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Monday, March 27, 2006

Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor

The day has finally arrived ladies and gents (if there are some out there), the long awaited day for me anyway when I can finally run to the bookstore and nab this book that I've been waiting with baited breath to come out.

Sword of Darkness is on bookshelves at WalMart already, I know this because a friend of ours saw it, bought it and read it and even LOVED it, so I know this to be true. Since I'm broker than broke (on my book budget) I weedled my brother into buying it for me at Wal Mart on his lunch break, he grumbled a whole lot about actually buying the book for me, but when I told him that I would reveal his secret he wants me to keep at all costs, he was quick to say, "Okay but you owe me", which I'll gladly go through just to have this book.

I will finally have a reason to stay up at all hours of the night, since the last few nights I haven't been able to sleep a wink until about 2 am. Last night, I got off the phone with Holly thinking that I was beyond tired, but after I signed off with her, I stared up at my ceiling, willing my eyes to close so that I can fall into uninterrupted sleeping bliss because I knew I had to be up early this morning to get the daughter's lunch ready for her field trip today. But that wasn't the case, I stared up at the ceiling until 2:57am and then finally dozed off only to be shaken awake twenty minutes later because the daughter was cold. After I tucked her in with yet another blanket, she went back to sleep and I followed suit. I didn't wake up again until 7:12am (I ALWAYS wake up at 7:12 am on the week days, it's freaky) and then I was running late. The daughter had to be at school at 8am, the lunches needed to be made and she still needed to shower.

But whatever, I'm getting off track here! Today is the day to get those books, read them and love them because I'm all kinds of sure that I'm going to love this book!

Kerrigan, here I come!

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Hero Spotlight of the Week: Wrath.

Okay, so the folks here at Sanctuary's Finest have decided that each week, we'll spotlight one of the heroes from our books, because we want to.

The hero that we're going to spotlight is some worthy hero from any book that we've read that we can't get enough of, a hero that we can't get out of our minds and a hero that totally steamed up our glasses and what not. Each week, a different staff member will spotlight whatever hero they're feeling and it'll just be a little something that we'll do to entertain ourselves and our readers as well...

Our first Hero of the Week Spotlight will be on: Wrath from J.R. Ward's Dark Lover.

Talk about total Alpha Male. Wrath is dominating, powerful and he's King.

One very sexy King to boot. He's not afraid to show his feelings, once his feelings are known to himself and it's uber sexy when a man is not afraid to show his true feelings for his love in front of everyone, because most alpha males are uncomfortable with public displays of affection, I found it very sexy and very appealing that Wrath didn't care who saw how much he loved his, shellan. I found it very sexy that Wrath wasn't ashamed to call Beth by the endearment that he uses for her in private, that he would call her his leelan, in front of all the brothers. It spoke volumes about his feelings for her and there's just nothing sexier than a powerful man who is man enough to own up to his feelings.

He is the last Pure bred vampire around and he's the King of all Vampires, nicknamed the Blind King because he's got poor vision but that doesn't take away from just how sexy this alpha vampire is...it enhances his sexuality if you ask me. His determination to protect Beth from anything and everything that would cause her harm is something that I find utterly fetching in a man and it gave me goose bumps to read about his love for Beth.

A discription of this fine hunky Vampire.

He was wearing a biker jacket in spite of the heat, and his long legs were covered in leather as well. He had steel-toed shitkicker boots on, and he moved like a predator.

Beth craned her neck to look up at his face.

God, he was gorgeous.

His jaw was a straight shot of bone, his lips full, the hollows under his cheeks casting heavy shadows. His hair was straight and black, falling to his shoulders from a widow's peak, and he had the shadow of a dark beard. The black sunglasses he wore, wraparounds that fit his carved face perfectly, made him look like a hit man.

Gosh, talk about gorgeous.

Here's a scene from his book, that made me love him so much more than I did before.

He began to get agitated, his pale, wild eyes imploring her.

"Shh, it's okay." She kissed his forehead. "Just calm down. We'll figure out what you need. We've got plenty of time."

His eyes fixated on their linked hands and came back to her face. Then his gaze locked on their hands and returned again.

"Me?" she whisperd. "You need me?"

He squeezed and wouldn't stop.

"Oh, Wrath...You have me. We're together love."

Tears poured out of him in a mad rush, his chest quaking from the sobs, his breathing jagged and raw.

She took his face in his hands, trying to soothe him. "It's all right. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not going to leave you. I promise you. Oh, love..."

Eventually, he relaxed a little. The tears slowed.

A croak came out of his mouth.

"What?" she leaned down.

"Wanted to...save you."

"You did. Wrath, you did save me."

His lips tembled. "Love. You."

She kissed him gently on the mouth. "I love you, too."


And then he closed his eyes from exhaustion.

Any man that can be that scared and that strong and possesive who can cry in front of his woman, because he thought he lost her and would have been desolate without her, is one sexy mother brother to me.

And that is why I've chosen Wrath as the Hero Spotlight of the Week.

If you guys are interested in reading this book, you can buy the book from here or here. You can also read more on Wrath and an excerpt from Dark Lover, over here.



Sunday, March 26, 2006

Touch Me by Lucy Monroe

Together, Thea Selwyn and Pierson Drake embark on an extraordinary voyage from a tropical paradise to the glittering ballrooms of London. But will Thea's dark secrets destroy their illicit passion?

Holly Says:

In 1797 England, angry aristocrat Geoffrey Selwyn believes his wife was unfaithful to him, though she swears she was not. When Anna gives birth to a boy, Geoffrey immediatly takes the baby away with him, determined to keep her away from her son. Heartbroken, Anna gives birth a few minutes later to a twin a girl she names Althea.

Anna makes several attempts to see her small son and keep her daughters presence a secret from her heartless husband, but, after almost being caught with her daughter, flees to the exotic West Indies to raise her daughter alone. And pine for her missing son.

Twenty-three years later, Thea is a partner in Merewether Shipping with her Uncle Ashby, a sweet man who helped Anna when she first arrived on the Island. Though her mother died ten years before, Thea is still haunted by her mother's continued heartbreak over her missing son and the promises she made to Anna on her deathbed.

Pierson Drake arrives on the Island in desperate need of a blacksmith to fix his steam engine, so that he can sail back to England in a timely manner and insure his investors make the money they invested on his behalf. He ignores Thea at first, refusing to deal with a "mere" woman regarding matters of business. He finally realizes it is she, not her Uncle, that can help him and she agrees, under the condition that he takes her to London with him, so she can investigate some discrepancies in the books from their London office. He is blackmailed into agreeing.

On the voyage, tempers ingnite, wills clash and a fierce attraction develops between the two. Though Pierson wants to marry Thea, she refuses, afraid of loving a man and ending up in the same position as her mother.

I generally dislike a stubborn heroine, because so many times she tends to be stupid as well as mule-headed. I'm happy to report, however, that Thea Selwyn didn't fall fall into this category. She was perhaps a bit too obsessed with staying unwed, but LM did an awesome job of explaining her reasons.

Pierson Drake is hot, tortured and a total Alpha-Male...my favorite combination. He has his own issues - illigetimate birth - but he doesn't let that stop him from making Thea his.

Overall, I give this one 5 out of 5. As with all of Lucy's books, I was touched, angered and in love by the time I finished reading it.

There are 2 books to follow this one:

Tempt Me ~ To be released 04/06
Take Me ~ To be released sometime at the end of 06

Needless to say, I'm breathless with anticipation...Lucy? Can't you release these just a little bit faster??

Isabel Says:

Again Holly told me I had to read this book. What I liked about this book is Drake knew he was going to marry Thea. He knew it and you could tell he had deep feelings for her. Thea on the other hand was not about to get married. She tried using her mother as an excuse to not get married. Which became very annoying. Woman! OPEN YOUR EYES!!

I did love how she told Drake he wasn't a bastard and how she stood up to him.

Grade: B-

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Book Burning.

There comes a time in every reader's life when they read a book that they thought would be a really good book and not only does the book fall flat on that account, but it falls so far flat that you literally can't stand the book. I know that I've come across books that made me think, what the hell was I thinking, wasting all this time reading a book that I didn't even like. A book that had I had an open fire running, I would have tossed inside.

There are plenty of books we have read that fit the bill and I can't think of very many right now but I have two books that are sticking out in my mind right now, so I'll start with those.

I'm starting a virtual fire right now and all of my fellow readers out there, feel free to come and drop your most hated book into the fire. We're having ourselves a book burning. So come on and toss those books in, but you've got to let us know why you hated the book so much that you're burning it...I'm all kinds of curious to know why.

I've got a stack of books that are in my BURN pile, here's the first one:

I cannot flippin' stand this book, I read this book a few years ago and it started out wonderful, I was wrapped up in the characters, in love with the hero and the storyline started out just fantabulous and then it ended and I wanted to shoot JD in the head for ending it the way she did. I cannot believe it, I read an entire book thinking that a happy ending was coming, because ya'll know how retarded I am about happy endings and the happy ending JD gave Nicholas Stafford and Dougless Montgomery did NOT make me happy! I won't spoil anything or whatever, but DO NOT READ THIS BOOK, it sucks ass! She ended it the way she did because she wanted to give it a whole realistic ending???? What the hell does that mean? The entire damn book is a damn TIME TRAVEL, don't give me that shit! She needs to rewrite the ending to that book and because I know she isn't going to do that, I'm tossing it into the open fire...to BURN!

Another one that I want to toss into the fire is, Trading Up by Candace Bushnell. I kept wishing and hoping that Janey Wilcox would get better as the story progressed but she didn't and I just couldn't stand to read the book anymore, it was highly superficial about a bunch of people who have nothing better to do than to have sex with their friends husbands and it was just flighty and not at all something that I would ever care to read again. So, I'm tossing this book into the fire because I can't believe that I actually wasted my time trying to get through this book.

In you go.

So let's see those books ladies...What books are YOU tossing into the fire and why?



Saturday, March 25, 2006

She's Got the Look by Leslie Kelley

Finding true love can be murder...

Newly divorced and back in her hometown, Melody Tanner is ready to change her life for the better. Her girlfriends think it’s the perfect time to revisit the lists they came up with a joke at her bachelorette party--a list of five men they could sleep with no matter what.
But when Melody looks at her list, she discovers two of the men are already dead. Worse, the homicide detective she contacts just happens to be her #1, former Marine Nick Walker!

But when Melody looks at her list, she discovers two of the men are already dead. Worse, the homicide detective she contacts just happens to be her #1, former Marine Nick Walker!

Nick isn’t taking the coincidental deaths too seriously, until the other two men on the list die suspiciously. Melody thinks the only way to keep Nick alive is to let him go. But Nick’s willing to take the risk. Besides, if he does have to check out, there’s no place he’d rather do it than in Melody’s arms...

This was my first Leslie Kelly and I have to say...if her other books are as good as this one, she's just been added to my auto-buy list.

After an extremely bad marriage and humilliating divorce (she got caught spray painting her dentist ex-hubby's billboard when she found out he'd cheated), Melody returns to her Georgia hometown to try and put her life back together.

Six years before, she and her three best friends had written out their Men Most Wanted Lists the night before her wedding, and low and behold, Melody runs into her number one fantasy man, Nick Walker.

Sparks fly and Nick does his best to convince Melody that a roll in the hay is just what they need. Melody isn't so sure she can handle a casual affair with the Oh-So-Sexy former Marine turned Cop, but Nick does his best to persuade her. And his techniques are the stuff romance novels are made of.

There isn't anything I love better than a hero named Nick. I have no idea why this is (well, ok, I do know, but that's for me to know and you to wonder about, right?), but there you have it. As soon as I saw that the hero of this book was named Nick, I got so excited I nearly swooned.

And let me tell you, he totally lived up to my expectations. He did his name proud.

The entire story was fresh, funny and sweet.

I loved watching Melody find herself after her awful marriage (jeez, this just must be my month for heroines that remind me of myself and my own past). It was great watching her come into her own.

I asbolutely adored her friends, too. They reminded me so much of my own friendship with the other ladies from this blog. Some of the things they did were hillarious, and watching Rosemary manipulate Melody and Nick so they'd be together reminded me so much of Grace, Dylan and Isabel.

The sub-plot between Rosemary and Nick's partner was great, too. Rosemary is a spoiled rotten rich girl and he's just a cop from a long line of cops. I liked reading about their differences and her family's reaction to them being together.

Of course, me being me, I read this book not realizing there was one before it, but I was lucky enough to have it sitting on my TBR shelf, so I'll be picking that one up next. It's the story of Nick's brother and I can't wait to see how the story plays out.

The series?

She Drives Me Crazy
She's Got The Look

I really hope she plans on writing Paige and Tanya's books. (Rosemary got hers as a subplot in this one).

4.5 out of 5

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Friday, March 24, 2006

She, Myself and I by Whitney Gaskell

Hero: Zack Duncan, Aidan O'Neill and another guy.
Heroines: Paige, Sophie and Mickey.
Grade: C+
Date: 3/14/06

The Cassel sisters have little in common besides a pair of wacky parents and a maddening knack for eluding happily-ever-after endings. But when their lives require damage control, only a dose of sisterhood will do.
Paige, the oldest, is a go-getter divorce attorney who's reeling from her own disastrously failed marriage--and the fact that her ex has suddenly come roaring out of the closet with a cute boyfriend in tow. Middle sister Sophie is having trouble adjusting to life as a wife and expectant mom. With her doubts on the rise along with her weight, she's ogling every available baked good--and every available man--that crosses her path. And up-and-coming medical student Mickey has a racy new plan for her future that's sure to shock her entire family. It includes a dangerously handsome, decidedly married chef...private cooking lessons...and spicy lingerie.

To top it all off, the parents who dragged them through the Divorce from Hell years ago are acting like teenagers in love...with each other! One by one, Paige, Sophie, and Mickey are about to learn just how good it is to have a sisterly shoulder--or two--to lean on.


If I were to have summed this entire book up in one word, I would use the word real. Because seriously, this book is just about the most real book I've ever read about. The incidents that happen in this book is totally something that can actually happen. It's about real life, it's issues and there's no sugar coating of anything, it's just that....real.

This book reminds me a whole lot like The Solomon Sisters Wise Up, I'm not sure why I felt the need to reread the story again, but I can't say that I didn't enjoy the book because I did. It started a bit slow, but that's probably because I didn't really care for the older sister Paige, you see the whole book is divided into three sections, a section for each sister. Paige is a bitch, and it totally shows in her section of the book, but after I finished reading her section, I liked her, understood her more and was okay with the way she was. And boy did she land on her feet with a hottie like Zack Duncan, he was yummy. The perfect man, really. Tall, broad shouldered and smart? Yum!

All of the sisters are close in their own little way, but there's nothing but love between these sisters, whereas with the Solomon sisters, they didn't even get along, they loved each other but it was more so becuase they had to love each other...with the Cassels, they loved each other, knew it, showed it and put up with it.

Sophie's story was so cute. This is the one that I really felt for, she's the middle sister, just had a baby and her marriage in on the rocks. Her husband Aidan, works too much, is acting weird around her but she thinks it's because he doesn't like looking at her since she had their son, Ben. Her story about how she dealt with the problems of being a new mom and a neglected wife really touched me because I can totally see that happening in real life. This romance novel isn't all glitzy and glamorous but just in your face, this is how my life is and this is how I solved my problems....I really connected with Sophie, thought she was a great heroine and I think she's my favorite Cassel sister.

Mickey, the youngest sister just graduated from college and everyone thinks she's going to Brown to start Med School, no one knows that the sight of blood makes her nauseous. Instead, she wants to become a chef and attend the Culinary School of America. I can totally see myself hedging on telling my parents and family something as big as her not going to med school as originally planned, which is why this book was so real to me. Because, without going into detail, I was fooled right alongside Mick when she was going through her turmoil in the book and so when things didn't turn out as I thought they were going to turn out, I was left baffled but I learned from Mickey's mistakes, so her story was just about as real as you can get. Took me back to high school when everything wasn't as it always seemed but I thought I could change it.

Very light reading, fast paced and just all around good. Recommended to those who need a reason to remember that they DO love their sisters....LOL.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin.

Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage's protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone...

J.R. Ward has delivered again. I was most pleased with Dark Lover, the first book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. There's nothing I love more than a tortured hero who's strong, fierce and absolutely a slave to love. Not the pansy, whiny, Feel Sorry For Me types, but the I'm big, I'm bad, I could eat you alive, but I'll Protect You With My Life Types. Just like Rhage.

We first meet Rhage in Ward's first book and I, for one, was immediately intrigued. A serious badass with a horrible curse to deal with, I wanted to see him get his HEA. But part of me was scared.

Scared that Ward would wuss out and not continue on as she began. Though it saddens me to admit it, I think Sherrilyn Kenyon did just that with Zarek from her Dark Hunter Series. He was scary and dark and mostly insane...until she turned him into a big fat teddy bear in his book. We saw none of the scary, Don't Fuck With Me guy from previous books, and instead saw a big, fat marshmellow who rolled over and played dead. Ok, ok, maybe that was a little harsh, but you get the idea.

Not so, Rhage. Though we saw that he had a softer side...and was willing to do whatever it took for his mate, he didn't turn into some teddy bear with a love complex. And he didn't play lapdog, either.

Which, I will admit, was a major turn on.

Our heroine, Mary, was a great counter part for him. She was strong, courageous and bold. But still tender enough to tame the beast inside of him (literally). Though I did have issues with her throughout most of the book, because (not to get too deep into it and spoil you) she was ill and afraid. Most of the time I was thinking, "You IDIOT! Here's a man willing to crawl for you and you shut him out? WTF?"

At one point, Rhage lays into her for being a coward and using him and I literally cheered! (yeah, MM looked at me kind of funny at that point.) I was so glad he wasn't willing to just settle for whatever scraps she was doling out.

But she redeemed herself. And once she commited, man did she commit! It was awesome! See, these are the best kind of romance novels, IMO.

In any case, this is a MUST READ! Not like..."It was good, you should check it out." But.."READ THIS BOOK NOW OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN WHILE YOU SLEEP AND DO BODILY HARM TO YOUR PERSON!" Yeah, like that.

Kudos, J.R. Ward. Kudos.

5 out of 5.

Dylan's Review:

Hero: Rhage
Heroine: Mary Luce
Grade: A+
Date: 3/22/06


J.R. Ward is truly a remarkable genius, because the whole concept of the Black Dagger Brotherhood is truly a genius idea. I love it.

I thought that Dark Lover was great and I still love that book to death, but I really liked Lover Eternal. I mean, I was intrigued with Rhage in Wrath's book and was more than happy to start his book, but I was unprepared for how much I was going to fall in love with him....and his beast.

I was totally frightened of the beast when reading about it in Dark Lover, but getting to know it, coming to grips with it really worked wonders and even though Beth got on my hot damn nerves a lot throughout the book, she more than made up for everything in the end. I was totally cheering her on because it was more than evident that she was Rhage's everything. Everything he went through because of her, talk about real love.

How he was so depressed because he didn't want to love anyone the way he loved Mary and how he didn't want anyone else to come and take up the space in his heart, because that space belonged to Mary? OMGosh, I loved it.

This is why I love romance novels because had this been a sci fi book or whatever, it probably wouldn't have ended the way it did, but boy am I glad that the ending didn't totally suck. All's well that ends well and this book most definitely ended well.

I'm so stoked for Z's book to come out in September. I'm practically biting at the bit. Now more than ever, I'm intrigued by that tortured hero. But, I've got to say, when I read about Z, it's like de ja vu, because he totally reminds me of Zarek from the Dark Hunters...and gosh, I love me some Zarek.

This book gets an A+....good on ya, J.R. Ward!

Isabel says:

This is the sequel to J. R. Ward's Dark Lover. Oh. My. God. Loved it.

Rhage is cursed. He has a beast living inside him as punishment. The only way to keep it in check is by fighting or sex. When Rhage meets Mary, he wants no other female. He wants Mary. However he's afraid he'll lose control and the beast will do Mary harm.

Mary, oh she bugged the hell out of me. She has leukemia, so I can understand she wants to push Rhage away. But damn, after what he did to allow Mary to stay with him. How could she treat him like that?

"I will not fall in love with you," she said. "I can't let myself. I won't."
"That's all right. I'll love you enough for the both of us."

He finally gets fed up with Mary pushing him away. What he says to her. Damn. But Mary does redeem herself. She proves herself worthy of Rhage. But what touched me, is when Mary tells Rhage she thought the beast was lovely. Rhage tells her he was afraid if she saw the beast, she'd think of him as a horrible monster. And he's fighting to hold back the tears. A big, tough, bad ass vampire showing his vulnerability is such a turn on. sigh....

I can't wait for the next book.

Grade: A

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe

The art of mergers and acquisitions is taken to new heights in this entertaining spin on the battle of the sexes. In one corner: Amanda Zachary, a young, ambitious business ace but a dropout from love. (Blame it on a really despicable ex-husband.) In the opposite corner: Simon Brant, the brilliant, reclusive genius behind family-held Brant Computers, who is clueless about women. He's the only roadblock to the merger between Extant Corporation and Brant Computers. What won't Amanda do to sell the merger? What won't Simon do to stop the merger? PDAs and cell phones ready? The final showdown at the shareholders' meeting and the sparks that fly between this fiery new couple will satisfy and delight, as will Amanda's last encounter with her loathsome ex. From B&N by Ginger Curwen

I really enjoyed this one.

Amanda had a lot of the same insecurity issues that I've suffered from in the past, so it really struck a cord with me.

Her ex-husband was almost an exact replica of mine (except he had a way better job..LOL). Watching her recover from her divorce and realizing that she was worthing was like watching my own struggle to find myself after my marriage went bad.

He degraded her and made her feel less of a woman by constantly making comments about her weight and cheating on her. The emotional scars he left were deep and it was really hard for me to read some of her thoughts and fears, because they mirrored mine exactly.

A friend of mine recently asked our book club if we ever read about a book heroine and thought, "That's me". I would have to say of all the book heroines I've read about, I associate with Amanda the most.

I loved that Simon wasn't your typical hero, either. He was more nerd than anything and I found myself sighing dreamily as I read about him. He was a genius who had issues of his own to deal with. He was convinced that he was unlovable as he was. What kind of woman would want to be with a man who locked himself in his lab for days on end, and faded out in the middle of conversations?

This was a fabulous story and I'm so glad I read it.

I highly recommend this one to any woman who has questioned her worth. Thank you, Lucy.

4.5 out of 5

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Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

J. R. Ward makes an exceptionally polished debut in this intense paranormal romance, the first of three books about the Black Dagger Brotherhood. This band of highly trained vampire warriors has been targeted for extinction by the Lessening Society. When one of the band, Darius, is slain, he asks the leader, Wrath, to protect his half-breed daughter, Beth Randall. She is unaware of her father or her heritage -- or the fact that she is about to transition into the world of the undead. Wrath's tutorial about Beth's new world quickly turns into an extreme sensual relationship. Fans of Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and others will appreciate Ward's creation of a new vampire universe and delight in the strong relationship between Wrath and Beth. A glossary introduces the reader to the structure and history of this new world

Holly said:
I heard about this book back in September when it was first released. I checked out the synopsis. I picked up the book countless times and flipped through it. Every single time I checked it out, though, I turned my nose up at it and walked away.

Why, you ask. Several reasons.

1) A person I don't care for very much raved about it and that turned me off of it. You know how it is, you're loathe to try something because a person you detest says it's the best thing since sliced bread. Oh, you don't. Well, I guess it's just me, then.

2) Judging the book by it's back cover, I figured it would be similar to - if not exactly like - Sherilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter Series and I wasn't too keen on trying to muddle my way through a bad knock-off.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to J.R Ward. I bow down to your greatness. I stand in awe of you. You Rock.

Basically, the story was fresh and kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the heroine, Beth, which - as you all know - never happens to me. I loved Wrath, the hero. He was....THUD!

I loved the entire concept of the Brotherhood...and it's members.

A definite must read. Really.

5 out of 5

Isabel Said:

I love a good vampire story. Holly made me order these books. I was going to wait and read them later, but nooooooooooooooo, she made me read them NOW. lol.

Kind of slow in the beginning, but it picked up. I loved the story. I find this easier to follow and understand than Sherrilyn Kenyon's series. I love the SK books, but sometimes I get confused.

The mating ceremony. I don't know if I could watch Joey getting my name carved onto his back. I thought it was touching though. I loved the butler. Thought he was so cute. Butch and Marissa had a very cute story. I hope we hear more about them.

I'm curious to know how Wrath is going to rebuild the kingdom. I'm also curious to Darius's reincarnation. Who or what will he return as? I'm interested is Zsadist. The souless one with the voice of an angel. Interesting.

Good read. Love forward to the next book.
Grade: B
PS: Holly, who recommended the books to you?

Dylan's Review:

Hero: Wrath
Heroine: Beth Randall
Grade: A
Date: 3/20/06

Okay this book gets my dog pound stamp of approval. This book was all kinds of the bomb. From Wrath and his sexy ass to the brothers and all of their collective sexy asses and Butch. Damn. I loved it all. Lots of stud worthy males in this series and I'm anxious for the series to continue. It had everything, I was mighty curious to find out what was the big deal about a bunch of vampires, because seriously...Holly's been on my ass to start this series like last month. But I'm so glad that I finally read this because I was pleasantly surprised at how much I friggin loved this book.

Wrath was a great hero. He was everything women dream of and everything they're scared of....he was a great mix of good and bad and I just absolutely loved him. I think a little more than Ash (oh gosh the horror)...after I read this story, I was thrown back to when I was reading the Dark Hunter books, because I was antsy to read book after book, I was hungry for more and I think it's a bit more severe with this series, but shhh, don't tell anyone...because I feel like a traitor. LOL.

But if you liked the DH's, then you'll like the Black Dagger Brotherhood...it's really off the chains, these books.

The mating ceremony was something else, I didn't think I'd be able to read stuff like that (because seriously...I don't do blood) but none of that stuff bothered me in this book, I was cool with it all (and trust me, there's lots of blood), this book was just all that and a bag of chips, so sit back and chill with that bag of chips and read this book, you'll thank me later, I promise. ;)

I'm very intrigued by Rhage and his curse...I'm so glad that I don't have to wait very long (just a few hours) for his book, because I'm all kinds of excited to read that mug.


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Monday, March 20, 2006

See Jane Date by Melissa Senate

Hero: You'll have to read it to find out.
Heroine: Jane Greggs
Grade: C+
Date: 3/15/06

A Fancy Affair Bridal SalonForest Hills, Queens

"Did you know that one of your hips is higher than the other?" the seamstress asked me in a totally conversational tone.

"I didn't," I said. "I never knew that. But I'm glad you told me."
The seamstress had the decency to look embarrassed. She ducked her head back down and continued pinning.

Perhaps that had been the reason why Blind Dates One, Two and Three hadn't been interested. It wasn't the smoking, after all. It was my Hip Issue. And just my luck that Blind Date #4 was with a doctor, whose business it was to notice such deformities.

See Jane Date will speak to singles everywhere. At once warm and witty, this look into the life of 28-year-old assistant editor Jane Gregg, screams, "You are not alone!" Case in point: See Jane . . .

-- Endure two months of bridesmaid hell for her younger cousin's wedding -- Brilliantly dodge being fixed up with Grammy's next-door neighbor by fibbing that she, um, already has a boyfriend-- Date . . . like crazy to find one suitable guy to bring to said wedding

Okay, find one suitable guy to love. Was that so much to ask?

I liked this story, I really did. I thought it was funny to see Jane lie about who she was dating to that horrible nitwit Natasha Nutley, I thought it was hilarious how she was speed dating all these men to try to hurry up and get her fabulous boyfriend she lied to her family and Natasha about before Dana's wedding. I loved the friendship between Jane and Eloise, and even Amanda. There was an inherent kindness to Eloise and I thought she was the best person to have backing your corner, no matter how many lies you told and how stupid you looked after the last disastrous date you went on. Talk about unconditional love, I really like Eloise's character and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she has her own book out already and even more surprised that I already own the book, yahoo for me!

But as much as I loved the story, there were plenty things that I bugged the ever living life out of me.

1) Jane's constant smoking.

I can't stand when my brother's smoke around me because as a non smoker I hate people polluting the air around me. Second hand smoke kills, hello??? And smoking is such a turn off for me, more power to you if you smoke, I won't go on and on about how smoking is really bad for you because you're an adult, you know this already, so do what you do if you must, but I won't date a smoker because smoking is a turn off for me and nothing is unattractive to me then a guy lighting a cigarette up, and it's even more unattractive when a woman does it, but hey, that's just me. Jane's constant cigarette smoking, sitting in the cloud of cigarette smoke in her apartment was just something I found disgusting and I was more than happy that she quit.

2) Jane's more than annoying Aunt Ina.

Oh gosh, I wanted to pound this bitches face in. I mean seriously, she was always yelling at Jane for the stupidest thing, Jane is a grown ass woman, living on her own, doing her own thing, she doesn't need to be scolded because she was a bit harsh to the Maid of Honor, I mean seriously??? Who the hell has meetings to discuss the progress on the Bridal Shower Preperations? Why the hell would Jane, who's just a bridesmaid have to attend such an idiotic meeting. Jane has a job, she's working on getting a promotion, she shouldn't have to be stuck attending some lame ass meeting to please her Aunt. Aunt Ina would have took one to the chin if I was her niece. Scold me, my ass.

3) Jane's superficial flighty cousin, Dana.

Oh gosh, this daughter of a bitch is someone I seriously wanted to murder, the way she was all high and mighty because she was getting married at The Plaza, to a millionaire internet tycoon, who the flip cares? The way she was just always short with Jane made me want to bury my first in her pretty little petite face. Had I been Jane I would have said more than once for Dana to kiss my ass!

I really didn't expect to like this book, nearly as much as I did but I really did. I even cried, maybe I'm single and at one point or another have thought the same things that Jane thought, have gone on the same kind of dates that Jane went on, fell in love with the wrong kind of guy like Jane did and connected with her. This book has a happy ending, which I was glad for and I totally recommend this book to those single gals out there who want to read about someone who understands what you're going through....trust me, Jane knows how you feel! =)

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And Then He Kissed Me by Patti Berg

She's the blonde bombshell who once starred in a string of low-budget films and is now a jet-setting, bestselling author. But one too many bites of caviar, menacing phone calls from her jailbird ex, a tabloid photographer hot on her heels, and nasty gossip about her life send Juliet over the edge. Disguising her identity, Juliet runs...straight into the arms of Cole Sheridan, a small town vet with troubles of his own.

With a malpractice suit hanging over his head and his bohemian parents and their band of old hippie friends about to converge on his home, the last thing Cole needs is one more snag in his orderly life. But when he spots the raven-haired beauty with the curvaceous body stranded along a lonely stretch of highway, he hitches her car to his and tows one more complication his way.

He thinks she's quirky; she thinks he's sexy but cantankerous. She's hiding something; he wants to push everyone away — until the chaos of Juliet's life catches up with her in Plentiful, Wyoming. Once more she's ready to run...and then Cole kisses her!

That's when the trouble really begins.

This was my first Patti Berg novel. I picked this and another up at the UBS and decided to give them a try. I was very pleased.

I loved Juliet. She was quirky, funny and optomistic. I loved watching her dive right in to various situations and come out on top.

Cole was sexy, loving and in desperate need of a woman in his life. The two of them together was....electric.

My only complaint was the ending. I know I've mentioned before that I'm very particular about my endings. I liked everything wrapped up in a shiny little bow at the end of a book, and I felt that this one was rushed. There were a lot of questions left unanswered (or at least only skimmed over) and I craved at least another full chapter, if not an epilogue.

Overall it was a good, light read, but I'd have enjoyed it much more if the ending hadn't been so rushed.

2.5 out of 5

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Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

"The dead don't talk. I don't know why." But they do try to communicate, with a short order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn." "Maybe he has a gift, maybe it's a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd's otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different." "A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd's deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15." "Today is August 15." In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares - and a testament by which to live sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

I've always loved Dean Koontz. I think the first novel of his I ever read was Whispers and I was immediately hooked. It seems that he touches on all emotions and while his books are scary, they aren't gory.

The storylines are always well played out and his writing is....amazing.

As a reader, I love seeing how author's grow and change. Though I can honestly admit that I love all of Koontz's works, from the very beginning up until his most recent releases, I think it's fascinating to watch an author progress and try out knew things.

As far as I know, this is the first novel DK wrote in the first person (I'm a bit behind on my reading, however, so please correct me if I'm wrong). He pulled it off brilliantly.

Odd was sweet and naive and the storyline was chilling and suspenseful. There was even a beautiful love story that soothed the hopeless romantic in me.

As I was preparing this blog, I noticed that he's now written a sequel to this book, and you can bet I'm going to buy it just as soon as I can. I'm very excited.

If you're interested, the sequel is called Forever Odd. I'll be sure to let you know how it is.

This book comes highly recommended!

4.5 out of 5

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Heartbreaker by Linda Howard

Michelle Cabot has inherited her father's Florida cattle ranch — and a mountain of debt. To make matters worse, a huge chunk of that debt is owed to the neighboring rancher, her nemesis John Rafferty.

Nothing shocks Rafferty more than discovering that the spoiled, pampered rich girl he once despised is painstakingly trying to run the Cabot ranch herself, working the land with desperation the only thing she has left. He likes this new Michelle and decides to make her his woman. What he doesn't know is that underneath Michelle's cool, polished façade lies heartache, secrets and the raw determination to live life as her own woman. But Rafferty isn't about to take no for an answer.

Another great read from Linda Howard.

John Rafferty has been anamored of Michelle Cabot most of his adult life, he's just too stubborn to admit it. But when opportunity knocks, he takes full advantage by roping Michelle in to a bargain she couldn't refuse. Of course, he never expected to be the one to lose his heart.

Michelle is determined, for once in her life, to prove she's worth more than being some man's trophy. Though it's tough, she's doing all that she can to keep her father's ranch alive. When John Rafferty comes in to the picture, Michelle knows her heart is in trouble, but depsite her feelings, she knows she can't let him take away her newfound independance.

I loved John...the typical rancher alpha-male, he was the perfect counterpart to Michelle's feminine, yet stubborn character. Watching the two of them go head to head was a very enjoyable experience.

4.0 out of 5

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Born to be Wild by Patti Berg

High society wedding planner Lauren Remington is determined to prove her family wrong and make a success of her business, but a last minute disaster brings a glorious end to all her grand plans. Desperate for help, her only hope is Max Wilde, a man whose rugged, leather-clad body is almost as dangerous as his sleek black Harley. Max may be everything Lauren's mother warned her about, but desperate times call for desperate measures...providing she can convince him to take the job.

Max isn't sure why he agreed to help save Lauren's shapely derriere, especially when one tilt of her blue-blooded nose is enough to get his back up. There's just something about the way Lauren's curvy body snuggles up against his that feels right, and he'd kill to see her out of her Chanel suit and into tight red leather. And he has to admire the way she doesn't shy away from his foster kids and their rough-and-tumble friends. Still, Max knows that his wrong-side-of-the-tracks background could never fit in Lauren's high society world...but somewhere deep behind the lady lies a woman born to be wild.

After And Then He Kissed Me, I was a little leary of reading this book. While the writing and actual storyline pleased me, I was afraid there would be another rushed ending and I'd end up feeling unsatisfied overall.

I happy to report that wasn't the case.

Max meets Lauren on the day before her wedding and when she dreamily says she'd like to run away with him he takes her at her word...and is completely humilliated the next day when he shows up at her door step to sweep her off her feet. Because Lauren wasn't asking him to take her away, only wishing aloud.

Ten years later ( or so, I can't remember the exact time frame since I read this a week ago when I was deathly ill..ok, maybe not deathly, but it sure felt like I was dying at the time) Lauren is determined to see her Wedding Planner business suceed and she needs Max's help to get it done.

Max isn't anxious to help Lauren, but there's a part of him that can't wait to see her again...no matter the circumstances.

I really enjoyed this story. This wasn't a heavy read by any stretch of the imagination, but if your in the mood for a light, fluffy read, this is your book.

Watching Max and Lauren spar with each other...and then come to care for each other despite the obvious differences in their backgrounds was great. It was interesting how PB was able to show us the way of life from both sides of the tracks.

And the ending was perfect. Everything was tied up in a nice, shiny bow and I felt content when it ended

3.5 out of 5

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Phantom Waltz by Catherine Anderson

***Note: I think I'm finally caught up on my book reviews now. I apologize if some of them weren't quite as detailed as normal, but to be honest, I just wanted them done. Stay tuned for your regularily scheduled programming. End Note***

One glance. That's all it takes. Wealthy rancher Ryan Kendrick falls hard—and fast—for lovely Bethany Coulter. A beguiling mix of sass and shyness, naiveté and maturity, she shares his passion for horses, has a great sense of humor, and can light up a room with her beautiful smile. She's absolutely perfect—in every way but one....

A long-ago barrel-racing accident has left Bethany confined to a wheelchair. In the years since, she has known both betrayal and heartbreak—and vowed never to open her heart to a man again. She has even accepted the possibility that she'll never be able to enjoy a healthy intimate relationship—or have children of her own. But there's something about handsome Ryan Kendrick. Something that makes her believe she can overcome every obstacle. Something that makes her believe in lifelong, lasting love....

My first book by Catherine Anderson was Summer Breeze, which I just happened to pick up last week...and aboslutely adored. I'll admit I had high hopes for this one after my truly wonderful experience with SB and because the girl at B&N told me this is her favorite CA so far.

While I can't say I didn't enjoy this book, it certainly didn't live up to my expectations from SB.

I don't believe a heroine has to be perfect. Or a hero, for that matter. Some of my favorite heroes are extremely flawed, with visable scars and missing hands. Just as some of my favorite heroines are less than perfect. So when I read the back of this book and saw that the heroine was confined to a wheel chair, I'll admit that I was very intrigued.

While the story itself was well written and I loved the different characters, I wasn't overly impressed with the heroine. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to have your life stripped away from you and be forced to live out the rest of your days in a wheel chair..and that's the problem. I just couldn't imagine it.

Instead of making me sympathize and connect with the heroine, I found myself a bit irritated with her. While - as I mentioned - I've never been in her situation before, I would have thought that she would have grabbed on to the hero with both hands instead of trying her best to push him away.

Ryan Kendrick saw Bethany Coulter and just knew...knew she was the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with. He's taken back for a minute when he realizes she's in a wheel chair, but after spending one evening in her company, he knows that wheel chair or not, Bethany is his destiny.

So he sets out to do everything he possibly can to help her fit into his life. He spends a fortune remodeling his house to make it handicap friendly. He buys the most modern equipment available to help her function on her own at his house. He makes time to listen to her and support her and just be with her.

And the whole time Bethany is pushing him away because she swears it won't work between them. She's only half a woman, you see, and she thinks he deserves better.

Which, I understood.

Until the book was almost over and she was still breaking his heart "For his own good". How many times have we screamed at a hero for taking away a heroines choices? Well, the roles were reversed here.

I just couldn't like Bethany. I tried as hard as I could, but she just didn't work for me.

I've not given up on CA, however. SB was an awesome book, and I'm sure her others are as well. I just couldn't get into this one and connect with the heroine like I could with the other.

I have a few more of hers in my TBR pile and I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.

As for this one, I'm giving it a:

3 out of 5

because it wasn't an awful story, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

Ladies? One of you care to read this one so you can say I'm wrong?


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Duncan's Bride by Linda Howard

***Note: I had the flu all last week and I'm really behind on my blogging, so bear with me while I catch up! Thanks, Holly.***

Reese Duncan wanted a wife, pure and simple. Someone to have children with, someone to help him rebuild his ranch, someone uncomplicated...and someone very different from his first wife, the woman who'd destroyed his life. But he hadn't bargained on Madelyn Patterson. She was sophisticated and citified, and she was willing to herd cattle, keep house and start a family with Reese. The only thing she asked for in return was love - the one thing Reese refused to guarantee.

Linda Howard has always been a favorite of mine. I've read everything she's written and I can honestly say there's only 2 books out of the 40 some she's written that I didn't absolutely love.

Duncan's Bride is no exception.

Reese Duncan has been hurt in love and taken to the cleaners by his ex wife, so he's trying to rebuild his Montana ranch. He decides he needs a wife, but doesn't want any messy affairs of the heart, so he places an ad in the newspaper for one.

Of the three or four responses he gets, only Madelyn Patterson sets his blood to boiling. He doesn't want to pick her, because he knows he'll get too close to her, but in the end, he can't seem to stop himself.

Madelyn takes one look at the sexy cowboy and seems to fall madly in love with him. She knows it won't be easy teaching this hardheaded cowboy to love, but she'd determined.

I love Maddie's strength of will. Reese isn't the best husband in the beginning, but she always stands her ground and refuses to let him walk all over her. She was smarty and witty, but had a back bone of steel. I love that in a heroine, don't you?

This is such a fabulous story! Highly recommended!

4.5 out of 5

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Have You Seen This Book?

Karen Marie Moning's hilarious tale ("Into the Dreaming") of a contemporary writer who lands in the 15th century and falls in love with a Scotsman.

This short story was originally included Tapestry. A collection of short stories. I received a notice from Barnes and Nobles informing this book would be available February 28th. I headed on over to the Barnes and Noble site to add to my wish list, couldn't find it. Went to Amazon, not there. What the hell? How can B&N send me a notice and it not be there on the site!

A few weeks later, B&N sent me a notice saying the book was available but only as used. I don't want it used, I want it brand new. I could just buy Tapestry, but I only want Karen Marie Moning's short story. I didn't care for the other ones. So today I'm heading back to B&N to see if it's in stock. So if you hear a scream of frustration, it's me.

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All's Fair in Love and War: Athena's Tale by Alicia Fields

Passionate, inspiring, and full of adventure, this is Athena's tale. In a time when a girl's place is at home, Athena has been raised wild and free, and resents the limits she's facing. Her blossoming womanhood makes it difficult to indulge her tomboyish ways and she can't understand why women allow men to control their lives. If Athena married anyone, it would be Amoni, the boy from the forge, whose kiss has made her finally feel what it's really like to be a woman.

Meh, it was all right. I like the concept: taking the stories of the greek myths and making them "real." But, this one just didn't do anything for me. I'll still keep reading the books though.

Other books

Persphones' Story

Aphrodite's Story

Grade: C-

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lady Sophia's Lover by Lisa Kleypas

Why is Lady Sophia looking for a lover?And could she seduce the most marriageable man in London?
Lady Sophia Sydney would do anything to ensnare the unattainable Sir Ross Cannon. Her goal -- to ruin his reputation and cause a scandal that would be the talk of all London. So she insinuates herself into his life by gaining his trust and living in his house.
She knows he is falling more in love with her each day. But she never counted on falling in love with him. And she never dreamed he might very respectably ask for her hand in marriage...

Isabel Says: *originally posted 01/12/06*
I normally don't like revenge plots. It's usually:
Woman has grudge against man. (usually it's they kissed before and the man disappears)
Woman plots to make man fall in love with her and then leave him. (you know to get even)
Woman falls in love with man.
Woman learns truth as to why man may have been a jerk before.(Usually man is a spy or has a family obligation.)
Woman still follows her revenge plot.
Therefore dragging the story of the book.

This didn't happen. Lady Sophia fell in love with Ross. She admitted to her plan. He forgave her and they got married. Of course, there is always some plot twist to spice things up. Which, I didn't mind too much. Also, the love scenes were a bit spicy and naughty. Not that I mind, but it caught me by surprise with this author. (the chamber horse scene. WOW!)

To sum it up. I enjoyed this book. I liked it a lot better than Someone To Watch Over Me.
This is the second book in the Bow Street Runners Series. If you like to read in order, you gotta read the first book. The characters from the first book are mentioned in this one. I give it a B+

So the order so far:
Someone to Watch Over Me
Lady Sophia's Lover.

Holly Says:

Dude, I missed this one, somehow. Either that or I just totally forgot everything about it, because I read it this weekend and it was like reading it for the first time!

In any case, I loved it. LK has always been a favorite of mine and she didn't disappoint with this one.

I loved Sophia and Ross and seeing the more evil side of my favorite Nick was great! Like, Isabel, I don't usually like a revenge plot, but this one was great!

4 out of 5

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann

Hero: Kenny "Wildcard" Karmody.
Heroine: Savannah Von Hopf
Grade: B+
Date: 3/9/06

Bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann knows how to push the limits of romantic suspense to new, breathtaking heights. Potent, gripping, and explosive, Out of Control is a roller coaster ride of a novel– as a single act of loyalty becomes a desperate struggle for survival. . . .

Savannah von Hopf has no choice. To save her uncle’s life, she goes in search of Ken “WildCard” Karmody, a guy she barely knew in college who is now a military operative. She must convince him to help her deliver a cache of ransom money into the hands of terrorists halfway around the world. What she doesn’t expect is to end up in WildCard’s arms before she can even ask for his help.

WildCard has always had a soft spot for beautiful women. But when he discovers Savannah’s hidden agenda, he is determined to end the affair. But Savannah is bound for Indonesia with or without his protection, and he can’t just walk away. When her plan goes horribly wrong, they are trapped in the forsaken jungle of a hostile country, stalked by a lethal enemy. As time is running out, they scramble to escape, risking their lives to stop a nightmare from spinning even further out of control. . . .

I took this book with me yesterday to work, read it on my breaks and couldn't stop laughing, it reminded me of the first time I read this book, I was in college, sitting in the library, waiting for my brother to finish his class so that we can go home. I had just finished checking my email and thought to get a few chapters of reading in before I headed home.

I zipped through the entire book that night.

I laughed high and loud throughout the entire book, never once skipping ahead to see if the book got better. It was cool how Suz turned Wildcard's character around into a really great hero. Because after reading the other books before Out of Control in the series, I kept wondering how she was going to pull it off, because in the beginning of Over the Edge, I wanted to throttle Wildcard for his stupidity in pissing off the Marines, who wanted to kill him. Had it not been for Senior Chief Wolchonok, they probably would have jumped his ass (he probably would have won the fight cause he IS a big bad SEAL, but still), and quite frankly, I wanted them to get his ass, because he was so bloody obnoxious.

But she did a wonderful job, because not only was Wildcard a stand up guy in this book, but he was one heck of a funny guy. Like in this scene, when he meets Savannah.

"Hey," Ken knocked on the front window of the car. "You know, it's not a real smart move to have the car running while it's up on a..."

He realized he was looking down at a young woman who'd hiked her skirt all the way up to the tops of her thighs. She had the AC on full blast and her blouse unbuttoned so much that he could see the lace of her bra. It was red.

Holy God."Uh, up on a jack," he finished.

Dear Penthouse, I never thought I'd write a letter like this but...

He's just one riot after another...I just love it, check this one out too, it's when Kenny goes to Nils (hero in The Defiant Hero) and my favorite SEAL, Sam for advice on relationships:

"I was just wondering if there were any rules that I don't know about,"

"Rules?" Johnny repeated. "Like...?"

"Don't do it in animal masks while swinging from a trapeze until the third week of the relationship," Sam suggested. "That's a rule I always followed religiously--along with the one about not having sex in her parents' kitchen in the middle of a black-tie party. Broke that one once--got into real trouble."

The funny scenes and lines go on for days throughout this book, Wildcard is a riot, a laugh a minute and just a whole lot of fun, aside from the fact that they're running from bad guys, who want them dead in the jungles of Jakarta.

In this story we meet Molly and Jones who later come to the aid of Wildcard and Van, their story is sweet, a great addition to the storyline. This book is just an all around fun read. Ya'll should read it.

Oh yeah and Savannah was cool too. LOL.

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The Billionaire's Pregnant Mistress by Lucy Monroe

When Greek billionaire Dimitri Petronides is forced to give up Xandra Fortune, his beautiful mistress, he's certain she won't be too distraught. For all the intense passion they've shared she's never let him into her heart, and such a commitment-shy woman could never be his wife... But after their split, Dimitri discovers that Xandra Fortune is not who he thought she was - and she is also pregnant with his child. Now he has to track her down and claim his mistress as his wife!

Alright, so y'all know I'm basically obsessed with anything and everything Lucy Monroe, so I'll spare you the usual rave about her and her other books.

Though I will mention (briefly) that y'all should check out her blog. She's such a neat lady, and very interactive with her readers. I have no idea where she finds the time, though. I'd be hiding in a dark closet screaming, I can't take anymore, if I had her schedule. LOL

Anyway...on to my review.

I'm really feeling these short Harlequin novels right now. Well, the ones from LM, anyway. I'm not brave enough to try any of the other author's Harlequin novels, because I love the longer ones and I don't want to be disappointed. See, I love her stories because she's great at wrapping everything up. One of the readers on her blog referred to certain endings as "Scooby Doo Endings". you know, the ones where everythings tied up in a neat little bow at the end and you're not left hanging. Well, that's how LM's stories are. Short or long, I don't feel like I was left hanging.

Dimitri was an awesome hero. Seemingly cold and unfeeling, he had the perfect constitution for a tortured hero..which he was. Though I was EXTREMELY angry at him for his mistreatment of the heroine early in the book, LM is wonderful at turning characters around and making me love them...despite their idiotic actions.

I loved that Xandra didn't just fall at his feet, either. She really stuck to her guns and refused to be cowed by him. I love that in a heroine.

Overall it was a great read. I liked the interaction between the h/h and I loved watching the story play out. I love it when a story gets me tied up emotionally, as this one did.

I sent up an extra prayer this morning that LM never decides to quit writing. The romance community would suffer greatly if she did.

4 out of 5

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Thursday, March 9, 2006

Not Quite A Gentleman by Jacquie D'Alessandro

Three years ago, Lady Victoria Wexhall was humiliated when Nathan Oliver waltzed brazenly out of her life after favoring her with one glorious kiss ... her very first!
Now, when her father insists she pay a visit to Nathan's family estate in Cornwall, the pampered Society beauty devises a plan to drive the heartless rake mad with desire, then drop him cold. Because the man is a cad -- and he will rue the day he trifled with her affections!

But Victoria's plan isn't the only plot that's afoot. Nathan's sworn duty to the Crown has immersed him in a perilous intrigue, and he is certain this infuriatingly tempting lady is somehow involved. Using his winning charm and sensuous allure, Nathan intends to discover the lady's secrets.

And the dashing rogue is bound and determined to prove that, while not quite a gentleman, he is every bit a lover!

Another reread. My friend loaned me this book and I loved it so much I had to buy it.

There are a few cliches:
The stolen kiss between Victoria and Nathan
Nathan's disappearance because turns out he was a spy
Victoria wanting revenge

But I still loved this book. It's not exactly the revenge plot I thought it was going to be.

Nathan and Victoria end up working together to find a missing bag of jewels. While looking for the jewels, the two get to know each other. Nathan finds himself falling in love her, but knows she wants better than marrying a doctor and living in the country. Victoria, who has always known that she had to marry well, starts second guessing her future.

I loved how Nathan told Victoria since he's a second son, he has no reason other than love to marry. He explains he's happy he's not a first son cause he's free to do what he wants. Which surprise's Victoria thinking all men wanted to be titled.

But I really love how Nathan gave her his copy of fairy tales. The one he said he'd never give up cause it was the last thing his mother gave him before she dies. *sniff*

Love this book.

This is part of a series:

Who Will Take This Man?
Love and the Single Heiress
Grade: A

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Isabel Says:

When I began reading Once and Always by Judith McNaught, everyone mentioned how yummy Jason Feilding was. When I finished the book, I thought, "what a jerk. He treated Tory like crap and how can they love him?!" I wasn't really impressed by him.

So this got me thinking. There are heroes we all gush about. Heroes that we all love. The Ultimate hero. The hero we all can agree are just all that and a bag of chips. Then there are heroes who are great, but for some reason, don't get that much love. The ones you love, but some reason, no one has heard of them or are like "meh, he's all right." Then the over rated hero. The ones everyone loves but you can't understand why.

Here my lists of the ultimate heroes (based on how many women go on about these men and I agree that yes they are a hot hero.). The heroes I love, but don't seem to get much love. And the over rated hero.

My Ultimate Hero:

1) Drustan Mckelter from Kiss of the HIghlander by Karen Marie Moning. Come on now, the scene where he trying on the jeans. "Touch my sock."
2) Adam Black from The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning. She did a real good job making us hate him in the first book and then totally redeeming him in his book. Wouldn't you want that hunk of man sitting with you in your cubicle?
3) Ash from Sherrilyn Kenyons Dark Hunter series. So mysterious, so sexy. Every book about the dark hunters, we learn a little more. From what I've heard, Ash will have 2 books. Yeah.
4) Dageus McKelter from The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning. How can you not love him. Went back time to save his brother and sacrafice himself. Went around with the dark magics inside him. sigh.....

Heroes who I think are great but don't get much love:

1) Derek Craven from Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. I love this man. He's my favorite hero. Thought he was unworthy of loving Sara. Pushed her away thinking she deserved more and then realized he needed her.
2) Simon Basset from the The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. All he wanted was his father's approval, never got it. Was embarresed of his stammer and desperatly tried to hide it. Everyone goes on about Anthony or Colin, but where is the love for Simon?
3) Connor MacAllister from The Wedding by Julie Garwood. His father made him promise to avenge his death. Basically told him to not fall in love. Connor carried all that hate inside of him for a long time.
4) Sir Ross Cannon from Lady Sophia's Lover by Lisa Kleypas. Buried himself with his work. Felt guilty for the death of his first wife. Knows how to use that chamber horse.

Over rated heroes:

1) Iain Maitland from The Secret by Julie Garwood. Over on a bulletin board, all the women rave about this man. They think he's the greatest hero Julie Garwood created. I cannot understand why. I did like him, don't get me wrong. But he just isn't all that to me.
2) Roarke from the JD Robb's In Death Series. I admit, I have never read the JD Robb series. The plot just doesn't interest me what so ever. So he probably shouldn't be on my list, but I hear so much about him that he is.
3) Jason Fielding from Once and Always by Judith Mc Naught I just read his book and I thought he was kind of jerk. Why everyone thinks he's so great, I don't know.
4) Zarek of Moesha from Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I love him, I do, but I just didn't think he was all that.

Holly's Picks:
My Ultimate Hero:

1) Dageus MacKeltar from The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning. He made the ultimate sacrafice for love, not once, but twice. He condemned himself to a lifetime of hell so that his brother could live a life full of love. What's not to love?
2) Ben Lewis from Heart of Fire by Linda Howard. The man is sexy, dangerous and a complete horndog! *dreamy sigh*
3) Connor MacAllister from The Wedding by Julie Garwood. He spent his life trying to avenge a wrong done to his father and learned to open his heart to his bride. Fierce, strong and sexy!
4) Calvin Morrisey from Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. The man was a veritable god among men. Sweet, compassionate, funny, loyal..and surprisingly..not perfect. Krispy Kreme's anyone?

Heroes who I think are great but don't get much love:

1) Nick Allagrezza from Truly, Madly, Yours by Rachel Gibson. He was shunned by his father, and in love with the wrong girl his entire life. He needs love, ladies...*sigh*
2) Alex Markov from Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. He was tortured and felt unworthy of offering or receiving love, and yet he gave all that he could.
3) Robert "Bit" Carroway from England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch. He was imprisoned and tortured..but still managed to overcome all of his fears for the woman he loved.
4) Adam Black from The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning. Sure, we've all heard the name, but I think he gets overlooked as a great hero because of his rocky start in Beyond the Highland Mist.

Over rated heroes:

1) Derek Craven from Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas. Sure, he was a great hero, tortured and feeling unworthy, but I just don't see why so many people rave about him like he was the best thing since sliced bread. Makes no sense to me at all.
2) Iain Maitland from The Secret by Julie Garwood. Like Isabel, I just don't understand the attraction. He was a great hero, sure, but I don't think he deserves all the kudos he gets.
3) Sam Starett from The Seals Series by Suzanne Brockman. He was an alright hero and I liked seeing his character develop over several books, but he wasn't nearly as swoon worthy as so many make him out to be. Not that I thought he sucked or anything, but what's all the hype about?
4) Zarek of Moesha from Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I love him, I do, but I just didn't think he was all that. DITTO!

Dylan's Picks:

My Ultimate Heroes:

1) Dageus MacKeltar from The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning- He made the ultimate sacrifice first for the love of his family and brother and second for his true love. He was all that and then some and then some more and he had the Pepsi and bag of chips, yes sir he did.
2) Sam Starrett from Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann- It took him forever and six books to finally get his happy ending and I seriously loved him right from the very beginning, he was REAL, that's what I loved most about him.
3) Connor McAllister from The Wedding by Julie Garwood- Ignorant of the good things surrounding love, grew up a fierce and strong warrior with little patience for with women and love, but learned to love with everything he was, just flippin' LOVED him.
4) Calvin Morrisey from Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie- Tall, dark and handsome. GORGEOUS, fell in love with someone his kind shouldn't have fallen in love with according to societies standards, but it didn't stop him from loving Minn Dobbs completely for who she was and not what she looked like and loved him even more when he help Minn realize that she was okay the way she was, that he loved her for all that and so much more. *sigh* SEXY.

Heroes I think are great but don't get much love.

1) Sin MacAllister from Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor- This was a great hero but you don't hear too many people gushing about him, he was a fierce warrior who had to fight to stay alive, LOVED him.
2) Cian MacKeltar from Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning- I seriously love this man, he was strong, extreme smart and he loved with all that he had, what's more to love? It's just weird that he's not a lot of women's favorites, he should be ALL women's favorites.
3) Ben Lewis from Heart of Fire by Linda Howard- This guy is one guy that I would actually really want to be with in real life, he was the perfect mix of funny, sexy and protective...how come not many people love him?
4) Cam Quinn from Seaswept by Nora Roberts- He's got everything you could want in a man. Good looks. Family Oriented.FRIGGIN HOT...what else do you need to know?

Over rated heroes

1) Roarke from the In Death books by JD Robb- I thought he was hot, don't get me wrong, but he wasn't hot enough for me to finish out the series...he just didn't grab me the way that he did most other women...I just don't see it.
2) Iain Maitland from The Secret by Julie Garwood- He was a hottie for sure, but he wasn't ALL that...
3) Theo Buchanan from Mercy by Julie Garwood- For me, his brother Nick was always hotter, but for some reason this guy seems to be the popular Buchanan...he's hot, I loved him, I just don't see how he's hotter than Nick, but to each his own.
4) Cal Bonner from Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips- Okay, this guy I didn't really care for, I mean I liked him, but I liked Kevin Tucker WAY more, I loved Dan Calebow WAY more and so I don't get why he's the hotter guy, but thats just me.

It amazes me how different people love different things about the same guy, the way one person loves something about Dageus, another person absolutely detests that in the same guy...it really blows my mind. But I guess that's what makes the world go round.

Who are YOUR ultimate heroes?



Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Trading Up by Candace Bushnell

Heroine: Janey Wilcox
Grade: F

Candace Bushnell is turning heads . . .

The New York Times bestseller, now in paperback.

When Trading Up was published in July, readers from coast to coast devoured the sharp-witted, Jane Austin-esque story of Janey Wilcox's unsteady climb to the top of Manhattan's social scene. It became THE hot book -- and the numbers prove it: We've sold more than 250,000 copies to date. To top it off, Candace Bushnell was the apple of the press's eye. Her signature glamour, poise, and humor lit up TV screens, newspapers, and magazines across America.

While Janey Wilcox may want to be on top, it's clear that Candace Bushnell's Trading Up IS on top. With an even wider paperback audience, who knows how much higher she can climb?

Candace Bushnell is the author of the international bestsellers Sex and the City and 4 Blondes. She has been a columnist for The New York Observer and was a contributing editor for Vogue. She lives in New York City.

I thought I would like this book, because it looked spunky and cute and I was in the mood for chick lit...but I couldn't connect with the characters, I couldn't stand Janey Wilcox, she was just one of the most shallowest people I have ever had the displeasure to read about and her desire to be one of the leading ladies of the richest of the rich, totally turned me off.

I picked this book up, last month, maybe it was the month before, its been so long I can't even remember, but needless to say again, I just couldn't care for this book.

It's characters are superficial, fake and just about the worst sort of people, EVER. Janey was horrible to her sister, Patti (her sister) was a crybaby and Seldon Rose? OMGosh, talk about loser...don't even get me started on Mimi and Mauve and Comstock...the entire book just bored me to tears so much, that I just can't bring myself to read it...hated it!

Don't bother reading it, I give it a stamp grade of: F!

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To Die For by Linda Howard

Hero: J.W. Bloodsworth
Heroine: Blair Mallory
Grade: B+

Date: 3/7/06

After a painful divorce, Blair Mallory thought her problems were over. She was dead wrong. With the settlement, she follows a dream and opens a fitness center. But in the shadow of success, a troubled member of the club develops a strange fixation on Blair, imitating her style and dress. Matters take a darker turn when the look-alike is shot dead - and Blair witnesses the horror.

As the media speculates on the tawdry details of the homicide and pushes Blair into the harsh spotlight, Blair crosses paths with police lieutenant C.W. Bloodsworth. Together they investigate the dead woman's family and social circle. But when someone begins to menace Blair with mounting threats, her blood run cold: Was this murder indeed a lethal case of mistaken identity - and was Blair the intended victim?

Okay, this book seriously rocked out IMO.

Blair cracked me the hell up with her snooty attitude, her inability to say NO to Wyatt and even her karate chop cartwheel at the end of the book was pretty tight (totally unbelievable, but tight nonetheless). She was a funny, sarcastic and just all around normal person. She was far from perfect and I think that's why I loved her character so much, because I could see her as one of my friends.

So the thing with Blair is, she got married young, married a guy who cheated on her with...HER SISTER! And she divorces his ass, she makes out like a bandit in the settlement and with the money she got from her lying, rat bastard ex husband, she opens up a 24 Hour Fitness type gym in her town. Things are looking up for her, when she gets this really annoying customer that everyone absolutely loathes.

The day she kicks her out of the gym is the day that she's murdered in the parking lot, with Blair as a witness, she didn't see who shot poor Nicole, but she was the one that called 911 and all that junk. The cops come over and things start to heat up.

Enter the hot and hunky Detective Hero, J.W. Bloodsworth.

Blair can't stand his ass because she dated him and he never called her back, just up and disappeared with not a word or anything, any girl would be annoyed with someone who didn't give you a reason they stopped seeing you.

It's a freaking riot to see these two bump heads throughout the book, Wyatt trying to keep Blair safe from the killer and from his lascivious attentions and Blair and her annoying lists she makes up for Wyatt's boss, the lists that are never completed and never turned over.

The chemistry between Blair and Wyatt is unmistakable and was enough to have me up until all hours of the night last night, rereading. It really is a great treat for all of us, ya'll should definitely check it out!

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006

My Recent Revelation Regarding The "Is It Porn" Debate

As I was talking to my favorite Jersey Girl this morning, I realized why so many men and women consider Romance Chick Porn.

Those of us here at Sanctuary's Finest recently put up a blog regarding the Great Debate over whether or not Romance is Porn. The four of us agreed that no, it's not.

But what I came to realize this morning is this:

We make it seem that way. Yes, us. The women who love these novels and defend them to any and all.

Here's my conversation with my favorite Jersey Girl from this morning:

Me: I read LM's Wedding Vow of Revenge last night. It was great.
JG: Ugh. Yeah, I might read that, but why does it have to be a Harlequin?
Me: What does that have to do with anything?
JG: I hate those books.
Me: Why? *slight pause and then a gasp* You book snob!
JG: *laughs* What? Have you seen those covers?
Me: What does it matter. You shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.
JG: Well, yeah, I know, but I hate those Harlequin books.
Me: Have you ever even read one?
JG: Well, no. But Still...

And another example:

From the comments section of the review I wrote for WVOR.

Grace: You know I love the business tycoon heroes, so of course I'm going to pop this one onto my TBR list. Thanks for that sweets! And you know, you've made me verra curious about Lucy Monroe, because you seem to love almost everything she puts out, so she must be good. The only thing I'm hesitant about this book? Dude..have you seen that cover?! LMAO.

Holly: I swear, you're SUCH a cover snob! It's rather depressing. *sigh*


You know, Grace, it's terribly wrong to judge a book by it's cover. Just think how many other wonderful stories you would have missed out on had you not looked past their covers....MmmHmmm That's what I thought.

And I have yet to read a book by LM that I haven't enjoyed.

Do you see? It's because WE, as romance readers, continue to treat these books as something to be ashamed of that everyone considers them porn.

So I challenge you, Dear Romance Readers, to put your predjuices aside and pick up a new book with one of those cheesy covers. Then take it out in public and proudly read it. Be strong. Don't be ashamed. Proudly display that boddice ripper cover for all and sundry to see!

Just once, I'd like to see the women who read romance novels to stand strong and be proud. Can you do it? Will you? Or will you continue to let ancient sterotypes rule where and what you read?

Take a stand, ladies! I dare you!



Monday, March 6, 2006

Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie

Fast Women.
They don't break for anybody.

Nell's been discarded. Suze's been repressed. Margie's been put on hold. But now they're hitting the ground running, kicking up dust, and moving at the speed of rage.

The Story:
Nell Dysart is living a too small life in a too small apartment with no visible evidence of a reason to get up in the morning. Weighed down by an inexplicable divorce and a loss of appetite for everything, Nell is frozen in place, and she's not alone: Her two closest friends and sisters-in-law are as stuck as she is. Suze is married to a controlling lawyer who keeps her housebound while she perfects an almost zen-like denial, and Margie has been stuck in foggy limbo since her husband disappeared seven years before with a lot of money that didn't belong to him. Good thing Nell's new job is with a down-and-out detective agency that has huge potential and a boss who looks easy to manage.

Gabe McKenna isn't doing too well, either. His detective agency is wasting time on a blackmail case, his partner Riley has decided he hates watching cheating spouses for money, and his ex-wife has just dumped him . . . again. Good thing his new secretary looks efficient, boring, and biddable.

But soon Nell and Gabe are squaring off over embezzlement, business cards, bribery, interior decoration, vandalism, dachshund-napping, blackmail, and unprofessional sex, all of which turn out to be the least of their problems. Because shortly after that, somebody starts killing people. And shortly after that, they start falling in love...

I wasn't all too anxious to read this one by JC, but surprisingly it turned to be a good read. A very good read. Once I got past the first few chapters and familiarised myself with the range of characters, I became very antsy and wanted to get to the end of the book already.

Both Nell and Gabe are control freaks, or should I say "Kissers"..so you can only imagine what the consquences are for putting these two together. But some how, they made it work. Well, eventually, they made it work.

I liked Nell very much, at least compared to my last JC hero (Maddie Faraday) and I enjoyed reading about her own journey of self. Gabe McKenna on the other hand, wow. I LOVED him. I absolutely ate up the fact that he was so darn..whats the word I'm looking for. Hmm..Decent. And kind..and just, so much more. His protective nature won me over in a heart beat.

And Riley McKenna (Gabe's partner) was such a treat too. He sounds like such a charmer, I think it'd be so freakin' dangerous to come across him in a bar..*sigh* I should be so lucky.

The secondary romance between Nell's son, Jase Dysart and Gabe's daughter, Lu is something I was rooting for too. Gosh, Jase sounds like a lady's man. He stole a little piece of my heart too.

Overall, JC climbed back up a few notches for me, after her crash and burn in Tell Me Lies. The only complaint I have for this one, is the ending..I felt like it fell a little flat and short. I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but maybe just a little more oomph or perhaps an epilogue..or something! But otherwise, Fast Women was a treat. :)


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