ending which then goes to an epilogue that doesn't include the two main characters. However, this sci-fi world just became better and even more intriguing. I can only hope that eventually a full length novel will come along. Now, that would really rock my world.
4.5/5.0 Hah! I really enjoyed this book. The writer pulled me in to the story from page one. I meant to skim it to read later and ended up reading it i...more4.5/5.0 Hah! I really enjoyed this book. The writer pulled me in to the story from page one. I meant to skim it to read later and ended up reading it in one sitting. It's all about Captain Joe Harding's escapades at the Wheelus Military Air Base in Tripoli, Libya. Set in the 1960's right before the Six Day War in the Middle East. That Joe is something else! "He's got balls." He's in the military, gay, and deep in the closet -- he has to be in order to keep his career intact and himself out of the brig. Remember these are the 1960's so it's worse than let's say.... last year! He transferred in as a crazy Colonel's right hand man and administrator with the idea of being discreet and maintaining a low personal profile. But that's just not Joe!
In a short period of time Joe's having under cover affairs with two different men, making goo goo eyes at the American Ambassador's young son, and getting himself and a friend in trouble at an all-men party turned orgy. Joe's not very subtle, even though he really tries. In the meantime he's making friends and enemies. As both he and his friends become embroiled and get caught in the middle of military politics, often due to deep-set prejudices (related to race, sexual orientation and gender), Joe becomes bolder in his attempts to save himself and his friends from disaster, and wages his own Six Day War at Wheelus. Of course as in all wars, expect victory, defeat, some wounded and casualties.
This is a fast paced story, full of excellent military details. I loved Joe's story, from the sexual escapades and attempts at self-deception that affected his personal life, to the manipulative machinations that he and friends used to achieve their ends (complete their mission) at the military base. The secondary characters are wonderful in this story too (both friends and foes). Disbelief must be suspended a couple of times before the end, and those pesky military acronyms get to be a bit much at times, however, this was a great read with a surprisingly sweet ending. This is my first read by Elliott Mackle and I really enjoyed the writing style. I’ll follow up by reading It Takes Two. (less)
The story is set in late 1800's San Francisco and it's all about Comfort and Bode's romance with a bit of a mystery about Comfort's past. They've know...moreThe story is set in late 1800's San Francisco and it's all about Comfort and Bode's romance with a bit of a mystery about Comfort's past. They've known each other for years and while Bode has loved Comfort from afar, she has been "in love" with Bode's brother Bram for years, or so she thought. After a fake engagement is announced between Bram and Comfort and later both Bode and Comfort are attacked in the streets of San Francisco, our couple gets closer to each other and sparks fly. There are bar fights, opium dens, gamblers, a kidnapping, some pretty evil villains, love scenes in a ship, and a competition between the brothers that has nothing to do with Comfort. Plus of course there are those family ties that are at the heart of this story -- both Comfort's and Bode's.
I love Bode as the male protagonist with his longing, love and passion for Comfort. And she is wonderful in understanding her old feelings for Bram and then the real feelings she develops for Bode. I like that Comfort doesn't let those old feelings get in the way of new ones. Her honesty and frankness are refreshing, as well as her love for her "uncles," and even for an old friend who betrays her. The scenes between Bode and Comfort are passionate and in some ways full of wonder. I like that.
The secondary characters in this story are quite good, Bram and his mother, uncles Newt and Tucker, and even Bode's assistant and butler all make excellent contributions to the story. I especially like Bram's story arc and am curious as to how or if his life will change. However, the weaknesses in this story come in the mystery of Comfort's past and how that is resolved, as well as the main villain's characterization which I think is underdeveloped. For me it's a case of too many coincidences and too pat an ending.
Overall Kissing Comfort is a solid historical romance with a wonderful setting, excellent main characters, good secondary characters that help the story along, a romance I really enjoyed, and a few weak spots. I understand Bram's story is on the works and look forward to finding out how he turns out.(less)
This is the much anticipated sequel to A Companion to Wolves, a fascinating fantasy book that I read at the beginning of just this year. I'm a fan of...moreThis is the much anticipated sequel to A Companion to Wolves, a fascinating fantasy book that I read at the beginning of just this year. I'm a fan of Elizabeth Bear's writing, although I've never read anything else by Sarah Monette. I can tell you that this book is obviously the middle of what is shaping out to be a fantasy trilogy with Norse culture as its base, a fascinating study of the bond between man and animal, as well as relationships between the men, plus the social structures that they've built between themselves and those of other beings. It's a fascinating world full of nuances with plenty of room for exploration.(less)
Snowflakes and Stetsons is a Christmas anthology with a western historical romance theme that includes stories by Jillian Hart, Carol Finch and Cheryl...moreSnowflakes and Stetsons is a Christmas anthology with a western historical romance theme that includes stories by Jillian Hart, Carol Finch and Cheryl St. John. This was my first Christmas read of the year and it was a sweet read! I read it early, during a time when I needed some comfort, but be sure to know that this book will be read again this Holiday season.
"The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle" By Jillian Hart
After serving seven years in a Territory prison for a crime he did not commit, Caleb McGraw goes home only to find out that his fiance is dead and that he has a son. That news takes him to Moose, Montana where his six year old son Thomas now lives with the widow Caroline Dreyer where he prevents a robbery and is invited to stay at least until Christmas. Caroline who lost her husband and child, and Thomas who lost his mother are both cheered by Caleb's company, and soon these three unhappy people are making the best of the season. As Caroline and Caleb's attraction grows and she figures out that he is indeed Thomas' father, they grow closer together and share their pain and hopes for the future. But what will happen when Caroline finds out that Caleb is an ex convict and the reason behind his imprisonment?
The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle by Jillian Heart is a lovely, heartwarming holiday story about three people who experience deep loses in their lives and find a second chance at that illusive happiness. Although things happen a bit quickly for these two people and Caroline needs a push to see what is clearly in front of her eyes, I love that Caleb deservedly finds a place where he's respected for the wonderful man he truly is, and happiness with Thomas and Caroline.
"Christmas at Cahill Crossing" by Carol Finch
Beautiful Rosalie Greer is caught in a blizzard on her way to town from a secret Santa shopping trip. It's dark and wolves have her surrounded when Lucas Burnett and his dog, Dog, find her buried under a pile of snow. Lucas takes her to his ranch where as an outcast of society he keeps to himself. He's bitter about the fact that he was a Texas Ranger and helped settle the area, but because of his mixed blood he is not socially acceptable to the townspeople. However, Rosalie is not everybody. She is a respected business owner and despite an initial misunderstanding likes gorgeous Lucas. After he saves her life, she's determined to involve him in the town's events for Christmas and hopefully in her life.
In Christmas at Cahill, I loved both Rosalie's spunky attitude and the fact that Lucas couldn't resist her. Carol Finch brings the whole town into this story, making the Christmas holidays come alive for the reader and including a bit of action by using Lucas' Texas Ranger past. Finch uses sexual tension to build this romance, and later on passion heats up the holiday season in this novella.
"A Magical Gift At Christmas" by Cheryl St. John
U.S. Marshal Jonah Cavanaugh and three other Marshals are on the train to Denver, guarding a gold shipment from a gang of train robbers. Desperate circumstances push Jonah to make the fateful decision to disconnect the mail car from the rest of the train, and let the rest of the train go on to Denver. He decides to guard the car, let the other Marshals deal with the gang and wait for reinforcements. Jonah's plans, however, are complicated when he first finds Meredith Abbott riding her father's Pullman car and on her way to Denver for Christmas, and later finds Hayden and Jillian, two stowaway children, in the baggage section of the car. Jonah, Meredith and the children find themselves in the middle of a blizzard, waiting for a gang of thieves to attack, and hoping for rescue. While the situation is stressful, it also helps to pull them together and as the warmth of the holidays, love and giving make way into their hearts both Meredith and Jonah realize what's really important in life.
I really enjoyed A Magical Gift At Christmas. Meredith and Jonah are strong characters, and the children make great secondary characters in this novella. The train robbery, shootouts and action give this story a real western flavor, yet the wonderful heartwarming, family atmosphere that St. John is known for is right there to enjoy. The Christmas theme is well represented in the middle of all the action, and a romance that begins with admiration and respect as its base, has a sweet, sweet ending. (less)
Temptation Island by Lorie O'Clare is an erotic romance with a story. Jenny wins a trip to Hawaii while participating in her Nana's fav...more3.75 stars/5.0
Temptation Island by Lorie O'Clare is an erotic romance with a story. Jenny wins a trip to Hawaii while participating in her Nana's favorite game show Last Chance for Happiness. Nana is the only person left in her life and this makes her happy, so Jenny decides to go on the Hawaiian trip on her own. The flight is late departing and while waiting she meets Samantha, an older wealthy lady who's also waiting to board the airplane. The lady takes a look at Jenny's itinerary and they both realize that there are certain clauses that will make it impossible for Jenny to afford the hotel or expenses if she arrives late to the island.
Samantha orders her assistants to send for her private jet and since she likes Jenny's honesty and candor, she proposes that Jenny go to the island in her stead. All Jenny has to do is meet with the people Samantha herself has in her agenda and then call her with first impressions and thoughts. In return, Jenny can have her Hawaiian vacation. Jenny agrees.
Ric Karaka is one of those people in Samantha's meeting agenda. He's looking forward to meeting with her and hopes she'll fall in love with his banana plantation and agrees to finance his plans to make it a bed-and-breakfast. But there's another more important reason he wants to meet Samantha.
Ric lived in foster care all of his life after his mother died giving birth to him, and after many years of looking found his father's family in Hawaii. Meeting Samantha will give him the opportunity of meeting his maternal grandmother for the first time and he's anxiously awaiting to meet and embrace this woman. Instead at their first meeting he finds Jenny, and his hurt, anger, frustration and feelings of rejection are there for all to see.
I liked both Ric and Jenny. Jenny is from a small town and awed by Hawaii's beauty and the splendor of it all, and she is candid but has excellent insight. She cares about her grandmother and family because she has so little left in that area and appreciates relationships. Ric's childhood and love starved past has scarred him to a certain degree, but he went looking for his family and is forging those bonds with his grandparents, uncles and cousins. He's not too bitter to do so and that's a plus about his character.
Of course the two of them are immediately attracted to each other and there are some really hot scenes in that banana plantation! The two of them do sizzle together with sexual tension and later, once they get going, in their scenes together between the sheets (and out of them). However, I must say that before they get going the first sexual encounter between them is a bit uncomfortable with Jenny saying no, yes, no, yes... and Ric saying yes. That sort of reaction always pulls me out of the moment and this was no exception.
Ric and Jenny do have to deal with more than just his past childhood, the grandmother and their growing attraction. Ric is also dealing with businessmen who want to buy his property and turn it into a resort for the wealthy, limiting income for the local community. Jenny finds herself in the middle of Ric's emotional situation with his grandmother and later on in the middle of his business situation. So there's more than one issue going on in this story and with these characters. I like the way Jenny deals with most of them.
There are enough scenes to make Temptation Island an erotic romance without making it all about the sex. The story behind the scenes is developed enough although left somewhat unfinished with some details missing at the end. However, the atmosphere is good and O'Clare did a great job describing the beautiful setting. The characters are really quite likable with plenty of chemistry, and there's enough there at the end to make me believe that Ric and Jenny will have a future together.
Oh boy! This book has one of the best male protagonists around. Gabe O'Sullivan is one of those hot, sexy, sweet, understanding, lovable guys that are...moreOh boy! This book has one of the best male protagonists around. Gabe O'Sullivan is one of those hot, sexy, sweet, understanding, lovable guys that are just total keepers, in and out of bed.
Tessa and Gabe are friends. They've been friends ever since Tessa hit New York City after a disastrous affair left her homeless and jobless in Florida and she decided that Manhattan was the place for her. Gabe gave Tess her first job as a bartender at Prime -- his family's bar -- and has always been there for her with words of encouragement, advice and a shoulder to cry on. Although Gabe is a gorgeous piece of eye candy, Tess sees him as the only dependable man she knows not as someone she would date.
Gabe is a happy man who has everything he wants out of life. His bar Prime is successful and he's about to expand to make it even better. He's single and has no problems finding women when he wants them, plus his two brothers are there to help him if or when he needs them. His only preoccupation seems to be his friend Tessa who is in trouble again. Her roommate bailed out on her and with five days to find an apartment with a roommate, she's about to go on the streets. He's not about to let his friend become homeless, especially since he has an extra room at his apartment. But when Gabe's naughty brother Sean O'Sullivan starts a bet at the bar assuring everyone that these two won't be able to keep their hands off each other, the long-time friends begin to see each other in an entirely different light.
I love the premise of this story, the friends to lovers trope and I absolutely fell in love with Gabe, there's no question about that. He not only gives Tess a place to live, but once the two of them do have their first hot sexual encounter and Tess freaks out, he gives her understanding and goes along with all of her fantastical requests. As the story goes along and Tess makes more and more unreasonable requests of Gabe, even after he tells her that he loves her, he still gives his lover and friend the benefit of the doubt along with passion, love and understanding. He's a keeper all the way, but... Tessa? I had a few problems with Tessa.
Tessa, Tessa, Tessa... what was wrong with you? I wanted to shake her. She begins as a likable character with possibilities then slowly deteriorates. Tessa is scared because of her past relationship, and for her it's all about making it on her own. Which is fine and dandy, except that she goes far in her quest, blindly too far in my opinion, to gain this independence as she lies and manipulates her friend and lover to get there. Although Tessa comes to the right conclusions by the end, I'm afraid that by then she was not a favorite.
What saved this book for me? Well, Gabe. Gabe and the fact that as O'Reilly is developing the relationship between the protagonists, there's in-depth character development. She also includes some intensely hot sexual scenes throughout the story, plus the other sexy O'Sullivans are woven into the plot, giving the story depth and making it tough to put the book down. The story gave Gabe his happy ending and I was glad for him, although I'm not ashamed to say that I wish he'd made Tessa suffer... at least a tini-tiny little bit before the end.
I have the other two books of the series in my TBR thanks to Tabitha who sent them to me, and I'm really looking forward to reading them. Despite my troubles with Tessa as a character, I can tell you that O'Reilly writes one sexy Blaze!(less)
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey is one of those contemporary romances that really worked for me. The story of the Kowalski cousin, Sean who...more4.5/5 stars
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey is one of those contemporary romances that really worked for me. The story of the Kowalski cousin, Sean who comes back from the service and is ambushed by Emma Shaw when he's asked to pose as her fiancee to reassure her grandmother that all is fine in her world. See, Emma lied to her grandmother by telling her that Sean's her fiancee... she even sent her photoshopped pictures of the two of them and has them spread out around the house! After thinking about it for a while Sean agrees, moves in with Emma while grandma visits from Florida and the rest is history.
This was just a plain fun, sexy contemporary romance. He thinks she's crazy... she thinks he's yummy... they have to sleep in the same bedroom, and drive each other nuts! She gives him a book with notes about herself that he calls a "manual," and he writes these wonderful little post-it notes that he leaves stuck on the bathroom mirror, telling her his likes and dislikes. These two rather stubborn, sexy people were meant for each other. Even with the rather improbable story line and the photoshopped pictures that initially creeped me out, I quickly fell in love with Sean, Emma and grandma Cat.
I really enjoyed the fact that Yours to Keep is a true contemporary focused on the main couple with excellent secondary characters that complement the romance.(less)
What I Did For A Duke by Julie Anne Long is a May/December romance with one of those memorable, hilarious first chapters that hooked me. W...more4.75/5 stars
What I Did For A Duke by Julie Anne Long is a May/December romance with one of those memorable, hilarious first chapters that hooked me. What I found after that is a historical romance with some fabulous wit and snappy dialogue between the two main characters that kept me reading. That hilarious first chapter sets the stage for subsequent scenes that continue in this same amusing vein, although not as extreme or memorable, but then there's more.
What happens in that first chapter? Well, Ian Eversea messes with the wrong Duke by seducing his fiancee, and gets caught with his hands in the wrong cookie jar. What a scene! Moncrieffe doesn't kill him but decides to make Ian sweat by obtaining an invitation to a house party taking place at the Eversea's country home. His plan is to seduce Ian's younger sister Genevieve to get even. Surprisingly, Genevieve turns out to be a smart cookie and figures him out, but there are other reasons for Moncrieffe and Genevieve to team up, and for seduction to take place... plus Ian still needs to suffer.
Moncrieffe is old, and by that I mean he's almost forty! He has the "been there, done that" type of attitude and frankly, he has done it all. He's a Duke, rich, doesn't owe anyone anything, has loved and lost and knows tricks the younger men and women around him can't even fathom. He has a reputation for being intimidating, arrogant and calculating and he loves it. Moncrieffe is actually a mature man who knows himself and his own nature quite well, both flaws and vulnerabilities. He is ohhhh so seductive and passionate, and sneaky and lovable. I fell in love with the man. Once he sees Genevieve for who she really is, his yearning and passion for her are sigh worthy. Best of all the two of them sizzle when together.
Genevieve is a young woman, but she gives Moncrieffe a run for his money when it comes to being brilliantly cunning. I love that she figures him out and calls him out on all of his crap. Genevieve doesn't let him get away with anything, even when she's kind and naive to a certain extent. She's slowly seduced by Moncrieffe and doesn't even realize it, while still pining for her one and only love Harry. Genevieve's one flaw is the longevity of her self-imposed blindness when it comes to her feelings for Harry and his feelings for her.
What I Did For A Duke is a passionate May/December historical romance where Julie Anne Long effectively combines angst, yearning and humor. I laughed out loud more than once throughout the story while loving the seductive dance, the passion and romance. And even at the end when the romance is at its peak, the fun didn't stop. (Bastard!)(less)