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Friday, September 29, 2006

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman's father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can't snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses -- the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.
Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. But she doesn't count on Matthew's unexpected charm . . . or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered . . . one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy's wildest fantasies.

Holly Says:

This is the fourth and final book in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series. I was very anxious to read it, because though I didn't really care for It Happened One Autumn, I loved Devil In Winter and was curious about Daisy. Plus, something happens with Daisy and Cam Rohan from DIW, and I wondered if it would go anywhere.

It didn't, but that worked for me, because I ended up really liking the hero.

So, Daisy's been out for a couple of seasons but doesn't have any marriage prospects lined up and her father is upset about it. He tells her she either has to bring someone up to scratch within a certain amount of time, or he's setting her up. Daisy is horrified when her father tells her who he's chosen, too. None other than the scrawny, cold, machine-like Matthew Swift, whom she hasn't seen in years.

Little does she know, however, that Matthew isn't the same scrawny, cold guy anymore. Now he's all man, built and muscular and charming and...perfect for Daisy. Only, she refuses to see that at first.

For Matthew's part, he's wanted Daisy since he first laid eyes on her ten years ago, but he's harboring a secret that could destroy his life, so he knows he can't risk being with Daisy.

Though I enjoyed this one, it doesn't come close to DIW. I never really got a feel for Matthew. Maybe it's because I skimmed quite a bit, but I just never felt connected to him like I did with Sebastion.

The Good: Daisy. She was a great heroine. I had some issues with the way she was constantly referred to as elfish, but that's a personal issue and doesn't have much to do with the story itself. Though she TRIED to dislike Matthew, she couldn't, and I loved that once she commmited she stuck with it.

The Bad: The character development. Though I got a great feel for Daisy, I didn't get hardly anything for Matthew. He just didn't seem...alive to me. Which I hate.

Plus, his "secret" was just...dumb. I mean, the secret itself wasn't, but the way it played into the story was. And in the end, it was solved way too easily. It didn't make one lick of sense that LK added this element in and didn't expand upon it. Besides, it seems to me that she already played this storyline out in Stranger In My Arms.

The Ugly: Lillian Bowman. Bitch had her own book, she didn't need to star in this one, too. Though she bugged a little in her own story, she was downright obnoxious in this one. I hated her. Flat out. She drove me to distraction the way she constantly meddled and told Daisy what to do and refused to listen to anyone but her overblown self. She didn't seem strong and independant at all, but needy, controlling and bitchy. Very bad form, IMO.

Overall the story was good, but not amazing. I enjoyed Daisy and liked how once she made a decision she stuck with it, but I wasn't super impressed with this last installment in the series.

I'm giving this one a:

3.5 out of 5 (mostly for Daisy)

Isabel Says

Holly gave a good rundown of the plot so I won't bother with that.

What I liked: I liked this story. I like Matthew. I know some weren't that impressed. But I don't know. He just had something. He's not St. Vincent or Simon though. Those men were yummy. But I think Matthew held his own. I really liked how he calmed Annabelle's baby. He gets awwww points for that.

I like Daisy. Loved how she locked them in the room and put the key down her corset. Go Daisy!!! I felt so bad for her when her father called her a parasite. What an awful thing to say about your daughter. Damn.

I also liked how Daisy stood by Matthew. She didn't get all, "You lied to me!" like some heriones do.

What I didn't Like: Lillian. Like I told Holly in an email: BITCH NEEDS TO SHUT THE HELL UP! Ok, I know she was preggers and her horomones were crazy, but damn. Lay off Daisy. She's perfectly able of making her own decisions. Christ.

Matthew's Secret. Meh. It could've been played out better.

Grade: B

I like Evie's story the best.

Secrets of A Summer Night
It Happened One Autumn
Devil In Winter
Scandal In Spring

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

A devil's bargain

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts -- which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions...or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

Isabel Says:

I stayed up until 11:30 last night reading this. The last couple of chapters, I had to reread to make sure I didn't miss anything, cause I could feel my eyes fighting to say open last night.

I liked this one. I think out of the Wallflower series, this is my favorite. I love how Sebastian took care of Evie after they were married. He helped her get ready for bed, cleaned her up the morning after and bought that foot warmer thingy for carriage ride home. It's little things like that that just make my heart melt. Then him taking the bullet for her. sigh... But quick question, maybe I was tired and missed it, but was there mention why Sebastian kept trying to push Evie away? Was there mention of his childhood? We know about Evie growing up, but did we get a glimpse of Sebastian's childhood.?

I liked Evie. She had spirit and determination to stay by her father's side. Although her trying make Sebastian abstain from sex for 6 months made me laugh out loud. Yeah right. Even the 3 months I thought was a little much, but hey, he was willing to do it. I cheered when she told Sebastian he was going to lose the bet and took advantage him. Sebastian telling her to leave cause he wanted to prove to her he could, was just... I can't think of the word... noble, no. I don't know. I love he wanted to prove he could do it though.

I don't remember where I read it, maybe it was on Where's My Hero? blog, but I remember reading something Sebastian was supposed to rival Derek Craven in hotness. I think not. Sebastian is swoon worthy, don't get me wrong. But Derek Craven is just... to good for words. Derek is my lobster out of the Lisa Kleypas heroes.

This book is the 3rd in The Wallflower Series
1) Secrets of a Summer Night
2) It Happened One Autumn
3) Devil In Winter
4) Scandal In Spring coming 7/26/06 (according to Barnes and Noble)

There you have it people. I give it a B+ until I reread the series.


It's still my favorite out of the series. Still laughed at Evie asking him to abstain.

Grade: A-

Holly Says:

I loved this book. It was just what I needed to get me out of my historical slump. I was a little bit disappointed in SoaSN. It was alright, but it didn't just GRAB me like this one did.

I think Evie is easily my favorite heroine of the series so far. I'm reserving judgement until I read Daisy's book, but I loved Evie. And watching Sebastion fall for her was nothing short of amazing.

You must have missed some of it, Isabel, because they talked about how Sebastion's mom died in childbirth and three of his siters died of Scarlet Fever. The fourth sister died in childbirth and his father was a greedy, selfish bastard who thought only of himself. That's the main reason he was afraid to love Evie, I think. Because every person he ever loved before died. *sniffle*

I loved that he took such good care of her. And when he was ill, I loved how strong Evie was for him. They were perfectly matched, I think.

4.5 out of 5

Dylan's Turn:

Hero: Sebastian St. Vincent
Heroine: Evangeline Jenner
Grade: B+

I really liked this book, I loved how Sebastian turned into one of those reformed rakes that we all know and love. I love the way he took care of Sebastian and the way he protected her from her evil Uncles, and I just love how his I'm bad and don't you forget it attitude, he was definitely swoonworthy.

Do I like him more than Derek Craven though? No. Is he my favorite hero of Lisa Kleypas? No. That title still belongs to Simon Hunt. There was just something about Simon that I hella loved and can't get over, so for me, it's still Simon Hunt leading the race for my favorite LK hero.

I really liked Evie as well, I've always liked her and I loved watching her come out of her shell and to see her stammer slowly disappear, the more comfortable she got around Sebastian, the more happy I got. She was a great heroine, I knew I was going to enjoy getting to know her. I loved the whole story, getting to know her, see where she was, the mystery surrounding her family coming out was just GREAT! I loved reading every bit of this book.

But for some reason, Secrets of a Summer Night still holds the title of my favorite Wallflower book. I really enjoyed Sebastian, seeing him grow and fall in love with Evie, of all the girls in London, for him to fall to the shy girl with the stammer, just made my heart go pitter patter in my chest, it was just all that's good and yum in this world!

It took me one day to read this book, I inhaled it and was glad that I did because it was just so good...Sebastian and Evie were such a great couple and their book was fantabulous! Can't say enough good things about this book...

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing and persistent admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition ... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses ... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

This is the first book in the wallflower series. Annabelle needs to find a husband. This is her last season and not only does she need a husband but she needs wealthy one. Her family has been making ends meet and they are walking a fine line of becoming poor. Her mother has been exchanging sexual favors with Lord Hodgeham to try and ease the debts. But Lord Hodgeham is tired of Annabelle's mother. He now wants Annabelle. She'll die before becoming his mistress.

At one of the balls, she befriends 3 other wallflowers: Lillian, Evie and Daisy. Together they vow to find each other husbands and become best of friends.

Annabelle sets her sight on Lord Kendall but she can't stop thinking about Simon Hunt. Simon is not a member of the peerage, but he's extremewealthyhly. A man she can't think about marrying. Even though he's rich, he's not titled. Now, this makes Annabelle seem... snobbish. But I keep thinking, this is how it was back in the day.

Simon Hunt. Yummy. I loved when he told Annabelle to cut her game short or he'd make love to her right then and there. He tells her she has 5 minutes to get upstairs. They don't make it of course and ending making love in a linen closet. His comment, "For the rest of my life, the smell of starch will always make me hard." Yeah baby.

Another favorite scene was when Annabelle was bit by an adder. Simon was so caring and tender towards. It was really touching how he didn't want to leave her side.

Grade: B

Dylan's Take:

Hero: Mr. Simon Hunt
Heroine: Miss Annabelle Peyton
Grade: B+

Simon Hunt.

Holy hot damn this man was all that and then some for me. I hella loved me some Mr. Hunt. I really enjoyed this book. I'm hecka kicking myself for not giving Lisa Kleypas a try before now. Her writing style is fantabulous! She writes great stories and her Heroes are just the right amount of yummy!

Izzy already broke the story down for you...so I'll just tell you how I liked the book.

It was great!

There were a few times when I wanted to strangle Annabelle for being such a snob where Simon was concerned but then there were times when I understood why she was the way she was. She couldn't help she was a snob, look at her Mom! I liked though, how she learned the error of her ways and the way she stormed into the factory to save Simon....gosh, that was so cute. And then the scene where she finally sees Simon AFTER that incident and he's with Marcus. And then how she asks him to look at her and he's all bleeding pissed off at her? SO CUTE! That was my favorite scene in the whole book, the scene where they both finally acknowledge their feelings for each other. It was a long time coming and so worth it because I thought that scene was just perfect!

All of her eavesdropping was just too funny to me, when she eavesdropped on Simon and his Mother, I was glad to see that Simon stuck up for her and didn't just brush off his Mother's words, because that was his wife...I really liked how he was waiting to make her his mistress and then ended up making her his wife. I thought that bit was cute.

My favorite part was when she told Simon where she belonged...that scene was just too freaking cute!

Another thing I loved about this book was THE WALLFLOWERS! How cute were they? When they got caught by Lord Westcliff and Simon during their Rounders game had me laughing out loud at the soccer games yesterday, it was just too funny! Lillian and her loud mouth had me laughing when she dared to blame them getting caught on Lord Westcliff and Simon, gosh it was hilarious.

This book was light, extremely funny and the characters were fantastic to get to know, a big time winner in my book! I'm trying to remember if I didn't like anything in this book apart from Lord Hodgeham and there were a lot of descriptions in this book that took me forever to get through, but as soon as I finished with those endless descriptions of the fields and Simon's parents house and all that goodness, I was able to jump right into the story...I could have done without a LOT of the descriptions (which were way too wordy for me) but aside from that, the book was great!

Would I recommend this book? Absofreakinglutely!

A sure winner for real!

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Because You're Mine by Lisa Kleypas

Because the Dream. . .

Young, high-spirited Lady Madeline Matthews is expected to wed an aging, lecherous lord. But she would rather shame herself in the eyes of society than sacrifice her freedom, and resolves to render herself unmarriageable by indulging in a torrid affair with Britain's most acclaimed actor and notorious womanizer, Logan Scott.

Because the Heart. . .

He is a legend in the footlights and in the bedchamber. But when the curtain falls, Logan is an intensely private, guarded man still tormented by past betrayals that cut deep into his pride and his heart. Now a forward little minx who seems completely out of place in the bright, sophisticated world of the London stage is disrupting his orderly existence with her constant presence, her unspoiled beauty and vibrant charm. And what begins with an onstage kiss threatens to blossom into something more rapturous and real. But first Logan and Madeline both must be brave enough to drop the masks they hide behind. . . and reveal their true selves in the golden glorious light of love.

This book was sooo much better than Somewhere I'll Find You.

Plot: Maddy is supposed to marry a Duke. He's old and ugly. Maddy decides she's going to ruin herself. She sets her sights on Logan Scott. The owner of Capital Theater and one of most gift actors. She runs away from home and gets a job at the theater.

Logan wants nothing to do her. But then he's starts getting grumpy and short tempered. He can't stop thinking of Maddy. Someone has a crush!!!! Of course he keeps turning down her advances.

Logan gets really sick and Maddy takes care of him. Logan decides why not have Maddy. Only he realizes he loves her. The night after they make love, Maddy is prepared to go home. She made a promise to God if Logan got well, she'd return home. Logan tries to stop her when dear ol daddy comes to collect Maddy. Logan is very upset.

What I Liked: I really liked Maddy. She made her intentions clear. She told Logan, "I'm going to be your next lover." Girls has some guts there. When Logan kept rejecting her, she kept pursuing him. If I had been maddy, I would've moved on. She even took care of him. She stayed by his side until he was well.

Logan, damn. He's a hottie. He came from nothing and now he's one of the wealthiest, gifted actors of his time. Although he did irk me when he after he married Maddy, he still tried to keep her at arms length.

What I Didn't Like: Maddy's sister Justine. She tried seduce Logan but he was having none of it!

Grade: A-/B+

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Friday, September 22, 2006

And Then Came You by Maureen Child

Hero: Jeff
Heroine: Sam (Samantha)
Category: Contemp
Page Count: 335
Grade: B
Buy It:Here, or here.

Nine years ago, Samantha Marconi was swept away in a whirlwind wedding...even though she'd only known her new husband for a month. When Jeff left her just weeks after the wedding-she found out she was pregnant and had nowhere to turn. So Sam did the only thing she thought she could do. She placed her daughter up for adoption and tried to forget the past-until her past came knocking on her door...

Jeff never received Sam's letters, nor did he know she had their child-until after the little girl was put up for adoption. Jeff managed to find their daughter, Emma, and lovingly raised her on his own. He's about to remarry-but his divorce from Sam never went through. Jeff needs Sam's help to get "unmarried," and quick. Yet when Jeff shows up on Sam's doorstep, he's shocked to find the sparks that once flew between them are still burning strong. Can he let Sam go again? Especially when the truth about what really happened nine years ago is finally revealed...

Yes I'm stealing Dylan's little set up here, I like it! lol. So what? On with the review.

I must admit that when I first started reading this I had no intention of liking it. I didn't not want to, it's just I knew it was a storyline I didn't like. Ask me my most despised storyline and it's the "We were together, we got split up with others lies, I had your baby, we never spoke, a million years past and OMG I bump into you and still love you! What to do???" lol. Okay so you get my point.

This book surprised me. While there were parts that I didn't' really like, as a whole it was a really good book. Full of funny Italian woman, sister to boot! And they are all construction workers.

We'll skip the stuff that is already said about the book above and go with the rest.....

Jeff has chosen a new woman to be his wife. Her name is Cynthia and he choose her cause he didn't have the same crazy passion with her as he did with Sam. After all, passion obviously isn't enough, look at him and Sam. But when he sees Sam again and the sparks fly he has to wonder.....can he really live without her? He has raised their daughter since she was a newborn, believing that Sam wanted neither him or their daughter. That stung but he never let Emma know the truth. Instead deciding to tell her that her mother loved her but just couldn't keep her.

Sam was hurt once, and that was enough. When her mother got sick and finances were tight right after her husband walked out on her and returned her letter telling him she was pregnant, she decided to give her baby that she loved so much up for adoption. Little did she know someone was working behind the scenes to destroy her marriage, and everything dear to her.

But nine years later Jeff and Sam meet again, granted not under the best circumstances but it's still another chance. When Sam finds out that Jeff has had her daughter all along she is at first livid. But then she comes up with the perfect plan. Jeff may not want to share his daughter, believing all this time he'd never have too. But he wants a divorce and she's holding the cards. So it's shared custody or no divorce. But when Jeff finds out the truth about nine years ago, and the passion that has not worn off at all with Sam, does he want a divorce still?

With a beautiful little girl, a conniving fiancee, a confused wife and husband that have believed themselves divorced for nine years, and not to mention two kick ass sisters that won't stand for anyone hurting Sam again. This makes for a very entertaining book. Full of laughter, tears, anger, and smiles.

But wait....I said there was some stuff that irked me. Nothing to much but I must state that it has always bothered me when hero's are hurt in the past then have this mind set: I've loved once and gotten burned, so now I'm going to choose a cold woman that I don't love cause that's sure to keep me safe and happy.
Okay how dumb can men be? At least he didn't' keep that mind set for long.

Go get the book, and then read the rest of the stories that go along.

And then Came You ~ Sam's Story
A Crazy Kind of Love ~ Mike's Story
Turn My World Upside Down ~ Jo's Story

Or visit Maureen Child's webpage and see all the other books she has by clicking here.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

I Love Jane From Dear Author

This is the best review I have EVER seen in my life! Go, Jane, GO!



Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pimping a New Blog!

So, after posting a certain post about a certain author on my personal blog, Coffee House Banter, I found a new blogger that just started a new blog, called.....The Dishing Diva.

The Dishing Diva, as she's known is dishing the cold truth about the romance reading community so ya'll women behaving badly better watch out because the Dishing Diva's got her eye on you and you most definitely don't want to get caught on her, Wall of Dishonour.

She's not only going to be posting up Authors Behaving Badly on her Wall of Dishonor, she's also posting up rabid fan girls who need to swift kick in the arse as well as those bitchy bloggers that need their comeuppance, so no one's safe from her.


No, The Dishing Diva, is not me (Dylan) or any of the other girls here at Sanctuary's Finest, but we don't know who it is, but I'll tell you something, The Dishing Diva has got some fans in us....

So, let's roll out the big Welcome Mat for the Dishing Diva....

Welcome to Bloggerland Dishing Diva!!
May your blog live long and prosper!
All of us here at Sanctuary's Finest.



Secret Underground Cult...Nope, Just Some More Rabid Fangirls..

Now over at my blog, Coffee House Banter yesterday I posted that I got banned from an author's forum...Here's the story in all it's glory, but along with the story, you're going to get all of our gripes with J.R. Ward, because not only does she condone this kind of behavior on her site, but she also snubs her fans. So read on for the full scoop. We're not going to hold anything back.

This is what happens when you ask J.R. Ward some questions or state opinions that J.R. Ward doesn't want to see...

Link to "the" Post.

She makes them disappear.


I'm serious, I wasn't trying to be mean in my post on that board, like I was in my review here on the blog. I respected her enough since it IS her board, to not bash her. I was honestly curious to see if her other fans felt the same way as I did or if JRW could shed any light on it.

But, I guess my opinions weren't appreciated.

Because, wow did they rip me a new one, well not every single one of them ripped into me, there were some people who disagreed with me but didn't BASH my head over with million pound words, the only person that I remember not bashing me was Heidi, so Heidi and the other posters who didn't run me over with their words are excluded from this gripe, just wanted to make sure you guys know that I'm not at all talking about you guys, but to hell with everyone else in that thread. My friend had to give me some lube so that I can take the ass whipping I got a little smoother. It was NOT pretty....talk about JRW worship hall over there. The way those women ripped into me, I thought maybe J.R. Ward got her God papers or something.

If you guys want to see what I wrote, here's what I wrote, exactly word for word...

I don't know where else to post these questions, so I guess I'm just going to post it here. I'm a Brotherhood fan, I'm really down with the brothers but there are a few things that I can't really figure out and make sense of, so I'm going to just state my opinions here. I just want some clarification from J.R. Ward or anyone who knows her can relay this to her, I'm just wonderin' is all...

First of all, the slang.

Don't you find it weird that a bunch of white boys are talkin' and listenin' to Ludacris and 50 Cent? There ain't nothing wrong with it if that's what you dig, but it's just weird because where I come from, if some group of white boys come rollin' through the hood with an Escalade, sportin' tight leather pants and "shitkickers"? It don't matter how tough or how many people they killed, they're going to get laughed out of Compton. While I'm reading the books, I understand what each brother is trying to say, but if I'm picturing exactly what they look like through their descriptions, I can't help but laugh because the way they talk and they way they dress, just don't measure up...maybe my imagination just can't drum it up but I can't help but laugh, they just seem so...silly.

Second, the gay undertones. What is up with all that? Is there a gay guy in the bunch? Again, there ain't nothing wrong with gay guys, but if I wanted to read a gay romance, I'd read a gay romance, but I ain't trying to read that in these books. I want some real, manly men and well, without spoiling anything for anyone, from the last book, there were too many "You know how I know you're gay" moments that turned me off. There were too many things that the Brothers did that made me question their sexuality and I really hate that...don't make my favorite brothers seem fruity, because then it'll make me not want to read the rest of the books, and I'd hate for that to happen. So, am I the only one that has caught onto these things or does anyone see what I'm talking about?

Again, I'm just wonderin'....

Where in there did I say that J.R. Ward's book SUCKED ASS and she's the WORST WRITER EVER and I HATE THAT BITCH? Its not there, huh? Because I DIDN'T BASH HER, but the way those girls went off, you would've thought I threatened to kick her dog or something. I didn't mention anything about Wellsie and Sarelle, though I could have, I wanted to rip her a new one for writing those scenes into Lover Awakened, but I thought, nah, let me just let her know about all the other crap I didn't like. But like one of my friends said, I guess if you don't want to blow sunshine up her ass, then your comments are not welcomed.

What the hell ever.

If she can't take a little heat, then what the hell is she doing in this kind of business? A business where people will take you to task for EVERY little thing. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful, I wasn't trying to take her fans away, but because I wasn't over there blowing hearts and love up her ass, she wasn't trying to hear what I was saying and she can say that it was her Moderators that did it or whatever, but that was HER board, it's not a publishers author forum, so it's associated with HER.

What a joke.

Lots and lots of people have blogged about rabid fan girls and I've never really had anything to say about them, because up to a certain point, I thought I was a rabid fan girl myself for my favorite authors. But I'm not. I still got mad love for Harlot and Trollop over at the Book Bitches and they, *gasp* didn't have ANY love for my Sam from the Troubleshooters Series by Suzanne Brockmann (HI guys! =)) I respected their opinions and didn't immediately start hating on them because they didn't share in my enthusiasm for the SEALs.

Amongst ourselves here at Sanctuary Finest, Holly and myself don't agree on damn near anything and yet I can respect that she has her opinions about her books and I have mine on my books. There's nothing but love between us and she HATED, read that as loathed Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor, I rather liked it myself, and a lot of the issues that Holly had with the book, I totally loved , but does that mean we have to jump all over each other and hate on each other. As a matter of fact, our reviews were totally different, but the comment Holly made after I put mine up was:

Good review, Dee. Since you already know how I felt about it, I'll just leave it at that.
Everyone is going to have different thoughts and opinions on EVERYTHING, it's what makes the world go round.

I guess they missed the memo.

But oh no, she didn't just snub me, my dear readers, she snubbed my dear friend, Jazz as well....so take the floor Jazz...tell them how you really feel.

Well okay. Here's how it went down.

My friend, Dylan, told me she posted up some thoughts and questions (that we all shared) on JRW's board. I go and register for the board and am expecting to get some answers to Dylans questions. But what do I find??? From the very first post through 3 more pages ...BASHING!

Bashing MY friend.

Oh hells to the NO!

I can't let that happen. They said everything from "this is hate mail" to "how disrespectful, why would you put this on an authors board". I mean you read what she wrote, right? Was it hateful? Didn't she say she liked the books and just had some questions??? And wouldn't you think a good place to get the correct answers would be that authors board? Dylan wasn't slamming her.

Goodness! So know what I did?

I copied each comment that was rude and told them exactly how rude and immature they were being and how in fact they were wrong in what they said! There was a few girls that stated how they felt in a nice respectful way and I said "OMG you have an adult on the board" okay was that a little rude? Hmmmm, yeah, but they had brung out the Bitch in me.

NOBODY trash's my friend like that!

Well Dylan calls me and is all "Thank You!" and I'm all "What are friends for", but when she got to work and went to read more.......it was gone! SHOCKER, right? lol. But that's not the end of it. Oh no, you could even say it was the beginning of a whole new war. There was a new topic posted titled "We Lost a Post"....after asking where the post went and finding out that the MOD's took it down things started to heat up a bit again. Basically rude things were said back and forth and even though everyone was being rude me and Dylan got the boot. Hmmm, I'm curious to see if anyone else got booted. Yeah, probably not. That's what I thought.

Now our question is, Do Authors really think we, as readers are going to LOVE every single thing that they write? Does J.R. Ward really think that this is how it works? She writes some fabulous books and now we have to love her and bow down to her because she wrote, Dark Lover, which got rave reviews from everyone here at Sanctuary's Finest by the way.

Because she is NOT the first author that I've had these opinions for...and with her, it's not even the book that I didn't like, it was certain things in the book that I didn't care for, but with some of my favorite authors like Julie Garwood and Linda Howard, I have hated ENTIRE BOOKS by them, I mean seriously, Rebellious Desires anyone? I hated that book and don't even get me started on Killing Time by Linda Howard. I could not STAND those books, but did that alienate me against buying any books by them in the future?

Heck no.

I understand that JG and LH are going to have bad books, all authors do, my gripe with J.R. Ward was that her book didn't fall into the category of me HATING her book, it just turned into, me HATING HER, that's all. So you can bet the farm that I will not be buying any future books by J.R. Ward, I'll READ them for sure, but I will for damn sure not pay for any of them anymore. I'm not giving my money to some coward ass author with God complexes.


Holly had some reasons why she didn't really care for J.R. Ward and here is her story.

My beef with Ward is a bit more personal, but before I get into that, let me share my opinions on what happened to Dee. I wasn't involved in any of it. I didn't even know that Dylan had posted anything on the Ward board. Not until AFTER it was taken down. I also didn't see the second post or have anything to do with that. Does it stop me from being pissed? Hell NO! Why? Because you back your friends, no matter what. And my friend was NOT in the wrong. She didn't go over to that board and BASH the author. She didn't go there with the express intention of stirring up trouble. She simply wanted her questions answered. What's the harm in that?

Even though I'm pissed for my friend, I still would have reserved judgement about the author except for one thing...it's an Author Maintained site. Which means, regardless of who the MODs or Admins are, JRW herself is responsible for it. You have to understand, this isn't some site moderated by a publishing house, such as the boards at SimonSays.com. This is a board created by the author herself. If a bunch of Rabid Fangirls had started crap at say, The Julie Garwood BB on the Simon Says site, then I couldn't blame JG herself. Why? Because she never visits the board, she has no control over the content or the fans there and because it's SS who moderates. That's not the case with JRW. THe WARDen is on her board ALL THE TIME. She visits DAILY and I happen to know from an inside source that she keeps her finger on ALL HAPPENINGS there. What does that tell you? It tells you that she KNEW what was going on and did nothing about it. She didn't scold her Rabid Fangirls for acting the way they did. She didn't step in and speak directly to Dee. I CANNOT respect an author who behaves that way. Nor do I really want to.

I wasn't that impressed with Lover Awakened. I thought the slang was WAYY over the top, and unlike the rest of the girls here, I didn't like Bella and Z. Z drove me nuts! But I still probably would have bought the next book, if it weren't for how her Rabid Fangirls acted on her message board and if I hadn't had a personal issue of my own.

Not too long ago, Ward was visiting a site that I frequent and answering questions from her readers. Which I thought was hella cool. So I posted some questions as well. But my questions were of a more personal nature. Here's what I said:


I'm definitely a fangirl. Not nearly as bad as my friend Jazz, who litterally SCREAMED at the top of her lungs in the middle of Wal-Mart the other night when she found LA, but still...LOL

I wanted to ask you a couple of questions, too, if you don't mind. They're of a more personal nature, so I hope you don't mind....

How do you think the popularity of the series has affected you, personally? Do you think you're a different person now than you were before, or are you still the same?

Along the same lines, did you ever expect your Brotherhood to become so popular, so fast? You have MILLIONS of fans! Does that scare you a little, or are you just totally stoked about it?

I haven't read LA yet, but I plan on it soon. I truly enjoyed LE and DL, though. Amazing!

Happy Release Day!
Was I rude? No. Were my questions inappropriate? I don't think so. Did she answer? Uh, no. No she didn't. Now, the thing is, I understand that she was being inundated with questions at the time, but the 2 posters just before me? Yeah, she answered them. And the two posters just below me? Yep, them too. So...what does this tell me? In light of her recent behavior, I have to guess that Yes, her "instant" fame changed her. Made her someone who feels she's above the "little people."

The thing is, there's a lot of drama that goes on here in Blogland. Authors snarking readers, Readers snarking authors. Insults traded. Offense intended. Things like that. But we've stayed out of it. Out of respect for the authors, readers and bloggers, we chose not to comment on things. But I think this time Ward and her Rabid Fangirls have gone too far.

Like we said before, everyone has different opinions. That's what makes the world go round. But we've always had respect for people who had different opinions from us. Go, look around our site, check out our reviews and the comments people left about them. Do we go around bashing other readers because they didn't agree with everything we said? NO! In some cases, we even agreed with them after they stated their opinions. Because we have RESPECT FOR THEM.

Too bad the same can't be said for J.R. Ward and her rabid fan girls.



Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas

Hero: Lord Alex Raiford, Earl of Wolverton
Heroine: Miss Lucy Lawless
Category: Historical Romance
Page Count: 403 pages.
Grade: B-

From the Publisher:

Reckless and wild, beautiful Lilly Lawson delights in shocking proper London society—and will break any rule to flaunt her independence. And now she is determined to rescue her helpless sister from an upcoming, undesired marriage to Lord Alex Raiford, the arrogant Earl of Wolverton. Through fair means and foul, the headstrong hellion succeeds outrageously — but her handsome adversary is not to be outdone. A master gamesman, Lord Alex counters Lily's scorn with kindness, and parries her blistering barbs with gentle words and a soft, sensuous touch. For he has resolved to make the spirited miss pay dearly for her interference — with her body, her soul. . .and her stubborn, unyielding heart.

This book started out a bit slow and I didn't think I was going to like it nearly as much as I did. I wasn't looking forward to reading the rest of this book from the first four chapters, but after about the fourth chapter, the book really picked up and it was great! I'm glad I read it. Lisa Kleypas is a total gem in the historical genre of romance, this is my second book by her that I've read and I'm glad that I finally picked up her books to read.

I don't know what has taken me so long to get to this author, but I like her style.

Lily Lawless was once jilted at the altar by a man she thought she loved. Then while she's traveling the world with her eccentric Aunt Sally, she meets and falls in love again with an Italian man who turns her world upside down again. And now, she's back in London, living on her own rules, gambling at Cravens (YAY! I love this man! Oh sorry, Holly! LOL) and is a really good friend of, Derek Craven himself. A friend of hers who is in love with her engaged sister, Penelope wants Lily's help to try to get Penelope for himself.

Lily's soft heart can't help but help her friend, so she sets out to end the engagement of her sister, Penelope Lawless and Lord Alexander Raiford, the Earl of Wolverton. And she's not above making a fool of herself as long as she gets the job done.

That's where the journey begins.

Now, this book wasn't as good as Dreaming of You, but I did really enjoy this book, I enjoyed Alex and Lily's struggle to find common ground on just about everything and I hecka enjoyed reading about them falling for each other...as in all books, it was such a joy to read.

After the book picked up speed in about the fifth chapter, it was smooth sailing for me after that, I enjoyed the book and ripped through it pretty fast, so I wasn't bored at all after that. The characters were great, I enjoyed meeting Henry and seeing the bond between him and Alex. It was so cool to see Harry quoting all of Alex's good qualities to Lily, how cute. And it was cool to see Alex's concern for his brother, most guys don't care one way or another, but Alex did and I thought that was cool.

Zack and Penelope were cute, Penelope made me roll my eyes a time or two but she wasn't a bad sort. My favorite character though was, Derek Craven of course.

Poor Derek, doesn't think he's good enough for Lily...so he's pushing her into Alex's bed, not that he was complaining or anything. I'm so glad that Derek got his own book and that I don't have to wonder about him, I love him and his snaggled tooth ass with his cockney accent...it's okay Derek, sometimes I don't say my H's either...LOL.

As for the things that bothered the piss out of me, well there really was only the one thing that I can remember right now and that is Lily not coming clean to Alex about her big secret. She had ample time to fill him in so that he didn't look like an idiot in front of everyone but she never came clean until it was too late, until the truth of her secret was all but thrown into his face. I mean, I'm glad that at the end, Alex came to the rescue but I just would have been a bigger Lily fan if she had come clean about the secret. You'll have to read it to find out what it was.

This book gets a B-, good book for real!

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dylan's Turn: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Hero: Zsadist
Heroine: Bella
Category: Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 434
Grade: C
Buy It: here, here or here.

Even within the vampire brotherhood, Zsadist is feared. Still bearing the scars from a tortured past, he is renowned for his unquenchable fury. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion-until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.


Where to begin with this one.

I mean, this book was going so great for me, and then little things started happening in the story and in the book and I was getting just a little more frustrated and a little more frustrated.

Did J.R. Ward forget that she was writing romance novels when she started getting toward the end of this book? Did she skip the part of Romance Writing 101 when they taught the class on THE BAD GUYS GET KILLED, NOT THE GOOD GUYS? Didn't she ever hear the saying, "If it aint broke, don't fix it?"

What in the world would convince her that killing off a perfectly good character would make her a sensational writer?

She already done ruined one of the books in this series for me. How in the world am I going to get through Tohr's book, all the while he's falling in love with ANOTHER WOMAN? I just don't think I've got it in me. She done alienated me, and I had such high hopes for this book.

Not that I didn't like BELLA AND ZSADIST'S story, because I loved their story. Zsadist was less whiny that Zarek and more apologetic than Zarek and he was a fantastic hero. I can't help but compare Zsadist to SK's Zarek, because theyre SO similiar, maybe a little TOO similiar. But, of the two, Zsadist was the less whiny...but they're both hella hot, so I can forgive JRW for copying a character and some other stuff...well not really, but meh whatever.

This book flowed really well, a lot of things happened, a lot of things shouldn't have happened, but above all, the story of Zsadist and Bella was really good. I enjoyed their story a lot.

Did ya'll know who the Reverend was before it was unveiled? I did. So there wasn't much mystery behind that one.

Okay, one other thing that bothered the hell out of me throughout the book. Why in the hell does J.R. Ward keep bringing up the whole gay thing? I mean, if gay people are into the whole guy on guy thing, then by all means, handle your business, but I really don't care to read for it ALL THROUGHOUT a book, especially if these manly men are supposed to love women. If they love women, then quit writing about three grown ass manly men, who love women and what not, waking up in bed together, NAKED! Who the hell does that? Is that supposed to be sexy to me?

Hell EFFING no.

All the gay undertones surrounding the Brothers of the Brotherhood, totally turned me off...the series? I'm not sure. But it sure did make me wonder about V? I mean, Phury insinuating that maybe V was into that shit? Hello???? You are writing for women, women don't like men who like other MEN, or are INTO THAT KIND SHIT...I mean, let's be real now. Even though I know that Phury was into Bella for a little bit, I did get to wondering if he was SURE that he was into girls, because the way she writes these men, she's writing them into a bunch of gay guys and that's fine and dandy if she was writing gay romance, but shit, I like men who LOVE women, I like to read about men who LOVE women, I don't like to wonder if hot and sexy Vishous likes Phury or even Butch for that matter.

Because that scene with Vishous feeding Butch his blood toward the end was just a little too gay for my tastes. There were too many of those "You know how I know you're gay?" moments for me in this book. Even with Phury and Zsadist laying in bed together, spooning it up, was a little TOO GAY for me. If I'm being honest here, what Alpha Male (you know, the kind of males these guys are supposed to be) is going to want to cuddle up next to their damn brother?

Yeah, that's what I thought.


There were a lot of things I HATED about this book, what happened to Wellsie and even what happened to Sarelle, I HATED, wondering where the hell Tohr is and about John's well being, I HATED, I HATED all of the gay shit in here too, but the overall story was really good. I enjoyed seeing Bella win Z over, I enjoyed all of the Z and Bella scenes, I enjoyed getting to know Z even though his character reminds me of too many damn characters from other books, it kinda sucks because he's just not that original for me, I can forgive Z for that, but Im not so sure about JRW.

This book gets a C from me, because though I enjoyed the story, there were too many things that I wanted to rewrite and just flat out HATED.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Unleash The Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Hero: Wren Tigarian
Heroine: Marguerite D'Aubert Goudeau
Grade: A-
Date: 01/01/06
It's a predator eat predator world for the Were-Hunters. Danger haunts any given day. There is no one to trust. No one to love. Not if they want to live…

An orphan with no clan that will claim him, Wren Tigarian grew to adulthood under the close scrutiny and mistrust of those around him. A forbidden blend of two animals—snow leopard and white tiger—Wren has never listened to anyone when there was something he wanted. Now he wants Marguerite.

Marguerite D'Aubert Goudeau is the daughter of a prominent U.S. Senator who hates the socialite life she's forced to live. Like her mother before her, she has strong Cajun roots that her father doesn't understand. Still, she has no choice but to try and conform to a world where she feels like an outsider. But the world of rich and powerful humans is never to meet the world of the Were-Hunters who exist side by side with them, unseen, unknown, undetected. To break this law is to call down a wrath of the highest order.

In order to have Marguerite, Wren must fight not just the humans who will never accept his animal nature, but the Were-Hunters who want him dead for endangering their world. It's a race against time and magic without boundary that could cost Marguerite and Wren not just their lives, but their very souls…
Dylan says:

This book was such a great book to read after our long wait. I think SK did a wonderful job of showing us the man behind the dreads from the previous books. What I loved most about this book was that they didn't forget about Nick, Nick had befriended both of them and it was good that they had that to share between them. I loved how we got to meet the mysterious and all mighty, Savitar. He's been mentioned a few times in the previous books and it was fantastic to finally meet him and see what he's all about, Wren and Maggie were definitely made for each other and I thought it was just pure magic seeing them come together.

I know that it was probably unrealistic for Maggie to be so "okay" with the idea that her boyfriend was a Tigard, but I'm sure she freaked out, we just didn't see it. It was great to see some of the DH's in there and to meet the newest one, Jean Luc. We learned a lot of things and I just loved every minute of it.

The whole Mama Lo thing grabbed me because I didn't really care for Mama Lo in the previous books, even when she was so good to Vane, I couldnt' care less about her, which is why I was so against Fang (my boo) getting with Aimee.

The action was high in this book and the love factor was great, I loved Wren and I loved Maggie and I loved them together, I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone, even though a few others were disappointed in this book, it totally worked for me and I know it will, you.

So go on, buy it, read it and love it....I know you will.

Grace says:

Since Dee has given you the run down on the story line, I've decided to just skip forward to the review part. Now I've had UTN by SK on my TBR list, ever since it was released last year but the waiting line at the library was forever long. But, luckily for me, (or unluckily, depends on how you look at it) my name came up about two weeks ago, just as my load at uni increased dramatically. So what was a girl to do, stuck between giving her studies her undivided committment to pass and wanting to savor every line about Wren Tigarian? I ditched the studies and gave Wren my undivided attention for a couple of hours straight..and boy, was it worth it!

I loved, loved, LOVED the way SK portrayed Wren in this book. He was so fierce and deadly and yet, so vulnerable at the same time. I loved how Maggie was able to get through his guarded defenses in such a short time and how she saw him in a different light - she saw the real Wren. Not the Wren people avoided and didn't talk to, or the Wren that people thought were crazy psycho. Even with her sheltered life, she went against the crowd, full knowing her domineering father would be furious if she spent any time with Wren. I thought that was awesome. Maggie earned some serious heroine points right there.

One of my favourite scenes in this one, is where Wren surprised the hell out of Maggie by dropping by her university after his little appearance fix up. Damn. I could totally imagine that scene, with Wren dripping in hotness. What made that scene even better was the way SK was able to portray Wren's vulnerability and uncertainty, when it came to Maggie. When he told her:

"I didn't want to embarrass you anymore,"

...I was a goner. I felt his insecurities leap off the page and I just wanted Maggie to show him that he was worthy, very worthy.

I was so glad that Maggie turned out to be a great heroine. Sure, she was sheltered and living a life she didn't really want, but in the end, she stood up for what she wanted. It was great watching Maggie find herself, and even sticking it to her dad in the end when the Senator was insulting the hell out of both Maggie and Wren. Oh, that scene was priceless!! LOVED IT. You'll have to read it, to see. :)

Also, I have to agree with Dylan. I had a hard time believing that Maggie was completely okay with the idea of Wren being a tiger. I know she had a couple of hours to adjust to the idea..but finding out her man was a tiger? That's something even the most unconventional might have more than a few hours worth of worry over, right? Oh, and I'm still mad at Mama Lo, I know she sorta made up for doing what she did to Wren..but I'm still mad. LOL.

Overall, I thought this one was a good read. I'm a bit wary of reading the next one since I've read a lot of reviews stating that the series is going down hill..but for now, I'm just happy this one turned out to be a goodie. A far better way to spend my time, compared to studying from a boring textbook. ;o)

4 / 5

Fantasy Lover
The Beginning (which you can find on the Dark Hunter site)
Night Pleasures
Night Embrace
Dance with the Devil
Kiss of the Night
Night Play
Sieze the Night
Sins of the Night
Unleash the Night
Dark Side of the Moon

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Friday, September 15, 2006

It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

Four young ladies enter London society with one necessary goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So they band together, and a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
It Happened at the Ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It Happened in the Garden…

When Marcus shockingly -- and dangerously–swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed…thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It Happened One Autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable…as his bride?

The Plot: Lillian's mother wants her to marry a man of title. When Lillian and Marcus meet, its hate at first sight for these two. So of course we know these two will end up together.

What I Liked: Lillian and Daisy playing rounders with the staff. Marcus catching them and then teaching Lillian to improve her swing.

Marcus making up an excuse for Lillian to leave to the dinner table so she doesn't puke at the sight of calf head.

Lillian getting foxed and her finger stuck in the bottle because she wants the pear. I love how she declares "I want it."

How Marcus went crazy at smelling her perfume and how the wallflowers all experimented with it.

What I didn't like: The countess. Oh she was a bitch. Hated her.

I did like the book, but I enjoyed reading the first book much more.

Grade: B-

Dylan's Take:

Hero: Lord Marcus Marsden, Earl of Westcliff
Heroine: Miss Lillian Bowman
Grade: B-

This book was good.

I really enjoyed the entire story, going into this book though I didn't expect to like it, because I wasn't wild about Lillian in Annabelle's story, because gosh this woman was so damn loud and "I know everything, it's my way or the highway" type of girl, I didn't think I'd like her. I should've known better though, because Lisa Kleypas certainly delivered with this story.

I loved the sparks between her and Marcus, I loved the whole "it's the perfume" that's why he's wildly attracted to me. I loved how Marcus knew what the secret ingredient was and how he turned out to be right. I just liked the whole damn book, it was fantabulous!

I even enjoyed the whole, Sebastian stealing her away from Marcus, leaving Marcus to come and save the day! Was I mad at Sebastian for doing it? No...did I hate him? No...but that's probably because I knew he was the hero in the next book and was giving him the benefit of the doubt...I just really enjoyed all of the coming together of Marcus and Lillian, I loved the secondary characters as well, especially Mr. Simon Hunt and his wife, Annabelle. They were the bomb in this story just as they were in their story.

Besides, the old cow that is Marcus' Mom, I hated that Annabelle referred to her husband, as Mr. Hunt and not Simon. It bothered me, don't know why but it did...hello, you're amongst friends, your best friends at that, there's no need for you to be so formal when talking about your husband, GOSH!

Aside from that, I really enjoyed the story and the way the whole story ended, leading into Evie's story, I LOVE IT!!!! It made me start the next book right away. Just effing loved this whole book. Daisy is STILL my favorite though, but I'm not so mad at Lillian for being such a big brute about everything, she's cool for the moment...haha.

Great book! FANTASTIC series!

This book is second in a series. The first being:

Secrets of a Summer Night

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Holly and Isabel's Take on Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Holly Says

I put off reading this book for as long as possible. I loved Dark Lover. Absolutley adored it. To date it's one of my favorite Paranoramal Romances. Lover Eternal I enjoyed, but I didn't feel the heroine at.all. She drove me batshit, but I got over it because I enjoyed the Brothers and the way the story was written. And I had a really, really bad feeling that this one was going to end up being a terrible disappoitment.

Lover Awakened, the third book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, is the long awaited story of Zsadist. The scared warrior with a very tortured past.

When he was just a child, Zsadist was stolen from his family and sold into slavery. The mistress of the home he worked in took a special liking to him and decided she wanted him all for herself. So she made him a bloodslave. Basically, she kept him chained up and fed from him whenever she felt like it. She also got off on him as often as possible. Unfortunately, Z wasn't all that interested in getting off on her, so she had to use some special love ointment on his "special" parts.

He was held in this manner for many, many years, until his brother rescued him. Now it's however many hundreds of years in the future and there's a girl who wants in Z's pants. But she's not just any girl. She's Bella, an aristocrat in the Vamp world who's had a thing for him for ages...and who just happened to catch Z's interest, too, right before she was captured by some creepy bad guy who has a thing for her. Crazy, messed up love triangle, anyone?

Anywho, Z rescues Bella and takes her home to ma and pa and refuses to let anyone else touch her. He bathes her and cares for her and then when she wakes up....runs from her. Bella knows she should leave him alone, but she just can't. She wants him and needs him and just knows deep down where it really counts that he's the one for her. Of course, Z knows he won't be good for her, so he wants her to hook up with his brother, who just happens to want her. And yet another crazy, messed up love triangle.

The Good: I liked Bella. She seemed pretty level, going after her man and fighting to keep him, until she realized she needed to cut her losses and move on. Pretty smart chicky if you ask me...too bad she didn't just stay gone, though.

I liked the scene where Z comes up on John in the training center and that little maggot dude was picking on him, so Z stepped in and taught them all a lesson. That was great.

I liked seeing more of John and I was thrilled to know I was right about the John/Darius thing. And I'm not referring to John being D's son. Because you know and I know that that's not the case.

The Bad: The crazy Lesser who was obsessed with Bella. WTF? He's a LESSER! He sold his soul to the Omega-dude and he's obsessed with a female vampire he calls wife? I dunno, it was just a little over the top for me.

John/Sarelle. So, he starts fantasizing about a girl that we come to like and then BAM, she's gone? How bout..no?

The Ugly: Phury. He was willing to shoot his own leg off to save his brother but he thought Z was trying to rape Bella one night after she was returned from the Lessers? Yeah, soooooo not in keeping. Plus, he acted like a complete ass. And was it really necessary to have them fall in the love with the same girl? Because they hadn't been through enough together? Riiiight.

Tohr/Wellsie. What was the point in showing us their relationship and making us fall in love with them if you were going to KILL WELLSIE??? Because, honestly, I'm just not seeing the point. AT ALL!

Zhadist. Yes, he was tortured as a child. But it had been HUNDREDS OF YEARS since he'd been released from his captivity. So, uh, why was he still referring to his manroot as IT? Because I would think that even someone who was hurt as he was would have learned a thing or two in a couple of CENTURIES. He lived with a bunch of hard ass warriors who liked sex just as much - if not more - as the next guy and yet he knew NOTHING about it? Like, what? He didn't overhear them talking about it? Puhleez. He reminded me of a...child. And I'm sorry, but it's really hard for me to fall in love with - or respect - a guy who's 200 years old and still throws temper-tantrums and refers to his penis as IT. Plus, it's really hard for me to believe, after reading this book, that he's really a seasoned warrior who could take down 5 Lessers all by his lonesome. Soooo not seeing it.

The slang. Wayyyy over the top. I just can't imagine ANY guy, much less a badass warrior with fangs saying something like "180 us". Most of the guys I know would say, "Turn the fucking car around." You know? And who says Bene? or Benies? Oh.Hell.Naw. Look, babe, I understand that you're a big 50 Cent fan here, but do you think you could cut back....just a lil bit? It was WAY worse in this book than any other. If you don't watch out, before long you'll have dreads and only be able to speak ebonics. I'm thinking that wouldn't be a good thing, true? Yeah, true.

Here's the thing. Like my boy Z, I tend to be into hurting myself, too. So I'm sure I'll end up reading the next book...but I have a feeling I'm not going to like it.

I'm giving this one a:

2.5 out of 5 ~ Because I thought the relationship between the brothers (Z and Phury) morphed well and because I like John Matthew.

Isabel Says

I was enjoying this book. I kept reading it at work when I was supposed to be working. The cheesy slang (Shit kickers, keep the gun in your business hand), Butch having a orgasm with V around. I could handle that. I could handle Z calling his penis an IT. I mean, I understand he viewed his penis as something not a part of him after what he went through witht he mistress.

I loved reading about John. I know he is Darius. I just know it. I loved how Z took care of Bella. Loved how he just layed on the bed exausted from Bella during her needing time.

I also love how Z was learning to read and write. WHen I wrote "I love you" to Bella. Touching.

However, I almost stopped reading when Wellsie died. Why the hell would you show us this couple who are deeply in love with each, and kill his wife. Why? Were you trying to milk another book for your series? Seriously? I want to know why you needed to kill Wellsie. Are you going to kill Mary and Beth too?

If Wellsie had been a skank ass bitch, I could understand. But she wasn't!

Grade: C-

Dark Lover
Lover Eternal

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Come Lie With Me by Linda Howard

Since Stacy has already gotten her own copy of Dream Man she has said we can give it to someone else. So we picked another name, actually my daughter did, and the winner is (drum roll please) Kristie (J)! And I know she doesn't have it cause I emailed her first. lol. So congrats girl and enjoy.

Thank you all for participating in our interview with Kelley. And best wishes to Kelley and her book...

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The Winner of Dream Man by Kelley Vitollo

Since Stacy has already gotten her own copy of Dream Man she has said we can give it to someone else. So we picked another name, actually my daughter did, and the winner is (drum roll please) Kristie (J)! And I know she doesn't have it cause I emailed her first. lol. So congrats girl and enjoy.

Thank you all for participating in our interview with Kelley. And best wishes to Kelley and her book...

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Series And Their Covers

A topic that I have begun to wonder about. Is it just me? (Most of the time it is) Or does it bother anyone else?
When an author writes a series, don't you think the covers of the books should resemble the fact that they are in fact...a series? Take for example Laura Lee Guhrke's trilogy...

The first two books? Very good! Her name is in the same spot and same font, the flower in the corner goes. The sketched man in front. It all says "Hey we go together, we're a series"! But then the third book....what the heck were they thinking? I know I know I get it, The Marriage Bed...there's a bed on the cover. But it just doesn't go, know what I mean??? The authors name isn't even in the same font for goodness sake! The only think they have going for it is that the title is in the same spot and font. But the rest? Totally off the mark. I would never guess that book went with the other two. Would you???

But now they aren't all bad, some authors get them right. Such as Karen Marie Moning. Look at these covers....they scream "Buy me together I'm a set." (okay enough with my 'screaming', I'm annoying myself) But you get my point, right! The font is all the same, titles in the same spot, authors name in the same spot. You get just a glimpse of the hero in each cover, but only a teasing amount. Same back drop color....I can go on and on about these covers.

I know I've been labeled a cover snob (Holly) and I don't deny it. But really am I the only one this bothers??? Or if not bothers at least you notice it???? Come on tell me I'm not losing it here.



Sunday, September 10, 2006

Don't Say A Word by Barbara Freethy

While preparing for her wedding, Julia DeMarco comes across a famous photograph of a little girl in front of a Russian orphanage-and sees her own eyes staring back at her. But Julia is not an orphan, nor was she adopted. She knows where she comes from-or does she? Suddenly, the people she has loved and trusted are tainted by suspicion. The one person who is willing to help her is reckless photographer Alex Manning, who will journey with her toward the dangerous truth-while trying to hide a secret of his own.

The plot was good. Two little twists that I didn't see coming. But then again, I never figure out who did it so I guess that doesn't say much. What were the twists you ask. Not telling.

Now, Julia is engaged to Michael but you can tell that she just isn't ready to marry him. Hell, you know they are not meant to be. I feel bad for Michael cause you know he must have some kind of idea that Julia is stalling and they are not meant to be.

When Julia decides to team up with Alex to find out who she is, everyone is pretty much against it. Her sister Liz and Michael tell her why dig up the past? Michael feels this is Julia's way of stalling some more. So I understand where he is coming from. Liz... oh lord.

Liz annoyed the shit out of me. She was constantly whining, showed no support and wanted Julia to take care of everything. Their father has been drinking heavily since their mother dies and Liz want Julia to take care of it. Julia finally snaps and tells Liz to be an adult. I cheered. Even at the end of the book, when Julia is telling Liz the truth about where Julia came from, "Nothing is going to be the same. You are going to forget about me" Whine whine whine.

Alex's mother was another person annoyed me. She was just trying to keep herself in the lime and twists things around to be about her. She wasn't as bad as Liz though.

Other than those two characters, I did enjoy the story. Was that really Julia in the picture? Did she find the answers to her past. Read and find out. :)

Grade: B- (cause of Kate and Liz. Mostly Liz)

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Friday, September 8, 2006

This is Chick Lit edited by Lauren Baratz- Logsted

The genre of fiction known as "chick-lit" has been a lightning rod for debate in the world of literature, raising questions such as Is chick-lit really literature or just harmless fluff? Is this really an accurate portrayal of the lives of modern women? Eighteen renowned authors--including Jennifer Coburn, Raelynn Hillhouse, Harley Jane Kozak, Cara Lockwood, and Rachel Pine--weigh in with the best of chick-lit--proving that this genre deserves as much, or more, respect as any other. In addition to their story, each author elaborates on her feelings about the 'chick-lit' label, and recommends literary fiction writers that have inspired them.

Some time ago a book titled "This is not Chick-Lit" was published. Well not much of a surprise to me, but quite a few authors of Chick-Lit were upset. Well the finished product of some up in arms Chick-Lit authors? A great book titled "This is Chick-Lit", and I've had the honor of reading this book (or most of it) and posting this review.
This book is a combined effort of 18 different authors. Each of them writing very different stories, each their own. At the beginning of each of their stories they give a brief description of what Chick-Lit means to them. Not only that but there is also a portion of this book, in the back, called 'Reaching Across the Aisle' which is each author recommending a book by a literary author they think their readers would enjoy. I love this!
I've only read 7 of the 18 stories so far, but I though maybe since there are so many stories I would break up the review to a two or three part thing. Sound good? Great! Okay, here we go.
Some I liked, some I didn't, lets be honest no matter what genre you read your never going to like it all.

Two Literary Chicks by Jennifer Coburn

(I won't be posting what each author wrote about Chick-Lit, but as I think this author summed it up perfectly I'll just post her thoughts.)

"As a feminist, I find the attack on chick-lit more than a bit disheartening. Is this where we are-one group of women writers mocking another, deeming it's work irrelevant? Are women really criticizing each other about what they read?! And author recently commented that the term chick-lit sounds as if the writing is about, for and by women, nothing more. Nothing more?! Why isn't that enough?! I love chick-lit and am proud to be associated with this genre. People who don't appreciate it should stop moaning about the relevance of chick-lit and simply spend their time reading what they like."

Very good story. About two women who were in a writing group together in college, neither really liking the others work. Years later they cross each other on the street and make some small talk. One is a published author of a very successful book the other has a great book written but is struggling to get it published. Through different events they end up getting to know each other better and liking each others work. As well as helping.
Although I think it was well written and a good story I also felt it was inconclusive. Your left wondering about Marley at the end to much. I just wish it was tied up a little better in the end.
But I will definitely read this author again.

The Infidelity Diet by Harley Jane Kozak

Gripping. I really enjoyed this one and it was ended very well for a short story.
About a woman that starts to wonder about her husbands faithfulness to her. She's been married for quite awhile, and they've just both grown so comfortable. Long nights at work and some thoughts start to crowd in. Looking for advice from all different friends make for an entertaining view on woman's thoughts on cheating men. I'm not totally sure what we were meant to think of Christopher (husband) in the end, but I would love to read more of this author.

Confessions of a Three-Eyed Freak by Arielle Papa

Okay not one of the ones I liked. A story about a woman uncomfortable with a birthmark on her neck and goes to get it removed. She ends up waking up with an eye where the mark was on her neck. Okkkkaaay..... I kept thinking she was going to wake up and it was a weird dream. But no, it was real. She grew to like the third eye and was obsessed with it. Only when the eye started looking at different men did she go to have it removed. The eye was getting out of control. Ummmm......need I say more???? And the woman in the story had the same name as the author. That's just weird to me. This entire one was strange.

The Commitment Phobe by Cara Lockwood

Loved this one. Soooo cute! About a woman and man that are dating and of course she's ready for the next step, marriage, and he is content the way they are. He isn't against marriage it just seems like something they'll do eventually. Well she shakes some things up and gives her man a wake-up call. He is so cute, how much he loves her. Adorable read. I am all kinds of excited to find more work by Cara Lockwood!

Mama Knows Best by Kayla Perrin

Short, sweet and kinda funny. Yeah this one had me laughing a bit. Sometimes when you read a book about a black couple all you hear about is the color factor. You only hear it once or twice in this story, and not in a way to draw attention to the fact. Just in regular description like any other person or story. It really was a good read. A woman dumps her fiance the day before (or is it the day of) their wedding when she found out he cheated with a stripper. Then on a girls night out her ex is there with a Tyra look a like. Taking a deep breath she pretends to be there with a hot guy that happens to be sitting next to her. After a perfect performance she apologizes to the hot man and kisses any chance of actually talking him up now that he probably thinks she's a crazy. But surprise surprise who is her mama setting her up with the next night???

Nice Jewish Boy by Karen Siplin

Absolutely no point to this story. It's about two women, best friends since high school. They go to a friends baby's party, Jewish friend. One of the girls is Jewish on is black. The story is mostly about how the black girl stands out in the crowd of Jewish people. And then how all the Jewish mama's wonder if she is a mother herself even after she told them she is single and living with her parents. It's made out to be like every black woman is supposed to be a single mom. Sorry but I don't make that assumption or a normal basis! The the other girl gets propositioned for an affair with an ex that is married. Well I have no clue why she is only wearing the skimpiest outfit ever. So basically it's two mid-30's women that both live with their parents and wonder why nobody takes them seriously.....hmmmm, I don't know I just can't figure it out. Oh and did I mention neither of them drive so the parents still drive them around....oh and the 'nice Jewish boy'? Yeah that's a 15 yr. old that hit on the black girl. No more to say.

Dead Men Don't Eat Quiche by Deanna Carlyle

Started this story thinking it was kinda cute. A girl living in France her parents coming to visit. Blah blah blah. They tour the city have fun, of course she is dragging her feet. Then we find out her ex was murdered and she was a suspect. Oh but wait she figured out the true killer and cleared herself. So they go out to the restaurant that her mother made reservations at and there is a mix up. No availability, they lost the reservation. The mother is yelling (and don't ask my why the daughter was embarrassed, I would have been yelling too!)Basically a man comes and says they can join their private party. They flirt all night, have a private bathroom get together. Next thing we know the guy ends up dead in the bathroom with a fork in his neck. Again the heroine is a suspect and again clears herself. Not a great read, not bad either. Kinda Meh...

So ladies. Like I said, some bad some good. Do I think you should run out and grab this book? Yeah, it's a nice book to have when you have a few minutes for a short story. It's nice cause they are very short and mostly interesting. Also introduces us to many new authors that we may not have otherwise read. I love the purpose behind the book!

Grade~ B-

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Thursday, September 7, 2006

SF Contest: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

When I was trying to decide what kind of contest to do for this book, I kind of hit a brick wall. I mean, normally I'm chock full of ideas, but lately I'm sort of creatively tapped out.

So here's the deal. I have a copy of J.R. Ward's recent novel, Lover Awakened to give away. Write a paragraph telling me who your favorite brother is and why, and I'll pick the best answer and mail you the book. Sound good?

Fabulous, dahling, fabulous. Now go forth and write.

You may email your answers to sfinest@gmail.com.

You have until Saturday at noon to get your answers in. I'll select a winner Sunday and the book will be mailed (provided I have your information) Monday morning.

So, get to work and you just might end up with your very own FREE copy of Lover Awakened. (and Free is good, right?)

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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Author Interview: Kelley Vitollo

Did she find us? Did we find her? Honestly sometimes it’s just too much to remember. What we do remember, however, is going to a blog called, simply, “Kelley Vitollo Fun, Passionate & Heart felt Romance”, and really … with a name like that you know we were hooked! As we dug through her posts eager to read all we could, Jazz stumbled across the fact that Kelley was indeed a writer, a romance writer. What did Jazz do? What does she always do??? Questions, questions and more questions...What are you writing? Are you published? Do you have tid bits of your stuff here? Can I get a sneak peek?

We’re sure an eager bunch of gals, especially when it comes to new authors. There is something so exciting about finding a great new author, anticipating a first book with her. And that’s what we’re going to do here today! We’re going to get into Kelley’s world. What she loves, what makes her tick, what got her writing and what we can expect from it.

Through some emails and chats, we convinced Kelley to let us have the honor of interviewing her and giving all of our faithful readers a head start on getting to know the author and her new book.

Kelley’s first short story, titled Dream Man, is being released next week from Forbidden Productions. And this is just the beginning of Kelley’s journey as a romance author. She also has a trilogy in the works. So far, two of the books are finished. They’re about three best friends, and them finding their happily ever after. And when she is done with that? She is dedicating her time to her full length novel, which we’ll hear more about a little later.

But before we go there, we want to give you a little info on our new author….

Kelley has been with her own Dream Man for 8 years now and they have a beautiful two-year-old little girl named MacKenzie. They live in Southern California with their two new kittens Pepper and Daisy.

Her comfort food is Chocolate, surprise surprise ladies, and she basically loves any type of food that isn’t good for her. She shares a favorite movie with Dylan and Grace, The Notebook. A favorite color with Jazz, Red. Her favorite song, All My Life by Kci & Jojo is none other than Jazz’s wedding song. Oh and we can’t forget that she loves The OC, a woman after Jazz and Dylan’s own hearts.

At Sanctuary’s Finest, we love finding new authors to read and we’re excited something fierce to read Dream Man so mark your calendars along with us, September 8th is the big day! Be sure to get you a copy and enjoy.
Now, we asked Kelley a bunch of questions about books, writing, and her life in general. So without further adieu, the interview.

“Sadie has the same dream every night. She dreams of a man with black hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and magical hands. When dream becomes reality and she comes face to face with her dream man, will he be everything she imagined, and more?”

Sanctuary's Finest: Dream Man is being released in just a week; tell us what we can expect?
Kelley Vitollo: Dream Man is short, sweet, and to the point. These two characters aren't taking their time if you know what I mean :). I think the story has strong emotions that pull the reader in. At least I hope it does.

SF: When did you realize you wanted to write books for a living?
KV: I've loved to write for as long as I can remember. I won my first writing contest in second grade and I think that is when I realized writing was for me. I always thought I would write children’s books. I tried on numerous occasions but I couldn't come close to finishing a story. I was discouraged and thought maybe writing wasn't for me. About two years ago I picked up my first romance novel and fell in love. I wanted to try my hand at writing one but I was discouraged because in some ways I thought I had already failed at writing. Finally I pushed my fears aside and started trying to write a romance. By the time I finished my first chapter I KNEW I'd found what I was meant to do. My passion for writing was alive again in a way I had never experienced before.

SF: How hard was it to get your first book published? And how did you react when it happened?
KV: So far my only publication is Dream Man which is a short story. It is the first story I finished and the first story I submitted. I guess I got lucky. When I first read the email I cried. Then I told my hubby who was excited as well and called everyone I know. I was on cloud nine.

SF: How long did it take you to write your first book?
I have yet to finish my first full length novel. My short story took about a couple days to write and my two novellas each took about three weeks to a month. That’s just for the rough draft though. That doesn't count editing and polishing the story up.

SF: What inspired you to write a 3 book series of 3 best friends?
I'm a series kind of girl. I love getting to know characters and then revisiting them in other stories. I wanted to do one about best friends because I enjoy highlighting not only romance but the special bonds you can only share with your girlfriends.

Talk our kind of author! Series? About Best Friends? We are all ears!

SF: What about Getting Lucky with Luciano (first book in trilogy) and Unexpected Mr. Right (second book in trilogy), what can we expect from them?
I think these two story's are both really fun. Nico is the flirtatious, sarcastic hero but you learn there is more to him then meets the eye. You catch glimpses of him in GLWL but his story is told in Unexpected Mr. Right. A friend of mine read over Getting Lucky With Luciano and she said it had her really laughing. I hope everyone else will feel the same.

SF: Of the three stories that you've written so far (well and the fourth book that you're writing now) which book is your favorite?
I think Getting Lucky With Luciano is my favorite so far, but they all hold a special place in my heart. The heroine from that story, Kaylee, is like me in some ways. Dependable, always on time, responsible, (can also be known as a stick in the mud :). GLWL is also the first longer piece of writing that I have finished so I feel much attached to that story. I'm hoping to find a home for it very soon!

SF: Who's your favorite hero that you've written so far?
That’s a hard one. I think I'm going to say either Nico from Unexpected Mr. Right or Chase from On My Own (my novel WIP). I have a feeling Nico is going to be a lot of ladies favorite! UMR is the second novella in my three novella series.
Chase from OMO is just a sweetheart. Hot, romantic, and knows how to love. What woman wouldn't love a man like that?

SF: After the trilogy is done, what's next on your writing plate?
After my trilogy my main focus will be on my novel. On My Own is my baby. I feel I have to nurture the story to help it grow the best way possible. I really want to focus on giving the book the time and energy it deserves.

SF: Where do the ideas for your stories come from? Are they things that happened to you in your personal life that you've expounded on or are they purely made up and totally from your imagination?
My current novel which is yet to be finished has bits and pieces of my life in it. I took little truths and created stories from them. So far that book is the only one that has any pieces of my life in it. The three novellas I am working on literally popped into my head one day. I never believed people when they said that happens but its true. The littlest comment, commercial, guy walking through the mall ect can spark the idea for a story. It’s truly amazing. I have a notebook with future ideas for books. I make sure to write them down so I don't lose any of the ideas.

SF: Are any of your heroes based on your hubby?
Not yet. Maybe little things here and there but nothing big. He tells everyone I get all my inspiration for my heroes from him. One way they are alike is that all my heroes are good guys and my hubby is the best.

SF: How do you pick the "right" name for your characters? Do you browse through baby name databases, or do somehow come across the name and think, "yes, this name fits perfectly!"?
So far I haven't done any database or book name searches! I'm a name person though. I already have a list of names for future characters. I can just feel which name is right for which character.

I’m sure plenty of you have heard the same things we have…”it just comes to me”. But you know what? It must be true, since when we asked Kelley about her hero’s to her titles that’s the answer we got…”It just comes to me”. And she’s even admitted that to those of us that aren’t writers it may seem a bit crazy but that’s just how it happens.

SF: Do you have any aspirations to write other sub genres of romance, like paranormal or a historical?
So far I only have plans to write contemps. That is where my heart lies and I have to stay true to that. Who knows what the future may hold though.

SF: Do you have any advice for those lovely ladies who want to give writing for a living a go?
Read and write as much as you can. Never give up and never be afraid to ask for help. I've asked everyone I know for opinions in some way or another and it helps me find a way that works best for me. You have to realize that rejection is part of a writer’s life but there is almost always something to learn from it. If you keep believing and keep working, you'll get where you want to be :)

Just like us we’re sure you are dying to know all the little details about Kelley, like her favorite authors, what she does in her spare time, and heck, even who she thinks is the hottie of the moment. And would we hold out on you? Of course not, so lets go. Let’s start getting personal!

SF: What was your first romance novel that got you hooked into this genre?
A Soft Place To Fall by Barbara Bretton

SF: What book are you most looking forward to reading?
I just finished my very first paranormal. High Stakes by Erin Mccarthy. I really looking forward to the other two Vegas vamp stories.

SF: Who do you think is the sexiest man in Hollywood right now?
I can only pick one?? Hmm...I don't know what it is about him but I'm really digging Jake Gylenhal right now. Believe me; the list could go on and on :)

SF: Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
I like to scrapbook though I don't do it as much as I'd like.

SF: If you didn't decide to become an author, today you'd be...
I used to want to be a child psychologist.

SF: What are some of your pet peeves?
Being late, and when my hubby leaves his shoes in the middle of the floor instead of throwing them in the shoe box right by the door :) It’s so cute because my two year old will pick up my husbands shoes and throw them in the box. She knows where they go! I joke around a lot with my husband but I just have to say that he is such a wonderful, supportive husband. I'm very lucky.

SF: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, you would be...
On vacation with my husband and daughter. I don't care where.

SF: Quick, your house is burning down, the kids and hubby are outside but you have only enough time to save three authors books from destruction, which three authors are you going to save?
Lucy Monroe, Lori Foster, and Erin McCarthy

SF: If you were Brad Pitt, would you have stayed married to Jennifer Anniston or left her ass for Angelina Jolie?
I'm team Aniston!

SF: Do you sing in the shower? Yeah? What song?
Lol. I sing everywhere. I have a terrible voice but it doesn’t stop me. My favorite place to sing is the car. People who drive next to me probably think I'm crazy.

We want to thank Kelley for taking time out of her busy schedule to be here and talk with us! It has been so much fun getting to know her and finding out what we can expect from her books. But before we leave, just one more question....

SF: How can readers get in touch with you?
They can email me at kelley@kelleyvitollo.com. I'd love to hear from readers or anyone who has any questions about my writing. Please don't hesitate to write!

You can also keep up with Kelley through her by clicking here for her blog or here for her webpage.

Kelley has also generously offered an ARC of her first release, Dream Man, to the lovely ladies who comment here on her interview. That's all you have to do, just comment. We'll put the list of names in a hat and one lucky winner will be offered a download of her first release. Isn't that amazing? Don't be shy now! Comment away.

She also agreed to be here to answer any lingering questions for the rest of the day. You can either leave a comment here, or email her at kelley@kelleyvitollo.com.

Don't forget to get your own copy of Dream Man, available September 8th from Forbidden Publications. Buy it here.

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