Expected Release Date: September 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Author’s Website: http://www.victoriadahl.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2 Donovan Brothers Brewery Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Olivia Bishop is a 35 year old, straight-laced divorcee who is trying to rebuild her life after she left her cheating scum of a husband, whom she’d already wasted half her life on. Finally vowing to make some new friends and have a good time, she joins some local ladies for a book club meeting at the Donovan Brother’s Brewery, only to realize the point of the club is not to discuss the books, but rather to ogle the local man-candy that is Jamie Donovan.
Sexy, charming, and able to rock a kilt like nobody’s business, Jamie Donovan is a playboy and a screwup — at least, that’s what his family thinks of him. A long history of indulging in his wild streak has blinded them to the fact that Jamie is finally growing up, making it hard for him to prove himself.
Wanting to expand the family brewery to include a small food service with gourmet-quality food that would pair well with the brewery’s designer beer, he decides to take a non-credit class on restaurant development at the local college. When he discovers that the buttoned-up beauty from the book club is actually his new instructor, he finds he’s more than a little hot for teacher. But can he convince Olivia that he’s more than just a party animal looking for a good time?
Overall, this was a very strong entry into the Donovan Brother’s Brewery series, and I adored it. I’m not typically a big fan of “contemporaries”, but as always, Ms. Dahl has managed to not only keep me invested in her characters, but has also made me put down the book with a big fat smile on my face.
Jaime was absolutely wonderful to read about. Having been introduced to him in the first book, GOOD GIRLS DON’T, I was intrigued as to how Ms. Dahl was going to tame the notorious bad-boy and turn him into a worthy hero, but once again she’s proved her skills and managed to do that and more. Knowing that he was a screw-up, and carrying around a horrendous burden of guilt from his childhood, Jaime has been determined to prove to his family that he’s a man instead of a boy, but nothing ever seems to be good enough for his big brother Eric and his sister Tessa.
Watching things reach their breaking point within the family was both heartbreaking and exhilarating, and adding Olivia into the mix was absolute perfection.
Olivia is one of those heroines that you can’t help but sympathize with. She didn’t have some horrible childhood, and certainly had her share of insecurities, but she was determined to reinvent herself. While she did set out to just use Jaime in the beginning, it was plain to see from the very beginning that her plan would not succeed and that she would very quickly fall for him, which is probably why this reader had no problem in forgiving her for some of her more foolish actions.
In the end, this book absolutely meets the high standard of Victoria Dahl’s contemporaries. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not typically a huge fan of contemporary novels in general, but this book, and truly this series as a whole, have definitely earned themselves a place on my highly coveted Keeper Shelf. Her fantastic blend of humor, angst, sensuality, and sweet romance are more than enough to keep you coming back for more.
Highly recommended for fans of reformed playboys, straight-laced heroines finally allowing themselves to let loose, and intricate but beautiful family dynamics, this one earns a very enthusiastic 4.5/5 Stars. ...more
Expected Release Date: September 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: SimThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Simon & Schuster Imprint: Pocket Books Author’s Website: http://carrielofty.com/ My Source for This Book: Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Christies Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Lady Vivienne Bancroft is the bastard daughter of a French can-can dancer and a powerful tycoon. Growing up in squalor only to witness her mother's execution in a French prison, she was plucked from poverty by Sir William Christie -- her biological father -- who then adopted her under the guise of charity. Raising Vivienne up as though she were a legitimate daughter, he's as ruthless and exacting towards her as he is his other three children.
Upon his death, however, his will holds a shock for his four children -- they each must take a failing business and turn it around, else they forfeit their inheritance.
With her destination set as the colonies of South Africa and the diamond mines therein, Vivienne is dismayed to discover that Viscount Bancroft, her wastrel and estranged husband, has decided that he too shall have a piece of the action in South Africa.
Miles was humiliated and furious when Vivienne abandoned their marriage back in England, no matter that it was an arranged union designed to refill the Bancroft coffers while simultaneously bestowing a title on a member of the Christie family. Deciding to have his revenge, he is determined to seduce Vivienne and capture her heart, only to abandon her at her weakest moment.
However, once reunited, the estranged lovers soon discover that the all-consuming passion and chemistry that has sparked between them from the beginning is still very much alive, and that the challenge of South Africa and the diamond business.
I'll be honest. I went into this story expecting to find that it wasn't really to my tastes. Estranged marriages are really not a favorite of mine in general, especially when it's apparent that the heroine is madly in lust with her estranged husband.
This is a perfect example of why preconceived notions should never stop you from giving a book a chance -- this book was absolutely fantastic. Everything from the setting of colonial South Africa, to Vivienne's horrible childhood, to the details behind Miles and Vivienne's estrangement, were all woven together beautifully to create a rich, powerful love story.
The sensuality was exquisite, and the setting was a wonderful complement to the love story. Miles' transformation from the wastrel of Vivienne's memory was delightful to watch, and Vivienne finally coming to trust Miles with both her trust and the secrets of her past was absolutely perfect.
While there was a slight hiccup with the pacing at the final confrontation, in the end, this book will be firmly on my keeper shelf.
Recommended for fans of estranged marriages with both parties at fault, heroines who finally let go of deep-seated trust issues, and delicious sensuality, all set against the backdrop of the South African colonies of the Victorian era.
Expected Release Date: December 9, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self-This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: December 9, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self-Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: www.courtneymilan.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book #3, Turner Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
I do think that for the most part, this book works well as a standalone. However, there’s just enough interaction with the rest of the Turner family and previously introduced characters that I do think new readers may feel a little lost at parts, as they will be missing out on the histories and nuances of the family and their relationships.
If I absolutely had to choose from the Turner brothers, I think Smite would be my favorite, though I admit it would be a close call. I have been anxiously awaiting Smite’s story ever since I was lucky enough to pick up the first book in this series, Unveiled, and was so thrilled to discover that it was everything I’d hoped it would be.
Inner turmoil from Smite’s abusive childhood, emotional distance from the family that desperately wants to include him, the rude comments he must endure due to his determination to give everyone an equal chance in the courts, and the way he tried to hold himself apart emotionally from Miranda was delicious.
Overall, I absolutely adored it. While I was a bit put off momentarily by Miranda’s easy acceptance of his offer to make her his mistress, I quickly got past that, and simply enjoyed watching them both lead each other on a merry chase. Throw in Smite’s interesting family dynamics, and the mystery surrounding The Patron, and this easily became an outstanding read.
Expected Release Date: September 20, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 20, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira Author’s Website: My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 18, Wing in the Night series Series Best Read In Order: Yes and No (explained in review) Steam Level: Steamy
Official Blurb: Utanapishtim has paid dearly for the sin of creating the vampire race—imprisoned in a living death for centuries, driven to near madness. With a single white-hot glance, he immolates his descendants…and the vampire Armageddon begins.
Beautiful and deadly Brigit Poe, not wholly vampire but fiercely loyal to that shared bloodline, is called into action. She abhors yet cannot deny her destiny: to vanquish the once-great king of the immortals and save the vampire race.
Two warriors, equally matched in power and determination, are soon locked in an unwinnable battle, only to discover a passion so shocking it threatens every truth they've ever known—even as they must face one final battle that seems fated to end in death and heartbreak for them both.
Yes, yes, YES! I was so happy to get my greedy little hands on this book, because I've been excited about it ever since I heard that Utanapishtim (the Big Bad from Twilight Prophecy, and pronounced "ooo-tah-nah-pish-tim" for those like me whose brains melted the first time they read it) was going to be the hero paired with the "evil twin", Brigit.
After all that had gone down in Twilight Prophecy, I couldn't fathom how Ms. Shayne could possibly redeem Utana, but she did a fantastic job of making him a sympathetic character without castrating the great Warrior King. He's still insufferably pompous and arrogant, old fashioned and misogynistic (because, really, he's freaking Noah from the Great Flood for cryin' out loud -- a metrosexual this guy is not), and yet he also grieves deeply for the deaths of his vampire "children" and the fact that he must kill them all to appease his gods.
Now, earlier I said that this series both works well as a standalone and is better read in order. Let me clarify -- I think that as far as the entire Wings in the Night series goes, it stands perfectly well on its own. I actually came to the series quite late myself (book 17) and didn't feel as though I'd missed the information necessary for me to keep up. However, I do suggest reading Twilight Prophecy first for two main reasons. First, it's important to see the dynamic between the Mongrel Twins (James and Brigit), and second, it's the first half of Utana's story. Granted, Ms. Shayne does a very good job of explaining the vital portions missed if you don't want to go back and read the other one first, but even so, I personally would suggest reading these last two in order.
In short, I loved it. While the ending was still open enough to leave the option of future installments of the series, nothing was left feeling "unfinished", and I believed in the HEA, which is very important to me in any romance novel.
In the end, I really enjoyed this one. Utana is sexy and powerful and delicious and yet is still deeply flawed, and is able to eventually own up to his mistakes. Brigit finally breaks free of her Evil Twin designation, and weathers such betrayal and heartbreak over the course of the novel, but still remains true to herself. The sensuality was exactly what it needed to be, and the actual romance itself, although fast, was actually quite believable.
Recommended for fans of old-fashioned alphas finally finding their equal, of heroines convinced of their unworthiness finally realizing their true powers, and of a romance that overcomes even the largest of obstacles.
Expected Release Date: October 3, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: CarinThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 3, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://fan-fatale.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Ari Golde is a returner — her job is to retrieve stolen items and return them to their rightful owners. When her latest mission to retrieve a statue goes wrong and she’s caught by three notoriously scary bear-shifters, she knows her night is headed for the dumps. Escaping with only the use of her wits and a touch of chaos magic, Ari flees, but it will not be the last time she comes face to face with one of the bears.
Maks is furious at the vixen who broke in his house and stole the statue that belonged to his parents. Determined to force Ari to hand over the statue, he’s stunned to learn that her returner magic proves that he is no longer the rightful owner of the statue.
Driven by the a strong attraction he’s determined to ignore, and the desire to get his family heirloom back, Maks accompanies Ari for a night that ends up being chock full of chaos, havoc, and magic
While I think the overall premise had a whole lot of promise, in the end, this book lived up to it’s name: there was an overabundance of chaos, and I think the overall story suffered greatly from it.
While the chemistry between Ari and Maks was crackling (and how sexy is it that Bear kept wanting to take her as a mate even when Maks was being stubborn?!), there was simply far too much going on far too quickly to actually make sense half the time.
Very fast paced, with a plethora of characters, it was a fast, energetic read full of fight scenes, trickery, chemistry, and fun, but in the end, it was simply too chaotic for me to keep up with.
Nothing really "wrong" with it -- I just couldn't really get into it. The premise was good, but there were too many main characters and frankly the "rNothing really "wrong" with it -- I just couldn't really get into it. The premise was good, but there were too many main characters and frankly the "romance" felt forced. I may come back to it at a later date, as I would like to see what happens later on, but as it is, this one's going in my DNF pile for now. ...more
Expected Release Date: October 25, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarleThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 25, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira Author’s Website: http://jaciburton.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Killer series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Twelve years ago, sixteen year old Anna Pallino was attacked in an alley behind the ice cream shop where she worked. Her boyfriend, Dante Renaldi and his three foster brothers came to her rescue, subduing the attacker before he could get away. But things went horribly wrong when they realized that the beating they'd dealt the perpetrator had resulted in his death. Calling on Anna's policeman father to help clean up the mess, they each went their separate ways, with Dante leaving town for good.
Now, back in town to help his foster parents celebrate their anniversary, the last thing Dante expected was to get caught up in a murder investigation -- with the murder bearing a striking resemblance to the attack on Anna all those years ago.
With his job in Special Ops forcing him to keep his real life a secret, Dante is stunned to discover that the pretty sixteen year old Anna has grown up -- into a tough police detective.
Seeing Anna reminds Dante of everything that he had to walk away from twelve long years ago, and he's not about to let her slip through his fingers again. But when more murders spring up, each hitting closer to home, Anna has to decide if Dante is a man she can trust, or if he's the one behind the killings.
I really loved Anna and Dante. Anna had never quite gotten over not only her attack twelve years ago, but also Dante's seeming defection just when she needed him the most. Dante, as well, never really got past his love for Anna, and when they reconnected, it felt very authentic.
The chemistry between the two was absolutely crackling, and when they finally consummated their relationship, it was delightfully hot without detracting from the suspense of the novel.
One thing about this book was its unapologetic tendency to kill or at least severely wound major characters of the story. This ramped up the suspense quite a bit, since you never really knew if any of your favorite characters were safe.
Some of the events with the villain and the final resolution between Anna and Dante didn't really flow well for me, but overall, this was a sexy, entertaining read.
Expected Release Date: September 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: SelfThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.shannonmayer.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1 Nevermore Zombie Apocalypse Trilogy Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Official Blurb: A miracle drug, Nevermore, spreads like wildfire throughout the world allowing people to eat what they want, no matter how unhealthy it is and yet still lose weight. It is everything the human population has ever dreamed of and Mara is no different. Only a simple twist of fate stops her from taking the drug.
As the weeks roll by, it becomes apparent that Nevermore is not the miracle it claimed. A true to life nightmare, the drug steals the very essence that makes up humanity and unleashes a new and deadly species on the world, a species bent on filling its belly. Locked down within their small farm home, Mara and her husband Sebastian struggle against increasingly bad odds, fighting off marauders and monsters alike.
But Sebastian carries a dark secret, one that more than threatens to tear them apart, it threatens to destroy them both and the love they have for each other.
The secret forces Mara to make the ultimate choice. Will she live for love, or will she live to survive?
While I do think that the overall premise was a bit on the unbelievable side, it helped give the story a rather campy feel, which I enjoyed. Add to that the fact that while it was a "zombie apocalypse" story, as even the title will attest to, it wasn't the same old same old where some kind of virus was spreading, and I LOVED the idea that not only was the Nevermore syndrome not contagious, but that there was the possibility of the zombies actually procreating.
The entire situation with Sebastian, of course broke my heart, but even more than that was the knowledge that the entire world had changed, and that there were a lot of little things taken for granted that would no longer be available (such as feminine products or even basic food and water).
I will also be VERY interested to see what comes next with Mara's physical condition. Even having not taken Nevermore, it's still hard on the body to be as malnourished as she is by the end of the story, and with her severe allergy to the medicine and even the proximity to those infected, I'm very curious to see how her body will cope with the Nevermores so physically close to her.
I was not at all pleased that there was a cliff-hanger ending, but for readers like me who can't stand that sort of end to a story, please note that there was a small preview for the next novel in the series at the end that does help to take some of the sting out of it.
Overall, I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would. The characters were surprisingly well-developed, and the book was all at once exhilarating, terrifying, hopeful, and heartbreaking.
With just enough humor and lightness to balance out the guts and horror, I think this one will be a favorite of any fan of slightly campy zombie horror stories, and I for one am looking forward to reading the next installment.
Expected Release Date: September 14, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: SelThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 14, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.shannonmayer.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2 Nevermore Zombie Apocalypse Trilogy Series Best Read In Order: YES Steam Level: Steamy
Nevermore Trilogy Book II
Rumours and whispers of a cure have reached Mara’s ears and hope that has been denied for so long begins to grow once more. But, if she is to find the cure, to help Sebastian, she must face down a whole new set of dangers. A sadistic army General whose hatred knows no bounds. A brilliant scientist whose love for his lost wife drives him to madness. And a new pack of Nevermores . . .
Sensitive readers should know going in that there is a child death in this story.
While this one did end in what I would consider to be a "cliff-hanger", I do have to admit that it was a much better stopping point than that of the previous installment, Sundered.
Even having not read the final installment, Dauntless (expected release October 31, 2011), I have to say my very strong opinion thus far is that the entire series should probably be consolidated into a single, longer story and given a higher price point. While I understand that the current price of ninety-nine cents for Sundered, and right at three dollars for Bound, is a definite selling point for readers unfamiliar with the author, the fact that this book picks up literally a sentence after the last one left off makes it virtually impossible for readers unfamiliar with the series to really get the full benefit of the story. While the general gist of the history of the apocalypse is covered, as is the relationship between Mara and Sebastian, I do think that some readers who did not read Sundered will be highly disappointed with just how obvious it is that the first book is an integral part of this one.
That said, I would still recommend both Sundered and Bound to any fan of zombie apocalypse fans, especially those who prefer a strong romantic theme. Gritty, violent, tragic, and terrifying, this whole series also manages to be touching, romantic, and at times, even sexy (which let me tell you, is an achievement considering the hero is a zombie). Just make certain that you pick up the first book before attempting this one and you won't have any problems.
I am actually very excited to have found this author. Even with the slightly-campy feel to the initial premise, her skill in creating believable characters and writing both action and love scenes is truly much more than I've experienced in a self-published author in quite some time. I am very anxiously awaiting the final installment on Halloween, and can't wait to see what becomes of Mara, Sebastian, Scout, Buck, and the others.
Recommended for fans of fresh takes on the zombie apocalypse trope, of normal people surviving on their wits, and of a love that not even a zombie infection can stop.
The main plot was intriguing - best friends share a night of passion while the heroine is emotionally distraught, they agree to pretend it never happeThe main plot was intriguing - best friends share a night of passion while the heroine is emotionally distraught, they agree to pretend it never happened, oops turns out she's knocked up, and now he insists on marrying her.
Unfortunately, the writing style jumped around so much and just barely skimmed the surface of any true emotions or drama, and it lacked any real "punch". If not for the short length, I probably wouldn't have finished it to be honest.
Expected Release Date: October 18, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HacheThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 18, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Hachette Book Group Imprint: Forever Author’s Website: http://elizabethhoyt.com/ My Source for This Book: ARC Gift from the Publisher Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Maiden Lane series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
*SPOILER WARNING* Official Blurb and Review both contain spoilers for previous novels in the series.
Silence Hollingbrook is a virtuous woman with a sterling reputation. That is, she was, until nine months ago she made a deal with the devil to save her husband from gaol for a crime he didn’t commit. Naively convinced that those who knew and loved her would believe her when she told them the truth about what really happened, she was shattered to discover that no one, not even her beloved husband William, believed she had not sold herself to Charming Mickey O’Connor, the notorious river pirate. Now (two books later), William is dead, lost at sea, and Silence finds solace working in her family’s Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children, and the love of her adopted infant daughter, Mary Darling.
Charming Mickey has been fascinated with Silence ever since she stormed into his urban fortress demanding that he help her husband escape the gaoler. At the time, he merely offered his assistance in exchange for Silence spending the night in his bed — yet he never once so much as touched her. Then sending her home with her gown half undone and her hair in disarray, intentionally ruining the shining reputation of a virtuous woman, he insisted that if her husband really loved her, he’d believe her when she told him that nothing had happened. When of course her reputation was destroyed, and no one, not even her family or husband believed in her innocence, he thought to take satisfaction of knocking the stars out of her eyes. He couldn’t understand, however, why it actually almost bothered him that he’d ruined her life — after all, he was a hedonist of the first rank, and took great pleasure in many a people’s pain.
When an infant bastard daughter he neither wanted nor cared about is dumped on his doorstep, her prostitute mother having died, Mickey sees an opportunity to ensnare Silence even further into his web by depositing the child on the doorstep of the foundling home where Silence had sought solace after that chaste night in his bed.
Now his greatest enemy, the Vicar of Whitechapel, has discovered the existence of Mary Darling, and sees her as a pawn to use against Mickey. Snatching Mary Darling from the foundling home, Mickey whisks her away to his “palace” in Whitechapel, and waits for Silence to follow, which she soon does.
Trapping Silence with her love for Mary, Mickey coerces her to stay with him by playing on her guilt and fears for the child’s safety. But finally having Silence under his power once more doesn’t bring about the sense of triumph Mickey first expected, and soon, he finds that he is the one in danger — of losing the very heart he claimed he didn’t even have.
I have been anxiously awaiting this book since the first moment that Mickey stepped onto the pages and agreed to help Silence in exchange for her reputation. Mickey is the ultimate bad boy — a complete hedonist and utterly ruthless — and I was dying to see Silence get under his skin. I just knew from the very first time we met him that his redemption would be both very hard won and incredibly satisfying, and I was right on both accounts.
Silence was also a much stronger heroine than I’d originally anticipated — she seemed so weak and naive in the previous novels, but her steadfast loyalty and her devotion to Mary Darling brought out quite a bit of ferocity in her when needed, and it served her very well when paired with Mickey.
While there were a few moments where some of the language choices pulled me out of the action, and I didn’t particularly care for the name change halfway through the novel, the relationship between Mickey and Silence, as well as the intrigue and adventure made this book an easy favorite of mine. The climax of this novel was by far one of the most nail-biting of any historical romance I can recall, and the HEA was also by far one of the most satisfying.
The next book in the series, Thief of Shadows, is due out in summer of 2012, and I tell you, I’m already chomping at the bit for it. It will star the ever-elusive Ghost of St. Giles, whose identity was finally revealed in the epilogue of Scandalous Desires, and I, for one, am dying to read it (and quite happy that I was right as to his identity!).
Recommended for fans of ruthlessly alpha bad boy heroes, fiercely loyal and protective heroines, and of an intoxicating blend of romance, intrigue, betrayal, and suspense.
Expected Release Date: December 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarpThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: December 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://www.lauraleeguhrke.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift From the Publisher Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Abandoned at the Altar Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Having risen from the depths of poverty into the upper echelon of society by an inheritence, Annabel Wheaton knows what it’s like to be looked down upon by society. Shunned as “new money”, she craves the respectability and acceptance that comes with holding a powerful position in society, and more than that, she’s desperate to secure those things for both her younger sister and any future daughters.
Marrying an impoverished earl seems like the perfect solution, despite the fact that it is a match of convenience, completely devoid of love. After all, she tasted love once in her youth, only to end up brokenhearted and ruined, so a match based on mutual respect is perfectly desirable to her.
When Annabel’s family approaches the disreputable Christian Du Quesne, Duke of Scarsborough, with the task of convincing her to break off the wedding in exchange for a small fortune — one desperately needed to repair the bankrupt estate Christian’s brother left to him upon his death — he accepts. After all, his own marriage was a dismal failure that has left him with no small amount of guilt and plenty of cynicism about marriage in general.
Things are never so simple, however, and when Christian meets Annabel he’s completely enraptured by the beautiful and determined woman, and begins to want her to avoid this marriage more for herself than for the fortune it will net him if she does. When Christian makes a horrible blunder, humiliating Annabel and destroying not only her hopes of marrying the earl, but also of moving in polite society, she comes up with the perfect scheme to restore her reputation. Now, all they have to do is manage to keep their hands off of each other…
The beginning and middle of this story were fantastic. I absolutely adored Annabel, which surprised me since I don’t typically enjoy “experienced” heroines in my historicals. She was smart, lovely, and not nearly as naive as many historical romance heroines. Christian, too, grew on me fairly quickly, and I enjoyed watching him go from the man who was merely trying to fulfill a bargain that would net him quite a bit of money, to a man who truly despised the idea of Annabel marrying for convenience and having her inner spark dimmed and snuffed by English society.
However, towards the end, it truly felt as though Christian was more talking himself into “loving” Annabel, and making up for how terrible he made life for his first wife, rather than truly falling head over heels in love. Sure, he said the right words, and did the right things, but it seemed to me that things were told, rather than shown. Add to that Annabel’s recklessness despite her insistence that acceptance into the staid London society was her ultimate goal, and I was a bit let down overall. While certainly enjoyable, I really didn’t feel that this one lived up to my expectations from the author.
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HachetThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Hachette Book Group Imprint: Orbit Author’s Website:http://kristenpainter.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, House of Comarré series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Chrysabelle is a Comarré — a person born to be a pampered blood-slave to a high-ranking member of the vampire race. Extensively tattooed with pure gold, her appearance ensures that all those around her give her the respect due to the high nobility of the vampires. When her patron is murdered, leaving her the prime suspect, she flees, attempting to blend in with the world of the kine — humans who have no idea of the othernatural world lurking just within the shadows of their reality.
Unfortunately, her flight leads her straight into the arms of Malkolm – an anathema (outcast) who himself has been erased from the history of the nobility for the unforgivable crime of killing his vampire sire. Doomed to never drink from another being without killing them, Mal is also cursed with the voices and names of all of those he’s killed since his birth. Having been an executioner during his human life, the names cover almost every inch of his skin, and the voices are enough to drive anyone mad.
An ambitious vampire seeks to break the Covenant – the powerful agreement forged between angels and the devil to keep the existence of the othernaturals a secret from the human world, and one which protects both human and othernatural alike — and only Chrysabelle and Mal can stop it.
One thing that should be pointed out ahead of time is that this is an Urban Fantasy novel (actually, I believe the author and publisher classify it as a Gothic Urban Fantasy novel), and as such, the story of Chrysabelle and Malkolm will be continued over the course of quite a few books (the next one due out late October/early November of this year). While I personally had no problem with this, I know most of the vampire books that I review fall more firmly into the Paranormal Romance genre, and I don’t want anyone going into this one thinking there will be a lot of sexytime.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. While I will easily admit that the first half of the novel got off to a slow start, I highly recommend any new reader give the book a full chance rather than giving up early on. There are many unfamiliar terms and customs needed to familiarize yourself with, but once everything starts to come together in the middle, it’s an incredibly pulse-pounding, thrilling ride to the end.
Recommended for fans of intricate urban fantasy worlds, of heroines willingly sacrificing their coveted positions in society to pursue both happiness and what is right, and of incredibly tortured heroes finally finding something worth fighting for.
A delightfully solid 4/5 Stars, and I greatly look forward to the rest of the series....more
Whoever said the series starts getting good in book 3 was correct, though this was a solid entry. As with the first one, I was annoyed by Kate's tendeWhoever said the series starts getting good in book 3 was correct, though this was a solid entry. As with the first one, I was annoyed by Kate's tendency to miss clues that are slapping her in the face, but even so, having read books 3 onward already, I had a solid love for the characters going into this one so it wasn't that big of a deal.
Full review may one day maybe possibly (but probably not) follow.
Expected Release Date: August 16, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: SirenThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: August 16, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Siren Publishing Imprint: Siren Classic Author’s Website: http://calliopeswritingtablet.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the Author Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
This one got off to a bit of a slow start for me. I was initially quite bothered by Jason’s spying on Lanie while she was in the bath or dressing, and I really didn’t like the idea of him touching her in her sleep, and so it was hard for me to really get into the story at first. However, things started to pick up quite a bit once Jason was pulled into one of Lanie’s dreams, and as they grew closer, the earlier misstep of his voyeurism became much less important to my overall enjoyment of the story.
Overall, this both a very tasty and fascinating read. The duel perspectives that stemmed from the fact that this story was both historical and contemporary, without being a true “time travel” romance, really made me feel as though this story got the best of both genres, and the murder mystery only drew me in further.
The romance between Lanie and Jason was sweet, and the sensuality was absolutely delicious, adding a delightful level of eroticism without overshadowing the love story. I admit that I did tend to appreciate Lanie’s dreams more than her waking hours, simply because it was fascinating to see Jason not only “reliving” the weeks before his death, but actually changing things and helping to solve the mystery that surrounded the entire murder plot.
Expected Release Date: September 17, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: SelThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 17, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: www.angelaverdenius.com My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Big Girl’s Lovin’ Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
While at first I admit I was annoyed at Maddy’s sister-in-law ambushing her at Maddy’s own house about her weight, I realized that while I have been blessed to never have that happen, I could see how a family who is so focused on “success” (that is, marriage, money, and status) could honestly think that they were being helpful with their hounding of Maddy to lose weight, especially if they were at all truly concerned about her health.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. As a curvaceous gal myself, it’s always a plus to find a book that portrays a plus-sized heroine who does not have to lose weight to get her HEA. Mike definitely appreciates Maddy’s looks, from her plump thighs all the way down to her soft, round belly, and while it takes a while to convince Maddy of his genuine appreciation, they were absolutely perfect for each other.
I cannot WAIT for Tim to get his! He’s had such a good time laughing it up at poor Rick and Mike that it’s going to be utter joy to witness him fall ass over teakettle in love, especially with all of his slutty ways and his family issues.
Recommended for fans of realistically sized heroines who finally realize that they are so much more than their dress size, of deliciously over-protective alpha cop heroes who will do anything to get the woman they love, and some absolutely delicious sexy time balanced out with a sweet love-story.
Expected Release Date: September 13, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: SelThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 13, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self-Published (Fan Fatale) Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://fan-fatale.com My Source for This Book: Gift from the Author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Aftermath Cleaners Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
NiaMora is an Aftermath Cleaner. Joined by teammates Shoan and Kunai, they use their abilities to make certain that no evidence of the existence of magical creatures makes it into the hands of the humans whose world they now share. Nii’s ability to extract bodily fluids from crime scenes makes her very successful at what she does, and while she may wear sunglasses to prevent a Twinning (her people’s ability to recognize and bond with their fated mates), her friends and family are still very proud of her.
Strange things are happening in town however, from odd occurrences at crime scenes, to feelings of being watched, and the sudden appearance of not one but two incredibly fascinating men. Zan Wynn, a bad-boy with an awesome bike, has Nii securing her sunglasses against what she fears might be fate’s nudge towards her possible mate. Severin, a creature whose sole purpose is to bear witness to the births and deaths of those who are important to history, draws Nii in with more than just attraction — she and those around her desperately hope that he’s in town to witness the birth of her best friend’s child, and that this child might be the new Keeper of the Way, bringing the Fae essence back into the world.
What Nii doesn’t know, however, is that Severin is not in town for a birth — he’s here to bear witness to Nii’s own death. But something about Nii makes Severin want to forsake his duty for the first time in his very long life, and he is willing to do anything to protect the one woman who could actually make him feel.
I am excited to read more about the world of the Aftermath Cleaners, and have been told that there are two more novellas planned in the series. While I can’t help but wonder what a full-length novel would be like as far as world-building and character development would go, I am still pleased that other novellas will be in the same universe and will presumably expand quite a bit on the world I quickly grew to love in this one. I am also very excited to see Kunai’s story as well as Shona’s (though, I admit, I’m more excited about Kunai — how could I not be? He’s H-O-T.)
In the end, I really enjoyed this one. While I do think some readers will be a bit lost, simply because of Ms. Dubbin’s trademark pacing, for me, there were just enough snippits of a grander “universe” to keep me interested in the world as a whole, and enough character background and development to make me strongly root for Nii throughout the story.
Recommended for fans of fast paced Urban Fantasy with fascinating settings, of fated mates whose destinies are not so clearly defined, and of wicked humor intertwined with lots of pulse-pounding action.
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Red Sage Press Imprint:This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Red Sage Press Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://heathermassey.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
A giant battalion of Calithian invaders are moments away from crushing Earth’s forces, when Captain Michael Drake makes the momentous decision for his ship, the Relentless, to retreat, knowing that sometimes the best hope for success is to live to simply fight another day.
Limping away from battle, the Relentless’ integrated Calithian technology interferes with navigation, dropping the ship out of their jump in orbit around Vardos — a planet orbited by a maximum security penitentiary, and dubbed with the befitting name, Hades Station. Knowing that the war would have caused interruptions in supply shipments, Captain Drake and his crew board the station, fearing they might find nothing more than the remains of starved prisoners and guards.
Instead, they are quickly taken captive by a gang of convicts, and Drake soon comes face to face with Queenie — their ruthless yet beautiful leader.
Queenie was born and raised to be a leader of the people of Hades Station, and when a UFE starship is dropped in her lap, she immediately takes action to ensure that her people gain control, knowing that this might be their only chance to escape their prison. Ruthless and cold-blooded, Queenie is cruel by necessity, never hesitating to deal pain and violence to those who oppose her. Falling for a sexy starship captain, who wants nothing more than to manipulate her and her people into fighting a war to save a planet that long since abandoned them, is not an option.
But soon Drake’s fairness, honesty, and sense of loyalty get beneath her skin, and it isn’t long before he begins to convince her to see things his way. For a woman whose whole life is defined by her leadership and loyalty to her people, can she find a way to fulfill her duty to the other inhabitants of Hades Station while still giving her heart to the handsome Captain Drake?
Drake was delicious, Queenie herself was a delightful blend of ruthlessness and vulnerability, and the entire world with the Calithian war and the prison outpost made for an exciting read.
Queenie’s Brigade is currently a standalone novel, but there is a lot of potential for this one to expand into a series. While the author tells me that there are no concrete plans to transition into a series, both she and the publisher have expressed interest in possibly continuing the story some day. I for one hope that they do, because I think the war with the Calithians could lead to many interesting situations, and frankly, I’m rooting for Drake to finally find the redemption and forgiveness he’s seeking after his sister’s death.
Recommended for badass heroines who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, of tortured heroes battling between duty and attraction, and of exciting space operas complete with alien computers and lot of explosions.
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review (and giveaway through 11/4/11) please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 25, 2011 (AThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review (and giveaway through 11/4/11) please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 25, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Simon & Schuster Imprint: Pocket Star Author’s Website: http://www.cready.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the Publisher Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
FULL of tongue-in-cheek references to some of the most popular romances today, with hints of Twilight, Outlander, and pretty much any regency romance ever written, this book was an absolute blast.
I am about to admit something that will probably lose me some followers — I didn’t like Outlander. There. I said it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can definitely see the appeal of both the hero and the book as a whole, but for me, there were too many of my pet peeves running rampant throughout it for me to love it. Even so, however, I really enjoyed all of the obvious nods to Outlander in A Novel Seduction. From a red-headed virgin hero named “Jemmie” instead of Jamie, to a time traveling married woman named “Clara” instead of Claire, it touched on everything that was appealing about the story, and explained it in a way that even those hesitant to read romance could relate to.
In the end, I think that was one of the best parts of the story — watching a heroine who thought that romance novels were absolute drivel read only by women whose sex lives were non-existent fall in love with the genre in spite of herself. While a lot of the dialogue in the book was pretty much “preaching to the choir”, as anyone reading this novel is already a fan of the genre, it was fun to see in a heroine the very excitement that we as readers are overcome with when presented with a romance novel that we just love.
Don’t get me wrong, the relationship between Ellery and Axel is satisfying, but ultimately I think I enjoyed picking apart the romance genre even more. From trying out different positions as they’re written in romances (because let’s face it, when the hero’s a foot taller than the heroine, sometimes physics simply get in the way of a good time), to sneaking in a few minutes of reading your favorite romance when you think no one is looking, to getting into hours of discussion with other fans of one of your favorite books, all of it was so true to life that I think it will be hard for any fan of romances to not be able to identify.
Overall, this was not only an enjoyable look into the romance genre as a whole, but a satisfying romance between two people who were truly meant for each other, but who had previously let small differences get in the way of true love.
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: ManifThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Manifold Press Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://juliebozza.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the Publisher Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm – Steamy
This one started off so good. I was literally shooing Mr. Romanceaholic away while he was trying to talk to me so that I wouldn’t have to put it down, and then all of a sudden, Carmine was announcing that he was “in love” with Josh. My heart sank. I don’t really mind a “whirlwind romance”, because hey, they happen. However, “love at first sight” just doesn’t do it for me unless it’s a paranormal romance involving shape shifters and/or fated mates or somesuch. So when, after having met Josh twice, albeit in stressful situations, Carmine informed his mother that he was falling in love with Josh, despite having never even discussed Josh’s sexual preference or even his relationship statuses, it just didn’t fly for me. I think it would have been so much more satisfying, and perhaps more importantly, more believable, had he merely been intensely attracted to Josh, and love had come a little later in the novel.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the story ever fully recovered for me because of this.
The angst and tension caused by Carmine’s double crossing his boss/best friend was wonderful, and the courtroom drama a delight. The romance that was developing between Josh and Carmine was intense and angst-ridden due not only to the stress of the undercover operation, but because Josh had previously considered himself to be heterosexual, and as such was struggling with embarrassment, confusion, shame, anger, lust, guilt, developing emotional feelings and fear for Carmine’s life.
Fans of steamy romance should note that this novel ranks somewhere between my “Warm” and “Steamy” ratings — while lovemaking isn’t completely fade-to-black or behind closed doors, it’s still relatively chaste compared to most non-YA contemporary romances.
This book started off so strongly, with a distinctive author’s voice, interesting characters, and intriguing plot that I never quite got over my disappointment with the speed at which Carmine fell for Josh. It was almost as though it stumbled but instead of recovering and making me happy with the progression of both their relationship and the overall story arc, it seemed to continue with a bit of a limp. Add to that the lack of what I would consider to be a HEA, and unfortunately this one just didn’t rock me as I’d anticipated it would from the first few chapters.
Expected Release Date: October 18, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Random House Publishing Group Imprint: Del Rey Author’s Website: http://liahabel.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Dearly Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Almost two hundred years in the future, the world as we now know it is gone. Rapid climate shifts and nuclear war have reshaped both our planet and society as a whole. Desperate to find normalcy and civilization amongst the ruins, a new society is formed based on historical Victorian principals, and the New Victorians are born. Similar to their historical counterparts in manners and fashion, they embrace technology while at the same time rigorously enforcing strict societal rules.
But some people do not approve of the New Victorian society, with its inherent caste system and over-reliance on electricity and computer technology. These people rebelled, and embrace a simpler life, where a person’s worth stems from their wit and hard work rather than an accident of birth. Called the Punks by the New Victorians, the majority simply want to be left alone to live in peace, but enough radicals patrol the borders as to create an enormous amount of tension between the two groups.
In the middle of all of this is Nora Dearly, the orphan daughter of the now-deceased Victor Dearly, a prominent physician in his day.sec Well-off but not truly wealthy, Nora is a student at St. Cyprian’s — an all-girl’s academy whose mission it is to turn her into a useless “lady”. Despite her schooling, Nora has a deep love for war movies — something that by all rights should make a delicate lady swoon — and a penchant for speaking out of turn.
Returning home on holiday, she’s disgusted to learn that her Aunt has run through her inheritance with her luxurious lifestyle, and intends that Nora find a rich husband as soon as possible, despite the fact that they are literally a day out of mourning for her late father. Love, attraction, or even liking the man are completely irrelevant in her aunt’s mind, and Nora is horrified by her aunt’s attitude and behavior.
Soon, however, it becomes apparent that Nora’s concerns of money and marriage are the least of her worries. Alone in the house while her aunt is off trying to secure a rich husband, Nora goes to investigate a noise only to discover something out of a horror story — rotting, crazed corpses overrunning her house, determined to get their hands on her. Desperate for escape, she is rescued by masked soldiers who spirit her away — only these are no ordinary soldiers, and Nora’s world is about to change forever.
As many of you may know, I don’t typically gravitate towards Young Adult Novels, simply because I tend to prefer steamier fare. However, every now and then a book comes along that reminds me that there are YA novels whose storytelling more than makes up for any “lack” in physical romance, and this was certainly one of them.
I have always enjoyed Steampunk, but I’ve never had a chance to read “cyber-Victorian”. While I’m not certain what the “official” definition is for either term, Steampunk to me is Victorian-style society only with technological advances that were not truly available at the time, all powered by steam engines and clockwork mechanisms (think automata, elevators, steam powered cars, etc.). Cyber-Victorian is even more interesting — it’s Victorian-style society but with actual computerized technology like we have today — flatscreen television, email, PDA’s, cellphones, etc. I loved the contrasts of bustles and corsets and arranged marriages and the aristocracy against cell phones and digital diaries and computers and medical technology.
I loved all of the main characters — Nora, Bram, Pam, and even Victor — and while I found the POV jumps to be disorienting at first, I soon became accustomed to them and even found myself enjoying the different perspectives.
The entire main concept of a zombie virus that might actually leave you.. well… yourself.. was very intriguing to me. Sure, there were the Grays (zombies who lost all of their humanity when they reanimated), but so many were exactly as they had been, only dead.
Plus, the entire fact that the members of Z Company were embalmed and ate tofu made me laugh.
Overall, even with the POV shifts, this one is firmly on my keeper shelf, and I am greatly looking forward to the next installment.