It's not often that the last book in a series is equal to or better than the earlier installments, but that's certainly the case with*contented sigh*
It's not often that the last book in a series is equal to or better than the earlier installments, but that's certainly the case with the fifth book in the Hathaway series.
I admit, I was never too interested in Beatrix as a character. Her kleptomania and odd affinity towards animals really didn't appeal to me all throughout the earlier novels in the series. However, the idea of accidentally falling in love through letters penned under another's name, now THAT caught my attention.
The idea of falling in love with a deployed soldier (and subsequently having the soldier fall in love with you) through letters is supremely romantic. The tenderness and compassion that Beatrix has always shown with her animals is expressed tenfold when confronted with the grim realities of war as illustrated through Christopher's letters from the front lines. I love how Beatrix was compassionate without being pitying; even in instances where others might have been frightened or uncomfortable when confronted with the same scenario, Beatrix remained patient and kind, without succumbing to the dreaded "Mary Sue Effect" that many a romance heroine has been afflicted with.
I absolutely adored reading the letters back and forth, and was just as anxious as Beatrix when he finally returned home. How would he react to the discovery that the letters by which he'd fallen so deeply in love weren't penned by the woman he'd been led to believe?
I won't say any more, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone (can you believe it? A spoiler-free review from me! lol), but suffice it to say that while there was definite angst and a lot of breath-holding, the resolution is absolutely beautiful, and I'm terribly saddened to see this wonderful series come to an end.
So yesterday I was browsing Amazon and saw this book for $2.99 and having just finished All Fired Up, I decided to give this one a go, even though it'So yesterday I was browsing Amazon and saw this book for $2.99 and having just finished All Fired Up, I decided to give this one a go, even though it's Fantasy and not PNR like I'm used to.
I am so glad that I did :)
The worldbuilding in this novel is breathtaking. Everything from the Cervidae (deer shifters), to the mythology behind Dark Elves, to the magical abilities of the various inhabitants of Shaldar simply explode off the page as though you were really there.
And of course, how could I notlove a character named Jessalyne?? (lol that's one of my online names on various forums and sites for those who were wondering).
Another thing I adored about this book was that our hero was a Dark Elf, and had luminous, dark charcoal colored skin *fans self at the mental images* Often times authors shy away from interracial relationships in their romances, and even when they don't, many times there's not such a pronounced physical difference between the hero and heroine. In Heart of Fire though, Jessalyne is ethereally pale -- white blond hair, very pale skin, and amethyst colored eyes. Ertemis, on the other hand, has midnight black hair, dark eyes, and gorgeous black skin (that author, heroine, and reader alike get ample opportunity to revel in lol).
I would definitely categorize this as a fantasy romance rather than a paranormal romance, and I'd have to say that if it's not technically a YA, then at the very least traditional romance readers should understand up front that while there's some PG to PG13 makeout sessions, any actual lovemaking is fade-to-black. PLEASE don't let that stop you though if you're a traditional romance reader. The romance between the H/h is sweet and angsty and beautiful. Ertemis starts to fall for Jessalyne within days of meeting her, and poor Jessalyne, deny it as she may, can't help but be attracted to and intrigued by the multifaceted Dark Elf.
I was sad to discover that Kristen Painter only had two novels available, because I definitely found myself wanting more of her stories, be they fantasy or paranormal romance.
Another typical "Kenyon" tortured hero. As one of her earlier works, I definitely recognized later characters in Sin -- my boyfriend (Acheron), as welAnother typical "Kenyon" tortured hero. As one of her earlier works, I definitely recognized later characters in Sin -- my boyfriend (Acheron), as well as pretty much every hero from the "Born In" series under the Kenyon name, and so forth.
Did that stop me from enjoying it? Of course not lol I'm a Kenyon/Macgregor/etc. fangirl, so of course I eat that crap up with a spoon ;) It can get overwhelming if you've decided to glom her writing though, so I find they're better read with a few other books in between.
What worked for me: *I actually went back and forth on whether this was a pro or con for me, and settled on pro -- I like how our heroine didn't really fight the marriage to Sin past the inital "WTF you can't tell me who I have to marry!" reaction *Two words: Virgin Hero :D *This was a heavy book, what with all of the mess Sin had gone through, but it had a lot of hidden humor that rather took me by surprise
What didn't work for me: *Did NOT like the epilogue -- I found it hard to believe and just too bloody "tidy" for my tastes.
Overall? A very angsty read with a lot of references to lifelong rejection and abuse, but with a sweet love story and just enough "intrigue" to keep things interesting. Solid 4 Stars...more
Winter Wishes is an anthology including three amazing authors of Paranormal Romance, each with a Christmas or winter theme. Out of the three authors iWinter Wishes is an anthology including three amazing authors of Paranormal Romance, each with a Christmas or winter theme. Out of the three authors included, I'd only ever read anything by Moira Rogers, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover that she was well-matched in talent and creativity by the other two authors.
Tangled in Tinsel by Vivian Arend 4/5 Stars Five miles of leather-clad leg is all it takes to lure Kyle Branegan out from his carefully hidden lifestyle as part of the Cougar Corp, a secret branch of the Shifter Enforcer League. He's hoping for a night of fun and frolic, cat-style, no strings attached. With a sultry swing of her hips, Eloise Scott tangles him up in her ball of tricks, and just when he thinks he's about to get lucky, she cuffs him—naked—to her bed.
An undercover cop in the human police force, El's been given a top-secret mission to keep the big cat under her paw until he's needed to testify in court in the New Year. Her decision to take him home for a quiet Christmas in her sleepy hometown turns out to be far more interesting than she expected. Her parents are suddenly rich, her old boyfriend is sniffing around and all six-feet-plus of sexy cougar male is sleeping in her bed.
And that's before they announce their fake engagement...
What worked for me: *The UST in this story was SCORCHING. Vivian Arend is apparently the Mistress of Tease, because just when you think things are coming together for the couple, *BAM*, something happens to throw you off.
*I really liked the idea of not only shifters being known about and accepted in society (if a bit begrudgingly), but of the identity crisis of sorts that some shifters go through trying to balance their Beast and Human sides, especially when it comes to working with humans. This felt realistic to me, and made for an interesting read as we watched El struggle to embrace her cat while remaining a cop on a human-dominated force.
What didn't work for me: *The underlying plot was a bit "out there" for me. A single female shifter is assigned to keep a male shifter in "protective custody", and is allowed by her supervisors to bring him home to her family for the holidays? That seemed a little too implausible for my tastes.
*I didn't feel as though El and Kyle got a Happily Ever After, but rather ended up with a Happily For Now ending. El is a bit of a commitment-phobe, so the ending fit with her personality, but was a bit unsatisfying for this citizen of Romancelandia.
Overall? A solid 4/5 Stars
No Angel by Vivi Andrews 5/5 Stars When Sasha's boyfriend, Jay, is sucked through a fiery vortex to Hell, an angel reveals that Sasha's been chosen as the Champion of Virtue in the battle for his immortal soul. As a perennial offender on Santa's naughty list, Sasha can't believe she's anyone's idea of a girl fighting on the side of the angels. But if she doesn't save Jay, he'll be stuck in Hell forever!
Jay—aka Jevroth—isn't surprised to find himself back in Hell. His visa to visit the mortal plane expired three months ago, but to steal more time with Sasha he's been ignoring his mother's demands that he come home to spend time with his new stepfather: Lucifer.
Sasha has until dawn on the twenty-fifth of December to fight the Legions of Hell and rescue Jay, or be trapped there for eternity herself. But now she must decide if the lying son-of-a-demon is even worth saving...
I will admit, I didn't really want to read this story when I read the blurb, and the only reason I did was because I wanted to be able to review the entire anthology honestly. Let me tell you -- I'm SO glad that I did! Believe it or not, this almost ended up being my favorite story in the anthology! Had the Moira Rogers story not been so good, this one would've justified my 5-Star rating by itself. It was quirky, funny, surprisingly action-packed, romantic, and sweet.
What worked for me: *I adore stories where "Others" are a recognized part of society rather than hanging on the fringes. Rather than vampires and werewolves, however, this world is populated by Angels (also referred to as the Heavenly Host) and Demons. The Angels made themselves known in the Dark Ages and brought about the Renaissance, and the Demons got the short end of the stick and were banished back to hell. As Sasha says, neither side is purely Good or Evil, but rather the Angels had a better PR agent. I love that the angels are just as likely to walk the streets of L.A. in designer jeans and cowboy boots as they are to wield a flaming sword and dress in the full toga-and-sandals regalia.
*While I found his behavior a bit implausible, I really liked Luc.
*The little twist as to why Sasha was the one who was chosen as the Champion of Virtue.
What didn't work for me: *As mentioned, Luc's behavior seemed a bit out of character to me. I can't see the devil actually acting like that, an in a way, it seemed a bit anticlimactic.
A twenty-first century ice age dulls the magic that emanates from the earth. Shane Sullivan is a lone wolf above the freeze line. He has no desire to join the packs that range closer to the border, where feral instincts can turn a man into a monster. Not until the winter solstice, when he stumbles across a dying witch who needs his help to get back to her people—and her magic—in the south.
Nadia is a powerful woman in her own world, but she's been drained by her escape from captivity in a northern lab. She knows it's foolhardy to trust a werewolf, but he's her only chance to survive the vast white wilderness. The farther south they travel, the harder it is for Shane to keep the beast within under control, and as their mutual attraction intensifies, Nadia's no longer sure she wants him to.
This story is the entire reason I requested this anthology. I'm a Moira Rogers fangirl to begin with, so I was fairly certain that I'd enjoy it, and I wasn't disappointed.
What worked for me: *Tortured hero, who had been unwillingly turned into a werewolf during an attack that killed his lover, rescues a warrior witch from freezing to death after she escaped torture by scientists who had kidnapped her and dragged her to the frozen north, where the earth is asleep and magic doesn't work. Greatly weakened, Nadia literally depends on Shane for her survival despite not knowing if she can trust him.
*For some crazy reason, I do love self-loathing in a man. Shane despises the fact that he's a werewolf, and in fact lives so far north of the freeze line because that is where earth sleeps there and his wolf slumbers with it. Were he to live in the south, his beast would be given to rise, and he fears that he wouldn't be able to control it and would either hurt someone, or would become hunted as a monster.
*I really enjoyed the fact that Nadia wasn't weak. Certainly, she was wounded when Shane first came upon her, but as they move south, she regains her strength and proves herself to be a not only a capable warrior but a powerful witch as well. I like that even as her powers and strength return, however, she remains real -- a woman of deep emotions and integrity.
*I absolutely adored how the earth actually spoke to Nadia when she reconnected with her magic
What didn't work for me: *Honestly, there wasn't much that I didn't like about this story. If I had to list something, it would be the fact that there wasn't much information given on "the scientists" other than their fear and abuse of the witches. I would've enjoyed reading more about their movement as well as about other witches that had survived (or not, as it were) their experiments, but of course that couldn't be thoroughly explored in a short story or novella.
Overall, I was very pleased with this anthology. I would suggest that anyone reading not skip any of the stories based on the synopsis alone -- I almost made that mistake with the second story and am very glad that I forced myself to start it.
I highly recommend this anthology for any fan of paranormal romance. A very solid 4.5/5 Stars. ...more
Sometimes a girl just needs to read a good old fashioned, melodrama filled Harlequin Romance! This book was exactly whatReviewed for The Romanceaholic
Sometimes a girl just needs to read a good old fashioned, melodrama filled Harlequin Romance! This book was exactly what I was in the mood for. There was amnesia, family drama, distrust, angst, and of course, hot romance.
What worked for me:
* I do love a good amnesia story. Sure, they’re implausible, especially if you know much about the medical field, but who cares? Most people I know who read fiction do so because it’s just that: fiction. I like to suspend my disbelief and transport myself to a world where amnesia is common after car accidents, and that memory will always return at the most opportune (or inopportune, as it were) moment. * Whoowhee this was a steamy story! I loved the chemistry and immediate attraction between Seth and April. The UST was nice and tasty, especially since both struggled valiantly to keep a tight rein on their hormones. * I loved that there was just the right enough of angst without getting ridiculous. With April unable to remember anything before waking up in the hospital, and Seth’s sordid family history, both were very slow to trust and even slower to give into any feelings they were developing.
What didn’t work for me:
* Okay so the title is a bit cheesy. It’s Harlequin Desire; a cheesy title is part of the fun in a category romance!
Overall this was a quick, sexy read without being too heavy to be enjoyable. With weather starting to warm up, this book is a great way to pass time by the pool.
Nothing could tempt widower Ward Miller from his self-imposed seclusion. UFull review available on The Romanceaholic
From the Mini-Series: The Takeover
Nothing could tempt widower Ward Miller from his self-imposed seclusion. Until the private celebrity met his new “handler,” the beautiful, no-nonsense Ana Rodriguez. While he’d only stepped back into the spotlight for the worthy charity Ana ran, having her by his side was the benefit he truly wanted.
She claimed she’d never fall for a musician—being starstruck wasn’t her style. But that wouldn’t stop Ward. Ana made him want things he hadn’t wanted in much too long. So he’d pursue her…and with one kiss turn the tables on this innocent, leaving her begging for his touch.
Oh, I know, the title is simply awful. Romance lovers should not allow that to prevent them from reading this sweet little story, however.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. There was only one real love scene and it was fairly “tame” for a Harlequin Desire, which to be honest was a rather nice change from some Harlequins where it seems the hero and heroine can’t do anything but fall into bed together. For less than $4 on eHarlequin, I couldn’t resist snapping up this book, and would recommend it to any Harlequin fan as a tasty little summer read. 4/5 Stars...more
Expected Release Date: June 21, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HarlequThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 21, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Presents Author’s Website: My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Notorious Wolfes Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Nathaniel Wolfe is the Hollywood Hunk. Handsome, wealthy, and talented, he’s what many a woman (and man) dreams of. He’s also a coward. Nathaniel hides behind his acting, and has been running from his horrible childhood as soon as he was old enough to escape.
Katie is just an ordinary woman, with ordinary concerns and insecurities, who is working as a costume designer in a London theater. She’s an absolute genius with design, and is hoping that this job will help to launch her career and bring in some desperately needed income.
When we meet Nathaniel, he’s about to take the stage in a theater production of Shakespeare’s Richard II, where Katie has been working as costume designer. Just as he’s about to say his opening lines, however, he spies someone in the audience from his past — a past he’d long since hoped was buried and forgotten.
Flustered and furious, he storms off stage where he runs into Katie, and demands that she help him find a way out that doesn’t involve the paparazzi. When it seems there is nowhere to hide but Katie’s tiny apartment, they head there only to have the media show up the next morning, determined to get their slice of the pie.
Knowing that the super-talkative Katie would never be able to hold her own against the press, he whisks her off to a private island, free from the prying eyes of the world…
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. Nathaniel had a truly nasty childhood, and used his acting as an escape. Even though he was incredibly successful, it wasn’t until he met Katie that he realized how much he was truly missing in life. Katie’s obsession over her figure was a bit annoying at times, especially since she wasn’t exactly overweight, but her talkativeness and determination to get Nathaniel to open up really endeared her to me.
There are 8 scheduled novels in this continuity, meaning it will be a series of interconnected books by different authors, so I’m curious to see where the series goes.
In the end this was a satisfying summer read, recommended for fans of tortured heroes, talkative and mildly insecure everyday heroines, and touch of celebrity and Hollywood glitz. 4/5 Stars...more
Expected Release Date: July 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: EntanThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com
Expected Release Date: July 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: luciannerivers.com My Source for This Book: Gift from the publisher Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Caldwell Sisters Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this one. There’s chemistry, passion, angst, danger, secrets, and betrayal, all wrapped up in a wonderfully fast read.
Harrison was delicious, and though Jane and I have very little in common, she was very easy to relate to. The love scenes were incredible, and the mystery, danger, and exotic setting all added a wonderful sense of excitement.
A very solid 4/5 Stars.
Bonus! Right now, HOLD ME is only $0.99 at Amazon.com!...more
Expected Release Date: January 9, 2012 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarleqThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: January 9, 2012 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://www.zoearcherbooks.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, 8th Wing Series Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Overall, I adored this one. Full of action and chemistry, there was also quite a bit of character development for both Nils and Celene. I'm also a huge sucker for a "nerdy" hero, especially one who takes care of himself physically.
Celene's status as an incredible pilot has alienated her from anyone that she could have a true relationship with, because invariably, her lovers suffer from a bit of hero worship. When she does something "human", like just having a grumpy day, or making any sort of mistake that would be expected out of ordinary people, she quickly finds that her lovers were only with her because of her pilot status, and as such, she's very gun-shy about relationships.
Nils, on the other hand, is a valuable part of "Nerd Works", and despite his physical fitness is rather looked down on by pilots. Sure, he's got a bit of giddiness from being able to be around Celene -- the famous pilot -- but more than that, he's long been attracted to her as a woman.
With a vital mission throwing them together for a long period of time, there's plenty of actual romance in the story, despite the intensity of the action to the story.
A perfect space adventure with plenty of romance and chemistry, this one is definitely a keeper for me.
Expected Release Date: February 1, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: BlazThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: February 1, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Blaze Author’s Website: www.cathyyardley.com My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Player’s Club Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
Player’s Club — a secret organization where members learn to live life to the fullest. The catch? There’s a big emphasis on the “secret” part. So when D-List celebrity Juliana Mayfield decides that joining the elusive Player’s Club can be her big ticket back into the limelight, she cajoles her way into the club, despite founder Lincoln Stone’s intense dislike of media darlings.
Lincoln has his own reasons for keeping the Player’s Club, as well as his own life, a secret from the public and the media, and he sees Juliana as nothing more than an attention-starved poor-little-rich-girl. Vowing to keep an eye on her, he soon discovers that keeping his hands off of her is going to create a bigger challenge.
But when Juliana’s ambitions bring the Player’s Club into the spotlight, is there any way for her to redeem herself in the eyes of the club — and in the eyes of the man she’s fallen in love with?
I’m a huge fan of this series. The entire concept behind the Player’s Club fascinates me, and I adore watching the pledge challenges play out. More than that, however, was the absolutely decadent tension between Juliana and Lincoln, and the lovely angst caused by Juliana’s ambitions.
Recommended for fans of secret societies, high-octane adventure, and sizzling sensuality.
Expected Release Date: December 20, 2011 Publisher: Loose Id. Imprint: N/AThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: December 20, 2011 Publisher: Loose Id. Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: kelemoon.com My Source for This Book: Loaned on Kindle Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Battered Hearts series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. While I felt that there was quite a bit of unfulfilled potential on an emotional level, the characters were fascinating and the storyline easily kept my attention. Throw in the primal intensity of the chemistry and the love scenes, along with Clay’s celebrity status and some unexpected twists, and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
Recommended for fans of gruff celebrity heroes with a soft side, of abused heroines re-learning trust, and whirlwind romance with blistering chemistry.
This author is quickly turning into a Guilty Pleasure author for me. While the books (at least, the contemporary genre ones) are starting to sound forThis author is quickly turning into a Guilty Pleasure author for me. While the books (at least, the contemporary genre ones) are starting to sound formulaic, I still enjoy them, despite the horrible tendency to pick a pet name for the heroine and abuse it until the very end.
This book was so, so good, and that's coming from someone who doesn't even like contemporary romance in general.
With relatable characters (despite thThis book was so, so good, and that's coming from someone who doesn't even like contemporary romance in general.
With relatable characters (despite their sometimes celebrity status), plenty of realistic ups and downs, and a decent secondary romance that didn't take away from the main love story, (not to mention the yummy chemistry) I couldn't put it down.
4.5-5, full review and final rating to follow. ...more
I know this sounds awful but I wish there'd been more drama between the heroine and her parents -- such a big deal was made over their horrible treatmI know this sounds awful but I wish there'd been more drama between the heroine and her parents -- such a big deal was made over their horrible treatment of her when she was a child (neglect, not abuse), and yet, it was almost brushed aside and just lightly explained away.
There's not much I enjoy more than a good revenge romance, and this one has all of the good points. Estranged lovers, TONS of angst, plenty of chemistThere's not much I enjoy more than a good revenge romance, and this one has all of the good points. Estranged lovers, TONS of angst, plenty of chemistry, and some delicious groveling. There were a few rather predictable plot points, but then again why read a Harlequin Presents if not for some of the predictable plot points? A solid 4/5, full review to follow closer to publication....more