Expected Release Date: June 21, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequ...moreThis 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(less)
While none of the stories actually blew me away, I loved that the overall theme was the Hero In Pursuit and Unrequited Love. Combining those two themes with other favorites such as a Virgin Hero, a Reformed Rake, and Arranged Marriages, definitely added to my enjoyment.
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Im...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Imprint: Forever Author’s Website: http://www.carolynjewel.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 4, My Immortal series Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Paisley Nichols is just a regular woman working hard to fulfill her dream of running a successful bakery. It’s been quite a while since the bitter breakup with her last boyfriend, she decides it’s time to put herself back into the dating pool. Unfortunately for her, she chooses the wrong man, who unbeknownst to her is a powerful mage who not only begins stalking her, but who has done something to her — something that makes her begin to believe that she’s losing her mind.
Having gone through his own bitter breakup (to the extreme), Iskander is a demon who never allows anyone to get close. An attractive man, he constantly moves from one woman to the next, with absolutely no chance of getting his heart involved. When Paisley’s upstairs apartment is broken into by the insane mage who is stalking her, he knows that he has no choice but to protect her. He soon discovers that his tenant, whom he previously thought was a vanilla (non-magical) human, has also come into an incredible power that makes her a valuable ally and asset to his warlord. Now it is up to him to protect her from a man who is determined to not only possess Paisley, but to destroy Iskander at all cost…
One thing that always makes me wary of starting a paranormal romance novel is when it opens with a glossary of terms. Things likefiends and vanilla and mages grace the first few pages, but I was happy to discover that with very few exceptions, the glossary really was not needed. While I do think that readers would be better served to read the series, as there are quite a few details and nuances that seem to be missing from both relationships and the world itself, it worked reasonably well as a standalone. I certainly enjoyed the basic premise, as well as the universe that Paisley and Iskander live in.
Recommended for fans of commitment-phobic heroes who finally find true love, “normal” heroines who become extraordinary, a splash of suspense and action, frosted with some delicious sensuality. 3.5/5 Stars (less)
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Im...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Imprint: Forever Author's Website: http://www.jamialden.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, unnamed trilogy Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Having dated for a while, Megan Flynn and homicide detective Cole Williams had yet to consummate their relationship (despite some blistering hot kisses). On the night that their relationship was about to be taken to the next level, Cole was interrupted by a call from his partner, insisting on his presence at a murder scene. As his partner rattled off the address, Megan realized that it was her brother Sean's address. Demanding that Cole tell her what was going on, Cole ignored her protests and told her to remain where she was, and left. Megan, of course, couldn't be stopped where her brother was concerned, and immediately went to her brother's house, where she was greeted with the image of Cole arresting Sean.
Knowing in her heart that Sean was innocent, she begged Cole to help her free her brother from wrongful imprisonment, but instead, Cole immediately went cold and cut off their relationship.
Two years later, despite still having no memory of what actually happened that night, Sean has decided to stop fighting for appeals and allow an execution date to be set. Megan is devastated -- she's spent the entire past two years investigating and harassing everyone she can think of to try to find the real murderer before it's too late for her brother.
When a frightening turn of events brings Cole back into her life, Megan must decide if she can trust Cole after his bitter betrayal two years prior, and he must do everything he can to protect her from the dangers she faces as she digs herself deeper and deeper into an investigation that makes her the prime target for a madman...
Sensitive readers should be aware that this book contains several scenes of explicit rape and violence.
I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series as well, which will star Sean and the prosecutor responsible for his wrongful conviction.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed it. While I think this story was much less about the suspense and mystery than it was about faith in those you love and rebuilding trust where it has been broken, I did enjoy the suspense aspect as well as the urgency brought about by the impending execution date of Megan's brother.
Recommended for fans of redemption after betrayal, self-sacrificing heroines (and heroes), and of a very creepy murderer obsessed with the heroine. 4/5 Stars.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Av...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://www.lynsaysands.net/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Madison Sisters Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Hot
Ever since reading The Countess, I’d been anxious to find out what was going to happen between Suzette and Daniel.
Suzette is an heiress. She and her two sisters have inherited an extensive dower that they will be able to access once they are married. At the insistence of their family, however, they’ve kept it a secret to help keep them safe from fortune hunters. Suzette’s older sister, Christina, married a man in what she thought was a love match, only to discover that he was really only after her money. And to make matters worse, their father has once again gambled away their estate, and the only way to save the family from scandal and ruin is for Suzette to marry immediately so that she may access her dower.
Suzette has learned a lesson from her sister’s unhappy marriage however. Since you cannot count on a love match, the only way Suzette sees to retain power in any marriage is to make her husband dependent on her. She decides to seek out a man desperately in need of her money, who will in turn allow her to keep half of her extensive fortune, and to retain her freedom.
Daniel grew up in poverty. Unlike most people in the same situation, however, his mother insisted on pretending to have a fortune, so society never really suspected. Now, with the help of his best friend Richard, he has gained a true fortune through investments, and yet knows that his fortune is the most attractive feature amongst the marriage-minded mamas determined to marry him off to their daughters.
When Suzette meets Daniel and begins to explain her need for a hasty marriage, she asks him outright if he has money. Thinking that she’s only out for his fortune, and that the quickest way to scare her off is to tell her he is poor, he bends the truth and tells her about his childhood without mentioning his reversal of fortunes. He’s shocked when not only is Suzette thrilled by his apparent poverty, but when she immediately proposed marriage. Even more surprising than that though, is the intense physical attraction and chemistry between them when they end up kissing in the garden after she basically insinuates that he’s no good at kissing (and so of course he has to prove her wrong).
While the first half of the novel being basically a recap from the last story in a different POV would likely help newcomers to the series know what was going on, I still suggest reading The Countess before picking this one up. I thought to myself several times that I was glad that I’d read the first one or else I’d be well and truly lost, since Dicky’s actual death was pretty much glossed over, as was a lot of the plot that Dicky had made (not to mention the fact that the real murderer was never mentioned in this book even though it was revealed in the first).
There were also a few Too Stupid To Live moments on Suzette’s part, but I mostly forgave that simply because the UST was so delicious between the two. Plus, their courtship is pretty much a comedy of errors, which was greatly entertaining, even when you wanted to shake some sense into Suzette.
Overall, the hotness of this story helped to overcome the fact that the first half of it was mainly a recap of the first book and Suzette needed to be smacked on occasion. Recommended for fans of whirlwind romances, tiny lies that spin out of control, and evil plots by villains determined to keep the hero and heroine apart.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Av...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://www.mayarodale.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Writing Girl Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
This book wasn’t quite what I expected, but in a good way. Simon is what I like to call, a man-ho. He loves women — their taste, their smell, the touch of their skin, and one thing that sets him apart from other rakes is that he doesn’t make the mistake of thinking that women are all interchangeable. Instead, he enjoys falling in love. Over and over and over. For about a week or two at a time.
Julianna made the mistake of falling in love with a rake when she was 17, and even though he loved her as well, their love didn’t last and he went back to his promiscuous and scandalous ways. When he was killed trying to manage his drink, a prostitute, and a carriage (all at the same time), Julianna was left almost penniless because her horrible husband left the majority of his estate to previous mistresses and the illegitimate children he’d fathered by them. Julianna has turned to writing as not only a way to make money, but also a way to earn her own self-respect.
This book had a lot of what I like to call “exterior angst”, where things like societal opinions and familial ultimatums create most of the stress. There was Simon’s fall from grace, the revenge scandal he visited upon Julianna, his reasons for marrying, and Julianna’s employment issues which caused most of the trouble for these two, and yet in the end, the real issue was whether Simon could remain faithful, and whether Julianna could risk her heart with someone proven to be fickle.
Above all, though, this book was fun. The things repercussions of their ruined reputations aside, the banter and little revenge plots between Simon and Julianna were immensely entertaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall for each other. I still wish there’d been an epilogue so that we could see that Simon was really and truly faithful to her, but even so, 4/5 Stars.(less)
I really liked it, but then again, I had kinda sorta already read books 3-5, so I had a bit of an advantage going into this one. I can honestly say I...moreI really liked it, but then again, I had kinda sorta already read books 3-5, so I had a bit of an advantage going into this one. I can honestly say I see why so many people told me to start with Book 3, though, because I think I would have been a wee bit lost had I not already had a firm understanding of the universe this was set in. The character development was a bit overshadowed in my opinion by all of the action (though I loved the action!), and of course, being an early entry into an UF novel, there's no actual "romance" which probably would've turned me off had I read this one first.
A full eview may someday follow when I finally get my review queue tamed a bit. (less)
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Hachet...moreThis 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.(less)
Expected Release Date: December 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harp...moreThis 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: Available Now! Publisher: Self-Published Imprint: N...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Self-Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.angelaverdenius.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the Author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Big Girls Lovin’ Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
When the author approached me about this book, I knew from the moment that I read the blurb that I was going to love it, and I was right.
Cherry, a nurse in a private hospital, has always been uncomfortable with her figure. A voluptuous woman, all she can see when she looks in the mirror is that her many generous curves don’t match up with all the other slim things she sees in the media, nor with the skinny misses she always sees getting their man. To make matters worse, men always see her as “one of the guys” — always a friend, but not actually girlfriend material.
Now 35, an incredibly frank discussion with her two best (and slim) friends leads her to make a move that she’d never in a million years pictured herself doing — hiring a male prostitute to take her virginity before she’s too old to enjoy herself.
One painfully embarrassing phone call later, and she has everything scheduled — she’s to meet Damien under an assumed name at a local hotel, at the bargain rate of $400 for two hours of entertainment.
Rick has just moved into town as a new doctor, about to begin his practice at the same hospital that Cherry works at. On the fateful night that Cherry is scheduled to meet with Damien, Rick has a few too many drinks at the bar and his friend Tim tells him that there is a little surprise for him back in his hotel room. When he reaches his room, he’s thrilled to find Cherry, and thinking that she is the surprise that Tim mentioned, he enthusiastically partakes of everything Cherry has to offer. Afterwards, he falls asleep holding her, and she quietly slips away, leaving payment in his wallet.
It’s not until the next morning when Cherry receives a phone call at her home from the escort service apologizing for Damien having not shown up the previous night, and Rick wakes up and realizes that he’s in the wrong hotel room, that they both realize that there’s been a huge mix-up, and while Rick is desperate to find the rubenesque goddess who completely rocked his world the night before, Cherry wants nothing more than to pretend the whole thing never happened and put the whole humiliating thing behind her.
Of course, once they return to work…
Since there was an issue for me about some of the wording and language used, I do want to remind readers that the author is Australian and that there is a definite language difference between Australian English and American English. I’ll let you battle it out over which one is better or more pure or whatever, but both of my issues with the language very likely stemmed from the difference in our location.
Overall, though, it was a very enjoyable story. Rick was a bit too arrogant for my tastes, and Cherry really did have some deep seated body issues, but I think they balanced each other very nicely. I liked that Rick was so incredibly attracted to Cherry, and not just for her voluptuous figure, and that he was the one chasing her. While some of the comments from people around Cherry seemed a little outlandish — I’ve never had any of the sort of comments that Cherry had to endure, though I do live in a smaller city than she does — I absolutely loved how Rick would stand up for her, and how she finally managed to stand up for herself which was a very big accomplishment for her.
Recommended for fans of heroines dealing with very real issues of not living up to society’s standard, heroes who think that real women have curves, and a sweet and spicy love story.
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Autho...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Author’s Website: http://www.susanandersen.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Sisterhood Diaries Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
On Netgalley, this book was categorized as “FICTION – ADULT: Other: Coming of Age”. I admit that I didn’t notice that when I requested the book, and probably wouldn’t have requested it if I had, because I simply don’t “do” chick-lit. However, I am incredibly glad that I didn’t see the category before I requested it, because I would’ve missed out on a real gem of a book!
In short? I loved it! It was light while still dealing with life issues, steamy without being trashy, and sweet without being saccharine. Ava has never fully embraced her curves, despite the fact that she’s worked hard to get and maintain her curvy figure of a fit size 12. Cade has never been able to fully make up to her for his cruel prank in high school. Throw in her work as a successful concierge, his skill as a producer/director of hit documentaries, a little intrigue about some missing diamonds, two friends who would walk through fire for our heroine, and some delicious chemistry, and you’ve got a truly enjoyable read.
Recommended for fans of realistically sized heroines, righting a wrong that’s plagued you since high school, and having BFF’s who stick with you through everything. A very enthusiastic 4/5 Stars
Expected Release Date: June 20, 2011 Publisher: Carina Press Imprint: N/A A...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 20, 2011 Publisher: Carina Press Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.karenwritesromance.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Merry Widows Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
At 31 years old and a widow, the Dowager Lady Renwick has never been able to indulge in satisfying bed sport. Her deceased husband was much older than she was, and let’s just say he was no master of the sensual arts. Finally out of mourning, she decides that it’s time for her to indulge in an affair — and who better to do it with than the incredibly sexy Garrett Walker, a known rake who is also every matchmaking mama’s dream?
Garrett enters into the affair knowing that Lady Julia is only a temporary amusement. What he didn’t expect, however, was her beautiful responsiveness and his own possessive pride in teaching her about carnal enjoyment. In a very short time, he realizes that not only does he not want his affair to end the Season, but that he also can’t imagine spending his life with anyone other than Julia.
Sometimes you just need a good historical novella, and this story came to me at the perfect time. While I of course enjoy longer works, I did feel that this was just the right length for the story that needed to be told. The chemistry between Julia and Garrett was wonderful, and I’ve always been a fan of the “affair that turns to love” plot line. The chemistry was wonderful, the love scenes were very well done, and while their relationship progressed very quickly, I never doubted their feelings for one another.
Recommended for fans of widows daring to be scandalous, young rakes blindsided by love, and a sweetly romantic Grand Gesture.
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Author’s Website: http://www.kaseymichaels.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Blackthorn Brothers Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
The illegitimate son of a marquess, Oliver was raised and educated far above his station. He lived with his father in his grand estate, received an education befitting the legal heir of a marquess, and was incredibly wealthy. Unfortunately, being brought up in such an accepting environment also left him quite naive. At age 22, he failed to see that society viewed him as a joke — a bastard son who would never truly be one of them. It was because of this naiveté that he failed to realize that his suit to the lovely Madelyn was only a prank on her part, culminating in his very painful, and very public, humiliation at the hands of her brother.
Barely more than a child at the time of that incident, Lady Chelsea is now in grave danger of being married off to the most horrible man she can imagine — Francis Flotley — a man who has not only conned his way into her brother’s life by claiming to be a spiritual leader, but one who very plainly hates women and will take great pleasure in breaking Chelsea, physically and mentally, once they are married. Given just a moment to formulate her escape, she runs to Oliver’s lodgings, knowing that if she can convince him to elope with her, that she will not only be able to escape her fate with Mr. Flotley, but that she can offer Oliver the one thing that tempts him the most: the ultimate revenge against her brother.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this one. I do adore a good revenge plot, and I loved that despite his disillusions he was much more of a gentleman than others in the story who actually carried the title. While the trip to Gretna Green seemed to take much longer than I’d have liked it, the pacing actually worked fairly nicely as it allowed Oliver and Chelsea to actually get to know one another before saying their vows.
Recommended for fans of sudden elopements, heroes on the outer rungs of society, revenge plots, and convoluted family arrangements. 4/5 Stars(less)
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Auth...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Author’s Website: http://www.nicolacornick.co.uk My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Book 4, Scandalous Women of the Ton Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
*Whew* This one was a complete roller coaster!
Susanna Burney has not had an easy life. At age 17, she eloped with the man of her dreams, and then the next day, after having spent a wonderful night in his bed, sacrificed her marriage out of misguided love. Kicked out by her family, she’s had to make her way in life without anyone’s assistance, and despite what others may think of her when they learn her secrets, she never prostituted herself out. Instead, she became a Matchbreaker — someone hired by wealthy families to tempt away the potential grooms in unsuitable relationships. Telling herself that she’s actually doing the women a favor — since if the man truly loved their women, they wouldn’t be tempted away, she is so close to finally having enough money to pay off her creditors and retire to the country with her young wards.
James is unapologetically a fortune hunter. Having grown up experiencing the extremes of wealth and poverty that only the children of notorious gamblers can known, he’s not happy with just his inherited title and place in society. He forms a match with a woman he has no hope of loving, in order to get his hands on her fortune. His younger sister has also done some fortune hunting of her own — having fallen in love with the heir to a dukedom, and expecting him to offer for her at any moment. However, the heir’s parents are less than pleased that a nobody like Chessie could possibly ensnare their son, and so enters Susanna.
There’s only one small problem, however. The “man of her dreams” that Susanna eloped with when she was 17? That would be James.
While I’m not typically a fan of novels where the main characters could have solved their problems had they just sat down and talked in the first chapter, I admit I did enjoy this one. There was so much history and bitterness between the two of them that I could forgive the overuse of a Big Misunderstanding and their constant and deliberate verbal wounding of one another. While there were a couple plot devices that I could’ve done without, and infidelity in some form or another by so many of the major characters, the angst was delicious, and the resolution was satisfying.
Recommended for fans of estranged marriages, blackmail, and Big Misunderstandings. 3.5/5 Stars
Expected Release Date: June 13, 2011 Publisher: Carina Press Imprint: N/A A...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 13, 2011 Publisher: Carina Press Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.lillycain.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, The Confederacy Treaty Series Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
The people of Earth have recently discovered that they are not alone in the universe, and are in the process of forming a treaty with an alliance of worlds that will hopefully be beneficial to all parties involved. During the peace talks, Captain Susan Branscombe was captured and brutally tortured by terrorists, and the information that she gave them was used to orchestrate an attack on the peace talks. Now rescued, Susan has come under suspicion of treason, and is to be given over to the Inarri for interrogation.
The Inarri are physically similar to humans, with the exception of nerve pathways all over their bodies that resemble henna tattoos. They also have what we would consider to be psychic powers — they are able to communicate telepathically amongst their own race, and by utilizing touch, are able to probe the minds of humans as well. Amongst their own people, the Inarri also use touch and sexuality as a way of comforting each other, and are much more uninhibited (and some might say, promiscuous) than their human counterparts.
Asler is the Examiner assigned to the case, and it is his duty to relive Sue’s torture with her in her mind in order to gain the truth. He is not at all anticipating the process, however. He knows that being forced to relive her torture might just break her, and while he knows what he has to do for the good of his people and the future treaty, he’s not a cruel man who would take pleasure in hurting her. Unfortunately, neither of them has a choice in the matter, and Susan is soon taken to the Inarri ship for interrogation.
This book had one of my favorite premises — one of the main characters was severely physically injured. I also loved the psychic elements, and Susan’s own potential with it. The sensuality was delicious without being PWP, and as always, I loved the political machinations that they had to deal with.
Since forced nudity is so squicky to me, it did lose an entire star from the final rating, despite the fact that Sue stopped caring about her embarrassment in a very short amount of time. Readers who are not bothered by or enjoy this type of thing will likely rate it much higher. Recommended for fans of heroines with a traumatic past, psychic bonding, and political machinations, all with a healthy splash of delicious sensuality. 3.5/5 Stars(less)
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Im...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Imprint: Forever Author's Website: http://www.carolynjewel.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 4, My Immortal series Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Paisley Nichols is just a regular woman working hard to fulfill her dream of running a successful bakery. It's been quite a while since the bitter breakup with her last boyfriend, she decides it's time to put herself back into the dating pool. Unfortunately for her, she chooses the wrong man, who unbeknownst to her is a powerful mage who not only begins stalking her, but who has done something to her -- something that makes her begin to believe that she's losing her mind.
Having gone through his own bitter breakup (to the extreme), Iskander is a demon who never allows anyone to get close. An attractive man, he constantly moves from one woman to the next, with absolutely no chance of getting his heart involved. When Paisley's upstairs apartment is broken into by the insane mage who is stalking her, he knows that he has no choice but to protect her. He soon discovers that his tenant, whom he previously thought was a vanilla (non-magical) human, has also come into an incredible power that makes her a valuable ally and asset to his warlord. Now it is up to him to protect her from a man who is determined to not only possess Paisley, but to destroy Iskander at all cost...
One thing that always makes me wary of starting a paranormal romance novel is when it opens with a glossary of terms. Things like fiends and vanilla and mages grace the first few pages, but I was happy to discover that with very few exceptions, the glossary really was not needed. While I do think that readers would be better served to read the series, as there are quite a few details and nuances that seem to be missing from both relationships and the world itself, it worked reasonably well as a standalone. I certainly enjoyed the basic premise, as well as the universe that Paisley and Iskander live in.
Recommended for fans of commitment-phobic heroes who finally find true love, "normal" heroines who become extraordinary, a splash of suspense and action, frosted with some delicious sensuality. 3.5/5 Stars(less)
The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously await...more The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously awaiting her 21st birthday, still two years off, when she will gain access to a trust fund that will finally allow her to live. She wants to travel the world, have an adventure, and most decidedly not turn into her boring, staid, proper mother.
All of those dreams are shattered when it's announced that her father has sold her into marriage to an English Earl she's only met once -- without even asking her!
It's simply too much to be borne, so Winnifred hatches a plan to shock the Earl's sensibilities so that he won't have her!
Unfortunately for her, Sir David Knightsbridge, Earl of Wolshingham, desperately needs her money to pull the family estates back from the bankruptcy his scapegrace father has almost forced them into. When Winn tries to shock the Earl, he informs her in no uncertain terms that even if she is the whore she is acting like, there's no escaping the bargain made between David and her father, so she'd better get used to it!
Realizing her plan is foiled, she reveals that she was only trying to drive him away, and that her biggest fears are turning into a Proper Society Matron like her mother. David, however, surprises her by encouraging her to enjoy life, so long as he's the one by her side when she does it.
Just when the young lovers think that things will work themselves out, gossip turns to scandal, threatening to ruin the love they've only just begun to discover.
What worked for me: *I'm a big fan of arranged marriages in romance. Something about being forced to be together and yet working things out for a happy ending greatly appeals to me.
*I adored Margaret. :D
*I liked that Winn's father was very much in love with his wife, and never partook of the pleasures offered at the brothel run by one of his biggest clients. That was quite refreshing, especially since he was one of the "bad guys" so to speak in the story.
*I literally laughed out loud when Winn read the naughty French diary to David while her mother was in the room (never fear -- her mother couldn't understand a word of French)
What didn't work for me:
*I'm not a big fan of crude sexual language in my romance, even in erotic romance. It's just not my thing. Kitty cats, roosters, words that rhyme with "punt" all abound in this story, and I personally could've done without it.
*I really did not like David in the beginning. He comes across less like an "alpha male" and more like a big bully. I don't like when heroes grope the heroine the first time they meet, especially when it's a case of asserting their authority rather than both of them being overcome with lust.
My view of him did change, however, as he began to become entranced by Winn and when he decided that he wanted her to be happy with him.
*There was at least one (I say two, really) Too Stupid To Live moments that really annoyed me. The first is how one of the rumors got started and the last was right before the end.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the story. It was a fun time period to be set in, what with Coney Island, "horseless carriages", and crank telephones. I haven't read many stories set during this time period and found it to be quite enjoyable. As I mentioned, I could've done without David's initial bullying, and without the crude language, but I did feel as though the characters were well-developed and that there was genuine caring and chemistry between them, especially towards the end.
Expected Release Date: July 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequ...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Presents Author’s Website: http://www.lynnegraham.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Volakis Vow Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot Years ago, Tally’s mother tried to trap a tycoon into marriage by intentionally getting pregnant. Unfortunately for her, he didn’t succumb to her machinations, and instead merely provided for Tally, whom he considers to be his dirty little secret. When he asks her for the favor of watching out for her half sister at a house party, she reluctantly goes along, even though the 17-year old resents her presence, and refuses to acknowledge her as family. Instead, Tally is forced to pose as her sister’s “assistant”, and is treated as little better than a servant amongst her sister’s rich friends.
Sander Volakis is an independent man. His older brother was the apple of his parents’ eye, and nothing he could do ever compared to his paragon sibling. When his brother dies, Sander is forced back into the family fold to help with the business that is floundering under his late brother’s control, and when his father insists that he attend a house party thrown by the family of his deceased brother’s fiance, he can do little but simply go along with the plan.
As soon as Tally sees Sander, she’s mesmerized. His physique and presence awaken dormant feelings of desire for the first time in her life, and the fact that he seems taken by her is a huge ego boost as well. Despite the fact that she has never been with a man, she begins to feel a connection to Sander, and gives herself to him in what turns out to be a very dissatisfying and even humiliating experience.
Put off of physical intimacy completely by that horrible experience, she walks away from Sander and never intends to look back. Unfortunately for her, he is intrigued by the woman who refuses to be enraptured by him, and sets out to seduce her. When she bluntly informs him that she expects exclusivity from any man that she has a relationship with, he’s furious because he thinks she’s just like other women who try to pin him down. He quickly realizes though, that if he wants to pursue their attraction, he’ll have to make concessions, and agrees that so long as he’s still interested in her, he will remain exclusive.
Their relationship progresses until one night, Tally catches him kissing and caressing another (more beautiful and sophisticated) woman and walks out on him. Of course, things are never that simple, as she soon discovers that he’s left behind more than just her broken heart — she’s pregnant! I was a little surprised as to just how much I enjoyed this one. The angst was absolutely delicious and the love scenes were incredibly hot. You could feel the chemistry between the two of them, and their explosive liaisons never disappointed. I really adored how the fact that she was a powerful man’s daughter came into play, and how her having hidden that fact initially made things that much worse in Sander’s eyes.
It is absolutely killing me that this book is actually part of a duet, because it ended on such a happy note that I felt that the story was complete. Instead, the next book (due out in August in the US) opens with Tally and Sander getting a divorce! This knowledge detracted greatly from my satisfaction with the ending, and while I’m sure that Bride For Real will end in a HEA, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to trust it when it comes.
Overall, however, this was a delightful read. Full of melodramatic angst and misunderstandings just like all of my favorite Harlequin Presents novels, I would highly recommend this one for fans of accidental pregnancies, heroes who are blackmailed into marriage, and affairs that end on a sour note yet turn into a sweet love.
Expected Release Date: February 22, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harp...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: February 22, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://www.julieannelong.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, Pennyroyal Green Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
When Ian Eversea is caught with his pants down — literally — by the Duke of Falconbridge, in the bedroom of Falconbridge’s fiance, he is right to fear for his life. However, some of the vicious rumors circling the Duke are true, especially the one that intimates that he savors his revenge as a dish best served cold. Being forced to escape out a window without his clothes, Ian knows that he has gotten off lightly. A short time later, Ian’s family, knowing nothing of this incident, is thrilled to discover that they are to have an incredibly distinguished guest for a few weeks — Alex Moncrieffe, the Duke of Falconbridge.
Unfortunately for them, Moncrieffe has decided to partake of his revenge, by taking something valuable and beloved from Ian — his sister.
Intending to seduce and then discard Genevieve, he’s astonished to discover that while she’s a bit on the plain side, there is so much more to her than first appears, and he cannot help but to find himself intrigued by her.
Recovering from the heartbreak of discovering that the man she loves is not only oblivious to her feelings but actually intends to wed her best friend, Genevieve is not exactly sparkling company for the Duke. In fact, she does everything she can to, politely of course, tell him to bugger off. Far from discouraging him, however, he’s intrigued by her quick thinking and obvious personal depths, as well as the mystery of her heartbreak, and soon an unlikely friendship blossoms.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Between Moncrieffe’s dark past, Genevieve’s heartbreak, the revenge plot, and the delightful ongoing torment of Ian, I simply couldn’t put it down. While I was incredibly frustrate with Genevieve towards the end, I couldn’t put it down.
Recommended for fans of brutally painful unrequited love, of dark and brooding older heroes entranced by a younger and surprisingly mature heroine, and of grand gestures by heroes gambling for the heroine’s heart.
Expected Release Date: September 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self...moreThis 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: August 8, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harleq...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: August 8, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Desire Author’s Website: http://www.oliviagates.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Pride of Zohayd Trilogy Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
Prince Amjad Al Shalaan once entered into a political marriage for the sake of his country. He graciously forgave the fact that his bride did not come to him a virgin as custom dictated — after all, he’d chosen her from a list of suitable candidates only a few weeks before the wedding, and since he was not a virgin himself, it seemed hypocritical to punish her for her missing virginity. He even forgave her when she turned out to be carrying the child of another man. What he couldn’t forgive, however, was her almost successful plot with her lover to murder him.
Ever since, Amjad has been tainted by a bad reputation — that of a Mad Sheikh, because he is completely untouchable. Women vie for a place in his bed, but he turns away everyone — even to the point that detractors have begun to speculate about his sexual orientation. His celibacy has become a thing of legend, but even that does not come close to the rumors of his paranoia…
Princess Maram has her own bad reputation. Having been forced into a political marriage to a man she viewed as her uncle, she flouted traditional mourning and almost immediately married a young, rich playboy, whom she promptly divorced after he was disowned from his family. Having grown up in America, she has little patience for the pomp and circumstance (and restrictions) placed on a princess from her country, though her patriotism does run deep.
She is also incredibly attracted to Prince Amjad from the neighboring kingdom of Zohyad. Intrigued rather than repulsed by both his reputation and his aloof personality, she has fancied herself in love with him from the start.
The two constantly trade barbs, but underneath it all is a simmering attraction.
Amjad intended to take Maram’s father hostage in order to force him to return the property that he has stolen from Amjad’s kingdom. When the king instead send Maram in his place, Amjad is forced to alter his plans, and intends to use the princess as his unknowing hostage instead. Maram sees the freak sandstorm that traps her with Amjad in a secluded villa as a blessing in disguise. Knowing that she need only tempt him to act on the sizzling attraction between them, she is brutally honest with Amjad about both her feelings for him and her desire. Soon they are both swept away by their passions, but when the storm passes, and Maram realizes that Amjad has been using her, will her love for him stand, or will his betrayal be the final straw?
I absolutely loved the first half of this book! The incredible betrayal at the beginning, the verbal sparring between Amjad and Maram, the tension built by Maram’s secret kidnapping and the intimacy created by their forced isolation was absolutely delicious. While I enjoyed the book in its entirety, there was something about the second half that simply didn’t appeal to me as much. Perhaps it was the tantric sex angle, or the fact that while they supposedly hiked and whatnot it seemed that all they did was bed each other, but there was just something missing once they began to sleep together. While Amjad’s ulterior motives for being with Maram created a delicious amount of angst, I really felt as though her feelings were a bit extreme. Granted, she’d fully given herself to him while he maintained his prior aloofness, but for love to turn to hate so quickly seemed a bit out of character for Maram.
In the end though, it was still a very enjoyable read. The back and forth sparring between the two made this book worth reading alone, because Maram is not your typical milquetoast virgin who lets the hero walk all over her. Instead, she’s a strong, modern woman, who knows what she wants and boldly goes after it, all the while nurturing a vulnerable heart.
Recommended for fans of modern heroines with a healthy dose of sarcasm, untouchable heroes who find themselves ensnared, and an angsty downfall of both hero and heroine, topped with a beautiful Grand Gesture and a very satisfying HEA.
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequ...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Historical Author’s Website: http://www.michellewillingham.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, The MacKinloch Clan Series Best Read In Order: Worked Well As A Standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Alex and Laren have never quite had the approval of their clan as a couple. Laren is the daughter of a beggar, and as such her family was barely tolerated by the clan. Alex was in line for the position of chief, and refused to enter into a political marriage and instead wed the love of his life, Laren.
Shortly after the death of their infant son, however, both retreated from the other in their grief, and somewhere along the way they’ve lost the partnership they once shared. Alex, having to maintain a strong appearance for the sake of his clan, has never grieved openly for the death of his son, and instead pours his efforts into protecting and shaping the clan. Laren, being shy and having never found true acceptance within the clan, turned to the local priest, who secretly taught her the art of glassmaking. Keeping her skills from both her husband and the rest of the clan, she has begun to perfect her art, creating gorgeous stained-glass windows in secret.
When an attack on the clan turns everyone on their head, and at the encouragement of one of the few people who know of her work, decides to sell some of her work as a commission to the Church, knowing that if she can bring money into the clan with her own skills, that she will finally have earned the respect of her clan, and hopefully, of her husband.
When Alex appears to still want Laren to change into someone she isn’t — a woman who can help him to lead the clan — she’s heartbroken. Refusing to give up her craft, she slowly begins to regain the attention and affection of her husband.
However, when their young daughter is kidnapped by their enemies, will their newly rediscovered love be enough?
Overall, I found this one a lot more enjoyable than I’d anticipated. I’m not overly fond of “estrangement” stories as a rule, but the gulf between Alex and Laren wasn’t the result of callousness or insensitivity, but rather the result of a deep grief that neither knew how to properly express. Laren’s skill with stained glass was very interesting to read about, as was her journey to both rediscover her love for her husband and to become the leader that her clan needed her to be.
While this is the second book in the series, I do feel that it worked well as a standalone, which was also a plus.
Recommended for fans of a marriage stretched to its breaking point by fear and grief, of two lovers finding each other again despite their differences, and of breathing life into glass to create something of both beauty and value, and all smothered with a healthy dose of Highland Plaid ;)